The Kamloops, BC Ansteys

by Gary. M. Ansteychief researcher of the Anstey story project.

Overview of the Kamloops Ansteys

The Kamloops Ansteys of British Columbia, Canada are a sub-branch of the Rugby Ansteys, themselves a sub-branch of the Trumpington Ansteys of Cambridgeshire. The patriarch of the Kamloops Ansteys is Francis Senior Anstey (b 1837 Rugby).

Francis Senior Anstey (b 1837 Rugby)

Francis Senior Anstey was born in 1837 (though his obituary below incorrect says 1830) in Rugby, baptised 15 September 1837 in Rugby, to parents Charles Alleyne Anstey and Ann Townsend. In 1855 “Francis Senior Anstey gent [became] ensign” to the 1st Regiment, Warwickshire Militia. However, he must have left England very soon after that because he married Anne Doherty in Detroit Michigan, America in 1856, by which time he was already “from Colchester, Essex, Canada“. They had to our knowledge a single son, being:

In the 1861 Canada Census the family was living in Essex, Ontario, Canada, Francis Senior Anstey was described as “gentleman“. By 1881 he was widowed, living alone in Yale & Cariboo, British Columbia. He was still there in 1901, living with his grandson Walter H. Anstey (b 1882) and still there in the 1911 Canada Census, by now living alone.

Francis Senior Anstey died in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada in December 1922, buried at Pleasant Street Cemetery Kamloops PLOT Section H, Lot 5, Row 1, Sub Lot S.

The ‘Kamloops Telegram‘ 19 December 1922 reported “FRANCIS ANSTEY PASSES AWAY Okd timer of B.C. Was Nineteenth in Descent from King Edward III A very distinguished old timer of British Columbia passed away in this city yesterday in the person of Francis Senior Anstey, who was 19th in descent from King Edward II of England. Mr. Anstey was in his 93rd year and up to a month ago enjoyed good health, his tall soldierly figure being familiar on the streets of Kamloops for quite a number of years, though on account of his reserve not many knew who the old gentlemen was. A short time ago he fell on Victoria street breaking his leg. Pneumonia was the direct cause of his death. The funeral will take place from Gordon’s Funeral Parlors tommorow (Wednesday) morning at eleven o’clock, the service being conducted by the Rev. John Leigh. The late Mr. Anstey was born in England in August 16, 1830, son of the Rev, Charles Alleyne Anstey, who for 45 years-from 1819 to 1864–was a master at the famous Rugby public school. Mr. Anstey was for sometime An officer in a British line regiment, then came to Canada, settling on a British land Grant in Ontario, over forty years ago he came to British Columbia and he has lived here continuously ever since. The Anstey Arm of Lake Shuswap was named after him by the late George M. Dawson. Dominion geologist. In 1856 he was married in this country to Ann Doherty, by whom he had two sons, the widow of one of whom, Mrs. Charles Townsend Anstey, at present lives in California. A grand son George Roy Anstey, lives in Boston. Among the Plantagenet ancestry of Francis Senior Anstey are many prominent figures in English history, among them Richard III, Duke of York, whose mother was Lady Anne Mortimer, a great granddaughter of King Edward III. and whose father was Richard Plantagenet, Earl of Cambridge, a grandson of the same King. A relative of recent times was Anstey, the author of “vice versa” A niece married Rider Haggard, the well-known novelist. Capt. Butler, author of “The Great Lone Land”, and Mrs. Anstey were old time friends.

From the ‘San Francisco Call‘ May 13 1911 edition “Friend of Two Presidents; Francis Senior Anstey, grandfather of the young man now in this city has devoted the greater part of his life to the task of establishing his claim as a Plantagenet. He is the son of Rev. Charles Alleyne Anstey, M.A. Master of Rugby School England. The youth led such a gay career that his Reverend father sent him to America, where he continued his joyous existence until the well filled wallet given him by his father was practically emptied. He was a close friend of President Buchanan and of President Grant. His father gave him another start and he went to Canada. He established himself at Kamloops, BC. where he lived the life as a hermit. Charles Townsend Anstey son of the hermit, won the hand of Georgina Durno Thayer in Portland.

According to the local Shuswap History website “Born in England in 1830, Anstey was a legend in his time, a 6 foot 6 inches tall, powerful man who often mentioned he was a descendent of the Black Prince, the son of King Edward III. He likely came to British Columbia in the 1850s and helped build the last Hudson’s Bay Fort in Kamloops in the 1860s. The first trees in Shuswap were felled by Anstey in 1878 then in 1880 he preempted 320 acres at the head of the arm named after him, where he logged and cut shakes and shingles that were rafted on to Kamloops.

The ‘Vancouver Daily World‘ 19 May 1911 reported “KAMLOOPS MAN DESCENDANT OF BLACK PRINCE Francis Senior Anstey, Who Claims Lands of Marquis of Townsend, Has Sons in Seattle. MAY SOON SUE EARL Young Member of Family Will Go to England and Start Suit, They Declare. SEATTLE, May 19.— Living in a modest little home at 4216 Chilberg avenue, Alki point, is a man who claims to be a direct descendant of the Black Prince of England, and his daughter the last Plantagenet, in line for millions now held by the Marquis. And in Seattle visiting them, is George Roy Anstey, youngest brother, equally of “royal”blood. Not until the last few years was their claim proved. For 60 years Francis Senior Anstey, now of Kamloops B.C., and grandfather of James and George kept the secret. Neither his sons nor grandsons made any public claim until two years ago, when King Edward VII. discovered the hermit life Francis Anstey، according to his grandson had been leading. THEIR. FRIENDS LAUGHED, Meantime the Ansteys, the seal released from their lips، began telling some of their acquaintances of their “royal” blood and the millions waiting for them across the seas. Proof lacking friends only laughed،scoffed and ridiculed them. Francis Anstey resolved that the taunts should be quieted effectually so he bent every energy to establish his claims. Receipt of the proof has followed, he says, and now the grandfather is preparing to go to England to gain possessions of lands rightfully his. James Durno Anstey, the Seattle descendant, is at present in Los Angeles and will not go to England, but George Anstey will follow his Grandfather soon. His mother already has departed from Victoria B.C., for Boston, thence she will go to the mother country. Francis Senior Anstey, who brought all the exile upon his heirs was the son of Rev. Charles Alleye Anstey, M.A., master of Rugby school in England. He was a wild youth and hoping to settle him, the father gave him $50,000 and shipped him to America. The fortune soon went and the father angry cast of the son with a $10,000, Francis then went to Canada, took up the life of a hermit and continued to be unknown to the outside world until King Edward discovered him.

Oregon Daily Journal‘ 15 May 1911 reported “ANSTEYS AT LAST ESTABLISH CLAIM AS PLANTAGENETS George Roy Anstey of Long Beach Cal., Has full proof of Claim; Portland Girl Married Into Family. (Social Dispatch to The Journal) San Francisco May 15.—Taunts and Jeers will no longer be hurled at George Roy Anstey, a printer when he asserts that he is a lineal descendant of the Black Prince and the Last Plantagenet. He is now in San Francisco on his way from Long Beach to the sickbed of his mother in Victoria B.C., the proud bearer of absolute proofs of his royal descent. Misfortune has beset the Ansteys for three ‘generations because of their claims to royal blood. Friends have become enemies , marriages have been unhappy and families have been disrupted. But now the Marquis De Ruvigny and Raineval has published a large volume, in which the genealogy of the Plantagenets is given, and the Ansteys find their names were as they always asserted they should be— as direct descendants of Edward III. Francis Senior Anstey, grandfather of the young man now in this city, has devoted the greater part of his life to the task of establishing his claim as a Plantagenet. He is the son of the Rev Charles Alleyne Anstey., M. A., master of Rugby school, England. He was a close friend of President Buchanan and of President Grant. He went to Canada and established himself at Kamloops B. C., where he has live the life of a hermit. Charles Townsend Anstey, son of the hermit, won the hand of Georgina Durno Thayer in Portland, Or. This Anstey soon made life miserable for his charming wife by carousing. The couple finally separated and he went to Kimberly, where he is reported to have been killed. The wife supported her four children during their childhood and was for a time employed in the state capitol of Sacramento. Walter Herbert Anstey, one of the sons, left home nearly 10 years ago and was not heard of again until just recently, when he joined his mother in Victoria, saying that he had been in England. Now George Roy Anstey, the son who has been working as a printer in Long Beach, is journeying homeward and there will be a reunion which will be particularly happy because of the realization that they have establsihed their rightful claim to Plantagenet Lineage. Francis Senior Anstey, intends going to England soon to present his case in an effort to gain the little and lands due him.

The ‘Daily Colonist‘ on 4 June 1911 reported “CLAIMS PLANTAGENET DESCENT: Another chapter has just been written in the curious case of Francis Anstey — while at present sojourning, not of his own free will, in the provincial jail at Kamloops, as a result of a transaction in square-face gin of which an Indian was the purchaser — is through near relatives pressing a claim for wealth and title which, if successful, will win for him recognition as one of the bluest-blooded aristocrats of ancient England. The active agent in the advocacy of the Anstey claim has just been in Vancouver. and in connection with his flying visit there, a local daily prints the following: “With the official proof of his blood-connection with the monarch of England of six centuries ago, contained in a ponderous volume, “The Plantagenet Roll of the Blood Royal,” just published by Melville & Co., London, George Roy Anstey is en route from California to join his brothers on their 320-acre ranch near Kamloops, where their grandfather, Francis Senior Anstey, one of the pioneers of that district, still resides. He is in his eighty- second year. ” ‘For three generations our family has been ridiculed for laying claim to this distinction.’ said Mr. Anstey, ‘and those of us who are left are naturally gratified in having that claim finally and officially satisfied.’ “Mr. Anstey, who is a printer by trade, and for many years a resident of Long Beach, Cal., is in his twenty-sixth year, the youngest of four sons of Charles Townsend Anstey, two of whom, Charles A. and Walter F. are managing the Kamloops ranch. The fourth son, James D., resides in Los Angeles, their father left Victoria in 1893 during the gold rush to South Africa, and died there a year later. The grandfather, who, although past eighty-one, contemplates another trip back to the Old Country, is the son of Rev. Charles Alleyne Anstey, M. A., master of England’s famous Rugby school. “A few years ago he received a letter from the Marquis of Ruvigny, stating that he had been instructed by the King to trace the exact line of descent of the House of Plantagenet, and as a descendant Anstey was asked to assist in tracing the family in America. A week ago, the grandson. George Roy Anstey, received a copy of this elaborate work. It contains his own name as the youngest son of Charles Townsend Anstey. On his way to Vancouver with the proofs he visited Portland, where his mother resided and where for years the claim of the family had been ridiculed.

[Note: This Anstey sub-branch is indeed directly descendent from the Plantagenet Kings, but through Ann Calvert (wife of Christopher Anstey the poet), not through the direct Anstey ancestral lineage]

There are numerous places in Kamloops named after Francis Senior Anstey, namely:

  • Anstey Arm: “Shuswap Lake’s Anstey Arm was named after Francis Anstey by George Mercer Dawson in 1888“;
  • Anstey River: a 30 km river, part of Shuswap Lake “named for Francis Senior Anstey, who operated one of the first major logging operations in the area“;
  • Anstey Range: a mountain located in Kamloops Division Yale Land District, British Columbia and has an elevation of 1799 meters.
  • Anstey-Hunakwa Provincial Park: a provincial park in the Shuswap Country of the Southern Interior of British Columbia, Canada

Charles Townsend Anstey (b 1857)

Charles Townsend Anstey was to our knowledge the only son of Francis Senior Anstey. He was born in 1857 in Upper Canada and he married Georgina Durno [Ray] Thayer in Portland “Charles Townsend Anstey, son of the hermit, won the hand of Georgina Durno Thayer in Portland while Senator Jonathan Bourne was his rival“. They had children:

  • Charles Alleyne Anstey (b 1880 San Francisco, in 1911 he was helping his grandfather manage the Kamloops ranch (though for some reason he doesnt appear in the 1911 Canada Census). He married first XXX and then Esther Lovera Newland in 1914 in Victoria, British Columbia. In the September 1918 Draft Registration for World War One, Charles noted that he was a “ship fitter” living at Eddy Street, San Francisco. By 1920 Charles was divorced, living in San Diego. By 1942, during Draft Registration for World War Two, Charles was living at Main Street, Portland Oregan. Charles Alleyne Anstey died in 1963 in Washington – we have no evidence of any children);
  • Walter Herbert Anstey (b 25 January 1882 San Francisco (some sources say Nova Scotia), living with his grandfather Francis Senior Anstey in Yale, British Columbia in 1901 and he was helping him manage the Kamloops Ranch in c1911. However in the 1910 American Census he can be found boarding at Prosper Coos Oregon working at a lumber mill. In the September 1918 Draft Registration for World War One, Walter was living at Market Street, San Francisco, an “auto truck driver“, nearest relative “Georgina D. Anstey” . Walter died in Port Townsend, Jefferson, Washington in 1950, buried at Bremerton, Kitsap, Washington);
  • James Durno Anstey (b 1883 Oakland, California. He married Lilly Josephine Larson in Kings, Washington in 1909 and they had a daughter Georgina Julia Anstey (b 1909 Los Angeles, married Herbert Riewe in King, Washington in 1929). He also had another daughter Grace Anstey (b post-1920, married “Launt“) and another daughter who married Jack Rutis. The family were living at Los Angeles Assembly District 72 in the 1910 American Census – he was still residing in Los Angeles in 1911. In the September 1918 Draft Registration for World War One, James was living in Seattle, King, Washington, a “revising clerk for Pacific Steamship Company“. By the 1920 Census they were still living at King, Washington; James was a “labourer on steam ships“. In 1931 James remarried Anna Baehr in King, Washington. By 1942, during Draft Registration for World War Two, James and Anna were living in Park Street, Portland, Oregon. James died in 1966, buried at Acacia Memorial Park and Funeral Home, Lake Forest Park, King County, Washington); and
  • George Roy Anstey (b 1885 Oakland, California, he was a printer by trade, residing in Long Beach, California in 1911, though we cannot locate him in the 1910 American Census (see above for more on this gentleman) – the ‘Long Beach Telegram‘ on 19 September 1911 reported “SCION OF ROYALTY HAULED INTO COURT TO PAY HIS BOARD BILL Indignant Landlady Not Impressed With Blue Blood but Wanted Her Due. Although he could trace his ancestry back to the fourteenth century and is a direct descendant of King Edward the Third of England who was born in 1312 and who died in 1377 George Roy Anstey was forced to appear before Justice Underwood today to answer to the charge of attempt, members of parliament, poets, knights, dukes, earls, solicitors at law, clergymen and men who held less distinguished offices. Among the list mentioned as direct ancestors of George Roy Anstey are the Duke of Clarence, the third and fourth earls of March, the earl of. In the meantime Mrs. Anstey came to Long Beach and was an interested spectator at the court hearing and also took a large part in the testimony concerning her son’s character. When the young man, who is only 26 years of age, was searched a leaf from Duvigny’s Plantagenet Roll of Blood Royal, was found giving his complete family tree. King Edward the Third who reigned in the fourteenth century and who married Phillipa of Hainalut, heads the list. After him come a long line of men and women distinguished in English history.“. George married Frances R. Carane [Crane] in Los Angeles in 1915 and they had at least one son George Roy Anstey Jnr (b 1916, died Nov 1966 Santa Cruz). In the April 1918 Draft Registration for World War One, George was living in San Diego, California, a printer for the City Printing Company. In 1922 he was living in Boston. By 1940, George was living in Los Angeles with his wife – he was a book binder. George Roy Anstey died in Feb 1966 in Santa Cruz)

In 1892 Georgiana D. Thayer (Anstey) was trustee for the four above children with regards the will of Sarah T. Ellison, late of the city of Brooklyn – presumably they were beneficiaries of her estate.

Charles Townsend Anstey died in c1894, having “left Victoria in 1893 during the gold rush to South Africa, and died there a year later” per the ‘Daily Colonist‘ 4 June 1911 edition above. His widow was living in California in 1922

However we believe his actual death may have been in 1896 in South Africa (though research continues as there are numerous inconsistencies here) – the ‘Victoria Daily Times (British Columbia)‘ on 9 July 1896 reported “Annesty missing. Mr Charles Annesty, a former resident of this city [Victoria], when last heard of was engaged in lime making just outside the city [of Salisbury, Marshonaland] and was the only white man in the immediate vicinity. It is feared that he was one of the many settlers massacred by the Mashonas before the troops were dispatched from the city. Mr Annesty while here [Victoria] carried on a grocery business in the Clarence Block [81 Douglas Street] in partnership with Mr Howell. He was a widower and leaves a little daughter who resides with relatives in the east“. The ‘Vancouver Daily World‘ on 30 November 1896 reported “The killing by the Matabeles in South Africa of Charles Annesty formerly of Victoria has been confirmed by private letter just received. It had been hoped that he had been carried off as a prisoner and his life might have been spared, but all hope of his being alive has been abandoned“.

Adverts for “Annesty and Howell” (grocers) appear in various Victoria newspapers in 1894, suggesting he left for South Africa very soon after that.

Further Details on the Kamloops Ansteys

We are actively on the lookout for Kamloops Anstey experts alive today who are willing to add their findings and knowledge to this project. We are particularly interested in research regarding Kamloops Ansteys who fought in World War One, preferably with personal souvenirs such as letters sent by the soldiers or military photos etc. 

Anybody who has such expertise and inclination, please contact us at research@theansteystory.com.

We have already uploaded bits of information and documentation about the Kamloops Ansteys, and continue to upload more all the time (see Project Updates), however it is spread over various segments of the website.

The best way to find said information is to enter ‘Kamloops’ in the search box at the bottom of this page and a list of relevant pages will appear.

Anybody who finds any mistakes on this page, please contact us at research@theansteystory.com and we will correct it.

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