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The Crofton’s at Harbour House 1900-1930

John Crofton

Mr. Crofton outlines the origins of the Crofton family on the Island, and their role in the creation of Harbour House Hotel. He outlines the role of the hotel in the community.

Accession Number 989.031.037 Interviewer monologue
Date Nov. 12, 1985 Location Cassette tapes box File #24 to File #48 Shelf 8C
Media Audio CD
ID 31
Topic The Croftons at Harbour House 1900 - 1930 Location Central Hall




Unknown Speaker 0:00
This is a recording of Mr. John Crafton speaking to the Saltspring Island Historical Society on November the 12th 1985.

Unknown Speaker 0:21
When I was invited to make a presentation to this, started talking to folks in Ireland I felt very honored to do so. A lot of things said, heard about other kinds of founders on toast and but not very much of anything at all about the prophets situation which are built, but needed the corrections along Pyaare since I found a tribe, my family and through its connections with the Reverend Edward of Fannie Wilson, Mr. Harry Bullock, and Scott and Scott Frank both got a little different and separate, played a significant role in the early development and growth all of assaulting this role was unique and important at the hothouse, particularly at the heart of most sensitive sir, as a social and hospitality center for the community out of the province for 50 years. I am today is to outline your thoughts and story briefly, with the emphasis being placed on the craft in that part of us. And I particularly anxious and so doing, to try to describe to you what the Spirit of life was like during the early days on the item. And by the early days, I mean, the general carry that might be covered to the 1930s. And after this bit of formal presentation, which would last about 1520 minutes, I'll be prepared to discuss some of the techniques and other avenues that are on display and to come up with some possibly lots of comments and descriptions all the other aspects all of life on Saltspring. Now in the late 1890s During the last years have been recorded, a three cropped and brothers joined other immigrants from England, Scotland and Ireland, becoming several consulting reports that come from the Hudson's Bay Company that their members who are excited on the island. These were original white settlers of Salisbury, and then found that the island to be utopia. The Prophet brothers wanted to be a call out. The names were Ernest Frank and eltron, who was better known as Fred. Fred was my grandfather. And he was in his late teens when we think it'd be born at Harbor house Kingston Island. However, the ancestral home was both built by George craft and in 1627. It is located in coffee Ross COMM And next to coffee, Goldie, the home of the craft and related bond family, two brothers of which have come out earlier to Salzburg and became residents for a while. And during the 1890s certain others who came to salt being the Saltspring became closely linked to the cotton's through marriage. The first was Mr. Harold Bullock, whose sister Mary joined about as estate to look out because hopefully, she married Ernest Crawford, who later acquired many acres of the booth canal area. He built his home there, and it is still standing and the smell known as the Boothbay resort in a widow. In addition, he bought the western slope of Arizona, all the way down to the beach or family outlet which we know now is the famous beach. And at night, and for two years after Mr. Bullock's arrival, Reverend and Mrs. Edward Wilson set foot on Salisbury with their 10 children. His daughter, became engaged to my grandfather Fred in 1901, the year of King Edwards carnation two events which are noted in the Reverend Wilson's journal for the year like you know one. When he first arrived, Fred went to work for Mr. Jack's Cavell on his 100 acre farm in the Ganges area. The land involved included what we now know as the harbor house property and trapped abroad pioneers are actually argued this medical clinic and these are called center I have opened up the Reverend Wilson's journal to a page with the chose a sketch that was drawn by the Reverend Wilson show a great idea to his children or in the event these areas you'll note from that sketch, that the whole fabric is quite closely together, over quite a large area of Third word. After his marriage to Notre in 1903, the Fred purchased purchased this farm and called the courthouse. In his journal for 1906, the Reverend Wilson wrote, Fred is no good team of horses are called 14 cows and a lot of pigs and chickens. The family consists of President himself, wife and two little boys, the eldest of who has Dirt. Dirt was born in 1904 14 months later, Desmond my father came along. By the time Fred left for overseas with the Canadian Army in 1916. After 30 years of marriage, he had a family of six children, the other four being named Diana during the news and dollars after the war dossier was born, and the family then became known as the 70s. There was a problem for my grandparents and having Diana baptized, the Reverend Wilson refused to baptize Vogue with what he considered to be a pagan name. So since diameters across the name going back over many, many generations, my grandfather had to find another minister to do the business. A lot of friendly rivalry went on between Mr. Gilbert Lloyd and Fred crossing over their respective families and their politics. My grandfather was a strong conservative and politics, Mr. Mod was liberal. And after the birth of each new child, and later grandchild, graduate call on Mr. Mueller, and boast that he just gained another conservative vote. Naturally, the vote family would not let this post go unchallenged. And so thanks to politics and other factors, Salt Springs population grew pretty rapidly across my grandfather also believed strongly and was much encouraged by the family motto, that day has been prevented, which means God gives the hippies during these early years, the British Empire spirit and the ways of conduct were maintained by most by most if not all of the immigrants on Saltspring. In fact, it was a real uncle was known as the British Empire. In front of her house, the Union Jack was always raised to the top of the tall white flag code each morning and take down each night at sunset and this was done always quite a solemn ceremony with a flag you see on display here was one of these flags from the old powerhouse days. To prepare for a social event, such as a dance of Amman Hall, for ladies were dressed in long gowns and wear large body heads, the men would wear formal suits, my grandfather would go through the tall grass and mud and all that sort of thing to the house barn and hitch up his team of horses to pay by them. Then off he would go and dignified manner to select the ladies and the other gentleman, and they are all proceed merrily, but in stately style that was all. Christmas and Armistice Day dinners and other special occasions that always be toast to the kicking of the Empire. Another important important toes that will often be made by one of the men would be to our ladies God bless them, and I've ever cared about very well because it's been the one time I was able to get an always impressed when they were singing some of the most popular songs were were soldiers or the kid in the hills of home. And of course when Irish eyes are smiling, John Bardo, and other Wilson descended in an article he wrote several years ago called the island that said all these immigrants were were imbued with a true pioneer spirit, but their adaptation to either life was influenced by the culture and traditions under which they have been raised. This influence prevailed not only in these pioneers, but also in their children and children's children. When the Great War of 1914 in to the bottom, it broke out just about all of the able bodied men on assaulting rallied around the union Jackson, Michael Kim and Mr. Fred earnest and Frank Crawford were among the first to respond and joined the Canadian audience privates. They enlisted in the age gate, infantry, brigade and Victoria, which after the war became a nucleus for the formation of the 60s, Canadian Scottish, which was my father's vision. The 1960s When Britain was overseas, in France, my grandmother went into a partnership with a brother Norman Wilson to convert harbor house into a guesthouse. These were tough times for me. And I never heard my one of my aunts telling you that there was one Christmas When the children were told that there was no money for Christmas presents, however, in good Irish spirit, but he's made a lot of fun out of this situation, and they went off into the vegetable garden and elsewhere they dug up turnips and other things. And they wrapped all these things up as presidents and gave them to each other for Christmas.

Unknown Speaker 10:22
After the war, Mike just mentioned that hammer house. Despite all these hard times, however, house soon became established as an spinnable and pleasant place for people, especially families to stay. And it became so popular that a large number of guests kept returning year after year and some of them are still badly friends. But not to the world, Frank Crawford decided to settle down on the island and he was quite a restless spirit when he first came out to Canada spend a lot of time California in places but after the war, he decided to settle down on the island and he married Mexico who the first matron or the lady mental hospital. During the war, she served as a as a nurse here the front lines of battle a lot about eight metals, including the highest ones that could be awarded to nurses. These were awards given for metals given to her by England, France and Canada. She also was I got it from France, the product good. One of her acts of great bravery involves an occasion when a shell landed into a field hospital. And she rushed out and rushed forward to pick up a shell landed unexploited, because she rushed over to pick it up and pick it up to be taken away to a place she was with when I as I remember her she was about four feet tall to come up with blankets about seven feet. But hot Maxis spirit was massive. And she was quite an impressive person. See, you mentioned just at this point that remember that the mighty 39 When they used to go and listen to Victoria. I was standing next to Nancy in front of the country's hotel and the lawyer came down the steps. And both files start writing and they start so their metals are protesting and they have a long conversation with them about it is experts and 130 in the world. I have a friend when he returned, dissolve the partnership that we no longer know and Wilson back up gone. A large number of acres in the Valco attendant area that he and his family concentrated on developing and expanding harbor house as it gets home. And apartment that that took place and doing this occurred when the two tennis courts or the made in the early 1920s. Dermot recently told me that covering a site for the lower court was a huge pile of clamshells that had built up in size over countless years, perhaps 1000s of years. He said this site was about 10 feet high. This mod was about 10 feet high and blocked the view of The Hobbit The person's job declare the smitten with a team of horses on a special school. And it's not long off to get that done his job that he uncovered more than 50 Skeletons. Like my grandparents later found out that this was a sacred burial ground for the coverage and Indians. They also discovered that carved into the trunk of a maple tree between the two tennis courts. Between the two tennis courts sites was the council set was the council seat for the tribal chief. It was here also in on the beach below that the massacre of admiralty veins took place in the early 80s in 60s. According to an eyewitness, Henry Linacre Monica, who lived in a cabin about where harbor house miles fans have nothing today which is later named Danny's Hall. It was the scene of much Indian activity on July 4 1860s and camped on the beach ball hoping about Tippie College and Indians. At first these Indians were peaceful but they turned to go to war like after a crew of men and women over the Bella Bella tried appeared. fighting broke out and nearly all of the Bella Bella was was killed. Monica believes that the halogens last Nolan I think we'd all agree that this small bit of land and how the house is of importance to Saltzman history. And they believe the maple tree is sometimes referred to as the massacre tree still stands. The Chief's council seat is still in evidence and also near the head of the Council. So it is the The likeness of an eagle by design was either cognitive therapy or just a natural carpentry. And it is my recommendation therefore, that this society take action to have this area to proclaim either the heritage site or historic site or site of interest, whatever. But I do think that something needs to be done before chainsaws and bulldozers to get in there and do further damage to what I consider to be a very important fitting land. And I might say that the making this proposal I have the full authority and approval of this is first of all the current home and the problem was that she was very concerned about trees taking down the visible and she became very concerned about the preservation of that maple tree. The tennis courts, once they were built, Zoom became the focal point for her house activity. And for a long time, they were regarded as the best play courts in British Columbia up until 1939, and they maintained an international tournament standards, and they attracted well known and top ranking tennis players from ballparks with British Columbia and the United States to play in the annual Gulf Islands tennis tournament. That's tough. What you see on display, there was the grand prize for men to win these tournaments. Unfortunately, the Matson cup was caught in the fire that destroyed the host of 1972. And you'll also see from one of these smaller cups that my father was the runner up for this I remember there was always very sunny and hot weather for these tournaments. And the competition was really wild. And then any of the players appeared to be weakening especially in the finals. My grandfather would bring up to a big teapot on the train with cups and sauces. That he would serve what he called called cold heat. cold tea. Now this was cold up here from the province who was good and it was always a welcome sight to the tennis games Hello how's it it said it was full of colors you see from some of these pictures here for the hotel itself was breast color, color and covered with IV and purple this area. The driveway in front of it was coated with clamshell and the surrounded by lawns lotic and rose bushes cherry and palm trees. The front lawn face the two tennis courts which were covered the brick dust. And then the background was a wonderful view of Ganges harbour follow the timer is nearly the same. As the major center for Saltspring social activities Homer house was the same for many special events such as the annual agriculture and garden faith in one of the newspaper clippings on woman these fakes featured stalls beside home cooking clothing and Garden Parties. There are many games played tennis being the most popular with badminton and Paco keeping those busy who were tennis players are the children are roundups and swimming from the beach. The stakes are usually honored by the presence of electronic governor and the bishop. Before concluding I must refer to my to my grandmother. I used to call her back. It was very strong personality that kept the family and the hotel going for as long as it did because even after she died, her influence was still felt very strongly on all the family members. She was always a very warm and loving person. And always had a very serene looking she looks pretty much like her own mother, tiny Wilson. However, when she became annoyed with any of us, all we have to do is give up the cry that he's mad when he's mad because every once in a while, and we'd all settled on not out of here but I would love for him because he just couldn't want to do that. And another important personality about history that powerhouse was really a Chinese book. He came to the hotel in 1927 robots and he stayed with the with the family as part of the family for about 40 years he didn't leave my house and so after my father's have decided to retire from the heart and resolve together and once the colonel left and they decided that it was time for him to go to but myself and my older children, the old underbelly when he would if we are playing around installing in this kitchen. There will always be the big pie from Billy waving a big carving knife in his hands and you get out of my kitchen in the morning we got sunrises. For Hot Pepper offers hot stove and oven also fairly quickly.

Unknown Speaker 20:06
Now and then in conclusion, I'd like to just refer to making 72 which is the air when the old house burned down and give us a brace out of that for all of us to view it and develop it. One person who stayed there by the name of another wrote the following poem, which reflects well the glories of hunger has passed, and the sadness of its passing. The poem is called The Ballad of a small hotel. For hotter, Ganges in 1902 muscle with builders, fathers and ships crew, just up from the ball to the edifice, small Behold, the craft is surveying at all. The 70 years it stood facing the day, and if it could speak, perhaps it would say, many a year I stood here and seen the roll rolling on the good times, leaving the gates oh my god, people are kept from the wind and the rain, and God knows who slept with my shingle and sirens are warm by the fire. If I mentioned some things were thinking alive. From all the world over, they came to my holes, ladies and weights to parties dress balls, all the fun that took place here the joy of the pain, but the sap of my activities will not run again. But Oliver has moved on away now you know, the longer do I get to see the whole show. But now it's no matter for deep in my walls, the fires of death. smoke fills my halls by the harbor of Ganges and 72 three Sentinel Stan, smoke blackened whiskey and only these chimneys remain Novatel of the home of the costumes for how to host the film. Like if

Unknown Speaker 22:01
you have any questions I'm sure on this

Unknown Speaker 22:05
side this is definitely making it this building

Unknown Speaker 22:08
yards between the two tennis courts.

Unknown Speaker 22:11
And this was like two trees. Yes, sir. It was my last day on Sunday. And I

Unknown Speaker 22:20
see there's a picture on the Slager my father showing this really proud to see is

Unknown Speaker 22:32
the right just mentioned the previous picture, this is vital that would go to the left earlier this year the consequences of opting out of this particular exhibition about seven other scanners the product and this is a view of Ganges harbour by although it was not adopted by us, probably this is about

Unknown Speaker 23:08
this is a picture of my Catholic 70s My dad bought

Unknown Speaker 23:14
a bottle of water

Unknown Speaker 23:24
like some of the pages care about the Wilson journal, which I thought might be of interest. The might just as a matter of interest refer to the plaque, brass plaque that Sydney, St. Mark's Church just above the the audit st box as a big plaque listing the names of those from Salzburg who are killed during the baseball 1940s. And the very last name mentioned on the major league team is FH COVID and C Military Cross. He was my mother's first husband, he came out to Salt Lake before the war to see some friends. And he bought the property just off the old stock road next to spark fund. And then after his power, this is a big tragedy because from the moment she came out to Spain to see this property, and she met my father and she thought well, she she means that our politics and military life but then when she met this little country boy she'll be safe and secure forever and ever. She thought our way around by far was to date interests in life as it portrays the military and politics after the war he was asked to run for parliament not so stuck into this had been badly wounded by the wind so we could get into the political field activate that we certainly have a lot of behind the scenes. Politics I should have mentioned just about the rates that we charge with the powerhouse when it begins and certainly during the early 40s For one person would cost $3 A day to stay in the hotel itself and listen for the three deals three lovely meals, my mobility meals were just fabulous and people can use those meals. Someone is still talking about if you're living in one of the tents or staying in one of the tenses about 250 or $2 a day again for three years All right, do remember to join me was when I was working there for a while. Everybody was ready, what not to stay together as a group but it was because of no place for the primitive and all that sort of thing. It wasn't too much. In the way of the software people came in a book. Everybody seems to come together and want to be together. The rooms will not show the apartment everybody wants to do to do that much. But we had one guest to have a Watson was always complaining about something other than all the other guests could go around referring to this person and it's just $3 a day and always complaining.

Unknown Speaker 26:13
All the rest. We didn't have much time for people who played Sunday lunches I mentioned we have lunch, which was the people to come to our house on Sunday lunch

Unknown Speaker 26:31
and eat a boulder Bolden coming up here she is the wife lucky both to live in California. So the racetrack for call center meetup and she was related to the Lindbergh Lindbergh kidnapping though the voters wanted to find someplace where they were cheating and they bought one private property but I bet there was a young fixing illegal drive enough that the various other things they could do that's relatively proud of this rather my colleague Mr. Bullock is another person who always catered for the Sunday lunches. Cherry trees I think oh yeah, there was just there to make mention I've occurred earlier to be talking about my awareness but that's fine side of mothers get down to the beach to defend the homeland. After the war in the late 1940s He offered to sell this property all his father to my father for $9,000 right my father

Unknown Speaker 27:38
was much too much money to

Unknown Speaker 27:42
cover up it was seven silver balls balls. You do not have to know I don't mean

Unknown Speaker 28:02
about that my father had an awful side and it lifted themselves off

Unknown Speaker 28:15
yes, because I think that's all that I have to say on this. We go to discuss things.

Unknown Speaker 28:23
Any more questions about the what we've just heard? What does Hobbit house charge today?

Unknown Speaker 28:34
I can get you a good price

Unknown Speaker 28:43
I'm John

Unknown Speaker 28:49
Sadler, I'd like to thank you very much for tuning beside my cousin we call him or not. Possibly. Well, I also like this Sunday. A young chap rock because your great uncle Picard I think it would have been a secret person or uncle your father. Yes. And maybe the guy you see there I don't think it's me. It's old. It's quite young. Because your practice and your neighbor bar and your father's cousin Francis and I totally get it. You're like one of the true things I think.

Unknown Speaker 29:31
No, thank you very much.