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Alex McCrimmon Bootmaker and Hotelier at Granville, Burrard Inlet

October 20, 2016

alex-mccrimmon-to-herring-fraser-cemeteryThere stands in Fraser Cemetery, New Westminster, a stone marker overlooking the gravesite of Samuel W Herring. It’s inscription reads “Alexandra McCrimmon,” but we believe it to be the memorial of Alexander McCrimmon, the pioneer Bootmaker and Hotelier of Granville, Burrard Inlet.

Alex McCrimmon was among the first inhabitants at Granville, now commonly known as “Gastown,” the settlement that grew into Vancouver.

His purchase of Lot 6 in Block II in 1871 places him among the first property owners there, hard on the heels of saloon-keepers John Deighton and Ebenezer Brown.

John Powers (previous post) had his boots repaired at McCrimmon’s in 1873.


1873-07-23-mccrimmon-boot-for-sale1874-08-01-mccrimmons-saloon-granville

 


By then, McCrimmon had already decided to go into Saloon-keeping.

Alex McCrimmon built the first Sunnyside Hotel, a waterfront hostelry with its own landing.

(Edward O’Mara drowned near “McCrimmon’s wharf” in 1879.)

The Sunnyside Hotel stood at the north-west corner of Water Street and Carrall Street, (Lot 13 in Block 1) —- on the shore side directly opposite Gassy Jack’s Deighton’s Hotel.

(The previously posted Gastown and Granville Property Map 1880 shows this location on a Google map.)

Alex McCrimmon was an active citizen at Granville and in the records of public meetings his name appears in motions alongside better-known pioneers such as Deighton, Alexander and Rogers.

sunnyside-hotel-for-rent-granville-1876In March of 1876 McCrimmon advertised he was putting up the Sunnyside Hotel for rent.

Alex McCrimmon appears on the Voters List for 1876 as one of three Hotel-Keepers in the New Westminster sub-district of Burrard Inlet. The other two were Max Michaud at Hastings and Joe Mannion, who took over the former stand of Ebenezer Brown at Granville.

Alexander McCrimmon fell ill and died on September 24, 1879.

Among those present at his bedside was Thomas Henry Cudlip, who, with Burrard Inlet.woodsman Simon Fraser, was a witness to McCrimmon’s last will and testament, drawn up only four days before he died.

TH Cudlip had been running the Hotel across the street, Gassy Jack’s old place, with partner James Anthony Clarke. These two were once co-owners of Spring View Farm on the Yale road at Langley Prairie. Both were previously in government service: Cudlip was Constable at Yale in 1864, while Captain Clarke was Master of the Governor’s steam yacht, Leviathan.

Also present when Alex McCrimmon passed away was Isaac Johns, named as sole executor of McCrimmon’s estate. Johns was Customs officer at Burrard Inlet.

Alexander McCrimmon’s funeral took place at New Westminster under the auspices of the Orange Lodge. The Hyack Band marched ahead of a large procession.of residents from Granville and New Westminster to the Masonic Cemetery at Sapperton. The service was conducted by the Reverend Mr Bryant and followed by the ritual of the Orange Order read by James Speirs. 

Mr McCrimmon was well-known and respected throughout the province, having visited, at one time or another, all our mining district.  Of late he had been engaged in business at Burrard Inlet, where he built the Sunnyside Hotel.  He was of a good-natured disposition and much liked by all who knew him.

Alex McCrimmon left all but $500 to his brother Archibald McCrimmon of Glengarry County, Ontario.

I furthermore charge my brother Archibald McCrimmon to pay the Indian woman Lucy the sum of $500 five hundred dollars said woman Lucy having lived with me for the last four years.

By hearsay – in a letter from Dr DF Macinnis published by Major Mathews in Early Vancouver – Alex McCrimmon was dissuaded by Constable Jonathan Miller from leaving the Sunnyside Hotel to his wife, and instead left it to his brother Archie, who later sold it to Joseph Griffiths.

What we believe to be his gravestone in the Masonic Section of Fraser Cemetery, Sapperton is puzzling.

The British Columbia Genealogical Society record of the stone’s inscription reads:

Alexandra McCrimmon.

Born March 15 1838.

Died Sep 24 1879.

A Native of Ontario, Canada.

Erected by her brother Archibald.

 

alex-mccrimmon-headstone-fraser-cemetery

 

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