Photograph - Ellen Aitken (nee Brown) ; Aitken, John; 2017.1.142


Mayne Island Museum


Photograph - Ellen Aitken (nee Brown)

About this object

Ellen Aitken was the daughter of Agatha (nee Quijack) and Alec Kimsquit. She met John Aitken about 1895 in Sooke, BC where she was living with her mother and stepfather George Brown. The story goes that Ellen's stepfather, George Brown, did not want her to marry John Aitken and during an altercation, the stepfather was shot and injured. George pressed charges and the case was sensationalized in the Victoria Daily Colonist during the last half of 1897. John and Ellen were married Jan 9, 1897.

John and Ellen moved to the Gulf Islands, living on Moresby and Galiano, and in the early 20th century they settled on Mayne Island. They had 6 children. Ellen died in 1909 with the birth of her last child. She was 30. In the Aitken collection of glass plate negatives there are only a couple of pictures of Ellen and a photo of her grave on Galiano.


Aitken, John

Maker Role


Place Made

Mayne Island

Subject and Association Keywords


Subject and Association Keywords

Gulf Islands

Subject and Association Keywords

Mayne Island

Subject and Association Description

As a young man John Aitken immigrated from Lanarkshire Scotland to British Columbia in the 1880's. He married Ellen Brown from Sooke and they moved to the southern Gulf Islands, finally settling on Mayne Island. He became interested in photography and on his journey to the Klondike gold rush in the 1890's he took photographs of the Chilkoot Pass and of himself outfitted for the trip. The family remembers that he returned from the Klondike with a gold nugget for one of his daughters. Widowed in 1909, he raised his 6 children on Mayne, operating a store at Miner's Bay until 1923 when he moved to a farm where he lived until 1955. The last few years of his life were spent living again at Miner's Bay. He died in 1959.


Elliott, Marie: "John Aitken - Amateur Photographer" in BC Historical News, Vol 17, No 3, 1984.

Nellie Aitken Georgeson, “Some Mayne Island Personalities”, A Gulf Islands Patchwork, Gulf Islands Branch, BC Historical Association, Pender Island, BC., Eighth Printing, 1991. P. 26.

Johnnie and Annie DeRousie, “John Aitken”, Centennial Year Mayne Island Fall Fair, Aug, 1971. P. 16.

Object Type


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