Your Country, Your Story: Patricia Ball’s Victoria roots date back to 1852!

Your Country, Your Story:  Patricia Ball's Victoria roots date back to 1852!

Patricia Ball’s roots in Victoria date back to 1852, when her great, great grandfather Thomas Skinner and his wife Mary mary arrived.

Thomas was a bailiff, and had been hired by Sir James Douglas of the Hudson’s Bay Company to manage the HBC farm at Constance Cove in Esquimalt.

Their daughter, whom they named Constance, was one of the first European children born in Victoria.

Pat’s other great great grandfather, Dr. John Chapman Davie, arrived ten years later.

Dr. Davie set up his medical practice at the corner of Government and Bastion streets, and travelled, by horseback, as far as the Cowichan Valley to see patients!

Dr. Davie brought two of his seven children with him to Victoria.

One son, Alexander Edmund Baston (known as A.B.E.) married Constance Skinner in 1874.

A.B.E. practiced law, became Attorney General, and in 1887, became premier of BC.

Another of Dr. Davie’s sons, John Chapman Davie Jr., became a medical doctor and joined his father’s practice.

He was appointed Provincial Public health Officer, and is credited with saving Victoria from smallpox outbreaks around 1892 – by quarantining those infected.

“Down in James Bay” explains Pat, “there’s a building down there where they were all kept, and apparently that was what helped to stop the outbreak.”

And because Victoria was growing, and St. Joseph’s was the city’s only hospital, Dr. Davie Jr. lobbied for, designed, and presided over the building of the Jubilee Hospital.

In fact, Davie Street, which overlooks the Royal Jubilee Hospital, is named after Pat’s great grandfather.

Another of Dr. Davie’s sons, Theodore, became Premier in 1892.

And grandson Cyril Francis (Frank) Davie was a member of the Legislative Assembly from 1924 to 1933, and for the last three years he was Speaker of the legislature.

His wife Beatrice, Pat’s grandmother, was one of the first women in Victoria to drive a motor car.

“And then my generation…I have one sister, three sons and eight grandchildren.”

So are all those offspring proud of their roots? “Well, I think so yes” Pat says with a smile.

“Some of them are a little young to be proud yet, but the will be, they will be in the future” she adds warmly.

Veronica CooperVeronica Cooper

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