Charles King house

Charles King house

Charles King house in Saseenos

Elida Peers writes about the history of the Sooke region

It’s hard to see clearly in this 1927 photo, but on the porch facing Sooke Road are three figures, each important in our history. When I drive by I notice the house still stands today, on the upland side of the road in Saseenos, and it seems like the current owners may have recently done further alterations.

On the porch are John Murray, Margaret King and her father Charles King. We’re not sure what year the house was built, but the acreage was purchased in the mid-1920s, by Charles King of Otter Point, soon after the 1,000 acre subdivision of Saseenos was developed for sale in 1920/21.

Charles King, an English gardener and orchardist, had arrived in Otter Point in about 1898 (think King Road). In 1903 his sweetheart by correspondence, Jane Camp, came out to join him in their Otter Point log cabin.  Middle-aged when she arrived, Mrs. King was in delicate health after giving birth to a daughter Fanny Margaret in 1907.  Jane King passed away when baby Margaret was three, and the little girl went to live with the Murrays (think Murray Road). Mrs. Murray had recently retired as matron of the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria and married Scottish immigrant John Murray, who served as a local Justice of the Peace.  Childless themselves, the couple was devoted to the little girl.

By the 1920s Charles King had left Otter Point and was trying out life in sunny Saseenos. His acreage was dissected by the gulley which carried Saseenos Creek, and he built a curved wooden bridge to join the two halves of the property (it backed onto Blythwood), planting fruit trees and rows of raspberrries for the Victoria market.

After the passing of Charles King, the cottage was home to his daughter Margaret and her new husband, Danish immigrant Kai Jensen, who had married in 1929. Before long the young couple had sold and moved to larger property to run a dairy farm a bit further east on Saseenos Creek.  Families that I recall living in this cottage in the following years included the Learys, the Jenners, and the Philip Paskins. By the 1980s the cottage was home to retired federal diplomat Murray Cook and his wife.

Almost 90 years since it was built by a carpenter neighbor, William Dempster Brown, this house has seen many additions including a basement, and it has surely seen almost a century of good healthy country living as well.

Elida Peers,

Historian

Sooke Region Museum

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