O’Brien, William Edward (1866-1957)

Gertrude O'Brien and William Edward O'Brien - Vancouver Sun - September 28 1942 - page 5

Gertrude O’Brien and William Edward O’Brien – Vancouver Sun – September 28 1942 – page 5


William Edward O’Brien and his wife, Gertrude, were dance teachers. They also operated O’Brien Hall, which was in the B.C. Land and Investment Agency block at the southeast corner of Homer Street and West Hastings Street. (For a time, the building was also called the “Metropolitan Club Block” and sometimes the “Metropolitan Block.”)

William Edward O’Brien and his family arrived in Vancouver about 1894. Aside from some periods of travel, William and Gertrude lived in Vancouver for all their married life. They lived at 821 Denman Street from 1909-1910, and from 1917 to 1928.

William Edward O’Brien was born on October 9, 1866, in Nobleton, King Township, about 35 kilometres northwest of downtown Toronto, Ontario. His father was John O’Brien; his mother was Jane Millligan (born December 15, 1835, Ontario).

On September 28, 1892, at St. Mary’s Presbyterian Church in Toronto, Ontario, William Edward O’Brien, married Gertrude Linton. Gertrude was born on November 10, 1865, in Barrie, Ontario. Her father was William Linton; her mother was [Eunice] Susan Clarke. In the marriage document, William described his occupation as “musician.”

On September 12, 1893, in Aurora, Ontario, Gertrude gave birth to twin girls: Gertrude and Hazel. Shortly afterward, William and Gertrude and the twins moved to Vancouver.

By 1894, William was calling himself a “Professor of Dancing,” with a dancing academy in a building called the “B.C. Land and Investment Agency Block” (which sometimes was called the “Metropolitan Club Block” or the  “Metropolitan Block.”)

O’Brien’s Dancing Academy - Metropolitan Club block, Vancouver Daily World, September 13, 1894, page 8.

O’Brien’s Dancing Academy – Metropolitan Club Block, Vancouver Daily World, September 13, 1894, page 8.

O’Brien’s Dancing Academy, Metropolitan Club Block, Vancouver Daily World, September 13 1894, page 4.

O’Brien’s Dancing Academy, Metropolitan Club Block, Vancouver Daily World, September 13 1894, page 4.

O'Brien Hall - Southeast corner of Homer Street and Hastings Street - Vancouver City Archives Bu N135 - Photo May 3 1940

O’Brien Hall – Southeast corner of Homer Street and Hastings Street – Vancouver City Archives Bu N135 – Photo May 3 1940

In 1931, William and Gertrude travelled to Honolulu, along with their daughter Annie Mary (called “Mae”).

In 1942, William and Gertrude celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.

Gertrude died in Vancouver on January 15, 1951. She was buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver.

William died in Vancouver on August 28, 1957 He was buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver.

William and Gertrude had four children.

Gertrude O’Brien

Gertrude was born on September 12, 1893, in Aurora, Ontario. On September 19, 1917, she married Percie Douglas Richards. He was born on September 25, 1890, in Barbadoes. His father was John Percie Richards; his mother was Matilda Friar. Percie Douglas Richards died, possibly in 1936.

Gertrude died in Montebello, California on February 13, 1972.

Gertrude and Percie Douglas Richards had three children, all born in California: William Douglas Richards, born about 1919; Beryl M. Richards, born about 1921, and Gertrude Elizabeth Richards, born about 1922.

Hazel O’Brien (also called Azel O’Brien)

Hazel was born on September 12, 1893 in Aurora, Ontario. She died in Vancouver, on July 11, 1903, aged 9. She was buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver.

Annie Mary O’Brien (also called Mary Ann O’Brien and Mae O’Brien)

Annie Mary was born in Vancouver on January 12, 1897. She was travelling with her parents when they went on a trip to Honolulu in 1931. She appears to have died in March 1936; she was buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver.

Beryl Irene O’Brien

Beryl was born in Vancouver on January 12, 1897. On June 9, 1928, in Vancouver, she married Gordon Bernard Littler. He was born in Vancouver on September 5, 1901. His father was Henry James Littler 1873-1960); his mother was Gertrude Coldwell Hopkins (1873-1946).

Beryl died in Vancouver on March 24, 1968. She was buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Burnaby, British Columbia.

Gordon died in Vancouver on April 3, 1971. He was buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Burnaby, British Columbia.

Beryl and Gordon had a daughter named Sharon Osterhout.

Sources

Note: thanks to the editor of Vancouver as it Was for information on the naming of the Metropolitan Club Block.

William Edward O’Brien

“Pedigree Resource File”, database, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.2.1/STY7-71V : accessed 2013-08-04), entry for W. E. /O Brien/.

“Ontario Marriages, 1869-1927,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FMVB-J8F : accessed 02 Aug 2013), William Edward O’Brien and Gertrude Linton, 1892.

Ontario Marriages: http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~maryc/tor92p2.htm, Toronto, 1892, part 2, William Edward O’Brien and Gertrude Linton, 1892.

British Columbia Voters List, 1898: O’Brien, William Edward, Metropolitan Block, Teacher of dancing, Van, http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~canbc/vote1898/voteo.htm

Professor and Mrs. O’Brien,” Theatrical Dance in Early Vancouver: 1880s-1920s, Dance Collection Danse, http://www.dcd.ca/exhibitions/vancouver/obrien.html.

1901 Canada Census, http://automatedgenealogy.com/census/View.jsp?id=59952&highlight=15&desc=1901+Census+of+Canada+page+containing+Willia+E.+O%27Brien

1911 Census of Canada, British Columbia / Vancouver / 76 Vancouver City / page 16, http://automatedgenealogy.com/census11/View.jsp?id=63617&highlight=46&desc=1911+Census+of+Canada+page+containing+Wm.+E.+O%27Brien

“California, San Francisco Passenger Lists, 1893-1953,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/KXHS-8YW : accessed 02 Aug 2013), William E O Brien, 1931. [Refers to William E. O’Brien, age 63; Gertrude O’Brien, age 65; Mae O’Brien, age 35.]

“Celebrate Golden Wedding,” Vancouver Sun, September 28, 1942, page 5: “Mr. and Mrs. W.E. O’Brien of 3849 West Ninth are celebrating their golden wedding anniversary today. Mr. and Mrs. O’Brien were married in their native Toronto September 28, 1892 and left immediately for Vancouver where they have lived for all their married life. Both are in excellent health. Mr. and Mrs. O’Brien have one daughter, Mrs. P.D. Richards, and three grandchildren living in Los Angeles and one daughter, Mrs. Gordon Littler, and one grandchild in Vancouver.”

“British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FLPV-7RK : accessed 31 Jul 2013), William Edward O’Brien, 1957.

British Columbia Death Registrations, William Edward O’Brien, Registration Number: 1957-09-009404.

William Edward O’Brien, death notice, Vancouver Sun, August 29, 1957, page 30: “O’Brien – – in hospital, Vancouver, Aug. 28, 1957, William Edward O’Brien, aged 90 years, late of 3849 W. 9th Ave. Survived by 2 daughters, Mrs. Gordon Littler, Vancouver, and Mrs. Gertrude Richards, Montebello, Calif; 4 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren. Prayers Friday evening 7:30 p.m., Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, 10th and Crown, where requiem mass will be celebrated Sat., Aug. 31 at 9:15 a.m. by Rev. Father J. O’Reilly C.S.S.R. Interment Family Plot, Mountain View Cemetery, Kearney Funeral Directors, 1096 W. Broadway in charge.” [Similar notices: Vancouver Sun, August 30, 1957, page 28; Vancouver Province, August 30, 1957, page 38; Vancouver Province, August 31, 1957, page 38.]

Mountain View Burials: O’BRIEN, W.E.: Aug-28-1957: HORNE1/3/01/025/0003

Gertrude Linton

“Pedigree Resource File”, database, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.2.1/STY7-7Y8 : accessed 2013-08-04), entry for Gertrude /Linton/.

“Canada Census, 1881,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MVF4-V5R : accessed 04 Aug 2013), Gertrude Linton in household of William Linton, Aurora, York North, Ontario, Canada.

Census of Canada, 1881, Province: Ontario; District Name: York North; Sub-District Name: Aurora, page 1, lines 1-7, http://data2.collectionscanada.gc.ca/e/e328/e008184426.jpg

“British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FLPL-CNT : accessed 31 Jul 2013), Gertrude Linton O’Brien, 1951.

British Columbia Death Registrations, Gertrude Linton O’Brien, Registration Number: 1951-09-001458.

Vancouver Sun, January 17. 1951, page 27: “O’Brien – Passed peacefully away January 15, 1951, Gertrude Linton O’Brien, in her 87th year. Survived by her loving husband, William Edward O’Brien of 3849 West 9th Ave., two daughters, Mrs. Douglas Richards, Los Angeles, California; Mrs. Gordon Littler, Vancouver; four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, one sister, Mrs. Charles Carruthers, Los Angeles, California; one brother, William Linton, Toronto. Requiem Mass will be celebrated Thursday, January 18, at 9 a.m. from Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, 10th  Ave and Crown Crescent, Rather N.J. Killingsworth celebrant. Interment family plot, Mountain View Cemetery. Prayers will be said at 7:30 Wednesday at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Center & Hanna, Broadway chapel in charge of arrangements.” [Similar notice: Vancouver Province, January 17, 1951, page 19.]

Mountain View Burials: O’BRIEN, Gertrude Linton: Jan-15-1951: HORNE1/3/01/025/0002

Gertrude O’Brien

“Pedigree Resource File”, database, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.2.1/9CX5-TBV : accessed 2013-08-04), entry for Percie Douglas Richards.

“United States Census, 1900,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M9PJ-1W6 : accessed 04 Aug 2013), Douglas P Richards in entry for Pierce J Richards, 1900.

“United States Census, 1910,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MVL8-ZGK : accessed 01 Aug 2013), Douglas Richards in entry for Percie Richards, 1910.

“United States, World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/KZV4-W2G : accessed 01 Aug 2013), Percie D Richards, 1917-1918.

“British Columbia Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JDZK-7PD : accessed 31 Jul 2013), William E O’Brien in entry for Percie Douglas Richards and Gertrude O’Brien, 1917.

British Columbia Marriage Registrations, Percie Douglas Richards and Gertrude O’Brien, Registration Number: 1917-09-088851, http://search-collections.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/Genealogy/DisplayGenealogyImage?k=7d52a813-ca95-4da4-b82f-1aa98386dc11

“United States Census, 1920,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MHWH-B4L : accessed 01 Aug 2013), Percie D Richards, 1920.

“United States Census, 1930,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XC8J-S1J : accessed 01 Aug 2013), Percie Richards, 1930.

“United States Census, 1940,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K9W9-D2B : accessed 04 Aug 2013), Gertrude Richards, 1940.

“California, Death Index, 1940-1997,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VPN4-TF6 : accessed 04 Aug 2013), Gertrude Richards, 1972.

“United States Social Security Death Index,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JGSJ-ZNG : accessed 04 Aug 2013), Gertrude Richards, February 1972.

“California, County Marriages, 1850-1952,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K8KK-BZ2 : accessed 01 Aug 2013), Pierce Douglas Richards in entry for William Douglas Richards and Margaret Cathrine Cunningham, 1947.

California, County Marriages, 1850-1952,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K8K2-P29 : accessed 01 Aug 2013), Percie Douglas Richards in entry for Gerald Rose Clark and Gertrude Elizabeth Richards, 1948.

Hazel (Azel) O’Brien

“British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FLVB-R2R : accessed 01 Aug 2013), Azel O Brien, 1903.

British Columbia Death Registrations, Azel O’Brien, Registration Number: 1903-09-119332: Cause of death: “supposed to be an embolism in pulmonary artery; died very suddenly.” “No inquest deemed necessary.”

“Bright Girl’s Sudden Death, Vancouver Province, July 13, 1903, page 9: “The death occurred on Saturday evening last of Azel, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W.E. O’Brien. The little girl was one of bright twin sisters, who were great favorites with all who knew them. Azel was aged nine years, and succumbed to an attack of heart failure after a very brief illness. Mrs. O’Brien will have the sympathy of a large circle of friends in her sad bereavement, which is rendered all the more acute from the fact that Mr. O’Brien is absent on a holiday trip. He left on Thursday last for a month’s visit to San Francisco, but is now on his way back in response to a telegram informing him of the sad occurrence. The funeral arrangements will be made after his return.”

Mountain View Burials: O’BRIEN, Hazel: Jul-11-1903: HORNE1/3/01/025/0004

Annie Mary O’Brien (also called Mary Ann O’Brien and Mae O’Brien)

British Columbia Birth Registrations, Annie Mary O’Brien, Registration Number: 1895-09-570292 [Note: not registered until 1928].

Mountain View Burials: O’BRIEN, May O.: Mar-19-1936: HORNE1/3/01/025/0004

Beryl Irene O’Brien

British Columbia Birth Registrations, Gordon Bernard Littler, Registration Number: 1901-09-121204, http://search-collections.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/Genealogy/DisplayGenealogyImage?k=6d405513-ad18-4125-b757-f2132f2f6571

“British Columbia Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JD8N-L4Z : accessed 31 Jul 2013), William Edward Obrien in entry for Gordon Bernard Littler and Beryl Irene Obrien, 1928.

British Columbia Marriage Registrations, Gordon Bernard Littler and Beryl Irene Obrien, Registration Number: 1928-09-334748, http://search-collections.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/Genealogy/DisplayGenealogyImage?k=5e89b5da-6ddb-41a5-8b53-07a48f6f7fec

“British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FLY6-KSJ : accessed 31 Jul 2013), William Edward O’Brien in entry for Beryl Irene Littler, 1968,

British Columbia Death Registrations, Beryl Irene Littler, Registration Number: 1968-09-004468, http://search-collections.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/Genealogy/DisplayGenealogyImage?k=eba99843-9dec-4cdc-9f93-faf28f7c23fd

Beryl Irene Littler, death notice, Vancouver Sun, March 26, 1968, page 33. “Littler – Passed away March 24, 1968, Beryl Irene, beloved wife of Gordon Littler of 3849 West 9th Ave. Also survived by 1 daughter, Mrs. Sharon Osterhout; 1 sister in California. Private funeral service was held Tuesday in the Little Chapel of the Flowers, Forest Lawn, Royal Oak at Canada Way. Father Clauder Lemieux officiated. Interment /Forest Lawn Memorial Park. Forest Lawn Mortuary funeral directors in charge. Flowers gratefully declined. [Similar notice, Vancouver Province, March 27, 1968, page 28.]

“British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986,” index and images, FamilySearch ;” https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FLYL-T2Z: accessed 04 Aug 2013), Gordon Bernard Littler, 1971.

Gordon Bernard Littler, death notice, Vancouver Sun, April 5, 1971, page 34: “Littler – Passed away April 3, 1971, Gordon Bernard, of 1005 – 591 W. 57th Ave., Vancouver, in his 70th year. Survived by 1 daughter, Mrs. Sharon Mae Osterhaut, of North Vancouver, also survived by 2 brothers, Kenneth H. Littler and Thomas C. Littler. Funeral services Tuesday, April 6, at 3 p.m in the Little Chapel of the Flowers, Forest Lawn, Royal Oak Ave., at Canada Way, Rev. T. L. Hipp officiating. Interment Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Forest Lawn Mortuary funeral directors in charge. [Similar notice, Vancouver Province, April 5, 1971, page 26.]

O’Brien Hall [B.C. Land and Investment Agency Block; Metropolitan Club Block; Metropolitan Block]

Robert Mackay Fripp designed this building for the B.C. Land and Investment Agency, and the building was almost brand-new in 1894. The Bank of Montreal later became the main tenant in the building. In 1940, the bank demolished the building and replaced it with a modern structure that later became part of the Vancouver Film School.

Thomas Dixon Galpin was the London-based manager of the B.C. Land & Investment Agency: Galpin Family History: reference to British Columbia Land and Investment Agency: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~bccaribo/galpin.html

Thomas Dixon Galpin, obituary, Victoria Daily Colonist, April 28, 1910, page 7, http://www.britishcolonist.ca/tc/1910/04/28/19100428007.pdf

FRIPP, Robert MacKay (1858-1917), Dictionary of Architects in Canada, http://www.dictionaryofarchitectsincanada.org/architects/view/1577, METROPOLITAN CLUB, Hastings Street at Homer Street, 1893 (Vancouver Daily World, 5 June 1893, 5, descrip.)

Donald Luxton, Building the West, The Early Architects of British Columbia, 2003, ISBN 0-88922-474-9, page 500: Fripp, Robert Mackay, Projects: includes: B.C. Land & Investment Agency Bldg (O’Brien Hall/Metropolitan Club), Hastings and Homer Sts., Van, 1892 (demo. 1949). [Note: the demolition was actually in 1940.]

“New Premises for City Bank,” Vancouver Sun, Aug 3, 1940, page 27. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=gDJlAAAAIBAJ&sjid=NIkNAAAAIBAJ&dq=bank-of-montreal%20homer&pg=3815%2C480168

“The Bank of Montreal at the south-east corner of Homer and Hasting Streets is shortly to be provided with new premises. The building in which the bank is at present situated is being demolished and a new, modern, two-storey office building will be effected to replace it. The corner premises in the new building are being specially constructed to accommodate the bank, besides which accommodation is being provided for three stores, a cafe and a bowling alley which is to occupy the whole of the second floor.

The additional space which is being provided for the banking office will allow of a much more generous allotment of space to the public banking hall.

The work, which is expected to take several months, is being done in two sections. The bank will remain in its present office while the first section is being completed; then, as a temporary measure, it will move into part of the completed section while the second section is being completed. N.J.H. Brown has been in charge of the branch since it was opened 12 years ago.”

“Bank Soon in New Quarters,” Vancouver Sun – Nov 26, 1940, page 12, http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=BjRlAAAAIBAJ&sjid=QIkNAAAAIBAJ&dq=bank-of-montreal%20homer&pg=4917%2C4252583

Homer and Hastings Streets branch of the Bank of Montreal expects to take possession of its new premises about the end of the year. The old building, which the bank has occupied for the last twelve years, has been torn down and for the present the bank has moved into temporary quarters next door.

While the position of the bank on the corner will be unchanged, the new premises will occupy a larger floor space than formerly, thus taking care of the requirement for additional space caused by the continued expansion of the bank’s business. When completed the new office will present a smart, modern appearance; the exterior will be finished in mottled glazed tile of dark green and black, while the interior will be planned to combine smartness of appearance with efficiency in operation. The brightness of the office will be one of its particular features. . . .”

“Bank of Montreal Opens New Office,” Vancouver Sun – Feb 12, 1941, page 19, http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=FjJlAAAAIBAJ&sjid=L4kNAAAAIBAJ&dq=bank-of-montreal%20homer&pg=3320%2C5206811

“The new office of the Bank of Montreal at Hastings and Homer, which has been under construction for some months, will open for business on Thursday.

The bank has been on this corner for 12 years and increasing business necessitated enlarged quarters. The new premises are smart and pleasing inside and out and are thoroughly modern in appointments.

Modern safety- deposit boxes have been installed in the vault of the new building.”

400 Homer Street east side, COV-S509-: CVA 778-189, http://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/400-homer-street-east-side-5;rad. (This photograph is dated May 1974, and it shows the dark green tiles on the exterior.)

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2 thoughts on “O’Brien, William Edward (1866-1957)

  1. Pingback: William Edward O’Brien (1866-1957) | westendvancouver

  2. Pingback: Vancouver Arts & Crafts Association | Vancouver As It Was: A Photo-Historical Journey

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