Portrait photo of Francis James Roscoe of Victoria, Canada, 1829-1878

 

Francis James Roscoe
of Victoria, Canada

1829-1878

Born: 28 December 1829 in Liverpool and died 20 December 1878 in Canada.
Son of Willam Stanley Roscoe (1782-1843) and Hannah Eliza Roscoe (nee Caldwell, 1785-1854).
Brother of:
1. Elizabeth Jane Roscoe (1820-1846).
2. Anna Mary Hutton (nee Roscoe) (1821-1852) who married Richard Hutton.
3. William Caldwell Roscoe (1823-1859) who married Emily Sophia Malin .
4. Arthur Roscoe (1825-after 1903).
5. Thomas Stamford Roscoe (1826-1910).
Francis married: Anna Letitia Le Breton (1835-1922), 22 November 1864 in England.
They had issue:
1. Mary Letitia Roscoe (1865-1883).
2. Katharine Roscoe (1868-1942).
3. Francis Aikin Roscoe (1870-1945).
4. Millicent Smith nee Roscoe (1873-????) who married Geoffrey Smith.
5. Thomas Le Breton Roscoe (1878?-1917) who married Gertude Kate Hudson.

Francis James Roscoe: An Overview

Francis was a Canadian entrepreneur and Member of Parliament.  He was born in Liverpool, England and later settled in the Ross Bay area of Victoria, British Columbia.  He was the younger brother of poet William Caldwell Roscoe and the grandson of English historian and writer William Roscoe.  Francis was a partner in several hardware and ironware ventures. In 1870, he became the Commissioner of Savings Banks for the British Columbia colony.  He stood for election as an Independent Liberal candidate in the Canadian federal election in 1874 in the two-member Victoria riding.  He placed second in a close three-way race and was elected along with Liberal incumbent Amor De Cosmos.  Francis did not stand for re-election in 1878 and died later in the year.  He was replaced in the seat by incoming Prime Minister John A. Macdonald who had lost his Ontario seat earlier as the BC portion of the election was delayed.

 

The following note was provided by Ray Lampert:
Francis was married to Anna Letitia Le Breton 22 Nov 1864 in England. Their first child, a daughter was Mary Letitia Roscoe born 17 Aug 1865. She died young in 1883. Second was Katharine Roscoe born 1868 and died unmarried in 1942. Third was Francis Aikin (his mother's mother's maiden name) Roscoe born in 1870 and died in 1945 who also died unmarried. Fourth was Millicent Roscoe, born in 1873, who married Geoffrey Smith in 1904 and had a daughter Francesca Verity Smith born 12 Apr 1910. The fifth child born to FJR was Thomas Le Breton Roscoe, born in 1878 (census shows birth year as 1879 but the following indicates he was born 1878).  Francis James Roscoe commited suicide (suffered from depression) 20 Dec 1878. The newspaper report (Victoria Daily Colonist 21 Dec 1878) says that if he had lived until the 28th, he would have been 49 years old (thus he was born 28 Dec 1829). He is buried in the Ross Bay Cemetery with no other family. On 8 Jan 1879, his wife put up all their household goods for auction. On 10 Jan 1879 she left with the five children to return by ship to England. She never re-married and died in 1922 (she was born 1835).  Additionally, Francesca's grandson Robin Barrow, lives in the US (born in England in 1975).  All five children of Francis James Roscoe were born in Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.  I should also add that the 5th child, Thomas Le Breton Roscoe died in action at Ypres, 20 Sept 1917 (age 39).

 

Francis's Victoria home is today preserved by The Land Conservancy of BC as a rare example of a preconfederation colonial house.

 

Ross Bay Villa which was most likely build by Francis J. Roscoe stands on land owned at that time by Charles Buxton - husband of Emily Mary Holland .

 

I understand that  more information about the history of the Roscoe family can be found in the book "Roscoeana" which was privately printed in 1905.

If you have any information to add to what is listed please contact me on jj@jjhc.info
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