Early Portuguese Immigrants in British Columbia - John Enos (Joao Inacio)

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John Enos

We often lunch on the rocks in Mellstrom's Cove where Spanish and British sea captains repaired their sailing ships. We gaze up at Notch Hill and think of the peaceful life of Nanoose's first settler, John Enos who raised sheep and cattle on these slopes, and the far more tumultuous life of the Giant Powder Company who later would build there a gunpowder production plant and a townsite, wharf and railway to support it.

He was from the Island of Santa Maria and helped build the bridges of Nanaimo ( Manuel Azevedo)

Joao Inacio, who simplified his name to John Enos, also came from the Azores. Like the others he had gone to sea in his early teens. He jumped ship at Boston in 1852 and worked his way west to California, hoping to get rich from gold. He found all the good claims staked, and he made his way north to British Columbia as soon as he got news of the gold rush there. He tells a story of being scared away by Native people from Yale that it is so similar to Portuguese’s Joe (Silvey) account, it’s very possible that they made the trip together. John Enos got work near Nanaimo, took up land a bit farther north at Nanoose Bay in 1863, and married a Songhees woman whom he named Teresa Elisia. Just as the Bittancourts and Norton had done, Enos acquired a reputation as a successful farmer. When Portuguese Joe and his family traveled on the Morning Star, they very likely stopped in to visit their countrymen.