Dominic Daniel Joseph Dempsey Loftus

Usk, British Columbia, Canada

Usk BC was supposedly named by:
Dominic Daniel Joseph Dempsey Loftus

  • aka: Dominick Daniel Joseph Dempsey Loftus
  • aka: Daniel Joseph Demsey Loftus
  • aka: Daniel Joseph Demsey
  • aka: Daniel J. Dempsey
  • aka: Dan J. Dempsey
  • aka: Dan Dempsey
  • aka: Major Daniel D. Loftus (as shown on his headstone) per Michael T. McLaughlin

Dan's Army picture,
courtesy Maureen Hebert, Granddaughter of his Twin brother, William

Yes he went by all these names from birth to death!

He ended up being a Superintendent on the GTP Railroad.
Turns out folks have been trying to find this guy since then.
an email from Helene McRae in Terrace, explained the need to find this fellow, and what happened to him.
Hearing this my search began.

July 1908 he was Foreman of 170 men in Wainwright AB
1912 he was Foreman, General Construction Gang, of the GTP.
May 2, 1914 he was at MacLeod River, AB with the GTP.
Oct 13, 1917 Vancouver Sun reported he was alive and was in a hospital in France, but he was back fighting with the Railroad Battalion, and now had the Rank of Captain.
Before this he was reported dead.
Article shows him as the Star Tracklayer of the GTP.
Sept 26, 1918, awarded Military Cross,
another great clue in Mar 28, 1934, He is shown as Major Dan Dempsey, in the Shaughnessy Hospital in Vancouver,
He was being visited by the Governor General of Canada.
the Governor General was really impressed with his pulley system.
In the hospital he invented a pulley system, he was using to strengthen his spine.
He had been shot in the spine in France.
He won fame by building a light railway behind Vimy Ridge.

Corrections Michael McLaughlin submitted with the article Nov 26, 2018
FYIhighlighted Orange copy below shows differences as per newspaper article, versus some of your existing site copy if you want to revise it —”

His nickname was “Iron Man Dempsey”
He got his nickname after a run away CPR freight engine (a run away string of ten flat cars carrying heavy steel rail and one box car loaded with ties from a GTP tracklaying train at the Wainwright Train Yard) was heading toward a bridge (the big Battle River Bridge, 12 miles westward from the town of Wainwright, Alberta) where men (a lifting gang) were working, and he threw an iron rail in front of it to derail it.
He swung from a tree branch to escape injury, (He was thrown clear over the edge of a low bank, striking head-on, amid the sand and gravel) but he saved many lives. A very Heroic Fellow!

Per Michael T. McLaughlin - I also have a large paper copy of the full-page Newspaper story about Dan Dempsey, (which took place in 1908/09) titled: FLYING STEEL- Death, at a Mile a Minute, Was Averted by One Man's Heroism, that appeared in The Vancouver Sun: dated Saturday, April 13, 1946, (ten years after his death).

Vancouver Sun article submitted by Michael McLaughlin

At least now we knew he was alive in 1934, but seriously injured.
Then I checked WWI forms, and sure enough found him, which gave me more clues to fill out his Bio below.

Dominic Daniel Joseph Dempsey Loftus
b- Nov 2, 1874 in Attymass, County Mayo, Ireland
d- Dec 10, 1936, age 63 in Vancouver BC
He is buried in Mountain View Cemetery, Fraser St., Vancouver.

Photo and place of death from Michael T. McLaughlin Jan 2018

he enlisted as Daniel Joseph Dempsey
and worked under this name as well
next of kin his mother- Mrs. Mary Dempsey, nee Loftus
living at Malakwa BC, Sept 1916
Religion- Roman Catholic, Occupation- Railroad Construction
Rank- Major- Railway Construction Corps

Birth Discrepancy
Ok now found 2 birth dates for this guy
one I found first was Oct 2, 1878, Co Mayo, Ireland
but I really think his proper birth date is
Nov 2, 1874 in Ballymore (Attymass), County Mayo, Ireland
also his name was Daniel Joseph Dempsey Loftus which is what he used when he died.
then I found Nov 26, 1874 in Ballina, Ballina, Mayo and Sligo, Ireland as his proper birth record.
His brother William has same date. Twins!
This was verified by his Grandson, that they were twins.

Identical Twin- William Michael Loftus
photo courtesy Michael T. McLaughlin
More Info from Michael- I am the Great-Grandson of the Identical Twin brother to Daniel, William Michael Loftus. I have a very fine (head and shoulder) portrait photo of William M. Loftus, and being that the two men were identical twins, it helps give an excellent idea as to what the two men looked like. My Grandmother was Helen Loftus- McLaughlin/Gillies. Her sister, Violet, was just a little girl when Dominic visited their home and she met him for the first time. She said she was quite shocked as she thought it was actually her father William Loftus. If you wish I can email the image to you. William Loftus and wife Sarah actually had (7) children: son- Thomas Loftus 1898-1971, daughter- Patricia Loftus 1900-1967, daughter- Helen Loftus 1902-1971, son- William Loftus Jr 1904-1975, daughter- Vera Loftus 1907-1981, daughter- Violet Loftus 1909-1999, daughter- Agnes Loftus 1912-1993.

Death Discrepancy-
It is no wonder finding this guy was hard,
His death record is Daniel Joseph D. Loftus
age 63
b- ca 1874 add 63 = 1936+-
found a record for a Dominic Daniel Joseph Dempsey Loftus
b- 1874 in Ballymore, County Mayo, Ireland
that's quite a lot of names for one guy
but all these appear in the names below.
is this the real name of this guy?
He used Dominic as first name on marriage cert
so you bet it was

Father - Mother

Father- Stephen Loftus
b- abt 1830 in Attymass, County Mayo, Ireland
d- Nov 19, 1905 in Kamloops BC, age 75
buried in Pleasant St. Cemetery, Kamloops BC
(another source says he was born in 1832, another 1836?)
headstone says 1837?

married Abt 1860 in Ireland
Mother- Mary Dempsey
b- Abt 1841 in Attymass, County Mayo, BC
d- Apr 21, 1921, Sumas BC
buried in Catholic Cemetery, Sumas BC
daughter of Michael Dempsey
per online source, the family moved to Conn USA first, then to BC, ca 1895-1890.
Oldest brother Michael stayed in Conn obviously, since he died there

siblings of Daniel:
Supposedly 8 children total, so missing one
there is an Annie Loftus in Kamloops cemetery,
could easily be the extra one I am missing, but only a guess.
b- county Mayo, d- Mar 25, 1937, RIH Kamloops, age 76

brother- Michael Loftus-
b- Abt 1863 in Co Mayo, Ireland
d- Abt 1912 in Stamford CT, USA
married Annie Kerrigan, (sister to Sarah below), after 1897.

brother- Thomas Luftus
b- Abt 1866, in Ireland
d- Jan 29, 1892. Golden District, BC. age 26

sister- Catherine Loftus
b- Dec 8, 1868, Ballina, Co Mayo, Ireland (date of baptism)
d- Feb 18, 1946, Bellingham WA, USA
She married a Mr. ? Huntley first, he died.
She married Walter Harwood, Oct 7, 1919, Chilliwack, BC
He was divorced, b- 1877, Bedwood Minnesota, USA
When she married 2nd time b- shown as 1872?

brother- William M. Loftus (Twin to Daniel)
b- Nov 2, 1873 in Attymass, Co Mayo, Ireland
d- Apr 28, 1929 in Revelstoke BC, age 66
buried in Pleasant st., Cemetery, Kamloops BC
he was a CPR Roadmaster
he married Sarah Jane Kerrigan in Stamford Conn, 1897
b- 1873, County Mayo, Ireland
d- June 21, 1956 in Vancouver BC, age 83
buried on Pleasant St. Cemetery, in Kamloops BC

William and Sarah had at least 2 children:
daughter- Ellen Loftus,
b- Feb 13, 1902
d- at home, Notch Hill, BC

son- Thomas Edward Loftus
b- Feb 28, 1898 in Malakwa BC
d- Aug 27, 1971 Royal Inland Hospital, Kamloops
buried in Hillside Cemetery, Kamloops BC
Thomas Edward Loftus enlisted in WWI
enlistment form says he was born in Craigellachie
Reg # 2771302

brother- Stephen Loftus
b- Oct 28, 1881 in England
d- ?
I did find a Stephen Edward Loftus
b- Oct 21, 1885, in Hartlepool England
next of kin wife Sousan Loftus
living in Lestock SK,
when he enlisted Nov 2, 1915 in Saskatoon.
Occupation Tracklayer
is this the brother of Daniel?

sister- Mary Loftus
b- Oct 25, 1883 West Hartlepool, Durham, England
(age 17 when she married in 1900)
d- Aug 31, 1973 in Vancouver BC
Immigrated in 1886 per 1911 census

Mary Loftus married Thomas Dempsey June 29, 1900, at Catholic Church, Revelstoke BC.
b- Dec 15, 1871 in Attymass, County Mayo, Ireland
(1870 on headstone, 1871 on Marriage Cert)
(b- Dec 13 in 1901 census)
d- Dec 29, 1945 side road north of CPR main line, Malakwa BC, age 74
buried in Malakwa BC
Immigrated in 1888 per 1911 census
1928 and 1934 directory shows him as CPR foreman in Malakwa BC
1941 shown as a farmer same place

Her mother- Mary Loftus, nee Dempsey lived with her daughter and family
in 1911 in Kamloops, shown a Widow, b- Apr 1835, age 76
Thomas shown as a Section Foreman and Farmer, here as well

Thomas and Mary both living at Craigellachie when married
Thomas shown as a ranchman, age 29, when he married

Thomas 50 years in BC when he died, 51 in Canada (1894)
Section foreman CPR railroad
supervising track maintenance and repairs.
retired Dec 31, 1936, worked for 40 years for CPR

children of Thomas Dempsey and Mary Loftus.
Nephews and Nieces of Daniel

son- Thomas Mickle “Michael” Dempsey
b- Sep 15, 1901 at Revelstoke BC
d- ?

son- Dominic “Daniel” Dempsey
b- Aug 16, 1903 in BC
d- Jan 3, 1930, 3691, 29th Ave E, Vancouver, age 27, from TB
brother in law, Robert Symington Wilson
living at 2655 Charles St., reported his death

daughter- Mary Ellen Geniveve Dempsey
b- June 1904 in Spatsum BC
dressmaker age 22, living in Malakwa BC
she married Robert Symington Wilson, June 8, 1923 in Vancouver BC

daughter- Aquila Dempsey
b- Sept 1906 in BC
d- ?

son- William Alexander Dempsey,
b- Aug 1908 in Black Canyon, BC
d- Jan 7, 1973, Vancouver General Hospital, Vancouver BC
married Elsie Randall, Oct 25, 1926 in Victoria
He is shown age 50 living in Vancouver BC
married Edith Kennedy, 2nd wife
Ocean Cement Truck Driver

son- Louis “Joseph” Dempsey
b- Dec 31, 1910 in Malakwa, BC
d- July 17, 1983, Campbell River and District Hospital DOA, age 72
married Joan Barrett Scott

1901 the family were at Spences Bridge area
here it shows Thomas immigrated in 1891
and Mary in 1889
Thomas shown as a Section Foreman at CPR again

1891 Thomas is shown as a Railroad Labourer, age 20
with father “Dominic” Dempsey, age 40, Section Foreman & Farmer

Sept 4, 1918 his mother Mary lived at 237 Landsdowne Ave W. Vancouver

marriage for Daniel Joseph Dempsey Loftus
Dec 31, 1895 in Vernon BC, to Isabella Vera Grant
b- Apr 7, 1878 in Polk County, WI, USA
d- bef 1936
daughter of Alexander Grant and Mary Elizabeth Seed

why didn't he use her as next of kin when he enlisted?
Daniel shown as a widow when he died in 1936.

Daniel and Isabella had 5 children:

2 names unknown

Elizabeth Mary Loftus
b- Feb 10, 1897 in Craigellachie, BC
d-May 18, 1897 in Craigellachie, BC

Enid Stella Loftus
b- May 5, 1898 in Armstrong BC
d- Sept 30, 1971 in Kamloops BC
married Joseph Francis Scallon

Dominic V. Loftus
b- Mar 12, 1900 in BC
d- ?

I knew we had a problem in the name when I found his will info:
BC Supreme Court Probate/Estate records

Reel no- -name- -Probate file no
B-8829- -Loftus, Daniel Joseph Dempsey- -P-22234 -Dempsey, Daniel Joseph (a.k.a.)-

Additional information Jan 2019
If you are adding anything to that page you might mention that he had two sons from the second marriage to Rebecca Carroll:Clarence (my dad) and Thomas.
The Halls changed their names but my uncle Tom reverted back to Dempsey when he left the Halls.
When in Wainwright my grandmother found he had another lady in Edmonton so there went marriage no.2!
He continued with The Grand Trunk and did become Superintendent until an event described in Barry Broadfoots book the Pioneer Years (page 354) ended that!
He then went to work with the Northern Construction Co.on the Panama Canal and stayed until its completion.
On returning to Canada he joined the239th O.S RLY Construction Corps.
He moved his birthdate to 1878, likely to be a bit younger! All my records, including census, marriage and death certificates have his birth year as 1873.
As for taking his mothers maiden he was likely trying to make a fresh start.
Hope you enjoy these additions!
Info above credit Dorothy(Hall ) Sande

1851 UK Census
Father appears as Stephen Loftas, Servant, in England

1871 UK Census
Shows Stephen Lofthouse, at Stranton, Durham, England

1881 UK census shows family in England
The Loftus family appears in Stranton, Durham, England
living at 3 Thompsons Yd.
Father Stephen age 45, Ireland, shown as a Brick Layers Labourer.
mother Mary Loftus (nee Dempsey), age 40, Ireland
son- Michael Loftus, age 18, Ireland
son- William Loftus, age 6, in Ireland
son- Dominic Loftus (Our Dan Demspey), age 6, in Ireland
they had a boarder Joseph Wright, age 40

Looking on a Map this area is very close to Scotland, On the North East Coast of England.

1891 Canada Census
Stephen Loftus, age 55, appears in Spallumcheen, Yale, BC

Stephen Loftus had 3 brothers
Thomas, Patrick and Dominick Loftus

Now why did he work and fight in the war under Dempsey and die under Loftus surname?
Only thing I can think of is the Dempsey Surname, was well known in the CPR Railroad Circles of BC.
Using this surname for his work, helped open doors.
When he enlisted he was using that name for work.
When he died he used his proper surname.
But after he married he never did use Dominic again.
It is no wonder finding this fellow's information was such a problem in the past.
Without new online data, finding him would have been impossible.

Now how he ties into Usk, in Scotland, is my next Quest.
He is supposed to have named Usk BC after this area.
(see EXT link below)

Had a nice phone call from his grandson, who lives in Kamloops, forgot to ask if I can use his name, so for his privacy I will not.
He called Dec 14, 2013.
He did tell me he was known as a gentleman, and was well respected.
He told me some stories that probably shouldn't be published here.
One that I hope is OK to show here, is below.
He did tell me a Lynn Gordon Hall, was a son of Dan, and his second wife.
mother shown as Rebecca Carroll, in birth records
Lynn Hall was a school teacher in Big Valley AB
Lynn Gordon Dempsey
aka: Dr. Lynn Gordon Hall
b- June 10, 1907 in Portage LaPrairie, MB
d- June 2002 in Edmonton AB, age 93
Funeral June 6, 2002
1911 he is in Medicine Hat with father- C. Holton Hall, and Alice Withers Hall
I did find him in 1922 age 14 going to school there.
He was adopted by the Hall family, and took their name.
I hope I wrote this down correctly!
1935 he was Principal at Big Valley School
Mr. and Mrs. Hall ran the Dorm there.
wife- Clara
I show Lynn G. Hall in 1945 as a School Principal in Lethbridge AB
in 1962 as a School Inspector, same place.
1972 he was in Edmonton AB
1999 he is still shown in Edmonton

EXT Links
Note- Not my web sites
links may or may not work in the future

Usk named by Daniel Joseph Dempsey

WWI Army enlistment

Loftus surname meaning

William and Sarah headstone


  • Last modified: 2019/01/25 16:55
  • by dlgent