It started with a call from a homeowner. Lexi Ebl. Lexi and her husband were interested in having their home placed on the City of Salmon Arm’s Heritage Register. This Curator and member of the Community Heritage Commission might be biased, but thinks the register is a prestigious group of buildings and sites that are valued for their heritage or cultural significance. It is kind of a club based on historical merit and Ebls’ request was a first. Someone wanted to join!

Lexi and Allen Ebl told me the house was built in 1913 and they had spent decades restoring it to its present glory. They told me about the Duncans, the previous owners, and it was evident they loved their home and felt connected to its heritage.

The house wasn’t on the heritage registry. At its next meeting the Heritage Commission asked first for an archival research and then agreed to do a land title search. The latter hadn’t been done before, and the archives did not have a record of when it was built. Tax records never include information about buildings. If a seller took a private mortgage, their name was listed in the tax record, and they were required to pay the taxes.

The index of the taxes coincided with the title search except for one thing. The title search did not include the first person who held the title. Pat Owens successfully completed the requirements for his letters patent to the quarter-section. He sold the acreage to a Robert Fortune who went about subdividing the property in 1913 and building himself a new house. Fortune began shipping apples, won national prizes, hosted a turkey shoot or two, and introduced pheasants to the area. He was the first of the “Gentlemen Farmers” who enthusiastically owned property in the neighbourhood.

The term “Gentleman Farmer” is a code for a person of means who was the resident owner but didn’t actually do the work of farming. Museum board members used to tell me they were Remittance men, sent out to the Canada for any number of reasons. Sometimes the reason was simple - they were second sons. Tradition and primogeniture meant they would not inherit the family estate so were sent out to the colonies.

Whatever the reason, these gentlemen farmers settled on quarter sections that had been subdivided. They were the second wave of settlers to come to our community.
In 1912 Fortune built another house and the following year subdivided his farm, selling 7.108 acres to Captain Henry Littlehales-Barker – another gentleman farmer.

The title search included the oldest subdivision plan on record. The search named Captain Henry L. Barker as the earliest landowner on title. He paid taxes in 1913. Over the years there was no mention of him in the newspaper, but he was listed in the municipal directory in 1914 as a Fruit Grower. In 1917 Mrs. Littlehales-Barker made the news when her eldest son, Cyril Leland Hains went missing during W.W. I. The community learned of his passing in the Salmon Arm Observer.

Archives volunteer Don Paterson was tasked with finding what he could about Henry L. Barker and the Hains connection. Don fired up his computer. I sent him a link to a Wikki family tree. Don found that Henry Littlehales-Barker was a Lieutenant in the equivalent of the British home guard. He retired from service and went on to travel extensively. Later Littlehales-Barker married widow Ivy Hains in 1908, one year after her first husband died. Two stepsons, Cyril (12) and Ronald (11), completed this new family. In 1912 Henry, Ivy, and Ronald, 15 by this time, sailed for Quebec on the Cunard shipping line. No final destination is listed but Henry’s occupation seems already established. He was a “Fruit Farmer.” Don contacted Roger Lloyd in the UK., cc’ing me. Roger is on a branch of the Littlehales-Barker family tree. Roger had more information to add.

Roger emailed, “Two heads are better than one,” when I sent him the newspaper record of Cyril Leland Hains’ death and a link to Ronald Hains’ CEF service records. He updated the site with the new information on Littlehales-Barker.

With Roger’s help, the SoS was completed on the Littlehales-Barker home on Lakeshore Road. The next step is to present the draft to the Community Heritage Commission for recommendation to Council. What will Council decide? The Ebls have done their part to preserve a home with a story. In the end, that’s what this exercise has been about. Uncovering and discovering a story worth preserving.

Thank you Lexi and Allen Ebl, for wanting to place your home on the register.