Fonds MS 212;1984.430;1986.013;2003.006 - Sophie Ellison fonds

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Sophie Ellison fonds

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CA VERN MS 212;1984.430;1986.013;2003.006

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  • 1883-1946 (Creation)
    Ellison, Sophia Christine

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21 cm of textual records

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Biographical history

Sophia Christine Ellison (nee Johnson) was born in Peoria, Illinois in 1857 of Swedish-American parents. She was brought up as a strict Methodist, but her early schooling stressed the arts and music. Sophie, as she was called, came out to the Okanagan in 1884 to visit her uncle Peter Anderson. She was accompanied by her cousin Emma Lind. Together they had travelled across the United States by rail, then up the west coast by boat, then to Yale on the CPR, and then by horse to Vernon. The arrival of these two charming ladies caused quite a stir and Price Ellison was not long in pressing his suit. He married Sophie that same year, using gold that he had mined from Cherry Creek to fashion a wedding ring. Prior to her marriage, Sophie became the first school teacher in the area, resigning in June, 1885. Four girls followed by four boys were born to the union. As a result of family concern for Sophie's welfare, her mother came to visit in 1887, helping with the delivery of the second child while there. That same year, the little settlement of Priest's Valley was renamed Vernon on Sophie's recommendation. The church had an important place in the Ellison's lives and Sophie was organist for both the Church of England and the Presbyterian Church. In 1893, Sophie and Price and the children travelled to Chicago for the World's Fair. In 1898, Price was elected to the provincial legislature, and in 1900, the family moved to Victoria for the summer. In 1903 and 1904, Sophie travelled back to Illinois to see her family. By 1907, the family had outgrown the house beside Polson Park. Judge Spinks' large house on Pleasant Valley Road became available and the family moved in, staying there until 1978. In 1909, Price was appointed to the cabinet and Sophie found herself travelling to Victoria to attend official functions. In 1910, she and Price travelled to England, visiting his family and conducting business for the province of B.C. Over the years, Sophie took a great interest in community affairs, becoming a founding member and first president of the Vernon Women's Institute. Sophie Ellison died in 1954 at the age of 97, with her more than seventy years in Vernon spanning almost the entire development of the city and the North Okanagan.

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Fonds documents the life of Sophia Ellison from 1884-1932. Includes personal correspondence, legal records, and personal ephemera.

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BCAUL control number: VERN-116

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