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Cannon Ball

cannon ball 1

While it now sits in a corner of the Haney House living room, this cast-iron cannon ball was found on the north bank of the Fraser River by James Hawley in 1918. It dates from the original Fort Langley site, which was just across the Fraser River from Maple Ridge.

When the American and Canadian border was being decided in the 1820s, the Governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company, George Simpson, realized that Fort Vancouver might be lost to the Americans if border ran along the 49th parallel. This prompted the establishment of another fort in 1827 on the south bank of the Fraser River, which was the original Fort Langley. Some years later, Governor Sir James Douglas chose Fort Langley to be the provisional colonial capital of the not-yet-established British Columbia, and in 1858, a town called Derby was surveyed. This townsite lay directly across the Fraser River from what would become Maple Ridge, although at this point, Maple Ridge was uninhabited except for a handful of Aboriginals.

Fort Langley and the defenses at Derby would practice their cannon-shooting by aiming at the wilderness across the river, which is how a cannonball ended up on Haney land. The townsite of Derby was short-lived, as soon after construction began on army barracks, the original Fort Langley was declared indefensible due to its close proximity to the US-Canada border. Fort Langley was moved 4km upstream, and a new capital was established in 1859: New Westminster. The military functions of Fort Langley and Derby were outsourced to New Westminster, and Derby declined into nothing.

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