The Sheilds family in 1894. The Sooke family has a street named after it.

Sooke History: Sheilds family packs ‘wallop of a punch’ in Sooke history

Of British origin, James Sheilds had reached Sooke by way of the California gold rush and a stopover in Victoria.

It’s only a block long, but the Sheilds name packs a wallop of history. Thankfully, Sooke council agreed recently to correct the street sign for the street connecting Eustace and West Coast Road, which had the family’s name spelled incorrectly.

This 1894 photo shows Captain Ed Sheilds, one of the sons of James Sheilds who took up Crown land far up the Sooke River late in the 1880s.

Of British origin, James Sheilds had reached Sooke by way of the California gold rush and a stopover in Victoria. His son Ed became a ship’s master and regularly took schooners out to the Bering Sea in the seal hunt. Along with Oscar Scarf and the Poirier brothers, he sailed on the Agnes McDonald.

Ed Sheilds is posed with his wife Louise Charters, who was a daughter in the William Bell Charters family, the settlers who had taken up the land on the west side of the Sooke River mouth in 1865. This photo was taken just before Captain Ed sailing on the ill-fated schooner May Belle in 1896, one of the many ships in the sealing industry that never returned.

Though there was no network of social services in those days, the four children pictured did well. Ethel, left, lived quietly; next is Ed Jr who married Esther Peatt (think Peat Road in Colwood); the baby at right is Mary Anne who married Albert Eales.

In the 1970s when I was researching pioneer families, I met Mary Anne Eales, who had become a farmer.  She fascinated me with her tales of farming at Ragley in East Sooke, and of hunting cougars and wolves.

The most famous of the children though was Lyall, the curly-tressed velvet and lace-attired child perched by his father’s arm. It was Lyall Sheilds who grew up to serve overseas in the First World War, helped initiate the Royal Canadian Legion in Sooke, and for many years operated a blacksmith shop on Belvista.

It was Lyall Sheilds that designed the tricycle that was hand-pedaled along the 27 miles of concrete flowline so the guard could inspect for leaks in the system that carried water from Sooke Lake to Victoria for almost 100 years.

A big supporter of Sooke Community Association, Lyall was the first to barbecue the spring salmon in the traditional First Nations Style for All Sooke Day in 1934, and his legacy is also seen in the wrought iron hinges on the entrance door of Sooke Community hall.

Sadly, it was only a few years later, in 1941, that Lyall Sheilds’ vehicle was struck by a CNR steam train at the Woodlands Road level crossing.  Besides the block long Sheilds Road, the family name is recognized by the many hikers that enjoy the trails up in the Sooke hills that lead to beautiful Sheilds Lake in the wilderness.

•••

Elida Peers is the historian of Sooke Region Museum.

 

Just Posted

Mainly sunny skies ahead for Friday

Plus a look ahead at your weekend

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

Sun on its way after Greater Victoria sees wettest July in six years

Environment Canada meteorologists say the drizzle is likely to end soon

Average rent for one-bedroom in Victoria nears $1,400: PadMapper

Victoria sixth in Canada for most expensive rent

VIDEO: 1,400 classic cars roll into Victoria for Deuce Days

The four-day festival highlights classic hot rods, with a special emphasis on cars built in 1932

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

LETTER: Refining bitmen not a good idea

One of the arguments against increasing the capacity of the Trans Mountain… Continue reading

LETTER: Welcome to Nevergreen Mall

Re: Work starts on mall expansion (News, July 17) Welcome to Nevergreen… Continue reading

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Most Read