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Notes of a journey from Toronto to British Columbia, viâ the Northern Pacific Railway (June to July 1884)… Busk, Charles Westly, 1852-1924 1884

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Array NOTES  OF  A JOURNEY 
FROM 
TORONTO 
TO 
BRITISH   COLUMBIA,
VIA 
THE NORTHERN PACIFIC RAILWAY 
(JUNE TO JULY 1884): 
BEING 
LETTERS TO HIS SISTER AND MOTHER 
FROM 
CHARLES WESTLY BUSK, C.E., 
M.A. TRIN. COLL. CAMB. 
[For Private Circulation.] 
LONDON: 
PRINTED BY TAYLOR AND FRANCIS, RED LION COURT, FLEET STREET.
1884.  NOTES  OF  A JOURNEY 
FROM 
TORONTO 
TO 
BRITISH   COLUMBIA,
VIA 
THE NORTHERN PACIFIC RAILWAY 
(JUNE TO JULY 1884): 
BEING 
LETTERS TO HIS SISTER AND MOTHER 
FROM 
CHARLES WESTLY BUSK, C.E., 
M.A. TRIN. COLL. CAMB. 
[For Private Circulation.] 
LONDON: 
PRINTED BY TAYLOR AND FRANCIS, RED LION COURT, FLEET STREET.
1884.  Victoria, British Columbia,
July 9th, 1884.
My Dear Madeline,—
You mil probably have received, by the time this arrives,
the post-card I sent you announcing my safe arrival at this city of
the Far West, as also I hope, in tbeir due order, the eards I posted
almost daily en route. I now propose to give you a short account
of the journey and the country and scenery on the way. A
good deal of the information and the Indian stories and legends are
all from reliable sources, as far as I have been able to obtain such;
and I trust the combination may prove instructive, geographically
and historically, as well as afford amusement. As the country
between Toronto, Chicago, and St. Paul is comparatively well
known, and is a route constantly traversed by hundreds of people,
I do not propose to enter into any details of that part of the trip,
but only to confine myself to the Northern Pacific Railroad and
its connection with the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company,
which, as you should know from the post-cards received,- is that
part of the journey lying between St. Paul and the | Queen City
of the "West."
There was a good deal of hesitation as to how I should travel;
I don't mean whether on foot, horseback, or rail, but as to the
class of train to be used, for there is not only a difference in time
of two days, but also a very considerable difference in the price of
the ticket. A first-class ticket right through costs 128 dollars.
This entitles the passenger to one seat in a first-class car, and
nothing else ; but it will also take him through to Portland, Oregon,
a2
-—
r-fe.^:%-- in six days. In order to obtain sleeping accommodation and a
through-car from St. Paul, it is necessary, in addition to this, to
take a bed in a Pullman Car; this adds an expense of exactly 20
dollars, making a total of 148 dollars for fare, to which must be
added 75 cents a meal for the entire journey. The choice lay,
therefore, between this and the third-class, or emigrant rate, which
is 71-50 dollars per ticket, right through. This entitles to a seat
and bed in a through-car from St. Paul; but the journey takes, as
I have said, two days longer. I finally decided to adopt this latter
course; and I have had no reason to regret it—rather the contrary,
for I have been able to see considerably more, and probably gather
more information on account of the slowness of the travel, caused
principally by the very long stops at different stations, which are
avoided by the regular express passenger-trains. In order that
you may have some idea whereabouts the various places are that
will be mentioned, I send you the official map of the Northern
Pacific Railway j but you will find that it has been badly printed,
the coloured parts are all a little to west and by south of their
proper places, but you will easily rectify this; the black outline is
in the main, correct, and so you can go by that and ignore the
colour altogether.
The train left the Union Station, Toronto, at 1.5 p.m. on Monday
June 23rd, and drew up in the Michigan Southern Station (or
depot), in Chicago, at 7.50 the following morning, the clock being
put back one hour at the Detroit river. On presentation of a
through-ticket to a Canadian port, the baggage is all passed without
examination. At Chicago I posted you a card. I would have preferred to leave Chicago by way of Milwaukee, but the tickets did
not read that way, and so it was necessary to travel by the Rock
Island and Pacific Railway, vid Albert Lea, to St. Paul, and this
was accomplished with extreme punctuality. Up to this there is
no difference, either in time or accommodation, between one class
and another. First-class passengers leave St. Paul again shortly
after 4.0 in the afternoon, and arrive in Portland at half-past
11 in the morning of the fourth day.    Emigrant passengers have to remain in St. Paul till 10 minutes to 8, and are due in Portland
at a quarter past 4 in the afternoon of the sixth day. It was quite
early when the train reached St. Paul; so I went to an hotel for the
day, for meals and general refreshment. Of course I walked about
the city a great deal, and looked down on the Mississippi river, and
so on. St. Paul is the capital of the State of Minnesota, and is
situated on the Mississippi river, rather over 2000 mile3 from its
mouth, and at the head of steamboat navigation. Thirty-four years
ago the city was a small out-of-the-way settlement, near St. Anthony
Falls, now it has over 80,000 inhabitants. The Indian name of
the locality, before there was a city, was Immigaska, which means
White Rock, and was so called by them, I suppose, on aecount of
tall white cliffs of sandstone which lie along the course of the
river, and, in fact, the city is itself on the top of one of them. It
seems an extraordinary place on which to have built a city, as it is
quite apparent to-day that many hills have had to be levelled and
thrown over into valleys to make a kind of level place; and this
must have cost, and does still cost, a lot of money. The streets are
lighted with gas and electricity ; street-cars (i. e. tramways) are
numerous, and so are the suburban and local trains. St. Paul is
almost midway between the Atlantic and Pacific Oeeans, and therefore is enabled to carry a considerable trade both east and west.
Minneapolis is another large city, about ten miles west of St. Paul,
and containing about the same number of inhabitants; but I did
not visit this, merely passed through in the train, and so it does
not come within the scope of this letter to say anything about it,
except perhaps that there seems to be every appearance of the two
cities being united at no very distant date.
Tn order to make the journey of six days in the same car pleasant
and in fact endurable, it was necessary to make preparations in
advance; and in the furtherance of this a certain Captain Cook (a
policeman!) was extremely useful. The emigrant sleeping-car is
really a thing to be seen. It is built by the Pullman-Car Company-
expressly for the Northern Pacific Railway, and is arranged exactly
in the same way, only there is in addition, at the rear of the car, a cooking-stove, so that with a kettle and so on, tea can be made at
any time, and also, when travelling in families, dinner can be
cooked comfortably from provisions the passengers bring with them;
but for lone bachelors, spinsters, and the like there is every opportunity of eating to satiety at regular stations the whole way through
at 50 cents a meal. The difference between these cars and the
Pullman Palace Cars is the lack of upholstery; this is entirely
absent, and it would not do were it otherwise. It is necessary for
each passenger to provide his or her own mattress, pillow, and pair
of blankets; and these you can procure for a charge, all told, of 2-50
dollars, at the Union Station at St. Paul. This is, of course, the
plan I adopted; and a berth on the north or shady side of the car
having been previously secured for my own personal use for the
whole way, by the gallant Captain, and the necessary bedding
arranged therein, with my instruments and so on under the seats, I
was ready for the voyage, or, more strictly speaking, journey.
There are upper and lower berths, exactly as in a Pullman, the
upper berths being capable of being closed up when not in use, and
so made as to contain the bedding of both. The lower berth is
formed out of the seats, which draw together in the usual way. The
cars are amply supplied with fresh water for washing and drinking
purposes (this latter is "iced"), and thoroughly swept out at least
twice a day. In addition to this, the passengers do not select their
own seats or berths, but have them appointed; and in the doing of
this the great Cook shows great discrimination and sense. The
result was that I enjoyed the trip immensely, and was, on the
whole, more comfortable than in a Pullman.
On Wednesday evening, then, June 25th, at 7.50 p.m., the train
steamed out of the Union Station, St. Paul, and the trans-continental journey was begun. We were bound for oft-read-of scenes
—the Red river of the North, the mighty Missouri (the longest
river in the world), was to be crossed; then there were hundreds of
miles of prairie, with Antelopes and Buffalo, and Wild Indians, and
Cow-boys, and Prairie-Dog villages without end; then there was to
come the far-famed Rocky Mountains, the Columbia river and its plains, and this was to be followed by the mighty Andes, and, last
of all, the wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean. Who would mind
sitting in one room 50 feet by 10 for six days and nights to see all
this ? and who is there who, having done so once, would not want
to have the days halved and the nights doubled on the next occasion ?    Answer, I!
On waking about daybreak, the first station passed was Frazee,
217 miles from St. Paul, and 1694 from Portland. Of this
217 miles I, of course, saw nothing; but I can tell you what it was
like from hearsay, and shall of course have to do this always on the
night journeys. The course of the railway is along the left side of
the Mississippi river, the country scenery consisting of small lakes
and streams, patches of timber, and occasional tracts of open prairie
or grazing-land. Anoka is on the Rum river. There are 4000
inhabitants; but I did not learn whether the Rum water affected
their heads at all. Sauk Rapids is a village of some little importance, on account of large beds of granite. Crow-Wing is 128 miles
from St. Paul, and is famous for its Indian history, nothing else.
A little west of where the station is, a celebrated chief of the Chippe-
ways, whose name was Hole-in-the-Day, had his habitation. This
chief is said to have been a fine-looking man, and also to be a great
dandy in his dress, but was looked upon by his tribe at conniving
with the Agent in his evil practices. On each Indian reservation
is a Government Agent, who is supposed to look after the tribe like
a father, and also to dole out the Government bounties; but it is
well known that these men all -over the States are fearful rogues,
and swindle the poor Indians to their own personal gain. It was
at these practices that Hole-in-the-Day was supposed to wink.
The Government determined, on one certain occasion, to send out a
man to inspect the Agency. The Agent became frightened; and so
to make the chief secure he bought him a beautiful saddle and
bridle. When the inspector called, the chief showed these as great
treasures and with great pride; then, putting the bit in his own
mouth, he said, laughing, "This no horse-bridle; this Indian bridle.
Indian no talk." And the Inspector had to go without his information. 8
Hole-in-the-Day was murdered by bis tribe about ten or twelve
years ago. On another occasion the Government sent out an
Agent to try and get this wily man to sign a treaty by which they
would sell their land, and go away to live in a desolate place.
When the assembly was all met together, the Agent rose and said,
° Your great father has heard of your wrongs, and made up his
mind to send you an honest man ; he looked, all about him till
ho saw me, when he said, ' I have found an honest man; go,
make a treaty with my red children.' Look at me! the winds of
fifty summers have blown over my head and turned it grey. I
tell you, as a man who never lies, it is wise for you to sign this
treaty at once." He sat down again in perfect silence. Presently
a chief of the Mille-lac tribe, named Shah-bah-skong, got up to
speak, and he spoke to the point:—" My father, look on me! The
winds of fifty summers have blown over my head and turned it
grey. The winds have not blown my brains away !" The council
ended at once amidst general roars of laughter.
Brainerd is the station where the line from Duluth joins the
St.-Paul line, and is an important town, about 1600 feet above
the sea, and planted in the midst of a pine-forest. Somewhere in
this neighbourhood (a little east, I think) a survey-party for the
Northern Pacific Railway got lost, and had to beg for food at
Shah-bah-skong's house. His wife got ready a big feast, and then
the family sat down to eat, leaving the hungry white men to look
on. When this feast was finished, a second table was got ready,
and the white men invited to eat. When they had finished the
chief said, "My friends, when I was in Washington, the great
father told me that if I wanted to be happy in this world, and go
to a good place when I die, I was to keep my eyes open, and do
as I saw the white men do. I noticed that a rich white man
never had any poor men at his table, and that people of another
colour always waited. I am the rich man now, you are poor
men and of another colour; and as I want to be happy, and go
to a good place when I die, I asked you to wait and eat at the
second table." Frazee, the first place I saw after leaving St. Paul, is  only a
small  place, about  eight or ten  years old, but is proud of its
flour-mill, which is said to  be the largest west   of' Minneapolis.
The flour from this mill is shipped to all parts of the world.   The
country around  seems to  be a first-class farming-land,  and  the
farmers in good circumstances..  Amongst other useful articles, I
took note of one of Fairbank's large outdoor scales.     The surface of the country passed over all the morning was perfectly flat
for miles and miles, and  then slightly more undulating, or perhaps better described as rolling-pasture.    In one place, for several
miles,  the road was marked out by a row of  small trees ;   the
land was so flat, and the road a mere track, that this is doubtless
necessary to guide a stranger in the dark.    A little further west
you will   notice the  name Detroit.     This  is a town small and
young,  and  that is all  I know about it.     It is situated in an
opening in the timber-woods around, and  the soil  is sandy.    A
little south lies the most fertile part of Minnesota,. known as the
Pelican Lake district.    Twelve years ago the pioneers of this town
were met  by a band  of  Chippewas, and feasted  on boiled fish
(cooked whole and entire) and baked dog.     Here I must put in
another   story of  Indian  history,  which  is  well   authenticated.
Twenty-five miles north of this town of Detroit is a Reservation
belonging to the Chippewas (or Ojibways, as they call themselves),
known as the White Earth Reservation.    They have always been
a kindly-disposed tribe, and one in friendly alliance with the white
man; but this contact with civilization has brought them to a low
state of degradation such as their fathers never knew.     During
the time Bishop Whipple was a missionary in these parts, he, in
company with others, of whom one was, I believe, Lord Charles
Hervey, paid this tribe a visit.    There was a hospital consecrated
and a confirmation held.    After the services a banquet was given
by the Indians to their illustrious visitors.    After the eating was
over, the speechifying began, and of course the first man to say anything was the chief.     This worthy's name was Wah-bon-a-quot
(I do not know the English of this).     He began somewhat like 10
this: " We are glad to see our friends.  Do they know the history of
the Ojibways ? I will tell them." Then he described the way they
lived and so on. § Hunger never came to our wigwams! Would
you like to see us as we were before the white men came? " Then
there appeared a fine tall young Indian in the aboriginal costume,
consisting of a robe of skins ornamented with the quills of the porcupine, and with his face painted, and with him appeared a young
woman also in her wild dress. " There," said Wah, " see the Ojibways before the white man came! Shall I tell you what the white
man did for us ? The white man told us we were poor, we had no
books, no tools, no horses, and so on; but, said they, give us your
land, and you shall become as we are. But you shall see the story
for yourselves; I cannot tell it." Then there stepped out a poor,
miserable, ragged, decrepid-looking Ludian, with his face all covered
with mud, and by his side a still more dreadful-looking specimen of
a woman; the chief then addressing this object asked, " Are you an
Ojibway ? " The Indian nodded assent. " Oh, Manitou, how came
this ? " The Indian then raised a black bottle and said one word,
" Ishkotah-wabo" (fire-water); " it is the gift of a white man."
This tableau sent a thrill like an electric shock through all present,
and tears into many eyes. Then the chief went on and alluded to
the labours of the missionaries, and especially the good the Bishop
had done to them. " Shall I tell you what this religion has done
for us ? You shall see for yourselves." Then there came forward an
Indian in a black frock-coat and by his side a woman neatly dressed
in alpaca. " There," said the chief, " there is only one religion which
can take a man in the mire by the hand and bid him look up and
call God his Father." There are 1500 civilized Indians on this
White Earth Reservation: there is the Episcopal Church of America
(in communion with the English Church) and a Roman Catholic;
the clergyman in charge is white, with an Indian curate, the Rev.
J. S. Emmegahbowh. I regret that the tickets did not allow of a
visit being paid to this settlement.
Moorhead was reached at 8 a.m.    This is the last station in the
State of Minnesota.    There are two good-sized hotels visible from 11
the train: one called the Grand Pacific and the other the Jay Cooke.
There were also large substantial red-brick blocks, with stores and
offices. The Grand Pacific is said to be almost the largest and best-
equipped hotel in the North West; it is reported to have cost upwards
of 160,000 dollars. Directly after leaving Moorhead the Red river of
the North is crossed. This is the river on which Winnipeg is built,
away to the north, and is navigable for small steamers the entire
distance. This river runs north, and, as a consequence, is frozen
quite firm lower down in its course, away in Manitoba, after the
winter's ice has all melted in Dakota and the regions further south.
This causes floods, as the water cannot run away. The alluvial
deposit thus formed is of very great value to the farmers along its
banks. After crossing the bridge, the train is in Dakota—the Red
river forming the boundary between the two States, or the State
and the territory.    The next 294 miles is in Dakota.
(July 10.) I cannot take you for two days through this State
without telling you something about it as a whole. The Northern
Indians are divided into two great families—the Algonquins and the
Dakotas, or Sioux (pronounced " sou," shoe with the " h " left out).
The Algonquins include the Chippewas or Ojibways, the Crees,
Ottawas, and other tribes of less note. Some of the tribes of
Dakotas are called by the general name of Sautees, and then there
are Tanktous, Brule, Cutheads, Two Kettles, Ogallas, &c. &c.
There is a curious difference in the language, by which a person
versed in the Dakota language can tell which side of the Missouri
river any Indian comes from. Those living east of the Missouri use
a D, where those living west use an L. Thus east of the Missouri
■a-friend would be called " codah," while west of the river he would
be called " colah "; so also the part of the family east is called by the
name Dakota, and west Lakota. This tribe have always been the
friend of the white man, though I think Fenimore Cooper says
differently. This territory thus perpetuates the name of the once
large and powerful family who claimed a large part of this country
as their own.
The  first Sioux war  was  caused  on this wise :—A band of 12
Mormons, migrating west, had a lame ox, which they turned
loose and left behind to die; some Sioux found the ox, killed it and
eat it. The Mormons saw or heard of this, and conceived the idea
of obtaining money in payment, or payment in some shape, probably
not in money, but in kind. To carry out this idea they reported the
matter to the officer in command of the garrison at Fort Laramie,
only stating that the Indians had stolen the ox. The officer, who
was drunk, went with some men to the Indian village and demanded
the ox. The Indians said they thought the white men had turned
it loose to die: " We have eaten the ox, but if you want pay, stop it
out of our next annuity." The drunken officer said, " NO; I want
the ox, and if you do not give it, I will fire." He fired and killed
the chief. The whole tribe then rallied and killed every soul there
was in the fort. A war followed. These Sioux are still a source of
annoyance to the American government, owing to the corrupt nature
of the Agents.    On British soil they live peaceably enough.
About 8 o'clock in the morning we arrived at Fargo, where the train
stopped 20 minutes for breakfast. For the-last two or three years
the population has doubled annually, and at present there are said
to be over 10,000 ; its site was hardly known ten years ago. There
are tramways and electric lights, four banks, eight newspapers, and
a number of hotels, and it seems an exceedingly lively place. The
railway. company have a large engine-shed and shops here, where
rails are rolled and repairs to rolling-stock carried out; all this gives
employment to a great many people. Then there are the Fargo
Paper-Mill Works, .and the Fargo Iron-Works and Car-Wheel Works,
•employing several hundreds of men each. Not only the principal
streets are lighted by electricity, but also, I hear, most of the large
business houses and works; and there are five different fire-extinguishing companies. This station is the commencement of the
Dakota division of the railway. After leaving Fargo the line runs
for miles, all day in fact, over the boundless prairie. In places these
prairies reminded me of the appearance of a heavy Atlantic swell •
they are not flat plains, and they are not hills; they are for the most
part rolling and gently undulating pastures. You have a view right
clear to the horizon in every direction, and yet you suddenly pop 13
upon some house or farm or cattle that were not in sight a half
minute previously. In the winter, when the snow lays thick and
dry as dust, there is nothing to stop the wind driving it in any
direction. Of course you can easily see that when this dry dusty
snow is blown in a direction crossing the railway in places where
there are cuttings, ever so small, the snow would in a very short
time completely fill up such a cutting level with the original surface
of the ground. It is necessary therefore to stop this drifting across
cuttings; and for this purpose the Northern Pacific have quite a
novel plan, which, I should imagine, was very effective, and is certainly an improvement on the usual custom in the Eastern States or
in Canada. The old plan was to build a high fence, like a solid wall,
10 or 15 feet high, a few feet back from the top of the cut for its
whole length; this of course causes an immense drift to lodge behind,
and when level with the top is of sufficient height to clear the railway before falling again; this of course, even in summer, obstructs the
view. The Northern Pacific along this part of their line build two
fences, open. About 30 or 40 feet back from the edge of the cutting
is a fence about six feet high, with vertical rails some distance apart;
about 100 feet, or perhaps a little less, further out than this is a fence
of the same length and height with the rails horizontal. This
arrangement does not obstruct the view at all, and at the same time
must effectually break the force of the wind. Between these two
lines of fences they are now busy planting trees. This is to serve a
twofold object: the trees will not only be a very effective snow-dam,
but will also be a pleasant change to the eyes from the weary
monotony of endless grass.
On these prairies not a single natural tree is to be seen for
immense distances, and then only where there is some stream
or water. Another idea of these trees is to show people as they
travel along that it only requires a little time and trouble to make
a house on these prairies a very nice place to live in. A farmhouse at present does not look inviting: these are generally placed
on the top of some rising ground, exposed to every wind and storm
that chooses to sweep that way, and must be fearful habitations
in winter; with trees planted around, the keen winds of winter and
J 14
the hot suns of summer would be considerably tempered and made
more endurable.
At 11.20 the train reached Valley City. This is another small
town, very prettily situated in an amphitheatre of hills rising about
100 feet above the plains on all sides of it. The Cheyenne river
circles round this valley, having its course marked with a fringe of
oaks and elms and other trees. The river is between 60 and 80 feet
wide, I should say, about half a mile east of the town, where the railway crosses it; its bed is gravelly. There were visible from the
train several fair stores (t. e. shops), a bank, and an hotel, and should
increase in population at a fair rate, but not so rapidly as many other
of these new towns. The hills circling the valley in which the town
lies sheltered are like low English downs, covered with fine pasturage
and many cattle grazing thereon. Hills of this character extend
westward about two or three miles along the railway on the north
side and then flatten out to the never-ending prairie; on the south
of the line they rise somewhat in height to perhaps 150 or 200 feet,
and run away as far as the eye can see. This little piece of line is
quite a pleasant surprise and a very welcome break to the stiffened
Atlantic swell.
Jamestown is 368 miles from St. Paul, and here the dining-car
was put on to the train. In 1880, when the town was incorporated,
there were 400 inhabitants; now the population is not far short of
3000. The town is well situated on the east bank of the James river,
and seems to be the centre of a good agricultural district, and therefore ought to thrive well. There is only one main street, running
north and south for some length, and in which are situated two or
three banks and several hotels; there are a few ungraded cross-streets,
and several houses are in course of construction. Coal is said to be
■cheap, and therefore, I suppose, easily got at; but I did not see any.
In the vicinity of the city the ground becomes rather more irregular
and gives one the idea of bowling along on the ocean on a fine day
with a fair wind, the vessel leaning over steadily on one side, and
the water just not rough enough to have white tops to the sweU.
Leaving Jamestown you continue the journey over the treeless waste
\ 15
till far away, about 1| mile from the line on the north, is a white
speck, which the glasses show to be an inhabited house; it looks like a
piece of wreck halfway up the side of a long sweeping wave. Unexpectedly the train stops; you go out to see what part of the train has
come to grief, or whether the coupling has broken, and you are left
cast away on the face of the globe, when you are surprised to find
nothing wrong: the train is at a station. Tou have to be told this,
because no human eyes would ever discover the fact; but such is
the case, and the name of it is Medina. There is literally and truly
one house only 50 feet south of the line, about 24 feet by 18, and
one storey high, built of wood like a large packing-case, and a
barn that has suddenly developed near it, away to the north,
almost out of sight. At this station there is also a siding, but we
did ^not use it, nor was there any visible sign that it was in the
habit of being used. The snow-fences about here, that I attempted
to describe a while ago, give place entirely to the little belt of trees
which I mentioned as being planted. The cuttings are only four
feet deep at most; but still if these were full of snow they would
inconvenience a train.
Tappan is one of the prettiest, certainly the prettiest station I
had yet seen'on this line. It is very small, merely a hamlet, with
about 100 inhabitants, but is one of the places where the tree-
planting scheme is being very successfully carried on. The railroad
company do this to encourage and set an example to the farmers
of these vast Dakota lands. 200,000 trees are said to have been
planted here by this department of the railroad, and several bushels
of box-elder seeds, from which have been raised about three hundred
thousand shoots. The varieties tried so far have been chiefly cotton-
wood, box-elder, and willow (white willow); but the white maple and
the ash will be tried also. So far the great majority of the trees
planted are doing well and appear vigorous, only a few having died,
this probably having been the fault either of the tree itself or the
man, and not of the soil or climate. The company offer premiums
to the farmers who settle on their lands to plant ornamental trees
around their houses and farms. 1
L
16
The next place of any importance is Bismarck.   This city is built
close to the great Missouri river, on its east bank, and in the centre
of all the  steamboat navigation of  the   North-Western  States.
Steamers now can navigate about 2000 miles north and west on this
great river and its numerous tributaries, and then ad infinitum past
St. Louis to the sea, thousands of miles more; its elevation is said
to be 1700 feet above the sea, and Is on an elevation above all
liability to flood from the river.    The place was in 1872, when the
Northern Pacific Railway engineers finally decided to cross the Mis-
sourihere, called Edwinton,but was soon after changed by the directors
to its present name; why, I know not.   It is one of the oldest cities
in Dakota; its surrounndings are all that are necessary to make it a
large and thriving place.    The approach to the bridge over the
Missouri river is through a very deep cutting with several sharp
curves for about two miles from the station.    The river is 2800 feet
wide at the spot chosen, and is spanned or, rather, crossed on a bridge
of three main spans, which cost over 1,000,000 dollars. The channel of
the river is so shifty that it was necessary first of all to confine the
stream or current of the river to one place and make it stop there.
In order to do this a large dyke or dam has been built from the
west side, leaving a channel of 1000 feet between the end of it and
the cliffs.on the east side.    This was a work of great difficulty, but
has been successfully accomplished ; and then the base of the cliff
on the east side has. been protected by rip-rap, i. e. a sort of wall of
loose stones, without mortar, put on as a face to the natural surface.
Thirty thousand tons of granite boulders were used in the rip-rap
necessary to prevent the artificial dam from being wasted away.
The real bridge, a beautiful iron structure, has three spans of 400 feet
each, allowing 50 feet clear above the water, and an approach span
at each end of 113 feet.    The easternmost abutment is made of
granite, with the natural bluff for a foundation.     The three lar^e
400-foot girders are supported on very large and massive granite
piers, which have to withstand a fearful crunching of the ice in the
early spring.     The westernmost abutment is an iron beam resting
on iron cylinders, supported by piles driven into the sand-bar, and 17
protected by the dam. The four piers and east abutment combined
occupy a space of over 10,000 cubic yards. The piers do not have
their foundations on any rocky surface at the bottom of the river,
but on artificial foundations made of wooden piles and caissons, in
which style of work American engineers are particularly cunning.
Each of the three girders, 400 feet long, is 50 feet deep, and have
a floor made of oak timbers 9 inches square, 6 inches apart. The
level of the ground on the west side is about that of the river, so the
west approach is on a steep grade, 1 in 100, and is 6000 feet long.
About a quarter of this distance is a timber trestle, in one place
60 feet high, i. e. next the bridge, which is built across that portion
of the bed of the river which has been reclaimed from the river by
the dam. This is where the regular steamboat channel was four
years ago; there is now a considerable growth of willows on the
spot. Each span was tested with a weight of about 500 tons, and
the deflection maximum was not over 3 inches.
This is the narrowest part of the Missouri river for thousands of
miles!
Mandan is 474 miles from St. Paul, and we arrived there at
7 p.m.—that is, 23 hours' run. This was with the ordinary daily
passenger-train, called the Mandan express. This train runs no
further; and we were to wait over here till a freight-train came and
took pity on us. There was ample time for inspecting the town,
for we did not leave till 11.20, i. e. we had a stop of 4 hours and
20 minutes. A large building, the Inter-Ocean Hotel, was inviting;
and so I had a good supper there, and posted you a card afterwards.
Many Cow-boys and Indians were about on horseback. Cow-boys
are, for the most part, a wild, lawless, and reckless set of men,
whose lives are spent almost entirely in the saddle, and whose occupation is looking after and driving the herds of cattle and horses
belonging to the farmers and ranche-owners in the country. The
city is enclosed on three sides by a low range of hills, which must
afford it considerable shelter in times of storm. In 1879 the ground
where Mandan now is was occupied by a tribe of Indians, and buffaloes grazed freely on the hills; in fact, in that year there was a
B 18
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regular pitched battle between the Sioux and the Rees, a branch of
the Mandan tribe. The city is two years old, and there are about
350 houses, perhaps a trifle more. Main Street is the principal one,
and runs parallel with the railroad, being divided therefrom by what
is called the City Park, but what I call a wide space. There is
more than one ecclesiastical building, and a school and a public
hall. The railway-station, too, is a good building for its kind in
this part of the world. There are large machine-shops, engine-
house, freight-sheds, and so on, for the railway make this the terminus of the Dakota and the beginning of the Missouri divisions of
their line. There is a daily and two weekly newspapers. The
Inter-Ocean Hotel is built of brick, is about 100 feet square, and
three storeys high.
Close to Mandan are to be seen mounds formed from the accumulation of successive layers of camp-refuse, which camps, or native
villages, have been destroyed and rebuilt, and destroyed again by
successive prairie fires. The Indians say they know nothing about
these mounds; but there are to be found in them stone implements
and vessels and spear-heads, and bones of men and animals. The
pottery discovered is said to be of a dark material, delicately
finished, light as wood, and beautifully decorated, and is evidently
the work of a people possessing a high degree of civilization. Who
can all these belong to ? It was too late in the day to visit this
place or procure specimens.
Mandan lies in the valley of the Heart river ; and this river has
a legend amongst the Indians, which I think is interesting enough
to quote at length. It is taken from an old copy of the ' Mandan
Pioneer,' a daily paper, dated about fifteen months ago:—
IA Legend of the Heart, by a Mandan Indian named Bed Bird.
—Many moons before the red man lived in the land of the Dakotas
a powerful tribe or race of people lived on the banks of the Heart
river. They were skilled in the arts of war and the chase—a nation
of giant men and beautiful women, living in tepees built like the
pale faces make their houses. This people, like the leaves of the
forest, could not be numbered; they possessed large herds of horses,
b2 20
cattle, and other animals. All other tribes were subdued by thera
and became their servants. They went mounted on powerful and
fleet horses, armed with large spears and bows and arrows. They
had large quantities of gold and silver and precious stones, and made
handsome vessels of burnt clay decorated with flowers and animals.
This people, like the white man, worshipped the Great Spirit in
grand tepees erected in their cities, filled with gold and silver
vessels, adorned with coloured flints and agates. They were ruled
-by a renowned and valiant chief, a mighty giant, whose will was
law, and who established great schools of learning, and encouraged
arts and sciences. They were a grand, proud, and happy people,
and lived many years on the banks of the Heart. But a powerful
nation of dark-skinned men came from the north and made war on
them. After many battles, and thousands of slain, one final battle
was fought at the mouth of the Heart, lasting many days; and
in this battle the dark-skinned men surrounded the people of the
Heart, killing every man, woman, and child, piling up the dead
bodies in trenches, pulling down the tepees upon them, and setting
fire to the whole. After feasting many days celebrating the victory
a pestilence broke out, a spotted disease, which destroyed the last
man, leaving not one man, woman, or child, or four-footed beast of
any description to mark the victors or the vanquished. Only bones,
ashes, broken pottery, and a few implements of war, in these Httle
mounds, are left to tell the tale of the once happy and powerful
people of the Heart. Nothing more; and Red Bird too will soon
pass to the happy hunting-grounds, almost the last of his once
powerful race."
Various rumours were abroad as to the time of our departure
from Mandan, but nothing definite could be learned. It was some
time after we had all retired for the night before we were at last
coupled to the tail of a freight-train, and our trans-continental
journey resumed.    So ended the first day.
Friday morning discovered the train toiling up a very steep
grade. A few antelopes were seen about half a mile from the track,
and these were the first wild creatures sighted so far.    There was 21
still the same unsettled vast expanse, but now in much larger hills;
in fact during the day we went up some very considerable elevation, only to descend again towards evening. The freight-train
was long and heavy, and we were not overjoyed at finding ourselves
about breakfast-time only as far as Dickinson, 110 miles west from
Mandan—that is, 110 miles in 8 hours. The soil on this part of
the prairie is not so good as east of the Missouri, and in consequence
the houses and towns are practically non-existent. The train
allowed 40 minutes at this place, which is little else than a railroad
depot. There are one or two hotels and some tolerably fair stores.
The population is about 400. There were several waggons loaded
with bones standing about, and these are the bones of buffalo
which have died or been killed on the prairie. Parties go out to
search, and bring back tons. They aro all sent off to some place or
other by rail. This is a trade carried on at many other points along
the fine—in fact, is one of the industries of the country. While we
were there a eart came in from the country having a fine young elk
deer for freight. They only stayed a few minutes, and then drove
on. Elk are said to be very common in the neighbourhood, but that
is the only one I saw.
The rolling prairies roll on for about twenty miles further or so,
and then the train suddenly enters upon what is known by the
general name of | The Bad Lands."     This looks like a very good
name for the country, but it is said to be a great misnomer.     The
designation is said to have arisen from the times when the old
French " voyageurs " used to penetrate these desolate regions in the
service of the fur-trading companies.   They described this part of
the country as | mauvais terres pour traverser " with ponies and
pack-animals.    The name is said to give a stranger a very wrong
impression of the agricultural value of the country.    I will try and
give you some idea of the scenery.    Another name given to this
region is " Pyramid Park." These curious-shaped mounds or hills are
called Bnttes ("u" is pronounced like "u"in the word tube). Their
tops are for the most part level with the prairie, the spaces between
having been evidently washed away.    These buttes vary in height, 22
and perhaps are as much as 200 feet high, though the average, I
dare say, will be 120 to 150 for the highest, and 40 or 50 for the
lowest. They have mostly rounded summits, and steep, often perpendicular, sides, which are richly coloured in stripes or horizontal
bands of black, brown, red, grey, and a perfect snow-white. Between these buttes are sharp ravines, which frequently have some
shallow stream running in them, and covered with good-looking
grass and small shrubs. There are no trees except an occasional
stunted pine, all that is now left of the mighty forests that used to
grow here in bygone ages.—(July 11.) There are evidences here of
the destructive work of both fire and water, as I think both of
these have had to do with making a scene of so much confusion and
disorder. The mounds are of every possible shape and form you
can imagine, and appear to be composed of limestone, with sandstone and lignite in alternate strata. Some of these buttes have
bases of yellow and tops of a deep red, with pure white bands
between. Others are blue, brown, and grey, and so on, in every
possible variety of colouring as well as form. Just before entering
upon this chaotic region the line is ballasted with what appears to be
broken bricks and flower-pots; and it is necessary actually to handle
the stuff to convince yourself that such is not really the case.
I mentioned just now that there were mighty forests here; and
the evidences of this primaeval growth are abundant in the petrifactions of tree-stumps, 6 and 8 feet in diameter (there are trees here
in B. C. as much as 15 feet in diameter, now!), and these are said to
be often as translucent in portions as rock-crystal, and capable of
being highly polished. Specimens of fossil leaves, still retaining all
their reticulations perfect, are found, but of a bright scarlet hue,
changed in this way by the heat of the burning lignite. The black
and brown streaks of colouring are veins of lignite, from the burning of which the shades of red are produced. There are seams of
coal on fire, one in the railroad-cutting and others within sight that
have been burning for years and years, the Indians don't know how
long. It is supposed that the lignite or soft coal is ignited by
prairie fires, and then fanned by a high wind.    This produces suffi-
	 23
cient heat to fuse the strata or beds contiguous, both above and
below. In this way the clay makes a slag, which is very hard, and
looks like the pottery and brieks I have mentioned, which is also
" Buttzs," Pyramid Park.
green and brown. I fancy there is also an iron element, giving a
tinge to the whole. One of these buttes was exactly like Table
Mountain and^the Devil's Peak, as seen from Table Bay (in miniature, of course), but the Lion's Head was missing. In one of the
valleys in this district, which can be located on the map by the
three stations of Fryburg, Sully Springs, and Scoria, appeared to
be the remains of an old Indian village with semi-underground
houses, the roofs or coverings having all been burnt or washed away.
There is no doubt, I think, that all this part was at one time a lake,
and some volcanic action or other cause has given the waters
an outlet into the Missouri river; and so the streams that once
fed the lake now merely meander through the ravines and valleys
that were washed out when the water hurried away in a flood to
the river. =
I
24
At Little-Missouri Station we saw the first prairie-dog village.
Natural-history books will give you a very good and correct account
©f these little creatures, that are more like ground-squirrels than
dogs, and their mounds were not as high as the pictures in Wood's
book would lead one to expect—of course, they may be so elsewhere.
At 3.30 p.m. we crossed the line between Dakota and Montana.
This line is marked by a board on a post, with the names of the two
territories painted thereon in black. Little Missouri is where a
young man from the East, when the railroad was first opened, or
only being constructed, complained to the landlord of the hotel or
inn of the dirty towel in a common washing-room. " Look here,
stranger; thirty men have used that towel this morning, and
nobody has complained of it but you. We don't allow grumbling
in this hotel." Soon after leaving this little out-of-the-way place the
rough ground comes to an end, and the prairies begin again, only
they are in larger undulations than before. There is nothing more
worthy of note till the city of Glendive is reached, on the south bank
of the Yellowstone river, which was duly accomplished at 7.0 p.m.
The freight-train had taken us 260 miles in 20 hours. Here we
had to wait till 10 p.m., when the ordinary first-class express with
its Pullmans and dining-car would take us for some considerable
distance.
Glendive is 90 miles from the mouth of the Yellowstone river and
over 2000 feet above the sea. The town is situated on a piece of
land sloping gently northwards towards the river, and is confined
on the south by some large buttes, I dare say 300 or 400 feet above
the river, and about f mile from it. There are crops of vegetables
in fine condition to be seen in the little gardens that many of the
inhabitants have round their houses. The soil is a sandy loam, and
water is easily obtained at a depth of 20 or 30 feet—the proximity
of the river, no doubt, accounting for this in a good measure, though
very likely the wells would tap the water draining from the elevated
plateau on the south. There are here, again, large shops belonging
to the railway company, built of brick, which is said to have been
made in the town.    As there was three hours to wait here, I had 25
supper in the hotel (which would appear to be a very comfortable
Tiouse). Sent you a post-card and made a tour of inspection. The
population is a little over 1500 ; the town was founded and laid out
in 1881. As it was late (10 p.m.) before we were taken on, I was
unable to see any of the scenery in the immediate neighbourhood,
but it is said to be very good. The line follows the south bank of
the Yellowstone river pretty closely for about 300 miles.
Saturday morning found us at Custer Station, 172 miles from
Glendive. This place is named after a famous general Custer, who
lost his life in the Yellowstone valley fighting with the Indians.
Several Indians in blankets and paint were on the platform, and a
considerable number of their wigwams were pitched between the rail
and the river. The Yellowstone valley is here about | mile wide,
the river being about 300-400 feet, with a very strong current.
The immediate banks of the river are marshy, and many small
islands thickly covered with trees and bushes make the scene very
pretty. Further on the valley narrows a good deal. The line
follows all the sinuosities of the river, and has been cut through the
rock in many places; but the hills that confine the river are not very
high nor rugged. I suppose they are what are called the Foot-hills
of the Rockies. All this part of the country, as far, I believe, as the
Rocky Mountains themselves, and for a considerable distance south,
is the Reservation of the Crow Indians, and so both they and their
wigwams were frequent objects in the landscape.
At ten minutes past seven I caught first sight of a snow-capped
peak, which was part of the Rocky Mountains proper, but must
have been 150 miles away. The atmosphere is so remarkably clear
that distances are very deceptive. The mountain seen was close to
Livingstone, a little south. An hour after this we reached Billings.
Just before reaching this town, however, there is a curious high and
rough promontory across the river on the S. called Skull Butte.
The train has meanwhile crossed the river, and is now consequently
on the north side.
There is another legend here, which I must put in just to
keep up your  interest in this little note.    Seventy years  ago 26
small-pox broke out amongst a large encampment of the Crow
nation, and the plague was so virulent that the tribe was in danger
of becoming exterminated. The chief medicine man said that in
order to appease the Great Spirit, it was necessary that forty young
warriors should sacrifice themselves. Very soon the required
number of volunteers was obtained, and the preparations for the
sacrifice were commenced with much ceremony. When all the
rites were duly performed, the forty young warriors mounted their
ponies, forded the river, and ascended the heights opposite, ready
for their fate. The intention was that both men and steeds should
be blindfolded, and, rushing at full speed to the edge of the cliff,
should plunge to the rocky bed of the river, several hundred feet
below. The word was given, and then, with a great shouting, the
warriors urged their ponies to the brink of the cliff, and all went
down to destruction. For many years afterwards the bones of men
and horses and bleaching skulls could be found at the foot of the
cliff, which thus takes its name of " Skull Butte."
BiUings is so named in honour of the late President of the railroad, and is pleasantly situated on a plain sloping down to the
Yellowstone river on the south. This town is two years old, and
has over 400 houses and 2000 people. The railway have here
another divisional station, with engine-sheds, &c. Large veins of
coal are said to lie near the town and extensive beds of it about 30
or 40 miles away. It is the principal centre of Montana for shipping cattle, and its wool-market is good, large shipments being
made. The Snow Mountains are very conspicuous away to the west,
and appear to be only 30 miles or so away, but are in reality a
hundred. Nearly all the inhabitants came to see the train. It is
the only passenger-train from the east in the day, and as it remains
20 minutes for the purpose nominally of enabling passengers to
breakfast, there is plenty of opportunity for an interchange of news.
Leaving Billings, the line passes for the whole of the morning across
and around undulating plains, with large herds of cattle, and Indians
and Cow-boys, but hardly a house, except just in the neighbourhood
of the stopping-places.    The mountsin-views in the distance are 27
beautiful, and there is a wonderful fascination about them as they
draw nearer and nearer, and begin to be .on each side as well as
right ahead, most of the tops heavily laden with snow. The day
being gloriously fine, the bright rays of the sun and the clear
atmosphere added to the beauty of the distant scene.
At Stillwater, where the line again crosses to the south of the
river, is the Agency for the Crow Indians, who assemble here twice
a year to receive the Government supplies. There were very few
about there on this occasion.
Livingstone is the real beginning of the mountain scenery ; it is
also a great railway centre, there being a branch line to the Yellowstone Park, and also a large freight depot. The Yellowstone river
is here crossed for the third and last time, after having followed it
pretty closely for 340 miles. The railway buildings, are second
only to those at Brainerd, far away in the east. The town is quite
a new place, and consequently very small at present. There
appeared to be but one real street, but several stores and two hotels
were visible from the car window. Supplies of fresh milk at 10
cents a quart, also bread and tarts, were hawked through the train
for the convenience of passengers; a very good trade in all three
was carried on in the emigrant-car, while the milk found customers
in all parts of the train. This latter was the pure, genuine, fresh
article. The town is located at the eastern foot of that spur of the
Rockies known as the Bell Range. Continuing on west from Livingstone the train has to climb a steep grade of about 116 feet to the
mile, till it reaches an elevation of 5570 feet above the sea, when
it enters the Bozeman Tunnel, which is 3500 feet long. There is
a spiral steep-grade track going over the top of the hill, which was
in use before the tunnel was finished; the trains were taken up in
two or three sections, according to their length and weight; but now
the tunnel is completed I believe this overhead route is not used at
all, but the rails appear to be there still. The scenery is of course
fine, but there is nothing to call for especial comment; places as
picturesque can be found in Wales and Scotland, and whilst in Switzerland you must have often surpassed this Bell Range at all events, 28
if not the Rockies themselves, in some of the Alpine passes. There
is nothing that surpasses the far side of Bain's Kloof, or the Michael
Pass at the Cape, in any of it; in fact I do not think it comes up
to it.   It is only 26 miles from Livingstone to Bozeman station.
The town of Bozeman I could not see, as it lies a little way
away from the line on the south, and is hidden by trees. The
place takes its name from a man of that name who was in
charge of a party of emigrants, who were so charmed with the
picturesqueness of the spot and the fertility of the soil that they
decided to go no further, and located accordingly. It is said to bo
a substantially built place and to do a good business. There are certainly two hotels, for two busses, or abuss and a waggon, were awaiting
the train, each labelled with the name of some hotel; the buss had
four horses, and drove off in style; the roads, as far as visible,
were deep sand. The grade down the mountains on the west is
about as steep, though not quite so long, as that on the east. The
station is situated at the east end of the Gallatin valley, which is
here about three miles wide, but subsequently widens out to twenty
or more, and- has a length of about thirty. The soil is very good
for agricultural purposes, being composed of a dark vegetable mould.
There are many farm-houses in this valley, but nothing worthy to
be called even a village. Plenty of cactuses (or cacti) were in flower,
all that were visible being yellow. The plants were seldom over
6 inches in height. At a place called Gallatin City, which consists of
one flour-mill, two or three stores, and. a ranche (i. e. inn), and nothing
more, is the source of the mighty Missouri. The three streams called
the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin rivers here unite, and the united
stream takes the name of Missouri, which name, as you know, is kept
as far as St. Louis, where uniting with the Mississippi, the latter
name is kept to the ocean. Which is the longest of the three sources
I do not know. The course of the Missouri from the Three Forks,
as they are also called, is 3000 miles till it joins the Mississippi.
In the first 150 miles between its origin in this beautiful Gallatin
valley and Fort Benton away to the north the river passes through
some wonderful ravines called Canons, whose walls rise from one to 29
two thousand feet perpendicular from the river on either side. For
the whole of its course from St. Louis to the Gallatin valley this
wonderful river is navigable for steamboats of 200 tons burden and
more, except just at Fort Benton, where there are some falls, and for
18 miles further south. The line continues along the Gallatin
valley, following close along the right bank of the Missouri, as far as
Townsend, where it crosses over to the left bank, and gradually
recedes away from it till you reach the town of Helena. This
station is the end of the Montana and the commencement of the
Rocky Mountain section of the railway.
Helena is considerably the largest place we had come to for some
time; it has a population of slightly over 7000. It is the capital of
Montana. Its situation is pleasant, on the slope of the eastern foot
of the main chain of the Rockies, Lat. 46° 30' N., Long. 112° 4' W.
The place originally was a mere miners' camp, and was known as
| Crab Town." There are six churches, four banks, a public library,
a classical school, a public school, a Board of Trade, a Fire Department, with electrical fire-alarms, and the streets are lighted by the
electric light. There are also several good hotels, in one of which
I had supper. I was on the point of writing you a card when the
train showed signs of starting, and though it was hardly the proper
time it would not do to be left, so I ran like mad after it down the
street, and just got on board in time to get shunted back into a
siding. Had I remembered the good old proverb, " Look before you
leap," I should have seen a freight-train standing right ahead, and
being a single line should have known that the train could not be
going really, or that if it was it would be better to let it have the
collision by itself. As it turned out, the half-hour was prolonged
into a whole one, because after the freight-train had been allowed
to pass, a Pullman car and a luggage car containing a company of
a travelling show and their belongings was hitched on in the middle ;
and this all took time, and the post-card might have been written
after all. I must not forget, which I nearly had done, to mention
the telephone. This is in active use between all the principal
business houses and hotels, and also communicates over the moun- 30
tains, for upwards of fifty miles round, with the various mining
camps. Here's civilization indeed on the Rocky Mountains, and in
mighty London this is scarcely more than an amusing scientific
experiment. The slope on which Helena is built forms one side of
beautiful valley known as the Prickly Pear valley, whose soil can
and does produce 100 bushels of oats to the acre. The city is of
course entirely surrounded by mountains, which tower away in
peaks one above the other, visible from every part of the town, the
summits all covered with snow or lost in the clouds. The Missouri
river is 12 miles to the north; and there can be distinctly seen from
the station a curious jagged peak, called by the Indians some name
which means " Bear's Tooth." This peak is situated at the lower
end of the wonderful Canon of the Missouri river, known as " The
Gates of Rocky Mountains," which is the gorge by which the great
river forces its way through the Bell Mountain Range. It commences eighteen miles from Helena, and for 12 miles the cliffs, for
the most part vertical, rise from 500 to 1500 feet sheer from the
water's edge. It is at the lower or farther end of this gorge that
the Bear's Tooth stands, almost overhanging the water, rising
abruptly from the river to a height of 2500 feet!!
The river through this wonderful Canon is perfectly navigable, as
I have said, and boats can be hired at Helena to row through. I
should like to have seen this close. The Bear's Tooth is plain and
distinct, though 30 miles away. Near Helena are the Hot Springs,
whose water is a good cure rheumatism, and are resorted to for that
purpose. The temperature of the water as it comes from the earth
is 120° Fahr. or more. We eventually got away from here at 9.0 f.m.,
having arrived at 8.0. The grade now became very steep, and we
simply crawled along, though with two locomotives; the dining-car
was left behind to lighten the load as much as possible, another one
being in waiting the other side of the mountains. The Main Divide,
as it is called, of the Rocky Mountains was crossed at 10.45 p.m.
The line runs through the Mullan Pass, to an elevation of 5547 feet
above the sea, when it enters the Mullan Tunnel, 3850 feet in length.
This is a considerably lower elevation than either the Union or
- 31
Central Pacific lines have to reach. The route from Helena lies
through the Prickly Pear valley and then up, up, up, through
forests of pine and spruce, and round and through the masses of
rock, till you enter the tunnel, and then down, down, down to the
dry, arid plains of the Columbia river. It was a beautiful moonlight night, and while lying on the berth, with the window open
and the blinds up, the lights being lowered in the car for the night,
it was possible and easy to get a very good idea of what we were
passing through. During the night we passed along the Deer Lodge
river, which afterwards changes its name to Hell-Gate river. Then
there is Bear's Mouth Station, and a little further west Hell-Gate
Canon. This valley is forty miles long, and at the western end the
Hell-Gate river unites with the Big Blackfoot river, the united
stream then taking the name of Bitter Root. It is said that Hell-
Gate Canon is not what its name would imply, but is a picturesque
valley some two or three miles wide, but with rugged mountains
towering on eaeh side. Across this valley is a remarkable tongue
of land, like a mighty dam for the river, and this is called Beaver
•Hill, and of course has its story, which, being somewhat fabulous,
I will relate. Remember we passed all this in the night, and I did
not see all these places with the wonderful nomenclature, but
learned them all the following day.
July 12.—£ The Legend of Beaver Hill.—A great many years ago,
before the country was inhabited by men, the valleys along the
whole length of the river and its branches were inhabited by large
numbers of beavers. There was a great and mighty king over
these beavers, by name Skookum, which is Indian for ' good.' One
day the king heard that his subjects lower down the river had
rebelled, and were going to set up an independent government. He
therefore got together a large army, receiving fresh detachments as
he passed down the river. When he came to the part of the valley
where the Beaver Hill now is he demanded of the rebels that they
should pay their usual tribute and renew their allegiance. This
they refused to do, stating at the same time that they owned the
whole river from there to the sea, which was larger than the part 32
above, and that also, as they were more numerous, they would
pay tribute to no one. The old king Skookum held a great council
of war immediately, and then told the discontented beavers that as he
owned the sources of the great river he would build a dam at that
point where they now were and turn the channel of the river across
through the mountains to the Missouri. As the beavers below could
not live without water, this would soon bring the rebels to terms.
In accordance with this determination he so arranged his army that
in one night they scooped out a great gulch, that there is now on the
north side of the river at Beaver Hill, and, with the earth taken out,
f ormeda complete dam, so that not a drop of water passed through. As
soon as the rebellious beavers saw their part of the bed of the river
dry, they hastened to make terms and paid their accustomed tribute.
King Skookum then had the west end of the dam removed, and the
river continued running as before. In order to commemorate this
great event he had the earth piled up on the top of the hill, so as
to resemble a beaver in shape; and this can be seen for a long
way up or down the river. This legend the Indians got from the
beavers, who were their cousins, more than a thousand years ago,
when they first came to settle in the valley; for in those days the
Indians and the beavers could converse together, and used to hold
communication until some young treacherous Indians made war on
the beavers for their furs, when the beavers vowed they would never
speak to them again, and have faithfully kept their word."
After leaving the town of Missoula, at the western extremity of
the Hell-Gate valley, the train passes along the faces of the mountain, following no particular valley, and finally comes down into
the valley of the Jocko river, in the reservation of the Flathead
Indians. At the little station of Arlee, where there is only one house,
and a tank, and a wood-shed, and a shanty, the train left us in a
siding, and took on instead the dining-car, which I mentioned as
being in readiness to replace the one left the other side of the
Rockies. This was at 5.15 on Sunday morning, and we were now
west of the main divide of the Rockies, and in the valleys of streams
whose waters flow to the Pacific Ocean. %
33
The freight-train, which was to take us "on from here, did not
come along for some considerable time, and it was finally 9 o'clock
before we got started again. Indian houses and wigwams were
again plentiful as we passed through the Flathead Reservation for
about 50 or 60 miles. The line follows the course of the Jocko
river, which is a mere mountain-stream, two or three yards wide,
till it joins the Flathead river, which is a much larger stream.
The united waters take the name of the Pend d'Oreille river. For
the next 17 miles the line follows the south bank of this river,
which appears to be a good salmon-stream. The water is remarkably clear and beautiful, and rocky rapids and picturesque little
islets are numerous. It then crosses on a fir-wood and iron truss-
bridge with a long timber trestle approach, and then runs along the
bank for about 8 or 10 miles further, till we reach the confluence
of the Missoula. This river has a muddy, dirty-looking stream,
which is made especially noticeable when brought into such close
contrast with the transparent Pend d'Oreille. These two united
streams, which are now a very considerable flood of about 200 feet
in width, take the name of Clark's Fork of the Columbia; and, with
the exception of the widening out at Lake Pend d'Oreille, this name
is retained until the waters unite just over the Canadian frontier
with the south-flowing stream of the Columbia river itself. The
mountain-scenery, which is grand and continually varying, is soon
changed by two charming little valleys, known as Paradise valley
and Horse Plains respectively. These are favourite winter resorts
of the Indians, who can feed their ponies here in the winter without
much trouble; the climate is as warm as in spring, and the snow
hardly covers the ground, while the surrounding mountain-sides are
white with it for months. Paradise Valley is about four or five miles
long and perhaps two or two and a half wide. The Horse Plains is a
more circular valley, like a small prairie, about six miles in diameter.
These are the only two spots where cultivation appears at all possible
for more than 150 miles—as seen from the railroad, that is.
After leaving the Horse Plains we again enter upon unbroken
mountain-scenery.    The rocky cliffs rise sheer from the river, and
c 34
in places the road-bed has had to be blasted from the side of the
rock, as there was no natural bench on which to put it. There are
a few stations at intervals along the Clark's Fork, but these are
merely passing-places for the trains and used entirely for the convenience of the railway; there is no vestige of a town or place
to put any. The cottonwood-tree, as a rule, lines the water's edge,
and wherever else it is possible for any trees to grow, they are
all pines and firs. Many beautiful momentary glimpses are caught
up some long rocky ravine down which a tributary torrent comes
rushing under a long trestle-bridge or viaduct. The best of them
is perhaps at Thompson's river. A station is about a mile further
west, which goes by the name of Thompson's Falls. Here is an
attempt at a town, and a stop of half an hour is made for dinner;
and a very good dinner it was too—broiled salmon to perfection.
Every house was built of lumber, and was hardly more than a very
large packing-case, but there were many boarding-houses and several
stores. The business of the place is merely as a headquarters for
the miners, who are in considerable numbers in the surrounding
mountains. As the name implies, there is a considerable fall of
the river here, or perhaps, more strictly speaking, a big rapid.
We stayed at this station from 1 till half-past, and in 40 minutes
afterwards crossed the Clark's Fork on a high bridge. The water just
here is navigable, though the current is of course rapid. During the
construction of the railway a small steamer was placed on this reach
for bringing up supplies and other kindred purposes. For somo way
after crossing the bridge the line runs along a narrow natural led°-e
100 feet above the river, and a stone dropped out of the car-window
would almost fall into the water. The other side of the river is
just the same. La this way we go on all the afternoon till 5.45,
when the town of Heron is reached. I think that no more appropriate part of the journey could have beenselected to be travelled
over on Sunday than this, where the wonderful works of Nature
could be best admired and appreciated, and where the whole of the
Benedicite could be sung with all due appropriateness.
Heron is the end of the Rocky-Mountain division and the com- 35
mencement of the Pend d'Oreille. It is quite a new town, built on
a high plateau in the midst of a dense forest. It is entirely a railway town, built, owned, and kept going by the Company. All its
inhabitants are in the railroad employ, there being a large engine-
shed and repair-shops. The station is a fine large one, with a good-
sized comfortable hotel attached ; in fact the verandah and § stoep "
of the hotel make the station platform. The clock has to be put back
.another hour here for the last time, and we henceforth used what is
known as Pacific standard time, eight hours slower than Greenwich.
We arrived at Heron at 5.45 (Rocky) Mountain time, which was
4.45 Pacific time, and remained till 7.15, 2| hours, still resuming
our journey on a freight-train; in fact all the way to Portland
was travelled in this way. There were a great number of Chinese
living at Heron, and, in fact, all along the mountains from Thompson's Falls were numbers of them living in cabins by the side of
the railway, for the purpose of getting a living by sawing and
chopping wood for fuel for the locomotives, all the wood being
stacked up in convenient spots close to the rails, so that at any
time when short of fuel the driver has only to stop and load up, a
very convenient and economical arrangement. The Chinese chop
like women, and their earnings cannot be very great; still their
living must be pretty cheap, and so I dare say they get along comfortably enough.
Five miles west of Heron you can just catch a glimpse of Cabinet
Landing. The title " Landing " is obtained from the fact that the
Hudson Bay Company were obliged to make a portage here while
conveying their goods from Lake Pend d'Oreille to the Horse Plains
above. The river runs with tremendous force between two columns
of rocks 150 feet high, whose tops are crowned with pines. This is a
particularly wild and romantic spot. There are many solid rock-
cuttings and numerous sharp curves on the railroad immediately
about this place. A few miles further, near Clark's Fork station,
the train leaves Montana and enters the territory of Idaho. Before
long you come to a trestle-viaduct of considerable length and cross
the river, catching as you do so a fine view of Lake Pend d'Oreille.
c2
J 36
The line then skirts the northern shore of this lake for about 20 miles,
winding in and out, for the lake is merely a valley in the mountains
filled with the waters of the Clark's Fork river. There was a bright
moon, almost full, and a clear sky; and so, although it was after
9 o'clock, I was able to enjoy the scene, though, of course, the extreme
distance was lost. The mouth of the Pack river is crossed on a
trestle-viaduct a mile and a half long, raised only a few feet above
the water of the lake, and making a fine sweeping curve. On its
course round this lake the extreme northern limit of the railroad is
attained, and its course is now south-west as far as the Cascade
Mountains at Wailula.
When we awoke in the morning we found we were near
Spokane Falls, and the beautiful scenery was over. Between
the lake and here I believe there is nothing worthy of special
comment; but one begins to be fastidious about scenery after
the glories of yesterday. Spokane Falls is in Washington territory, close to the Spokane valley, in the Reservation of the Coeur
d'Alene Indians. This is a remarkably well-to-do tribe, and one
that has reached a high degree of civilization. They are under
the influence of the Roman Catholic Church. To give you some
idea of their prosperity I will just mention that their chief, old
Sulteas, drives about in his own comfortable carriage with a pair of
beautiful well-matched horses, and loans money at the town of
Spokane Falls on good security at 2 per cent, per month. They
rent the meadows also for 50 miles along the valleys of the Spokane
and Coeur d'Alene rivers, and also have a monopoly of the forests
so that the white men settlers adjoining their Reservation have
actually to pay the Indians tribute. These Indians sent to market
in one year 30,000 bushels of wheat.
Spokane Falls is 108 miles from Heron, and is the oldest town in
this- part of Washington territory; in fact it is the only one which
was not called into existence by the railway. It has large hotels
fine stores, and all the other signs of a thriving city; it has also
splendid streets, which it is fortunate enough to have already paved
or macadamized by nature, as it is built upon a large gravel plain. 37
The train remained here from half to three quarters of an hour for
breakfast.
For the next 100 miles, after getting well away from this city,
there is not a tree in sight [the pen has gone crazy !], except those
that the railroad company have planted tentatively at the various
stopping and crossing places. The whole country is one vast desert,
the soil being dry sand with coarse vegetation, or else rocky barren
points and corners. The railway follows the courses of old dried-up
streams known as coulees, and takes many turns and has many
ups and downs in its journey. There are few places worthy the
name of town in all this country; but I suppose Cheney and
Sprague would not wish to be left without a word. The former of
these plaees is a thriving little town from all appearances, and takes
its name from a certain Mr. Cheney of Boston, who gave 10,000
dollars towards building a school. Sprague is another place of
about the same size, but would seem to bo more important in the
eyes of the railway, for they have large repair-shops, and so on,
again here. The train remained about an hour, which gave opportunity for a run to the top of one of the hills, from which a great
scene of dreariness presented itself. Whilst promenading the streets,
an Indian brave, with plenty of red-ochre and feathers, accompanied
by his squaw and a really handsome daughter, were to be seen
inspecting the shop-windows. A pump, for public use, amused
them, and the warrior worked away at the handle, but, producing
no water, resigned in favour of the squaw, but she had no better
success. When it was pointed out to them that it was necessary to
pour a little water down the pump first, they were quite delighted,
and drank for the amusement's sake. Several more afterwards rode
up from the country. All the tending to the horses, and so on, was
done by the lady, while the painted warrior leisurely watched,
leaning at ease on a railing.
At Ainsworth, which was reached at 5.50, the Snake river is
crossed on a fine iron bridge, just close to its confluence with the
Columbia, which is here a great river. The town of Wailula is in
sight across the wilderness, with the Columbia on the right hand, and IT
38
the sand as white and dry as the Cape flats and Fishhook-Bay sandhills. The Cascade Mountains are a back-ground to the river, and
their snow-topped peaks are right ahead, overshadowing the village
of Wailula, which is the terminus of the Northern Pacific Railway
proper.    From Ainsworth to Wailula took an hour.
We arrived at Wailula at 7, and stayed an hour. This gave
ample time for a good supper in the hotel, which, as at Heron, is
the railway-station as well. I posted a card here, which should
have started on its eastward journey about three hours afterwards.
There is no town to speak of, and there would be nothing for a town
to do if there was one. It is only important from a railway point of
view, being the point at which the Northern Pacific Railway connects
with the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company's line to Portland, 214 miles distant. The Northern Pacific Railway are constructing a direct line to Tacoma, across the Cascades, which will save a
great deal of time (about a day, I suppose), but will not be ready
for use for a long while.
The station is situated at the confluence of the Walla-walla river
with the Columbia, and at the entrance of the valley or canon or
gorge that that river makes use of on its way to the Pacific. Immediately on entering this canon, but only for a few miles, the
scenery is fine, and there are some rocky crags and curious columns,
which make for the moment a grand scene; but once inside, the
river takes to itself low shores which are sterile and sandy. The
train keeps the south bank of the Columbia all the way now, and
is consequently in Oregon, the river making the dividing line between
that State and Washington.
Getting-up time, on this our last morning, found us at Grant's.
This is merely a station and passing-place. We had to lay by here
while the express, which leaves Wailula Junction three hours after we
did, went by. If they would only take the emigrant-car on by this
train, 24 hours would be gained in arriving at Victoria; but they
don't. All along the south side of the river here the shore is flat
for a few hundred feet, and then the cliffs rise steep. The flat shore
gives room for  a few Indian wigwams, an  occasional salmon-
^ 1
39
canning establishment, or a fishing-village. It mostly consists of
dry white sand-hills with nothing thereon. On the tops of the cliffs
on the north side can be seen patches of pasture and now and then
a farm-house or other habitation. Report says that there is good
farming-lands not only on the plateaux on each side, but also in the
valleys running back, but they are not visible from the train.
At Celilo there is quite a good-sized Indian village, and many of
the people were asleep, rolled up in their blankets outside their
wigwams, though many of the squaws and children were about, I
suppose preparing breakfast. Celilo is an Indian name, meaning
| The Place of the Winds." From here down as far as Dalles, all
navigation is impossible, but up for hundreds of miles, both on the
Columbia and Snake rivers, steamboats can and do carry on a trade.
In very early days the Navigation Company that controlled these
waters had constructed a railway as a portage from here to Dalles,
and this is now part of the present system. Near this village I
noticed the first salmon-wheel; we saw numbers afterwards. The
machine is to all appearance a water-wheel of some mill; but there
is no mill, and so it must have some other object, and this object is
the catching of salmon. Instead of the ordinary paddles of a mill-
wheel are nets, somewhat the shape of a scoop on a dredging-machine.
These nets are set, apparently, somewhat eccentrically between the
rims of the wheel, and their object is to simply scoop up the salmon
as they pass up the river to the spawning-grounds; as it revolves, the
salmon are thrown out on the shore and canned. Tons are caught
this way and shipped to various parts of the world for consumption;
how long the supply will last it is difficult to say. The Indians fish
with a spear, which is legitimate sport, and they come regularly at
the proper season for their supply, which they dry for winter use.
Commencing at Celilo are the Dalles or rapids. The Little
Dalles come first, and it is a fine sight to see the mighty river
rush down over its steep and rocky bed; but these are nothing
to the Great Dalles, a few miles further down. The whole view from
the Great Dalles is fine. Li the distance, towering above all the
mountains, is Mount Hood, 11,000 feet high, ending in a point. 40
The whole of this is perfectly white with snow, while the other
lower mountains are all dark with their covering of pines and firs.
There, with all these mountains for a background, is the town of
Dalles itself, and immediately at your feet the mighty Columbia, the
greatest river in North-west America, roaring and bubbling and
boiling through a rocky channel, across which a child could throw a
stone. I don't believe it is more than 150 feet wide here for nearly
two miles. It must be hundreds of feet deep, for its width. I should
suppose to be about the same as the Thames at Westminster everywhere else. The river must, in fact, be up on edge. The rocks
that confine it are not high steep crags, but more like rocks at a seaside place on which people go to sit and see the waves. This is
how it was when I saw it; but it is said that these rocks are often
covered by floods, and that the roar and turmoil are fearful, as I
can fully imagine they must be. Almost instantly the turmoil is
over, and the river flows on as calm and peaceful as if nothing had
disturbed its slumbers for hundreds of miles. We arrived at Dalles
City about 8 o'clock, and remained 25 minutes, during which time I
posted you a card in the box at the Umatilla-house hotel. The
majestic Mount Hood is in fine view from nearly any part of the
town. Had there been time to climb to the first plateau above the
town, a fine view could have been obtained of Mount Adams, which
is also a great mountain, but not equal to Hood. There is a
legend about these two, which I will give presently.
Going on westward from Dalles the scenery changes completely,
and instead of the desert sandy shores we have steep rocky precipices and projecting and overhanging cliffs. In many places the
line is carried round or past some smooth perpendicular face of
rock upon wooden trestles, which saves a deal of expense and rock-
blasting. Very soon after leaving the town the pines and the firs
return, and get thicker and denser the further we go. From here
to the end of the mountains the river has no real valley, and the
train has to cling on to the mountain-sides. Close by the water
when there is somo occasional level spot, there grow willow ash
maple, and alder, which are a change from the incessant pine. 41
Between the Dalles and the mouth of the Hood river are two
tunnels. The first is a most wonderful piece of engineering. The
approach to it from the east for about half a mile is along the
face of a mighty cliff, that towers almost out of sight above you.
The base of this precipice has been blown away entirely to make
room for the railway. The only way to do this was to lower men
down from above in rope slings to the point where they were to
drill the holes. The danger of loose rocks falling from above caused
by the friction of the rope was very great, and more than a dozen
men were killed in this way. The face blown away is from 450 to
600 feet high, and several tons of blasting-powder were fired at the
same moment by electricity so as to move the whole thing en masse.
Many thousands of cubic yards of solid rock fell to the river, and
by smoothing this mass a road bed was formed. The tunnel is of
no great length, merely through a rocky point, say perhaps 200 feet
or so in all. These Cascade Mountains are the same range that runs
through the whole continent of America from north to south, with
the various names of Andes, Cordilleras, Sierra Nevada, Cascades,
and Selkirk Mountains. At the Cascades, the river again for a
short space becomes a torrent; but though the scenery is fine, it is
not grand and wonderful as in other places.
The Indians have a tradition that formerly the two great snow
mountains, Hood and Adams, stood close to the river at this point,
one on either side, with a natural arch of stone connecting them.
One day the mountains quarrelled, and threw out fire and stones at
each other, and so demolished the arch. Up to that time the Indians had been in the habit of passing up and down the river under
the arch in their canoes, but when the arch fell, it choked the river,
and caused the rapids which now exist. | Sahullah Tyhee " was so
angry with the quarrelsome mountains that he hurled them away
north and south to the places where they now stand. There is said
to be some foundation for this legend, for not far from the brink of the
rapids there is a well-known submerged forest, and how long it is since
this grew on the shore is not known, probably many centuries ago.
With regard to the fire and stones, it is evident something stirring 42
took place here once. The engineers who have built and superintended for years back the construction of railways in this neighbourhood have had it forcibly demonstrated that for three miles on the
south side a great spur of the mountain is at the present time
sliding down to the river. The theory is, that the mountain of
basalt rests on a conglomerate bed with a substratum of sandstone
pitching towards the river, and as the river wears a way beneath the
basalt the whole mass moves down towards it. The United States
Government are constructing a canal and locks on this spur in
order to get steamboats past the Cascades; and the experiments
being made to note this sliding of the mountain are watched with
great interest, and what the result will be to the canal and locks
remains to be seen. The rocky precipices continue for some few
miles further, and beyond the continuation of that wild mountain-
scenery there is nothing to note, except two remarkable pillars of
rock called the Pillars of Hercules, between which the train passes.
Very shortly after this the line diverges from the river, and passing
through a forest-region for about 20 miles, lands you in East Portland, from where you cross by ferry-steamer to Portland itself.
This long-looked-for place was reached with punctuality at 4.15 on
Tuesday afternoon, the sixth day from St. Paul. I should imagine
that to go from Dalles to Portland by steamboat would be pleasant,
for the train running close at the foot of the cliffs, a proper idea of
their height or shape cannot possibly be obtained.
Portland is a large city and is rapidly growing; its population
two years ago was about 35,000. It is well situated on the west
side of the Willamette river, twelve miles from its confluence with
the Columbia. From Portland steamers run regularly to San Francisco, and to Puget Sound, British Columbia, and Alaska. The
streets are well paved and well lighted. A curious system of street
nomenclature obtains here. In addition to the ordinary Front, Second,
Third, and Fourth, and so on streets, which run parallel to the river,
the cross-streets are A street, B street, C street, and so on, which system I have never seen elsewhere. There are three very good hotels,
and a number of smaller second-class ones, all doing a good business. 43
Chinese abound of course, and seem to have the entire monopoly of
one or two streets ; but I can't help thinking the place would be
better without them.
I told you in the card I sent from here that I had to remain open
all night, as the steamer for Kalama did not leave till the following afternoon. At one o'clock then I went on board the R.R.
| Thompson,' a " stern-wheel" boat—that is, a paddle-boat with only
one paddle, and that placed right behind the rudder. At 3.30 we
were landed at Kalama, on the north side of the Columbia river.
There was a strong wind, and it was cold and unpleasant outside, so
I kept in the shelter of the saloon. It was so cloudy and misty
that nothing could be seen at any great distance; but the river was
pretty, with farms here and there, and mountains and hills in the
distance. At Kalama a train was in waiting, and at 4.45 it started
for the five-hour run to Tacoma. It was so cloudy and misty, that
it was quite out of the question to see any of the mountain-scenery,
which in the distance is said to be very fine. Mount Tacoma,
covered with snow, is over 14,000 feet and has many glaciers, but
all invisible. It was dark when Tacoma was reached, and there was
such a hurry to get us all on board the ' Olympian' for this port,
that there was no time for looking around or asking questions.
From Kalama to Tacoma is the Northern Pacific line (Pacific Division), and this will very shortly be opened, all rail, to Portland,
the trains crossing Columbia river on a ferry; this will be a great
convenience, and do away with the bother of transferring baggage
and smaller parcels.
The ' Olympian' is a fine large side-wheel boat, and is lighted
throughout by electricity. Its cabins are spacious, and the beds
comfortable and large. We started from Tacoma a little before half-
past ten and paddled down to Seattle, which takes, I believe, about
an hour and a half; but I was asleep before that. In the morning
when I woke we were still lying at Seattle. It was not long before we steamed away from here, about 6.10 a.m. The trip down
Puget Sound, the real salt water of the Pacific Ocean, is delightful;
but the day was very cold, and the wind right in our teeth, so that it 44
was impossible to remain outside, except while at the landings. We
called in at two or three places, and finally at Port Townsend, which
is a pretty little town. It is important as being a | port of entry "
for the United States. A run of about two hours across the sound-
mouth landed us at Victoria safe and sound at 3.0 p.m. exactly to
time. Though I had enjoyed the journey immensely all the way,
yet I could not help being glad it was over. A room was taken at
the Driard House pro tern., and a post-card duly posted announcing
the safe arrival on British soil, the due advent into a land of promise.
What has transpired since must be left till another occasion,
which shall not be long. Meanwhile, adieu ! and with best wishes
for Many Happy Returns of 21st and 22nd insts. to you and
Mamma, and with love to Papa, and all good greetings to others,
I remain,
Your most affectionate brother,
CHARLES. 45
Box 346.]
Victoria P.O., British Columbia,
July 28th, 1884.
My Dear. Mother,—
Many Happy Returns of this day last week! I would have
written on that day, only I Was travelling, and so was unable to
do so.
The object of my travels was a journey to the mainland, to spy
out the lay of the country, and get such general information as may
be of use to me hereafter. I left here last Monday morning at 7
o'clock by the steamer R.R. ' Rithe^ffor New Westminster. The
trip is a pleasant one, and, as you will be able to gather from the
map I sent a week ago, is mostly in and out amongst islands.
These islands are for the most- part entirely covered with trees, and
are hardly at all settled, though many Indians do seem to find room
for. their wigwams and get a living by fishing, and other light and
easy occupations. There is here a piece of open water, which is
often very rough for small vessels, the crossing of which takes about
an hour to an hour and a half, according to the state of the tide.
The entrance to the Fraser river is difficult, the channel being
exceedingly tortuous and the water very shallow. The banks
of the river at its mouth and for some miles up on both sides
are perfectly flat, low-lying plains, hardly elevated above the sea-
level. These lands yield a splendid crop of hay naturally, but as
yet are hardly settled upon or farmed at all. Many dykes have
been dug across them, and more are being constructed and planned.
The soil is on the surface-peak 2 or 3 feet thick, and then a sandy
loam below. I believe that in ten or fifteen years' time this will
be a well-farmed district and pretty thickly populated. Further
up, the shores of the river begin to be lined with timber—heavy large
timber, much of it—and the ground somewhat higher, but by no means
mountainous.    The steamer calls at several places, where there are (T
46
canneries—not birds, but establishments where the salmon are canned,
and where they are shipped to all parts of the world, chiefly England.
At four o'clock, we landed at New Westminster. This is
later than usual, as the ' RitheT' is rather a slow boat. I was
very much disappointed with this place. It is not nearly as
large a town as I had expected, and has a poor, poverty-stricken
air about it. The people all seem to be devoid of energy, and
to take life pretty quietly and easily. This is the case also here
in Victoria to some extent; but owing to the constant communication by steam with the outer world, things are somewhat different and a trifle more brisk. The shops in New Westminster are
all' small and insignificant-looking, and the hotels only very second
rate. This used to be the capital of a Crown Colony, and has been
a town for more than 26 years ; but it looks like one of those mushroom cities in America would look like if from any cause the railway were to stop running for six months.
On Tuesday, Maddie's birthday, I visited Port Moody and Burrard
Inlet. This place, or spot, is about six miles north of New Westminster. I went on foot, as there is a good waggon-road, and walking
would not, therefore, be difficult. The road runs through a thickly
timbered country, and reaches an elevation of 500 feet above the sea,
just before you catch sight of the inlet. From this summit it is only
about three quarters of a mile, rather less, to the shore, so the road
is pretty steep at that end. I visited, of course, the C.P.R. dock.
This is capable of taking the largest ocean-going steamer alongside
at any time, and, in fact, could, I think, have two moored there of
the size of the ' Alaska,' one astern of the other, if necessary. The
extreme end of the inlet, about 300 acres, is dry sand and mud at
low water, and the shore is tolerably flat. It is here where the
present houses are situated, about 30 in number—all, of course,
mere wooden packing-cases of about two or three years' growth.
There are two hotels, a post-office, telegraph and telephone offices,
and several stores. The future town, however, cannot be there; it
must be alongside the deep water. There is already a pier or
landing-place built there, with a warehouse, the owners of which are
I&. 47
now in China for the purpose of getting up a regular trade-connection. There are also two other hotels at the extreme west
end, and a dwelling-house about "midway. There is a beautiful
view north and west from my lots, which are about 90 feet above
the sea, and in what should be, before very long, the centre of the
whole place, and I am pleased with the site; of course every thing
looks rough and uncouth yet, but the time will come. After seeing
and inspecting and foraging about all day, I returned to New Westminster in the evening. The next day I spent in New Westminster,
and time hung rather heavy. In the evening, about 6 o'clock, I
started on the ' Rithel' again (this was her next trip) and went
up on her to Port Hammond. This city has one hotel, with about
ten bed-rooms, a grocery-store, kept by Chinese, and a private
dwelling. There is a railway-station, an engine-house, a tank, a
freight-shed, and a landing-place, voild tout.
This great place is situated just at the point where the C.P. Railway coming from Port Moody strikes the Fraser river, about 15 miles
above New Westminster. Here I had to remain all night, and on
the following morning at 7.0 I started by train for Yale. As the
map shows, the line follows the banks of the Fraser river pretty
closely, winding in and out. The country is somewhat flat and
good for farming on the left bank, south and east, almost up to
Hope, but is more mountainous on the railway side. The scenery
is simply magnificent, and from Hope onwards is much superior to
any of the North Pacific, grand as that is. The train runs up to
the end of the track three times a week, and back on the alternate
days. Travelling is, of course, very slow and tedious, as the line is
not by any means finished, and the road-bed is of necessity very
rough. Yale was reached soon after 2 in the afternoon. This is
quite a pretty little place, and seems to be thriving well. There
are several hotels and stores. After dinner I walked up about five
miles along the waggon-road and returned by the line. The canon
is beautiful, very much wilder and more rocky than the Northern
Pacific Railway scenery in the Rockies or Cascades.
I did not care to go back by the train if I could help it; and as I mm
48
knew a steamer was going to run from Hope direct to New Westminster, I sought about how to catch it. I found out that a hand-car'
with the mails went down at about 8 ; and though of course it did not
profess to convey passengers, I managed to get a passage thereon. In
this way I reached the steamer, which was moored with her nose
right in the bank waiting for us, about 9.20, and retired to rest.
The boat started at daybreak, about 3.0 a.m., and landed me in New
Westminster at 11.30. Of course calls were made at many places,
the most important of which is Chilliwack. In this way I was able
to see both sides of the river, and to collect more information of the
sort I wanted than I could do from the train. I had to stay overnight again at Westminster, and had the opportunity of becoming
acquainted with Mr. H. V. Edmunds, from whom I bought those
lots at Port Moody. I also met Mr. James Orr, M.P.P. for Westminster, from whom I got much useful knowledge. I left again on
the j Yosemite' (four syllables) at 7 in the morning, and landed here
at 4 in the afternoon. We had a disabled steamboat in tow. from
the mouth of the Fraser, or we should have been in an hour or two
earlier, as the ' Yosemite' is a fine boat and fast. The weather is
much warmer now than it has been lately, but the nights are cool.
There is a daily mail now io and from here ; but the mails to the
interior are very vague and uncertain in their character; and so if
■you chance to be long intervals without news or replies, you will
know that it is on account of my absence, away somewhere on the
mountains, or bays, or islands.
The address above given, with Box 346 in the left-hand corner
of the envelope, will always reach me the soonest, as instructions as
to forwarding will be arranged for.
I feel I am a long way from you all; but still I have done well to
come, and will the sooner be able to return to you.   With much •
love to all,
Your most affectionate son,
CHARLES.
sm  

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