Birthing home was used by Sooke women in the 1930s.

Obstetrics in Saseenos, 1935

Elida Peers writes about the history of the Sooke Region

Two bouncing baby boys born in Saseenos at the home/lying-in hospital of Dr. Maude Robertson add another legend to the story of Saseenos, identified by the T’Sou-ke Nation as “Sunny land gently sloping from the sea.”

It was on just such a sunny sloping property that Dr. Robertson had rented a substantial waterfront house just west of Sunny Shores as she began to establish her practice in the community.  Right at the water’s edge stood another rental property, a cottage still there today as well.

It was in 1935 that two young Sooke women were each looking forward to a “blessed event.”  As each was seeing Dr. Robertson, she offered them the opportunity of obstetrical and maternity care at her home, rather than having to make the trek to a Victoria hospital.

Violet (Eve) wife of Bob Mugford is at left in these photos, with her third child Peter, born in August 1935. Evelyn (Clark) wife of Victor Eve, is pictured with her first child Leslie, born in December 1935.  That the two young mothers could have professional care right in their own neighbourhood must have been appreciated by the fathers, Victor Eve who worked at the fishtraps and Bob Mugford, who had been for a time a City of Victoria police officer.

Besides the shared story of their births in Saseenos, these two bouncing baby boys were to share future sadness as well. While serving in the Royal Canadian Navy in WWII, Peter’s dad, Bob Mugford lost his life in an accident in 1941, and a year later, Leslie’s dad Victor Eve died in an accident while working at the fishtraps for Sooke Harbour Fishing & Packing Co.

Leslie Eve, who went on to a long career working in the woods and contributing volunteer effort to his community, was raised by stepdad “Smoky” Stolth.  Peter Mugford was raised by stepdad George Seaton, and enlisted for a 25 year career in the Royal Canadian Air Force, where he was posted throughout Canada until his retirement to Victoria.

Family stories passed on to Leslie Eve, of his birth in Saseenos, and to Pete Mugford, who recalled being told a dresser drawer had formed his bassinet, were intriguing.  Both men, from families with long pioneering connections to Sooke history, have enjoyed tracking down the location of the lying-in hospital where they were welcomed into the world so long ago.

Elida Peers,

Historian,

Sooke Region Museum

 

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