Finding Aids

Benjamin Brown collection
Benjamin Brown collection [sound recording, graphic material, textual record]. -- [1975-2010] (intermittent).
1 cm of textual records
1 photograph : b&w
1 audio compact disc

Benjamin David Brown was born in Nanaimo, British Columbia in 1874 to James Miller Brown and Leah Elizabeth [nee Westwood].. According to Brown, at age 3, he was almost kidnapped by an indigenous man, but was saved by several sailors. In his youth, he enjoyed bicycle racing, boxing and wrestling. He married his first wife, Ethel Maude Calverley on September 11, 1878. He had 8 children with Ethel, Alvin Benjamin Clifford, Clive Ethelbert (Gunny), Redvers Phillip, Ida Ethel Leah, Thelma Delilah, William Robin Beresford and Edna Florence Kathleen. He was apprenticed to a tailor in 1887 at age 13, but ran away after 10 days of work. He then lived with Mrs. Erst, running errands for her. He worked for his brother, Jim (James William), as a butcher boy. They supplied meat to strikers at Wellington for 9 months until they signed over their business to creditors. He then spent 4 months working in the No. 1 shaft of the East Wellington Mine, but after witnessing an explosion that killed 4 men, he quit. He went to Courtney/Cumberland where he worked pushing coal carts and then to Port Alberni as a prospector, with no success. He then returned to Nanaimo in 1887 where he saw the Number one shaft explode, which killed at least 150 men. After his first marriage, he returned to Nanaimo where he worked as a farm labourer for 7 years at Wakesiah Farm. After the death of his wife on April 20, 1910, Benjamin sent his four youngest children to live with his sister Clara and her husband and took his two oldest sons to work with him in a logging camp. He then worked as an oxen team driver for Savage and Arbuthnot. He remarried to Isabella Smith in 1920 in Cumberland and lived in Hilliers, Comox, British Columbia, working as a carpenter. He worked as head night watchmen at the Alberni Pacific Lumber Company. After Isabella's death on Aug 31, 1944, he remarried to Edith Lottie “Dot” Fraser on July 16, 1945 until December 4, 1953 when she died. Brown was also a founding member of the Nanaimo branch of the Native Sons of BC. He remained in Port Alberni until his death on June 2, 1960, aged 86.

Donated by Clarice Perkins.

Collection consists of a transcription and cassette disc of an audio recording made in 1958, a photograph of an unidentified farm and a copy of a family and notes from

Title based on the contents of the collection.
Biography based on Brown's audio memoir.
Photo 1
Photo 2