Women played important role in cultural, educational progress

Not a lot of information is known about the women who played important role in cultural, educational progress

Circa 1920s: From left

Circa 1920s: From left

Not a lot of information is known about the women who at one time lived here and whose influence helped shape the area into what it is today.

However, there is much information on their husbands and other men who lived and worked here in years past. The woman, for the most part, were wives and mothers, but they were also responsible for much of the early cultural, social and educational progress made within the community over many years. The following women are just a few of them.

In 1921 Dave Madill, a local resident since 1918, married Scottish born Miss Catherine McIntyre, in Lake Cowichan. For the first few years of their marriage they lived in a float house before building a permanent house on land.

Madill worked at many logging camps throughout the area including a close association with the legendary Lake Logging Company. Soon after the marriage, the Madills became very active in the civic and social affairs of the community.

The couple had a son who was raised and schooled locally. Catherine (standing on left in photo) was a long time (charter) member of a ladies service organization and had other local interests over many years. Dave too was involved with many organizations including 20 years on the local school board.

The Madill’s  son and  grandson were both also named David. After the death of Dave Madill Sr. in 1960, Catherine remained in the family home on Park Road and continued her community activities as she had always done. The senior Madills were both buried in the Masonic section of Hatley Memorial Park in Colwood, B.C. (Victoria).

Married in Vancouver in 1922, Mrs. Asta Nilsen (seen second from left) and her husband Andy’s first home was a float house at the far end of Cowichan Lake near present-day Heather Campsite. As was common for loggers in that era, Andy and his family moved their float house wherever there was work.

With their son Ron — who was born in Vancouver in 1924 — they eventually ended up, as did a small colony of other floathouse dwellers, near the Upper Pool of the Cowichan River close to the present-day weir.

Life was tough for float-house dwellers. Especially for the women, who had the added burden of making sure their children did not drown. The fear of fire was also a constant concern for float-house dwellers who cooked and heated their homes with wood or coal and used coal oil in their lanterns.

Eventually the [Nilsen] family moved their floating home to a property just down river from the present-day car bridge. In 1983, Asta Nilsen died at the age of 89.

Mrs. Kerrick (second from right in photo) and Mrs. Stelley, wife of prominent Victoria man George Stelly, (whose family Stelly’s Cross Road in Saanich is named after) were both short term residents of early Lake Cowichan.

Mrs. Stelly was a wonderful gardener who was responsible for the gardens in front of the old Riverside Inn which was owned by her husband and a partner.

At that time, the Stelleys maintained a private residence directly across the river from the hotel. It was there that Mrs. Stelley planted and maintained a large and beautiful garden which included the monkey tree that remains there to this day.


Just Posted

Old-growth logging protesters block a road on Monday, June 14. This is not the blockade at Honeymoon Bay referred to in the story. (Facebook photo)
Old-growth logging protesters block RCMP access on road near Honeymoon Bay

Police were on their way to enforcement in Fairy Creek area when they were stopped

Cowichan Citizen and Lake Cowichan Gazette announce new publisher

David van Deventer has been with Black Press Media since 2014

Island Health is bringing a vaccination clinic to Lake Cowichan starting June 23. (Submitted)
COVID vaccine clinic coming to Lake Cowichan as area numbers lag

Clinic will operate at arena starting June 23

The Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society, which has been operating a treatment centre on land leased from the Nanoose First Nation for 35 years (pictured), has begun a fundraising campaign to open a new centre near Duncan. (Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society photo)
New Indigenous treatment centre to be built near Duncan

Centre will help survivors of residential schools

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Saltair man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

Fallout has continued, with two of the federal council’s members resigning

Most Read