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John Greig Sr. Biography

Born: December-08-1822 Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland.

Christened: January-27-1823 Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland.

Died: October-14-1892 Saanich, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

John Greig, son of Francis Greig and Amelia Gaudie (Goudie), was hired by the Hudson's Bay Company in the year of 1844. It is assumed that he arrived in Canada at Churchill or York Factory, N.W.T. where he would travel overland to Fort Colville which was near today's city of Colville, Washington, U.S.A. The Hudson's Bay records show him as a Laborer for the years 1844-1851 then on their books with no wages until 1853.

At Fort Colville he met Margaret Goudie, the daughter of James and Catherine Goudie. James was also from the Orkney Islands and took Catherine, an Indian woman from the Schwayips Tribe, as his wife. Margaret was their first child born on September-15-1834 (on or about). The Goudie family moved to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada in about 1852.

John Sr. married Margaret and also moved to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada in about 1852. The first record of John Greig's presence in Victoria, Vancouver Island was in 1854 although his first child John Jr. was born in Victoria in May-1853.

John Sr. was a lime burner. That is, he extracted lime form the limestone rock. He found such rock in the Esquimalt District of Victoria around Thetis Lake and sold the lime to the Hudson's Bay Company. As the lime in the area was not of satisfactory quality, he scouted about to find better deposits. John Sr. found better lime in the Tod Inlet area north of Victoria on land that is now the world famous Butchart Gardens. The family moved there in 1870 and worked the lime deposits for several years. When the Hudson's Bay Company decided to buy lime from the San Juan Islands, John sold the property to his sons, William and James for $50 and a Stetson hat. The land was subsequently sold to the Saanich Lime Company under the management of Joseph Wrigleworth. In 1904, the Vancouver Portland Cement Company under the control of R.P. Butchart took it over. The quarry was subsequently converted into the well known tourist attraction "The Butchart Gardens".

John Sr. was known for being a good fiddler. Story has it that when arriving in Canada, he made his own violin and taught himself to play it. He was in great demand at social dance function.

John Sr. and Margaret had a large family of twelve children: John (b. 1853), Robert Wesley (b.1856), Margaret (b.1858), William (b.1861), Alice Amelia (b.1863), James (b.1865), Mary Elizabeth (b.1866), Thomas (b.1868), Emily Jane (b 1871), George (b. 1873), Francis (b.1876) and Donald (b. 1879).

*John Greig Sr.'s biography provided courtesy of Lynn Piaggio.

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UPDATED October-20-2001
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