Chapter 4: The Great Railway

Photo courtesy of Fort Langley Centennial Museum, Fort Langley, B.C.
Jason Ovid Allard
Son of Ovid Allard this man was born at Fort Langley. In his twilight years he told historians Howay, Reid, Nelson, McKelvie, and Gibbard about the pioneers of the 1860s, 70s and 80s
(page 97)


Photo courtesy of Fort Langley National Historic Site, Fort Langley B.C.
Matilda Allard
(    -     )
Ovid Allard's daughter
(page 101)
Photo courtesy of Mrs. Walter N. Copeland, Sydney B.C.
Julia Apnaut
Ovid Allard's granddaughter


Photo courtesy of Donald E. Waite
The Anglican Church of St. John the Divine, Maple Ridge, B.C. The oldest standing church on the mainland of British Columbia. It was originally built at Derby in 1859. In 1882 the church was dismantled and taken across the Fraser River by scow to cater to the spiritual needs of the Canadian Pacific Railway crews.
(page 104)


Photo courtesy of Jack Worrell, Milner, B.C.
Francis Vaughan Worrell
(     -     )
Drove stage through the Fraser Canyon before settling in Langley.
(page 105)



















Photo courtesy of the Provincial Archives, Victoria, B.C.
Henry Davis
Bought a portion of the Hudson's Bay Company Farm from the Reverend Alexander Dunn.
(page 107)


Photo courtesy of William John Larmon, Milner B.C.
Reverend and Mrs. Alexander Dunn
Pioneer Minister in Fraser Valley.
(page 108)


Photo courtesy of Samuel Hugh Monahan, Murrayville, B.C.
Mr. & Mrs. Johnston K. Nelson
Pioneers of Murray's Corners
(page 110)
Photo courtesy of Samuel Hugh Monahan of Murrayville B.C.
Robert Monahan's cedar split homestead
Left to right: Simon Fraser Monahan, Margaret Monanhan, David Monahan, Ellan and Robert Monanhan.


Photo courtesy of Donald E. Waite
Samuel Hugh Monahan
(1892 - )
J.K. Nelson's grandson and Robert Monahan's son
(page 111)


Photo courtesy of Jack Worrell of Milner B.C.
Simon Fraser Monahan
(     -     )
Named in honour of his explorer uncle Simon Fraser.
(page 112)


Photo courtesy of the Fort Langley Centennial Museum, Fort Langley B.C.
William Edge
(     -1880)
Killed in the Great Slide at Haney
(page 115)


Photo courtesy of Donald E. Waite
St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Fort Langley
(page 116)


Photo courtesy of Mrs. Walter N. Copeland, Sydney B.C.
Mr. & Mrs. Robert Robertson
Cooper and Chief Boatsman at Fort Langley Robertson left the Hudson's Bay Company to become the first settler at Whonnock.
(page 117)


Photo courtesy of Mrs. William Logan of Murrayville B.C.
William Lawrence
(1862-     )
Ex-policeman who settled on a portion of the Hudson's Bay Company Farm.
(page 119)


















Photo courtesy of Fort Langley Centennial Museum, Fort Langley B.C.
James Hossack
(     -     )
Had the first flour mill in Langley
(page 121)
     The Atlantic to the Pacific railway across the vast Dominion of Canada had been the dream of Sir John A. McDonald, the first Prime Minister of Canada, for years.  The explorers and the pioneers of British Columbia knew it was only a matter of time before the twin ribbons of steel came through.  The first survey parties began exploring out a route for the trans-Canada link in the 1807s.  The actual work commenced in 1880; finishing in 1886.

     In the 1850s, Simon Fraser, now an old man living retired in St. Andrews, Ontario, discussed the possibility of a trans-Canada railway with a neighbour's child.  He told young Wellington Jeffries Harris to someday go west and buy land in the Fraser Valley before the construction of the railway commenced.  In 1873, Harris, now a young man with a wife and two children, did just that and homesteaded acreage in Pitt Meadows, just west of Maple Ridge.  When the railway went through ten years later it cut right through the middle of his farm.  Harris hired on as a foreman only to have to quell a strike by Chinese labourers -- the first strike in British Columbia -- with a loaded revolver.  Harris became the first warden of Maple Ridge.

     The coming of the Canadian Pacific Railway did much for the economy of Langley.  The number of settlers actually doubled between 1885 and 1887.  Many resident pioneers went to work on the surveys or on the line.  Many railway workers, upon leaving the railway construction camps, came to settle in Langley.


     One Langley youngster who joined the survey gangs seeking out the route for the great railway was Jason Ovid Allard, son of the Chief Trader.  Born at Fort Langley in 1848 most of Allard's life had been spent away from his birthplace.  His youth had been spent at Nanaimo where his father was in charge of the Hudson's Bay Company's coal mines.  In 1858 the young Allard accompanied his father to Yale where he helped run the Hudson's Bay Company store his father had established in 1846.  In 1866 Jason joined the company at the age of 19 and was given charge of the company store at Wild Horse Creek.

     He was soon found guilty of upsetting all the traditions of the Grand Old Company from the time of its inception in 1670.  According to the company rules a man in charge of a post below the rank of Chief Trader could not make purchases involving more than $250.  When Allard sold the total $8,000 worth of the fort's stock in a week to miners outfitting for the season he knew he must restock immediately.  It was too late to send down to the coast and get in more inventory from Victoria before freeze up.  Allard learned that some American pack trains were up on the way inland from Walla Walla so he rode out and intercepted them.  Taking things into his own hands he bought the entire outfit for $23,000 and gave orders for payment from the company at Victoria.  Such a thing had never been heard of before and members of the Board of Management at Victoria and a company official from England who was at the coast left post-haste to investigate.  They caught up to Allard and demanded an explanation.  Allard told them that he had already sold the goods at a 200% profit to the miners.  Instead of reprimand he was given a promotion and instructed to go and take over Fort Shepherd.  Allard did but was later told to report to Fort Keremeos.  Allard quit the company rather than work at this fort.

     Allard was the last man hired for a Canadian Pacific Railway crew surveying in the fall of 1871.  He joined Party "U" which was commanded by John Trutch, brother of the province's first Lieutenant Governor.  Allard did survey work in the Shuswap Lake District until freeze up.  The following spring he applied to Walter Moberly, engineer-in-charge of the Rocky Mountain (96) exploratory parties "S" and "T", and on being hired was told to report to Edward Mohun who was in charge of Party "T".  The party explored the North Thompson River and the Canoe Valley to within seven miles of the Yellowhead before their grub ran out.  In the fall of 1872 Part "T" was instructed to pull out of the mountains and winter at Kamloops. Allard volunteered to spend the winter in the mountains with Party "S".

     Another Langley youngster who became involved in Canadian Pacific Railway survey was Otway John James Wilkie.  Born in Ireland in 1861, he came out to Langley fresh out of school in 1878.  He settled on a piece of land east of the fort and took up fruit farming before joining an exploratory survey gang headed by Major A.B. Rogers.  Wilkie took part in laying the line from Yale down to Port Moody.

     It took men like Allard and Wilkie years to survey the route for the trancontinental railway.  Surveying the route for the railroad was only a part of the battle.  Someone would have to build the line.

     The man who rushed to Ottawa with his pockets bulging with a letter of unlimited credit supplied by California millionaire Darius Ogden Mills, to see Sir Charles Tupper, the Minister of Railways, was well suited for the task of construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway line through British Columbia.  He had just completed the massive sea wall and ferry slips in San Francisco.  His credentials satisfied Tupper that he was the right man for the job.  Andrew Onderdonk, upon his arrival in British Columbia, established his headquarters at Yale.  He wasted little time.  Labourers, responding to his wires offering employment, began pouring into the town.  Many of these men were already farming in Langley.  Many more soon would be.

     At eleven o'clock on the morning of May 4, 1880, the first shot of dynamite was fired on Canadian Pacific Railway construction working eastward from the west coast.  A reporter from the Montreal Gazette wrote:

"From danger between Yale and the Alexandra Suspention Bridge, built by the Honourable J.W. Trutch in 1862, 12 miles up the river from Yale, the railway location was found well advanced by Contract 62.  Staff made things ready for excavation, especially for the four tunnels, (98) 1,045 feet in all within this distance.

"The memorable day was showery, which did not interfere with the gathering of interested spectators.  After some congratulatory remarks for the Conservative Government and the Pacific Province by persons present, Mr. Onderdonk at the request of the Honourable J.W. Trutch, ordered the foreman to light the fuse--a grand success, the loud sound resounding in the Fraser Valley some distance, besides causing a downpour of rain...

After the blast Captain John Irving, of Fraser and Thompson River fame, used the whistle of his sternwheeler riverboat, the 'Enterprise' to add to the ceremony.

Again after the blasted rock was removed from the wagon road close to the railway line in the tunnel, Mr. Stephan Tingley, memorable for his mountain road driving and mail and special up-country coaches, appeared with covered special, holding the reins of six lively horses, and with the consent of the tunnel foreman was allowed to go up the road."

     The Montreal reporter would have done well to have named the man who fired the first rock blast on Canadian Pacific Railway construction west of the Rockies in Number 1 Tunnel at Yale.  He was Langley pioneer Murdock McIver.

     With the commencement of railway construction McIver joined the Onderdonk labour force as a powder monkey.  Although only 5 foot 6 inches tall and 125 pounds McIver was extemely fast and agile.  Many of his co-workers, who were not, were blown to bits.  McIver worked on the line as far east as Donald.

     One person who was having a difficult time when the Canadian Pacific Railway passed through Maple Ridge was a granddaughter of Ovid Allard.  When Allard came to Fort Langley in 1839, he brought with him a blonde daughter named Sennie from a marriage at Fort Hall.  A few years after his arrival at Langley, James Murray Yale, in charge of the fort, persuaded him to marry his wife's relative and a sister of Chief T'soschia of the Cowichan Confederacy.  His young wife, motivated by jealousy, gave her step-daughter away to a sloop-master, and (99) then told her husband that the child had fallen into the Fraser and drowned.  Allard was heart-broken upon hearing this news.  It took twenty years for him to learn the truth about his daughter Sennie's disappearance.  The lie almost cost them their marriage.

     Upon leaving Fort Langley Allard had gone to Nanaimo and from there to the Hudson's Bay Company store at Fort Yale in 1858 for the gold rush.  It was at Yale that Allard recognized his eldest daughter, now married to a German Jew named David Hamburger, on her way over the Cariboo Road enroute to her husband's store at Barkerville.  Her daughter Julia was the first child to pass over the newly completed Cariboo Road out of Yale.  Hamburger was one of the founders of the firm Oppenheimer, Boaz, and Hamburger.  One of the Oppenheimer brothers from this firm became a mayor of Vancouver.

     It was this child whose growing up years in Maple Ridge would be a nightmare.  In 1863 she had been orphaned when her parents were lost at sea off the coast of Oregon.  She was placed in St. Ann's Convent in Victoria to be raised by nuns.  It was Sophia Nelson, wife of Maple Ridge pioneer William Nelson, that was responsible for Julia's leaving the convent and coming to live along the Fraser.  Nelson had pre-empted 160 acres just up-river from John McIver.  Sophia, niece of Cowichan Chief T'soschia and previously married to an Hawaiian named Apnaut from the fort, had connived with Matilda Allard, Julia's aunt, into obtaining her release from the convent.  Sophia hoped to come into Julia's inheritance when she reached eighteen.  Sophia also, because Julia was beautiful and educated, planned to marry her off to her son George.

     Julia was most useful to Sophia who could neither read nor write.  She forced Julia into giving her an education.  The Nelson home was used by the Roman Catholic priests, especially Father Ponzi, to hear the confessions of the Indians from Katzie.  Because Father Ponzi could not speak Chinook and since the Indians could not speak English, Sophia translated their confessions to the priest.  Julia, because of her upbringing, refused to give confessions in so public a manner which (100) infuriated her guardian.  In an effort to break the girl's spirit Sophia beat her across the bare back with a birch stick into unconsciousness.  To further humiliate the child Sophia made her work in the vegetable garden stripped naked.  This to a convent reared girl in whom modesty had been so inculcated that she took a bath in her underwear was cruelty beyond words.  Sadly all this took place without interference from her grandfather who had taken charge of Fort Langley in 1864 until his death in 1874.

     Julia attempted to escape time and time again.  A negro ex-slave named Alexander, living along the river who sometimes worked on the Nelson farm, tried to persuade Julia to run off and marry him.  She refused only to be forced into a submissive marriage to Sophia's son George Peter Apnaut.  For the next several years Apnaut forced himself upon her, making her life intolerable.  Their first child died in infancy.  Their second reached maturity.

     When the Canadian Pacific Railway construction workers came to Maple Ridge Mrs. Nelson took in boarders.  A young worker took pity on the poor Mrs. Apnaut and managed to get her onto a boat bound for Victoria.  Here Julia went to the convent and told the priest what had transpired since she had left.  The priest immediately had the marriage annulled.  The day George Apnaut died, Julia went out and bought a red dress instead of a black one.  Instead of mourning, she rejoiced.  Her husband was credited with being the first and only part-Hawaiian to ever serve on Maple Ridge council.  Julia had lived out the rest of her life in and around Victoria and passed away in 1952 at the age of 91.

     It seems ironic that Jason Ovid Allard, Julia's uncle living across the river from Nelson's Landing and just upriver from the Derby Townsite, in the many interviews he had with historians Judge Howay, Bruce McKelvie, and John Gibbard, never acknowledged his half-sister Sennie or niece Julia.  Allard never talked much about his marriage to Seraphine, a Port Townsend Indian lass, who bore him a dozen children either.  Each fall Jason and his family would walk from their home down across the line to (102) pick hops to supplement his income.  Allard had earned a living over the years as an interpreter in the courts all over the province.  He spoke five Indian dialects as as French and English.  The most notorious trail in which he took part was that of Indian Charlie Slumach, famous for the "Lost Mine of Pitt Lake Tale", who was hanged in 1891 for the murder of Louis Boulier, a half-French, half Hawaiian from Langley.  Apparently Slumach, after weeks of eluding the police, surrendered to his nephew Peter Pierre and Allard.  Jason, upon the death of his wife in 1915, moved from Langley into the Royal City in order to be always readily available for court appearances in New Westminster County Court.  He died in the Royal City in 1931.

     It was the railway construction workers that prompted the Reverend T.H. Gilbert to remove the Anglican Church of St. John the Divine at Derby to Maple Ridge in 1882.  The church was dismantled and, with difficulty, moved on rollers to the river.  Here it was barged across the Fraser on a raft of its own timbers to Nelson's Landing.  A group of men with rollers, teams of oxen, and windlasses, pulled the church up the hill to River Road.  For the next couple of years the church catered to the needs of the railway workers.  This little edifice, the oldest church on the mainland of British Columbia, is still standing (1977) and is used weekly.

     In 1880 Thomas Culbert, his wife the former Ellen Atkinson and family arrived in Langley and bought the Benjamin Boake homestead. Boake wanted to return to Ontario to get married.  Culbert's parents were Irish.  Culbert had worked in Sapperton for a year apon his arrival to British Columbia from Kincardine, Bruce County, Ontario via Cape Horn.  The journey had taken three months.

     That same year John Beaton McLeod and his wife, the former Catherine McKenzie, and their young family arrived in Langley and bought a farm near the Surrey Border south of the Yale Road.  This farm was subject to flooding so the McLeod family took up a second farm at the south end of the former Hudson's Bay Company Farm.  McLeod was born in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, but upon reaching maturity moved to the United States. (103)  His wife was born on the Isle of Skye, Scotland, and in 1871 travelled to Boston and went to Pleasant Valley, Eureka (Reno), Nevada, where McLeod worked in the silver mines, farmed, and ran a hotel.  His health gave out from working in the mines and he did not expect to live.  After a slow recovery they came to British Columbia.


     Two bachelors to arrive in Langley in 1880 were Robert Allen Oakes and Francis Vaughan Worrell.  Both from Queen's County, Mountrath, Ireland, they had first worked in Toronto before coming west.  Instead of settling immediately, both went to the Cariboo.  Oakes got hired on as a policeman and Worrell drove stage.  Worrell's stage driving career ended abruptly one night when his team took fright at some real or fancied object and drove off the road.  The horses and stage cartwheeled down the embankment and into the mighty Fraser River.  Worrell heard the six horse team threshing in the water for a few seconds before the stage pulled them under.  He was left sitting on the side of the road with only the whip and bruises.

     Returning to the coast the pair each bought a portion of the Hudson's Bay Company Farm at Langley Prairie.  The two friends then each wrote home asking a sister to come out.  In the winter of 1881 Maria Oakes and Hannah Worrell arrived in New (105) Westminster.  They had been trained in millinery work or hat making in the Old Country and had been employed in this line of work in Toronto for a short time before coming west.  They reached Langley on foot on the frozen Fraser.

     Later a brother and a sister married a sister and a brother, Thomas Worrell, Francis' and Hanna's brother, also came out to Langley.  He stayed a few months but then returned to Ireland.  He stayed for a short time and then bought a bakery in Victoria.

     Henry Frederick Harris came to Langley from Truro, Nova Scotia, in 1882 with his son James.  Both had worked in the coal mines around Stellarton, Nova Scotia, prior to coming west.  Harris was originally from Herefordshire, England.  They came west leaving rest of the family in the Maritimes.  Twice married, it was his second wife, the younger sister of the first, that brought out the other three sons the following year.  They were Samuel, David, and Thomas.  James and Samuel worked on the Canadian Pacific Railway between Whonnock and Haney while their father cleared land.  Henry Harris was an early self educated doctor and veterinarian in the Langley district for years.  Although he never had any papers, the injured and sick, be they human or animal, always came to him.  He always had his stitching needles with him to mend a chopped foot or cut hand.  He was able to cure blind staggers--a disease that horses often got from eating dry and dusty hay--by bleeding the animal at the neck.  The disease was usually fatal.  Qualified veterinarians scoffed at the remedy until they realized that Harris lost fewer animals than they did.

     Two brothers that came out from Atwood, Ontario, in 1882, to take up homesteads south of the Hudson's Bay Company fort and along the Telegraph Trail were Nathaniel and G. Henry Coghlan.  Here they built a hand-sawed and hewed lumber house before clearing some land and planting crops.

     Their neighbours, who arrived the same year, were the Peter Spence family.  Spence had settled by the West Creek after arriving from Buffalo, New York, where he had stopped for a short time after immigrating from Inverness, Scotland.  Spence (106) was a carpenter by trade.

     In 1882 the Reverend Dunn went back to Ontario for a church convention and while there married Ann Kern of Forestville.  Returning to Langley, the newly married couple set up housekeeping in a home the minister had built on the Hudson's Bay Company Farm.  He had sold his two lots to Henry Davis prior in going to the convention but had kept the house.  The Dunn home is (1977) still standing.

     Davis was one of the more industrious farmers in Langley.  He had been born in Ireland in 1848 where his father was a substantial farmer in Derylane, County Cavan.  At the age of eleven David left Ireland with friends of the family and settled near Elmira, Ontario.  Here Davis worked in grist mill for a George Henderson alongside John Oliver (later M.L.A. for Delta.)  The two youths taught each other how to swim in the mill pond.  On coming to British Columbia Davis worked on road construction (107) in the Fraser Valley before purchasing the Dunn property.  Davis who married in 1892, remained on his Langley ranch until his death in 1901.

     Johnston K. Nelson arrived in Langley with his wife, the former Margaret Armstrong, and his grown family in 1882.  His daughter Ellen was married to Robert Monahan.  Both Nelson and his son-in-law took up homesteads at Murray's Corners.  They had originally come out from Orillia, Ontario, via American rail to San Francisco and finally to port Moody in 1880.  It was while in Port Moody that Mrs. Monahan had their second child.  This son, David Nelson Monahan, was the first white boy born in Port Moody.  The proud parents were given two city lots in celebration of the event.

     Nelson apparently had the first steam saw mill in Port Moody while his son-in-law, James Cook, had a mill in operation in Bellingham, Washington.  Upon coming to Murray's Corners he built a second steam saw mill with the machinery from his first operation.  Cook did likewise and brought his machinery across the border to be used in Nelson's operation at the Corners.  Monahan was later joined by his brother Simon Fraser Monahan and his family.  Shortly after their arrival in Langley, Nelson's other daughter married Henry Mutri.  The small mill at Murray's Corners employed Nelson and his three sons, Cook, and the two Monahan brothers.  Their lumber was hauled to build most of the homes in South Langley.  In 1890 this mill was sold to Samuel Charles Baumgardner and Authur J. Bovil who kept it in operation until 1902.  Cook, upon selling his shares in the mill, moved to Sumas Prairie and became involved in beef ranching with Joseph Michaud.

     Robert Monahan built his first home at Murray's Corners in 1882 from cedar shakes.  Monahan was a jack of all trades.  He was a great axeman and even better cradler.  Each spring he hired himself out to neighbouring farmers to sow grain.  He was able to spread oats, wheat, or barley, over the ground evenly with both hands at the same time.  Monahan's wife Ellen became the Florence Nightengale of the municipality and for years she delivered two-thirds of the babies born within its borders.


     Robert's brother had the distinction of being named after the great explorer as their mother was the daughter of Simon Fraser's oldest brother.  A short time after Simon's arrival his two boys were sent home from school for telling lies.  They had bragged to the teacher and classmates of being related to Simon Fraser.  The following morning their father accompanied the pair to school to set the teacher right on their point of history.

     Three railway workers to take up homesteads midway between the fort and Glen Valley in 1883 were the three McLellan brothers.  Their parents were of Highland Scottish stock who had come to Scotsville, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, in 1840.  Four brothers had originally left home in 1878 to work on the railway construction.  These men were only four of a family of 16.  They worked west on the line as far as Regina.  One brother died in a railway accident at Rat Portage (Kenora).  In the fall of 1881 the remaining brothers returned east and in the spring took the Union Pacific Railway to San Francisco.  They then came by boat to Victoria and from there crossed immediately to the mainland to again engage in railway construction.

     J. Frederick McLellan became a powder and earth foreman for Onderdonk.  This work was not without incident.  Once a crooked subcontractor planned an explosion that killed a group of Chinese to avoid paying them wages.  Another time a train killed a horse and the boss told one of the men to get the carcass off the line.  When the boss returned a short time later he found the animal dangling in a mass of telegraph wires 20 feet above ground level.  The workman had carelessly used too much powder.

     It was near Kamloops that John McLellan was injured badly in a blast that went off prematurely.  He lost an eye and an arm.  Fortunately for him he was taken to the Roman Catholic Hospital in Victoria where he was given an artificial limb.  Neither John nor Alexander McLellan ever married.  Both lived out the rest of their lives in Glen Valley upon the completion of their work with the railway.


     When J. Frederick McLellan left Onderdonk's employ he was given a letter of recommendation from General Superintendent Michael Haney.  Of the three brothers he was the most industrious.  He acquired the reputation for being an outstanding bridge builder.  Councillor William Lawrence said of him: "If you have a difficult bridge to build or a tough road to construct Fred McLellan is the man to do it."  He got the contracts to build practically all of Langley's principal bridges and roads in the 1880s and 90s.  In 1892 he married Mary Anne McLellan.  Chances are good that he married a cousin since Mary, like her husband, was originally from Scotsville.  She was living in Boston, Massachusetts, when she began receiving letters of proposal from Fred.

     During the 1880s the first of the pioneer settlers began to get killed or else died.  William Edge had been killed in the Great Slide at Haney.

     The fall and winter of 1879-80 had been miserably wet which no doubt hastened the Great Slide.  At 3:30 on the afternoon of February 28, 1880, 27 acres of the Justus Howieson farm, located on the north side of the Fraser opposite the William Edge home, slid into the Fraser.  James Sinclair, the school teacher in Maple Ridge, was taking a stroll and saw the whole thing.  So did the two children of John Hinch.  William Edge also saw the catastrophe.  It would have been better for him had he been some place else.

     The huge mass of earth and trees slid slowly into the Fraser as if pushed by some giant hand.  First growth fir came down for half a mile still standing upright.  The huge volume of earth all but blocked the river.  The great force of the resulting wave swept across the river and mowed down Edge's orchard as if the trees were matchsticks.  Giant fir were stripped of their branches a full twenty feet from their roots.  Edge did not have a chance.  With full force the wave picked him up and fired him across the orchard.  His son Hamilton found his broken body in a tree.  They summoned a doctor from New Westminster but he was unable to do anything.  Edge died two days later.

     Samuel McClughan well remembered the destruction caused (114) by the slide up and down both sides of the river.  It smashed his canoe to pieces forcing him to buy a rowboat.  For the rest of his life McClughan refused to take his family by boat into New Westminster for supplies.

     In 1882 Edward Muench passed away and was the first person buried in the Maple Ridge Cemetery across the river.  Since no preacher was available, Paul Murray, a school teacher in Maple Ridge and not related to the founder of Murray's Corners, conducted the graveyard services.  Unfamiliar with procedures Murray had the body lowered into the ground incorrectly.  As a result Muench's headstone was placed at his feet.  The stone carver misspelled his name Muend.

     The first to die and be buried in the New Fort Langley Cemetery was Robert Mackie, the father of the municipality's first Warden. Otway Wilkie dug the grave.

     He was soon followed by John Beaton McLeod who fell into the (115) Salmon River in June, 1883, while hauling lumber from the West Mill to build a home.  He caught pneumonia and 3-4 days later died.

     The Fraser River claimed the youngest son of Murray's Corners founder. Alexander Murray drowned in crossing the Fraser River from a dance in Haney in January, 1884.  The boat he and his companions were in, was struck broadside by a chunk of ice, causing it to capsize.  The three swam for shore but only two made it.  Murray, after reaching shore, went back into the freezing water to attempt to save his floundering friend.  When found, the two bodies were locked together in death grips.  Alex was first buried in the Fort Langley Cemetery but was later exhumed and placed in the Murray's Corners Cemetery.  This cemetery was on land donated by his brother William.

     In 1885 the Reverend Dunn supervised the construction of two churches, one of which was the St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church at Fort Langley.  It was the second church to be built in Langley and the third Presbyterian church in British Columbia.  Dunn named it after the church in which he had been ordained (116) in Victoria.  Upon the completion of the building of the church Dunn was transferred to a three year pastorate at Port Alberni.  In 1889 he again returned to the Fraser Valley radiating out from Whonnock.  He had obtained a piece of land on which to build a house from Robert Robertson.  Dunn did not retire from the ministry until 1905 to reside in New Westminster.  In 1913 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree at Westminster Hall, Vancouver, for his thirty years of outstanding contribution to the work and the life of the church in British Columbia.  Dunn lived on until 1925 dying at the age of 82.  His wife died in 1934.  They had no children.

     Not to be outdone by the Presbyterians the Methodists in 1886 took up a subscription and built the Langley Prairie Methodist Church, now Milner United, which still stands.  The first minister was the Reverend James A. Wood who had previously held (117) church services in private homes throughout the valley.  He and Henry Davis rode from Abbotsford to Mud Bay collecting funds.  In two weeks they managed to scrape up $671.  The church was built on property donated by James Johnstone.

     In 1885 a steamer dumped the very sick ex-Warden Gibbs on a pile of cordwood at the Steamboat Landing.  Upon being run out of Langley, Gibbs had gone into New Westminster where he somehow managed to get sworn in as a Magistrate.  By 1879 he was running advertisements promoting real estate in the Fraser Valley.  He then went to Yale where he lead a dissolute life until becoming sick.  No one in Langley would take him into their home.  Finally Adam Innes, a former bitter opponent in municipal politics, hired two Indians to take him by canoe to the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster.  He died there that same year.  His obituary gave his occupation as a lawyer.

     William Lawrence farmed 40 acres of former Hudson's Bay Company farm at Langley Prairie in 1885.  He later purchased the Francis Guest homestead.

     Lawrence had sailed from Belfast, Ireland, in the spring of 1883 at the age of 21.  He had been born in County Langford, Ireland and had served in the Royal Irish Constabulary.  He had arrived in New Westminster in June, 1883, and immediately came to Langley to stay with his sister Margaret who was married to Langley farmer James Scroggy Gray.  He worked with Gray for some time framing barns before going to work in the various logging camps on the Nicomekl River.  It was in one of these camps that he met William Abercrombie from Port Moody.  Abercrombie invited the tall and handsome Irishman to his home to meet a sister.  Lawrence accepted the invitation but did not marry MaryAbercrombie until 1894.

     Once settled in Langley, Lawrence was joined by a brother Isaac and two nieces, Susan and Elizabeth Flower.  Isaac became a guard at the British Columbia Penitentiary in New Westminster.  Elizabeth married John Smith of Langley Prairie while Susan married William Johnston, son of James Johnston, a founder of Surrey.  Isaac Lawrence married Johnston's sister Amelia.


     It seems that pigs were often the subject of conversation in the municipality.  Langley Prairie farmers would turn the sows out in the spring to grub out an existence wherever they could find it.  All sows would be earmarked for identification.  The sows found one place which was Pig Heaven.  They had everything they desired--a muddy slough for wallowing, ample shade, and crab apple trees.  The farmers called the spot Hog Alley.  It was later renamed Medd Road.

     When the sows farrowed their owners would go down to Hog Alley and drive their animals home with their litters.  The farmers would then earmark all the piglets with the same identification mark as their mother.  Robert Oakes did not get around to tagging his roving bacon one year until almost fall.  He went down to Hog Alley and drove the entire herd of sows and their maturing offspring to his farm.  He locked the 100 pigs in his barn and started sorting them.  To his dismay he found every animal to be earmarked.  The only hog that had his brand was his (119) one sow.  He thought for a while and then decided that his earmark would be a slipped ear.  He got out his knife and cut the identifying marks off every hog in the barn.  He then turned them loose.  That winter Oakes had more meat than his family could eat.  He sold the surplus pork to the markets in New Westminster.

     Oakes was not the only prankster in the area. Hamilton Edge was another.  After his mother's second marriage (to Samuel Robertson), following the death her of her first husband, he had taken over the original farm.  On one occasion he enticed Alex Houston, the gold discoverer's son, and one of the Muench boys, to steal a turkey for him.  The two youths had come over to the bachelor's home late one fall evening and after a few hours got a little hungry.  Edge told them to go and steal a turkey from a neighbour some two miles away, while he got the stove ready.  He told them that this particular farmer had a large flock and that he would never miss one gobbler.

     Houston and Muench set out on their journey into the dark and chilly night.  They had not gone 200 yards from Edge's house before they heard a gobblers up in a tree.  The two young men thought for a few minutes.  They knew that Edge also had a large flock of turnkeys and that he would never miss one.  Houston reached up into the tree and grabbed a 20 pound turkey by the neck.  He managed to wring the bird's neck after a long struggle.  The pair took the bird into an old lean-to and hung it up to allow it to bleed while they kept warm.  After about an hour the pair began running on the spot to work up a good sweat.  They then jogged back to Edge's home and proudly presented him with their trophy.  Both appeared winded.  They explained that they had jogged the two miles and back to keep warm.

     Edge cooked the big bird.  By the time they had finished eating the finger-licking-good meal the sun was up.

     One thing that Houston and Edge had forgotten to take into account was that Edge had a pet gobbler named Old Tom.  Following the meal the two boys went home and Edge went to do his chores.  He called Old Tom but to no avail.  It was then he realized that the prank had been on him.  He and his chums had eaten his Old Tom.


     One former Canadian Pacific Railway bridge builder who established himself in Langley in 1885 was bachelor James Hossack.  Originally from Cromarty, Scotland, he built a grist mill, complete with a special river wharf and warehouse, just upriver from the fort.  This mill, which did a large business milling flour and grain and employed a large crew, was the first business to be subsidized by municipality farmers since they were so desirous to have a mill that they agreed to share in its cost with Hossack.  The stones for the mill, about 4 feet in diameter and 12-19 inches thick, were quarried at Yale and barged down the Fraser to the mill site.  Activity at the mill dwindled and then ceased when Hossack went back to England and left the business to nephews who were not interested.  Joseph J. Morrison, son of Kenneth Morrison, bought the land at a tax sale for his retirement. (121)

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Copyright Donald E. Waite / Lisa M. Peppan