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Guide to the Province of British Columbia - Cowichan-Salt Spring - 1877

Guide to the Province of British Columbia
Cowichan-Salt Spring - 1877

from a “Guide to the province British Columbia, for 1877-8. Compiled from the latest and most authentic sources of information” (an 1877 census of sorts follows the intro)


Cowichan, situated between Nanaimo and Victoria, upon a river of the same name, is a flourishing agricultural settlement.

This most important district of Cowichan, with those of Comiaken, Quamichan, Somenos and Shawnigan, require a special and detailed notice, the importance to the colony in an agricultural point of view being very great besides affording an excellent example, comprising as they do, the general characteristics of the fertile valleys and prairies which fringe the Eastern coast.

The Cowichan valley is about fifteen miles wide upon the the sea coast, narrowing rapidly in a westerly direction to the width of about six miles. Bounded by high ranges of mountains composed of calcareous sandstones, these ranges form almost impassable barriers to the valley, north and south. To the disintegration and decomposition of these rocks, all highly charged with the carbonate of lime, is due the distinctive character of the soils throughout the Cowichan Valley. In their nature they are essentially calcareous, for while the other principles occur in different degrees in this locality carbonate of lime almost invariably predominates, and of this soil there is usually a good depth of from two to three feet, resting on a sufficiently retentive subsoil of blue clay or gravel.

The earths, chiefly light, very porous, and composed of due proportions of clay, sand, carbonate of lime and humus are well constituted for absorbing and retaining moisture, and the general color from brown to black, with the entire absence of chalky or white earths, would likewise indicate favorable soil for receiving and retaining heat. Samples taken from the Somenos plains were found by experiment to absorb water sufficient to increase the volume of soil from one-fifth to one- eighth of its whole bulk. Much of the soil along the river bottom is a clay Loam of a brown color, and is an excellent soil for wheat, beans, turnips and red clover. The alluvial deposit of the valley is, however, far from being all of a clayey nature, in many parts, chiefly on the southern side, the mould rests upon a gravelly and even a sandy deposit. This is likewise a rich soil, as may be seen from the abundant crops of potatoes, one of the most exhausting of plants, raised by the natives on the same patches of land for a series of years.

The soils on the prairie lands are either gravelly or sandy and gravelly loams, eligible for barley, oats, rye, buckwheat, beans, peas, the root and leaf, crops, potatoes, turnips, car- rots, and the usual garden vegetables. Wheat may be successfully raised upon most of the soils, and, with proper tillage, upon all.

Under a judicious system of farming there can be no doubt but that as good returns can be obtained from these lands as from any part of the continent of America — the climate being especially adapted to the pursuits of agriculture — free from either the excessive heat and drought of the Californian summer, or severity of continental American winters.

The loamy soils, everywhere possessing a depth of two to three feet, and containing a large proportion of the calcareous principle, are especially eligible for fruit culture.

Lying off this fertile region, the districts of which have been comprised in the foregoing general description, is Admiral or Salt Spring Island.

This Island is for the most part thickly wooded, but there is a considerable extent of partially cleared land, both at the northern end and at the head of Fulford harbour."

Of the same geological formation as the district off which it lies, there is an abundance of excellent building stone, and a fertile sandy loam gives scope for the labor of the agriculturist. The brine springs have been ascertained by analysis to contain 1994 grains of salt per imperial gallon. The returns from the numerous small farms into which the district is divided, have been most satisfactory, and give great encouragement to the energetic settler, who, putting his own hand to the plough, can cultivate his land independently of hired labor. Salt Spring Island

Ackerman J.
Booth J. P.
Buckner A.
Bitancnrt D.
Bitancurt MA,
Crane J. C.
Copeland A.
Cairns J.
Foord Frederick.
Fredison Daniel.
Griffiths T. N.
Gyves Michael.
Harrison W. H.
Hutson W. A
Haamea Wm.
Hollins W A
Hollins G. A
Joseph Emanuel.
Lunney James.
Maxwell John.
Mitchell George.
McDonald Charles.
McFadden James.
Meinerstorf H.
Norton John.
Parry T . C .
Purser George.
Pimbury J . G .
Pimbury A.
Pimbury P.
Ruckle Henry.
Robinson H. W.
Sampson Henry.
Spikerman Heinrick.
Smith W.H.
Shore Henry.
Sheppard H.J.
Sparrow J. C.
Tragge T.
Walsh Wm.
Weston Wm.
Whimms Wm.

[Other Gulf Islands and Cowichan district]:

Alexander JD. , Quamichan.
A Hard N., Comiaken.
AllardE., Comiaken.
Askew G. T., Chemainus.
Alexander D. jr., Quamichan.
Barry John, Shawnigan.
Boal James Oowichan.
Beaumont W., Comiaken.
Bednall S., Comiaken.
Bell Neil, Somenos.
Bonsall Henry, Comiaken.
Brenton John Chemainus .
Burke S. G., Chemainus.
Blyth Al., Quamichan.
Blyth Andrew, Shawnigan.
Buckly N., Pender Island.
Bush H , Chemainus .
Blayney C., Chemainus.
Campbell T. C., Mayne Isl'd.
Clagshaw H., Galiano Isl'd.
Colhnson W. T., Mayne Isl'd.
Charley J., Maple Bay.
Chisholm Wm., Cowichan.
Crate A., Comiaken.
Cregan Francis, Cowichan.
Comfera Edward, Shawnigan.
Campbell N., Chemainus.
Davie Wm., Somenos.
Davie S.H., Semenos.
Deucide Francois, Cowichan.
Dobson B., Shawnigan
Dods A., Cowichan.
Dougan J., Shawnigan.
Dougan Joseph, Shawnigan.
Dring Wm., Comiakan.
Drinkwater Joseph, Somenos.
Drinkwater Win., Somenos.
Drummond Hugh, Comiakan.
Duncan W. 0., Quamichan.
Davie J. B., Cowichan.
Evans James, Quamichan.
Edgson Milton, Comiaken.
Evans David, Semenos.
Evans J. N , Somenos
Evans H E., Somenos.
Fleming -1 . Quamichan.
Flett John, Comiaken .
Flett J. jr , Comiaken.
Flett John, Mayne Isl'd
Flett James, Comiaken.
French W. J., Comiaken.
Fry Henry, Chemainus.
Fuller Henry, Chemainus.
Groth Charles, Pender Isl'd .
Georgeson H., Plumper Pass.
Gabborie J., Shawnigan.
Gilmour Wm., Cowichan.
Green A. H., Somenos Lake.
Hall L.. Saanich Arm
Hall F., Saanich Arm.
Habart J., Chemainus.
Hales J. Comiaken.
Harris Samuel, Cowichan.
Hemming J., Shawnigan
Hopkins R. T., Shawnigan.
Humphry J., Quamichan.
Holmes D., Quamichan.
Handy S. W., Shawnigan.
Heck Jacob, Mayne Isl'd.
Hope David, Pender Island.
Inwood Frederick, Somenos.
Jordon Charles, Somenos.
Kinnear James, Cowichan.
Kier James, Somenos.
Kier Archibald, Semenos.
Kier Joseph, Somenos.
Kier George, Somenos.
Lemon John, Cowichan.
Lewis Lewis, Somenos.
Loat Christopher, Chemainus.
Lomas W.H , Quamichan.
Love James Quamichan.
Lomas Thomas, Cowichan
Mahoney John, Cowichan
Marriner Henry, Cowichan.
Marriner Edward, Cowichan.
Mainguy Daniel, Chemainus
Marshall Thomas, Cowichan.
Marshall Matthew, Cowichan.
Mearns James, Quamichan
Miller James, Comiaken.
Miller Robert, Comiaken
Morley .John, Comiaken
Miller W A , Somenos.
McEwen C, Chemainus.
McLay Robt., Quamichan.
McKinnon Win., Cowichan.
Moore Joseph, Chemainus
Munro G., Galiano Island.
Morris H., Galiano Island.
Page David. Chemainus.
Peterson H. P., Shawnigan.
Puety John, Mayne Island.
Richards Joseph, Comiaken.
Richardson E\, Chemainus.
Skinner Ambrose, Somenos.
Skinner T.T , Quamichan.
Skinner Ernest, Quamichan
Smith Thomas, Cowichan
Stonier Wm., Comiaken
Symonds R.D., Comiaken
Sexsmith Rev. V., Cowichan.
Todd Arthur. Quamichan.
Thomas Wm., Chemainus.
Voutrait Xavier, Shawnigan.
Voutrait B.T., Shawnigan.
Weston Wm.. Mayne Island.
Wich John, Mayne Island.
Weir John, Mayne Island.
Richardson II 11., Cowichan.
Robertson Wm., Quamichan.
Weir James, Quamichan. Richardson Wm., Shawnigan. Williams, Unbson F., Mayne Island
Smith M . , Comiaken.
Silva John, Mayne Island
Shaw T. B., Cowichan.
Williams J., Comiaken.
Windsor T. P., Comiaken.
White Robert, Cowichan.
Wood John, Chemainus.
Shearing W. T., Shawnigan.