Ernest David Leverson was a self-described capitalist and investor. He lived briefly at 2075 Nelson Street in 1909. He and his daughter, Ruth, lived at 1945 Barclay Street in 1914, and at 2045 Nelson Street from 1916 to 1918. In the 1880s and 1890s, Mr. Leverson was the husband of Ada Leverson, a well-known English author who supported Oscar Wilde during Wilde’s troubles with English criminal law in the 1890s.
Ernest was born Montague David Leverson in Kensington, London, England on November 23, 1851. He was the oldest of four sons of George Bazett Colvin Leverson (1827-1906), a successful Jewish diamond merchant, and Henrietta Jonassohn (1828-1893). Sometime between 1861 and 1871, Montague became Ernest David Leverson, and that was the name he used from then on.
Ernest received a private education, after which he went to University College in London. He was involved in a series of partnerships in London, most of which involved selling diamonds and other precious stones.
Ernest was the guardian of a girl named Ruth, who was born in England on May 13, 1878. She was being brought up in a convent in France. Ruth was actually Ernest’s illegitimate daughter; the name of Ruth’s mother is not available.
On December 6, 1881, Ernest married Ada Esther Beddington, who was about 19 years old (she was born in London on October 10, 1862). Her father was Samuel Henry Beddington (c. 1829-1914), the son of a Jewish wool merchant who became successful in his own business; Ada’s mother was Evelyn Zilla Simon (1845-1928). After the marriage, Ernest and Ada Leverson lived at 2 Courtfield Gardens in South Kensington.
Ada was a writer, and she was immersed in London’s cultural life. She became a friend of Oscar Wilde; the Leversons gave some financial support to Wilde, and they allowed him to stay in their home when he was released on bail after his first criminal trial: http://www.notableabodes.com/person-abode-details/7865/oscar-wilde-playwright_2-courtfield-gardens-south-kensington-london.
Ernest and Ada had two children.
George Ernest Leverson
George Ernest Leverson was born in the family home at Courtfield Gardens on June 15, 1888. Later that year, George developed meningitis; he died on November 9, 1888.
Violet Henriette Lutetia Leverson
Violet Henriette Lutetia Leverson was born in Paris, France, on May 18, 1890. [Lutetia is the Latin name for Paris.] On June 11, 1923, Violet married Lt.-Col. Guy Percy Wyndham (1865-1941). Violet died in England on July 2, 1962.
Ernest’s Marriage Comes Undone
Ernest tended to be a gambler and a philanderer. In May 1897, Ernest was cited as co-respondent in a divorce case. The Leverson marriage suffered from financial trouble: some of Ernest’s investments were unsuccessful, causing the family to lose almost all their money. Ultimately, the marriage ended in separation and, possibly, a divorce.
Ernest set his sights on opportunities in North America. He seems to have come under the influence of a Belgian mining promoter named Paul Watelet, who was promoting stock in the Colville Group Mining Company. Mr. Watelet was also active in promoting mines in southern British Columbia, including the Golden Crown Mine on Harrison Lake. Ernest’s investment of $1200 in the Colville enterprise did not pay off, and he went to Spokane, Washington, in 1903, to try to recover his money, along with several others who lost even more.
In the early 1900s, Ernest and Ruth moved to Canada; Ernest’s father gave him enough money to set him up in the timber business. Ernest seems to have taken up semi-permanent residence in Vancouver after about 1906. In August 1906, he became a shareholder in the Bidwell Bay and Belcarra Company Ltd. In December 1906, he subscribed $100 to the Consumptive Sanitorium Building Fund.
Ernest first appeared in the Vancouver directories in 1907. He was living at 1125 Seaton Street (the former name of parts of Hastings Street), which was the home of Frederick Coate Wade (1860-1924), a prominent lawyer.
From 1908 to 1909, Ernest and Ruth were at 312 Granville Mansions, an apartment house on the north-west corner of Robson Street and Granville Street.
In February 1909, the society column of the B.C. Saturday Sunset noted that “Mr. E. Leverson has taken the lovely home of Mrs. B.B. Johnson [sic: should be Johnston] for a few months.”
There are no listings for either Ernest or Ruth in Vancouver from 1910 to 1913, so perhaps they were away from the city for some or all of that period. From time to time, Ernest would go to England to visit Ada and Violet. Ernest’s biography in the 1911 volume of Who’s Who in Western Canada gives his address as 12 Radnor Place, London West, England, which was not far from Paddington Station in London.
In 1915, Ernest was at Glencoe Lodge, which was an upscale residential hotel.
By 1919, Ernest and Ruth were living at the Hotel Vancouver, where they continued to stay until Ernest died on December 25, 1921. He was buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver. Chester Benjamin MacNeill, who was one of the executors of the estate, sorted out the debts and other liabilities, yielding a net value of about $46,000. Ruth was entitled to two-thirds of the estate; Violet received one-third.
Ada Leverson continued to live in England. On one of her visits to Florence, Italy, she became ill; she returned to England, where she developed pneumonia and died on August 30, 1933.
Ruth continued to live in Vancouver, where she died on March 4, 1955. She was buried in Mountain View Cemetery, in the same plot as Ernest.
George Bazett Colvin Leverson
George Bazett Colvin Leverson , 1827 – 1906, http://genealogy.kirkpatrickaustralian.com/archives/getperson.php?personID=I17466&tree=TKA
George Bazett Colvin Leverson, http://www.cemeteryscribes.com/getperson.php?personID=I8446&tree=Cemeteries
Notice of dissolution of partnership, Pittar Leverson and Co, London Gazette, January 12, 1900, page 237, http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/27153/pages/237/page.pdf
Notice of retirement of George Bazett Colvin Leverson from Pittar, Leverson and Co., London Gazette, July 6, 1906, page 4664, http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/27929/pages/4664/page.pdf
Ernest David Leverson (born Montague David Leverson)
Ernest Leverson, The Peerage, http://www.thepeerage.com/p8273.htm#i82726
Who’s Who in Western Canada, C.W. Parker, editor, Canadian Press Association, Vancouver, British Columbia, 1911, page 239, http://www.ourroots.ca/page.aspx?id=643233&qryID=ab88713f-4696-4c6a-b6a2-89ea1a06f0d5&pageSizeToggle=medium
FreeBMD births: Montague David Leverson, March quarter 1852, Volumba 1a, page 43; http://freebmd.rootsweb.com/cgi/districts.pl?r=18217082&d=bmd_1378192000
Leverson, Ernest D, 1852 -, http://www.cemeteryscribes.com/getperson.php?personID=I9448&tree=Cemeteries
England and Wales Census, 1861, Montague D. Leverson; age 9; occupation: Scholar; county: London; born 1852; birthplace: Kensington, Middlesex,
“England and Wales Census, 1871,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VBDB-RMN : accessed 25 Sep 2013), Ernest D Leverson in entry for George B E Leverson, 1871.
“England and Wales Census, 1881,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/X3GM-FXV : accessed 25 Sep 2013), Ernest D Leverson in entry for George B C Leverson, 1881.
Free BMD, Marriage of Ernest David Leverson and Ada Esther Beddington, December quarter, 1881, Marylebone district, Volume 1a, Page 1187; http://freebmd.rootsweb.com/cgi/districts.pl?r=67864982&d=bmd_1378192000; http://freebmd.rootsweb.com/cgi/districts.pl?r=67806106&d=bmd_1378192000
Pittar Leverson and Co., notice of dissolution of partnership, London Gazette, March 21, 1882, page 1298, http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/25086/pages/1298/page.pdf
Abstract of marriage settlement concerning premises in Holborn, http://search.shropshirehistory.org.uk/collections/getrecord/CCA_XD3651_B_15_2_2_25_1/
Pittar Leverson and Co., notice of dissolution of partnership, London Gazette, July 18, 1890, page 4001, http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/26071/pages/4001/page.pdf
“England and Wales Census, 1891,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/3PVF-XW2 : accessed 25 Sep 2013), Ernest D Leverson, 1891.
“England and Wales Census, 1901,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/X9HJ-YZ7 : accessed 25 Sep 2013), Ernest D Leverson, 31 Mar 1901.
“United States Census, 1900,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MMPB-HBR : accessed 27 Sep 2013), Paul Watelett, 1900.
“Warrant for Paul Watelet: Gay Young Mining Operator Cannot be Found by Sheriff or Detectives: Bade His Friends Good By: His Friend Ernest Leverson Said to be Loser to the Amount of $1200,” Spokane Spokesman-Review, May 19, 1903, page 12, http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=eNYUAAAAIBAJ&sjid=ILQDAAAAIBAJ&dq=ernest%20leverson&pg=6246%2C1378197: “One of Mr. Watelet’s closest friends, both in a business and social way, has been Ernest Leverson of London, now of the Spokane hotel. Rumor has it that Mr. Leverson has advanced $1200 to Mr. Watelet, also on the representations made concerning the Colville mine. Mr. Leverson is out of the city and by some is supposed to be chasing Mr. Watelet in hopes of getting back some of his own cash.”
“Watelet Released But is Rearrested,” Spokane Press., July 22, 1903, page 1, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88085947/1903-07-22/ed-1/seq-1/
“Watelet to Go Free,” Spokane Daily Chronicle – Aug 13, 1903, page 1, http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=R7hXAAAAIBAJ&sjid=6vMDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5793%2C3086839
“Henderson’s British Columbia gazetteer and directory and mining companies, for 1899-1900 [microform] : comprising complete alphabetical directories of the cities, and a classified business directory : volume VI”, page 56: Golden Crown Mine, owners Dr. H.A. Langis and Paul Watelet, Vancouver.
“United States Census, 1910,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MKL3-YD7 : accessed 27 Sep 2013), Paul Watlett, 1910.
Modern Settlers and Early Mining, http://www.lvwash.org/html/important_history_settlers_mining.html
Belcarra Historical Timeline, Researched and written by Ralph Drew, Belcarra, BC, June 2012, http://www.belcarra.ca/reports/Belcarra_Historical_Timeline.pdf
“Consumptive Sanitorium Building Fund,” Victoria Daily Colonist, Wednesday, December 5, 1906, page 7, column 7 (Ernest D. Leverson subscribed for $100.00.) http://www.britishcolonist.ca/tc/1906/12/05/19061205007.pdf
Lease Tidal Lands Burrard Inlet, British Columbia to Messrs Arthur Charles Roy and Ernest David Leverson – Actg Min. M. and F. [Acting Minister of Marine and Fisheries] and P.W. [Public Works], 1907/07/09; http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/orders/001022-119.01-e.php?&sisn_id_nbr=135746&page_sequence_nbr=1&interval=20&page_id_nbr=260817&&&&&&&PHPSESSID=jd2o8asr5ohp66ncgoba6cadj5
Society, B.C. Saturday Sunset, February 13, 1909, page 4; http://content.lib.sfu.ca/cdm/compoundobject/collection/bcss/id/1510/rec/32: [link leads to page 1: select page 4]: “Mr. E. Leverson has taken the lovely home of Mrs. B.B. Johnson for a few months.” [Note: this should refer to Mrs. B.B. Johnston, who lived at 2075 Nelson Street. Her husband, Benjamin Burrows Johnston, had died in Vancouver on November 30, 1908.]
“England and Wales Census, 1911,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XWLJ-TQB : accessed 25 Sep 2013), David Leverson, 1911. (possible connection).
The Western Call October 20, 1911, List of Voters, page 6, http://historicalnewspapers.library.ubc.ca/view/collection/westcall/date/1911-10-20#6!leverson, No. 2652: Leverson, Ernest David, Granville Mansions.
“New York, Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JJYG-1ZL : accessed 25 Sep 2013), Ernest David Leverson, 18 Mar 1912; citing George Washington, United States National Archives, Washington, D.C.
“New York, Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JJTD-3PN : accessed 25 Sep 2013), Ernest Leverson, 18 Jun 1912; citing Kaiser Wilhelm II, United States National Archives, Washington, D.C.
“British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FLGS-9JD : accessed 25 Sep 2013), Ernest David Leverson, 1921.
British Columbia Death Registrations, Registration Number: 1921-09-286116, Ernest David Leverson.
“E.D. Leverson Passes Away Suddenly at Hotel Vancouver,” Vancouver Province, December 27, 1921, page 4: “The death occurred suddenly on Christmas Eve at the Hotel Vancouver of Mr. Ernest D. Leverson, well-known lumberman and property-owner, and a resident of this city for many years. Though in indifferent health for some time, Mr. Leverson had been actively engaged in his business and the news of his death came as a great shock to his friends. He leaves a daughter, Ruth, who lived with him at the Hotel Vancouver, and his wife, daughter and three brothers in England. The body is at Center & Hanna’s undertaking parlors pending funeral instructions from England.”
“E. Leverson Dies Suddenly at the Hotel Vancouver,” Vancouver Sun, December28, 1921, page 16: “E. Leverson, who with his daughter, Miss Ruth Leverson, has lived at the Hotel Vancouver foer the past seven or eight years, died suddenly Sunday night. Mr. Leverson was in good health until Sunday, when he was taken with heart trouble, and died within six or seven hours. He had no relatives in British Columbia excepting his daughter. He was known to be heavily interested in B.C. timber lands and to have financial interests of considerable scope. He came here from London about eight years ago and has lived a quiet, retired existence at the hotel. He was a lover of art and literature and a keen critic of good music, being personally acquainted with some of the great musicians of the old world. His only activities in Vancouver were such as brought him in contact with musical and literary societies.”
“Mr. E. Leveson Dies Suddenly at Hotel: Was a Resident of City for the Past Ten Years,” Vancouver World, December 27, 1921, page 9: “Mr. E. Leveson died on Sunday night at the Vancouver Hotel where he had been living for the past ten years. Of a quiet disposition Mr. Leveson was highly respected at the hotel and by many friends whom he has made while resident in the city. He was not actively engaged in business but was known as a financial man and was extensively interested in timber limits. Mr. Leveson lived with his daughter Ruth at the hotel practically all the time he has been in Vancouver, while another daughter and several brothers reside in the Old Country. Mr. Leveson had been suffering from heart trouble for a year but was not considered seriously ill. On the day of his death he had been up and around as usual although to a certain extent under the doctor’s care. His death was sudden and unexpected. The body will rest at Center and Hanna’s till word is received from England.” [Note: this article consistently uses “Leveson” to spell the surname.]
Ernest David Leverson, death notice, Vancouver Province, December 28, 1921, page 13; Vancouver World, December 28, 1921, page 18; Vancouver Sun, December 28, 1921, page 12.
British Columbia Estate Files, 1859-1949, Vancouver, Supreme Court, Estate files 1893-1925 no P8042-P8111, Ernest David Leverson, Probate file record: P-08056, https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-31815-17737-73?cc=2014768&wc=MM1J-TZN:1511530100
Ernest David Leverson, Find A Grave, http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=26273063
Ada Esther Leverson (born Ada Esther Beddington)
Leverson [née Moses], Ada Esther (1862–1933), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/printable/37669
Ada Leverson, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ada_Leverson.
Ada Leverson, 1862 – 1933, Jewish Women’s Archive, http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/leverson-ada
Ada Leverson, 1862-1933, http://www.mr-oscar-wilde.de/about/l/leverson.htm
Chez Sphinx , Review of The Sphinx and her Circle. By Violet Wyndham, The Spectator, July 11,1963, page 27 http://archive.spectator.co.uk/article/12th-july-1963/27/chez-sphinx
Sickert, Walter. “Portrait of Mrs. Ernest Leverson.” The Yellow Book 5 (Apr. 1895): 231. The Yellow Nineties Online. Ed. Dennis Denisoff and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra. Ryerson University, 2011. Web. [Date of access]. http://www.1890s.ca/HTML.aspx?s=YB5_sickert_mrs_ernest_leverson.html
“British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FLRD-8GH : accessed 25 Sep 2013), Ruth Leverson, 1955.
British Columbia Death Registrations, Registration Number: 1955-09-002994, Ruth Leverson, http://search-collections.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/Genealogy/DisplayGenealogyImage?k=c3565f17-03e1-4ee5-9af0-4973ef65eab0
Ruth Leverson, death notice, Vancouver Sun, March 8, 1955, page 26; Vancouver Province, March 7, 1955, page 27; Vancouver Province, March 8, 1955, page 21: “Leverson – Ruth, passed away in Vancouver March 4, 1955, age 76 years, daughter of the late Ernest David Leverson. Funeral services will be held in the Georgia Chapel of Center & Hanna, 1049 West Georgia St., Wednesday, March 9 at 10:30 a.m., Rev. J.C. Bothwell officiating. Interment in family plot, Mountain View Cemetery.
Ruth Leverson, Find A Grave, Mountain View Cemetery, Vancouver, British Columbia, Plot: 1919/*/B/037/0003, http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=leverson&GSfn=ruth&GSbyrel=all&GSdyrel=all&GSob=n&GRid=26317577&df=all&
George Ernest Leverson
George Ernest Leverson (born June 15, 1888; died November 9, 1888); http://www.cemeteryscribes.com/getperson.php?personID=I8084&tree=Cemeteries
Violet Henriette Lutetia Leverson
Violet Lutetia Leverson, The Peerage, http://www.thepeerage.com/p8273.htm#i82725
Guy Wyndham, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Percy_Wyndham
Lt.-Col. Guy Percy Wyndham, The Peerage, http://www.thepeerage.com/p8272.htm#i82720
Violet Wyndham died on 2 July 1962 at the age of 86: The Times of London, Monday, 9 July 1962, page 18.