Flitton Family History Chapter 2
The following is a sketchy and draft outline put together by Bob Flitton in the mid 1990s.
Autobiography written by Letitia Flitton on October 18, 1937
I was born at Southampton, Hampshire, on March 31st,`1849. My father and mother were Charles and Sarah Jane Deane (nee Young). Father was born in Newbury, Berks, and Mother at Tanner’s Farm, Kingsomborne, Hampshire. Tanner’s Farm was on the Estate of Sir John and Lady Barker-Mill. When six months old, my father purchased a carriage factory at Bedford and from then until my marriage we lived at St. Mary’s Square.
I had two brothers, William and Alfred, who were five years and eighteen months respectively, older than I. I was educated at several small schools, finishing at the Moravian School St. Peters. My music teachers were Dr. Lang and Mr. P.H. Diemer. I was married to Ralph Henry Flitton on October 31, 1872, at St. Mary’s Church by the Rev. Charles Brereton, Vicar of St. Mary’s and Rural Dean. My bridesmaids were Margaret and Florence Flitton (Ralph’s sisters), Susan Arnold (R’s Cousin), and Eveline Young, (my cousin) and the best man was Thos. Hipwell, of Snarnbrook, Bedfordshire. There were present at the wedding breakfast, (held in the large new showroom of my father’s business) – twenty, including ourselves:- Rev. Brereton, Uncle and Aunt Arnold (Ralph’s Uncle and Aunt) and Susan Arnold, Aunt Young (my mother’s sister-in-law), father Flitton, his three sons and two daughters – Florence and Margaret, Willie Deane (my brother), Mrs. Lovell, Tom Hipwell, my father and mother, and Eveline and Letitia Young, (my cousins – Perry sisters). We were married at 11: a.m. and left for Hastings via at three o’clock, visiting Brighton.
We stayed with Aunt Young in London on our return, where we met mother and then went to Melbourne, Cambs, our future home. There we were met by Margaret Flitton and the maid, Caroline. At that time my husband operated a ‘steam and water’ flour mill on the river Mel, which separated the two villages of Melbourne and Meldreth. On January 3, 1878, Geoffrey Arnold Deane was born. We continued to live at Melbourne until 1882 when we moved to Meldreth and lived at the “cottage”, where in 1887, Arthur Guy was born. He lived only three months, and was buried in Melbourne. In 1888, Ralph Cyril was born – also at the “cottage”. In 1892 we moved to Shirley near Birmingham in Warwickshire, and on May 13th of the next year, we sailed from Liverpool for Canada, arriving at Montreal on the 24th of May. We found the city enfete, celebrating Queen Victoria’s birthday. We left the same day for Vancouver, stopping one day at Winnipeg and arriving at Vancouver on June 2nd. We were living on Cambie Street, when Charles Neville was born in 1896. Soon after this we moved to Mt. Pleasant and lived on 11th Avenue, where we stayed moving to Victoria about 1907. The rest is well known to you all –
(signed) Letitia Flitton.
Letitia’s recollection of dates of three of her childrens’ birth dates appear to be off by one year as other records indicate that Arthur Guy Flitton, was born Sept. 12, 1886, died November 30, 1886, not 1887. Ralph Cyril Flitton was born Sept. 15, 1887, not 1888. Neville was born February 20, 1895, not 1896. Geoffrey Arnold Deane was known GAD, Ralph Cyril went by Cyril and Charles Neville dropped Charles in favor of Neville. Charles later moved to Pasadena, California where he was a dentist. United States naval Captain Charles Flitton, a resident of Port Townsend, Washington is the son of Charles Neville.
Provincial Directory in the British Columbia Archives in 1899 included the following: Flitton, Ralph, Gentleman. 11th Ave. E., Mount Pleasant.
Letitia apparently included a second page to her autobiography entitled “I remember”. There were a number of events and thoughts she wrote loosely about:
- Halleys Comet of 1858 (NOTE: this was not possible given that Halley’s comet was in 1835, 14 years before her birth – she may, though, have been referencing Comet Donati)
- going with my father and mother to see Grandmother Deane, also visiting Aunt Wheeler at Tilsbury, Wiltshire
- when peace was declared after the Crimean War
- going to the Tower of London
- the opening of Crystal Palace (the Crystal Palace was Designed by Jow Paxton and for the Great Exhibition at Hyde Park in 1851 – after the exhibition, the Palace, with-1/2 acres of glass, was dismantled and reconstructed in South London in 1854 – it was destroyed by fire November 30, 1936)
- the marriage of King Edward (VII) and Queen Alexandra
- Garibaldi visiting Bedford (Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi, he died in 1882)
- visiting Edinburgh when about twenty years of age
- mother and I visiting Lady Barker-Mill at Mottisfont Abbey, Hampshire (incidentally, Lady B-M gave me the Christening robe that Geoffrey was christened in)
- when “hoops and crinolines” were worn – when ladies wore mob caps (bag-type bonnets)
- when a woman was hanged outside the jail at Bedford and people flocked from all to witness it – this was my 9th or 10th birthday
- going to Queen Victoria’s Jubilee celebration in 1887 at George Mortlock’s, “The Court” at Meldreth (at this time I was recovering from peritonitis and was driven in our four-wheeler)
- I also remember the Diamond Jubilee celebration at Vancouver in 1897
- the Klondike rush in the same year – 1897
- seeing former King Edward VIII, when Prince of Wales, at the Hudson Bay Store in Vancouver
- the Boer War
- when there were not more than half a dozen houses in North Vancouver
- when the Moodyville Mill was running and sailing ships used to load lumber there and the Hastings Mill
- when the first street was paved in Vancouver – Cordova Street (see Page 4 here)
Sarah Jane Young married Charles Deane, son of John Deane at Thisfield, Berks, Charles’s birthplace. Letitia was their daughter. A list of a number of birth and death of the Youngs in included in Appendix ‘A’ hereto. Letitia’s husband Ralph Henry was born at Ringstead, Northamptonshire February 15, 1846. Ralph was the 3rd of William Flitton and Caroline Sarah Flitton, nee Arnold. Ralph Henry Flitton was a tall man by standards at the time, being about six feet tall. Letitia was barely five feet. and Letitia’s eldest son, Geoffrey Arnold Deane, married Josephine Davies. Mary Davies, daughter of John Charles and Agnes Sarah Pilley, was born one of five children, brother Joseph, and three sisters; Elizabeth, Agnes and Grace. fourth daughter, Margaret, died as a child. Joseph Davies was a sourdough prospector and carpenter and never married. Elizabeth passed away at a young age. Grace Davies married Provincial Policeman and ‘Black Mariah’ driver Robert C. Sims. Davies worked for Fletcher’s Music and married a man named Otto Renz. Otto played a whorehouse piano in the redlight district of Johnson Street and later acquired a home in Coombs, and helped built the historical ‘old log church’ on Church Road in Parksville in 1894. Much was learned from a premarital contract between John Charles Davies and Agnes Sarah Pilley, Josephine’s parents, signed in Hereford, England on May, 1872. Extracts from that contract are attached as Schedule “B”. Sarah Pilley’s seven brothers and sisters were James Beuno, Edward Joseph, William, William Francis, Mary Winnifred, Theresa Mary and William. The contract mentioned a number of family land holdings. The list is attached as Appendix”C”.