Unlocking North Vancouver History

Moodyville: Legend and Legacy

Nurse’s Walking Stick

Emily Susan Patterson travelled around Burrard Inlet as part of her nursing activities. The Heroine of Moodyville celebrates her 10-mile trip by Native dugout canoe during a raging storm to help the critically ill wife of a lighthouse keeper. Here is a sample:

The captains scan the frowning heav’ns, “Tis fools push off tonight!
We cannot face those surging seas that beat in monstrous might

Upon the cliffs and rockbound coast of Atkinson’s great light!”

“Oh, pity! Pity! Who will go with me on errand blest?”
Ah, daughter of a valiant race, thy life to good confessed!
Wouldst dare the tumult of the winds that suffering find rest?

“No! No!” the hoary captains said; but up spake Indian brave:

“With me you go, most merciful, a dying one to save —
Chinalset strong, a Squamish son, fears not the leaping wave!”

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WHAT
This walking stick has an iron-rod core covered with layers of shaped leather disks made of industrial belting — materials that likely came from the mill.

WHERE
A copper disk on the head of the walking stick is engraved, “Belonged to Mrs. John Patterson of Moodyville. First Nurse of Burrard Inlet 1873.”

WHEN
Nothing is known about the walking stick’s date of manufacture.

WHO
A millwright working at the Moodyville mill is believed to have made the walking stick. Perhaps he was a grateful former patient or relative of a patient.

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