Notes About Samuel Yerxa

George the "Second" DeBeck was the son of George DeBeck and grandson of Lieut. J. Ludwig DeBeck who landed in St. John with the Loyalists in 1783.

George was born in Saint John and raised in Keswick. Later, he served in the French Army with distinction in Continental Europe. His son, George "Second," obtained a large grant of land in a settlement which was known as Millstream, or the Mills, or Blairs Mills.

George, the "Second," Debeck, engaged in lumbering and farming. When the New Brunswick railway was being built, George DeBeck sold land to the railway company for their various buildings so the name of the settlement became DeBeck. Many of the DeBeck family went on to British Columbia, including George "Second" and Elizabeth (Dow) DeBeck and their sons.

Samuel Yerxa and Mary Ann DeBeck lived in Eel River (now Meductic) in 1863, where they operated a boarding house, but eventually they returned to Greenville (now Green Road), Richmond Parish. Samuel Yerxa was listed as a pew holder September 1880 in Old Methodist Church at McKenzie Corner.

About George DeBeck II and Eliza Ann Dow

The DeBeck family's move to B.C. came about after a neighbor and friend James Bell left New Brunswick to seek his fortune in the West in British Columbia. After a few years he returned home to New Brunswick, with money in his pockets and tales of gold to be had for the taking in British Columbia. He married Olive the daughter of George and Eliza DeBeck on 23 September 1863. He bought a piece of land and intended to settle down and farm in New Brunswick.

At the same time 15-year-old (George) Ward DeBeck decided to run away from home. His father George DeBeck II caught up with him in St. Andrews, NB and convinced him to return and attend school for another year on the understanding that after the year he would be free to go if he wanted.

Meanwhile after a year Jim Bell decided he wasn't cut out for farming and decided to leave again for British Columbia. This time accompanied by his wife Olive DeBeck and young Ward. By his own accounts George Ward's first glimpse of the West Coast was in California on July 23, 1866. Olive and Jim continued on to Victoria, while Ward stayed in Gilroy California until 1868.

Jim Bell started a Coal business at Kavanaugh's Wharf in Victoria British Columbia.

Howard Ludlow DeBeck brother of Ward and Olive, and his wife Emmaline Weeks (daughter of Abner and Jane G. Weeks) decided to make the trip to the West Coast from New Brunswick, they sailed from New York on July 1, 1867 on board the S.S. Ocean Queen. He was not accompanied by Warren as has been recorded by the family. Howard joined Jim Bell in his coal business in Victoria. It is not known when Warren arrived. There is a story of him travelling to Australia. He was working with his father and brothers at Burrard Inlet in 1869.

The rest of the family was supposed to have come together, though the passenger list of the Del Norte on September lists only Miss H. DeBeck, Miss L. DeBeck, Mr. and Mrs. DeBeck and child, the child was either Clarence or Josephine.

The DeBeck's had left a married daughter in New Brunswick; Mary Ann DeBeck had married Samuel Yerxa son of Isaac Yerxa and Martha Shepard; as well as 2 daughters and a son in the Richmond Churchyard. Emmaline had died of TB July, 7 1860 and Hannah Althea had died April 9 1864 from Diphtheria; Roderick had died Jan 18 1859 age 5 weeks 2 days.

In 1869 the family seemed to be all together. George Sr. and sons Ward and Warren were working at Burrard Inlet logging employed by either Burrard Inlet mill or Hastings mill.

Clarence went to New Westminister and drove a stage and went to school.

Howard bought property from Hugh McRobert's on Sea Island and moved there with his wife and 2 little daughters Marion and Georgina.

Daughter Olive and husband James Bell now lived in New Westminister their son John Warren Bell had been born in Victoria in 1867. Son James Allen Ward Bell was born Sept 13 1873 in Moodyville. There were also 2 daughters Emmeline and Olive Bell.

Daughter Helen Eliza DeBeck married William Gibson a grocer in Victoria in 1869 or 1870.

In May of 1870 George DeBeck II accidentally slipped while logging and was killed. His obituary in the Mainland Guardian dated Sat May 7, 1870 p. 3 reads:

Fatal Accident

On Wednesday afternoon last, Mr. George DeBeck met with his death in a very sudden and unexpected manner. It would appear from the evidence elicited at the inquest, that while in the act of stepping over some logs lying at a sharp angle, he slipped and fell. The concussion was so sudden and violent as to produce dislocation of the vertebrae, the immediate cause of his death. Mr. DeBeck held a very high position in the esteem and respect of his fellow citizens, and will be a real loss to the community. He leaves a widow and family to deplore his loss. Mr.DeBeck was a native of New Brunswick where he held a very respectable position. When the sad news, reached the city, Dr. Black the coroner for the district, proceeded to the inlet and did an inquest on the remains. From the position of the deceased when found by his youngest son and the character of the injuries there can be no doubt as to the cause of death, and the verdict was returned accordingly. The remains of the lamented gentleman were brought to town on Thursday, and will be interred today at the cemetery in Sapperton (Now called Fraser Cemetery in New Westminister)

This is what Ned DeBeck (Exodus) writes of his grandfather George DeBeck II "We have no clear picture of what he (George) was like as he met his death so soon after coming here. He could neither read nor write. Ward his son tells of reading the newspaper to him before he left home. He was particularly interested in the progress of the American Civil War. He was a very religious and devout man. He would never break his bread in the sight of the Lord without removing his hat. Even when it was cold or raining he would take no bite till he had taken off his hat. He must have been a pretty good father as all of his children got some education. None of them got more than what one would call the eighth grade, but that was the fault of the schools in N.B. not his. He was sufficiently interested in his family to follow his scapegrace son Ward, clear down to St. Andrews and sufficiently broadminded to realize that a sixteen year old son can not be held on apron strings."

Another tragedy struck the family the next year in 1871 when Howard's wife Emmaline died giving birth to third daughter Emma Augusta, Emma was the first white child born in Richmond. Howard and Emmaline's other daughters were Marion Lee DeBeck and Georgina Elmar DeBeck.

In 1871 Warren traveled back to New Brunswick and married Annie Elizabeth Trafton of Woodstock in October of that year. They returned to New Westminister where poor Annie passed away shortly after her arrival on April 22, 1873 at the age of 24. There were no children born of this marriage.

Leonora DeBeck also married that year on Dec. 5, 1871 to J.C. Hughes (Josias Charles) an accountant at the Mill where her brothers worked. The DeBeck family seemed to have unending loss. Leonora's first born Charles Arthur Hughes died on May 25 1874 at Burrard Inlet a few weeks after his birth.

Daughter Helen Eliza DeBeck died in Dec. of 1875 a few days after the birth of her third daughter Olivia Helen Gibson, who was born Nov. 23 1875. She gave birth and died at the home of her sister Olive Bell in New Westminister. The family story is she died from consumption (TB). She was buried in the Masonic Cemetery in Sapperton, now called Fraser Cemetery in New West, no marker on the grave. Obituary in the Mainland Guardian Wednesday Dec. 15 1875 at New Westminister BC:

_____ instantly Helen Eliza beloved wife of William E. Gibson of Nanaimo aged 28 years. We are called upon to record the death of Mrs. W.E. Gibson of Nanaimo departed this life on Sunday morning at the reidence of her brother-in-law James Bell (Olive DeBeck). The deceased was a member of the DeBeck family. So much respected in this city, and was known for her many virtues. The funeral took place on Monday last and was attended by a large number of our citizens. The remains will be interred at the "Masonic Cemetery", the Rev. Jamison officiating. On the death of the lady becoming known, the flags on all our public buildings were flown at half mast.

Helen and William had 2 older daughters Mary Leonora (Minnie) born 1871 in Victoria and Edith Josephine (Edie) born May 28, 1873 also in Victoria.

In 1877 the 4 DeBeck brothers: Clarence, Howard, Ward and Warren started the Brunette Saw mill. From History of New Westminister page 132:

The first New Westminister mill to become a lasting success was the four DeBeck brother's Brunette Mill. The story has it that in 1877, this quartet rowed across the Gulf of Georgia to Baynes Sound, north of Nanaimo, where they bought a small engine, a circular saw, a hand edger and a trimmer on the installment plan with nothing down. They moved the machinery to a four acre site where the Brunette River joins the Fraser that they bought from the provincial government for $100. The DeBeck mill at Sapperton was soon one of the most profitable in the business.

A young man named James Buckam Kennedy came to New West in 1877 and began working as a planer at the mill in 1880 he bought Ward's interest and became family later marrying Josephine DeBeck, sister of the DeBeck brothers, on Nov. 30 1880 in New Westminister. They had one son Clarence born in 1883. Josephine had T.B. and went down to Los Gatos California to recover in the better weather she died there in 1885 at the age of 25. She is buried in the Fraser Cemetery in New Westminister. Clarence Kennedy her son died March 27 1908 in Vernon B.C.from spinal meningitis. He was 26 years old.

Ward married in 1877 causing a big stir with his elopement with Emma Mary Keary to Washington State on March 19 1877. Ward lived for a year in Yale after selling his interest in the sawmill and later moved to Oregon Washington and Idaho.

Clarence Hunter DeBeck married in 1879 to Emily B. Edwards they settled in New West and had 2 children, Mabel Eveline and Winnifred Violet.

Warren remarried in 1880 to Elizabeth Armstrong they had 2 children Annie in 1882 and Warren John in 1883. More loss for the family as Warren died in 1884 at the age of 35. His son Warren John died at the young age of 27 in Kamloops in 1911.

And Leonora's husband Josias Charles Hughes died Nov. 8 1886, leaving Leonora with 3 children to raise: Frank Sherman Hughes 1882 11 29, Charles Nelson 1880 9 21 And Leonora Evangeline 1876/8/28.

Eliza Ann DeBeck had been for years living with Howard and helping him raise his children. After many years as a single father, Howard remarried Aug 7 1889 to Selina Clarke. During this time Howard operated a men's furnishings store on Columbia St. at Sixth. Howard and Selina had 5 children: Howard in 1890, George Clifford 1896, Charles Victor in 1892, Laura Eileen in 1894 and Mildred Josephine in 1898.

In 1891 when Howard's youngest daughter married Arthur Emerson Rand, Eliza "Little Grandma" went with them to live in their new home. After the death of granddaughter Augusta Rand on Oct. 13 1909, Eliza went to live with son Ward and family at Eburne. She lived with son Ward until her death on July 11 1921, at the age of 107.

Howard following an attack of asthma went to Penticton to live in 1909, he remained there till his death on April 4 1924 at the age of 81. He is buried in the Fraser Cemetery in New Westminister.

Clarence sold out of the sawmill and purchased a tugboat and engaged in the towing business untill 1894 when he engaged in work for the Government as Captain of the snagboat "The Sampson" remaining in federal service for about 10 years. Later he and his son-in law C.W. Tait established the Fern Ridge Lumber and Shingle Mills in Langley District and in 1913 bought the Royal City Shingle Mills. Clarence passed away in 1924. He is buried in the Fraser Cemetery in New Westminister. His wife Emily is also buried there.

Ward had returned to B.C. in 1886 and had been engaged in logging until 1891 when he went to timber cruising after that he tired mining until he was appointed Indian Agent at Alert Bay, and was stationed there in 1902 where he remained till 1906. He next went back to timber cruising and logging and still had an interest in several mines. He and his wife Emma had 6 children: George Henry, (who died at abt 5 years old in an accident), Edwin Keary, Edna Irene, Leonora, Ward Andrew and Viola Vivian. Ward died in B.C. on April 10, 1943. His wife Emma predeceased him in 1939. They are buried in The Fraser Cemetery in NewWestminister. [There are many stories and writings about Ward and his family written by various family members in the DeBeck Papers at B.C. Archives in Victoria.]