Granny Caffery of East Sooke

Elida Peers writes about the history of the Sooke region

Granny Caffery

It’s a secluded tranquil little cove, enclosed by the rocky promontories which guard it from the Sooke Basin itself, which, though beautiful, can get windy and stormy at times.

It was this little cove that became home to Mary Ann McFadden Caffery and her seven children, after her sea captain husband Thomas William Caffery was lost at sea in 1889. We understand that it was the Roman Catholic Church that settled her there, from Prevost Island where she had been living.

Perhaps one of the reasons for the move was that Mary Ann’s sister, Susan, was married to Charles Brown, who had already established himself at East Sooke. The Cafferys and the Browns each raised large families of youngsters, many of them settling in as longtime East Sooke residents. (We should note that the real name for the inlet is Anderson Cove, but we all knew it earlier on as Caffery Bay.)

Frank Caffery, midway among her sons, established an oyster farm within the sheltered cove, a seafood industry which was to continue for many years under different owners.  Today one still sees the white oyster shells remaining on the shore from that longtime use. Frank Caffery married neighbour Margaret Walker, only daughter of Lady Emily Walker of Ragley Farm in East Sooke.

Margaret’s daughter, who grew up Kathleen Caffery, but whom we knew more recently as Kay Jeffrey, used to share family lore with us:  “Back in the influenza epidemic of 1917, my grandmother Caffery got out her Indian herbs for cures, and joined up with my other grandmother, Lady Emily Walker, and my two grandmothers went around ministering to the sick neighbours. With one having money and a car, and one with the know-how, they helped a lot of people.”

Granny Caffery lived until 1936, witnessing her pioneer community developing into industries of logging and fishing besides subsistence farming. It wasn’t until much later, in the 1960s, that subdivisions and new housing began to take place.

In the first term of Sooke’s first Mayor Ed Macgregor, it was thought useful for the new Sooke Council to charter a harbour cruise on Jack Homer’s cabin cruiser Secretary Isle.  I was along to provide a history commentary, and one of the memorable parts of the tour was anchoring in the calm waters of Caffery Bay, where we enjoyed a picnic feast on the deck, just before viewing the glorious colours of the setting sun on the way home.

No doubt if Granny Caffery was able to see her beloved cove today, she would be happy to see that it remains beautiful and somewhat secluded.

 

Elida Peers, Historian

Sooke Region Museum

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Province rejects two ride hailing operators in Greater Victoria

Two smaller companies rejected in CRD; Uber and Lyft approved in Vancouver

‘Bureaucratic mix-up’ could lead to Sooke daycare closure

Sooke CAO confident daycare situation can be resolved

Sooke launches Hockeyville bid

Up for grabs: $250,000 in arena upgrades and an NHL game

New Sooke education academy focuses on environment, community

Program still requires school board approval

Electric BC Ferries vessels on the move in Victoria

Public invited to watch unloading, transport process

Fashion Fridays: The basics you need for your body type

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Couple wonders who’s in a photo that’s been hanging in their Cariboo home for years

Charles and Lynn Dick believe the image was taken at the 70 Mile Road House

‘I would not go’ to China says B.C. traveller concerned about coronavirus

Alice Li said she goes to China every other year but would scrap any travel plans

Royal Canadian Legion expels B.C. member for wearing unearned military commendations

‘Stolen valour is stolen service and it’s just totally wrong’

‘Latte-sipping urbanites’ need to realize value of mining in B.C., association head says

Industry generates a total of $3.9 billion in sales of goods and service across the province

Uber, Lyft approved for ride-hailing in Lower Mainland

Kater Technologies Inc.’s application was rejected

Investigators in wildfire-torn Australia head to site of B.C. airtanker crash

The B.C. government sends condolences to Port Alberni-owned Coulson Aviation

RCMP investigating sexual allegation against Lower Mainland police officer

Delta officer suspended while the alleged off-duty incident involving a co-worker is investigated

Most Read