John Hess Elliott 1863-1929

Pioneer of Vancouver, Builder and World War One Veteran

A pioneer of Vancouver, John Hess Elliott was a builder of many fine homes. He was also a distinguished World War One veteran, and helped to establish Savary Island as a vacation destination.

John Hess Elliott was born on April 3, 1863 in Butler County, Pennsylvania, USA. His mother was Catherina (Flick) Elliott and his father was Dr. Ferguson Elliott, who studied medicine at Bakerstown, in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. John Hess Elliott’s ancestors were Scottish Presbyterians. They left Scotland for Ireland, and then made the journey to Pennsylvania in the 1700’s in search of political and religious freedom.

John Hess Elliott married Nettie Florence Faris in Adams, Ohio in 1888 (See the biography of Nettie Florence (Faris) Elliott). After their marriage, John Hess and his wife traveled across the United States, and after a short stay in the Slocan Valley, settled in Vancouver, BC.

Once in Vancouver, John Hess Elliott established himself as a building contractor and in 1908 built his own home at 1167 West 7th Avenue. In 1910, John Hess co-founded the real estate firm of MacDonald, Keith & Elliott. This company, located at 2042 Granville Street, not only provided real estate services to its clients, but also offered loans and insurance to its many customers. John Hess also became involved with the early development of Savary Island in 1910. He served as a director of the Savary Island Park Association, and the home and tennis court John Hess built on Savary Island later served as the district’s first school.

On September 23, 1916, John Hess Elliott enlisted with the 242 Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force to serve in World War One. He was severely injured on the battlefield and, months later, was brought back to Vancouver on a stretcher. Although he was not able to work again, he continued to be active in both Masonic and Odd Fellows Lodges. John Hess Elliott died at Shaughnessy Military Hospital in Vancouver, BC on February 6, 1929.

Biography by Raymond Reitsma, family historian.

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