Arthur Cornelius Flumerfelt – A Patron For Golf

Arthur Cornelius Flumerfelt – His contribution to Golf

Access to new historical newspapers, particularly the Grand Forks News, produced a new lost golf club in Grand Forks BC. (April 19th, 1902). “A golf club has just been organized in the city. The course is located on the flat near the train station.”  Immediately we attempt to identify who introduced golf. Generally, the individual arrived from Scotland or England, found no golf existed, built a rudimentary course, and formed a club OR the individual played golf on the Island or Mainland and wanted to continue to play in his new surroundings. The next step is to search the town directory to see if a familiar golfer from the coast has moved to the area. In this instance, a well-known individual, AC Flumerfelt, appeared in the Grand Forks town directory. From previous research we know AC Flumerfelt, a keen Victoria Golf Club member, donated the perpetual BC Ladies Championship trophy in 1905.

Who was A. (Arthur) C. (Cornelius) Flumerfelt?

   Arthur Cornelius Flumerfelt Born in Markham ON 1857 Died in Victoria BC 1930

The Flumerfelt family arrived in North America during the early years of the Methodist invasion from Holland. The family settled in New Amsterdam, the Dutch name for the present-day New York around the 1650’s. During the American Revolution the Methodist settlers generally remained loyal to the British. Many of the British sympathizers fled north to Canada to live under British rule. This group became known as United Empire Loyalists. Many settled in Nova Scotia and Upper Canada (Ontario).

Cornelius Flumerfelt was born in 1774 in Danville, Pennsylvania to Cornelius and Eva Flumerfelt. For some reason the youngster around age ten joined the Clubine Methodist family who immigrated to Markham , ON around 1779 during the early years of the town. Reverend Cornelius Flumerfelt gained the reputation as the “saddlebag minister” bringing Sunday services to the local townships.  Reverend Flumerfelt served Markham and the vicinity until his death in 1861. He and his wife had six children including George Flumerfelt, born about 1820 in Markham. George began his business career in Markham working in the local general store. In the 1850’s he owned the local general store. He and his wife, Cynthia, had six children including Stanley, Arthur, William, Harriet, and George.

Arthur born in 1857 began his business career at age eighteen working in Coburg ON. at a local retail shoe and boot company. As the CPR railway expanded their line across Canada, the prairies became the place for new opportunities, particularly Winnipeg.  The farmers and railroad workers required boots and shoes. In 1879 the enterprising Flumerfelt moved to Winnipeg to open his own wholesale boot and shoe manufacturing company. He operated branch offices throughout the prairies under the name Flumerfelt and Powers.  In 1883 Flumerfelt joined forces with the Montreal based wholesale company Ames, Holden & Co. Arthur managed the western operation. In 1886 the Victoria Colonist announced Flumerfelt and Holden “arrived in Victoria today to survey the surroundings to create another branch office here.”

From 1886 until his death in 1930, AC Fumerfelt considered Victoria his home. In 1895 his company opened another office in Vancouver with AC’s brother, William Flumerfelt as the manager. Previously,  William worked for various company branches of Ames across the prairies including Brandon, Portage la Prairie, and Medicine Hat,  before his arrival in Vancouver.

William Elijah Flumerfelt  Born in 1860 in Markham ON Died in Vancouver BC in 1925

Around 1899 – 1900 Arthur became interested in the mining business, particularly in the Grand Forks area. (Note Throughout his business career Arthur Cornelius Flumerfelt is only referred to as AC Flumerfelt  or AC in all the newspaper reports.) AC and his partners HN Galer, HC Miner, and JP Graves took options on property in the Grand Forks region.  In 1900 the trio purchased the Granby Mine operation. Granby immediately began construction of a smelter in Grand Forks to compete against the Rossland – Trail operation. To supply coal to their smelter the four partners developed new towns in Coleman, AB and Phoenix, BC to supply coal and coke to  their smelter  in Grand Forks.

Perhaps because of his Methodist roots, AC operated the Granby Company differently from other mining operations at that time. The Nelson Tribune described the company business practices as; “One of the mining companies that is making a name for itself as well as a reputation for British Columbia is the Granby Consolidated Company. It has capital of $15,000,000 and operates a smelter in Grand Forks and mines in Phoenix and Coleman. Although its share capital is the largest of any mining company in the province, yet never a word comes from its managers other than words of cheer and encouragement. They do not issue blue- ruin manifestoes. On the contrary, they talk of confidence in the country and themselves. They do not attend meetings of miner’s associations to harass and embitter working miners and cause distrust in business circles by threats of closing down mines.”

Granby ,under the leadership of AC, created the best working conditions for their employees. Here is an example of their care for the living conditions of the workers at Phoenix. Just before leaving AC Flumerfelt announced the company would be constructing additional homes in Phoenix. “There will be six single (one bedroom) and a double house constructed immediately. Each, like those already constructed will be well built and plastered inside in good shape.”  At Phoenix Granby immediately constructed a curling rink for their employees. The company formed a Water and Power Co. to construct facilities including firefighting service for the town. We now ask, “Did AC build a golf course in Phoenix and Coleman” Further research is required.

Because AC became an avid golfer after the formation of the Victoria Golf Club in 1893, it is perfectly reasonable to speculate he founded the 1902 golf club for the miners at Granby in Grand Forks. Research implies this course probably closed around 1905. Previous extensive research shows the second Grand Forks Golf Club formed in 1914. The golfers chose a flat bench of land overlooking Grand Forks for their course. The club ceased operation around 1943 – 1944. Today a gravel pit occupies the site.

With the national success of Granby Consolidated Co., AC Flumerfelt became recognized as a national entrepreneur in mining and smelting business. This success encouraged AC to expand his business interests. In the financial field, he became associated with British American Trust, Great West Life, Canadian Bank of Commerce, Trust & Guarantee and Consolidated Securities. In the lumber sector he purchased Western Cedar and Shingles company. He invested in BC Fishing and Packing Co. and Pacific Coast Terminals.  In the political arena, Premier Bowser appointed him BC’s finance minister in 1917. Apparently, politics was not his favourite pastime. He resigned after one year.

Even though AC became a national entrepreneur he remained loyal to his new home Victoria. He involved himself in many aspects of the social fabric of Victoria. He formed the Victoria Board of Trade and served as President from 1893 1903. He had a special attraction to the local hospitals serving on the boards of the Winnipeg and Vancouver hospitals as well as the Victoria jubilee. AC had a special attraction to local sports in Victoria. In 1913 he joined a group of golfers led by Joe Sayward to construct a new 18-hole golf course at Colwood. Sayward and the others believed the Victoria Golf Club would lose their land due to the increasing property taxes by the Victoria Council.

In 1898 AC Flumerfelt donated the Flumerfelt Cup for club rowing competition for 4’s. Research indicates this trophy was not used after 1940.

He served as President to the rowing, tennis, rugby, and cricket clubs. Each organization received a Flumerfelt Cup for annual competition.  Today only the Flumerfelt Cup is still used for annual golf competition as the perpetual BC Women’s Amateur Championship trophy. Prior to 1905 the women played for prizes in the BC championship, but their names were not recorded on a perpetual trophy. Unlike the women’s competition the men from 1894 competed for the Hewitt Bostock Cup. Because the Bostock Cup always resided in the Victoria Golf Club house or the BCGA office since 1922, the Bostock cup is the original. This trophy has the distinction of being the oldest original national, state, or provincial golf trophy still being used for competition in North America.  All other similar annual competition trophies are replicas of the original. Further research is required to determine if any original women’s national, state, or provincial trophies exist that are older than 1905. Our suspicion is the women’s trophies will all be replicas.

In golf, The Flumerfelt Cup is the perpetual trophy for the BC Ladies Amateur Championship. Flumerfelt donated the cup in 1905. Today this is the only Flumerfelt Cup still  used for annual competitions.

Hewitt Bostock, another Victoria Golf Club member donated the Bostock C8up in 1894 to be used as the perpetual trophy for the BC Men’s Amateur Championship. Today the Bostock Cup is the oldest original trophy for golf competition at the state, provincial, or national championships in North America. All the other trophies are replicas because the originals were lost in fires at various clubs in North America.

We are on the search for any golf photos showing AC Flumerfelt.

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