Monday, March 2, 2015

First Nations and Whites

In 1874, the area we now know as Stanley Park, was home to many First Nations and a few whites. Mowitch Jim lived near the rancherie and he hunted and sold venison to George Black. Then there Supple Jack - the reputed scourge of the prospectors (I don't know why). He was a handsome man, neatly dressed and lived near First Narrows with his wife, Quy-what. The couple had 24 cows, 2 horses and many pigs. Quy-what delivered milk to the mill.

Remember the lazy government agent, Tompkins Brew? He and his wife settled just east of Deadman's Island - off Stanley Park. Johnny Baker, a longshoreman, married a First Nations' woman and they lived in a home about where the Nine-O' Clock gun is now. Pete Donnelly settled there as well and he prospered making dog-fish oil and selling it for 25 cents a gallon.

Donnelly made a trip back east and returned a different man. He brought with him a blushing bride and he had turned ultra-respectable. No longer was he Pete Donnelly, dog-fish oil manufacturer. Now he insisted his name was James A. Robertson. I don't know whether James continued with the business that made Pete so profitable.

At Snaq, the present Kitsilano Reserve, there was a long-house 100 feet high and 30 feet wide where Chief Khahtsahlano ruled a Squamish settlement. Years later, the chief's grandson, August Jack, worked at the mill. 

The Burrard Inlet was a paradise for fishermen and women. And for hunters. The herring shoals were so thick in Coal Harbour "you scoop them up when you row across" and men with herring rakes could quickly fill a boat. Halibut and salmon were everywhere. Ducks were speared by torchlight at night and sold by the barrel. Deer and bear were there for the taking. That winter fresh eggs sold for three dollars a dozen (about what they are now!) but no one in Gastown ever had to starve.

Gassy Jack Deighton left Granville and Joseph Mannion arrived. This was more than a well-known businessman leaving the area and being replaced by another - it marked the end of an era. Gassy Jack was a pioneer; Mannion was not. It was a new time in Gastown.

The pioneering of Gastown was finished by 1875. It wasn't a matter of time but rather of function. However, the pioneers continued to dominate the settlement until the population explosion ten years later. After that, the pioneers adapted to the the commercialism of the growing city or were drowned by it.

I would like to thank the book Vancouver, From Milltown to Metropolis by Alan Morley for the above information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Directory

The year is 1874 and it was a big one for Gastown/Granville/future Vancouver. An educated, well-to-do, bookish man by the name of Joseph Mannion arrived. He built and opened the Granville Hotel and Joseph Reed also became an innkeeper. Ike Johns succeeded Tompkins Brew as government agent and a McKendry opened a shoe repair shop.

This was the year a daily steamboat service was established to New Westminster.

The Victoria Directory listed 146 males and '14 Chinamen' living in Moodyville, Hastings and Granville in 1874. This was probably less than a third of the resident men. Indians, part-Indians, Kanakas and men in logging camps were not included and many familiar inlet names are missing.

A significant change appears in Moodyville. Originally, a bone-dry bailwick, Henry Hogan was now operating the Terminus Saloon.

Around the end of the year - after Abbie's wedding - the Pattersons moved to Moodyville.

Meet Arnold, the Lobster. 

The Point Atkinson Lighthouse was under construction in 1874, opening March 17, 1875. During this period there were no North Shore mountains named "Lions" or "Lion's Gate". The pioneers of the time called the two peaks, Sheba's Paps.

But back to the directory. It didn't list a few people living at the mill like "Dumps" Baker who was a part-time stevedore. That is when he wasn't ranging the woods for deer with his pack of gaunt hounds. Or "Cinch" Smith, the ex-navy mill foreman; "Cousin Jack" Treyenza, the Cornish tallyman; Alex Merryfield, the dignified head sawyer; August Nielson, the Swedish planerman.

Then there was "Silly Billy" Frost. Silly Billy earned his nickname when the wharf was being built. He sat on the outside end of a plank and sawed it off. Frost was the mill's greaser or "dog-fish-oil expert" (all lubricants then came from the local waters). When not patrolling the flume that ran from Tea Swamp - south and east of the present Kingsway and Main - to the mill that is. Water from the peat bog was acid enough that the mill never had to be shut down to clean scale from the boilers.

Another person not on the directory is Dick Isaacs who lived near the mill. Dick lost one arm and the other hand when the trimsaw broke loose from the guide-rope one day.

Back in Gastown, there were a few changes. George Black no longer slaughtered beasts on his back porch. He now had an abattoir on False Creek. At the west end of Gastown, crews logging from the present Victory Square opened a skid row down Cambie Street to the inlet.

On the Kanaka Rancherie there was a pretty little girl. "Little Scottsie Two-Tails". She was always neat and clean with her two pig-tails and a Glengarry tartan cap. I don't know how the world treated this Kanaka-Inidian child but her Indian mother told her,

"Learn to act like white people - either go up or down, that is your choice..." 

Once again, thanks goes to the book Vancouver, From Milltown to Metropolis by Alan Morley.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Gastown Weddings

Gassy Jack turned his saloon into a hotel in 1871 and since Gastown had grown in large in 1873, Jack completed alterations and refurbishing in early April of 1874. According to an advertisement in New Westminster papers, "the new Deighton House...comfortable parlours and commodious single and double bedrooms."

Shortly after the expansion, Jack left the hotel in the care of his cousin, Tom Deighton and Tom's wife. Jack too his Indian wife and their young son back to the Fraser where Jack became master of Captain Irving's new steamer, the Onward. Perhaps the renovations were more of a financial strain than Jack thought they would be.

For close to seven years, Gassy Jack Deighton, the town's founder, had been the leading citizen and for four of those years, its undisputed leader.

Jack didn't leave though until he attended Gastown's first wedding. The widow - and teacher - Mrs. Richards wed Ben Springer. Springer was a Moodyville man and later became manager of Moody's mill. Miss Redfern briefly took over as teacher and Miss Eunice Seabrook took over as the town's music teacher.

On December 2, 1874, Gastown had another wedding. These nuptials were between Abbie Patterson and Captain William Jordan of the ship Marmion. It took place in the parlor of the Patterson home. The Minister of the Interior officiated.

"Abbie made her own wedding dress," her sister said. "It was beige in colour. Mrs. Alexander brought the orange blossoms from Victoria; she was the prettiest woman there - so handsome!

"Ada Miller, the constable's daughter, had a dark blue dress, made from material bought at the mill store, and Mrs. Alexander wore a cornflower-blue silk, her own wedding dress.

"Captain William Soule, the head stevedore, was the best man.

"The ceremony was at half-past seven in the evening, and the wedding was performed in the sitting room. We all went to the kitchen for supper and afterwards to the mill library to dance."

Abbie's sister continues to relate the details of the wedding.

"It was a wonderful party and everybody was there. George Bone played the concertina and there was a violin, and Mrs. Alexander sang as so did Mrs. Haynes of Moodyville. Captain Pickard read the address to the bride and groom.

"We all, every one of us, drank wine, and there were lots and lots of presents - earrings and a brooch from the crew of Captain Pickard's ship, the Niagara, and a case of whiskey from Gassy Jack Deighton.

"There wasn't any honeymoon; they just went on board Captain Jordan's ship and sailed away to China..."

(Apparently, Captain Pickard had succeeded Captain Fry in command of the Niagara during the past year.)

Years afterwards, Captain Jordan's ship was wrecked off Cape Flattery. However, Jordan, Abbie and their children were unharmed and Jordan soon had another command.

Thanks goes to Alan Morley and his book, Vancouver, From Milltown to Metropolis. 

The photos shown here today were taken on Monday, February 23, 2015. Spring is here!

I hope you find the beauty around you.