Percy Clark and Margaret Anderson wed in 1914

Shirley pioneers have long roots

Elida Peers writes about the history of the Sooke region

Driving west past Kirby Creek and up the hill, on the right, is where this attractive young couple lived their married life.  Though motor vehicles were just coming into use, horse and buggy, bicycles and walking were more common methods for a gentleman to call on his lady love.

Percy was the youngest son of Giles and Lydia Clark, British immigrants to Shirley. His elder brothers Henry Clark and Edwin Clark became well-known as pioneers of Otter Point and Shirley districts, respectively.

Percy had pre-empted 160 acres at the top of the hill in 1902, developing it into a subsistence farm. Ten years later he was ready to begin building a home for the bride he was courting, Margaret, elder daughter of William and Azuba Anderson of Malahat Farm.  (For those who don’t know where Malahat Farm is, it’s on Anderson Road, just east of Muir Creek.)  A good hand with the tools, Percy purchased the lumber from the Anderson’s sawmill and set about his carpentry; it took two years and then the house was ready for their 1914 wedding.

Percy and Margaret had seven children – Evelyn, Hazel, Irene, Gladys, Ken and twins Russell and Ronald, who all attended the little one-room Shirley school, right across the road. The family kept horses, cows, pigs, chickens and a produce garden, and all the youngsters learned to tackle chores early on, demonstrating these work ethics throughout their lives.

Sadly, Margaret was left a young widow and learned to tackle many jobs herself to support her family. Her skill with a hammer and nails led to her years of championships at the ladies’ nail driving competition at early All Sooke Days. For a while she ran a tea room at Sooke. Later, she became Mrs. Ted Perron, and some today will still remember her as an active community worker.

Percy and Margaret’s eldest daughter Evelyn became one of the noted contributors that helped provide a record of the area’s history, once the Sooke Region Museum was built. Many of us knew her as Mrs. Elmer “Smoky” Stolth, as that couple shared many years together living alongside the Sooke River.

Elida Peers, Historian

Sooke Region Museum

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

Just Posted

Sooke temporary homeless shelter packs up early

Occupants to leave facility by June 22

Greater Victoria transit usage sees gradual rise

Ridership still down 66 per cent compared to last year

‘The face of Belmont’: Custodial staff at Langford school pivot to support parents, students

Staff serve as point of contact for parents, students with school

Government Street becomes pedestrian-priority corridor

One block of downtown street closed to cars entirely

Name of victims ‘ripped down’ from Victoria display

Organizers feel the act is ‘malicious’

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Cortes Island affordable housing project hangs by a thread

Regional decision makers resort to COVID-19 concerns despite virtual meeting option and push hearing to September

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

North Island recreation camping site closed due to vandalism

Damage happens every year, forcing site manager to reallocate improvement budget to repairs

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

Man found dead in his tent at Island homeless camp

Facebook posts tell of personal struggles and attempts to stay clean and sober

Most Read