She was buried in Vernon’s cemetery 118 years ago

Ellen Weeks was the first person to be buried in the new cemetery

Vernon and District Family History Society’s Lawrna Myers points out the first person’s grave and tombstone in the Pleasant Valley Cemetery. Ellen Weeks was buried 118 years ago. (Roger Knox - Vernon Morning Star files)

Ellen Johnson Wilding Weeks was the first person buried in the Vernon Cemetery when she was interred 118 years ago.

Weeks was born on Jan. 22, 1847, in Shrewsbury, England, to John and Sarah Wilding.

She was married to Thomas, a building contractor, on September of 1867 and together they moved to Vernon in April 1893 with their five children: Vincent, Arthur, Ellen, Joseph and Thomas.

The family lived on Maple Street—the present address is 4704 20th Street—in a home that Thomas built. The home, known as the Rice house, is still standing today. Week’s husband, Thomas, built some of the first buildings in town, Vernon and District Family History Society’s Lawrna Myers said.

Her children also made their mark on the town. Arthur was a well-known steamboat captain on Okanagan Lake and Weeks Road off of Longarce Drive in the Okanagan Landing is named after him. And Thomas was once the president of the Okanagan Historical Society.

Weeks died when she was only 54 on Oct. 5, 1901. Myers said she was a victim of consumption.

She was buried three days later in the new cemetery.

Her husband died Feb. 21, 1903, from liver disease. He was 60 years old. Thomas was buried alongside his wife.

Weeks’ grandchildren, Ellen and Robert, were also buried in the family plot.

“None of Ellen’s children are buried in the cemetery,” Myers said.

READ MORE: A walking tour through the cemetery

READ MORE: Halloween hauntings happening in the North Okanagan


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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