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The William Collishaw Family
of Kensington Prairie.

William Collishaw was born in Lincolnshire, England in the year 1844. When he was twenty–three years of age he left his home in England for Canada. He arrived in Glencoe, Ontario in 1867, the year of Canada's Confederation. William was determined to make his way in the new country. Jobs were scarce and wages were low. From Ontario he went to Leadville, Colorado, but after a short stay he returned to Ontario.

On November 25th 1871 he married Hanna Elizabeth Beveridge in Newbury, Ontario. She was the daughter of Robert and Ellen Beveridge. She was known as Elizabeth and was born about 1855 in Newbury, Ontario.

William and Elizabeth Collishaw Collishaw family home

On the left is William and Elizabeth Collishaw and on the right is the Collishaw home.
Photos courtesy of The Surrey Pioneers. Richard V. Whiteside pp48–49

From Ontario Mr. and Mrs. Collishaw came to New Westminster, in 1886, where they resided for a short time. The CPR had been completed in 1885 so the Collishaws must have come out to BC on one of the early transcontinental trips. Mr. Collishaw's first job in British Columbia was working with a CPR construction gang in North Bend in the Fraser Canyon.

Collishaw homestead

Photo from the 1897 map of Surrey land holdings
This portion of the 1897 map shows the Collishaw land holdings. 160 acres along Mud Bay/Kensington Road and includes the 30 acres in the south–east corner given to John Keery after he weds Emily, the oldest daughter in the Collishaw family.

In 1887 the Collishaws homesteaded on Mud Bay Road in Kensington Prairie, Surrey. William Collishaw was a good farmer and it was not long before he was a familiar figure on the Old Yale Road with his team and wagon, as he journeyed to New Westminster to sell his farm produce in the Farmers market. It was a long trip from the Collishaw farm to New Westminster. William used to leave the farm about four o`clock in the morning every Friday, in order to be at the market at opening time.
The Surrey Pioneers. Richard V. Whiteside pp48–49

Selling the market garden produce weekly was very important as a source of cash. Food was available to the early settlers as game was plentiful, fish in the local rivers were available seasonally, and berries and roots could be harvested in season. Raising animals, hunting rabbits, birds, and ducks all provided for the larder. However, staples were available only with cash.

This then, was the big problem of the early settler; the need for a cash crop, for some goods which he could sell or barter. For a whole generation there just wasn't any cash crop in Surrey. They lived on what they could hunt, catch, pick grow or carve out of the bush. The settlers earned a little cash in roadwork from the municipal government. They didn't need much cash, but undoubtedly they needed some. They couldn't sell timber. This was the big fight which the settlers had to carry on for nearly twenty years. The Crown reserved the timber, and the settlers couldn't even sell it off their own land. For the first ten or twelve years there was no such thing as a cash economy, and even years later a pioneer Surrey family might not see more that $25 cash in a whole year.
Undated clipping: courtesy of Surrey Archives.

By 1887, William had pre–empted property in Kensington Prairie, in Surrey, and had built a log cabin for the family. In time, approximately 1891, William built a substantial home at 16520 Kensington Mud Bay Road. The house was well built and has stood the test of time and is still occupied as a heritage home. It was built with timber logged from the property and carted to a Fort Langley mill to be made into lumber for the house.

Collishaw home 1901 Early Collishaw home

On the left the Collishaw home in 1901 and on the right is a more recent Collishaw home.
Photos courtesy of Surrey Archives: Collishaw collection

The Collishaw home was built on a slight knoll that raised the home above the seasonal flood level. The historic home combines folk Victoria and Queen Anne detailing, two–storey side gabled with rear two–storey cross–gabled wing. The home was built in 1889, featuring finial turret, turned porch frieze, multi–coloured stained glass on either side of the front door, and some windows with corniced frames. The farmhouse was built by William Collishaw with timber logged on site and remained in family ownership until 1966.

Elizabeth Collishaw had grown up in an established community in Ontario, within a fairly large family. Isolation was a fact of life in Kensington Prairie and it was six months before Elizabeth saw another white woman after her arrival. Her daughter Ethel May was born in 1886, the first year the family arrived in British Columbia.

Elizabeth Collishaw and Grandchildren Grannie with  Betty Coles twins Jean and John

On the left the Elizabeth Collishaw and her grandchildren and on the right is Elizabeth with Betty Coles twins Jean and Joan.
Photos courtesy of Surrey Archives: Collishaw collection

William Collishaw died in New Westminster October 12, 1916. Elizabeth Collishaw died on the homestead in Kensington Prairie, Surrey on January 4, 1944.

William and Elizabeth had a family of eight; four sons and four daughters. Four children were born in Ontario, and four were born in British Columbia.

The Collishaw Family

In the back row on the left: William Collishaw, Elizabeth Collishaw, Ethel and Len in his World War I uniform. In front, from the left: Annie or Helen, with Clifford .
Photo courtesy of Surrey Archives: Collishaw collection

Robert Collishaw

Robert Collishaw

Robert Collishaw
Photo courtesy of Surrey Archives: Collishaw collection

Robert B. Collishaw was born on 01 Sept 1872 in Kent, Ontario, Canada. Robert was the oldest of the Collishaw children and he served as an Immigration Officer at the Blaine Crossing (Pacific Highway and Douglas) for many years up to 1935. Robert married Marjorie who came from Yale. She was a teacher in that community. When she came to Surrey with Robert she opened a boarding house in Cloverdale, which she operated successfully for many years. Grandma Emily Keery lived with Marjorie in her declining years.

Collishaws at Surrey Centre Marjorie Collishaw and her mother(seated)

On the left: Marjorie, Robert and Ethel Collishaw at Surrey Centre.
On the right is Marjorie Collishaw and her mother(seated).

Photos courtesy of Surrey Archives: Collishaw collection

Robert had diabetes and did not look after himself. As a result he lost both of his legs to the disease. Robert died on 04 Jan. 1944 in New Westminster, BC.

Collishaw horse and buggy

Photo courtesy of Surrey Archives: Collishaw collection

Emily Collishaw

John and Emily

John and Emily Keery on their wedding day.
Photo courtesy of Surrey Archives: Collishaw collection

Emily Collishaw was born on 05 April 1874 in Middlesex, Ontario. She married John C. Keery on 14 Aug 1890 in Surrey, BC. He was born on 14 Aug. 1860 in Rasharkin, Co Antrim, Ireland. John died on 26 Feb. 1940 in Surrey, BC.

(See Keery Family)

John and Emily Keery had the following children:

1. Leslie Clare (Bud) Keery born on 18 Aug. 1892 in Cloverdale, BC. He died on 30 Oct. 1957 in Vancouver, BC. He married Edythe Evelyn G. Gray on 12 June 1920 in Ladner, British Columbia. She was born about 1899 in Vancouver, BC. She died on 13 April 1971 in White Rock, BC.

2. Robert Wilfred Keery was born on 12 April 1894 in Cloverdale, BC. He married Grace Selena Lougheed on 16 July 1929. She was born on 05 May 1898 in Rossland, BC. She died on 10 Nov. 1973. Robert and Grace had one surviving daughter, Marilyn Buchannon born 16 Nov. 1935 in Vancouver, BC.

When John and Emily married in 1891, Emily's father, William, provided them with a 30 acre portion of his homestead facing Coast Meridian Road (168th Street). John built Emily a home and used the small holding to raise horses and pigs along with chickens and a small market garden. John was a part time farmer as he continued to work for the Royal City Planning Mills in the southern uplands of South Surrey, as well as in the Elgin booming grounds and at the Port Kells log dump. John was active in other construction projects as well; he was foreman in the construction of the new Pacific Highway from New Westminster to Blaine.
(See Keery Family)

Mary Ellen Collishaw

Mary Ellen (Ellie or Helen) Collishaw was born on 16 Aug 1875 in Middlesex, Ontario. She married Joseph Cole on 16 Aug 1899 in Blaine, Whatcom, Washington. He was born in 1870 in Ontario.

Joseph and Mary Ellen had one child, Richard Arnold Cole, born on 11 Sept 1900 in Vancouver, BC. He died on 02 Jun 1978 in Victoria, BC. He married Agnes Mooney on 04 May 1924 in Vancouver, BC. She was born in 1900 in Paisley, Scotland.

Annie Collishaw

Annie Collishaw was born on 11 Jan 1881 in Middlesex, Ontario. She moved south into Washington State and met and married Robar. They settled in Seattle. Annie had one child Keith (Rob) Robar.

Ethel May Collishaw

Ethel May Collishaw was born in 1886 in British Columbia. She was the first Collishaw child born in British Columbia. She died on 31 May 1976 in Washington, USA. She married Francis A Allen on 19 Oct 1911 in Pierce, Washington. Francis died in 1942. Ethel married Lunsford D. Fricks on 16 Dec 1942 in Helena, Lewis and Clark, Montana. He was born on 18 Jul 1873. He died on 09 Jul 1947 in Seattle, Washington. Ethel had no children of her own but she helped to raise Anne's child Keith (Rob) Robar.

Young Ethel Mature Ethel

On the left: a portrait of a young Ethel and on the right a mature Ethel on her porch in Cloverdale.
Photos courtesy of Surrey Archives: Collishaw collection

Leonard Earl Collishaw

Leonard Earl (Len) Collishaw was born on 21 Sept 1891 on the Collishaw Farm, Kensington Prairie, in Surrey. He died on 11 Feb 1942 in Cloverdale, BC. He married Catherine Cora MacDonald on 25 Jan 1916 in Vancouver, BC. She was born on 02 May 1895 in Red Deer, Alberta. After Len's death Catherine married Ivor Gillman. She died on 19 Feb 1988 in Surrey, BC.

Surrey Staff 1929–30

A 1929/30 photograph of the municipal council staff and police outside of Surrey's 1912 or second municipal hall. Individuals in the back row, from left to right are: Gus Ferguson, H.V. Parr, Len Collishaw, Alex Matheson, Joe T. Brown, W.H. Mortimer, Logan W. Davis, and J. W. Ardiel. Individuals in the front row, from left to right, are: John G. Farmer, Bessie Blanch, Tom Reid, Freda Jensen and C.H. Harvie.
Photos courtesy of Surrey Archives: Collishaw collection

Marjorie and Kate

A picture taken on a Vancouver street scene of the sisters-in-law, Marjorie (Robert) and Catherine (Len) Collishaw.
Photo courtesy of Surrey Archives: Collishaw collection

Leonard (Len) grew up to be a policeman in Surrey. He was known for riding his motorcycle to catch speeders, especially on the newly cemented Pacific Highway after 1923. The motorcycle was very versatile and could access many of the farms with poor road access throughout Surrey. He served as Chief of Police for the Municipality from January 1, 1937 until his death while on duty in February, 1942.

The death of Chief constable Len Collishaw came as a shock to the entire Municipality of Surrey. The chief suffered a heart attack in his office about 8:30, Wednesday morning. When Constable Jack Idler arrived at the office he found the chief on a cot there, stricken with an attack. Dr. Sinclair was summoned, but Chief Collishaw passed on within minutes of his arrival. Besides his wife Mr. Collishaw is survived by one daughter, Mrs. Leslie S. Coles of Langley Prairie and two grandchildren. Also surviving are three brothers, Clifford, Kensington Prairie; Robert, Cloverdale and Cecil White Rock; and three sisters Mrs. John Keery of Kensington Prairie; Mrs Ethel Allen of Seattle, and Mrs. E. Cole of Vancouver. Chief Collishaw was overseas in the Great War, serving in the old 131st, and was a member of Surrey Branch, No. 6, Canadian Legion. He joined the Surrey police force in 1920, and he headed the department since 1937. Much of the credit for the efficiency with which Surrey police has functioned is due to his efforts.

Len and Catherine had one child, Frances Elizabeth (Betty) Helen Collishaw born on 14 July 1916 in Cloverdale, BC. She died on 19 Mar 2009 in Cloverdale, BC. Betty married Leslie (Les) Samuel Coles. He was born on 12 Dec 1915 in Winnipeg Manitoba. He died on 23 May, 2010 in Surrey, BC. They had three children. Twin girls, Jean and Joan and later another daughter Leslie.

Len and Catherine lived on King Street in Cloverdale. After Len's death, their daughter Betty and her husband Les Coles operated Coles Hatchery on the present site of the Clayton Pub and Golf Course on 186th Street at Hwy. 10. In later years Les operated the Clover Inn hotel in Cloverdale. This is presently called "the Henry".

William Cecil Collishaw

William Cecil Collishaw (Cecil) was born in October of 1894 in BC. He died on 28 July 1963 in White Rock. He married Gertrude May Woodward on 15 Jun 1918 in Ladner, BC. She was born on 15 Jan 1892 in York, Ontario. She died on 29 Oct 1958 in White Rock, BC.

Cecil and Gertie Collishaw Gertie Collishaw

On the left: a portrait of Cecil and Gertie and on the right a portrait of Gertie.
Photos courtesy of Surrey Archives: Collishaw collection

Cecil and Gertie lived at the foot of Buena Vista Ave., near Oxford Street across from the White Rock Water works. Cecil had many jobs over the years. One of those he operated was a saw mill on Mud Bay Road in partnership with his nephew Leslie Clare Keery. As the mill ran out of a local timber supply he moved with Keery and opened a successful sawmill in Boston Bar. In time he returned to White Rock and he operated one of the early trucking firms in White Rock. For many years Cecil operated a small logging business cutting mostly second growth timber with a portable mill in South Surrey.
(See Trucking
(See Keery Family)
(See Woodward Family)

William and Gertrude had the following children: Doreen, Edith, and Len.

Edith was married to Bob Sampson, and they had three children, Paul, Debbie and Bruce. Debbie and Bruce live on Vancouver Island and Paul and his wife live in Nova Scotia.

Len grew up in White Rock and attended Semiahmoo High School. As a young man he entered the Canadian forces during World War II, but he was too young and did not see active duty. Len was for many years the BA Oil delivery man for much of Surrey. The oil depot was located on the Northwest corner of Nichol Road (140th Street and 20th Avenue. In his later career Len was on the active auto service business man after the opening of a Toyota Dealership partnership.

Len and Jack Benny

Jack Benny and his partner Rochester were coming north on the Great Northern for a show date in Vancouver. This picture caught Len Collishaw looking through the train window at the pair.
Photo courtesy of Pat Collishaw

Len married Patricia (Pat) Anthony in 1948.

Pat and Len Collishaw

Pat and Len Collishaw, 1948
Photo courtesy of Pat Collishaw

Len Collishaw in uniform Len in front of Amos Dry Goods

On the left: Len Collishaw in uniform and on the right Len in front of Amos Dry Goods.
Photos courtesy of Pat Collishaw

Pat Collishaw was an Anthony. The Anthony's were a pioneer family whose origins begin in White Rock before the turn of the century.

Alan and Jeannette Anthony The Anthony children

On the left: Alan and Jeannette Anthony and on the right the children of the Anthony family.
Photo courtesy of: Years of Promise: White Rock 1858–1958. Lorraine Ellenwood. P339

Alan Anthony came to the District in 1898 from Nova Scotia. The Anthony's were a pioneer family that first settled in White Rock about 1900, finding work at the Roper Brother' logging camp, and later at the Campbell River Lumber Company... He served overseas in World War I and was invalided home in 1917. He spent much time in the John Roper home on Buena Vista and this is where he met his future wife. In 1919 he married Jeannette McLeod who had arrived in the area in 1910 with her mother and stepfather, Mr. And Mrs. Fred Ferguson. The Anthonys' joined a handful of settlers on small holdings on hilltop following the opening of Buena Vista Road easterly from Johnston Road. Anthony acquired considerable land in and around White Rock including the five acre plot he sold to the Surrey School Board for the minimal sum of $1500 in order that his children would be able to attend high school in their own community.... The Anthonys' and their three oldest children, Alice, Jeannette and Phyllis lived in a small house on Buena Vista Avenue adjacent to the elementary school property. When the dwelling proved too small for growing family, they traded houses with Mrs. Anthony's parents, resulting in the move to the corner of Fir Street and Roper Avenue in 1925. Three more children; Jim, Pat, and Virginia were born here.
Years of Promise: White Rock 1858–1958. Lorraine Ellenwood. P339.

Len and Pat had four children: Janice Collishaw, Allan Collishaw, Megan Collishaw and Jennifer Collishaw.

Doreen Collishaw married Carlyle (Carl) Arrell. He was a salesman for Kraft Foods. They had a daughter Valerie.

Raymond Woodward. Gertie and Cecil also raised their nephew after the death of his parents. He was nearly the same age as their son Len and Gertie wished to assume responsibility for her brother's son.
(See Woodward Family)

The Woodward children

The Woodward children; John, Beverly and Ray
Photo courtesy of Pat Collishaw

Clifford Collishaw

Clifford Durward Collishaw was born on 12 Oct 1897 in Cloverdale, BC. He died on 18 Feb 1966 in Surrey, BC. Clifford stayed on the family farm until his death in 1966. He initially worked with his father William, but after his father's death, operated the farm on his own and maintained his mother Elizabeth. Later in life he married Bernita McMahan. As a result of their ages there were no children.

Clifford sold off parcels of the original family farm so that by his death there were only 5 acres remaining. Much of the land was sold to their neighbours the Kennedys. After his death his widow Bernita sold the old house and the remaining 5 acres of the homestead to Mr. and Mrs. A.D. Warnes. The new owners renovated and repaired but were sensitive to the history of the old turreted house and they were able to preserve as much of the original as possible.

Social life

As the Collishaw family grew and spread out away from the family farm, this broadened the family's social contacts. Robert and Len lived in Cloverdale and that allowed family visits. Family members from Kensington as well as Cloverdale played badminton in the Opera House as well as attended the dances there. In the spring of the year baseball became a passion for many members of the family. Len, being a policeman, was well known in the community as a baseball umpire. He was an excellent umpire and was called upon to work some of the highly contested games between rival district teams.

Ladies baseball team

Kensington Prairie fielded a ladies' baseball team.
Collishaw, Keery and Woodward ladies along with other members of the community were the core of the team.
Photos courtesy of Surrey Archives: Collishaw collection

Other family members, such as Cecil and the Kerry's, had homes in White Rock and that brought family members to the beach, and the local May Day parade. Swimming was a big draw for many of the younger family members and many participated in the local swimming competitions.

Janice Collishaw

"The year would be approximately 1962, and probably the Coldicutt swim. It was part of the Sea Festival events in those days. The other girl in the picture is Brenda Suprun, the family was very involved in WRASA in those days."
Janice Buchanan (Collishaw)

Janice won the Coldicutt swim that year.
Photo courtesy of Surrey Archives: Collishaw collection


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