The Hunt for Chris (Chris’s Lagoon)

I get asked, “Who was Chris’s Lagoon named after?” My father and grandfather would have known but it never came up in a conversation I can recall.

Chris’s Lagoon is a saltwater lagoon situated on the south side of Bartholomew Road opposite Sprungman’s Pond. 

An entry in John Manson’s diary confirms the name was in use in 1902. The entry mentions Chris’s Island and the Lagoon, along with Long Tom. Long Tom is about a mile from Chris’s Lagoon and Chris’s Island is probably the island known today as Sage Island. McNeil is also mentioned, a pre-emptor on the property adjacent to the lagoon, land known today as Hank’s Beach Park.

The Hunt for Chris (Chris's Lagoon). Blog Mike Manson, 2022 05 25

A break in the mystery came while reviewing pre-emption records at Cortes Island Museum and Archives. I happened to notice the NW 1/4 of Section 5 was the quarter section containing Chris’s Lagoon, whereas previously I had thought of the Lagoon as lying on the SW 1/4 of Section 5, land which was pre-empted by Eugene Paulsen in 1912. So who was the pre-emptor of the NW 1/4?

The Hunt for Chris (Chris's Lagoon). Blog Mike Manson, 2022 05 25

According to May Ellingsen’s research, Claus C. Jurgensen pre-empted the land in 1892. Was there a clue here? Could Jurgensen’s middle name be Chris?

The Hunt for Chris (Chris's Lagoon). Blog Mike Manson, 2022 05 25

The 1894 Post Office record for Clytosin (Mansons Landing) has a listing for C. C. Jurgensen, occupation farmer, and listed again in 1895.

The Hunt for Chris (Chris's Lagoon). Blog Mike Manson, 2022 05 25

The BC Archives has a marriage certificate dated September 9, 1894, (1984-09-09) for Claus C. Jurgenson and Jane Lee.

The Hunt for Chris (Chris's Lagoon). Blog Mike Manson, 2022 05 25

The 1901 Census of Canada records a Christian Jurgensen, of German nationality, born in 1848, immigrated to Canada in 1888, married to Jane Jurgensen, living in the Richmond area and an occupation listed as fisherman.

Is this the same man who pre-empted on Cortes? It is impossible to say with certainty but further facts I uncovered didn’t disqualify the Steveston’s Jurgensen from being the Cortes man.

The Hunt for Chris (Chris's Lagoon). Blog Mike Manson, 2022 05 25

BC Archives shows a second marriage certificate, from 1906, for Claus Christian Jurgensen, living in Steveston, BC, listed as a widower, age 58, born in Germany in 1848, occupation farmer.

The Hunt for Chris (Chris's Lagoon). Blog Mike Manson, 2022 05 25

Jane Jurgensen died in February 1906, and this would account for the second marriage in September 1906 to Clara Newman.

The census document and the 1906 marriage certificate both report an individual having the same age and nationality, and showing he went by the name of Christian (Census 1901) or Claus Christian (1906 Marriage Certificate).

In 1895, the Steveston Post Office has a listing for C.C. Jurgensen, occupation fisherman, the same name used at Clytosin in 1894 and 1895. I think there is a good chance C.C. brought his bride to Cortes in 1894 but shortly afterwards they found the pioneering life too difficult and moved to Steveston which was fast becoming a thriving community centred around the cannery and the fishing industry. This might explain the two occupations listed for C.C. Perhaps he bided his time between Cortes and Steveston, where in Steveston he could find steady work fishing or working at the cannery. With the passing of his wife Jane and subsequent remarriage in September 1906 to Clara, it may be that the Cortes days were finished, and the pre-emption cancelled and taken over by Frederick Hawkins on August 2, 1907.

The Hunt for Chris (Chris's Lagoon). Blog Mike Manson, 2022 05 25

Post Office listing for Steveston

When John Manson pre-empted Sunny Brae in 1888, roads were non-existent, most travel was done by rowboat. The lagoon was a useful waypoint/ lay-over spot and as such needed a name. It is a good guess Chris’s Lagoon was named by John Manson after his fellow homesteader and neighbour Claus Christian Jurgensen.

 

Mike Manson
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