Johnson, George Frederick (1864-1948)

Henderson’s City of Vancouver Directory, 1906, page 407.

Henderson’s City of Vancouver Directory, 1906, page 407.

George Frederick Johnson was a bricklayer. He lived at 1867 Georgia Street from 1906 to about 1936.

Some details of George Frederick Johnson’s life are unclear. It appears that he was born in Hackney, London, England in March 1864, and that his parents were Joseph Johnson and Eliza Boston. Joseph Johnson was a police constable.

Ancestry.com. London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1932 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Name: Joseph Johnson; Gender: Male; Record Type: Marriage; Marriage Date: 5 Jun 1860; Marriage Place: West Hackney, Hackney, England; Father: Joseph Johnson; Spouse: Eliza Boston; Register Type: Parish Register.

Ancestry.com. London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1932 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Name: Joseph Johnson; Gender: Male; Record Type: Marriage; Marriage Date: 5 Jun 1860; Marriage Place: West Hackney, Hackney, England; Father: Joseph Johnson; Spouse: Eliza Boston; Register Type: Parish Register.

In 1871, George was living with his parents in Bethnal Green in London.

According to some sources, George arrived in Canada about 1889.

He first appeared in the Vancouver directories in 1898. He was working as a bricklayer. The directory gave his address as “Georgia, west of Bidwell.”

Henderson’s BC Gazetteer and Directory, 1898, page 572.

Henderson’s BC Gazetteer and Directory, 1898, page 572.

He lived at the following addresses in Vancouver

1898 Georgia Street, west of Bidwell.
1899 to 1905 Not listed under Vancouver names
1906 to 1936 1867 Georgia Street (sometimes 1869 Georgia)
1937 to 1939 Not listed under Vancouver names
1940 to 1947 1510 Robson Street
1948 Not listed under Vancouver names

For most of his time in Vancouver he was a bricklayer and building contractor.

By 1945, the federal voters list said that he was retired.

Ancestry.com. Canada, Voters Lists, 1935-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Name: George F Johnson; Occupation: Retired; Year: 1945; Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Electoral District: Vancouver Centre [1510 Robson Street].

Ancestry.com. Canada, Voters Lists, 1935-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Name: George F Johnson; Occupation: Retired; Year: 1945; Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Electoral District: Vancouver Centre [1510 Robson Street].

George died in Vancouver on January 12, 1948. He was buried in Ocean View Burial Park in Burnaby, British Columbia. (His death certificate gave his birthdate as March 1858 and his father’s name as Walter. The informant was George’s nephew.)

It appears that George did not marry and that he had no children.

He had a niece who lived in Vancouver.

 

Florence Emma Nichols

Florence Emma Nichols was born in London, England on September 24, 1888. Her parents were John Ambrose Nichols and Maria Johnson.

Ancestry.com. London, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1917 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Name: Florence Emma Nichols; Gender: Female; Record Type: Baptism; Baptism Date: 16 Oct 1887; Baptism Place: Limehouse St Anne, Tower Hamlets, England; Father: John Ambrose Nichols; Mother: Maria Nichols.

Ancestry.com. London, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1917 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Name: Florence Emma Nichols; Gender: Female; Record Type: Baptism; Baptism Date: 16 Oct 1887; Baptism Place: Limehouse St Anne, Tower Hamlets, England; Father: John Ambrose Nichols; Mother: Maria Nichols.

In 1906, Florence was living with George Johnson at 1867 Georgia Street in Vancouver. She was a teacher at Pitman Business College.

In 1911, she was still living with George and working as a teacher.

On June 26, 1913, in Vancouver, she married Thomas Teare Kneale, who was a stonemason and bricklayer. He was born on October 7, 1879 at Bride, Ramsay on the Isle of Man. His parents were Thomas and Mary Kneale.

On September 1, 1915, in Vancouver, Thomas signed his attestation papers to serve with the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War. He later signed another set of attestation papers on January 17, 1916. He served in France and he was discharged on May 1, 1919 during the general demobilization at the end of the war.

After the war, Thomas and Florence lived in the Greater Vancouver area.

Florence died at Steveston, British Columbia on June 13, 1941.

Thomas died in Vancouver on August 8, 1961.

 

Constitutional Law Question

George’s property became the subject of an important constitutional law question.

The federal government claimed that it owned the foreshore to the property, not the province of British Columbia or the upland owners.

The legal description of the George’s upland lot was: Lot 6, Block 64, District Lot 185, Group 1, New Westminster District, Plan Ninety-two 92.

Lot 6 is the long thin property to the left of the arena in the illustration below. It is directly west of the Denman Arena (sometimes called the “Vancouver Arena”).

Goad's Atlas of the City of Vancouver, British Columbia and surrounding municipalities in four volumes. Volume One, July 1912, plate 7 (detail). Lot 6, Block 64, District Lot 185, Group 1, New Westminster District, Plan 92.

Goad’s Atlas of the City of Vancouver, British Columbia and surrounding municipalities in four volumes. Volume One, July 1912, plate 7 (detail). Lot 6, Block 64, District Lot 185, Group 1, New Westminster District, Plan 92.

In the photograph below, the two buildings to the left of the Boeing building were on Lot 6.

Lot 6 buildings, detail from Vancouver Rowing Club Regatta [Coal Harbour - showing arena and Boeing Aircraft Co.], May 16, 1931, Vancouver City Archives; CVA 99-2544; https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/vancouver-rowing-club-regatta-coal-harbour-showing-arena-and-boeing-aircraft-co.

Lot 6 buildings, detail from Vancouver Rowing Club Regatta [Coal Harbour – showing arena and Boeing Aircraft Co.], May 16, 1931, Vancouver City Archives; CVA 99-2544; https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/vancouver-rowing-club-regatta-coal-harbour-showing-arena-and-boeing-aircraft-co.

This is a brief history of the transfers of the property.

May 20, 1867 Crown grant to Sam Brighouse, William Hailstone and John Morton
Between 1867 and 1887 Transfer from Sam Brighouse, William Hailstone to John Morton
December 2, 1887 Transfer from John Morton to Sir Donald A. Smith (later Lord Strathcona) and Richard B. Angus
August 3, 1899 Transfer from Lord Strathcona and Richard B. Angus to George Frederick Johnson
June 1936 Transfer from George Frederick Johnson to Weston (Western) Higbie
November 1939 Transfer from Weston (Western) Higbie to Albion Investments Limited

George transferred his lot to Weston Higbie (sometimes called “Western Higbie) in June 1936. (On the morning of August 20, 1936, a fire destroyed the Denman Arena, along with many nearby buildings.)

On March 1, 1939, George paid $500 to the National Harbours Board to settle any claims that the board might have against him in connection with his use of the water lot that was next to the upland lot 6.

In November 1939, Albion Investments Limited became the owner of the property.

In 1941, the Attorney General of Canada sued Higbie and Albion Investments to enforce the federal government’s claim to the foreshore in front of lot 6. Ultimately, the Supreme Court of Canada agreed that Canada owned the foreshore.

The Lethbridge Herald (Lethbridge, Alberta), March 23, 1945, page 5, column 2.

The Lethbridge Herald (Lethbridge, Alberta), March 23, 1945, page 5, column 2.

In 1954, the National Harbours Board was leasing the water lot to Albion Investments Limited.

City of Vancouver, Sectional Maps, 1954, map 22 (detail).

City of Vancouver, Sectional Maps, 1954, map 22 (detail).

 

Sources

Joseph Johnson (father of George Frederick Johnson)

“England and Wales Census, 1871”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VRJK-ZSJ : 12 December 2017), Joseph Johnson, 1871.

“England and Wales Census, 1881,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q27S-85HS : 8 December 2017), Joseph Johnson, Bethnal Green, London,Middlesex, England; from “1881 England, Scotland and Wales Census,” database and images, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : n.d.); citing p. 78, Piece/Folio 415/42, The National Archives, Kew, Surrey; FHL microfilm 101,774,259.

 

Eliza Boston (mother of George Frederick Johnson)

“England and Wales Census, 1871”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VRJK-ZSV : 12 December 2017), Eliza Johnson in entry for Joseph Johnson, 1871.

“England and Wales Census, 1881,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q27S-85HP : 8 December 2017), Eliza Johnson in household of Joseph Johnson, Bethnal Green, London,Middlesex, England; from “1881 England, Scotland and Wales Census,” database and images, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : n.d.); citing p. 78, Piece/Folio 415/42, The National Archives, Kew, Surrey; FHL microfilm 101,774,259.

 

George Frederick Johnson

“England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2XM7-2ZC : 1 October 2014), George Frederick Johnson, 1864; from “England & Wales Births, 1837-2006,” database, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : 2012); citing Birth Registration, Hackney, London, England, citing General Register Office, Southport, England.

“England and Wales Census, 1871”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VRJK-ZSL : 12 December 2017), George F Johnson in entry for Joseph Johnson, 1871.

B.C. Voters List 1898 – Jo to Jz; http://www.bcgenweb.org/vote1898/votejo.htm: “Johnson, George Frederick, West end of Georgia St, Bricklayer, Van.”

“Recensement du Canada de 1911,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QV95-M2L2 : 16 March 2018), George Johnson, 1911; citing Census, Vancouver Sub-Districts 1-18, British Columbia, Canada, Library and Archives of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario; FHL microfilm 2,417,661.

1921 Canada Census, George Johnson, Reference Number: RG 31; Folder Number: 18; Census Place: Ward 1, Vancouver Centre, British Columbia; Page Number: 7. Ancestry.com. 1921 Census of Canada [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2013.

“British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986; 1992-1993”, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FLP8-76T : 8 November 2017), George Frederick Johnson, 1948.

 

John Ambrose Nichols (father of Florence Emma Nichols)

“England and Wales Census, 1891,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:31YF-82M : 11 December 2017), John Nichols, Limehouse, London, England; from “1891 England, Scotland and Wales census,” database and images, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : n.d.); citing PRO RG 12, London county, subdistrict, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey.

“England and Wales Census, 1901,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X9NW-VLT : 8 April 2016), John Ambrose Nichols, West Ham, Essex, England; from “1901 England, Scotland and Wales census,” database and images, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : n.d.); citing Stratford subdistrict, PRO RG 13, The National Archives, Kew, Surrey.

 

Maria Johnson (mother of Florence Emma Nichols)

“England and Wales Census, 1881,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q27S-85X4 : 8 December 2017), Maria Johnson in household of Joseph Johnson, Bethnal Green, London,Middlesex, England; from “1881 England, Scotland and Wales Census,” database and images, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : n.d.); citing p. 78, Piece/Folio 415/42, The National Archives, Kew, Surrey; FHL microfilm 101,774,259.

“England and Wales Census, 1891,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:31YF-F2M : 11 December 2017), Maria Nichols in household of John Nichols, Limehouse, London, England; from “1891 England, Scotland and Wales census,” database and images, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : n.d.); citing PRO RG 12, London county, subdistrict, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey.

“England and Wales Census, 1901,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X9NW-VLY : 8 April 2016), Maria Nichols in household of John Ambrose Nichols, West Ham, Essex, England; from “1901 England, Scotland and Wales census,” database and images, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : n.d.); citing Stratford subdistrict, PRO RG 13, The National Archives, Kew, Surrey.

 

Emma E. Johnson (sister of Maria Johnson)

“England and Wales Census, 1881,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q27S-85DY : 8 December 2017), Emma E Johnson in household of Joseph Johnson, Bethnal Green, London,Middlesex, England; from “1881 England, Scotland and Wales Census,” database and images, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : n.d.); citing p. 78, Piece/Folio 415/42, The National Archives, Kew, Surrey; FHL microfilm 101,774,259.

“England and Wales Census, 1891,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:31YF-YN2 : 11 December 2017), Emma E Johnson in household of John Nichols, Limehouse, London, England; from “1891 England, Scotland and Wales census,” database and images, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : n.d.); citing PRO RG 12, London county, subdistrict, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey.

 

Florence Emma Nichols (niece of George Frederick Johnson)

“England and Wales Census, 1891,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:31YF-5ZM : 11 December 2017), Florence E Nichols in household of John Nichols, Limehouse, London, England; from “1891 England, Scotland and Wales census,” database and images, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : n.d.); citing PRO RG 12, London county, subdistrict, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey.

“England and Wales Census, 1901,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X9NW-VGM : 8 April 2016), Florence Emma Nichols in household of John Ambrose Nichols, West Ham, Essex, England; from “1901 England, Scotland and Wales census,” database and images, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : n.d.); citing Stratford subdistrict, PRO RG 13, The National Archives, Kew, Surrey.

“Recensement du Canada de 1911,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QV95-M2LL : 16 March 2018), Florance Nicol in entry for George Johnson, 1911; citing Census, Vancouver Sub-Districts 1-18, British Columbia, Canada, Library and Archives of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario; FHL microfilm 2,417,661.

“British Columbia Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932; 1937-1938,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JDZV-7KY : 11 March 2018), Thomas Jean Kneale and Florence Emma Nichols, 26 Jun 1913; citing Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, British Columbia Archives film number B11377, Vital Statistics Agency, Victoria; FHL microfilm 1,983,705.

“British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986; 1992-1993”, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FL2L-XLL : 8 November 2017), Florence Emma Kneale, 1941.

 

Thomas Jean Kneale (husband of Florence Emma Nichols)

“Recensement du Canada de 1911,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QV9P-1Q13 : 16 March 2018), Thomas Kneale, 1911; citing Census, New Westminster Sub-Districts 1-20, British Columbia, Canada, Library and Archives of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario; FHL microfilm 2,417,660.

“British Columbia Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932; 1937-1938,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JDZV-72M : 11 March 2018), Thomas Jean Kneale and Florence Emma Nichols, 26 Jun 1913; citing Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, British Columbia Archives film number B11377, Vital Statistics Agency, Victoria; FHL microfilm 1,983,705.

Canadian Expeditionary Force; Name: Kneale, Thomas Teare; Regimental Number: 502845; Date of Birth: 07/10/1879; Reference: RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 5220 – 35; Item Number: 502416; Record Group: Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF); http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/personnel-records/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=502416; digitized service file: B5220-S035; http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?op=pdf&app=CEF&id=B5220-S035.

“British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986; 1992-1993”, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FLTS-M81 : 8 November 2017), Thomas Teare Kneale, 1961; http://search-collections.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/Image/Genealogy/56558c7f-236a-400c-9dd6-ba5192e8354b.

 

Constitutional Law Case: Attorney-General of Canada v. Higbie,

Attorney-General of Canada v. Higbie, [1945] SCR 385, [1945] 3 DLR 1 (Supreme Court of Canada), https://www.canlii.org/en/ca/scc/doc/1944/1944canlii29/1944canlii29.html; reversing Attorney-General of Canada v. Higbie et al., 1944 CanLII 298; [1944] 2 DLR 425; [1944] 1 WWR 615 (British Columbia Court of Appeal), https://www.canlii.org/en/bc/bcca/doc/1944/1944canlii298/1944canlii298.html; which had reversed Attorney-General of Canada v. Higbie et al., 1941 CanLII 276; [1942] 3 DLR 66 (British Columbia Supreme Court), https://www.canlii.org/en/bc/bcsc/doc/1941/1941canlii276/1941canlii276.html.

Service Ontario, Bulletin 75045, Interministerial Transfers of Administration and Control, Bulletin information; Issue Date: June 10, 1975; Legislation: The Crown Agency Act, R.S.O. 1970, c. 100; https://www.ontario.ca/land-registration/75045-interministerial-transfers-administration-and-control. “Administration and control is transferred to a Crown Agency, as defined in section 1 of The Crown Agency Ministry of Act, by order in council because it is not a separate legal entity from the Crown. A 1945 decision in the case of Attorney General of Canada v. Higbie et al established the principle that, because the Crown is one and indivisible, it is not appropriate for The Crown, when transferring land from one government to another, to do so by letters patent and should use an order in council.”