Albert Edward Lewis was a real estate developer and promoter. He lived at 1960 Robson Street from 1902 to 1906.
Family Background and Early Life
Albert Edward Lewis was born on May 25, 1860, probably in Montreal, Quebec (although some sources say that he was born in Wales and came to Canada when he was quite young). Although his first name was Albert, he appears to have been called Edward for much of his life.
His parents were John Lewis (1820-1891) and Matilda Caroline Snowdon (1827-1902). John Lewis was a surveyor of customs in Montreal. Matilda Caroline Snowdon was a daughter of Colonel William Snowdon (born in 1801; died about 1852-1865).
Edward was educated at Trinity College School in Port Hope, Ontario. He was admitted on September 18, 1876 and he left in July 1877.
He later attended McGill University in Montreal.
When he was a young man, he went to New Zealand and he travelled to several south sea islands, as well as to China and Japan. He returned to North America, and he spent some time cattle ranching in Oregon and perhaps in Washington State.
During his travels, he may have developed a relationship with an unknown woman, although the relationship appears not to have lasted.
Marriage to Helen Bagg
In the late 1880s, Edward returned to Montreal, where he met and married Helen Frances Mitcheson Bagg in 1891.
Helen was born in Montreal on September 16, 1861. Her parents were Stanley Clark Bagg (1821-1873) and Catherine Mitcheson (1822-1914).
The Baggs were a wealthy Montreal family. Their ancestors had been in North America for a long time, much of that time in the United States, although they tended to downplay the US connection.
Stanley Clark Bagg was the only son of Stanley Bagg and Mary Anne Clark. He was born in Montreal on December 23, 1820. He studied at McGill University in Montreal, and he was a notary for 14 years.
In 1844, Stanley Clark Bagg married Catharine Mitcheson. Her parents were Robert Mitcheson and Frances MacGregor.
After his father died (about 1853), Stanley Clark Bagg devoted himself to managing his large real estate holdings. He was also interested in philanthropy, archaeology and numismatics (the study of coins, bills, other types of money, and medals). He died in Montreal on August 8, 1873. Catharine Bagg died in Montreal on October 29, 1914.
Edward and Helen: After Marriage
After Edward Lewis’s marriage to Helen Bagg, he seems to have adopted the Bagg family lifestyle. Along with Helen’s support, Edward became involved in Montreal real estate and associated businesses. He had a real estate office in the Temple Building.
“Foremost among those who have a high standing in real estate circles in this city and its suburbs is Mr. Albert E. Lewis, whose office is most eligibly located on the ground floor of the Temple Building. Mr. Lewis brings a wide range of practical experience to bear in this enterprise, coupled with an intimate knowledge of the respective advantages of the various residential and business sections of the city. Mr. Lewis was born in Montreal, but left home at the age of seventeen and spent four years trading among the South Sea Islands. The cattle boom of 1880 found him on the Texas Trail with cattle bound for northern pastures. Locating in Oregon, he engaged in ranching most successfully and returned to Montreal a few years since. In 1890 he established himself in the general real estate and loan business, which he has since conducted with uniform success and prosperity. He is special agent for the best situated properties in the north end of the city and the municipalities adjoining. He also handles property for non-residents, taking charge of estates in all details and is an active member of the Montreal Real Estate Exchange.”
[Albert E Lewis – Real Estate and Insurance – Temple Building – Montreal illustrated 1894 – Montreal, 1894, Consolidated Illustrating Co., page 120, https://archive.org/stream/cihm_11153#page/n90/mode/1up.]
Edward and Helen lived at 886 Sherbrooke Street in Montreal.
In addition to their presence in the social life of Montreal, in 1897, Edward and Helen spent about four months in Europe, including two weeks in England during the celebrations for Queen Victoria’s jubilee.
However, this happy life seems to have had a darker side. One evening in late November 1897, Albert told Helen that he was going to meet a man on business, but he did not return that night. Not far away from his house, people found his hat and gloves, along with evidence of a struggle. The police sent out a notice, offering a reward of one thousand dollars “for his recovery.” After several days, there were reports of Edward having appeared in New York City, seemingly unharmed, but no details were forthcoming.
According to a newspaper story that found its way into the Marion, Ohio, Daily Star, Edward had been leading a double life. Although in many ways he was a model husband, he had been carrying on a series of affairs with women in Montreal. One of the Montreal women was married, and her husband was threatening to shoot Edward. As well, the woman from his premarital relationship began demanding money, which he paid at first, but after he stopped paying, she threatened to expose him.
Edward decided to leave, and he made a plan to suggest that he had been murdered. However, information leaked out that he had transferred large parts of his stock holdings, and that he had borrowed money from members of his wife’s family. As well, while he and Helen had been in England for the jubilee celebrations, he had deposited a large amount of money in a London bank. The speculation was that one of his Montreal women would join him in New York, and that they would go to South Africa.
The news reports said that Helen was “prostrated by her husband’s disappearance and the terrible scandal connected with his name.”
Edward and Helen must have worked out something. Edward went on a trip to Shanghai, China, where he stayed until he came to Vancouver by 1901; Edward and Helen appeared together in Vancouver in the 1901 Canada census.
On April 16, 1901, some residents of Vancouver gave Edward and Helen a surprise party for their wedding anniversary. (This was probably their tenth anniversary.)
Edward seems to have gone to Winnipeg, Manitoba for a short time in the early 1900s, although he returned to Vancouver. He and Helen continued to participate in Vancouver business and society.
In the spring of 1907, Edward and Helen went to Europe to spend the month of April at the Riviera. By August, the Vancouver newspapers were reporting that Edward’s health was “most satisfactory,” suggesting that some earlier health problems seemed to have been resolved.
However, the news was worse again in October 1907: “The many friends of Mr. Edward Lewis will regret to learn that he has been very ill again, and in consequence Mr. and Mrs. Lewis will not return to Vancouver this autumn, as had been their intention.”
Edward died in Paris, France on June 28, 1908 (although some newspaper reports stated that the death date was June 29).
“The death occurred on Monday in Paris, France, of Mr. Edward Lewis, well known in society and business circles in this city. Mrs Lewis was with her husband when he passed away. The deceased came here a number of years ago from Montreal, where he had been in business. He soon became one of the largest property holders in Vancouver, being the owner of some of the best locations in the business districts. The news of his death will be deeply regretted in Vancouver, where his hospitality and other good qualities made him a large number of friends.” [Vancouver World, June 30, 1908, page 16.]
Edward was buried in the family plot in Caerwys, Flintshire,Wales. Helen arranged for a large stained glass window in Christ Church in Vancouver to memorialize Edward. (At that time it was a church; in 1929, it became Christ Church Cathedral.)
Edward and Helen had no children.
In 1911, Helen married Herbert Charles Drummond. Further information on their life appears under his name.
John Lewis (father of Albert Edward Lewis)
“Canada Census, 1881,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MVJ5-RVR : accessed 04 Jan 2014), John Lewis, St-Antoine Ward, Montreal (City), Quebec, Canada.
“Canada Census, 1891,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MW5S-SNV : accessed 04 Jan 2014), Matilda Lewis, St Antoine Ward, Montréal Centre, Quebec, Canada; http://data2.collectionscanada.gc.ca/1891/pdf/30953_148209-00243.pdf.
John Lewis, Death: June 9, 1891; Burial: Mount Royal Cemetery; Montreal, Quebec; http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=108208449.
Matilda Caroline Snowdon (mother of Albert Edward Lewis)
Descendants of James Snadon/Snowdon who moved to Clackmannan, Scotland, page 3 of 3, http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/r/i/d/Beverly-A-Riddell/ODT8-0003.html
“Canada Census, 1901,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/KH5N-BC9 : accessed 04 Jan 2014), Matilda Lewis in entry for Lansing Lewis, 1901.
Albert Edward Lewis
Trinity College School in Port Hope, Ontario, was a prestigious institution (and it still is): Trinity College School, Wikipedia article, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity_College_School.
Thanks to Don Aitchison for information on the records of Trinity College School.
A. H. Humble , The school on the hill: Trinity College School, 1865-1965, Port Hope, Ontario, Trinity College School, 1965; https://archive.org/details/schoolonhilltrin00humbuoft/mode/2up.
1901 Canada Census, British Columbia, Burrard, Vancouver City, D-2, page 4, family 41, lines 40-42, http://automatedgenealogy.com/census/View.jsp?id=36129&highlight=40&desc=1901+Census+of+Canada+page+containing+Edward+Lewis.
Society, Vancouver Province, April 20, 1901, page 4: “Mr. and Mrs. E. Lewis were given a surprise party on Tuesday, the occasion being the anniversary of their wedding day. Present were Dr. and Mrs. Le Fevre, Mr. and Mrs. Henshaw, Mrs. Senkler, Miss Wey, Miss Taylor, Mrs. Ivan Senkler, Mr. and Mrs. McFarland, Miss Tupper, Mr. Twigge, Mr. Hensley, and several others.”
Society, Vancouver Province, May 1, 1902, page 3: “Mr. and Mrs. Edward Lewis have returned from a two-week’s sojourn at Green River Hot Springs, Wash.”
“Society, Vancouver Province, March 16, 1907, page 26: “Mr. and Mrs. Edward Lewis, accompanied by their niece, Miss Lindsey, will spend the month of April at the Riviera.”
“Society, Vancouver Province, August 3, 1907, page 2: “Latest report of Mr. Edward Lewis’ health are [sic] most satisfactory. Mr. and Mrs. Lewis are greatly missed here this year. They will be welcomed home at Christmas.”
“Society, Vancouver Province, October 1, 1907, page 9: “The many friends of Mr. Edward Lewis will regret to learn that he has been very ill again, and in consequence Mr. and Mrs. Lewis will not return to Vancouver this autumn, as had been their intention.”
“Wales, Flintshire, Parish Registers, 1538-1912,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/KCRM-B91 : accessed 03 Jan 2014), Albert Edward Lewis, 1908.
Albert Edward Lewis , stained glass window, CVA 371-2618 – [Stained glass window dedicated to Albert Edward Lewis at Christ Church Cathedral] ; http://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/stained-glass-window-dedicated-to-albert-edward-lewis-at-christ-church-cathedral;rad.
Albert Edward Lewis , stained glass window, “To the glory of God and in memory of Albert Edward Lewis who entered into rest June 28th 1908,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Vancouver_-_Christ_Church_Cathedral_stained_glass_03.jpg.
Albert Edward Lewis, note on death, Lethbridge Herald, Wednesday, July 08, 1908, Page 12.
“Recalls Old Mystery: Late A.E. Lewis, of Vancouver, Was Central Figure of a Montreal Drama Several Years Ago,” Victoria Daily Colonist, July 1, 1908, page 1.
“Thought Lewis Was Killed: Montreal Police Had Long Hunt Once for Vancouver Man Who Recently Died in Paris — Believed to Have Met With Foul Play,” Vancouver World, June 30, 1908, page 1.
Edward Lewis, death notice, Vancouver World, June 29, 1908, page 13: “Lewis — June 29, at Paris, France, Edward Lewis, formerly of Vancouver and Montreal.”
O. [sic] Edward Lewis, Who’s Who in Western Canada, 1911, page 239; https://open.library.ubc.ca/collections/bcbooks/items/1.0348960#p242z-4r0f:who’s%20who%20western%20canada.
British Columbia Supreme Court Probate Files; File GR-1415.14653; Albert E. Lewis; File location: Number Probate P – 01317; https://search-bcarchives.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/lewis-albert-e; First page of probate file: Image 1567 of 2294: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-997Z-DT6C?i=1566&wc=M69N-KM9%3A332530701%2C332530502%2C332624801&cc=2014768; last page of probate file: Image 1653 of 2294: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L97Z-DTWR?i=1652&wc=M69N-KM9%3A332530701%2C332530502%2C332624801&cc=2014768.
Eleanor Ida Lewis (Ella) (sister of Albert Edward Lewis)
“Mrs. Jas. Hutchison dies in Vermont: Was Prominently Identified With Charitable and Social Activities,” Montreal Gazette, January 4, 1930, page 9, http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=anAtAAAAIBAJ&sjid=J4wFAAAAIBAJ&pg=6660%2C535922
Lillie (Lily) Lewis (sister of Albert Edward Lewis)
Margaret Kathleen Martin, Lily Lewis: Sketches of a Canadian Journalist : a Biocritical Study, University of Calgary Press, 2006, pages 96-97.
Peggy Martin, Discovering Lily Lewis: A Canadian Journalist and New Woman, ESC 30.2 (June 2004): 129-150.
Stanley Clark Bagg (father of Helen Frances Mitcheson Bagg)
Stanley Clark Bagg, Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Clark_Bagg
Stanley Clark Bagg, Dictionary of Canadian Biography, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/bagg_stanley_clark_10E.html.
Stanley Clark Bagg, The Canadian biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self-made men; Quebec and the Maritime provinces volume, Chicago and Toronto, American Biographical Pub. Co., [H.C. Cooper Jr. & Co.], 1881, pages 43-45;
The Bagg Family, Montreal, 1535-1914 (1914), William Henry Atherton, Montreal, Vancouver, Chicago, S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1914, volume 3, pages 406-410, https://archive.org/stream/montrealunderthe03atheuoft#page/406/mode/1up; https://archive.org/stream/montrealunderthe03atheuoft#page/407/mode/1up; https://archive.org/stream/montrealunderthe03atheuoft#page/409/mode/1up; https://archive.org/stream/montrealunderthe03atheuoft#page/410/mode/1up.
Stanley Clark Bagg, J.P., Montreal: its history : to which is added biographical sketches, with photographs, of many of its principal citizens, Rev. J. Douglas Worthwick, Montreal, Drysdale and Co., 1875, page 42, https://archive.org/stream/cihm_00188#page/42/mode/1up.
Robert Stanley Bagg, The Storied Province of Quebec : Past and Present. Volume IV, William Wood, editor-in-chief, Toronto, Dominion Publishing Company Ltd., 1931, page 435.
The Metropolitan – Jul 10, 1897, page 9, http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=bMpLAAAAIBAJ&sjid=gzoDAAAAIBAJ&pg=1669%2C3085554, “Mrs. Stanley Bagg, senior, and her sister, Miss Mitcheson, have left town for Caledonia Springs, after which they will proceed to Cacouna, where they will be the guests of Mrs. Bagg’s daughter, Mrs. Mills, wife of the Ven. Archdeacon Mills.”
“Gleaned from Many Sources,” The Journal of Commerce – Oct 30, 1914, page 8, http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=CD4wAAAAIBAJ&sjid=5y8DAAAAIBAJ&pg=2442%2C3201122, “The widow of the late Stanley Clark Bagg is dead at the age of nine-two years and nine months. Mrs. Bagg had been ailing for some months.”
Catherine Bagg, Find A Grave, Burial: Mount Royal Cemetery, Montreal, Quebec, Death: Oct. 29, 1914, http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=108252807.
Mile End Memories, Two Montreal families: Bagg and Clark, December 16, 2012, http://memoire.mile-end.qc.ca/fr/deux-familles-montrealaises-les-bagg-et-les-clark/(partly in French).
Helen Frances Mitcheson Bagg
Society, Vancouver Province, September 13, 1902, page 8: “Mrs. Lewis’ croquet tournament has been running on this week, and many good matches have been played. . . .”
“City Bank Seeks to Recover Old Safe: History of a Vault,” Vancouver Province, January 16, 1905, page 1. The Bank of Commerce sued Mrs. Edward Lewis to recover a safe that the bank had left in a building that Mrs. Lewis later purchased.
“Mrs. J.W. Kerr was the fortunate winner of Mrs. Lewis’ croquet tournament, the finals of which were played off yesterday afternoon,” Vancouver Province, October 14, 1905, page 4.
“New York, Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JJNS-G66 : accessed 04 Jan 2014), Helen Lewis, 03 May 1910; citing Arabic, 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/JJK8-MZL : accessed 04 Jan 2014), Helen Lewis, 27 Mar 1911; citing Minneapolis, United States National Archives, Washington, D.C.