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

Sir Richard Evans FBA

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Whonnock Mill

The calendar for 2015 shows on its cover the water tower of the “Whonnock mill.” 
The history of a mill at that site started in 1929 with the incorporation of the Whonnock Lumber Mill Ltd. by Zentaro Shin and two partners. The mill they built would work on second-growth timber and also produce railway ties and poles.
The mill closed down a year or so later and in 1932 the ownership changed to Tidewater Lumber Company.
Tidewater rebuilt and enlarged the mill – probably to accommodate first-growth timber – and started operations again early in 1934 with Zentaro Shin as manager of the mill.
Peter Bain purchased the mill in 1936. His company held substantial lumber rights in Whonnock above Dewdney Trunk Road (“X” limits).  
In 1947 Bain Lumber Mills Ltd. sold the Whonnock mill to Yorkston Lumber Co. who in 1963 incorporated the mill as Whonnock Lumber Co. Ltd. In 1966 the owners, Frank Brooks and Adrian Yorkston started a process to transfer of the mill to its employees.
The plant was closed and demolished in 1994. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014


Thomas James and Mary Jane Hodgson and their children immigrated to Canada in 1894. The Hodgsons purchased land from the Reverend Dunn and his wife and are recorded paying taxes on 10 acres starting in 1898. As from 1900 they owned 14.5 acres.
Thomas James Hodgson Sr. was a well-respected man and a councillor. He was an uncle of Richard Stanley Whiting, the well-known postmaster, who immigrated in 1907.
The Hodgson family still shows up in the Canada Census of 1911 as living in Whonnock but they had moved away to Hatzic by 1912.
On the photo of the first Whonnock school (previous post) are three of the Hodgson children. 
Click on the image of the descendant chart to enlarge. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

From right to left
Back row: Teacher Thomas Mercer, Thomas Hodgson, Geoffrey Hodgson, Bessie Henderson, Jenny [Jane] Boyd, Kate [Katherine] McCarthy, Ella [Lilly] Owen, Gladys Fancher, and William Owen
Front row: George Owen, Constance Hodgson, Constance [Eleanora Constance] or Mona [Monica] McCarthy, Pearl Boyd, Ruth Rolley, and Maisie [Minnie] Owen 
This very early photograph survives thanks to Ruth Ferguson née Rolley. She also identified the names of the teacher and the children as shown above. 
Teacher Thomas C. Mercer was hired by the Trustees of the Whonnock school in the spring of 1898 and he tendered his resignation in August 1901. 
In April of that year the enumerator for the Canada Census 1901 who collected the information about the residents of Whonnock did not record the Fanchers, who had sold their property opposite the Whonnock cemetery to the Rolley’s, the McCarthty's or the Boyds. That suggests that the photo was taken in the summer of 1899 or 1900 before these families left Whonnock. 
The two McCarthy girls were the daughters of Michael McCarthy, “steam engineer” at the CPR, and Sarah Oliver, the oldest daughter of Noble Oliver and his wife Catherine. Noble Oliver was Whonnock’s first storekeeper and postmaster. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Noble and Catherine Oliver

Did some work on the descendants of the first postmaster and storekeeper at Whonnock and his wife. Additions and corrections are welcome. Click on image to enlarge.
One of the problems with the McCarthy family is that I can’t find them in the Canada Census in particular I’d like to learn more about Kate McCarthy. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A fight at the Whonnock Reserve

The Roman Catholic Church
on the Whonnock Reserve 
Following from Victoria's Daily Colonist. 
"Henry West and David Rehberger have been committed for trial on two separate charges of attempting to murder." (18 February 1892)”
"H. West and David Rehberger, committed for trial in connection with the Indian shooting affair near Langley, two weeks ago have been admitted to bail [jail?]" (26 February 1892).

In his book The Langley Story (p. 145.) Donald Waite mentions this incident. It is particularly interesting that his story includes the only known date for the construction of the church on the Whonnock Reserve: 1888.
In 1888 he [Henry West] sold lumber on credit to the Indians of the Whonnock Reserve for the building of a Roman Catholic church. The church was built but West was never paid. Four years later West, two of his sons, and David Rehberger went over to collect the outstanding debt.  West took along his Winchester rifle just in case there might be trouble. There was, when Rehberger poked one of the Indians in the ribs with the muzzle of the rifle. The rifle discharged and put a hole through another Indian's shirt. He was not hurt. Rehberger, a few moments later, was hurt when an Indian hit him with a pike pole, breaking his arm. The West party managed to jump into their skiff and escaped home across the river. Repercussions followed when one of the Indians swore out an information in New Westminster charging West and Rehberger with attempted murder.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


The house in Oak Bay Francis M. Rattenbury built for the Sampsons
William Curtis Sampson (4 November 1848  - 23 March 1934) married his first wife Emma Munro (6 November 1846 – 16 October 1902) in England in December 1876. 
They settled in Whonnock ca. 1886 on their land on the Ruskin side of the Reserve.  Sampson was the areas first Justice of the Peace. 
In July 1893 Sampson took a position with the Nakusp & Slocan Railway. The Victoria Colonist of 7 April 1894 shows his name as secretary of The Inland Construction and Development Company. In his absence took care of the Whonnock lands until they sold their property to the Gilchrist brothers in 1895.
The Canada Census of 1901 shows the couple in Vancouver but later that year they moved to Esquimalt where Sampson started an accounting firm. In the fall of 1902 Emma died of cancer. 
On 14 April 1909, married Harriet Susan Pemberton (13 May 1871 – 15 May 1949)
Sampson retired from his business in 1921.

Friday, March 14, 2014


From Gerry in Sapperton via Doug and Shannon came these two snapshots.

One is of "Kildonan Lodge" at the south-east corner of 280th Street and 96th Avenue. "Kildonan Lodge" was the former house of Charles Whetham who had called it "Walden."

The other picture is of Elizabeth Mildred Black née Gilchrist (1902-1963) who was the daughter of George Gilchrist and Benjamina Laing. Her husband was Charles Black.

You will see these images again in the 2015 calendar. Thank you!!!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Clement Stickney

Birth certificate
of Ethel Maud Stickney
born in “Wharnock"
July 21, 1894.
In 1885, Clement Stickney and his wife, Esther Elizabeth Betts, settled in Whonnock. They came from the Falkland Islands where their first three children were born: Ester Mary (1881), Clement William (1882 ), and Jessie Elizabeth (1884). 

Clement Stickney was one of the first to settle in Whonnock after the arrival of the railroad. He owned land south of the railway tracks, west of the Whonnock school (he was a school trustee) and only a short walking distance from the general store and the railway station. The records show Stickney to be a fruit grower and a farmer, or, as he jokingly recorded at one time, a horticulturist. 

During the Stickney’s ten years in Whonnock four more children were born: John Edward (1885), Florence Emily (1887), Martin Henry (1890) and Ethel Maud (1894). 

The birth certificate for daughter Ethel Maud (July 1894) carries a note saying: “Everything is doing as well as can be expected.” She was born under grim circumstances. The most devastating flood of the Fraser River flood ruined Stickney’s orchard and crops and damaged or destroyed his home and any other structures on his property. The family left for Vernon that same year. In a letter dated 16 June 1894 to the Superintendant of Education by Emma Sampson writes that Stickney was eager to sell even before his property flooded a month later.

One last  child, a girl called Frances, was born in 1896 in Vernon BC and died shortly after her birth. He mother Esther died in the following year. 

Clement Stickney sold his land to John Owen
Sketch map dated 1896

Click here to see a Stickney page of the Falkland Families Web site. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Gilchrist Brothers

George, Donald (who never married) and Alexander Gilchrist were among Ruskin's early pioneers and land owners. Following a descendant report of the brothers and their children. To the best of my knowledge there are no direct descendants of the brothers alive today.
Hugh Gilchrist
& Jessie McKay
|           George Gilchrist
|             b. 18 May 1862, Caithness, Scotland
|             d. 5 Sep 1940, Mission
|           & Benjamina Laing
|             b. 2 May 1868, Scotland
|             d. 10 Apr 1950, Mission
|           |           Hugh Alexander Gilchrist
|           |             b. 13 Oct 1900, Vancouver
|           |             d. 20 Apr 1901, Vancouver
|           |           Elizabeth Mildred Gilchrist
|           |             b. 21 Nov 1902, Vancouver
|           |             d. 22 May 1963, Vancouver
|           |           & Charles Alexander Stuart Black
|           |             b. 15 Sep 1896, Brussel, Ontario
|           |             d. 20 Sep 1991, Mission
|           |             m. 26 May 1927, Vancouver
|           Donald Gilchrist
|             b. ca 1864, Scotland
|             d. 25 Feb 1939, Ruskin
|           Alexander Gilchrist
|             b. 2 Jan 1867, Scotland
|             d. 20 Aug 1951, Vancouver
|           & Ann Nightingale
|             b. ca 1861
|             d. 31 Aug 1939, New Westminster
|             m. 24 Jan 1894, Victoria
|           |           Donald Hugh Gilchrist
|           |             b. 27 Dec 1895, Whonnock
|           |             d. 28 Sep 1928, Port Coquitlam
|           |           Dorothy Elizabeth Gilchrist
|           |             b. 7 Jun 1899, Whonnock
|           |             d. 5 Mar 1989, Vancouver
|           |           & William Albert Foley
|           |             b. 10 Mar 1883, Ontario
|           |             d. 24 Aug 1976, Vancouver

|           |             m. 27 Dec 1934, Port Haney