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Men of British Columbia Pethick, Derek 1975

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Array MEN OF
BRITISH
COLUMBIA
Derek Pethick   Mm
Li
L,. r'J   MEN OF
BRITISH
COLUMBIA  MEN OF
BRITISH
COLUMBIA
Derek Pethick
hancock
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house
HANCOCK HOUSE PUBLISHERS ISBN 0-919654-41-x
Copyright ® 1975 Derek Pethick
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any
means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise,
without the prior written  permission  of Hancock House  Publishers.
Designed by Colin Fudge
Type set in Palatino by White Computer Typesetting
Printed in Canada
This book was designed and first produced in Canada by Hancock
House Publishers Limited, 3215 Island View Road, Saanichton, British
Columbia, Canada.
Printed in Canada by D.W. Friesen & Sons Limited, Altona, Manitoba.
Canadian Shared Cataloguing in Publication Data
Pethick, Derek, 1920 —
Men of British Columbia
1.  British Columbia — Biography. I. Title.
F 920'.0711
[LC: F1086.8.P48]
ISBN 0-919654-41-X
hancock
house
HANCOCK HOUSE PUBLISHERS LTD.
3215 Island View Road
Saanichton, B.C., Canada THIS BOOK IS FOR
THE CRAMPTONS
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:.-' Table of Contents
FOREWORD
THE EXPLORERS
Introduction 10-11
Captain James Cook 12-17
Captain George Vancouver 18-23
Alexander Mackenzie 24-27
Simon Fraser 28-31
David Thompson 32-36
THE COMPANY
Introduction 37
George Simpson 38-44
James Douglas 45-50
Alexander Caulfield Anderson 51-57
THE PIONEERS
Introduction 59
TheMuirs 60-63
John Sebastian Helmcken 64-68
Edward Cridge 69-73
Kenneth McKenzie 74-77
6 THE GOLD RUSH
Introduction 79
Mifflin Wistar Gibbs 80-83
Matthew Baillie Begbie 84-88
Richard Clement Moody 89-93
Edgar Dewdney 94-97
Amor De Cosmos 98-103
John Robson 104-108
Israel Wood Powell 109-111
Billy Barker 112-115
Alfred Waddington 116-120
Father Charles Pandosy 121-124
Francis Jones Barnard 125-129
YOUNG PROVINCE
Introduction 131
The Three Greenhorns 132-137
Captain Edward Stamp 138-140
Sewell Prescott Moody 141-144
Jeremiah Rogers 145-152
John Jessop 153-156
Francis Rattenbury 157-161
Samuel Maclure 162-165
ONLY YESTERDAY
Introduction 167
Percy Williams 168-171
DuffPattullo 172-176
Major J. S. Matthews 177-181
Peter Kelly 182-189
H. R. MacMillan 190-194
TheKoerners 195-198
Norman Mackenzie 199-204
Mungo Martin 205-208
W. A. C. Bennett 209-213
LIST OF REFERENCES 214-220
PICTURE ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 220
INDEX 221-224  "ii-;"
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The purpose of the pages which follow is to present a history of British
Columbia in the form of biographies covering the two centuries since
the area first came into contact with European civilization. An effort
has been made to select subjects who will represent not only the
various stages of the province's development, but also its geographical
areas   and   the   varied   backgrounds   and   occupations   of   its   people.
Other writers might have made a different selection, and the present
one was only arrived at after consultation with several people interested in the project. If anyone's hero has been omitted, it is only because
I felt unequal to delineating adequately their character and achievements.
It may be noticed that heroines play no part in these pages, but that
is merely because a companion volume to this one is being prepared
by another hand, from which mere males are in their turn excluded.
Boycotts of this volume or lynching parties at which its author would
be the guest of honor are, therefore, not really justified.
Derek Pethick
Saanich, 1975
Foreword The Explorers
■■-■'— -- ~r ■-./*_
10
Nootka Sound.
By the late eighteenth century, nearly three hundred years had elapsed
since Columbus had reached the New World. During this period, large
parts of the coastline of the two Americas had been charted, and
thriving communities of Europeans established in many parts of the
Western Hemisphere, but the northwest coast of North America was
still unknown.
A glance at the map will show why. It was a great distance from
Europe, and was bounded on the west by the largest of the oceans
and on the east by ranges of lofty mountains; to the north lay the
eternal Arctic ice cap. Those attempting to reach the eastern shore of
the North Pacific were thus faced with serious obstacles, and it was
hardly surprising that for a long time explorers and traders directed
their energies  toward  more  accessible  areas. In all nations there are always those eager to venture where none
have been before them, and in the eighteenth century they began
converging on the northwest coast of America. The earliest to arrive
were the Russians. From outposts of their empire in Siberia their traders pushed eastward along the Aleutian chain in search of furs, quickly
discovering that the islands were rich in them. Year by year they
advanced, and eventually in 1784 on Kodiak Island established their
first post in North America. As the years went by, they extended their
influence further down the Pacific coast, and for a time it seemed
possible that the already enormous Russian empire might one day
stretch from the Baltic to Mexico.
News of this new source of wealth was slowly leaking out, and soon
another great power began taking an active interest in the area. This
was Spain, whose empire was then at the peak of its glory. It included
all South America except Brazil, as well as Mexico and much of the
Caribbean, and had outposts in California. It was therefore an easy
task for the Viceroy in Mexico City to provision ships and send them
north to explore the coast. The first such ship to reach the waters
of what is now British Columbia was the Santiago under Juan Perez,
who in 1774 caught a glimpse of the Queen Charlotte Islands. Later
he anchored briefly in the vicinity of Nootka Sound, but did not go
ashore, thus missing the distinction later gained by Cook.
During the next twenty years, there was a steady stream of Spanish
ships moving up and down the coast. One Captain Bruno Heceta
went ashore in 1775 in what is now the state of Washington, erected a
cross, and claimed the surrounding area for Spain. Another daring
commander, Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, reached the vicinity of Alaska the same year.
It was neither Russia nor Spain but Britain which was to have the
most lasting effect on the development of the Pacific northwest.
Beginning with James Cook in 1778, her captains were soon exploring
its waters and charting their shores, while noting the rich resources of
the area in fur and timber. Unlike the Spanish, they published their
discoveries, and soon private traders were deciding to benefit from
them.
Among these were the employees of those two great rivals, the Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company. In search of new
sources of supply they were moving ever westward along the rivers of
the Prairies. Eventually they crossed the Rockies, established new posts
on the western side, and pressed on toward the Pacific. In 1793 near
Bella Coola, in the persons of George Vancouver and Alexander Mackenzie, these  two historical  movements converged.
Those we have mentioned were not the only explorers beginning to fill
in the blank places on the map of this part of the world. There
were many others, and we shall examine the careers and achievements
of some of them. Let us start with James Cook, the first representative
of European civilization to set foot in what is now British Columbia.
11 Captain James Cook
1728-1779
'•/
Wedgwood medallion of Captain James
Cook (1728-1779). One of the most
famous navigators and explorers in history, Cook's purpose in visiting the North
Pacific shore of North America was to
find an entrance to the fabled Northwest
Passage.
12
We no sooner drew near the inlet than we found the coast to be inhabited,
and the people came off to the ships without showing the least mark of
fear or distrust. We had at one time thirty-two canoes filled with people
about us, and a group of ten or a dozen remained alongside the Resolution
most part of the night. They seemed to be a mild inoffensive people,
showed great readiness to part with anything they had and took whatever
was offered them in exchange, but were more desirous of iron than
anything else, the use of which they very well knew, and had several
tools and instruments that were made of it.
— Cook's journal, March 29, 1778.
Those lines describe the first contact between the natives of Nootka
and the expedition headed by Captain James Cook. The encounter was
to prove a fateful one, for out of it would come two great historical
developments: the fur-bearing animals of the region would soon be
eagerly sought by the traders of several nations, while in the process
the tribal culture of the area would suffer almost irretrievable damage.
Cook correctly guessed at the first of these great changes, but not the
second. And he did not suspect that the ships which he had brought
safely across the vast spaces of the Pacific to Friendly Cove would
for most of the journey back to England be guided by shipmates
mourning his untimely death.
Cook's tragic death on a beach in Hawaii in the spring of 1779 was
the end in an exotic place of a career that had begun in very ordinary
circumstances. The future circumnavigator of the globe was born the
son of a farm laborer in an obscure Yorkshire village, and during his
early years tended livestock. Had he continued to do so, he would
have lived and died unknown; but something began stirring in him —
perhaps only a distaste for the unvarying round of toil — and at the
age of seventeen he left for the nearby port of Staithes. Here, working
in a small store selling food and clothing, he met sailors who recounted
tales of distant and exotic lands. Curiosity joined with ambition; he
decided to see more of the world, and at eighteen took to the sea. His first dealings with that stern mistress were far from romantic, as
he was apprenticed to a firm hauling coal from the port of Whitby
to the growing metropolis of London. The vessels employed in this trade
were ugly, bulky and flat-bottomed, and very uncomfortable in a storm,
but they were well designed for carrying large quantities of material.
It is significant that Cook used ships of that type and not warships
in his voyages to the four corners of the earth.
Cook began his new career in 1746, and for the next nine years
slowly improved his knowledge of navigation. Between voyages, he
boarded with his employers, who marvelled at the way he devoted all
his spare time to studying astronomy and mathematics. He eventually
became mate of a ship which on occasion went as far as the Baltic
and it seemed likely that before long he would command his own
vessel. Finally, in 1755, he was offered this great prize, but to the
amazement of his employers he declined it, instead joining the Royal
Navy as an ordinary seaman.
Two centuries after his death, this decision has continued to amaze
students of Cook's career. To be offered the command of a merchant
ship was a great honor, whereas life in the lowest rank of the navy
was highly uncomfortable. Yet doubtless Cook had his reasons; there
were many signs that war with France was approaching — indeed, it
soon broke out — and these may have influenced his fateful choice.
Cook may also have been aware that in wartime promotion is often
rapid.
At all events, he did not long remain a simple sailor. He served in the
war with distinction, receiving several promotions. During the siege of
Quebec he greatly facilitated the final assault on the citadel by
meticulously charting the channel of the St. Lawrence, often under
fire. Later in more peaceful circumstances he surveyed the coast of
Newfoundland.
By now his outstanding abilities were recognized, and when after the
war the British government decided to send an important expedition
to the southern hemisphere, Cook was chosen to lead it. He was given
a commission as a lieutenant, and under his command the Endeavour
left England in August, 1768. The ostensible purpose of the expedition
was to observe the passage of Venus between the sun and the earth
in June, 1769, but it was also hoped that new lands south of the
equator would be discovered and added to the British Empire.
Sailing down the Atlantic and rounding Cape Horn, Cook reached
Tahiti in April, 1769. The astronomical observations were duly made in
June, and then Cook explored the south seas. He spent some time in the
waters around New Zealand, being the first man to sail through the
strait (which now bears his name) between the North and South islands.
Later he became the first white man to examine the eastern coast of
Australia. He was nearly wrecked on the Great Barrier Reef, but made
his way through it, passed the northern tip of Australia (which he
named Cape York), and reached the Dutch East Indies. The unhealthy
climate of these islands caused many casualties among the crew from
malaria and dysentery, but the Endeavour, sailing west, finally rounded
the Cape of Good Hope and arrived in English waters on July 12, 1771.
-YtfiffYY%
The boyhood home of Captain Cook.
13 /
\
Resolution.
Resolution  and Discovery at Nootka Sound,
1778.
The expedition was considered a success, and a second one was soon
organized under the same commander. This time there were to be two
ships, the Resolution and Adventure, and it was planned not merely to
explore the South Seas but also to continue the search for a great
continent believed to lie somewhere in far southern waters.
In July 1772 the ships left Plymouth, touched at Cape Town, and then
sailed boldly south. In January 1773 they crossed the Antarctic Circle,
the first vessels ever to do so. No great continent was discovered, and
eventually the vessels proceeded to New Zealand. The Adventure, after
several members of her crew were killed by Maoris, returned to
England,  but  Cook continued  his  examination  of  the   area.
Another sweep of the waters south of the Antarctic Circle was stopped
by the unyielding barrier of pack ice at 71° South Latitude. It was now
clear that no undiscovered continent existed in the area, and he turned
northward. After touching at Easter Island (where he was astonished by
its great stone statues), the Marquesas and Tahiti, he sailed eastward to
Cape Horn, continued on to Cape Town, and finally anchored in British
waters in July, 1775.
At first it seemed as if the now famous explorer would recede rapidly
into the shadows of retirement; yet a third great challenge still awaited
him. The government was anxious to determine once and for all if
there was a "Northwest Passage" joining the Atlantic and Pacific
somewhere near the top of North America. Cook was recalled to service
and put in charge of a new expedition, this time to the northwest
coast of North America, one of the few parts of the world he had not
yet seen.
In the summer of 1776 Cook sailed once more for the Pacific. He
took two ships, the Resolution, under his own command and the
Discovery, in charge of Captain Charles Clerke. Among those on board
were two other men also destined for fame — William Bligh and George
Vancouver. The two ships left England separately but were reunited
at Cape Town, where livestock, including rabbits and horses, were
taken aboard.
In early 1777 the ships were anchored off Tasmania, and in February
reached New Zealand. In August Cook was once more at Tahiti.
In the last week of the year he discovered Christmas Island. In mid-
January 1778 he made a major discovery — the Hawaiian Islands —
which he named after the First Lord of the Admiralty, the Earl of
Sandwich. The natives were friendly — indeed they seemed to regard
the British captain as some sort of God — and fell prostrate at his
feet.
On February the second the ships set sail for North America, reaching it
five weeks later just north of 44° North Latitude. The prevailing winds
off the Pacific Coast are westerlies, and Cook had the usual abhorrence of the sailor of lee shores, especially when he found no anchorage
of any type for the first hundred miles. As a result, he stood well out
from shore, and missed both the mouth of the Columbia and the Strait
of Juan de Fuca. Finally, he found a sheltered cove which he named
King George's Sound, but which is now known as Nootka Sound. He
assumed it was on the mainland of the continent, an error which his Indian habitations at Nootka Sound.
great successor Ceorge  Vancouver  would  later correct.
Here the ships anchored on March 29 and remained for a month
while repairs were made, using timber from the forests which surrounded them on all sides. The men were able to go ashore, and detailed
notes on the area were compiled by the expedition's scientists. One
feature of  their  anchorage  Cook  found  pleasant  enough:
"The climate, as far as we had any experience of it, is infinitely milder
than that on the east coast of America, under the same parallel of
latitude. The mercury in the thermometer never, even in the night,
fell lower than 42°, and very often in the day it rose to 60°. No such
thing as frost was perceived in any of the low ground; on the contrary,
vegetation had made a considerable progress, for I met with grass
that was already above a foot long."
Cook also noted that "the trees, in general, grow with great vigour,
and are all of a large size", and that they included "the largest pine-
trees that I ever saw."
Trade soon began between the whites and the natives they discovered
there:
"A great many canoes, filled with the natives, were about the ships
all day, and a trade commenced betwixt us and them, which was
carried on with the strictest honesty on both sides. The articles which
they offered to sale were skins of various animals, such as bears,
wolves, foxes, deer, racoons, polecats, martens; and in particular, of
the sea otters, which are found at islands east of Kamtschatka [i.e.
the Aleutians!. Besides the skins in their native shape, they also brought
garments made of them, and another sort of clothing made of the bark
of a tree, or some plant like hemp; weapons, such as bows, arrows
and spears; fish-hooks, and instruments of various kinds; wooden visors
of many different monstrous figures; a sort of woollen stuff or blanketing; bags filled with red ochre; pieces of carved work; beads; and several little ornaments of thin brass and iron, shaped like a horse-shoe,
which they hang at their noses; and several chisels or pieces of iron
fixed to handles. From their possessing such metals, we would infer
that they had either been visited before by some civilized nation,
or had connections with tribes on their continent, who had communications with them. For the various articles which they brought, they
took in exchange knives, chisels, pieces of iron and tin, nails, looking-
glasses, buttons, or any kind of metal."
15 A woman of Nootka Sound.
A man of Nootka Sound.
16
Inside a house at Nootka Sound.
Cook also wrote a generalized portrait of the natives:
"The persons of the natives are in general under the common stature,
but not slender in proportion, being commonly pretty full or plump,
though not muscular. Neither does the soft fleshiness seem ever to
swell into corpulence, and many of the older people are rather spare
or lean. The visage of most of them is round and full, and sometimes,
also, broad, with large prominent cheeks; and above these the face
is frequently much depressed, or seems fallen in quite across the
temples, the nose also flattening at its base, with pretty wide nostrils
and a rounded point. The forehead rather low, the eyes small, black,
and rather languishing than sparkling, the mouth round with large
round thickish lips, the teeth tolerably equal and well set, but not
remarkably white . . . Their eyebrows are also scanty and always
narrow, but the hair of the head is in great abundance, very coarse
and strong, and without a single exception black, straight, and lank, or
hanging down over the shoulders . . . The women are nearly of the same
size, color and form with the men, from whom it is not easy to distinguish them, as they possess no natural delicacies sufficient to render
their persons agreeable; and hardly any one was seen, even amongst
those who are in the prime of life, who had the least pretensions to
be called handsome.
Th.^y seem to be a docile, courteous, good-natured people; but notwithstanding the predominant phlegm of their tempers, quick in resenting
what they look upon as an injury, and like most other passionate
people, as soon forgetting it.
Their other passions, especially their curiosity, appear in some measure
to lie dormant. For few expressed any desire to see or examine things
wholly unknown to them, and which to those truly possessed of that
passion would have appeared astonishing. They were always contented
to procure the articles they knew and wanted, regarding everything
else with great indifference, nor did our persons, apparel and manners,
so different from their own, or even the extraordinary size and construction of our ships, seem to excite admiration, or even engage
attention."
On April 26 Cook left Nootka and sailed up the coast of North
America to Alaska, where several deep fiords were explored in hopes
that one of them might be the Northwest Passage. The ships then
passed through the Aleutian Islands and north through Bering Strait.
At a point well above the Arctic Circle they encountered a solid wall
of pack-ice, and after trying in vain to find a way through it turned
south again and made their way toward Hawaii, which was reached
in late November. Here the expedition was well received; indeed, Cook was again treated
by the natives as a god, and every want of the ships was supplied.
When two weeks later he sailed away, he was well satisfied with his
stay in the islands.
Unfortunately a week later he was forced to return, in order to repair
damage suffered by the Resolution in a gale. This time, for reasons
not altogether clear, the natives were unfriendly. Several incidents
took place which  reflected  this  changed  attitude.
On the morning of February 14, 1779, Cook went ashore with several
armed sailors to recover a ship's boat which had been stolen in the
night. Fighting broke out, and though most of the landing party
got back to their ships, Cook was struck down at the water's edge
and stabbed again and again by the natives who only a few weeks
before had worshipped him.
Some remains of the British commander were later brought to the
ships by the natives, who appeared awe-struck by what they had done.
These remains were buried at sea, and without making any attempt
at revenge, the ships left the area. Under Captain Clerke they made
one last attempt to discover the Northwest Passage, again sailing north
through the Bering Strait. Then, satisfied that the fabled passage did
not exist, they passed south into the Pacific and commenced the long
westward voyage back to England, which they reached on October 4,
1780, over four years after they had set out.
It was not until 1784 that the official account of this great voyage
was published; but when it appeared, the passages relating to the Pacific northwest coast attracted much attention. Cook's references to the
huge trees of the area, highly suitable for the masts of sailing ships,
were noted by the Admiralty; but private adventurers read with more
interest of the valuable furs in which the region abounded. A fair
number of them had been secured by Cook's men from the natives
of Nootka and then been resold in the Far East for a hundred times
their purchase price. Inevitably, there were readers who decided to
do the same, and it was in 1785 that the first private trading ship
arrived at Nootka from the far east, to be quickly followed by others
from the British Isles and New England. This marked the beginning
of the fur trade which was to dominate the economic life of the northwest coast until well into the next century.
Because of the variety of his discoveries, Cook is today held in high
honor in several countries. Australian school children think of him as
the discoverer of a large part of their country, who also had something
to do with Canada; Canadian students think of him as the discoverer
of British Columbia, who touched at Australia and New Zealand while
on the way to the west coast of Canada; while students in New
Zealand and other parts of the Pacific, notably Hawaii, also claim him
as their own.
For us in British Columbia, however, he will always be the man who
set in motion the events which drew our part of the world into the
mainstream of western civilization. This is why we can say that, though
he never heard the name it now bears, he was the first of the men who
built British Columbia.
^pJxi
,»
The death of Captain Cook on the island
of Hawaii, in 1 779.
17 Captain George Vancouver
1757-1798
Captain George Vancouver (1757-
1798) was sent by Great Britain to attend the formalities of the Nootka Convention settlement and to establish finally
that no Northwest Passage existed on the
northwest Pacific coast of North America.
18
George Vancouver served as a midshipman aboard Resolution during
Captain Cook's last great voyage of exploration. A brief mention is
made of Vancouver then. On the day Cook determined to turn back
from his hazardous approach to Antarctica, a young midshipman was
brought to him for discipline. The boy had been reported riding the
bowsprit as the ship was being brought round from her southerly
course. The young man was George Vancouver. He gave as reason
for his reckless behavior, that he had wished to be farther south
than anyone else on the ship.
By that single gesture Vancouver demonstrated the ambition that was
to give him a place in the history of exploration not much below that
of Captain Cook. During his short life he was to chart not only parts
of the coasts of Australia and New Zealand, but also the entire Pacific
coast of North America from the Gulf of Georgia to Alaska. And he
was to play an important part in delicate negotiations with Spanish
officials at Nootka over the respective rights of their governments
in that famous harbor.
Vancouver was born in 1757, the son of a customs collector at the
seaport of King's Lynn, Norfolk, England. In 1772 he joined the navy
and servgd_as._an able seaman on Cook's second expedition, and as a
midshipman on his last. Thus he saw Nootka Sound as early as 1778.
In 1780, for his services on that great voyage, he received a commission, and served for some years in the West Indies. During part of
that time, England was at war with France and Spain, and Vancouver
several times saw action. At the conclusion of hostilities he was retired
on half-pay.
The summer of 1 789 saw two major international developments — the
outbreak of the French Revolution, and the beginning of a serious
dispute between Britain and Spain concerning the Pacific coast of
North America. Although the Spanish had been active along the North Pacific coast
since 1774, they had made no effort to disclose their discoveries to
the world. Late in 1788 they decided to fortify Nootka Sound, by then
the busy center of the northwest fur trade. Accordingly a Spanish
commander, Esteban Martinez, was sent north from California with two
ships in the summer of 1789. Martinez took formal possession of the
port  for  his  country  and   built   a   fort.
Not long afterwards, British ships began arriving from the Far East
to trade with the natives. The Spanish promptly impounded them and
sent the captains and crews to Mexico. When news of this reached
England, a serious quarrel developed between the two great maritime
powers. Spain maintained that one of her captains, Juan Perez, had
seen Nootka four years before Cook, and that as a result of other
explorations she owned the entire Pacific coast from California to Alaska.
Britain countered that Captain Cook had been the first European to go
ashore at Nootka, and that John Meares, a British trader, had bought
land from the natives of Nootka in 1788 and erected a building on it.
The site had thus become and remained a British possession. Moreover,
the British Government demanded compensation for the captured
ships.
War could have broken out over this issue. Instead, the far more
dangerous developments of the French Revolution forced both disputants into a compromise and in the fall of 1790, one year after Esteban
Martinez had fortified Nootka, Spain signed an agreement in which-
she virtually abandoned her claim to exclusive possession of the Nootka
area, and the fur trade centering upon it. She would free the impounded
vessels and their crews and pay an indemnity. But the key promise
was to give Britain a foothold in Nootka itself, by restoring to her
the land Meares had purchased from Chief Maquinna. Britain would
send a representative to witness  the formal  return of the property.
The man chosen to attend the flag-raising ceremony at Nootka was
Captain George Vancouver. He was also to perform two other important duties: to make detailed charts of the Pacific coast from 30°
North to 60° North and to determine if by any chance the Northwest
Passage had been missed by previous navigators. Other scientific observations were also to be made, and a botanist, Archibald Menzies, was
to accompany the expedition and make detailed descriptions of the
areas visited.
On the first of April, 1791, Vancouver left British waters in an expedition of two ships: the Discovery, and the Chatham — the latter commanded by Lieutenant William Broughton. Among Vancouver's junior
officers were First-Lieutenant Zachariah Mudge, Third-Lieutenant
Joseph Baker, Second-Lieutenant Peter Puget and Joseph Whidbey, all
destined to leave their names permanently inscribed on the map of
the Pacific Northwest.
They rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and after numerous stops across
the Pacific, sighted the coast of California in the area of Cape
Mendocino on April 18, 1792. Proceeding up the coast, they passed
Cape Flattery and entered the Strait of Juan de Fuca. (Though Cook
had named the Cape, he had missed the Strait entirely and had even
doubted  its  existence.   But   since   its   discovery   by   Captain   Charles
H.M.S. Discovery at sea.
The dangerous coast of British Columbia.
19 ■• *■
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y4 general chart of Vancouver's explorations along the southern coast of British
Columbia.
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If" Sj't.
# *
71 dcfni/ 0/ f/ic foregoing map. Although
Point Grey and Point Roberts are marked,
the Fraser River is not noted.
Barkley in 1787, it had been partly explored by the Spanish.)
Vancouver devoted the next two months to exploring the strait and
the waters opening out of its eastern end. During this time he charted
Hood Canal, Puget Sound, Whidbey Island and Admiralty Inlet. He also
gave some attention to the San Juan Islands and other features of the
Gulf of Georgia (named after King George III).
By early June, he was anchored near Birch Bay, at the eastern end
of the Gulf, and took to exploring the surrounding areas in the ships'
longboats. Accompanied by Puget, he rounded Point Roberts (named
after a former companion in Cook's Resolution) and later christened
Point Grey. Incredibly, he. missed- the mouth of the Fraser, even
though he suspected a large river to be in the vicinity. Moving
northward, he became the first Briton to enter Burrard Inlet. Passing
through the First Narrows he noted that the surrounding hills were
"well .covered with trees of Large growth."
Vancouver soon established friendly relations with the natives of the
inlet. They paddled ahead of his boat, casting white feathers on the.
_ water as a token of goodwill:
"They minutely attended to all our transactions, and examined the
colour of our skins with infinite curiosity. In other respects they
differed little from the generality of the natives we had seen; they
possessed no European commodities or trinkets, excepting some rude
ornaments apparently made from sheet copper; this circumstance,
and the general tenor of their behaviour, gave us reason to conclude
that we were the first people from a civilized country they had yet
seen."
Vancouver decided to give his men some much-needed rest, which decision led to unexpected results:
"The shores in this situation were formed by steep rocky cliffs, which
compelled us to sleep in the boats. Some of the young gentlemen,
however, preferring the stony beach for their couch, without duly
considering the line of the high-water mark, found themselves incommoded by the flood tide, of which they were not apprized until
they were nearly afloat; and one of them slept so sound that I believe
he might have been conveyed to some distance had he not been
awakened by his companions."
Soon afterwards, the boats left Burrard Inlet. Then they separated.
One returned to the ships at Birch Bay. Vancouver continued alone to
the northwest, naming on the way Port Atkinson, Howe Sound and
Jervis Inlet. Then he too returned back for Birch Bay. En route, a
dramatic event took place:
"As we were rowing on the morning of Friday the 22nd, for Point
Grey,  proposing there  to land and breakfast, we discovered  two
vessels at anchor under the land."
An Indian village on Johnstone's Strait.
20
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sja^^wga
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The ships were the Suh'Z and Mexicana, engaged in exploring the area
for Spain. From their captains, Galiano and Valdes (after whom islands
in the area would later be named) Vancouver learned that one of their
countrymen, Jose Narvaez, had examined Burrard Inlet the previous
year, and that they themselves had recently examined the Gulf of
Georgia as far north as Texada Island. Their report rather disappointed
Vancouver, who would have preferred men of his own nation to see
those waters first. But he swallowed his regrets, and suggested that
the four ships should work together. This offer was accepted, and
Vancouver returned to Birch Bay. Since leaving his ship Discovery he
had travelled over three hundred miles by open boat.
When the four ships were assembled, Galiano told Vancouver that he
had recently entered Burrard Inlet and explored Indian Arm. The little
flotilla then proceeded north past Texada Island, and anchored overnight at Point Sarah, so named by Vancouver for his elder sister. In
the next few weeks the four ships explored many of the channels
between Malaspina Inlet and Bute Inlet, sharing their discoveries with
each other.
In the early days of July the British made an important discovery.
A party under Puget and Whidbey rounded Cape Mudge (named after
one of Vancouver's officers) at the southern tip of what is now Quadra
Island, and entered Discovery Passage. On their return they reported
that tidal action suggested strongly that the northern end of this
waterway connected with the open Pacific.
This was important news, and soon the British were moving through
the passage and into Johnstone Strait (named after one of the officers
in the Chatham). In early August they emerged into the open Pacific,
having thus demonstrated that such places as Nootka were not on the
continental shore of North America at all, but rather on a very
large island. Having rounded the northern end of this island (which as
yet had no name) they sailed down its western side and on August 28
arrived at Nootka, being followed a few days later by the Sutil and
Mexicana, which made their way by a slightly different route through
the islands  between  Vancouver Island and the  mainland.
The British ships saluted the fort with their guns and the Spanish
responded. The next day the Spanish commandant, Juan Francisco de
la Bodega y Quadra, came on board and breakfasted with Vancouver,
while that night the British captain dined on shore. The occasion was
both amicable and sumptuous, Vancouver recording that:
Surveying from the sea. Although this is
an illustration of the survey ship H.M.S.
Plumper in 1850, Vancouver used the
same technique. By comparison, Sir Alexander Mackenzie, having to carry his instruments on his back and hampered by
serious personal hardships on his overland
voyage, found it more difficult to obtain
readings for his charts.
A notice of Vancouver's presence, found
at Port Conclusion in 1931. Vancouver's
men barely missed meeting the overland
expedition of Sir Alexander Mackenzie at
North Beniinck Arm in 1793.
21 ±k£i
Zl painting of the Spanish settlement at
Nootka Sound.
"As many officers as could be spared from the vessels with myself
dined with Senor Quadra and were gratified with a repast we had
lately been little accustomed to, or had the most distant idea of meeting
with at this place. A dinner of five courses consisting of a superfluity
of the best provisions, was served with great elegance; a royal salute
was fired on drinking health to the sovereigns of England and Spain,
and a salute of 17 guns to the success of the service in which the
Discovery and Chatham were engaged."
In the next few days Quadra continued to press hospitality on Vancouver, having fresh bread and vegetables sent daily to his ships.
Yet when it came to implementing the terms of the Nootka Convention, the two commanders found themselves unable to make progress. It seemed impossible to decide just what land, if any, the British
trader John Meares had bought from Chief Maquinna four years before,
or what sort of buildings he had erected there. Maquinna and two
American captains, Gray and Ingraham, who had been in the vicinity
at that time, and Meares (his statement contained in the account of
his voyages he had published on his return to Britain) all gave different
versions; and in the end, the two commanders found it impossible to
come to any agreement. But this did not prevent them expressing
the highest esteem for each other, symbolized by Vancouver's naming
the island which he had recently circumnavigated "Quadra's and
Vancouver's Island."
At the end of summer, leaving the dispute unresolved, Vancouver sent
Lieutenant Mudge to the far east on a British trading ship with despatches outlining his indecisive negotiations with Quadra and instructions to carry them to London. He then sailed for California, from
where Lieutenant Broughton was sent back to Europe on a Spanish
ship with further despatches. Vancouver then went on to Hawaii for
the winter.
The Spanish fort at Nootka Sound.
y ... , -       .
:«;;y£yS Here he saw and reflected upon the fatal spot where his former commander had lost his life. In the spring, his ships (with Lieutenant
Peter Puget now commanding the Chatham) sailed once more for the
northwest coast, the Chatham anchoring in Friendly Cove on April
15 and Discovery on May the twentieth. The British found that Quadra
had returned to Mexico and that the fort was more strongly fortified.
No further negotiations with the Spanish took place; instead the two
British ships spent the summer meticulously charting the Pacific
Coast from the northern tip of Vancouver Island for a considerable
distance to the north, examining closely any inlet which might prove
to be the Northwest Passage. One of these inlets was Bentinck Arm,
and it is interesting to note that that same summer Alexander Mackenzie, coming "from Canada by land" reached the Pacific coast at
that place. Later, Vancouver examined the mouths of the Nass and the
Skeena, without realizing that these were important rivers, and ended
the season's work at Cape Decision, about 56° North. He then took
his ships south to California, and at the end of the year set sail once
more for Hawaii.
In 1794 Vancouver and Puget returned to the northwest coast and this
time began their work at "Cook's River" which was more correctly
named "Cook's Inlet." They noted that Russian fur traders, supported
by their government, were firmly entrenched in the area. From there
they worked down the coast until they reached points previously surveyed, and then proceeded to Nootka where they anchored in early
September. Relations with the Spanish remained cordial, and Vancouver and his hosts visited the village of Tahsis, where they were
entertained by Maquinna. But no instructions had arrived from either
London or Madrid as to the final decision at Nootka, and as Vancouver
left Nootka in October, it was no doubt much to his annoyance
that he saw the Spanish flag still flying over its citadel.
Making his way down the coast to California, he then went south
to the tip of South America, rounded the Horn and sailing up the
Atlantic reached British waters again in the fall of 1795. In all this
period he had lost only one man from disease and five from various
accidents — a tribute to his constant care for the health of his men,
especially in the matter of precautions against scurvy. He himself,
worn out by his labors, died in 1798 at the early age of forty,
shortly before  the official account  of  his  work  was  first  published.
His achievements in his short life had been remarkable. He had charted
the entire Pacific coast from Puget Sound to Alaska with meticulous
care; he had confirmed Cook's conclusion that the Northwest Passage
did not exist; and he had demonstrated the existence of one of the
world's largest islands. He had drawn attention to the rich resources
in both furs and timber of the Pacific Northwest, and had established
a strong British claim to ownership of that area. It is entirely fitting
that the island he circumnavigated should now bear his name, as does
the largest city on Canada's west coast, and that his statue should
surmount the dome of the legislative buildings in Victoria.
T"FJ*
Notes on the Spanish fort and ships  at
Nootka Sound.
23 Alexander Mackenzie
1764-1820
**• y.sSw
Sir Alexander Mackenzie (1764-1820)
in 1793 made the first crossing of North
America by land north of Mexico. His
purpose was to discover a cheaper shipping route for the furs of the North West
Company.
24
"In courage, in the faculty of command, in ability to meet the unforeseen
with resources oj craft and skill, in the will that cannot be overborne,
he has had no superior in the history of American exploration."
— Bernard De Voto, The Course of Empire
Alexander Mackenzie is one of the most remarkable figures in the history of exploration. He was the first European to reach the mouth of
the great river which now bears his name, the first to cross the continent north of Mexico. He greatly increased man's knowledge of northwestern America, and laid the foundations for the expansion of the fur
trade into that area. He also did much to establish the east-west
economic axis around which modern Canada has developed.
Mackenzie was born in the fishing village of Stornoway, Scotland, in
1764. About ten years later the family moved to New York, and was
soon caught up in the turmoil of the American Revolution. Perhaps for
his own safety, young Alexander was sent to Montreal, where at the
age of fifteen, he began working for a local fur trading company.
This later merged with the North West Company, and in 1787 he was
sent by his new employers to Fort Athabaska, on the Athabaska River,
about forty miles above Athabaska Lake. This post was soon replaced
by another one on the lake. It was named Fort Chipewyan, and became
in due course the base for Mackenzie's two great journeys.
As the number of furs in the central parts of the continent decreased,
attention began to focus on the unknown area west of the Rocky
Mountains, and on the possibility that furs obtained on the prairies
might reach the markets of the world via the Pacific. This would
necessitate the discovery of feasible routes through the northwest part
of the continent, along which fur traders might pass, bringing in
supplies and taking out the season's harvest.
At this time, the Hudson's Bay Company held a commanding advantage over the North West Company, as the pelts that agents of the
former collected on the prairies could be shipped to Europe via
Churchill Factory and York Factory, the company's posts on Hudson's Bay. The North West Company had no right to use these ports,
and all its trade goods and packs of furs had to be laboriously transported, sometimes in birchbark canoes but often over portages on men's
backs, across the endless wilderness and prairie between the Rockies
and Montreal. If the fantastically high shipping costs incurred in this
route could be reduced, the North West Company might successfully
meet the competition of its great rival.
From his base at Fort Chipewyan, Mackenzie made two attempts to
solve the problem of a better shipping route. On the first, in 1789, he
penetrated to the northwest, crossing Great Slave Lake and reaching
the upper reaches of the hitherto unexplored Mackenzie River. But
his hopes that that huge stream would lead him to the Pacific were
disappointed, for he arrived instead upon the shores of the Arctic
Ocean. Although the Mackenzie River was a great discovery, as a new
route for the North West Company's furs it was useless. Indeed, the
explorer had only made it more certain that no navigable Northwest
Passage across the continent existed. As he himself wrote: "My expedition was hardly spoken of,  but  that  is  what I  expected."
Mackenzie did not give up hope of reaching the Pacific. After working
for some time at Fort Chipewyan, he made a trip to England,
where he perfected his knowledge of astronomy and navigation and
purchased scientific instruments. Then, in 1792, he returned to Fort
Chipewyan,   prepared   for   a   second   exploration.
He determined this time to explore in a westerly direction, and on
October 10, 1792, he set out with three canoes to follow the Peace
River. The canoes were each fitted with mast and sails, as at this
late time of year speed was important. Soon snow began to fall, and
as winter closed in, the party built some rough houses from timber cut
by a group sent up the river for this purpose some months before.
The place was called Fort Forks and was situated a few miles west
of the junction of the Smoky and the Peace rivers. There Mackenzie
spent the winter, trading with the Indians and waiting for warmer
weather. As was customary with Scots, New Years Day, 1793 was
celebrated with enthusiasm.
In early May he sent part of his party back to Fort Chipewyan with
several canoes full of furs. He himself set out on May 9 in a single
large canoe with six sturdy French Canadian voyageurs, a fellow Scot,
Alexander Mackay, and two Indian guides. Making their way up the
Peace River, on May 17 the Rockies came into view, and from there on
progress became difficult, as the river was now in flood. Often the
men had to carry their canoe and provisions for several miles over
difficult terrain.
Late in May Mackenzie was faced with a grave decision. He had
reached the point (now called Finlay Forks) where the Peace divides
into the Finlay River, flowing north, and the Parsnip, flowing south.
He would have preferred to choose the former, which in fact would
have led him nowhere, but in a crucial decision he took the advice
of his guide that the southern fork would lead him in due course to
a very large river and later to a place "where the inhabitants build
houses and live upon islands."
"Canoe Party Around Camp Fire", painting
by Mrs.  F.  A.  Hopkins.
25 The rock in Dean Channel on which Mackenzie and his men spent the night of
July 21, 1793, watched by hostile Indians. He proceeded no further towards
the open sea.
Mount Stupendous.
In the middle of June, the party reached the source of the Parsnip.
From there they made a portage of less than a mile (during which
they crossed the Continental Divide) and set their canoe down on
what is now called Portage Lake.
Yet though they were now on the system of waterways which led
westward to the Pacific, their troubles were far from over. Their
canoe was badly damaged on some rocks, and birchbark and gum had
to be gathered to mend it. Then, moving south down a sizeable river
(later named the Fraser), they encountered local Indians who warned
them that impassable rapids lay ahead. The Indians drew rough
maps of the river on birchbark to confirm their statements, and
Mackenzie was much dismayed.
So were his men, who were all for returning across the Rockies as
quickly as possible. But Mackenzie: "Declared in the most solemn manner that I would not abandon my design of reaching the sea, if I made
the attempt alone, and that I did not despair of returning in safety to
my friends."
At the time they were about thirty-five miles south of Quesnel, near
modern Alexandria (later named after him). Mackenzie was again
faced with a grave decision: whether to continue down the river, or go
overland. For an anxious night he weighed the advice of the local
Indians and then determined on the overland route. The party then built
a new canoe, obtaining roots (for sewing the birchbark) and gum
for sealing from the forests. The work was completed in a few days.
In the new canoe the party retraced part of their route, paddling
north up the river. A few days later, they buried a cache of food and
stored their canoe in the woods. Then each man carrying a ninety
pound pack (and Mackenzie his instruments), they set off into the unknown forests that stretched westward. Progress was slow, but they
met friendly Indians who assured them that the ocean was not far off.
As they moved west, they entered the cool, cloudy world of the Coast
Range. Soon they began to descend through mountain valleys full of
great stands of fir and cedar. Indians took them part of the way down
the Bella Coola River in their canoe. Entertained in one of their
villages, Mackenzie was surprised by such features as "long-houses"
and totem poles. He noted that the natives had copper ornaments,
doubtless   acquired from white traders on the coast.
On July 20 Mackenzie, using a canoe borrowed from the local
Indians, reached salt water at North Bentinck Arm. The next day he
proceeded to Elcho Harbour. On a great flat rock Mackenzie's party
spent the night, watched by Indians whose intentions seemed uncertain.
The next morning, Mackenzie made astronomical observations to determine his position, and bought some seal meat from the natives.
He decided then to turn  back.
"I now mixed up some vermillion in melted grease and inscribed
in large characters on the southeast face of the rock on which we
had slept last night, this brief memorial:
26' "Alexander Mackenzie, from Canada by land, the twenty-second of
July, one thousand seven  hundred  and   ninety-three."
The party then began the long return journey, at first by canoe, later
on foot, sometimes harassed by unfriendly natives. By August 4 they
reached the Fraser and recovered their buried cache of food and the
canoe they had hidden there. By the sixteenth they were at the
Continental Divide, and a week later, after travelling down the Peace,
they were once more at the fort they had built earlier near the junction
of the Smoky and Peace rivers. In due course they went on to Fort
Chipewyan.
Mackenzie remained in the service of the North West Company for
some years more, although taking a less active part in the field. He
published an account of his voyages in 1801, and continued to press
on the British government the importance of the fur trade and to
outline methods for expanding it. In 1802 he was knighted. For a
time he was a member of the legislature of Lower Canada (Quebec);
in 1812 he married a Scottish girl and retired to an estate in Scotland,
where he died in 1820. He was one of the few explorers to attain
honor and respect in his own time and to have a chance to enjoy
them.
His name and fame live on. He had successfully crossed North
America by land and given a powerful stimulus to both exploration
and the fur trade. Some of his recommendations for developing the
latter show a broad mind, keenly aware of the connections between
commercial  and  imperial  policy.   He pointed out,  for example,  that:
"By opening this intercourse between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans,
and forming establishments through the interior and at both extremes,
as well as along the coasts and islands, the entire command of the fur
trade of North America might be obtained from latitude 48 North to
the Pole, except that portion of it which the Russians have in the
Pacific. To this may be added the fishing in both seas, and the markets
of the four quarters of the globe. Such would be the field for commercial enterprise and incalculable would be the produce of it, when
supported by the operations of that credit and capital which Great
Britain so preeminently possesses. Then would this country begin
to be remunerated for the expenses it has sustained in discovering and
surveying  the  coast  of  the  Pacific Ocean."
These recommendations were not acted upon as promptly as perhaps
they would have been in time of peace, for Britain in this period
was locked in a life-and-death struggle with Napoleon. But Mackenzie
did strengthen the resolve of the great fur companies to explore further
the vast area west of the Rockies, develop trade routes through
the region, and perhaps incorporate it into their economic empires.
This laid the foundation for the eventual incorporation of British
Columbia into British North America. It is partly owing to Mackenzie's explorations that the northern half of the continent has
become and remained a unified political entity.
3^ ■»
■I
Mackenzie's inscription—the makeshift
notice of one of the greatest voyages of
exploration in North America. Mackenzie
was disappointed in its results because the
route from Lake Athabasca to the coast
would not do for shipping furs. The original writing is said to have lasted on the
rock until the eighteen-fifties.
V
Mackenzie sights the sea at North  Ben-
tinck Arm.
27 Simon Fraser
1776(?)-1862
Simon Fraser (17767-1862) founded
the first settlement (Fort McLeod) in the
interior of British Columbia and in 1808
explored the extremely dangerous Fraser
River. He worked for the Northwest Company, which selected him to carry out an
expansion of fur-trading posts in the central Interior. He descended the Fraser to
determine the fur-bearing potential of
Fort McLeod, on McLeod Lake.
28
Simon Fraser is a major figure in any history of British Columbia,
or indeed any history of Canada. He established the first fur trading
posts west of the Rockies and commanded the third expedition (after
Sir Alexander Mackenzie and the Americans Lewis and Clark) to cross
the continent to the Pacific. By following to its mouth the great
river which now bears his name, he added greatly to the world's
knowledge of a vast and hitherto uncharted area.
He was born in 1776 in Vermont, to which place his parents had
emigrated from Scotland not long before. Soon the family found itself
in serious trouble, as the outbreak of the American Revolution forced
everyone to choose sides. Simon Fraser's father fought on the side of
the British, and was captured and imprisoned. He died in captivity early
in 1779, and at the end of the war his widow decided to move with
her children from the United States to Canada, where the family was
granted land along with other United Empire Loyalists.
Simon was the youngest of eight children. After a few years' schooling,
in 1792 he joined the North West Company, and soon gained promotion. By 1801 he had become a partner in the company, a sign that
he had labored faithfully on its behalf. In this period the company was
extending its activities further and further west, as it sought for
hitherto untapped sources of furs. It was also engaged in a bitter
rivalry with the Hudson's Bay Company, which had the advantage of a
shorter supply route from England to its posts on Hudson's Bay. In the
first few years of the nineteenth century, the directors of the North
West Company decided to extend their operations west of the Rocky
Mountains. Their aim was not only to secure more furs, but if possible
to  open   a   new   trade   route   between   the   prairies   and   the   Pacific.
In the late summer of 1805 Fraser was sent with a party of about
twenty men up the Peace River, which had already been explored by
Mackenzie. Fraser established a fur-trading post named Rocky Mountain House, not far from the modern town of Hudson's Hope, and the
Peace River Power Project. He then went further up the Peace and
turned south along the Parsnip River. Eventually he came to McLeod
Lake, on the shores of which he built Fort McLeod, the first permanent
settlement in what is now British Columbia. Then, leaving three men to
stay at the post during the winter and trade with the Carrier Indians, he
returned to his base just east of the Rockies. In 1806 Fraser again crossed the Continental Divide and moved southwest to Stuart Lake. Here he had a dramatic encounter with the local
natives:
"On landing, Fraser's men, to impress the natives with a proper idea
of their wonderful resources, fired a volley with their guns, whereupon
the whole crowd of Carriers fell prostrate to the ground. To allay
their fears and make friends, tobacco was offered them, which on being
tasted was found too bitter, and thrown away. Then, to show its use,
the crew lighted their pipes, and at the sight of the smoke issuing
from their mouths, the people began to whisper that they must come
from the land of the ghosts, since they were full of the fire wherewith they had been cremated. Pieces of soap were given to the women,
who, taking them to be cakes of fat, set upon crunching them,
thereby causing foam and bubbles in the mouth, which puzzled both
actors and bystanders.
All these phenomena, however, were soon explained away, leaving no
suspicion in the native mind, but a most pronounced admiration for
the foreigners and their wares."
Here a second post was built, Fort St. James, while later in the same
year Fraser founded Fort Fraser on Fraser Lake, still further north.
The following year another post, Fort George, was built at the place
where the Nechako River enters the Fraser River. Fraser assumed
that the unexplored and unnamed Fraser was the upper Columbia, and
resolved to descend it to the Pacific Ocean.
Fort George was the starting-point for Fraser's great expedition of
1808. Having accumulated supplies during the previous winter, in late
May his expedition set off in four canoes down the great river. His
party totalled twenty-four: himself, two assistants (John Stuart and
Jules Quesnel, then aged 29 and 22), two Indian guides and nineteen
voyageurs.
At first all went well. The Indians they met were friendly, but at one
point warned the white men of dangerous rapids immediately ahead.
Fraser took a party ahead on foot to examine this section of the river:
"We found it about two miles in length, with high and steep banks,
which contracted the channel in many places to the breadth of 40 to
50 yards. The immense body of water passing through this narrow
space in a turbulent manner, forming numerous gulphs and cascades,
and making a tremendous noise, had an awful and forbidden appearance. Nevertheless since it was considered as next to impossible to
carry the canoes across the land, on account of the height and steepness of the hills, it was resolved to venture them down this dangerous
pass."
This nearly led to disaster, as one canoe was caught in a whirlpool
and dashed against a large rock, onto which its crew managed to
scramble:
"We hastened to their assistance, but their situation rendered our
approach perilous and difficult. The bank was extremely high and
steep, and we had to plunge our daggers at intervals into the ground
to check our speed as otherwise we might be impelled to slide into
the river."
,/"*■-
Y0M
■Sl&iwiS
* ;.
Fort McLeod. Establishment said to consist of a "small single storey dwelling
made of hewn logs, a trading store as plain
as the dwelling, a smokehouse for curing
and storing fish and meat, and a stable
situated at the lower end of McLeod
Lake."
29 A reenaclment of Fraser's passage along
the cliffs in the Fraser Canyon. Despite
epic hardships encountered in the descent of the Fraser, the explorer only confirmed the Indians' statement that the
river was impassable.
30
"We cut steps into the declivity of the hill, fastened a line to the front
of the canoe with which some of the men ascended in order to haul
it up, while the others supported the canoe upon their arms. In this
manner our situation was extremely precarious; our lives hung as it
were upon a thread; for failure of the line or a false step of one of
the men might have hurled the whole of us into eternity. However we
fortunately cleared the bank before dark."
It was clear that Fraser's party would have to make many arduous
portages, and near Pavilion they decided to cache the canoes and proceed on foot. Later canoes purchased from the Indians were used for a
time. During this stage of the journey Fraser met a native who had
visited the Pacific coast "where he had seen men like us, who lived
in a wooden enclosure upon an island, and who had tents for the
purpose of trading with the natives in furs". Fraser also heard from
the natives of another party of white men descending a river farther
inland. He realized that this was probably a group led by his fellow
explorer and fur trader David Thompson.
By mid-June Fraser had reached the place, now called Lytton, where
a large river flowed into the one he was following. This tributary
stream he called the Thompson; little did Fraser know that the main
river would in  turn one day be  named by Thompson after himself.
Soon afterwards, Fraser tells us, "Two Indians from our last encampment overtook us with a piece of iron which we had forgotten there.
We considered this as an extraordinary degree of honesty and attention,
particularly in this part of the world". Further down the river one canoe
was lost, but all the men were saved. Other canoes were purchased,
but several more portages had to be made, especially around Hell's
Gate. Some of these were extremely dangerous; for example, once the
party had to climb a steep cliff:
"Near the top where the ascent was perfectly perpendicular, one of the
Indians climbed to the summit and with a long pole drew us up, one
after another. This took three hours. Then we continued our course up
and down among hills and rocks, and along the steep declivities of
mountains, where hanging rocks and projecting cliffs at the edge of the
bank made the passage so small as to render it difficult even for one
person to pass sideways at times."
At times even Fraser's spirits began to fall:
"This afternoon the rapids were very bad; two in particular were
worse, if possible, than any we had hitherto met with, being a continual
series of cascades, mixed with rocky fragments and bound by precipices and mountains, that seemed at times to have no end. I scarcely
ever saw anything so dreary, and seldom so dangerous in any country;
and at present while I am writing this, whatever way I turn, mountains
upon mountains, whose summits are covered with eternal snows, close
the gloomy scene."
A week later, on June 15, the prospect  seemed no brighter:
"Here we are, in a strange country, surrounded with dangers and difficulties, among numberless tribes of savages, who never saw the face
of a white man. Our situation is critical and highly unpleasant; how- ever shall endeavour to make the best of it. What cannot be cured
must be endured."
By late )une the men had passed the main rapids and were in the
coastal area where the Indians lived in longhouses. One which Fraser
saw at the village of Musqueam measured 1500 feet long by 90 feet
wide and was supported by wooden pillars a yard thick at the base.
On July 2 his party, once more in canoes obtained from the Indians,
reached the place where the river divided into two channels (now New
Westminster). Choosing the north arm, the same day Fraser came in
sight of the Strait of Georgia at Musqueam. In the distance he could
see the mountains of Vancouver Island, but felt "great disappointment
in not seeing the main ocean, having gone so near it as to be almost
within view".
The natives, however, were hostile, "howling like so many wolves
and brandishing their war clubs", and Fraser decided to lose no time
in beginning the long journey back up the river. First, however, he
made a remarkable discovery: he was at 49° North Latitude and the
mouth of the Columbia was known to be 46° 20 minutes North Latitude. He had not been travelling down the Columbia at all, but down a
great, unknown river!
The return journey was difficult and dangerous, involving much climbing along precipices with the aid of local Indians. Not all of those
were friendly; at one time:
"Our situation might really be considered as critical — placed upon
a small sandy island, few in numbers, without canoes, without provisions, and surrounded by upwards of 700 barbarians. However our resolution did not forsake us; on the contrary, all hands were of one mind,
ready for action and fully determined to make our way good at all
hazards."
The little group successfully extricated itself from this situation and
made its way up the river. At one time Indians were encountered
who had in their possession:
"a bunch of brass keys which were from the crew of a ship that
the Indians of the sea  had destroyed several years  before."
On July 14 Fraser was back at the Thompson River, and soon afterwards met a large group of Chilcotin Indians who had been patiently
waiting for a glimpse of the first white men they had ever seen.
On August 6 he was back safely at Fort George.
It was apparent that the route Fraser had travelled was too dangerous
to be of much use to the fur trade; but his adventurous journey has
earned him a permanent place in history. He had discovered the principal river of western Canada, decided on a name (New Caledonia) for
the area he had passed through, and encouraged others to explore it.
His real achievement, however, was the building of the first permanent
settlements in what is now British Columbia, and he may certainly
be considered one of the founders of the province we know today.
■ •    '        '•.'.■:''"'•'
Fort St. James.
31 David Thompson
1770-1857
32
"Thus I have fully completed the survey of this part of North America from
sea to sea, and by almost innumerable astronomical observations have
determined the positions of the mountains, lakes and rivers, and other
remarkable places of the northern part of this continent, the maps of all
of which have been drawn and laid down in geographical position, being
now the work of twenty-seven years."
— David Thompson
The career and achievements of David Thompson parallel in many
ways those of Simon Fraser. Each, beginning as a teenager, spent many
years in the service of the fur trade; each, by exploring one of the
major rivers of North America, contributed greatly to man's knowledge
of hitherto unknown areas of the continent.
Thompson was born in London in 1770 of Welsh parents and, like
Fraser, lost his father at an early age. In 1784 he was apprenticed
to the Hudson's Bay Company for seven years and left for Canada,
where he was stationed first at Fort Churchill on Hudson's Bay, and
later at York Factory, also on the bay but  150  miles  to the  south.
An important date in the economic history of North America was
1784. Not only were the voyages of Captain Cook published in a handsome edition which drew the attention of the world to the fur-bearing
animals of the Pacific coast, but a group of independent fur-traders
on the opposite side of the continent also joined forces to form the
North West Company, which, until 1821, would be the chief rival of the
Hudson's Bay Company.
Thompson's employers kept him strictly to the fur trade, and when,
toward the end of the century, he decided that his main interest
in life was exploration, he changed his allegiance and entered the service of the North West Company in 1797. In the next few years,
while establishing trade contacts with Indian tribes, he explored the
southern shore of Lake Superior and the upper waters of the Mississippi
and Missouri rivers. . V|G:-      ''•■''   *:Vsa'
f»
■4sL °>
Tlic David Thompson Memorial at
Kootenae House, Windermere, British
Columbia. No portrait exists of the fur
trader and explorer whose discovery of
the Columbia River as a viable route for
furs shipped from the Interior to the
Pacific lent great impetus to the interest
of companies in the remote area of the
Pacific Northwest. The Columbia remained of major importance until 1846,
when the Oregon Treaty forced the Hudson's Bay Company to find a new route
entirely within British Columbia. Thompson charted the Columbia and established posts along its banks.
Later he was posted to the Athabaska region in the northwestern
prairies, where he collected furs and at the end of each season took
them east to Grand Portage at the western end of Lake Superior. It
was at this time that he found his life-long companion; in 1799 he
met and married Charlotte Small, a fourteen-year-old half-breed who
was eventually to bear him thirteen children and often accompany
him on his travels.
As the old century moved toward its close, the North West Company
began taking a greater interest in the region west of the Rockies.
Already, as a result of Alexander Mackenzie's famous journey "from
Canada by land", it was known that this area was rich in furs. However, the route taken on that occasion (by way of the Peace River)
had crossed the Great Divide too far north. The company now set about
finding a pass through the Rockies further south.
Accordingly, in 1799 Simon Fraser built a fort at the junction of the
North Saskatchewan and Clearwater rivers and named it Rocky Mountain House. In the autumn of the following year, a small party of men,
Thompson among them, was despatched to this post with orders to
locate a way through the great mountain barrier. The men spent several
months in the area, but their Indian guides were either unable or
unwilling to show them the route through the mountains, and in the
spring of 1801   the  expedition   retired  defeated.
For a time, the company abandoned its efforts in this area, and
turned its attention again to the route pioneered by Mackenzie. Between 1805 and 1808 Simon Fraser was sent across the mountains
via the Peace, and during this period established several trading
posts in north central British Columbia, which region he named New
Caledonia. Returns from these posts suggested that the area to the
south of them might also prove profitable, and accordingly a fresh
attempt was now made to find a more southerly route through the
Rockies.
Thompson was selected for this important task, and in the early summer of 1807, accompanied by his wife, three children and three men,
he set out from Rocky Mountain House. He had several packhorses
and three hundred pounds of pemmican; but his youngest child was
still in a cradle on her mother's back, and once again he received no
help from the local natives. One reason for this was that the Piegans,
a tribe on the eastern slopes of the Rockies, had long had firearms,
33 and they had no wish to see their great enemies, the Kootenays, on
the western slopes of the Rockies, come into contact with the possessors
of these wonders. Nevertheless, the party toiled up the North Saskatchewan until they reached a point where further progress would be
impossible until more snow had melted. As Thompson recorded:
"Here, among their stupendous and solitary wilds covered with eternal
snow, and mountain connected to mountain by immense glaciers, the
collection of ages and on which the beams of the sun make hardly
an impression when aided by the most favorable weather, I stayed
fourteen days more, impatiently waiting for the melting of the snows
off the height of land."
Eventually the party was able to struggle up to the "height of land",
i.e. the Continental Divide. Here, after moving through a narrow defile
(now called Howse Pass) they found a little creek, the Blaeberry,
which they assumed led down into the Columbia. This proved correct,
and in due course they reached the great river at a point not far
from modern Golden. As the river flowed northward (toward the
Great Bend, from where it turns sharply south) Thompson had no suspicion that it was the Columbia, and he gave it the name "Kootenae".
The group made its way up this river for about seventy miles until
they came to Lake Windermere. On its shores they built a post which
they named Kootenae House,and which in the years to come would be
considerably enlarged. This was the first outpost of western civilization
and of the fur trade in this area. From here, in the next few years,
Thompson would conduct his most important explorations.
In 1807, for example, he travelled down what he named "McGilli-
vray's River" (now known as the Kootenay), whose headwaters were
within easy reach of his base. In the area south of the forty-ninth
parallel (not yet an international boundary in this part of the world)
he secured a good number of furs. At the end of the season he took
them across the Rockies to Rainy Lake Post, not far from Lake
Superior, leaving his family at a post on the prairies where in August,
1808, his wife gave birth to her fourth child. By the late fall Thompson
and his family, which included the new baby boy, were back once
again on the western side of the Rockies.
In the winter of 1808-09 he traded with the Indians and surveyed
several of the tributaries of the Upper Columbia, taking his furs east
in the summer of 1809. Returning with lightning speed, by the autumn
he was once more back in Idaho, where he built Kullyspell House on
Pend Oreille Lake and Saleesh House on Clark's Fork River. All this
time he was making careful notes of these areas, and collecting
the data which he would later incorporate into maps. In the spring
of 1810, with a large quantity of furs, he travelled down the Columbia,
across the Great Divide by way of Howse Pass, and finally by canoe
along the prairie rivers, until in July he was once more at Rainy
Lake House.
He  was  both   morally   and   legally   entitled   to   some   rest   from   his
labors,   but   he   now   unexpectedly  received  instructions   (or  so  it   is
assumed,  for the documents  have   never  been   found)   to  cross   the
34 Rockies yet again. This time he was ordered to reach the mouth of the Columbia, where an American company headed by John Jacob
Astor was rumored to be planning to establish a post by bringing
men and supplies to the location from the eastern United States via
Cape Horn.
Leaving his family behind, Thompson reached the Rockies in the fall
of 1810. Since the Indians to the east of Howse Pass were on the
warpath, he did not use that route, but crossed the Great Divide by
way of the Athabaska Pass near Jasper. The cold was intense, game
was scarce, several horses had to be slaughtered for food, and several
of his men deserted him. Nevertheless, the rest, wearing snowshoes,
pressed on, with some of their supplies drawn on sleds by dogs and
the rest on their backs. In January they crossed the Great Divide,
but the snow was too deep to proceed further; here the party dug in
for the winter, and "with boards split from the cedar trees made a
hut of about twelve feet square in which we were tolerably comfortable".
While waiting for spring, Thompson and his men built a cedar canoe
about twenty-five feet long. Having no nails, they used the roots of
pine trees to sew the craft together. Although they were at this time
on the banks of the Columbia, they still did not recognize it as
such. For this reason, and because their numbers were few and their
supplies scanty, it was decided to travel up, not down the river, and
then portage from its source (Columbia Lake) to the Kootenay River.
They set out in April in their canoe, and later travelled south along
the Kootenay to where it swings sharply north; at this point they struck
overland to the company's post at Saleesh House. After resting briefly
here and at Spokane House, somewhat farther west, Thompson's party
went north overland to Kettle Falls. This they recognized as being on
the Columbia, and here they made another cedar canoe. Then, on July
3, with nine men, mostly French-Canadian voyageurs, Thompson "set
off on a voyage down the Columbia to explore this river in order to
open out a  passage  for the  interior  trade  with  the  Pacific Ocean".
The final stage of their journey was comparatively uneventful, and on
July 14 they came in sight of the Pacific. It was a great moment for
Thompson, but apparently not for his companions:
"My men seemed disappointed; they had been accustomed to the boundless horizon of the great lakes of Canada and their high rolling waves.
From the ocean they expected a more boundless view, a something
beyond the power of their senses which they could not describe; and
my informing them that directly opposite to us at a distance of five
thousand miles was the empire of Japan added nothing to their ideas."
The Northwesters found that Astor's men had indeed built a trading
post at the mouth of the Columbia the previous year, naming it Astoria.
Friendly relations prevailed between the two groups, however, and
after a brief rest Thompson began the long return journey. Eventually
he arrived once more at the Athabaska pass, and from there crossed
nearly the entire North American continent, picking up his family at
Winnipeg and  arriving  at  Montreal  in   the   summer  of   1812.
Soon afterwards he retired from the service of the company, receiving
a generous bonus for his efforts on its behalf. Then he settled down
Mrs. F. A. Hopkins'
party's bihouack.
painting of a canoe
35 to construct a very large "map of the northwest territory", which for
many years hung in the company's headquarters at Fort William. It
showed in detail a huge area between Hudson's Bay and the Pacific,
and  the location of all posts of the company  within   it.
The British government later employed Thompson in determining the
boundary between Canada and the United States; but from 1812 till
his death in 1857 he never returned to the west. Nor was the account
of his great voyages west of the Rockies which he wrote in the
1840's ever published in his lifetime. His old age was not a happy
one; his eyesight failed, and he died in extreme poverty. His journals
long gathered dust in a government office, not being rediscovered
until  the 1880's or  published   until   1916.
His influence on Canadian history, however, was far-reaching. He had
proved that although important sections of the Fraser were impassable,
the Columbia could be safely navigated for almost its entire length.
This meant that the Pacific coast could become a major outlet for
the furs of the far west, and also that supplies for trading posts
west of the Rockies could be brought in by sea to the areas being
developed by the fur companies, and so integrate the whole northern
half of the continent into a single economic network. As this network
provided the frame on which both Canada and its most western province were eventually to be built, we may well say that the work of
David Thompson had had an important and continuing effect on the
British Columbia we know today.
The C
'r. B. C
\-y    !l»!>
36
.•*IMHK"'
■$"*££■* The Company
By the time Simon Fraser and David Thompson had completed their
great journeys to the Pacific, a great deal had been learned about
the vast areas through which they had passed. Though the areas were
a long way from the markets of the world, it seemed likely that
their wealth in furs, and the two great rivers passing through them,
would   make   exploitation   profitable.
Like Alexander Mackenzie, Fraser and Thompson had explored the
west in the service of the North West Company. For a time it appeared that that energetic group of adventui jrs would triumph over
its older rival, the Hudson's Bay Company (commonly known then as
"the Company"). Yet after a period in which ruthless competition
between the two companies almost forced both firms into bankruptcy,
they became one. Their employees, who had on occasion resorted to
open warfare against each other, were united after 1821 in a common
cause, and for the next fifty years the Company would dominate the
economic life of the entire northwestern half of the continent.
Yet even with a legal monopoly of trade with the natives, and the
approving eye of the British government, the Company never rested
on its laurels. Its officials sought constantly to establish their vast
empire on an even more efficient basis, ever searching for new sources
of supply and the best routes by which to move furs to the market.
In the process those men created, without intending to do so, the
geo-economic framework upon which the life of Western Canada has
since been built. To some of the men who contributed to the development of that framework, we now direct our attention. 37 George Simpson
1787-1860
Sir     George     Simpson     (1787-1860),
Governor of Rupert s Land.
38
If my information is correct, the Columbia Department from the day of
its origin to the present has been neglected, shamefully mismanaged, and a
scene of the most wasteful extravagance and the most unfortunate dissension.
It is high time the system should be changed, and 1 think there is ample
field for reform and amendment.
Sir George Simpson
In the year that George Simpson was born, the fur trappers of North
America were beginning to push westward along the rivers of the prairies in search of new sources of supply. Meanwhile, on the Pacific
coast, ships had started to arrive at Nootka with the same aim in mind.
By the middle of the nineteenth century, the trade of these widely
separated regions had been organized into a single economic network
covering half a continent. The man largely responsible for this achievement was George Simpson. Although he worked for a private company
with its eyes on the balance sheet, the effect of his labors was to
preserve much of the Pacific northwest for the British connection,
and to establish a flow of commerce across it "from sea to sea", a
flow which is still continuing, and which may be called the spinal cord
of Canada.
It was in the parish of Loch Broom, on the wild and isolated western
coast of Scotland, that the future Governor of Rupert's Land first saw
the light of day. He was the illegitimate child of the son of a Scottish
minister, and while still young was sent to live with his grandfather
in the parish of Avoch, some forty miles to the east. The minister
already had a large family, but young George was always treated as
part of it. He attended the parish school where Greek and Latin and
the more practical subjects of arithmetic, bookkeeping and grammar
were studied. The classics likely did him no harm, while the other
subjects later proved highly useful when he had to read statements of
profit and loss and write detailed reports based on his analysis of them. A few years later, when it came time to earn his living, an influential
relative found him a position as a clerk in a London firm with interests
in the West Indies. For ten years he sat at a desk and added up figures.
The work can hardly have been exciting, but though we know very
little of Simpson's life in this period, we are safe in assuming that
he tackled his duties with zeal and rose steadily in the esteem of his
employers. The proof of this is that early in 1820, while still a young
man, he was selected for a highly important and sensitive position:
that of deputy governor of the Hudson's Bay Company in North
America.
The man who had made that choice was Andrew Wedderburn, a director of the firm which employed Simpson. Wedderburn also had a
financial interest in the Company and had for some time been a
director   of   the   world-famous   company.
His choice showed an unusual degree of confidence in Simpson, for
the situation with which he would have to cope was not only difficult
but dangerous. The bitter conflict between the Hudson's Bay Company
and the North West Company was still raging, and had several times
erupted into open warfare, most notably at the "Massacre of Seven-
oaks" in 1816, when twenty Hudson's Bay Company men, including a
high official, were shot down near Winnipeg by their rivals. It seemed
possible that the North West Company might succeed in having
William Williams, head of all Hudson's Bay Company operations
in North America, arrested and brought to trial in Montreal on charges
of having declared publicly that his authority was superior to that of
the British government. The Hudson's Bay Company wanted a man
ready to step into Williams' shoes if necessary, and it was with this
possibility in mind that Simpson sailed from Liverpool in March, 1820.
He arrived in New York early in April and reached Montreal later
in the month. On May 28, he was at Fort William, where the Hudson's
Bay Company was to hold its annual meeting. Here he gained a firsthand picture of the general situation with which he would have to deal.
Governor Williams had evaded capture by agents of the rival company,
but one of his trusted subordinates, then in charge of the Athabaska
district, had fallen into the hands of his enemies and been whisked
away to Montreal. This left an important area without a competent
head, and Simpson now volunteered to take charge of it. His offer was
accepted, and for the next year he was stationed at remote Fort
Wedderburn on Lake Athabaska.
"Canoe Manned by Voyageurs", painting by Mrs. F. A. Hopkins. George Simpson 's voyage by canoe and packhorse from
Hudson 's Bay to the mouth of the Columbia River was done in eighty-four
days, a record time. He kept his men going often for eighteen hours a day.
i.«-»*
ASK Dr. John McLaughlin.
40
He soon showed that though young and inexperienced he was capable
of vigorous action. He did not hesitate to impose his will on subordinates who, though long in the field, were in his opinion conducting
the company's affairs in a wasteful manner. He also maintained a bold
front toward the rival company, whose post at Fort Chipewyan was
not far from his own. In the spring of 1821 he left for York Factory
with the season's furs, and it was there that he first learned the
news that the two companies were now to be one and that the enemies
of yesterday would be the partners of tomorrow.
With this great change a new era opened for the Hudson's Bay
Company. Needless duplication of posts and men could be phased
out, and an organization created combining the long experience of
those in the field with the capital and political connections of the
directors in London. In the interests of harmony the change was made
as painless as possible for all concerned, and here Simpson more than
proved his worth, as his tact and goodwill helped to reconcile old
foes. Parliament had meanwhile passed an act giving the Company a
monopoly of trade with the Indians as far west as the Pacific Ocean,
although Americans could continue to trade with the natives west of
the Rockies, in the "Oregon Territory" which as yet belonged to
neither Britain nor the United States.
All signs now looked bright, yet Simpson was by no means content
merely to let the new situation bring its automatic rewards. He had
already become a man resolved to master and mold events, and having
placed the Athabaska district in good hands, in the next two years
he visited nearly all the Company's posts on the prairies, distributing
praise or blame and giving orders for changes. Then, on the instructions of his superiors in London, he set himself a greater task: that
of discovering whether operations west of the Rockies, not hitherto
profitable, should be maintained, expanded, or abandoned. Simpson
decided that in a matter of this magnitude it would not suffice to
extract an answer from the reports of others — he would go and see
for himself.
So began another of those remarkable tours of inspection which
would occupy Simpson for nearly forty years, and which would three
times take him to the Pacific coast. On August 15, 1824 he set out
from York Factory on Hudson's Bay in a birchbark canoe about twenty-
five feet long, paddled by sturdy voyageurs. Speeding along the rivers
of the prairies, with the canoe often in motion for eighteen hours
out of the twenty-four, Simpson soon overtook Dr. John McLoughlin,
who had recently been appointed chief of operations west of the
Rockies. McLoughlin, destined to be for many years the dominant
figure in the fur trade of the Pacific northwest, and today revered as
"the father of Oregon", had left York Factory on July 27; he was much
discomfited, though no doubt impressed, at being overtaken by his
superior.
In the early autumn the two men, travelling up the Athabaska River,
reached the Company post of "Jasper's House" in the shadow of the
Rockies. Here packhorses were awaiting them. Their party was soon
moving through the Yellowhead Pass, Simpson recording his impressions in his journal: Fort George at the mouth of the Columbia River. Simpson came there to determine whether or not the HBC should continue its presence in
the Pacific Northwest. He decided that the company should not only remain, but expand its operations to the coastline of British Columbia.
"The mountains rise perpendicular to a prodigious height, the scenery
wild and majestic beyond description. The track is in many places
nearly impassable, and it appears extraordinary how any human being
should have stumbled on a pass through such a formidable barrier
as we are now scaling, and which nature seems to have placed here
for the purpose of interdicting all communication between the east
and west sides of the continent."
At the Great Divide, the party came upon a small lake, from one end
of which water ran toward the Athabaska River and hence the Arctic,
and from the other toward the Columbia River and the Pacific. Struck
by the uniqueness of their location, Simpson named it, in honor of his
superiors in London, "The Committee's Punch Bowl", a name it still
retains. Once across the Great Divide, the party travelled to a point
on the Columbia called Boat Encampment, where canoes were again
available. Here they embarked, and were soon moving down this
generally smooth waterway toward the Pacific.
In the next few weeks Simpson visited several Company posts in the
northwest, notably Spokane House and Fort Okanagan. He was highly
displeased by what he found. The staff at these posts, in his opinion,
was too large; moreover, instead of growing their own food and catching salmon (which as fur traders they considered to be occupations
far beneath them) they imported most of their supplies from Europe
via Cape Horn and the lower Columbia. Simpson ordered a drastic
change in  this easy-going way  of life:
"The good people of Spokane district, and I believe of the interior
of the Columbia generally, have since its first establishment shown an
extraordinary predilection for European provisions, without once looking at or considering the enormous price it costs; if they had taken
that trouble they would have had little difficulty in discovering that
all this time they may be said to have been eating gold; such fare
we cannot afford in the present times. It must therefore be discontinued, and I do not see why one ounce of European stores or provisions should be allowed on one side of the mountains more than the
other. I have therefore given intimation that they had better hoard
the European provisions and luxuries they have got now in store, as
their future supplies will be very scanty."
41 "/■'
In early November Simpson reached Fort George at the mouth of the
Columbia, founded by Astor's Pacific Fur Company and named Astoria,
and later bought by the North West Company. He had now crossed
the continent from Hudson's Bay to the Pacific in eighty-four days,
a record; but it was soon clear that he had no intention of resting
on his laurels. He sent a party of forty men to the lower Fraser
to discover whether a new post should be built at its mouth. In the
meantime he supervised the construction of a new headquarters for
the Company (Fort Vancouver) on the Pacific coast, on the north bank
of the Columbia some eighty miles from its mouth. The Fraser expedition returned to report that the lower Fraser was navigable, and as a
result plans were set in motion to build a post in that area. The
new headquarters post of Fort Vancouver was christened on March 19,
1825:
"At sunrise mustered all the people to hoist the flagstaff of the new
,y '        establishment, and in presence of the gentlemen, servants, chiefs and
Indians I baptised it by breaking a bottle of rum on the flagstaff and
. £m ., repeating the following words in a loud voice:
"On behalf of the Honourable Hudson's Bay Company I hereby name
this establishment Fort Vancouver. God Save King George the Fourth!"
Fort Vancouver,  Washington, c.  1845.       The object of naming it after that distinguished navigator is to identify
Founded  in   1825   as   the   new   head-       our claim to the soil and trade with his discovery of the river and coast
quarters of the Hudson s Bay Company in        on behalf of Great Britain."
the Pacific Northwest.
Leaving McLoughlin in charge, Simpson was soon on his way back to
York Factory, but his visit to the Pacific coast had set in motion great
changes. Drastic cuts in staff at the posts west of the Rockies were
ordered and the practice of importing food for them was stopped. A
virtual city-state surrounded by hundreds of acres of cultivated land
was soon developed at Fort Vancouver, strengthening British claims to
the area in the process; while plans for the new post of Fort Langley
on the lower Fraser went forward. Simpson had also decided that the
furs of New Caledonia, instead of being laboriously transported over
the Rockies and across the prairies to the sea, should be brought by
packtrain down the shores of Okanagan Lake to the upper Columbia,
and then taken by flat-bottomed scows to the Pacific. This route was
to be followed until the Oregon Treaty of 1846 necessitated finding
another, all-British route, between the fur-trapping grounds and the
sea.
Most important of all, Simpson had decided, subject to confirmation
from the directors of the company in London, that the vast area west
of the Rockies should by no means be abandoned to the Russians or
Americans and hence lost to Britain forever.
In 1826 William Williams, nominally still Simpson's superior, retired
to England, and Simpson became Governor of Rupert's Land, the head
of Company operations in North America. Even so, he was constantly
on the move, making a second visit to the Pacific coast in 1828.
On this occasion, he nearly lost his life. Apparently assuming that
Simon Fraser's account of his descent of the Fraser was exaggerated,
he resolved to travel its whole course from Kamloops to Fort Langley.
He discovered, almost too late, that Fraser was not mistaken, and in one of the rapids his boat was nearly lost. By the time he reached
Fort Langley, the governor had realized that the middle reaches of the
river could never be  used  to  transport  furs  or men.
In the fall of 1829 Simpson crossed the Atlantic to England. Affairs
of the Company were doubtless always in his mind, but this time they
were joined by those of the heart: the Governor was in search of a
wife. As in everything else, he proved himself a man of decision;
within three months of landing in England he had married his cousin,
Frances Simpson, then eighteen. The couple then started back to Fort
Garry, near modern Winnipeg.
There were a few details to be cleared up, but here the governor
was equally efficient. He had for some time had an alliance with a
half-breed girl named Margaret Taylor, who had borne him four
children. Their relationship was a customary arrangement in the fur
trade, and aroused no particular comment, as there were very few
white women available. Simpson now found a suitable bridegroom
for his erstwhile helpmeet, and they were married by the Hudson's Bay
Company chaplain. A large dowry was paid over by the Governor for
past services. What Simpson's new lady thought of all this is not
recorded.
Simpson was still resolved to extend the Company's operations on the
Pacific coast; indeed, he planned to secure a monopoly of its fur trade,
to the exclusion of both Russia and the United States. It was to be over
a decade before he saw the area again, but in the interval even the
deep inlets of the northern coast were to have their age-old slumbers
disturbed by the operations of his restless will. He ordered a series
of posts built along the coast all the way from Puget Sound to Alaska.
These included Nisqually (now Tacoma) on Puget Sound in 1833, Fort
McLoughlin (near Bella Bella) in the same year, Fort Durham on the
Taku River in 1840, and Fort Simpson (near Prince Rupert) in 1831.
He also leased a strip of the Alaskan Panhandle from Russia in return
for an annual payment of furs and farm products.
Communication and supply between these posts was maintained by a
small fleet of sailing ships and later the famous Beaver, the first steamship on the coast. This sturdy little vessel, built at Simpson's urging,
sailed from England around Cape Horn to Fort Vancouver, where she
arrived in 1836. Her engines (which had been carried on board) were
then installed. As a steamship could safely penetrate the deep coastal
inlets where sailing ships often met disaster, because of winds and
tides, the British company now had a further great advantage over
Russian and American traders. Before long nearly all the maritime fur
trade south of Alaska was in the hands of the Hudson's Bay Company.
Yet some of the levers of fate were beyond even Simpson's power to
grasp. In the 1840's, immigration into the valleys of Oregon began
from the eastern United States. Simpson (who paid a third visit to
the Pacific coast in 1841, the year he was knighted) knew an irreversible trend when he saw one, and realized that much of the Pacific
northwest was bound to become American. He still felt confident, however, that he could save much of this vast area for the Company
and for Britain; accordingly, he ordered the establishment of a new post
Fort Langley, B.C., built in 1827, was the
first of the new posts Simpson ordered
built on the Pacific Coast north of the
Columbia River Basin. Both Fort Langley
and Fort Vancouver were established with
large farming areas in their environs.
Without the forts' ability to maintain
their own food supply, the Hudson's Bay
Company would have had great difficulty
in maintaining its presence on the Pacific
Coast.
Fort Langley,  B.C.
43 on the southern end of Vancouver Island, which was intended eventually to replace Fort Vancouver as the main company depot on the
Pacific coast. Here again, Simpson foresaw the future correctly: Fort
Victoria was founded in 1843, and the boundary on the mainland was
fixed at 49° North Latitude in 1846. In 1849 Victoria became the
Pacific headquarters of the Company, with James Douglas, McLough-
lin's onetime second-in-command at Fort Vancouver, coming north to
take charge of its affairs. In the same year Vancouver Island became
a British colony, with Richard Blanshard arriving from England in
1850 to be its first governor, succeeded by Douglas in 1851. The
latter was not required to sever his connections with the Hudson's
Bay Company, which had undertaken to encourage settlement on the
island as part of its agreement with the British Government.
So far, the Company had conducted a skilful withdrawal to the areas
which Britain could hope to hold, and which in any case were the
ones where fur-bearing animals still abounded. Then, in 1858, came
the greatest challenge of all. Thousands of Americans from California
poured into British Columbia (as it was first known in that year) in
search of gold. They greatly outnumbered those of British allegiance,
but the centres of civilization and the levers of power were all firmly
in the hands of the latter. Reinforced by officials and soldiers sent
out from England, they remained so.
Much of the credit for this outcome must go to Simpson, who a generation earlier had resolved to incorporate the area into the economic
empire which he directed. The posts which he established or developed
have become the cities of today; the routes of travel and communication between them are now the roads and highways of the west.
He created, in fact, the east-west axis of Canada, without which it
would likely never have existed or long endured.
Simpson, worn out by forty years of unremitting labor, but still in
harness, died near Montreal in 1860. Full of years and honors, he was
by then a wealthy man, accustomed to mixing with the great ones of
the earth; yet in his will he did not forget his four illegitimate children,
by then scattered about the continent.
Nor should we forget him; for his work has long survived him. It is
largely because of him that British Columbia is a part of Canada today.
44
The S.S. Beaver, first steamship on the coast of British Columbia. As a steamship, the
Beaver had superior sailing qualities to vessels using only sails on the inletted waters of the
coast.
By.]"-
yy • James Douglas
1803-1877
Sir James Douglas (1803-1877). Douglas founded Fort Victoria and consolidated the British hold on British Columbia
during the influx of Americans in the
1858 gold rush.
"No history of the province can be written without Sir James Douglas
forming the central figure around which will cluster the stirring events that
have marked the advance of the province from a fur-hunting preserve for
nomadic tribes to a progressive country of civilized beings, under the protection of the British flag and enjoying a stable and settled form of
government".
— The Victoria Colonist,
August 4, 187 7
"I ask for no prouder monument, and for no other memorial, when 1 die
and go hence,  than the testimony here offered,  that I have done my duty".
— Sir James Douglas,
April 1864.
No man had a greater influence on the early history of British Columbia
than James Douglas. He directed the province's affairs during the most
critical period and brought it safely through many dangers. He founded
Victoria, was responsible for the establishment of a naval base at
Esquimalt, envisioned the Cariboo Road and saw that it was built.
He encouraged education, religion and culture, and brought a vast
area of Canada from a primeval wilderness to the threshold of a
democratic and industrial economy. He may even have saved all of
Canada from being absorbed into the American union and thus disappearing as a nation.
It is curious, considering his later prominence, that we do not know
where James Douglas was born. However, it is generally believed that
it was in the vicinity of Demerara, British Guiana. His father was a
Scottish businessman with interests in South America, but nothing is
known of his mother. He received a sound elementary education in
Scotland, and then, while still a teenager, entered the service of the
North West Company.
45 Fort Victoria, c. 1846. Fort Victoria became the new headquarters of the Hudson 's Bay Company on the Pacific Coast
after 1846. By removing its chief centre
of operations to the southern tip of Vancouver Island, the Hudson 's Bay Company gave way to the increasing American
interest in Washington and Oregon. The
steamship S.S. Beaver is in the harbour.
j***^%:^
>■
***>H'
■ef. : Ji
J%'^
'  •
■
A painting of Douglas founding Fort Victoria in 1843.
In 1819 he landed at Quebec, and during the next few years was
stationed at various small fur trading posts in eastern and central
Canada. In 1821 the North West Company was merged with the
Hudson's Bay Company, and in the service of the latter Douglas was
transferred to Fort McLeod and later Fort St. James, in what is now
called northern British Columbia, but was then called New Caledonia.
At Fort St. James he met and married Amelia Connolly, a girl of
mixed white and Indian blood. They were eventually to have thirteen
children,  although  most  of  them  died  at  a  very early  age.
In 1830 Douglas was transferred again, this time to Fort Vancouver
on the lower Columbia river, the main centre of the fur trade for the
whole Pacific area. Here he soon attracted the favorable attention of
Chief Factor John McLoughlin, in charge of all Hudson's Bay Company
affairs west of the Rocky Mountains.
In 1842 the Company's annual council decided that a new headquarters on the Pacific coast would have to be found. Immigration into
Oregon from the eastern United States was increasing rapidly, and it
was apparent that the valley of the Columbia would eventually come
under American control. The mouth of the Fraser was unsuitable for
the new headquarters, as its estuary was shallow and changeable.
Southern  Vancouver  island  seemed  better,  and  the   council   decided
"that the new establishment to be formed on the Straits of De Fuca
to be named Fort Victoria be erected on a scale sufficiently extensive
to answer the purposes of the depot; the square of the fort to be not
less than 150 yards, the buildings to be substantial and erected as far
apart as the grounds may admit with a view to guarding against fire."
This decision, in which no doubt Simpson had a major voice, was
communicated to McLoughlin, who in 1842 sent Douglas north with six
men in the Hudson's Bay Company schooner Cadboro to examine
possible sites for a new depot.
He examined four harbors — Sooke, Metchosin, Esquimalt and Victoria,
finding some advantages and defects in each of them. Victoria, however, (then known as Camosun) seemed best, as there was good land
to the north of it for growing crops, and a nearby spot (the narrowest
part of the Gorge) where a water-powered mill could be built to grind
flour and perhaps make lumber. Douglas' choice was accepted, and in 1843 he was again sent north,
this time in the Hudson's Bay Company steamship Beaver, to found
the new post. On the fifteenth of March he went ashore and selected
a location for it. The exact site in Victoria is now called Bastion
Square.
With the help of the natives, who cut timber in return for blankets,
a high picket fence was built around this area and a well dug inside it.
Then, leaving some men behind to trade with the natives, Douglas
sailed north and brought back the men from two posts far up the
coast which the Company had decided were to be phased out. These
were Fort McLoughlin on Milbanke Sound and Fort Taku (also called
Fort Durham) on Taku Inlet. It was intended that their place should
be taken by the Beaver, which would periodically visit the inlets on the
northern coast to trade with the natives.
As soon as Fort Victoria was finished, Douglas went back to Fort
Vancouver, leaving Charles Ross, formerly at Fort McLoughlin, in
charge. Ross died a year later, apparently of appendicitis, and Roderick
Finlayson then took command. Little could Finlayson have guessed
that over thirty years later, with the bastions and palisades of the fort
then only a memory, he would be elected mayor of the thriving city of
Victoria!
In 1849 Victoria became the headquarters of the Company on the
Pacific coast, and in the same year Vancouver Island became a
British colony. The Hudson's Bay Company was granted certain important economic privileges in the colony, such as the exclusive right
to trade with the Indians. In return, the Company had to bring out
settlers from the British Isles and aid them in their daily life. A governor, Richard Blanshard, was sent out from England to represent the
crown, while Douglas was transferred from Fort Vancouver to Fort
Victoria to manage the trade with the Indians. As this constituted
almost the entire life of the colony, Blanshard (who had no previous
experience in government and was fourteen years younger than Douglas) soon felt superfluous and resigned, whereupon Douglas was
appointed to succeed him as governor, taking office in the fall of 1851.
He was, surprisingly, not required to sever his connections with the
Company, which caused some criticism both in the colony and in
England.
Life in Victoria for the next seven years was tranquil. Trade developed
with the natives, the furs were shipped back by sea to England once a
year, and British warships occasionally called at nearby Esquimalt.
The Company developed four farms, which supplied not only the colony
but places as far distant as Sitka, Alaska. A visible reminder of
one of them is Craigflower Manor, built by Kenneth Mackenzie, the
manager of Craigflower Farm. The other Company farms were operated
by E.E. Langford, Thomas Skinner and Thomas Blinkhorn. Small
communities also grew up at Sooke, which exported lumber, and
Nanaimo, where excellent deposits of coal were discovered. A few
shiploads of settlers arrived from the British Isles, some of them,
such as the Muir family, to mine coal, and others to serve the Company
in other capacities. Among these we may include the Reverend Cridge,
Anglican chaplain to the colony, and Dr. Helmcken, its first physician.
Interior of Fort Victoria, c. 1854.
47 Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie
I
i>il>»liiiiniinii>i»)"gr.
H.M.S. Ganges, one of the means by
which Douglas sought to keep control of
the thousands of gold seeking Americans
who suddenly poured into British Columbia in 1858.
48
The Crimean War, in which Britain and France were allies against
Russia, also had its effect on the colony. Soon after the outbreak of
the conflict in 1854, British warships attacked Petropavlovsk, a Russian
post in the Far East. The casualties they suffered had to be taken back
to San Francisco for medical attention. The British admiral on the Pacific coast (who used Valparaiso, Chile, as his base) wrote to Douglas
the following year, suggesting not only that he supply coal and fresh
meat and vegetables to the fleet, but that he erect a naval hospital
in the colony. Douglas realized that visits by warships might bring
money into the colony, and hastened to erect three buildings, each
thirty feet by fifty feet. As it happened, only a single casualty, an
engineer suffering from scurvy, was admitted to the hospital during
the war. Esquimalt was still far from a major British naval base, but
Douglas' three buildings marked the first step in its development.
Another step forward for the colony came in 1856 when, on instruction
from London, Douglas divided the settled parts of the colony into districts and held elections. On the 12th of August the first House of
Assembly of Vancouver Island came together. Its members were J.D.
Pemberton, a surveyor, James Yates, a merchant, and E.E. Langford
for Victoria; Dr. Helmcken and Thomas Skinner for Esquimalt-Metcho-
sin; John Muir from Sooke; and John F. Kennedy for Nanaimo. Dr.
Helmcken was chosen Speaker, and Douglas gave the House an elaborate but well-thought-out address in which he detailed the colony's
advantages — its many natural resources — and also its handicaps —
tariffs imposed on its exports by the United States, the steady drain of
population to the California gold rush, and its remoteness from all
other British colonies. We may note that although the colony had now
taken the first long step toward democratic government, Douglas still
held a veto over any laws passed by the Assembly.
A census taken by Douglas in 1854 had revealed the white population
of Vancouver Island as 774, of whom 232 lived in Victoria and 151 at
Nanaimo. These figures can hardly have increased much in the next
few years; yet, all unknown to the residents of this little world — a
few scattered communities isolated on the farthest rim of the Pacific —
a gathering storm was about to burst, confronting it with the greatest
challenge in its history. At the centre of the storm would stand the
unyielding, incorruptible Douglas. Few stories are more dramatic
than the part that Douglas would play.
It began about noon, Sunday, April 25, 1858. Placid groups of worshippers, either reflecting on the sermon or contemplating their dinner,
were decorously leaving church, when in the harbor below them appeared the ship Commodore from San Francisco. Scrambling ashore
from her came a motley crowd of miners of a dozen races and nationalities — over four hundred men, asking only for the provisions, tools
and boats which would enable them to cross the Gulf of Georgia and
make their fortunes on the bars of the Fraser.
Even this, it transpired, was only the first wave. Soon thousands were
arriving in Victoria, which overnight became a boom town where newcomers either slept in tents or in the bushes. It is estimated that
twenty thousand men arrived in Victoria that summer, some of whom
stayed there and opened businesses; in a single year the population
of the settlement jumped from three hundred to five thousand. ft
Victoria in 1858, after the sudden arrival of thousands of gold seekers. The
harbour is now prosperously crowded with
ships. In that year Douglas's role was
transformed from that of the Governor of
a quiet little colony to that of a man having
to control the destiny of British Columbia.
Douglas was thus faced with a totally unexpected situation. He had to
maintain law and order, provide roads, bridges, fire engines, hospitals
and schools, and prevent the colony from being taken ewer by the
Americans who now made up most of the population. He soon had to
do all this on the mainland as well, for a new colony, called British
Columbia, was set up there late in 1858, with Douglas being made
Governor, while still remaining in charge of the quite separate colony
of Vancouver Island.
For several months Douglas maintained his authority almost alone,
dominating events by sheer force of character. Then, in response to his
urgent despatches to London, help began arriving. Among those who
consolidated the victory were Admiral Baynes, whose large warship
Ganges (after which a town on Saltspring Island is named) arrived from
South American waters in October; Judge Matthew Begbie, who maintained law and order in the gold fields; and Colonel Richard Moody,
whose Royal Engineers were to create such new communities as New
Westminster (made the capital of the mainland colony), and carve
roads through the primeval wilderness. Guided by the varied talents
of these men, with Douglas towering above all, the two colonies came
safely into a new era, as the Age of Fur gave way to the Age of Gold.
Before long, far richer deposits of the precious metal were discovered
in the Cariboo. This was three hundred miles from the coast, and there
were only trails connecting the two areas. Douglas decided on a bold
plan: he would build a road wide enough for stagecoaches all the way
from the lower Fraser to Barkerville.
This was a task as great as any he had ever tackled. The money available was limited, there was no modern equipment such as bulldozers,
and the terrain in some places was among the worst in the world.
Nevertheless, the indomitable Douglas went forward, borrowing money
where he could and setting up a system of tolls to repay the loans.
By 1864 the road was finished as far as Quesnel, the following year,
it reached right into Barkerville. It was, perhaps, the most remarkable
achievement of a remarkable man; his son-in-law, Dr. Helmcken, was
to write many years later: "The waggon road to Cariboo was the greatest of his works — a wonder at the time — as well in projection as the
determination to carry it out to its completion". The Colonist was
equally unqualified in its praise, declaring after Douglas' death that
"This magnificent road will remain for ages a monument to the genius
of the great mind that conceived and executed it, as the Roman
roads are to this day a monument to the genius of the greatest of
the Roman rulers".
Colonel Richard Clement Moody built the
roads which gave access to the Interior
mining locations. His Royal Engineers also
provided a military presence.
The Cariboo Road at Chapman's Bar
Bluff. The building of that artery into the
Interior of the province is the greatest
single achievement of Sir James Douglas. 49 The marriage of Martha, youngest of Sir
James Douglas's daughters. Douglas was
known to wonder at the practicability of
wearing a top hat in this part of the world,
hut he was nevertheless a strong believer
in social precedence and the English style
of quality living. He made certain that his
daughters married well. Martha married
Mr. Dennis Harris, a C.P.R. Survey official.
The funeral of Sir James Douglas on August 6,
1877. His death was greatly mourned.
r
i iiiii u \
The official residence of Sir James Douglas. Much taken with the beauty of the site of Victoria, Douglas maintained a good garden.
Soon a regular stage coach service was established, and shipments of
gold, guarded by armed escorts on horseback, were constantly coming
down   to  the coast;  meanwhile  supplies,  including   luxuries   such   as
pianos and champagne, were carried up to the roaring boom towns of
the Cariboo.
In 1864, having brought the two colonies safely through many dangers
and difficulties! Douglas retired from public life, being knighted by
Queen Victoria for his services. His wife, once but a fur-trapper's
half-breed daughter, thus became Lady Douglas. After taking a trip
(alone) by way of the Panama to Europe, where he was astonished
by the great changes of the previous forty years, he settled down in
Victoria with his family, much respected by all.
He died suddenly one August evening in 1877 while talking with Dr.
Helmcken, who had married one of his daughters. His widow survived
until 1890 — the year that streetcars first ran in the city. His house,
which stood on the site of the present provincial museum, was dismantled in the early years of this century.
Douglas by all accounts was a stern and somewhat formal man; yet
he had many qualities. His courage was measureless; in 1853, when
leading a party sent to arrest a native wanted for murder, he sat
calmly amid two hundred armed and angry Cowichan warriors, the
table in front of him holding both presents and his cutlass, "the use
of either to depend on circumstances". In the end the man was
surrendered.
'
He was highly industrious, as his volumes of despatches make plain;
his will was tireless and inflexible, as the Cariboo Road testifies.
He was fluent in French and spoke several Indian dialects; he was
trusted by the natives, who thought of him as a father. He strove all his
life to acquire knowledge and culture on a wide variety of subjects,
and by his support of education encouraged others to do the same.
Across the vast area between the Rockies and the Pacific, which he
was the first to govern, his mark is still writ large. Because of him,
s and churches
Most important
le   two  colonies
50
the foundations of justice were established, schoo
erected in the wilderness, a major naval base begun,
of all, in the great crisis of 1858, he preserved t
from absorption into the American union, and so provided the western
pillars for the arch of Confederation. As his old friend Bishop Cridge
said at his funeral in 1877, "He was the right man in the right
place at the right time". If he had not lived, and stood firm in his time
of trial, there might well have been no British Columbia todayl In 1847, Alexander Caulfield Anderson established a new
route entirely north of the Oregon Treaty boundary. His path
made use of the Fraser River Canyon—before his exploration
considered unuseable for fur brigades—and ended at Fort
Langley on the delta of the Fraser. His work drew attention to
the possibility of developing travel routes through the Fraser
area. Such routes became essential in the gold rush of 1858,
when control of the interior of the province depended on trails
and roads built along the Fraser.
Alexander
Caulfield
Anderson
1814-1884
"In 1845, while stationed at Alexandria, the lowest post on the Fraser of
New Caledonia, I foresaw the probability that under the Oregon Treaty,
then pending, the line of demarcation between the British territory and
that of the United States would pass north of the lower Columbia. J
judged it prudent, therefore, to endeavor to provide beforehand some route
of access to the sea which might supplement, and perhaps eventually
supersede, our usual route of communication via the Columbia River with the
depot at Fort Vancouver."
During the early decades of the nineteenth century, the fur trade
developed rapidly, until the whole northern half of North America was
a network of trading posts, joined together by either land or water
routes. Along these the precious bales of furs were taken to the ocean
and thence to the markets of the world, while supplies, including
trade goods, moved in the opposite direction to the lonely posts
scattered across the continent.
After 1821, the fur trade was dominated by the Hudson's Bay Company,
and since the ownership of the Pacific northwest, then known as the
Oregon Territory, had not yet been decided, the Company may also
be said to have been the only authority west of the Rockies and north
of California.
In 1846, however, an important change took place: the Oregon Territory was divided between Great Britain and the United States. The
boundary line went west along the 49th parallel, and on reaching
the Pacific curved southward so as to leave all Vancouver Island north
of the line.
51 m,Y yy
YY:' ;
:&■*■■
£■!&., ,   . .
For/ Langley. After 1847. Fort Langley
became the chief outlet for the Hudson 's
Bay Company shipments coming from the
interior of British Columbia.
52
There were thus Company posts on both sides of the new border.
However, Fort Vancouver, the Company's headquarters on the Pacific
coast, lay well south of it on the Columbia River, while the main route
along which furs were taken to the sea from what is now northern
British Columbia was bisected by the new international boundary.
Since Governor Simpson's first visit to the Pacific coast in 1824,
much of the annual harvest of furs had been brought down from "New
Caledonia" to Kamloops, and then taken by packtrains of horses
down the shores of Okanagan Lake to the upper waters of the
Columbia; transferred to flat-bottomed boats, they were then carried
down  to Fort  Vancouver and  so out  to  the  markets  of  the   world.
After 1846, the final stages of this trade route lay within American
territory, a situation which the directors of the Company found undesirable. For example, it would be possible for the United States to
levy customs duties on furs crossing the boundary, or to interfere
in any other way they pleased with the operations of the company
south of "the line"; alternatively, companies controlled by American
interests could be established, and then given government assistance
in displacing the Hudson's Bay Company from American soil.
Even before the treaty was signed, the directors of the company had
taken some moves to counteract these possibilities. The new post of
Fort Victoria had been founded by James Douglas in 1843, and preparations made to transfer the Pacific coast headquarters of the company
there from Fort Vancouver, a move which took place in 1849. Yet the
major artery of the fur trade of the far west still ran through American
territory, and it was to this problem that officials of the company now
addressed themselves.
It was well known that the lower reaches of the Fraser were easily
navigable, and this raised the possibility of a land route from Kamloops
which would reach the river below its dangerous rapids. It was at this
point that Alexander Caulfield Anderson entered the picture.
Anderson had been born in Calcutta in 1814, the son of a British
army officer stationed in India. The family later returned to England,
and there in 1831 young Anderson signed on to serve the Hudson's Bay
Company for five years. He was to receive £20 the first year, rising
to £50 in the fifth.
Sailing for Montreal in the spring of 1831, he crossed the continent
on foot and horseback by the Yellowhead Pass to Fort Vancouver, his
base from 1832 to 1835. During this period he helped build the new
post of Fort McLoughlin on Milbanke Sound. In 1835 he was transferred to New Caledonia, where he served at several posts.
In 1838 he married Elizabeth Birnie. One of their children, James, born
in 1841, was to attain some unusual distinctions: he attended the first
school in old Fort Victoria; he became British Columbia's first deputy
minister of agriculture; and at the time of his death in 1930 he was
the last link with the pioneer days of the colony of Vancouver Island.
The year 1840 saw Anderson again on the Pacific coast. He was put
in charge of Fort Nisqually (near modern Tacoma) at the head of
Puget Sound. In 1842 he took a large number of furs across the continent  to York Factory on  Hudson's Bay.  It was clear  by  now   that Anderson could be entrusted with important tasks, and he was put in
charge of Fort Alexandria, a major collection point for furs in the
northern interior.  He  was  also promoted  to  rank of  Chief  Trader.
Anderson was evidently aware of the Company's pressing need to find
an all-British route from the fur-trapping grounds to the Pacific. In
1845 he decided that he might be the man to solve this problem.
Accordingly he wrote to Governor Simpson, suggesting that he should
be assigned a task force to examine possible routes through the
interior valleys from Kamloops to Fort Langley. Simpson approved
the suggestion, and on May 15, 1846 Anderson set out from Kamloops
with five men and some horses.
Moving westward along the Thompson River, his party crossed the
Bonaparte and Pavilion rivers, both then in flood. On May 19 they sent
the horses back to Kamloops in the care of an Indian boy. Anderson
soon reached the Fraser, which he crossed at Lillooet on May 21,
He then struck westward until he reached Seton Lake. Here the party
bought some canoes from the natives, and paddled down Seton Lake
to its western end, a distance of about twenty miles. After a portage
of a little over a mile, they embarked on Anderson Lake(as it would
one day be named). From its western end, a longer portage brought
them to Lillooet Lake. From here they descended the Lillooet River,
through Harrison Lake (some thirty-six miles long), and from its
southern end to the banks of the Fraser. From there it was not a
difficult matter to reach Fort Langley, some distance down the river,
on the twenty-fourth of May.
Anderson estimated the distance from Lillooet to Fort Langley as 230
miles. However, he saw little prospect that the route could be successfully used by the fur brigades. If boats were used to navigate the
lakes along the route, several portages would be necessary; while if
the entire route was traversed on horseback, other difficulties would be
equally formidable. Not only would the rocky ground be very hard on
the horses, but "precipitous rocks rising 1000 to 1500 feet in height rise
on both sides, and preclude the possibility of all progress by land, save
perhaps by scaling the craggy sides at some rare points less precipitous
than the rest."
Anderson decided that this route was not feasible, and on his return
journey to Kamloops resolved to explore an entirely different area.
This time he set off up the Fraser on May 28 in what he termed "a
well-manned canoe."Two days later he sent the canoe back, and struck
eastward from the banks of the river. He was soon in a defile from
which there seemed no exit, so he returned to the Fraser and hired
two fresh canoes. In these he ascended to the point (now called Hope)
where the Coquihalla River enters the Fraser. The party ascended the
Coquihalla for some distance and then made its way by its tributaries
to the Cascade mountains. With Indian guides they crossed the Cascades by way of Manson Ridge. They were now in the upper waters of
the Similkameen and began descending along its banks.
Progress was slow, as Anderson, though, still a young man, had
already somewhat impaired his strength in the service of the fur trade:
<S-
The party of the fur brigade, hi this picture is shown a scene typical of transport
of the furs by packhorse in the interior of
British Columbia.
53 Nicola Lake, looking east.
54
"Unfortunately for my efficiency, I this evening find myself suffering
considerably from stiffness in my right leg, arising from varicose
veins, an evil contracted some years back by over exertion on the
snow shoes."
Finding a pass that led in a northerly direction, they went through it,
only to find that on its northern side, where the sun seldom penetrated,
the snow was still several feet deep. Struggling on alone, they eventually reached the junction of the Otter and the Similkameen rivers.
From there they went north to Nicola Lake, and thence to a point south
of Kamloops where horses were awaiting them. With these they completed their journey on the ninth of June.
Anderson did not consider the route he had just travelled much of an
improvement over his earlier one. If snow along the way was still
deep in June, it appeared that it could only be used for a very short
period each year. Anderson's superiors agreed. They did not think it
wise to make a drastic change in the established route of the brigades
until a decisively better one was found. Accordingly, in 1847 the furs
were once more brought down to the coast by the old route along
the shore of the Okanagan.
That was the last occasion on which the old route was followed. In
1847 the "Whitman massacre" took place near Walla Walla on the
upper reaches of the Columbia. A missionary and thirteen other
white people were killed by Indians, who unjustly blamed them for an
epidemic then ravaging their tribe. For the next several years sporadic
fighting (the Cayuse War) took place between the two races in the
American part of the Pacific northwest. This made it more important
than ever to find a new route for the brigades, and in 1847 Anderson
was once again sent out to find one.
On May 19 he set out southward from Kamloops with five companions.
The first day was not auspicious: "My horse stumbled and rolled
completely over, I narrowly escaping a broken leg." When the party
reached Nicola lake, they went westward from its western end in the
direction of "The Forks", i.e. Lytton. Along the way they saw
"some sparse camps of Indians, the inhabitants of which were occupied
plying their scoop nets from stages erected near the water's edge. The
produce of this fishery is a fine kind of trout, from 10 to 12 lbs.
weight. The country rugged with volcanic rock, wormwood, the cactus;
and rattlesnakes characterize the lower lands."
Reaching the Thompson in the vicinity of what is now Spence's
Bridge, they sent back their horses and proceeded on foot down the
eastern bank of the Thompson, and after they had passed Lytton,
the Fraser. On one occasion they were visited by "a large concourse
of Indians of every age and sex" and "a general handshaking took
place". The natives also brought Anderson letters from Chief Trader
Yale, in charge of Fort Langley.
One thing Anderson did not need to learn from these letters was that
it was very hot in the canyon of the river; he recorded in his journal
that "a day's march along the arid hills of Fraser's river, with the
thermometer between 80° and 90° in the shade, is a trying matter,
however willing the spirit." Eventually the party reached Kequeloose, and soon afterwards were
opposite the Indian village of Spuzzum. Anderson conceived the idea
of examining the western bank of the river, eventually reaching the
present site of Yale, where the natives gave them salmon and potatoes.
They recrossed the river to the mouth of the Coquihalla, and then
went down the Fraser in their canoe to Fort Langley. The other group
reached the same destination on foot.
Anderson was not encouraged by what he had seen. The route he had
travelled along the middle reaches of the Fraser was "a succession of
rocky hills, some of which are avoidable by making a circuit, while
others appear to offer no such alternative. I decidedly think them quite
impracticable for a loaded brigade, or indeed for anything beyond possibly a single light horse or so. My personal opinion is that the obstacles
in question are too serious to be overcome under ordinary circumstances."
On the way back to Kamloops, Anderson once more examined the
country he had passed through the previous year. Leaving Fort Langley
on the first of June with two canoes, he camped at Yale, and then by
means of portages reached Spuzzum. He then crossed the river to
Kequeloose on its eastern bank, where the canoes were cached. His
party then acquired horses and made its way in a northeasterly
direction to Nicola Lake and from there north to Kamloops. Anderson
felt that this route was a possible one, and so reported to Douglas.
By this time John McLoughlin had retired, and Company affairs in
the Columbia department (i.e. the region west of the Rockies) were
now under the control of Douglas and Peter Skene Ogden. After
examining parts of the Fraser in person, Douglas decided that the
route by way of the Coquihalla would have to be used. Another Company man, Henry Peers, was sent out from Fort Langley to see if
Anderson's route could be improved, and he recommended that part
of the southerly section of it should go by way of the Soaqua
River over the ridge of the Cascades into the Similkameen valley
and from there follow Anderson's original trail.
Douglas also decided that the eastern bank of the Fraser below
Kequeloose was impassable, and that the brigades would have to cross
the river at this point to Spuzzum. A trail was hacked out from
Spuzzum to a point below the worst rapids of the river. There a new
post, Fort Yale, was built, from which it was possible to reach Fort
Langley by boats.
This route was used in 1848 and 1849, but losses in transporting the
450 horses, fifty men, and a season's harvest of furs across the river,
were considerable, and Douglas was forced to reconsider his decision.
With some reluctance he decided that the river crossing should be
abandoned, and the furs brought down the eastern bank of the Fraser
from Fort Hope at the mouth of the Coquihalla River to Fort Langley.
Fort Yale was virtually abandoned, only coming to life again during the
gold rush of 1858, and again during the building of the Canadian
Pacific  Railway   in   the   1880's.
The most important problem created by the Oregon Treaty had now
W.,
A. C. Anderson (standing, far right)
aboard H.M.S. Rocket in 1876. In that
year Anderson became an arbitrator of
Indian land claims and also inspector of
fisheries.
55 56
Anderson 's map of the routes to gold fields of British Columbia.
been solved. As long as the fur trade survived, Anderson's route,
with some modifications, was the one which joined the fur-trapping
grounds of the Interior with the navigable waters of the lower Fraser.
Care was taken that the brigade reached the highest point of the
trail at a time when the snow on the ground would cause the least
difficulty. The discovery of this route was Anderson's most important service to
the fur trade and to the development of communications through the
"sea of mountains" which makes up most of British Columbia. Yet
he remained active for many more years yet. In 1851 he was made
second in command at Fort Vancouver (which survived as a trading
post until 1860). In 1854 he retired from the Company's service, and
after living for a time in the state (then territory) of Washington,
bought a farm in Saanich which was his home for the rest of his days.
In the gold rush of 1858 he played an active part, being made
Collector of Customs in Victoria. He also organized and led a party
of 500 miners who that year opened the Harrison-Lillooet trail from the
coast to the gold fields. This was the main route to the Cariboo until
the Cariboo Road was built. In the same period Edgar Dewdney built
the Dewdney Trail east from Hope, which followed in many places the
route marked out by Anderson; the modern Hope-Princeton Highway
was developed from these rough beginnings.
In his later years Anderson composed an interesting history of the
early days of the Pacific northwest. It included his daily journal of
his journeys in 1846 and 1847. In 1876 the Dominion government
appointed him a commissioner to arbitrate Indian land claims in
British Columbia, and in the same year he also became an inspector
of fisheries.
It was a trip in connection with this latter post that cut short his
life. The boat taking him up the Fraser grounded on a sandbar, and
he had to spend a cold night in the open. His health suffered a
setback from which it never recovered, and he died in 1884.
His name is still commemorated on the map, a river and a lake in
the Lillooet area being named after him. He himself in 1858 named
Seton Lake after a cousin, Colonel Seton, lost in the sinking of the
Birkenhead off the African coast in 1852.
Despite his active career in several fields, Anderson is not a well-known
figure to the general public. This is surely unjust, for his discovery
of a practical, all-British artery for the fur trade was to have a profound effect on the history of not only British Columbia but also of
Canada itself. The packtrains slowly wending their way through the
mountains with their precious burdens were in reality weaving the
threads of empire. Without a connection between New Caledonia and
the lower Fraser, British Columbia could hardly have come into being;
without a path "from sea to sea" the Dominon of Canada, even had it
come into existence, could not long have survived; without the Dominion of Canada, there would have been no "all red route" around the
globe. Thus though it is now well over a century since Anderson sought
out an all-British link between the fur trapping grounds and the
markets of the world, we who come after him still remain in his debt.
He toiled for a company with its eye on the balance sheet, but both
he and his employers built better than  they  knew.
57 1 "*«!* ■ tIP*"4
j*%
r^v^
^rii
^^MK^cJi.'',''i"*'<^*,*'**;^^
A general view of Van Winkle, B.C.
58 The Pioneers
The Oregon Treaty of 1846 divided the Pacific northwest between
Britain and the United States. The year 1849 saw further important
developments in this area. The headquarters of the fur trade west of
the Rocky Mountains was moved from Fort Vancouver to Fort Victoria,
with the capable James Douglas, who had founded the latter post in
1843, coming north to take charge of its economic life.
Meanwhile, the government in London decided that Vancouver Island
should become a British colony, and sent out a governor who would
function as its supreme civil and military authority. The relations of
Richard Blanshard and Chief Factor Douglas were seldom more than
cordial, and after a brief period in office the former resigned and
Douglas was appointed his successor, while continuing to direct the
affairs of the fur trade.
The next few years were quiet ones in the colony, yet not entirely
without change. The Company had agreed to foster immigration from
the British Isles, and ships bearing men (and women) willing to try their
luck in the new world began making the long voyage around Cape
Horn to Esquimalt. Gradually the outlines of a more complex society
began appearing in the wilderness. Farms were developed which
exported their produce as far as Alaska; lumbering and coal mining
began; while medical and spiritual advisers arrived to minister to the
colonists. The beginnings of a naval base at Esquimalt grew out of
the Crimean War, while the first legislative assembly was elected
not long afterwards.
The early colony was a small world, destined to be swept away forever
in the gold rush days of 1858. Yet while it lasted, it was not without
charm, and it is to some of those who provided the distinctive flavor
of those early days that we now turn our attention. 59 The Muirs
John Muir, Senior. Abandoning his job as a
miner with the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort
Rupert, Vancouver Island, Muir moved his family to Sooke. There he founded what was virtually an independent colony of his own. Its
survival was based on sawmilling and a family
farm. The Muirs' sawmill was one of the first
in the province. The export trade in lumber and
spars the family carried on from Sooke was independent of Victoria's commercial interests.
The Muirs are an excellent example of pioneer
self-sufficiency.
"Mr. Muir used to say that the advice given him by Mr. Douglas when he went
to Sooke was this: "Never break your word to an Indian, even if it is a promise to
give him a licking" — advice which he strictly followed with the best of results, as
he lived in amity with the natives in spite of the fact that he was comparatively
quite isolated".
J.R. Anderson, Notes and comments.
Captain Grant had been Vancouver Island's first independent settler;
but he had not put down firm roots. He had merely flitted restlessly
about the world till he met his untimely end far from the scene of his
efforts to become a gentleman farmer at Sooke. By contrast, the family
which purchased his property founded a community that not only
survives to this day but contains some of their descendants. That
family is the Muirs.
The Muirs were a family of Scottish coal miners from Ayrshire; in 1848
they made an agreement with the Hudson's Bay Company to come out
to Vancouver Island and work for the Company for three years.
Leaving the British Isles late in the year in the Harpooner were John
Muir, his wife Annie, his four sons John, Robert, Andrew and Michael,
and his widowed daughter Marion with her two children; also a
nephew, Archibald Muir, as well as two other men, John McGregor and
John Smith, and the wife of the latter. Captain Grant's eight workmen
were also on board, as was James Yates, destined to become a
prominent merchant in early Victoria and give his name to one of its
60 main streets. The long voyage around the Horn was not pleasant. Young Andrew
Muir kept a diary which gives a vivid picture of his experiences. He did
not like James Yates:
"He may be a man but he has not the common principles even of a man
about him. He says he is above cooking."
Christmas Day was passed at sea, and around the first of March the
ship rounded the Horn. By that time food was starting to go bad, and
the crew refused to work the ship. The Captain promptly divided the
passengers into two groups and prepared to use them as crew.
Fortunately a compromise was reached, better food provided, and when
the ship reached the Juan Fernandez Island everyone wasable to have all
the fresh fruit they wanted. At the end of May the Harpooner entered
the Strait of Juan de Fuca, where she was becalmed. At once forty
Indian canoes came out from shore. The Muirs nervously fingered the
guns they had been issued while the natives climbed all over the ship
"until they were actually pushed off." On the first of June the ship
reached Victoria, and the passengers thankfully went ashore.
The voyage had been a wretched beginning to their new career, but
once ashore the Muirs were well pleased by what they saw. The
eighteen foot palisades around the fort, as well as its two bastions,
promised protection, while the two dairies and their 150 cows, as well
as the fields of wheat, corn and potatoes, could clearly provide a better
diet than the one they had endured on the voyage. No ship was immediately available to take them to the coal workings at Fort Rupert, so the
men of the party were employed by the Company on construction near
the fort. Then, on August 27 they and their families embarked on the
Mary Dare, arriving at Beaver Harbour, near Fort Rupert, on September
the twenty-fourth.
The prospect there seemed less reassuring. Sixteen Indian war canoes
arrived at the post. They had just returned from defeating a rival tribe,
and the heads of their slain foes were rolling about in their boats. When
they heard that a white woman had arrived, their sense of chivalry was
instantly aroused and they offered to Mrs. Muir any two heads of her
choice. They were puzzled when she declined the offer.
Work went ahead on developing the coal deposits, but in the early
summer of 1850 serious trouble developed between the Muirs and the
Hudson's Bay Company. George Blenkinsop, the officer in charge of
mining operations, used the Muirs to sink a mine shaft. They resented
this, believing that the Kanakas (Hawaiians) at the post should perform
this menial task. They were skilled miners, employed only to extract
the coal. After a quarrel between Blenkinsop and the Muirs, the latter
downed tools. Thus began Vancouver Island's first strike. The action
did not go down well with the officer in charge of the post, Captain
W.H. McNeill. According to Andrew Muir:
"Capt. McNeill commenced like a madman, swearing and threatening,
and ordered us to our work. We said not till we were fairly tried by
English laws for what was charged against us. We were ordered to be
put in irons and fed on bread and water."
Andrew Muir and John McGregor were kept in irons in the fort bastion
for six days. Some sort of compromise was then reached, and they were
George Blenkinsop, manager of the Hudson's Bay Company coal mines at Fort
Rupert. His quarrel with the Muirs lay
behind the family's decision to move to
Sooke.
"Woodside" farmhouse.
61 v I
n
nut i jt^iwiiiilitfi ■■Jip^-
"Woodside" farm.
,     ,y:.
TTie Muirs' sawmill at Sooke, British Columbia.
y^iy'***:
T/ic road to Soofce ;ws/ a/fer ifs completion in the eighteen-nineties. The Muirs
received the contract to construct this
road, and afterwards ran the mail service
in Sooke. They also owned the building
which housed the new government school
in the district.
62
released. The men had meanwhile sent a petition to Governor Blanshard, outlining their grievances, and the Governor had despatched Dr.
J.S. Helmcken to investigate the affair. He had no experience in such
matters, and was in any case an employee of the Company himself, so
he did not accomplish very much.
Recording in his diary his own view that there was "talk of slavery
being abolished, here it reigns in full force" Andrew Muir decided to
find more congenial surroundings. But escape was dangerous. Muir
had heard that Blenkinsop used to give the Indians ten blankets for the
head of a deserter. Nevertheless, with a companion he slipped away in a
canoe, "determined to make for some Christian place." They were
picked up by a passing merchant ship, and on July 20 landed in San
Francisco.
The rest of his family and friends continued to work the mines, but
with diminishing enthusiasm. In 1851 they bought land at Sooke, and
some of them settled there soon afterwards. John Muir continued to
take an interest in mining. In 1852 Governor Douglas and he visited the
newly discovered deposits at Nanaimo and Douglas offered him a
responsible position in developing them. But Muir preferred an
independent life, and soon the whole family was assembled at Sooke.
Even Andrew Muir returned from San Francisco, to be appointed
Victoria's first sheriff, a post he held until his death in 1860.
When Captain Grant decided to quit the colony, he sold his farm and
mill to the Muirs. They soon made a success of them, and before long
were exporting lumber to Hawaii and San Francisco. They even built a
ship, the Ann Taylor for use in their business. Later they constructed
houses of their own. "Woodside" was the first. Maintaining a tradition
of names, the sons named their own places "Springside" and "Burnside".
In 1856, when the first legislature west of the Great Lakes was elected,
old John Muir became the member for Sooke. The distances involved in
travelling to Victoria made his attendance infrequent. In any case, large
ships were now calling at Sooke to pick up lumber and spars for China
and South America, and he may have felt that supervising business was
a better investment of his time.
Certainly business was good. In 1868 the Muirs enlarged their mill and
increased their export trade. Four years later they received the contract
for a road connecting Sooke with Victoria. A post office was opened
(there had been one in the area before, during the Leech River gold
rush of 1864, but like the gold rush, the post office had lasted only
briefly). Michael Muir became postmaster, picking up and delivering Mrs. John Muir, Senior.
John Muir, Junior.
the mail on horseback. The government opened a school
was rented from John Muir.
the building
In 1875 Mrs. Annie Muir died and was buried in a cemetery which the
family had set aside on their farm. John Muir continued to operate the
mill with the help of his sons. When it burned to the ground they had it
rebuilt, even though it was not insured. The family also built a steamer
called the Woodside in 1878. She carried passengers and produce to
Victoria.
John Muir died in 1883, leaving the family's lumber and shipping
business to his sons. They operated it until 1892, when pressure from
the Burrard Inlet and Puget Sound lumber businesses forced them to
close down. The family found other means with which to support itself,
however, and descendants of the Muirs continue to live in the Sooke
area today.
Miners at the Leech River gold rush,
which occurred near Sooke in 1864. The
gold rush briefly brought Sooke in closer
connection with Victoria, but when the
rush ended, it once again became remote.
63 John
Sebastian
Helmcken
1824-1920
Dr. John Sebastian Helmcken (1824-1920). Helmcken witnessed the transition of Victoria from a
palisaded fur-trading post to a modern city.
"Have I always been a frivolous butterfly?"
-J.S. Helmcken, Reminiscences.
Mrs. J.  S.  Helmcken, formerly  Cecilia
Douglas, daughter of Sir James Douglas.
64
The career of Dr. John Sebastian Helmcken joins the earliest days of
Fort Victoria to a time within the memory of many now living. He
arrived at the fort in 1850, when the high palisade still surrounded it,
and guns frowned menacingly from its bastions; by the time he died in
1920, the railroad and the motorcar, and even the aeroplane were
familiar sights to the citizens of Victoria.
Born in London in 1824 of German parentage, as a boy he delivered
medicines for a doctor. This made him plan on a career as a pharmacist,
but he later decided to become a doctor. He studied at Guy's Hospital,
where he received a silver medal for excellence. As part of his medical
training he spent the summer of 1846 on an Hudson's Bay Company
ship sailing to York Factory on Hudson's Bay.
Later, having graduated, he secured a post on a ship travelling to the
Far East, and during this period he saw such places as Bombay,
Singapore and Canton. He was about to set up for himself in London
when an official of the Hudson's Bay Company whom he had met
earlier suggested that he become the company doctor for the settlement
at Victoria, where the first immigrants from the British Isles were
just beginning to arrive.
He agreed to serve the Company for five years at £100 per annum, and
in October 1849 left London on the Norman Morison. There were eighty
other immigrants on board, and the voyage round the Horn took five
months. During the passage, an epidemic of smallpox broke out on
board, but by isolating the sick and having the ship thoroughly disinfected, he lost only a single patient. In March, 1850, the ship arrived at Esquimalt. Helmcken, in addition to
his medical duties, became private secretary to Governor Blanshard,
who himself had arrived only a few weeks before. Blanshard soon sent
him to Fort Rupert as a magistrate, with instructions to try to solve the
difficulties the Company was having there with the Muirs.
Helmcken reported that three men who had deserted from the mines
had been murdered by the local Indians, and that it was widely believed
that this was with the connivance of the Company. As a result, Blanshard reported to London:
"The people are so excited by the massacre, which they charge their
employers with instigating, that they have in a body refused all
obedience to their employers and to him as magistrate, that he is
utterly unable to maintain any authority, as they universally refuse to
serve as constables and insist upon the settlement being abandoned."
Blanshard himself went north in HMS Daedalus to investigate the affair.
Deciding that there was no evidence that the Company was implicated
in the murders, he ordered the natives to surrender those responsible.
They refused and instead offered furs as a settlement. In powerful
reprisal, a naval party then thoroughly destroyed the Indian camp. The
governor and Helmcken returned to Victoria, and the young doctor's
brief career as a magistrate was over.
He was soon embarking on a more durable relationship. He began
courting Chief Factor James Douglas' daughter Cecilia. As he later
recalled,
"The room of Mr. Douglas, partly an office and partly domestic, stood
open, and there I saw Cecilia his eldest daughter flitting about, active as
a little squirrel, and one of the prettiest objects I had ever seen; rather
short but with a very pretty graceful figure of dark complexion and
lovely black eyes — petite and nice. She assisted her father in clerical
work, correspondence and so forth — in fact, a private secretary. I was
more or less captivated."
Late in 1852, (Douglas having by then succeeded Blanshard as governor,) the young couple were married by the fort chaplain, the Rev.
Robert Staines, and moved into the house which still stands near the
Parliament   Buildings:
"There being no lumber, it had to be built with logs squared on two
sides and six inches thick. The sills and uprights were very heavy and
morticed — the supports of the floor likewise — the logs had to be let
into grooves in the uprights.
The Honorable Richard Blanshard, first
governor of the Colony of Vancouver Island. He hired the newly arrived Helmcken as a magistrate.
An interior of Helmcken House, the home
of the pioneer doctor. The home is now
a museum.
Helmcken House.
65 <^9v -%D»nriiinr-nri—n~i~ ir-in -BT*
immT7'     ■ . if
~*L.. -.,JL. _-j«fc—M.;
■»!»tH
66
TTie "foirii cages", Victoria. From the year 1860, the legislative body met here.
Well, the timber had to be taken from the forest — squared there and
brought down by water. All this had to be contracted for by French-
Canadians, then when brought to the beach I had big oxen of the
Companyto haul it to the site. Then other Canadians took the job of
putting the building up as far as the logs were concerned — and then
shingling. The Indians at this time made shingles — all split. All this
was very heavy, very expensive and very slow work, for the men were
by no means in a hurry."
The young couple eventually had seven children. Two of them died
very young and were simply buried by their parents in the back
garden.
In 1856 Helmcken was elected to Vancouver Island's first legislature,
and was chosen to be the Speaker. The seven-man Assembly met in a
building near the fort. One of Helmcken's duties was to get there early
and light the fire. In 1860 the famous "bird-cages" were finished and
became the meeting-place of the members, the size of the House being
enlarged as more districts became settled. Helmcken was re-elected
several times, but declined further service after British Columbia
entered  Confederation.
In 1865 he suffered a severe loss, when his wife died of pneumonia
soon after giving birth to a child. She was buried in the Quadra street
cemetery, and the two children who had died earlier were disinterred
and laid to rest beside her.
A year later (1866) the two Pacific colonies of Vancouver Island and
British Columbia were united into a single colony. For the first two
years the capital of the Colony of British Columbia was New Westminster, but in 1868 it was moved to Victoria. Times were now far
from prosperous as the boom caused by the gold rush was steadily
subsiding, and it was widely believed that the isolated colony must
make some change in its status. In the spring of 1870 a famous debate
took place in the legislature; some members urged that British
Columbia should join the newly-formed Dominion of Canada, even
though the prairies were still almost uninhabited; while others wished
to continue as an isolated British colony. A few even hinted that in the
end British Columbia might have to join the United States. Among that
group were both Helmcken and Armor De Cosmos. They were by no
menas alone in this view — J.D. Pemberton, Captain Grant's successor
as the colony's surveyor, openly urged this solution in letters to the
press. Yet once the great decision, so fateful for the future of not only British
Columbia but of Canada, had been taken, Helmcken was one of three
men sent to Ottawa by Governor Musgrave to negotiate the terms of
entry, the others being J.W. Trutch, Chief Commissioner of Lands and
Works and Dr. R.W. Carrall, the member for the Cariboo. Leaving
Victoria on May 10, 1870, and travelling by way of San Francisco and
the American railways (which first crossed the continent in 1869) the
trio reached Ottawa on June 3 and were given a warm reception by the
Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. Satisfactory terms were soon
agreed on (the essential one being the railway), and the following year
British Columbia entered Confederation, a move to which the doctor
was now fully reconciled. Trutch, we might note, became the province's
first lieutenant-governor.
Helmcken took no further part in politics, but continued active in his
own field. He helped to create a modern hospital in Victoria, was
medical officer of the prison and at one time city coroner, and became
first president of the British Columbia Medical Society, formed in 1885.
His son, Dr. James Douglas Helmcken, born at Fort Victoria in 1858
and an M.D. from Edinburgh, was chosen its first secretary-treasurer.
Emily Carr has left a little picture of Helmcken's doctoring style:
"He took you over to a very dirty uncurtained window, jerked up the
blind, and said: "Tongue!" Then he poked you around the middle so
hard that things fell out of your pockets. He put a wooden trumpet
bang down on your chest and stuck his ear to the other end. After
listening and grunting he went into the bottle room, took a bottle, blew
the dust off it and emptied out the dead flies. Then he went to the
shelves and filled it from several other bottles, corked it, gave it to
mother, and sent you home to get well on it."
The elder Helmcken continued to be Victoria's best known doctor for
many years, with the added prestige of being a living link with the city's
earliest days. He did not hold political office after Confederation,
though his other son, Harry Dallas Helmcken, sat in the legislature for
some years. But he continued to follow public affairs closely, and
expressed his opinions strongly, often in the columns of the Colonist.
As examples of his views: he maintained that the Esquimalt-Nanaimo
Railway,completed in 1886, should be extended to the northern parts of
the island; he was an early advocate of universal vaccination against
smallpox and of installing a proper sewage system in the city; he
believed that white and Indian children should be educated in the same
schools; he advocated some sort of compulsory military training and he
denounced reciprocity in the famous federal election of 1911.
Dr. ]. S. Helmcken and Dr. R. W. W. Carrall at Niagara Falls, Ca.  1870.
Helmcken's medicine chest
61 ■I
J***' \
His life was also dramatically involved with the other pioneers of the
community. He was conversing with his father-in-law, Sir James
Douglas, on the summer evening of 1877 when the latter's heart
suddenly stopped; he attended the dying Robert Dunsmuir in 1889; he
was a pall bearer at Roderick Finlayson's funeral in 1892.
Helmcken died on the first of September, 1920. His life had spanned the
transformation of Victoria from a palisaded Hudson's Bay Company
post to a city of paved streets, tramcars and considerable private industrial interests. He had witnessed the passing of two generations of
leaders in the province, represented by the patriarchal Sir fames
Douglas and his fiery, demagogic opponent, Amor De Cosmos. He had
seen the economy change from the monopolistic arrangements of the
Hudson's Bay Company to such great industrial concerns as the Dunsmuir coal mines. Dr. Helmcken had lived through the progress of the
province from a remote colony to a modern industrial province of
Canada.
Dr. J. S. Helmcken in 1910. Helmcken
was an outspoken commentator on public
affairs all his life. Having known many of
the great men of the province's early history, and having taken part in some of the
major decisions in its development, including the Confederation issue, Helmcken could command much respect for
his opinions.
68 Edward
Cridge
1817-1913
The Reverend (later Bishop) Edward Cridge (1817-
1913). Enthusiasm was ever the mark of his character,
but one suspects that he was also an egotist.
"I am very fortunate in Mr. Cridge, the original clergyman here. He is a truly
good man, a sincere and devout Christian. He enters into all my plans, and is a
great support to me".
—Bishop George Hills, I860.
"I am forced to the painful necessity of initiating proceedings for your defiance of
the episcopal authority and of the laws of the church, contrary to your ordination
vow and your oath of canonical obedience".
—Bishop George Hills, 1874.
In his very long life Edward Cridge achieved several distinctions. He
was for a time the only Protestant clergyman in the British Pacific
northwest; he arrived in Victoria when only two hundred souls sheltered beneath its frowning bastions, yet he lived to see motorcars
rattling through its streets, and to know that flying machines were
more than a fantasy; most notable of all, in his middle years he became
the central figure in the most serious religious controversy ever to rock
the community.
He was born in Devonshire in 1817, the son of a schoolmaster; his
mother died when he was very young. At Cambridge, the outgoing and
energetic Cridge took part in athletics, and founded the university's
musical society, his attachment to the cello persisting into extreme old
age.
69 Mrs. Cridge.
""•*«
The Misses Cridge. The Cridges had nine
children. Four died in a smallpox epidemic
in the winter of 1864 to 1865.
70
Graduating from Cambridge in 1848, he decided to enter the Anglican
ministry, being ordained in 1850. For several years he was the rector of
a church in London, but his attention to his duties was so conscientious
that his health began to suffer. In need of a change, he heard that the
Hudson's Bay Company was looking for a chaplain to minister to its
employees at Fort Victoria, Vancouver Island, as well as to the
independent settlers beginning to arrive there. Cridge applied for the
post and was accepted. His salary was to be £499 a year, in addition, he
would be provided with a house and enough land to grow his food.
Before he left England, Cridge married Mary Winmill. The wedding
took place on September 14, 1854. Five days later the young couple set
sail on the Marquis of Bute.
The voyage around Cape Horn to Hawaii and then Victoria took almost
half a year. Cridge suffered from toothache and rheumatism, and often
had to stay in his cabin. Nevertheless when his health permitted, he
held church services and pressed his religious views on his fellow
passengers. One of them, a Captain Mouat, was inclined to be skeptical,
Mrs. Cridge noting how "he with seeming relish points out the faults
and inconsistencies of religious people."
Gradually the ship, passengers of which were carefully divided into
those, like the Cridges, who had cabins and those confined to the
steerage, made its way across the Pacific to Hawaii. There for three
weeks, fresh fruit and vegetables once more became part of the
passengers' diet. Then the ship turned eastward, and eventually
anchored at Victoria on the first of April, 1855. The Cridges soon met
Governor Douglas, who invited them to a meal of "delicious spring
salmon", and also the Helmckens, whose youngest child was only two
weeks old.
A parsonage had not yet been built, so the Cridges stayed in the fort,
being delighted with "the large airy rooms". As he recalled many years
later, "My wife fairly danced with joy at our release from the long and
tedious confinement on shipboard. The very emptiness of the rooms
was a charm".
These first impressions remained with Cridge long after the palisaded
fort had become but a memory:
"I remember also something of the evening and night of the first day,
the tea and fresh milk and bread and butter; and how when settling
ourselves to sleep for the night, we saw a large white rat crossing the
stovepipe which ran through our bedroom from the great Canadian
stove in the sitting-room."
The Cridges quickly settled in to their new life. The first church in the
colony was not completed until 1856, so services were held in the fort,
Mrs. Cridge operating the colony's first Sunday school. The minister
visited such settlements as Nanaimo, and later travelled on horseback
as far as Lytton and Lillooet.
In 1856 the legislature held its first session, and Cridge read the
opening prayers. In the same year Douglas made Cridge acting
inspector of schools, and for several years he submitted detailed reports
of his visitations. Some of his reports cast a slightly dubious light on the ■111!
IsIY
mm
Victoria District Church, the first cathedral in British Columbia. Bishop Hills appointed
Reverend Cridge the dean of the cathedral. The building is also known as Christ Church
Cathedral.
theory that our virtuous ancestors underwent unimaginable hardships
rather than miss a day's school. For example, of the sixty-four boys and
thirteen girls enrolling in the colonial school "about seven were removed
from various causes, one being a case of expulsion for immoral conduct. About 26 had left on account of the weather, intending, as the
teacher understood, to return in the spring. I am happy to learn that
improper language, which at one time was painfully prevalent, is now
becoming rare."
The Cridges themselves had nine children. Four of them died in a
smallpox epidemic over the winter of 1864-65.
In 1858 the little world of Fort Victoria vanished forever, as the gold
rush began on the mainland. Many new social problems were created,
and Cridge did his best to grapple with them. One day he found a sick
man lying on a mattress in his garden, where he had been brought by
his friends; this led to the establishment by Cridge and some others of a
hospital in a cottage at the corner of Yates and Broad streets, the site
being now marked by a plaque. Dr. Trimble became the first doctor in
charge. Cridge also took a leading part in the establishment of the
Protestant Orphans' Home.
In 1865 Alfred Waddington was named Superintendent of Education,
and Cridge ceased his association with the schools. He was thus free to
devote his entire time to religious matters.
These had for some time gone smoothly. In early 1860 an Anglican
bishop, George Hills had arrived from England to take general direction
of that church's affairs in British Columbia. He and Cridge, who became
dean of the cathedral, at first got on well together, but in 1872 a serious
crisis developed between them.
The bishop was anxious to make the services more elaborate, and more
like those of the Roman Catholics. Cridge was accustomed to a simpler
form of worship, as were most of the Hudson's Bay Company old-
timers. Victoria's first church had burned down in 1869, but a new one
was completed in 1872. In the course of the evening service on the day
the new church was consecrated — December 5, 1872 — a visiting
1
':"■• /
HHhBt
The Right Reverend George Hills, Bishop
of the Diocese of British Columbia and
Cridges opponent in the quarrel of   1872.
The second Christ Church Cathedral. The
first burned down in 1869. At the consecration of the new cathedral in 1872,
Dean Cridge took exception to the style
of ceremony, thus beginning the long
dispute he had with Bishop Hills.
li 1
fT
Bishop Cridge and his wife in old age.
In his last years Cridge received the full
respect of the community of  Victoria.
"Marifield",
Victoria.
3ishop   Cridges   home   in
72
preacher, with the approval of Bishop Hills, strongly supported the
movement toward a more elaborate form of worship. At the close of
the service the dean stood up and in a firm but impassioned voice
denounced such innovations. According to the best accounts of the
matter, his actual words were:
"My dearly beloved friends, it is with the greatest shame and humiliation that as a matter of conscience I feel it is my duty to say a few words
to you before we part. As your pastor, after what we have just heard I
feel it is my duty to raise my voice in protest against it. During the 17
years that I have officiated as your pastor in this spot, this is the first
time ritualism has been preached here, and I pray Almighty God it may
be the last. So far as I can prevent it, it shall be the last."
The result was a tremendous scandal in the Anglican church of
Victoria. Friends and even families were divided. Efforts were made to
heal the breach, but letters to the newspapers kept the matter
constantly before the public. Neither of the two principals would back
down, the bishop writing to Cridge of "your brother minister, whom
you openly insulted in the church of God." In reply Cridge stated that
the innovations in the form of service "tend only to make the church
the hold of every foul spirit and the cage of every unclean bird."
A showdown was inevitable, and in the fall of 1872 the bishop staged a
"trial" of Cridge. The nominees of the bishop found the dean guilty of
"brawling in church" and cancelled his license to preach. According to
the Colonist, at the conclusion of the trial "the crowd gave three groans
for the bishop and the hissing was deafening".
Cridge appealed his dismissal to Judge Begbie of the provincial supreme
court. The judge, much saddened by this quarrel between two of his old
friends, found in favor of the bishop, but privately sent the dean a
cheque to cover his expenses. Cridge preserved it, but never cashed it. Two moods of Bishop Edward Cridge. In the first picture he pontificates in his capacity as
Bishop. In the second, he sweetly plays the cello, an instrument for which he had a lifelong
affection.
This was by no means the end of the affair. The dean, supported by
Douglas and most of the Hudson's Bay Company old-timers, now
formed a new church, the Reformed Episcopal Church. Douglas, by
now a wealthy man, provided land for the building and money for an
organ. The church was opened in 1875 and has been in constant use to
this day. Among its members were Dr. Helmcken, T.N. Hibben the
stationer, Richard Wolfenden, the Queen's Printer, and Thomas
Harris, Victoria's first mayor. From it Douglas was buried in 1877. His
church eventually had several branches throughout the English
speaking world and in 1901 Cridge even went to Chicago to be ordained
as Bishop.
As the wounds of the great division slowly healed, his popularity and
importance in Victoria increased. In 1897 he gave an address in Beacon
Hill Park on the sixtieth anniversary of Queen Victoria's accession; the
following year he read the opening prayers at the first session of the
legislature in the imposing new parliament buildings. In 1901 he was
presented to royalty (the future King George V and Queen Mary)
when they visited Victoria.
In 1902 he had resigned his post to a younger man, though he still
preached the occasional sermon. The last time he did so was in 1908,
just before going almost completely blind.
He died in May, 1913. Like his old friend Dr. Helmcken, he had lived
into a new age.
Some years before his death, the Colonist had declared: "In his long
lifetime he has tried to make everyone he met better and happier". This
was certainly true, and the text he had chosen for his sermon at the
funeral of Sir James Douglas might with equal justice have been applied
to himself:
"The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of
righteousness."
73 Craigflower Manor, the home of Kenneth McKenzie , manager of the Craigflower farm.  The
house is now a museum.
Kenneth McKenzie
1811-1874
74
The formidable Sir George Simpson had decreed that Hudson's Bay
Company posts in the Columbia Department must grow their own
food, instead of having it brought from Europe around the Horn. Posts
such as Fort Vancouver were soon surrounded by hundreds of acres of
cultivated land; Fort Nisqually on Puget Sound had large herds of cattle
and sheep; while an important factor in locating the new post of Fort
Victoria on southern Vancouver Island was the availability of good land
to the north of the post.
The part of agriculture became so important in company affairs on the
Pacific coast that a subsidiary of the Hudson's Bay Company, the Puget
Sound Agricultural Company, was set up in 1839. Within a decade after
the founding of Fort Victoria in 1843, several large farms had been
established in its vicinity. They supplied the settlement, and even
exported products as far as Alaska. One of these farms was at the head
of the Gorge, a deep inlet just to the west of the fort.
Known as Craigflower Farm, it was the most important of the four
company operated farms around Victoria. Nearly every other trace of
the company farms (and of old Fort Victoria) has disappeared, but
Craigflower Manor House still stands beside the peaceful waters of the
Gorge, in as good repair as the day it was built. Here, long ago,
Governor Douglas discussed with visiting naval officers before its
blazing fireplace such affairs of the day as the Crimean War; and here
the modern tourist looks about him and seeks to recreate in his imagination the atmosphere of those days. The first to live in Craigflower Manor was Kenneth McKenzie.
McKenzie was born in Edinburgh in 1811, the son of a surgeon. He
gained experience in agricultural matters at an early age by managing
his father's estate in Scotland. The decade of 1840 to 1850 was a period
of depression, and farming did not prove profitable. When McKenzie's
father died in 1844 he left his property in debt, and it was some years
before it could be sold, and young McKenzie was able to consider a
fresh start.
When he did so in the summer of 1852, it was by signing a contract
with the Puget Sound Agricultural Company to come out to the new
colony of Vancouver Island and manage one of the company farms. He
agreed to serve for five years, and in return would receive free passage
and £60 per annum. Livestock, tools, and seeds would be supplied by
the company, as well as six hundred acres of land, and if the farm
proved successful McKenzie could expect a share in its profits.
The young Scot spent the summer of 1852 collecting a group of
laborers, blacksmiths, and carpenters to accompany him to the new
world. The company promised both them and McKenzie that if they
gave five years faithful service they would then be allowed to buy land
in the colony and strike out for themselves. McKenzie, a well-read man,
also brought with him a young schoolmaster, Robert Barr, to instruct
the children of the settlement.
Late in August 1852 the Norman Morison left Gravesend near London.
There were seventy-three passengers, including McKenzie, his wife
Agnes and their six children, the youngest only three months old. Also
on board were Thomas Skinner, engaged to manage another company
farm at Constance Cove in the Esquimalt area, and Robert Melrose,
who later found time to compile an acid but fascinating account of his
relations with the company. Other employees, such as ploughmen,
laborers, smiths, carpenters, and servant girls made up the total.
The ship reached Esquimalt on January 16, 1853, and at first the
McKenzie family lived in the fort while buildings were erected at the
new farm, named after the Scottish estate of Andrew Colville, an
important Hudson's Bay Company official. Within a few months it was
possible for first some of the workmen and then the McKenzies to
move to their new home. The construction of the imposing Craigflower Manor was then begun, though it would not be ready for
occupancy until May 1856. Visitors to the manor today immediately
notice the thick front door. It was designed to withstand the arrows of
hostile Indians.  But  relations with the  natives were friendly,   even
Craigflower farm. In the area of Fort Victoria, the Hudson's Bay Company established several farms in fulfillment of Sir
George Simpson's policy that fur posts in
the Pacific Northwest should be self-
supporting as  much   as  possible.
McKenzie's first home at Craigflower.
75 The front door of Craigflower Manor.
This door was made especially thick and
studded with iron in order to deter Indian
attacks. None are known to have occurred.
Mrs. Kenneth McKenzie
Women were scarce in the
couver Island.
76
and   daughters.
Colony of Van-
though the famous "Lake Hill murders" of two shepherds late in 1852
were still recalled.
In the meantime, the development of the farm went forward. Outbuildings arose, a brick works and lime kiln were built, and machinery
was brought out from England to cut lumber and grind corn. A
slaughter house and a smithy also were added to the farm, the blacksmith being responsible for making all nails used on the farm. The
school McKenzie envisioned did not open its doors for some time, as
Governor Douglas decided to keep Robert Barr at the fort to instruct
the children there. However, in the fall of 1854 another schoolmaster,
Charles Clarke, arrived in the colony; work had already begun on a
schoolhouse not far from the manor, and in the spring of 1855 Craigflower school began classes. (Visitors to the area may still see the
classroom).
McKenzie became an increasingly busy man. He had to maintain farm
production, no easy task when laborers constantly deserted to the
United States. Sometimes he had to employ Indians or sailors from
visiting warships. He also had to consider the defence of the farm in
case it was attacked by hostile tribesmen. He held regular military
drills, and at dusk fired what he hoped was an impressive cannon. Even
his wife (who was to present him with two more children) became
adept in the use of a pistol.
In 1853 McKenzie was appointed a magistrate by the governor, with
power to decide all but the most serious disputes. In 1854 the company
made him superintendent of all four company farms — which included
the ones at Colwood and Viewfield, the managers of which E.E.
Langford and Thomas Blinkhorn, had arrived in 1850. McKenzie was
promised a share in the profits of those establishments.
The Crimean War of 1854-56 had a considerable effect on Craigflower
Farm. Trade with Russian posts in Alaska came to a halt, but visiting
British warships more than filled the gap, sending to the farm large
orders for meat and vegetables. McKenzie also made flour in his own
mill, as well as allowing the navy to use his ovens.
A letter from McKenzie to Dr. W.F. Tolmie, then in charge at Nisqually
(and later to be the father of a premier of British Columbia) gives some
idea of McKenzie's activities in this period:
"I send you by the 'Otter' one of the finest rams that came from
England this year."
"My plan being to supply all the farms with stock bred here, I cannot
send you any more, as Mr. Skinner has one, and only 4 survived the
voyage, therefore leaving 2 for the use of the other 3 farms, but after
this year I shall be most happy to supply you, or the farm at Vancouver,
with the purest blood that I can rear. You must be well aware that our
flocks here are . . . much degenerated and their constitutions weakened
by inbreeding so long ... It is my anxiety to have the flocks on this
island brought as soon as possible into a healthy and vigorous
condition."
"Please send per 'Otter' for Mr. Skinner two bushels timothy grass
seed. I shall be obliged by your sending me six good apple trees and six good pear trees."
Even after the war ended, Craigflower was kept busy, as the gold rush
of 1858 again stimulated the demand for foodstuffs. The farm also
became a kind of social centre, at least for the "best people"; Governor
Douglas often met visiting naval officers there, and they in turn met
McKenzie's marriageable daughters.
Two of those who worked at Craigflower have left interesting accounts
of its early days. One was Robert Melrose, born in Scotland in 1828,
who had arrived with McKenzie on the Norman Morison. For some years
he kept a diary of any events he found interesting — birth and death,
seedtime and harvest, visits by British warships. He also from time to
time assigned degrees of sobriety to himself and others on the farm —
the entries ranging from "V\ drunk" to "whole drunk". This confirms
Douglass' reports to his superiors that drunkenness was the main vice
of the colony.
Another interesting figure was James Deans, who had once worked on
the McKenzie estate in Scotland. He was a poet of a sort, composing
lyrics in the style of Burns about the beauties of Victoria. He also wrote
a hostile account of the Hudson's Bay Company's methods, taking
special exception to its system of paying its employees in goods, not
money. He was one of the first to realize that the Indian cultures of the
Pacific coast were highly interesting, and to collect their artifacts. In
later years he not only wrote some valuable essays on his discoveries,
but took a party of fourteen Kwakiutl Indians to the Chicago World's
Fair of 1893, where they demonstrated their skills and drew the
attention of the world to their fast vanishing culture.
McKenzie's lease of Craigflower had been renewed in 1861, but it was
terminated in 1865 and having in the meantime acquired land for
himself, he began farming on property which he had bought at nearby
Lake Hill.
McKenzie was active to the end of his life. During the eighteen-sixties
he was a Road Commissioner for the colony, and also helped to found
the Vancouver Island Agricultural and Horticultural Society. When the
great question of Confederation with Canada began to absorb all interest, he was not a supporter of it, but this was true of many of the
pioneers.
On April 10,1874 he died peacefully at his farm at Lake Hill. Among his
pallbearers were Sir James Douglas and Roderick Finlayson, each at one
time in charge of the fur-trading post of Fort Victoria. Douglas
somberly recorded the passing of his old friend in a letter to his
daughter Martha, then completing her education in England:
"Mr. McKenzie of Craigflower died yesterday of heart disease, aggravated by a fall from his carriage. He died in peace after receiving the
communion, and was perfectly resigned to the will of God. May we be
found so also when our turn comes."
So passed one of the earliest pioneers of the infant colony. He did much
to establish its agriculture on a sound and permanent basis. In tribute
to his achievements, Kenneth and McKenzie streets, not far from his
Lake Hill farm, today bear his names.
Mr. Kenneth McKenzie and sons. McKenzie
(seated, left) was the most successful of the
farm managers.
The fireplace in the kitchen at  Craigflower
manor.
77 icy
•551 ir ■
■ 1 -;
"s*£^
■
k'YY
Aft kit
is?-™VT?
78
Main Sfrec(, Barkerville, B.C., before the
fire of September,   1868. The Gold Rush
At the beginning of 1858, destined to be the most fateful year in British
Columbia's history, the little colony clustered at the southern tip of
Vancouver Island had undergone some modest changes since the fort
was founded in 1843. A few independent settlers had arrived to try
their luck in the new world; new resources such as coal had been
developed at Nanaimo, with lumber also beginning its career as an
important article of export. The Company farms had greatly increased
their production, a doctor and a clergyman had arrived, while the
colony had a church and at least three schools. In 1856 a small
legislature had been created, and the first elections held. Meanwhile, a
naval base at Esquimalt was slowly taking shape.
Yet for all this, it was a small and peaceful world that the colonists,
numbering only a few hundred, inhabited; the stormy tides of history
(1848 was a year of revolutions in Europe) were mere ripples against
its shores. One might still go about one's daily life with the confidence that one year would not differ greatly from another.
Then, suddenly, all this changed forever. On Sunday, April 25, 1858,
just as the residents of Fort Victoria were gravely emerging from
church, the Commodore docked in the harbor not far away. From her
decks tumbled four hundred miners, up from California en route to the
gold fields recently discovered on the lower Fraser. They were only
stopping at Victoria for supplies, but from this moment began a new
era. The first shipload was quickly followed by what seemed an
unending series. It is estimated that in the next few months some
twenty thousand adventurers disembarked at Victoria, of whom perhaps a quarter went no further.
Inevitably, nothing would ever be the same again. Within four years
the peaceful fur-trading post would become a city, its streets lit by gas;
not long afterwards, its last palisades would be dismantled; everything
from fire engines to the latest fashions from Paris would make their
appearances, while the autocratic rule of the Company and Governor
Douglas would vanish. Scores of independent enterprises would spring
up, and a revolution in transportation and communication would draw
the isolated fort into the bustling industrialized world of the nineteenth
century.
These new days and ways would bring new men to grapple with them.
Diverse in many respects, both by temperament and occupation, each
would represent a response to that extraordinary new era which had
begun without warning that Sunday morning in late April. ' " Mifflin
Wistar
Gibbs
1823-1915
80
Mifflin Wistar Gibbs (1823-1915), a
successful negro sioreowner in Victoria
during the 1858 gold rush. Gibbs was a
noted activist in the cause of improving
the status of negroes in America, and
while in Victoria was impressed by the
fairly impartial altitude of Governor
Douglas 's colonial government to the
colored people  in  the  colony.
"We received a warm welcome from the Governor, which was cheering. I cannot
describe with what joy we hailed the opportunity to enjoy that liberty under the
British lion denied us beneath the pinions of the American eagle".
— Mifflin Wistar Gibbs
He was black, he was American, he was a political refugee, he was an
independent businessman. In the United States, he had once earned his
living by shining other people's shoes, while in later years he was at
various times American consul to Madagascar, a judge and a president
of a bank. Yet over ten years of his long and active life were spent in
Victoria, and here he played an important part in both the public life of
the community and the bringing of the two British colonies on the
Pacific coast into a larger union.
Gibbs was one of the thousands who descended on Victoria in the gold
rush of 1858. He was born in Philadelphia in 1823, the son of a
Methodist minister. Although slavery still existed in large areas of the
United States, Gibbs was born free. At an early age he set himself
several tasks: to learn a useful trade; to develop his mind; and to
support the long struggle of the black man for equality.
In 1850, drawn by the California gold rush, he went by way of the
Panama to San Francisco. His trade was carpentry, but after a period as
a boot-black, he and another man of his race, Peter Lester, opened a
shoe store. This proved successful, but during the next few years Gibbs
came to realize that the white people of California were determined to
withhold from negroes by various devices full rights of citizenship. As
Gibbs later put it, "While our existence was tolerated, we were
powerless to appeal to law for the protection of life or property when
assailed." Gibbs decided to make a fresh start in a more congenial atmosphere.
News that gold had been found in good quantities on the Fraser River
began to filter into California, and it seemed possible to Gibbs that
greater personal liberty might be combined with financial rewards. He
was by this time editor of a newspaper, and was able to give publicity to
a public meeting held in a San Francisco church to consider mass
emigration by colored people from California to British Columbia. It
was decided to send a delegation north to Victoria to find out how
Governor Douglas was likely to react to their arrival.
Douglas (whose unknown mother may have been a negress) proved
friendly, and accordingly, in April 1858, a party of sixty-five blacks left
San Francisco for Victoria. Some of them went on to Saltspring Island,
some twenty miles north of the fort, where they took up land and
became successful farmers. Their descendants are still represented on
the island to this day.
Gibbs himself took passage on the ship Republic. Carrying 700
passengers drawn from every race on earth, she left San Francisco in
early June and arrived at Esquimalt on the twenty-seventh of the same
month. That was only nine weeks since the first shipload of miners had
arrived on the Commodore, but already the area was being transformed.
Around the fort was a sea of tents, buildings were rising on all sides,
the sound of hammers never ceased, and land prices were skyrocketing.
Lots which the Hudson's Bay Company had sold to newcomers two
months before at fifty dollars were now changing hands at five
thousand dollars; as Gibbs wrote to a friend in California: "If either of
us had arrived here two months ago with one thousand dollars, we
could have been worth ten thousand dollars today".
Gibbs had brought with him a selection of supplies which he reckoned
would be in demand. It was soon clear that he had correctly judged the
market:
"On my arrival my goods were sold at a great advance on cost, an order
for more sent by returning steamer. A few days before my arrival,
what the authorities had designated as the land office had been
subjected to a Yankee rush which had not only taken and paid for all the
lots mapped out, but came near appropriating books, benches and
window sashes; hence the office had to close down and haul off for
repairs, and would not be open for business for ten days.
"Steamers and sailing craft were constantly arriving, discharging their
human freight that needed food, houses, and outfits for the mines,
giving an impetus to property of all kinds that was amazing for its
rapidity. The next afternoon after the day of my arrival I had signed an
agreement and paid one hundred dollars on account for a lot and one-
storey house for $3000 — $1400 more in fifteen days and the balance
in six months. Upon the arrival of my goods ten days later, I paid the
second installment and took possession. In twenty days, after an
expenditure of $200 for improvements, I found myself receiving a
rental of $500 per month from the property."
Surprisingly enough, Gibbs seems to have found even this pace a trifle
slow — in a letter to a friend he noted that "the business portion is
generally owned by old fogies, who are destitute of Yankee enterprise".
Mr. Peter Lester, Gibbs ' partner in the
store they ran in Victoria. Both men belonged to a negro movement in San Francisco which encouraged others of their
race to emigrate to the colony of Vancouver Island.
81 fvl^ifl
-    - \    „- - -   - «   '••»',,,
77ie Victoria Pioneer Rifles. Some of the
three hundred negroes who arrived in
Victoria with the gold rush resented being
unable to join the splendidly uniformed
fire brigades, which were mostly manned
by white Americans. They formed their
own unit, an unofficial body with uniforms even more magnificent than those
of   the   white   fire   brigades.
Victoria,
east.
c.   1864.   Fort  Street,   looking
82
For all that, he conceded that "the country is certainly a beautiful one",
and noted that "I have not had my clothes off nor had a bed to lie on
since I left San Francisco." He warned, however, that "if you go in blind
you will come out skinned."
Gibbs proved neither blind nor skinned, and decided to make Victoria
his new home. Not only was it apparent that he might prosper there,
but whereas in California his person and property were at the mercy of
his white neighbors, "British Columbia offered and gave protection to
both, and equality of political privileges." He closed out his business in
San Francisco, and his partner Peter Lester came north to join him in
Victoria. Here they established the first independent business in the
colony. Its residents no longer had to buy everything from the all-
powerful Company. Clearly, a new economic era had begun.
Once his business was well established, Gibbs made a quick visit to the
United States, where he met and married Maria Alexander, a colored
girl educated at Oberlin College, Ohio. Then, after visiting New York
and his birthplace of Philadelphia, and gathering details of the rising
anti-slavery movement in the northern states, he returned with his
bride to Victoria.
It soon became clear that he proposed to take an active part in local
politics. In Victoria's first civic election in 1862 he stood for councillor
or alderman, and barely missed winning one of the six seats. Four years
later he had better luck, and was an alderman for some time.
By this time Gibbs was a well-known and respected member of the community, with five children, all of whom did well in later life. He had
been forced to accept a few social humiliations, though this was no fault
of Douglas. In fact, the Governor had gone out of his way to help the
community's colored residents: in a striking move, he had chosen all
Victoria's first policemen from their ranks, and had given his approval
to the formation of the "Victoria Rifle Corps", also all colored. The
policemen, however, had before long been replaced because white
Americans (who made up ninety percent of the population) were
disinclined to be arrested by them; the Rifle Corps was also eventually
disbanded, and not Gibbs or any other negro was invited to attend
either the farewell banquet for Douglas on his retirement in 1864 or
the welcoming ceremonies for his successor, Governor Arthur
Kennedy.
Despite these social snubs, in the years that followed Gibbs. enlarged
the circle of his endeavors, and as a delegate from Salt Spring Island
attended the convention at Yale of the "Confederation League". This
was a gathering of progressive-minded people to consider ways of
making the government of British Columbia more democratic and of
securing its admission into the newly formed Dominion of Canada. In 1869 Gibbs successfully bid on a contract to build a railway and
wharf in the Queen Charlotte Islands, where a coal mining company
had discovered good deposits. He quickly proved his worth in this new
field. Coal was soon being shipped to California from what was still a
very wild and remote part of the world.
Gibbs had been a resident of Vancouver Island for over a decade, when
he decided that he could best serve his race by returning to the United
States, where slavery had been abolished during the Civil War by
President Lincoln. He enrolled in Oberlin College where he secured a
law degree. Then he moved to Little Rock, Arkansas and opened a law
firm. Eventually he was appointed the first negro judge in the United
States of America.
In the years that followed, he served the American government in a
variety of posts and in 1897 was appointed American consul to Madagascar. It is a measure of the man that he prepared himself for the post
by going first to Paris and mastering French. When his term as consul
expired, he visited the British Isles to see for himself the birthplace of
the Common Law. Finally he returned to Little Rock, where he became
manager of a savings bank. In his old age he revisited Victoria. The
changes that had taken place astonished him. He later wrote of his
earlier life in the area:
"There I had lived more than a decade, where the geniality of the
climate was excelled only by the graciousness of the people."
Gibbs died in 1915 at the age of 92, and by then not many British
Columbians remembered him. Yet he had done much both for British
Columbia and for his race. He had helped to change a fur-trading post
into a modern city, and to bring a colony into a great dominion.
Moreover he had shown that merit could triumph over prejudice, and
suggested the method by which other minority groups could achieve
equality and full public respect. He always kept a warm spot in his heart
for British Columbia, noting in his interesting autobiography, Shadow
and Light, that "uprisings and massacres among Indians in Her Majesty's
dominions are seldom, if ever, to be chronicled".
Moreover, he looked forward with a hopeful heart to the years ahead.
He saw the future of North America as one in which two great nations
would join in friendly rivalry: "May it be the fruition of hope that the
banner of the Dominion and the flag of our republic, locked and interlocked, may go forward in generous rivalry to bless mankind". Indeed,
he looked even beyond this, declaring that he foresaw a time when
every man would say The world is my country, and all mankind my
countrymen.'"
It is plain that Gibbs was a man much above the average, a credit both
to his race and to whatever community he resided in. More British
Columbians should be aware of his contribution to their story.
A fire brigade of the gold rush era.
83 Matthew
Baillie
Begbie
1819-1894
Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie (1819-1894)
was one of Governor Sir James Douglas s
right hand men in controlling the drastic circumstances arising from the 1858
gold rush. Judge Begbie patrolled the
Interior mining towns and camps, maintaining the law.
84
"Able, active, energetic and highly talented, Mr. Begbie is a most valuable
public servant. I feel greatly indebted to him for the zealous discharge of his
official duties, and for many services beyond the strict line of official duty".
—Governor James Douglas.
"The man who comes to this country to sow his wild oats will find so many difficulties besetting him that he will quickly abandon the project".
—Judge M.B. Begbie.
In assigning the credit for creating and preserving the colony of British
Columbia in its earliest and most challenging days, and so making
possible its eventual entry into the Dominion of Canada, pride of place
must always go to James Douglas. Yet not far behind him in their
contributions to this outcome are those devoted lieutenants who stood
beside him in his time of trial. As to who was foremost among these,
opinions will differ; yet a majority of students of the province's history
would likely put forward the name of Matthew Baillie Begbie, who
arrived in 1858 to become the colony's first judge, and who, like
Douglas, was eventually knighted for his services to it.
The resemblance between Begbie and Douglas may, indeed, be
elaborated. Both men were tall, hardy and impressive. Yet though in
retrospect the services of both seem conspicuous, admirable, and of
permanent benefit to British Columbia, both men during their lifetime
had to endure a running fire of criticism, mainly, though not
exclusively, from the editors of the newspapers of Victoria and New
Westminster. This criticism was often unfair, sometimes savage,
perhaps on occasion justified. To have attempted to silence it would
have been impractical, perhaps disastrous, and each man was forced to
bear it as best he could, hoping that posterity would vindicate his
character and career, as indeed has been the case. The similarity between the two men extends even to the circumstances
of their birth. What evidence there is suggests that both men were born
in the tropics, yet in both cases there remains some uncertainty. Nearly
all students of the life of Douglas believe he first saw the light of day in
the vicinity of Demerara, British Guiana; yet his daughter, Mrs. Arthur
Bushby, told Dr. Walter Sage, the first biographer of her father, that he
was born in Lanarkshire, and as long as his actual birth certificate
remains undiscovered, the doubt must remain. In the case of Begbie, he
declared in a public lecture given in the Cariboo in 1863 that he was
born in the tropics; there is no proof whatever that he was either
mistaken or romanticising; yet some suspicion exists that he was in fact
born in Scotland.
Here, however, the resemblance between the two men ends — at least
as regards their origins. Whereas Douglas was born out of wedlock, and
his mother's name is unknown, Begbie's father was Colonel Thomas
Stirling Begbie, a veteran of the Peninsular War, while his mother was
the daughter of a General Baillie, who had also served with distinction
in the Napoleonic conflict.
At Cambridge, where he studied both mathematics and the classics, he
received a degree in 1841; yet he found time to play cards and chess,
and to take part in amateur singing and dramatics. He also laid the
foundations of the physical stamina which was later to prove so useful,
rowing for his college and developing an enthusiasm for tennis which
would persist into old age.
The question of earning a living next arose, and he decided on law as a
career. At first he did not do especially well, and no doubt it was
something of a godsend when he was offered the position as the first
judge of British Columbia. Douglas had asked his superiors in London
to send out a man with physical endurance, courage, and the ability to
withstand the financial temptations offered by the conditions in the
gold fields; those who interviewed Begbie decided that he had the
qualities to fill the post.
At the age of thirty-nine he sailed for Vancouver Island, arriving in
Victoria on November 15, 1858. Douglas was at once impressed by the
tall, manly Begbie, and a few days later the two men journeyed to the
mainland, where the colony of British Columbia had just been
established. In the main Company building at Fort Langley, Begbie took
the oath of office and then administered a similar oath to Douglas as
first governor of the new colony.
Miners near Yale.
Yale, B.C. in the 1860 s. Yale was the scene of the "Ned McGowan War'', a confrontation between Judge Begbie and the notorious Cali
fornian outlaw, Ned McGowan.
iay>« *y eyyiayfeit*
■ ■■■     ''
1 Edward ("Ned") McGowan was no
match for Judge Begbie, who took a dim
view of the anarchic state of law and
order which prevailed in the mining
towns of California. On the whole, however, the American miners in British
Columbia behaved peacefully.
r»^
Williams Creek (above) and Lytton, two
of the many shack towns which Judge
Begbie toured.
86
The two men faced no easy task. By far the greater part of the
population of the mainland colony was made up of American miners,
drawn to the bars of the Fraser by the search for gold. They had scant
interest in either the traditions or legal customs of the British Isles,
being much more familiar with conditions in California. Those might be
described as anarchy tempered by vigilantes. A man there was his own
law, and when this became insupportable to others, a committee of the
more forcible members of the community imposed a kind of rough
justice. The view that law was something which descended from
precedent, was amplified or altered by legislation, and was administered
by judges appointed for life by the Queen and her ministers — that was
a concept quite alien to the miners' background. It was, however, the
philosophy of government which Douglas was passionately and
inflexibly determined to establish and enforce, and he expected Begbie
to be the visible and effective agent of that system.
Early in 1859 the new judge found himself in the midst of a situation
well designed to test his character and ability. This was the partly
ludicrous, partly menacing affair known as "Ned  McGowan's War."
McGowan was a typical specimen of the motley horde of humanity
drawn by the hope of riches to the Fraser gold fields. He had previously
attempted careers in his own country as both a criminal and a magistrate, without achieving notable success in either, and he now
apparently felt he had found in British Columbia a more favorable
environment for his varied talents.
As a demonstration of them, he now intervened in a jurisdictional
quarrel between two of Douglas' newly appointed magistrates: George
Perrier of Hill's Bar and J.P. Whannell of Fort Yale. Siding with the
former, McGowan rounded up a posse of followers, invaded Whannell's
court, and abducted him. He then brought him before Perrier, who
fined his fellow magistrate fifty dollars. There the matter rested when
Judge Begbie reached the area.
He did not come alone, being accompanied by another remarkable
figure. Colonel Richard Moody had recently been appointed commander of the detachment of Royal Engineers in the process of being
transferred from the United Kingdom to British Columbia. Only a
fraction of this body had yet reached the new Pacific colony, but Moody
took what men he could muster to Yale to support the authority of the
judge.
McGowan was ordered to appear before Begbie the next day. This was
clearly a showdown, and no doubt many watched with interest to see
what would happen. The scene that took place is perhaps best described
in a letter that Moody later wrote to a friend: "The next day the trial came off in the Court House — it was very
crowded — the miners armed to the teeth — McGowan armed — the
only unarmed men were the judge & myself — I would not even have
my orderly, and the sappers were removed to the further end of the
town."
"Begbie inflicted the greatest fine he could & caused him to enter into
recognizances to keep the peace — he also delivered a very manly
address — what you might expect from an Englishman who has a high
courage — he gave it to McGowan very heavily & stripped bare all their
false definitions of right & wrong — the fine was paid down & recognizances entered into, and all was at an end."
Thus in this first confrontation between official and unofficial
authority, the former had triumphed; and this, it soon became
apparent, was to set the pattern for the years ahead.
Before long, Begbie was a familiar figure throughout the interior. With
only a few assistants he dispensed justice in this vast and barely
civilized area. Lawbreakers soon discovered that they could expect no
sympathy from him, and governed themselves accordingly. We should
note, however, that references to the "hanging judge" are quite unjustified; few death sentences were imposed by Begbie, and these had to be
confirmed by the governor before they could be carried out.
Long after Douglas had retired into private life, Begbie continued to
tour the Interior, a figure of solitary dignity. Usually he slept in a tent
which in the daytime served as his chambers. Always when holding
court he wore his robes, as a reminder that though but a single
individual, he embodied the whole power and majesty of government.
Some recollections of Begbie's formidable manner with malefactors
have come down to us. For example, when sentencing a man to
eighteen months for robbing a church poorbox, he thundered:
"When you come out, never shake an honest man by the hand — never
look an honest man in the face! Go to the other side of the world where
you are not known. Should you be so unwise as to stay in this country,
and should your form again throw its shadow in this courthouse,
charged with crime, and you are found guilty, and I am sitting on this
bench, I will send you to a place where you will speak to your fellow
man no more, at least while there incarcerated. Go down! Warder, take
him out of my sight!"
A party of colonial officials, including
Governor Seymour and Judge Matthew
Baillie Begbie, on a hunting party in the
Cariboo, 1868. The honesty of colonial
officials was largely responsible for the
success of the government 's control of
the gold rush situation.
Judge Begbie's courthouse in Richfield,
British Columbia. He often had to hold
court in only a tent. Under such makeshift conditions, his strong personality
was as vital a part of the proceedings as
the trappings of his office.
87 Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie
Again, when sentencing an American miner to three years for stabbing
another, he took the occasion to touch on several related subjects:
"Prisoner, I am glad to see that your case has drawn together, in this
temporary court of justice, so many of your compatriots. I am given to
understand that the mining class of the western states look upon
liberty as a condition of life which gives them the right to defy the laws
of their country, and to govern it according to their wishes by the
might of the Bowie knife and Colt's revolver. You, prisoner, are a good
representative of that class, and I am told that there are many more of
your kidney within the sound of my voice."
"We have a law which prohibits the use of bowie knives, pistols and
other offensive weapons, and in those countries over which the British
flag flies there is no necessity for carrying or using offensive weapons,
and let me tell those who are in court that in the course of my duty I
will punish most severely all those who, coming into this British colony,
make use of such deadly weapons. Prisoner, the jury have very properly
found you guilty of this wanton and cowardly attack. You will spend
three years in a place of confinement to be determined on, and in giving
you this sentence I feel that I have been very lenient with you."
Nor were these Begbie's only services to the government. During his
travels he made careful notes on the terrain, resources and inhabitants
of the Interior, and these reports were invaluable to the government in
Victoria.
One interesting feature of Begbie's personal life was that he never lost
his interest in music. He was the first president of the Victoria Philharmonic Society, founded in 1859, and somewhat to the surprise of
local citizens appeared from time to time on the public stage as a soloist,
warbling soulful Victorian ballads in a deep bass.
In his old age — he never married — he was a well-known figure in
Victoria, giving garden parties, playing tennis, wearing satin knee-
breeches, or walking about the city in a long cloak, followed by his
numerous spaniels. Knighted by Queen Victoria in 1875, he died in
harness in 1894 from cancer of the stomach, leaving instructions that
he was to be buried in a simple grave, surmounted only with the words
"Lord, be merciful to me a sinner".
Begbie was not beyond criticism; he had an ingrained distrust of
lawyers not trained in the United Kingdom, and until finally overruled
by Douglas did his best to prevent them from practising in his court; his
knowledge of the law was not profound, and he had frequently to fall
back on a personal brand of justice; he stood in no great awe of juries,
and sometimes told them so. Yet despite his occasional shortcomings,
he upheld, according to his lights, the rule of law in a vast region
which might otherwise have subsided into anarchy. We should reflect
that had that not occurred, out of it might have come rule by
vigilantes, who would have called to their aid the adjoining country
from which most of them had come. It is fair to say that though the
final tribute for what was accomplished in these critical years might be
paid to Douglas, the name next to his in the gratitude of posterity
should be that of Matthew Baillie Begbie.
88 Richard Clement Moody
1813-1887
"The enterprise before you is indeed glorious. Ages hence, industry and
commerce will crowd the roads that you will have made. Travellers from all
nations will halt on the bridges you will have first flung over solitary rivers, and
gaze on gardens and cornfields that you will have first carved from the
wilderness".
—Lord Lytton
"Some of their work will stand long as the everlasting rocks, an enduring
monument of engineering skill and patient toil".
—John Robson
By the end of 1858, the most critical moment for British Columbia had
passed. Despite the thousands of miners who had surged northward
during the summer months, the levers of power on both Vancouver
Island and the adjacent mainland had remained firmly in the hands of
Governor Douglas. Moreover, even while the resourceful Chief Factor
battled with a hundred emergencies, urgent requests to his superiors
for assistance were making their lengthy way across the seas to London.
Soon the help he had asked for began arriving. Admiral Baynes had
brought the formidable warship H.M.S. Ganges from South American
waters into Esquimalt harbor on October the seventeenth; while Judge
Matthew Baillie Begbie reached Victoria a month later. The means of
enforcing law and order were thus greatly strengthened, and as 1858
gave way to 1859 it was possible to shift some attention from mere
survival to the creation of a new society in the wilderness.
One of those who would play a major role in this phase of British
Columbia's history was Richard Clement Moody, Commandant of the
Royal Engineers and Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works in the
new mainland colony. Born in the Barbadoes in 1813, he had entered
the army at an early age. He performed with zeal and efficiency whatever tasks were assigned to him. Those included for a time being the
Governor of the Falkland Islands. Later he supervised important
engineering projects in the United Kingdon.
Colonel Richard Clement Moody (1813-
1887), commanding officer of the Royal
Engineers, British Columbia. His role in
the colony was two-fold: to provide military support and to carry out major
building projects which the government
considered necessary to keep up with a
sudden growth in population and commerce.
89 EMIGRANT SOLDIER'S GAZETTE,
J'!|if  O'SN    j>€;«9'      0'!li.Mi:!f
sSKfEa
■y,S':
f/ic Royn/ Engineers were a spirited and
constructive group as can be seen by
this paper, published for the amusement
of the other passengers aboard the ship
Thames City, enroute to Victoria via
Cape Horn. The Royal Engineers formed
part of the professional group of men
brought in by Governor Sir James Douglas to control the situation arising from
the gold rush of 1858.
Field dress of the Royal Engineers.   The
ability to get work done by merely giving
a command was vital to the huge tasks
Qr.   which   Douglas and Moody undertook.
In 1858 he was selected by Lord Lytton, Secretary of State for the
Colonies (and author of The Last Days of Pompeii) to command a force of
150 Royal Engineers to be sent out to British Columbia. Lord Lytton
had chosen the men from this branch of the armed services because he
intended that they should not merely give military backing to the civil
power, but create roads, bridges and buildings where only the forests
had stood before. As he explained in his despatches to Douglas:
"It will devolve upon them to survey those parts of the country which
may be considered most suitable for settlement, to mark out allotments
of land for public purposes, to suggest a site for the seat of government,
to point out where roads should be made, and to render you such assistance as may be in their power . . . This force is sent for scientific and
practical purposes, and not solely for military objects. As little display as
possible should therefore be made of it . . . The superior discipline and
intelligence of this force afford ground for expecting that they will be
far less likely than ordinary soldiers of the line to yield to the temptation to desertion offered by the gold fields."
The Engineers arrived in three groups. The first, of about twenty men,
mainly surveyors, commanded by Captain R.M. Parsons, left
Southampton on Sept. 2, 1858, being personally addressed by Lord
Lytton before they embarked. The second, of about twelve men skilled
in construction, under Captain J.M. Grant, left two weeks later. These
two groups sailed to the Panama, and then, having crossed the Isthmus,
transferred to another ship. The third, and largest group, under
Captain Luard, left the United Kingdom at the end of October, taking
the long route around Cape Horn.
On October 29 the first group arrived in their new home, with the
second disembarking on November the eighth. Colonel Moody himself,
who with his wife and four children had left the United Kingdom on
October 30, arrived via the Panama in Victoria on Christmas Day,
1858. The main body of the Engineers did not reach Esquimalt until
April of the following year, after a voyage on the sailing ship Thames City
that was not only lengthy but also eventful. There were over thirty
women and thirty children on board, and five more children were born
while the ship was at sea; some of the younger passengers were still
able to recall the voyage as late as 1940. The Engineers published a
newspaper to wile away the weary days, and a complete file of it is still
in existence. Among the passengers were John Linn and his wife, two
pioneers after whom Lynn Creek on the north shore of Burrard Inlet is
named, if not spelled. The ship also carried Richard Wolfenden, who
would one day become Queen's Printer of the Province of British
Columbia.
Moody reported to Governor Douglas as soon as he arrived, and the
two men set about planning their first moves. It had been made clear to
both men by the British government that though Douglas must have
the final say on all questions, he was expected to recognize that in
certain fields Moody had the greater expert knowledge.
Douglas had been sworn in as first governor of the mainland colony on
November 19, 1858, a detachment of Engineers having been present at
the ceremony in the Hudson's Bay Company hall at Fort Langley.
Moody was soon sworn in as deputy to Douglas on the mainland, and New Westminster, c.  1871. Moody selected the site for New  Westminster.
empowered to take his place if anything should happen to the governor.
Early in 1859 Moody again journeyed in the little steamship Beaver to
the mainland. His chief purpose was to select a capital for the new
colony, but he also sent his subordinates, by then established in a
military camp at Sapperton, on expeditions into the surrounding
countryside to explore its resources and locate routes of communication through them. The mining towns of Hope, Yale and Douglas were
surveyed at this time, and lots laid out for prospective settlers.
Moody was greatly impressed by his first view of the colony; as he
wrote to a friend:
"The entrance to the Fraser is very striking — extending miles to the
right & left are low marsh lands (apparently of very rich qualities) & yet
from the background of superb mountains — Swiss in outline, dark in
woods, grandly towering into the clouds, there is a sublimity that
deeply impresses you. Everything is large and magnificent, worthy of
the entrance to the Queen of England's dominions on the Pacific
mainland."
Before long, Moody had decided that the capital of the colony should be
on the north side of the river where it divides into two arms before
flowing its last few miles to the sea:
"It is the right place in all respects. Commercially for the good of the
whole community, politically for imperial interests, and militarily for
the protection of & to hold the country against our neighbours at some
future day; also for all purposes of convenience to the local government
in connection with Vancouver's Island at the same time as with the
back country. It is a most important spot."
Moody was seeing this "important spot" for the first time; yet already
he envisioned a city rising on the site:
"Viewed from the Gulf of Georgia across the meadows on entering the
Fraser, the far distant giant mountains forming a dark background —
the city would appear throned queen-like and shining in the glory of
the midday sun."
Pushing on up the river, Moody was soon in the midst of the miners
busily searching for gold. He was much impressed by "all these manly
energetic fellows", and not unduly alarmed when they saluted him by
firing off their revolvers over his head. Indeed Moody, always a very
pious man, decided this was a likely moment to conduct a make-shift
church service, and read prayers to a group of the treasure hunters.
Sapperton, the orderly camp of the Royal
Engineers, was one mile away from the
new capital of New Westminster.
91 ■ ■■r..- -mm
The most notable work of the Royal
Engineers was the construction of the
Cariboo Road. They worked on the most
difficult sections. The road had to pass
through the rugged Fraser Canyon in
jrder to connect the Interior with the
92 coast. Parts of the road appear in these
pictures.
Before long he found himself in a very different situation, as he gave
Judge Begbie moral, and implied military, support while the latter dealt
with the unruly Ned McGowan. When the brief trial was over and
McGowan deflated, Moody had come to two conclusions:
"In the Queen's dominions, an infringement of the law was really a
serious matter, and not a sort of half joke as in California . . . Among
all Her Majesty's colonies there is not a finer one or one with more valuable resources than this, and as a dwelling place for Englishmen few in
any way can compare with it."
When Moody informed Douglas of his choice for the capital, the Governor was not overly enthusiastic, as he himself had favored a place near
Fort Langley, and gone so far as to have lots there sold at public
auction. Moody told him, however, that that location would be too close
to the American border. Douglas gave way and proclaimed "Queens-
borough" the capital of British Columbia. In July of the same year, in
accordance with the wishes of Queen Victoria, it was renamed New
Westminster.
By the summer of 1859, the entire body of the Engineers had arrived,
and work went ahead rapidly on the new capital city. Land was cleared
and buildings erected, including a church, a courthouse, a customs-
house and a jail; also a stately government house for the use of Colonel
Moody. Building lots were surveyed and sold at auction in Victoria; the
following year more were sold in New Westminster. The auctioneer
then was Edgar Dewdney, later to gain fame as a roadbuilder and
lieutenant-governor of British Columbia.
In the next few years Moody's men were responsible for a wide variety
of projects. They erected the first hospital and schools in New Westminster. They designed the colony's first postage stamps, organized its
first exhibition of farm produce, and built a mint where some $10 and
$20 gold pieces were produced. They put on concerts and plays, thus
bringing culture to the wilderness; they cleared a cricket ground, while
the books they had brought with them (personally chosen by Lord
Lytton) eventually formed the nucleus of the New Westminster public
library.
Their main contribution to British Columbia's development, however,
was undoubtedly the roads which they built to connect its vast spaces.
They located the route for one eastward from Hope, later to be named
after its builder, the Dewdney Trail. They built two trails northward
from New Westminster to Burrard Inlet, one ending at English Bay and
the other not far from Port Moody, named after the colonel. They also
explored a route from Bentinck Arm eastward to Fort Alexandria in the
northern Cariboo. Oh a site selected by the Royal Engineers, the private contractor Joseph  Trutch  (later first
lieutenant-governor of British Columbia) built the Alexandra Suspension  Bridge.
Most important of all, they were employed to construct the most difficult parts of that most difficult of highways, the great Cariboo Road.
Few places in the world were less suitable for a road than the middle
reaches of the Fraser, yet the Engineers proved equal to them. They
also selected the location where the road would have to cross the river;
soon the Alexandra Suspension Bridge, a marvel of engineering built by
a private contractor, Joseph Trutch (later British Columbia's first lieutenant-governor) was spanning its torrents. By 1864 the great highway,
wide enough for stage coaches, reached from the coast to Quesnel; by
1865 it had gone as tar as Barkerville. There were as yet no railways in
the colony; but it is a remarkable fact that before he had been in British
Columbia three months Moody had assured Douglas that there would
eventually be "great trunk railways into the Interior".
Long before that prophecy came true, many of the Engineers had left
the colony forever. The cost of maintaining them and their families was
a considerable burden, and neither Douglas nor the British government
was anxious to assume it indefinitely. Accordingly, in 1863 the latter
decided to recall the force.
Many whose terms of service had expired chose to stay on in the
colony, settling down to become farmers or government officials,
giving an element of stability to the colony as well as a devotion to
British institutions. Many of the rest, including the Colonel, his wife
and his children left New Westminster on November 11, 1863 and did
not see the city again. One of the Colonel's daughters, however, did
revisit the colony (then a province) fifty years later, and was astonished
by the changes.
Moody had bought some property in the Fraser valley before his
departure, and held it till his death in England in 1887. It would appear
from his correspondence that he sometimes dreamed of visiting it. One
area of the province he would no doubt have seen if he had returned to
it would have been what was later named Stanley Park. Not long after
his arrival on the Pacific coast he had set aside this area, dominating the
approaches to Burrard Inlet, as a military reserve. No guns loom from
its shores today; but millions have found pleasure and recreation in the
thousand acres which this remarkable man secured for permanent
public use over a century ago.
minster, one of the buildings constructed
by the Royal Engineers. They also erected
a hospital and schools.
93 Edgar Dewdney
1835-1916
94
Edgar Dewdney, roadbuitder and future lieutenant-
governor of British Columbia. Keeping all-British
routes to the gold fields was basic to the colonial
government's control of British Columbia. Dewdney was a chief figure in building the trails and roads
that connected the coast with the mushrooming
mining towns of the Interior.
"I possessed a strong constitution and unbounded confidence, and arrived here
with a light heart".
—Edgar Dewdney
One of the most remarkable men who aided Colonel Moody in carving
a civilization out of the wilderness was Edgar Dewdney. Unlike Moody,
who returned to the United Kingdom after four years of service in
British Columbia and never saw the scene of his endeavors again,
Dewdney remained in the new world, and after an active life in several
spheres of work, died there many years later.
He was born in Devonshire in 1835, two years before Queen Victoria
came to the throne. He was trained as a civil engineer. Hearing of the
rich gold deposits discovered in British Columbia in 1858, he came out
via the Panama to Victoria, arriving there on May 13, 1859. He at once
obtained an interview with Douglas; the Governor, beset with a thousand troubles in what were still very primitive surroundings, was
doubtless surprised to find Dewdney attired in a frock coat and top hat.
The only other top hat in the community at this time was that regularly
adorning the governor's bitterest foe, Amor De Cosmos. Douglas made
no immediate comment on Dewdney's appearance, but inquired about
his qualifications. He then suggested that Colonel Moody, about to
proceed to the mainland, might find Dewdney a useful assistant in his
engineering projects. That sounded promising (Dewdney tells us in his
memoirs) and he then "returned to my hotel, which by the way was
called the Cushing Hotel, a very lightly built structure, and a very lively
one at night. The bar and dance room was under the bedrooms, and by
leaning out of bed you could see the dancers through the cracks in the
flooring. I don't think I slept much that night. "I packed my trunks, put away my best clothes and top hat, put on an
old velveteen shooting coat and corduroy pants and an old fur cap. I
went on board the Beaver, the first steamer that came round the Horn to
the Pacific the year I was born, 1835. I had not been there long when
Col. Moody and his wife and family arrived and shortly after his Excellency, Governor Douglas, came on board to bid adieu to Col. Moody.
On his seeing me he came to me and said 'Good morning, Mr.
Dewdney, glad to see you are prepared for work', evidently remarking
my change of raiment from the day before."
In the next few months, acting under the general direction of Colonel
Moody, Dewdney helped to clear and survey the site for New Westminster. He then rather surprisingly left the government service and
with two companions tried his hand at growing hay on Sea (then called
McRoberts) Island, at the mouth of the Fraser. His aim was to supply
fodder for the many pack animals being used in road construction, but
before long Dewdney decided that he would do better to stick to the
work he was trained for.
The year 1860 saw him back in government service, helping to erect
public buildings in New Westminster. On occasion he also served as an
auctioneer for the lots which had now been surveyed and were available to the public. At the request of Governor Douglas, he joined with
Walter Moberly to widen the trail from Hope eastward to the Similkameen, so that it could be used by pack trains.
The following year, gold was discovered at Rock Creek on the Kettle
river, some thirty-five miles further east, and just north of the international boundary. The two men accordingly extended the road to the
new field. If this had not been done, the area would doubtless have
formed close ties with the United States — ties which, though at first
economic, might later have become political. Douglas, then as always,
realized how important it was that the major trade routes of British
Columbia should lie within British territory. The new road, which was
wide enough for mules but not for stagecoaches, was soon called the
Dewdney Trail, and was the forerunner of the modern Hope-Princeton
highway.
In 1862 and 1863 Dewdney was active in the Cariboo, aiding in the construction of the great stagecoach road from the lower Fraser to the gold
fields east of Quesnel. In 1864, while in this area, he married Jane Moir,
a union that was to last for over forty years.
In the spring of 1865 "Spence's Bridge" first spanned the Thompson
River, and the new mainland governor, Frederick Seymour, sent
Dewdney to inspect it. He reported that it had been very well built, a
judgment that was confirmed by the fact that it stood firm until carried
away by the great flood of 1894.
Spence's Bridge, spanning the Thompson River.
95 • ' '     G-J'.V   -
Two views of the Dewdney Trail.
96
When Dewdney returned from this mission, he was sent by the governor on another. Americans moving north from Montana had discovered gold at Wild Horse Creek (now Fort Steele) in the Kootenays,
and a steady flow of men and goods was rapidly developing north and
south across the border. Governor Seymour, like Douglas, knew that if
British Columbia was to remain under the Union Jack, the economic
channels must also run east and west. He therefore asked Dewdney to
extend the mule trail eastward from the Similkameen to the new gold
fields.
Dewdney agreed, on the proviso that he could choose his own men.
These he selected mainly from the ranks of retired members of the
Royal Engineers, many of whom had settled down in British Columbia.
Dewdney also took with him several Indians from Hope, whose strong
constitutions were to prove useful in carrying equipment and supplies.
He later recounted to a friend some of his experiences on the trail:
"One couple, 'Polalee', which means powder, and his wife, each at least
60 years old, were two of my best. The old woman packed a barrel of
sugar which weighed 125 pounds, and she was a small woman and
weighed very little more, if as much, as the sugar.
"We had a slow but pleasant trip over the trail that I built in 1860, over
a summit of some 6000 feet. For about a quarter of the way we had
snow, and made our snowshoes in the evenings out of vine maples for
bows and rawhide cut into strips for the lacing. The Indians called them
bears' feet, being nearly round, but well suited for the snow in those
parts.
"On the summit it froze hard at night, and it was then we travelled so
as to take advantage of the crust. I shall never forget what pleasure and
enjoyment I had when walking over the frozen summits on a bright
sunshiny early morning, the sun dazzling in the snow, which seemed
studded with millions of diamonds, and the air bracing and seeming to
give fresh life with every breath you drew. We reached Similkameen,
having travelled on an average about seven miles a day, which meant
about ten days. There I paid off the Indians and they returned to Hope."
From the Similkameen Dewdney's party worked eastward, building a
trail by way of Grand Forks, Trail, and Creston to Wild Horse Creek.
At one point the group encountered Judge Begbie, on his way to
conduct his first trial in the new diggings, and the two parties travelled
together for a while.
During the course of the work, Dewdney was able to obtain supplies
from the Hudson's Bay Company post of Fort Colville, which, though
now in American territory, was still in operation. The total distance
involved was nearly three hundred miles, but the cost of the project was
only $74,000; on its completion the men were paid off in gold dust, as
there was as yet very little coinage in the colony.
As it happened, the new discoveries did not prove very profitable, and
the miners soon moved elsewhere. The trail, which was extended
through the Crow's Nest Pass by Peter Fernie in 1879, later began
falling into disuse, but came to life again when a new mining boom
based on silver began in the Kootenays in the closing years of the
century. Hon. and Mrs Edgar Dewdney at Government House, Regina, N.W.T.
In 1866 Dewdney built a trail from Lillooet up Bridge River, and a road
from Savona on the Thompson River to Cache Creek on one of the
Thompson's tributaries, the Bonaparte River. Then, in 1868, he retired
from the government service for a time and began raising livestock
near Soda Creek. The same year he was chosen to represent the Kootenays in the governor's council, a partly elected, partly appointed body,
which went out of existence when British Columbia joined Confederation. In 1871 Dewdney built a trail from Stuart Lake to Omineca, and
later worked on some of the preliminary surveys for the promised
transcontinental railway.
In 1872 he entered federal politics and became Member of Parliament
for Yale and a strong supporter of Sir John A. Macdonald. He attracted
attention in Ottawa and in 1879, having retired from the House of
Commons, was made Indian Commissioner for the Northwest Territories, which then included most of the Prairies. Dewdney soon realized
that with the steady disappearance of the buffalo, the Indians were in
serious difficulties. He did what he could to encourage them to adopt
farming instead, but the problem had become so serious by this time
that he did not have much success.
In 1881 Dewdney was made lieutenant-governor of this vast area, and
within a few years was faced with the Riel Rebellion. That was soon
crushed with the aid of troops brought west by the as yet unfinished
railway, and Dewdney did what he could to aid the process of reconstruction and reconciliation.
In 1888 he again entered federal politics, serving a term as a Conservative Member of Parliament and becoming Minister of the Interior
under Sir John. In 1892 he was appointed lieutenant-governor of
British Columbia, being sworn in by Judge Begbie. He served for five
years, and then once more returned to private life. Even so, he was still
active, helping to select the route for the Kettle Valley Railway.
Dewdney's wife died in 1906. A few years later he remarried. He
himself died in 1916, but with all eyes focussed on the great struggle in
Europe, his death did not attract much attention. That was in some
ways unjust; he had spent a long life helping to build up first a colony
and then a nation. The British Columbia of today owes much to his
efforts and intelligence.
Mrs. Edgar Dewdney.
Hon.
nor of
ir Dewdney,  lieutenant-
British Columbia (1892-1.
gover-
197).
97 Amor De Cosmos
1825-1897
Amor De Cosmos (alias William Alexander Smith),
1825-1897, journalist and second premier of British
Columbia from Dec. 23, 1872, to Feb. 9, 1874.
Vain of person and erratic in his views, De Cosmos
was nevertheless a successful leader in bringing the
province into Confederation.
98
"Particular interest will be taken in the absorbing issues now before the British
North American colonies: the union of these colonies, representation in the
imperial parliament, the Pacific railroad, and the overland wagon road and telegraph. We shall counsel the introduction of responsible government — a system
long established in British America, by which the people will have the whole and
sole control over the local affairs of the colony."
—the 'British Colonist', Vol. 7, No. 1, Dec. 11, 1858
"Mr. De Cosmos was a clever man. He narrowly escaped being a great one."
—the'Colonist', Dec. 4, 1895.
A new era had begun on Sunday, April 25, 1858, when the Commodore
docked at Victoria with four hundred miners from San Francisco.
Three weeks later, another ship from California brought with it to
British Columbia a passenger of a very different kind. He had not, so
far as is known, come to find gold, yet in his own way he was to alter
the life of the colony as much as any of the eager treasure seekers. His
name had once been Bill Smith. It had since become Amor De Cosmos,
and it would soon become and remain one of the most famous in the
history of British Columbia.
Few men, indeed, were to have a greater influence on the province's
development. Arriving at a time when its economic life was dominated
by the fur trade, he helped to bring it safely into an era in which a hundred enterprises competed for attention and employment; he founded a
newspaper which is still in existence, and campaigned vigorously in its
columns for an end to the autocratic government of James Douglas and the establishment of democratic government. He did much to ensure
the union of the two British colonies on the Pacific coast, and was one
of the strongest supporters of the entry of British Columbia into the
Dominion of Canada. After Confederation, he became the second
premier of the province, and for a time represented Victoria in the
House of Commons. Though he arrived in Victoria before the famous
"bird-cages" were built, he lived to see them being replaced by the
present stately Legislative Buildings.
Like nearly all prominent figures in the early life of the province, he
was not born here, first seeing the light of day in Windsor, Nova
Scotia, in 1825. His family moved to Halifax about 1839, and for a
decade he worked in a grocery store. During this period he doubtless
heard his elders often discussing the struggle in Nova Scotia for a more
democratic form of government, which the leader of the movement,
Joseph Howe, was eventually to bring to a triumphant conclusion.
When news of the fabulous gold strikes in California began sweeping
the world, young William Smith resolved to try his luck in the far west.
Leaving Nova Scotia, he made his way to St. Louis, Missouri, then considered the western edge of civilization. Joining a party bound for California, he began crossing the continent in the only mode of conveyance
then available — the covered wagon, or "prairie schooner."
When he reached Utah, rather than cross the Rockies in winter, he
remained for some months in Salt Lake City, where the Mormons were
creating a remarkable settlement in the desert.
When better weather returned, he joined another party bound for California, but its progress was so slow that, having a good horse, he went
on alone. Making his way through a mountain pass, he arrived in
Northern California in June 1853.
Here he became not a gold miner but a photographer, and was soon
making a good living taking pictures of the miners and their claims.
Emboldened by his success, he now changed his name to Amor De
Cosmos, which signified, he later explained, his "love of order, beauty,
the world, the universe."
For the next few years he pursued his profession. Then in 1858 a new
gold rush began, this time on the banks of the lower Fraser, some hundreds of miles to the north. De Cosmos decided to investigate it, and
took passage for Victoria, arriving there on May 16. It took him only a
few days to decide that he could do as well there as in California.
Accordingly he returned south, sold his business, and together with his
brother, Charles McKeivers Smith, who had joined him at some
undetermined period, came north to Victoria.
Whether De Cosmos continued to take photographs is not known; but
he did visit the mainland during the height of the gold fever on the
lower Fraser. Then he returned to Victoria, where for a little longer he
remained merely one of the thousands milling about the muddy streets
of the bustling community.
Then, on December 11, 1858, all this changed, as De Cosmos stepped
boldly onto the stage of history. For some months Victoria had had a
newspaper, the Gazette, and De Cosmos now resolved to enter the same
Aboard the steamer Commodore
goldminers came to Victoria in
the first
1858.
99 THE   BRITISH   COLONIST.
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In the first issue of the British Colonist,
Dec. 11, 1858, Amor De Cosmos made
his brazen debut as a political foe of Gov.
James Douglas.
■""■"^Cj;-''*' -v"'""****" "~»~~* **-
»«Pf8(
Office of the Victoria Press in 1862.
100
field. Two weeks before Christmas, the first issue of the British Colonist
was on sale, and it was at once apparent that new days indeed had come
to old Fort Victoria.
As with all newspapers, local gossip and advertisements found a place
in the columns of the Colonist, but the paper's main feature was the use
of its editorial page as a revolving turret from which De Cosmos fired
weekly broadsides at selected targets.
First and foremost among these was Governor Douglas, who had not
previously encountered such open criticism. The craggy old Scot was
accused of operating a dictatorship in an age moving steadily in the
direction of democracy, and at the same time of serving the interests of
the Hudson's Bay Company, a private company. Douglas had, in fact,
already severed all connections with the Company, this being a
condition laid down by the British government when offering him the
governorship of the new mainland colony. Such details did not unduly
bother De Cosmos, who every week belabored the governor in his
columns. In his first editorial, after profuse professions of loyalty to the
crown, he went on to outline his policies:
"Particular interest will be taken in the absorbing issues now before the
British North American colonies: the union of these colonies, representation in the imperial parliament, the Pacific railroad, and the overland
wagon road and telegraph.
"In our local politics we shall be found the sure friend of reform. The
present constitution we hold is radically defective, and unsuited to the
advanced condition of this colony. We shall counsel the introduction of
responsible government — a system long established in British
America, by which the people will have the whole and sole control over
the local affairs of the colony. In short, we shall advocate a constitution
modelled after the British, and similar to that of Canada."
De Cosmos then went on to attack Douglas, declaring that: "He wanted
to serve his country with honor, and at the same time preserve the
grasping interests of the Hudson's Bay Company inviolate. In trying to
serve two masters he was unsuccessful as a statesman."
A week later, De Cosmos was demanding "the immediate establishment of self-government"; early in 1859, he was roundly calling
Douglas "unsuited for the office of Chief Magistrate of these colonies",
and deploring the idea of choosing a governor "from among men who
have been all their lives among Indians, swapping baubles and blankets
for furs at two thousand per cent profit." A few weeks later he was
declaring:
"We honestly believe that the man who will not ask Her Majesty's
Government to remove Gov. Douglas is a traitor to his country, and
unworthy of protection — and blind to his own interests."
Douglas was understandably nettled by these attacks, and by way of
retaliation issued a proclamation on March 30, 1859, requiring newspapers to put up sureties before being permitted to publish. This did
little to deter De Cosmos, and may have gained him some sympathy; at
all events, at a public meeting held on April 4, a resolution was passed
that the required money (£800) should be raised by public subscription,
which was speedily done. tWmut
Victoria in 1870.
De Cosmos was soon seeking a second pulpit for his views by entering
politics. A by-election for the Assembly in 1860 produced the following
result:
Gordon 11
Smith, commonly known as De Cosmos,        10
De Cosmos 1
It was subsequently held that though De Cosmos, considered collectively, had not been defeated, his component parts had been, a
verdict no doubt highly galling to his "constituents".
In 1863, however, De Cosmos won a seat in the Assembly, and was
soon supporting a wide variety of causes. These included spacious
public squares in the city; a water system supplied from Elk Lake, some
eight miles to the north of it; a road to Nanaimo; decimal currency; the
metric system; free public schools; a drydock; the creation of a Board of
Trade; and the compiling of the history of the area. By contrast, he
opposed imprisonment for debt; public aid to churches; dance halls; the
Hudson's Bay Company; and whatever Governor Douglas did. In his
spare moments he interviewed people waiting to be hanged, and later
described their executions in the Colonist. He noted the appearance in
the city of camels destined for use on the Cariboo Road, and also of the
first woman wearing trousers. He also inspected the contents of the
famous "bride ships", describing them as "mostly cleanly, well-built,
pretty looking young women — ages varying from fourteen to an
uncertain figure; a few are young widows who have seen better days.
Most appear to have been welPraised, and generally they seem a
superior lot to the women usually met with on emigrant vessels."
In October 1863 De Cosmos sold the Colonist to some of his employees,
and the following year his great foe, Governor Douglas, retired. De
Cosmos, however, continued active in public life, advocating the union
of the two Pacific colonies, and later, after the creation of the Dominion
of Canada in 1867, he also pursued the cause of British Columbia
joining Confederation.
The first of these aims was achieved in 1866 as a deepening economic
depression caused by the decline of gold mining affected both colonies.
The British government decided to unite them, and union was proclaimed on November 19, 1866. New Westminster was the first capital.
Governor Seymour continued in office, while Governor Kennedy, successor to Douglas on the Island, retired.
Frederick Seymour, governor of mainland
colony (1864-1866) and of the united
colony of British Columbia (1866-
1869).
101 Anthony Musgrave, governor of the
Xnited colony of British Columbia
1869-1871).
02
The following year, Confederation became a reality in eastern Canada,
and De Cosmos began agitating, both inside and outside the Legislative
Council, for the entry of British Columbia into the Dominion. In
August 1867 he travelled to Toronto, where he campaigned for
Ontario's support. He pictured himself as "having for nine long years
battled against combinations, against incorporated companies, such as
have held in chains a vast portion of British America, and against
governments, often standing alone with few to sympathize."
In 1868, once more in Victoria, De Cosmos and his supporters, suspecting that Governor Seymour was opposed to any change, submitted a
long "memorial" to the Governor General, urging the admission of
British Columbia into Canada. The Governor General in turn notified
London, which j-or larger,-considerations of imperial policy began to
move in the direction the confederationists wished. In the meantime
the capital was transferred from New Westminster to Victoria.
In the same year, a "Confederation League" was formed, which held a
convention in the fall at Yale. De Cosmos was a delegate, and several
resolutions were passed, including one demanding that the legislature
of the colony, a proportion of whose members were still chosen by the
governor, should become completely democratic.   X
There were still many residents of British Columbia, especially on Vancouver Island, opposed to Confederation. Some thought it impractical
so long as the prairies were uninhabited; others feared they would lose
their government positions in any new scheme of things. Some even
advocated union with the United States as a way of solving the colony's
serious economic distress. In an election in 1868, De Cosmos, supporting Confederation, was defeated. Clearly, public opinion was still
divided on the question.
At this critical moment Governor Seymour suddenly died, and his
successor, Governor Musgrave, arrived in Victoria with instructions
from the British Government, supported by Ottawa, to encourage the
entry of British Columbia into Canada. A by-election late in 1869, in
which De Cosmos was a successful candidate, reversed the outcome of
the previous year. The stage was now set for the famous debate of
1870.
This took place in the old "bird-cages". After three weeks of debate the
cause of Confederation triumphed. A delegation consisting of Dr.
Helmcken, Joseph Trutch, and Dr. R.W. Carrall was sent to Ottawa,
final terms of entry (including the railway and drydock) were agreed
upon, and on July 20, 1871 British Columbia became a province of
Canada, with Trutch as its first lieutenant-governor. Two more of De
Cosmos' causes had triumphed, for it had been conceded that the executive should be responsible to the legislature.
The first premier of British Columbia was a lawyer named J.F.
McCreight, but on his defeat in the legislature in 1872 he was succeeded by De Cosmos. The latter had recently been elected to the
federal parliament as well (a law to prevent this in future was passed
soon afterward), and for a time he oscillated between Ottawa and
Victoria. His short career as provincial premier (from December 1872
to February 1874) was not marked by noteworthy legislation, and when 11    m m m P * * " *
■I
he was re-elected to the federal house he retired from provincial
politics.
By this time he was again active in publishing, having founded in 1870 a
newspaper called the Daily Standard, in which he attacked his former
brainchild, the Colonist. He remained a member of parliament until
1882, and during this period was sent to London to secure some improvement in British Columbia's financial treatment. He also campaigned for a variety of local causes, including that of a railway from
Victoria to the northern tip of the Saanich peninsula, to connect with a
ferry from the mainland.
In 1895 his mind became clouded, and he was put in charge of his
brother, who looked after him for the rest of his life. When he died in
July 1897, all eyes were on Queen Victoria's jubilee and the nearly-
completed Legislative Buildings, and his death attracted little attention.
Only Dr. Helmcken stood up for his memory, reminding readers of the
Colonist of the man "whom forty years ago, and thirty after, a large
section of the people of Victoria considered a hero, a patriot, who
fought for the emancipation, improvement, progress and welfare of the
country, less for his own material interests than for fame, honor and
glory. Even those, and they were not few, who disapproved of his
course and opinions, for the most part admitted this much."
Many others in subsequent years have come to share this view. There
is both a picture of him and a plaque in his memory just outside the
chamber where the legislature now sits. One suspects that De Cosmos
would have approved strongly.
Amor De Cosmos (top of stairs on right)
and a group of early legislators outside
Legislative Buildings, 1871.
103 "%
John Robson
1824-1892
«M|
The Hon. John Robson.
"What more glorious idea can there be than that of a British Empire extending
across the continent, with its back to the North Pole, with its face looking southward, I will not venture to say how far: with one foot planted on the Atlantic and
the other on the Pacific, stretching out one hand to Europe and the other to Asia,
and inviting the commerce of both hemispheres to enter its wide open portals, free
as the wind that fills the canvas.
John Robson
04
The name of John Robson is not so well known today as that of Amor
De Cosmos. This seems unfair, because Robson was in many ways as
influential as De Cosmos in laying the foundations of modern British
Columbia. The careers of the two men, indeed, often ran parallel:
Robson edited an important newspaper in the years just before Confederation, and in it advocated the entry of British Columbia into the
new dominion; he also worked for the establishment of a completely
democratic system of government in the colony, took part in its political
contests and debates, and eventually, after it had become a province,
was for a time its premier.
He was born in Upper Canada (later called Ontario) in 1824, his parents
being recent immigrants from Scotland. In early manhood he operated
a general store, and supported the reform movement of the time which
attempted to reduce the power of the "family compact" and increase
that of the independent settler. He thus carried a democratic philosophy of government with him when, in 1859, he emigrated with his
family and a few friends to British Columbia. Robson's brother,
Ebenezer, was already there, having come out to the Pacific coast as a
Methodist missionary.
After the long journey by way of New York, Panama, San Francisco
and Victoria, Robson found a series of jobs in the young mainland
colony. Like many others in this period, he tried to make a fortune as a
prospector; later he became a lumberjack and helped to build a church
in New Westminster. He also worked on the roads of the area. Then, for a time, he was employed on a local newspaper. When it went
bankrupt, a group of New Westminster citizens approached Robson
and offered him the editorship of a new organ designed to express their
discontents. Robson knew that important figures in the eastern
colonies, such as George Brown and Joseph Howe, had first made their
mark as journalists, and he readily accepted the suggestion. Thus came
into being, in 1861, the British Columbian, whose editor stated forth-
rightly from the beginning that it "was brought into existence for the
express purpose of advocating certain measures: responsible government, liberal institutions, the redress of all our grievances."
Among the matters which annoyed Robson and his supporters were
high taxes on imported necessities, road tolls in the Interior, the lack of
democratic institutions (the mainland colony, unlike Vancouver Island,
had no elected Assembly) government support for churches, and the
dominant position of Governor Douglas in the life of the area. Another
grievance was that the governor, though in theory dividing his time
between the two colonies, in practice spent most of the year in the
pleasant surroundings of Victoria. Moreover, citizens of the mainland
colony often had to journey there to interview minor officials.
In the next few years Robson was active in a variety of other community activities. He made a selection of British Columbia products to
send to an exhibition in London, he became president of the local agricultural society, and helped to develop a fire brigade, as well as the
Royal Columbian Hospital. He was a member of the local temperance
society and also (apparently feeling no conflict of interests) treasurer of
the St. Andrew's Society.
In 1862 Robson became involved in a serious dispute with Judge Begbie.
The November 26th issue of the British Columbian contained an anonymous letter stating that the judge had accepted twenty acres of land in
exchange for obtaining a certificate of improvement which had previously been refused by the resident magistrate. When the next assizes
were held in New Westminster, the judge ordered the paper to make a
retraction. Robson did make a qualified apology, but it was not enough
for Begbie, who ordered the editor to be put in jail until he had apologized unreservedly.
Word of these developments spread swiftly through the community,
and that evening, a public meeting was held, attended by four hundred
people. Speeches were made and assorted resolutions passed, and the
crowd then marched to the jail, where it gave (according to the account
in the next issue of Robson's paper) "three cheers for the imprisoned
editor and three groans for the tyrant judge".
Government House, New Westminster, B.C.
Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie successfully
defeated an attempt by Robson to defame
his good name. There were certain persons whom the pugnacious Robson could
not touch.
105 Robson
Cosmos,
in  a   theatrical  mood.   Like   De
he had a taste for showing off.
106
The British Columbian was soon printing a message from Robson, bearing
the dramatic title "A voice from the dungeon . Its prose style was
equally lively:
"Fellow colonists! We greet you from our dungeon. Startled by the wild
shrieks of a dying maniac on the one hand, and the clanking of the
murderer's chains on the other, while the foul and scant atmosphere of
our cell, loaded with noxious effluvia from the filthy dens occupied by
lunatics, renders life almost intolerable, our readers will overlook any
incoherency or want of connected thought in our writing.
"British Columbians! A deadly stab has just been aimed at the liberty of
the press — that great bulwark of civil and religious liberty — and you
have nobly given form to your execration of the act. We, the humble
instrument, the unfortunate victim, are deprived of our liberty by the
absolute will of one man — compelled to exchange the pure and healthful air of our adopted country for a dreary dungeon. It is of but small
importance what shall be the fate of a comparatively obscure individual,
so that the great principle upon which the people have now joined issue
with the judiciary of British Columbia may be maintained inviolate.
"Fellow subjects! We have heard with regret that it is in contemplation
by some to procure our liberty by violent means.
"For the sake of all that is dear to a Briton, we entreat you to abandon
such an unwise course. Use every constitutional means within your
reach, at least, before you resort to extreme measures, and you may
rest well assured that, should it please Heaven to spare our unworthy
life, we will deem it not too great a sacrifice to remain in this noxious
dungeon, if, by so doing, that cause which is so dear to our heart may be
best promoted."
The judge, however, remained unmoved by Robson's rhetoric, and a
few days later, after what the editor described as "mature reflection",
Robson apologized to Begbie more fully and was released.
He at once resumed his crusade for various political reforms, and as a
member of the municipal council of New Westminster and later of the
Legislative Council of the colony, continued to strive for more popular
control of its affairs. In this his motives were both political and economic; he wished to end the domination of British Columbia by the
Hudson's Bay Company and the royal governors. He felt sure that the
business life of the area would be greatly stimulated if it formed part of
what he called "a federation of all British North American colonies in
one empire or viceroyalty, bound together by bands of iron, and
ranking as one of the great powers of the globe."
In one respect he parted company with De Cosmos. He was averse to
taking the preliminary step of uniting the two Pacific colonies. He felt
that Vancouver Island had a large debt and few natural resources, and
would therefore prove a burden to the mainland. He was especially
angered when two years after the union became a reality in 1866, the
capital was transferred from New Westminster to Victoria.
Nevertheless, Robson became a strong supporter of Confederation as
the question loomed even larger. Like De Cosmos, he was a delegate to
the Yale Convention of 1868 which passed resolutions in favor of com- j.^.Tafei* *":*
New Westminster
pletely representative government, a state-supported system of education, and other reforms. Later he was chosen to transmit the conclusions of the Convention to Queen Victoria, the Governor General,
Governor Seymour, and the imperial parliament in London. Seymour
was not enthusiastic about Confederation, and in this he was supported
by many residents on Vancouver Island.
Robson now decided to attack the anti-confederationists in their
citadel, and he transferred his newspaper to Victoria. He quickly found
the competition of the Colonist severe, and when in 1869 its owner,
David Higgins, offered him a position as its political editor, he accepted
the post and closed down his own paper.
During 1869 Robson's editorials strongly supported Confederation.
When Governor Seymour died and Anthony Musgrave succeeded him,
the new governor supported Confederation but showed no enthusiasm
for responsible government. In the famous debate in Victoria in 1870,
Robson strongly supported this reform, but was unable to carry an
amendment to this effect. This raised his temper considerably, and he
was soon excitedly declaring that: "I stand here, and in the name of my
ancestors protest before heaven against the surrender of constitutional
rights purchased by the best blood of our race — a priceless legacy we
have no right to barter away, even if we would."
Indeed, Robson was soon hinting that the recent outbreaks of violence
at Red River (the first Riel Rebellion) might soon be repeated in peaceful British Columbia. By way of averting a catastrophe, he proposed an
amendment, in which revolutionary overtones seem hard to detect:
"Resolved that an humble address be presented to His Excellency the
Governor, earnestly recommending that a constitution based upon the
principles of responsible government, as existing in the province of
Ontario, may be conferred upon this colony, coincident with its
admission into the Dominion of Canada."
107 John Robson's house in Victoria. Compared to De Cosmos, Robson is not as
dramatic a political figure, but he is as
important.
When it was pointed out that Governor Musgrave had no authority to
alter the existing form of government, Robson put forward another
remarkable suggestion: "That British Columbia purchase Alaska." This
amendment actually carried, but was quietly abandoned before the final
terms were presented to Ottawa. However, Robson and De Cosmos did
achieve one of their ambitions: when British Columbia entered the
Union in 1871, responsible government was immediately granted; the
powers of the lieutenant-governor became largely formal, and his
power to appoint members to his Legislative Council was abolished.
Robson had now attained his main objectives, but still remained active
in politics. He represented Nanaimo in the legislature from 1871 to
1875, continuing as political editor of the Colonist. He later gave up these
positions and became paymaster for the Canadian Pacific Railway
while it was surveying a route for the railway. In 1880 he again began
publishing the British Columbian in New Westminster, and in 1882 was
once more elected to the legislature. In 1883 he became provincial
minister of finance and agriculture, and in 1889 succeeded Alexander
Davie as premier.
His administration was a successful one because the railway had
brought with it prosperity. In 1892 he visited London to discuss
imperial affairs with important government officials. Unfortunately he
crushed his finger in the door of a cab, developed blood poisoning, and
died on the twenty-ninth of June.
His personality had been a striking one. Like Dc Cosmos, he usually
dressed in a slightly theatrical way; however, he was not unduly
sociable, perhaps a reflection of his opposition to drink. He was also
against all unnecessary work on Sundays, and it is because of this that
the Colonist has no Monday edition to this day.
These were merely personal characteristics, and they died with him.
More lasting were his efforts in bringing British Columbia from an
isolated colony ruled autocratically by an appointed governor to a thriving province of a broad dominion. In the course of this important
change he had taken a wide variety of roles. As a modern writer has
expressed it:
"He was an immigrant from eastern Canada who became the most
ardent promoter of his adopted home, and was eventually rewarded
with its highest elected office; he was, at various times, both laborer
and capitalist; a leader of the community, yet one who attacked its
ruling clique; one who sought to strike off the shackles of the Colonial
Office, yet who died at the very heart of the empire; one who devoted
himself to bringing to British Columbia the advantages both of democratic government and of membership in a larger union."
Other figures of British Columbia's early days are better known than
John Robson; but when we consider his contributions to its development, it is surely time to accord him a higher place.
108 Dr. Israel Wood Powell (1836-1915).
Israel Wood Powell
1836-1915
The name of Israel Wood Powell is not familiar to many today, even
though they may have driven down Powell street in both the main
cities of the province, and visited the community of Powell River. His
achievements in several fields have been overshadowed by those of
others; yet he held an important place among those who brought
British Columbia from a fur-trapping ground into the modern age.
Like many pioneers of this period, he was born in Upper Canada, as
Ontario was then called. Entering McGill University, he graduated as a
doctor in 1860. He then planned to emigrate to New Zealand, and with
this in mind set sail from eastern Canada to the Panama. At that time,
news of the gold discoveries in British Columbia was common knowledge. When Powell arrived at Panama he decided to make a quick
excursion up the Pacific coast.
Reaching Victoria in May 1862, he resolved to remain there. Doctors
were in short supply in the city (it had been incorporated that year), and
he soon had many patients. In 1865 he married a New Zealand girl, Jane
Branks, who had moved to Victoria from California. Their marriage
was eventually to produce nine children.
Powell had become active in the political life of the colony almost as
soon as he arrived. In 1863 he stood for the Legislative Assembly, advocating public control of revenue and expenditure, as well as of other
aspects of government business, all still firmly in the hands of
Governor Douglas. Powell also declared himself "a firm adherent to a
system of common schools free from any sectarian influence whatever". The three successful candidates in Victoria proved to be:
Young 229
De Cosmos 211
Powell 203
No sooner was he elected than Powell became active in the movement 1UV The Rt. Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald.
Dr. Powell's medals of office as Grana
Master of the Lodge, Vancouver, B.C.,
1867.
110
to establish a public school system in the colony. The first free school
had opened in Esquimalt earlier the same year, and in 1865 the
Assembly passed an act to set up a system of "common schools". Powell
was appointed a member of the newly created Board of Education, with
Alfred Waddington as Superintendent.
Unfortunately, as the gold rush declined, bad times were descending
upon Vancouver Island. The uniting of the two Pacific colonies into a
single colony in November 1866, partly for economy, did little to
restore prosperity. Teachers' salaries were soon in arrears, and
Waddington resigned. Powell succeeded him as Superintendent, but by
the time British Columbia entered Confederation, the public school
system had been closed down for lack of money.
Powell's hopes for a system of free public education had been disappointed, but in other respects he had better luck. He strongly supported British Columbia joining Canada, and at a public meeting early
in 1867 moved a resolution "that the colony of British Columbia would
be greatly benefited, its progress and permanent prosperity secured by
its admission into the proposed confederacy of British North America
upon equitable terms."
Powell's brother at this time had achieved prominence as a military man
in the east as one of the founders of the Royal Military College at
Kingston. The doctor was thus able to keep posted on sentiment and
political developments on the other side of the continent. He also continued his medical practice, supervising the birth, early in 1867 of
Simon Fraser Tolmie, later to become the first premier of British
Columbia to have been born in the province. Powell was a member of
the Masons, and before long became Grand Master of the British
Columbia lodges.
After the union of the two colonies in 1866, the Assembly of Vancouver Island disappeared and was succeeded by the Legislative Council
of British Columbia, a body partly appointed and partly elected. In 1868
Powell stood as a pro-confederation candidate for one of the elected
seats, as did De Cosmos. Both men, however, were defeated. Perhaps
by way of encouraging Vancouver Islanders to support the great
change from colony to province, the capital of the colony was moved
back from New Westminster to Victoria.
After the sudden death of Governor Seymour in 1869, Anthony Musgrave was sent out from Newfoundland to succeed him, with instructions to persuade British Columbia to enter Confederation. He had not
been long in the colony when he fell off his horse and broke his leg.
Powell supervised his recovery, and no doubt took the opportunity to
assure the governor that Confederation would indeed prove highly
beneficial to British Columbia.
Powell was unable to take part in the great debate of 1870 in the "birdcages", but once it was successfully concluded he made a trip to the
United Kingdom by way of San Francisco, returning with what was
perhaps the first Canadian flag seen on the Pacific coast. He flew it over
his house on both Dominion Day 1871 and also on July 20, British
Columbia's first day as part of Canada.
It is believed that Sir John A. Macdonald, who had met and admired Powell, offered him the post of first Lieutenant-Governor of British
Columbia. Powell declined, but he did accept the post of Superintendent of Indian Affairs in the new province, and also that of lieutenant-colonel in the militia. During the next few years he visited many
parts of the province, making reports to Ottawa on ways of improving
the lot of the Indians. Not only did he make better medical services
available to them, but he also had schools set up in which they could
learn to adjust to the new ways. It was in 1881 on a trip up the Pacific
coast in H.M.S. Rocket that the ship's captain named Powell River after
him.
By this time the promised railway was fast becoming a reality, and
Powell saw that its western terminus would one day be a large city. He
helped to persuade Canadian Pacific Railway officials to extend the
line from Port Moody to Coal Harbor, and when Granville became the
city of Vancouver, he donated the land on which to build the first city
hall. The new city responded by naming one of its streets after him.
Powell continued active in the medical profession, and was largely
responsible for having the British Columbia Medical Act passed in
1886. He was honored by being elected first president of the British
Columbia Medical Council.
In 1889 Powell visited the United Kingdom, giving glowing accounts of
British Columbia to British newspaper editors; this no doubt aided
emigration to the Pacific coast. While in Europe, he got typhoid fever,
and had to recuperate in Italy. On his return he resigned as Superintendent of Indian Affairs.
He was still active in public life, however; and succeeded in persuading
the Legislature to pass an act in 1890 authorizing the creation of a
provincial university. He himself was named its first chancellor, but
although a few organizational meetings were held, the poor economic
conditions of the day prevented any actual buildings being erected.
However, Powell did secure an agreement by which McGill would
supervise some university work by British Columbia students.
Early in 1915 the Powells celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.
The doctor's death a few months later was overshadowed by the First
World War, and did not attract much attention. It is only in recent years
that it has been realized how much he contributed to the development
of first the colony and later the young province which he had made his
adopted home.
Dr. Powell with crew members of H.M.S.
Rocket at Nootka Sound. As Superintendent of Indian Affairs, Powell tried
to improve medical and educational services to the Indians. The captain of
H.M.S. Rocket named Powell River after
the doctor.
Ill Billy Barker
1820-1894
William ("Billy") Barker (1820-1894),
is one of the most famous of the Cariboo
gold miners, and ranks as folk hero in the
province for his tale of rags to riches—and
back to rags. Barkerville is named after
him.
The old way of gold mining—a miner using
a pan. Such methods were suitable for obtaining gold from river bars.
12
The race of men that dragged their packs
Lip canyons to the creek;
The race that heard my pick crash down
Into that yellow strike;
Whose deaths built law and church and state
Upon my broken stone—
But Billy Barker's dead and gone
In Victoria Old Men's Home.
—Robin Skelton,
A ballad of Billy Barker
He was a short, solidly built Cornishman, and he had arrived on the
Pacific coast not to search for gold, but as a sailor on a ship which
touched at Victoria in 1858. Yet in the saloons springing up around the
fort in that memorable summer, Billy Barker became infected with the
gold fever. Not far away, on the lower Fraser, one could be one's own
man, and make more in a few weeks than on the rolling main in a year.
So one dark night Billy slipped ashore from his ship, and was soon lost
to sight among the thousands panning the bars of the great mainland
river.
What luck he had in the next few years is not known; likely it was
enough to keep hope alive, but not enough to attract attention. Then he
began to suspect that bigger deposits lay much farther up the river.
There Billy made his way. In 1862 he was at Williams Creek, so named
after William Dietz, who had recently made a good strike. There were already considerable numbers of miners in the area. All of
them were using the same mining methods as were in use on the lower
parts of the river. They knelt patiently on its bank, or perhaps waded a
little way into the stream, and with the aid of pans and "rockers"
secured a small but steady return from each shovel of gravel.
The principle involved was that gold, as one of the heaviest metals,
would sift down to the bottom of any loose mixture if that was
agitated. Barker now magnified the process in his mind, till it took in
thousands of years and millions of tons of water, dislodging sand and
gravel as the river cut its way to the sea. The conclusion, to this simple
but logical man, was that during this long period of time, huge amounts
of gold must have sifted down through the deep gravel of an old stream
till they found a resting place on the bedrock far below. All that was
necessary was to dig a deep enough shaft, and a fortune would lie
uncovered.
The best location, he decided, would be on lower Williams Creek, an
area abandoned by other miners, who had found little in their pans and
gone further up the stream. Barker found six other men willing to
follow his argument and share his vision. The cost of supporting themselves while they completed their project would be high — flour was
two hundred and fifty dollars a barrel, potatoes ninety dollars a sack,
and boots fifty dollars a pair — but they decided the gamble was worthwhile. Under Barker's direction (he was familiar with tin mining in
Cornwall) a shafthouse was built, with a rope and pulley to let one of
the seven down with his pick and shovel while his companions hauled
the gravel to the surface.
Under the warm sun of the summer of 1862 they set to work. They
hoped to strike it rich quickly, but at thirty-five feet they had only
recovered gravel. It made an imposing pile near the shaft, but their only
other reward was the scorn of their fellow-miners, who made fun of
their tiring and dangerous efforts.
It soon appeared that even the valiant seven might have to acknowledge failure. Their money ran out, and few merchants were anxious to
finance a project which seemed on a par with extracting sunbeams from
cucumbers. All seemed lost, when luck unexpectedly came their way.
It did so in the unlikely person of the stern fudge Begbie. Passing
through the area in the course of straightening out disputes, he heard
of "Cornish Bill" and resolved to learn more of his activities. Recognizing, perhaps, the type of man that the country needed, he decided to
give him a helping hand. The judge was empowered to provide funds
for destitute miners to return to civilization, and he told Barker and his
men that he would give them a hundred dollars each on the understanding that if their project failed, they would trouble the Cariboo no
more. Barker agreed, and the work went on with a will.
Even so, their lives were far from comfortable. One man had to toil at
the bottom of the shaft, lit only by candles and with water dripping
down on him, while facing the constant danger of a cave-in. The money
advanced by the judge was soon almost exhausted; only enough was
left to take them back to Yale. They were down fifty-four feet. What
was to be done?
Cameron Co. shaft on Williams Creek,
c. 1863. The gold of WilliamsCreek was
found on bedrock deep beneath the gravel
of old stream beds. Miners had to form in
groups in order to develop such deposits,
for more equipment, time and money was
needed.
Down in the mine shaft.
113 ■.. . ,■■■■
Zl tt>a/er i^/iee/ ana" flume provided a power source in the deep Cariboo gold diggings,
ing the gravel for gold, pumping out flooded shafts and running winches.
T/if Barker claim.
114
Some were for quitting; some were uncertain, but Barker was still
undaunted. He persuaded them to work just one more day; he himself
would take the dangerous and unpleasant post at the bottom of the
shaft.
Down he went in the big bucket into the murky gloom. There was not
much space to work, but he swung his pick and scraped away with his
shovel, while his companions hauled the gravel to the surface and
peered anxiously at it. The hours passed; the curtain seemed coming
down on their hopes. Then—
As he had so often, he swung his pick and buried it deep into what long
ages before had been the riverbed. When he pried it loose, there,
gleaming in the wan light of the candle, were nuggets as big as eggs!
His shout of joy brought his companions to the edge of the shaft,
wondering if he had hurt himself. They did not have long to wonder, as
Barker feverishly filled the bucket and it was hauled to the surface. At a
glance they saw the reason for his shout — they had struck the mother
lode!
Within minutes the news had spread through the entire area; within
hours a celebration had begun which lasted for three days, subsiding
only when the saloons ran out of supplies.
As for the stubborn seven, they were well on their way to becoming
rich. It was estimated that before the claim was exhausted it had
produced 600,000 dollars, each dollar worth several times its modern
counterpart (or counterfeit). As for Billy, after enjoying his luck in the
Cariboo, he went down the coast to enjoy the pleasures of civilization,
as represented by Victoria, which had just become a city. Here, early in
1863, he met and married Elizabeth Collyer, a widow from London;
then the happy and prosperous pair returned in triumph to the Cariboo.
It was perhaps a poor decision for from here the path turned downward
for Billy Barker. He spent his money too freely, often providing funds
for other men's ventures which yielded nothing. His unfaithful and
extravagant wife was soon spending most of her time dancing with
younger and more glamorous men. By 1866, Billy's money was gone,
and at about the same moment, so was his wife. Sadly he set about a fresh attack on fate, but this time fickle fortune
failed to smile. He staked no more successful claims, and was forced to
take a variety of humble jobs at various places between the goldfields
and the coast. Soon the Cariboo's most famous son, from whom Barkerville had acquired its name, was lost in obscurity, and few heard of him
again until his obituary appeared in the Victoria newspapers in July,
1894. His passing in the Old Men's Home (a month after his old benefactor, Judge Begbie, died in his comfortable residence not far away)
received only a few words, accompanied by a moral lecture on the
virtue of thrift.
Surely he had deserved something better. His stubborn determination
to follow where his reason pointed had opened an entire new era for
the young colony, and as the age of fur declined, had given its economy
a new lease on life. Moreover the discovery of the fabulous wealth that
had lain hidden so long hastened the completion of the Cariboo Road,
justified Douglas' original decision to build it, and provided the traffic
which soon paid for it.
So much has stemmed from Billy Barker's determination to go down
"one more foot": several times since, other important contributions to
the building of British Columbia have come from a decision to do the
same.
115 Alfred Waddington
1801-1872
A tireless believer in a great future for
British Columbia, Alfred Waddington
(1801-1872) attempted to build a road
connecting the Cariboo gold country with
the coast at Bute Inlet. The project failed
spectacularly, but Waddington's later efforts to promote the idea of a transcontinental railway joining British Columbia
with the rest of Canada did much to make
the railway a condition of the province's
entering Confederation.
"We hear every day that Victoria has caved in; that the country has caved in; that
the gold mines are a humbug; that our soil is poor, the climate Siberian; that
Victoria is no port at all, and that the city will have to be removed somewhere
else; in short, that the bubble has burst, and nothing remains to do but to go away.
Luckily assertions are not facts."
Alfred Waddington,
The Fraser Mines Vindicated.
116
Most of those who made the long journey from the British Isles to the
Pacific coast at the time of either the California gold rush of 1849 or the
Fraser gold rush of 1858 were comparatively young men who had not
yet made a mark in life. Alfred Waddington, who played an important
part in the early years of British Columbia, had already reached middle
age and was well established in the Old World before he arrived in the
New.
His father, an English businessman with interests in London and Paris,
was able to have his son educated in both France and Germany. The
family had relatives prominent in the political and business life of
France, and from 1829 till about 1845 young Waddington was director
of an iron works in Brittany. Later he moved to Burgundy.
However, he would seem to have had financial reverses — 1848 was a
bad year throughout Europe — and he decided to try his luck elsewhere. He arrived in San Francisco in 1850, soon after the beginning of
the California gold rush. There he became a partner in the wholesale
grocery firm of Dulip and Waddington, which prospered as miners
arrived from the four corners of the world.
When a second gold rush began, this time along the banks of the lower
Fraser in 1858, Waddington decided that he should investigate without
delay the possibilities of opening a branch of his firm in Victoria, where
miners en route to the gold fields from San Francisco stopped for
supplies. Arriving there just as the little fur-trading post was being
transformed into a roaring boom town, he witnessed and recorded this
extraordinary change. In the opening months of this ever-memorable
year, he tells us, there was in Fort Victoria "no noise, no bustle, no
gamblers, no speculators or interested parties to preach up this or
underrate that. A few, quiet, gentlemanly-behaved inhabitants, chiefly Scotchmen, secluded as it were from the whole world ... as to
business, there was none, the streets were grown over with grass, and
there was not even a cart."
Then, almost overnight, all this changed forever:
"Never perhaps was there so large an immigration in so short a space of
time into so small a space. Unlike California, where the distance from
the eastern States and Europe precluded the possibility of an immediate
rush, the proximity of Victoria to San Francisco, on the contrary,
afforded every facility and converted the whole matter into a fifteen
dollar trip. Steamers and sailing vessels were put in requisition, and old
ships and tubs of every description actively employed in bringing
passengers, something like to a fair."
These quotations are interesting, not only because they give a firsthand
account of a fascinating time and place, but also because they occur in
the first book (other than a few government publications) ever printed
on Vancouver Island. Waddington's venture into authorship was
entitled The Fraser Mines Vindicated, Or, The History of Four Months. Printed
on the same press which was soon to produce Amor De Cosmos'
Colonist, copies (which now fetch $1000) sold for just fifty cents. In this
well-written little work, which was reviewed in the Colonist's first issue,
that of November 11,1858, Waddington not only gave a vivid picture of
the boom, but also asserted that the decline in business observable in
Victoria during the fall of 1858 was purely temporary. Still ahead lay a
long period of growth for Victoria and the adjacent mainland.
That he believed what he said was shown when he settled down in
Victoria and began taking an active part in both its commercial and
public life. Believing that the autocratic rule of Governor Douglas was a
hindrance to the full development of the colony, he joined with De
Cosmos and others in advocating a more democratic form of government. He was by no means a fanatical opponent of the Hudson's Bay
Company; he recognized that it had laid the foundations of civilization
in the wilderness. But a new day had dawned, and the old institutions
were not suited to it. As he explained to the readers of his book:
"I am not one of those who find fault with everything that the
Hudson's Bay Company, or their servants, have done. They have been
the pioneers of civilization in the back settlements of North America
and Oregon. They have constantly shown the greatest kindness and
humanity toward the Indian tribes, when others who also style themselves the pioneers of civilization have shot them down like dogs, and
often, with shame be it said, for their mere amusement. They had been
created lords of the soil, and acted generously as such; but now that a
more enlightened population has taken possession of the country, the
object of the company for the purpose of civilization is at an end, and its
intervention for commercial purposes a nuisance."
Waddington was soon venturing a second time into authorship. In a
pamphlet published in 1859 entitled "The Necessity of Reform", he outlined his political ideas in more detail. He objected to the vote being
confined to those owning twenty acres of land. While this stipulation
benefited present or past employees of the Hudson's Bay Company,
it tended to exclude merchants, professional men, and others who lived
m
Bute Inlet and the mouth of the Homathco
River. Waddington's road started from
the Homathco's mouth and cut across the
Coast Range. Work began in 1862. In
1864 the massacre of nineteen of his men
by Chilcotin Indians brought the project
to an end.
117 A view of the Homathco River's canyon.
Rugged as it looks, by comparison the
canyon of the Fraser River was considered
a worse place to build the Canadian
Pacific Railway Line.
118
and worked in the town. Waddington noted that of the seven members
in the Assembly, five were Company men, and that one of the other
two, John Muir, had only "assisted at the deliberations of the Assembly
about four times in two years." Waddington advocated raising the
membership of the house to twenty.
He did not, however, wish to see the abandonment of traditional
British ideas of government:
"We do not want American or Americanized ideas that make the
revolver the arbiter of their disputes or lynch law the practice of mob
jurisdiction, casting aside the supreme law of the land and overriding
the constituted authorities of the state."
In 1860 Waddington was elected to the legislature, but he evidently felt
the call to a more active life, and resigned in the autumn of 1861. From
this time on and for the rest of his life, he devoted himself to the
development of routes by which the widely scattered settlements of the
colony of British Columbia could be brought more closely into contact
with each other and with the larger world where its resources would
find a ready market.
By this time the gold rush had spread from the lower to the upper
Fraser. However, communication between the Cariboo and the coast
was difficult — the great wagon road, though already envisioned by
Douglas, had not yet been built. Waddington became convinced that a
route should be opened from the gold fields to the Pacific coast by
means of one of the valleys down which rivers ran westward to the
ocean. Before long he had examined Bute Inlet and decided that this
should be the Pacific terminus of the new trade route.
He next signed an agreement with Governor Douglas by which, when
the projected road was completed, Waddington could collect tolls. Then,
having collected workmen and supplies, he despatched them to Bute
Inlet and in the summer of 1862 work began.
At first all went well, and good progress was made by the end of 1862.
The next year, however, weather and geography proved serious hindrances, and the success of the project began to appear doubtful. Moreover, by this time Douglas, commanding the full resources of the
government, augmented by loans from the public, was pushing ahead
with the great Cariboo Road from Yale to Quesnel. As it was already
possible to reach the gold fields by way of Harrison Lake and Lillooet, it
seemed likely that even if completed, Waddington's road would meet
serious competition.
Yet he was not yet ready to give up, and work continued into 1864.
Then, in April, disaster struck. His work parties were attacked by a
band of Chilcotin Indians, and nineteen men lost their lives. Governor
Seymour, who had recently succeeded Douglas, promptly sent forces to
the area, and the murderers were apprehended and executed. But the
road-building project had come to a permanent halt, and Waddington,
after vainly asking the government for compensation, was forced to
admit defeat.
He was now in serious financial difficulties, and when offered a post as
Vancouver Island's first Superintendent of Schools (the Rev. Cridge, A view of the country beyond Bute Inlet. The Canadian Pacific Railway extensively surveyed the route Waddington had chosen from the
head of Bute Inlet to the Interior as an alternative to building through the Fraser Canyon.
his predecessor, never held this title officially) he accepted. A well-
educated man, he fulfilled his duties conscientiously, but the decline of
gold mining had caused an economic recession, and he was forced to cut
back expenses rather drastically. Thus, this phase of his career, which
lasted until November 1866, was not a particularly distinguished one.
After holding this post for about a year he resigned, his duties being
assumed by Dr. Israel Wood Powell.
Though now well past sixty, he was still ready to conquer new worlds.
The first transcontinental railway across the United States was under
construction, and would be completed in 1869; the British colonies in
the eastern part of the continent were considering Confederation; and
voices were being raised in British Columbia that if a new country was
formed, the colony should join as a province. Waddington now combined all these trends and portents into a single vision; that of a
dominion from sea to sea, with its various parts united by a transcontinental transportation system.
To promote this grandiose plan, he took several steps. In June 1867 he
published a pamphlet in Victoria entitled Overland Communication By Land
and Water Through British North America. In it he minutely described a route
from England to the Far East by way of Canada. Three months later,
with the Dominion of Canada now in existence, he left for London to
secure financial backing for his new plans; and there in the spring of
1868, with the issue of Confederation becoming a lively one back in
British Columbia, he addressed the Royal Geographical Society, outlining his project.
Later the same year he published in London yet another pamphlet: Overland Route Through British North America, Or, The Shortest and Speediest Road To
the East. In this work he explained how British trade with the Orient
could be greatly increased by including Canada in a world-wide
network of communication. Earlier, Waddington had believed that part
of the route should be by water along the rivers of the prairies, but in
another pamphlet published in London the next year he committed
himself to a transcontinental railway. He advocated that the line should
go by way of the Yellowhead Pass to Bute Inlet. His reasons were based
on more than sentiment; the canyon of the Fraser River seemed an
impossible place to build a railway, while the mouth of the river was
shallow and marked by shifting sandbanks. Moreover, it was so close to
the United States that it could be easily blockaded in time of war. 119 120
Officers aboard H.M.S. Sutlej, which conveyed government forces to the head of Bute Inlet
following the massacre of a party of Waddington's men in 1864.
Waddington also presented a petition to the British House of
Commons. In this he declared forthrightly:
"British Columbia is the key to the North Pacific. Without her and the
Saskatchewan territory the very existence of Canada as a British
dependency would be compromised, and before long at an end. The
United States are already knocking at the door, and if the whole of
British North America is not speedily connected by an overland communication or by railroad, England may bid adieu forever not only to
Canada but to the greater portion of her trade with the east, and as a
consequence to her commercial supremacy."
In 1870 Waddington was in Ottawa, seeking to persuade Sir John A.
Macdonald, who had promised British Columbia a railway as a
condition of Confederation, to support his plan. Macdonald was
cautious but not totally discouraging, and Waddington tackled him
again in 1871. Again there was no commitment, but Waddington, now
seventy, had by no means given up hope.
What would have happened in subsequent years we shall never know,
for while in Ottawa in the spring of 1872 Waddington caught smallpox
and did not recover. He was buried near Hull, and, being a life-long
bachelor, left no descendants.
None of his projected roads or railways came into being in his lifetime,
yet we should not on that account consider him a failure. By his tireless
advocacy of an "all red route" around the globe, he planted that idea in
many minds, while his firm belief in a boundless future for British
Columbia has been many times confirmed in the century since. It is a
fitting tribute to his persistent efforts to publicize his adopted home
and develop its economy that in 1927 the highest mountain in the province (previously called Mystery Mountain), suitably located near Bute
Inlet,was given his name.
Some words he had written sixty years before are also worth
remembering:
"In travelling through Canada one feels at every step that she must
become a great nation, in spite of all obstacles; and at the same time different in its origin, associations, feelings and character from that of the
United States. Nobody can estimate the value of such a political
element, or what such a country may become." *
Father Charles Pandosy
1824-1891
Most of those who made important contributions to the early development of British Columbia came from the British Isles. A few, however,
were born elsewhere, and among these was Father Charles Pandosy,
who made the first permanent settlement in the Okanagan Valley.
He was born near Marseilles in 1824, and at an early age decided to
become a missionary. In this period, the Catholic church was beginning
to take an interest in the Pacific   northwest, and by 1840 the newly "    #
formed order of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate had several missions
in the area. These were under the supervision of Bishop Blanchet,
whose diocese of Walla Walla included what is now the northwestern
United Stales, and Bishop Demers, whose diocese of Vancouver Island /•"%'»     Ipfek
took  in  all   British  North  America  west   of  the  Rocky  Mountains, ,.
including the Yukon.
Bishop Blanchet, confronted with the problem of caring for the
spiritual needs of white people, mostly fur traders scattered throughout a vast area, as well as bringing the gospel to the native tribes, was
soon requesting his superiors in France to send him more trained
helpers. As a result, five were sent out from France, among them
Charles Pandosy, not yet ordained a priest.
The group left France in 1847 and by way of New York eventually
reached  St.   Louis.  Here  they joined  a  caravan  of  covered  wagons
travelling westward. In the fall the missionaries reached Walla Walla.
Since the Oregon Treaty of the previous year, the place was merely a
small Company trading post in American territory. The group got to
work in their primitive surroundings. Soon they had built a church and       Father Charles John Pandosy (1824-1891),
begun preaching the gospel to the Yakima tribe. made the f'rst permanent settlement in the
Okanagan Valley.
Within a few months, however, the situation in the area had changed
drastically. Late in 1847 a Protestant missionary, Marcus Whitman, his
wife and twelve other whites were massacred by the Indians, possibly
at the instigation of their medicine men, who felt their own power was
waning. An outbreak of smallpox was causing much alarm and many
deaths among the natives, who were persuaded that in some way the
white people were responsible for the disease. The massacre marked
the beginning of the Cayuse War, which for the next decade was to 121 make the American northwest a scene of turmoil as units of the
United States army strove to restore the authority of the American
government. It is interesting to note that these disturbances never
spread into British territory, a tribute to the policies of Governor
Douglas, who not only had a wife of mixed blood but was on good terms
with the tribes in the area he governed.
Early in 1848 Bishop Blanchet raised Pandosy to the priesthood so that
he could perform a wider variety of duties. Soon afterwards, the
American authorities urged all white missionaries to leave the upper
Columbia. Feeling that they could be of little use until more peaceful
conditions returned, Pandosy's group went down the river to the coast.
Here they continued to labor in the Puget Sound area, awaiting better
days. It seems likely that they were suspected by the American authorities of undue sympathy for the natives. When an Indian chief asked
Pandosy for some guidance during these troubled times, he is said to
have replied:
"The whites will take your country as they have taken other countries
from the Indians. I came from the land of the white man, far to the east,
t   niP* where the people are thicker than the grass on the hills. Where there
Bishop Demers. His diocese included all       are only a few here now, others will come with each year until your
of Vancouver Island,  British  Columbia        country will be overrun with them. I cannot advise you or help you. I
west of the Rocky Mountains, and also the ■  L T u "
Yukon. Wlsh ! COuld-
Although conditions in the northwest became more peaceful for a time,
violence again broke out in 1855 between whites and Indians. The
bishops decided that the Columbia region should be temporarily abandoned by Catholic missionaries, and more attention given to the area
north of the border.
In 1858 Pandosy arrived in Victoria, which, as it had easy communication with San Francisco, was not so isolated from the world. Moreover,
British rule was firmly established there, and with the influx of miners
en route to the Fraser goldfields, the fur-trading post was well on its
way to becoming a city. In the same year, we might note, the first nuns
arrived in Victoria via the Panama from eastern Canada, and set about
establishing St. Ann's Convent and school, both still in operation a
century later.
The bishop told Pandosy that he was to proceed to the Okanagan Valley
and establish a mission there. The valley was still uninhabited by white
men, but was well known because the fur brigades had passed along its
shores for many years. The brigades now took the route marked out by
A.C. Anderson in 1846 from Kamloops to the lower Fraser but the
pleasant scenery and fertile soil of the interior valley were a matter of
common knowledge.
Pandosy prepared to assume his new duties, first writing to a friend:
"Now I am leaving to found a mission for whites and one for Indians in
British Columbia. What immense good there is to be done in those vast
regions!"
Then, in 1859, with another priest and a small band of helpers, he went
first to Fort Colville and then north across the border, travelling up the
122 OkanaganValley on the eastern side of the lake. [♦-
Two views of Father Pandosy s mission at Kelowna.
In the fall of 1859, at Duck Lake, not far from modern Kelowna, they
built some shelters and spent a long, cold winter. During this time the
Indians regarded them with suspicion, and it seemed possible that the
white men might be suddenly attacked. It is reported that on one
occasion, Pandosy, a big, active man, went out into the woods, and
watched by some natives, cut a mark on a tree. He then stood some
distance from it and threw his knife at the mark, scoring a bull's eye.
This seems to have had some effect, for the missionaries were not
molested.
In 1860 the little group decided that their location had been poorly
chosen, and moved a short distance to what was soon called Mission
Creek. Here they built a mission house from logs they cut themselves,
and later a church and a school, both the first in the valley. They also
taught the native children (in French) the rudiments of reading, writing
and music, although it was hard to persuade them to attend very regularly; the life of forest and stream still had a much stronger pull. Father
Pandosy himself played the French horn, and eventually built up a brass
band among the natives. By way of showing their gratitude, the Indian
children caught frogs for the priests, who were once more able to taste
one of the most celebrated dishes of their beloved France.
Around the mission a little community gradually developed. Crops
were planted and livestock reared; once the land was surveyed, settlers
began arriving. One of the first to take up land (one hundred and sixty
acres) was Cyprian Laurence, originally from Quebec, who had come
north as a lay assistant with Pandosy in 1859. The first of the famous
apple orchards was planted in this period. A post office was opened by
the government in 1872, mail being brought down the valley via
Kamloops and OKeefe's ranch near Vernon.
Okanagan Mission was to be the focus of Father Pandosy's efforts for
the rest of his days, as he taught the Indians the elements of Christianity and baptized, married and buried members of both races. Occasionally he went further afield, once visiting the Kwakiutl of Vancouver
Island and in the 1880's organizing a Catholic mission at Fort St. James.
• =**     -     -^-iV'^;
I-VW^i
123 :..:■■-?,
r'1'
ti
,..-.
.yy.:"-
-mw-^.^^V.^
/In far/j/ Pica) 0/ f/if Okanagan Valley.
124
A British army officer, engaged in fixing the exact location of the boundary, gives us a picture of FatherPandosy in this period:
"The said father is a very pleasant well-informed man, and has not
forgotten the pureness of his native tongue. He has a fine voice and
does not despise the cup that cheers and occasionally inebriates, over
which it is his delight, when he can meet a person who can appreciate
them, to pour forth the fondly remembered songs of La Belle France. A
long black gown, the skirts of which are pinned up to his waist when on
horseback, a pair of corduroy trousers and boots ignorant of blacking
form his attire. A blanket and a piece of bacon behind his saddle, and he
is ready to travel anywhere."
In 1891 Father Pandosy received a request from the Similkameen district to perform a wedding. He set out on the trail and duly performed
the ceremony at Keremeos, but caught cold on the return journey.
Weakening rapidly, he died at Penticton, his body being taken back on a
lake steamer to the mission for burial. The ceremony was attended by a
great crowd of both races who had come to love him.
The exact spot where his remains now rest is unknown, but the
buildings which his little group erected long survived them. Eventually
they fell into disrepair, but in recent years, as people began to realize
the importance of Father Pandosy's role in opening up a major region of
the province, they have been restored, and those visiting the site can
form a good picture of what was achieved in those early days.
Probably no one is left who recalls Father Pandosy. Yet he deserves to
be remembered; he was one of the first to realize what a desirable area
for settlement this Interior valley might become. Where he first established a little community, many thousands have since followed. Francis Jones Barnard
1829-1889
Few things are more essential in a new country than routes by which
people, supplies and mail may move quickly and safely from one part
of it to another. In a vast area such as British Columbia, split up by
mountain ranges into isolated districts, this is more than ever a necessity. The achievement of Francis Jones Barnard was the development
of a transportation system of remarkable efficiency, joining the centers
of government at the coast with the rich mining areas of the Interior.
Barnard was born in 1829. His father was a hardware merchant in
Lower Canada, as Quebec was then called. Hearing of the gold rush
in distant British Columbia, he travelled there via the Horn and was
soon in Yale. This was then a boom town, and Barnard earned his
first money splitting cordwood and selling it to local residents. Soon
he had become the town constable, which he discovered, was not
always a tranquil occupation. On one occasion he had to take two
prisoners down to New Westminster; he handcuffed them together,
but they attacked him in the night and a brisk struggle ensued before
he subdued them.
In 1860 Barnard's wife and son arrived from eastern Canada. He
became a purser on one of the steamboats which went up the river
as far as the cataracts. Later he was employed by the government
in building a trail up the Fraser to Boston Bar, and helping to clear
the townsite of Fort Yale.
By this time Barnard had formed a good idea of the needs and possibilities of the new mainland colony, and he began the work which was
to make him famous. There were a few things which the miners in the
Cariboo looked forward to more than mail. Barnard set about delivering
it. At first he could not afford a horse. The mail was carried all the
way from Yale to Barkerville on his back. He charged two dollars a
letter. He also took some newspapers with him and sold them at a
dollar apiece. Those rates may seem high, but his route, containing
both directions, was seven hundred and fifty miles long, and he
had to look out for his own safety — as well as provide his own shoes.
His venture was a success, and in 1862 he expanded it. He bought a
pony, but did not ride it, merely walking beside it while it carried
the mail. Soon he had added a second horse and an assistant, an
Indian named Cisco Charlie.
jms
Francis Jones Barnard.
125 Hugh Nelson, c. 1858.
126
Barnard's Express office and stage, Yale, B.C.
By this time the great Cariboo Road was under construction. By 1862
it had been completed to Soda Creek, and was pushing northward toward Quesnel. Barnard again enlarged his business, having stage
coaches built which could carry fourteen passengers when drawn
by six horses. A smaller size, drawn by four horses, carried six
passengers. He also bought covered wagons drawn by teams of eight,
ten or twelve mules for carrying freight.
At first the service only went as far north as Soda Creek, and the
steamer Enterprise took passengers on to Quesnel. By later 1864,
however, it was possible to travel by stagecoach as far as Quesnel,
and by the spring of 1865 into Barkerville itself. It is estimated that
in this year the line carried 1500 passengers and over four million
dollars worth of gold. To protect that precious commodity, a man
carrying a shotgun rode beside the driver. This proved a sufficient
deterrent, and the government's official "gold escort", a troop of
armed mounted men, was disbanded.
Gradually — or should one say by stages — Barnard absorbed his competitors. One of them, Jeffray's Fraser River Express, sold out to him
late in 1861; another competitor, Ballou's Pioneer Fraser River Express,
established in the summer of 1858, sold out to Dietz and Nelson in
1862, and the latter firm for some years operated between Victoria
and Yale. In 1867 Dietz and Nelson sold out to Barnard, and for
many years the latter held a virtual monopoly of freight and passenger
service along the Cariboo Road, as well as having connections with
New Westminster and Victoria. Barnard also held a contract to deliver
the mail, the rate being four shillings to carry a letter from Yale to
Antler Creek, and two additional shillings to carry one from that point
to Williams Creek.
It is interesting to note that Barnard's one-time competitor, Hugh Nelson, who had also arrived in the colony with the gold rush, later
went into the lumber business. After he retired, he became a member
of parliament, then a senator, and was finally in 1887 appointed
lieutenant-governor of British Columbia. As Barnard's son, Frank
Stillman Barnard, was to hold this office from 1914 to 1919, two
families associated with the rough and ready days of the Cariboo Road
eventually held the highest  position in  British  Columbia.
A letter written by Barnard in 1867 gives some account of his
activities, as well as glancing briefly at the great issue of Confederation.
Barnard was strongly in favor of the larger union, believing it would
prove a cure for sluggish business conditions on the Pacific coast,
which had resulted from the gradual decline of gold mining in the
Cariboo  from   its  feverish  peak   about   1862.
1 "The impression seems to obtain in Canada that we are not worth the
paper requisite to write the deed of confederation upon. As you know,
of course, what a stupendous mistake this is; our resources are
gradually being developed and every year teaches us that we know
nothing, really nothing, of the country in which we live.
"I presume you are not yet American enough to suppose there is any
chance of annexation. If you are, set the notion aside. The great
majority of the people would fight against any such move, while
Confederation is looked upon as our only salvation.
"Cariboo this season looks healthier than at this time any previous year.
Among other items it may interest you to know that I have bought
out Dietz and Nelson, and now run through from Barkerville to Victoria.
"I propose going this winter to lower California to purchase a band of
mustang horses, and go to work raising B.C. stock preparatory to
running a coach from Yale to Lake Superior. Don't put me down for
crazy — the spec is safe, for horses are always in demand in B.C.
and will yield a good profit.
"I am still carrying the dust for both banks, and carrying it as express
matter — they do not send an escort as formerly.
"I cannot close without telling you that Barkerville has absorbed the
whole business of the creek. It is wonderfully improved — we have
better hotels there than in Victoria."
Only once in the years after 1867 did Barnard suffer a reverse.
That was when he decided a little too soon that the horse was obsolete,
and imported from Scotland six "Thomson's patent road steamers."
These did not live up to expectations, Jackass Mountain especially
proving too much for them. Most of them had to be sent back to their
maker, but one was bought by Jerry Rogers and used in his early
lumber mill on Burrard Inlet, the site being known as Jerry's Cove
and later Jericho. Horses and mules then resumed their lordly (or
stubborn) sway.
In the last quarter of the century, the "B-X", as it was called, became
a familiar feature along the Cariboo Road, and some of the drivers,
such as Stephen Tingley, were better known than the owner of the
business. With the exception of a short break in 1871, caused by the
disastrous attempt to switch from hay to steam, the firm held the
mail contract for thirty-three years. At one time during this period
Barnard went very far afield, starting a service in the Cassiar district,
inland from Wrangel, Alaska, which became the base of operations.
When another gold rush developed on the "Big Bend" of the Columbia,
he secured the mail contract to service this area. Neither of these
ventures survived very long, as the gold deposits did not prove rich
enough.
Just before the end — the "B-X" on the Cariboo Road, c. 1910.
s
Stephen Tingley, a famous driver.
LY   BRITISH COLON
tiifittaria Cftroitttk.
I.   BRITISH COLUMBIA, THURSDAY MORNING, MARCH   23.   1871.
New Advertis«ments.
STEAM TO CARIBOO !
The British Columbia
GENERAL TRANSPORTATION COMPAN1
Will plat* Four of THOMSON'S PATENT ROAD STEAIV
ERS on the route between Yale and Barkerville in the Fir:
Week in April, and will be prepared to enter into Contracts U
the conveyance of Freigbt from Yale to Soda Creek in Eic
Days. Through Contracts will be made as soon as the condili
of the road above Quesnelmouth permits.
Rates of Passage will be advertised in due time.
BARNARD & BEEDY,     anagers
OFF CE—Yates Street, next door  to  Wtlls, Fareo & Co.'s	
- r, 4. („..,
A business mistake. The steam tractors [ailed
on jackass Mountain, forty-four miles above
Yale. Barnard went back to old and tried
coaches. The tractors were later sold to the
lumberman Rogers, who used them in his
logging operations.
127 ■■» :      ■.. ■        ■      -     ■'     •
Freight train at Clinton, B.C.
128
As the stages operated on the relay system, with fresh horses replacing tired ones as each road house was reached, a great many horses
were required. Thus the "B-X" ranch was established at the northern
end of Lake Okanagan. Horses were there bred and raised. The original
stock was brought in from Oregon in the eighteen-sixties, and later
in the same decade a herd of four hundred was purchased in California
and Mexico and driven north to their new home. Later still the company used  horses  bred  in  the Nicola  and  Kamloops  districts.
Great care was taken in the training of the horses. No horse that
had been previously trained was ever purchased, in case it had acquired
unsuitable habits. Each driver was responsible for a number of specific
animals, and no one else was permitted to drive them.
Fresh horses were ready at a series of locations along the route, each
about eighteen miles apart. At each station were men whose duty it
was to change the horses and attend to those being rested. While this
was being done, the passengers would refresh themselves in the road-
houses. A woman was always given special consideration; she was
entitled to the best seat on the stage, and the place to the right
of the driver at table.
The fare from Ashcroft to Barkerville was $42.50 in winter and $37.50
in summer. This distance was 280 miles and took four days. None of
the road was paved, and some of it not even gravelled; thus in wet
weather it was only two deep ruts, in which wheels would sometimes
sink to their hubs. Nevertheless, very few accidents took place, partly
because of the intelligence shown by the horses themselves; when
going down a steep hill, those nearest the coach (the "wheelers")
would pull back, in order to prevent the stage from gathering momentum. Even though the passengers knew that every precaution was being
taken to ensure their safety, they must often have felt uneasy; in
sections of the Fraser Canyon the road was built out from the cliffs
on timbers, and passengers could see the angry waters of the river
churning   far   beneath   them.
In later years Barnard tried his hand in other fields of business, in
1874 securing a contract for building part of a proposed transcontinental   telegraph  line.  The  section  he  was  responsible   for  was   to  link The distinctions of success: the Hon. Sir
Frank Stillman Barnard, F. J. Barnard's son,
as lieutenant-governor, 1914-1919. Hugh
Nelson also came to fill that position.
The boss and his business. Mr. and Mrs. F. J. Barnard are to be glimpsed on the balcony of the Clinton Hotel in the background. Places
such as the Clinton Hotel were stopovers for passengers while drivers changed horses.
Edmonton with Cache Creek. Unfortunately the federal government
seemed unable to decide on a final route for the line (the question
being mixed up with the promised railway through the province),
and eventually cancelled the contract. Barnard suffered a severe
financial loss, and the government refused to compensate him. The
strain on his health was too much for him, and in 1880 he suffered
a  stroke from  which  he  never completely recovered.
He died at Victoria in the summer of 1889, but his son, Frank
Stillman Barnard, continued the business. Foreseeing its eventual
decline, he branched out into other fields, including lumbering and
eventually the British Columbia Electric Railway. After his retirement,
just before the outbreak of the First World War, he was appointed
lieutenant-governor of the province. The express itself disappeared
about this time, as a new company, using only motor vehicles, continued the service which the "B-X" had so well begun and developed.
Barnard was not forgotten. The main street of Vernon, for example,
is named after him today. No stage coaches are seen on the Cariboo
Road, but there are perhaps a few people left who still remember
them. Even those too young to do so are in the debt of the man who
first made it possible to move quickly up and down the main trade
route of the province. Thanks to him, one could send a letter up to
Barkerville or a pound of gold dust down to the coast, and know
that both would get there safely. Later generations have merely built
on the foundations which he laid down.
129 "You muit Ttmwihtntin^ii Iht mnttr o) IBBfe-iHft-f thr.rg mtTf no rmms jQT -months, it was n rmn|Jftf nlncli njlnii. intht,
TtntkiH a-nii S«lkiTkl, emitTma, th» tYntk^o/f mlmnid miln, In fttt deep, nnd thttra.msdid.nat yt ttiTonnh until inirntimt in
2mtl^Jatllin»rnflLE^En an foot, c-iotttd tKat gflfr.  Thm .about Say, TnaYCh. 1867   a whalE'TtoiTnenf,if nun undtY-A-lmsNonnlntH-
Arrnstuma.^ftlorrilon, itaYtldj-.em.Tnit rnnodu with, shnMfls tn thovtl tht s-nnwosaay (yotyi thttYaclt. Ilimi«n4iiQ Such thmonxaYotnfj
SHOW fUsC^oml a-nnmi tlltd* ho<i not bttn Wiltl. "kit thin tinrt loti nj pomtf, that is l»t» af locoinatiim" CtyAtchivn.
^.YWtYtotitm of CdwaTtt t\irfttt("Ntd')fl.ntin| CTR. lotomoti'vt maiYirrr^ntt lTloodu, !■»«>, m.-F«RLY VRHCnuvtfVal \p. 187 Tttgtthtws     >l»
..■ ::.   .   :::
s y! yy
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, liLiti'l^ll!
aajtCSEttSSjSJluJ.u.iH:y:l uiSjli
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iutilkiiiKlht ftasKwae s.staiiA.djatituJifiiMiXiaiatBt
130 The Young Province
The Dominion of Canada had come into being, and British Columbia
had joined it. These were the two great changes which the years
1858 to 1871 had brought, but there were many others. As the colony
had become a province, so the main interest of its inhabitants had
changed from fur to gold. Victoria had become a city, the seat of a legislature with full authority to deal with provincial matters. The last of
the royal governors had sailed away, and from now on less powerful if
no less ornamental lieutenant-governors would represent the crown.
Yet as the rockets soared into the midnight air in July 1871, Canada's
newest province was not without its problems. The fur trade had long
been in decline, and now gold mining was taking the same course.
Investment and employment seemed to face a difficult future, and it
was apparent that if the province was to prosper, new sources of
wealth would have to be discovered.
As it happened, these were already appearing. Coal mines had long
existed at Fort Rupert and more recently near Nanaimo, while lumbering was becoming well established on the Alberni Canal and Burrard
Inlet. Farming was flourishing in Saanich, and getting under way in
the Fraser Valley. Later, important minerals such as lead and zinc
would be discovered in the Kootenays. These new resources would
provide a base for the steady growth of the next several decades,
joined, as the century neared its end, by manufacturing.
A cultural side of life would also show more vitality. A school system
providing free education for all would be established, and the arts,
supported by newly-rich patrons, would start to flourish. The newly-rich
would be especially noticeable in the field of architecture, where private
homes  and  public  buildings  would combine elegance  with   comfort.
Finally, when every sign pointed to permanent peace and prosperity,
this happy era would be swept away by the red tide of war. This,
however, is a later story; for the moment we shall look at the opening
decades of the young province's history, and some of those who
helped to make them memorable. 131 The Three Greenhorns
John Morton
1834-1912
William Hailstone
1830-1912
Samuel Brighouse
1836-1913
132
The Three Greenhorns: from left to right—William
Hailstone (1830-1912), Samuel Brighouse
(1836-1913) and John Morton (1834-1912). For
years they shared the forested land upon which
downtown Vancouver is now built. Theirs is a story
of patiently waiting for success, which arrived in the
form of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Their names were John Morton, William Hailstone and Samuel Brighouse, and they were generally agreed by their fellow citizens in
New Westminster to be young fools; they were thus called — until
they made their fortunes — "the three greenhorns". Their stupidity
consisted in buying land on the present site of Vancouver when nobody
lived there, and holding it till tens of thousands did. As their lives
were so closely intertwined, their story may best be told as a single one.
John Morton was born in Yorkshire in 1834 of a family with long
experience as potters. While still in his twenties, hearing of the Cariboo
gold rush, he resolved to emigrate to British Columbia, and crossed
the Atlantic in the Great Eastern, one of the largest ships of her day.
Also on board was his cousin Samuel Brighouse, born in Yorkshire
in 1836, and the two discussed how they would soon make their
fortunes. They managed to persuade another passenger, William Hailstone, also a Yorkshireman, to join them in their adventures.
In the spring of 1862, having travelled by way of New York, St. Louis
and the Panama, they arrived in New Westminster, capital of the mainland colony of British Columbia. Here they made preparations to go up
the Fraser and make their fortunes in the gold fields. Before they set
out, however, an incident occurred which was to change their entire
lives. Clearing land in the area of Vancouver.
0 .■* - V*:«<.,fflBR59V'it.   ■t^'
Wandering down a New Westminster street one day, Morton saw a
lump of coal in a store window. As a potter, Ire knew that coal and
clay are often found together. Clay was the raw material of the
pottery industry, and Morton accordingly made inquiries as to the
origin of the coal. He was told that it had been brought from somewhere on Burrard Inlet.
Morton hired an Indian guide and set out across country to the head
of False Creek and then north to Burrard Inlet. Here there was indeed
a seam of coal at the water's edge, though Morton did not see much
clay. However, he did notice the beauties of the inlet, and the thought
crossei his mind of taking up land there. On his return to New
Westminster he told his two friends of his plan, and they agreed to
share in it.
Government officials were contacted, and soon a deed had been drawn
up by which the three men were jointly to have the right to 555
acres of what is now Vancouver's West End, but what was then a
dense forest, only inhabited by Indians. The price was to be a dollar
an acre. The men were told that before they could acquire title to
it, one or more of them would have to live on the land for a time
and show evidence that they planned to develop it. The three men
were agreeable, and had soon built a small cabin not far from where
the lofty Marine Building now stands. They then took turns at
living in it, while earning what money they could at other occupations
in the more settled parts of the colony.
John Morton was the most regular occupant of the cabin, and he had
several adventures while living alone in the forest. His relations
with the Indians were amicable; they visited him from time to time
to use his grindstone, and repaid him in fish and game. On one
occasion, he heard a great noise and saw many natives beating
drums as they advanced. Fearing that they intended him some
harm, he hid in the nearby woods to see what would happen. He soon
witnessed the hanging of a native woman whom he later learned had
killed another woman's child. He subsequently reported the incident
to government officials, who cautioned the Indians against applying
such drastic justice even to members of their own race.
A*.   .,,,
;€'k
Stump country. The giant timber and the
excellent harbour on Burrard Inlet gave the
original impetus to the founding of Vancouver.
133 An Indian "ranch" on Lost
Burrard Inlet.
On another occasion, a group of natives arrived with much ceremony,
accompanied by a young woman of their tribe. Two of the men held
the end of Morton's bench in the air, while the girl tirelessly jumped
higher and higher over it. Morton was totally bewildered by this performance, but as he had not yet learned the natives' tongue was unable
to obtain an explanation. Eventually the tribe departed in some
disgust, and it was only later that Morton learned that he had been
given a demonstration of the agility (and perhaps other qualities) of a
prospective housekeeper.
So in his cabin on the cliff overlooking the peaceful waters of Burrard
Inlet the first white settler in this unspoiled wilderness put down his
roots. Later he and his partners acquired some cows and sold the
milk to the logging camps which were beginning to appear on the
shores of the inlet. They also hacked out a trail which connected with
the one driven northward by Colonel Moody from new Westminster.
Hailstone was for a time in the Cariboo, while Brighouse rented
some farm land on the banks  of the Fraser.
At one time the men built a kiln for making bricks, and in hopes
of finding a market for them Hailstone took some to San Francisco.
From there he wrote back to his friend Henry Crease, later a distinguished judge, telling him of his hopes:
"You will be glad to learn that we have a pretty good prospect of
doing well in the fire brick business. John Morton and myself found a
vein of fire clay and made a few bricks and got them tested in the city.
They were tested in the hottest furnace in San Francisco, along with
an English fire brick, and stood the fire equal to the English brick.
Of course you are aware that all fire bricks are imported here from
England and the States, which makes them very high in price. They
range from $80.00 to $100.00 per 1000. We have got a large permanent
kiln nearly completed, and then we shall be able to compete for
preference in the market."
About the time British Columbia entered Confederation, the three
men divided their 555 acres into equal parts and acquired separate
titles to them. As the years passed, Burrard Inlet became a busy
place, where lumber mills were rapidly developing a good export
market. The three men held on to their land, although as yet no one
else seemed interested in settling on it.
Granville in 1886. A great fire in that year destroyed Granville, but the entire village was rebuilt in a matter of weeks. The Three Greenhorns' land was untouched by the blaze. The following year Sam Brighouse became a member of the city council.
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Vancouver in 1887, Hastings mill in the background. The town survived on lumber exports.
On one occasion Hailstone and Brighouse took a trip to England. The
former decided to remain there, but the latter returned to British
Columbia. But in a letter which Hailstone wrote to Crease in 1876
from Leeds, we can detect signs that perhaps Burrard Inlet might again
exert a pull too strong to resist:
"My friend Brighouse sailed last week for British Columbia, and I am
desirous he should settle up my affairs there. If you would kindly give
him particulars requisite I shall feel greatly obliged."
"I have been managing a tea and grocery here for about 2 years
and am doing pretty well considering I'm in England, but should they
take the railroad thro Canada to B. Columbia, I should feel induced
to come out again and settle there."
In 1878 Morton also took a trip to England, where he married Jane
Ann Bailey, from his own home town of Lindley, Yorkshire. The following year a child was born to them in the United Kingdom, and in
1880 the family returned to British Columbia. Here a son was born
to them in 1881, but Mrs. Morton died from complications soon
afterwards.
Fortune at last: the Harbour Commission, sent from Montreal to determine the
terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway. They chose Vancouver over Port
Moody.
135 Morton was still by no means prosperous, despite the fact that he
owned a large tract of land which some day would be worth tens of
millions. For a time he was forced to support himself by digging ditches
on Lulu Island, while his two children had to be adopted by others. In
1884 he married Ruth Mount, and bought a farm at Mission on the
north side of the Fraser. From this property he saw in 1886 the black
column of smoke which signalled the great fire that destroyed Vancouver. However his own property, all west of Burrard street, was
untouched.
The city was quickly rebuilt, and in 1887 Sam Brighouse became one
of the earliest members of the city Council. Once the railroad entered
Vancouver in 1887, a boom began which has really never ended. It
quickly made Morton and Brighouse and Hailstone rich men, as they
divided their property into lots and sold them to new arrivals. In his
old age (by which time Vancouver had 100,000 inhabitants) Morton
gave generously to the Baptist church. He laid the cornerstone of the
First Baptist church on Burrard street, and gave money to build the Ruth
Morton Memorial Church in South Vancouver. At one service held at
this latter church in recent years, a large piece of coal was prominently
displayed on the altar, as a reminder of what had set this remarkable
chain of events in motion.
Vancouver's first inhabitants all passed from the scene about the
same time. Morton died in Vancouver in 1912 at the age of 78, leaving
an estate of about $750,000. William Hailstone also died in 1912 in the
United Kingdom; while Samuel Brighouse, who had married "a
Spanish lady of noted beauty", died the following year, also in
England, and was buried in the churchyard of his native Lindley. It is
Granville, 1885. Here, on this beach, John Deighton, alias "Gassy Jack", landed and
established Gastown", ca. 1867.
'SffijCe
'i - }mmmmM
136 East from Abbott, three weeks before the Great Fire of what is now Vancouver.
worth noting that only sixteen years later the first sod was turned for
the Marine Building which now towers over the spot where the three
men had once tended cows; also that John Morton's second wife
lived on until 1939. In her old age she sometimes recalled how she
and her husband had once made an expedition from Mission to Burrard
Inlet, and he had pointed out to her the spot, by then covered by
office buildings, where once he had lived alone. So short has been
Vancouver's history.
The "three greenhorns" died wealthy, but surely they deserved to.
They had braved the scorn of more conventional people and opened
up a new area of British Columbia, one which is now the financial
centre of the province. Where there was only wilderness they had
pictured a thriving community, and lived to see their vision become
reality. In the path which they first marked out, a million more have
since followed.
137 Captain Edward Stamp
1814-1872
Captain Edward Stamp (1814-1872),
one of British Columbia's first lumber
tycoons. Around his Hastings Mill on
Burrard Inlet grew the City of Vancouver.
jiff
Stamp's mill on the Alberni Canal, Vancouver Island. Stamp left the operation in
1863 following a dispute with his partners.
Mr. G. M. Sprout took over in his place, but
the operation closed in  1864.
138
Captain Edward Stamp, one of British Columbia's first lumber tycoons,
was born in England in the closing months of the Napoleonic War.
During the Crimean War, having become a master mariner, he commanded a troop transport with distinction. At the close of hostilities
in 1856 he continued a maritime career, calling at Puget Sound while
in command of a ship loading lumber there for Australia. During his
visit to the Pacific northwest he made a quick trip to the Alberni
Canal, where there were rumored to be magnificent stands of timber.
He saw at once their economic possibilities, but for the time being
had   to  be   content   with   putting   them   in   the   back   of   his   mind.
No long afterwards, however, he returned to the northwest coast to
arrange the purchase of timber for the masts of the famous ship the
Great Eastern. While there, the great Fraser gold rush began, and Stamp
settled down to operate an importing business in Victoria. This evidently did well, for he was able a year later to visit England and arrange
financial backing for a lumber mill to be built on either Puget Sound
or Vancouver Island.
On his return to the northwest coast, he made an agreement with
Governor Douglas by which his firm was granted a lease on an extensive area on the Alberni Canal. Here by the summer of 1861 a mill
was in operation, which exported lumber as far as South America.
The project did not, however, prove a success; after a dispute with
his partners, Stamp resigned as manager of the mill early in 1863,
being succeeded by CM. Sproat. A year or two later the entire operation closed down, probably as a result of competition from more
accessible stands of timber in other parts  of  the  northwest. Hasting Mill, c. 1882. The mill did not cease operations until 1928, by which time the City
of Vancouver had grown up around it. The mill was at the foot of Granville Street.
Nothing daunted, Stamp journeyed once more to England, and in
1865 had organized the "British Columbia and Vancouver Island
Spar, Lumber and Sawmill Company." Having decided on Burrard
Inlet as the site of his operations, Stamp signed an agreement with
the government of the mainland colony by which he was to be allowed
to purchase a site for his mill and lease a large area for logging.
The site was just east of the First Narrows, but Stamp soon discovered that the strong currents at that point made it unsuitable for
loading sailing ships. Accordingly he built his mill a little farther
east, but was again held up when machinery ordered from England
arrived with some parts missing. While waiting for the parts, he was
able to sell some spars which had been cut on his land by Jeremiah
Rogers. He also built and launched at Victoria in 1866 the towboat
Isabel.
In the summer of 1867 Stamp began producing lumber, and like his
rival S.P. Moody on the north shore, was soon shipping it to the far
corners of the Pacific. Yet ill luck continued to dog his career,
and by the end of the decade he again had differences with his
financial backers and resigned from the firm. In 1870 the mill itself
went bankrupt and was sold at auction. The new owners were a San
Francisco firm, but operations were under the management of Captain
James Raymur, born in Halifax in 1823, who set about creating a
model town, and was a stern foe of pollution.
The Hastings Mill, as it was now called (after the popular Admiral
Hastings, then in command at Esquimalt) became the nucleus around
which the town of Granville and later the city of Vancouver were
to develop in the years ahead. Indeed, the mill did not cease operations
until 1928, by which time skyscrapers were rising on all  sides of it.
Captain James Raymur managed the
Hastings Mill in 1870 after Stamp had
resigned.
Hastings Sawmill. The mill exported spars
and lumber to the Orient and San Fran-
A
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139
MasKnos S/wtmrll. BuKHttoTnlel. Copied, front, aery old blioh?, f8l3 oreayhe-t; at. ftossessrcm of th.iss Mcq-ipw W. Tko *    -'
A giant tree cut down in the area of Burrard Inlet. The picture may be posed.
Oxen logging on the site of Vancouver.
 ■   ■■'.■..'.'
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140
Stamp was by no means idle after he severed his connections with
the mill. He operated a ship chandlery for a time in Victoria, made
some effort to develop a regular steamship service between there and
San Francisco, and served in the Legislative Council as the member
for Lillooet in 1867 and 1868.
In 1871 he leased some buildings in New Westminster and began a
fish-curing business. He quickly decided that there was a big future
in exporting this product of the Fraser, and accordingly journeyed to
England to arrange financing for a fish-packing plant. There early in
1872 he suddenly died, much regretted by those in British Columbia
who appreciated his efforts to develop the basic resources -of the
young province. The Colonist declared that:
"His active mind was full of great projects for the advancement of the
province. He wrote hopefully of the railway, and spoke encouragingly
of the drydock and of the establishment of a line of British steamships
to run between San Francisco and Victoria."
The Mainland Guardian of New Westminster said that "in Captain Stamp
the country has lost a most enterprising citizen", and this judgment
was surely correct. As the fur trade and the gold rush steadily declined,
it was essential that new sources of wealth and employment should be
found, and among those who helped to ease this transition from the
old days to the new, Captain Stamp holds an honored place. It is
just that his name should be found in several places on the map of the
Alberni area. Sewell Prescott Moody
1837-1875
The "three greenhorns" had been the first to settle on Burrard
Inlet, but they would not have been followed by many others if some
means of livelihood had not been available to newcomers. The men
whom we may call "the three tycoons" — Sewell Moody, Edward
Stamp, and Jeremiah Rogers — were to provide this employment, for
in the I 860's they developed on the inlet a flourishing lumber industry
which laid the foundations of British Columbia's present large export
business in this product.
Moody is believed to have been born in Maine about 1837. While still
in his teens, he crossed the continent with his family in a covered
wagon. About 1861 he came north from San Francisco to New Westminster, and in 1862 formed a partnership with Moses Ireland, importing livestock and supplies for gold miners from the United States. The
same year he also became a partner in an enterprise which attempted
to build a steam sawmill at New Westminster. This did not prove
successful, and Moody cast about for some other location for his
energies.
His attention was soon attracted by Burrard Inlet, but an attempt to
develop its coal deposits did not com^ to anything. However Moody
saw that unusually fine stands of timber surrounded the inlet on all
sides, and he decided  to develop a  market for it.
The first sawmill on the inlet had been built by three New Westminster
men, T.W. Graham, George Scrimgeour, and Philip Hick, in the winter
of 1862 to 1863 near Lynn Creek on the north shore. Their machinery
was driven by water power, and the logs were hauled down the steep
hillside by teams of oxen. In the summer of 1863 the "Pioneer Mills"
made their first shipment — some planking sent to New Westminster
to build a levee against the Fraser. The outlook seemed promising,
but before long — perhaps from poor management, perhaps because of
competition from Vancouver Island and Puget Sound — the firm had
gone bankrupt.
At the subsequent auction sale the mill was bought for eight thousand
dollars by a New Westminster grocer named John Oscar Smith, who
renamed it the "Burrard Inlet Mill" and soon had it back in operation.
Cargoes  were  soon   being  shipped   to  Victoria   and  Nanaimo;   more 141 r/rJkW^
Moses Ireland.
Falters.
142
significantly, Smith made two large shipments to distant lands — one
to Chile and one to Australia. British Columbia's export lumber
business had been born.
Yet Smith, too, had his difficulties, and soon the mill was once more
bankrupt. This time Moody (who had unsuccessfully bid on it a year
ealier) was able to purchase it for $6,900 and having improved the
machinery, had it in operation again by early 1865.
This time there was no faltering or turning back. Moody had two
experienced partners, Moses Ireland and Captain James Van Bramer,
and they were soon conducting a highly successful operation. In the
summer of 1865 large cargoes of lumber were shipped to Australia
and Mexico, while huge beams, twenty inches square and seventy
feet long, were sent to New Westminster, where they became part of
the bell tower of Holy Trinity Church.
After a narrow escape from bankruptcy when one of the cargoes sent to
Australia had to be dumped on a glutted market, Moody secured
additional capital from Hugh Nelson (later lieutenant-governor of
British Columbia) and George Dietz, operator of an express service
between the coast and the Cariboo and brother of William Dietz,
after whom William's Creek was named. The business continued to
prosper, as the reputation of Moody's lumber spread around the Pacific;
two cargoes were sent to Mexico in 1865, and the following year
lumber was exported   to places  as  far apart  as  Peru  and  Shanghai.
The captain of a British ship which called at Burrard Inlet in 1866
gave some description of the area to his company's agent at San
Francisco:
"This is, without exception, one of the finest harbors I ever saw. It
is locked in all round with high lands, covered with trees 300 feet
high, so that no wind or sea can hurt ships. It is likewise a good
place for loading. The ships can moor about half a cable's length
from the mills in six fathoms of water. There are about 80 or 100
inhabitants,   mostly  employed   at   the   sawmills.
"I should think in a short time this will become a very extensive place
of business in the lumber and spar trade, as I understand it is the
best lumber  on  the coast,  or  perhaps  in  the  world."
In 1865 Moody loaded four ships, in 1866 five, and in 1867, seven.
These included cargoes for Honolulu, Valparaiso and Melbourne. The
following year a modern steam-driven mill was added to the original
water-powered plant. Even when this burned down in 1873, a new one
was quickly built, powered by the engines of the H.M.S. Sparrowhawk, a
gunboat discarded by the Royal Navy.
A letter dated 1875 from a young man named James McCulley to his
parents has survived, and gives us some idea of early days on the
inlet:
"Dear Parents:
I am still here in the backwoods of America, in good health and with
rather a formidable appetite. I think I'll stop here some time longer —
there's wild geese and ducks here in the fall, and deer and partridge, and I might not have a chance again for some time.
"Salmon are plentiful and cheap, 5 or 6 small ones, about 10 or 12
lbs., each for $1.00. The Indians spear them in the night and some
of the captains catch them with a hook. Ducks are also being brought
in now and then, also deer occasionally.
"There is a library and papers with reading room, which is a great
boon and places Moodyville far ahead of the neighbouring mills and
villages, which nearly all boast of a rum mill or two, while nothing
of the kind is allowed on Moody's land."
By this time Moody was often cutting one hundred thousand feet
of lumber a day, and ships were arriving on the inlet almost every
week. A small community, soon called Moodyville, had by now developed on the north shore. It was in effect a company town, and was
run in accordance with its founder's wishes. The sale of liquor was
officially forbidden (though the area soon had its bootleggers), and a
school and library were established. A telegraph line extended from
New Westminster in the spring of 1869 kept residents in touch with
the larger world, while a Masonic Lodge was established the same year.
The first teacher was Laura Haynes, whose sister married the mill's
superintendent when he visited Maine in 1869. The trio returned to
Burrard Inlet together, and Miss Haynes took up her duties at a salary
of forty dollars a month. After 1871, the school was periodically
inspected by John Jessop, British Columbia's first superintendent of
education, who in his first report noted nine girls and seven boys
in attendance, no maps or blackboard, but "school orderly and quiet".
Miss Haynes was long to survive these pioneer days, later marrying
and having seven  children,  and living  on  until   1938.
Moody himself was to have a much shorter life. In the summer of
1875 (when "Gassy Jack" Deighton also passed from the scene)
Moody embarked from Victoria, where by now he had a comfortable
home, for San Francisco. His ship, the S.S. Pacific, was greatly
overloaded, and even as it left the wharf was seen to be listing. By
way of remedying this defect, the lifeboats on one side of the ship
were filled with water. In a violent storm off Cape Flattery the Pacific
collided with another steamer and sank at once, there being only two
survivors.
Oxen hauling logs. The largest log was
placed first in line, so as to jerk the others
along behind.
Laura Haynes.
143 LJOmi^Jm
S.S. Pacific.
144
Port Moody, once a prospective terminus for the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Some weeks later a board was washed up on the beach at Victoria
on which was written in pencil:
"S.P. Moody
all lost"
At first this was thought to be a hoax, but the handwriting was
identified by friends. So passed from the scene one of the three giants
who laid the foundations of the province's major industry.
His mill remained in operation until 1901, by which time the whole
area on both sides of the inlet was rapidly being transformed into
the metropolis of today. Even several decades later, however, there
were those who remembered Moody, and one of them, George Ward
Debeck (1849-1943) recalled in his reminiscences the vanished era
when fur and gold began giving way to lumber:
"Victoria when I arrived there (1868) was about the deadest town
on earthy the Cariboo gold excitement having died out left nothing
to support the town, the sidewalks (of plank) worn out and rickety
ruts and mud holes in Govt, and Yates streets — go into a hotel and
one could   hear  the old  English  clock  ticking  all   over   the   building.
There being nothing doing I went over to Howe's Canal on the sound
and worked in a logging camp until December 1868 and then came
to Burrard Inlet, where with my father and elder brother started hand
logging. I followed this business for seven years, was fairly successful
except the year 1870 when my father was accidentally killed in
May. In July my brother had his leg broken, in Sept. I lost a boom
of logs,  the proceeds of about  four months  work.
"Just here I would like to pay a slight tribute to the memory of my
old friend S.P. Moody, who was manager and principal owner of the
Moody mill . . . Poor old Moody, he was sure a skinner on a deal
but I believe that he more than made it up in other ways. If a man
came to him for a job he gave it to him, whether he wanted a man
or not. If a man had no clothes or blankets Moody would take him
into the store and tell Ben Wilson the clerk to give him what he
needed. I asked one time if he did not often lose money on some
of those fellows; he said oh yes, sometimes, but I always manage
by taking it out of the rest of you fellows. Moody's partners were
Hugh Nelson and George Dietz. Moody was lost when the Pacific went
down off Cape Flattery. Dietz had paralysis and softening of the brain.
Hugh Nelson was a member of the Provincial Legislature at one time
and afterwards became lieutenant-governor of B.C." Jeremiah Rogers
1818-1879
The third of the early lumber tycoons of the province was Jeremiah
Rogers, born about 1818 at St. Andrews, New Brunswick. Arriving on
the Pacific coast in 1858, he was soon active in lumbering near
Alberni. He was evidently much taken by this area, for he was later
to name one of his daughters "Albernie."
In 1866 he moved to the southern shore of Burrard Inlet and began
cutting spars for Captain Stamp. Two years later he leased a tract
of land on  the inlet,   where  he  was  soon  in  business  for  himself.
During this period he made a remarkable innovation in the lumber industry. Francis Barnard had imported some steam-driven vehicles
from Scotland to transport freight on the Cariboo Road, but they
proved unequal to the steep grades and all but one of the machines
had to be sent back. Rogers bought one, and successfully used it to
drag logs from the hillsides of Burrard Inlet down to the water's
edge.
His business soon flourished, and he became (by the standards of the
day) a large employer of labor, having numerous logging camps along
the coast where the huge trees were cut down before being towed
to his mill.
The camps were isolated, and there were few sources of amusement
and so once a year at Christmas Rogers invited all his employees to a
great feast at his main camp on Burrard Inlet. Those present would
long remember these occasions:
The British Columbia coast rainforest
145 mF* .... ~
Oxen hauling logs
An early bunkhouse.
"Venison fat and juicy — suckling pigs and turkeys — none of your
cold storage turkeys either, but killed and dressed a few days before —
ducks and geese, both wild and tame — and a huge sirloin of George
Black's best bunch grass product. A monster plum pudding with a sprig
of holly, and aflame with brandy, wound up the feast, to bind together
what had gone before. Small stowage, Jerry called it. How the old
man's eyes would twinkle as he watched the feast, and listened to
the occasional sallies of wit which burst from different parts of the
table. To give a proper touch to the feast, there were always two
twenty-gallon kegs of beer on tap. The good old man was the happiest
of the band, for to make his men happy at this festive time was his
single aim."
Rogers was to give his name to part of the south shore of the inlet.
Two explanations of how this came about have been handed down.
It has been stated that he worked for a time in collaboration with the
Hastings Sawmill Company. The site of his camp then was known as
Jerry & Co., and hence in due course Jericho. That this was at first
spelled Jerico would support this explanation. On the other hand, some
have declared that the site of his operations was known as Jerry's
Cove,   which   eventually   became   Jericho.
In 1873 Rogers launched what is said to have been the first vessel
built on Burrard Inlet — the seventy-two foot towboat Maggie Rogers,
named after his daughter. It was also supposed to have been the first
ship to fly the  new Canadian flag in those waters.
Rogers was the chief figure in the Jericho area for many years.
About the year 1870 he built a home there in which he lived until
his death. In 1905 the home became the headquarters of the Jericho
Country Club, formed by a group of golfing enthusiasts. In the summer
of 1879 Rogers himself had a stroke from which he died in the fall.
The New Westminster paper went well beyond the usual formalities
in paying tribute to him:
"His camps have given employment for many years to a great number
of men; in fact, scarcely a man, if willing to work, was turned
empty away. In both public and private life he was considered to
be the ne plus ultra of conscientiousness, honesty, probity and good-
heartedness. Enemies we think he had none; in short, there are few
men that will be more greatly missed, or whose place will be harder
to fill."
All three of the early lumber tycoons helped to fill the economic gap
between the end of the gold rush and the beginning of the railway
era which began on the west coast with the start of construction
at Yale in May 1880.
Rogers left a widow, a son and four daughters. The son, Lincoln,
in time became president of the Coast Steamship Company, and thus
helped to continue the economic development of the province. The
name Jericho is still on the map of Vancouver. Rogers' attempt to
replace the power of oxen by that of steam in the logging industry
had  marked  out   the  path  where  others   before   long   would   follow.
146 Robert Dunsmuir (1825-1889), founder of
Canadian Collieries Limited. He is in the
forefront of those businessmen who put the
economy of British Columbia on a sound
basis of industrial enterprise.
Robert Dunsmuir
1825-1889
"Vancouver only discovered the Island; Dunsmuir has improved it. The latter
is therefore entitled to the greatest credit."
— Victoria Colonist, September 1, 1886.
"I   never  allowed  any   man   to   get   the   better   of   me   if  1   could   help   it,
and I never go into an undertaking unless I can control it."
— Robert Dunsmuir.
Robert Dunsmuir, British Columbia's first millionaire, was born in
humble circumstances in Ayrshire, Scotland. At an early age, he was
left an orphan and was brought up by an uncle, Boyd Gilmour. In
1847 he married Joanna White, like himself of simple origins, and when
Gilmour decided to try his luck in the new world, Dunsmuir agreed
to accompany him. Both men signed a contract to assist the Hudson's
Bay Company in their coal mining operations at Fort Rupert on the
northeast coast of Vancouver Island.
Dunsmuir's wife was rather doubtful about beginning a new life so
far from Scotland, but her ambitious young husband is said to have
promised her that when he had made his fortune he would build a
castle for her to live in. So, accompanied by their two children,
Elizabeth and Agnes, and expecting a third, the Dunsmuirs set sail
for   the   northeast   Pacific   coast,   not   yet   named   British   Columbia.
The trip around the Horn was a long one, and almost ended in
disaster when the Pekin grounded on the bar at the mouth of the Columbia. The crew then took the opportunity to leave for the California
gold rush. However, the Dunsmuirs made their way to Fort Vancouver,
some distance up the river, where in July 1851 their first son, James,
147 Nanaimo, c. 1858. Near Nanaimo Dunsmuir discovered the coal deposits that
founded his huge business interests.
iy'~-'
148
Fort Rupert,  Vancouver Island. At Fort  Rupert the Hudson's  Bay  Company operated coal
mines.
was born. It is interesting that in this period they met a young American lieutenant, Ulysses S. Grant, who was later to achieve fame as
commander of the northern forces in the Civil War. Thus the paths of
two men, then obscure but later to achieve great prominence, for a
moment crossed.
After resting at Fort Vancouver, the party went on to Fort Rupert
in another ship, the Mary Dare, and the two Scots set to work giving
technical advice to the Hudson's Bay Company regarding the development of its coal deposits. It was in many ways a difficult time for
Mrs. Dunsmuir, isolated in the wilderness with three young children,
and surrounded by natives whose motives might be uncertain. The
family lived in a log cabin, with bunks around the walls and an
iron stove in the centre. Water had to be brought from a nearby
stream. The little settlement was surrounded by a palisade, whose
gate was open in the daytime so that Indians could come to barter
furs. At night the gate was locked, while a sentry kept guard and a
gun was fired from time to time.
On one occasion, some local Indian women who had never seen a fair-
haired baby before, kidnapped, or as they later explained the matter,
"borrowed" young James. When his father returned from his work in
the mines at the end of the day, a search party was organized
and eventually the baby was found in the midst of a group of Indian
women sitting around a fire. They were passing him from one to
the other. They offered a large bundle of pelts for him, saying that
they wanted him to be their future chief; the offer was refused, Dunsmuir explaining that his son would one day be a chief of his own
people. As he did in time become premier and later lieutenant-
governor of British Columbia, this was an accurate prophecy.
Mrs. Dunsmuir was no doubt relieved when in 1854 her husband was
transferred to Nanaimo, where the coal deposits were richer than at
Fort Rupert. He continued to work for the Hudson's Bay Company
until his term of service expired, and then entered the employ of
the Harewood Mine, also near Nanaimo. By this time the Dunsmuirs
had a second son, Alexander. Their family would eventually also
include eight daughters.
It was in 1869 that the entire course of Dunsmuir's life was changed.
At Wellington, near Nanaimo, he discovered deposits of coal much
richer than any hitherto found in the area. As he described the event
to a friend,
"When I was in the bush about three miles from the sea in the month
of October 1869, not exactly for the purpose of prospecting for coal,
but being thoroughly acquainted from past experience with all the coal formations in this country, I came across a ridge of rock I knew
to be the strata overlying the lowest seam that had as yet been discovered here. A short time afterward, I sent two men to prospect,
and in three days discovered a seam of coal 3Vi feet in thickness,
thirty feet below the top of the ridge.
"After procuring from the government a right to further prospect, I
mined therefrom about 500 tons, twenty-five tons of which were taken
on board H.M.S. Boxer for trial.
"As I was again strolling through the bush about ten weeks ago about
200 yards from the place I had determined to work, I chanced to come
upon the root of a fallen tree which I thought had a peculiar appearance. On examination I found coal sticking on the upturned root,
and digging a little under it I saw that coal had been there but was
now removed by the action of fire.
"I then sent for two of the workmen, who brought picks and shovels
and in half an hour we discovered a seam of coal left three feet thick,
the top of course having been consumed. I set the men to work about
80 yards further to the dip, and 9 feet below the surface found the
seam of 9 feet in thickness.
"It is my opinion that the average yield per acre will be about 7000 tons;
but should the thickness of 9 feet continue, it will  be  much  more.
"At present I am constructing a tram-road to, and building a wharf at
Departure Bay (one of the finest harbors on the coast, where vessels
of any draught can enter) and intend to be able to supply coal within
two months. There are about forty men employed at present, twenty-
five whites, seven Chinese and the remainder Indian."
Dunsmuir suspected he had stumbled on a fortune, but lacked capital
to develop the deposits properly. However he was able to persuade
some naval officers stationed in British Columbia waters (including
Admiral Farquhar and a young lieutenant named Diggle) to invest
their savings in the new enterprise, and before long the firm of Dunsmuir, Diggle and Company was in operation.
The business grew rapidly, with San Francisco becoming the chief
market for its product. Several ships were purchased to transport it to
California. In 1878 Dunsmuir bought out two of his partners and in
1883 Lieutenant Diggle, in return for three quarters of a million dollars,
was persuaded to retire from the commercial arena.
Dunsmuir now reigned supreme in an industry which, as the Age of
Sail gave way to that of steam was in a highly strategic position.
Soon his two sons were taking an active part in the business. James
had received a somewhat unusual education — his father had apprenticed him to a machinist, and then, when he knew this trade, had
sent him to gain more practical experience in an iron works at
Portland, Oregon. After receiving some academic training in Ontario,
he was enrolled in a military college in Virginia. It is by no means
clear why his father thought this would prove useful in later years,
but it had at least one beneficial result: while in the American South
he  met  Laura  Surles  of North  Carolina  and   in   1876   married   her.
The Dunsmuir coal empire: coke ovens
under construction at Union Bay, Vancouver Island.
Union Bay coal bunkers with ship loading.
When the young couple returned to British Columbia, they lived first
149 North end of Union Mine City, Cumberland.
l*is ^^ ?
j**r-^
.".«-.«**
->j
Coa/  miners.
150
at Wellington and later at Departure Bay, places near Nanaimo.
Alexander   meanwhile   ran   the   company's   office   in   San   Francisco.
In 1882 Robert Dunsmuir was elected a member of the legislature for
Nanaimo, being re-elected in 1886. This was in some ways a remarkable
achievement; a large proportion of those who voted for him must have
been his employees, and Dunsmuir was a relentless foe of unions.
When a strike occurred at one of his mines, he announced that "not
one of the old hands will ever earn another dollar at one of my
works." On the other hand, he had a reputation for his own kind of
fairness and honesty, and the miners may have felt that he would
be the best spokesman for the larger interests of the industry that
employed them.
As the Canadian Pacific Railway approached completion, Dunsmuir
conceived the idea of a railway up the eastern coast of Vancouver
Island from Esquimalt to Nanaimo. With some additional financial
backing from a group of American railroad kings, work on the line
began in 1884. In 1886 the last spike was driven at Cliffside by no
less a person than Sir John A. Macdonald. Two years later, the line
was extended right into the business district of Victoria, and to celebrate the event a great banquet was held at the Driard Hotel. Lieutenant-Governor Nelson paid tribute to Dunsmuir, and Mayor John
Grant noted that:
"They all knew very well that their guest was possessed of an income
that would, if he chose, enable him to depart to scenes of more social
life, and enjoy himself in such a manner as would be beyond the
facilities of this part of the world. But Mr. Dunsmuir embodied in
himself a patriotism of the land in which he lived, and, so to speak,
did not fail to let the wind blow among the shekels."
Dunsmuir himself, though always a man of few words, acknowledged
these tributes:
"Gentlemen: I never thought that I was doing anything out of the way,
excepting in the way of a business transaction in the development of
Vancouver Island. I knew, Mr. Mayor and gentlemen, that I had made
a considerable amount of money in Vancouver Island, and I thought
if I could do British Columbia any good that it was my duty to do
so. I cannot but admit that there was a certain feeling of pride in
this — an ambition to go ahead — but that is my nature." Dunsmuir now set about keeping his promise to his wife that she
would one day life in a castle. Soon the huge mansion known as
Craigdarroch, set in more than twenty acres of ground, was rising
on the hill overlooking Victoria. The finest materials were gathered
from many lands; much granite and marble was used in its construction; the castle -- for it was surely more than a house — had innumerable fireplaces and stained-glass windows. An object of wonder
even today, in its own time it must have seemed stupendous.
By early 1889 the castle was almost completed, and the Dunsmuirs
were preparing to move from their elegant but not especially magnificent home "Fairview" on Menzies Street. Then suddenly Dunsmuir
took ill and in a few days was dead, apparently from kidney failure.
All schools and most businesses were closed for the funeral from the
Presbyterian church. His burial was the most elaborate in British
Columbia's history, the only comparable funeral being that of Sir James
Douglas in 1877. The columns of the Colonist were edged in black,
and the paper noted in an odd sidelight on the funeral that "the
fire engine and hose reel, tastefully draped in black, were not the
least noticeable features of yesterday's parade". Dunsmuir's estate was
later valued at five million dollars, which meant that he had been
much the richest man in the province.
His widow moved into the castle, and there on an upper floor she
lived until her death in 1908, looking out over the growing city
and the Olympic Mountains. Occasionally she went for a drive in her
carriage", drawn by four horses and carrying both a coachman and a
footman. As she moved along the streets, she would gesture graciously
to passersby,    who felt as if they had  seen Queen  Victoria herself.
The castle later passed through a variety of roles. Dunsmuir's son
James preferred his imposing estate at Hatley Park, a few miles west
of the city, and no other family was rich enough to live in Craigdarroch. During the First World War it became a home for convalescing soldiers; in 1920 Victoria College began classes in it; and in
1946 it was taken over by the school board. Today it houses the city's
Conservatory of Music. Thousands of awestruck tourists sign the guest
book each year.
Social Club for workers, Cumberland, B.C.
Craigdarroch Castle, built by Robert Dunsmuir for his wife, as 'he is alleged to have
promised her on their journey. out to Vancouver Island.
151 James Dunsmuir, inheritor of the great Dunsmuir fortunes and prestige. He became
premier of the province and lieutenant-
governor. His home, Hatley Park, near Victoria, was considered the finest in Canada,
and from it he led the social life of the province.
Today millionaires are regarded with some suspicion; not many people,
perhaps, take them as models — at least openly. Yet during the last
century there was a need to organize the resources of the western
world and bring it into the industrial age. No one could deny that
Dunsmuir had great abilities in this regard.
His general philosophy of life doubtless has its critics, but at least
Dunsmuir was never hesitant about expressing it. As he declared in a
public speech near the end of his life:
"All over the world there is so much strife between capital and labor.
Now if there were no capital there would be no wages. I think no
individuals in our community should rejoice more in the abundance of
capital in the province than workingmen. Although a man is a capitalist, a workingman should not necessarily take the view that he is
his enemy. The workingman should take the view, Mr. Chairman, that
it is the miser who hoards his gold in an old stocking, those who do
not display energy, pluck and enterprise enough to invest their
capital — these are the men who should be despised by the working
man.
"I am happy to say that with the wages of this country, the working
man by denying himself probably of what he would otherwise spend,
can become a capitalist himself, the same as I did, but if he goes on
spending everything he makes he never shall become a capitalist. A
capitalist is a man who lives on less than he earns, and Mr. Mayor
and gentlemen, it is a great pity that the workingmen of this province
do not see this."
152 John Jessop
1829-1901
John Jessop (1829-1901) founder of the first modern school
system in British Columbia.
John Jessop, destined to become British Columbia's first Superintendent of Education, was born in England in 1829. In 1846 his family
emigrated to Ontario, where a remarkably advanced system of schools
had been developed by Egerton Ryerson. Here Jessop secured his
teaching certificate and taught for five years.
By 1859 word had reached him of the great gold rush in British
Columbia. He resolved to try his luck in the far west, and travelling
by canoe, "Red River cart" and horseback crossed the prairies and
the Rockies, arriving in Victoria on the first day of 1860, eight months
after he had left Toronto.
From Victoria he made his way up the Fraser to the Cariboo in search
of gold, but after a summer's work he was no richer, so he returned
to the coast and  looked about for a  job.
At this time there was no free education in British Columbia. Children
either attended the "colonial schools", which were supervised by an
Anglican clergyman, Dean Cridge, and had some sectarian bias, or they
went to one of the numerous private schools in operation. Either way
their parents had to pay regular fees.
Jessop decided to open his own school, which would be nonsectarian
and based on the ideas he had learned from Ryerson. He soon had a
hundred pupils, began night classes for adults, and hired several
assistants. Yet after a strong start attendance fell off, and he was
forced  to closed  the  school  in  1864.
For the next seven years, education was badly neglected in British
Columbia. The Cariboo gold rush was past its peak and an economic
depression had set in. Successive colonial governments struggled with
this problem with no great success.
153 In 1865 the V
ancouver
Island legislature authorized a system of free
Craigflower School, the earliest in British
Columbia.
154
public schools. Alfred Waddington was the first superintendent, and
Jessop was chosen principal (at twelve hundred dollars per annum)
of the main school in Victoria. One hundred and seventeen boys and
ninety-one girls enrolled, and the government decreed that the school
should be shut for six weeks each year — two at Christmas and four in
summer.
Yet the economic depression deepened and the union in 1 866 of the two
British colonies on the Pacific was partly an economy move. Teachers'
salaries were reduced, but even so were soon in arrears, and in the
fall of 1870 Jessop and a colleague resigned in order to find better
employment. The school was closed, and Jessop found work in a
printing office.
In 1871 British Columbia entered Confederation, and slowly better
times returned. In 1872 a system of free nonsectarian public schools
vvas established. Jessop was appointed Superintendent of Education at
two thousand dollars per annum. Most of the textbooks were those
used in Ontario, attendance was compulsory, and detailed records
kept of it.
For several years Jessop toured the province inspecting schools, going
as far as Barkerville. Often he had to travel on horseback or by canoe.
As some areas of the Interior had too few residents to support a
school, he saw to the establishment of a boarding school at Cache
Creek, which opened in 1871 and survived until 1890. He also instituted systems of prizes for good students, and saw to the provision
of such materials as maps and blackboards. Most of his reports to
the government, as well as his personal diary of his travels, have
survived, and excerpts from the latter give some picture of the varied
situations and problems he encountered:
"June 12, 1872. Visited Langley by steamer "Onward". No school
since last month — late teacher as anxious to leave as the settlers
are that he should do so — thought it better not to institute an
investigation into the late difficulty but to recommend the removal
of Mr. Kennedy. Travelled over the district on both sides of the Fraser
— no possibility of re-opening school till August on account of mosquitoes. School house in very good order with comfortable dwelling
attached, but no maps or blackboard. Good well with pump in it — put
there by the late teacher and should be paid for. About 40 children
in the district — returned to New Westminster in canoe."
"June 28, 1872. Visited Salt Spring Island. Examination day with
but three pupils in attendance — two little girls and one boy (colored).
The boy working on Latin grammar, having become so proficient in
English grammar and geography a year ago that those studies were
dropped and Latin substituted. Teacher John C. Jones (colored), a
graduate of Oberlin, Ohio."
"July 2, 1872. Visited school at Nanaimo. 9:05 a.m. - - school not
opened. Neighbors assert that it is nothing unusual for teacher, who
lives within 20 yards of building, to be half an hour late."
There were as yet no high schools in the province, but at Jessop's
urging   the   first   one   was   opened   in   Victoria   on   August   7,   1876. In order to eliminate seat-warmers before they arrived, only those
passing a fairly stiff examination in arithmetic, grammar, spelling and
geography could enter the school. The building, designed by John
Teaguc, attracted favorable attention, the Colonist noting that:
"This edifice is in the Italian style of architecture, on a stone foundation, and built of well-burnt local red brick, relieved by sandstone
dressings around the windows and outside doors. No room on either
floor is less than 16 feet in height."
One basic feature of the high school was that all the boys were on
the ground floor, and all the girls on the second floor. As an added
precaution against irresponsible behaviour, the two floors had separate
entrances from the outside.
That policy was not, in fact, in accordance with Jessop's educational
philosophy, for in his annual report to the government in 1875 he
rejected the argument that:
"the sexes should be educated apart, in order that the girls may grow
up with that delicacy and refinement of feeling, that softness and
innate  modesty  so  desirable  and  so  much   to  be  admired  in   young
Public school, Nanaimo.
Jessop pointed out in his  report  to  those  who  held   this
view
that:
"They forget that the boisterousness of their sons is being constantly
moderated; that the rougher asperities of boyish nature are undergoing a toning-down process; and that the inherent traits of gallantry,
affability and desire to please are fostered by daily association with
the softer sex in the public schools."
That there was something to be said on both sides of the question
was to be demonstrated a few years later when a notable scandal
erupted at the Cache Creek Boarding School. It was discovered that
the door between the boys' and girls' dormitories was being regularly
unlocked once the staff had retired, and that the subsequent mingling
of the sexes did not remain on a purely intellectual plane. Such
developments had not been considered a possibility when the dormitories were built, as the lock was on the girls' side; but alas, the
investigation which eventually took place (reported in lip-smacking
detail in the newspapers at the coast) revealed that as a prelude to
the subsequent conviviality the door had been unlocked by "the softer
sex". We live and learn.
In other respects, things fared better. Despite the comparative poverty
of the young province, Jessop was able to report that in 1874 the
average teacher's salary was $66.03 for males and $56.11 for females,
considerably more than was being paid in Oregon. Even so, Jessop
felt that there was still some room for improvement:
"We can hardly expect efficient male teachers to remain in the
profession permanently at $50 per month amid temptations to engage
in mining, merchandise, farming, stock-raising, and before long, it is
to be hoped, numerous other occupations in connection with railroad
construction."
To prevent any invasion of the profession for purely mercenary motives, Jessop set up a  normal school  for  training  teachers;  some of
155 Boy's Central School, Victoria, built in
1875. It was the first school built of brick in
the province.
School bus, Summerland, c.  1901.
the certificates it granted were for life, some for three years, and
some for only one year. The examinations were long and thorough,
and covered a wide spectrum of knowledge. A few questions culled
from them have their own fascination:
"What were the doctrines of the Lollards?"
"In what department of science did Mrs. Somerville shine?"
"Why are personal pronouns the only real pronouns?"
"What is the earth?"
"If an arrow is so shot as just to go over the top of a fir tree, and it
is observed that seven seconds elapse from the time the arrow leaves
the bow  till it strikes  the ground, what is  the height of the  tree?"
"Tell how we breathe and  why we  breathe,
cease to breathe."
ind  why we die  if  we
156
Those who had successfully unravelled these conundrums had also
to write essays on prescribed topics. In one year, for example,
gentlemen were required to explore the question "What influence has
the discovery of gold in California and Australia exerted upon existing
civilization?" Ladies, on the other hand, having either different minds
or perhaps merely different interests, were invited to "give your opinion
as to the good results which may follow the present agitation on the
subject of woman's rights."
Jessop, aware that the province and its educational system were still
in their infancy, also endeavored to prepare them for the years of their
maturity. As early as 1877 he was urging the creation of a university
and a superannuation fund for teachers. The former came into being,
after a fashion, just before the first World War, while the latter
did not make its appearance until 1921.
Jessop continued as Superintendent of Education until 1878. Then,
having incurred the intense personal ill will of the current premier,
he thought it wisest to resign. He soon secured a post in the Dominion
immigration department, where he served inconspicuously until
shortly before his death in 1901. Like so many in this era who labored
long and selflessly to lay the foundations of the future they would
not live to sec, Jessop died in comparative obscurity. Some, however,
recognized his services to the community, and among them was the
Colonist, which declared:
"Mr. Jessop was the first superintendent of education after Confederation. He took up the work when school matters were in an inchoate
and confused state, and by sheer force of an iron will and untiring
energy raised free education to its present efficiency. Where before
there were but half a dozen schools scattered over a wide expanse
of territory, with the teachers as fitful as the attendance; where
neither order, system, nor regularity was observed; where the buildings
were mean and dilapidated; where teachers and scholars came and
went when and where they liked with a sovereign contempt for the
timepiece; and where the education imparted was generally of a crude
backwoods character, we find order and system introduced, with as
fine schools and as excellent advantages for imparting instruction
as are possessed by any province of the dominion." Francis Rattenbury
1867-1935
"The magnificent parliament buildings in which the legislature of the province is this year assembling for the first time, have been in the course
of construction since 1893. The beauty of the structure calls forth the
admiration of everyone who has seen it, while the perfection of the work
and the thoroughness in which the details have been carried out is a surprise to visitors. In general design and in choice of the stone for the
buildings the good taste and judgment displayed has been decidedly happy,
the result  being  a   harmonious  picture  delightful  to  the  eye."
— Victoria Colonist, February 10, 1898.
For the first few years after British Columbia joined Confederation,
conditions were not unduly prosperous in Canada's far western province. But once the railroad reached the Pacific coast in 1886 there
was a steady increase in economic activity. Capital began to accumulate, modest (and some great) fortunes were made, and those who
had made them became anxious to display the fact to the world.
One way of doing this was to have imposing residences built for them
in which both the good taste and the economic status of their occupants could be on view simultaneously. As the century drew toward
its close, there was an increasing demand for architects who could
satisfy these requirements of the newly prosperous, and one
of   those   who  achieved   fame   as   a   result   was   Francis   Rattenbury.
He was born in the north of England in 1867 and while in his teens
entered the service of a firm of architects, spending the next six
years preparing himself for his chosen profession. When he was qualified
to practise, he decided to come out to British Columbia, and arrived
in Vancouver in May, 1892. Here he soon learned that the provincial
government of the day, anxious to prevent a transfer of the capital to
the growing metropolis on the mainland, had decided to erect new
legislative buildings in Victoria to supersede the old "bird-cages",
in use since 1860.
Sixty-five designs were submitted by architects from all over North
America; yet despite this strong competition, Rattenbury's entry was
the one selected. He moved from Vancouver to Victoria, and slowly
but surely his plans began  taking  shape  in  stone.
Francis M. Rattenbury(186 7-1935(architect
of the Parliament Buildings and the Empress
Hotel. He imparted a new grandeur to the
official and commercial side of life in British
Columbia.
157 r/.»i
c* 4v
James Blomfield.
a
158
Albert Cizek.
Rattenbury's sketch of the Parliament Buildings. Over sixty designs were submitted. Rattenbury established his reputation in winning the commission.
The buildings took nearly five years to finish, and local materials
were used whenever possible. The contractor was Frederick Adams,
but after he was drowned in the wreck of the Velox in March 1895,
his duties were assumed by Moses McGregor and George Jeeves. The
exterior stone came from Haddington island, while the granite came
from Naden island. The slates for the roof came from Jervis inlet,
while the bricks and lime were both products of British Columbia.
The stained glass windows were designed by James Blomfield of Vancouver, though they were made in London; the main gates were also
imported from the United Kingdom. Albert Cizek, a Viennese who lived
in Tacoma, and died as recently as 1943, came to Victoria to make
the gilded statue of Captain George Vancouver which surmounts
the dome.
Substitute materials were used only for the great pillars in the library.
These are not really marble, but a material called scagliola laid over
a steel and cement base, the work being done by William Scutt of
Seattle.
A strong effort was made to recall in stone the past history of the
area. Statues of Governor Douglas and Judge Begbie stand on either
side of the main entrance, while in niches around the dome of the
library are statues of Maquinna, Vancouver, Begbie, Dr. John
McLoughlin, Dr. Helmcken, Captain Cook, Sir Francis Drake, Alexander Mackenzie, Simon Fraser, Lord Lytton, Sir Anthony Musgrave
(the last colonial governor), David Thompson and Colonel Moody.
The four basic industries of the province — fishing, logging, farming
and mining — are depicted in murals in the main hall. The coat of
arms which surmounts the main gate was designed by a local clergyman, Canon Beanlands. He put the sun at the top and the Union Jack
at the bottom, but these positions have since been officially reversed,
although the original design in stone has not been altered.
From time to time politicans of the day became uneasy about the cost
of all this grandeur, and made efforts to effect economies by eliminating some of the more costly features. Their efforts invariably drew a
sharp response from Rattenbury, as the following letter to the Assistant
Commissioner of Lands and works makes clear:
"I have ventured to place in the Executive Council Room the samples
of marble and stained glass which I have received. So beautiful are
these in themselves, and so much time and money has been expended by the firms sending these samples that I trust you will at least
examine them  before  coming  to  an  irrevocable  decision.
"The marble is so urgent a matter, and the omission of it would be
so serious an injury to the building, that I trust you will reconsider
the matter.
"The Legislative Hall is the most important feature in the interior of
the building, and is the leading motif of the whole design, the exterior
suggesting and emphasizing this feature. The grand entrance has been
made rich and ornate — as an appropriate entrance; through this you
pass into the great Domical Hall surmounted by the Dome, then onwards
to the Legislature Hall.
"The grandeur of the whole scheme would be absolutely ruined should
the culminating feature, the Legislative Hall, be poor and commonplace, and it would be so if the marble is omitted, for the whole
character of the hall depends entirely on the rich and massive marble
columns, and we cannot in any adequate way replace these with any
cheaper imitation material. No future expenditure, however large,
could in any way compensate for the omission, and the amount, in
comparison to the cost and character of the buildings, is comparatively small, considering the marvellous improvement it would effect.
"I fear, Sir, the regret would subsequently be so universal, that I
feel it is my duty to bring this matter before you again."
In this, as in almost all other matters, Rattenbury got his way,
although on at least one occasion he went so far as to threaten to
resign from the whole project. In a letter to the same government
official he declared:
"Should it be, Sir, that you decide that my professional advice and
recommendations are not worthy of confidence, believe me — much as
I would regret to sever my connection with the Parliament Buildings,
especially after having for so many years exerted every faculty, and
made such painstaking endeavours, to carry out the works to as perfect
and satisfactory a conclusion as possible — still I am ready to resign
my position as architect of the Buildings, a position no longer tolerable,
if not accompanied by confidence, and so afford you the opportunity
of obtaining other professional advice and assistance in which you can
place confidence."
In one respect, however, Rattenbury did not have his way. He was
anxious to preserve the trees in the vicinity of the buildings, but
the government decreed otherwise. In a letter to the Colonist, the architect expressed his great regret:
"Allow me to express to Mr. Sorby my gratitude for his excellent
letter last evening, appealing for the preservation of the trees around
the new parliament buildings. I entirely agree with Mr. Sorby, and it
makes   me   heartsick   to   see   each   tree   as   it   falls   to   the   ground.
"It is so rarely that an architect is fortunate enough to have the
opportunity of erecting a large building amongst the delicate tracery
of woodland scenery. And the peeps of high masses of masonry
through the trees gives so distinctive a charm, so different to what
one can usually see, that words fail me to express my grief at seeing
Mrs. F. Rattenbury (Florence Nunn).
The new Parliament Buildings rising behind
part of the old "bird cages"—the original
legislative buildings used since  1860.
159 Ill
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160
77ie Parliament Buildings completed. They had been built to prevent a move of the provincial
capital from Victoria back to New Westminster, but by the time of their official opening in
1898, the political threat had become outmoded.
this charm disappear."
The government also decided, over Rattenbury's objections, that the
east wing should be used as a museum. In another respect, however,
his advice was followed. When officials decided to locate the laboratories of the department of mines in the basement, he protested that
the "stench and fumes" from the assay office "would permeate the
whole building and form a disgusting nuisance"; on second thoughts
the assay office was put in one of the "bird-cages".
To the accompaniment of further controversies between the architect
and the government, the work went forward. The great dome was
completed late in 1895, and the last stone of the building was laid by
Premier Turner the following September. The government then invited
all who had worked on the project to a great banquet at the Mount
Baker Hotel, at which high and low were serenaded by a regimental
band.
Departments then began moving in to their new quarters, the printing
office taking the lead. By October 1897 all departments were installed
in the buildings. Lieutenant-Governor Dewdney unofficially received
some visitors there the same month. The buildings had been first
illuminated a few months earlier, though the exterior lighting system
was not made permanent until 1912. The first flagstaff, one hundred
and fifty feet high, had been raised in 1896 and would stand till 1926.
The statue of Queen Victoria and the War Memorial did not appear
till the 1920's.
The entire cost of the project had been less than a million dollars -
about two dollars a square foot. Rattenbury received about forty-
thousand dollars as his fee. Many people were still not sure what to
think about the project; one politican thought it so grandioise that
he declared it would be five hundred years before the government had
enough employees to fill the building.
The grand official opening on February 10, 1898 was a gala affair,
complete with speeches and red ribbons. The only notable figure absent
was Rattenbury, who had gone to London in connection with a totally
different project. A man of restless ambition, he hoped to profit from
the gold rush just beginning in the Yukon by opening a steamship
service on the rivers of the far north. This particular deal fell through,
but Rattenbury was able to secure capital elsewhere, and was soon
the managing director of the "Lake Bennett and Klondyke Transportation Company." In June 1898 he married Florence Nunn, and took her to Dawson on
one of his steamers. For a time the Arctic seemed to fascinate him,
for he was soon organizing an express company along the route from
the sea to the gold fields. Pack animals were bought, depots set up
thirty miles apart, and before long it was possible to travel from Victoria  to Dawson   in   nine  days.
Then, as suddenly as he had thrown himself into this project, he abandoned it. Severing his connection with the company he had organized,
he returned to Victoria, and once metre took up architecture as if
nothing had happened.
He did in fact attempt at least twice more to conquer new worlds,
shipping frozen salmon to Europe and prefabricated houses to the
Canary Islands. Whether the recipients were unappreciative is unclear,
but  at  all  events  he  finally  decided   to  stick  to  the  drawing   board.
He was soon well rewarded for this decision, as he received a commission to build a great new hotel for the Canadian Pacific Railway
Company. A large area of James Bay was filled in, the bridge-crossing
was converted to a causeway, and soon one of Canada's most famous
hotels, the Empress, was rising on a site not far from the Legislature.
Opened in 1908, it has since been enlarged, but continues to present a
strikingly dignified appearance.
On another important project Rattenbury collaborated with Samuel
Maclure. This was a new Government House, which, though it burned
down in 1957, is still recalled as an elegant combination of comfort
and   charm,   worthy   to   house   the   representatives   of  the   monarch.
Other buildings designed by Rattenbury included the Bank of Montreal
on Government street, Victoria High School, the Union Club, St.
Margaret's school for girls, and Glen Lyon School (originally built as
his own residence). Rattenbury was also responsible for buildings in
New Westminster, Nelson, Rossland and Prince Rupert, while the predecessor of the present Hotel Vancouver (fondly remembered by many)
was  also  one of  his  achievements.
In 1913 Rattenbury became Reeve of Oak Bay, as well as supervising
a large addition to the Parliament Buildings. The coming of the First
World War did not bring an end to his career; although the carefree
days before 1914 were over, the postwar prosperity brought many tourists to Victoria. Rattenbury designed a new Canadian Pacific Railway
Company station on the Inner Harbor, as well as the famous swimming
pool, the Crystal Garden, opened in 1925. However another architect,
P.L.   James,   supervised   the   actual   work   on   these   two   buildings.
In the late nineteen twenties Rattenbury moved to England, where a
few years later he was the victim of a sensational murder, which
kept his name before the public for many months. Yet taking the longer
view, his fame depends on his life, not the manner of his death. In
this he served both his profession and his adopted homeland well.
The buildings he conceived continued to ornament not merely Victoria
but several other communities, and to remind those who see them
that wood and stone can do more than keep the rain off; they can bring
some dignity and value to the often muddled business of daily life.
Glen    Lyon,    Rattenbury's    home,    now    a
private boys' school, in Victoria,  B.C.
161 Samuel Maclure
1860-1929
Samuel Maclure (1860-1929)
162
A high proportion of those who contributed to the development of the
young province of British Columbia were born outside it. This was not
true, however, of Samuel Maclure, the architect whose work, though
reflecting a social order which has now almost vanished, continues to
arouse the admiration of all who view it.
Maclure's father had come out to British Columbia with the Royal
Engineers, and was one of those present at the ceremony at Fort
Langley when James Douglas was sworn in as first governor of the new
mainland colony. Later he worked on Douglas' most famous project,
the Cariboo Road. Still later, he was employed in locating the line
for the Collins Overland Telegraph, designed to connect North America with Asia by way of Alaska. This grandiose scheme was abandoned
while work was under way in the northern part of British Columbia,
and Maclure came down  to  New  Westminster.
Here in 1860 his son Samuel was born, being the first white child
to have his birth recorded in the colony. His first job as a young
man was working as a telegraph operator on the mainland, but he
had always had an ambition to be a painter, and from 1884 to 1885
spend some time studying the subject in Philadelphia and New York.
While he was in those cities he became greatly impressed by their
public buildings and private houses, and resolved that his life work
would be architecture. Returning to British Columbia in 1885, he continued working as a telegraph operator, this time for the Esquimalt
and Nanaimo Railway, while reading everything he could find about
his new enthusiasm. He soon felt confident enough to insert advertisements:
"Mr. Samuel Maclure
(late of Spring Garden Art School, Philadelphia)
is prepared to give instruction in
Drawing, painting in oil and satin, etc.
Also instruction given in telegraphy
Residence: Blanshard and Fisgard streets" During this period he married Margaret Simpson, whose parents disapproved the match. This by no means discouraged her, as she ran
away from her home in Victoria to join him in Vancouver. When her
relatives discovered her absence, they went down to the wharf to make
sure that she did not leave the island. She had foreseen that they
would, and disguised herself as a lame old Indian woman, shuffling
past them onto the ship and spending the voyage crouching on the deck.
The vessel, appropriately named the Charmer, safely reached Vancouver, and after the wedding, the bridegroom, presumably as a reward
for his sweetheart's fidelity, took his best man along with them on
their honeymoon at Chilliwack.
Maclure moved to New Westminster for a time, and when he felt sure
of his abilities opened an architectural office there. He soon received
several commissions for private houses. Emboldened by his success,
in  1892  he  moved his office  to the larger  centre  of  Victoria.
At this time the economic clouds were slowly beginning to lift, and
one sign of this was the government's decision to build a stately new
legislative building to replace the venerable "bird-cages". The commission was awarded to Francis Rattenbury, who at once achieved
a prominence he was never to lose; it would be some years yet before
Maclure became a serious rival.
Maclure's fame slowly grew, especially after the turn of the century,
when he received a commission to build a mansion on the Esquimalt
Road forRobin Dunsmuir, grandson of British Columbia's first millionaire. This imposing residence (which eventually became a restaurant
and has since burned down) was soon a centre for the social activities
of the younger and richer set.
From then on, Maclure's services were constantly in demand, and in
the golden (or at least gilded) age just before the First World War,
houses designed by him began rising not only in British Columbia but
in the states of Washington and California. He also collaborated with
Rattenbury in designing a new Government House, which eventually
burned down in 1957.
His greatest single achievement, however, was undoubtedly Hatley
Park, designed for James Dunsmuir. This  fabulous mansion  (now a
Hatley Park, at one time considered the finest home in Canada. Modelled on an Elizabethan
house, it stands as a grand expression of the wealth and social accomplishments of its owner,
James Dunsmuir.
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163 Fountain at Hatley Park. Nothing points
more clearly to the confidence of Edwardian times than this piece of classical garden architecture set against the background of dark conifers—symbol of the
wild and primeval land of British Columbia.
164
The greenhouse at Hatley Park.
military college) a few miles west of Victoria was modelled on the
great Tudor country houses of England, and was said at one time to be
the finest house in Canada. No expense was spared its construction,
and Maclure made his only visit to Europe when Dunsmuir sent him
there to purchase furniture and carpets. An entire wing of the building
was set aside for male guests, where they could enjoy undisturbed such
pleasures as billiards and smoking. One floor of the mansion's tower
was designed as a suite for Dunsmuir's younger son Jimmie, later
lost in the Lusitania.
For a few years, while the western world swept toward its fateful
rendezvous with destiny at Sarajevo, Hately Park was the centre of the
social life of Victoria. The widow of Robert Dunsmuir had largely
withdrawn from society, and lived in solitary grandeur in Craigdarroch; the lieutenant-governor and the admiral entertained from
time to time, and on occasion the Anglican bishop would diffuse a
frosty cordiality. Yet in those last few years before the Edwardian
world dissolved forever, it was James Dunsmuir and his southern
bride who were the  undisputed  rulers  of British  Columbia  society.
Maclure was by now a very well known figure, and among the houses
built by him in this era we may note "Rosemead" in Esquimalt (now
called the Old England Inn), the W.C. Nichol house "Miraloma"
near Sidney, and several in the posh Vancouver districts of Point Grey
and Shaughnessy Heights, fie also designed the Bank of Montreal
building in Vernon. One of his Vancouver houses, "Gabriola", on Davie
Street, is now the Angus Apartments.
Despite his successes, Maclure never ceased to search for new architectural insights. He was one of the first to recognize the importance
of Frank Lloyd Wright, and conducted a long correspondence with him.
It would undoubtedly be fascinating to read it, but the letters are
believed to be lost forever. It is noteworthy, however, that in one
respect the two architects held similar views. Both believed that a
house in the country should seem to grow out of its natural surroundings and be a part of them; both also strove to use native woods
wherever possible.
In 1914 history crossed a great divide, and even when peace returned,
it was clear that the old order could never be replaced. Social life
and entertainment no longer was conducted solely in great private
houses; cheap Chinese labor for servants began to disappear; and rich
English immigrants no longer appeared with regularity from the old 1''V'H
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Government
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country with orders to build mansions in which to live out their
days. It is noticeable that the vast entrance halls and sweeping staircases begin to become diminished in Maclure's postwar work; the Jazz
Age had no objection to either money or pleasure, but it found outlets
other than architecture.
As the postwar decade prepared to leap to its death in 1929, Maclure
also passed from the scene. Perhaps it was just as well; he would
not have been happy in the years that followed. He left a widow and
three daughters, and his will revealed that he had never forgotten
his boyhood days in the Fraser Valley: by his instructions his ashes
were scattered by his brother Charles near Sumas Prairie.
Despite the great social changes since Maclure's death, his work lives
on, and after a period of comparative neglect, is now attracting much
attention. Students of architecture often come from great distances to
examine it, and articles about Maclure have appeared in both British
and French architectural journals. The Art Gallery of Victoria has recently published a well-illustrated album of his houses, and one can
see even from photographs that they were built to last, to be impressive
rather than flashy. As a result they are ornaments of our own age
as well as his.
The confident years before 1914 will never return, but sometimes as
we look wonderingly about us in one of Maclure's houses, in imagination we can for a brief moment recapture them.
Interior of Hatley Park. Maclure's interiors are considered today of greater interest than the exterior design of his
houses.
165 .   "" f * '    I     ' r
British Columbians enrolled in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, which went overseas
under the command of another British Columbian, Sir Arthur Currie, marching away from
their camp at Esquimalt, B.C., to more permanent quarters in  Victoria,  October 1914.
166 Only Yesterday
By the early summer of 1914, it was obvious that civilization had
reached a permanent plateau. Its centre, western Europe, had made unprecedented progress during the nineteenth century, progress which
seemed certain to continue throughout the twentieth. Nor were the
advances purely material; in the realm of the spirit it was apparent that
mankind was laying aside old quarrels, and with the aid of what Lord
Tennyson had called "the larger heart, the kindlier hand", was moving
into a bustling golden age.
Yet, in another famous phrase of Queen Victoria's Poet Laureate,
"someone had blundered", and these fond dreams were not to see fulfilment. By the time "the guns of August" had spoken, a new age had
begun, and the old one had joined Nineveh and Tyre.
Inevitably, the waves of this world upheaval were soon felt on the
farthest shore their waters washed. As the conflict deepened, it was not
many months before the lights were going out, not merely in Europe
but throughout the world.
To this rule British Columbia was to prove no exception. The blithe and
halcyon days were over, and though Premier McBride still presided
over the province, where once he had built railroads now he bought
submarines.
The subsequent acts of this great drama are now a matter of record and
in many cases of memory: the long years of blood and misery, reflected
in the casualty lists in every newspaper; the coming of peace — significantly called the Armistice; the decade in which the world tried to
forget its grief in a wild search for pleasure; the Great Depression; the
Second World War; and the many years of prosperity which, to the
surprise of so many, followed in its wake.
Each of these phases brought new figures to the fore, who would
grapple with the problems or at least reflect its preoccupations. It is to
a few representative figures of the years since "only yesterday" that we
now direct our attention. 167 Percy Williams
1908-
168
"August 1. Well, it's done. Won the 200M. Not so bad. Telegrams galore. The
girls' team sent flowers to me. Hot dog!"
—from the diary of Percy Williams,
August 1, 1928
Finally, one autumn morning in 1918, the guns fell silent, and the world
entered an era of uneasy peace. The casualty lists in the newspapers,
though it was some time before they ceased altogether, were soon
growing shorter; soldiers began returning to their homes; and wartime
tensions and austerities slowly disappeared.
Yet it was not the same world as before. Old landmarks, old beliefs had
been submerged by the red tide of war, and it seemed hard to find new
bearings. One thing, though, was all too plain: the high hopes that a far
better world would rise on the ruins of the old were not about to be fulfilled. Inevitably, a certain disillusionment with military heroes and
wartime slogans set in; many people decided instead to take life less
seriously and devote themselves to the simple pleasures of the here and
now.
Yet the hunger for heroes, perhaps a permanent feature of human
nature, lived on, and one remarkable feature of the postwar decade was
the successful search for new ones. This time the new demigods came
from the ranks of athletes. Such names as Babe Ruth, Bobby Jones and
Big Bill Tilden were soon familiar to every American, and other
countries had their counterparts.
Yet Canada apparently did not. The war had given her citizens a new
sense of nationhood, but now it was over, no suitable figures arose to
express it. It was this gap which a young British Columbia athlete was
destined to fill, as he showed the entire world in the most public
manner possible that his countrymen could equal and indeed surpass
the world's best.
The man — at the time, little more than a boy — who gave Canadians,
and British Columbians in particular, a new pride in themselves was
Percy Williams. Growing up in Vancouver before the war, he attended
school in the area, and was apparently destined for an uneventful life.
Certainly athletics seemed unlikely to be his strong point, for at the age
of fifteen he was stricken by rheumatic fever. The doctors advised him
that he had strained his heart, and must avoid undue exertion. Yet, though he was far from robust, weighing only about one hundred
and twenty-five pounds, Williams decided to ignore this advice and
began taking a serious interest in sports. He soon developed a marked
ability as a sprinter, and became one of the stars of King Edward High
School.
One day in 1926 he attracted the attention of a Vancouver coach named
Bob Granger, who decided that if properly trained, Williams could
become a world champion. He at once took him in hand, and taught him
all he knew about the finer points of competitive running — the
development of a lightning start, the use of varying rhythms during the
race, and the final burst of speed that often decides the victor.
Day after day Granger forced Williams through a rigorous training
schedule, which included strengthening his psychological will to win. In
the summer of 1927 Granger arranged an exhibition race in which the
young British Columbia sprinter would try to beat the mark of 17.8
seconds for 1 75 yards set by the American Charlie Paddock, considered
"the world's fastest human." This was not a recognized international
distance or record, but merely one that Paddock had set up for his own
promotional purposes. Williams beat the record by a full second, and
from that moment on it was clear that he was in the world class.
All during the remainder of 1927 and into the spring of 1928 Williams
entered local meets in order to gain confidence and perfect his technique. In one of these he ran the hundred yards in under ten seconds. In
June 1928, Williams won the hundred yards in the British Columbia
Olympic trials; that qualified him to represent his province in the competition to be held at Hamilton, Ontario to select those who would
participate in the Olympic games. On June 15 he left Vancouver for the
east; his coach was unable to accompany him, as he lacked sufficient
funds, and neither the province nor the dominion was interested in
supplying any.
In Hamilton Williams won both the one hundred and two hundred
metres, and on July 11 left Montreal with the Canadian team for the
Olympic Games in Amsterdam. Granger followed in its wake, money
having been raised by sports enthusiasts to buy his ticket. Not too
much money, of course — Canadians, then as now, were cautious in
such matters; but he was able to get across the Atlantic on a freighter.
Granger and Williams were united in an Amsterdam hotel room, where
with a mattress placed against one wall as a buffer, Williams practised
getting off the mark fast. The hotel management eventually complained, but it was explained that great issues hung in the balance, and
the fuss subsided.
On the opening day of the games, Saturday, July 28, forty thousand
people filled the Olympic Stadium. Athletes from forty-five nations
marched past, and a thousand pigeons were released to symbolize
general goodwill. Williams, who kept a diary, recorded his impressions
in his own laconic prose:
"July 28. The big opening. Spectacular? Boy, I'll say so. Speeches,
Parades, pigeons, etc.
It happens tomorrow."
TIIEfVAXC'OrVER DAILY PROV
,".'(   ••> ''"'•' ■''."■    CA\ADA   VIIHT.S   ITS  PRIDE j 85   TO .J
Peiv Williams, Vancouver B03
Qptures Second World Title
Brilliant Victory in 200-M
«Warl& Fatten Humans" Trail Slim youn»*v"«»«»«B»jO~»s.
Vanewqtr Htrvury Jn SprtmU at Olympic*    ^SSjJtwti!
Double Sprint V
Not Achieved S
'Vmerittns Stunned at J
W d their Athfrtsc Stan ;
Percy Williams (1908-?), the Vancouver
hoy whose victory in the one hundred and
two hundred metre races at the 1928 Olympics caused a national sensation at a time
when Canada had no sports heroes to match
the likes of Babe Ruth. The illustration
shows also several of his great competitors,
runners of international eminence. The sensation over Williams arose because he was
virtually unknown outside of Canada before
the Amsterdam Olympics.
169 On July 29, eighty-seven sprinters entered the preliminary heats of the
hundred metres. Williams won his first heat in eleven seconds, and also
his next in even faster time. He was now in the semi-finals. Here he
faltered; a poor start caused him to come second, but this was sufficient
to qualify him for the finals to be held the same day.
There were two hours to wait. Williams read a book, thoughtfully supplied by Granger, and then as time ran out jogged up and down to
loosen his muscles. At the starting line he faced five other runners: Bob
McAllister and Frank Wykoff, Americans; Jack London, a British negro;
George Lammers of Germany; and Wilfred Legg of South Africa.
There were two false starts, then the field got away. Williams led from
the start, and despite the best efforts of the others, crossed the finish
line first. The crowd roared its approval, and Williams was the Olympic
champion. That night he recorded in his diary:
"July 30. Well, well, well. So I'm supposed to be the world's 100M
champion."
He then added a somewhat surprising comment:
"No more fun in running now."
Two days elapsed before the two hundred metres. On the last day of
July, Williams won his first heat. Then disaster loomed, as the luck of
the draw put him up against several very strong runners; only two
would survive to enter the semi-finals. Granger gave Williams some
final advice; "Don't try to win; run to beat whoever is running second."
The gun cracked; the German champion led from the start; at the
halfway mark Williams was only third. Then he summoned his last
reserves of strength, and in the last two yards passed the American
Borah and secured a place in the semi-final. Once again the diary was
called into service:
"July 31. Miracles still happen. I'm in the semi-final. Eliminated Borah,
one of the nicest fellows I have ever met."
The next day, Williams won his semi-final race, and entered the final, to
be held the same day. As the runners lined up, Williams faced two
Germans, an American, a Briton and another Canadian.
Fifty metres from the end, Williams and the German champion were
running neck and neck. Then Williams drew ahead, crossing the line in
a driving finish.
The crowd dissolved with emotion, and Williams was the hero of the
hour. Indeed, in his native land, he was soon the hero of the decade.
Prime Minister MacKenzie King, himself an expert in just managing to
cross the finish line first, telegraphed his congratulations, and when
Williams returned to Canada, his journey back to Vancouver was a
triumphant progress with wild demonstrations of enthusiasm at every
stop. Twenty thousand people gathered in Stanley Park to see the
world champion; both Premier Tolmie and Mayor Taylor were on hand
to greet him. He was presented with a car, and Granger was given a
purse of five hundred dollars.
170 Eov the next few years Williams remained in the spotlight. He toured the United States, defeating their best runners. In July 1929 at Vancouver's Hastings Park he reached the tape two inches ahead of the
American champion, Eddie Tolan. The following year in Toronto he set
a new world's record of 10.3 seconds for the hundred metres, easily
breaking his winning time of 10.8 at Amsterdam.
In the same month, August 1930, his career reached another peak, but
one which marked the beginning of the end. In the first British Empire
games at Hamilton, Ontario, in the hundred yards final, he pulled a
muscle. Even so, he managed to win (in 9.9 seconds), but then collapsed
in agony on the track.
His injury slowly mended, but his legs were never quite as good again.
Even so, in the Olympic Games of 1932 in Los Angeles he got through
two heats before being eliminated. Accepting the verdict of fate, he
retired from athletics into private life, becoming an insurance agent
with a strong enthusiasm for golf.
He lives quietly to this day in Vancouver, only emerging occasionally
into the limelight. When his city built a stadium for the 1954 Commonwealth Games it was suggested that it be named after Williams, but the
eventual choice was Empire Stadium. He himself no doubt quite agreed
with this decision, being always modest and retiring. Asked about his
great moments in 1928, his only comment was "I was just like any kid
of twenty."
The opinion he held of his success was too modest. The nation had
earlier demonstrated its valor in the war, and now in a very different
age it had again been shown that against the strongest opposition it
could win through to victory. Williams was in a sense a counterpart to
Lindbergh; their achievements were proof that the age of heroes was
not yet over.
Since then, Canada has several times shown that it can challenge and
beat the world's best. Such names as Jimmy McLarnin, Barbara Ann
Scott, Marilyn Bell, and Karen Magnussen come readily to mind. These
athletes have helped to erase the inferiority complex with which
Canada is perhaps still plagued.
In a day when almost no public assistance was given to the training
of promising athletes, Percy Williams persevered until he had achieved
supremacy. By so doing, he gave British Columbians a new pride in
their achievements, and a new confidence that there would be others
yet to come. As he wrote in his diary on  August  1,  1928,
"Not so bad."
171 Duff Pattullo
1873-1956
Hon.  T.D.  Pattullo (1873-1956).
"When I was a boy, I had some regrets that I was living in a too
prosaic age. Adventures of the past were gone, and the immediate prospects
of the present offered very little surprise. Then suddenly we were injected
into the most i