James Henry Whittome (1871-1936) was one of the first three members (the other two were Christopher Dobson and Charles Herbert Dickie) to be initiated in Temple Lodge after the lodge was formed in December 1899.

He submitted a Petition for Initiation to Temple Lodge, No. 33 at the Lodge’s first meeting on 16 December 1899. He was recommended for membership by Jonathan Hands and and his Petition was referred to an Investigating Committee comprised of Louis Truesdale, William Gidley, and James Evans.

James Henry Whittome was Initiated in Temple Lodge on 10 February, 1900, Passed on 24 February 1900 and Raised on 10 March 1900.

James Whittome, circa 1920
James Whittome, circa 1920 (photo courtesy of Cowichan Estates Ltd.)

James Whittome was a leader in Cowichan Valley business and commerce. The company he founded in the early 20th century is still in operation as Cowichan Estates Ltd. It is a leading commercial property owner in downtown Duncan and the Cowichan Valley.

Here is a brief biography of Brother James Henry Whittome taken from Temple Lodge, No.33 records and from his obituary and the coverage of his funeral in the Cowichan Leader newspaper:

“…The Lodge then proceeded to Initiate the following candidates.

First Mr. Chris Dobson of the town of Duncans…Second Mr. C.H. Dickie….Third Mr. J.H. Whittome….All of whom were found well and worthy, recommended, initiated to the first degree of an Entered Apprentice Mason.

Bro. J. Evans S.D. then gave the lecture to the candidates on the Tracing Board, giving great satisfaction to the brethren present……”

(Source: Temple Lodge No.33, Minutes of Regular Meeting, 10 February 1900)

“…Lodge was opened in the first or apprentice degree at 8 o’clock. Bros. C. Dobson, C.H. Dickie and J.H. Whittome was [sic] then [examined] as to their efficiency of being passed to the second or Fellowcraft Degree. The three Brethren were found worthy to be passed.

Moved by Bro. Wm. Gidley, sec’d by Bro. Samuel Robinson, that Bros. Dobson, Dickie and Whittome having passed the examination they now be passed to the second or Fellowcraft Degree (Carried)……

Bros. C. Dobson, C.H. Dickie and J.H. Whittome were then passed to the second or Fellowcraft Degree. Bro. W.D. Stewart of Ashlar Lodge kindly gave the lecture to the candidates….”

(Source: Temple Lodge No.33, Minute Book, 24 February 1900)

“…Bros. C. Dobson, C.H. Dickie and J.H. Whittome being present were examined as to their proficiency in the work of a Fellow Craft Mason. The three Bros. passed well in the work, being complimented by the W.M. on their proficient knowledge of the same [and] recommended them for further advancement…..

….Bro. C. Dobson was then raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason in due and ancient form. Bro. C.H. Dickie being in waiting was then also raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason in due and ancient form. After which Bro. J.H. Whittome was also raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason in due and ancient form.

The W.M. then gave the charge to the newly obligated Bros. [and] they signed the roll……”

(Source: Temple Lodge No.33, Minutes of Regular Meeting, 10 March 1900)

James Whittome in his office, circa 1914
James Whittome in his office, circa 1914 (photo courtesy of Cowichan Estates Ltd.)

James Whittome moved to South Africa with his family in 1906 and sold his local business to fellow Temple Lodge, No.33 member James Maitland-Dougall. Two years later, in 1908, James Whittome returned to Duncan and re-purchased his former business from James Maitland-Dougall.

Here are the contemporary newspaper reports of thse transactions:

“Mr. James Maitland-Dougall together with Mr. F.A. Fatcher of Robert Ward & Co., have purchased the business of Mr. J.H. Whittome, real estate, insurance etc. and will take over the same about the first of April [1906]. Mr. J.H. Whittome has, by his indomitable pluck and energy, built up a good business and has had the perfect confidence of his patrons and many will be sorry to see him out of business but the two gentlemen who have bought him out are of and and no doubt will get the full support and confidence of all the old patrons and they hope as the district grows to gain many more.”

“May 1st – On Friday morning Mr. J.H. Whittome took over the Real Estate, Financial and Insurance business that some two years ago he sold to Mr. James Maitland-Dougall. Mr. Whittome intends making his home in this Valley and will be an addition to our very substantial business men.”

(Source: Cowichan Leader, 2 May 1908 – from Cowichan Valley Museum & Archives collections)

In 1934, J.H. Whttome Ltd. purchased what is now the Whittome Building (until the time of purchase it had been the I.O.O.F. Lodge building in Duncan) on Station Street. The Whittome Building is still owned by Cowichan Estates Ltd., the successor company to J.H. Whittome Ltd.

Whittome Building, Station Street, Duncan, B.C.
Whittome Building, Station Street, Duncan, B.C. Purchased by J.H. Whittome Ltd. in 1934.

Here are the 1936 Cowichan Leader newspaper reports of James Whittome’s death and funeral:

“Whittome – Cowichan mourns the loss of one of its outstanding businessmen, Mr. James Henry Whittome, whose death occurred suddenly on Tuesday evening at his home on Maple Bay Road.

He suffered a heart attack while in Ladysmith on business on Monday. An illness two years ago impaired his health, but he attended to his duties in the face of failing health, and worked to the last with the same interest which in 1898 caused him to open a real estate and insurance office in the community, which, now carrying the name Messrs. J.H. Whittome & Co. Ltd., has been associated with the development of Cowichan in a leading manner.

Mr. Whittome was born in London, England in January 1871. Anticipating a period of settlement and business development in the west, he came to British Columbia in 1892 as a young man of 21, and settled in Duncan, where he entered business soon afterwards. In 1894 he married Miss Clara Frances Jaynes, eldest daughter of the late Mr. William Penn Jaynes and of Mrs. Jaynes.

His first office was in the Jaynes Building, now the Coach Lines building, but the demands of business necessitated moving to larger premises, and in conjunction with the late Mr. Clermont Livingstone, he acquired the building on the north side of Station Street, now known as the Whittome Block. The office of the Tyee Copper Company was moved to this building at the same time.

In the spring of 1906 Mr. and Mrs. Whittome and their two children moved to South Africa, but remained there for only two years, returning in 1908, when Mr. Whittome resumed business, acquiring Mr. Livingstone’s interest in the building.

In 1912, the year of the city’s incorporation and of much expansion here, the business was incorporated under the present name. Following the war, its activities were extended in line with the growth of the district, and in 1934 the present commodious premises were occupied.

A figure in the whole growth of the district, attaching to whom was an importance not generally realized nor perhaps easily recognized, Mr. Whittome possessed capabilities of unusual merit. He was for many years assessor for the Municipality of North Cowichan, and had exceptional knowledge of land and timber values with a reputation unequalled on the Island.

He was interested in early mining ventures in Cowichan, and to his grasp of conditions a number of local enterprises owe their existence. His support of progressive moves was always available, and his advice on various matters was highly appreciated by many residents.

In private life he was keenly interested in horticulture, and his home on Quamichan Lake had a setting among dogwoods of great beauty. ‘Dogwoods’ was the name he gave to it. Fishing and shooting were also his pastimes.

Mr. Whittome was identified with Cowichan Agricultural Society, in whose work he took much interest. He had been a member since 1900 of Temple Lodge, No. 33, A.F. & A.M. Not taking public office he nevertheless had a full knowledge of public affairs in the district, working in the interests of its general upbuilding.

He leaves his widow, one son, Mr. Robert William Whittome, one daughter, Mrs. H.F.B. Stamer, and five grandchildren.

The funeral will take place this afternoon, with a service at the home at 2:45 o’clock and at St. Peter’s Church at 3:00 o’clock. The Rev. H.P. Napier will officiate.

Mr. R.W. Whidden will be in charge of the funeral arrangements.”

(Source: Cowichan Leader, 14 May 1936 – from Cowichan Valley Museum & Archives collections)

“Whittome – A large number of residents, businessmen and employees and many business associates and friends from outside points attended the funeral on Thursday afternoon of Mr. James Henry Whittome, late head of J.H. Whittome & Co. Many present had known him over 40 years.

St. Peter’s Church, Quamichan, where the service was conducted, following the bringing in procession of the casket from Mr. Whittome’s residence nearby, was filled, and outside there were many more.

The Rev. R.F. Napier officiated, together with the Rev. F.L. Stephenson of Victoria. The church choir was present, and the hymns rendered were: ‘Lead, Kindly Light,’ ’On The Resurrection Morning,’ and ‘God That Madest Earth and Heaven .’ Mr. R.W. Clements was at the organ.

In a short eulogy, Mr. Napier spoke from Daniel v. 10: ‘Oh men, greatly beloved, peace be unto you.’ Of Mr. Whittome’s qualities, Mr. Napier cherished three in particular: his humility, his sincerity and his sympathy.

Representatives of the Provincial Government, Duncan; the Municipality of North Cowichan, and the Mayor and entire council of the City of Duncan were among those present. At the end of the procession as it wound down from the home was Mr. Whittome’s Chinese employees.

The graveside was banked with many beautiful wreaths.

Honorary pallbearers were: Messrs. R.E. Donald, W.H. Elkington, G.H. Madsen, A.W. Hacham, F.H. Price, R. Musgrave (Victoria), G.J. Waldy and G.H. Stahlschmidt (Vancouver).

Active pallbearers were: Messrs. Ferguson Hoey, F. P. Hassell, A. Kenningham, Alex Maclean (Victoria), C.F. Davie, K.C., I.G. Eastman (Victoria) and J.E. Green.

Mr. R.W. Whidden was funeral director.”

(Source: Cowichan Leader, 21 May 1936 – from Cowichan Valley Museum & Archives collections)

James Henry Whittome is buried in St. Peters’ Quamichan Anglican cemetery, North Cowichan, B.C.

James Henry Whittome grave, St. Peter's Quamichan cemetery
James Henry Whittome grave, St. Peter’s Quamichan cemetery
James Henry Whittome grave inscription, St. Peter's Quamichan cemetery
James Henry Whittome grave inscription, St. Peter’s Quamichan cemetery

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