Posts filed under English

Bourne Family

Bourne family home, Sixth Street East.

Bourne family home, Sixth Street East.


Henry Josiah Bourne: b. Rainham, UK, 1861 d. March 1905

Frank Herbert Bourne: b London, 1862 d. Vancouver, 1958

Edwards James Bourne: b. London, 1865 d. 23 September 1938

Cemetery Location:

Henry Josiah Bourne: Block C, Row 3, Plot 33

Frank Herbert Bourne: Block C, Row 3, Plot 32

Edward James Bourne: Block C, Row 3, Plot 31

Family memorial at Cemetery:  Red polished granite


Originating from England, the Bourne brothers were a pioneering merchant family who established their retail business in Revelstoke in the late 1900s.

The eldest Bourne brother, Henry Josiah Bourne, became postmaster for Upper Town in 1891 and Justice of the Peace in 1892.  He married Ella Miller in September 1895 and died in March 1905, after a long battle with lung disease.

Edward James Bourne moved to Revelstoke in 1890, where he was accountant for Bourne Bros. and managed the men’s furnishings department. He retired in 1938 and died 23 September 1938. 

The fourth brother, John Dupre Bourne, was storekeeper with CPR when he settled in Revelstoke around 1904, but moved to Vancouver around 1907. He died in August 1927, leaving behind a wife and six children.

The first Bourne Bros. store was in the 100 Block east on Victoria Road, followed by a large frame building constructed on the north side of the railway. In addition to groceries, general provisions, gents’ furnishings and hardware, the building also housed the Upper Town post office, which was opened in 1891.

In January 1901, Bourne Bros. sold their dry goods and clothing business to Reid and Young to concentrate on their growing grocery and hardware business, with newly established branches in Nakusp and New Denver. Henry and Frank Bourne’s partnership was dissolved in March 1905 after Henry’s death, but the business continued under the name Bourne Bros., with Frank Bourne as the sole owner. In 1912, the business was moved into the grand, newly built brick building on the corner of First Street and Campbell Avenue. In May 1918, the store was passed to a mortgage corporation in Vancouver.

Bourne Bros. Store, 1890s.

Bourne Bros. Store, 1890s.

Henry Colbeck

SS Revelstoke at Downie Creek, 1905.

SS Revelstoke at Downie Creek, 1905.

Dates: b. England, 1869 d. Revelstoke, August 1949

Cemetery Location: Block A, Row 14, Plot 16


One of Revelstoke’s earliest pioneers, Henry Colbeck came to the Okanagan from England in 1889, and based himself in Kelowna at a time when it was little more than a steamboat call. He found employment on the first steamboat to ply Okanagan Lake, later joining the crew on steamer ‘Penticton’, and then the ‘Aberdeen’ in 1892.

Henry’s work took him to all the inland lakes and rivers servicing the Canadian Pacific Railway, including Arrow Lakes and the Columbia River.

He worked as chief engineer on the ‘SS Revelstoke’, which operated north and south of Revelstoke from 1902 until 1914.  The Revelstoke Navigation Company built the steamboat in Nakusp to restore navigation to the Big Bend country. The rugged little boat had a freight capacity of 40 tons and was licensed to carry 10 passengers.

When he retired, Henry and his wife acquired farmland on the Big Bend Highway, just north of Revelstoke. He died at the age of 80, in August 1949.

Charles Ambro Davis

Dates: b. Yorkshire, England, 1877 d. Taft, 1 August 1912

Cemetery Location: Block C, Row 3, Plot 41


The sudden death of English-born Charles Davis, Presbyterian student and missionary at Taft and Three Valley (approximately 20 kilometers west of Revelstoke) in August 1912, was a shock to the town.

Apparently Charles was onboard a logging train, seated in the front car with one foot hanging over. When the train mounted a steep grade, jerking the cars, Charles was thrown from the car and struck on the head by a brake beam, the blow proving fatal.

At the time of the accident, Charles was 35 years old and a student of Manitoba College. Charles had filled the pulpit for Rev. Stevenson in Revelstoke, and was a widely travelled individual (he had been a missionary to the soldiers in India).

Frank Alfred Ford

Saint Peter's Anglican Church and rectory, Revelstoke.

Saint Peter's Anglican Church and rectory, Revelstoke.

Dates: b. 1868 d. 27 January 1899

Cemetery location: Block C, Row 6, Plot 17


Frank Ford was the vicar at St. Peter’s Anglican Church from 1897 until his death in 1899. He had come to Canada from Plymouth, England.  At the end of January 1899, he traveled by train to Rogers Pass to visit some parishioners there. On the way back the train stopped briefly at Albert Canyon and Rev. Ford stepped off to speak to someone on the platform.  As the train started to pull away, Rev. Ford ran to board the train, but slipped and fell under the wheels. He was brought to the private hospital at the top of Douglas Street, but did not survive. 

The parish was devastated by his death and created memorials to him, including the marker in the cemetery, and a memorial plaque in the church.  A photograph in the museum reveals this gravesite used to have picket fence around it.

Thomas & Alice Griffiths

Alice Griffiths, November 1962.

Alice Griffiths, November 1962.


Thomas Griffiths: b.1877 d. 14 March 1964

Alice Griffiths: b.1884 d. 16 October 1980

Cemetery Location:

Thomas Griffiths: Block F, Row 1, Plot 42

Alice Mary Griffiths: Block F, Row 1, Plot 41


Thomas and Alice Griffiths were born in England in the late 1800s. Tom spent his youth in Australia and New Zealand, and after serving in the Boer War, returned to England, where he married Alice. The couple immigrated to Canada with their baby daughter, Esther, in 1906.

Initially the family settled north of Winnipeg in Strathclair, where they endured a record- breaking cold winter. The Griffiths then moved to Calgary, where Tom was employed at P. Burns and Company, and in 1907 he was transferred to Revelstoke. The day after the family arrived in Revelstoke, Alice recalled waking up to a beautiful April morning, and said to her husband:

“Oh look at that lovely mountain. Oh isn’t it lovely? It must be heaven, let’s stay!”

After living several years in town, the Griffiths purchased two and a half acres of forested land at ‘Three-mile Crossing’, west of Revelstoke (The Big Eddy) and the family lived in a tent that summer while their house was built.

Life for the early settlers of the Big Eddy district was tough. In the early days the area was only accessible via the railway bridge over the Columbia River, and until the traffic bridge was opened in 1910, the walk over the railway bridge to Revelstoke was, in Alice’s words, “very frightening”.

By 1911, the Griffiths had four children and finding their house too small, bought a further five acres where they built a larger home. Tom worked at the rock quarry while they developed their land into a productive farm with vegetables, horses, cows and pigs.

In the early 1920s, Tom purchased 15 acres of land on the Columbia River, east of Griffiths Road. He built a large log cabin (‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’), where the Griffiths hosted parties and visiting family.

In 1930s and early ‘40s, the Griffiths operated the experimental station of the Department of Agriculture on their land.  Every summer they hosted a field day to inspect the results of the harvest, and the event was attended by agriculturalists from all over Canada.

Tom and Alice had six children: three daughters and four sons. Tom died in Vancouver in 1964 at the age of 86, and Alice in Revelstoke in 1980, at the age of 96.

Griffith family farm, Big Eddy, Revelstoke.

Griffith family farm, Big Eddy, Revelstoke.

Thomas & Mary Lewis


Thomas Lewis: b. 1846 d. 29 October 1917

Mary Lewis: b. 1843 d. July 1918

Cemetery Location:

Thomas Lewis: Block C, Row 12, Plot 27

Mary Lewis: Block C, Row 12, Plot 26


Thomas Lewis and his wife, Mary (Davis), immigrated to Canada from Shropshire, England, settling in Revelstoke in 1890. Thomas was a blacksmith for the Canadian Pacific Railway and they were both members of the Presbyterian Church, where Thomas served on the board in 1905.  The Lewis’s had seven children: Thomas, Frank, Herbert, Robert, Charles, Henry, Edith and Margaret.

Thomas A. Lewis Junior, born 22 August 1874, was a rancher and dairy farmer and purchased an express and draying business from J. Henderson in 1907, which he named Revelstoke Cartage Co. He was killed in France on 21 August 1917, at the age of 42; the oldest World War I recruit from Revelstoke to die in service.

Frank Bernard Lewis, born 5 October 1876, became a prominent Revelstoke businessman, operating a general merchandise business in Revelstoke until 1900, and then switching to insurance, real estate and the mining business.

Levi Probyn

Dates: b. England 1879 d. Revelstoke, 17 September 1913

Cemetery Location: Block F, Row 13, Plot 16


Levi Probyn immigrated to Canada from England in 1907. In England he had worked for a large egg and yeast company, and after settling in Revelstoke, was employed in Horace Manning’s confectionery store on Mackenzie Avenue for four years before establishing his own business, the Savoy Ice Cream Parlor. Levi married in 1910 and had one child.

Sadly, Levi took his own life on 17 September 1913, at the age of 34. His obituary states that the business “did not meet with the rapid success he anticipated and there is no doubt that the strain due to business worries was a contributing cause of his death”.


Fred Robinson

Fred Robinson, date unknown.

Fred Robinson, date unknown.

Dates: b. Yorkshire, England, October 1852 d. Revelstoke, 27 November 1917

Cemetery Location: Block C, Row 8, Plot 33


Revelstoke lumber industry pioneer Fred Robinson was originally from Ontario’s Lake Simcoe County, his family immigrating to Canada from England in 1859. In 1871 Fred married Eliza C. Sheppard of Toronto, and they had three children (one child dying in infancy) before she died in 1876. In 1885, Fred married his second wife, Julia O. Moore, who gave birth to another three children.

After establishing a successful sawmill operation at Beavermouth, British Columbia in the 1880s, Fred sold his interest in the company and returned to Toronto in 1891. In December 1896, Fred moved to Revelstoke to take over the sawmill company owned by his brother, Dan, renaming the business “Fred Robinson Lumber Co.”

Fred expanded the operation with the purchase of Kootenay Lumber Company’s mill at Comaplix on the northeast arm of the upper Arrow Lakes. He obtained the timber rights between Comaplix and Camborne, and the company also owned two small steamers, the ‘Archer’ and the ‘Lardeau’. In November 1901, Fred Robinson Lumber Co. received an order for 2.5 million feet of logs for the Canadian Pacific Railway and the company could barely keep up with demand.  In July 1903, Fred sold the business to the Bowman Lumber Co. of Minneapolis.

When the mill in town burned down in 1910, it was probably one of the most spectacular fires in Revelstoke history, and threw a large number of men out of employment.  People as far away as Mackenzie Avenue spent the night soaking their roofs with water from garden hoses to extinguish the flying sparks.

Having contributed greatly to the development of Revelstoke, Fred died on 27 November 1917, at the age of 65. His obituary states:

"He was a man of wide friendship and genial mind, clever and progressive, ever ready to seize new opportunities offered in a new land”.
Robinson lumber mill, Revelstoke.

Robinson lumber mill, Revelstoke.

Matthew Sainsbury

Dates: b. Portsmouth, England, 17 July 1886 d. July 1928

Cemetery Location: Block E, Row 3, Plot 22


The town of Revelstoke was deeply affected by the news of the death of three of its residents, Matthew Sainsbury (Stanbury), William Clay and Maurice Roger, in an engine explosion in July 1928. The explosion occurred near Glacier, caused by a water shortage in the boiler of the train engine. An incident inquiry did not find the cause of the water shortage, and the engineer had not reported engine defects before the ill-fated train began its journey.

Matthew Sainsbury was born in England in 1892, coming to Canada in his early teens and joining the Canadian Pacific Railway as a wiper in 1920. His entire Canadian Pacific Railway career was served on the Revelstoke Division.

During World War I, Matthew enlisted with the 54th Kootenay Battalion, proceeding overseas with one of the first drafts from this battalion. He was then transferred to the 7th Battalion, British Columbia Regiment, and served with distinction until the end of the war. Matthew was wounded several times and before the accident had coughed up a fragment of shrapnel that had been embedded in a lung since 1916.

He was married in London, England, in 1917, to Miss Eva Marie Davis and they had four girls: Rita, Donna, Eileen and Joan.

Returning from overseas, Matthew resumed work with CPR as a fireman and at the time his death had recently passed his engineer examinations. He was an exceptionally powerful man and prominent in boxing and wrestling circles.

Matthew was 42, Maurice, 43 and William, 42 years old when their lives were tragically cut short.