Together they had six children, two sons and four daughters. By 1881, two of the daughters, Susannah, a tailoress and Janet, a dressmaker, were unemployed, while Hugh was a merchant's clerk at a ship store and Agnes a milliner. Their other son was also called Edward and it was possible that he left for Canada ahead of the rest of the family, marrying Janet Kerr, who was Austrian, in 1883.
On 22nd May 1884, the whole family left Scotland's shores forever and set sail from Glasgow for Quebec, Canada. Edward was around 56 years old and his wife, Susannah, 65. Had the lack of work at home, without prospects, made them decide on this drastic move? What happened to the family in the New World?
By Elida Peers - Sooke News Mirror
Published: July 20, 2011
"Driving from Sooke northeast across Sooke River Bridge today, the foliage obscures one’s view of the historic Milne home high on the riverbank at one’s left.
This 1898 photo (above) shows the Milne family on the front porch, which faced the bridge. The senior Milnes, Edward and Susannah, had arrived in Sooke in 1884 from Scotland, with their grown children, Edward and Hugh and four daughters. Within the next few years the senior Milnes had passed away and it was Edward Jr and his wife Janet Kerr who established the pioneer frame home in the photo.
Shown are Edward Milne Jr. (for whom Edward Milne School was named) standing alongside his wife Janet, who is holding their toddler Nan. In front of them is their youngest son Fred. Their daughters Janet and Isabella are next, with their elder sons Edward and William.
The enterprising Edward Milne Jr. established a large farm, became a shopkeeper and postmaster, and even ran a horse stage. The area got the name Milne’s Landing because he built a wharf to offload supplies brought in from Victoria by water.
When the Bamfield-Victoria tree-to-tree telegraph line was established in 1889 this house served as a telegraph station. By 1913 telephone service had been established, with the first switchboard set up in the Milne home. Isabella, or Bella as she was known, was the first telephone operator. In time, youngest daughter Agnes, known as Nan, succeeded her to the duty and became chief operator when a separate building was constructed next to the roadway.
A feature of the Milne home that I remember fondly was the flock of colourful peacocks and peahens that paraded proudly on the well-kept lawns. In those quiet days, their raucous calls could be heard for miles.
While Moss Cottage (1870) is Sooke’s oldest standing building, followed by Woodside and Burnside (1884), the Milne home is next in line. Though the frame house is empty now and sagging on its foundations, it is a reminder of more than a century of proud Milne family history."
Isn't that wonderful? So where is Sooke, the place they settled and made their home?
Sooke is located on the south western tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. It has a sheltered harbor, and is a scenic half hour drive from BC's capital city Victoria. The Sooke region encompasses East Sooke and the District of Sooke, two communities which are joined across the Sooke Harbour and Basin.
'EMCS is one of two high schools in School District 62 (Sooke). We are located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island and have approximately 700 students. Our students come from Sooke and the surrounding area including the communities of East Sooke, Jordan River, Shirley and Port Renfrew. The total population of this region is about 10,000 people.
EMCS has many features including a 350-seat theatre, an excellent full-service cafeteria, and a beautiful indoor and outdoor setting. This, along with our broad range of course offerings and professional staff, will make your experience here memorable and meaningful. EMCS is a great place to build a solid foundation for your future.
It was in the early 1880's that the Milne family from Greenock, Scotland settled in Sooke. By 1895 Edward Milne was operating a general store and post office at the northwest corner of what is now Sooke Road (Highway 14) and Sooke River Road. This pioneer family played a large role in the history of the district.
The Milne land holdings ran from the river eastward to the boundary of Sooke Indian Reserve No. 1. In addition to their business and running a horse stage to Victoria, they operated a dairy farm and grew their own grain. The first telephone exchange in Sooke was located in the family home, and the first telephone operators were daughters of the Milne family. The house still stands today, at the northeastern end of Sooke River bridge.
When the eastern wooded portion of the Milne farm was expropriated by the federal government during World War II, an army training camp was established there. At the close of the war, the government made the land available to the newly formed School District and Milne's Landing High School was established. During the 1960's there was a formal name change and the school became Edward Milne Secondary School.'