Scarce Golden BC Dairy Token

I had some luck at a VNS show in the 1990’s. This token showed up and I had not heard of it so I bought it. Golden, B.C., is not really a noted token issuing place. It was a dairy token so I rather assumed that it would be from the 1930’s or 1940’s before the plastic dairy tokens came in. But no, this one turned out to be earlier (around 1910’s which was unusual.

Diary TokenSince this token was found at about the same time things were going on line. I was able to find out that a Basil Ashton Bradley had married an Owena Frances Starforth in Golden on June 8th, 1910, and, apparently, that the same Basil Ashton Bradley had died in Vernon on December 30th, 1940 at the age of 58. Having engaged in a little obsessive research recently and having more things having come on line (especially in the form of some related family looking for the “Bradley” people) and more sources to search, some facts about Basil Ashton Bradley have emerged but the story is not complete. Some of what has been found out was due to the fact that his father was or became in some ways known because of his having a position in the Church. Basil’s fortunes seem at least to have been influenced by those of his father at least once. His father was the Reverend William Henry Bradley who was 80 years old when he died on January 24th, 1919. Basil was born at Kingsland, Herefordshire in 1883. As such was the case he thus registers both on the British census of 1891 and 1901. In the latter case he was, on the day the census was recorded, living in the residence of his father but in the case of the former he is living with the family of a William Barlow and Mary E. Wrigley, their sons and daughters and their household staff in Ormskirk, Lancashire. He is described as being a “nephew”. It is not clear as to whether he is a nephew of the husband or the wife. Mr. Barlow was 79 at the time and Mary Wrigley was 40. It is conceivable that Basil was just visiting or resided there for a while. There is no reason given as to his being there.

At the time Basil was born his father was the Rector of Kingsland and he was apparently into his second wife (the first having died in 1877). He was the rector until 1884 when he became the Vicar of Elsdon, Newcastle-on-Tyne, a post he held until 1906. In spite of this living there then I could not find a record of the father in the 1891 census, which does pose the question as to why. I could find not much on Basil’s mother, except that she was born Lucy Ashton Barlow in 1859 in Altrincham, Cheshire. The 1901 census has her at being 42 but she is not in residence with the father and son during the census. In between 1901 and 1910 Basil came to Canada. We know that he came to Canada by the latter year because both the British Columbia Archives and the Victoria newspaper the “British Colonist” (of June 17th, 1910) record that he was married to a Miss Frances Owena Starforth in Golden. Her father, John Henry Starforth (or sometimes Henry John Starforth), is on the 1898 B.C. voters list and is recorded as operating a restaurant in Golden. Her mother Isabella (apparently called “Bellla”) died on January 30th, 1933 at the age of 67 in Golden. Her father died in Essondale on May 13th, 1942 at the age of 77. Essondale was where people with mental health problems were sent to and his grave is registered in Woodlands School as “BC Mental Health Services Burials”. It is not recorded why he was sent there. Nor is it recorded what happened to Frances Owena Bradley after she married Basil, except that there was one son as a result of the union named Owen. Basil, sometime between 1910 and 1919 returned to England, and not, as was common for then recent English immigrants or so called “remittance” men to serve with the British forces during World War One, because he is not on record as having served and would have been about 31 at the time (and married, which did help). The next we hear about Basil’s father is in the London Times, where, in the January 27th, 1919 issue it is recorded that “the Rev. William Henry Bradley, a retired clergyman, formerly of Elsdon, Northumberland, fell down dead while walking on the Queen’s Park Golf Links, Bournemouth on Saturday. On July 15th, 1919, the London Gazette had a notice in it notifying whosoever his creditors might be that it was necessary for them to get their bills to the state of the executor of the will before the first day of August 1919

GoldenBCThe next we hear of Basil is when he returns to Canada in 1919 with his second wife, a Marion (or sometimes Marian) Guest (and, in one case, Gurst) and that they had been living on Hallwood Farm in Cranbrook, Kent. They later had two sons – Arthur James Bradley and Ronald. Thence we cannot find anything more about the wife. She was, incidentally, born in 1888, in Cranbrook, Kent. Basil died in Vernon on December 30th, 1940. It may well be that when the father died there were enough funds given to Basil, as a result of the settlement of the will that he could return to Canada, with his wife, and start up all over again, but it is not clear.

There are a few questions here. First of all we, to a certain extent, still have to date the token. There is no indication of why Basil came to British Columbia, when he took to farming and or the dairy business in Golden (indeed when they got married in 1910 the newspaper article stated that it was their intent to set up house in Michel, which is some distance away from Golden). Secondly, what happened? Thirdly, what happened to the wives? Fourthly, why did he go back? Fifthly, what did he do when he went back? Sixthly, what happened between 1919 and 1940? There is a period of about 21 years here! Somehow, for this obsessive person, the story is just not as complete as it should be. This is the only token known to have been issued by him and the only known example of it. There conceivably could at least have been tokens for one quart of milk or a gallon also. At the time there was no really strict enforcement of pasteurization and any person could set up a dairy if he had the building, the cash and the cows.

~ Duff Malkin

First published in The Shoreline June 2009

Ron Greene notes: According to Bradley’s obit he was only in Golden from 1910 until 1914.  It is not that unusual for dairy tokens in the Kootenays to have been issued that early.  Since they appear near railway towns earlier than elsewhere I believe that the dairy suppliers must have come out on the railway and sold equipment and supplies such as tokens.

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