Humphreys Brothers

Leonard working on the farm in 1914.

From Leonard Humphrey’s Memoirs:

Having found Vancouver Island’s best areas too highly priced per acre, and such areas limited, as for instance the Cowichan Valley, and other lands at Qualicum too gravelly when opened for pre-emption, my brother and I saw an advertisement of a part-developed ranch at Webster’s Corners.  We decided to visit, so left from Comox in 1913, taking the train from Vancouver to Port Haney, 35 miles, about one hour’s journey, and got off at the neat little station of Port Haney on the river bank, the town then being low and adjoining the track.

Laurence [age 21] and Leonard [16] cutting down a tree on their new ranch.
Laurence [age 21] and Leonard [16] cutting down a tree on their new ranch.

It is interesting to note that when they first arrived in Canada in 1911, Laurence was 19 years old and his brother Leonard only 14.

In 1913, with the help of an aunt, Lawrence and Leonard bought property on Martens Road (256th) at Webster’s Corners and called it Creekside Ranch.  The brothers closed down the ranch in December of 1915 and caught the train for Vancouver, travelling all the way back to Shropshire, England, in order to see their parents.  They had enlisted in the Canadian Forces and thought they may be sent to France.

Lawrence was injured in the First World War and so did not return to the ranch in Webster’s Corners.  Instead, the brothers farmed in Shropshire until the depression hit.  At that time, Leonard gave up farming and was appointed to a post in the Anglo Egyptian Sudan.  After a period of time abroad, Leonard returned to B.C. in 1957 and came to visit Haney.  At this time, he had been away for 42 years.

Despite the short length of his stay here, Leonard retained strong memories of the time.  In his elder years he wrote memoirs which contained sketches of pioneers like James Murray Webster,  Tom Johnson, and Mary Charlton.  In his 90’s, he took up painting and painted a few of his memories – we have two of his paintings in the museum collection.

Leonard on the ground with Lawrence on the wagon, loading hay by pitchfork onto the wagon. 1915 c.