General News · 6th December 2013
cimas - Patricia LeRoux
The Cortes Island Museum & Archives Society has been creating a series of island history booklets which will eventually be a very comprehensive record of island life with each individual booklet forming a chapter. Currently available are the first one, “In The Beginning”, the second, “Carrington Lagoon” and the third one “Manson’s Landing” is at the printers as you read this. It will soon be available for purchase at the Museum and these booklets make a great gift for friends and family. The following is an excerpt from “Manson’s Landing” booklet :
The life of an early settler was not an easy one, especially for the women who were left for long periods of time to manage the homestead and children while the men traveled for work or supplies. Food was harvested locally from the woods, seashore and garden, and preserved primarily through canning. Laundry was done using a scrub board in a tub, drying the clothes on racks near the wood stoves during rainy weather. Water was often hauled into the cabin in buckets and, though wood stoves supplied a steady source of hot water, they required copious quantities of wood to be cut and split.
Sickness and injury were always a real threat with families having to cope mostly without medical support. In 1890, a diphtheria epidemic claimed four of Mike and Jane Manson’s children: Robina, John, Martha and Barbara. The story is told that when Jane herself became gravely ill with the disease she awoke and told her husband that she didn’t think she would live past midnight. Mike was so determined to help his wife survive that the next time she awoke she saw it was past midnight as Mike had moved the clock forward to give her strength to fight the disease! Only Mike, Jane and their daughter Margaret survived the epidemic. Mike and Jane went on to have a “second” family of six girls and one boy (including two sets of twins).
Michael and Jane Manson's second family, 1905