Local History Advent Calendar 2022 – Day 18 – Mortimers in Mount Pleasant

It’s back! I has been 3 years since I published my last Local History Advent Calendar! So much has happened since that last time—including the publication of my first book, Mount Pleasant Stories—that I figured it was about time to dust off the Local History Advent Calendar once again. Similar to a regular advent calendar but instead of chocolate treats, each day you “open” a new historical treat. Think of them as holiday cocktail party fodder– 24 facts or stories about local history that can be used as conversation starters at your next social event.

1912 Fire Insurance Plan showing the Mortimer house on the SE corner of 3rd (Lorne) and Ontario.

Around 1909, widow Lucretia Mortimer and her 7 children moved from their home in Strathcona to Mount Pleasant. They lived in a house located at 6 East 3rd (then called Lorne Street) until around 1914. Lucretia (nee) Alexander was the daughter of Charles and Nancy Alexander, original Black pioneers who came to British Columbia in 1858 following a call for colonists from Sir James Douglas.

The Alexanders settled in Victoria and played an influential role in shaping community life in Victoria and Saanich in the mid-to late-1800s. Their daughter Lucretia (born 1861 in Victoria) married William E. Mortimer in 1887 in New Westminster. Originally from the Bahamas, Mortimer was a “restaurant keeper” or cook in New Westminster.

1911 Canada Census enumerating Lucretia Mortimer as head of household along with her family and lodgers – 15 people living in the home.

Their eldest son, Ebenezer (Ab) Alexander Mortimer (1889-1969) was a local baseball player, coach & umpire. Born in New Westminster he worked as a longshoreman and played with the I.L.A. [International Longshoreman’s Association] team (w/ teammate Eddie Nahanee) against the Asahi’s, C.P.R., & Sprott-Shaw in the Van City League. He was the top hitter avg .400. The I.L.A. Baseball Team were City League Champions in 1920.

The I.L.A. Baseball Team were City League Champions in 1920. Photo: Stuart Thomson, CVA 99 – 3234

Mortimer was also a veteran of WW1 & WW2 and is a member of the Vancouver Baseball Hall of Fame. .https://www.labourheritagecentre.ca/mortimer/

The Province, August 28, 1953

You can find more Mount Pleasant stories in my walking tour book, Mount Pleasant Stories. Copies are available for purchase in Mount Pleasant at Pulpfiction Books – 2422 Main Street and in Chinatown at Massy Books – 229 E Georgia St. It makes a great gift or stocking stuffer for your favourite local history buff!

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