When the British Clark family decided on a move to Canada, who could have imagined the impact they would have?
The first was Henry Clark, who arrived in the late 1880’s accompanied by his 16-year-old brother Edwin.
Edwin was sent back to Britain to fetch the rest of the family, including parents Giles and Lydia Clark, brother Percy and two sisters.
Henry Clark preempted Section 75 in Otter District, built a log cabin and then went back to Britain for his wife Bessie Axe and their infant daughter Lena.
Edwin Clark established a post office, which was given the name Shirley as Sheringham Point was too long for the postage stamp. He met Christina Jane, daughter of neighbours Hugh and Jane Campbell who had preempted in 1890 at the far side of Muir Creek, and the two were wed in 1902.
The 1936 photo above was taken at a gathering at the Edwin Clark place, Invermuir Farm. Edwin Clark and his wife Christina are at left, next to son George, followed by Ida Beadle, a British cousin. Earl Clark and Leslie Clark stand next, then Bessie and Henry Clark. In front are Douglas, Arthur and Raymond Clark.
While six of Edwin Clark’s sons are shown here, there were three more: Edwin, Stanley and Wilfred. The lone girl in the family, Christine, was a registered nurse who served many years in rural areas of northern B.C. and the Yukon. She was also the family historian.
Henry Clark drove a horse stage from Otter Point to Victoria from the late 1890s for nearly two decades. By 1914 he had completed a frame home for his family, daughters Lena and Lillian, and son Reginald – a pioneer home that still stands, on Clark Road.
Percy Clark preempted 160 acres at the top of Shirley Hill in 1902. Building a home you can still see today, he had it completed in time for his 1914 wedding to Margaret Anderson, daughter of William and Azuba Anderson of Malahat Farm. Percy and Margaret Clark had seven children, Irene, Evelyn, Hazel, Kenneth, Gladys, Ronald and Russell.
Three families of Clarks made their homes in Otter Point and Shirley, producing many cousins.
The nine strapping sons of Edwin and Christine Clark of Shirley mostly went into the forest industry throughout Vancouver Island, often running their own outfits. We understand the last of their sons, Earl, passed away recently.
Elida Peers is the historian of the Sooke Region Museum.