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Born Emily Adelaide Purdy, in the United Kingdom in 1852. she was courted and married in the county of Gloucester by Samuel John Beddis in 1871. In company with Samuel's two sisters, Ada and Tirza, the couple embarked by ship from Bristol across the Atlantic Ocean to North America in 1872. They traveled then by train to the new state of Nebraska and settled near Nebraska City to farm. Emily bore five children there, three sons, and two daughters who both died in infancy. The family moved north up the Missouri near the town of Omaha where in 1880, another son was born. Emily's brother, Raffles Purdy, gave up a teaching job in London, England to join the young family in 1882, and in 1883 a daughter was born to Emily. Samuel's sisters met and married suitors in Nebraska and the family, with Emily's brother, decided to move further west and north.
Emily and Samuel, their children and Raffles Purdy traveled by train to San Francisco where they embarked by steamship north up the Pacific Ocean to Victoria at the southern end of Vancouver Island, in British Columbia where they purchased a sloop and loaded their household goods on board for the final leg of their journey.
They pre-empted a quarter-section of arable land on the south-east side of Saltspring Island and began to build a cabin and barn, clear the land and plant a garden in 1884. They traveled by boat to get supplies and mail or to visit neighbors. Their children went to school at Beaver Point in the school built by Samuel and their oldest son, eleven year old Charles in 1885 and in that year Emily's brother left the family to take a teaching job at the Vesuvius (Central) school. They adopted another daughter in 1890 and just a month before their last son was born in 1893. Samuel died, leaving the widowed forty-one year old Emily to care for seven children and a farm, appropriately named "The Wilderness." Her four older sons built a more adequate house for the family in 1900, and as they grew up and left home, Emily provided an early guest house for visitors to the island. She was much in demand as a skilled midwife and passed her skills on to her daughter Boadecia. She lived to enjoy her grandchildren's visits and to mourn the death of her son, John, in 1906. Emily Adelaide Beddis, honoured by her family and the community in which she lived, died at the Wilderness. Saltspring Island, in British Columbia in 1919, at the age of seventy-five.
WPJ 1/10/98


003Emily AdelineBeddis1


Collection Beddis Accession number 2007026001
Location SSIA Dimension  
Date   Extent and Physical Description

Calotype portrait
wide wood frame

Source Clive Justice   Aug 2007

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