The Teague House History
"A house rich with history and a colorful
cast of characters"
This house is known locally as the “Teague House”. As this brief history shows, the house has passed through many owners, some rather colorful characters from early British Columbia. Lots 10 and 11 were bought at public auction from the Colony of British Columbia in 1865 by John Alway for the sum of about 20 pounds sterling each.
It seems likely that the house was built by him soon afterwards probably in 1866. Always was quite the local entrepreneur. An advertisement that appeared in the British Columbia Tribune newspaper published briefly in 1868 shows he was in partnership in a shipping and freighting firm:
Alway & Bailey
Shipping and freight fireproof warehouse
Own teams of horses for Big Bend or Cariboo
Front Street, Yale
John Alway also advertised around the same time as an auctioneer and commission merchant. He made headlines in a few papers in the colony after he reported that his Indian guide tried to murder him on a trip down the river in 1869.
In 1869 the house passed into the possession of Helena Sutton, possibly the wife of W. H. Sutton, a well-known Yale merchant specializing in wines, liquors and cigars in addition to a wide assortment of stock including billiard tables and coal oil. He also ran on of Yale’s livery stables.
In 1874 Isaac Oppenheimer bought the house. He was one of the five Oppenheimer brothers who operated on of the provinces largest mercantile chains with stores in Yale, Barkerville and several other centres. One of Isaac’s brothers, David became Vancouver’s second mayor.
During the height of the railway construction in 1884, Isaac Oppenheimer sold the house to John Trutch. John Trutch was born in Antigua, but was educated in England where he became a civil engineer and surveyor. He and his brother Joseph came out to the west coast in the early 1850’s and eventually found their way to British Columbia where they were engaged in the early 1860’s on construction of the first Alexandria Suspension Bridge. John married Zoe Musgrave, sister of Governor Sir Anthony Musgrave. Trutch moved in the highest social circles and it is likely that he wanted the house because it was right next door to Andrew Onderdonk’s home, the centre of Yale’s upper crust.
John Trutch was not as famous as his brother Joseph who was British Columbia’s first Lieutenant Governor and became Sir Joseph Trutch. The reason John bought the house in 1884 was because he had been appointed as an inspector of construction along the railway. This was a controversial position because he was accused of neglecting his duties and allowing station house roofs to be put on the wrong way with only half the required nails.
Trutch did not stay in the house for more than a year and after CPR construction was finished he and his wife moved to Victoria. He retained ownership, however, until 1895, when it was sold to Elsie O’Connor who had likely been living there. She immediately sold it to Alice Teague, wife of William Teague.
William Teague had a long and distinguished career in Yale. He began as prospector, did a stint as a policeman in Hope and Yale, and later was appointed Provincial Government Agent of Revenue for Yale.
Some of his descendants still reside near Yale and in outlying towns and cities. The house remained in the Teague Family for almost 100 years.
In 1990 the house was purchased from Walter Chrane, grandson of Alice and William Teague, by Susan and Darwin Baerg.
The Teague House B&B opened in 1994 and is cared for by the Baerg Family.