Salt Spring Island Archives

Donate Now Through!


Robert Akerman (1912-)

This tape is part of the Salt Spring Island Historical Society Collection and comprises an address to its members.

The last 10 minutes of side 1 and 15 minutes of side 2 are comprised of Mr Akerman discussing the Burgoyne Valley and his family.

Audio File Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that these interviews, recollections and talks are one person’s “truth”. These speakers generously shared their stories, experiences and personal knowledge with the Salt Spring Archives and we share them here with you. We ask that you be respectful with how you read and share them. We hope that you will learn from them.

Accession Number 989.031. Interviewer Tony Farr
Date 1977 Location
Media tape Audio CD mp3
ID 3B Topic




Unknown Speaker 0:00
Breathing way back mountain comes in this chapter Fulford and first of all never know what to call him he was there. Yeah. Remember

Unknown Speaker 0:20
after after the after the White House remember they after Collins remember that will be Davey, Sammy Davis and jumbo Dave is there his nephews, Kennedy, Mr. Kennedy via this stuff. Sure, Mr. Kennedy and he sold it out and changed hands several times. And then it burned down. So it has nothing was under that piece of property just few years ago, and they built a new motel there now and it's still there. And I hope it doesn't. The other building, they're burnt down to go down on. First one was built 25

Unknown Speaker 1:17
years before that will tell there was this demo the factory in Skeffington.

Unknown Speaker 1:28
Well, there was there was before the hotels Rogers was the first

Unknown Speaker 1:33
Yeah, yeah, exactly. But then then store.

Unknown Speaker 1:38
Brandy, Kevin, and

Unknown Speaker 1:47
they're, after all, just

Unknown Speaker 1:50
Oh, I see. Well.

Unknown Speaker 1:54
Girl. The other islands may not stiffened and used to stick with us.

Unknown Speaker 2:02
Right. Well, they can remember them. They said their arches. They must have built the White House.

Unknown Speaker 2:11
Somebody else definitely won the war.

Unknown Speaker 2:20
I usually write to him all the time. So

Unknown Speaker 2:24
we got to just about him there. Ivan, what do you say to ask you that was a cranberry Rogers? No, no, no, it was Jim. Jim Rogers is

Unknown Speaker 2:36
for Jim used to be there. Is they had the first one. I think that take care of just about the church. Church. Definitely. No, United Church. I have a picture of it there. Oh, yes. It was built on Mr. Nightingale gave the last show tonight

Unknown Speaker 3:15
and read

Unknown Speaker 3:16
in there 1911. It must have been I think, just before the turn of the century before the turn of the century, I'm sure that's what across we can. That's right. That's right. Is that the one would go to build the new chimney off anything that I made a mistake on there?

Unknown Speaker 3:53
Well, they recovered pretty pretty well as any other questions. You might

Unknown Speaker 3:59
have questions from the general audience not just for this quarter.

Unknown Speaker 4:03
How long would it take for your grandfather when he came to valley it would just be all trees. How long would it take him to clear the first few weeks?

Unknown Speaker 4:17
Well, must have taken a quite a while because my dad and uncles were clearing land in the valley. They cleared a lot of activity boys. By boys. They all work.

Unknown Speaker 4:35
They be enormous trees. Oh, I guess

Unknown Speaker 4:39
they were I guess there'd be a lot of them. Maybe up to seven feet. We still have a cedar tree. Our property there and it's seven things to diameter. So stay tuned They have to be most of them. They have to dig them up roots and rocks

Unknown Speaker 5:14
together what would their first thing be that they would do they live off the land pretty well when they start but what would they aspire to a garden the vegetable garden

Unknown Speaker 5:28
what a big garden and orchard orchard how they used to follow the trees, they didn't have any size and you have even the crosscut saw. So they used to follow the country say six but true, they would get an agar and they would bar in the story and so far into the dissuading little bit they come in on this side and then boring to it and then they would bore another hole down on an angle to meet the wall maybe one or two in and then they would take charcoal coals from their fires that they were clearing land with and they would push these coals into that bowl keep pushing man and I got the woods started there got in some pictures and then come in there and then come up through those other Hall and court cause a draft and then that's all that edge and burn out for the day

Unknown Speaker 6:36
that take one tree down and they do the same thing when it actually got on the ground. They would do the same thing they just they would score and burn down the coals every so far along the tree and definitely this property there's one like a bird on the stump still. Photographers prefer Would

Unknown Speaker 7:01
you care to mention market our market marketplace

Unknown Speaker 7:10
a worried about her arrival in Victoria the way I left with my my grandmother, Martha clay she she left England in the not 1859 I think she and two sisters came out on the Robert law which was a ride ship. Right ship come into Victoria. And she worked. She was a she came up with Mrs. David Spencer. They were old merchants and Victorian early days. And she worked for her after for a while until she met my granddad and they were married and Victorian then they moved up in the early 60s. I think my that family that like grandfather, acre man and the granny children they were the first white family in the Bergen area.

Unknown Speaker 8:26
I'm glad to hear that because Dzhokhar just asked me the other day, who was the first white family on Salisbury. And I thought,

Unknown Speaker 8:34
well, I didn't like to say Saltspring. But then I know they were the first first like family in that area.

Unknown Speaker 8:40
Well, your Uncle Joe was always I always knew that. Your uncle was the first white child.

Unknown Speaker 8:49
Well, that's that's what I heard. I know if you remember Johnny wins. Johnny wins us the he's sitting on the cloud down and small. You see that picture? And he was about a character you know, and I was joking. And one day, in the early days, the boats used to come in to the Ganges and all the old timers just like go down and see them come in your lawn something to do. And Johnny was standing there and this. This first guy over came in and he asked Johnny about 30 days and any of the old timers around. Johnny he was a black sheep. Oh yes, he says he says that man over there sitting on the guardrail. That's Joe increment. He was the first white child born on Saltspring and he says I was a second

Unknown Speaker 9:54
didn't drag a smile, you know? You got a big kick.

Unknown Speaker 10:00
So your father was working in the 80s

Unknown Speaker 10:05
I have a picture of him driving well he picture here are the church he left that's him sitting on the fence posts back there. He was not 12 years old and he we transported a lot of that lumber windows, doors from Virgo and Bay down to build that church. See a lot of the windows and doors and flooring came from the butter church. couch and Bay I've ever heard of the old stone church, cotton Bay, the butter church. See they built there in the early days and they found they were on their own property. So they have to give it up. And so the windows and doors, flooring and a lot of the lumber was donated for the discharge of the windows. They're in there now we're actually from the butter church. couch and

Unknown Speaker 11:12
both your grandmother lived through it all. I remember them both right in

Unknown Speaker 11:22
96 I think granny ate them and I think well, I don't think actually knew who she was, but I think she was close to hunter or both grandfathers. They're close. And maybe I got a little tiny

Unknown Speaker 11:46
Well, that's a joy to watch the first question or the one that lives

Unknown Speaker 11:53
long here. Joey used to live at the north end uniform.

Unknown Speaker 12:01
In that little book The Saltspring saga I think they said that there was an attempt in Victoria at about about 1860s to get settlers to come to Saltspring Island and they gave them an axe in the sack of flour. Did many people

Unknown Speaker 12:23
think there was a few days and those days but quite a few of us didn't spray?

Unknown Speaker 12:28
Oh, it was pretty rough. These were people that had got started marooned in Victoria went they wanted to go to gold rush in the caribou but they didn't have any money and they were destitute

Unknown Speaker 12:45
I think one of the worst one of the biggest worries the old timers in the early days if anybody was badly hurt or or sick they didn't have a Doctor No

Unknown Speaker 12:59
and no way of getting anywhere except row wrote

Unknown Speaker 13:07
my grandmother dies. Daughter the trigger the couch and she she was pretty good. on anything like that sickness, I guess it was I guess she was told from her people how to look after people that were sick. And dirty work and things like that. And I think she brought into the world all practically all babies in those days.

Unknown Speaker 13:51
Well, what if your grandmother died sift through the wife and mystery trading? Is there?

Unknown Speaker 13:59
They were cousins, cousins, or peasants.

Unknown Speaker 14:04
May I asked you, you gave us a kind of verbal description of those properties is that on paper anywhere it's in the form of a map or survey or whatever that progressive those timelines are going to be very useful to have that down in an orderly fashion on kind of diagram of the valley.

Unknown Speaker 14:26
Settlers I could get a map of the valley and who owned it and in that time,

Unknown Speaker 14:36
take our Wilson to what we thought for Wilson, but then turned from Nanaimo. Wasn't he already sent her something. There's a mayor up there.

Unknown Speaker 14:54
You know, Carrie, there was Karen says and in the end, we'll see the Wilson Jim Wilson. and

Unknown Speaker 15:05
maybe like if I could get a I will get a map of that area and then I can put on the original owners and then so on if there was

Unknown Speaker 15:20
that was a very useful historical document. It would get those farms on their order down the ballet on either side of the cricket. That's the way it works. Okay, so

Unknown Speaker 15:44
who was it that built that nice oh squared. Log hubs on your? Was that your family? Well, the any Lentinula cat at once when Beth Hill was working on that little book about the houses, and the square timber

Unknown Speaker 16:04
line. That's the old Traveler's Rest. Oh, that was the

Unknown Speaker 16:09
was that the original cabin? Or was there an earlier one? Yeah. The further west from that.

Unknown Speaker 16:16
There was one. Well, my grandfather when he first first year came in, he built a he built a small log cabin up just up the valley, but more under the Bruce. And he planted an orchard there. Right away. And I guess it must have been in the summertime when he went in there because there's always some sunshine. Wintertime. He wasn't getting any sunshine. So he moved across the valley, then over into where he is

Unknown Speaker 16:47
making that same mistake today. They find a property in the summer. It's really fine. There's no sun in the winter. You got a lot of neighbors that way.

Unknown Speaker 16:58
Do we do have

Unknown Speaker 17:00
the time B

Unknown Speaker 17:01
has copies of all these photographs?

Unknown Speaker 17:04
We asked it can as well i i just hope that maybe I can get some of mine back I have I have a lot out. That can't seem to locate a lot of the pictures that are in the Hamiltons book. I paid for those and I've given them again how can you give somebody who's got them borrowed them to get prints off and then forgot about them? I guess. I asked my I agree. And she said no. So

Unknown Speaker 17:46
Nightingale, one of the nightingale found churches left the one with the dictator in his book. Well, similar,

Unknown Speaker 17:54
got pictures from me. But there's another Chaplain actually got them for a deck. And I asked him about him and he said well, he gave him the deck so I don't know.

Unknown Speaker 18:09
I don't think it is on my list.

Unknown Speaker 18:12
I think there's some of the nightingale family and one of them

Unknown Speaker 18:15
that's right that's that is right I think that's one of dismissing to

Unknown Speaker 18:22
left one of the finest one. Photos one of the finest ones out there is I think ugly early one I'd like to use on the next round of postcards.

Unknown Speaker 18:35
That's a simpler one.

Unknown Speaker 18:38
Probably done on the same day.

Unknown Speaker 18:41
Yeah, let's see this one here's the old the old picture that's the old that was dressed my grandfather, grandmother and some of the family not all the family there is this this is all

Unknown Speaker 19:04

Unknown Speaker 19:19
this one is a couple of years ago I just thought it might go with that.

Unknown Speaker 19:29
already obvious still living out the trouble

Unknown Speaker 19:56
you're new

Unknown Speaker 19:59
around Do scattered

Unknown Speaker 20:07
yeah oh yeah very very old very old phone very oh no oh no no I have a lot of baskets oh yes yeah this must be from your grandmother. Yes yeah so I have quite a few of my grandmother's baskets on quite a few What do you think this was it's a scraper scraping tide Sir What's a stone scraper slipped my mind the name of that but what No, no no that's right

Unknown Speaker 21:06
and that's the bowl bowl the they used to mix paint a lot in them in the early days they've mixed pain but is it no manly?

Unknown Speaker 21:16
The industry that Yeah. Well, they chipped it out first and then smoothed it out quite a little ways.