Diary of Ebenezer Robson

Tuesday, February 19, 1861: "Left early in a conoe with 2 Indians for Salt Spring Island. Had a pleasant trip down. Was hailed when landing by a [zany?] man (Graham alias [Bitts?]) who invited one to spend the nights in his home. ["Graham, Dumbrain and Dr John Hall" added in the margin].

February 20, 1861: Last night one supped on clams and potatoes and this morning breakfasted on pancakes and bread visited all the houses on the east side of the Island, 7 in all, and when through with that took canoe and went around the south point into Ganges harbour when after dark I came to the house of Mr Lenneker [Lineker].

Feb 21, 1861: "After brealfasting at Mr Lineker I visited all the houses in the settlement, 21 houses and the same number of claims, 4 inhabited by white people and the remainder by coloured people. I preached in the home of a coloured man in the evening to about 20 persons all coloured except 1 and one is married to a colored man. Went back to my lodgings after service which made about 18 miles walking during the day.

Feb 22, 1861: Left early and paddled against a strong wind till about 10 a.m. When we rounded the southerly point and hoisted sail after about 2 hours sailing we came to an Indian house on SaltSpring Island and as our canoe was not sufficiently [strong?] to endure the gale we [illegible] an Indian with a large canoe and took ours in tow. as soon as we had started from shore the wind which was very strong carried the canoe forward with such speed that it became unmanageable -- the Indian could not keep it to its course and instead of running up the channel we soon across and were obliged to come to under shelter of an Island.... (Indian became frightened, and refused to go any further)

Saturday, March 9, 1861: Thirty Hydah canoes at Salt Spring Island robbed Begg's store of flour, turnips [flag?] etc. [inserted in different ink, obviously at later date. Similar addition under the next date.]

Saturday March 16, 1861: " A G Horne and E Gough sent ashore for chiefs, who [refused?] gunboat Forward (Robson) followed Hydah's to C. Mudge to [illegible] challenged the Hydas. a 30 pounder fired over their heads and was repelled by a volley from the Indians. Fire opened and 4 killed and others wounded sent (1) flag of truce and surrendered. S took supper at Mr Begg's and lodged with Mr lawless.

March 27, 1861: Left the north settlement in my canoe at 7 a.m. and went round the west end of the Island and arrived on the [canal?] on the south side around 12 or 1 p.m. The tide being out I left the Indians with instuctions to bring up the canoe when the tide came in and walked or scrambled through the woods a distance of one mile to the settlement. After lunch at the house of a German [illegible] I started to invite the people out to service in the evening in doing so I travelled about 10 miles on foot over hills and through the forest. Took tea at Mr Lineker down on Admiralty Bay. Walked two miles through the woods by a small trail after dark, panthers and plenty[illegible] several have been killed lately also bears and wolves abound. Had 12 houses, 9 coloured and three white. Slept at Mr Booth's house. Arrived home the next day after travelling about 80 miles and [illegible] visited 22 houses and preached once.

May 25, Robson notes that he hopes to raise 26 from the people on Salt Spring for a church

May 29, 1861: leaves at 6 a.m. in his canoe for Salt spring; arrives 4 p.m. in heavy rain. "I spent the evening at Mr Begg's house. The "Emily Harris" called in about 7 oclock and Mr Begg and I went on board her.

May 30, 1861: started in the moring to walk over to the other side of the Island but found that the way over the mountain was so very difficult and the trees and grass so very wet by reason the late rain I returned to Mr Begg's house again. Having received a thorough dunking from the bushes. During the day I visited all the settlers on this side of the island, 8 in all, at present . They all, except one, promised to attend service in the evening at Mr Begg's house. There were only 5 present, A Mr Begg, Mr George, Mr Sampson and Mr Lawless. While to see if any men would come one present was seeking for a lamp he went to the door and called out to his neighbor Lawless to bring his but I came in without any. George, who all the while had sat with his panama hat on and his pipe in his mouth holding his rifle in his hand. Seeing that I had not brought the required lamp, called out soberly "dont you mind the yarn of the 18 virgins who didn't bring any lamps." I preached from john 5:6 They were very attentive and I trust God made his word a blessing to them.

May 31, 1861 Mr Tate came over the Lake in a canoe and [illegible] to the other side thus saving the labour of travelling the mountain route. I walked all of 15 miles and visited 12 houses. preached in Mr Robinson's house to 9 persons besides children. Walked home to Mr Tate's house.

June 1, 1861: after a very uncomfortable night, Mr Tate and I sleeping heads and points in a very small hard bed I started for home. Mr Tate saw me safe over the lake from which I walked to Mr Begg's getting [illegible].

September 8; Salt Spring Island; held service at Mr Robinson's at 11 a.m. There were 19 adults and about [10?] children. some of the people had walked 4 miles through the forest and some came once from another district by water. in the afternoon... I preached at Mr Begg's to 4 white men and 3 indians.

Monday, September 9: left at 4 a.m., J Elliot accompanying us and arrived at Victoria at 5:30

Sunday, 24 November, 1861: — after a very stormy canoe trip with two Indians, and a stopover of one night, Robson arrives "At last we came upon the settlement, but at a [illegible] only a few of the people had expected me to come in such weather...and appointed 2 p.m. for our sevice. At th time 12 persons were preent with 4 children and I preached to them with considerable [liberty?]. Some of the others are at Victoria on business and thus not expecting me were from home when the messengers called I took dinner with friend Robinson and his wife in whose house I preached as some of the persons.... I hope the people will soon have a log school house in which we will hold our meetings. Monday Nov. 25: "After a good night rest in the robinsons house I started to cross the mountain to Begg's. we found the proper way this time and made the stolen goods recovered upon search Capt Nicol and Franklyn assisted."

Monday March 25, 1861: arrived at the north settlement about 6 p.m. I visited the different houses to inform the neighbours of my intention of holding service in the evening. this involved a walk of nearly 4 miles.... The hour fixed arrived It was pouring rain and very dark so that we had no service, only one man coming. The great sins of this place as at Nanaimo are [adultery?], drunkeness and sabbath breaking. There are 9 men now in this settlement. Quite a number of the settlers are gone to the mines and elsewhere for the summer. Of these 9 men, 5 are living with Indian women in a state of adultary. some have families from such connexion. one man has commenced this [degrading?] course since I was here last. He is a young man who was educated in [Massey?] College, England, for the bar and passed his examination for this profession. His father is an old and wealthy Methodist. his son, poor man, is far gone in the way to hell. Crossing in an hour. some parts of the way we had climb on our hands and knees and at these times support ourselves by holding onto branches of trees. We started from Mr Beggs's at 10:30 wind high and ahead rowed hard to [Prulict?] Island. took dinner in a indian house.

Dec 20, 1861 Left Nanaimo at 8 am and having a fine breeze arrrived at Mr Stark's landing on SaltSpring Island about 3:30 p.m. It took on a dinner on [Prulict?] Island to warm up the coffee which we brought. we made in grated fire by the side of a large tree. Mrs Stark will [illegible] Mr S as he was out hunting. Went in with my Indians to Mr Copeland found him and wife will [illegible]. Spent the night with them. the evening conversation was interesting and profitable. He and his wife are from [illegible].

Dec 21, 1861, "Left one of Indians at Mr Copeland and took the other to carry my baggage to Mr Robinsons where we arrived about 11 am. Then, leaving the... Indian there I walked to Mr Taits'. Mr Naughton [Norton?], Mr Innis, Mr [Richardson?] and the Linnekers also Mr Buckner at the Richardsons' firmed his [illegible] who are old people the former on 80 years of age. They are both good people. Members of the Baptist church and from Philadelphia. Mrs Richardson is also a member of the Lamb [Saint?] denomination. Mrs Linnecker says Mr L and herself will come to any [illegible] when the [illegible]."

Sun Dec 22 "Went over to Mr Andersons and also called to see Mr Whims and Mr gordon before [illegible] to let them know of my arrival. Mr Whims oldist daughter died about 2 weeks ago. Mrs Anderson was made the mother of an additional baby about the same time. Half the usual service about 17 present. Declared my intention of forming a society at such time I should come down. Went up to Mr Copeland and took dinner and then went on with Mr Stark to his house when I put up for the night. Had some interesting conversations with him in [illegible] to conditions which prevail in the slave states. His wife seems to be getting on in religion. He has not [illegible] as much of it as he might have and yet there are worse men in the church than Mr S.

Dec 23, Started from Stark's landing a 8 am and arrived at Nanaimo.

Sunday Feb 2, 1862 ; gave sermon and had 11 men, one woman and 3 children and one Indian; Mr and Mrs Stark, Mr Robinson and Br Whims and Mr Buckner and Mr and Mrs Jackson, Mr and Mrs Richardson, Mr Schmidt. These from the first class on Salt Spring Island. Left on Monday Feb 3 back to Nanaimo.

Source: BCA, H/D/R57, R57.3, Ebenezer Robson, "Diary of Ebenezer Robson," September 16, 1861 — March 27, 1862

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