"History isn’t a myth-making discipline, it’s a myth-busting discipline ..."

Sir Richard Evans FBA

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mary Hairsine

On behalf of BC Hydro, who'd lost information about its location, I recently revisited a grave on Hairsine's old property. Charles Miller writes that the grave "was Thomas Hairsine's lasting rememberance of his wife..." and that Hairsine "would climb to the grave site every morning or afternoon and sit and meditate, drinking in the beauty of the view. " In fact Mary's husband was Joseph Robson Hairsine. "Thomas" was the name of one of her children. Mary Hairsine was a daughter of William Magnus and Mary (Salunimia) Cromarty. William Cromarty was cooper of Fort Langley. Mary Hairsine left three children: Thomas Malcolm, William Gowan, and Margery.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Brodie (work notes) II

http://web2.gov.mb.ca/cca/vital/Query.php Edith in England was given this link for vital information from the government of Manitoba.

Here she found the registration of the mariage of John Brodie and Janet Dickson (first names) Beattie in Portage la Prairie on 15 April 1891. She also found a registration of the death of a John Dickson Beattie at Shoal Lake on 7 March 1907. The inclusion of the name Dickson as a first name suggests a family relationship. Purchase of a copy of the certificate may be necessary to find out.

Janet Dickson's death certificate shows her birthyear as 1842 so she was around 50 when she married John Brodie. Her father's name is given as John Dickson. His daughter, Janet Dickson could have been married to a "Beattie" before she married John Brodie (is John her son) or did her mother have married a Mr. Beattie?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Who built the Byrnes houses?

After the "Looking Back" column, Whonnock's Aunt Hill appeared in The News, 8 August 2007, I received a call from Margaret Matson (née Leaf) telling me that not Winnifred Gordon, but a Miss Rogers built the two Byrnes houses for herself and her sister, a Mrs. Davies. Miss Rogers must have sold the houses to Mrs Gordon since Byrneses acquired them from her and not from Miss Rogers.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Brodie (work notes)


Janet Brodie (Dickson) – b. 14 March 1842 d. 21 December 1914 in Whonnock. Buried Shoal Lake, Manitoba. Father John Dickson Mother Esther Hardie.
She was 5 years in district (arrived 1909) and 41 years in the country (arrived ca. 1873, 31 years old). She has been traced in Melrose, Scotland, in 1871 (census) living with her mother, Esther.

John Brodie – b. 3 October 1852 d. 15 June 1938
Father John Brodie Mother: Mary Waterson. Burried Whonnock Cemetery
He was 37 years in the district (arrived 1911) and 81 years in the country (arrived ca. 1857 -- 5 years old). Trade: retired Hudson Bay factor. Census 1881: John Brodie, Male, Scottish, 29, Scotland, farmer, Presbyterian. Little Saskachewan, Manitoba. John Brodie's name shows up in Maple Ridge assessments for five acres starting in 1910.

Canada census 1901. Manitoba/Marquette/Shoal Lake/r3/page 11. Household 126. Shows John and Janet Brodie as Head/wife.

There are four Brodie graves at the Whonnock Cemetery—only John Brodie’s has a grave marker. The others seem empty. Inscription on grave marker: BRODIE / In loving memory of / JOHN BRODIE /1825 - 1938 / Born Beith Scotland.

John Brodie’s grandmother (Elizabeth Brodie nee Wilson) died in Buffalo NY on 24 May 1875. John Brodie’s mother, Mary Waterson, b. 1858, died in Paris Ontario 4 July 1897. Obit in Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, an Ayrshire local paper that was circulated in Beith. Canadian obit seems to show 5 August 1897.

Descendants in the UK have following obit (publication source unknown):

Passed away at his residence in Whonnock, June 15th 1938, in his eighty-fifth year, John Brodie, He leaves to mourn his passing five nephews, Arthur, Vancouver; Andrew, Toronto; Charles, New York; Herbert, Buffalo NY; Russel in Wisconsin; and one niece Miss Ruth Brodie, Buffalo NY and his sister in law, Mrs. James Brodie. Funeral services will be held at the United Church, Whonnock, June 17th 2:30 o’clock. Rev. Mr. Guy of Coquitlam officiating. Internment: Whonnock Cemetery.

The nephews are children of John Brodie's two brothers:

James H. Brodie A Mrs. Jas. H. Brodie or Mrs. James Brodie, sister-in-law of John Brodie, appears in the communion role of the United Church in Whonnock in 1929 and she is recorded by the church as moving away on 4 May 1939, almost a year after John Brodie’s death.

The US 1880 census lists a James H Brodie (aged 24 - b. 1856 in Canada), with a wife named Dorcus, (age 23 ) in Buffalo, Erie, NY. If Dorcas was the Mrs. Jas. H. Brodie in Whonnock, she would have been 82 years old when she moved away from Whonnock.

Andrew Brodie married to Lena Millman. Sons John Arthur (Vancouver) and Andrew (Toronto).

John (from Whonnock) seems also to have had two sisters, who are buried with their parents in Paris, Ontario.

Mary Brodie, who died on June 21st 1872 (14 years of age) and Elizabeth Brodie who died 1867 aged 19 years.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Dangers of Dave's World

I discovered on the Internet that in 2000, Jay S. Jones, submitted a thesis with the title The Cleansing Time at Simon Fraser University, for his MA degree. The thesis is available in pdf format on the Internet. Click here to read or download the 118 pages.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Simon Fraser slept at Hammond

Where did Simon Fraser and his companions sleep in the night of 1 July 1808? Fraser refers to a "native village" and a good number of inhabitants. The records don't give definitive information where that village could have been but it is placed somewhere between Mission and Barnston Island.

A few years ago, Nick Doe, using Simon Fraser's latitudes and tidal observations, established convincingly that the "native village" would be at Hammond or very close by. Perhaps on the south shore, but definitely not furher up the river. (BC Historical News, Vol. 33 No. 2, Spring 2000 and personal communications).

Archaelogical evidence has shown that there was once an extensive village site at Hammmond.

Supporting evidence to Doe's claim is the fact that the villages from Hatzic to Port Haney had been depopulated by the smallpox epidemic of 1782. No large settlements could be expected on that stretch of river.

Kirby II

1911 Census of Canada / B.C. - New Westminster / 40 Dewdney Riding /
page 3

Living at Whonnock - Immigration 1888? M.W. is a farmer
33 23 Kirby M.W. M Head S Jun 1865 45
34 23 Kirby Hanah J.D.M. F Sister S Mar 1858 53
35 23 Kirby Agnes D.R. F Sister S Jul 1866 48
36 23 Kirby Henrietta C. F Sister S Aug 1868 42
37 23 Kirby Shirlda H.E. F Niece S Jul 1906 4

Neighbours included Spilsbury & Baker/Boulanger [Annie Spilsbury & August

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Aunt Hill

"Looking Back" column in The News, 8 August 2007

The two neighbouring Byrnes homes, west of the post office, were constructed for Winnifred as speculative rental houses in 1931 and 1932 by contractors Ralph Daniels and Dick Whiting. These buildings are now part of Whonnock’s heritage.

Margeret Matson(nee Leaf) suggests that it was not Winnifred Gordon, but a Miss Rogers who built the two houses for herself and her sister, Mrs. Davies, with three boys and a girl. Mrs. Gordon must have bought the houses from Miss Rogers since the Byrneses purchased the house(s) from her.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


At the Whonnock Cemetery are four graves of members of the Kirby family: Murdoch William Kirby (1865?-1945), Agnes D.R. Kirby (1862-1950) Hannah G.M. Kirby (1858-1956). Also the grave of Evelyn Shields (1906-1931)

Five Kirby's siblings came to Canada. (1) Hannah, (2) Agnes, (3) Norborne, (4) Murdock, 5) Henry Grey. Norborne returned to England. Murdock farmed in South Langley (Campbell Valley)before settling in Whonnock around 1911. Hannah, Agnes, both unmarried stayed with Murdock.

Henry Grey Kirby (did he come later, around 1900? and settled in Burnaby(?). I know of five children: (1) John Murdoch, (2) Emily Maude (who married Albert Shields); (3) Henry Gore Reginald (uncle Reggie); (4) Eleanore Constance (5)Isobel Hastings (who married Wedge).

Evelyn, who lies burried in Whonnock,was the daughter of Emily Maude and Albert Shields.

Arthur Wedge married Isobel Hastings Kirby on 30 July 1930 at Edmonds BC
Burnaby) She died on 3 January 1961 in Maple Ridge at the age of 67.

Henry Grey Kirby died 25 November 1932, age 81 in Burnaby.

Eleanor Kirby died 23 December 1984, age 97 in Haney (Maple Ridge)

Henry Gore Reginald Kirby died 18 December 1971, age 87 in Haney
(Maple Ridge.

Emily Maude Shield died 23 May 1922, age 42 at Langley

Friday, August 10, 2007

Whonnock and the Kwantlen

Katzie Ethnographic Notes / by Wayne Suttles; edited by Wilson Duff. by Suttles, Wayne P., 1918-,Victoria, B.C.: British Columbia Provincial Museum, 1955, [1979 printing].

page 12

Avove the Katzie were several villages that, according to Simon, were wiped our or nearly so, by smallpox before Fort Langley was founded. [Listed sites at Derby, Whonnock, Ruskin, and at Hatzic.] On the south bank between the last two were the Matsqui, who survived the epidemic.

Simon referred to the "Derby people" as a "separate tribe" who owned the Salmon River on the south side of the river and possibly Kanada Creek on the north side. He referred to the Nicomekl River, from which the Indians and early traders portaged to the Salmon River, as ... the "river of the Semiahmoo. However, a Semiahmoo informant at Lummi said the original inhabitants of Mud Bay, where the Nicomekl has its mouth were a tribe called [Snokomish] and that their river was called [Snokomish, now become Nicomekl. The [Snokimish] were wiped out by the smallpox before the whites came, whereupon the Semiahmoo, who had intermarried with them, extended their territory northward to include that of the former [Snokomish] around Mud Bay.

In view of these two accounts it seems likely that the Derby people, who we might call "Sokomish," occupied both a segment on the Fraser and a bit of saltwater shore-line at Mud Bay, together with the two streams that make canoe navigation from one
place to the other possible with only one short portage. After the Snokomish were wiped out, the Semiamoo took over the salt-water section of their territory so that what the Semiahmoo considered the "Snokomish" river came to be the "Semiahmoo" river for the people of the Fraser.

According to Simon, after the Hudson's Bay Company established Fort Langley the Kwantlen moved up-stream to be near to the fort and established themselves on McMillan Island. For this reason they became called the "Langley tribe." After this move they took over the territory of the other villages wiped out by smallpox mentioned above.