James Juniur Dougan was born in 1864 in New South Wales, Australia, the child of Irish immigrants. With his family he emigrated for Victoria, moved to California, and returned to Canada in 1876. Before he moved to Maple Ridge, James Juniur was a teacher in Vancouver, having trained through correspondence with Queen’s University. He later sat as a governor for the McGill University College of BC, which would become the University of British Columbia. He also took up other community service roles and participated actively in Conservative politics.
In 1921, Dougan took over the local newspaper owned and published by Sid Samuels in Port Hammond, the Gazette. Retaining his home in Port Hammond, Dougan soon moved the newspaper’s office to Haney, on 8th Ave (224th Street) next to the Fuller-Watson building where it flourished under his leadership, extending reporting to the district at-large. Acting as Editor-in-Chief, Dougan was especially known for his playful writing style, which often coloured his commentary on the social affairs of the district. He also applied his effusive vocabulary to the issues which concerned him, namely education and government. In 1930, in an editorial titled “Is it a crime to be a clever, honored boy?”, Dougan lamented the cancellation of a boys’ youth parliament to take place in Victoria by the members of the Legislative Assembly: “Why, oh why, and however did so ostensibly well-known young men arrive at so nefarious, ill-considered, un-British, and purely spectacular a conclusion […]?”
James married Annie Wilson, who was a member of the one of the original European families to settle in Yennadon. Annie was the platen press operator in the Gazette office. One day in October of 1927, she accidently caught her right hand between the platen and the printing form, and all four fingers and a bone in her hand were crushed and broken quite badly. Blanche Pearsall notes that “by a remarkable presence of mind she was able to turn back the machine with her left hand. Miss Cutler from the telephone office, and Mr. Greenwell, one of the linemen, rushed to her assistance and took her immediately to Dr. Broe’s office, on the corner of Lorne Road and Dartford Street… who took her at once to the Royal Columbian Hospital, 18 miles away. She was rushed to surgery and the third finger was amputated, and the doctor was able to save the rest of her hand.”
James Juniur’s passion for education continued throughout his life. While running the newspaper, James worked as “promoter and secretary” for the BC School Trustees’ Association where he found positions for teachers throughout the province.
In 1932, James Juniur died suddenly at the age of 68. It was Halloween, and Dougan had stayed late at the Gazette office to hand out candy to children. Afterwards, he went to the house of Dugald Brown to attend a meeting of the Jersey Club. As reported by the United Church Reverend Peter Henderson, “[…] after his usual hearty greeting to all in the room, he suddenly collapsed from a heart attack, and in a few moments those present realized that he was beyond the reach of mortal aid.” Dougan’s assistant, Ivan Hambly, took over operation of the paper upon Dougan’s death.
James Juniur was missed by many. As a result of his notable life and large personality, he received funeral ceremonies in Maple Ridge, Vancouver, and Cobble Hill on Vancouver Island. His daughter wrote a lengthy obituary for him that was published on the Gazette’s front page. Dougan is buried on family property on Vancouver Island.