Deceased Brethren

Frank Arthur Brettingham (1866-1925) moved to Duncan in 1910 to become editor of the Cowichan Leader newspaper. He was Initiated in Temple Lodge, No.33 in 1911.

Frank Brettingham was editor of the Cowichan Leader newspaper from 1910 to 1913, when he resigned and was replaced by Hugh George Savage.

He played an active role, along with other members of Temple Lodge No. 33 like Kenneth Forrest Duncan, William Mordaunt Dwyer, Andrew H. Peterson,  in the formation and incorporation of the City of Duncan in 1911-1912.

Here is the text of a letter from Frank Brettingham to the Cowichan Leader newspaper [note: it must be noted that Frank Brettingham was the editor of the Cowichan Leader at the time] regarding the state of public services in Duncan:


To the Editor Cowichan Leader.

Dear Sir. — May I be permitted the privilege of a little space in your columns to express an opinion on a subject of the gravest impor­tance to the residents of the district which your organ serves and particularly to that portion of them who dwell within the town limits?

Some months ago, through the medium of these columns I drew the attention of the [North Cowichan] Municipal Council to the practice of those employed in scavenging, of using the hillside adjacent to the Trunk Road north of Duncan as a dumping ground of the closets [note: water closets or toilets. Sewers were not yet connected to all homes] from the town, and I pointed out that this refuse by the action of the spring rains would be washed down into Duncan in the form of mud, and, subsequently, by the action of the sun, the possibility of it being carried through the air as suspended matter, an agent for lever and disease.

Now sir, notwithstanding the epidemic which has this summer carried off several of the greatest assets of this country -our rising generation–and stricken with grief the hearts of many parents, this practice has still been allowed to continue on the flimsy excuse that the act was done under cover of night and it was impossible to apprehend the offender. Such an excuse will not hold water. The offenders arc the [North Cowichan] council’s own agents employed under contract. so that they are well known and could be watched as to their methods of disposing of the refuse.

It resolves itself into this, that though a death-dealing epidemic has been reigning in our midst the [North Cowichan] council has not raised a finger to stop one of the [worst] practices against sanitation that it is possible to imagine. It in full time that publicity was given to this matter and if the [North Cowichan] council are unable to deal with it we shall in the assistance of a [illegible in original] power.

Yours truly,

F. A. Brettingham”

(Source: Cowichan Leader, 12 October 1911, from Cowichan Valley Museum & Archives collections)

Here is a brief biography of Frank Arthur Brettingham (7 November 1866 – 25 December 1925) taken from local newspaper reports of his death and funeral:

“Brettingham – We regret to record the death of Mr. F.A. Brettingham at 1.30 a.m. on Christmas morning. The funeral took place on Monday afternoon.

Frank Arthur Brettingham was born sixty-seven years ago in London, the youngest son of a family of nine. His father was Richard Freston Brettingham, member of an old Norfolk family, of Mendham Abbey and Brettingham Hall in that county, properties which came to the family through a maternal ancestor to whom they were bequeathed by the Duke of Suffolk.

He was educated at the City of London School, at Clifton College, Bristol and Peterhouse, Cambridge. He was a keen oarsman and all his life was deeply interested in literature, being quite an authority on old books. In 1915 he contributed to The Leader “The Lament of the Hills,” a poem dedicated to Cowichan’s fallen.

After being associated in business in England, Mr. Brettingham and his wife came to North Saanich in 1907 and farmed there for a year. Then he moved to Chemainus, where he had acquired a property on the Island Highway, opposite to Mr. Anketell Jones. There he engaged in fruit and poultry farming.

Early in 1910 he assumed the editorship of The Cowichan Leader, from March to August, and, on being offered the position permanently, in October of that year he again undertook the duties, moving to Duncan and building a home on Buena Vista (or Holmes) Heights.

Resigning from the editorial chair, Mr. Brettingham later on became collector of customs at Duncan, a post he held for 13 years and up to his death. During that time he never missed a day off duty until three weeks ago, when ill health forced him to give up.

He was taken from his home (which was burned down the same night) to the King’s Daughters’ Hospital and there passed away ten days later.

For several years, while the district was represented by Mr. W.H. Hayward, M.L.A., Mr. Brettingham was secretary of the Cowichan Conservative Association. He was a member of the Cowichan Country Club and of Temple Lodge, No. 33, A.F. & A.M. He was married forty-one years ago and leaves, besides his widow, an only child, Mrs. A.A. Mutter, Somenos. To them the deepest sympathy is extended.

The funeral took place on Monday afternoon from the home of Mr. and Mrs. A.A. Mutter to St. Mary’s church, Somenos where the service was conducted by the Rev. Arthur Biachlager, the committal service being read by the Rev. F.G. Christmas in the adjoining cemetery.

The Worshipful Master of Temple Lodge, officers and brethren, numbering about thirty, attended and, at the graveside, the impressive Masonic ritual was carried out by W.B. Stanley Gordon, W.M., and Bro. H.T.S. Horsfall, C[haplain].

The pallbearers were W. Bro. Geo. H. Savage, Bros. J. Islay Mutter, F.H. Price, J. Maitland-Dougall, H.A. Patterson and R.S.A. Jackson. The honorary pallbearers were Messrs. H.E. Donald and R.B. Halhed, Chemainus; M.M. White, Maple Bay; Fred. Sherman, Cowichan Bay; and W.H. Mahon, Duncan. Mr. R.H. Whidden made the funeral arrangements.”

(Source: Cowichan Leader, 30 December 1926 – from Cowichan Valley Museum & Archives collections) 

Frank Brettingham is buried in St. Mary’s Somenos Anglican Cemetery, North Cowichan

Frank Arthur Brettingham grave, St. Mary's Somenos Anglican Cemetery, North Cowichan
Frank Arthur Brettingham grave, St. Mary’s Somenos Anglican Cemetery, North Cowichan
Frank Arthur Brettingham grave inscription, St. Mary's Somenos Anglican Cemetery, North Cowichan
Frank Arthur Brettingham grave inscription, St. Mary’s Somenos Anglican Cemetery, North Cowichan

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