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Our Past is your Present!

We are a non-profit organization focused on promoting, preserving, and being a strong, active resource for all things of heritage value on Sea Island in Richmond, British Columbia. Join us to learn about the history of Sea Island and its residents, past and present.


First Families: The DeBeck Family

portrait of pioneer Howard Ludlow Debeck

(Ancestry/Bath Hatfield)

DeBeck, Howard Ludlow (1843-1924)

DeBeck (née Weeks), Emmaline Jane

DeBeck (née Clarke), Selena Elizabeth

Howard DeBeck, lumberman, orchardist and farmer

Howard Ludlow DeBeck was born in Debec, Carleton County, New Brunswick on February 1, 1843 to Elizabeth Ann Dow, age 28, and George De Beck, age 29. He first married Emmaline Jane Weeks (1848-1871), and had three children with Emmaline. Years after being widowed, he married Selena “Lena” Elizabeth Clarke (1859-1940), and had five children with Selena. Howard DeBeck died on April 4, 1924, at the age of 81.

In 1866 Howard DeBeck left his native province and travelled, by way of the Panama Canal, to Victoria, British Columbia. He married Emmaline Jane Weeks in the same year.

In 1869, Howard DeBeck and his two brothers, Warren and Ward DeBeck, bought 1200 acres of land on Sea Island from Mr. McRoberts. They struggled to improve their land, but the obstacles were too many. In 1871, Howard DeBeck became a widow at the age of 28, and in 1872, he disposed of his holdings on Sea Island. Howard DeBeck and his two brothers built the Brunette Sawmills in Sapperton, near New Westminster, British Columbia.

On August 7, 1889, at the age of 46, Howard DeBeck married Selena “Lena” Elizabeth Clarke in New Westminster.

In 1902, he sold Brunette Sawmills and was engaged in a men’s furnishing business in New Westminster. In 1911 he was living on an orchard in Yale, British Columbia with his family.

Howard DeBeck had three children with Emmaline Weeks: Marion Lee DeBeck, Georgina Elma Douglas, née deBeck (1870-1955), and Emma Augusta “Gussie” Rand, née DeBeck (1871-1909). He had five children with Selena Clarke: Howard Clarke DeBeck (1890-1929), Charles Victor DeBeck (1892-1954), Laura Eileen Brown, née DeBeck (1890-1973), George Clifford DeBeck (1896-1917), and Mildred Josephine Lambly, née DeBeck (1898-1987).

To view the DeBeck family tree on Ancestry or obtain further information, contact Barb Nielsen at barbaralynnnielsen@gmail.com.