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.