SBI (Saltspring Bureau of Investigation)


From: <>Alana Collins
To: <>'chris arnett'
Sent: Friday, February 06, 2009 9:46 AM
Subject: RE: the Wedding? at St Pauls


I hear what you're saying about the bell in the tower. 

I've just quickly gone over the entries that I have and see only 2 weddings involving the Saltspring Hawaiian community, the most viable perhaps being the Munden/Gordon marriage. I'll scan it to you for your records. 

At least this shows that those marriages at St Pauls can be found at the Diocese in Victoria. 

Here are the two marriages I found that could be possibilities for that photo, although admittedly not great possibilities:

Maria Munden married Robert Gordon. It looks like the wedding took place in February of 1891 at  St Pauls Church. Maria is the daughter of Henry Munden and Sophie Tahouney. The sponsors were Joseph Tahouney and Helen Tahouney. The priest was JA Van Nevel though, and you mentioned Donkele.
The other is the marriage for Maria Mahoy and George Fisher in 1900 I believe. Probably a little late for that photo.  And the priest there is Van Goethem.

I know how frustrating it is for even the smallest historical detail to be recorded inaccurately.  I've allowed such things to throw me off course in the past.

Anyway, I'll leave you alone now, but  I'll keep my eyes and ears open for anything that might be helpful in identifying the people in the photograph.

----- Original Message -----
From: <>Alana Collins
To: <>'chris arnett'
Sent: Friday, February 06, 2009 1:54 PM
Subject: RE: wedding

I'm home today with my children who are absent from school because they're supposed to be sick. Of course they're jumping around like monkeys and I'm the one feeling rotten. Anyway, I'm able to answer your email. 

The Shepherds are definitely a mixed-breed family. The original Shepherd, Horace, married a native woman named 'Mary' so the 3 sons and one daughter were of mixed ancestry. One of these children is the George Shepherd who married Julia Naukana (named Lakamine in the marriage record, after the nickname of her father William Naukana).

Just a note about the Shepards:  In  that first email I sent to you when I was half-confusing you with Koppel, I was talking about the senior James Harris, who was the father of Jimmy, Charlie, Priscilla etc. Well the senior James Harris, (who had been married to Ann), had a brother Samuel Harris.   Sam Harris and Ann were the parents of Peter Roland, which is how it came to be that Mathilda Naukana, Julia's sister, married half brothers, Jimmy Harris and Peter Roland.  

Anyway, Sam Harris had been married to a native woman who died prior to the 1881 census.   She left two children that I know of. One of those children was Elizabeth Harris who married John Smith Shepard. Jimmy Harris stayed with them when he first went to Saltspring as a young man. These families were so intertwined! And when you think of it, Sara and Ann had 'genetic responsibility' for so many of the mixed-breed families on Saltspring! 

The witnesses on the Mahoy/Fisher marriage are Maria King and Helena Douglas. (Her daughters from her marriage with Abel Douglas?)

Also the witnesses on the Shepherd marriage that I thought said Bernie and Mary is incorrect. It says Peavine and Mary, which is in keeping with the Hawaiian community, although I forget just exactly how he fits in. But he would be another Hawaiian married to a native woman, I believe.

Chris, I don't have access to that photo. Are you able to scan it to me? 

I'll attach the Mahoy/Fisher entry.

-----Original Message-----
From: chris arnett []
Sent: February-06-09 12:48 PM
To: Alana Collins
Subject: wedding

Alana, Wow, great of these marriages has to be the one! I'm going to delve into it a little more over the next few days...I need a bit more information. Could you tell me who the witnesses were at the Maria Mahoi/ George Fisher wedding? I will have to take a closer look but the bride appears  to be older than the groom (Fisher was 10 years her junior) and I wonder if the kids arranged in front and the baby? held by the bride's attendant are their children (they had six before the wedding in 1900) I don't know.and there is the issue of the priest...Now, the last email/scan  you sent also might fit.(a double wedding).William Naukana is in it and his daughters are arraigned in front.No groom though, although there is a gentleman behind with a boutiniere like the other groom...and Donkele is in the picture... I'm not too familiar with the Shepherd family, were they of mixed ancestry? Anyhow, great work Alana, I think we're on the way to solving this puzzle, Thanks, Chris 

From: chris arnett []
Sent: February-05-09 8:47 PM
To: Alana Collins
Subject: Re: the Wedding? at St Pauls

Hi Alana, I haven't heard the Alphonse Harris interview. Just heard about it from Auggie. Do you know Joey Caro at HTG in Ladysmiith? He's a good guy and may be able to help. Regarding that wedding photo -it has been misidentified by Charles Kahn(Salt Spring:story of an Island)  and others as the consecration ofthe Church which took place in May 1885 BUT the bell shown in the tower was not in place until 1887...and study of the photo definitely indicates a wedding party. Chris

----- Original Message -----
From: <>Alana Collins
To: <>
Sent: Thursday, February 05, 2009 6:26 PM
Subject: the Wedding? at St Pauls


Are you sure that it was a wedding? I know the photo that you mean (I think) and I always assumed it was the opening of the church. I checked with two women who know about Saltspring than I do and they also thought that it was "opening day". Actually, one of the ladies (Kate Roland) thought that it was either the opening of the church or a First Communion. But perhaps it was a wedding! I'll look to see if anything jumps out at me from the church records. But if it was St Pauls on Saltspring, I may not have it. While some of the Saltspring events are recorded in the St Anns books, perhaps once St Pauls got up and running, they kept their own records. But I didn't see a separate book for St Pauls at the Diocese, that's for sure. We'd have been all over that!

Chris, I was wondering if you recall if Alphonse Harris may have shared any information about himself in that interview you mentioned. 


-----Original Message-----
From: chris arnett []
Sent: February-05-09 1:13 PM
To: Alana Collins
Subject: Re: Catholic diocese records

Hi Alana, That's great that you secured all those records...Well done..I've heard that the Archives are rather cautious with researchers. Regarding the wedding photo,it is a famous one with a large wedding party of mainly Hawaiian and First Nation's people. The only info that i can provide is that it took place after 1887 and probably before 1900 at St Paul's in Fulford harbour and seems to have involved a native?hawaiian ? man and a native?hawaiian ? woman.  Father Donkele is in the picture. Its on the Salt spring website but I just talked to the webmaster and their server is under attack by some serious virus so please don't have a look. Your cousin George may have been in my class ... he was a "mature" student. I taught fulltime at Malaspina in 2000-01 with Dr. Atleo and it was a great program..I'd love to have a look at the pre-1863 records one day.No rush though. Good to know you have them. Thanks, Chris

From: <>Alana Collins
To: <>
Sent: Friday, February 06, 2009 11:01 AM
Subject: marriages

Just as I was putting the papers away, this page caught my attention. It's difficult to read on the scan but they both appear to Saltspring Island marriages at St Pauls in 1886. Notice too that Donckele is the priest. (I'm not entirely sure about the six, but the 1880's for sure). 

Anyway, the first marriage is between George Sheperd and Julia Lakamine. Julia would be the daughter of William Naukana. And you are probably aware of the Shepherds as well. This would be an important wedding being that it involves these two prominent families. The witnesses are Birnie? and Mary.

The next entry is for a marriage between Gubelinum/Gulielinum? Rar and Catherine. I don't who they are off hand but the witnesses are George and Julia Shepherd, the couple who just got married. These marriages may have been on the same day. 

I don't recall if the wedding photo looked as though it could have been winter or not, but these look like they took place in January. 

Hi Alana
Chris told me about the wonderful detective work you are doing. Thank you for that.
Attached is the photo in hi-res, there is a bit of detail about the photo at:


Hi Alana
Here is a description (pdf) of a photo, that must be very similar to the
The only difference I can see is that father Donckele is in the picture, and the bishop is not.
Cheers, Frank


Thank you for sending that explanation of the photo.

Knowing now that the other lady in white is Maria Mahoy, tells me that this is very likely not the double wedding for George Shepherd and Julia Lakamine and the other couple I sent to Chris. I was thinking that the other bride would have to be the woman in white who was standing without her new husband. But now I know that the other woman in white  is Maria Mahoy.  Darn.

Perhaps it's the Munden marriage, which is also a mixed blood family of Hawaiian and Native ancestry. But no Donckele.

It does look like old Mrs Nuana might be in the centre of the photo on with the scarf covering her head. And Mathilda Naukana might be the one in the checkered skirt next to Maria. Have you compared this photo to others like the 'school photo", the one where the boy is holding the scroll on the far left of the frame. You must know the one. There seem to be some similar faces in both photos. But you've done all this already.

Anyway, I'll keep feelers out.

Here is Annie



I see that you sent this email to Kate Roland as well. I'm so glad
because she and I have been communicating about this today. We came to
the conclusion that this bride could not be Julia Naukana because the
face shape is entirely wrong. (I think you agreed with me on that
Kate?) But I think you're right Frank that the groom is indeed George
Shepard, but the bride is a later one, by name of Emma King! This
particular wedding took place in 1906 and Naukana didn't pass away until
1909, so the fact that he is in the photo makes sense. Emma had a baby
in January of 1906, so perhaps it is one of these babies being held by
women standing close to her.

I believe Emma King was the woman who had an affair with George Fisher
and a set of twins resulted from that union.

There is a photo on the SSI site of Emma and George Shepherd in later
years, but the resemblance is quite striking to my eye.

Frank, you mention Annie and her husband. So who is Annie? There was
the double wedding that I had mentioned with a Catherine and her husband
along with George Shepherd and Julia Naukana. Did you mean Catherine?
(I apologize for questioning you, but I'm always on the lookout for my



Hi, Back to square one, or two..The late 1880's date fits , in the style of clothing,presence of Donkele, young Ted Akerman, and John Maxwell, the bearded man in the hat in behind and to the left of the two ladies we have tentatively id'd as sisters/cousins Susanah Trage (Musiqwiaht) and Mary Maxwell. John died 1892. The sisters were daughters/nieces  of Tusilum (a name glossed elsewhere by a priest as Gloselem.[i'll find the ref])- a name very similar to the "Gulielenum" groom in the 1886 double wedding. (the name could be used by more than one man -maybe a son?) and could expalin the presence of the afore-mentioned native women. Could the bride Catherine be related to George Shepherd(his sister?) and that is why they are standing together? Also the woman tentatively id'd as Julia is also wearing a white (bridal?)bonnet similar to the other bride. Also, the man id'd as Joe Tahouney by Kate might be him but he also looks alot like Thomas Pappenberger(see barman's book) especially the hairstyle. Maybe Joe is the guy with his arms folded to the right? Just thoughts, Chris 

----- Original Message -----
From: <>Alana Collins
To: <>'kate'
Cc: <>'chris arnett' ; <>'Frank Neumann'
Sent: Saturday, February 07, 2009 8:30 PM
Subject: I'm wrong about the 1906, darn!


This is frustrating, because to me this groom is almost certainly George Shepard, but the 1906 date for his marriage with Emma King is far too late for this photo. Young Ted Akerman looks to be about 8 or so. In 1881 there is an Edward Akerman who is 7 and a William E. who is 2. Being that Ted is often a nickname for Edward, he is probably one of these two boys. And more than likely the younger one, who is probably William Edward. But in 1906, at the time of the Shepard/King wedding, even he, the youngest Akerman boy, would be 27 years old. So if this child sitting on the fence is young Ted Akerman, who was born in 1879, the wedding would have to have been an earlier one by about 20 years! 

This wedding photo has to have been taken in the later 1880's. So I am wrong about the 1906 date. But maybe these two people who look like the bride and groom are from the different couples. (The January 1887 double wedding I found in the diocese records). And perhaps the lady next to the bride in white is Julia Naukana, not Annie? And the other groom tucked in behind? 

I do apologize. I should bite my tongue sometimes. But I think it is safe to say that this man who is an obvious groom is very likely George Sheperd. And it is possible that the two couples are standing there, but we have been confused because the groom from couple #1 is standing next to the bride from couple #2? 

-----Original Message-----
From: kate []
Sent: February-07-09 5:52 PM
To: Collins Alana
Subject: Two more photos from Kate

There is a man in the photo, just right of centre, directly below the stairs. Standing to the left of the two men holding their hats. He looks a lot like Joe Tahouney.

The other photo came from my cousin Bea Shepard. One of the men is George Shepard I think that's what she said. They are obviously three friends. Do they look familiar?

Talk to you later.


----- Original Message -----
From: <>Alana Collins
To: <>'kate' ; <>'chris arnett' ; <>'Frank Neumann'
Sent: Saturday, February 07, 2009 5:47 PM
Subject: Shepherd/King?

These photos would be a few years apart, but the consensus in my house is that they are the same couple. You have to imagine her hair smooshed down unter the hat. The only problem is that according to the SSI site, they didn't marry until 1906, probably after Donckele time? Alana

Hi, I think we're getting close...Donkele retired from the Industrial school on Kuper in 1906..i guess we'll have to find the diocese record of the 1906 wedding.Chris
s Shepherd



Hello Everyone.

I've been trying to keep up with the progress regarding "the photo" Have we narrowed down the date?

If the consecration was in 1880 and the bell was not hung until 2 years later, then that would mean we are NOT looking for a picture taken, or an event (wedding) prior to 1882? Correct? And, if Bob Akerman's recollection is correct, that the bearded gentleman behind Mrs. George Fisher, is William Naukana, and Wm. Naukana died in Dec. 1909 then we are NOT looking for a photo or event that took place after 1909.

So our target is a wedding? that took place between 1882 and 1909? Hmmmm? 27 years!!!

Can we narrow this down? Anyone?


The ledger from the Troy Company show that the bell was delivered 1887.
and it shows the bell in the cupola

So that knocks off 5 years!!! 1887 to 1909 are the target years!! A 22 year gap.

From: Joanne Peterson <>

I keep wondering why the 'constant' story of it being at the
consecration of the Church. It certainly LOOKS like a wedding with the
white dresses and flowers - though it is strange one bride doesn't have
her groom beside her.

Is it possible it is the consecration of the BELL that was the occasion,
and that a couple of impending marriages coincided?
A thought.

O.K. So I was talking to my cousin, Bea Shepard and she didn't have a copy of the photo in front of her to look at (she doesn't have a computer so I can't send it to her) but she thinks she remembers the photo. She said Bob Akerman had it and she had asked for a copy that she never received. Anyway!!! She says the photo is of Mary Jane Fisher to ? Roberts. The mother of the bride would be Mrs. George Fisher (Mariah Mahoe). Does anyone know the date they got married? Mary Jane is on the 1891 Census with her mom and dad, George 25 and Maria (Mariah) 35. Mary Jane is 1 year old. So if she got married between, say 16 and 20 that would make the date of this wedding between 1906 and 1910.



Here's some details on that marriage. Note that while the archives site
says the marriage was at Victoria, the actual copy says it was at the

Marriage Registration
Groom Name: George Fisher
Age 36 years
[actually 34?]
Residence Fulford Harbour, Salt Spring Island, B.C.
Place of Birth Pier Island
Condition Bachelor
Rank/Profession Farmer
Parents Edward Brade and Sarah Fisher
Religion R.C.
Bride Name: Maria Mahoya
Age 43 years
[actually 45 or 46?]
Residence Fulford Harbour
Place of Birth Esquimalt
Condition Spinster
Parents Mayoha William [Mother's name unknown]
Religion R.C.
Event Date: 1900 JANUARY 9
Event Place: Victoria on BCPA site, but written as:
At the residence of Mr. Fisher, Geo.
Witnesses Mary King and Helen Douglass, both of Fulford
By Geo. ? Van Goethem?, Rector, St. Ann's,
Quamichan BC?
Signed 7th March 1900
Reg. Number: 1900-09-009455
B.C.P.A. Film # B11368
GSU Microfilm #: 1983525
Remarks: "The marriage took place without banns or license because the
bridegroom was in dying condition and wished for immediate marriage to
legitimate his children."
Document SAVED as: 1900M - Fisher [George] + Mahoya [Maria].jpg

At the baptism of baby George at St. Ann's in January 1899, it says [in
Latin!] that the parents Georgia Fisher & Maria were legitimately
married at Fulford Harbour.

From Maria Mahoi by Barman:
40 In January 1900 in "danger of death," as the Catholic record
reads, George Fisher married Maria in a Catholic ceremony at their Salt
Spring home. The witnesses were Maria's daughter Mary Ellen Douglas,
then aged fifteen, and Mary King, either the wife or daughter of their
Salt Spring neighbour whose stepdaughter Emma a very young George had
courted. The priest at St. Ann's Church in the Cowichan came over
especially for the occasion. Thirty-five-year-old George Fisher joined
himself for life to the woman ten years his senior who had borne him
half a dozen children bearing his surname.
It may have been George's fear of dying in sin that prompted the
decision. Possibly it was a public acknowledgement of his dependence on
the woman with whom he lived, similar to the situation that precipitated
the marriage of his mother, Sara, and stepfather, George Purser. In the
marriage registration, the officiating priest gave his own
interpretation. "The marriage took place without bans or license
because the bridegroom was in dying condition and wished for an
immediate marriage to legitimate his children."


Yes I agree. This wedding had to be late 1880's, judging by young Ted
Akerman's age. And as Chris says, the dress etc. The 1900's are just
too late for this photo. Alana


Maria Mahoy's wedding doesn't fit with Donkele. It was a different
priest. Van Goethem I think it was. I've got the original latin
record. Also doesn't fit with the age of Ted. And if that's Wm
Naukana in the background, he looks too young. Alana

I am coming into this discussion rather late but we know for sure this photo is not of the dedication of the church in 1885. Besides the facts on the purchase of the bell, the story of the bishop being cut out of the photo would make no sense. It took 5 years to get him over to SSI for the dedication and he would have been the central figure at the dedication - for sure! Maybe a photo of the dedication exists somewhere -another challenge for the bureau!

As soon as I found the information on the bell I began to work on the theory that this in fact a photo of a priest's visit when he "caught up" with weddings and baptisms - hence multiple brides and grooms(thank goodness for boutonnieres!) and perhaps baptisms. No records of events would have been kept at St. Paul's until a priest was in residence. Until then SSI was a mission of St. Anne's.

Records at the SSI parish have large gaps. At some point someone borrowed the sacramental registry and it was never returned. As well some pastors were not very diligent.A copy of the St Anne's registry is in the SSI archives. There are other examples of marriages being registered in Victoria as well as elsewhere. Granny and Michael Gyves have the dual recording - Victoria and Cowichan Bay including different dates!

Currently I am focusing more on the cemetery and am compiling a list of those interred adjacent to the church. I am so pleased someone is following up on the photo. It is very reassuring for me that others are on board with the wedding theory because I caused quite a stir when I contradicted the long held - and often published - dedication theory. Please keep me in the loop.
Emily Hepburn

If the dates below from Kate are correct, that we have narrowed it from
1887 to 1909, AND if we know that Father Donckele was the celebrant, I
think we can narrow it further.

According to this web site - PDF page 7,
Donckele only served at St. Paul's until 1890.
This would place the picture at 1885-1890 -- or with the 1887 date
above, it would narrow it further -- to 1887 - 1890?

There is also a PHOTO of Donckele in 1890 at St. Mary's Mission at:
[And this seems to confirm that he is the priest in the 'undated'

Someone needs to get to the records at the diocese to look for a 'mass'
day in this time frame? 'Mass' as in a mass of baptisms and marriages?


I still maintain that this photo is dated approx. 1887. It is quite
simple, by judging the age of young Ted Akerman (Bob's father and is
identified by Bob as Ted) who is sitting on the fence. Alana

I was confused by that earlier reference to Ted, Bob's father - because
Kate said he was born 1879. Actually it was November or December 1873
when he was born. So does that boy on the fence look to be 14 at the
time? [I am assuming the one whose head is high - against the white
church - behind the man with the boutonniere -- fairly close to the
stairs?] Hard to be that exact?

But actually this young boy may not have been Bob's father at all. I
had just assumed that. The older boy b 1873 might have been Bob's
father, but you all probably know about that better than I do. But what
is important here is this; from what I read, this younger fellow William
E. on the 1881 census - the one born in 1879 - was known as Ted. And I
think that is significant since it was Bob who identified this young
fellow as Ted. Alana


There must be part of this thread I am missing. How do we know that the boy on the fence is an Akerman? Did Bob tell someone that his father [or an uncle] was in that photo - and on the fence?

And my experience with these birth registrations is that the date of birth IS what is given on the archives summary page. And that when you look at the birth registration form, the date of birth will be what was posted on the archives site – and then you will see a later registration date for the actual registration [sometimes years later]. In any event, the archives birth and baptism records both say 1873 for Ted – the only discrepancy is that Bob’s book says his dad was born November 28, 1873. The archives site says December 28, 1873. And on both the birth and baptism. So it was Nov/Dec 1873 when Ted, Bob’s dad, was born. Which would make him 13 in this photo – if taken Jan/1877. 

I believe the double wedding Alana found was January 1877? But I am not sure that will work if the bell was only invoiced in February – wouldn’t be out here and in the tower by January 1877?

But again, I may have missed part of the thread – if so – sorry!