Formal studio portrait of Volkert Vedder. (Photo Courtesy of the Chilliwack Museum and Archives [PP500066])

Pioneers: Volkert Vedder an early colonial settler in Yarrow

Volkert Vedder arrived in Chilliwack with his two sons, Adam and Albert, in the early 1860s

Vedder is a common place name in Chilliwack.

Vedder Crossing, Vedder Bridge, Vedder Road and Vedder Canal are just some of them.

The name comes from Volkert Vedder who arrived on the south side of Chilliwack with his two sons, Adam and Albert, in the early 1860s on a piece of property located below Majuba Hill.

Volkert was born in Schenectady, New York in 1808. He married Agnes Swart around 1830 and the couple had three sons, Adam, Albert and John.

Volkert originally ventured to the West Coast by himself in 1851, landing in California in search of gold. He then returned home the next year and brought his three sons back to California with him in August 1852, shortly after his wife died. The four Vedders went by train to various mines in California for eight years. During that time, his son John died in California.

The Vedders later made their way to Canada after word got out of another gold rush north of the U.S. border. After the Cariboo gold rush, Volkert along with Adam and Albert, came to the valley eventually settling on crown land in Chilliwack in the 1860s.

He was the first colonial settler to pre-empt Crown land in the area that later became Yarrow.

By the early 1870s, Volkert had one of the largest single parcels of land in the area, owning a 640-acre estate. Along with his two sons, the Vedders ended up owning a total of 1,200 acres.

Volkert had an interest in trails and bridges — he helped finance a bridge in Hope over the Coquihalla River, and made an offer to open up a trail in the area.

A handwritten proposal from Volkert and two partners to Peter O’Reilly, gold commissioner and magistrate in Hope, read verbatim: “To Judge O’Rily, we the undersinede propose to open the trail from fort hope to the Chilawack by removing logs and other impediments so it is passable for animals for consideration of one hundred dollars.”

It is unclear exactly what years some of the major landmarks in Chilliwack were named after Volkert Vedder, but there are several on the list.

Vedder River used to be known as Vedder Creek, a stream that came down Vedder Mountain and passed through the Vedder farm. The flow of the creek was so slow, it was even known to dry up during some summers.

In 1875, a logjam in the Chilliwack River gave way which diverted some of the water into Vedder Creek. In 1882, the water in Chilliwack River changed course again when a blockage occurred rerouting all of the water into Vedder Creek. That section of the new river, which was originally called Vedder Creek, was later named Vedder River.

Sometime in the 1880s, brothers Frank and John Lumsden purchased the Vedder ranch. At that point, Volkert made the short trek north to Sardis to live — that’s where his son Adam owned a large parcel of land.

Volkert Vedder died at the age of 89 in 1898.



Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Photograph shows the farm of the Lumsden brothers, Frank and John A., who purchased the Volkert Vedder ranch in the 1880s. (Photo Courtesy of the Chilliwack Museum and Archives [PP501355])

Just Posted

VIDEO: Call goes out for B.C. wildfire relief supplies

Chilliwack volunteers hope to load a 53-foot trailer with practical donations before heading into the firezone

UFV baseball coach returns to pro ranks

Jordan Lennerton, who also coaches at ‘The Yard’ in Chilliwack, played 1 game for the Quebec Capitales

Camp Ignite aims to inspire future first responders

Four-day camp offers young women a chance to experience the challenges of being a first responder

General aviation traffic down to a trickle at Chilliwack Airport

Minimum visibility guidelines can’t be met when conditions are so smoky you can’t see the mountains

At least 14 illegal fires set between Chilliwack and Hope this month

Conservation officers are fed up with people not listening to the province-wide fire ban

Social media, digital photography allow millennials to flock to birdwatching

More young people are flocking to birdwatching than ever, aided by social media, digital photography

Prime minister greeted by B.C. premier as cabinet retreat begins

PM Justin Trudeau and Premier John Horgan meet in advance of federal cabinet meetings in Nanaimo

Indigenous Creation story to be performed as musical at Lytton River Festival

Savage Society and members of the Lytton First Nation to present The Council of Spider, Ant & Fly

Are your kids anxious about going back to school?

BC Children’s Hospital offers tips to help your children be mindful and reduce stress

New trial ordered for James Oler in B.C. child bride case

Meanwhile, appeal court dismisses Emily Blackmore’s appeal of guilty verdict

This trash heap in Vancouver could be yours for $3.9 million

Sitting atop 6,000 square feet, the home was built in 1912, later destroyed by fire

Date rapist left victims with ‘long-lasting, emotional scars,’ judge says

Klifford Kenyon of Abbotsford sentenced to additional two years in prison

Fire in barn that housed therapy horses has been confirmed an arson

Abbotsford Police Department is now investigating and seeks witnesses

Team Canada’s next game postponed at Little League World Series

They’re back in action on Wednesday against Peurto Rico

Most Read