Monthly Archives: December 2019

The interweaving of early Burke and Widgeon families

In Volume One, we learned how frequently family connections existed between the various homesteading families that settled here.  Apparently, in Volume Two, that trend may continue.  One of the earlier landowners in Meridian Heights (top of Coast Meridian area) (c.1930s – 1940s) was a father and son team, James de Pas Murray (father) and James Ivan Murray (son).  Their family history can be traced back to the early years of the grandfather, James Irving Murray, who was living in Alameda County, California.  Curiously, this was the same community from whence the Millard family had originated, prompting a closer look for any other overlaps between the stories of James de Pas Murray and Augustus Millard.  Although Augustus was roughly a half-generation older than James de Pas, the similarities in their individual stories were striking.  Both were born in Warm Springs, Alameda County, California: Augustus in 1869 and James De Pas in 1888.  Both appear to have immigrated to Canada in about 1890: Augustus in 1890 and James De Pas in either 1890 or 1892.  Both appear to have had an initial presence in the Mission-Matsqui areas of BC during the 1890s: Albert Stallard (Augustus’ son) had been born there in 1892 and James De Pas married there in 1909.  In fact, the 1891 Canada Census lists both families as living in Sub-Dist. 14, New Westminster Dist., BC: Millards as Family #43 and the Murrays as Family #84.   And, both later acquired land within relatively close proximity of the other on Burke Mountain: Augustus arriving in 1923 and James De Pas following in 1931.
Coincidence? Or, did the two families know one another?

“Little Norway”

My recent focus has been directed towards uncovering more information about the history of this long-time enclave of summer homes, situated along the west shoreline of the Pitt River.  Few remnants of these homes remain today.  During this process, I’ve gained a better appreciation of the fact that there were two distinct areas where cabins existed: one at Little Norway, itself, and the second along MacIntyre Creek, located a bit north of Little Norway.  There appears to have been no direct connection between the two.  The cabins near MacIntyre Creek were on land that, back as early as 1907, had once been the home of John William David McLeod while the adjoining “Little Norway” enclave, located directly to the south, was the one-time homestead of Eric Nystrom in the 1920s and beyond.

Another, very gratifying aspect of this research has been the opportunity it has provided for me to meet some fine people and learn, directly from them, more about the history of this scenic spot.  This will make for an interesting addition to Volume Two of “Burke and Widgeon – A History”.