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Michael Davey – Settler of Kwantlen Park

March 15, 2014

Michael Davey (1886) Section 21, B5N R2W (less 40 acres IR)  – Brownsville, BC

Michael Davey applied for Section 21, about three miles up the Yale Road, in December 1885, and took possession in January 1886.
A portion of Section 21, 40 acres,  had previously been allotted to the Langley Indians as a Reserve in 1879, so Davey’s claim amounted to 120 acres. He appealed to have the entire 160 acres included under his application.
British by birth, Davey was 34 years of age and single.

Section 21 Brownsville - the Kwantlen Park boulderAt the time of his application in 1890, Davey declared,
“I have broken 3 acres under crop done from time to time since settlement.”
He had 18 fruit trees and had 5 acres cleared and under cover of timothy and clover.

Davey later wrote that the soil of his property was gravelly and sandy and of poor quality.
The area was covered with burnt timber, the result of seasonal forest fires. Some dead cedar was suitable for fencing.

According to James Wilson, who vouched for him, Davey’s first home was lost to fire in 1886 and he had rebuilt. Also vouching for Davey was neighbor John W Stein.

Davey kept no livestock, but had built about 80 rods of board fence, cut from timber on the property.  He had dug 40 rods of ditching.
Davey’s house measured 12 by 16 feet with an attached 8 by 12 lean-to.

In 1890 Davey again appealed to have the 40 acres of the Indian Reserve included in his claim.
The Reserve had been allotted June 20, 1879 by the Indian Reserve Commission, comprising 40 acres “as a general grave-yard for several Indian Tribes and others temporarily residing near New Westminster.”
John McKenzie, Agent for Dominion Lands at New Westminster found that Davey had been paying taxes on the full 160 acres to the municipality of Surrey, but it was up to him to have appealed to correct the assessment to 120 acres.

Below, Corporation of the District of Surrey 1888 tax receipt of Michael Davey for Section 21, 160 acres, signed by Henry T Thrift, Collector.Michael Davey tax receipt  1888
McKenzie noted that while Davey had appealed for the full section as early as 1885,

“The anxiety as to this matter at the present arises from the enhanced value of property in the immediate neighborhood of New Westminster.”
Michael Davey mapThis was owing to the construction of the New Westminster Southern Railway and an improved ferry service.
The 40 acres remained an Indian Reserve.
Davey lost his life after a night of drinking with neighbors in 1891.
See older post On Brownsville Hill – The Suspicious Death of Michael Davey.


Extras – A corner of the property of Michael Davey, and a portion of the Indian Reserve, site of a burial ground for ancient remains brought up from a graveyard on Fraser River, was chosen for a night-time sequence filmed at Royal Kwantlen Park by the X-Files, a television series in the 1990s.

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