Arthur Peuchen in Alberta

John Clifford

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Arthur Peuchen owned property in Alberta, both near Calgary, and in Hinton.

Question: did Arthur Peuchen reside at a former site of Standard Chemical Company (1897-1914), near Hinton? Or was it a former location for the Queen's Own Rifles?

I will be in Calgary and Edmonton next May, and would like to know where these places were located, even if they have since been subdivided. I'm also interested in the location of Peuchen's forest reserves, located near Hinton.

Does anyone know how far back the Alberta records go? Did the Peuchen family retain these properties after Arthur died?

I'll be in Edmonton on May 16th (will drive up from Calgary on the 14th), so I will be able to visit their property archives; just need to know the location and operating hours, and if there are any restrictions on the property records (here in California, real estate records are public, but vehicle license and owner address information is now restricted).

The next week I may do a day trip back to Calgary (from the Lake Louise area - looking forward to revisiting the Canadian Rockies, again) to check Peuchen's Calgary property holdings.

Any assistance greatly appreciated.
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Hi John,

Those are very good questions and are ones, I've pondered for some time. Although, Peuchen more than likely lived at his farm that his nephew managed for him since the age of 17. I can't see him living anywhere else for the short time he was out there, before he decided to return to Toronto. At least that would make sense.

Hopefully, we'll have some answers and perhaps more interesting info next May.

I'm following up on some leads, on his life in Montreal and here in Toronto.

Best regards,

Jason
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May 1, 2004
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All I can tell you is that the Queen's Own Rifles was a Toronto based militia regiment and did not own property out west.

Still breathlessly awaiting that biography, Jason.

Marilyn P.
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Hi Marilyn,

Thanks for that confirmation, that's exactly what I was thinking as well.

"Still breathlessly awaiting that biography, Jason."

I hope to submit it as soon as I can, but I'm still trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together, as I have quite a bit of information left to gather. I want this biography to be the best it can be. Will try to find some time to work on it more this weekend.

Best regards,

Jason
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John Clifford

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Hi Marilyn. Thanks for the information about the Queen's Own Rifles. I assumed that they were a Commonwealth organization, especially with the notation of "the Queen's" label.

For next year, I will have to check with the Edmonton offices, as to where and when to check on property records from the early 20th Century. Any data obtained will be forwarded to Jason for his biography on Arthur Peuchen.
 
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David C. Comstock

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Arthur Peuchen was my great-uncle - the brother of my grandfather, Stanley Cooper Peuchen. Any info on Arthur will be appreciated. D Comstock
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Hi David,

Thanks for your e-mails, I apologize for not responding yet. It's very interesting to hear that Arthur Peuchen had a brother, I was not aware of this!

As you may have read above, I'm writing a biography on your great uncle's life for this site. I have researched him extensively and I've discovered some new and exciting information, but I'm not willing to make it public until the biography is released, but I would be happy to discuss it on the e-mail.

Your great uncle had quite a life and a very interesting one as well. He was born in 1859 in Montreal and moved to Toronto in 1871 at the age of 12. He joined the Queen's Own Rifles and rose in rank quite quickly through the years. In 1897, he became the President of the Standard Chemical Company that manufactured acetone, which was used to produce explosives from wood. He had a house in Toronto and he also owned a summer home north of the city. He owned forest reserves and other land in Alberta as well.

In 1893, he married Margaret Thompson and they had two children, Jessie who was born in 1894 and Godfrey who followed in 1897.

In 1911, he served as the Marshalling Officer for the Indian Cavalry at the coronation for George V. He owned a yacht called Vreda, which had participated in races across the Atlantic under it's own canvas and was victorious in more races than any other in it's class in Canada, which earned him a lifetime membership in the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, where he served as both vice and rear commodore.

Crossing on the Titanic was supposed to be his fortieth transatlantic voyage. Although, there was one problem with traveling on the ship and that was Captain Smith. He thought Smith was too old for the position and he was aware of Smith's checkered career. Later on, when asked what he thought of the ship he said, "the Titanic was a good boat, luxuriously fitted up- I was pleased with her".

After the Titanic had struck the iceberg, he got dressed in warm clothing and proceeded up to the boat deck. On April 15th at 12:55 am, he was ordered into lifeboat #6 by Second Officer Charles Lightoller. Since the lifeboat was already in the water, Peuchen slid down the rope and into the boat. It was without question a very brave and heroic act. Unfortunately, that did not serve him well when he returned to Toronto, as he was treated very badly by the media and local society.

After surviving the Titanic disaster, he would later serve in World War 1 with the QOR's. He lived in London from 1915-1918 and both his son and daughter were there as well. His son served in the Royal Field Artillery as a lieutenant and his daughter married an officer from the same regiment.

He returned to Canada after the war and sadly the Titanic disaster played havoc with his enterprise's, as his nephew would recall. He lost most of his money and his summer home had to be sold later on. Whether he lost money due to the disaster is questionable, but he certainly sustained losses in 1924.

Sometime in 1929, for whatever reason he moved out to Alberta (for how long I don't know), but he moved back to Toronto at some point and died at his home on Dec 7, 1929 after a long illness.

I've visited his grave several times and have been in touch with another relative who lives in England. I'm sure he would be very interested in talking with you, as he has been searching for other relatives.

I hope this helps.

Best regards,

Jason
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John Clifford

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Hi David.
This May, I will look for information about Arthur Peuchen's properties in Alberta. I will share any findings with Jason. I'm curious as to where Arthur might have stayed: the reserves near Hinton, the Standard Oil properties, as well as stated sites in Calgary.

Also, one of Arthur's grand-nephews, Arthur McConnell, has posted on this site. I met him and his wife briefly, last April; quite a nice gentleman.
 
Nov 27, 2005
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Arthur also had two sisters, Alice & Nora - birth order per 1881 Canadian census - Arthur (22), Alice (20), Nora (16), Stanley (13). Mother Eliza (52)is listed as a widow.
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Hi David,

I knew about Alice, but I was not aware that Arthur had another sister. Another piece to add to the puzzle!

That's also interesting that Peuchen's mother was a widow at the time of the census.

Thank you very much for this information.

Best regards,

Jason
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May 1, 2004
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Hello from Toronto, David.

Jason probably has a lot more information than I do about your great uncle than I do, but if I may contribute a trifle.

Jessie's husband was Henry Lefroy. They, her brother Godfrey Alan and her daughter Helen are buried with Arthur and Margaret in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto. It's a huge, beautiful cemetery - well worth a visit - although your relatives are hard to find because the tombstones are dwarfed by some monolithic stones.

Here is a reference to Lt. Col. Peuchen by one of our local historians:

http://www.mountpleasantgroupofcemeteries.ca/about_us/fileys_stories/Peuchen_Arthur%20Godfrey.asp

I believe that your great-grandparents are buried in the Toronto Necropolis Cemetery - unless Peuchen is a more common name than I thought. The only ones I've ever seen in the city directories were of those who resided with your great-uncle Arthur. I don't remember precisely where I nearly tripped over their stone, but it was near the chapel.

Lt. Col. Peuchen is also listed on www.findagrave.com 's famous persons section, if you wish to leave virtual flowers.

Oh, BTW, Mary Fortune (Mark Fortune's widow) also has a bio by Mike Filey online. Just cut off the part after "Filey's stories" to get to the index.
(Mount Pleasant holds the earthly remains of many prominent citizens of Toronto) Filey's book Mount Pleasant Cemetery is one of my favourite gudebooks.

Marilyn P.
 
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David C. Comstock

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Thanks Marilyn. Appreciate the additional info. David Comstock
 

John Clifford

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During my trip to Alberta, I was able to do some research on Arthur Peuchen. It appears, though, that what was written about part of his life was likely not true.

I learned that, in Edmonton, both the Land Title Office and the Provincial Archives do not offer searches for property records based on names of owners/past owners. At those locations, one would need to know the property addresses, and then specific title information could be provided.

I also noted that a check on probate records DID NOT list Arthur Peuchen, even though he owned a farm/ranch, called MOUNTAIN HILLS, located in or near Pincher Creek, which is southwest of Calgary and northwest of the Waterton Lakes National Park. Due to time and distance, I did not head down to Pincher Creek from either Lake Louise or Calgary. What might have occured was that Colonel Peuchen might have deeded the land to his relatives, before he died.

In Hinton, I learned from the local library personnel, that after James Cameron's film came out, there was discussion in Hinton about Arthur Peuchen. However, it appears that he did not maintain a "standing presence" while there; he was apparently remembered by the old-timers, but not as someone seen all the time. A call was made, by me, to someone in the Hinton Historical Society. The person I spoke to was going to do some phone calls; however, I was unable to reach her, later on.

Another factor: during a visit to the City Government Office, I was referred to a gentleman with the local Forestry Reserve. This person told me that the forest areas east of Jasper National Park were taken over by the Dominion, and were later ceeded to the local saw mill, but that occurred around 1953.

My feeling is that while the Queen's Own Rifles was a Toronto-based regiment, Colonel Peuchen might have been able to spend time at military dormitories around Canada. Perhaps a military headquarters was located near to Hinton.

The Hinton City Offices does not have archived property records. One location suggested to me, for research, was a town about 50 miles east of Hinton, along Highway 16. However, I did not get a chance to check that location.

Also noted: in a book entitled HISTORIC HINTON, there was no mention, at all, about either Colonel Peuchen or the Standard Chemical Company.

The one benefit was that, in Edmonton, I learned about Colonel Peuchen's dam venture, along the Oldman River. Copies of correspondence and pictures of the dam site, were sent to a Peuchen biographer. That included a July 1929 correspndence, sent by Peuchen, from Toronto, to indicate that he was there for a couple of months before he died.

I will also check with 2 Titanic historians, in the US, one of whom might still be posting on ET; (no, Donald Duck is not an ET member), about what information they might have received, regarding Peuchen. Any information noted will be shared.
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Hi John,

"...even though he owned a farm/ranch, called MOUNTAIN HILLS,"

Actually, it was called Mountain Mills. I think you misunderstood me during our phone conversation last night, but no worries.
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"Perhaps a military headquarters was located near to Hinton."

I'm afraid I beg to differ with you, on this one. In all my research, I've never come across any evidence which backs that statement up. I really believe that he stayed at his ranch when he was out west. He may have left the ranch to his family in his will, but living at the ranch during the last several months of his life is the best possible theory in my mind.

Best regards,

Jason
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John Clifford

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Hi Jason.

I noted the name of the ranch wrong, due to it being the end of a long day, on Wednesday; my apolgies. Now I'm looking forward to this weekend.

The military headquarters idea is just speculation, on my part. The ranch idea is by far the more likely scenario.

Perhaps Arthur Peuchen enjoyed visiting the area around Hinton, and it is possible that rumors began that he was living out there.
Again, that is just speculation. I hope that some of the other Titanic historians can add some useful information. I'll try and send out some letters of inquiry, tomorrow.

Best wishes.
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Hi John,

No worries! As far as the military headquarters go, I knew you were only speculating.
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"Perhaps Arthur Peuchen enjoyed visiting the area around Hinton, and it is possible that rumors began that he was living out there."

Yes, that's quite possible. It wouldn't be the first time a rumour, such as that spreads like wildfire.

Best wishes,

Jason
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David C. Comstock

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Has anyone thought of checking Probate Court(the court which handles estates and may be known by another name in Canada) in Toronto for the records of Arthur Peuchen's estate. There ordinarily would be an inventory listing assets as well as debts and the identity of heirs under his will. David Comstock
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Hi David,

Yes I have thought of that, as it would fill in some of the gaps and it would be interesting to find out who got what, in terms of assets. It is called Probate Court here as well. I have yet to follow up on it though.

Thanks for mentioning it.

Best regards,

Jason
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This is an old thread, I know, but if anyone out there is still interested in this topic, reply. I have information on A. G. Peuchen's holdings in the Crowsnest Pass, and am interested in exchanging information on same. Sorry for posting this in two separate threads, I wasn't very diligent in searching this site first.

[Moderator's note: The other message referred to here, posted as a separate thread in a different topic, has been deleted as duplicative of this one. MAB]
 
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Jason D. Tiller

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Hi Ian,

I just saw your message, after your private message to me earlier. I'd be very interested in seeing the information you have.

My e-mail is through my profile or send me another PM.

Regards,

Jason