Deas Island

Feature Type:Island - Land area surrounded by water or marsh.
Status:
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: In Fraser River between Lulu Island (Richmond) and Delta District Municipality, New Westminster Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 49°07'12"N, 123°04'00"W at the approximate centre of this feature.
Datum: WGS84
NTS Map: 92G/3

Origin Notes and History:

Adopted 11 February 1936 on 92G/3, as identified in the 1909 BC Gazetteer, and as labelled on BC map 2B, 1914.

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

"I learn from Colonel Wolfenden, King's Printer, formerly one of the old Sappers and miners stationed near there, that Deas Island was named after John Sullivan Deas, the foreman of Finday, Durham & Brodie's Salmon Cannery on this island - one of the first coloured men in the District." (24 February 1908 letter from W.R. Robertson, Provincial Minerologist, to Geographical Board of Canada).

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

John Sullivan Deas, or Dease, pre-emptor 1873, crown grant 20 June 1875.

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

After a fisherman named Deas who used to land his catch at Brodie's cannery here.

Source: Akrigg, Helen B. and Akrigg, G.P.V; 1001 British Columbia Place Names; Discovery Press, Vancouver 1969, 1970, 1973.

"John Sullivan Deas was a [black man] who presumably came to Vancouver Island some time after the general migration thither of [black men] in 1858-59, for his name first appears in 1866 when the birth of a son was recorded on December 20, 1866, at which time he was a resident of Yale. Presumably he continued to live there until 1868, for he is so-listed in the directory for that year, but by September 1868 he was a resident of Victoria, for the birth of a son on September 8, 1868, indicates he was then in the city. The 1869 directory lists him as a 'tinsmith, hardware and stove dealer' with an establishment on Fort Street. As late as October 1871 he was still living in Victoria. By 1874 however, he had removed to the mainland for in the directory [that year] he is listed as a resident of the South Arm, Fraser River. It is understood he was then acting as a foreman for one of the early fish canneries on the river, probably the one [on this island] operated by Findlay, Durham and Brodies. In 1877, the birth of a daughter (February 27th) is recorded as 'of Fraser River' and the BC Directory 1877-8 associates him with the Cooperville Fishery, on [this island]. No further trace of him has been found. The association of his name with Deas Island is on the authority of Richard Wolfenden, one of the Royal Engineers who remained on in the Colony."

Source: Provincial Archives of BC "Place Names File" compiled 1945-1950 by A.G. Harvey from various sources, with subsequent additions

"John Sullivan Deas, salmon canner (born c1838 at Charleston, South Carolina; died 22 July 1880 at Portland, Oregon). Trained as a tinsmith, he travelled west to the California gold rush, then moved north to Victoria in 1862. He was at Yale from 1866 to 1868 and began canning salmon in 1871 on the Fraser River at Sapperton, for Edward Stamp. In 1873 he built his own cannery on what was named Deas Island. It was the pioneer phase of salmon canning and Deas was an industry leader, the only black man working as a canner on the river. When his wife bought a rooming house in Portland he sold the cannery in 1878 and moved south."

Source: Encyclopedia of British Columbia; Daniel Francis, ed; Harbour Publishing Ltd, 2000. ISBN 1-55017-200-X