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

Sir Richard Evans FBA

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