Brown-John & Rumley photograph collection [graphic materials]

Collection number
VMM71
Date(s)
1937-1945
Physical description
64 small b&w photographs.
Administrative history / Biographical sketch
There are two families involved with this collection of photographs: the Rumley and the Brown-John families. The Brown-John family became attached to the Rumley family by marriage when Doris Amelia Rumley married Clive George Brown-John.
The Rumley family originated in Ontario. Captain David Edward Rumley and his son Captain William Harold Rumley worked Great Lakes ships out of the port of Owen Sound, Ontario. In the 1920s, they both migrated to Lesser Slave Lake in Alberta and took skippering jobs. In the mid-1930s, they migrated further west to the British Columbia coast where David Rumley and his wife Emma Amelia established a boat-building and boat repair shop on the Secret Cove (or east) side of Turnagain Island. They apparently did not prosper.
William Rumley moved his family to Menzies Bay.
Clive Brown-John married William and Rachel Rumley’s eldest daughter, Doris. Thereafter, and throughout the years before World War II, William Rumley, Clive Brown-John, and a friend named Johnny North (who died in World War II in Italy) scoured the coast with a small tug boat and barge scavenging for scrap metal.
After war broke out with Japan, William Rumley operated a small barge and tug servicing the repairs of cargo ships in Vancouver Harbour. Clive worked in shipyards in Vancouver. Their first son, Clive Lloyd Brown-John, was born in May 1940 and spent his first five years with his parents living aboard the Mermaid.
The Mermaid was a seized local Japanese-owned fishing boat from Steveston that Clive and Doris had purchased. Thereafter, they spent their spare time and vacations travelling the B.C. coast with an old bellows-type Kodak camera. Their wanders took them to distant places including Hole in the Wall, Surge Narrows, Blind Channel and the Thurlow Islands, Quadra and Cortes Islands, and camping on Savary Island. Along the way they met numerous coastal inhabitants, including local small loggers Fred and Florence Benson with whom they stayed on several occasions in several different locations.
At war’s end and shipyard cutbacks, Clive and Doris returned to a much earlier love, the Cariboo. William Rumley continued tug boat work in and around Vancouver and eventually became a boat captain with the Vancouver Tug Boat Company. In 1954, he attempted to recruit his grandson Lloyd Brown-John into the tug boat business by taking him on as a deckhand on his tug VT LaVerne. Lloyd chose instead to move east, where he retired from the University of Windsor (Political Science) and founded ElderCollege, which operates under the auspices of Canterbury College at the University of Windsor. He has received the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal for that project, as well as the Canada Year of the Volunteer medal. He still dreams of the British Columbia coast.
William Rumley passed away after his retirement at his home overlooking Vancouver Harbour’s North Arm.
Scope & content
Historical photographs related to the British Columbia coast, taken by Brown-John's family in their maritime travels.
Arrangement
Collection has been arranged by donor. All titles supplied by donor.
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