Peter O’Reilly’s 1886 Diary


Royal British Columbia Museum & Archives
Microfilm Reel A01910
Previously A/E/Or3/Or3/1886

Peter’s 1886 Diary is now available in two forms:

1. The Diary is a file in PDF form, to download click the button below:

2. Individual pages of the diary are listed below. This makes it possible to search across the diary entries in addition to the transcribed letters.


Peter O’Reilly’s 1886 diary has been transcribed by volunteers and staff at Point Ellice House Museum & Gardens and is for informational purposes only. Researchers interested in this diary are advised to consult the original document housed at the Royal British Columbia Museum & Archives, found in MS-2894, the O’Reilly family fonds. The 1886 diary has also been microfilmed and is available on Mflm reel A01910.

Please note: Square brackets are used to denote transcriptionist comments. Best guesses of words or phrases appearing in the text are enclosed in square brackets and not italicized, while functional comments about the text such as [illegible words] or [loss] are italicized.

If you wish to provide us with additional contextual information or have any corrections related to this transcription, please email with the subject line:
Peter O’Reilly’s 1886 Diary Transcription.

Brief Summary of Diary Contents

January-March: Peter O’Reilly, unable to walk, continues to convalesce at home from injuries sustained in an April 1885 carriage accident.
March: Pile driver employed to place piles for boathouse and breakwater; Jones the dentist fills three of Peter’s teeth at home

April: Peter returns to work at Indian Agency Office in downtown Victoria.
May: Peter tries out a new horse “Mac” and later buys him for $215; discusses enlargement of the kitchen; lays out ten Indian reserves between Lytton and Ashcroft.
June: “The town of Vancouver burnt down”; Peter travels up the west coast of Vancouver Island to establish six Hesquiat reserves.

July: The O’Reilly family attends a cricket match and band concert in Beacon Hill Park, witnesses a naval sham fight in Esquimalt, and attends or participates in tennis matches.
July-August:  Sir John A. and Lady Macdonald visit Victoria and the O’Reilly family.

September-October: Peter travels to the eastern side of Vancouver Island to Fort Rupert, Alert Bay, and islands further to the north-east to establish or review more than 110 reserves.
December: Arrangements made for 13-year-old Arthur John (Jack) O’Reilly to attend Uppingham School in England; death of William Fraser Tolmie (1812–1886) surgeon and fur trader.

At the end of the diary are several memoranda pages listing addresses of Peter’s contacts and recording payments made during the year.

The Diary is also available as a file in PDF form. To download click the button below:

This collection of letters and documents has been digitized from an earlier transcription project and is for informational purposes only. This transcription has not been verified against the originals. Researchers interested in these letters should consult the original documents housed at the BC Archives.

Scroll to Top