Frances Barkley was just eighteen when she became the first European woman to set foot on the west coast of North America. After a sheltered upbringing in England, Frances found herself boarding the Imperial Eagle in 1786 to set sail on an adventurous, round-the-world voyage with her husband, Captain Charles William Barkley. With great wisdom and wit, Frances recounted her eight years at sea in her Reminiscences as she found herself in a wider world, helping her husband in his business, giving birth to her children, surviving the tragedy of a young daughter's death and meeting strange and foreign peoples. Today's place names of Barkley Sound, Frances Island, Imperial Eagle Channel and others on Vancouver Island-as well as the ship Frances Barkley-are standing memorials to the enterprising and courageous Barkleys. Originally researched by writer Beth Hill, The Remarkable World of Frances Barkley has been expanded on by writer and historian Cathy Converse to bring the intrepid young bride and her world to life for a new generation of readers.
Cathy Converse is the author of Following the Curve of Time and Mainstays: Women Who Shaped BC, the co-author of The Remarkable World of Frances Barkley, and the co-editor of In Her Own Right: Selected Essays on the History of Women in BC. She is a founder of the Camosun College Women's Studies curriculum and ancillary programs, and a former department chair and instructor. Cathy is also Auntie Vie's neighbor. Visit Cathy online at www.cathyconverse.com. Beth Hill was the author of seven other books, including Indian Petroglyphs of the Pacific Northwest, Sappers: The Royal Engineers in British Columbia and Seven-Knot Summers. She spent most of her adult life on Salt Spring Island, BC.