Gilbert Edward Cashenaye Hooper was born on 22nd July 1887 at Claines, Worcestershire, the youngest of four children, and only son, of Frederick Ingledew Hooper and his American wife, Lilian James (née Studebaker). His two eldest sisters, Margaret and Winifred, had been born in America, where Frederick had emigrated to in 1875. It is thought, though, that Frederick ran into financial problems, hence the reason for the return to England in about 1885 and to stay with Frederick’s parents at Claines. The announcement of Gilbert’s birth appeared in The Worcester Journal of 30th July 1887: “HOOPER – July 22, at Tapenhall, Claines, the wife of Frederick Ingledew Hooper, of a son.” His sister, Dorothy, had been born at Claines the year before.
In about 1889-1890, Gilbert’s parents returned to America, taking with them Margaret, Dorothy and Gilbert. On 25th June 1890, Frederick applied to the Superior Court of the county of San Diego, state of California, under the name Frederick I Hooper-Ingledew, for citizenship of the USA. This was duly granted. For the next decade or so, Frederick’s surname always seemed to appear as Hooper-Ingledew, although Gilbert always seemed to appear as Hooper.
By 1901, the family had returned to England and were renting Elm Farm at Wickhamford. At the time of the cenus, 13-year-old Gilbert, described as “G E C Hooper”, was a boarder at Prince Henry’s Grammar School in Evesham.
It is not certain when Gilbert emigrated to Canada. In his 1958 obituary, it said “he came to British Columbia in 1907 from the prairies”. However, the 1921 census said that he emigrated in 1912. A “G Hooper” of the right age sailed from Southampton, arriving in Quebec in 6th September 1912. In answer to the question, “Have you ever been in Canada before?”, 1910 is recorded with the words “Returned Canadian”. His destination was Vancouver, British Columbia; his occupation was given as a carpenter but he indicated that he had worked in farming for two years. If Gilbert had gone to Canada in 1910, there was a person with the right initials: on 6th April 1910, “G E C Hooper” sailed from Liverpool bound for St John, New Brunswick. He was described as a Clerk, aged 36 (his actual age was 22).
There is no evidence to suggest that Gilbert joined the armed forces during the First World War. His parents came out from England to live with him in May 1915 and, in May 1916, and again in January 1917, Gilbert placed an advert in the Vancouver Daily World for a farm-hand: “Must be good milker and used to horses.”
On 10th March 1921 in Vancouver, Gilbert married Mary Elizabeth Proctor (née Matheson), a 31-year-old widow whose husband, Thomas, had died in 1916. The following report appeared in the Nanaimo Daily News of 12th March 1921:
Nanaimo Native Daughter was married in Vancouver – daughter of Mr Alex Matheson united in marriage to Mr Gilbert Hooper
The home of Mr & Mrs Alexander Matheson, 3124 Second Avenue West, Vancouver, formerly of Nanaimo, was the scene of a pretty and interesting wedding on Thursday evening when their eldest daughter, Mary Elizabeth Proctor, became the bride of Mr Gilbert C E Hooper, son of Mr & Mrs Engledew Hooper, Terra Nova, Lulu Island. The ceremony took place in the presence of the immediate relatives, Rev A D MacKinnon, BD, officiating.
The bride wore her travelling suit of velour burgundy, with corsage bouquet of roses and violets, white furs and pretty white Georgett hat, and was attended by her sister, Mrs F C McCullough. Mr Kenneth Matheson supported the groom.
Yellow daffodils and white carnations were tastefully arranged about the rooms and a dainty buffet supper served after the marriage service. The groom’s gift to the bride was a beautiful set of fox furs. The matron of honour received a handsome set of Indian earrings and the groomsman a tie pin.
The popularity of the bride was evidenced by the many gifts, amongst which were a mahogany tray with the dogwood flower engraved in silver, the crest of the Native Daughters of BC, the bride being the past chief factor of Post No 1 of this organization.
A pretty morecroft vase from the Kitsfiano Presbyterian Church choir, cut glass from the Vancouver Milling Co, and exquisite linen and cut glass from the Robert Morris Chapter of the Order of Eastern Star, the bride being the worthy matron of the last-named society. Many other tokens of esteem were given.
Mr & Mrs Hooper left the same evening for a short trip south, and on returning will reside at Terra Nova, Lulu Island. The invited out-of-town guests were: Mr & Mrs F Ingledew Hooper, Terra Nova; Mrs Lillian Hooper, Las Vegas, New Mexico; Mrs W J Anderson, Worcestershire, England; Mrs Horace Ross, Bedford, England …..
At the time of the 1921 Canadian census on 1st June, Gilbert, a farmer, and Mary, were living in Richmond, New Westminster, British Columbia. This was on Lulu Island, the largest island in the estuary of the Fraser River, located south of Vancouver. According to the census, he emigrated to Canada in 1912. His father, who emigrated to Canada in 1915, was recorded as lodging with them.
In 1938 Gilbert purchased property in Saltair, a community on the east coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Here he cleared the land, built cabins, put in his own water system and enlarged the store, before retiring in 1949. In August 1949, he and Mary were responsible for the initiative and enterprise in building a community hall at Ladysmith to serve the district. The following report appeared in The Vancouver News-Herald of 15th August 1949:
New Saltair Hall to open August 20
LADYSMITH – Mr & Mrs Gilbert Hooper, Saltair, are receiving the congratulations of the community for their initiative and enterprize in building a community hall to serve the people of the district. Since the re-opening of the schoolhouse there, the community has lacked adequate accommodation for various functions which have become a vital part of the life of the thriving district …..
Gilbert died in Ladysmith General Hospital, Vancouver Island, on 5th May 1958, aged 70. He was interred in the plot at Mountain View Cemetery where his parents were buried. His wife’s first husband, Thomas Proctor, was also buried in the same plot. The following newspaper article appeared in The Ladysmith Chronicle of 8th May 1958:
Masonic Rites held for the late Gilbert Hooper
Funeral services for one of Saltair’s most respected citizens were held on Wednesday afternoon in St John’s Anglican Church with the Reverend D B Houghton officiating.
Mr Gilbert Edward Cashenaye Hooper who passed away in the Ladysmith hospital on Monday following a heart attack at the age of 70 years, was born in Claines, Worcestershire, England.
He spent his early life between England and the United States, immigrated to Canada as a young man and came to British Columbia in 1907 from the prairies. Most of his years in British Columbia prior to coming to Saltair were spent farming on Lulu Island.
Twenty years ago he purchased the property where the Sunny Service enterprises now stand. He cleared the land, built the cabins, and put in his own water system and enlarged the store from the tiny building it was to its present size. He retired from the store in 1949 and since that time has lived in semi-retirement.
He was an active member of St John’s Lodge AF & AM. Prior to coming to Saltair, he was very active in Masonic lodge work on the mainland.
Interment will take place today in the family plot, Mountain View Cemetery, Vancouver. In place of flowers a donation to the Heart Fund would be much appreciated.
Mary died on 1st August 1968 in Ladysmith General Hospital and was cremated. The following report appeared in The Vancouver Sun of 5th August 1968:
Last Rites held for BC Daughter
NANAIMO – Last rites for the original chief factor of the Native Daughters of British Columbia, Mrs Mary Elizabeth Hooper, were held here today. Rev L U Clark of Wellington United Church officiated in Westwood Funeral Chapel. Cremation followed.
Mrs Hooper, 78, who was born here, died Thursday in Ladysmith General Hospital. She was also a member of Sharon Chapter 4, Order of the Eastern Star, in Ladysmith.
She leaves a brother, Kenneth Matheson, Kingston, Ontario, and a sister, Mrs Catherin McCullough, here.