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

Sir Richard Evans FBA

Monday, December 29, 2008

Arthur William Spokes 1859-1929

Click pictures for enlargement. Gravemarker courtesy Sivertz sisters, 2004. Top Beatrice Johansen nee Spokes. Below Arthur Spokes

A.W. Spokes's 20-acre farm was in Ruskin (NE portion of NE 1/4 Section 5  YWP 15). His land may have been on the east side of Whonnock Creek south of what is now 104th Avenue. I think he bought the property in 1908.

Arthur Spokes, an engineer, arrived on the vessel Victorian at Halifax 19 April 1907, final destination: Vancouver. With him travelled his 40-year-old sister Beatrice Spokes. Beatrice Spokes married Gorgen Johansen in Sapperton on 11 September 1907.

Adjacent to Spokes's grave are the unmarked graves of Johansen and Mrs. Johansen. Beatrice C.Johansen died in New Westminster in March of 1940.

Anthony Childs Spokes, a nephew of Arthur and Beatrice, died on 4 April 1929, age 40, New Westminster.


Vital Events:

Gorgen Johansen x Beatrice Spokes, 11 September 1907, Sapperton, Reg No. Reg. No. 1907-09-119268, Microfilm B11382

Beatrice C Johansen died 30 March 1940, age 76, New Westminster. Reg No. 1940-09-571038. Microfilm B13168

Arthur William Spokes died 12 June 1929, age 69, Ruskin. Reg. No. 1929-09-424637. Microfilm B13137

Anthony Childs Spokes died 4 April 1929, age 40, New Westminster, Reg. No. 1929-09-422026. Microfilm B13137

Check: Gorgos Johansen died 3 August 1943, age 69, Bella Coola, Reg No. 1943-09-628957. Microfilm B13180

GR-1422 -- New Westminster Supreme Court Probate cases
B09626 Spokes, Anthony 3411/1929
B09626 Spokes, Arthur William 3423/1929
B09490 Johansen, Beatrice Caroline 6709/1940

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Click on the illustration to see an enlarged copy of a "birth" page of a bible showing in the lower part the name and birthdates of the children of Samuel Ephraim Cromarty and Carolina Augusta (Garner)Cromarty. Obviously these names were all written down by the same person at the same time.
The same applies to the two names written above perhaps by another person at another time. The names are James Kipp, March 4 (no year) and Robert Kipp, March 7 (no year).
Family tradition suggested that James and Robert were brothers but they were in fact father and son. The 1901 Census shows that James was born on 4 March 1865 and that Robert was born on 7 March 1890 (confirmed by his Recruitment paper).

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Maple Ridge census of 1917

Among the surviving records from the early years of the district is a census of the population of Maple Ridge showing a total of 2210 individuals. The census dates from the spring or summer of 1917. There were at that time in Maple Ridge 1893 whites, 241 Japanese, 62 Chinese, and 14 Hindoo. First Nations people living on the Katzie and Whonnock Reserves were not included in this census.
Compare the 1917 Maple Ridge population of 2210 with the 2006 number: 68,949

Monday, July 21, 2008

Wannick Cannery at Rivers Inlet

Wannuck: (sometimes Wannock or Whonnock), built in 1884 by Wannock Packing Co., Messrs. A. McNeil, W. McDowell, and S. McDowell. It was located at Wannock Cove, on the north shore of the Inlet, west of Moses Inlet. It was acquired by Victoria Canning Co. (R.P Rithet, Thomas Ladner and partners) in 1892 and became part of the B.C. Packers Association merger in 1902. In 1926, it was acquired by B.C. Fishing & Packing Co. with R.P. Rithet Co. as agent. In 1982, it was included in the B.C. Packers Ltd. Merger. It was abandoned in 1934. It was the site of the first summer hospital on the Inlet.
(Cannery Village: Company Town by K. Mack Campbell)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Whonnock at Rivers Inlet and the Fraser River -- not related

In the early 1880s, when a rail station and a post office had to be named, the white immigrant community on the Fraser River adopted the name Whonnock, an Anglicised version of name of the tribe that lived there. It is a Downriver Halkomelem name related to pink or humpback salmon. "Place where there are (always) humpback salmon" or "Place of the humpback salmon," are the most common interpretations of meaning of the name Whonnock. This Halkomelem name was also given to Whonnock Lake and Whonnock Creek.

Not everyone knows that there is another place in British Columbia called Whonnock and that there is a Whonnock River. This Whonnock and the river are at Rivers Inlet. In Kwakwakawakw (Kwakiutl) the name means "the owner of the river." Aside from the similar modern spelling of the name there is nothing that connects these two places or the First Nations peoples who lived there.

"Whonnock" was not used as a surname at the Fraser River, but it is well-known family name at and around Alert Bay and Rivers Inlet. As Shanon Whonnock explained it her great-great grandfather started using the name John Wanuwk and church records show a variety of spellings until, as from around 1828, the writing settled at Whonnock. Shanon's great-great grandfather acquired the name Wanukw through marriage. "It comes from his wife's grandmother who was a princess of a Chief from Rivers Inlet."

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Port Coquitlam

Looking into Port Coquitlam's history I came across three books:

History of Port Coquitlam by Edith D. Chambers, B.A. Thompson, 1973.

Port Coquitlam: City of Rivers and Mountains, Debbie Caron, Beth McWilliam, Dhorea Ryon and Diane Rogers, City of Port Coquitlam,1988

Port Coquitlam: Where Rails Meets Rivers, by Chuck Davis, Harbour Publish,2000.

For historians the 1988 publication by the City of Port Coquitlam is the best choice.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Brodie (work notes) IV

Headstone inscription Shoal Lake (MN)

S270 Brodie Janet (Dickson) (Beattie) BRODIE / March 15, 1842-December 21, 191(5)?/ Born in Gattonside Scotland / Died Whonnock, BC / Wife of John BRODIE / Mother of John J. D. Beattie. Note: Janet died in 1914

S270 John James Dickson BEATTIE / Killed in Shoal Lake / March 7, 1907 / 23 years. Question: What killed him? ANSWER: John Beattie, "assistant station agent" was run over while coupling cars. (Manitoba Free Press, 8 March 1907)

James Beattie, aged 60, died Rapid City, Manitoba (fairly close to Shoal Lake) dated 12th June 1886. Question: is this Janet's first husband?

Cheer family

Unfortunately the name of the Hawaiian ancestor of the Cheer (or Chier)family is still unknown. At one point I felt that it could be Keea (also Keea, Kia or Kea) or perhaps also Ohier. But that is all just guessing. I thought Keea, because the ancestor of the Whonnock Cheers and perhaps all Cheer descendants is mentioned as named: "Keaho" Cheer; he was married to Catherine or Katherine Cheer (1831-1888).

Many Cheers lived on the Whonnock Reserve and on the reserves at the Stave River, a few miles east from here. Charles Miller writes extensively about Harry and "Rose" Cheer.

My notes show three sons of Keaho and Katherine Cheer: Daniel (b.1851-1929), Joseph (b. Abt 1858) and Thomas (b. 1863). Of course there may have been other children, including daughters.

I think that the settling of Cheers on the Whonnock Reserve started with son Daniel, who was enumerated in 1891 at the Whonnock Reserve with his wife Mary Samiate and their children: William, Henry (Harry), John, Alex and Ida. Absent according to one informant was perhaps another son called Jack, but he could also be the same as John.

In the 1901 Census Daniel and Mary are still listed with all the children mentioned in 1891 with the exception of Alex. John, William and Henry were then married: William with two children: William and Phillip.

Henry (alias Harry) Cheer married Anny Harry from Nooksack WA in 1898. She died in 1930. Cheers at Whonnock Reserve in 1930 shown in a Census Book of the Indian Agent are Edith, Ray, Clarence, Katherine, Johnny, Peter and Angeline -- all children of Henry. Since the 1950s none of the Cheer descendants lives on the Whonnock Reserve.

Unravelling the Cheer family is not easy. The 1911 Census enumeration of the Whonnock Reserve shows more complexities and confusion with yet other Cheers.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Brodie (work notes) III

Certification of Registration of Death 1918-09-398458 Microfilm B13133
James Hugh Brodie 15 August 1928, Cancer
Vancouver BC: 2576 2nd Avenue West
Married - Scotch -
Birthplace Paris, Ontario - b. 1856.
At place of death 2 years, in province 5 years.
Father John Brodie, b. Scotland
Mother: Mary Waterson, b. Beith, Scotland
Informant: John Brodie, Whonnock BC, brother.
Burial: Ocean View, 17 August 1928

Thursday, February 14, 2008


The photo shows a standard station house at an unknown location somewhere on the north-shore of the Fraser between Port Moody and Hope. The first station buildings at Hammond and Whonnock looked just like this one. Stations were built at “at points about equidistant from each other,” a distance of about ten miles. A 1884 time card shows the distances between the stations: Port Moody 0, Port Hammond 12, Wharnock 20, Mission 30, Nicomen 40, Harrison River 49, etc. In the initial stage of the construction of the railroad Onderdonk gratefully used the existing private wharfs at Port Haney, but he made clear that he did not intend to build a station there. It would not have fitted in the scheme. Photo source

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Streetnames in Hammond

City Plan for "Port Hammond Junction" drawn up by Edward Mohun in 1882 and presented in 1883 by Emmeline Mohun, William Hammond and John Hammond. It subdivided a large parts of the lands of Emmeline Mohun and William Hammond.

Plan included street names some of which have been identified:

Chigweel Street (should have been Chigwell Street) Edward Mohun was born in Chigwell, England Chigwell is a civil parish in the Epping Forest district of Essex. It is located 11.6 miles (18.7 km) north east of Charing Cross in London and near the boundary with the London Borough of Redbridge. It is served by a London Underground station and has a London (020) area code.

Stenton Street William Hammond was born in Fen Stanton.Fen Stanton lies on the Cambridge border of the old county of Huntingdonshire, on the south side of the River Ouse

Waugh Street Emmeline was the only child of HBC Chief Trader John Tod and Eliza Waugh.

Bromley Street Emmeline Mohun's first husband was William Henry, who died in 1878. Newton took charge of Fort Langley a few month after they married in September 1856. Newton was a native of Bromley, Kent.

Ospringe Street In the 1600s there are two William Hammond here: one William Hammond esq. of St. Albans, and later a William Hammond, esq. of Canterbury. Is this just a coincidence?

From: 'Parishes: Ospringe', The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 6 (1798), pp. 499-531. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=62988. Date accessed: 12 February 2008.

Lorne Road This is the only "road." It is named after he Marquess of Lorne, governor general of Canada,married to Princess Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria. The vice-regal couple visited British Columbia in 1882, when the plan for Hammond was drawn up.

Princess Avenue This only "avenue" and it honours Princess Louise.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Timeline for the Columbian newspaper New Westminster

BRITISH COLUMBIAN 13 Feb 1861 - 25 July 1869 (absorbed by Daily British Colonist and Victoria Chronicle)
DOMINION PACIFIC HERALD 31 July 1869 - Dec 28 1881
THE BRITISH COLUMBIAN Jan 4 1882 - 31 Jul 1886
DAILY COLUMBIAN 31 July 1886 - 22 May 1900
COLUMBIAN (Daily Columbian) 23 May 1900 -23 July 1910


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Haney Handicapped

Under that heading the Daily Columbian of Saturday February 4 1899 informed its readers that…
The good people of Port Haney have a grievance, in that they claim to be discriminated against in the matter of rates shipping facilities, etc., by the Canadian Pacific Railway. What they want now, is the privilege of purchasing tickets to New Westminster or Vancouver, without being required to walk to Port Hammond. At present, such tickets are issued at Port Hammond, at one dollar, but unless Haney folks can make it convenient to trudge the mile or so to the next station, they have to purchase a single fare each way, or $1.70 for travelling a little less than Hammond folks. ... True, the railway company so far acceded to the request of residents of Port Haney, as to build a station there, and appointed a station agent. But it remains a mere flag station, with no operator, and without privileges enjoyed by other flag stations. It is said that the number of people using the railway at Haney is twice as great as at Hammond, and the people want, particularly the chance to buy return tickets to this city, such as is enjoyed farther up the line, where people cross the river from Chilliwack and take the train.
The demands of the Port Haney people seem to be reasonable enough, and, doubtless, placed before the railway officials in the proper way, and backed up by petitions, deputations, etc., the C.P.R. will be disposed to meet them half way at least.
When in 1884 Onderdonk, the contractor who built the railroad from Port Moody to Savona, started offering a local service moving mail, passengers and freight between Port Moody and Yale, Hammond (1883) and Whonnock (1884) had railway stations but not Port Haney. Locomotives pulled flatcars with rails and other equipment for construction of the tracks at the end of the line and passengers and freight generated some much needed extra income. A “Time Card,” dated 10 August 1884, shows Port Hammond and Whonnock between Port Moody and Mission, but Port Haney is not on the list.

It made no sense to build two stations only a couple of miles apart for the small population of Maple Ridge. Other factors may have played a part in the choice of Hammond but it could have been the terrain: The flat lands of Hammond were obviously more suitable for a larger railroad operation than the slope at Port Haney.
Haney still did not have a railway station when the Onderdonk section was turned over to the CPR, and when on 4 June 1886 the first transcontinental steamed into Port Moody the CPR time table still did not mention Port Haney.

At first, the absence of a rail station seems not to have bothered the Haney residents as they could travel to New Westminster by steamer. But after Vancouver was reached by the railroad in 1887, there was a growing demand for trips to the new city and in 1890 the correspondent in the Daily Columbian complained that “no station accommodations are provided and the nearest telegraph office is Port Hammond, three and a half miles distant. These defects should be remedied by the company without loss of time. The requirements of Port Haney are becoming very urgent.”

Almost two years later, in the spring of 1892, the people of Port Haney and Langley were petitioning the CPR at Vancouver, “for the establishment and construction of a regular station at Port Haney,” and with positive results. That summer the CPR called for tenders “…for the erection of a passenger station and freight shed at Port Haney.” The Port Haney railway station, located opposite D. Docksteader’s store and hotel, was completed in August of 1892.

Port Haney people finally had their own station, but they could not buy their tickets there. In January 1893 the Columbian suggests that “ .. it will be a great convenience to the travelling public when a ticket office is opened in connection with [the station]. The C.P.R. should get a move on in this direction, and try to meet the convenience of the people.” Reading “Haney Handicapped” it appears that issue was still not resolved in 1899.

From 1892 Maple Ridge had three stations: Whonnock, Haney, and Hammond. A 1913 timetable shows that they were all flag stations, where trains only stopped if there were passengers and that stations at Silverdale, Ruskin and Pitt Meadows had been added. fb

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Menzies Island

"Sheridan Hills" (plural) is the name shown on the maps made by Captain George Richards and the officers by H.M.'s surveying ship "Plumper" in 1859-1860 for the outcroppings in the Pitt Polder. Sometimes the name Menzies Island or Menzies Mountain props up in the literature for what is officially known as Sheridan Hill. I had the idea that the name referred to Hal Menzies, but Donald Waite corrected me as follows:

I got my information from Wilma Robinson, Hal's daughter. William Henry Menzies, Hal's father worked for the CPR and came out from Rat Portage, Ont. to New Westminster in 1890. He moved to Haney in 1893 and first settled at the north end of McKenney Creek (where it empties into the Alouette River) in 1898 before moving to Menzies Mountain in 1900.

Hal at that time would have only been 15. I believe Hal taught school in Whonnock or Ruskin for a few years before hanging out their real estate shingle at Port Haney. His partner was Donald Bruce Martyn and their clerk was Angus McIver, son of John McIver, Maple Ridge's first settler II believe Sam Robertson of Albion also claims that distinction). Anyway, Don left to fight in the First World War. He ended up running along a German foxhole by mistake and ran into several Germans. He shot a couple and took the rest prisoner and for this became a war hero.

Oh yes, his position in the real estate company was taken up by his brother from Ontario, John Blake Martyn (later Reeve of Maple Ridge). Fast forward 20 years and D.B.Martyn, Hal Menzies et al are on the Soldiers' Settlement Board with respect to the Japanese. Hal's full name is William Halbert Menzies. Hal married Ethel Best, daughter of Hannah and James Best, early Maple Ridge settlers.

Their real estate business catered to both river and boat traffic. Hal became great friends of Sol Mussallem and used his new autos to show potential clients sites for potential homes. They had a great networking scheme set up. They would hang out in the local coffee shop (beside the Bank of Montreal - the Billy miner pub) and wait like spiders for a client. They get a small down payment and turn the client over to the bank for a mortgage. Sometimes they even sold a car for Sol.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Times Colonist

The Times Colonist is celebrating its 150th anniversary in style -- with a new website that is sure to become one of the most important resources for historical researchers throughout the province.

Working with the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia, we are placing thousands of pages of back issues online. Access will be free, as our lasting gift to the people of British Columbia

For more click here