Fonds CR-151 - Ebba Bowing Neilson fonds

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Ebba Bowing Neilson fonds

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  • ca. 1920-1977 (Creation)
    Neilson, Ebba Bowing

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Physical description

8 photographs
1 drawing

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Biographical history

Mrs. Neilson was born Ebba Sofia Bowing on Westham Island on June 26, 1906. Ebba's parents were Herman Sven and Elvira W. Bowing (nee Petersen) who emmigrated to Delta's Westham Island from Sweden in about 1903. Herman Bowing got a job working for his uncle Paul Swenson at a Westham Island fish cannery. Ebba was the third child to Herman and Elvira who had seven children; Martha Elvira, Paul Herbert, Ebba Sofia, Anna Catherine, John Herman, Edward Adrew and Elsie Maria. All of their children were born on Westham Island except for their eldest, Maria Elvira who was born in Kalmar, Sweden in 1902 and emmigrated to Delta with her parents.

Ebba grew up on Westham Island in a house her parents built in 1909 on acreage near the centre of the island. Mr. Bowing continued to work at the canneries on the west coast while her mother, Elvira managed the farm and brought up the seven children. Ebba attended Ladner Public school and King George V High School. Ebba attended many of the May Day celebrations in Ladner and was honoured as May Queen in 1922. After graduating from highschool, Ebba took her training to become a teacher at the Vancouver Normal School. She taught at Sunbury Elementary School until she married Thomas Edward Neilson in 1926.

Ebba and her husband Thomas Edward Neilson made their home in Vancouver and Fort St. James before moving to Ladner in 1944 where Mr. Neilson reclaimed and farmed land east of Ferry Road (District lots 471 & 452). Ebba and her husband had two children, Croydon and Mildred (Elliott). In order to create productive farmland on their property, Mr. Neilson had to do extensive dyking and draining. By 1947, the soil became productive and Mr. Neilson was then able to farm a variety of crops including sugar beet seed, potatoes and hay. He was also able to use the land to raise beef cattle and farmed the land until 1968. The couple's house was located at 5150 Westminster Ave.

In 1954, Ebba's husband took action to seek a declaration under the Quieting Titles Act to the land which adjoined their 168 acre farm. Mr. Neilson fought for a further 200 acres that were the results of the accretion of marsh land next to their original titled land. Mr. Neilson was awarded this land in a court ruling in October of 1954, much to the dismay of lower mainland hunting groups which claimed the area as a duck nesting ground. The couple continued to live at thier home on Westminster Ave. after Ed retired from farming in 1968. Following Mr. Neilson's retirement, the farm was sold to Keith Baldwin.

Ebba was an ardent gardener and created a picturesque garden at their home on Westminster Ave. She was a member of the Westham Island Sewing Circle and the Friendship Group of the Ladner United Church. She enjoyed bowling as a member of the Kingpins in the Thursday afternoon ladies league and in her later years she also played the electronic organ. Ebba passed away in 1985, at the age of 79 while vacationing on a cruise in South America.

Custodial history

Mildred Neilson Elliott, who was the daughter of Ebba Bowing Neilson acquired these records from her mother's estate.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of photographs of the Bowing family and their home on Westham Island, an aerial photo of the Neilson family farm and May Queen photos.

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BCAUL control number: DMA-301

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Revised March 27, 2012 (CM)

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