The Diary of Alexander Aitken, Shepherd

14, 1891 Landed here on Salt Spring Island and commenced work as Shepherd.

May 11.

Commenced to Drive in the sheep. drove 3 days and then sheared other 2 days and a half. I went to farm on Saturday night 16 May came back on the 19th on the Isabel with all my things.

May 21st.

ploughed up all my garden

May 22nd

planted all my potatoes

May 23:

master Jack killed one deer and Robert went to town also his sister and Miss Edith. I went around the big [park?] fence.

"" 24,

Sunday I feel very lazy drowned Judy [?]


commenced to cut the ferns in the eighty acre park


still at them. Master Robert came back today but not his sister nor Miss Edith


Master Robert Yound and I all at the ferns.


All at the fence and hard work


Robert go to Cowichan all the rest at [illegible] fence. Killed 1 sheep tonight.


All at the fence. Mr. Musgrave go to town. Steamer Isabel came to wharf. 1 cow and some potatoes Master Jack took in some hay. Miss Edith came home in a canoe.


John Hallam came today. I go out with the chinaman for a boat ride.

June 1.

All day at the fence. I got 12lbs. rhubarb from Mrs. Musgrave to make into jam make one half


finish the fence today; put 17 rams in the outside of it and I finish my jam making. I hear Miss Edith leaves for England on Saturday first


At the fence again today. mr. Musgrave comes home. I get a letter from Mrs. Hargrave.

June 4th

Had some rain today. I have been at the farm all day. Mrs. Musgrave gave me some cauliflower and some cabbage to plant


Killed a sheep in the morning then went over the wing fence and the 200 acres and the 8- acres. Master Robert brought down some weeds [woods?] for the Indians. Jack Robert and Young all at farrm; showers of rain all day


Miss Edith leaves for England today dinner time Sam goes to Victoria on the Isabel the Indians came and we drive the [big park?]. 3 of the good were left and 2 lambs I got a letter from G. Williamson. Mrs. Daniel came to do the cooking and it has been showers all day again. I hope I will be better before we start to the run on Monday or else we will get terrible wet. Broght down one side of mutton for the Indians.

June 7th.

Sunday morning I go out for a sail go down as far as the south end and come back. The mountain looks spendid from the water. 3 Indians go out for a hunt. 2 of them get deer in the evening. 4 Kanakas come making 7 men now to drive sheep. We start in the morning.


Been driving sheep today. I wnt right round the back from the south end. I havenot been so far before. Seen the gold mine found a row [lack?] of a boat. master Robert brought down one side of a sheep today he killed one also we had a very poor drive. I think about 300 no rain today just lovely again.


Driving sheep again today. Lost one man inthe evening. I find Marion has come quite a surprise as I did not expect her. Master Robert killed one sheep Marion and I go out for a boat ride and find a piece of cactus which she is going to take to Victoria [in margin: "Miss Annis [gone?] home today"]


Went around by Burgoyne Bay today. I find 6 lengths of rails down. got very fine sheep. I catch one fawn and am going to make a pet of him at least try to anyway. the man that was lost yersterday turns up tonight. he had went home after he found he was lost young pays me a visit tonight.


Another drive today . get home dinnertime. shear the afternoon and finish them. Indians nearly all go home. I sell 2 doz eggs.


Jamie and Lewes go out hunting. Jamie shot 2 deer and did not get any after noon. he went home parted out the fat sheep [today?] and the good ewes and lambs. marion is making quite a difference in the house. it is not like the same place.


Marion went away with the Isabel. Today we sent away 42 fat sheep to Victoria. Master Jack went with them. the afernoon cut the ferns again.


I and Young go to Cowichan Young went to see his friend at Mr. Pimbury and he was not there. I went over to see Mr. Todd. very nice people . I think Young was very much afraid we were going to kill a [illegible] coming home.


Been raining nearly all day. started to [cut?] the ferns but had to come home in the afternoon we filled four sacks of wool. I fixed the door step tonight and the wood shed this morning.


killed one sheep this morning. filled some sacks of wool. The steamer came in and Master jack and 3 Ladies came . one was Miss Pooley. I got one box from Mattthews but just half what I wanted. it has rained nearly all day. a new purser on the Isabel I see miss Langry and Miss Foster and other Ladies

June 17th

Finished packing wool today in all 3,784 or very near that cutting firm in the afternoon. The ladies were all down to see the fawn.


Turned over the hay then drove the little [park?]. got 3 long tailed lambs cutting fern in the afternoon. been showers or rain all day. I see the cherries are now ripe in the orchard.


Been raining all day less or more.

Source: Private Collection of Sue Moat, Alexander Aitken, "The Diary of Alexander Aitken, Shepherd," ca. 1891. Notes: We would like to thank Sue Moat of Salt Spring Island for sharing this manuscript with us

Return to parent page