Caleb and William Pike were two of Surrey's earliest settlers, homesteading in the 1870s. However, due to a family crisis both brothers were forced to sell after homesteading in Elgin/Mud Bay for just seven years.
Caleb Pike was born on September 12, 1830 in Stower Provost, Dorset, England. He was one of nine children born to farm workers Robert Pike and Barbara Woods in Stower Provost. In a family of nine, and in a farming community, there was not opportunity for all of the young men in the family. As a result, on October 20, 1849, at Gravesend, nineteen year old Caleb Pike boarded the Hudson Bay vessel the "Norman Morison" to start a new life. Along with Caleb were his brothers Jonas and William. Jonas was 26 years of age having been born February 19, 1825. William was 23, three years younger than Jonas having been born October 14, 1828. Caleb was the youngest at 19. Also on the ship was Victoria's first doctor John Sebastian Helmeken.
The boys' father was Robert Pike. He was born on February 22, 1801 and died in 1851/1861. Their mother Barbara Woods, daughter of Charlotte Woods, was also born in Stower Provost July 2, 1823 and died in the October of 1873 in Stower Provost.
The three boys sailed out of the Thames on October 20, 1849 and arrived in Fort Victoria May 24, 1850. As labourers they were indentured to the Hudson Bay Company for a period of five years and they worked to build HBC farms in the Victoria area. To help establish British claims and to settle the Island, the British Government had contracted the HBC to establish the farms in the face of the expansionist United States and its rapid western settlement. When the Pike brothers first arrived they stayed in Fort Victoria, a short time later most of the single young men were sent off to work on farms located some distance from the Fort. Men who had families with them remained living at the Fort until such time as they completed building their accommodation at the farm locations. At the end of their five–year contract with the HBC they had a choice of 25 pounds (worth about $125 at the time) or 25 acres of land in the colony of Vancouver Island.
Caleb Pike worked at least the later part of his contract at Craigflower Farm, which was the closest HBC farm to Fort Victoria. It was here that he met his wife Elizabeth Waldy Lidgate, daughter of Duncan Lidgate, who had come from Scotland shortly after Caleb and also worked for the HBC.
In May of 1856, Caleb Pike purchased forty acres of land in the Esquimalt District. This is believed to be his settlement from the HBC. This land may have been known as the "Old Pears Place" on Wilkinson Road. Between 1856–1858, he purchased sixty acres in the Lake District – known as Yew Tree Farm and appears to have remained there until he sold to a Mr. Tyle in 1866. Yew Tree Farm was advertised for sale or lease in 1862 and consisted of 286 acres of land with abundant and constant streams of fresh water, a dwelling house, barn and stables. In 1866 the family moved to what was known as Pike's Lake Farm, (Highland District) where four of his children were born.
Caleb Pike married Elizabeth Waldie Lidgate on February 22, 1856 in Fort Victoria, Vancouver Island. She was the daughter of Duncan Lidgate and Elizabeth Waldie. Elizabeth and was born on June 16, 1839 in Crafton, Midlothian, Scotland. She was christened on July 7, 1839 in Crichton.
Rev. Edward Cridge married Caleb Pike and Elizabeth Lidgate at Fort Victoria on February 22, 1856.
Elizabeth's mother died 16 days after her daughter's birth in Scotland. Prior to leaving Scotland her father, Duncan Lidgate, remarried a widow named Margaret Dyer (nee Dickson) who had a young daughter named Margaret. Prior to leaving Scotland Duncan and his new wife had a son named William. The Lidgate family of five arrived in Fort Victoria January 16, 1852 on the third voyage of the "Norman Morrison". As a Joiner, Duncan had signed up for five years with the HBC. The family lived at Fort Victoria and then Craigflower farm were Duncan had a hand in the building of the HBC's grist, or flouring mills. As was the case with many of the men who first arrived in Fort Victoria to work for the HBC, Duncan Lidgate was not overly happy about the conditions that his family were forced to live under while he was under contract. It was not at all what they thought they had been promised when they signed up. A shortage of adequate housing and food were the main complaints. The manager of the HBC, K. McKenzie had a fine new home built for himself and had it well provisioned. One evening Duncan Lidgate decided to shot his gun off at the house. He spent a night in jail and was fined for his actions.
Duncan Lidgate eventually settled next door to his son–in–law William Thomson in Saanich, B.C. William had married Duncan's step daughter Margaret Dyer Lidgate in 1856. Duncan lived at Mt. Newton Crossroad were he built "Rose Cottage" and all its furniture. "Rose Cottage" has been restored and as of 2003 it was still standing and a commemorative plaque to Duncan Lidgate can be found on the side of Mt. Newtown Crossroad by the property which he originally owned. Duncan Lidgate was one of ten farmers who got together in 1868 to establish the North and South Saanich Agricultural Society which started, and still holds today, the yearly Saanich Fair. The second Fair was held in 1869 in the farm buildings of Bannockburn, the home of his son–in–law William Thompson who was also a founding member. Elizabeth's step sister Margaret is widely reported to have been the first white female settler on the Saanich Peninsula. She and her husband William Thompson had fifteen children, ten boys and five girls, all of them, except David, were born on the Saanich farm. David, who was the eldest, was born beside Fort Victoria. Elizabeth's half brother William Lidgate also farmed in Saanich and had eight children many of whom are buried at St. Steven's church yard.
This is the historic St. Stephens Church in Saanichton. The Lidgate and Thompson families were well known in the Saanichton area as they also played a part in the creation of the St. Stephen Church which is said to be the oldest church in B.C. and where most of Duncan Lidgate's family is buried with the exception of his daughter Elizabeth.
After his release from the Hudson Bay Co. in the May of 1858, in the July of 1858, William Pike purchased or acquired, through his contract with the HBC, land in the Lake District of Victoria (now known as the Highlands). This was the same area his brother Caleb first farmed. It is not known if William ever married nor had children.
Jonas Pike, the oldest brother, worked for the Hudson Bay Company. After his release from the HBC he settled and owned his own farm near Cowlitz Landing in Lewis County, Washington, USA. In the USA Census taken July 12 1860 Jonas was living with his wife and young son and stated his real estate to be valued at $2,250.00.
Lewis County was created on December 21, 1845, to include all land north of the Columbia River and west of the Cowlitz River which had previously been part of what had been called Vancouver County. The earliest white settlers in the newly–created Lewis County settled on farm lands once owned by the Hudson Bay Company, and which were subsequently divided into 320 acre lots and sold to prospective settlers. The Chehalis, Cowlitz and Newaukum Rivers were the primary means of transport through the rugged, forested terrain. Several ferries operated across these rivers to aid in the transport of goods and people. In 1860, the population of Lewis County was 384. By 1870, the population had increased to 888.
Jonas married Julia the daughter of Antonio and Arshela Gobar. She was born about 1841 in what was then Oregon Territory, USA. Antonio Gobar was from Canada and a herdsman working for the Hudson Bay Company along the HBC trail from Fort Vancouver to Cowlitz. Antonio seems to have arrived in the Oregon Territory some time prior to 1843 and, as was common practice amongst the early settlers, he married one of the local natives.
Jonas and Julia Pike had the following children all born in Lewis County, Washington: Joseph born about 1859, Cecilia born about 1863 and Moses born about 1872.
Jonas died in November 1887 in Lewis County, Washington.
It appears Jonas' son; Joseph took over his land at his death in 1887. At the time of transfer the information read:
William Pike moved to the mainland just about the time of the construction of the Semiahmoo Road from New Westminster to Semiahmoo (Blaine). He must have walked the construction route and saw the potential of the rich, easily cleared land between the Serpentine and Nicomekl Rivers in Surrey. He pre–empted 154 acres, lot 154, G.2, New Westminster, on the east side of the Semiahmoo Road. His land straddled the Nicomekl River and he built his house on the south side of the river.
Hearing of the quality of the farming land Caleb left his farms on Vancouver Island and moved to the mainland to what was then known as Mud Bay, some time between October 24, 1871 and December 22, 1874 (youngest daughter Elizabeth was born in Mud Bay). He pre–empted land along the Semiahmoo Road to the west of his brother William Pike. He pre–empted 164 acres, lot 159, G.2, New Westminster. Caleb's farm also straddled the Nicomekl River and he built his home in what is now Elgin. The home was located south of the river, on the west side of the Semiahmoo Road, on what would become the Loney home site. Today that is the site of the SouthPort housing development just southeast of the Nicomekl control gates. (see Elgin – Port Elgin)
Both Caleb and William Pike appear on the 1874 Heads of Households list, farming at Boundary Bay and Semiahmoo Road. William appears on the 1874 voters list for owing land in Mud Bay and Caleb for owning land in both the Highlands District, Victoria and Mud Bay.
Elizabeth Waldie Lidgate had met and married Caleb Pike at Fort Victoria. She died in Mud Bay, BC, on September 12, 1875, at the age of thirty–five having had eleven children – six of whom survived her.
In an undated newspaper clipping John Pearson wrote a story titled: Pioneers Held a Fine Wake Prior to Burying Mrs. Pike.
When Mrs. Pike died they were living on the place which later became known as the Edward Loney farm at Elgin. The date of her passing cannot be ascertained exactly, but there is some indication it occurred between 1885 and 1890. In any event, Mrs. Pike's funeral was an occasion which long remained in the memory of the guests.
It was summertime and people came from far and near. A large crowd came from Semiahmoo, all on horseback, and they stayed for the night. The men and boys took their saddle blankets and slept in the hay mow while the women and girls bedded down on the floors of the nearby Lamb home.
Mr. Alex Lamb made the coffin for Mrs. Pike, and Mrs. Lamb dressed her. After a two day celebration Mrs. Pike was carried by hand to the burial ground at Semiahmoo, followed by a mile long procession over the Semiahmoo Trail.
It seems as if the whole affair was more like a midsummer picnic and everyone enjoyed the funeral of poor Mrs. Pike.
Caleb and Elizabeth Pike's eldest daughter Emma was born on the families Yew Tree Farm in the Highlands District of Victoria, B.C. She arrived in Mud Bay with her parents some time prior to December 1874. After her mother's death in Mud Bay in September of 1875, Emma ended up looking after her siblings which included her one year old sister Elizabeth, four year old Mary, seven year Annie, nine year old Charles, and fourteen year old Henry.
After four years of looking after her siblings at the Mud Bay homestead, Emma became fed up and one day took some money from her father's jar and ran off and married Joseph (Josh) Dixon, an American logger. Dixon had been working and living in the area. Family folklore has it that her father Caleb was very upset with this turn of events as he was left without anyone to help with the younger children. Caleb is reported to have not liked his son–in–law Josh and would have little to do with him. This may explain why, when Caleb eventually returned to Vancouver Island Emma and her family did not return with them. They did not return to the Island until after her father Caleb's death.
William Pike had sold his farm to John Stevenson on July 18, 1877. William then moved in with Caleb until his decision to return to the Island. With the loss of his wife, and then his daughter Emma running off to marry Josh Dixon, Caleb was left in a very difficult position. He was a widower with five young children to look after and no family support to assist him. Caleb made the decision to return to Vancouver Island and his farm in the Highland District. Here he had an extended family to which he could turn. On July 8, 1879 he sold his farm to John Stewart. Mr. Stewart had acquired other lots bordering that of Caleb and would build a home on the south side of the Nicomekl which today is known as the Stewart Farm House and is operated and maintained by Surrey Heritage Services.
Caleb could not leave his wife, Elizabeth, buried on the mainland. So the family brought her body back to Victoria to be reburied at Ross Bay Cemetery. Her husband, Caleb, and her youngest daughter, Elizabeth and her husband, were eventually buried with her in Ross Bay. Family folklore says she died of TB but her death certificate states consumption for one year.
This picture is of Caleb Pike's homestead in the Highland District. Today it is known as the Pike Homestead at 1589 Millstream Road. The Pike homestead still stands at the Highlands Heritage Park as seen in the picture on the right.
Caleb moved back, shortly after the sale of his farm, to the Highland District with five of his children. His sons, Charles and Henry, helped him build what is today known as the Pike Homestead at 1589 Millstream Road. They were many miles from the nearest neighbour – the closest being at Thetis Lake. A trip to Victoria was a good day's ride by horse and buggy. The home was made out of hand squared Douglas fir logs neatly dovetailed at the corners. Caleb rejected the easier method of construction of using notched round logs. The homestead included a dairy and a granary. They had a large flock of sheep, as well as cows and horses. They had to hand clear areas for pastures. Today much of original property is held within Todd Gowland Provincial Park. Four years after Caleb's death in 1888, at what is known today as the Caleb Pike Homestead in the Highlands District, his daughter Emma waved her right to his property and his son Henry bought the balance of his father's crown grant of 160 acres for $160.00. Henry sold the farm in 1912. Today the Pike Homestead is a designated heritage site and the access road to the park is called Caleb Pike Road.
On January 24, 1888, the Daily Colonist carried this obituary: "The Late Caleb Pike".
A few days ago the grave closed over the remains of Caleb Pike, a pioneer of pioneers, who came first to Victoria in 1850 having sailed from England in 1849 in the Hudson's Bay Company's bark Mary Dare*. Mr. Pike remained several years in the company's employ and when the period of his engagement expired began farming and stock–raising on his own account. At one time, Mr. Pike owned a farm on the Lower Fraser; but afterwards returned to the Island and established a sheep and cattle ranch among the Goldstream Hills. The deceased had been ailing for some years, but death came suddenly at last. His wife, with whom he had ten children, six of whom survive, died several years ago. His brother Jonas died in November Last and his brother William is a farmer on the Fraser River lands. It is seldom that the country is called on to mourn over a pioneer so generally respected as the late Mr. Pike and his children have the great sympathy of their many friends. *An error in the obituary. The ship was the "Norman Morrison".
Emma Pike married on May 13 1878 in New Westminster, Joseph (Josh) Marion Dixon who was living in Mud Bay at the time of his marriage. He was the son of John Dixon and Mary Ann Bruce. Josh was born on June 4, 1847 in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. Josh indicated on a later Canadian Census that his father was of Irish descent and his mother Scottish.
Little more is known of Josh Dixon's family history other than a reference made in a newspaper when his son James died in Somme, France in 1916. At that time the Colonist newspaper reported that the Dixon's were relatives of a Captain John Irving. Captain Irving was the son of well known Captain William Irving and Elisabeth (Dixon) Irving of New Westminster, B.C. Captain W. Irving was amongst the first of the steam boat captains on the Fraser River.
Although Josh's marriage registration states that he was born in Raleigh, North Carolina it is in contrast to family oral history that indicates he was from Tennessee as many families living in North Carolina in the early 1850s migrated to Tennessee.
There is only one Joseph Dixon of the right age living with a mother named Mary Ann on all of the US Census in 1850 in Upper Regiment, Chatham, North Carolina. This family cannot be located on the 1860 US Census. On the 1870 US Census Josh was a soldier living at the American Garrison, on the San Juan Islands. It would appear that Josh was a soldier in the American Army during the infamous Pig War on the San Juan Islands.
Emma's eldest son William Dixon was born June 4, 1879 in Boundary Bay. Some time after the birth of their first child Emma and Josh moved to a farm on Westham Island. Their second child Letha France was born February 24, 1882 on Westham Island and was christened May 6, 1883 at All Saints Church in Ladner. Letha died Feb 13, 1886 on Westham Island. Their third child Martha Isabella was born September 28, 1884 on Westham Island.
In November of 1886 Josh took out a land grant in New Westminster: Dixon, J.M., New Westminster, 1886.11.04 0156 0027 B142252117669.
Emma and Josh returned to Vancouver Island between January and March of 1888, where they had six more children: Emma Lena, Charles Edward, James Arthur, Mary Elizabeth, Margaret Anne and Laura Ethal all of whom were born in the Highlands District of Victoria between March 1888 and Aug 1902.
The BC Voter's list of 1898 shows: Jose Marion Dixon esq. Farmer, Highland District.
Josh and Emma appear together in the Highlands on the 1891 and 1901 Victoria Census as farming at Section 59 of the Highland District which was just up the road from where her brothers were still farming their father Caleb's old farm. His daughter, Margaret (Annie) recalled that Josh had a 45–70 gun and that he made his own shells. She claimed that her father would often shoot his gun off over the heads of his children if he did not think they were working hard enough out in the fields picking vegetables etc.
Josh and his brother–In–laws, the Pike's, split the fencing which went around the Highlands School House. Joseph was well known in the Highland District for his antics – it was reported in the October 1896 Volume 10 Number 3 of "The Highlander" that Emma "lost her claim to her property when her husband sold it to her son–in–law for a bottle of whiskey". The family story told, is that in about 1903, while his daughter Laura was still a baby there was a serious family dispute at the farm. Joseph got his gun out and started shooting up everything in sight. Emma fearing for the children had them all hide under burlap sacks in the orchard. Fearing the police would be called Josh jumped into a boat which he kept off of Finlayson Arm Road, at what was know as Raymond's Beach – a short distance from their farm. He rowed off to the San Juan Islands, USA and never returned to Canada.
Eventually Harry Edwards, who had married Emma's eldest daughter Martha, in March of 1907, tracked Josh down in the USA and got him to sign over the farm land, that Emma still lived on, for a bottle of whiskey. On Harry's return to the Highland's he advised Emma that she could stay on the farm but that her children who were still living with her at the time (Charles, Mary, James and Margaret (Annie)) would have to leave. Emma decided to move and purchased her own property further down the road from her brothers in what was known as the Millstream area and built her own home. She purchased the logs for her new home from her brother Charles.
According to Josh's daughter Margaret (Annie), Emma some years later hired a private investigator to try and find Josh only to be told that he had died in 1916 in Walla Walla, Washington.
On the 1910 Canada Census and Emma is living with her four youngest children Her youngest daughter Laura having died in 1907 of burns she received while her sister Martha had been making fudge. Once a week Emma would take her produce from her farm to the local markets in Esquimalt and Victoria. This trip would take her all day complete.
During WWI all of Emma's sons and sons–in–law signed up for service leaving Emma on her farm with only her daughter Margaret who, at the time, was in her early teens. Her youngest daughter Laura having died in 1907 of burns she received while her sister Martha had been making fudge. Her son James Arthur Dixon was killed in the Somme, France on Sept 7, 1916.
It was during this time that Emma put the following notice in the newspaper (Colonist 1919–02–20 p.15) "Mrs. Emma Dixon will not be responsible for any bills or transactions contracted by any of my daughters, single or married. Millstream."
It was also during this time that the author's grandmother, Emma's daughter Mary, who had married in 1914, returned to live with her mother for a time in the Highlands. She returned to help out on the farm but ended up having to find employment outside of the Highlands to help her mother make ends meet. Mary left her young son Frederick with her Emma in the Highlands for about four years until Mary's husband returned from the war and took his son and wife back to England.
Emma's daughter Margaret (Annie) and husband operated the Colwood Hotel. Emma eventual went to live with them and died at their home.
On March 29, 1935 The Daily Colonist ran the following obituary for Emma Dixon.
DIXON – On March 27, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. M.A. Watts, Colwood the death occurred of Mrs. Emma Dixon, aged seventy–three years, born at Yew Tree Farm Millstream and a resident of that district all her life. She is survived by three daughters, Mrs. M.A. Watts, Colwood; Mrs. K.B. Young, Cowichan, and Mrs. James Shaw, Cowichan Station; two sons, W.J. Dixon, Millstream and C.E. Dixon, Sooke River Road; three sisters, Mrs. M. L. Neal, 1018 Quadra Street; Mrs. E Meredith, 2626 Fifth Street, and Mrs. A. Simpson, 2728 Fifth Street; one brother Henry Pike, Millstream Road; twenty–one grandchildren and eight great–grandchildren. She was predeceased by a son, James Arthur Dixon who was killed in action during the Great War and a daughter, Mrs. Mary Hallam, who died a short time ago in England. The funeral will be held this afternoon March 29, the cortege leaving Carter's Funeral Home at 2 o'clock and at 2:30 o'clock service will be held at St. John's Church, Colwood by Rev. A.M. Acheson–Lyle. Interment will be in Colwood Burial Park.
Note: Mrs. Mary Hallam, noted in Emma's obit, is the author's Grandmother Mary Elizabeth Dixon. She died August 20, 1934 in Leicester, England.
At a 1995 Highland District Council meeting a discussion on road names was held and it was stated that Dixon Road was originally "named after a Tennessee logger named Dixon who married Caleb Pike's eldest daughter Emma and that "he was a notorious character, reputed to be partial to settling disagreements with his gun." Dixon Road in the Highlands was subsequently renamed to Emma Dixon Road.
John Pearson described William in his article on the funeral of Elizabeth Pike:
William Pike has been referred to in old writings as "lame old brother Bill" and he appeared to have been a bachelor.
Old records show that William sold out to John Stevenson on July 18, 1877 for the sum of $400. John Stevenson obtained the Crown Grant on this land in August, 1880.
It is believed that William took up land on the corner of Walden and Pike roads in Fleetwood (160th Street and Fraser Highway). In the 1880 Canada census, William Pike, male, English, age 55, Farmer, Church of England, South Westminster, BC. In the 1889, Henderson's British Columbia Gazetteer and Directory, W.E. Pike is recorded as on Operator, New Westminster. William lived long enough on his Fleetwood property to give his name to Pike Road, 160th Street. William, age sixty–six, died on January 21, 1892 in New Westminster, B.C.
Henry Pike was born on April 6, 1863 in Victoria, B.C. He died on February 10, 1941 on his father Caleb's Yew Tree Farm in the Highlands District of Victoria. The 1901 Victoria Census shows him living with his wife Elizabeth and children as well as with his brother Charles at Section 35 Highlands District which is today known as Caleb Pike Park on Millstream Road. After his father Caleb's death, Henry purchased his father's Crown Grant of 160 acre farm for $160.00 but sold it in 1912 and moved to Langford. Henry called his place in Langford "Larkhall".
Henry states his profession on his marriage certificate of 1893 to be that of a sealer. A story published in the Islander Newspaper states that Henry and his brother Charlie joined the Victoria sealing fleet and made several trips to the Bering Sea. On one of the trips it was reported that while Henry was working away from the mother ship in a small row boat he disappeared. After a fruitless search Charles returned home and reported to Henry's wife Elizabeth that Henry had been lost at sea. Two years later Henry would come walking up the road to the farm. He had drifted away and ended up in Japan!
Charles Pike was born on January 18, 1866 at his father's Yew Tree Farm in the Highlands District of Victoria. He died on March 8, 1924 in Victoria, B.C. Charles never married and farmed and worked with his father and this brother Henry for most of his life. They appear on the 1901 Census living at what had been their father Caleb's property in the Highlands.
In the B.C. VOTERS LIST of 1898, from the Sessional Papers of the British Columbia Government, 1899: Pike, Henry; Highland District, Farmer, Esq. Pike, Charles; Highland District, Farmer, Esq.
Annie Ester Pike was born on July 8, 1868 in Victoria, B.C. She died on January 31, 1951 in Victoria, B.C. She was buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C. Annie married Edward Jarvis Simpson on May 30, 1888 in Victoria, B.C.
Child Pike was born in 1867/1872 in Victoria, B.C. Child died in 1867/1872 in Victoria, B.C.
Child Pike was born in 1867/1872 in Victoria, B.C. Canada. Child died in 1867/1872 in Victoria, B.C.
Mary Louisa Pike was born on October 24, 1871 in Victoria, B.C. She died on October 13, 1968 in Victoria, B.C. She was buried on October 17, 1968 in Rose Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C. Mary married William Neal on May 5, 1890 in Victoria, B.C.
Elizabeth Waldy Pike was born on December 22, 1874 in Mud Bay, B.C. She died on January 18, 1952 in Victoria, B.C. She was buried in Rose Bay Cemetery, Victoria, B.C. Elizabeth married Harry Hammond Howard on August 27, 1892 in Victoria, B.C. Elizabeth, later, married Vincent Alexander H. Meredith on November 11, 1917 in Victoria, B.C.