Transcribing the journals of Michael Muir is not proving to be an easy task. The eloquent penmanship of the day and the faded pages make the process of deciphering the pages a long and complex one.
Lorne and Lynne Frizzell, residents of Calgary, were in Sooke recently to get a first hand look at the fifth journal which has been tucked away in a fireproof place at the Sooke Region Museum. It was a white glove affair as the ancient pages and leather bound book were examined. Elida Peers scanned and made copies of the pages for the Frizzells to transcribe. They had already transcribed two of the Muir journals.
“They have the experience, integrity and research skills which led me to believe they would do the job,” said Peers. “It is challenging to decipher what the words say.”
“It was written by Michael in a rainstorm on wet paper with a pencil while on horseback,” is the way Lorne described the time-worn pages.
The journals (from 1865 to 1872) are basically about business dealings but they do provide a look at commerce and trade back in the late 1880s. Woodside Farm was thriving then and is thought to still be the oldest working farm in the province. Woodside also contained the first sawmill in the province.
“It (journal) is extremely important in B.C.’s history, almost unrivaled in significance,” said Peers.
When asked why a couple from Calgary would be interested in historical journals from Sooke, Lynne said she is a distant relative of the Muir family. They had previously been to Sooke and as they were driving past Woodside, she laughed and said, “wouldn’t it be hilarious if I was related to John Muir?” It’s a convoluted tie, but a tie none-the-less. As a person interested in geneology Lynne, was able to trace the Muir family to the 1600s in Scotland.
The Frizzells have made four trips out to Sooke this year alone and are so intrigued by the area and its history that they may soon reside here permanently.