Salt Spring Island Archives

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Mary Inglin née Purdy

Inglin talks of her childhood on the Island, giving many details of the social and family life, that she was involved with.

Accession Number Interviewer Tony Farr
Date unknown Location Cassette tapes box File #1A to File #23 Shelf 8C
Media tape Audio CD mp3
ID 19




Unknown Speaker 0:01
you'd like to tell us about your father level 31st

Unknown Speaker 0:06
What my father meant was pretty was born in, in England or actually born in Ireland, but his parents were just on a holiday. So he was really his home was in Gloucester, Gloucestershire and Somerset. And he was born in 1861. His his people were all stone carvers. And one of the family had a jeweler shop in, in Ireland, but he didn't want to take up stone carving. So he became a teacher. And he taught school in London for some years, and then he he thought he would come out to America, because his sister and her husband had come to Nebraska. And he'd heard glowing stories of what the country could offer. And there were big signs in England say, just tickle the soil with a stainless smile through the harvest. And so we set off in 1880 and came to the Braska to where his sister was who had been there since 1871.

Unknown Speaker 1:12
And she had married

Unknown Speaker 1:15
she had married in England. She was married in England. Yes, she and she sister Emily had married Sam Betty's. And so by this time, they already had Charlie, their son, Charlie, and John and Henry. And so. So my dad stayed with them. And they found and they he said that the potatoes would grow as big as your head. Fantastic cross. But one year, Lucas came along and just ate everything they'd had. So they left there and went to to went out to the coast and came up the coast. The sand berries had been working for the Union Pacific. So they came out to San Francisco. And then they got on a boat fare, the queen of the Pacific and came up Victoria way and they were going to go up to salmon river. But somebody persuaded them. People that Bregman and curve just dissuaded them from going up there and said you should go over to Saltspring Island. Now I should tell the part about them being cast adrift. Yes. So my dad had bought a sloop. And it was quite quite big, quite a good size. He paid $300 For this loop. And so they all set off in his sleep. Mr. Mrs Barris, and by this time they are with their five children. Little baby girl was just a year old. And it was August August the 14th. But there was a perfect storm came up and flew them off course. And they landed on the San Juan Islands not knowing it because they were the same islands. And so the two officials came out and said, Well, you can't stay here. They got their little fire Billy and then hit their, their belly can go in for tea. And they hadn't had any hot food for two days being tasked to site in this storm. So anyhow, the officials told them how to get back to Victoria. So they got back and they landed somewhere near Sydney, where they were Bregman and Cara had a meal. Prep monitor took them in and said, Just wait here now until Henry reco comes over from from Beaver point with his butter and his eggs and his supplies. So they waited. And sure enough, Henry record came and he said well come to Salt Spring because that's there's plenty of land there. And you can preempt land there. I'm not sure whether it was 50 cents an acre or $1 an acre. But anyhow, it's very reasonable. So So anyhow, they they set sail in the sleep, and they got past the records place and I remember it Emily telling my mother. She said me when I saw that white beach, I said this is it. This is where we will land and so they landed there and they started to unload all their supplies. They had had a DVD in the beginning but the DVD had got broken. So while they were Sidney Bregman and Curtis place, they've made a new thing. So they brought everything off the soup like an iron stove that they had. And they set up the iron stove and set up their tent that they bought. And so then it was quite nice weather in August. And they did all their cooking pretty well on open fires out on the beach. And then when it got a bit colder, they left the tent flap open. They do have quite a big fire outside the tent. And all this time they were working on cutting down some trees and building a log house. So they had the log house good enough to go into by November. Boom. And so the bases moved in there. And in the meantime, my dad had been offered a job to queue school to Central, which was called the pursue school in those days. And he was they approached him and said, Now we want to get a man because we had so many women teaching and they've all been snapped up by the pioneers. And so if we could get a man who would promise to stay with the Sinclair, so he's a loyal stalemate, so so he got the job. And then on weekends, he would roll over in a canoe from from the shore of the where Scott road now he is on to the, to the shore near base road. And he he preempted to land 123 acres on the biggest road and start to clear it on weekends, he had a Japanese fellow helping him. And he worked at this until he got enough space cleared for an orchard by the base Road, which was only just a coal train in those days just to trail good enough for an oxygen slave. And he built a barn there in 1894 Build a log barn if the help of some of the baseball major and Mr. Bullock's team of oxen, and they got the cedar logs out of the bush on the place. And then the the land that sloped down towards the sea was nearly all covered with maple trees. So they can this Japanese cut these Maples down pile on it the big piles, and had to burn them seem to shame to do that, but that was the only thing they could do with them then. Then he got more land cleared from water down by the sea. And he planted 600 trees and one off in the 301 another and he worked at this on weekends and then when he kept teaching until 1897. And and then then after that he stayed on the phone in 1910. He and his sister Emily biddies decided to take a trip back to England to see the rest of their family. So so they went to they went to England and he went to see his sisters who had a neighbor lady who came in to visit. And it was love at first sight and who so he met my mother. And then he came back they came Emily and my dad came back to Canada, he wrote to my mother for a year, asked her to come up Marian. So she did. And they were married in Victoria in the cathedral in the Anglican Cathedral in 1911. And then they came back to Salt Spring and my dad and he was so flirted with getting married and that he had forgotten the key. And so he had to pry a window open in my mother climbing through the window that carried over the threshold. So anyhow, she thought the house was terribly bare, there was just a table of two chairs in the living room, and very spare furniture, but real bachelor house. So anyhow, she said to to try and make it more of a home. And she really must have worked hard because she came from a from a quite well to do home where they have servants. And even one day I remember her telling the story of how my uncle got jumped up from the table to go out of the room. And when he opened the door, the servant had been listening to the keyhole, and he fell flat on his back. But anyhow, she took everything in her stride. And she had taken a dressmaking course in England, and she made our clothes and she made I never had a coat until I was 17 until I went to home school. And she even made my dad's tweed suit if you want to go to church in the heat, he is years previous that he had been a leader in the church. And then of course he did over washing by boiling the water and a washboard on the stove and all the water had to be kept up to the house. And what was your water supply water supply was a well, I mean, I should say a creek a creek running through the fields which never never went dry in the summer. But years later it's a bit dry because of some logging on the hillside and the water table went down lower but and then in about probably about 1927 26 or 27. After this login, the well went dry and my dad was able that summer so my youngest sister and I we took the horse in the stone boat in the barrel and we went down the road to the neighbors He had a very good well there and we got this water out of the well, and came home with it. We never hardly met anybody on the road. Because seems funny now when you look back to think of a horse in the stone goes on the road. But anyhow, that was how we got the water all that summer. And so then my dad said, well, we'll have a well dug. So then we got a couple of filters to kind of dig a well. And then you had a bit this closer, the roll was terrific and picking it up from the creek. But we still didn't have any taps yet. And no power No, no hydro Kingdom getting through. And not until 1948 We got the first power. And so we got the house wired. And it seemed like a miracle just to have a fridge and be able to keep your food off so beautifully. Because previous to that my dad would kill a sheep, and then up the mountain, we have half of it and then he'd sell the other half to the store. And everything had to be eaten up fresh, because you couldn't keep anything of course. And then or you perhaps rubbed some meat with a little bit of vinegar would make it keep a little longer. And then my mother baked over bread. And

Unknown Speaker 11:16
so we always had to always have homemade bread I never tasted bought bread until I was grown up. And then we made our own butter. And then my job was to make the butter when I was big enough. And we sold the butter to Kenny Rogers boardinghouse, which was near the health where the health food store is now. And we sold I can remember selling it for 30 cents a pound. That was the price of butter in those days, 30 cents a pound. And so my dad said well, you can keep 10 cents out of it for yourself. We're doing the work. So I did. And then of course, we had no machine washing machines in those days. And he was all washing by hand. So wash day was was an entire day for washing. And my mother made her own soap, my soap with lye and fat from mutton tallow, or pork fat mixed together. And the soap didn't love it very well, but it really got things clean. And then my dad had sheep. And then he had these apples of course, which he had a building specially for protecting the apples. And the apples were shipped to the to Victoria to slave brothers, and also some went to the Yukon. And then the shearing was a big thing to get all the sheep because one time we had 100 sheep, and we get the sheep in and sometimes they'd be the odd sheep to jump out. So one of my sisters and I would run the sheep down. You just chased them around the field don't have to chase the sheep very long before it gets exhausted and falls in a corner. So we did that while you were

Unknown Speaker 12:59
at school this time when I was at

Unknown Speaker 13:01
school at this time. Yes. And this is what the summer holidays my dad would share. And so I started off by Well, at first there was no school to go to because the divide school that had been functioning had fallen down with the snow. And so it was finally built up again.

Unknown Speaker 13:21
But the first or dead

Unknown Speaker 13:23
talk my sister and I who were just a year apart. He taught us at home for a year or so. And then when we went to school, it was the Ganges School, which is now the Roman Catholic Church. And he took us down, either my dad and my mother took us is the horse and buggy. Just the first then after that we walked in this school where the Roman Catholic churches had just been built. And I remember the shape and the long curls of shavings all along one side where the men hadn't quite finished yet. And our first teacher was Miss Irene M burns that school. Then the next year, we went up to the divide school, we could walk up there. And then I went there until grade eight and then until high school, I shouldn't say and then I went to the chicken house, who would you'd mentioned in Joe Garner's book. And that was really a house, the chicken house was used for the exhibition every fall. And the school board asked if they could use it. And so they did the stipulation that the exhibition will be held in the game. The next year, I think for two years, I'm not sure. Anyhow, the first spring after we win this school when it turned warm, or please came out of the crates that were all piled along the north wall of the chicken house, and the whole place was covered with fleas. So the teacher Mr. Robertson, St. Joe got down to the store to get some free powder. So he got this sprint all around. That was on a Friday night he did that. And then early Monday morning he swept the Whole Foods So that was the end of the three. But, I mean, there was a big coke room at the front of the school. And it was pretty well in the same position where the prison schools know, the present Elementary School. And we had a lot of homework. In those days, we had to do it in three years, what we're doing for years now. And we had just candles and lens. And I really got a hold of the world and didn't ruin our eyesight because khoy legs and candles, and then we got gas lamps eventually.

Unknown Speaker 15:38
You had this homework to do in addition to your chores around the house?

Unknown Speaker 15:41
Yes, we did. Yes, yes. And then when I came home from school, my job was to take the job and to get some fresh drinking water from a from a spring, which was further on. So we were always so busy. And but we never seem to have any time for any, you know, anything really. But we, we thought we had a marvelous life and the young because we played with a neighbor, children, and then we went to the beach in the summer. And we and then as we grew older, we had marvelous picnics on the beach. And we used to go in boat trips with some of the baby seats out to the little islands in the bay. And our dad read to us every evening and we have a small order and our stories are told us and then we used to have corn roasts on the beach at night in in the corn was really reduced from him. And then we come out with ruefulness corn and we boil the corn in the wash boiler over the fire on the beach. And then everybody sings songs and has a great piece there. And then we used to dance to gramophone music, we take all the furniture, my two sisters and I would take all the furniture out of one of the rooms and then we get the gramophone in there, and then have our friends come in, we'd even walk we even walk from Venice road right up to the cranberry to invite some of our friends to come down on the TV. So then, we thought we had a marvelous time and you know, we never seen never seen we didn't think we were hard done by him. Even if we had all this water to pack and, and wood, getting our help my dad in the bush, cutting down the trees and cutting up the wood for the house. And since there were no boys in the family, I was there was no I was always big and strong. And I really enjoyed that work. I really liked it. And then in those days, as soon as neighbors came to visit my mother and dad immediately my mother would serve some food. She'd make tea or coffee or something right away. And we always seem to have plenty of ham cured ham on him, which kept well and then of course, we had lots of fresh vegetables, and all almond milk. So people never never sat around waiting for any food you get they always served it right away because everybody seems to hungry. And as a small child, people would overcome with a horse and buggy with this issue, and I remember a lady coming around with her brother riding horseback to try and get a car to try and keep cars off off the island. And I remember my dad saying well sign your petition, but I really think you'll never be able to prevent cars from coming as well. And and of course they do they came but this was prior to to 1922 or 2023 Because my mother bought a car. My parents got a car late they got a 1923 Model T Ford light delivery pickup type of car, which seemed quite wonderful. So when I was 16 I learned to drive this

Unknown Speaker 18:55
woman was the reason that this lady wanted to keep the cars off the island

Unknown Speaker 18:58
I don't really know why she wanted to but I know that in the first car that I remember I know Mr. Bullock had a car but they were the Mr. Streeton had a car and it was a GP or taxi they called it a kitten don't face this Mr. Speaking had to tip me, but the horses were so scared of cars and some of them would rear up and and they were petrified. And then in 1922 when they changed it was Keep to the right keep to the left. I mean then they changed to keep credit because there's no contract

Unknown Speaker 19:30
with the old and so anyhow. I remember driving

Unknown Speaker 19:37
the horse alone with the car and the horse always when it goes to the other side of the road and then you are meeting somebody so their horse wanted to go to the other side and you had such a hard time to pull these horses over. And we even had horses working on the farm until 1936 We got a tractor that was our first tractor Some people carried on with horses even longer than that. Then in 1929, after finishing high school in 1929 to 30, I went to normal school and became a teacher. And then I've taught at the divided school where I have gone. And should I mentioned some of the names of the pupils who yes, they do. Yes. What are they when Natalie, Charlie Hall, I told and they married Natalie Janeski in town hall, he later married and Helen Wescott. That evening, Lee, Mary, Margaret, June, Steven John Bennett, market return to his market hall. Jesse where he was getting Doris Rogers, who adores people, and those are all still living on the island. And I remember, as a child, our dad reading to us, of course, we had games, we played a lot of games and played card games and our friends can play cards. And then the first radio I heard when I was 12, I went to the bases. Now, my buddies, my cousin, said, I've got this crystal set and just put these earphones over your ears, Mary, and you can even hear a man talking in Vancouver. And so I did. So I thought it was quite a marvelous thing. And Elmer had a friend whose father would have nothing to do with these earphones. He says, I won't listen to that newfangled thing. But anyhow, he was a Scottish fellow. And so Elmas friends sneaked up the hiding behind him one day when we had the backpack hoax. And he put the earphones just gently over his head. And the old man jumped up and said, why that's the big pumps. And he wanted to hear more than ever after that, he listened to the radio. So he was really happy about the radio. And my mother made besides making our clothes, and she, she made cheese, when my dad would kill a car, then she would take the minute, which was the lining of the calf stomach, and put it into the pile of milk, about a three gallon pail of fresh warm milk, and stir it around, and then it would fit. And then take the money out and make beautiful cheese, lovely white cheese with just beautiful cheese. And we always used to have that fresh with some with our homemade bread, or homemade buns or soda, soda. And that was delicious.

Unknown Speaker 22:45
Then I remember when we had the water laid on about 1942 By this time I was married, and my husband wanted to get the water name out of the house, because I had inherited the old house here after my father and mother had died. And so the road boss said to me, well dig across the road because you have to bring this water up from the will dig across the road, do it at midnight. So anyhow, he went out there at midnight, and he does have many put some plants across just in case anything happened to come. But nobody did. And then he finished it. He came in the house and he really worked hard and you know, often he really been working hard, he finished the job. And so then we got the water and then gone. And then oh, I should tell you about my, the horse that I remember the first horse that my dad had, or not first horse that he had. The first time I remember was called Jess, and she was beautiful brown, lovely, lovely tempered horse. And I learned to harness her up and and in our county, Boston had been a prison as a car from the Emily Betty to my dead mother to be really present in 1911. And so my dad said, Well, I'll never never kill her she'll die natural death. So I learned to milk on Boston. And so did my sister, my younger sister. And then, so years later, when Buffy was about 14, one morning, she just wasn't there. And she wandered off into a bush. And later we slept with my dad and I went out looking for her found in the bush, and she had just died a natural death. And then on that piece of property. A years later someone built a house. And the wife said, You know I think that looks like the skeleton of a power all the bones we just laid out. And sure enough that was there. Buffy had died. And so then I remember with this horse, Jeff, get her harnessed up and they have two weeks to be a single horse mower and they get out and cut firm in the field. Cut the hay mow the hay And then cut the third there was an awful lot of breath and kept coming up. Then my dad and I and my younger sister, we picked up stones in the field. And we pile them all up, of course in stone, but we pile them all up along the fence in big piles, and he was going to make a stone wall there, but he never did get it made. But there would have been plenty of stone because it tastes loaded with stones. And another thing we had to do when we were children was felt the cola lamps and keep them clean. And it was quite a job to all this had been filled up because it seemed if you didn't attend to the man, personally, you the night, the darkness was falling and the lamp was out of color. So you wanted to be sure that you you kept them up. And we had a tennis court when we were young and the neighbors used to come in, we had a marvelous time playing tennis balls out just because down the road on the west side of the house. It was in an open field and with just the graph tennis court, but it seemed wonderful to run. And so we had a lot of fun with that tennis court, then we play tennis then you know have refreshments.

Unknown Speaker 26:20
Is this before you went to work in the calorie? Yes, this was yes, this

Unknown Speaker 26:24
was actually teenagers. And then I spent a day my mother my mother died and my father died in 1930. My mother died in 37. I've married in certain size. And then I had my first child and 36 the next 137 And oh I spoke to Tony about the Kennedy didn't. Yes, when I was younger. My daughter come to visit. I worked in the in the Al McHenry one summer when I was teaching school during the holidays. And then also I ran a cafe later on. After I gave up teaching then I ran a cafe in Vancouver. There's a living 40 Robson Street, and I had a steam table and so food to people in the West. And then I came back to Saltzman again. And my husband and I ran farm we had eight milking cows and six heifers. And there was a creamery, which would take all the cream that you could produce, because the I should excuse me the time of the premiere, which is now a bakery, that when the creamery was operating, they made wonderful butter and the brother was famous all over DC and elsewhere. And they serve coffee and better than the Queen came in 39 When the King and Queen came in 39. And then I should have told you that when they sold the the premiere was sold or turned into a bakery. And during the war, we went to Vancouver and I worked in bones on Sea Island, I was a Crip turret we were making D 20 nose, I was handing out parts of the workplace. And after the war, I came back to assault them. My first have to know that before. And I married Johnny in 47. And we had one daughter in 48. And I don't think I mentioned that after I had the two boys, I had a girl, my first husband I had a girl. So now I have two boys and two girls. And then in 48 the power came down very slow. And so we immediately got the house wired. And it seems the marvelous need to have a fruit with all of the wonderful things where you could keep your food so different to the way my mother had. And so, so I've been living in this house ever since.

Unknown Speaker 29:28
So I think that's just about that just about mechanism. Oh, I should have told you about my mother, my mother.

Unknown Speaker 29:35
Besides all this work she did at home. She also belonged to this function, which was a charitable organization and they did a lot of work helping out very poor people. And then she also was on the hospital floor. And she she enjoyed that public work as it were. And when she was in England she had been During the beautiful painting, she'd done, oil paintings and carvings made a beautiful, beautiful, settle for deconstruction.

Unknown Speaker 30:15
At one time, he had four stones at that time, and he had a tractor. So you were doing quite well on the farm because the federal government takes you to sell them. Course in those days, the cost of everything. The presidency was so low that the company who bought them low too. So anyhow, he seemed quite happy. And then about Mr. Brooks is the boat was quite a wonderful man, really, very kind hearted. And he was always doing good turns to people. If anybody was very hard up. He would, it seemed good to have groceries from the store or just a desk when nobody could see what he was doing. And he was getting this. And he would make a lot of finished animations. And he took boys out from Dr. Bernardo home in England, and he trained them and taught them how to cook very well. We've had nothing's dinner parties. And I can remember going to some of these dinner parties when he was supposed to be dressed up you had to have a long dress and gloves and he liked to see everybody and earrings and veils. And then we had little boys, he gives people a little beautiful little cheat to the boys every tiny little cop and he was some he just liked everything to be done just so be great. He grabbed me a note to say give me I should come to TV he was thirsty if it's convenient, your Facebook links that we thought and so then he would come and hydrate cream puffs which I really liked. And he just opened his mouth with throw in a cream cup because we had a long beard and and the difficult to get this queen puppy in. But anyhow, I only knew him when he had a white beard. But I remember my dad saying that. In the early days His beard was black and he always kept it well shined with a product called beard black, which apparently the young men used in those days. And he was very fond of chocolates. My dad said he'd see him sit down and eat a whole box of chocolates. And he had a he had a beautiful thing at home, and a very nice garden and quite a big phone and had to use to teach the boys how to do all these different things. And he set some of them up in business set one of them up in a cafe again, which is now the frequency in which was in those days hold the log cabin. And he was very dry, drove around in his car.

Unknown Speaker 33:05
Now seeing photos of yours.

Unknown Speaker 33:08
Looking very, like the squire of the island. I remember Miss Petr she was another old timer. She was actually a sister of Mrs. Collins who live in the house where where Wally and FE tall now live on the Blackburn road. Miss Piter had she had she she owned that property and two of her nephews Ernest and John Collins live there. But when I remember going to see Miss Petter with my cousin dc, dc Jr. and I did is we took her flowers. And she was and she was sitting there mostly sitting there with a blanket over her knees. And Mrs. Collins was there at the time, probably looking after her. But Mrs. Collins didn't live there. Mostly she lived at the North thing with her husband and her younger son, Bob and then also the sister Ellis combs, who played the organism Mark's Church and service. Petter showed us into the room where the colleague's boys had their stuffed animals. And the first thing that greeted us was a huge Panther snarling at us with its mouth wide open. And then the Commons is had beautiful stuffed birds and there was a cage with a raccoon, a glass cage with a raccoon and done up his slough and natural branches or there was a white, old Civil business to business fighting, and just marvelous stuffed animals who was fascinating.

Unknown Speaker 34:55
Who had done the who has done the work was it themselves calling John and Ernest Hollings took up Texas Durban and they did the work

Unknown Speaker 35:05
was really quite remarkable I think Miss I think Miss Petter died soon after that. Then the I think the Collins boys worked there for some years, and in the places leader so

Unknown Speaker 35:26
let's sit I guess, this pedal I remember an old neighbor of ours and Mr. Henry, when I was a small child, and he he had been very friendly with my father, that he used to walk from our place near our places, just a few 100 yards away from us, the house isn't there now anymore, that he would walk all the way up to central where he was postmaster. And it seemed a terrific walk really to do every morning. Then he finally went to live up there. So then he came back to VISTA when I was probably about eight or nine years old, and he stayed overnight. And the next morning, he got up bright and early, he left he wouldn't even wait for breakfast. He had that job. Central for a long time. He had a daughter, Miss Henry, who went down to the States. I don't remember just who came up to him at the post. was quite a friend of my dad's and mothers.

Unknown Speaker 36:39
Thank you very much. This addition to the Merrie England tape was recorded on January the 29th 1992. My

Unknown Speaker 36:56
my with my two boys from my first marriage were Ted. And then Garnet and then daughter Dorothy. And then when I married to John England, my second husband, our daughter was Linda. And my first son Ted. He married Phyllis all day and they had David and Kathy, David's married to Joyce. And they have Melinda and Bryan and Bernard married. Married Audrey Griffith, and they have Robert and Ryan and Reagan and darky married Graham Elliot and they have Chris and Darren and the present. She's married to her second husband, Russell Thorburn. And my daughter Linda is married to normal. Rosemary was married to Norman tour. And her daughter is Heidi. My oldest son Ted married Phyllis all day. And their children are David and Kathy. David, David, Mary Joyce Parker, and their children and Melinda and Brian.

Unknown Speaker 38:16
Kathy, their daughter Kathy married Carrie born

Unknown Speaker 38:19
and they have James Adam and Luke. Burn second son. He married Audrey Griffith. They have Robert Ryan and Reagan and my youngest daughter Linda has her daughter Heidi. So that is the family