Journal of Bishop George Hills of Columbia

Settlement Ganges Harbour. Evening Service in a Log Hut
Sept. 5, 1860

It was dusk & soon became dark but I was anxious to visit at once some of the people. We pulled up to the head of the Harbour & walked up a winding trail through a deserted Indian Village to a log hut. This was the house of Mr. Leniker the principal settler. We found him a most respectable man who had been a merchant, and his wife, the daughter of a clergyman with their children. In the Corner was stored away chickens, & little pigs in addition to other young [trusts?] of the family. After a good deal of talk & having fixed for a service to be held the next day, we had prayers -- I read Psalm VI -- and [illegible] & we anchored with the evening hymn. They expressed their thanks & said they certainly never should have expected the Lord Bishop to visit an out of the way settlement like this. "Oh" I said, "if this Bishop is spared, you will, I trust, often see him in such places & be delighted I to come!" Mr. Leniker lighted us back to our boat & we pulled again through the quiet and placid water -- in which the phosphorous light was stressed by the oars & by the fish which we could see darting away in all directions beneath the boat.

Evening Prayers in the Captain's Cabin

Before retiring to our berths we had Prayers. I read a portion of Scriptures & offered a prayer. It is a comfort to be in a vessel so well ordained & with so good a man as Capt. Robson.

Sept. 6, Thursday -- Morning Prayers -- "The Forward" At nine the crew were mustered as usual. I read a portion of Scripture, John VIII. 31 on "Sons & Slaves" & explained. Then prayers. After breakfast we went on shore. Mr. Leniker was waiting -- Capt. Robson went out with his gun & shot 3 grouse. Rev. Mr. Lowe & myself went with Mr. Leniker and Mr. Richardson, a coloured person to visit the different clearings.

Ganges Harbour Settlement

The plots are laid out in oblongs of 200 acres each. In the whole Island some 8000 acres are taken up -- about half are on this side. Although hardly a year has elapsed much has been cleared. A log barn has been built upon each. Some 3 or 5 acres have been brought under cultivation in each lot. Gardens produce of all sorts is to be seen. Cabbages, Potatoes, Beetroots, Onions, Tomatoes, Peas, Cucumbers, watermelons, Carrots & wheat & oats. Pigs, poultry & calves. The soil is good -- generally a light kind -- I saw very good Black loam -- a great deal of this latter principally in the valleys. I should say there is no better land in B. Columbia that I have seen -- or on Vancouver Island. There is considerable woods to be cleared -- but extensive open greens covered with ferns. The timber is not heavy or thick. There is good water from wells. Grouse are to be had. Deer in abundance & good. Fish plentiful. Mrs. Leniker today was at the waters edge raking in smelts -- We had some for dinner & capital they were. In winter wild fowl are abundant. Mr. Leniker told me he could come down & shoot as many as he wanted whenever he liked. The settlers complain of the hawks -- the Chicken hawks who pursue after the chickens at the very door of the house.

Canadian Settler

I visited Mr. Boothe's farm. He was busy clearing. I asked how he liked the place, he said very well, it was much better than Canada from the winter being so mild.

Young Men from England

Two fine young fellows from the old Country, Despard and Andrews have a farm. They just finished their log hut. They came late. They have been [uncomfortable?]. A Cow got into their potatoes and destroyed all the first fruits of their labours. A sow had a litter but all the little pigs were killed. They were not in good heart, I endeavoured to cheer them up.

Coloured People

I visited the farm of Mr. Richardson, a Coloured person. He has shewn great diligence & is successfully overcoming the land. Several acres shewed abundant crops. I visited Mr. Moore, a Coloured teacher, he too has a farm. There are a good many Coloured people. Their clearings by comparison with those clearances of others.

The Lake [St. Mary's Lake]

There is a beautiful lake about 3 miles from the landing place. Fish and wild fowl [live?] in it.

Divine Services

At 3 1/2 the people gathered at Mr. Lenikers. We had the Litany & Hymns. I preached from 2 Cor. IV. 10-31 & shew the motives, guide, power & fruit of a Xtian life. After service Mr. Leniker expressed the thanks of the settlers for my visit. Asked I should come again & trusted [illegible] be able to send them a clergyman. I replied I was glad to be amongst them & do all I can. They came down with me in a body to the boat. We shook hands & parted.

Mrs. Leniker is the daughter of a Clergyman in Australia, Wyoming., the Rev. Mr. Vincent. Her father was one of the first clergy out there. She knew intimately the well known Samuel Marsden who had often driven her when a child in his gig. She went to stay for weeks at his house. Sometimes the life is one of fear to her. She dreads the Indians. Six weeks ago there was a fight of Indians in the Harbour close to their dwelling. A Canoe of Hyda Indians came in. [...] grudge for some injury done years ago. Some fifty Cowichan set upon this course. They fired at them from behind trees. First, one Hyda fell & then another. At length most were killed & one woman taken prisoner. Some escaped a little ways but were entrapped & shot down. Ten were thus killed. Mrs. Leniker was much alarmed. She ran with her child to the woods.

A Rescue

Shortly after, the Satellite came into the Harbour & aided in rescuing the woman. She was brought to Victoria. When they arrived one Hyda had reached [Victoria] also the only survivor of the massacre. It turned out he was husband to the woman who was rescued. Their joy may be conceived each supposing the other murdered.

Evening Service on board the Forward

Friday Sept. 7. This morning about 6 we moved round to the Settlement on the N.E. side of Admiral Island. This we had approached yesterday at the Lake. We were 2 ours steaming round. At 9 I read prayers & spoke a few words to the men from the 139th Psalm. At 1/2 past 10 went on Shore.

N.E. Settlement on Admiral Island [Begg's Settlement]

Mr. Lowe accompanied me on shore. Several settlers met us. I visited most of the log houses which are build on each lot. [See Mallandaine's Sketch of Log House] The land is much more open than on the other side where we visited yesterday. It is quite Park like & he soil is sometimes rich black loam, at other times a [illegible] and not rich kind. There is plenty of fine grass. There are 16 settlers, mostly young men. Nearly all are living with Indian women. I visited amongst others, the farm of Elliot. He was blacksmith at Nanaimo for some years. He has a good log house. He had built extensive accommodation for fattening pigs. He was roofing a cattle house. Several acres were sown with potatoes. Another farm was that of Mills. He has fenced 25 acres and plowed them. About 3 acres were growing potatoes. He has fifty pigs, two cows, & two oxen, [...] bender calves & poultry. He comes from Eltham in Kent. Another farm was that of Mr. Beggs who understands nursery grounds. He has about 4 acres under cultivation. He has planted an orchard. His vegetables are excellent. The soil is a rich black loam. He says it is all he could wish. He proposes laying out his ground as a nursery & I doubt not will find a market in the growing requirements of the Colonies. Mills had an ox house, a store house in which hay & pea haulm was stores & had just completed 7 excellent log pens for pigs. An animal at this time live and thrive upon what can be obtain in the bush. Pigs root up 'pig nuts' and the camas. In the winter stock will be fed upon hay, peas potatoes. Fish are plentiful. Deer in abundance. You can get a deer weighing 80 lbs. for 1 dollar. A fine buck of 120 lb. for 1 1/2 dollar.

Service at N.E. Settlement

At 1 o'clock I held Service about 9 were present. I read Litany. We had three Hymns. The singing was excellent. The cards which have 10 Hymns answer well. These I distribute beforehand & gather them in afterwards. Our service was in the log house of Geary whose substitute was present & very glad to have the Service. I observed several joined as though the words were familiar. I preached from the Prodigal Son. They were attentive. I instanced cases I knew of in the misery of young men who go to the mines & spend all in distress living. Some had been to the mines. One told Capt. Franklyn afterwards, "Sir, I know many cases exactly as that gentleman described." I exhalted then to reflect upon their lives. Spoke of home & the Heavenly Home -- invited them to the loving and merciful Saviour & trust the word spoken will change feelings will not be without [find?]. The settlers expressed their desire for a clergyman. I hope we may be able to help them & yet I hardly know how. They accompanied me down to the boat.

Grouse at Admiral Island

Capt. Robson yesterday shot three. Today has bagged a brace of grouse. They are called partridges, but are of the grouse bird though somewhat larger. They are excellent eating.

Indians at Admiral Island

An old chief came on board this morning. He brought berries & wanted powder which the Capt. kindly gave him. He had a chain round his neck to which was appended a crucifix. He had a roll of paper he prized amongst which were some Scripture cards. We trust somehow they may be [antithetical?] to the influences of R. Priest. He attended our service on shore & it was interesting to hear him join in the singing. He had been at our Prayers on board ship in the morning. I asked if he knew what it meant. He said he did & that God had taught him to be good. He told me that their head chief was anxious to see me. I wish I had something to give these poor creatures which would be prized instead of Romish toys -- and yet how much better to give them the treasure which rust and moth no; do not corrupt but they are like children and Rome deals with them as such.

Sept. 8. — Sept. 11: to Nanaimo, Cowichan

September 11. Tuesday. We left Nanaimo and 1/2 past 4. The Captain received on Board a Methodist Minister and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Robson. The latter being ill & wishing a passage to Victoria. He also had a daughter of Capt. Franklyn.

Fulford Harbour Settlement

At 11 we reached Fulford Harbour. Captain & myself went on shore. A neat cut road led up to the dwelling of some Germans. These industrious men are occupied in cutting shingles for roofing and staves for salmon casks from the cedar. They are friends who came out from Germany together, who lived a t the mines in California together and who have come here and decided to remain. They are Roman Catholics, one a Protestant. They appear quiet and respectable. I spoke of the obligations of religion. They said when a man had opportunity it was a disgrace not to go to Church. The chief speaker was a fine young man who unhappily several times took the name of God in vain. They have no land yet under cultivation. They take their work to Victoria and bring back food -- they clear 3 1/2 dollars on the 10000 shingles. They have a constant supply of Venison. A deer just killed was hanging up. Abundance of deer skins showed how good the supply was. They have also grouse. The spot is pleasant. Some Englishmen lived a short distance off but have left for a while. I should think good land might be found on the west side of the harbour. A small stream runs in to the [illegible] which flows from a Lake 3 miles up. We reached Victoria at 1/2 past 6. I found my American guests had arrived. The Rev. Mr. Kendig and his wife from the Fort Steclacom & the Rev. Mr. Willis from Olympia. Bshp. Scott was prevented from coming.

Source: George Hills, Journal of Bishop George Hills of Columbia, 1860-1887

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