Sir Francis Stillman Barnard (1856-1936)

Sir Francis Stillman Barnard (1856-1936) was a leading figure in Canadian business in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He served as a member of Parliament and as Lieutenant-Governor of B.C.

Here is some biographical information on Sir Frank Stillman Barnard taken from contemporary newspaper reports of his death and funeral:


“Builder in B.C. Development Is Called to Rest

Sir Frank Barnard, K.C.M.G., Former Lieutenant-Governor, Member of Dominion House, and Alderman-—Played Important Role in the Growth of Province—Funeral Tuesday

HON. Sir Frank Stillman Barnard. K.C.M.G., whose name is synonymous of the growth of British Columbia, and Victoria in particular, by virtue of the important role he and his father played in the development of this province, died early yesterday morning at the family residence, 701 Sea Terrace.

Public spirited in every regard, a member of the House of Commons for twelve years, Lieutenant-Governor for seven year, city alderman for one year, and head of many business enterprises that did much to build up this Province, the loss of Sir Frank is one that creates a void that will be extremely difficult to fill.

News of his death was received with profound regret by a host of friends, associates and the public generally.


Born in Toronto on May 16, 1856, Sir Frank came to British Columbia as a child and grew to manhood amid pioneer surroundings. and from this early atmosphere he was imbued with the desire to see this Province grow and become an important unit in the British Empire. He lived to behold his vision realized. and played no small share in bringing about the fulfilment of those dreams, which were shared by many others.

Since the very inception of the Crown colony of British Columbia, the name of Barnard was associated with political and industrial development of Canada’s most western Province. Francis J. Barnard, father of the deceased, whose ancestors came to this continent before 1642,  settling at Deerfield, Mass., came to British Columbia when word of the gold discovery on the Fraser River in 1858 first came through to the more Eastern colonies of Great Britain.


At the age of four years, Sir Frank was brought to this coast by his parents in 1860. His father soon became a prominent figure in the affairs or the new country.- He established Barnard’s Express, a system of transportation that became famous for Its efficiency.

When the union of British Columbia and Vancouver Island was mooted, Sir Frank s father took a prominent part In the discussions of the time, and later became an active worker for Confederation, and represented the Yale-Kootenay constituency In the Dominion House from 1879 to 1887.

Following closely his father’s Industrial and political activities, Sir Frank was inspired to take up the task of his sire, who, with Captain Powers, constructed the mule trail that preceded the famous Cariboo Road, over which the Barnard Express carried the treasure of the mines from the rich creeks of golden Cariboo. As a resident at Yale. Sir Frank also remembered the arrival of the Royal Engineers to commence construction of the Cariboo highway.


Little dreaming that one day he would hold the highest office this Province can bestow upon one of its cltizens, namely the post of Lieutenant-Governor. Sir Frank went East for his education, and graduated from Hellmuth College, London. Ont. On his return, he Joined his father’s business, and two years later was appointed general manager of the express company. In. 1882, he was named president.


Sir Frank first evinced Interest In public life when he ran for the City Council in 1886 and was elected. He left the civic arena, however. in 1888 to represent Lillooet-Cariboo constituency in the Dominion House. He represented this riding until 1902, when he ran in the by-election in Victoria, but was defeated.

Thus did the son follow the father in industry and politics, and in both spheres of endeavor father and sop gave of their best In the public’s welfare.

Realizing the position that Vancouver would ultimately hold by virtue of her strategic position as a terminal of a trans-continental railroad. Sir Frank formed, in 1894, the Consolidated Railway Company, of which he was president, and thereby set up a transit system In Vancouver, which materially helped In the growth of the city. Two years after he organized the company, a strong group of English financiers formed, the British Columbia Electric Railway Company Ltd.. for the purpose of taking over the Consolidated Railway Company. Sir Frank became managing director of the new company. in 1898 he relinquished the management, but retained his seat on the directorate. In 1906 he retired from active business, but kept his affiliation with the B.C.E.R. Co., Ltd.


It was shortly after the outbreak . of war In 1914 that this province paid tribute to the vision of Sir Frank in the future of British Columbia and the part he played In its development. It was in December of that year that he was appointed Lieutenant-Governor.

He held the post during probably the most trying time In the Province’s history. He immediately threw himself wholeheartedly Into patriotic work. As in his business and political life, he did not spare himself In the cause. It was due to him, in conjunction with the late Sir Richard McBride, then Premier of British Columbia that Canada secured two submarines for the protection of the Pacific shores of Canada

These undersea boats had been completed at a Seattle shipyard for shipment to a South American republic. Knowing war would be declared. Sir Frank signed a special warrant for $1,000,000 with which Premier McBride purchased the submarines. The purchase was made just in time, for the two vessels only reached International waters twenty minutes before the expiry of the tine limit under which they would be held in internment as fighting craft of a belligerent nation.


In recognition of his public services Mr Barnard was created Knight Commander of the Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George in January 1918. He continued as Lieutenant-Governor until 1921.

Sir Frank married in 1883 Martha Amelia Loewen, daughter of Joseph Loewen. pioneer businessman of Victoria

In addition to the transportation companies with which he was associated. Sir Frank also had other business connections He was president of Evans Coleman & Gilley Bros., Vancouver, and president of Evans, Coleman & Johnson Bros., Victoria.

During his early days In Victoria Sir Frank took a keen Interest in military affairs, serving with the No 2 Rifles.

He was a member of the Union Club, the Royal Victoria Yacht Club. Royal Colwood Golf Club. Victoria Golf Club and the Victoria Tennis Club. He also was a member of the Vancouver Club In the Terminal City. For many years he was a member of the Royal Automobile Club In London, England. Yachting probably was his favorite sport, and almost every Summer he cruised British Columbia waters in his power yacht Quenca. 


After his retirement from the post of Lieutenant-Govemor Sir Frank and Lady Barnard became constant travelers being well known in England. the South of France and Del Monte, California.

Throughout his life Sir Frank supported many charities, and was philanthropic in an unostentatious but nevertheless generous manner.

Surviving him are his widow Lady Barnard; one brother. Senator G.H. Bernard: one nephew, J L. Mara and a niece. Mrs Alan Morklll.

The funeral will be held on Tuesday. the cortege leaving the family residence at 11 30 am and proceeding to Christ Church Cathedral, where services will be conducted at 12 noon, after which the remains will be forwarded to Vancouver for cremation. It Is requested that no flowers be sent. Arrangements are in the hands of Hayward’s B.C. Funeral Company.”

(Source: Daily Colonist, 12 April 1936, pages 1,3)

“Big Congregation At Last Rites for Sir Frank Barnard

Memory of Former Lieutenant-Governor of Province Honored

by Citizens of All Classes at Services at Christ Church Cathedral

A BIG congregation honored the memory of Sir Frank Stillman Barnard, K.C.M.G., a former Lieutenant Governor of the Province, by attending the funeral services held for him at mid-day yesterday at Christ Church Cathedral.

Representatives of scores of pioneer families mingled with representatives from the State, the city, the various professions, organizations and business concerns, as well as with the many personal friends of the family, and although it had been requested that no flowers be sent special ears were required to convey the numerous beautiful tributes to and from the Cathedral.

The simple Church of England service for the burial of the dead was used. Rt. Rev, C. D Schofield, Bishop of Columbia, reading the prayers, and Rt Rev. H. E. Sexton, Bishop-Coadjutor. and Very Rev. C. S. Quainton, Dean of Columbia. taking the other parts of the rites.


The fully-vested choir was present and opened the services with the singing of the Twenty-Third Psalm, and the two hymns sung were “O God, Our Help In Ages Past” and the Easter hymn, “Alleluia.” The organist also played special memorial music as a postlude. followed by the Chopin Funeral March. The church was still beautiful with the Eastertide decorations.

| The funeral procession left the family residence, Clovelly, Sea Terrace, Esquimalt, at 11:30 o’clock. On arrival at Christ Church Cathedral at noon, the casket, which was draped with a purple pall, was borne to the chancel steps by the active pallbearers: J. O’Reilly, P. E. Winslow. R. Swlnerton, Gordon Parrell, Colonel the Hon. P. G. Wood and A. W. Harvey. The honorary pallbearers were George Kidd. A. T. Goward, Percy Criddle, F. W. Jones. Major B Tyrwhitt Drake and George Allen.

The remains have been taken to Vancouver for cremation.


Among those present at the funeral were Commander George Jones, R.C.N , officially representing His Excellency the Governor-General; Hon J. W. Fordham Johnson, Lieutenant-Governor; Mrs. Selden Humphreys. Miss Elinor Dunsmuir, Mrs. R. Drost. Guy Langton, Jack Bryden, Charles Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. George Phillips, D. J. Angus, E. W McMullen, Fred Nation, Mr. and Mrs. R. H. B Ker, Miss L. Bryden, Brigadier J Sutherland Brown, Byron Johnson. M.P.P.; W. Hyslop, Edwin Tomlin, Hew Paterson. Colonel Lennox Irving, Norman Fraser, A. Henderson, Charles Hensley. Brigadier D. J. MacDonald, Col. C. B. Russell.

Hon. Dr. S. F. Tolmle, Mrs. L. A Genge, F. B Pemberton. J. L. Dunlop, Mayor David Leemlng. Chief of Police Thomas Heatley, Sir Percy Lake, Charles Milne. A. D. King, K.T. Matson, J. L. Tait. S. J Halls, J. W. Spencer, W. H. Bullock- Webster, R. F. Taylor, Herbert ‘Stevens. Henry Helsterman. Alderman Dr. J. D. Hunter, C. P. Hill. Hon. John Hart, R. H. Pooley, K.C., M.P.P.; C. J. Prior. John L Mara,  A. J. Watson.

Hls Honor Judge Lampman and Mrs. Lampman, Major H. B Hunter,  J. Y. Copeman, J Graham Graham, Roger Montelth, Major W. H Langley, Herbert Kent, Llndley Crease, K.C.; Hugh Allan, H. Harman, Michael Cassidy, James Wood, Miss Mary Lawson, Miss Lottie Bowron, several representatives of the Esquimalt Chapter, I.O.D.E. and many others.”

(Source: Daily Colonist, 15 April 1936, page 2)

Here are some websites with more information on Sir Francis Stillman Barnard:

Sir Francis Stillman Barnard is buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C.

Sir Frank Stillman Barnard, family grave, Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C. (photo by Mark Anderson)
Sir Frank Stillman Barnard, family grave, Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C. (photo by Mark Anderson)
Sir Frank Stillman Barnard, grave inscription, Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C. (photo by Mark Anderson)
Sir Frank Stillman Barnard, grave inscription, Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C. (photo by Mark Anderson)

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