SOOKE HISTORY: Lillian Davies and a pioneer school Christmas

Lillian Davies with her children at the pioneer woman’s 90th birthday celebration at Sooke Community Hall in 1990. (Sooke Region Museum)

Lillian Davies with her children at the pioneer woman’s 90th birthday celebration at Sooke Community Hall in 1990. (Sooke Region Museum)

Elida Peers | Contributed

Posed with their mother, Lillian Davies, her sons, Howard and Henry, daughter Doreen and youngest son Gerry were helping her celebrate her 90th birthday at the Sooke Community Hall in 1990.

Born in an Otter Point log cabin on a snowy day in March 1900, Lillian knew what real pioneer life was about.

Born to Bessey, wife of Henry Clark, a Brit who had pre-empted 80 acres in Otter Point in 1893, Lillian grew up without the amenities that most children have today, but her stalwart origins meant that she demonstrated kindness and dignity all her life.

After Henry had put up a cabin, he sent back to England for his wife and first youngster Lena, so Lillian had an older sister, and her birth was followed by brother Reginald, who grew up to become a teamster.

As her dad, Henry Clark drove a four-horse stage between Victoria and Otter Point, Lillian grew up helping with farm chores.

At eight, it was her job to milk the cow before setting off 2.5 miles to school.

In 1919 she married George Davies, grandson of the first lightkeeper at Race Rocks. The young couple made their home in Otter Point, where George worked as a rigger for Milligan Logging and for Harry Vogel. Along with raising five children, Lillian also worked with her husband in the field, and they bought their own 30-acre farm.

Widowed in 1952, she made her home in downtown Sooke.

While alone, her life was so full with visiting children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all gathering to see grandma and hear her pioneer stories, she had lots of company.

Most of her family lived nearby.

Daughter Doreen married Herb Piggott; Henry married Willie, Howard married Terry, Gerry married Roberta; George Jr., married to Bertha, died before this 1990 photo was taken.

Before she passed on at 94, pioneer Lillian Davies described Christmas season.

“In November the school teacher began to plan for the annual Christmas Tree Social … a list of names of the pupils was obtained from the teacher.”

Kay Shambrook and I were made responsible for collecting the money to purchase the gifts, which would be presented by Santa at the social.

Kay and I walked many miles to each farm as I recall.

The classroom was gaily decorated with a very large Christmas tree.

It was beautifully decorated with shiny glass ornaments and at the tip of each branch was clipped a tin holder that held the candles.

As precarious as it sounds, we never once lost the schoolhouse to fire.

Great excitement prevailed, the children arrived with their parents and the concert program got underway.

At the completion there was a dead silence that prevailed as every ear listened for the magic sounds of sleigh bells.

Soon Santa was warmly welcomed by all.

The gift giving was followed by the next best event, the delicious goodies prepared by the ladies.

Thhe remainder of the evening was spent with games and dancing, in which young and old participated.”

•••

Elida Peers is the historian of the Sooke Region Museum.

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

A sketch of the multi-use path that will connect Lagoon Beach and Royal Beach in Colwood. (Sketch courtesy of the City of Colwood)
Concepts for Colwood beach connector coming to council June 21

Major infrastructure project includes gathering places, public amenities and pathways

The District of Sooke is looking to revamp its business licence bylaw. Council agreed recently that all businesses must hold a business licence to operate in the community. (Kevin Laird – Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke pushes ahead with new business licence bylaw

Proposal calls for all forms of business to require licensing, but bylaw can stil be tweaked

Victoria police are asking for witnesses who might have information about this tricycle that was stolen in downtown Victoria on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Police seek witnesses after downtown Victoria company’s tricycle stolen

The three-wheeler was taken from the 2100-block of Store Street on Thursday

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

OPINION SIG
SOOKE HISTORY: A brief history of Bear Creek Camp

Malahat Logging Company began both Beach Camp and Bear Creek Camp

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Most Read