Stories from Westham Island

These are stories and memories of Westham Island that were collected for the 2001 Westham Island reunion.

You are invited to contribute to this chronicle by submitting your own memories or commenting on the stories you've read here.

Enjoy!

Ann Kamlah

Family Name: 
Kamlah
Storyteller
Ann
Kamlah
Years: 
1965 - 1989
Addresses: 
2898 Westham Island Road
How: 
Parents lived there at time of birth.
History: 
Grandparents lived there: Rudolph & Dallas Kamlah.

Carol MacPherson

Family Name: 
Bowing
Storyteller
Carol
MacPherson
Spouse
Alastair
MacPherson
Spouse family: 
MacPherson
Years: 
1934 - 1953
1960 - 1966
Addresses: 
2630 Westham Island Road
2650 Westham Island Road
How: 
Born here (Carol). Left after married and moved to Eastern U.S.. Returned in 1960. Lived in original Bowing family home until 1966.
History: 
Grandfather Herman arrived around turn of the century. Built home there. Home is no longer there.

Carol attended the one room school. Many days we did not go to school because Kirkland's bull was out and we were all afraid.

Life: 
Carol - Stenographer, Bedford Fine Leathers, Van.. After married went eastern U.S. for 3 years. Travel - Europe, So. East Asia, Japan, England, Scotland. Cruises - Australia, South Pacific, Caribbean, Alaska. Lots of U.S.. Carol - Volunteer, Delta Hospital Aux., Board of Directors, Delta Museum, Mother's March etc.. Alastair - Career, Professional Engineer, BC Hydro & Gas. Carol - Owned Ladies Fashions store 1989 - 2000.

David J Blair

Family Name: 
Blair
Storyteller
David
J
Blair
Spouse
Winnifred (Win)
Spouse family: 
Cooper
nee: 
Cooper
Years: 
1946 - 1970
Addresses: 
1946-50
4875 Robertson Road
1950-70
4943 Robertson Road
How: 
My father James (Jim) Frew Blair was born on Westham in 1893 but moved to Lulu Island in 1894. He returned in 1946 when he bought the Philpot farm and brought his family (wife Nellie, daughter Dorothy and myself. I married Win (nee Cooper) in 1950.
History: 
My grandfather, Wm. Blair came to Westham in 1887 to work for James Frew. He married Frew's sister Catherine, their housekeeper in 1892.

Embarrassing & yet proud occasions: The 1054 annual Delta Cow Testing (DHTA) banquet & field day... situation: The chairman asked for introductions by each person introducing the person to their right. George London stood up and introduced me as the "latest proven sire". Sharon had been born just a few days earlier.

Life: 
Westham is a great place to farm and a wonderful place to live because of the neighborliness of the people. I worked for the BC Department of Agriculture for 14 years and then retired to Vancouver Island.
Photos: 
James Frew Blair and family
4835 Robertson Road
Blair barn 1946
4943 Robertson Road in 1970
Blair barn 1970
Dave & Win Blair Sept. 1961

Donna Ferguson

Family Name: 
Bowing
Storyteller
Donna
Ferguson
Spouse
Gary
Ferguson
Years: 
1937 - 1955
Addresses: 
2630 Westham Island Road
How: 
Parents lived on Westham Island when I was born.
History: 
Grandparents Elvira and Herman Bowing arrived in 1903. Father, Herb Bowing, born on Westham Island in 1904.

These are just a few memories:

1. The one room school where I was the only Grade 1 student.
2. The "black tank".
3. Picking potatoes on hands and knees.
4. Dad's muskrats.
5. First day of hunting.
6. The neighbours work horses.
7. Skating on the "Big Slough".
8. Boating in the fields.
9. Halloween - visiting & home-made treats.
10. The W. I. Sewing Circle's strawberry socials.
11. The many good neighbours.

Life: 
I graduated from Delta Hi in 1955. Attended "Normal School" (teacher training) in 55-56. Taught in New Denver 56-57. Taught in Chilliwack 56-60. Married Gary Ferguson, a Chilliwack native in 1958. Retired from teaching in 1960 to raise a family. We have lived at Cultus Lake our entire married life. Raised 2 daughters, have 3 grandchildren. -Of interest- We learned in later years that Gary has W. I. connections. His great grandparents George & Elizabeth Bellerose settled on W. I. in 1884 - his grandmother was 4. At least one child was born there, a great uncle in 1885. They moved to Chilliwack in 1889.

Margaret Kleine

Family Name: 
Bergsma
Storyteller
Margaret
Kleine
Spouse
Art
Kleine
Associated names: 
Jim, Johnny, Bernie, Esther
Years: 
1956 - 1961
Addresses: 
RR1 (the little house on David Blair's farm.)
How: 
Through some friends we heard that Dave Blair needed a good milker and herdsman. That was my father, John Bergsma. We drive by often.

Westham Island was a great place to learn to drive and the up-ramp was the only "hill" where you could stop and practice the pull up without falling back! In those days you could not get a driver's license for a standard if that test was taken in an automatic.

Life: 
I married Art Kleine (who, for a time worked for George London and boarded with the Vissers). Since most of his family still lives in Holland we have travelled there a lot and still do. I worked as a book manager in a book store and as my hobbies still love reading and embroidery.

Margaret Tamboline

Family Name: 
Tamboline
Storyteller
Margaret
Tamboline
Years: 
1926 - 1930
1937 - 1945
Addresses: 
Tamboline's No. 1 farm on Tamboline Road
Tamboline's No. 2 farm on Robertson Road
How: 
1926-1930 - Parents (Joe Jr. & Ellen) were farming Robertson Road farm. Family then moved to Vancouver but returned to farm Tamboline Road farm in 1937. Father died in 1947 and we moved to Robertson Road farm until 1945 when we moved to Vancouver after Mr. George Reifel bought farm.
History: 
Grandfather Joseph Tamboline purchased his farm on Tamboline Road in 1885. Also maternal grandfather James Frew purchased his farm at end of Frew Road in 1885.

Peacefulness of country. Meadowlarks. Wild roses in hedgerows. Hay rides. Lots of space and fun we had. Chores too. Pleasure of missing school when road between bridge and Trim Road was flooded. Embarrassment of riding my bicycle into the back of a parked car in Port Guichon & having to walk the rest of the way to school in Ladner.

Life: 
Lived in Vancouver from 1945 to 1950 then lived in Ladner in various locations including Park Lodge. Have been at present location for about 30 years. Worked as a legal secretary for 40 years or more in Ladner, Vancouver and Richmond. Was secretary/treasurer of Ladner United church for many years. Was also organist at Mt. Lehman Presbyterian church for a few years. Had privilege of spending a year in the U.K. in the 1950's & 6 weeks again in 1993.

Mary Kamlah

Family Name: 
Kamlah
Storyteller
Mary
Kamlah
Years: 
1957 - 2010
Addresses: 
2898 Westham Island Road
How: 
Married and have not left.
History: 
Homestead.

Phil Clark

Family Name: 
Clark
Storyteller
Phil
Clark
Associated names: 
Geraldine (Gerry), Mike
Years: 
1939 - 1954
Addresses: 
First farm on the right, after the bridge.
How: 
My mother inherited the property from an aunt. Bom in Vancouver, Phil moved with his family to the farm on Westham Island in Ladner in 1939. The farm was a dairy farm with six cows, two horses (which Phil rode daily) and an assortment of ducks, chickens and rabbits. At 14, as the elder son of a single parent family, Phil took care of the farm. During the summer he worked for other farmers helping with the harvest of pea and oat crops. He joined the Canadian army 'in 1945 and after demobilization, attended Faulkner-Smith School of Art -in Vancouver from 1946 through 1948. As an illustrator for 35 years in Vernon, Vancouver, Toronto and Penticton, Phil did commercial work for many clients, among whom were: Imperial, Chevron and Blue Sky oil companies, CP and PWA Airlines, Greyhound, Labatts, Wisers, Molsons, GM, IBM and Olympia York Developments. Editorial illustration included work for Chatelaine and Star Weekly. Work in the Okanagan included book covers and illustration for Wood Lake Books: 'The Adventurers, written by Diane Forrest 'No Small Legacy' the story of Mother Teresa' In 1981 a series of western historical figures were completed for Bill Barlee's Canada Illustrated magazine and were included 'in 'Gold" exhibition in the National Exhibition Centre in Kelowna, BC. Phil now lives on the boundary of Penticton, BC, a few hours drive from his cowboy subjects. He rode with the crews 2 or 3 times a year, mostly at Douglas Lake Ranch, but is no longer able to take the long hours in the saddle.

Flooded any number of times. The road from the bridge was built up to compensate for the constant high water level. I was also assistant bridge tender with Jesse James (actually Frank).

Life: 
Went to art school while still living there, then 35 years as a commercial artist, over a dozen years of that time in Toronto. Glad to escape the place.
Photos: 
Watercolours by Phil Clark
Roundup at Nicola
The Lady of the Lake