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The Agassiz Family and Ferny Coombe

Black and white photograph of a farm house. Women are sitting on the porch looking at two people in a horse-drawn carriage.

The Agassiz Family Homestead, late 1800s.


Lewis Nunn Agassiz was born in Essex, England in 1827 and travelled to the colonies as a young man. He served with the 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers in eastern Canada where he met and married Mary Caroline Schram. Between 1852 and 1867, the Agassizs’ journeyed from Prince Edward Island to British Columbia, where they finally settled and homesteaded their claim, called Ferny Coombe, on the Fraser River delta in the eastern Fraser Valley.

Like so many other settlers, the Agassizs’ had set out to seek their fortune in BC’s gold fields. Lewis acquired many different posts during the 1860s, moving his family between Yale and Hope. His passion for farming, however, led to the pre-emption of 150 acres southwest of Hope. These were cleared and improved by John Walker and Crispen Taylor between 1864 and 1867, when the family finally moved to the farm. The Agassizs’ had three sons and seven daughters over a two-decade period, requiring the original one-and-a-half storey log home, built by T.B. Hicks, to be continually renovated to accommodate and improve the comfort level of the growing family.

By the 1880s, the Agassiz family owned approximately 1,600 acres, a small proportion of which was donated to construct the Anglican Church on Hot Springs Road. When the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) mainline went through the area in 1885, the community of Ferny Coombe was renamed Agassiz. In 1895, the Municipality of Kent was established. Agassiz was, and still remains, its hub.


Black and white photograph of a family having tea outside their home. Included in the image is their Chinese manservant, 1891.

Agassiz family tea after a tennis game at the Agassiz Homestead, late 1800s.