Alice

SOOKE HISTORY: Alice of Moss Cottage

Alice and Harry grew up surrounded by Muir and Welsh relatives as neighbours, and walked to attend Sooke School

Visitors to the Sooke Region Museum sometimes take in a tour of Moss Cottage, built  around 1870, the oldest standing building west of Victoria.

Though its history had begun earlier, the society decided, when we moved the venerable dilapidated building from its site on West Coast Road (near the Baptist church) to the museum grounds, to restore the interior to the 1902 time period.

At Christmas time in particular, a Moss Cottage tour will feature not only the house’s chatelaine, Aunt Tilly Gordon, but her six-year-old daughter Alice, in a period frock with pinafore. Little Alice and her brother Harry grew up in Moss Cottage, and are an important part of our pioneer history.

Matilda Muir Gordon and her husband Jack Gordon had been living with her family at Burnside, on Maple Avenue, where Jack worked on the family farm started by her father, Michael Muir. In those days, tuberculosis, or consumption as they generally called it, took a heavy toll of life in the Canadian west, and Jack Gordon contracted the illness.

In 1901, when Matilda suffered the loss of her husband, Burnside Farm itself changed hands as well and it was necessary for Matilda to move into the four-room cottage standing on neighbouring land, along with her two little ones.

Alice and Harry grew up surrounded by Muir and Welsh relatives as neighbours, and walked to attend Sooke School (on the present location of Sooke Elementary).

To make ends meet, the frugal Aunt Tilly took in boarders, a boy and five sisters in the Ross family of Goldstream, in order for the Ross children to be able to attend school.

Alice helped out with household chores of course, and also helped on the neighbouring John Muir farm of Woodside. She grew up to marry a young man from Victoria, Jack Patterson.  During the First World War, younger brother Harry served overseas in France, where he was lost on the battlefields, and is now remembered on the War Memorial at Sooke’s Cenotaph.

With her son gone and her daughter married in Victoria, Matilda Gordon also moved into Victoria for her senior years. Along with grown up daughter Alice and Alice’s husband Jack, though, the pioneer family continued to come out to visit at Sooke when they could.

•••

Elida Peers is the historian of Sooke Region Museum.

 

 

Just Posted

Japanese knotweed has come to Sooke, and that’s a problem

Invasive plant is a serious threat to waterways and infrastructure

Every situation is different, jurors hear at coroners inquest into Oak Bay teen’s overdose death

Pediatrician says involuntary treatment necessary following overdose, opioid use

Sooke council pans multiple memorial plaque plan

District should not sell the same bench over and over again, says councillor

Inaugural Sarah Beckett memorial Run raises $20,000 for law enforcement scholarship

Widow calls run, community playground fitting tributes to fallen mom and Mountie

NHL teams score four from Grizzlies den

Three current and one future Victoria Grizz player selected in latest NHL draft

VIDEO: Victoria airport guests see dinosaur surprise

Two boys dressed as raptors get a shock when their grandmother comes to greet them

B.C. Ferries vessel breaks down right before long weekend

Horseshoe Bay-Langdale route impacted most, revised schedule adds 4 a.m. sailings

Weather Canada issues thunderstorm alert for coastal Vancouver Island

Severe thunderstorm watch issued around 4:15 p.m. as storms developed over sections of the Island

Fraser Institute releases latest B.C. high school rankings

Fastest improving schools are in cities including Agassiz, Kitimat and 100 Mile House

Nanaimo man gets jail time for posting explicit photos of ex-girlfriends

Man’s name cannot be revealed to protect victims’ identities

North Island thrift store robbed at knifepoint, say RCMP

Suspect fled on bicycle following Tuesday stick-up

RCMP across Canada to soon unionize, according to B.C. mayor

A spokeswoman for RCMP headquarters in Ottawa says it’s not yet a done deal

Explicit sex-ed guide for adults mistakenly given to Creston elementary students

The booklet clearly states online and inside that the guide contains sexually explicit information

Most Read