WHITTON and RITCH -Surname Studies and people from the Island of GRAEMSAY, Orkney

Henry Robert Mountifield

Henry Robert Mountifield

Male 1867 - 1938  (71 years)

Personal Information    |    Notes    |    All

  • Name Henry Robert Mountifield 
    Born 1 Mar 1867  Lewisham, London Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 12 Jul 1938  Edomonton, Alberta Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I31336  Whitton
    Last Modified 22 Jan 2019 

    Father Theophillis James Mountifield,   b. 1832, Alverstoke, Hampshire Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1899  (Age 67 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Mother Eleanor Evans,   b. 1829, Cork, Cork, Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1909, Portsmouth Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 80 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Married 13 Jun 1861 
    Family ID F11876  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Margaret Houghton,   b. 1889,   d. 5 Mar 1959, Edmonton, Alberta Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 70 years) 
     1. Eleanor Mountifield  [natural]
     2. Jim Mountifield  [natural]
     3. Mae Mountifield  [natural]
    Last Modified 22 Jan 2019 
    Family ID F11875  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Henry Mountifield was born in Lewisham, England on March 1, 1867, attended Portsmouth Naval Academy and obtained a Master’s degree from the London School of Arts. He was just 20 when he headed off to Asia and settled in Japan for eight years. The Klondike Gold Rush lured him to the Yukon and Alaska and 1897 and he ran a store in the Yukon for a while.

      The gold rush over, he and his Irish-born wife Margaret Houghton went seeking new opportunities and they chose Edmonton, arriving in 1902 along with their four children. Two years later, Edmonton became a city and Mountifield was named its first auditor.

      When it came time to purchase property, Henry and Margaret decided on the neighbourhood west of downtown, just as it was beginning to find favour among the city’s newly affluent. In 1905 Edmonton was in the midst of its first great boom of the 20th century, and hundreds of newcomers were pouring in every month. The demand was enormous for housing and services.

      The growing community between 9th (109 Street) Street and the new Glenora Estates was not yet named but was referred to as the West End. There had been intermittent housing constructed around the Catholic mission on 10th Street (110th Street) since the first church had been built on that site. The addition of the mission school and two hospitals made the area more attractive and lots were soon being sold on both the east and west ends of the community.

      Driven by the aggressive marketing of the Great West Land Company and speculative developers and builders, the former Groat farm was rapidly developed. This included the Glenora Estates, Westmount and the western section of the Hudson’s Bay Reserve to 21st Street (121st Street). On the Hudson’s Bay Reserve, west of 9th Street (109th Street), housing was being constructed firstly and most intensely on the south side of Jasper Avenue.

      From the lip of the river valley and along avenues like Victoria (100th), huge homes began to dot the landscape and, in the first dozen years of the 20th century, the West End solidified its position as one of Edmonton’s most prestigious residential areas. While millionaires perched their mansions prominently overlooking the valley, middle-class houses and workmen’s bungalows filled the streets and avenues behind them.

      The house the Mountifields were to call home on 112th Street was one of the first on the block, and one of the most unusual for its time and place. It was constructed by a local contractor named J.H. Miller for a cost of $2,550. Architect James Wize brought a flair for the unusual to the commission and his choice of a mansard roof also set the house apart from most others in Edmonton built this period. These roofs were common in eastern Canada at the time, especially in Quebec, but were relatively rare in the west.

      Historic photographs reveal that the brick facade was originally not painted, and that the shingles on the second storey were also a different colour. The roof of the front porch has been replaced by a second-storey balcony, and the diagonal lattice railing on the balcony and front porch is also not original.

      In addition to serving as Edmonton’s first auditor, Mountifield was also active in real estate in the city with his firm Mountifield & Graves, which became Jasper Brokers. His community involvement included time as president of the St. George’s Society. When war broke out in 1914, he enlisted and served with the 63rd Battalion, and later the 19th Alberta Dragoons.

      Henry and Margaret Mountifield were to have 10 children - seven daughters and three sons. Henry was renowned as a cricketer, and several of his offspring became famous for their own success in sports.

      After the First World War, the family moved to a house at 10150 121st Street and another at 12219 Stony Plain Road starting around 1929. Margaret and Henry then lived in Suite 25 of the Lemarchand Mansion, and Henry died on July 12, 1938 at the age of 71. Margaret lived to be 80, and died in Edmonton on March 5, 1959.

      Now, nearly 110 years after the Mountifields built it, the house is being given a new lease on life. Funding provided as part of the municipal designation will assist with the anticipated $181,000 cost to fix and restore the foundation, finishes, windows and doors, and roofing and framing.