In the 1913 Vancouver directory, the resident at 778 Gilford Street is “C.V. Mackensen.” Although it is not certain, it appears that this person was Carl von Mackensen, sometimes known as Karl Mackensen von Astfeld.
Karl Mackensen von Astfeld was born on June 29, 1878, in Strasbourg, which had become part of Germany after the end of the Franco-Prussian War. His father was Karl Wilhelm Rudolf Mackensen von Astfeld (1848-1929). His mother was Luise Adelheid Klara Loebbecke (1847-1905). Karl’s uncle was General August von Mackensen.
Karl became a second lieutenant in the Landwehr Cavalry. In 1902, he married Lily von Dippe (born 1885). This marriage was annulled, and there were no children of the marriage. Karl retired from the military.
Carl von Mackensen arrived in British Columbia, and about 1910 he acquired the Bryce family home in Port Kells. He became well-known for inviting local residents to his large Christmas parties.
He also had a substantial poultry establishment at Port Kells.
He travelled between North America and Germany several times in the years between 1910 and 1914. Apparently he went to San Francisco, California in 1912.
When the First World War began, Carl’s heritage and his allegiance to Germany prompted rumours that he was actually a spy for Germany. In January 1915 he was arrested and sent to an internment camp in Vernon, British Columbia.
While Carl was in the Vernon camp, he corresponded and advertised (primarily with German-Americans) to secure books for the camp’s library and prizes for its summer sports fest in 1917. The Kelowna Museum has a carving Carl made for the camp doctor, B.F. Boyce, as a token of thanks.
The Canadian government confiscated and sold his property. After the end of the war, Canada deported him to Germany. According to some sources, the deportation appears to have been an urgent one. It may have taken away most of the camp’s 1st class prisoners and 2nd class families, at their request, perhaps because of political disputes within the camp.
Although he tried to reclaim his assets and to restore his reputation, he was unsuccessful. He died in Germany in 1967.
The Port Kells house was in disrepair for many years. It later became The Baron’s Manor Pub at 9568 192 Street, Surrey, British Columbia; http://thebaronsmanor.com/.
Canada’s Historic Places, Baron Von Mackensen House; 9564 192 Street, Surrey, British Columbia, V4N, Canada, http://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx?id=2598.
Baron’s Pub in Surrey, B.C.: Carl von Mackensen -Spy or innocent victim?, Examiner.com; January 14, 2010; http://www.examiner.com/article/baron-s-pub-surrey-b-c-carl-von-mackensen-spy-or-innocent-victim.
Spy House, by Eve Lazarus, January 26, 2013, http://evelazarus.com/spy-house/.
“Black, White, and Red Poultry Farm,” British Columbia, Its History, People, Commerce, Industries and Resources, compiled by Henry J. Boam, edited by Ashley G. Brown; London, England, Sells Limited, 1912, pages 281-282; https://archive.org/stream/britishcolumbiai00boam#page/281/mode/1up; https://archive.org/stream/britishcolumbiai00boam#page/282/mode/1up.
Baron Carl von Mackensen – spy in Canada?, https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.talk.royalty/X9aC54XChBo: Yvonne asks: “Does anyone in a.t.r. know just who was Baron Carl von Mackensen?” [response]: There are two lines to the Mackensen family, both of them of the Briefadel but neither of them are Barons. A possibility is Carl Mackensen von Astfeld (born 1878), who was a 2nd Lieutenant of the Landwehr Cavalry. He married in 1902 (annulled 1906) Lily von Dippe (born 1885) but had no children, though in 1960 he adopted a Arnold Neumann (born 1938) who took on his name. This was the only appropriate Carl I found, though other Mackensens have Carl as a middle name. He lived in Hanover in later years, and his parents were Rudolf M. von A., (1844-1929) who was a Prussian Major, and Clara Löbbecke (1847-1905).
Gilbert von Studnitz
Karl Wilhelm Rudolf Mackensen von Astfeld; http://www.kreibaum.de/gview/individual.php?pid=I5156&ged=kreibaum_open.ged.
Luise Adelheid Klara Loebbecke; http://www.kreibaum.de/gview/individual.php?pid=I5157&ged=kreibaum_open.ged&tab=0.
Karl Mackensen von Astfeld, http://www.kreibaum.de/gview/individual.php?pid=I5161&ged=kreibaum_open.ged&tab=0.
Karl Mackensen von Astfeld, Kreibaum Genealogy; http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=ukreibaum&id=I5161.
Note [May 26, 2015]: thanks to Don McNair for information on the Black, White , and Red Poultry Farm, and for details on aspects of life in the internment camp at Vernon and the deportation at the end of the First World War.