- 1898-1949 (Creation)
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William Alphonse Slack (1856-1902) and his wife, Mary Anne (1865-1931) were pioneers of Hatzic in the District of Mission. Originally from Hagersville, Ontario, they arrived in December of 1898 with four of their five children: Delbert (1888-1917), Gladys (1889-?), Clifford (1890-1941), Geraldine (1892-1981), and Grace (1895-1967). Their eldest daughter Irene (1886-1963) remained in Ontario with her grandmother, Elizabeth (nee Walton) Slack, to complete her schooling.
The family rented and farmed property on the banks of the Hatzic slough. In July 1901, their seventh child, Lloyd, was born and in 1902, Alphonso died suddenly from pneumonia. Left a widow with seven children to raise, Mrs. Slack sent for Irene from Ontario and set forth to provide for her family. In 1903, Mary Anne purchased an acre of land in Hatzic and built the Slack family home. In 1908, she went into partnership with a Mr. A.B. Catherwood and began operating the Hatzic General Store and Post Office. She held the position of post mistress until shortly before her death in 1931. Mary Anne was able to supplement the income for her growing family by providing lodging on the upper floors of the store for men and in her family home for women. She also sold farm and dairy products including: fruit, cheese, and butter. Mary Anne's eldest son, Del, was killed in World War I on March 13, 1917. Her remaining sons, Cliff and Lloyd, married and settled in Hatzic. Cliff managed the store with his mother. Following her death, he carried on as postmaster until just before he died in 1941. Lloyd, nicknamed "Duke", became the proprietor of the Hatzic Home Service which he operated until his retirement in 1957. He and his wife, Christine (nee Davidson) had five children. With the exception of Gladys who moved away following her marriage to Don McGillvray of Nanaimo, Mary Anne's daughters remained in the area. Geraldine settled in Dewdney with her husband Gibson Morrison and raised their three children. Grace resided on Hatzic Island where she and her husband, Howard Hall, operated a fruit farm. Irene got engaged to a Mr. Parker, a CPR employee, who was fatally injured by a horse. She subsequently married James ("Jay") Michie (1873-1946) in 1913. Mr. Michie settled in Hatzic in 1906, where he operated one of the earliest sawmills in the area with a Mr. C. Manual. It was eventually sold and in 1910, Mr. Michie became the Dominion Express Agent at Hatzic. In 1912, he purchased property on Hatzic Island and began to cultivate fruit trees. Following Mr. Michie's appointment as the "Provincial Liquor Vender" in 1920, the Michie's moved to Mission City where there three daughters, Helen (1913- ), Edna ("Eddie") (1916-1940) and Mary Ellen ("Mary") (1920-1990) lived to adulthood. Two of their daughters, Helen and Edna, were May Queens. Mr. Michie was a member of the Canadian Legion Branch 57 (Mission City), the BPO Elks Lodge No. 30, Mission City and District Board of Trade, the Pioneers' Association, the Caledonian Society (a charter member) and the Mission and District Agricultural Association. Irene was a member of the Hatzic Women's Institute and, after 1920, the Mission City Women's Institute.
When plans were initiated to construct the first community hall in Hatzic, Irene travelled the district by horseback to collect donations of money and labour for the project. She was also an active member of the Anglican Church and, in the early 1900s, received a camera in recognition of her outstanding service. She became an avid photographer and developed most of her own film. In October of 1940, their eldest daughter, Edna, died. Edna's husband, Gordon Topham, a naval officier, was serving on the HMCS Prince Rupert and so Irene and Jay raised their infant grandson, Garry James (1939- ) for the next several years. In October of 1946, Mr. Michie retired as the Provincial Liquor Vendor and a month later died suddenly at seventy-three years of age. Mrs. Michie continued to live in the family home in Mission City until her death in 1963.
The Slack/Michie fonds was generated and accumulated primarily by Mrs. Mary Anne Slack (nee Catherwood) (1865-1931), and her eldest daughter, Irene Michie (1886-1963), pioneers of Hatzic. The collection was donated to the Mission Community Archives by Irene's eldest daughter, Helen Black (1913- ) in 1989.
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Fonds consists of photographic images, including: black and white negatives (glass plate and gelatin cellulose) and prints, and colour postcards which provide a record of the family and their lives. Spanning over four decades, the images also document the growth and early development of hatzic between 1900 and 1920, including: the geographic landscape, the economic development, the modes of transportation, and the pioneer community.
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