A Pioneer Gentlewoman in British Columbia: The Recollections by Margaret A. Ormsby

By Margaret A. Ormsby

In 1860, on the age of fourteen, Susan Louisa Moir left England for British Columbia. After settling before everything at wish, she lived in brief in either Victoria and New Westminster, then BC's most vital settlements. Returning to pray, she helped her mom open the community's first college. In 1868, she married John Fall Allison and, on her honeymoon, rode over the Allison path into the unsettled Similkameen Valley.

Her list of the voyage, of Victoria, New Westminster, and wish and her thoughts of the remoted yet enjoyable lifestyles she, her husband, and their fourteen childeren led within the Simlkameen and Okanagen valleys offer a special view of the pioneer brain and spirit.

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Mrs. Glennie's death, at the age of ninety-one, came suddenly in January 1906. Dewdney inserted in the paper a notice which referred to her as Mrs. Susan Glennie Moir. The day after her funeral, Tuesday, 30 January, Jeanie, "a daughter of the late Stratton Moir, Esq. of Aberdeen, Scotland, who settled in Ceylon, where Mrs. Dewdney was bom," died at Edgehill. Her funeral was held at Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria. Mrs. Allison, now sixty years of age, was the sole remaining member of her family.

Allison had a good market for beef the first winter, but in 1886 when gold worth $203,000 was taken from the creek, Nicola cattlemen offered him stiff competition. By 1887, though the diggings still produced substantial amounts of gold, the mining companies, with their advanced technology and powerful pumps, had extracted the heavy gold. As late as 1890 Allison employed miners, but his operations were on a small scale and yielded only four dollars a day a man. One of the ironies of this gold rush, which took place almost on his doorstep, was that he was aware that the gold was mixed with platinum—a white substance which the mining companies discarded.

These operations had the advantage of being closer than his to rail transportation. In an effort to meet this competition, Allison began to drive cattle 112 miles through the Nicola Valley for shipment by rail from Spence's Bridge. The Hope Trail then fell into disuse. Mrs. Allison longed as much as her husband for the coming of the railway. Eighteen months after her husband's death she wrote to his brother George: "You ask about our Railway. " Not until 1909, however, did the Great Northern Railway reach Princeton, and the Canadian Pacific Railway's Kettle Valley line was not completed until 1914.

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