By Margaret A. Ormsby
In 1860, on the age of fourteen, Susan Louisa Moir left England for British Columbia. After settling first and foremost at wish, she lived in short in either Victoria and New Westminster, then BC's most crucial settlements. Returning to wish, she helped her mom open the community's first institution. In 1868, she married John Fall Allison and, on her honeymoon, rode over the Allison path into the unsettled Similkameen Valley.
Her list of the voyage, of Victoria, New Westminster, and wish and her thoughts of the remoted yet satisfying lifestyles she, her husband, and their fourteen childeren led within the Simlkameen and Okanagen valleys supply a different view of the pioneer brain and spirit.
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Extra resources for A Pioneer Gentlewoman in British Columbia: The Recollections of Susan Allison
After her departure, Mrs. Glennie's health deteriorated, and in 1884 she moved from Hope to Regina to be near the Dewdneys. Thereafter, the Allisons were able to send a child or two for a year or so to a boarding school at New Westminster. They did try to find a teacher who would conduct a school on their ranch, but Mrs. Allison provided most of the instruction for her children. This she did in a relaxed and happy atmosphere, for one of her great achievements was to create a home in which there was harmony and comfort.
With the coming of spring, she discovered that more was expected of her than the completion of normal household duties: Allison had a trading post where gold dust was the medium of exchange. She was expected to serve in the store, to operate a primitive post office, and to keep the accounts. The account books that she kept during these early years indicate that she found these occupations tiresome— the books are full of jottings of stories, based on her family's experiences in Ceylon, and of notes on Indian customs.
She also wrote a number of sketches of Indian women whom she had known before there was much contact with white men. Princess Julia, the last of the hereditary chieftains of the Similkameens, had died in the autumn of 1901, and possibly her tragic death and her funeral, which had elements of both Christian practice and Indian custom, provided the inspiration for this work. Short stories, based on the most dramatic incidents in the life of John Fall Allison as explorer, prospector, and cattle driver were also written.