Independent Woman and Trailblazer
Nettie Florence (Faris) Elliott was a fascinating character who traveled across the United States in a horse-drawn covered wagon. Her reputation as a trailblazer continued throughout her life.
Nettie Florence Faris was born in Des Moines County, Iowa, USA on May 26, 1865. She was raised a Methodist, and was one of nine children born to Samuel Faris, a farmer from Washington County, Indiana, and Frances Ann (Montgomery) Faris, of Adams County, Ohio. Nettie’s ancestors were early Scottish Colonialists. Her three-time great grandparents, Patrick Montgomery and Agnes McCord, were recorded in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in the 1720’s.
Nettie Florence Faris married John Hess Elliott on February 18, 1888 in Adams, Ohio (See the biography of John Hess Elliott). The couple had two children, Theodore Fay (1888 – 1958) and Elva Eleanore (Elliott) Patterson (1896-1973). In 1898 Nettie Florence and her family crossed the border into Vancouver, British Columbia and made the Fairview Slopes district their home.
Nettie Florence continued her independent ways. She smoked a corncob pipe and taught herself how to drive at a time when it was not popular for women to do so. She was also one of the first to exercise her right to vote when women in British Columbia were extended the franchise in 1917. In addition to being an active gardener, Nettie participated in many community minded projects in the City of Vancouver through her membership in Grandview Chapter No. 8, Order of the Eastern Star, a Masonic organization, and Mizpah Rebekah Lodge No. 2, of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Nettie was also an adherent to Vancouver’s Sixth Avenue Methodist Church, built in 1900.
During the summer months between 1910 and 1916, the family would board the Union Steamship vessels at Coal Harbour and travel to Savary Island, where the Elliott family had built one of the first homes on the island. Nettie Florence (Faris) Elliott died in Vancouver, BC on August 11, 1937.
Biography by Raymond Reitsma, family historian.