Photograph courtesy of Donald Waite's Langley Story Illustrated online.

James Taylor

From Tannis Pond:

We can travel down the Fraser River from Narcisse Falardeau’s property passing by the acreages of Henry West, Kenneth Morrison and Otway Wilkie to reach James Taylor.

James Taylor worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company and first appeared in their books at Fort Victoria in 1852 as a Black Smith on General Charges. He had a credit of 3/5/1 and his wages were 25 pounds. In the entry for 1855 James Taylor is from Birsay, (Orkney, Scotland); is a blacksmith in Langley; has a credit of 4/14/7 and the same 25 pound wage. On none of the entries is there an age for him. 1861 is the last wage entered and in 1862 he is in debit to HBC for 47/2/9 and in 1863 is carrying a credit of 8/16/4.

The first piece of information I had on James Taylor was that my Grandmother Dudy McCombie didn’t like to visit him when she was little because she would have to kiss him good night and she didn’t like his big bushy beard. Sure enough!! There he is in the “Langley Story”, by Donald E. Waite with a bushy black looking beard!

The next documentation is his  grave stone which says:

In Memory of James Taylor
Died Nov 30 1907 age 72
Native of Orkney, Scot.

The above makes James Taylor born about 1834 or 1835. I have various birth dates for him. Death Certificate - 1830.  The 1881 census 1831. The 1891 census 1827 and the 1901 census 1829. I thought this was the end of my research as there were three James Taylors born in the foregoing time span in Birsay, Orkney and no way of knowing which was my James Taylor. Then Darlene Heal came to the rescue.... “can you hear that Lone Ranger Music”? She had documentation for the marriage and it stated that the parents were George Taylor and Ann Spence and checking Old Parish records my James Taylor was Christened 21 September 1828.

James Taylor came to Fort Langley in 1858 and was trained as a blacksmith and barrel maker. In Langley he was first employed by the Hudson's Bay Company to help make the barrels used to carry salmon to Europe.

According to Donald Waite upon leaving the company he bought 160 acres west of the Fort. In the late 1860's he built, at various times, the Fort Langley Hotel and a blacksmith shop. He trained Indians to do the black smith work while he ran the hotel.

In 1872 it was Fort Langley hotel keeper James Taylor who prompted 29 land owners in the Langley and Derby district to petition the authorities in Victoria and request incorporation into a municipality.

James married Catherine Fallardeau, the daughter of Narcisse Fallardeau and Helen/Ellen, on the 26th of July in 1858. This union produced seven children before Catherine died in 1874. According to the gravestone in the Taylor Plot in the Fort Langley Municipal Cemetery she was 33 years old.

After the death of Catherine, James married Barbara Jamieson. This union produced no children.

James died 30th of November 1907 in St. Mary’s Hospital in New Westminster.


1. Ann Taylor born about 1861 at Fort Langley, married River Boat Captain Frank Odin of Point Roberts, born about 1863. Both Ann and Frank are listed as Roman Catholics in the 1891 census and have two boys, George who is age three and John, two months. They couldn’t be found in the 1901 census except for John J. Odin, Nephew living with Otway J.J. Wilkie in New Westminster. Later I came across the following information - the writing on his gravestone in Soda Creek Cemetery, Soda Creek.

In loving Memory of Captain Frank Odin
of the steamboat Charlotte
Born at Point Roberts, Washington, March 24 1863
Died June 7 1899

What became of Ann is unknown. The family says the boys were raised amongst Ann’s sisters. I believe the Odin boys ran a garage in New Westminster that was supported by Joe Mayers. It is thought that Ann remarried, was living in Victoria and that she died in child birth. I can find no record of another marriage for her nor a death record under the name Odin.

2. George Taylor born 6 February 1863. In the 1901 census he is listed as a farmer and  married to Celia daughter of Cotash of the Chawuthen Indian Reserve in Hope. Celia died 29 December 1920. They had one son called Charles who was born 20 January 1884 and died 9 September 1955. After 1920 George married Bernadette Peters of American Bar, BC. This union produced one known child - William John Taylor born May 1930 and died of whooping cough 28 January 1931. George was ill for some months in St Mary’s hospital, New Westminster, before he died 13th of March 1941. A member of the family thought that he had a two year old child when he was in hospital in 1941. He is buried in the Katz Cemetery.

3. Catherine Taylor - born February 1865 at Fort Langley future wife of Otway Wilkie. Dudy one of Catherine’s daughters said that her mother was a wonderful seamstress having been taught at St. Ann’s Mission School. Catherine and Otway were married in New Westminster 20 March 1885, but spent the beginning of their married life in Langley. This union produced 10 children; Alice Catherine who married Ernest Smith; Annie Louisa married Frederick Eugene Larnder; Elizabeth Geraldine married to Clement Fenshaw Wootton; Nora Georgina, my grandmother who was married to Cecil McCombie; Otway James Henry who married Jessie Margaret McLeod; Margaret Gordon married William Douglas; Barbara Jameson who married Richard Draper; Mary Beatrice married Alfred Stansfield Duckett; Catherine Octavia married Frederick Glen Hope, and Arthur Walter Taylor who married Mildred Ruth McCormack. Catherine died in her home in New Westminster in 1943.

4. John Taylor born 10th of May 1868 was a mail carrier in Langley according to the census in 1901 and was married to Elizabeth Newton in 1896. They had children called Bessie, Ann, Etta, Kate, and John James Clifford, Lorrain and George. John died about 1931 in Vancouver.

5. Mary Taylor born about 1870 remained unmarried and died in Fort Langley the 17th of May 1910. She was the recipient of the bulk of James Will if she looked after her step-mother Barbara Jameson. Mary had some sort of defect as she was known as crippled aunt Mary. She is buried in the Fort Langley Municipal Cemetery.

6. Margaret Taylor was born about 23 May 1871 and married Captain Joseph Mayers who was a mariner and in coal. They lived in New Westminster and raised four boys; Howard, Edward Wallace, James, and Joseph; one girl, Margaret along with the Odin boys. Joseph died in 1943 and “Maggie” about 1966. Maggie and Katie were very generous with their vehicle taking various members of the family about on drives and visiting.

7. The last of Catherine and James children was Peter Taylor born 11 October 1874. Peter was a tug boat Captain and married Lilly May Kilby from London, Ont. on the 9th of January 1908. Peter was Captain of the Langley ferry for a period of time. Peter and Lilly were a great help to Kate and Otway Wilkie in their old age. Peter doing yard work and Lilly busy in the house. They lived in New Westminster in the late 30's. They were living on Larson Road in North Vancouver when they celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary. Peter and Lily had no issue. Peter died in the Burnaby General Hospital in 1965.

According to records of lands in Langley searched by D.E. Waite, James Taylor sold his Lot 79 acreage in 1891. According to a note in a ledger belonging to Otway J.J. Wilkie, a son-in-law of James Taylor, part of lot 79 was sold in 1910 for $3000 with Otway receiving a commission of $400 for acting as the realator after the death of James, his second wife Barbara and a month before the death of his daughter Mary.

In James Taylors will he leaves John one square acre of land; to his daughter Mary all the household funiture and effects and the rest is put in Joseph Mayers hands to be distributed in the following legacies - Mary - $1250, Kate - $500, George - $300, John -  $500, Peter - $300, and Margaret - $5.00 (five). The balance if any is to go to Mary on the condition that she is to look after Barbara his wife.


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Family information is being sought on Orkneymen who served with the Hudson's Bay Company west of the Rockies to 1858. Can you help?

A biographical dictionary of fur trade and exploration west of the Rockies (from California to Alaska) is being compiled. Since the major fur trading company for this Pacific slopes area was the Hudson's Bay Company and many HBC servants came from Orkney, family information is being sought on the Orcadians who once served in the Company west of the Rockies up to 1858.  Respondents with information are asked to please contact:

Bruce M. Watson
208-1949 Beach Avenue
Vancouver, B. C.,
V6G 1Z2
tel: [604] 684-6786
fax: [604] 871-7100

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moved 28 July 2002
updated 21 July 2013