Flitton Family History Chapter 4
The following is a sketchy and draft outline put together by Bob Flitton in the mid 1990s.
The year 1900
G.A.D. opened Capital Furniture Store on Douglas Street in Victoria in 1900 with a partner Brown. Capital Furniture’s competition was Standard Furniture. The surface of Street was creosote blocks. Josephine is believed to have moved to Victoria their family home in Winnipeg in the early 1900’s. Josephine Davies, wife of GAD was a staunch Catholic and assured that her family attended St. Andrews Catholic Church in Victoria.
Advertisements at the turn of the century featured boxes of ‘fine leather gloves, four for a dollar’; luminous clock dials ‘that show time in the dark’; ladies boots;; wardrobes; dry goods; carriage factories and shoeing forges; prospector’s; corsets and ‘cotton goods, muslins and sateens for a dollar’. Ralph Henry taught violin while Letitia taught piano. G.A.D. and Cyril built their parents a home at 1487 Finlayson in 1903 or ’04, a house that stands today. Cyril and his son Ralph Johnston visited the home in the years later at which time Cyril noticed something was wrong with the construction. He investigated and discovered that he and his brother had built the back of the house one foot wider than the front.
Cyril Flitton moved to Montreal in 1933 to work for Canadian Vickers and in 1954 and moved to Sutton, Quebec. Marjorie later passed away and Cyril remarried at the age of 80 to Elsie Muir, a widow. Cyril’s children were Ralph Johnston, Robert Deane; and Kenneth Saville of Scarborough,
Kenneth’s middle name was after a famous Victorian actress Saville, a relative of Mary Saville, wife of William Scruby Flitton.
Henry was a voracious reader. He’d frequently ride his bicycle to Carnegie Library at Yates and Blanshard and come home with 5 or 6 books. Josephine married GAD Flitton August 10, 1904, and a honeymoon to Seattle was followed by the births of their five children, Winnifred Mary, on July 22, 1905; Francis William Geoffrey (Frank) June 16, 1908; Charles Ralph on November 27,1909; Agnes Cecelia, January 19, 1914 and John Edward (Jack), October 11, 1915. The British Columbia Archives records include the following listing in 1905:, Flitton, Geoffrey A.D., Crockery, Glassware, Stoves, Tinware, Upholsterer and Mattress Maker. New, Etc., Douglas Street, Balmoral Block, Second Hand Furniture, 129 Douglas Street (nearly opposite City Hall). Cash price paid for all kinds of household goods.
G.A.D. operated the stores on Douglas Street and acquired a two acre land-holding on St. Charles St. where he opened a furniture factory. His foreman’s name was Orm and his labourer was Jeeves. Jeeves borrowed Josephine’s sewing machine for making furniture and it never worked properly again.
The Woodward’s family owned a greenhouse on St. Charles Street and a Chinese family operated greenhouses between Woodward’s and Flitton’s. G.A.D. built a home at 366 St. Charles Street where Frank recalls “Win, Charlie and I were born”. The house is still situated there today though it has been altered from what it was. “I remember falling through from the attic of the house, a place where I shouldn’t have been, and landing on the kitchen table.” Agnes and Jack were born in St. Joseph’s Hospital.
Ralph recalls: “Letitia was a stern-faced strict high-Catholic, a real old battle-axe”. Others recall her as a sweet and kind, a wonderful person. Josephine’s mother (granny) saw that the children attended St. Andrews Cathedral at View and Blanshard. Win, Frank and Charlie started school at Margaret Jenkins Elementary. Charlie says “I went there 6 months.” Frank adds “I remember getting a bunch of real fine marbles and losing them all at school to Roy Pitzer. Another time, we set fire to a house. Charlie and I got hell for that.” During the years 1905 to 1913, Victoria experienced a growth and boom. Numerous English families moved to the region and it was commonly thought that Victoria would grow quickly into a major city. The family was well off at the time. GAD and Josephine, who had rheumatism, obtained the services of a Chinese cook, and a nanny nurse named Miss Colinridge to care for the children. When Charlie and Frank misbehaved one day, the Chinese cook had them over a table with a butcher knife in his hand pretending to chop their heads off. He was promptly fired.
Charlie enjoyed the times he blew on Agnes’ eye to coax her to sleep. There was no Canadian Navy prior to the First World War years and the British Royal Navy was stationed at Esquimalt. Because of the heavy English influence, May Day was the big celebration of the year. Josephine made a point of attending the celebrations with the children. On November 25 (or was it 15th?), 1911, Margaret Fay Massey, future wife of Frank (Francis William Geoffrey), was born in Bellingham, Washington. It is believed that her parents lived near Rosario in the San Juan Islands. GAD made a decision to close his store in Sidney in 1913. GAD with Frank and Charlie traveled by truck to Sidney to load and haul Ralph Henry’s furniture to Victoria. The trip took hours and the boys slept on the back seat. The truck was purchased from Thomas Plimely Motors, the only service station that sold gas in Victoria on Sunday. Ralph Henry at some point slipped on a banana peel and broke his leg. Letitia backed into a ditch and broke her ankle and knee. Subsequently, they both used canes. Ralph liked to sit with his hands and chin resting on his cane.