Effervescent Agnes George 1877-1979

I first got to know Agnes George in the 1960s, just about the time this photo with a smoked salmon was taken on the Sooke Reserve.

Agnes George

I first got to know Agnes George in the 1960s, just about the time this photo with a smoked salmon was taken on the Sooke Reserve.  An effervescent lady who always welcomed visitors with a big smile, she introduced me to many stories and customs of the T’Sou-ke Nation.

Her heritage had taught her many skills for her nimble fingers – besides being adept at preserving of seafoods, she wove baskets and mats. She was an expert at knitting sweaters with raw wool, and one day she demonstrated how to spin wool from washed, teased and carded rolls of wool, by attaching it to a doorknob as a spindle and twisting as she moved backwards.

The annual salmon run, so important to the food supply, fully occupied the T’Sou-ke people as they harvested and smoked racks of fish to carry them over the winter. Agnes learned the skills at her mother’s knee, and passed them on to her own daughters and other relatives on the reserve.

Agnes was born at Esquimalt, raised at Clo-ose and grew up to marry Louis George, eldest son of Mary George who raised her five children alone at Sooke after her husband was lost when the sealing schooner Walter Earl went down in the Bering Sea in 1895.

Agnes and Louis George (he was elected Chief between 1931 and 1956) raised a son and five daughters. Eldest daughter Sophie won a prize for the naming of Saseenos, “Sunny Land Gently Sloping from the Sea” while she was working at the Belvedere Hotel that stood on the headland at the mouth of the Sooke River.  Sadly, tuberculosis took her while still young.

The next George daughters, Lizzie, Hilda, Mabel and Alice married into the community of southern Vancouver Island and enjoyed a large circle of friends. Their son Lewis made his home on the Sooke Reserve and had a job at the fishtraps. Agnes celebrated her 101st birthday with a party at St Mary’s Priory.

Today the son raised by Lewis George, who attended school in Sooke but moved to Cowichan to work in the forest industry, is demonstrating the nimble-fingered artistic traits inherited from his grandmother Agnes. Harvey George’s meticulous carving skills and incredible eye for design has led him to create a legacy, a collection of fishboat models.

Harvey has donated his models to institutions and they may be seen at the Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre, at the Sooke Region Museum and at the Charters River Salmon  Interpretive Centre.

 

Just Posted

Wind warning in effect for Greater Victoria

Strong winds could reach up to 80 km/hr along coastal areas

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington for the day

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, “high avalanche danger”

Whisky society commits to charity donation in wake of whisky raids

Refund of Victoria Whiskey Festival tickets won’t impact charity beneficiaries

Victoria housing provider launches crisis prevention program to combat homelessness

Pacifica Housing aims to address challenges before tenants risk evictions

Victoria wins crucial WHL contest over Giants in Langley

Royals take over second in B.C. Division ahead of Vancouver

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Vessel washed ashore in Campbell River during last night’s storm

A vessel appears to have gotten loose and washed to shore on… Continue reading

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

WHL winning streak ends at four in Kelowna for Victoria

Royals lose 8-4 as Rockets explode offensively

Wind warning back in effect around Vancouver Island

80 km/h winds expected Saturday, Jan. 20, on east coast of Island, 100 km/h on west coast

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

UPDATE: BC Transit’s handyDart service strike in Victoria delayed

LRB application by contractor means new strike notice must be issued by union

Most Read