Worshipful Brother Thomas Ethelbert Tombs (1863 – 1916) was a member of St. Micheal’s Lodge, No. 1097,Tenbury Wells, U.K. He moved to the Cowichan Valley where he affiliated with Temple Lodge, No. 33. He owned and operated the Quamichan Hotel.
Here is a brief biography of Wor. Brother Thomas Ethelbert Tombs taken from Temple Lodge, No. 33 records and from his obituary in the Cowichan Leader newspaper:
“….The Wor. Master announced that this Emergency Communication of the Lodge had been called for the purpose of attending the funeral of our late Brother Thomas Ethelbert Tombs of St. Micheal’s Lodge, No. 1097, Tenbury Wells, Worcester, England.
The burial service was then proceeded with, and the Lodge, formed in procession, repaired to the residence of our late Brother, and from there, borne by the affectionate hands of Brother Masons, the remains were borne to the burial ground at St. Peter’s Church, Quamichan, and there deposited in the grave with the honours of Freemasonry. This duty performed the procession was reformed, and having returned to the Lodge room, it was moved by Wor. Bro. K.F. Duncan, seconded by the Wor. Bro. Secretary, that a committee of three be appointed to draft and present to the Lodge at the next regular communication suitable resolutions in memory of our late Worshipful Brother Thomas Ethelred Tombs, a copy of such resolutions to be presented to the widow of our late departed Brother, and a copy be forwarded to the mother Lodge of our late departed Worshipful Brother.
The Lodge was then closed…………..”
(Source: Temple Lodge Minute Book, Emergency Meeting of 15 December 1916)
“Tombs – Mr. Thomas Ethelbert Tombs, who died suddenly on Wednesday of last week [13 December 1916], was laid to rest at St. Peter’s Quamichan on Friday afternoon. The funeral arrangements were in charge of Temple Lodge, A.F. & A.M., No. 33. The church services were conducted by the Rev. F.G. Christmas, and the Masonic ritual by Wor. Bro. K.F. Duncan. Pallbearers were Messrs. T. Van Norman, J.M. Campbell, S. Robinson, O.T. Smithe, W.M. Dwyer, and W.L. Dunn.
Born at Holt, Worcestershire, in 1863, Mr. Tombs, when 17 years of age, left England for Australia. He was at different times engaged in mining, farming and the hotel business. He shared in the rush to the Coolgardie goldfields in Western Australia, and, after farming in that state for seventeen years, returned to England.
He farmed some 300 acres at Tenbury, Worcestershire, and, after selling these, he came to Duncan three years ago this Christmas. He purchased the Quamichan Hotel business from the Victoria-Phoenix Brewing Co. in April 1914, succeeding Mr. J.J. Hinds.
Mr. Tombs was at one time chairman of the North Hertfordshire Conservative association, and was a past master of St. Micheal’s Lodge, Tenbury. His business in Duncan brought him a wide circle of friends. He was a member of the Duncan Board of Trade and one of the governors of the Island Automobile association. (Among the floral tributes was one from the I.A.A.)
He leaves a wife, two sons, aged 14 and 13, and a daughter aged 11. His eldest son, Pte. T.E. Tombs, was recently reported missing. Messrs. Thomas and Charles Pitt, Duncan, are his first cousins.”
(Source: Cowichan Leader, 21 December 1916)
….Letter of thanks from Mrs. L. Tombs for assistance and sympathy to herself and family in her present bereavement…….”
(Source: Temple Lodge No. 33 Minute Book, Regular Meeting of 9 January 1917)
“….The committee appointed to draft and present resolutions on the death of Wor. Bro. Thomas Ethelbert Tombs presented the following resolutions, namely:
Resolved: that we as officers and members of Temple Lodge, No. 33, A.F. & A.M., extend to Mrs. Tombs and family our deepest sympathy for the loss recently sustained by them in the death of Worshipful Brother Thomas Ethelbert Tombs.
We wish to testify to the high esteem in which our late brother was held by the Masonic Fraternity in Duncan, and we shall always proudly remember him as a Brother Mason. At the same time the fact that he once held a high and important position in his Mother Lodge carries an assurance which is a pleasure to us, and we know will be a pleasure to you, that his name will long be cherished in its records.
And that a copy of this resolution duly attested to by the Wor. Master and Secretary be forwarded to Mrs. Tombs.”
“Resolved that this Lodge extends its sympathy to the Officers and members of St. Michael’s Lodge, No. 1097, of Tenbury Wells, Worcester, England in the loss of a worthy Brother and Member, Worshipful Brother Thomas Ethelbert Tombs who died in Duncan on the 13th December last.
We would also take this opportunity of recording our esteem of the late brother who strongly impressed us by the manner in which he strove, on all occasions, to live up to the teachings of Freemasonry so thoroughly inculcated by his Mother Lodge when we feel assured, from the high office once occupied by him, his name will be long cherished.
Moved by the Bro. Secretary, seconded by Wor. Bro. R.C. Fawcett, that the resolutions be adopted and the committee discharged. Carried…..”
(Source: Temple Lodge Minute Book, Regular Meeting of 9 January 1917)
Thomas Ethelbert Tombs is buried in St. Peter’s Quamichan, Anglican Cemetery. The grave’s GPS location is: N 48⁰ 46.882’ W 123⁰ 40.036’
Thomas Tombs’ son, Stanley Josiah Tombs, was also a member of Temple Lodge, No. 33 and is also buried in St. Peter’s Quamichan.
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