Henry Thomas Thrift (1851-1946)
The Sash our Forefathers Wore
Henry Thomas Thrift was born May 26th, 1851 in Farnborough, England. He was the eldest son of Henry Thomas Thrift Sr. and Mary Charleton.
A brick maker by trade, Henry married widower Jane Cook on April 7th, 1869 in Bassingstoke Hants, England and had three children; Henry James Roland Thrift, John Cook Thrift and Christiana Thrift.
Having served with the British Infantry in Hampshire, England for several years, Henry and his family emigrated to Canada settling in Listowel, Ontario in 1874.
On January 18th, 1877 at the age of 38 years, Jane sadly passed away in Listowel due to Edema.
On March 12th, 1877 Henry married Margaret Martha McMenemy in Listowel and had eight children between 1877 and 1899; George McMenemy Thrift, Rose Olivia Ruth Thrift, Mary Elizabeth Jane Thrift, Henrietta Martha Thrift, Edmond William Alfred Thrift, Walter Arthur Thrift, Rebecca Edith Thrift and Irene Hazel Victoria Thrift.
Henry and his family resided in Listowel until 1879 when Henry left Margaret and his children at their home in Ontario and traveled to California. He stayed for a short time there before moving on to Victoria, British Columbia where he was for a short time engaged in the brick making business. In 1880, Margaret with her three step-children and her son George and daughter Rose left the home in Ontario and joined Henry in Victoria.
From Victoria the family moved to Yale where Henry was occupied in the manufacture of bricks, used by the Canadian Pacific Railway in the construction of the railroad through the Fraser Canyon. In 1882 the family moved to Clover Valley (Cloverdale/Surrey) where they resided until 1886. Based on an article written in the Peace Arch News called "The Community that Thrift built" Henry stated that "the name Surrey sounded like home".
Thrift was active in the affairs of Surrey, British Columbia, serving as a municipal clerk for the town's council in 1883, and from 1886 to 1890. In 1884, Henry took up land in Hall's Prairie and named it Hazelmere. He was reeve of Surrey along with William Brown in 1891, serving until his resignation. He had helped to develop the first school in Surrey in 1882 and played a role in requesting the land for Peach Arch Park in 1886. He started a weekly mail route from New Westminster to several points along the way to Hall's Prairie and established a post office in his home.
In 1888, Thrift served as the city's health officer during a smallpox outbreak with the specific duty to see all adults residents of Surrey were inoculated. In 1903, he created a Settler's Association in 1903 to petition the federal and provincial governments for construction of a bridge over the Fraser River.
In 1906, as secretary-treasurer of the International Railway and Development Company, he did not object to the construction of the railway along the waterfront, but considered public access to the beach to be an essential part of the deal. While Great Northern crews were laying the track from the border to White Rock, Henry traveled to Victoria in an effort to protect the seafront road for the community, but was unsuccessful.
Henry moved to White Rock, British Columbia in 1910 and built his family home on property on Buena Vista Avenue that he had purchased in anticipation of the arrival of the railway. There he taught Sunday School and organized a Boy Scouts troop. He also owned the property on which the first school of that city was built.
Also active in the real estate industry, he donated land for the Hazelmere United Church to be built on in 1905 and land for a school in 1910. In 1910 the first Loyal Orange Lodge received its warrant in White Rock to which Henry was a member. He would also go on to become a Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Orange Lodge of British Columbia.
On February 23rd, 1946 Henry passed away from broncho-pneumonia in White Rock at the age of 94. Henry was laid to rest in Hazelmere Cemetary in Surrey, British Columbia.
A year after Henry's passing, a Juvenile Orange Lodge was formed in White Rock, choosing the name "Thrift" in memory of Henry and the community named Thrift Avenue and H.T. Thrift Elementary School in Surrey, British Columbia in Henry's honour.
Margaret passed away in 1951.
With information from Ancestry.ca and the article, "The community that Thrift built" by Lorraine and Hugh Ellenwood.