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The George Gordon Family

The first family to live on the waterfront in Crescent Beach

Information and photos provided by Jack Berry

George and Isabella Gordon were the first family to live on the waterfront in Crescent Beach. Gordon leased the land and buildings from Walter Blackie from 1896 to 1906. Records in the New Westminster Land Registry show that J.B. Musselwhite, a Royal Engineer had conveyed his Crown Grant to Walter Blackie on February 14, 1871. Because letters patent were not issued to Mr. Musselwhite until March 17, 1871, Blackie's deed to "150 acres (more or less), lot 52, group 2, District of New Westminster in the Colony of British Columbia," was not confirmed until December, 1875. Walter Blackie settled on the land, and built a log cabin and barn. The area became known as Blackie's Spit. The cabin was located at what is now the south end of O'Hara Lane.


Map of Crescent

George Gordon was born in Scotland in 1844 and came to Canada as a young boy. Shortly after arriving he began his apprenticeship to the miller's trade in Middlesex Country, Ontario in 1859. In 1862, at age 18, he was given charge of a mill. For the next 33 years he was a successful manager or owner of a number of milling operations. In 1872 he married Miss Isabella Grant, a native of Euphemia Township, Ontario. Mr. and Mrs. Gordon had eleven children, of whom nine were living at the time of the family portrait.


The Gordon Family

Back Row – Lillian, Sutherland, Christina, George, Isabella

Middle Row – Mother, David, John, Father, Alexander

Front Row – Guthrie


The Gordon Family Portrait.

In 1895 George sold out his successful milling operation in Ontario and came out to British Columbia. He spent a year in Victoria, and in 1896 moved to Crescent Beach in Surrey Municipality. He leased Walter Blackie's holding on the beach. He farmed, logged some of the uplands, fished and hosted people at his log cabin on the beach.


Blackies' house

Mrs. Bennet Green's husband took this picture in 1902. The couple were just departing after staying at the Gordon family cabin. Mrs. Green is standing on the right. In later life she became a permanent resident of Crescent Beach. The day the picture was taken, the Gordon family had been celebrating a christening of one of their children. George and Isabella are standing closest to the doorway.


Isabella Gordon

Isabella Gordon (nee Grant) was a native of Euphemia Township, Lamberton County, Ontario, and her father was Marcus Grant, who came from Sutherlandshire, Scotland and was a successful farmer. Isabella's maternal grandparents, Angus Gunn and Janet Mathewson, were members of the Lord Selkirk's Manitoba colony.


George Gordon

George Gordon was born in Caithnesshire in 1844, a son of George and Ellen (Mackenzie) Gordon, and both parents were descendants of Royal Clans of Scotland. In 1857 the father came to Canada with his family. Locating in Middlesex County, Ontario, where he engaged himself in shoemaking and farming.


Post Card

This post card addressed to one of the daughters, Lillian Gordon, and was addressed to Blackie's Spit, Elgin P.O. New Westminster, BC.


Post Card

The second post card is addressed to Belle, short for Isabella, and was addressed to Blackie Spit, Elgin, BC.


Upon his death, in 1902, in New Westminster, Walter Balckie's will left the land to his wife Agnes. With the anticipated coming of the Great Northern Railway, the land was put up for tender and on August 16, 1906, 57 acres of land including "the Blackie block–depot–hotel" was transferred to Charles M. Beecher. The railway was to run through the back of the farm. The opening of Crescent Station saw the beginnings of the development of Crescent, as we know it today.


The Gordons, being unable to renew their lease, moved to Port Kells. The family farm became known as the "Elhanan Farm" and they worked it from 1907 to 1912. In 1912 George and Isabella retired to the Sapperton area of New Westminster. There is a Gordon Avenue in Crescent Beach named after them.


In the History of Blackie's Spit or Crescent Beach, Blackie's old log house has been gone a long time. A new addition of the old house was moved back from the waterfront and Blackie's Cabin was replaced on the approximate location by a building on O'Hara Lane. A small portion of the old house was utilized. Built in 1911 this house was known for a long time as Ivy Lodge.


Ivy Lodge

Ivy Lodge


The Gordon children attended Mud Bay School. This school was placed strategically between the Nicomekl and Serpentine Rivers on the Semiahmoo Wagon Road. Today that site is on the east side of the King George Highway at 42nd Ave. (Across the highway from Art Knapps) The location allowed access by children up and down the rivers which were the main routes of travel in those days. The Gordon children would row to and from school along the Nicomekl river.


Mud Bay School

Mud Bay School 1899


Top Row– Unknown, Bill Steward, Unknown, Geo. Gordon, Cougar Huntley.

2nd Row– Dick McBride, Alex Gordon, Unknown, Bert McBride, Dave Gordon.

3rd Row– Mildie Johnston, Annie Brown, Jennie Johnston.

4th Row– Erin Johnston, Unknown, John Stewart, Bob Johnston, Will Dinsmore, Evra Gifford, Violet Winters.

Bottom Left: Teacher, Marion Dinsmore, Millie Dinsmore, May McBride.

The Unknowns could be Winters, Ropers, Martins or Richers from a logging camp on Mud Bay, east of the Nicomekl River as it turned north just east of what is now the bridge at 152nd Street.


Sources:



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