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Brownsville BC–The Upland Homesteads

March 14, 2014

Introduction to a series of posts about  Brownsville settlers on the uplands who acquired land grants  from the Dominion of Canada.  The names and properties can be viewed on a Google Map.

ContentsMap of Upland Homesteads at Brownsville

Martin Nelson
James Wilson
John Douglas
JH McInnes
NC Hjorth
EB Ingebrigtsen
Michael Davey
James Prestidge
Nils Sandell
WC Bournes
Hans Espeland
OJN Brudvick
Sydney Smith

Anton Klavanes

For earlier settlement names see Map of Property Owners, 1880 where there are two maps, one by property section and one by owner name.


Lots opposite New Westminster were never available for pre-emption, having been previously surveyed.
Surveyed lots were only available at a government auction or if unsold, could be purchased from the government.
Lots along the Fraser River sold first but there was no interest in settling in the densely wooded and inaccessible uplands. Only the Moodyville Sawmill Company purchased a section.
When people did get interested, in the late 1880’s, with the coming of the railway and improved ferry crossings of the Fraser River, they found that the land was frozen —  included in the Railway Belt and unavailable for purchase.
One of the first to settle on the uplands, John Quible, was a squatter.
Many squatters came and left without ever owning the property.  There was not much to leave behind — at most a small clearing and a cabin.
Unlike the fertile flats near the river, the uplands were not prime agricultural land.
When the land was opened up for purchase from the Dominion government, settlers had only to occupy the land, register their claim, and after three years of occupation and some improvements to the property, apply for a the letters patent.
Above the river the sections were 160 acres.
Martin Nelson, subject of the first post in this series, initially held property for the purpose of a business, and he held on long enough to benefit when the Dominion opened up the land for  ownership.
Others coming after would build a small cabin, clear a few acres, and plant a garden and some fruit trees.
Most settlers worked elsewhere to earn money, mainly in fishing on Fraser River. Some held on to the property only long enough to acquire ownership and then sold out and moved on.

Related Posts

Map of Property Owners, 1880.

Nils Christian Hjorth

On Brownsville Hill – The Suspicious Death of Michael Davey

Brownsville School

Brownsville School Roll Call

Punch & Quible – Brownsville BC Pioneers

Use the site Search function on the Menu above for previous mentions of people in this series.

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