Salt Spring Island Archives

Akerman / 998162001

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Mary Ann (Tuwa’hwiye Tusium Gosselim) Gyves c. 1854-1941

holding Bob Akerman

Mary Ann was a much loved and hard working pioneer and mid-wife, who was known for her adaptability in all situations and who maintained great inner strength and determination.  Her birth date is not recorded but she was born Tuwa’H Wiye Gosselem around. 1854.  She was one of three children born to Cowichan First Nation Chieftain, “George” Tusilum and his wife Taltunaat, of the Clem-Clemelutz Clan.
Her marriage to Michael Gyves (c. 1840 - 1941) is registered on 11 July 1886 at Cowichan.  She was about 17; he was 46.  Michael and Mary Ann had three children:  Ellen (m. Ted Akerman), Michael (m. Caroline Cotsford) and Mary Katherine (m. Ernie Brenton)
Mary Ann helped Michael clear their homestead - she drove the oxen and he drove the plow. They lived in a windowless shack at the foot of the mountain until Michael could build a more comfortable home, which still stands adjacent to the Fulford Fire Hall. A true pioneer woman, her husband claimed cougars were more afraid of Granny’s stick than his gun!
Mary Ann was a midwife. She received her healing knowledge from her Cowichan family. This skill was much appreciated by all who benefited from her medical treatment and assistance at births. She is credited with bringing many of the south end babies into the world.
A devoted grandmother, Mary Ann moved into Ganges during the school week to keep house so her grandchildren could attend high school. This enabled the children to get their diplomas. The girls went on to nursing careers, thanks to Granny’s sacrifice.

Gyves house, Salt Spring Island, BC

c. 1914




Collection Akerman Accession number 989.023.006
Location Salt Spring Archives Dimension 5"x7"
Date 1913 Extent and Physical Description B&W print

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