Gabriola Edition  October - December, 1881
Oct 1


     The taxes having been paid on all but three sections of land in this district, yesterday at noon Mr. M. Bray, offered the said three sections, all situated on Gabriola Island, for sale at auction.

     But one section was sold, there being no bidders for the other two.

Oct 1


     The sale of lands for Provincial taxes is postponed till Tuesday the 18th inst., when the land will be sold for anything it will bring.

Oct 26



     Knowing that the FREE PRESS is always open to promulgate any matter of interest, or that may be legitimate advantage to even a small number of our community, I avail myself of the opportunity to offer a few hints, to at least some of our new farmers and those about to set their sails in that direction, as no doubt, many of the older ones know more, or at least have more experience in that line than I have. So this being understood I may as well perhaps give a short sketch of my own experience in farming.

     But first, I would say to the beginner, if he has only got forty or thirty, or even twenty acres of really good land, with a considerable portion medium on his quarter section, and should it be situated in a suitable locality, then let him go on his way rejoicing, for if he is anything handy and tidy, and has a thrifty wife, he is almost sure to come out right in the end, or before the end. But if he has settled down on a piece of poor land, and means to stick to (though I believe the best thing he could do would be to lift and search for fresh pastures) then let fertilizers be his dream by night, and his labor by day, otherwise he may plow and plow, and sow and sow, and reap and reap, but he will never haul and haul to the barn. And should his land be rich, but wet and springy, the result will be much about the same. Let his energies then be concentrated in drains, and in place of trying how much crop he can put on such land, I believe it would pay him better just to try how little he could put in. Let him occupy the time he would be waiting upon a vexatious miserable crop, in preparing some of his land for the following spring. 

     Well, sir, the ship that I went farming on got nearly wrecked just about the commencement of my farming voyage, in the way just mentioned, crowding on too much sail (cultivating too much land) and perhaps having a rather inexperienced man at the wheel. I commenced trying to raise potatoes on a poor piece of ground merely because it was dry. Well, of course, the first year they were a failure. However, I persevered (which showed I had a sort of toughish spirit) and next year gave it a liberal allowance of manure. Well, would you believe it, when those potatoes were ripe, three of us dug hard half-a-day and bagged two hundred pounds. That let me out tho; I found that growing potatoes there wouldn't pay and I felt my pluck ebbing away like the receding tide or even quicker. But I made a sudden tack (commenced draining my bottom land) and succeeded in steering my frail craft clear of the rollers and away from the rocky coast she had threatened to bump against. And although I may fancy I sometimes hear the breakers in the distance yet, still the old ship keeps in comparatively smooth water and only keeps heaving away to the gentle swell.

     But to return - I planted apple trees on that piece of ground, and sowed it down to grass, although I believe, nay, I am certain, that a young orchard thrives best when there is some sort of crop in the ground that needs hoeing. Of course, if the ground was manured and cultivated without the crop it would be better, but that is not to be thought of. However, my trees do well as I generally keep a good space around them clear with the hoe, besides scattering manure around and sometimes spreading black loam. Don't let anyone imagine he can raise a fine orchard on a poorish piece of ground without manure and cultivation. For he will only find after many years, that his orchard is an eye-sore and a profitless pest. One tree well nursed and cared for might produce more and finer fruit than twenty starved decrepit objects. There is just as much difference in the quality of apples of the same sort grown on apposite soils and with different treatment as there is in a steak from a well-fed ox and one from a half-starved brute.

     I mention apples, but it is the same with everything that grows. The vegetable and animal kingdoms are pretty much alike in this respect. I couldn't just say whether or not the vegetable feels the pangs of hunger as the animal does, but it is just as sure as they both live that they can be both starved to death. The farmer that would have good beef, good apples, good plums, good pears, good cabbages, good everything, must see that he don't have them making wry faces with a hungry belly. He was a knowing old farmer who said, "no cattle, no manure; no manure, no crops; no crops, no farmers; no farmers, no nothing," 

     The farmer ought to ponder over this question as it is the principle hinge on which his gate turns. Even eggs are subject to the same law. Most people imagine that if eggs are fresh they are all about the same. This is quite a mistake, as the difference in feeding makes a great difference in quality, which the epicure can detect. But, I knew a lady who could tell by the taste if eggs had been packed only a short time in straw. But I must admit that I thought her palate must have been most finely strung, and like a fine toned, but delicate, instrument which might be made to "discourse most eloquent music," but which, nevertheless, the least jar would knock out of harmony. However, there is no doubt but that lady could have wrote a book on eggs. Perhaps some of our retailers could write another.

     Cherries do well on light sandy soil. Apples require a richer soil, but still with a warm or rocky bottom. Pears and plums require a richer soil still, and a cold or clayey bottom. Raspberries, a deep rich soil on a cold bottom. For strawberries the ground can scarcely be made too rich, in fact, there is nothing that I grow with the exception of celery and rhubarb, that requires richer ground and more moisture than this pet. A deep black, sandy loam, I think, is the best for rhubarb - the ground ought to be trenched at least two feet deep and well enriched as it is being turned over. All that is on a clayey bottom must be well under-drained, to give the results that a fastidious cultivator craves. A patch ought to be selected for onions, and toned up with barnyard and chicken manure until they produce well, and then stuck to, as it don't pay to go over all the garden with this luxurious feeding crop. But, as this subject is very wide and deep, we may only dare to touch the surface through this channel. 

     So, I would advise those interested to read up the farming news and mature their plans during the long nights of winter. But, I would say just here to the beginner, don't try to put everything in practice you may read on farming. No, nor the hundredth part (that is if you read much) else the end with you will be worse than the beginning. You will get into such a tortuous labyrinth of confusion that, unless you have the courage of a Hector, you will hardly be able to extricate yourself. I believe the best thing anyone could do who has got a bad sort of anything that he can't graft is to make a bold stroke - pluck them out and throw them, root and branch, over the fence. But, as I was saying, let him read "all" and he will occasionally come across bright specks that will sparkle like diamonds amongst the rubbish. This will help him to fill his sail, but still let him keep his own good judgment at the wheel. I have scarcely touched upon what I meant to say. But, I have dallied away so much of your space, and the reader's time, that likely their patience is exhausted.

Wm. Parkin


Groceries, Provisions



Produce taken in Exchange
Oct 1


     Taxes remaining unpaid in Nanaimo District on account of assessment made in 1880. Tax collected on and after 2nd Jan., 1881.

     Josiah Foster, Real and Wild Land, S.E. 1/4 S. 21, 97 acres, Gabriola Island.     $ 6.30.

     Charles Green, Real and Wild Land, S.E. 1/4 S. 24, 54 acres, Gabriola Island.     $ 3.51.

     And in accordance with the law, I hereby give notice that I shall offer for sale by public auction, any lands of persons assessed by me on which taxes, including Personal Property Tax, together with the cost of advertising and other expenses, remaining unpaid on the day of sale.

     Under the Statute, persons liable to pay the taxes imposed by the Assessment Acts, are personally liable for the amount thereof, and all lands of such persons situate within the Province are also liable therefor. The taxes are a charge on such lands, having preference over any claim, lein, privilege, or incumbrance of any party, except the Crown, and does not require registration to preserve it.

     The above sale is adjourned until Tuesday, the 18th day of October, at 12 o'clock noon, when any lands on which the taxes have not been paid will be sold for any sum that they may realize.

Marshal Bray
Assessor and Collector
Nanaimo, B.C. Sept. 30th, 1881

Oct 15


     The sale of the remaining two sections of land on which Provincial taxes remain unpaid, will take place on Tuesday next.

Oct 19


     At the sale of lands for Provincial taxes yesterday not even a "short bit" was bid for the section on which taxes are owing.

Nov 2


     The Supreme Court of Canada has refused to entertain the appeal in this case until after the Provincial Court of Appeal shall have been exhausted. So says a telegram from Ottawa.

     The Provincial Court will sit on 20th December.

Nov 19


      While judges and lawyers are wrangling and arguing as to who shall be held responsible for the loss of this noble ship on Gabriola Reef, time and rude Boreas have almost destroyed the vessel.

      Mr. W.H. Loomas, the Indian Agent, who has been on a tour of inspection among the various Indian tribes on the islands of the Gulf, arrived here on Thursday. He informs us that one of the masts of the THRASHER has been carried away and the other two are greatly out of position. The hull was working considerably and appears much broken up.

      The late south east gales, however, have proved too much for the ill-fated vessel and we may learn any day that she has either gone to pieces or floated off the rock and sunk in deep water. When such an event occurs the Gabriola Beacon should be placed on what is now known as the Thrasher Rock.

Nov 19


     Capt. Reveley, Agent of the Department of Marine and Fisheries, arrived by the steamer DOUGLAS on Thursday from Entrance Island Lighthouse and reported that a sloop had been driven on the rocks at Entrance Island during the gale on Monday last and all on board lost.

     Mr. R. Gray, the lightkeeper, ran down with a rope to assist the men ashore, but the following wave, striking her in the stern, turned her completely over, carrying the inmates with it, who must have been instantly killed.

     The wreck floated off, and on striking the rocks at the south west end of the island, turned completely over several times and finally drifted off badly broken up.

     The sea was running fearfully high and it would have been perfect madness to launch the small boat kept on the island.

     From Capt. Rogers of the steamer ADA, to whom Mr. Gray reported the disaster on Tuesday last, we learn that the sloop exactly answers the description of a fishing sloop owned by two men at New Westminster and who, with two Indian women and three children, were engaged in dog fishing. One, a Frenchman, was named Valpi, the other named Rouell or Rowell.

     The sails of the sloop were all gone before she reached the island and appear to have had a rough time.

     The man that Gray saw on the bow of the sloop he took to be Mr. J. Cannessa, a fisherman of this city, but he was mistaken for Mr. Cannessa is in town attending to his fish market.

     It would seem almost certain that seven lives have been lost, and it is extremely doubtful if any of their bodies will ever be found.

     Following is a letter sent to this office by Mr. R. Gray, reporting the disaster:

Entrance Island Lighthouse, Nov. 17th, 1881

     At 4p.m. on Monday, the 14th inst., during the east gale, a double ended sloop with house on from midships to the foemast, and from midships aft no deck, drove ashore on the east side of the island, end on. One man came forward to jump but was too long in doing so, for the next sea struck her and turned her bottom up.

     I think the man was killed instantly when she turned over, between the sloop and the rocks, for I never saw him anymore.

     I thought there were two men in the sloop, but I could not say positively for I could not see for the rain and sea flying in my face.

     The man that I did see was a shortish size man. I was within 25 or 30 feet but could not render him any assistance.

     She looked like a fishing sloop - her name I do not know for she drifted off after she turned over.

     The time she struck was 4:10 p.m., Monday last.

Dec 24


     At this festive season of the year it has become a time-honoured custom for butchers to make a show of choice beef, mutton, etc. For several reasons the "knights of the cleaver" have not made a display this year equal to previous years.

     Leaving our office for a stroll, the first is


     Mr. C.H. Robinson has on his hooks a number of really excellent quarters of mainland beef from the bunch grass ranch of J.B. Greaves, while suspended in the middle of the shop were some fine specimens of sheep from farms on Gabriola Island. On the counters were suckling pigs, turkeys, poultry, etc. Next is...


     Mr. D. Hoggan has hanging from his shambles: quarters of beef raised and fed at Chemainus and Valdez Island, carcasses of mutton raised by Mr. W. Flewitt, De Courcey Island, and a monster calf from Hoggan Bros'. farm on Gabriola Island. Also, spice beef and pork sausages, etc., were to be seen on the block.
Nov 30

Before the Chief Justice
and Justices Crease and Gray

     Sewell and others vs. Moodyville Sawmill Co. and others:- Mr. Theodore Davie moved in appeal against the judgment of the Chief Justice rendered in favor of the defendants on the 11th July last.

     The Chief Justice intimated that the first point Mr. Davie would have to address himself to would be the power of the judges to sit as a court at all, inasmuch as the Supreme Court Amendment Act, 1881, sec. 28 and 29, prevented any session of the court until one year after the holding of the last court, which happened on the 27th June, 1881, and moreover, confined the right of appeal to such matters as might be named by the Lieut.-Governor in Council.

     Mr. Davie proceeded to argue that the sections in question were unconstitutional and void upon the general ground that they assumed to take the decision of the rights of suitors from the judiciary and to place the same in the hands of the local government, a body liable to be swayed by policy or prejudice.

     Mr. Drake and Mr. A.E.B. Davie appeared for the defendants and did not propose to argue upon the preliminary point as to the validity of the Act of Parliament now impeached, but would leave the matter in the hands of the court.

     Mr. J.R. Hett watched the proceedings on behalf of the local government.

     Their Lordships reserved judgment and postponed further hearings of the motion in appeal until they should have arrived at a decision upon the preliminary points.

Nov 30


     Nanoose Bob and Louis (Qualicum Indian) arrived from the Qualicum on Monday. They report that they saw a double-ender sloop, painted black, on the beach near the Little Qualicum River.

     The mast and bow sprit are broken off close to the deck, and the house, which extends from the mast to a little aft of amidships, was badly broken up. The sails and ropes were all gone and the sloop has no deck aft of the house or, as the Indians say, there is no hole for a man to stand in.

     This sloop corresponds in description with the one reported by Mr. Gray as being wrecked on Entrance Island two weeks ago last Monday, although one would hardly expect [to] find it in as good condition as it [seems] to be, from the rough usage it received on the rocks near the lighthouse.

     The Indians also state that Qualicum Tom (better known as Harvey's Tom, having worked in Mr. Harvey's store for several years), on the night of the great gale, Monday, 14th inst., heard a wild despairing cry coming from the angry waters of the gulf, and in a short time the cries ceased. Tom, who was camped on the beach near the large Qualicum River, took them to be the cries of a drowning human being, but whether it was a white man or Indian he could not tell. The night was pitch dark and he could see nothing.

     A sloop, painted white, lays on the beach near Denman Island, badly broken up. These Indians heard it from other Indians and therefore could give no further particulars.

     We are afraid that the full history of disasters caused by the great gale has not yet been written.

     The home-made schooner from Denman Island, about which fears were entertained, reached home in safety, after experiencing a rough time.

Dec 31


     Editor FREE PRESS:- The examination of the Gabriola school came off on Friday last, the 23rd inst., and was conducted by Mr. Shaw, the teacher, assisted by some of the parents, and was very satisfactory. The examination was backed up on the following evening (Christmas Eve) by a grand entertainment.

     The programme consisted of tea, awarding prizes, singing, readings, recitations, theatricals, and speeches.

     By five o'clock the school room was crowded - the desks having had to be removed to make room for benches. We hadn't long to wait when the business of the evening commenced.

     The door flew open and in bounced four stalwart waiters bearing baskets full of cups and saucers so in another instant each was armed with cup in hand ready for the seige. But, in this instance, in place of being the beseigers, we were more like the beseiged, for those four had scarcely vanished when they reappeared, bearing trays heaped with buns, cakes, pies, puff-de-leaumes, fat rascals, and numerous other dainties too hard for the uninitiated to pronounce.

     By the way, I think it must have been Mrs. Shaw who selected those four athletics, in order to make sure that nothing should be lacking, at least on her part.

     But now came the intellectual part of the programme, and it was well that each was fortified in a substantial manner to withstand the "tear and wear" that followed. Each came to the front and performed his or her part without the least hesitation, and they came on in a steady stream without stop, hindrance, or breakdown, neither too quick nor too slow, but like the gallant little brook that goes rippling steadily along, warbling and singing o'er its pebbled bed, sparkling and dancing in the golden sun.

     The programme was neatly interwove with the comic, the sentimental, and the sublime, but threads were so numerous that I can only attempt to touch a few. Perhaps a leading piece of the evening was a part of Act 4th, Scene 1st in The Merchant of Venice.

     When the curtain was withdrawn, the first personage who arrested the attention was the Duke in the person of Mr. J. Edgar. His long flaxen beard and moustache appeared to have just got a most artistic touch. The tittered and smothered laugh went round as many thought they could discern somewhat of their late aquaintance in the severe and dignified personage before them.

     The Duke must have heard something of what was going on, but it seemed as if the dignity of his new position had raised him high above his old companions, as not a muscle of his grave and venerable features relaxed into the faintest resemblance of a smile.

     Shylock was ably represented by Mr. B. Wake, who appeared to have a thorough knowledge of his part. Mr. J. Grey had the part of Portia the judge, and performed exceedingly well. Gratiano, by Mr. J. Digman, and Antonio, by Mr. J. Shaw, were done to a nicety.

     Two recitations by Miss H. Shaw were rendered in admirable style. The Quack Doctor, by Mr. J. Shaw, was given in character and caused great merriment. But it would be hard to draw a line and say where anything of inferior description commenced.

     Of course, Mr. J. Shaw, Sr., was the controlling spirit of the evening, and must have took no little trouble to bring the whole affair up to the standard reached.

     The meeting was dismissed between nine and ten o'clock, when all betook themselves, in high glee, to their homes.


Having purchased the above Establish-
ment from Mr. D. Frew, will constantly
have on hand an assortment of

Meats and Vegetables

Families and Shipping Supplies