Vancouver Island Masonic History Project

Henry Croft was a member of Victoria-Columbia Lodge No. 1 in Victoria. He was a leading mining engineer who developed lumber mills and mines on Vancouver Island. The town of Crofton is named for him.

This photo of Henry Croft appeared in his newspaper obituary, July 1917.
This photo of Henry Croft appeared in his newspaper obituary, July 1917.

Here are the local newspaper reports of Henry Croft’s death and funeral:

Mr. Henry Croft, a resident of Victoria for the put thirty-two years, and recognised as one of the most widely versed authorities on mining In British Columbia, died suddenly ‘yesterday afternoon , at his residence. “Mount Adelaide,” Esquimalt.

Mr. Croft’s Illness was of short duration, as he was in the city on Friday, enjoying apparently the best of health, he had been complaining of severe headaches for the past few days, but these he attributed to a severe attack of la grippe. On Friday night, however, he remarked that he was feeling better than usual and spent the evening with some friends at his home. About It o’clock yesterday morning a return of the headache induced him to call Dr. Holmes, who was with him half an hour later.

Due To Hemorrhage of Brain

About 1:10 Mr. Croft became worse. Dr. Holmes was again called. On his arrival Mr. Croft had lost consciousness, this he never regained. Dr. Hasell was called in consultation and after an examination it was found that Mr. Croft was suffering from hemorrhage of the brain. Both practitioners announced he could not possibly recover. He died shortly before 4 o’clock.

Mr. Croft was 61 years of age, having been born on January 15, 1856, at Mount Adelaide, Darling Point, Sydney. Australia. He was the youngest member of a family of seven. His mother died in Australia when he was one year old. Soon after his mother’s death he was takes to England, spending his childhood days at Saddington Hall, Leicestershire. He received his education at Rugby and Derby School of Mines, and there he carried off many honors in examinations written on mining and other scientific subjects.

Received High Credentials

When he finally determined to leave the country he was presented with complimentary testimonials by the Australian Government, which also expressed regret at his departure and the loss of his valued service. No man of his profession obtained higher credentials in the Commonwealth.

In 1882, Mr. Croft arrived in Victoria and immediately took an active interest in the development of the Island’s resources of timber. He established the mill at Chemainus, now operated by the Victoria Lumber Company. The  name of the firm was then Croft & Angus. After a few years he sold his interests in the mill and moved to Victoria, where he made his home the rest of his life.

On July 1, 1885, he married Mary Jean Dunsmulr, fourth daughter of the late H6n. Robert Dunsmulr. The family home was at Chemainus for a few years, and in 1889 the present residence, Mount Adelaide, at West Bay. Esquimalt, was completed.

Entered Brokerage Business

Having disposed of his Interest In the mill and timber limits. Mr. Croft entered the brokerage business in Victoria and while thus engaged devoted a great deal of attention to the mining industry in various sections of the Province. He was one of the first men In British Columbia to develop ore bodies on Vancouver Island, and for some years he operated the Lenora-Mount Sicker Copper Mining Company.

At a later date he resumed the practice of his profession of mining engineer in a consulting capacity. He maintained his brokerage business in conjunction with his other activities. The mines of British Columbia had no more faithful enthusiastic sponsor than Mr. Croft. He invariably gave liberal support and encouragement to any undertaking directed at the fuller development of the Province’s mineral and other resources.

About fifteen years ago he represented one of the Island constituencies In the Provincial Legislature.

He was a fellow of the Royal Institute of England, the Royal Geographical Society and the Institute of Mining and Civil Engineers.

The high qualities of citizenship embodied In Mr. Croft’s character, his ever present spirit of cheer and optimism, and the charm of his personality won him many close friends, who will learn of his passing with deep sorrow.

He is survived by, besides his widow, one sister and three brothers.

The funeral will be held on Tuesday afternoon, leaving “Mount Adelaide” at about I o’clock. Services will take place at 3 o’clock in Christ Church Cathedral.

(Source: Colonist, 29 July 1917, pages 1,2)
Here are links to more information and images about Henry Croft:


Henry Croft is buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C.

Henry Croft grave, Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C. (photo by Temple Lodge No. 33 Historian)
Henry Croft grave, Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C. (photo by Temple Lodge No. 33 Historian)

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