‘Grantie’s been shot’: Body found near Sutton Creek

One dark October evening Grantie had been shot and his body found in Sutton Creek (near Honeymoon Bay).

Described as a kind and gentle man in the Greendale Journals, Edmund Grant — the namesake of Grants Lake — “was a skilled artist and painted many charming sketches in watercolour.” Although he was “seldom in residence,” recalled Trevor Green, Grant could occasionally be found working at odd jobs around town, building houses, outbuildings or fences.

For several summers he helped with land clearing projects on the March homestead at Honeymoon Bay. Grant sold, to pioneer Frank Green, much of the abundant swamp hay that grew near the lake. Green, accompanied by his young sons Brian and Trevor, made many trips through the village (the long way) in his old horse drawn wagon to pick up the “fine crops of hay” recalled Trevor.

When war was declared in 1914 Grant and Captain Dick both enlisted and were sent overseas, not returning until the Armistice in 1918. During the fours years the men were absent, a few friends kept an eye on both their homes making the rounds to see that all was well at the properties. It was noted that during that time not a single act of vandalism was attempted on either of the men’s vacant and remote houses.

Grant returned home first and assumed his previous quiet lifestyle. Those who knew him, including Frank Green noticed that a “legacy” from his war years followed Grant who had started suffering fits of depression resulting in his disappearance (to Victoria) for what his friends described as “intervals of hard drinking and gambling.”

In 1920, after working for several weeks at March’s farm in Honeymoon Bay, Grant met a young Scottish woman — a guest at the farm — to whom he soon became engaged. All who knew Grant were pleased and looked forward to the wedding, which had been planned for early winter.

So it was quite a shock to his friends when they learned that one dark October evening Grantie (as he was called) had been shot and his body found in Sutton Creek (near Honeymoon Bay).

Rumor had it that Grantie, who had been at the March farm that night, headed out to pit-lamp deer (shoot deer in the dark using a light to blind the animal) that had been destroying the March’s turnip crop.

After he left, a shot was heard but an hour later Grant had not returned so March and his two sons headed out with their lanterns in search of him. They soon discovered his body along side a fence at the edge of Sutton Creek. According to the Marches, it looked like Grant had struggled over, or through, the fence and somehow the loaded gun had discharged inflicting a fatal wound.

Frank and Louisa Green were among those who were convinced that the death had not been accidental but a well-planned suicide. They believed that Grant, by then having an uncontrollable bondage to gambling and alcohol, could not face the upcoming marriage and thus chose to do himself in.

Grant’s house, near the lake that held his name, stayed empty for a few years before being rented out to a succession of tenants. A newcomer named Carreck eventually bought the house and lived there for a number of years. In 1959 the old log house was demolished and a brand new home was constructed on the site.  It apparently remains there to this day.

Born in the West Indies to British parents, Edmond (Edmund) Grant was buried at St. Peter’s Church cemetery at Quamichan. His friend Captain Dick ended up in Nanaimo where he died in 1938.