The Cook and Poirier families unite in marriage.

The Cook and Poirier families unite in marriage.

Otter Point families wed

Elida Peers writes about the history of the Sooke region

The bride grew up at Otter Point, the groom came out to Otter Point for work in the forest industry and the rest is history. It is from this couple’s daughter Velma (Cook) Jessiman, a longtime community volunteer, that we have this record taken August 19, 1925.

Claude Cook is holding the hand of his bride, Lily Poirier, in this photo that was taken at their wedding on Fort Street in Victoria.  Lily Poirier was the second daughter of Mary and Joseph Poirier, Jr.  Her elder sister Elizabeth had married George Goudie, her next younger sister Mabel went on to marry Walter Cook, brother to Claude, while the youngest girl, Phyllis, married Walter Jessiman. This double marriage relationship, two sisters marrying two brothers, meant there would be a very close family group as the various Poirier granddaughters raised their families in the same pioneer neighbourhood.

Joseph Poirier, Jr, their dad, had grown up by the Sooke River at what later became known as Milnes Landing. In 1902 he bought a house in Sooke and barged it in sections out to the foot of Kemp Lake Road.  He married Mary White, a daughter of Aaron Denton White and “Owechemis”, and it was here that the couple raised their family of seven.

In his younger days Joseph Poirier Jr had been a sealer, going out each year to the Bering Sea for the hunt, and was part owner of the sealing schooner Agnes MacDonald.  At the close of the sealing season each year he would invite fellow crewmen to visit at his home. In this way, with several of Joseph Jr.’s sisters marrying seamen, the pioneer population increased. Among those who settled in the neighbourhood with their brides were Andrew Davidson, Thomas Robinson, Robert Lidgate, Alfred Fletcher and Mandus Michelsen.

Front left, the photo shows Claude Cook and his new bride Lily, with Lily’s mother Mary (White) Poirier.  Also seen in the photo are Adelia Lidgate, Margaret Davidson, Mabel Poirier, May Poirier, Agnes Dodds, Lizzie Davidson and the bride’s younger brother, Joseph Poirier III.

When Claude and Lily’s daughter Velma grew up, she married Frank Jessiman, also a forestry worker, and settled with him on land gifted by her grandfather. Today she continues to be one of our best sources of early historical information.

Elida Peers,

Historian

Sooke Region Museum