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MUSGRAVE, JANE LAVINIA (McNaughton), social reformer; b. 6 July 1830 in North Sydney, N.S.; m. c. 1857 Duncan McNaughton, an immigrant from Glasgow, and they had seven children, three of whom, two daughters and a son, survived her; d. 25 Nov. 1916 in Victoria and was buried in Ross Bay Cemetery.

Jane Musgrave was the great-granddaughter of loyalists who settled in Sydney, N.S. She received a strong religious and temperance education from her mother, a Baptist who “had been a life-long total abstainer and advocate of prohibition.” She lived by the ethical code set by her mother throughout her long life. In 1876, at the age of 46, she moved with her family to Victoria, where her husband set up as a carpenter and she re-established the household and finished raising her children. Like her mother before her, she passed on her keen interest in temperance and women’s rights to her daughters. Both Anne Cecilia* and Florence received a high school education and were encouraged to join women’s organizations.

In Victoria, McNaughton joined and was active in the First (Calvary) Baptist Church and its offshoot, Emmanuel Baptist Church. In 1913 she would be the first member of First Baptist, male or female, to be made a life member of the British Columbia Baptist Convention. In addition, from at least 1895 she represented Emmanuel’s ladies’ aid society and then its missionary circle to the Local Council of Women of Victoria and Vancouver Island, an organization in which she was apparently also active. She was, however, best known for her work with the Friendly Help Association and the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union.

Founded by the Local Council of Women in February 1895, the Friendly Help Association was originally designed as a home-visiting program and a means of distributing used clothing. By 1910 it had evolved into Victoria’s main relief agency, funded largely by the municipality but run by women affiliated with city churches and local women’s groups. The Friendly Help was a profoundly conservative organization which gave help to those the members felt merited support.

McNaughton was involved with the association from the founding meeting until the summer of 1899. Clearly, its conservative mandate met with her approval: at the monthly meeting in August 1895 she moved to deny support to “people who are not worthy or will not work.” A member of the “Committee to Divide the City into Districts,” McNaughton helped develop the organizational structure by which one or two women from the association’s management committee, itself comprised of one or two representatives of each church and women’s group in the city, would be assigned one district. These “visitors” would be responsible for investigating families who had asked for help or who had been suggested by a church body as needing help. As well as conducting home visits, the association decided to rent an office through which to register “all cases of destitution.” McNaughton volunteered to staff the room one day per week, took an active role in the administration of the association, and served as the Baptist visitor for one city district.

McNaughton participated in the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union at the local and provincial levels. She was a member of two city unions, the Victoria Union (called the Central Union from 1900 to 1904) and the short-lived Willard Union, named after WCTU founder Frances Elizabeth Caroline Willard. The two unions amalgamated in 1904 under the name Victoria Union. McNaughton served as president of the Victoria Union from 1902 to 1907. In 1900, with her daughter Cecilia, she had run the Willard Union’s mission hall, in which capacity she held gospel services, hosted Sunday concerts, and provided lunches for men, many of whom were “needy cases.” As well, she acted as a hospital visitor.

Provincially, McNaughton was an active delegate, serving as superintendent of the hospital work department from at least 1886 to 1902 and superintendent of the temperance grocery department from 1903 to 1908. Her duties included corresponding with the dominion superintendent and with local unions, providing local unions with “plan[s] of work” and lists of suggested reading, and compiling an annual report of local progress. McNaughton took her duties seriously, adopting as her special project visitation at the naval hospital in Victoria, where she unsuccessfully tried to convert enlisted personnel to temperance. As superintendent of the temperance grocery department, she campaigned to separate the selling of alcohol from the selling of groceries, and urged women not to support grocers who also offered alcohol. In 1904 McNaughton was given a life membership in the provincial union and around this time was made its representative to the Local Council of Women. After her retirement from active service work in 1908 at the age of 78, she became honorary president of the union, a position created especially for her by the executive.

McNaughton continued to attend provincial conventions of the WCTU until 1915. In 1906 or 1907 she and her husband had gone to live with their daughter Cecilia at 1642 Pembroke Street in Victoria. Her husband died in May 1909 and McNaughton continued to make her home with her daughter until her death in 1916.

Susan J. Johnston

BCARS, Add. mss 2818. City of Victoria Arch., M98308-01 (Friendly Help Assoc., minute-book, 18951933). Daily Colonist (Victoria), 26 Nov. 1916, 13 Dec. 1933, 18 Oct. 1938. Victoria Daily Times, 25 Nov. 1916. Lyn Gough, As wise as serpents: five women & an organization that changed British Columbia, 1883–1939 (Victoria, 1988). Woman’s Christian Temperance Union of British Columbia, Report of the annual convention (New Westminster, etc.), 1886–1910; Silver anniversary of the provincial Woman’s Christian Temperance Union of British Columbia, 1883–1908 . . . (Victoria, 1908) (copies in BCARS, Northwest coll.).

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Cite This Article

Susan J. Johnston, “MUSGRAVE, JANE LAVINIA,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 14, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed September 24, 2023, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/musgrave_jane_lavinia_14E.html.

The citation above shows the format for footnotes and endnotes according to the Chicago manual of style (16th edition). Information to be used in other citation formats:

Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/musgrave_jane_lavinia_14E.html
Author of Article:   Susan J. Johnston
Title of Article:   MUSGRAVE, JANE LAVINIA
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 14
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1998
Year of revision:   1998
Access Date:   September 24, 2023