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Overland to Cariboo : an eventful journey of Canadian pioneers to the gold-fields of British Columbia… McNaughton, Margaret 1896

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   , describing
journey to the Cariboo
1862," is the title of a book of 176 pages,
exclusive of engravings, by Margaret
McNaughton (Mrs. Arch. McNaughton,
of Quesnelle, B.C. — formerly Mies
Peebles, of this city), which will be published by the Briggs publishing house,
Toronto, during Christmas week.
Rev. Dr. Withrow, Briggs' official
reader, and an author himself of considerable repute, made the following
report on the MSS. of this book: "I
have read with much care the whole of
Mtb. McNaughton's account of an
'Overland Journey to Cariboo.' It is
one of the most interesting narratives I
have ever read. It is a clear, concise,
well-written story of the adventures,
hardships, and privations of one hundred
and fifty Canadian pionesrs from To-
ronto, Niagara, Montreal, Goderich, and 1
other parts of Canada, when crossing
the continent in 1862, taking then about
six months to make the voyage. The
al heroism, as well as the physical
irance exhibited, their strict ob-
ance of the Sabbath, their patience
er their .. fferings and loss, and
r trust in the guiding providence of
God, reflect infinite credit upon the
|, and the country which can breed
such men. Their adventures in crossing
the Rockies by the Tete Jaune Pass, and
their perilous journey on rafts and in
canoes down the turbulent Thompson
and Fraser Rivers, in which several of
them were wrecked and six of them lost
their lives, is one of thrilling interest.
One woman, with three young children,
shared their adventures. Much curious
information is given as to the early
days of gold digging in Cariboo, the
remarkable richness of the diggings, and
the tremendously inflated prices caused
by the difficulties of transport. The
book is well written, in a plain, simple
style. It is the record of a too important
event in the history of-Canada, not to be
preserved and wideligjj&ade known."
Mr. McNaughton himself, it might be
mentioned, was one of the adventurous
Argonants who made the perilous and
interesting journey that Mrs. McNaughton so graphically describes.
The book, which will be a handsomely
; bound,   illustrated  volume, will, it is     ARET MoNAUGHTON ■     J^fs  OVERLAND TO CARIBOO
Wife of one of the Pioneers.
Wit\ f orfraiis antt Illustrations.
C. W. COAXES, Montreal. S. F. HUESTIS, Hai Department of Agrk
0nt r^ PREFACE.
This book is not merely a description of the adventures of a party of men who crossed the plains of
British North America (known then as the Hudson's
Bay Territory) in 1862, but it is intended to show
the possibilities of that vast region, for many years
so little known to the civilized world, and scarcely
less a terra incognita to the Canadian Government
and people.
Since this journey was accomplished many wonderful changes have taken place, many curious events
have come to pass. From the Atlantic on the east
to the Pacific on the west the Canadian Pacific Railway is stretched; and to day the perilous journey,.
which once occupied five and a half months, can be r
accomplished, surrounded with  every comfort and
The intrepid pioneers of whom I write were the
first to cross from Canada to British Columbia overland, and their courage and perseverance deserve
to be recorded in history, even briefly as it may be.
The company numbered one hundred and fifty, most
of them youths gathered together from different
parts of Eastern Canada. Many of them had been
tenderly reared and well educated.    They left their
America from Fort Garry (now the city of Winnipeg), and braved the dangerous rapids of the Fraser
. Part of the company reached Quesnelle Mouth,
Cariboo, in the months of September and October
of the year 1862. Of the one hundred and fifty
who formed the expedition, there were some who
never reached Cariboo. They separated from the
rest of the party at the headwaters of the Fraser River, and, after enduring untold hardships and
suffering, reached Fort Kamloops.
Many of that brave band have long since passed
over to the great majority; some of them have left
the country; others have filled, or are filling, honourable positions in their country's service. It is to
them, and to such as them, we owe the prosperity
and progress of British Columbia today.
1 had also proposed to give a sketch of the early
history of Cariboo, but I find it is worthy of a
separate volume. Cariboo is famed the world over,
and, as the Premier, in a speech delivered on a
recent occasion, said, " Cariboo is the father of the
Province, and its wonderful resources are only beginning to be developed."
" The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,   iwhsf': -      _ ^^7^r--^r^g?7rH'/rr: CONTENTS.
The Journey to Fort Garry.
The starting of the Overland Expedition—A fraudulent Company—At St. Paul—Arrival at Georgetown—Visited by Governor Dallas—Up the Red
River on the first steamer—Reach Fort Garry—
Pemmican—Red River Settlement—An idle threat
—Purchasing outfits—Red River carts—French-
Canadian voyageurs	
Westward Ho!
aviug Fort Garry-White Horse Plains—Organiza-
tion into companies—Order of march—Beautiful
scenery—A plucky woman—Portage la Prairie—
The Little Saskatchewan—Crossing the Assini-
boine—Fort Ellice—A runaway ox and an accident
—Deserted by the guide—Buffalo sighted-Discomforts of travel—Fort Carlton-Fort Pitt-
Fatiguing travel—Expert bridge builders   .    .    . CHAPTER III.
e Cot;
rt Edmonton—An ingenious artillei
promptu concerts—St. Albert's—Oxen
horses—Extraordinary fertility of soi
katchewan valley—St. Ann's—Voraci
A ludicrous spectacle—Kindness fr
Catholic nuns—Hospitality of Mr. Co
Bagpipes — A grateful priest—Cutti
< oal in sight—Findi
Leatlierhead Pas
The McMicking Part? Descending
t Tete Jaune Cache-Trading with India
. pedition divides—Fraser River party
rafts—The flotilla starts down the r
Grand Canyon—Into the rapids—Thrc
pool—An appalling prospect—Narrc
Disaster to the Toronto party—A cano CONTENTS.
H Foi
reader d
gic deat
-Mr. C
h. of Mr
famished condition—At Quesnelle—Fort Alexandria
—On to Victoria	
"Golden Cariboo."
Discovery of gold—Influx of miners—Some leading
" claims"—Extraordinary yields—Fifteen hundred
ounces of gold for six days' work—Billy Barker
" strikes rich pay "—Disappointed speculators—
Drowning disaster—High wages and expensive
living—The first piano carried into Barkerville—
Sixty miles on men's backs—Camels tried as
freight-carriers—Varying fortunes of the "gold-
seeker "	
from Sawney's Letters and Cariboo
•fo. 1.—From Letter  No.  3.—Waiting
ail-Cariboo  song:   "The  Rough but LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. LIST  OF  ILLUSTRATIONS.
City op Winnipeg in 1896
C. P. R. Station, Vancouver  .
New Westminster
.- Barkerville, Cariboo, in 1862
Van Winkle and Point Claim, ]
South Fork Claim, Cariboo
Sapperton (New Westminster) i
- The Old Cariboo Road
Barkerville, Cariboo, in 1896.
New Westminster in 1862
ma's McMicking    .
srt Burns McMici
1 Bowron
iGE Christie Tuns
A. L.
am Fob
The Overland Expedition of 1862 was composed
Ontario and Quebec. The incidents of the journey which I am about to relate refer chiefly to
the experiences of the Queenston and Montreal
23rd of April and the latter on the 5th of May
following. For the facts of my narrative I am
indebted to the diaries and recollections of Mr.
Thomas McMicking, of the Queenston company,
and Messrs. George C. Tunstall and A. Mc-
Naughton, of the Montreal contingent.
Before leaving Montreal, the party from that
city noticed an advertisement in the papers to 20 OVERLAND  TO  CARIBOO.
the effect that a stage company called "The
British America Overland Transit Company,"
under the management of Major Snow, was to
be established to convey passengers from St.
Paul, Minnesota, to Cariboo. Tickets were to be
sold at reasonable rates, and the stage-coaches
were to be first-class; but when St. Paul was
reached, nothing was known there of this company. No such line of coaches had ever existed,
and there was no likelihood that one would be
established. Misled by these advertisements, .
eighteen young men had left England, where
the fraud had also been perpetrated, and at the
time of the arrival of our party were in St.
Paul, some of them without sufficient means to
go farther. The few who could do so returned;
others took employment in the city, and two,
pushing through to British Columbia, reached
Cariboo, where they afterwards amassed a
comfortable fortune. The fraudulent company,
which had its head office in London, England,
was prosecuted, and an amount recovered from
it that was considered sufficient to compensate
these men for the losses sustained. Jol'RXEY TO FORT OARRY.
River.    There they found the steamer Jul
national in course of construction.   This 1
the first steamer to run to Fort Garry, and
first thai ever floated on the Red River.
About six weeks after the party left St Pi 22 OVERLAND TO  CARIBOO.
a terrible massacre of women and children took -
place,  and, it was generally believed, had not
the Overland  party been well armed it would
have met the same fate.
Governor Dallas, of the Hudson's Bay Company, with his family, visited the camps of the
explorers at Georgetown, giving them much valuable information about the country. He also
offered his protection to the party on the Hudson's Bay Company's Territory, which offer was
gratefully accepted and the promise faithfully
kept. The camps had to remain over a week at
Georgetown waiting for the steamer, and during
that time parties from different points were
coming in, all desiring conveyance, so that when
the International was ready nearly one hundred
and fifty men engaged passage upon her. After
a short run it was found that the steamer would
not answer her helm, but collided with the trees
on the banks, knocking down her smoke-stacks.
When the funnels were repaired, she again proceeded on her trip, but the crew were obliged to JOURNEY TO FORT GARRY.
shove her bow off the shore at every bend of the
river. The second day out the captain came to
the conclusion that it would take some time to
reach Fort Garry, and so put the passengers on
rations of two meals a day.
The 24th of May, being the Queen's Birthday,
was celebrated by having a special dinner, and
the health of Her Most Gracious Majesty was
proposed in true and loyal style.
The wife of the Governor, her maid
were also passengers on this adventi
One day Lady Dallas was heard Ian
Bishop Tache the slow progress that
I piper,
is trip.
I also he
! the
id I
was about the extent of the lardei
the International.
After a series of mishaps Fort Garry at last
was reached. As the steamer entered the Assini-
boine, a salute was fired in honour of the occasion. This was answered by a volley from
every rifle on board the International.   Nearly 24 OVERLAND  TO  CARIBOO.
the whole district was present to meet her, and
the day marked a new era in the history of the
Red River Settlement.
At Fort Garry the expedition purchased
horses, oxen and Red River carts; also provisions, which consisted chiefly of pemmican and
flour. The latter, made at Fort Garry, was of
excellent quality, but dark and coarse.
A brief description of the making of pemmican may be quoted here as of possible interest
to the reader. It was made from the flesh of
the buffalo and was very nutritious. " As soon
as the animal is killed the lean flesh is separated from the fat and cut into strips, which,
after being roasted over the fire, are thoroughly
dried in the sun, The meat, being by this time
very hard, is spread out on the skin of the
animal and beaten with flails until quite fine.
The fat is then melted, and about sixty pounds
poured into a bag containing about forty pounds
of lean meat. The fat and lean are then thoroughly mixed and left to cool, when all is ready
for use. It becomes very hard ; in fact, it has to
be cut with an axe."
It m»it
■ i f -
mmmm  JOURNEY TO FORT GARRY.       27
The pemmican cost the travellers sixteen
cents per pound at Fort Garry.
Since this eventful journey the noble buffalo
has been wantonly slaughtered by thousands,
and now only a few domesticated herds remain .
of the myriads which once roamed over the
great North American plains. Many thousands
were slaughtered for mere sport, or for their
hides or tongues, which last were considered a
delicacy. Heaps of bones and skulls may still
be seen throughout the vast prairies and along
the route of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Even the Indian himself seems doomed to
a similar extinction, and boards the railway
trains offering for sale the horns as relics of the
noble animal that once was the monarch of the
plains, and the chief support of his ancestors.
However much sentiment may lament the
extinction of the buffalo, and the picturesque
lord of the soil over which he roamed, yet their
disappearance seems to be the inexorable tribute
exacted by the advancement of civilization.
After all, the present aspect of the great
Canadian North-West is ample compensation
for so regretful a sacrifice. 28 OVERLAND TO  CARIBOO.
The population of the Red River Settlement,
then entirely under the government of the Hudson's Bay Company, was about ten thousand.
Mr. McTavish was the officer in charge of Fort
Garry in 1862.
The company of travellers spent Sunday at
the Fort, where special services were held by
the Rev. John Black, Presbyterian minister, and
the Rev. Mr. Corbett, of the. Church of England.
The sermon by Mr. Black was one to be remembered, and produced a deep impression upon the
minds of all who heard it. The text was from
Revelation iii. 18: "I counsel thee to buy of me
gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich."
A small weekly newspaper, called the Nor'-
Wester, was published at Fort Garry, and a
few days after our company arrived there, a
voluminous description was given of the party
and the proposed expedition to British Columbia. There was also a notice to this effect:
" We, the undersigned chiefs of the different
tribes, hereby give notice that we shall impose JOURNEY TO FORT GARRY.
a tax on all parties crossing over our lands. If
the said tax be not paid, we shall raid and
plunder the camps," Then followed the names
of several Indian chiefs.
The  men   of   the   expedition   were  greatly  .
and of course took no notice of the threat, but
resolved to take every precaution against any
attack which might be attempted.
In the meantime everyone was making preparation for the long journey which was to be
undertaken. Scarcely an hour passed without
the arrival of some exulting jehu, driving his
purchase, in the shape of an ox and cart, into
the enclosure. The Red River cart was a ponderous affair. Not a particle of iron entered
into its construction. The wheels were very
cumbersome in proportion to the size of the cart,
and were not protected by tires. A semi-circular
awning was considered indispensable to shield
the occupants from the fierce rays of the
sun, and served also as a protection from the
rain. From eight to ten pounds sterling was
paid for an ox-cart and harness complete.
Indian lodges were numerously scattered over
the plains which skirted the villages, and many
strange scenes were witnessed, all new to the
eastern Canadians.  The natives, who were expert
horsemen, would dash past them at full gallop,
their long lariats trailing after them in the
dust, through which the fOrms of the riders
were scarcely discernible. In fact so agreeably
did the time pass, that many of the young men
were loath to leave Fort Garry. JOURNEY TO FORT GARRY.       31
Mr. George Tunstall, one of the Montreal
party, speaks of the interesting chats he had
with old French-Canadian voyageurs, who had
left Montreal when young men. Their remembrance of the city went back sometimes over
thirty years from that time. He was amused
by their exclamations of surprise, " C'cst il possible ?" when he informed them that the ancient
Hochelaga contained a population of nearly one
hundred thousand souls.  CHAPTER  II.
On the afternoon of the 2nd of June the company left Fort Garry for White Horse Plains,
the place at which it was arranged to organize.
Ninety-six carts, drawn by horses and oxen, were
collected for the journey, each cart carrying a
load of eight hundred pounds. A guide named
Charles Pochette, a half-breed, recommended by
Bishop Tache, accompanied them. The vanguard
reached White Horse Plains on Wednesday, the
4th of June, and it was decided to move on
slowly for a short distance farther, to a point
where their guide assured them water was
to be had in plenty; but they were obliged to
travel eleven hours without rest, food or water,
and aU suffered much from thirst and fatigue
before they called a halt at Long Lake.    This IB—
was the first of the many weary days, weeks"
and months to be spent on this adventurous
journey. The water of Long Lake was so impure as to be almost unfit for use. Before using
it was strained through cloths, which process
but partially made the liquid drinkable.
The companies were now organized, and Mr.
Thomas McMicking, of Queenston, appointed
captain. This gentleman certainly acquitted
himself well in this responsible position. His
patience and good judgment were often tested
to the utmost. He was assisted in his duties by
a committee, consisting of Messrs. W. N. C.Thompson, Hutchinson, James Wattie, Joseph
Halfpenny, Phillips, Fortune, Simpson, Brokle-
bank, Hough, Urlin and A. C. Robertson. They
had to take great precautions against attacks
from Indians, else the latter would have stolen
their goods and animals. The camp was arranged
in the form of a triangle, with the carts placed
in rows on each side, and the animals tethered
inside the enclosure.    The tents were pitched on WESTWARD  HO! 35
the outside, and six men placed on guard, two
being stationed on each side of the triangle..
At half-past two o'clock every morning the
camp was aroused, and was under way by three.
Halting for breakfast, they started again at .
seven, and called a halt for dinner at two in the
afternoon. Then as the order of " Every man
to his ox " rang out again, off they would go
over the elastic turf. The average rate of speed
was two and a half miles an hour, and ten hours'
march was accomplished each time. It was an
inspiring sight to view the train from a distance,
winding its way round picturesque lakes, or
slowly extending out on the lovely landscape,
gorgeous with wild flowers of every hue, their
brilliant heads peeping out from the luxuriant
grass. Away towards the glimmering horizon,
far as the eye could reach, silvery lakes sparkled
under the sun's rays, their margins adorned
with clumps of trembling aspens, furnishing a
scene of beauty seldom surpassed in any land.
Those who have travelled this route say that
language   is   totally  inadequate   to   give   any mm
conception of the vastness and the astonishing
beauty and fertility of the prairie.
" And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, sermons in stones,
Books in the running brooks,
And good in everything."
The lakes and rivers abound with myriads of
water-fowl, remarkable for their size and the
brilliancy of their plumage. The atmosphere is
so pure and bracing that one can endure much
fatigue without suffering from languor and debility.
At six o'clock in the evening, the shout of
"Camp ahead! " proclaimed to the company
that the welcome hour of rest was nigh. The
carts were placed in order, and the fires blazed
and crackled under the pots, sending forth appetizing odours, which must have been especially
pleasing to the hungry travellers. A few songs,
and sometimes the sweet strains of the violin,
would enliven the solitude for a short time, but
the weary soon sought repose in slumber. The
sentinels moved among the tents with noiseless WESTWARD ho! 37
tread, but before long the outstretched forms of
some of these watchers testified that, overcome
by fatigue, they had fallen under the soothing
influence of " tired nature's sweet restorer," in
spite of the probable proximity of treacherous
savages.    All slept soundly.
A man named Schubert,  with his wife and
three  children,  had joined the  party at  Fort
Garry.    Schubert was a German, and his wife
a native of  Belfast, Ireland.    How admirable
must have been the courage of the woman who,     '/
in   such circumstances,  and  with the  care  of     < i
three young children, ventured on this long and   " ^
arduous   journey.     Who   can    tell   what  she,?
endured ?     No doubt her heart often quailed,
but with true motherly instinct she would forget
her own sufferings in protecting and comforting
her children.
The party passed Portage la Prairie, one of
the Hudson's Bay Company's trading posts,
on the 6th. of June, and camped the following
night at Soft  River.    They  always rested  on
(9 ps
Sunday. This was done by special agreement;
they had bound themselves to rest on the
Sabbath, and the rule was scrupulously observed.
A portion of the day was set apart for prayer
and praise, and the service was generally conducted by Mr. James Robinson, of Queenston;
but on this first Sunday it was led by Mr. A. L.
Fortune, of the Huntingdon party. It must
indeed have been a touching sight to witness
these men all gathered together, earnestly asking Divine protection on their journey, and
imploring that blessings be showered on the
loved ones at home.
What a wonderful bond of unity ! Surely
the arm of the Almighty led them, and the
angel of His presence saved them, even as He
had led the children of Israel through the
wilderness in the days of old. It is such men as
these who have ever left their impress on every
high enterprise and in every country.
'' Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time. Westward ho! 8D
'' Footprints that perhaps anotherj
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take neart again."
On the 11th of June the travellers reached the
Little Saskatchewan, a branch of the Assini-
boine. This river was found to be about forty
feet wide, and its banks from thirty to forty
feet high. Its course lay through valleys of
surpassing beauty and fertility as far as the eye
of the travellers could reach. This stream was
forded on the following day, and then a halt was
called for dinner on the margin of a small lake,
the water of which was found to have a taste
somewhat resembling Epsom salts. This lake is
about two miles long and one mile wide. The
salt purchased by the party at Fort Garry, they
were informed, was procured from this region.
The travellers camped that night at Shoal
Lake, a beautiful sheet of water abounding with
fish, and which is connected with another small
lake that feeds the Assiniboine. The following
day they dined on the banks of the Arrow River, BJHB
and camped in the valley west of Bird-tail River,
another branch of the Assiniboine. Beaver
Creek could be seen threading its way between
hills of equal altitude. To the right were the
waters of the Qu'Appelle commingling with
those of Long River; to the left the waters of
the Assiniboine wound their tortuous way
through the valley below.
The descent to this river was steep and rocky.
The crossing was effected in a large scow, which
was drawn from side to side by means of a rawhide rope stretched across and made
fast at both ends. This scow was the property
of the Hudson's Bay Company, and was capable
of carrying an ox and cart at one trip. The
current was very strong, so that the crossing
process was slow and laborious. The last boat
was towed across with a feeling of intense relief.
Fort Ellice was reached on the evening of the
12th of June.    Mr. McKay was the officer in
charge at that time, and he was most kind and
obliging to every member of the party.    The   WESTWARD ho! 43
next day, being Sunday, was spent in camp. An
Indian missionary at the Fort at that time
preached in Mr. McKay's house to the assembled
company. The following day it rained incessantly, and the time of the enforced halt was
devoted to the repairing of carts and harness
and other necessary work. Some time was also
spent in making additional purchases for their
It was now fully two weeks since the company
left Fort Garry, the route taken being due west.
From this point they were to travel in a northwesterly direction. They had a very steep hill
to descend after leaving Fort Ellice, and several
accidents occurred, one being rather serious. An
ox, becoming unmanageable, ran down the hill,
dragging his owner with him, and the wheels of
the cart passed over the man's head. Dr. Stevenson dressed his wounds, and in a few days the
injured man was almost well again, though his
unruly beast, " Buck," was destined to lay him
low on another occasion. The company crossed
the Qu'Appelle River in the same manner as they
had crossed the Assiniboine, but at this crossing
there was a better scow. The Hudson's Bay
Company were paid fifty cents for each animal
and cart carried across. The next day they
made a long drive of thirty miles, and camped
that night on Gulch Creek, a tributary of the
Qu'Appelle. On the following morning the
guide did not take his place as usual, and on
enquiry it was found that he had borrowed a
gun, together with other useful articles, and
decamped in a southward direction.
Their suspicions had been aroused some days
previous, but they did not like to show their
distrust, thinking he would not desert them.
Night came, however, and as no guide appeared,
they were then certain he had played them false.
Not knowing what might follow, they put on an
extra watch that night, in case the treacherous
man might return with Indians to rob and
murder them. The party afterwards discovered
that this was the third time this guide had performed the same trick. While at Fort Garry it
was told them that Rochette was a bad character, WESTWARD  HO! 45
Tache, they thought be had either been slandered
or that the parties who decried him were mistaken in the man. This circumstance, of course,
created a good deal of indignation and anxiety,
but fortunately the trail was sufficiently distinct
to enable the travellers to reach Fort Carlton in
safety. The country traversed the next few
days consisted of open plains, interspersed here
and there with small lakes. Most of the water
was mineral or alkali, and the lakes were simply
alive with ducks. They also passed a deserted
post of the Hudson's Bay Company among the
Touchwood Hills.
On the 25th of June alternate woods and
streams were passed. The grass here was most
luxuriant, and evidently was the haunt of herds
of buffalo ; but although there was evidence of
their presence at a recent period, none of these
animals were seen by the travellers. Dr.
Symington's party, and others a few days
later, saw many herds.
The weather at this time was hot and
oppressive,   and   the   mosquitoes   swarmed  in 46 OVERLAND TO  CARIBOO.
myriads, causing both man and beast the utmost
torture. Few people know the exasperating
annoyance and discomfort that this persistent
pest is able to inflict on its helpless victims.
Against the probable treachery of the denizens
of the plains the travellers felt themselves able
to fight successfully; the wild beasts would
have only afforded them so much sport; but
the mosquito, with its relentless bite and its
irritating war-song, caused the strongest heart
to quail. Men have been driven frantic, and
animals have fallen through sheer exhaustion,
tortured to death by these blood-thirsty insects.
But to return to our travellers. They found
it very difficult to procure water in this region,
owing to the salty condition of the lakes, and,
for lack of a better place, had to encamp one
night on the bank of a sulphurous lake.
The fatigues of the journey were now being
felt, and the patience of the men and the
docility of their beasts were strained to the
utmost; but Sunday's rest generally left them
refreshed and in a better frame of mind to
face the toils of the coming j week.    The men WESTWARD  HO! 47
were more inclined to look at the bright side
of things, and to contemplate the future with
greater hopefulness. Thus the troubles and
trials of each succeeding week were met in a
cheerful frame of mind.
The leaders found the trail to Fort Carlton
well marked, and on their arrival there purchased more buffalo meat. They had again to
cross a branch of the River Saskatchewan, and
remained a short time at each of the six successive
forts on the way to Fort Pitt. A large number
of wolf-dogs were prowling about these places,
and they proved disagreeable company to the
I Overlanders." They were precisely the same
as those used by travellers in the Arctic regions,
and were well trained to their work. These dogs
Were considered indispensable for the purpose of
travel between the different posts during the
long winter; but the poor animals were half
starved during the summer months, and now
they were making night hideous with their
nielancholy howlings. On the 31st of June the tra\
ellers r
south branch of the great Ri\
er Sasl
Here they found a boat, the
of the
Hudson's Bay Company, and with it they transported their goods and animals across. First
they unharnessed the horses and oxen, then
unloaded the carts, took the wheels off, and in
this manner were able to take across six carts at
a trip.
Mr. Robert Kelso, of Acton, was nearly
drowned at this place while attempting to swim
the horses across the river; but Mr. Strachan
and Mr. Reid swam out to the rescue, and by
quickly resorting to the usual treatment of the
drowning, he was successfully resuscitated.
The country traversed in approaching Fort
Pitt was * found somewhat different from much
of that passed over before, being broken and
hilly, and abounding in running streams.    The
ood Hills had
been passed on
the 3rd,
and the
Lumpy Hills on the 4th
Df July
of the land was covere
d with str
wberri   WESTWARD HO ! 51
The company reached Fort Pitt on the 9th of
July. This post is situated on the north side
of the North Saskatchewan. Here they were
advised not to attempt the journey farther without a guide, so the services of an Iroquois Indian
named Mitchell were engaged.
At Fort Pitt our travellers' real troubles began.
It had rained incessantly for eleven days, and
the small rivulets were now swollen by the
freshets into large streams, and were impassable
for fording, so that the construction of bridges
was rendered imperative. From the 18th to the
21st of July they were under the necessity of
building eight bridges, varying from forty to
one hundred feet in length, besides wading
sometimes up to their shoulders in the water,
where fording was possible. At times they
waded through deep mud, and in some instances
many resorted to swimming when the depth
exceeded the height of a man.
The way those bridges were built would have
done credit to the great Caesar himself, and
might be copied with profit by present-day
military authorities.    Trees were felled as near M
the margin of the river as possible; then several
men would swim across the river, one carrying
a cord attached to a rope, which was fastened to
the tree. By hauling on this rope they would
pull the tree across and then fasten the log on
each side of the stream. Tree after tree they
continued to draw across, until the bridge was
made the width required; then chopping down
small trees, they placed them across the supports,
and thus formed a bridge somewhat after the
style of the old-time Canadian corduroy road.
These bridges enabled the horses and oxen
and the carts to pass over, and it was with no
small measure of joy that the company reached
the crossing of the Saskatchewan opposite Fort
Edmonton, on the 21st of July. Here the Union
Jack was displayed from the tall flagstaff as a
mark of respect on their arrival. The distance
from Fort Pitt to Fort Edmonton is one hundred
and ninety miles.   CHAPTER   III.
Mr. Brazeau was the clerk in charge of Fort
Edmonton at that time. The pilgrims encamped
on a grassy slope within full view of the Fort,
and here they remained a few days until a boat
could be procured to ferry them across; all the
Hudson's Bay Company's boats had been swept
away with the late floods. Those pleasant days
were profitably spent reposing their weary
bodies after the arduous toils of the past month.
What a contrast they presented to the smart-
looking company who had left Fort Garry.
Their clothes had not been dry for eleven days,
and were hanging on them in tatters. Their
courage, however, was not diminished, and with
hopes still high they were determined to push 56
on and finally overcome all the obstacles of the
A salute was fired from a cannon on their
approach to the Fort, and the piece was fired in
a manner I would not recommend to artillerymen   of  our   day.     A  half-breed   deliberately
stationed himself a few yards off, and fired his
musket priming into the " touch-hole," and bang
went the cannon without any accident, amid
the cheers of the whole crowd.
At Fort Edmonton the travellers received
every mark of attention and kindness from Mr.
Brazeau,   and,   in   acknowledgement,   gave   a IN THE HEART OF THE CONTINENT.   57
course of three concerts. The performers were
dressed to represent as nearly as possible a
troupe of negro minstrels. Some of them possessed finely trained voices, and the concerts
were much appreciated by the good people of
Edmonton, among whom the memory of this
pleasant time lingers to the present. The old
residents still speak of the short stay of the
party of pioneers on that occasion, and the
happy time they had.
st. Albert's.
Our travellers also traded a good deal at St.
Albert's, a small place nine miles from Edmonton, where a Roman Catholic Mission was established. The settlers were mainly half-breeds
from St. Ann's who had removed to this place.
Here the party sold the greater number of their
carts, and exchanged oxen for horses, as three
hundred and fifty miles had to be traversed
before the Pocky Mountains could be reached.
There being only a trail, the horses were used
as pack-horses.
It surprised the travellers exceedingly that 58 OVERLAND TO  CARIBOO.
only a small portion of land was cultivated by
the Hudson's Bay Company, either at Fort
Edmonton or at St. Albert's, and especially as
the settlers seemed to set so high a value upon
flour. Little attention was given to agriculture,
although the soil was most fertile and the
climate well adapted for the growing of wheat.
From one field of ten acres there were reaped
four hundred bushels of prime wheat, and this
had been growing year after year for thirty
years successively, without the application of
•fertilizing aids. Barley yielded fifty bushels
to the acre; potatoes, and all other roots, grew
most luxuriantly—from one field of five acres
fifteen hundred bushels of potatoes were taken.
The strangers thought that the Saskatchewan
valley was beautiful beyond description. Their
eyes beheld with admiration wide fertile plains
destined to become the homes of many thousands of people. Vast beds of coal were evident
in that region, extending for several hundreds
of miles  in  a north-easterly  direction.    Gold IN THE HEART OF THE CONTINENT.   59
also existed, and in most of the streams colours
were found. Fourteen men remained behind at
Fort Edmonton to prospect, and did not reach
British Columbia until the following year.
After adding to their outfit and buying provisions, the route by which to proceed was
now the problem. Some members of the party
advised the Leatherhead Pass; others the Cow-
dung Lake, or Jasper, as being the shortest
route to Cariboo; but they finally decided to
try the first-named pass, especially as the guide,
Andre Cardinal, had passed over the road
twenty-nine times between Tete Jaune Cache
and Jasper. They paid this guide fifty dollars
in cash, an ox and cart, one hundred pounds of
flour, and some groceries.
On Sunday, the 27th, a sermon was preached
by the Rev. Thomas Woolsey at the Fort, in
the morning, and another at the camp in the
evening. The company left Fort Edmonton
two days later. OVERLAND TO  CARIBOO.
The roads between Edmonton and Lake St.
Ann's   were   almost impassable.     Fallen trees,
logs, swamps, and every kind of obstacle strewed
the  path.     However,   St.  Ann's   was  reached
two days after leaving Edmonton. This is
a trading-post of the Hudson's Bay Company.
The beautiful lake from which it takes its name
abounded with fish, which were greatly appreciated by the hungry travellers. St. Ann's
contained a small church, and also an establishment consisting of   four nuns  from the Grey IN THE HEART OF THE CONTINENT.   61
Nunnery in Montreal. These devoted women
had consented to eke out their existence in this
desolate spot. They were young and beautiful,
and appeared happy, being daily, indeed hourly,
engaged in performing innumerable kindly
deeds for those around them. The half-breeds
restricted their agricultural labours to the cultivation of small patches of potatoes. They
seemed to spend the long summer in singing
and sleeping, until the commencement of the
hunting season, when they deserted the village
to enjoy the recreation of slaughtering the
buffalo. The wolf-dogs in this as in other
places were a source of great annoyance. The
poor brutes were almost wild from hunger,
their owners during the summer giving them
only enough food to keep them in existence;
consequently they devoured everything edible
within reach. Large pieces of pemmican would
disappear every night. The dogs even became
so bold that they would bound into the tents
and seize any food within reach, and be off
again before the astonished inmates were able
to prevent them from carrying away the food. 62 OVERLAND TO  CARIBOO.
So voracious indeed were they that even the
rawhide lariats, witb which the party tethered
their animals, were gnawed away by the poor
famishing beasts.
A most ludicrous spectacle presented itself
when the animals were undergoing the process
of being loaded for the start from St. Ann's.
All that day the camp presented a busy scene,
the men bartering away trunks, valises, and
articles of clothing for ornamental buckskin
suits, moccasins, and saddle-bags. They had
no difficulty in exchanging horses for oxen,
but the most of the men preferred keeping
the latter, as being the more useful animal for
travelling through the swamps. The oxen,
however, had a decided objection to the unwieldy bundles tied on their backs (and the
owners were by no means expert packers),
which they indicated by running off at full
speed, kicking their heels in the air, and strewing the ground with a variety of pots, blankets
and provisions. IN THE HEART OF THE CONTINENT.   63
One of the Ottawa party received a kick on
the jaw which sent him on his back, while Mr.
Morrow, of the Montreal party—the man who
was run over at Fort Ellice—was foolhardy
enough to try and stop his runaway ox, the
headstrong " Buck," by clinging to his horns,
and for his effort received the imprint of a hoof
on his face.
This last accident compelled Mr. Morrow to
remain behind at Lake St. Ann's. Mr. Mc-
Naughton, of the Montreal party, stayed with
him for eleven days, attending him until he
was able to travel, when both followed with
Dr. Symington's company, which arrived at St.
Ann's a few days after the others had left.
During their stay at the Fort the two young
men received much kindness from the sisters of
the Roman Catholic Mission. The ladies were
delighted to meet anyone from their native
city, and they importuned Mr. McNaugh-
ton to tell them all the latest events, standing
around and eagerly listening to every detail.
When he left St. Ann's they said they would
ever pray for him. OVERLAND TO  CARIBOO.
Mr. Colin Fraser, the Hudson's Bay Factor at
the Fort, was very hospitable, and entertained
them in his own house, loaned them fishing-
tackle, books, etc., and being a true Highlander,
played the bagpipes for them in the evening.
Many affect to sneer at the music of the bagpipes, but to hear them among the mountains
and hills, with the echoes reverberating around,
the music is both inspiring and beautiful. The
pipes have led the brave Highlanders on to
victory in many a hard contested battle, and at
the siege of Lucknow was it not the pipes which
Jessie Brown heard in the far distance, and
springing to her feet cried, "Dinna ye hear
them! dinna ye hear them !" thrilling every
heart with the welcome news that relief was at
hand. Mr. Fraser had two fine-looking daughters, but they were as shy as young fawns, and
could speak only the Cree language.
The priest in charge of Lake St. Ann's Mission
had a box of homoeopathic medicines, and on
the arrival of Dr. Symington's party was very IN THE HEART OF THE CONTINENT.   65
anxious to know how to use them. The priest
could not speak French, but Mr. McNaughton,
knowing French well, acted as interpreter, so
the difficulty was overcome, and the good priest
was able afterwards to minister to the wants of
his people, both bodily and spiritually. He afterwards presented the Doctor and Mr. McNaughton with a bucket of milk, as an expression of
gratitude for the service rendered.
The trail from Lake St. Ann's was such as to
baffle description. Six axemen were continually
ahead, cutting a road through the dense brush.
The way was rendered almost impassable by a
succession of swamps, bogs and morasses, into
which the animals sank up to their bellies, and
this frequently necessitated an immediate
removal of the packs to a place where the
ground was firmer. The whole company became
disorganized. Individuals now and again detached themselves from the main body, and set
up their tents in swamps, where they had a
lively time of it in the mud, while others would r
push on perseveringly through the mire. The
vanguard, led by Captain McMicking, encamped
on the 4th of August at the Lake of Many Hills.
Here Mr. W. Sellars, of Huntingdon, overtook
them, he having waited for Dr. Symington's
party, which brought letters from Fort Garry
for some of the company. They also brought a
copy of the Toronto Globe, which was the last
intelligence received from the outside world
until they reached the end of their journey.
The Pembina and McLeod Rivers were forded
within three days of each other. A seam of coal
about eighteen feet thick protruded from the
banks of the Pembina River, and was visible
down the stream as far as the eye could reach.
The value of this mine, if of the kind suitable
for commerce and within the reach of civilization, would indeed be incalculable. The coal
was used for fuel, and burned brilliantly in the
A thick smoke being visible over the brow of IN  THE HEART OF  THE  CONTINENT. 67
the hill, a few of the men ascended to it, and
discovered that they were standing on what
seemed to be a volcano, the crater of which was
choked by stones and debris, which were constantly tumbling in. The smoke was issuing
through the surface of the ground, which was
quite hot, and surcharged strongly with escaping gas.
The McLeod River, a tributary of the Athabasca, has so rapid a current that it may be
likened to a sheet of foam as it surges along.
Even with a couple of persons on one horse's
back, the force of the current was so great that
the animal could barely hold its footing while
fording shallows of only three feet of water.
This stream they crossed with much difficulty
and even danger to man and beast.
On the 8th of August the camp was set on
Buffalo-dung River, a tributary of the Pembina.
The trails here were in a terrible condition, lying
through swamps, over which the men carried the
packs on their shoulders, sometimes being almost
mired in the mud. f»
At noon on the 9th of August our travellers
camped at Root River, the point from which, on
a clear day, the flrst view of the Rocky Mountains can be obtained. On the following day
they came upon a solitary grave. On investigation they found written on a tree near by
these words: " Here lie the mortal remains of
James Doherty, who died when passing through
these wilds in 1860." What thoughts must have
filled their hearts while looking on that lonely
grave. What toils, hardships and suffering this
man must have endured before succumbing to
the fell destroyer in this desolate spot.
Far away in the civilized world somebody
watched and waited in vain for the son, husband
or father, who would never return. Did they
ever learn his fate ? Would they ever know
how he died, or where ? But the giants of the
forest waved their branches over his head, and
the tears of these strangers fell gently on the
grave of James Doherty. It was • a saddening
'' I hear it now, and o'er and o'er,
Eternal greetings to the dead ;
And ' Ave, ave, ave ' said,
'Adieu, adieu,' for evermore.
I The high Muse answered,  ' Wherefore gri
Thy brethren with a fruitless tear ?
Abide a little longer here,
And thou shalt take a nobler leave.' "
It was on the 13th of August that our travellers had their first view of the Rocky Mountains.
Although yet one hundred miles away, their
dark outlines were plainly visible far above the
horizon. The lofty peaks, covered with snow,
could be seen standing out in bold relief against
the blue sky, flashing and scintillating in the
glowing rays of the setting sun, and giving the
appearance of fleecy clouds in the distance.
The whole party were enraptured while gazing
on this sublime scene, and, whatever troubles and
dangers were yet in store for them, they were
willing to welcome the change, so weary were
they of the monotony of endless plains, streams,
hills and swamps. All were willing to face any
danger that would either terminate or vary the
toils of the journey.
On the 19th of August the guide had to find
a new trail, so they ca.mped on the following
day on the banks of the Athabasca, a beautiful
stream, which takes its rise in the mountains
and is supplied by the springs and the melting
snows. This river was apparently navigable for
boats of considerable size. After travelling along
its banks for a few days, they arrived at a spot
where those who had preceded them had constructed rafts wherewith to cross the river. A
raft was soon made, and, crossing in safety, they
entered the great Leatherhead- Pass.
They were now in the Rocky Mountains, surrounded by nature in her grandest forms. A
sight at once sublimely grand and awe-inspiring
greeted the view. The passes in the Rockies
are most extraordinary—the glaciers; the torrents and cataracts rushing through them; the
lofty peaks of the mountains, covered with
eternal snow, piercing the clouds and overwhelming the observer with their vastness,
especially when looking upon them for the first
Overlooking their camping-ground a stupendous rock arose perpendicularly to the height of
about one thousand feet above the waters of the 74
Athabasca, and directly opposite Mount Lacombe
reared its rocky head. At a still greater elevation behind them, Mount Maquette lifted its
cold and craggy cliffs, towering proudly above
the rest. Looking upward, the eye could distinctly trace the different stages or belts of
vegetation, from the spruce trees at the base to
the mosses and lichens of the frozen Arctic,
above which shone peaks covered with perpetual snow. Two of the party ascended the
cliffs to the left of the camp. When they were
near the top they were scarcely discernible, and
their loudest shouts were barely heard by those
who remained below. Huge fissures and clefts
were observed in every direction, fringed with
stunted spruce trees. These concealed the torrents that dashed down with deafening roar,
well calculated to appal the bewildered beholder.
On examining and comparing these apparently
confused and disordered masses on opposite sides
of the river, a striking similarity was observed
in many particulars, bpth as to the order of the
strata and their thickness—indeed, their whole
geological structure revealed such a correspond- EXPEDITION ENTERS  THE MOUNTAINS.      75
ing sameness that the most casual observer
could not fail to be convinced that at some
period of the world's history these had been
contiguous portions of the earth's crust; while
the present disrupted condition of these huge
masses of rock, and the violent convulsion to
which they evidently had been subjected,
conveyed to the mind some faint idea of the
possible power of their internal fires—the
mighty agency through which these changes
are believed to have been effected. The meditative and pious mind will naturally rise to the
contemplation of that almighty and infinite
Being who has made all the powers subservient
to His divine will.
As the season advanced, the days became
much shorter, and climbing oyer hills and windrows of fallen trees was most fatiguing to
both man and beast. About ten miles of distance was considered an average day's work.
To add to their anxieties, provisions were becoming exhausted, and game in this region was
very scarce. Even chipmunks were considered
quite a luxury—and a man must be very hungry
indeed before resorting to a diet of chipmunks" 76 OVERLAND TO CARIBOO.
A terrible thunderstorm was encountered on
the 18th of August, the effect of which was
greatly heightened by the nearness of the party
to what appeared to be a conflict of the elements. A heavy black cloud slowly floated
across the zenith, shutting out all light and
enveloping them in complete darkness. Then
came flash after flash of lightning, illuminating
the surrounding objects for an instant, while
forked streaks of quivering light flashed along
the cloud or darted from peak to peak, to be
succeeded by even deeper darkness than before.
Close on these vivid flashes followed deafening
peals of thunder, which reverberated again and
again from all sides of the natural amphitheati^e.
Such a scene of terrific grandeur was produced
as left an indelible impression on the minds of
all who had the privilege of witnessing it.'
One of the worst portions on their trail lay
along a narrow pathway with a perpendicular
wall of rocks on one side, and a steep declivity
down to the edge of a precipice several hundred EXPEDITION ENTERS THE MOUNTAINS.       77
feet deep on the other. A single blunder, one
false step of either man or beast, and nothing
could possibly save either from instant destruction. Happily all passed over in safety, giving
thanks to the Giver of all good who had mercifully preserved them, and who, they believed,
would bring them in safety to their journey's
end. On the top of this mountain they could
see Jasper House (another station of the Hudson's Bay Company), a picture of loneliness in
the valley opposite. At this place the Company
trade with the Shuswaps. After crossing the
mountain they called a halt at Whitefish Lake.
This lake is surrounded by Russian Jack,
Black Mountain, and Smith's Peak. On the
20th of August the party again crossed the
River Athabasca; but rafts had first to be built,
on which to float the goods and animals across.
The river at this point is very swift, and about
one hundred yards wide and twenty feet deep.
Here were found good prospects of gold, which
would yield on an average from three to four
dollars a day. 78
On the following day they passed the ruins
of Henry's House, a deserted trading-post of
the Hudson's Bay Company. From that point
they followed the river until they struck the
headwaters of the Fraser River. Their progress
across the Maquette River was very slow on
account of the quantity of fallen timber, and
also the frequency with which they had to
ford the stream. One morning they crossed the
Maquette River eight times. They would be
travelling along its banks, when unexpectedly
they would arrive at a spot impossible to make
way through. Nothing remained but to cross
again to the opposite side; then in a short time
would come a place that was as impassable as
the last, and so again they had to cross to the
opposite side.
The water was extremely cold, yet the men
had to wade through the stream, which proved
very trying both to the patience and strength of
the weary and almost famishing travellers. At
noon on the 22nd of August the party crossed
the Maquette River, and set up their tents
on the shores of Moose Lake.    They had now EXPEDITION  ENTERS THE MOUNTAINS.       79
passed the height of land, or dividing ridge
between the streams that flow east and those
which flow west of the Rocky Mountains. The
weather in the valley of this elevated region
was mild and warm, though on the summits of
the surrounding peaks lay stupendous piles of
snow. The atmosphere was clear, bright and
exhilarating. Shortly after passing the dividing
ridge the weary travellers came upon the long-
looked for, mighty Fraser, striking it at a point
where it could be crossed at a single step.
The Fraser is the most important river in
British Columbia, and flows entirely through
the Province, entering the Gulf of Georgia a few
miles north of the international boundary line,
at 49° latitude and about 122° 40' longitude.
The course throughout is nearly parallel with
that of the Columbia River. The main or
central branch takes its rise in the Rocky
Mountains in latitude 53° 45' north and longitude 118° west, thence meeting with the Riviere
de Mette, a tributary of the Athabasca, which 80 OVERLAND TO  CARIBOO.
afterwards unites with the Peace River in its
course towards the Arctic Ocean. A few miles
from its source the Fraser River enters Cow-dung
Lake, a beautiful sheet of water some nine miles
in length; thence with rapid current it flows to
Tete Jaune Cache, about six hundred and thirty
miles from the sea, where the limit of canoe
navigation is reached. About three hundred
miles lower down the stream it is joined by the
Cranberry Fork, a tributary flowing from the
south between Tete Jaune Cache and Fort
George. An important branch falls in from
Lakes Stewart and Fraser. Quesnelle River,
issuing from a large lake of the same name,
flows into the Fraser one hundred miles lower
down. Forty miles below, on the left bank, is
Fort Alexandria. At Lytton, about one hundred
and eighty miles from the sea, the Fraser River
is joined by the Thompson River, a large tributary flowing eastward. Yale, a small town at
the head of steamboat navigation on the lower
Fraser, is fifty miles farther down, and New
Westminster, the chief city of the mainland of
British Columbia, is about one hundred miles   EXPEDITION ENTERS THE MOUNTAINS.      83
from Yale. Between Lytton and Yale the
Fraser River flows through some of the grandest
scenery in the world.
But to return to our travellers.    At this point
of their journey the feed for animals was of so
poor a quality that two or three of the oxen
had to be abandoned every day. The journey
had been much longer than was originally
anticipated. They even were running short of
provisions, and now it would appear that starvation stared them in the face.     Hearts less firm 84 OVERLAND TO  CARIBOO.
might have given way to despair. They were
as yet only at the summit of the mountains, and
the last of the pemmican was eaten, so they
killed an ox and dried the meat over the fire,
Indian fashion. Many of the party suffered
greatly from hunger before they reached Tete
Jaune Cache.
To such extremity were they driven that an
old horse that had been left on the trail was
slaughtered and converted into food for their
use. Few things there are but have a humorous
side, and an incident is related of a young man
of the party who, after inhaling the smell of the
horse flesh while being cooked, resolved to try
some other food, and was discovered in the act
of toasting a piece of lariat rope! This not very
appetizing delicacy was actually eaten to appease
his hunger. Lariat rope is made from the hide
of the buffalo, but the tough morsel does not seem
to have done the young man any harm, for he is
still stalwart and strong, successfully filling one
of the responsible positions under the Govern- EXPEDITION ENTERS THE MOUNTAINS.      85
ment of British Columbia. After partaking of
this strange food, he made the philosophical
remark that he could understand now, and
ceased to be surprised at, Esau selling his birthright for a mess of pottage.
Moose Lake is the source of a small creek
which a little farther on attains the magnitude
of a river flowing in the direction of the great
El Dorado The party were apprised by the
blazes on the trees that this was the celebrated
Fraser River. Every day as they advanced
the stream became larger, its banks higher and
more rugged. As they followed its winding
course, ever and anon an opening afforded the
travellers a view of the torrent below, rushing
onward with irresistible fury over boulders and
rocks at the base of lofty mountains. Great
Cataracts tumbling into dark abysses filled the
beholders with reverential awe.
Much the same route was followed day after
day, and many streams of very cold water were
forded. Ik
. field station. CHAPTER   V. .
The vanguard, led by Mr. Thomas McUicking,
arrived at Tete Jaune Cache on the 27th of
August. Here they found a camp of Shuswap
Indians, and from them obtained dried salmon
and berry cakes in exchange for ammunition,
clothing, handkerchiefs, needles, thread, and even
After trading with the natives and obtaining
food, the party held a consultation as to how to
proceed. The guide had faithfully performed
this part of the journey, and knew nothing
beyond the Cache, to which point it was he had
promised to guide them. He spoke to the Shus-
waps who were encamped there, but they had
never heard of Cariboo.    All the information 88 OVERLAND  TO  CARIBOO.
they could give was that they had heard that
if the Fraser River was crossed, and the mountains again traversed, they would, in fourteen
days, come to a wide road. The Indians, moreover, said that before this road could be reached
the snow would be a foot deep; besides, they
had no conception where the road led to.
This was very meagre and uncertain information, so the company came to the conclusion that
it must be a road used for packing animals from
Oregon to Cariboo. As the parties were running
short of provisions, time was now becoming a
serious matter, and every day's delay meant
possible starvation. The Indians assured them
that if they went down the Fraser River, after
ten days they would come to Fort George; but
that the river in that direction was full of rapids
and very dangerous.
Finally it was decided that the men wl
were best supplied should go overland, an
try to find the road these Indians spoke c
and so, if possible, reach Cariboo.    Should the M'MICKING PARTY DESCENDING THE FRASER.   89
find it impossible to proceed through the mountains, they were resolved to build a cabin, kill
the animals for food, and so try to live through
the winter. About twenty persons agreed to go
overland; the rest determined to go down the
Fraser River, taking with them some of the
animals as security against starvation. The
remainder of the animals were* to go across the
country towards the headwaters of the River
Thompson Messrs. Fannin, Thompson, Pitman,
and A. L. Fortune, of the Queenston party,
volunteered to take this last route; so they,
together with Mr. and Mrs. Schubert and their
family, crossed the mountains again to the
Thompson River.
The Fraser River parties now made ready to
start, some constructing rafts, others making
canoes. Some of the rafts were forty feet long
and eighteen feet wide, lashed firmly together
to prevent their capsizing. The Indians were
very glad to exchange canoes for horses. The
company had only a few tools, which were by
now almost worn out, so that the progress o
the work was but slow. THE START DOWN THE FRASER.
The a Scarborough " raft was the first ready.
At three in the afternoon of the 1st of September its passengers, taking an affectionate
farewell of their companions, proceeded up
the stream and embarked. The strong current soon swept them abreast of the canoes
and the camp. Here the boys -all leaped to
their feet and gave the raftsmen three hearty
cheers, which were vociferously returned. The
Indians looked on with sorrowful faces, and
-were heard to exclaim: " Poor white man no
more!" Three other rafts left the same day,
the "Ottawa," the "Huntingdon," and the
" Niagara," and all swept down with the current from daylight till dark.
The mornings and evenings, as they proceeded, grew very cold, but this was amply
compensated for by the scenery, which presented a moving panorama of beauty and
grandeur. The rafts were strongly constructed,
and each had a railing around it, to which the
animals were tied. The meals were cooked and
served without landing. M'MICKING PARTY DESCENDING THE FRASER.   91
Several rapids were passed on the 5th of
September. They also noticed that from that
date the current of the river became much
swifter in its flow.
Having floated down stream now for five days
without any mishap, the voyagers naturally
began to congratulate themselves on having
taken the river, when suddenly all were startled
by a loud noise, and the look-out shouted,
I Breakers ahead'" Some of the rafts had
barely time to reach shore and make fast.
They had arrived at the Grand Rapids.
The "Scarborough" was the first to try the
canyon, dashing through the surging currents
that ap'peared like an immense sheet of spray.
In midstream was a large rock, to strike which
would have been instant destruction. By straining at the oars with all their might, and after
an awful suspense of a few moments, but which
seemed hours, the danger was passed, and the
frail structure was again threading its way
amid the shoals which obstructed the intricate
At the foot of the canyon was a whirlpool,
and into this the raft was drawn. The men
clung to the raft; the animals, fortunately, were
tied to the railing. Round and round the craft
was whirled. At the first plunge those on the
shore could see only the horns of the oxen, but
the raft being very wide, the suction was not
great enough to submerge it entirely, and, to
the relief of the anxious watchers, it emerged
safely from the angry vortex.
All the rafts had eventually to run the rapids,
as there was no means of escape. The banks of
the river on both sides were rocky and precipitous, bounding a narrow channel through which
vast volumes of water were rushing and dashing
over the sharp rocks. No wonder the prospect
appalled the stoutest heart; but by the goodness
of Divine Providence all passed through in
At two of the canyons the voyagers were able
to make a portage, thus lightening the  rafts, M'MICKING PARTY DESCENDING THE FRASER.   93
which, with ten men left to steer them, shot
downward like an arrow. Before them, on the
right, was a rocky reef, against which the furious flood was das'hing the water into foam;
while on the left was an eddying whirlpool.
The first to try the passage grazed the rock,
tearing away the rowlocks, then glided in
safety down to the eddy below. The gauntlet
had again been safely run, and everyone was
surprised at the issue.
An involuntary cheer burst from the throats
of the men who had faced death so bravely in
unknown channels, and every eye was moist
'with tears as they emerged from so perilous
a situation. So intense was the anxiety of
the moment to the onlookers that cheer upon
cheer re-echoed along the bank, relieving the
anxious hearts that had been strung to the
utmost tension.
All the rafts passed safely, but those who
attempted the rapids in canoes were not so
fortunate. Three of the Toronto party, Messrs.
Paterson, Carrol and Mackenzie, had left Tete
Jaune Cache in a canoe.    In this light craft they 94
naturally made much faster progress, and reached
the Grand Canyon two days before the arrival
of the first raft. The crew of the latter were
surprised at catching up with their companions,
and were dismayed to learn that an accident had
occurred, by which they had lost everything,
barely escaping with their lives. The canoes,
containing their tents, clothing, provisions, tools,
and even the coats they had been wearing, had
all been dashed upon the rocks and carried away.
Here the poor fellows had been for two whole
days without food or the means of procuring it,
looking all the while with longing eyes for the
rafts, which seemed to them an interminable
time in coming to their rescue.
Mr. Paterson, of the party, a young Englishman, had been suffering from a sore throat, and
this was much aggravated by the exposure.
This spot was the scene of other disasters
to the voyagers. A canoe containing Mr. Mc-
Naughton, of the Montreal party, and nine
others, was wrecked here. They struck upon a
hidden rock, which split the canoe almost in
two;   fortunately they   were near the shore, M'MICKING PARTY DESCENDING THE FRASER.    95
and by rapid paddling got into shallow water
before it filled and sank under them.
Two canoes fastened together, and carrying
Messrs. Douglas, Robertson and Robert Warren,
of the Goderich party, experienced even a worse
disaster than the others that had preceded them.
They had barely reached the rapids when they
were suddenly caught in one of the swirls
and capsized, throwing the occupants into the
water. Mr. Robertson, being an expert swimmer,
struck out for the shore, at the same time
advising the others, who could not swim, to
cling to the canoes, which were rolling over and
over in the mad waters of the rapids. However, by efforts born of despair, they succeeded
in maintaining their grasp, and when they
reached the surface they watched their friend
Robertson manfully struggling against the
strong current. He spoke again, and encouraged
his companions to hold on, evidently feeling
more concerned for their safety than for his
own.    At length the current carried the canoes 96 OVERLAND  TO  CARIBOO.
to a shoal, or bar, in midstream, and natural]
their first thought was of Mr. Robertson ; but;
their grief and horror he was nowhere to be see
He had been swept under the surging torren
either having been seized with cramp or ha
struck his head on a sharp rock. Poor Rober
son, so brave and so strong, so kind and unse
fish, was no more; he had passed in silence 1
the great beyond. Of him it could truly be sai
" Mankind lost a friend, and no one got rid of s
Mr. Robertson's tragic death was deeply d
plored, for he had won the esteem and respect j
all'the party by his kind and manly dispositio
The timely arrival of the Huntingdon ra
saved the rest of the men from a terrible deat
as they certainly would soon have perished c
the bar had not the rescuers arrived in time 1
succour them.
Mr. Carpenter, of Toronto, and Mr. P. Leade
of Huron, were also drowned at this canyo
under similar circumstances. The manner i
which Mr. Carpenter met his death was excee.
ingly sad.    When the Toronto party, to whic M'MICKING PARTY DESCENDING THE FRASER.   97
he belonged, arrived at the canyon they first
walked down the bank .and inspected the place.
The party consisted of four men, viz., Messrs.
Fletcher, Handcock, Carpenter and Alexander.
Fletcher and Handcock agreed to portage the
goods, while Carpenter and Alexander were to
run the canyon in the canoe. All being ready,
they pushed off, Mr. Alexander in the bow.
When in midsti'eam the canoe struck a rock
and capsized, throwing both men into the water.
Mr. Carpenter appeared stunned, and made no
effort to save himself, but sank immediately.
Mr. Alexander, however, being a good swimmer,
struck out for the shore, but, in the excitement
of the moment, swam for the opposite side, and
landed safely. After resting, he walked to the
edge of the river, knelt down and lifted his soul
to God, then plunging into the foaming current,
. battled his way across in safety.
Mr.   Carpenter's   companions   had   observed
that when he was exploring the canyon he took
out  his note-book  and  made a  memorandum mm
herein, then carefully returned it to his inner
ocket, and this coat he left on the bank before
ttempting to run the rapid. His sorrowful
ompanions opened the note-book, and found this
ntry: "Arrived at  Grand  Canyon;   ran   the
great promise. This singular incident excited
much wonder and speculation. Did the danger
which he was going to risk make such an
impression on   his   mind that it   amounted to ARTY DESCENDING THE FRASER.
a presentiment ?     The poor man
was   sorely
afflicted with  scurvy, through bei
Qg unable to
eat the pemmican, which  was  th
e  only meat
procurable on the long journey.
Through liv-
ing almost  entirely on  flour  he
was  reduced
in strength  so  much that  when
exertion was
needed to save his life, overcome
by weakness
he sank,   another  victim   of   the
cold,   cruel
Immediately after passing the canyon the
channel widened, and the swiftness of the cur
rent diminished perceptibly, the stream becoming quite smooth ; indeed, lulled into a feeling of
security by the treacherous calm, the voyagers
floated along all night, peacefully sleeping in
their ignorance of danger, and blissfully unconscious of the awful destruction that might
instantly have overwhelmed them. The next
morning they perceived that the rafts were mak- 100 OVERLAND TO CARIBOO.
increasing at an alarming rate. This put the
men on the alert, and in a very short space of
time they arrived at a stretch of rapids about
fifteen miles in length. Although the channel
was much wider than in the Grand Canyon, yet
it was full of jagged rocks, any one of which
would have torn the raft to pieces had they
been so unfortunate as to run against it. In
the darkness of the night one raft struck on a
sunken rock, but its crew managed to pull it
off without much damage. The passage of the
rapids was made without other mishap than
this, and the party reached Fort George in
On arrival at Fort George it was found that
Mr. Eustace Paterson was in a very critical
condition. He was tenderly removed from the
raft to the Fort, where, after resting for a
while, he seemed to rally. Every attention
possible was given him by Dr. Stevenson, but
the great exertion and constant exposure of
the long journey had been too much for his M'MICKING PARTY DESCENDING THE FRASER. 101
strength, and he died on the evening of the
same day that they arrived at Fort George.
A small canoe was obtained, and the body
of Eustace Paterson placed therein and reverently consigned to the dust by his sorrowing
companions. The dangers and trials they had
all borne bravely together made a bond of
affection so deep and strong that they mourned
his loss as though he had been a brother. Mr.
Paterson was the son of an eminent solicitor
in London, England, and his last resting-place
is still preserved. The Indians pay great reverence to the dead, and they still point out at
Fort George the grave of the young Englishman.
Fort George is a Hudson's Bay Company's
station of considerable importance. Here dried
salmon and other necessaries were procured
from the Indians. Mr. Charles, the resident
Factor, was absent when the parties arrived,
having gone to Quesnelle Mouth to obtain
supplies for the winter. After waiting a day
longer than they intended for Mr. Charles, and
he  not  putting in  an  appearance,  the  party 102 OVERLAND TO  CARIBOO.
started again on the day following, taking
along an Indian guide to pilot them through
the rapids, which were reported to be very
dangerous below Fort George. The first canyon
was reached fifteen miles below the Fort, and
found much easier to navigate than many of .
those that had already been passed.
As our travellers came nearer civilization
they saw miners at work on the bars of the
Fraser River. This was also an intimation
that they were drawing near to the mining
district, to reach which had cost them so much
toil and danger. After passing through several
canyons, the first party arrived at Quesnelle
Mouth, Cariboo, on Thursday, the 11th of September, 1862. CHAPTER   VI.
On the 6th of September Dr. Symington's
.party arrived at Tete Jaune Cache, being eleven
days behind the others. This party had suffered
even greater privations than had those who preceded them, and on their arrival at the Cache
their gaunt, famished appearance so excited
the pity of the Indians that, making signs to
the travellers that they would procure food,
they took their canoes down stream and returned in the evening laden with salmon, which
was indeed a luxury to the half-famished men.
Twenty-four matches purchased a very large
salmon. Dr. Symington ' and Mr. McNaugh-
ton carried the fish from the canoe by a pole
thrust through its gills, and although the ends of 104
the pole rested on the men's shoulders, the
of the salmon trailed on the ground. So fir
specimen seldom now finds its way up to \
point in the Fraser River. The fish was a gi
treat to the hungry voyagers, more especially
they had been on extremely short rations
i India
; the
below the Cache, and there dead fish were t<
seen lining the bank for miles. At this set
of the year the salmon ascend the Fraser Ri
and are easily caught, either with spears oi
wading into the water and throwing then
the bank or into a canoe. It seems to be
accepted theory that the salmon ascend to
streams in which they have been spaw
When they had worked their way up the r
to the point just referred to, many of the
were nearly dead, their fins worn off, and h
in their sides, caused by the jagged rocks in
canyons. Still they kept on ascending, v,
they either died or reached their own strean
At Tete   Jaune   Cache   the   travellers ADVENTURES OF THE SYMINGTON PARTY.    105
i wine-pre:
which the Indians used for crushing berries.
The juice of the berries was caught in troughs,
and this the Indians poured into bottles made of
the hides of animals, and drank it as a winter
beverage. The crushed berries they made into
The Indians also had long sheds filled with
shelves, on which they spread the berries to dry.
The dried berry cakes were found very palatable,
and made an excellent substitute for bread.
These Shuswap Indians showed great humanity
and kindness to the travellers, and certainly
seemed advanced in civilization. The Symington
company found on arrival that all the different
parties ahead of them, except the Whitby contingent, had left the Cache. This latter party
had killed their oxen and almost completed
their rafts, so that they were able to leave the
Cache the day following, the arrival of the
Symington party. With many good wishes and
a parting cheer, the new arrivals watched their
friends passing out of sight, longing to follow in
their wake;  but ere another day had passed they
e Wh
1 to rejoice that they had not
discussion as to which side to take, and it was
decided to take the right. After proceeding a
short distance, they approached a large rock in
midstream, which they came upon so suddenly
that, unable to steer out of its way, they struck,
and everything was washed off the rafts—provisions, clothing, money, tools; indeed, everything they possessed, even to the coats that had
been laid aside as they worked their unwieldly
craft. The sudden shock knocked off the man
at the helm, but he, being an expert swimmer,
reached the shore in safety. The rest of the
men were left clinging to the raft, which was
wedged upon the rock in a slanting position.
Their hearts were filled with dismay, for they
were looking death in the face, but they held on
with desperate tenacity and waited for rescue. ADVENTURES OF THE SYMINGTON PARTY.    107
Meanwhile the man who had reached the
shore returned to the camp at Tete Jaune
Cache, walking and crawling as best he could
through the underbrush. The company, as was
natural, were horrified to hear of the accident
and of the perilous position in which their
friends were placed. They immediately sent off
two canoes with men to the rescue. The
wrecked raftsmen were found all alive, though
much exhausted and chilled from exposure.
They returned with them in safety to the camp.
The Symington party, though short of food,
generously offered to share everything with the
others as long as they needed it, or while they
had anything to share. Of course the Whitby
party had to construct canoes, but the axes and
tools being all in use, they contrived to work by
night, so that no time was lost, they working
while the others slept. Though with scarcely
enough food to sustain life, these heroic men
toiled perseveringly, felling large trees and out
of them making canoes, for they well knew that
life depended upon their exertions. p
The parties determined they should leave Tete
Jaune Cache in canoes, believing them safer than
rafts. When everything was ready they started
on their journey with stout hearts, knowing not
the dangers ahead, but prepared to meet them
as best they could. At this season of the year
the salmon were very plentiful near the Cache. ■
This fact had indeed been their salvation, as the
whole party must have perished from hunger
if it had not been for these salmon. The men,
by wading in two or three feet of water, could
catch the fish and throw them into canoes.
Some of these salmon were nearly dead after
coming hundreds of miles from the sea in their
ascent of the river, and were hardly fit for food;
still the men were very thankful to get them.
The next day, after leaving the Cache, not a
salmon was to be seen.
This party .encountered the same obstacles
and dangers that had beset their companions,
but no lives were lost. On the ninth day after
leaving Tete Jaune Cache they found two empty
canoes floating down the stream, which they
recognized as belonging to the Goderich party,
and they naturally feared the worst for their
late companions. The following day they
arrived at Fort George, weary and sore, and very
much exhausted from want of proper food.
The Fort George Indians came down to the
shore, and gazed with every mark of profound
amazement upon the emaciated countenances
and long unkempt hair and beards of the
voyagers. For five days they had subsisted on
a small supply of dried mountain sheep, a little
tea, and a very few dried berries. They traded
their clothing with the Indians for food, and
had it not been for the succour given them by
the latter and by the residents of the Hudson's
Bay Company's posts which they passed on their
way, this eventful journey would never have
been accomplished, and a cruel death from
starvation would have been the fate of these
adventurous men. They all heard with deep
sorrow of the sad deaths of Messrs. Robertson,
Carpenter and Paterson. After leaving Fort
George they passed safely through all the
canyons and reached Quesnelle Mouth on the
4th of October, 110 OVERLAND  TO  CARIBOO.
The town of Quesnelle at this time consisted
of four or five houses, and was one of the principal places on the road from Victoria to
Barkerville. Flour was fifty cents a pound;
bacon, eighty cents a pound; beans, eighty cents .
a pound; and all other necessaries of life at the
same high rate. Meals, consisting of beans and
bacon, cost two dollars and a half. The winter
was now drawing near, and the miners were
coming down from Barkerville, some sixty miles
farther up, to avoid what they thought would
be a Siberian winter.
Some of the miners were well pleased with
their prospects in the mines, while others were
very much discouraged, and consequently spoke
disparagingly of the country. This report was
rather disheartening to the travellers, after
their terrible toil was about ended, and when in
full view of the land of gold. A great many
" castles in the air " were demolished. Some of
the party consoled themselves by remarking
that they would reach Victoria in a couple of
days,   upon   which   a   tall   American   miner,   ADVENTURES OF THE SYMINGTON PARTY.    113
relieving his mouth of a large " quid " of tobacco,
calmly informed them they would have to " hoof
it over three hundred miles first." This was far
from encouraging to persons who had walked
all the way from Fort Garry to Yellow Head
Nevertheless, our travellers embarked once
more, and floated down to Alexandria (then considered the lowest point of navigation on the
Fraser), where they stepped ashore, profoundly
thankful to the great Creator, who had preserved them in the midst of so many dangers.
Thus terminated this portion of the Overland
Expedition of 1862.
: At Fort Alexandria they heard that they
were still over five hundred miles from Victoria.
Here they sold their canoes and everything
felse except what they could carry on their
backs. Some of the men took work on the
Cariboo road, which the Government was then
constructing; but the most of the company
made their way to Victoria, passing through
Lillooet, thence to Harrison Lake, and from
that point by steamer to Victoria, returning to
Cariboo- in the" spring of 1863. "  CHAPTER   VII.
The following is a brief account of the adventures of those who went down by the Thompson River:
The party left Tete Jaune Cache on the 1st
of September, and crossed to the south side of
the Fraser River. On the following morning
they began their weary march southward,
accompanied by a Shuswap Indian who had
agreed to show them the trail to the headwaters of the Thompson River. Andre Cardinal
also accompanied them as interpreter. The
first two days after leaving the Fraser they
found a good road, but after that time the
Indian was unable to find a trail, so they cut
their way through the bush, which was very
dense.    Finding their guide of no further use, 116
they sent him back, and trusted to the skill of
Andre Cardinal, who hitherto had proved himself to be a most faithful pilot and guide.
They toiled along for about two weeks, hewing and cutting out a path for themselves, but
progressed very slowly, as during that time they
could travel on an average only some five or six
miles a day. At length they reached the north
branch of the Thompson River. Only those who
have had the experience of making a trail
through heavily timbered country can form any
conception of the stupendous difficulties these
men encountered.
The Thompson River appeared so dangerous
that the party thought it would be impossible
to navigate it in safety, so they attempted to
cut their way through the brush; but finding
it an almost impenetrable jungle, through which
progress could be made very slowly and only
with infinite labour, they decided to take their
chances on the river, though it seemed that
almost certain death awaited them.    They were THE THOMPSON RIVER PARTY. 117
also compelled reluctantly to abandon their
animals. Here, at the north branch of the
Thompson River, they built rafts and "dugout " canoes, but after launching out on the
river they proceeded with much difficulty, as
the channel was broken in some places, and
in others full of driftwood, through which
they had to cut a passage. After running like
this for seven days, during which four of the
party, Messrs. Thompson, Fannin, Hagill and
W. Fortune were stuck upon a " snag " for two
days and nights without a morsel of food, they
at length reached a long stretch of impassable
rapids. Here another sad accident happened,
and the brave and kind-hearted Strachan lost
his life. He was drowned while attempting
to swim ashore to get help for his companions
who were clinging in mid-stream to a rock
against which their raft had been dashed to
The others of the party were rescued from
their perilous position about an hour later by
Mr. Andrew Hales, who took them off in his
canoe.    The shock of the collision and the peril 118
of their position had been awful. For a full
hour they were forced to cling to that rock,
surrounded by the raging torrent, knowing that
any moment they might be swept off and
dashed to pieces in the rapids below. They
lost everything, but were thankful to escape
with their lives.
The party were again obliged to make a
portage of eight miles, which they accomplished
with much difficulty, and having reached the
foot of the rapids, were under the necessity of
constructing another set of rafts before they
could proceed farther. While building these
rafts, a party of miners came up the river on
a prospecting tour, and from these men they
obtained much valuable information. They
had only proceeded about forty miles with the
new rafts when they again approached rapids,
which proved impassable; but from this point
they found a good trail to Fort Kamloops, a
distance of one hundred and twenty miles,
which   place   they   reached   on   the   11th  of r
ra I
m |
no f
:;« i
If 120
October. The party had indeed a hard experience, and must have perished from hunger, even
when near Kamloops, had they not fortunately
come upon a field of potatoes.
The end of this weary march brought relief
and rest, which the party sorely needed. Again
within the precincts of civilization, they appreciated fully the privilege of obtaining the many
necessaries which they were denied on a journey
toilsome, dangerous, and full of adventure.
Mrs. Schubert passed through all the experiences of this long journey, and showed the most
remarkable endurance and energy. She had
the care of three young children, and in all the
dangers and disasters which the party underwent, she and her children came through safe
and sound. The day following their arrival at
Kamloops, Mrs. Schubert gave birth to a daughter—the first white child born there.
Mr. Frank Pemberton was drowned on the
Thompson River, about twenty miles above
Kamloops, and his five companions narrowly
escaped a similar fate, but were saved by the
timely efforts of two Indian lads, who happened THE THOMPSON  RIVER PARTY. 121
to be near them when they were thrown into
the water.
Six lives in all were lost in the Fraser and
the Thompson rivers. Nothing shows more
strongly than this the unparalleled hardships
which the Overland party endured.    These men
had left their homes full of bright hopes for the
future, with the prospect of a long life before
them. Their earthly career was brought to an
end in the attempt to reach the wealth or the
competency which they no doubt thought necessary, and for the obtaining of which they sacrificed their lives. 122 OVERLAND TO  CARIBOO.
It is calculated that the party travelled at
least three thousand five hundred and forty-
seven miles, but many think the distance was
much greater than this estimate. That the
journey was accomplished shows what it is possible for man to overcome. A great deal of the
country traversed was indeed a " lone land," but
it was found to be valuable in its agricultural
capacity, and with mineral resources practically
illimitable. There is a great future in store for
such a land.
Since 1862 the country has greatly changed
in aspect. The plains and valleys which the
Overland party passed through are dotted all
over with towns and cities which some day will
be populous and wealthy. Fort Garry, now
known as the thriving and prosperous city of
Winnipeg, is the metropolis of the North-West.
In 1862 it was but a Hudson's Bay Company's
post. Edmonton to-day is the centre of a large
agricultural and mining district, and is also an
important railway point. The town is lighted
by electricity, and has within its limits every   THE THOMPSON  RIVER PARTY.             125
modem improvement.    Towns have sprung up
all along the route, and the shriek of the locomotive is now heard where once the war-cry
of the savage, the howl of  the wolf, and the
lowing of  myriads of  buffalo greeted the ear.
The country is being filled up by a thriving,
contented, and law-abiding people.
The growth of the cour
and marked since the pei
landers came.    Our great r
Canadian Pacific Railway,
then; now there is a daily
Vancouver and a daily m
population of this latter
after the excitement of '(
try has been steady
iod when the Over-
lational highway, the
had not an advocate
train to the city of
ail to Victoria.    The
city fluctuated until
2 subsided, when it
settled to the small number of between two and
three thousand. The Canadian Pacific Railway
called into existence the beautiful and thriving
city of Vancouver.
At the period mentioned an irregular service
between Victoria and San Francisco was the
only means of communication with the outer
world. The boats on this route were slow and
unsafe. Now there is- a fine line of steamers
leaving the ports of Victoria and San Francisco
every tenth day. There is also a daily service
with all the Sound ports. A fine line of steamers
ply bi-monthly from Australian ports and our
own, uniting the vast Empire in closer relationship by the exchange of commercial products.
Three of the finest and swiftest steamers in the
world bring every fortnight the products of the
Orient to our shores, in exchange for flour and
the products of our factories.
The most visionary dreamer of that day
could not risk to propose or predict that the
communication between London, the heart of the
Empire, and Cathay, could or would be accomplished in a few weeks.    Then news was still   THE THOMPSON  RIVER PARTY. 129
new after six months' tossing around the Horn ;
now the latest events transpiring in Europe are
received daily through the agency of cable and
telegraphic wire.
Marks of steady advancement are observable
on every hand. The present year will usher in
a series of developments in gold mining such
as scarcely entered into the dreams of the most
sanguine of the pioneers. Vast mineral wealth
has all along been known to exist in every section of British Columbia, but capital, skill and
energy were required, and the knowledge of
reducing ores was very limited. Then it was
simply placer mining which brought the millions
out of " Golden Cariboo "; now, by means of improved machinery and scientific processes, what
was then unrevealed wealth is being brought to
light. Capita], energy and intelligence are the
chief requisites for the developing of a country,
and these motive powers are coming grandly to
prove the inexhaustible wealth of this glorious
Thomas McMicking was born at Queenston
Heights, Ontario, in the year 1827. He was
educated at Knox College, Toronto, and taught
school for several years, afterwards engaging in
commercial pursuits in Queenston. Mr. McMicking joined the Overland contingent which
left Queenston on the 23rd of April, 1862, and
was elected captain of the expedition when the
parties organized at White Horse Plains. This
position he filled with honour to himself, and to
the benefit of all the company. On his arrival
in this Province he took up his residence in New
Westminster, and was appointed sheriff in 1865. 132 OVERLAND TO  CARIBOO.
Mr. McMicking was drowned in the Fraser
River in 186.6. He had plunged in to rescue his
boy from drowning, but the treacherous waters
of the river claimed both father and son.
He was a true Christian gentleman, a genial
companion, a ready writer and speaker, and
withal a man of strong character. His tragic
but noble death was lamented by the entire
community, and deeply mourned by his many
friends. The accompanying portrait is made
from a photograph of Mr. Thomas McMicking
when a student at Knox College, Toronto.
Archibald McNaughton. postmaster for Quesnelle Mouth, Cariboo, was born on the 16th of
March, 1843, and was educated at Phillips
School, Montreal. He assisted to organize the
Montreal party, and left that city to join the
Overland Expedition on 5th of May, 1862. He
followed mining for a number of years in
Cariboo, and was afterwards engaged in commercial pursuits. He was appointed assessor
and collector for the District   of   Cariboo on ARCHIBALD McNAUGHTON. 134 OVERLAND TO^CARIBOO.
the 7th of March, 1884. In October, 1884, he
entered the service of the Hudson's Bay Company; in 1887, was appointed manager for that
Company in the Cariboo District, and left their
service in the month of October, 1894.
Mr. McNaughton received the appointment
of postmaster at Quesnelle Mouth in 1887. This
position he still holds with credit to himself
and satisfaction to the Government. The portrait here shown is from a photograph taken
when at the age of eighteen.
Robert Burns McMicking was born near
Queenston Heights, Ontario, on the 7th of July,
1843. He entered the service of the Montreal
Telegraph Company at the age of thirteen. On
his arrival in this Province he engaged with
the Collins Overland Telegraph Company, then
constructing a telegraph line from Behring
Straits to connect the two hemispheres. This
company was started after the first cable across
the Atlantic broke, and was expected to be
a failure.    Mr. McMicking was Superintendent
of the Government telegraph lines of British
Columbia from 1870 to 1880. He introduced
the'telephone into British Columbia in 1880, and
the: electric light in 1883. In this latter year
he erected a plant in Victoria for street lighting, the operation of which he still continues to
Mr. McMicking built up and still manages
the. Exchange system in Victoria, the capital of
British Columbia. He is also Justice of the
Peace for the Province. Our portrait of him is
I from a photograph taken at the age of nineteen.
John Bowron, Gold Commissioner and Government Agent for the District of Cariboo, was
born on the 10th of March, 1837, and received
his education at the Huntingdon Academy. On
leaving school he removed to the Western States,
and took up the study of law; but upon the discovery of gold in Cariboo, joined the Overland
party. On his arrival, he with others went on
to Victoria, and returned to Cariboo in the spring
of 1863.  138
Mr. Bowron was appointed postmaster for
Barkerville in 1886, and held that position for
ten years. He was appointed Mining Recorder
in 1872, Government Agent in 1875, and Gold
Commissioner in 1883. These offices he has filled
with credit to himself and satisfaction to the
Government. This portrait is taken from a
recent photograph of Mr. Bowron.
George Christie Tunstall was born in Montreal
on the 5th of December, 1836. He was educated
at Sparkman's Academy, Sorel, and at the Lower
Canada College, Montreal. He travelled across
the Saskatchewan plains to British Columbia in
1862.     The   following   year  he  proceeded  to
ment Agent at Kamloops in December, 1879,
and received the appointment of Gold Commissioner for the Granite Creek gold mines in 1885.
He was removed in 1890 to the West Kootenay
District, with headquarters at Revelstoke, from
which place he was subsequently transferred to
Mr. Tunstall at present holds the position of
Gold Commissioner for the eastern portion of
the Yale District, embracing the Yale, Kamloops
and Similkameen Divisions, which contains some
of the most important places and most valuable
mineral deposits in British Columbia. He is
also an Assistant Commissioner of Lands and
Works, and a stipendiary magistrate for the
Province.     This   portrait  of   Mr.   Tunstall   is
of Irish parents in the
John Fannin wi
village of Kemptville, Ontario, and was educated
at the Kemptville Grammar School. He joined
the Overland Expedition at Queenston, leaving
that place on the 23rd of April, 1862, and was
one of those who elected to take the Thompson
Mr. Fannin followed mining for a number of
years in Cariboo, Big Bend and Cassiar. In
1873 he was appointed by the Provincial Government to explore and report on the lands
lying between New Westminster and Fort Hope.  r
On the following year he was sent on a similar
mission to the headwaters of the Stikeen River.
Mr. Fannin was also editor of the Comet during
two sessions of the Legislature. In 1<S86 he was
appointed Curator of the Provincial Museum,
which is obtaining a continental reputation for
the splendid collection it is making. Mr. Fannin
is a naturalist of acknowledged ability. He is
also the author of a " Check List" of the birds of
British Columbia, and is an associate member of
the Ornithological Union. The portrait here
given is from a photograph taken in the year
John Andrew Mara was born in Toronto,
Ontario, and joined the Overland Expedition in
1862. He represented the Kootenay District
in the Provincial Legislature from 1871 to
1875. At the general election held, in 1875 he
was returned for the Yale District, and was
re-elected again at the general election held in
1878. He sat in the Provincial Assembly until
the dissolution of the House in 1886. The
following year he was elected by acclamation, ^HiSo
and was also again returned without opposition
in 1891. Mr. Mara was Speaker of the Legislative Assembly from January, 1883, until 1886.
He exhibited in this capacity good tact and
ability, and had the fullest confidence of both
sides of the House.
Mr. Mara resides at Kamloops, where he is
engaged in business. He is also a Justice of the
Peace for the Province. Our portrait of him is
taken from a recent photograph.
James Wattie was born in Aberdeen, Scotland,
on the 29th of December, 1830; came to Canada
with his parents in 1838, and joined the Huntingdon party with his brother William in 1862. >.
He left Cariboo in 1863, after amassing a considerable competency in that period.
Since leaving Cariboo Mr. Wattie has been
engaged in business in Valleyfield, Quebec, and
is still strong and hearty. This portrait is from
a photograph taken in 1895. <*t% vSBm jpp*-j
1 146
Mr. William Fortune, now residing at Tran-
quille, British Columbia, joined the Overland
Expedition in 1862, and was one of the party
who travelled by way of the Thompson River.
He is now a prosperous farmer, and lives in full
view of Kamloops and of the River Thompson,
the scene of the perilous adventures through
which he passed. This portrait is from a photograph of Mr. Fortune taken in the year 1895.
Mr. A. L. Fortune, residing at Enderby, British
Columbia, joined the Overland Expedition in
1862. He was one of the committee chosen to
assist Mr. Thomas McMicking in his duties as
captain of that expedition, and cast his lot with
the party who travelled by way of the Thompson River. He is now a prosperous farmer. Our
portrait is from a photograph of Mr. Fortune
taken in 1894. J  CHAPTER IX.
The  following is a brief account of the gold
produced in the early days of Cariboo, showing
the extraordinary richness of the gold gravel
deposits  from   1860 to  1865.    These statistics
have been furnished by Mr. John Bowron and
Mr. A. McNaughton.    Gold was discovered in
the Williams Creek District in 18G0.    At once
a stream of immigration poured   in, until  in
1863 there was estimated to be from four to
five thousand of a population within a radius of
three miles around Barkerville.    This number
did not vary materially during the two following
seasons.    The whole population of the district
at that time was probably between eight and
ten thousand souls.  The principal mines worked
in  1860 and  1862  were the   Cornish, Steele, r
Abbot, Adams, Point, Cunningham, and Black
Jack Company, all situated above the canyon.
These claims, with a few others of lesser note,
probably produced three millions of dollars.
In the fall of 1862, the Barker Company, situated below the canyon, " struck pay "; during
the winter following the Cameron Company
" struck I it, and before the end of the season
of 1863 the following claims, situated below the
canyon, were all producing gold, viz., the Burns
Tunnel, Pioneer, Foster, Campbell, Ericsson,
Dillar, Canadian, Barker, Baldhead, Welsh,
Wake up Jack, Aurora, Cariboo, Lillooet, Watson, Caledonia, Grizzly, New York, McLean,
Cameron, Moffat, Raby, Wattie, Last Chance,
Dead Broke, Forest Rose, Prince of Wales,
Bruce, Rankin, Elliot & Adams, and Tinker.
Some of these mines proved astonishingly rich.
Probably five millions of dollars in gold were
taken out during the year 1863, notwithstanding
which some of these mines are now, and have
been continuously, worked from that date till
the present time, and yet are profitable to the
owners.   GOLDEN  CARIBOO. 153
The yield of gold from a few of the principal
claims in Williams Creek may be approximately
given as follows: The Cameron, one million
dollars ; Aurora, one million dollars; Dillar, five
hundred thousand; Black Jack, five hundred
thousand; Barker, five hundred thousand;
Ericsson, five hundred thousand; Caledonia, five
hundred thousand; Canadian, five hundred
thousand; Wake up Jack, three hundred thousand ; Saw Mill, three hundred thousand ; Moffat,
three hundred thousand; and Raby, three
hundred thousand. The longest of these claims
is only a few hundred feet in length and one
hundred in- width. The gold product of 1864
and 1865 was not materially less than that of
1863. The phenomenal gold deposits found in
the gravel occupying the deep' channels of
Williams Creek will be better understood when
it is stated that within two miles of the length
of this creek, and in a width of perhaps one
hundred and fifty feet, on an average some
twenty-five million dollars of gold have been
produced, showing it to have been one of the
most    remarkable   gold gravel   deposits   ever discovered. The. claim known as the Burns
Tunnel washed up one thousand and forty-four
ounces of gold in one day, the value of which is
about twenty-five thousand dollars. This was
in the year 1863. In 1875 the Van Winkle
Company, on Lightning Creek, washed up
fifteen hundred ounces of gold, as the result of
six days' work.
Billy Barker, from whom the town of Barkerville takes its name, took up a claim below the
canyon. The other miners made game of him
,for so doing, as they believed all the gold was
above the canyon; but he, after sinking a shaft
sixty "feet deep, " struck rich pay," as likewise
did the Cameron Company a mile beyond. The
seven partners of the Abbot claim left Cariboo
in 1862, with forty-five thousand dollars each.
The Welsh claim sank a shaft forty-five feet
deep, when they found what turned out to be a
pocket to the value of fourteen hundred dollars.
Great excitement followed, and each member of
the mine was offered sixteen thousand dollars
to sell his claim. Only one accepted; all the
others   refused,   thinking   the    mine   was   of wm  GOLDEN  CARIBOO.
fabulous richness, but, unfortunately for them,
it proved afterwards to be but a poor claim.
The " Prince of Wales " was a very rich mine,
but the unfortunate owners were nearly all
drowned in the Fraser River, just below Quesnelle Mouth, through the capsizing of their
canoe. Only one man saved his gold, it being
tied up in his blankets. The rest lies at the
bottom of the river.
Wages at this time were ten dollars a day,
but food and clothing were very expensive.
Meals, as before stated, cost $2.50, and generally
bacon.    The miners as a
consisted of beans
rule were liberal,
money very foolish
party, on their waj
Alexandria forty n
and tea. A bottle
an ounce of gold (vi
dollars). Potatoes
per  hundred poun
d sometimes spent their
A few of the Overland
own to Victoria, met near
es laden with champagne
champagne was sold for
ed at not less than sixteen
ere sold at ninety dollars
in 1864. Nails were a
dollar per pound ;: India rubber boots, fifty dollars per pair. Frozen milk was a dollar per
pound; flour, one dollar per pound; eggs, eight r
dollars per dozen, and everything else in like
proportion. The first piano to reach Barkerville was carried on men's backs from Quesnelle
Mouth, a distance of sixty miles, and from that
point the freight cost one dollar per pound.
The billiard tables in those days cost thousands of dollars; mirrors and large stoves from
five to seven hundred dollars each. Some of
these relics are still in good condition and are in
use at the present time. One enterprising man
tried to bring up his goods on camels' backs,
but that was found impracticable, as the camels'
feet could not stand the rough, hard roads they
had to traverse. One camel could have carried
a load of seventeen hundred pounds.
These facts and figures show the great difficulties encountered in procuring food, tools and
clothing for the men who were developing the
Cariboo gold mines. Fortunes were made almost
in a day by some, while others toiled and have
toiled on ever since, barely eking out an existence. Such is the excitement of gold mining—
one day full of hopes raised to the highest pitch
by some good prospect discovered;   the next,
1L   GOLDEN  CARIBOO.' •   161
perhaps, cast down to the depths of despair, to
be raised again on the morrow, and so leading
the gold-seeker on like the "will o' the wisp."
Mining, however, is a free and independent life,'
and has a charm which no other occupation can
give, for the miner has no other man to thank
for the g&id which his own " toil-worn hands"
have brought to the light.
" Now, my co-mates and brothers in exile,
Hath not old custom made this life more sweet
Than that of painted pomp ?   Are not these woods
More free from peril than the envious court ?
Here feel we but the penalty of Adam,
The seasons' difference ; as the icy fang
And churlish chiding of the winter's wind,
Which, when it .bites and blows upon my body,
That feelingly persuade me wnat 1 am.
Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugry and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head ;
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything."  CHAPTER X.
it from Letter JVo. 1, written Febrx
A screed to you by caun'le light,
An answer to your freendly letter—
I ne'er had ane that pleased me better.
Your letter cam' by the Express,
Eight shillin's carriage - naethin' less ;
You'll think this awfu', 'tis nae doot —
(A dram's twa shillin's here -aboot);
I'm sure if Tamie Ha', the buddy,
Was here, wi' his three-legged cuddy
He hauls shent him wi' a tether, t
He'd beat the Express, faith a' thegither
To speak o't in the truest way,
'Tis Barnard's "Cariboo Delay."
s get here for 1
lka day ;
wa pund sterli
ag, sure a
s death-
It she
uld be four, at
ween us b
aith ;—
n ye coont the
cost o' li
's naething left to gang
mcl come
hould you bide
the wint
er here,
hoppy buddies
11 grab y
our gear
ittle work ane
gets to do
price—tho' I c
ould tell
ye weel,
ght think me s
leein' oh
ad, ye ken I n
iver lee,
believe that fa
s frae me
, tatties, carro
ts—by the pun,
wa and a penn
y -try fo
For while you're warm an' snug at hame, OVERLAND TO  CARIBOO.
But hoo I've lived since syne, my .free:
There's little need to blaw.
Like foot-ba', knockit back an' fore,
That's lang in reaching goal,
Or feather blawn by ilka wind
For mony a weary day.
(Will that sun never rise for me
That shines for makin' hay ?)
'Tis weel for us we dinna ken
The future as the past,
Oor troubles wad be doubled then
By being sae forecast—
Unless to us was gi'en the power,
Like shelt'ren frae a shower,
To scoug beneeth some freendly buld
Till ilka blast wa oure.
Yet man, sae thochtless an' sae rash,
Nae doot wad often sleep,
An' like the foolish virgins five
Wad oilless cruses keep,
Till waukened by the storms o' life,
Oure late to rin awa',
He'd wish the future had been blank
To him as 'tis to a'.
Twas my intent to show you a'
The hardships o' this life,
But second thochts hae changed my m
. For ye wad tell ye're wife ! THE   OLD   CARIBOO   EOAD.
4$ w-
She'd claik it to my mither—
Puir body, wha wad grieve her hear!
By adding to her care.
He's but a coward at the best
Wha troubles canna' bear.
Your letters, Sawney, are a boon,
An' postage now is tess,
An' Barnard's " Cariboo Delay "
Can fairly claim "Express."
Be sure an' write me every month,
If naithing but " cauld kale."
To see how much hame news is prize
s Mai
Man's life is like a medley
Composed of many airs,
Which make us glad or make us sad
And oft our laughter dares ;
E'en so our hearts have many cords
And strains of light and strong,
Which make us glad or make us sad
Like changes in the song.
Our smiles and tears, our hopes and
r fail,
But every heart knows
Of waiting for the mail.
A teamster from the Beaver
" What news of the Expr
'Twas there last night, if I heard
'Twill be in to-day, I guess !"
. miner next on Williams Creek
Arrived from wintering South,
Expected at the Mouth."
tut here comes Poole, in haste as h
" Hallo !  wha* of the mail ? "
'rom him we learn, with much con
"Just two clays out from Yale."
I The Express is at Van Winkle,"
This makes the face deny the case,
The Express is come at last;
An Eastern mail, see by the bale,
As " Sullivan " goes past.
And now an eager,.anxious crowd
Await the letter sale ;
Postmaster curst, their wrath was m
By waiting for the mail.
" Hurrah," at length the window's u
" There's nothing, John, for me ?"
John knows the face—the letter plac
" Two bits on that," says he.
And many come and many go,
In sorrow or delight,
While some will say their's " met de
Whose friends forgot to write ; EXTRACTS  FROM  SAWNEY'S
"   *-"T "
Witohoprf ui°mLdfc bit fears t
fi a
While some fond hopes are s
A sweetheart wed-a dear friei
Or closer tie is broken ;
Tho' we can never meet,
Ye'U hae a big share o' my hea
As ye hae o' this sheet.
My fondest hope is but to find
Some hearts as leal an' true
Wha toils night and day,
Seeking for the yellow gold
Hid amang the clay,—   CARIBOO RHYMES.
For lang weeks and months,
Drifting late and air',
Cuttin' out a door
To his "castle in the air "
His faither, freends, and a' ;
His heart e'en jumps wi' joy
At the thochts o' beiu' there,
Ane's mony a happy minute
" Biggin' castles in the air."
But hopes that promised high
In the spring-time o' the yea
Like leav
s o' autur
in fa'
When the frost o
Sae his biggin' tum'les doon,
Wi' ilk
a blast o'
Till there
sno "as
tane left
tannin' "
0' his '
castle in
the air."
d sorrow
' life he g
Drk begun,
Each eA
ening see
3 it close.
But he ha
s the grit
Tho' hi
m " may
be sair,
For anith
er year is
^V-.Wi" its
n the air 176 OVERLAND TO  CARIBOO.
^gprpP mm   *SB«S
i 8F 


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