UPDATE:  Honouring A Former Slave Family

                         Members of the Surrey Historical Society recently placed a stone for the Scott Family.

All that remains of the Scott Family farm in Cloverdale is a small copse of old fruit trees. The 7 acres that Henry Houston Scott and his family farmed have been transformed into a subdivision and power transmission right-of-way.  Now the Surrey Historical Society is working to honour this family that ventured north to the Fraser Valley  where they became respected farmers.  Henry was born a slave in 1854 in Fannin County, Texas. President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was  issued in 1863, but it wasn’t until 1865 that slavery was finally abolished under the 13th amendment. Henry met Amy Florence Alridge of Mississippi and in 1905 the couple received a homestead grant in Oklahoma. Census records suggest they eventually had ten children.

The Scotts and three children were drawn to the fertile lands of the Fraser Valley in 1912 where they grew hay and later farmed dairy cattle along today’s 64th Avenue. (A number of other children remained  in the U.S..) After Henry and his wife died in 1934 their youngest son Jesse continued to work the farm and was also a professional baseball player. Another son, Roy, worked at a lumber mill and took a job as a porter on the CPR. The youngest, Benola Myrtle, died in 1971 and rests with her family in what have until recently have been unmarked graves at the Surrey Centre Cemetery, high above the Serpentine River. In April 2018 the Surrey Historical Society placed a granite slab with the five family members’ names engraved in the stone.  It rests beside a Douglas fir tree,  just a few metres from the old Christ Anglican Church. The society paid for the stone and engraving and the City of Surrey waived the placing fee. Some 84 years after his death, Henry is now being honoured, along with his family.

Surrey Historical Society has also asked Surrey Parks and the city’s Heritage Committee to turn the small patch of land with fruit trees into Henry Scott Park and to share their story on a heritage sign. The land has been designated a park, but is unused and unnamed. Talks have begun with the city.  Surrey Historical Society board member Jim Foulkes is hopeful, and often drives past the old farm site. “In spring, the blossoms of their old orchard tell of the endeavours of the Scott family to build a new life in Canada.”   


Wanted: Volunteers for Classic CN Station  — New Manager Sends Out Signal


Fort Langley’s historic CN Station will launch its new season on the Victoria Day weekend. Located at the corner of Glover Road and Mavis Avenue, the 1915 station is operated by the Langley Heritage Society which restored the building 35 years ago. Our new Station Manager, Helen Williams, is recruiting volunteers to help interpret the station’s unique story, and the railroad’s impact on the Fraser Valley. “The best part of volunteering at the CN Station is the feeling that volunteers get from sharing what they know and learned about the railroad in their community with others”, says Williams. All volunteers will be trained by the society.  

The station draws visitors from around the world. Step inside an original waiting room and ticket office with telegraph station. A 1920s caboose features a spectacular model railway and the E & E Taylor passenger car is loaded with Canadian National Railways memorabilia. Local artists also host a summer art gallery in the station’s baggage area. Thanks to some dedicated and determined individuals in the community, the Fort Langley CN Station exists today. I’m grateful to their foresight and am thrilled to play a small part in helping visitors learn the importance of the railroad, and about the individuals who operated stations like this one, before the age of the automobile”, says Williams.

Langley Times story HERE.

Follow the link to HERE download a Volunteer Application Form.

Volunteers Urged To Dig In At Gardening Bee













Richard and Mary Simpson (Image: Langley Centennial Museum)

Fort Langley’s historic CN Station is gearing up for a new season, which includes weeding and preparing its heritage gardens. Volunteer weed-pullers are invited to dig in on Monday April 23rd, beginning at 10 am. CN Station Manager Helen Williams notes gardens were a significant part of life at the station where Richard Simpson was station agent through the 1920s. He and his wife Mary grew 37 varieties of perennials. “Monday’s garden bee will not restore Mrs. Simpson’s garden to its original glory, but it will keep her vision alive and remind us of the significance of station agents and their role in communities when rail was the main form of transportation and communication.”

Gardening competitions between station agents were an annual event up and down the CN line. The railroad even had a network of greenhouses to grow plants for the agents. The 1915 station was restored by the Langley Heritage Society 35 years ago, and today volunteers act as ambassadors at the station house, caboose with model railway and passenger car.

“I’m grateful to all the volunteers giving their time to pull weeds and get their hands dirty. They too see the value in preserving not only our heritage through structures, but also in the landscapes that once sculpted the community of a time long gone,” says Williams. The station opens to the public beginning on the Victoria Day weekend. It should be a blooming good year!

For more information: contact Helen Williams at volunteer@langleyheritage.ca


By | April 14th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Third Annual Langley Heritage Fair Big Success

There was a compelling range of entries at this year’s Heritage Fair in Fort Langley. Students shared stories about sports heroes, war heroes, (including great grandfather and former tank commander Vern Salisbury who was part of a display), the Hope Slide, numerous immigrant stories, maple syrup production, the Halifax Explosion,  war brides, Canadian stereotypes, the collapse of the Second Narrows Bridge — even the Coombs Country Store received its due. Langley Heritage Society president Fred Pepin handed the Best Presentation Award to Hadley MacDonald (middle image) for her egg production display. LHS vice president Mark Forsythe presented the Most Original Award to Olivia Werner (upper left) for her presentation about a rare disorder, Krabbe Disease. LHS board member Bob Armstrong (middle right) was among this year’s judges and special thanks to Rosemary Genberg for coordinating the judging and staff at Langley Centennial Museum for organizing. This is the third year for the Heritage Fair in Langley, which is sponsored by the Langley Heritage Society and Langley Centennial Museum.


Langley Heritage Society Award for Best Presentation – Presented by Fred Pepin, President of the Langley Heritage Society; Awarded to Hadley MacDonald – “Egg Farming”

Docents Award – Presented by Melissa Clark, Langley Centennial Museum Docent; Awarded to Logan Holcik – “The Finning Company

Most Original Topic Award – Presented by Mark Forsythe, Langley Heritage Society Vice President; Awarded to Olivia Werner – “Krabbe Disease”

Curators Choice Award – Presented by Kobi Christian, Langley Centennial Museum Curator; Awarded to Isabella Daviss – “The Kingston Prison Riots”

Educators Award of Excellence – Presented by Lindsay Pollock, Arts & Heritage Educator; Awarded to Megan O’Shea – “Girl Guides”

Artistic Achievement Award – Presented by Rosemary Genberg, Local Langley Artists – Awarded to Ruby Pratt – “My Granddad in WWII”


New Video: Lattimer House in Milner

Betty (Lattimer) Miller and daughter Marjory.

Watch our newest video production with the students from Brookswood Secondary School with special thanks to students Brandon Yap and Harrison Mertl.  This video tells the story of David Lattimer, an Irish born veteran of the Great War who was twice wounded, but made it home to Milner B.C. where he and his wife Nellie raised a family and were a big part of the community. Langley Heriatge Society president Fred Pepin also describes what it took to restore the house, built in 1910. Watch the video HERE.


By | April 13th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

New Valley Voices for April

On Valley Voices #2 Langley Heritage Society host Mark Forsythe interviews historian Warren Sommer about one of Langley’s Nursing Sisters, drawing on oral archives from the Langley Centennial Museum. Also: Sharn Sandhra explores the history of Canada’s oldest Sikh temple in Abbotsford, we learn about Stories from the Round Up Cafe in Whalley, and a new Facebook site that shares Our Chilliwack History.  Click on the link for April HERE. The broadcast begins at the 7:20 mark (scroll ahead).




By | April 5th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments