Profiles of Historic Sites

Heptonstall Farm, located on Mercer property (now torn down)
Heptonstall family fonds/0075-MCA023A-001
Image courtesy Mission Community Archives

Heptonstall Farm

10799 Stave Lake Road


Date of Original Construction:
ca. 1918

Resource Type:

Current Owner/Occupant:
Heptonstall Brothers Farms Ltd.

Site Description:

A beautifully located home site on the central western slope of Hatzic Prairie, a 150 acres dairy farm, hay fields, barns and outbuildings.

Site History:

The Heptonstall family moved to the area in 1918 from Burnaby, in search of more acreage than they had there. The family, headed by Mrs. Edith Heptonstall and Mr. William Cox Heptonstall, had one daughter, Barbara and two sons, John (aka Jack) and George Cox. Barbara Heptonstall says her dad actually acquired their property in 1924. She remembered that there were eleven Douglas Fir trees on the land which eventually provided lumber for some of the big beams used in the hay barn.

When they first started the farm, the milking was done by hand. The milk cans were left for pick-up and were shipped daily on the CPR. The cream would go into the station every two or three days. Later on, milk was picked up from roadside stands at the farm by deliverymen.

The Heptonstalls milked about 50 cows until 1967. As well as dairying they grew hay and raised cattle. Cows were milked twice a day at 5:30am and 5:30pm. Over the years things have changed from hand milking to machine/automated milking. Their first milking machines arrived in the 1940's. "Jack Heptonstall recalls that milking by hand went pretty quickly depending on the skill of the milker. The machine did not make milking any faster, but it did save the milker the tedium of milking over and over again. However, a proficient milker would still find milking by hand faster and easier, for the first milking machines milked only one cow at a time and had to be manually moved from cow to cow."1 Although a good milker could milk a cow as fast as one of the early machines the machines did free up people for other jobs.

"During the 1948 flood disaster many families were offered refuge by the Heptonstall home. At first an open house for the flood refugees, Mr. Heptonstall later turned his home over to the Army while it was in charge of operations."2

The Heptonstall family were active in 4-H Club and the annual Mission Fall Fair. "Their home was opened to the Rotary Club members and their wives for many social events."3

People Associated with the Site:

From his obituary: "Mr. William Heptonstall. Born in Altrincham, Chesire, England, Mr. Heptonstall came to Canada in 1909. A year later he came west to Vancouver where for several years he worked as a draughtsman for Elliot and Hewitt, a surveying firm. After serving in the First World War at shipyards in Birkenhead, England, Mr. Heptonstall returned to B.C. in 1917. After his marriage to Edith Dale in 1917 he later moved to Hatzic Prairie, where with his family he resided until his death" at the age of 68 in Vancouver General Hospital on August 9, 1952 following a short illness. "Mr. Heptonstall was survived by his wife, two sons and one daughter all at home and one sister in England."4

Mrs. Edith Heptonstall [Dale], was born in 1887 in England, and came to BC about 1910. She was a "district resident for 40 years and died on Friday, May 16 1958 in Mission Memorial Hospital in her 71st year. Surviving her were two sons, Jack and George; one daughter, Barbara all at home and one brother Harry C. Dale of Hatzic Prairie."5

George Cox Heptonstall grew up on the family farm, and continued to work there until he passed away "February 5, 1963 at Mission Memorial Hospital," in his 44th year. "He was survived by one brother, Jack and one sister, Barbara."6

Ken Worthy, from one of two English families that lived on the prairie, may have originally owned the property that was sold to the Heptonstalls.

Scott Elliot, from one of two English families that lived on the prairie; who owned the property previous to the Heptonstalls and the old house built pre 1914 that Barbara Heponstall said was a hired man's house.

Architectural Features:

The property is one story, with a covered verandah extending along at least two sides of the house, a seven step staircase leading up to the verandah, two chimneys (one in the top centre of the roof, the other lower down one side of the roof), and possibly two fireplaces.

Construction method/materials: wood, some wood panels, with door(s) and windows from the old Scott Elliot house.


Rural, 150 acres dairy farm with hay fields and extensive gardens around the home, including numerous hanging potted plants.

Designer/creator: Heptonstall family

Where to get further information:

- Mission Community Archives File 702.20 HEP-1
- Mission Farms and Farmers. Print version: "Dairy" section.
- Mission Farms and Farmers. Web version:
- Heptonstall, Barbara. Phone conversation with Meggie Shields. February 20, 2009.

1 Mission Farms and Farmers (see above)
2 Fraser Valley Record, August 13, 1952 (MCA Community File: 702.20 HEP-1)
3 Ibid
4 Ibid
5 Fraser Valley Record, 1958 (MCA Community File: 702.20 HEP-1)
6 Fraser Valley Record, 1963 (MCA Community File: 702.20 HEP-1)

Last Modified January 10, 2014