Fonds 1998 007 A;1993 034 M - Arthur and Alice Leighton fonds

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Arthur and Alice Leighton fonds

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CA NCAI 1998 007 A;1993 034 M

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  • 1885-1940 (Creation)
    Leighton, Arthur

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15 cm of textual records;125 photographs;28 maps

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Biographical history

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 practised law in Minnedosa for four years. In 1912, they moved to Nanaimo, and settled on Machleary St. where he practised 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.

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Custodial history

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.

Scope and content

The 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 childhood 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. 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.

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Series descriptions and file list available. Online Finding Aid

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BCAUL control number: NCAI-128

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