Born in Surrey, United Kingdom in 1845, Edgar Crowe Baker led a life marked by accomplishment and personal tragedy. After a decade of service in the Royal Navy, Edgar moved to Canada in 1872 with his wife Francis. A few years later, he was living in Victoria and became involved in the city’s politics and business activities. Over the following decades, he worked as a city councilor, marine surveyor, and hospital director and was involved with telephone and electric companies. In 1882, Edgar was elected to the House of Commons, where he represented Victoria until 1889. Edgar and Francis had a daughter, Elizabeth Cecelia, who died of diphtheria at the age of three in 1884. Edgar noted in his diary that his business associate, Peter O’Reilly, called to offer condolences. A decade later, Francis died of a heart condition. Edgar’s journal entry from July 6, 1894 reads: “At 8:40 my poor old darling expired in my arms. The rest cannot be penned. Farewell!!!” Two years later, Edgar married Marion Henrietta Clapham (who was 20 years his junior). They lived at his residence on Victoria’s Gorge Road until his death in 1920.
List of Calling Cards
The Point Ellice House collection contains hundreds of calling cards left for the O’Reilly family by visitors. This initial research was conducted by Public History students at the University of Victoria, and these biographies constitute only a portion of the individuals represented by the calling cards within the collection.