Life in Victoria After Ike’s Death

Widow with Eight Children

What we know about Mary Cordelia after Isaac’s untimely death in 1910 is very limited, mainly information connected to her home and children. A widow with eight children, ages ranging from Charles (Chuck) 16 years and Hannah Irene 6 months, left with the family home att 1338 Grant Street, a few cows, a couple of horses and farming implements was a tough lot. Mary (I use Mary but have also seen her referred to as Delia) was of course 12 years younger than Ike and was 42 years old when Ike died. Eight children in 16 years’ marriage on a butcher’s wages was quite an achievement.

Mary Cordelia Gandy
Mary Cordelia Gandy, probably 1930’s. Photo courtesy Gerry Moore

Paul Hancock’s research in the annual Victoria directories not only gives the family address but also a picture of the occupations of Ike and Mary’s children after 1910.

1912 Mary homemaker, Charles Gandy labourer, Charles F Gandy Milkman

1914 Mary widow, Charles Gandy labourer city engineering, Charles F Gandy driver Royal Dairy, Ernest H plumber, William Gandy, plumber

1917 C Gandy Machinist

1920 Isaac Gandy chauffeur

1923 Martha chocolate dipper

1924 Martha Woolworths

This list also gives rise to a couple of interesting questions: who were Charles Gandy and William Gandy living with Mary and family at 2204 Mt Tolmie Road in 1914? They were not Mary’s and Ike’s children, probably Ike’s younger brother Charles and his eldest son John William, born 1895. William was a plumber, which was useful as in 1913 Mary applied for the house at 1338 Grant St to be connected to the public sewer system. Claire Miller has sent me a copy of the application, with a plan for the interior plumbing facilities to be built.

Read more about Charles  and John William here:

Gandy homes in Fernwood Victoria

Paul Hancock, who lives in next door Fairfield, describes the Fernwood area where the Gandy family lived as follows today:

“Fernwood is a poor neighbourhood with a very mixed population of run down houses with drug addicts and restored homes full of professionals and artists, a very vibrant arts scene and only a 10 minute walk to downtown. A cool place.”

Read more about Fernwood here:

The neighbourhoods of Victoria  are shown on this map:

Claire Miller, now living at 1338 Grant Street, told me that she heard from a source that Mary worked as a teacher. I have not been able to confirm this, but in old copies of The Colonist I read about her success at school exams as a schoolgirl.  This is something still to be investigated.

During the years after Ike’s death, the family lived at different addresses in the Fernwood area of Victoria. Among the addresses Paul Hancock found for Mary and various children were:

2204 Mt Tolmie Road, 1511 Chambers St, 1500 Fort St, 1442 Camosun

As the children grew up and in some cases married, they moved away to homes of their own including:

Pandora St, Pembroke st, Vancouver St, Balmoral, Bellville, Savannah, Harrison, Manchester

Paul Hancock took a cycle ride around these addresses and found that Fort St, Chambers St and Harrison St were all torn down and replaced by apartment buildings in the 1970’s. The house that the family owned at 1442 Camosun was still there (2009) – see below.

Camosun Road
1442 Camosun Road. Photo Paul Hancock

The following eight pages describe in more detail the lives of Ike and Mary Cordelia’s eight children, as far as is known.