Finding Aids

Arthur and Alice Leighton fonds
Arthur and Alice Leighton fonds [textual record, graphic material, cartographic material]. -- 1885-1956.
18 cm of textual records.
52 photographs.
28 maps.

Arthur Leighton was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire, England, January 5, 1880. His parents were school teachers and moved to Cambridge and Bristol where Arthur was educated and eventually emigrated to Canada and found work as a farmhand in Manitoba. In 1902, he enlisted in the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles, Lord Strathcona Horse, under the command of Commander Sam Steele (1840 -1919). He sailed from Halifax, Nova Scotia on the "S.S. Victorian" to Table Bay, South Africa and fought in the Boer War. He returned to Manitoba in 1904 and worked on the Wright Farm. Arthur attended the University of Manitoba. He was called to the Bar in 1908, in Winnipeg, Alice Sophia Wright was born in Brittania, Ontario, January 10, 1887. She was a daughter of Wesley Wright, a farmer and prestigious member of the community. Alice and Arthur were married in Brampton, Ontario, June 9, 1908. Arthur practiced law in Minnedosa for four years. In 1912, they moved to Nanaimo, and settled on Machleary St. where he practiced law as the senior partner of Leighton, Meakin & Weir. Arthur was also a great cricket enthusiast in the Nanaimo Cricket Club, and a member of the B.C. All Star Cricket Team. In 1915, Arthur left his business in the hands of J. Ross, to join the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders in the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade as a commissioned lieutenant and was later promoted to captain. They soon found themselves involved in trench warfare in France with a Mortar Battery. Alice followed Arthur to Europe as soon as she could book passage aboard the S.S. New Amsterdam. She arrived in England in 1916. After a short reunion with Arthur, Alice began to work with the Ministry of Pensions. She later became a volunteer at St. Dunstan's Hostel for Blind Soldiers and Sailors. Arthur's knee was wounded from a shell blast and he spent some time in England recovering from his injury before he returned to his Battery. They returned to Nanaimo in 1919, and settled near Departure Bay by the Pacific Biological Station. Arthur returned to his practice and Alice became involved in many charitable societies. She assisted with the organization of the Local Council of Women and occupied the office of Corresponding Secretary for the first year. She also held the post of educational secretary of the Bastion chapter of the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire and was a member of St. Paul's Church. On January 13, 1922, Alice became the second woman only in Nanaimo, to be elected to the office of school trustee, by beating out Mayor Busby and ex-alderman, G.W. Ferguson. In the 1940s(?), they moved to their last home on 3008 Hammond Bay Road. The Leightons were avid gardeners. Arthur mountaineered in search of wildflowers for the garden. He was a member of Ashlar Lodge No 3 AF & AM, Keystone Chapter #8, Bethlehem Preceptory #69, Gizeh Temple order of the Mystic Shrine, Kiwanis, and the Chamber of Commerce. There were no children. Arthur died in Vancouver, August 1, 1953. Alice died in Nanaimo, July 28, 1957. Both were buried in the family plot in the Nanaimo Cemetery.

Records were in the custody of Dr. Seiriol Williams, who purchased the Leighton house. The bulk of the records were donated to the archives via the Nanaimo Historical Society. Several photographs were earlier in the custody of the Nanaimo District Museum.

Fonds consists of records of Arthur and Alice Leighton relating primarily to activities and military service in World War I. Fonds includes correspondence and financial records of the Leightons, and military records of Arthur Leighton, created during the war years. Fonds also includes early correspondence of Arthur Leighton relating to his schooling and activities as a youth, and some records of activities of the Leightons after the war. Fonds also consists of photographs of the Leightons, the Wright family, Arthur Leighton's service in the Boer War and World War 1, sporting activities including cricket and golf and social activities.

Title based on the contents of the fonds.
Fonds is arranged in seven series: 1) Legal documents and certificates; 2) Personal correspondence; 3) Financial records; 4) Building records; 5) Travel; 6) Military records; and 7) Photographs.
Series descriptions and file list available.
Records of Alice Leighton's family, the Wright family, and of her sister, Louise, are available respectively as the Wright family fonds and the Sara Louise Wright fonds.

Series 1.

Legal documents and certificates [textual record]. -- 1821, 1845, 1874, 1908-1939 intermittent
5 folders.

Series consists of passports of Arthur and Alice Leighton; certificate of marriage; power of attorney; and, sundry licences and certificates relating to Alice Leighton's work in London during World War I. Also includes three oversize wills of Arthur's ancestors.
Title based on the contents of the series.
File list available.

Series 2.

Personal correspondence. -- 1885-1940.
9 cm of textual records.

Series consists of personal correspondence of Arthur and Alice Leighton primarily relating to wartime (World War I) experiences of Arthur and Alice Leighton and to Arthur Leighton's activities as a youth. Included is detailed personal correspondence during World War I between Arthur (as Captain in the 72nd Batallion, CEF) and Alice Leighton.
Title based on the contents of the series.
File list available.

Series 3.

Financial records [textual record]. -- 1916-1918.
2 folders.
Series consists of correspondence relating to various financial and business interests in Canada of the Leightons during World War I, as well as sundry receipts and banking records of the Leightons while in England at that time.
Title based on the contents of the series.
File list available.

Series 4.

Building records [textual record]. -- 1940.
1 folder.
Series consists of the specifications of work for the Arthur and Alice Leighton residence at Departure Bay (Nanaimo).
Title based on the contents of the series.
File list available.

Series 5.

Travel [textual record]. -- 1939.
1 v.
Series consists of a short travel diary (kept by Alice Leighton) of a summer vacation in the interior of British Columbia.
Title based on the contents of the series.
File list available.

Series 6.

Military records [textual record, cartographic material]. -- 1916-1918.
6 cm of textual records.
26 maps.

Series consists of Arthur Leighton's diary, correspondence book, and roll book compiled while on active duty during World War I, along with trench maps used by Leighton and his battery.
Title based on the contents of the series.
File list available.

Series 6. Sub-series 1.
Diary, correspondence and roll book [textual record]. -- 1916-1918.
6 cm of textual records.
Sub-series consists of a personal diary (1917), field service correspondence book (1918), and roll book (1916-1917) of Arthur Leighton while on active service during World War I.
Title based on the contents of the sub-series.
File list available.

Series 6. Sub-series 2.
Maps [cartographic material]. -- [1916]-1918.
28 maps.
Sub-series consists of field survey trench maps of various areas on the Western Front (Belgium and France) used by Captain Arthur Leighton with the 2nd Canadian Infantry in World War 1. Some maps show enemy emplacements at certain dates. Several maps have annotations.
Title based on the contents of the sub-series.
File list available.

Series 7.
Photographs [graphic material]. -- [ca.1880-1930].
125 photographs.
Series consists of photographs of Arthur and Alice Leighton including images of the Wright and Leighton families, Arthur's military career in the Boer War (2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles, Lord Strathcona Horse ) and World War I (72nd Regiment Seaforth Highlanders), sporting activities including cricket and golf and social activities in Peel County, Ontario and the Nanaimo area.
Title based on the contents of the series.

Series 8.
Miscellaneous [textual record]. -- 1846-1956 Intermittent.
2 cm of textual records.
Series consists of legal documents relating to the estate of Ellen Speakman, a relation of the Leightons in England (1846-1847), a certificate bestowing the Rectory at Manchester to John Leighton Figgins (1869), a document noting the name change of Rev. John Leighton Leighton from former surname Figgins. This series also consists personal correspondence from several Leighton family members, one of which is a 1918 letter written by [?] Leighton from France during World War I. There is also a family history of W.C. Peyton complied in 1956.

File List
Series 1. Legal Documents and Certificates.
File 1. Passports - Arthur and Alice Leighton, 1916, 1939
File 2. Certificate of Marriage, 1908
File 3. Power of Attorney, 1916
File 4. Sundry certificates and licences - Alice Leighton, 1915-1939
File 5. Wills, 1821, 1846, 1874

Series 2. Personal Correspondence.
File 1. Correspondence - Mr. and Mrs. R.L. Leighton re: Arthur Leighton, 1885-1886
File 2. Correspondence - Mr. and Mrs. R.L. Leighton from Arthur Leighton, 1894-1913
File 3. Correspondence - Arthur Leighton, 1913-1914
File 4. Correspondence - Arthur Leighton, 1915
File 5. Correspondence - Arthur Leighton, 1916
File 6. Correspondence - Arthur Leighton, 1917
File 7. Correspondence - Arthur Leighton, 1918
File 8. Correspondence - Alice Leighton, 1916
File 9. Correspondence - Alice Leighton, 1917
File 10. Correspondence - Alice Leighton, 1918
File 11. Correspondence - Alice Leighton, 1919
File 12. Correspondence - Alice Leighton, 1940

Series 3. Financial Records.
File 1. Business correspondence, 1916-1917
File 2. Receipts and banking records, 1916-1918

Series 4. Building Records.
File 1. Specifications - Leighton House (Departure Bay), 1940

Series 5. Travel.
File 1. Travel diary - Alice Leighton, Aug. 1935

Series 6. Military Records.
Sub-series 1. Diary, correspondence and roll book.
File 1. Roll book (Battery I), 1916-1917
File 2. Diary, 1917
File 3. Correspondence book (Field Service), 1918
File 4. Reference and ephemera

Sub-series 2. Maps.
File 1. Maps

Series 7. Photographs.
No file list available.

Series 8. Miscellaneous.
File 1. Miscellaneous family correspondence, legal documents, certificate for Rev. John Leighton Figgins, compiled family history of W.C. Peyton (1956)