Lee, Charles N. (Cornelius Nemmo Lee) (1874-1924)

C. N. Lee, Vancouver Sun, January 10, 1922, page 3, column 1.

C. N. Lee, Vancouver Sun, January 10, 1922, page 3, column 1.

Charles N. Lee (born Cornelius Nemmo Lee) was the operator of Lee’s Pier Tea Rooms at 1900 Beach Avenue from 1908 to 1920.

Charles and his wife, Lydia Elizabeth Mitchell, lived at 1914 Beach Avenue in 1909, at 1938 Beach Avenue from 1910 to 1912, and at 1940 Beach Avenue in 1913.

 

Detail from Pier English Bay - Vancouver BC - Post Card - European Import Company - No 32

Detail from Pier English Bay – Vancouver BC – Post Card – European Import Company – No 32.

 

Early Life

Charles was born Cornelius Nemmo Lee on October 18, 1874 (or 1876), in the United States, probably in New York State. His parents were Richard Lee and Eleanor Ethel Popham.

 

Vancouver Daily World, October 10, 1918, page 9, column 5.

Vancouver Daily World, October 10, 1918, page 9, column 5.

 

On September 1,  1897, in Montreal, Cornelius married Lydia Elizabeth Mitchell. She was born on July 19, 1873, in New York State. Her parents were Horace Mitchell and Maria Blair.

 

Institut Généalogique Drouin; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Drouin Collection; Author: Gabriel Drouin, comp. Ancestry.com. Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1968 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2008. Original data: Gabriel Drouin, comp. Drouin Collection. Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Institut Généalogique Drouin.: Name: Cornelius Numns Lee; Event Type: Mariage (Marriage); Marriage Date: 1897; Marriage Place: Montréal, Québec (Quebec); Place of Worship or Institution: Methodist Douglas; Religion: Methodist; Spouse: Lydia Elizabeth Mitchell.

Institut Généalogique Drouin; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Drouin Collection; Author: Gabriel Drouin, comp. Ancestry.com. Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1968 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2008. Original data: Gabriel Drouin, comp. Drouin Collection. Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Institut Généalogique Drouin.: Name: Cornelius Numns Lee; Event Type: Mariage (Marriage); Marriage Date: 1897; Marriage Place: Montréal, Québec (Quebec); Place of Worship or Institution: Methodist Douglas; Religion: Methodist; Spouse: Lydia Elizabeth Mitchell.

By 1901, Charles was living in the village of Notre Dame de Grâce, which is now in the west end of Montreal, Quebec. He was an ice dealer. He and Lydia had a daughter, Edith Eleanor Lee, who was born in Montreal on November 21, 1898.

 

To Vancouver

In 1903, C.N. Lee first appeared in the Vancouver Directories; he was an employee of the Dominion Steam Laundry, and he was living at 534 Homer Street.

He continued to work as a clerk in the laundry business until 1908, when he submitted the highest bid to lease the new English Bay tea and refreshment parlour at 1900 Beach Avenue.

 

The tea room: Detail from The pier, English Bay, Vancouver, B.C., Vancouver City Archives: CVA 677-227.; http://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/pier-english-bay-vancouver-b-c-4;rad

The tea room: Detail from The pier, English Bay, Vancouver, B.C., Vancouver City Archives: CVA 677-227.; http://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/pier-english-bay-vancouver-b-c-4;rad.

 

He remained in the tea room business until about 1920.

 

Detail from PAN N77 - [Panoramic view of English Bay beach, Sylvia Court Apartments (decorated in the Great Peace celebration) and bathhouses from the English Bay Pier], July 19, 1919, http://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/panoramic-view-of-english-bay-beach-sylvia-court-apartments-decorated-in-great-peace-celebration-and-bathhouses-from-english-bay-pier;rad

Detail from PAN N77 – [Panoramic view of English Bay beach, Sylvia Court Apartments (decorated in the Great Peace celebration) and bathhouses from the English Bay Pier], July 19, 1919, http://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/panoramic-view-of-english-bay-beach-sylvia-court-apartments-decorated-in-great-peace-celebration-and-bathhouses-from-english-bay-pier;rad.

In the early 1920s, Mr. Lee was briefly the president of Canadian Machinery and Salvage Company Ltd., with offices in the 1600 block of Main Street. James Arnold Coulter (1871-1935) was the secretary of the company, which dealt in machinery and logging equipment.

Although the Lees moved several times during the 1910s, they never lived more than about three blocks away from the tea rooms. They were at 1914 Beach Avenue in 1909, at 1938 Beach Avenue from 1910 to 1912, and at 1940 Beach Avenue in 1913.

In 1914, they moved to No. 5, 1785 Davie Street, which was the Simpson Block Apartments at the north-east corner of Davie Street and Denman Street.

 

[Simpson Block Apartments] City of Vancouver Archives - CVA 447-370 - Northeast Corner Davie and Denman Streets, http://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/n-e-corner-davie-and-denman-sts;rad

[Simpson Block Apartments] City of Vancouver Archives – CVA 447-370 – Northeast Corner Davie and Denman Streets, http://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/n-e-corner-davie-and-denman-sts;rad.

In 1916, the Lees briefly lived in a house at 1172 Bidwell Street, but by 1917 they were back in the Simpson Block Apartments — this time in apartment number 3. In 1919, they were again at 1172 Bidwell, where they remained until 1924.

In 1921 and 1922, Cornelius ran for election as a city alderman, but he was not successful.

In 1924, Cornelius and Lydia went to the United States, apparently planning to stay there indefinitely. They travelled by car through Blaine, Washington, to Portland, Oregon, and then to California.

Cornelius died in Los Angeles, California on December 24, 1924.

 

Vancouver Province, December 27, 1924, page 30, column 5.

Vancouver Province, December 27, 1924, page 30, column 5.

 

Further information on Lydia is not available.

 

Cornelius and Lydia had a daughter.

 

Edith Eleanor Lee

Edith was born in Montreal, Quebec, on November 21, 1898. On November 1, 1915, she married Robert Leonard Jones; the wedding took place in the house at 1172 Bidwell Street.

Robert Leonard Jones was born on January 23, 1892, in Marion, North Carolina. His father was William Lucian Jones; his mother was Marion Abbott. Robert Leonard Jones described himself as a broker.

Robert’s father had arranged for Robert and Edith to live in the Bidwell Street house. After the wedding, Robert and Edith went to San Francisco to visit the Panama–Pacific International Exposition, which ran from February 20 to December 4, 1915 [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panama%E2%80%93Pacific_International_Exposition].

By June 1917, Robert and Edith were living in Los Angeles, California, along with Valerie, their “three-month-old” daughter (who was actually born on August 4, 1916, in Vancouver). Robert was an unemployed actor.

In 1918, Mrs. Lee went to California to look after Robert’s father, William. During that period, William conveyed about $20,000, which was almost all of his property, to Mrs. Lee to provide maintenance for Edith and Valerie.

In October 1919, William sued Mrs. Lee to set aside the conveyance; he alleged that Mrs. Lee had used duress and undue influence to cause him to convey the property. Mrs. Lee’s defence was that the conveyance was a voluntary gift. After a vigorous trial, the judge agreed with Mrs. Lee, and dismissed Mr. Jones’s claim against her.

The British Columbia Court of Appeal upheld the decision.

 

Vancouver Province, May 15, 1920, page 28, column 4.

Vancouver Province, May 15, 1920, page 28, column 4.

 

However, the Supreme Court of Canada reversed the decision of the court of appeal, and sent the case back to the British Columbia Supreme Court to add parties and to declare trusts in the case.

 

Victoria Daily Times, November 24, 1920, page 2, column 6.

Victoria Daily Times, November 24, 1920, page 2, column 6.

 

The outcome of the case is not available.

By 1920, Robert was living with his parents in Glendale, California.

By 1922, Robert and Edith were divorced. On July 4, 1922, Edith married Henry R. Keele in New Westminster, British Columbia. Henry was born about 1890 in North Dakota. His parents were Herbert W. Keele and Jennie Waugh. There is no further information on Henry and Edith.

Robert Leonard Jones also married again, to Mattie, who was born in Washington State, probably on June 13, 1902. In 1930, Robert and Mattie were living in Glendale, California, along with two daughters: Catherine A. Jones was born about 1923 in California; Barbara L. Jones was born about 1925, also in California.

In 1940, Robert and Mattie were still living in Glendale, along with Catherine and Barbara. Robert was a sales manager for a wholesale dairy.

Robert died in Los Angeles on January 8, 1961. Mattie died in Los Angeles on April 18, 1968.

 

Valerie Carolyn Jones

Robert and Edith’s daughter, Valerie Carolyn Jones, married William T. Roberson (1916-2005).

It appears that Valerie was working as a registered nurse in a Los Angeles sanitarium in 1940.

Valerie died in Orovill, Butte County, California, on March 20, 1993.

William died on August 28, 2005.

 

Sources:

Charles N. Lee and the Pier Tea Rooms

“Brighton or Blackpool, Yes, But . . .,” Postcards from the Past: Edwardian Images of Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, by Fred Thirkell and Bob Scullion, Heritage House Publishing Co, 1996, page 159, http://books.google.ca/books?id=e0xGDz5Ncv4C&pg=PA159&lpg=PA159&dq=lee’s+pier+tea+rooms+OR+parlor+OR+parlour+vancouver+english+bay&source=bl&ots=Ku-pvVvZF8&sig=0-fM-uDn–4zqyR1XqjkuWKQ3WI&hl=en&sa=X&ei=G4JIUoTqJqPkyQHf1ICoDQ&ved=0CEUQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=lee’s%20pier%20tea%20rooms%20OR%20parlor%20OR%20parlour%20vancouver%20english%20bay&f=false

Robert A.J. McDonald, “Working Class Vancouver, 1886-1914: Urbanism and Class in British Columbia,” Vancouver Past: Essays in Social History, Ed. Robert A.J. McDonald and Jean Barman, University of B.C. Press, Vancouver, 1986, pages 66=67: “Even an unskilled laundry worker, C.N. Lees [sic] was able to finance an English Bay tea and refreshment parlour.”

 

Charles N. Lee (Cornelius Nemmo Lee)

Mariages non catholiques de la région de Montréal, 1766-1899; http://applications.banq.qc.ca/apex/f?p=113:11:0::NO::P11_CLE:25168: DÉTAILS pour Lee Cornelius Nimmo; Nom époux: Lee; Prénom époux: Cornelius Nimmo; Nom épouse: Mitchell; Prénom épouse: Lydia Elizabeth; Année: 1897; Église: Douglas Methodist Church (Montréal); Confession: Méthodiste; Pagination: 7v; Source; Centre d’archives de Montréal, CE601,S155.

“Canada Census, 1901,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/KHP1-6H7 : accessed 29 Sep 2013), Cornelia Lee, 1901.

Canada Census, 1901, Automated Genealogy, Quebec, Jacques-Cartier (#157), Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (West/Ouest) (Village), F-2, page 3, family 23, lines 22-24, http://automatedgenealogy.com/census/View.jsp?id=44244&highlight=42&desc=1901+Census+of+Canada+page+containing+Cornelis+Lee; image at http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/1901/z/z003/jpg/z000141460.jpg

Canada Census, 1911, British Columbia, Vancouver, 3 Vancouver City, page 1, family 125, lines, 11-14, http://automatedgenealogy.com/census11/View.jsp?id=63746&highlight=11&desc=1911+Census+of+Canada+page+containing+C++N+Lee; image at http://data2.collectionscanada.gc.ca/1911/jpg/e001940124.jpg

The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Manifests of Alien Arrivals at Blaine, Washington, 1905-1924; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787 – 2004; Record Group Number: 85; Series Number: A3416; Roll Number: 005. Ancestry.com. U.S., Border Crossings from Canada to U.S., 1895-1960 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Name: Cornelius Nemma Lee; Gender: Male; Race/Nationality: Irish; Age: 53; Birth Date: abt 1871; Birth Place: Newton, L.D N.York; Arrival Date: 22 May 1924; Port of Arrival: Blaine, Washington, USA; Residence Place: Vanc, 1172 Birdwell [sic: Bidwell]; Record Type: Cards.

The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Manifests of Alien Arrivals in the Seattle, Washington District; NAI: 2953576; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787 – 2004; Record Group Number: 85; Series Number: A4107; Roll Number: 023. Ancestry.com. U.S., Border Crossings from Canada to U.S., 1895-1960 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Name: Lydia Lee; Gender: Female; Age: 50; Birth Date: abt 1874; Birth Place: Fort Covington,N.Y.; Arrival Date: 1924; Port of Arrival: Seattle, Washington, USA; Residence Place: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Record Type: Manifests.

 

Edith Eleanor Lee and Robert Leonard Jones

“British Columbia Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JDZJ-NYV : accessed 29 Sep 2013), Robert Leonard Jones and Edith Eleanor Lee, 1915.

British Columbia Marriage Registrations , Registration Number: 1915-09-079551, Robert Leonard Jones and Edith Eleanor Lee, http://search-collections.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/Genealogy/DisplayGenealogyImage?k=95c1a568-8282-42db-bd7b-4789aa0cd44d

“The marriage of R. Leonard Jones and Edythe Eleanor Lee,” Vancouver Province, November 2, 1915, page 8.

“Grandparents in Interesting Suit: W.L. Jones Would Cancel Conveyance to Mrs. C.N. Lee,” Vancouver Province, October 22, 1919, page 15.

“Property Was Conveyed Freely: This is Defence of Mrs. C.N. Lee in Suit Brought by W.L. Jones” Vancouver Province, October 24, 1919, page 17.

“Mrs. Lee is Given Verdict: No Duress, Fraud or Undue Influence was Used: Judge Disbelieves Story that Drugs Were Administered,” Vancouver Province, November 5, 1919, page 12.

“United States Census, 1920,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MHQW-BD5 : accessed 29 Sep 2013), Robert S Jones in entry for William Jones, 1920. (tentative source)

“British Columbia Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JDZ1-6X7 : accessed 29 Sep 2013), Henry R Keele and Edith Lee, 1922.

“United States Census, 1930,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XCFL-PMJ : accessed 29 Sep 2013), Robert L Jones, 1930.

“United States Census, 1940,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K972-N55 : accessed 29 Sep 2013), Robert Jones, 1940.

“California, Death Index, 1940-1997,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VGR6-TJV : accessed 29 Sep 2013), Robert L Jones, 1961.

 

Edith Eleanor Lee and Henry R. Keele

“British Columbia Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932; 1937-1938,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JDZ1-6XH : 21 January 2016), Henry R Keele and Edith Lee, 04 Jul 1922; citing New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada, British Columbia Archives film number B13743, Vital Statistics Agency, Victoria; FHL microfilm 2,074,225.

 

Valerie Carolyn Jones (daughter of Robert Leonard Jones and Edith Eleanor Lee)

“United States Census, 1940,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K97G-S3N : accessed 29 Sep 2013), Valerie Jones in entry for Harold A Halls, 1940. (tentative reference)

“United States Social Security Death Index,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JGQW-N23 : accessed 29 Sep 2013), Valerie C Roberson, March 1993.

“California, Death Index, 1940-1997,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VPSD-L4H : accessed 29 Sep 2013), Valerie Carolyn Roberson, 1993.

“Find A Grave Index,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVLX-PLY5 : 13 December 2015), William T. Roberson, 2005; Burial, Oroville, Butte, California, United States of America, Memorial Park Cemetery; citing record ID 95118910, Find a Grave, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/95118910.

2 thoughts on “Lee, Charles N. (Cornelius Nemmo Lee) (1874-1924)

  1. Pingback: Lee’s Pier Tea Rooms | westendvancouver

  2. Pingback: Charles N. Lee (Cornelius Nemmo Lee) (1874-19–) | westendvancouver

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