Pioneer children pose for a picture at Moss Cottage. (Sooke Region Museum)

Pioneer children pose for a picture at Moss Cottage. (Sooke Region Museum)

SOOKE HISTORY: Many pioneers called Moss Cottage home

Cottage, built in 1870, now an exhibit at museum

Elida Peers | Contributed

This 1906 photo showing four bonnie children posed in the parlour of Moss Cottage is a treasure to us at the Sooke Region Museum.

Moss Cottage, built on Muir land in 1870, approximately where Sooke’s Baptist Church stands today, has been moved to the Sooke Region Museum and restored.

While Moss Cottage was originally built for James Welsh and his Irish bride, at the time of this photo it was home to Matilda, daughter of Michael and Matilda Muir, of Burnside.

Left a young widow by the early passing of her husband Jack Gordon, Matilda raised her two children in this cottage. She also boarded other children which then enabled youngsters to attend Sooke School even if their pioneer home was isolated.

Seated in the chair is Alice Gordon, age 11, granddaughter of Michael and Matilda Muir, who grew up to become Mrs. Patterson and live in Victoria. Directly behind is her little brother Harry, at seven, who grew up to serve overseas in the Great War. While he died on the battlefield in France, there is a stone placed in his memory within the Muir cemetery on Maple Avenue.

Perched on the chair’s arms are Margaret and Daisy Ross, daughters of Adam Ross of Goldstream in his second marriage.

In 1885 Adam Ross married Marion, a daughter of Michael and Matilda Muir and the young couple lived at Goldstream where Adam Ross was employed at the waterworks.

Sadly, Marion died in 1890 leaving two youngsters, Tom and Violet. The two children lived with their Aunt Tilly in Moss Cottage to attend school, so it was natural for their half-siblings, the Ross sisters in the photo, to follow in their family footsteps.

When Moss Cottage was relocated to the museum grounds with the help of the Sooke Lions and a federal grant, we held a grand opening when its restoration was complete in 1980.

As special guests, we tried to reach everyone who had, over the years, lived in the cottage. What a thrill it was to greet Margaret Ross (Mrs. Payne) and Daisy Ross (Mrs. Harvey) and their sister Leila.

Other guests that day, who had been resident in this historic parlour, were Olive Wadams and Norah Cook; Gladys and Don Lowe and Laurence; Earl Goudie; Fred and Jean Newman, their youngsters Bill and Lynn Newman, Barbara Miller and Joyce Dumont; Jack Perestam, Nelleke Young, and Marie Jackson.


Elida Peers is the historian of the Sooke Region Museum.

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