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Wade’s Landing – Frank Wade and Kate Chastaqua

March 6, 2017

Francis Edward Wade was one of the New Westminster contractors who built the North Road to Burrard Inlet in 1859.   F. E. Wade, known as Frank Wade, was born in Quebec in 1836 and came to British Columbia with the Fraser River gold rush. He  is best known for his residence at Port Douglas and at Wade’s Landing, Sumas.


The Town of Port Douglas on Harrison Lake, 1864

After leaving New Westminster,  Wade moved to Port Douglas where he worked on the Harrison-Lillooet Road and for Bridgeman & McKenny. For a short time he served as private secretary to Judge JB Gaggin.

Frank Wade owned property in the townsite of Port Douglas: Lots 2 and 3 in Block 6, on Dallas Street opposite the Government Reserve.

Around 1870 Wade established a landing and store on Fraser River at the north side of Sumas Mountain. It was at the head of a trail which ran across the mountain from Sumas on the south side.

Historian John Gibbard identifies that route as the northern branch of the Whatcom Trail from Bellingham Bay to Fraser River.

View Wade’s Landing and Port Douglas on a Google Map.


Wade’s Landing – Sumas Mountain – Wade’s Creek – Centennial Trail

In 1888 “Wade’s Trail from Sumas across Mountain to Wade’s Landing Fraser River”  was improved by road foreman William Russell with funding from the Province.

In 1871 Frank Wade was married to Kate Chastaqua, who was born about 1840, before Port Douglas was established.

The wedding at New Westminster was conducted by the Presbyterian Minister  Robert Jamieson and witnessed by Wade’s friend Goodwin Purcell of Port Douglas.

The couple do not appear to have had any children.

At Wade’s Landing Frank and Kate ran a store, provided meals and accommodation, and raised livestock. In 1892 Wade received a Crown Grant for 62 acres of land, designated District Lot 477.

Their enterprise came to a halt after about 24 years when Frank Wade fell ill.

Francis Edward Wade died on April 19, 1894. Reports of his death described him as “well known and highly respected.”

Wade left behind a business “in good circumstances,” and fortunately Wade had prepared a Will.

Frank Wade left $200 to his mother, Mrs Jane Wade, of Muscoday, Wisconsin, and then directed that all his property and possessions — consisting of land, residence, store, stock, cattle, etc, —  be sold to fund an allowance for his wife Kate Wade. She would also receive the two lots which he still held at Port Douglas and,

“If means will admit, to have a small house or cabin put up for her to live in on said lots so that she may have a home of her own.”

In the event wife and mother were dead, his beneficiaries would be his friends Goodwin Purcell of Port Douglas and Robert Granville McKamey of Dewdney.

Wade asked that “my friend Robert Granville McKamey of Dewdney” act as sole Executor of his estate.

Kate Chastaqua Wade died at Skookumchuck in 1910.

Frank and Kate Wade were buried in the pioneer cemetery at Port Douglas, two of only a handful of graves that are still visibly marked with stones.

The designation “Wade’s Landing” has vanished and is now known as Cox.

“Wade’s Creek,” which runs down off Sumas Mountain and flows into the Fraser River on their former property, would appear to honor Frank and Kate Wade.

Note regarding the sketch of Port Douglas, 1864

The portion of the picture of Port Douglas shown above is taken from the an 1958 cover of BC Teacher magazine. It is attributed attributed to artist WS Hatton and the original is at the BC Archives.

However, an engraving that appeared in the London Illustrated News,  January 1865, was credited, by the British Colonist newspaper,  to a sketch by Oliver Hare, then Registrar of the Supreme Court.

Oliver Hare was born in Ottery St Mary, Devonshire, England about 1820 and died in British Columbia December 27, 1876 after serving many years as a Government Agent.

The full illustration can be seen by clicking on the Google Map link above.


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