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AC Cooper’s Lost Homestead A Boon For George Wallace

February 18, 2016

AC-Cooper---George-Wallace---Google-mapA block of land at Brownsville , about 3 miles up the Yale Road from the ferry wharf, was first settled upon by Vancouver barber Albert Christopher Cooper and his wife in the spring of 1888.

Taking possession of the NE 1/4 of Section 32, in Township 2, the Coopers hired some men to do clearing, and while Mrs Cooper maintained the cabin and kitchen garden and looked after the milk cow, Albert Cooper commuted to work each day at New Westminster on the ferry K de K.

It was the opinion of one of the hired men that the Cooper’s cabin was actually on the adjacent property of Charles Usher, which lay to the east.

This would place the homestead clearing on what is now King George Blvd, one side or the other, below 96 Ave, about a half mile south of the Yale Road.

Open Google Map of Brownsville Upland Homesteads

The Coopers are the first black people known to have applied for a homestead entry in this district. However, they never had a chance become permanent settlers after a dispute with the former hired men resulted in AC Cooper being sent to jail.

The Wallace Homestead

George Wallace applied for entry on this section in 1890, after Albert Cooper was unable to complete the residency requirement.

In January 1891 Wallace moved onto the land with wife Sarah Ann Wallace and four children.

Both George and Sarah were 52 years old, and as they emigrated a few years before, they may have had grown children who chose to stay in England.

The Wallaces already had a family connection to the neighborhood: their daughter Phoebe Sarah Wallace, known as Sarah, was married to John Holland in 1889.

At the time of the 1891 census, young John, 22, a Stationary Engineer, and Sarah, 20, were heading a household that included John’s widowed mother, Caroline, his sister Hannah, and brothers Reuben and George Holland. Mother Caroline later married Joseph Rush Edwards of Brownsville, sister Hannah married Mike Barry, Brownsville Postmaster and bartender at the Brownsville Hotel, and brother George bought a piece of land off John Douglas of Yale Road — now known as Holland Park.

Another daughter of George Wallace was Elizabeth Susan Wallace, who married Thomas Furness of New Westminster.

The Wallace’s also had two sons living with them at Brownsville in 1891, George Wallace and Frank Wallace.

By the time the Wallaces qualified for a patent in 1895 they had only one child remaining at home.

Unlike most settlers, George Wallace did not have to leave the property at any time during the five years to work elsewhere.

The first year he had cleared and put under cultivation barely 1 1/2 acres, the second year he had 5 acres, the third year 9 acres, the fourth year 12 acres and by 1895 he was farming a total of 16 acres. He had a further two acres chopped.

The Wallaces had built and lived in a house measuring 26 by 26 feet, a comfortable dwelling for this time.

Wallace always kept a horse, a cow and a pig, and in 1895 had a horse, 2 cows and 2 pigs.

They had a barn 26 x 30 feet, a work-shop, stable and shed. Rail fencing measured 160 rods

The number of chickens he kept were not enumerated, but were present, as he had built a chicken house.

Fruit trees fared tolerably well on this soil and all the local settlers kept sizeable orchards. Wallace had 200 fruit trees.

Affidavits in support of George Wallace’s application for a patent were presented by Brownsville pioneers John Douglas and WC Bournes.

Charles Usher was the first claimant to the section now occupied by the Surrey Memorial Hospital, having registered a homestead entry in February 1885. (NW 1/4 Sec 33 Tp 2 WCM). Usher did not remain long enough to obtain a patent. His claim was cancelled in January 1889 and taken up in April by John Quible.




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