Langley Centennial Museum
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Elsie Martin's oral history interview conducted by Warren Sommer on 20 Mar., 27 Mar., 10 Apr., 2012.
20 Mar., 27 Mar., 10 Apr., 2012.
SR-264 is a recording of an interview with Elsie Martin, conducted by Warren Sommer.
SR - 264.1
Track 1 – interviewer introduces interviewee, Elsie gives her family’s names and brief history of her parents coming over to Canada from Scotland.
Track 2 – Elsie talks about why her parents came to Canada as well as how and why they settled in Langley. She also tells about her father clearing their farm land.
Track 3 – Elsie gives location of where her family’s farm is located today, and recalls their neighbours when they lived there. Also talks about all the different streets and roads, and other families with land in the Langley area.
Track 4 – Elsie talks about the landscape of the farm and the Berry’s farm as well.
Track 5 – Elsie recalls who owned the land before her father. Also discusses Jim Doyle and the Mr. and Mrs. Isakson who were other farmers in the area.
Track 6 – Elsie describes her home growing up and the different buildings on their farm.
Track 7 – Elsie talks about the different chores around the farm for her and her siblings; describes the milking routine her brothers did every day.
Track 8 – Elsie shares some memories about going into town with her dad and witnessing a violent altercation between two men.
Track 9 – Elsie tells of the sawmill in Murrayville. She also talks about the minimal number of Japanese and Punjabi families in the area.
Track 10 – Elsie talks about who she played with growing up and the different activities they had to pass time.
Track 11 – Elsie talks about winters growing up and the different activities like skating and sleigh rides.
Track 12 – Elsie discusses getting to school and what school was like in her elementary years in Murrayville.
Track 13 – Elsie discusses how she spent her summers growing up and the different activities available to her and her playmates, like swimming and tennis.
Track 14 – Elsie discusses day trips with her family and the difficulty of transportation and leaving their farm unattended. She also mentions the Langley Picnic.
Track 15 – Elsie discusses criminal activity in Langley growing up, and her home getting broken into during the depression.
Track 16 – Elsie discusses community hall dances in Murrayville and Milner.
Track 17 – Elsie talks about learning about Fort Langley’s historical significance in school. She also discusses her parent’s church attendance and their troubles with transportation to get there.
Track 18 – Elsie tells about vagrants on the railroad and men coming and asking for food. Also mentions the Great Northern Railroad.
Track 19 – Elsie discusses World War I and the Remembrance Day ceremonies, as well as some of the veterans in the Langley area.
Track 20 – Elsie discusses the financial stability of her family and the effects the stock market crash of 1939 had on Langley and her family.
Track 21 – Elsie discusses methods of storing food growing up. She also talks about her brother Alec winning a pig at the May Day Fair.
Track 22 – Elsie talks about the clothing she had growing up and about how her family grew their own vegetables.
Track 23 – Elsie talks about the boarding houses in Langley, and the Langley Hotel’s beer parlour. She also discusses the consumption of alcohol in Langley during the Depression. Elsie begins to tell about a still that was in Brookswood and then stops the recording while she tells the story.
Track 24 – Elsie discusses a World War I veteran called ‘Lantern Brown’ who lived in Brookswood. She also talks about chores her and her siblings had on their farm.
Track 25 – Elsie talks about different animals on their farm, specifically cows and chickens. Also talks about what breakfast, dinner (lunch) and supper usually consisted of.
Track 26 – Elsie discusses walking to events growing up and the limitations that placed on her and her friends in attending events.
Track 27 – Elsie discusses the rarity of cars Langley growing up. Also discusses movies and the Langley Theatre.
Track 28 – Elsie tells the story of her encounter with J.W. Berry when he was attacked by a cow. Also talks about machinery her family had for the farm.
Track 29 – Elsie and interviewer discuss Brian Harrison and his farm and different hired help he had as well as his son’s career as a radiologist.
Track 30 – Elsie discusses Alf Layton and his family, and has trouble recalling where his land was. Also recalls other families and their farms in the Langley area.
Track 31 – Elsie recalls the Murrayville General Store, and kids on their way to school dropping off orders.
Track 32 – Elsie talks about the rarity of candy and chocolate growing up. Also talks about getting ice cream every so often from Charter’s in Langley.
Track 33 – Elsie talks about different businesses in Langley growing up, goes into detail on Fuller’s Meat Market. (Recording cuts part way through her description, then picks up again.) Elsie also talks about her family having Sunday roasts.
Track 34 – Elsie talks about the Langley Hotel’s beer parlour and the reputations of billiard halls. She also talks about not being allowed to play cards growing up.
Track 35 – Elsie talks about her parents not being able to attend church due to their lack of transportation. She also discusses Sunday as a day of rest for her family.
Track 36 – Elsie talks about Bishop’s Bicycle Store and bikes as a main form of transportation for kids. Interviewer asks about the Lion Club’s infamous party in the community hall and then shuts the recodring off while she recalls the story.
Track 37 – Elsie talks about the McBernie family and their oldest son’s academic accomplishments. She later goes on to discuss their younger son, Loren, as well.
Track 38 – Elsie discusses the amount of kids who continued onto high school and the ratio of boys to girls, as well as what kids who dropped out did for jobs.
Track 39 – Elsie talks about the different school subject and compares school in the 21st century to her schooling.
Track 40 – Elsie discusses different physical activities in school growing up. Elsie also talks about the exams required for students to continue to the next grade.
Track 41 – Elsie recalls her experience of having scarlet fever when she was in grade 10.
Track 42 – Elsie talks about her family not leaving their house all at the same time. Elsie also discusses the Langley Theatre being turned into Gibson’s Paint Store during the Depression.
Track 43 – Elsie talks about becoming interested in popular culture in high school and using the Eaton’s catalogue.
Track 44 – Elsie talks about living on a dairy farm and the requirement of staying home because of it. She also discusses fruits and vegetables and how they were not stocked in store, as well as the different mobile grocers that were around.
Track 45 – Elsie talks about her memories of her first wedding and funeral that she attended. She also discusses the jobs available for a women after graduating high school.
Track 46 – Elsie talks about her experience with the women’s liberation movement. She moves onto discuss reasons why people were rushed to marry young.
Track 47 – Elsie discusses the different families in the Langley area that had First Nation’s heritage and the commonality of this within the community. She also discusses the relations between Catholics and Protestants in the area.
Track 48 – Elsie recalls seeing the royal couple come to Fort Langley in 1939.
Track 49 – Elsie talks about the popularity of Saturday night shopping.
Track 50 – Elsie recalls Christmas in Langley Prairie and in her own home.
Track 51 – Elsie talks about May Day and the Fall Fair, and the different activities at the events.
Track 52 – Elsie talks about how her family received the news, and getting the Province and Langley Advance newspapers. Elsie also talks about getting a family radio.
Track 53 – Elsie talks about the coming of WWII and her knowledge of the making of the atomic bomb. Elsie also talks about the general reaction to the outbreak of war at home and school.
Track 54 – Elsie discusses her experience in Senior Matriculation in New Westminster, as well as having soldiers in Langley.
Track 55 – Elsie talks about the effects of rationing she experienced, as well as practicing black-outs.
Track 56 – Elsie discusses the changes she has seen in Langley and the surrounding municipals, specifically the loss of farms.
Berry, John Walter, 1868-1943
John Walter Berry was born on December 18, 1869 in Bruce County, Ontario to parents William Berry and Susanah (Sterne) Berry. In 1890 he married Lydia Bowman of Mannheim, Ontario. They had 7 children: Edith (b. 1891), Edward (b. 1894), William (b. 1900), Harold (b. 1901), Anne (b. 1903), John (b. 1905), and Thomas (b. 1910). John moved his family to Langley in 1897 to help long-time friend David Moss Coulter open a general store. The pair opened two stores, one in Murrayville (managed by Berry) and one in Fort Langley (managed by Coulter). In 1904 John sold his store to Hugh A. MacDonald. During the time he owned the store, John purchased a 135 acre price of land and went on to build a successful dairy farm (Belmont). In 1910 he helped form the Fraser Valley Milk Producers Association. John was a prominent Langley citizen. He served as Municipal Clerk in the Township of Langley from 1899-1909, as Chairman of the Langley School Board from 1912-1936, and as MLA for the Delta Riding (which consisted of Delta, Surrey and Langley) from 1928-1932. He also served as an auctioneer and valuator. John died at his home on Old Yale Road after a lengthy illness on September 5, 1943 at the age of 74. He is buried in the Murrayville Cemetery.
See Also: Coulter & Berry Store
Term Source: The Langley Story, pg. 249 (Waite) ; From Prairie to City, p. 85 (Sommer).
Doyle, Florence (nee Michaud)
Florence Ann Michaud, daughter of Joseph and Georgiana Michaud, was born February 7, 1874. At the age of 23 she married James Joseph Doyle, age 41, on September 22, 1897. Although they never had any children, Doreen, granddaughter of Brian and Annie Harrison, said that having tea with Mrs. Doyle was a highlight of her childhood visits to Langley Prairie, as they "wore dresses and white gloves, and drank out of beautiful tea cups." Florence died in 195
Doyle, James J.
Born May 8, 1856. An English-speaking native of New Brunswick with Irish Catholic lineage, James came to B.C. in about 1878. He initially worked as a logger, clearing parts of what later became the city of Vancouver, and working at the Hastings sawmill. By 1901 he was an established farmer, and it was about this time that his in-laws gave him part of their farm. He ran this mixed farm until 1920, when James, who was almost 20 years older than Florence, decided to retire. They left the community 2 years later, but returned in 1926, began poultry farming, and retired from that in 1929. James Doyle was a supporter of the Knights of Columbus, and died in 1938 without children.
Elsie Ferguson was a teacher at Milner School.
Fuller's Meat Market
Langley Prairie Meat Market came to be known as Fuller's Meat Market in 1927 when E. R. (Ted) Fuller renamed his local butcher shop. Fuller had visited Langley Prairie in 1919 and decided to stay. He bought the village's first bucher shop in 1920, located near Profontaine's store. In 1922 he moved the business closer to the centre of the commercial area, building a new shop just east of the Prairie's new Royal Bank (on today's Fraser Hwy-2004), on land previously used for Jim Gibbon's blacksmith shop. In 1959 Fuller sold his property to the Royal Bank, who tore it down and established a new branch. In the meantime, Fuller's Meat Market relocated to a new location on Douglas Crescent and was carried on by his sons, Jack and Roy (Pete).
Term Source: Warren F. Sommer's "From Prairie to City: A History of the City of Langley," 19
The Langley Theatre was built by Arthur Timms between 1915 and 1917. It was built in what was known as the "Theatre Block," the first major commercial building in the area. There was also a general store in the building and a "refreshment room." E. J. Timms ran the Theatre, and during silent movies one of the Timms women would play the piano. In 1924 the piano was replaced by a proper theatre organ. Occasionally the bench seating was moved to the side and dances were held. After Timms left Langley in 1930, the Theatre was used as a hardware store for many years. The Theatre was reopened in 1937 by Joe Gibson, and was run by his wife, Olive, until 1945. At this time Peter Barnes and his sister Myrtle bought it, and four years later they had plans to tear down the Calow Block to the east to extend the Theatre. This never happened, and the Barnes left the commuity in the mid-1950s. The next manager was Mrs. R. Bates. The Theatre was used until it was demolished in 1958.
See Also: theatres
Term Source: Warren Sommer's "From Prairie to City: The History of the City of Langley"
May Day celebrations
Fort Langley established its May Day in 1922, and it continues to be an annual tradition (2003). In Langley, May Day refers to the 24 of May, the date of the birth of Queen Victoria. The first May Day was held in Fort Langley, then the event moved to Langley Prairie from 1923-1957. In 1958 the Langley Kinsmen gave up the event, and it returned to Fort Langley where it was organized by the Community Improvement Society and the Fort Langley Lions club, and finally a community committee. May Day celebrations include the crowning of the May Queen and the May pole dancing.
Superbase See Also: May Day Celebrations - Langley Prairie
Term Source: Warren Sommer's "From Prairie to City", p. 154.
Milner Community Hall
(Also listed as Milner Community Hall/Food Market/Esso)
Found at 6830-216 Street, the Milner Community Hall is a two-storey building built in 1912. The ground floor was used for various commercial enterprises, including the Bank of Hamilton. The upper floor had a hardwood floor and was used for dances and other community events. From 1922-1924, the Milner Co-operative Society leased two ground floor rooms to the Langley School Board.
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Argus v22.214.171.124 - Langley Centennial Museum