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Abraham and Nancy Huck; A Family History

This article is based on a revision of "ABRAHAM AND NANCY HUCK", page 86 and page 87, THE SURREY PIONEERS by Richard V. Whiteside, c1974 by R.V. Whiteside. The March 9, 2012 revision is by Mary E. Davidson. Mary (McLennan) Davidson lives in Surrey and is a granddaughter of Mrs. R. A. C. Dewar, a great granddaughter of the Grimmers, and a great, great granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Huck who settled at Surrey Centre in the year 1872.

Abraham Huck was born in Ingelheim, Germany on March 7, 1824. Ingelheim was a village near the city of Mainz, situated on the Rhine River in the province of Rhineland, Palatinate. Abraham emigrated from Germany, possibly spending time in France, before immigrating to the United States in 1844 with his parents, Jacob and Katherina Huck.

Abraham Huck married Nancy Gentry in 1845 in the city of Cleveland, Ohio and shortly after, their first son was born in Hamilton, Robinson County in Ohio. The Hucks moved ever westward, living and farming in Illinois, Indiana and Missouri, before settling in Anderson City, Allen County, Kansas, where they farmed corn and tobacco. They had eleven children most of them lived to maturity. In 1862, Abraham and his eldest son, William, volunteered in the Union Army in the Civil War between the States. Abraham served as a blacksmith with Company L of the 14th Kansas Cavalry Volunteers, from November 1st 1863 until July 5th 1865, when he was discharged for disability. Soon after the Civil War was over, Abraham and Nancy, with the younger children, left Kansas and traveled by covered wagon to California, where they lived for several years.

Their next move was by ship, to British Columbia, Canada, where they pre–empted 320 acres of land in what is now the City of Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver, B.C. In 1872, when the Huck family arrived, Surrey was a wilderness.

Abe Huck's log home.

This log cabin was the Huck's first home.

Their first home in Surrey was a log house, in which they lived until they built a frame house and general store. The log house was just south of Christ Church on the Old McLellan Road (60th Ave.) near the Serpentine River. Abraham and Nancy Huck were in every sense real pioneers. They were among the first settlers in Surrey, many years before the Municipality was incorporated, where Abraham was storekeeper, postmaster, blacksmith and farmer, as well as being one of the original movers towards developing the vital amenities of a pioneer community: the school, the church and the local government. (See Surrey Centre Stores)

Huck's home and store

This frame home, and store with post office replaced the log cabin.

Abraham was the local blacksmith and had a blacksmith shop in the end of his barn in which he shod horses and oxen. In the early days, oxen, or 'bull teams' as they were known, were used in the logging camps. Some of the settlers had oxen with which they cleared the land and also to provide transportation. Both oxen and horses were shod with iron shoes, with a difference in the shoes. A horse shoe was one solid piece of iron, while the ox shoe had to be in two pieces because of the cloven hoof of the ox.

Abe and Nancy Huck were very community minded people and were always ready to do their part in promoting anything that was for the betterment of the pioneer settlers. Abe was a member of the building committee that laid the corner stone for Christ Church at Surrey Centre. His name, along with others, is inscribed on the Masonic scroll contained in that corner stone. On August 6, 1884, he also donated land for the church vicarage.

On January 17, 1881, one of Surrey's earliest council meetings was held at the Huck home on Old McLellan Road. At that meeting, it was decided to purchase four acres of land from Abe Huck. He was paid a nominal $1.00 for the land, on which was to be built a Municipal or Town Hall at Surrey Centre. In the minutes of that same meeting, Abe Huck is listed as representative for Southern Hall's Prairie, Ward #5, with an appropriation of $275.00.

The Loyal Orange Lodge was established in Surrey Centre in l884, with the early meetings usually held in the Town Hall. Abraham Huck was an active Orangeman and donated an eight octave grand piano to the Lodge, which he had brought from Boston, around the Horn, especially for this purpose. He also donated a bible with Roman figures, "still used for Lodge scriptural readings at meetings" in 1959. Both these relics can be seen at the Museum in Cloverdale, as can be seen the original Town Hall, which is the central core of the former Museum and later Senior Centre.

Nancy Huck was a big cheerful woman who often went barefoot and smoked a clay pipe. She was an ardent gardener and some of her roses still grow on the hillside below the church, where their home once stood. Nancy and some of her pioneer neighbours used to take their children and a picnic lunch to make a day of picking cranberries, which grew in abundance on the flat land south of Surrey Centre.

Abraham Huck died on January 12, 1890. His body was taken by wagon, across the frozen Fraser River to New Westminster, where he was buried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Sapperton. Nancy went to Chilliwack to live with her daughter, Cynthia who married F.C. (Frederick Charles) Kickbush, where she died on April 17th, 1893. Her body was brought down the Fraser on the Irving and laid to rest beside her husband.

Lancelot Edward Grimmer, the Huck's son–in–law.

Lancelot Edward Grimmer was born in London, England, February 20, 1845. In 1852 he sailed with his parents and brothers Washington and Oliver to Australia. Lancelot left Adelaide, Australia for Monterey, California, in 1870. From there he walked up the Pacific Coast to Mud Bay, Surrey. He and W. A. Brewer, an old friend of the family, homesteaded on the Johnston Road north of the Serpentine River.
On September 20, 1875, in Holy Trinity Church, New Westminster, he marriedMartha Jane Huck, a daughter of the pioneer Huck family in Surrey Centre. Martha was born in Indiana in 1851.
Lancelot and Martha Grimmer had a family of six children: James, born in 1876; Amy (Mrs. Ed Bell), born 1879; Lance Jr., born 1881; Martha Mary (Mrs. R. A. C. Dewar), born 1883; William, who died at the age of two years; and Irene (Mrs. Wm. Patinson), born 1892. "Lancelot Edward Grimmer" p76 The Surrey Pioneers

Lancelot and Martha Grimmer with daughter and grand child

Lancelot and Martha Grimmer with daughter and grand child

Mr. Grimmer was very active in municipal affairs; he served as a councilor and school trustee. He earned his living as a sign painter. In 1890 the Grimmers moved to New Westminster, and a year later to Royal Oak in Burnaby, where Mr. Grimmer was appointed a Justice of the Peace for that Municipality. He died on December 10, 1918 while living on Grimmer Avenue in Burnaby. Mrs. Martha Grimmer died in 1941 at the age of ninety. "Lancelot Edward Grimmer" p76 The Surrey Pioneers


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