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Stories of early British Columbia Walkem, W. Wymond 1914

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Array         FOREWORD
WHEN I arrived in British Columbia, some forty years ago, I
was fortunate in meeting many of those brave spirits, servants of the Great Fur Company, who had come to New
Caledonia, Oregon, and the Pacific coast to fill positions of trust, in
the various posts, which the Hudson's Bay Company erected from
time to time, to meet the requirements of their fur trade. These
pioneers of the "Far West" were men of exceptional bravery and intelligence, and were fortunately at the time of my arrival still vigorous
in mind as well as in body.
As a boy I had read many of the stories of Ballantyne, and Capt.
Mayne Reid, with a throbbing heart, and those silent, moccasined,
and brave heroes depicted by the facile pen of Fenimore Cooper, I had
admired and loved. Thinking to obtain from the old servants of the
Hudson's Bay Company, stories of a similar kind, I took every opportunity of questioning them on their life history. I was sorely disappointed, for the heroic age of the Indian, must have passed away.
I was, however, successful in gleaning some stories of their early
experiences in this province which I hope may prove interesting.
The reminiscences of Messrs. Stout, Stevenson, and J. C. Bryant
will give the present generation some idea of the trials and vicissitudes
which the early gold seekers encountered in their search after the
precious metal. Mr. Bryant, who is still alive, was one of the most
earnest and valuable of the Cariboo miners, as he was besides being
a prospector,—an explorer who made good use of his eyes.
I have to thank Mr. S. P. Judge for the illustrations, as well as;
Mr. Geo. T. Wadds, photographer, of Vancouver, and Mrs. Maynard,
Victoria, and last but not least, The Hon. Sir Richard McBride, Minister of Mines, for the loan of many valuable plates, the property of the
Bureau of Mines.
W. WYMOND WALKEM.
Vancouver, B.C., 16th July, 1914.   SM
INDEX
Page
Indian Troubles     ~   9
Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie...  23
Adam Home's Trip Across Vancouver Island - ~  37
A Pioneer of '58     51
An Early Trouble at Fort Camosun | ~ -   63
Life at Fort Simpson in the Forties ..     75
Christmas Thirty-eight Years Ago _   _  87
The Ordination of a Medicine Man   _  95
My First Visit to an Indian Potlatch ;  105
A Sturdy Prospector  ;.  121
A Pioneer of '59:   .   243 H.  M. S. PLUMPER AND  BELLA  BELLA INDIANS.
INDIAN TROUBLES
COMPARED with Eastern Canada, or with the United States,
British Columbia has been particularly free from Indian forays
and lawlessness. Our Colonial and Provincial history contains
no accounts of such terrible and bloody raids as were so common on
the Canadian and New England frontiers during the Anglo-French
wars, which terminated in the capture of Quebec by the gallant Wolfe.
Our early settlers had no experience of midnight attacks, accompanied
by the terrible war whoopt which often startled our eastern brothers
from their tranquil slumbers, to meet the tomahawk and cruel scalping knife.
For the quiet and tranquil conditions which existed in this Province we were indebted to the great influence of the Hudson's Bay Co.,
and to the obedience and respect which they exacted from all those
Indians with whom the company had dealings. To the Oblate
Fathers, and other Roman Catholic missionaries, who took their lives
in their hands in carrying to the Indian tribes of British Columbia the
glorious truths of Christianity, we were also deeply indebted in this
respect.
It was not until the wild rush for gold took place in 1858 that
friction with the aborigines began to show itself. Disputes first arose
over the price charged by Indians for transportation in their canoes,
and over mining ground. The Indians demanded pay for the gold
taken out, and also for the ground used by the miner in working his
claim. Then came the attempt of the savages to arrest the influx of
miners by the Okanagan by refusing to allow them to pass from above
the canyon of the Fraser River. The Californians were often guilty
of cruelty to, and unjust treatment of the aborigines.
9 They were, no doubt, incited to take this step on the advice of the
Shushwaps, and the American Indians living just beyond the boundary
line of Oregon. No authenticated case of scalping by the Indians
occurred. This strife led to the killing of two Frenchmen on the 7th
August, 1858. I will not go into the details of the Fraser war; sufficient to say that after thirteen Indians had been killed, and many
others wounded, an agreement was arrived at by which the miner
was allowed to work in peace. Many white men who had fitted out
in Victoria and started for the Fraser river gold fields in boats, either
purchased locally or built by their own hands, were never seen again.
I have been told by a Squamish Indian, who in 1858, lived with
his father and mother at Capilano Creek, that many whites were killed
by the Squamish Indians at the entrance of the First Narrows. On
one occasion he saw some Indians attack a sloop containing twelve
men. These men were all killed, the sloop plundered and then set
on fire, and burned. These white men and many others mistook the
entrance of Burrard Inlet for the Fraser River, especially if the
tide was running out. But the first old-fashioned massacre of Indians
by white men took place in the interior of British Columbia, by the
the banks of the Fraser, in July, 1858, when a party of California
miners surprised and massacred thirty-three innocent members of a
friendly tribe.
To give the reader some idea of the number of Indians living in
British Columbia in the 50's, in 1854 Haidahs to the number of 1500
visited Victoria in one body to see what the white man was doing.
This tribe had a very bad reputation for ferocity, and had been guilty
of many massacres of neighboring tribes. In 1853 they had captured
Laing, the shipbuilder, the founder of Laing's shipyard, Victoria, and
Ben Gibbs, and others from the United States. They kept them
prisoners until they were finally ransomed. The influx of Haidahs
to Victoria caused the good people of that city great uneasiness, but
they were finally induced to leave by Governor James Douglas, whose
every word was law with them.
In 1859 a convention of northern Indians was held in Victoria,
at which 3,000 Indians were present. Two thousand of these were
Haidahs, and the balance was made up of Bella Bellas, Stikines and
Tsimpseans. What the convention was about nobody seemed to
know.    They were all camped on Finlayson's farm.
Their presence in such numbers, more especially when they
would give no reasons for their meeting, so far away from their own
rancheries, gave rise to much speculation as to their intentions, and
the concensus of Victoria opinion was, that "they were up to no
10 good." As on the former occasion when the Haidahs had paid the
city a visit, in force, they were requested to "klatawa kopa mika illehe,"
or in plain English to go home, by the head of the Hudson's Bay Co.,
Governor James Douglas.
A serious massacre of whites by Indians occurred in the month
of May, 1864. This was known as the Chilcotin or Waddington
massacre, and gave rise to great excitement throughout British Columbia and Vancouver Island. Mr. Alfred Waddington had contracted
to build a trail for the Government from the head of Bute Inlet to
Fort Alexandria. He had seventeen men in his party, one of whom,
named Jem Smith, was in charge of a ferry and supplies at a crossing
of the Homal-ko River.
While the main party was at work some distance off, upon the
proposed trail, two fatigued and hungry Chilcotin Indians called on
Jem Smith and asked him for food. These Indians were of a wild
and uncivilized nature. They wore rings in their noses, a breech
clout, and covered themselves with a blanket. They had very little
intercourse with the whites, and were unvisited by the missionaries.
Their request for food was met with a snappy refusal, and they were
treated to rather rough and uncomplimentary language. The refusal
and insulting language enraged the younger Indian of the two, and
he raised his gun and quickly shot Smith dead. After taking what
they wanted the two set out for a camp of their tribesmen who were
acting as packers to the road party. To them they related the story
of the refusal of food, the rough insults of the unfortunate Smith, and
of having shot him.
On hearing the story the Indian packers put on war paint, danced
a war dance during the night, and early in the morning set out for
the working party's camp, a few hundred yards distant, and arrived
there before any of the men were up. Surrounding the camp, they
cut the pole and tent ropes, thus allowing the tents to fall upon the
sleeping and tired road-men. Then they shot, stabbed and cut with
axes all those who were within. Out of the sixteen men in the tents
thirteen were killed outright. Four miles further the road boss,
Brewster, was engaged with four men blazing the route of the proposed trail. This party was also attacked, and three of them, including
Brewster, were killed.
One of the tent party who escaped was a Dane, named Petersen.
Hearing the shots, he jumped up, and was at once attacked by an Indian armed with an axe. As the savage struck at him he nimbly jumped
aside, but another Indian shot him in the arm. Bleeding copiously
and very faint, he managed to reach the river, into which he plunged.
11 The river was running very swiftly, and in a short space of time
he was carried down quite a distance, over rapids, in which were snags
and rough stones, which bruised him greatly. He made the bank,
and shortly after landing was joined by a man named Mosley, one of
the party, who had escaped almost unhurt. An Irishman named
Buckley had been stabbed several times by the Indians, and had fallen
unconscious on the ground. Supposing that he was dead, the Indians
left him lying where he fell. He subsequently joined the other two,
and the three eventually reached the coast, where they told the story
of the massacre of their fellows.
Once their appetite for blood was stimulated the Chilcotins looked
for more. The opportunity came. Three weeks later a man named
McDonald, in charge of a pack train of forty-two animals, was on his
way from the head of Bentinck Arm to Fort Alexandria, when he was
attacked by these same Indians at Nancootioon Lake. Three of the
party were killed, and one escaped. McDonald, whose horse was shot
under him, immediately mounted another, which was likewise shot.
He then made for the bush, but was killed there.
A Chilcotin Indian whom my son, Vyvyan met, when with H. P.
Bell's survey party, in connection with the British Pacific Railway
scheme, paid a high compliment to McDonald for his bravery. He
said that he saw the whole affray, and that when McDonald entered
the bush he laid down behind a log and shot several of the Indians
with his revolver, and that finally one Indian crawled up behind him
and killed him with the blow of an axe. This Indian's account of this
tragedy I will publish at some future time, as I have the notes my son
made immediately after hearing the story from the Chilcotin outlaw,
for such he was.
To avenge these murders, volunteers from Victoria and New
Westminster set out on June 15, in H. M. S. Sutlej, for Bentinck Arm.
The expedition was under the command of Governor Seymour, who
had succeeded Sir James Douglas. A number of Bella Bellas were
engaged to accompany the expedition. In the Chilcotin country they
fell in with another band of volunteers composed of Cariboo miners
under Judge Cox, and another party headed by D. McLean, a former
Hudson's Bay Company's employee, who had left his ranch on the
Bonaparte to gratify his love for pursuing Indians. This McLean was
the father of the three men who were executed, with their cousin Hare.
in New Westminster, on January 16, 1881, for the murder of Constable
Ussher, in 1880. The result of the expedition was the arrest and conviction of some of the murderers. McLean was the only one killed
among those who formed the expeditionary force. Those convicted were hanged in view of an immense concourse
of Indians, whose attendance the Governor arranged for, in order that
they might see what punishment murders entailed on the guilty
persons.
I will mention a few other instances where the natives robbed or
murdered white people, and what steps were taken to punish them,
before proceeding with the massacre of the Penellahuts, a narrative
which I obtained partly from a former slave with the Bella Bellas, and
partly from Mr. A. G. Home, who was present on H. M. S. Plumper, as
a representative of £he Hudson's Bay Company, and because he was
well known to the Indians, and was supposed to have some influence
with them.
I have already mentioned that the Haidahs in 1854 captured
Laing, the shipbuilder, Ben Gibbs, and a number of men from United
States vessels and that these prisoners were set free on the payment
of a ransom.
On January 31, 1859, the brig "Swiss Boy" of San Francisco, Captain Welden, laden with a cargo of lumber for Victoria from Puget
Sound, put into Nitinat Sound on account of a gale in the Pacific, and
to await fair weather. His vessel was visited by some of the Nitinat
Indians on the day of his arrival. Early next morning the man doing
the anchor watch being fast asleep, the brig was boarded by several
hundred savages, who made prisoners of the captain and the crew.
The Indians then stripped the brig of everything that was portable,
including the sails and the furniture of the vessel. They held the
captain and crew prisoners for two days, when they managed to make
their escape. Making his way to Victoria the captain laid a complaint
to the Governor. H. M. S. Satellite was sent down to Nitinat, and the
brig, with its cargo of lumber intact, was recovered, but everything
that was portable had been carried off by the savages. The crew of
the war vessel saw no Indians, who were probably in hiding, and it
was not considered advisable to follow them up.
In the autumn of 1864, Capcha, the chief of the Ahouset Indians,
decoyed the trading schooner "Kingfisher" to the shore near Clayo-
quot, when he and his Indians killed the captain and crew and then
plundered the vessel. An Ahouset Indian told me in 1885, when ! was
on a professional visit to Alberni, to see this man, who met me at the
Indian agent's house, that he could not understand how the captain
was induced to come in shore, as Capcha was noted all over the west
coast as a "mesatche man" (bad man), and that he remembered the
occasion well, though he was a little boy.
13 Admiral Duncan arrived in Esquimalt on H. M. S. Devastation
on the same day on which word was brought down about the dreadful
tragedy. Boarding H. M. S. Sutlej, the admiral hastened to the scene
of the murders. On arriving there he at once demanded the surrender
of the murderers, which was refused. The guns of the war vessel were
then turned loose, and in a few minutes three villages where the guilty
savages lived, were destroyed. This bombardment may or may not
have had a good effect, but Capcha subsequently boasted, in the most
impudent manner, that his own operations were a great success.
In 1865 H. M. S. Clio was compelled to throw a shell or two into
a village near Fort Rupert, before the Indians would deliver up a
murderer.
The Bella Bellas who were guilty of the shocking murder of the
Penellahuts, were, in 1860, a large, powerful and warlike tribe. In that
year they numbered close on 2,000 men, with a large number of
women. In company with about 2,000 Haidahs, nearly 500 of this
Bella Bella tribe had paid a visit to Victoria the previous year and
had caused such a feeling: of insecurity in that city that Governor
Douglas made special reference to this large assemblage of Indians
in an address to the Colonial Legislature.
In addition to the Haidahs and Bella Bellas were the Tsimpseans
and Stikines, all northern Indians, who pretended to have met to
discuss weighty matters with the other two tribes. There is little
doubt, however, but that they had more sinister motives for this pretended convention, but that they found the whites too numerous to
attack, with several ships of war lying in the adjacent harbor of Esquimalt.
Those of the Bella Bellas who made this visit to Victoria returned
to their rancheries and told wonderful tales of what the white man
possessed, and of the plunder that could be obtained from the isolated
settlements along the coast. There was a general cry from those of
the tribe who had not been on the expedition of the previous year,
that it should be repeated and an opportunity given them to visit the
great city of the white men, and perhaps obtain some plunder from
the settlers or other tribes along the coast.
It was customary for the northern Indian tribes before starting
on any expedition of this nature, to consult the Shamans, who acteu
as the oracles of the tribe, and the Bella Bellas were no exception t&
this custom. The proposed expedition was submitted to them fcA
their advice. A grand council was then held, at wh,ich the younger
men of the tribe were very fully represented. After spending several
days in the forest, consulting their "temenwas," or guiding spirits, the Shamans returned and attended the grand council. There, after much
beating of drums and shaking of rattles, they announced that the
spirits were quarrelling among themselves, and that they saw much
bloodshed, but by whom, or on whom they could not tell. To give
additional support to the replies of the Shamans, the sun which had
been pouring down its hot rays from a clear sky during the day, was
blood-red when it set. The moon also was of a reddish tinge. Taking: the statements of the Shamans as an indication of war, with some
tribe, the Bella Bellas held a grand war dance.
This dance was participated in by the whole fighting strength of
the tribe, who were now fairly roused in anticipation of some success-
full raid upon some other tribe. As the rancheria was too small for
the large fighting force to carry out their dance, it was held in the
open air. The first part of the dance consisted of circling round a
large fire (built in a roomy space), to give light to the dancers. This
dance was confined to the men only. They walked round the fire in
absolute silence, until they reached the spot from whence they had
started. Then they swung swiftly round and faced the women, who,
in the form of an outer ring, were ten feet from them, and gave a great
shout, or yell. Then forming into two lines opposite one another,
they passed back and forth through the opposite files. The dance
ended in a chant, in which the women joined.
Chief Tsallum then came forward and told the tribe that the morrow must be spent in preparing the large war canoes for the coming
trip to the city "Victola," where they would see many rancherias and
many white men—that they should go in their best war canoes, and
that the old women and those who had children must stay behind, and
with the old men, and a number of young men, take care of the settlement.    Only those who had arms would be allowed to gro.
Next morning the whole tribe was astir before dawn, and the day
was spent in overhauling the canoes and making them water-tight.
They smeared them also with some preparation to make them slip
more easily and swiftly through the water.
The following day the camp was again astir before daybreak, and
in a short time they packed their canoes with necessaries for the trip,
stepped aboard and amidst much shouting paddled out into the tide.
It is only on special occasions that Indians travel during the night,
so they arranged their camping places that they should pass Cape
Mudge at night, where lived the ferocious and blood-thirsty Eucla-
taws, of whom they were much afraid. As they sailed swiftly to the
south they were all happy in anticipation of the pleasant and exciting
time they would pass in Vic-to-la, the white man's home, where fire
15 water was easily obtained, as well as plenty. There were nineteen
canoes in all, containing about 300 men and a few young women,
wives of the chiefs.
Approaching Nanaimo, they passed down outside of the islands
which cover its front. Between the Nanaimos and Bella Bellas an
old blood feud existed. The last time they had met in battle the
Nanaimos were badly worsted, losing many of their tribe, and some of
their principal chiefs. But since their last meeting the Hudson's Bay
Company had built a bastion and established a post, so that the Bella
Bellas gave that place a wide berth, passing down outside of Protection and Gabriola Islands.
The Bella Bellas encamped on Thetis Island for the night, and
starting bright and early next morning they passed Kuper Island on
the inside passage a little after daybreak. The chief of the Bella
Bellas noticed that the members of the Penellahut tribe, whose ranch-
eries were in the small bay of Kuper Island were yet asleep. Landing
two miles below Kuper Island, the chief Tsallum of the Bella Bellas
directed two of his tribe to return and examine all the approaches
and surroundings of the Penellahut rancheria, but not on any account
to let the Penellahuts see them.
The scouts on their return reported that the tribe was still asleep
and that they were possessed of animals the scouts had never seen
before and which dug up clams from the beach with their noses. They
said the rancheria was surrounded with thick brush, in which an
enemy could hide until the time arrived to make an attack.
Satisfied with this report the canoes passed on down to Victoria,
where they all arrived after a passage of eight days from their northern homes.
The arrival of so many Indians in one body gave rise to a good
deal of speculation as to their motives and Governor Douglas sent
Mr. Finlayson down to make enquiries and to advise them to return
to their homes without molesting any whites or other Indians, as
they would be held accountable for all their actions.
In the meantime the Bella Bellas had drawn up their canoes in
preparation for making a lengthy stay. With members of other
tribes, Cowichans and Songhees, and some Penellahuts, they engaged
in gambling. At last they became such a nuisance that Governor
Douglas ordered them to return to their homes in the north. As
they sullenly pushed their canoes into the water Douglas expressed
his fears to Mr. W. A. G. Young that these Bella Coolas would cause
some trouble to the settlers or other tribes along the coast that were
weaker than they were.
16 After leaving Victoria harbor and turning north the flotilla
skirted along the coast and robbed the cabins of white men, carrying
away what was portable and destroying what could not be carried in
their canoes. Isolated camps of other Indians were visited and where
the owner was at home he was ruthlessly murdered.
At last they arrived within five miles of Kuper Island. The
chief had so timed his arrival at this point that it was almost dark
when they hauled their canoes up on the Vancouver Island shore.
The night was spent in daubing their faces with black paint, greasing
their bodies and making themselves look as horrible as possible, for
the chief had determined on wiping out the peaceable Penellahuts.
Next morning the Bella Bellas were moving quietly through the
water towards their intended victims. It was still dark. Before
landing the canoes had separated so as to land small parties at short
distances from one another, and to provide against any of the Penellahuts escaping. The Penellahut tribe at that period mustered about
five hundred souls, men, women and children.
About the time that the Bella Bellas landed the previous night on
the shore of Vancouver Island, Winni-win-Chin, the war chief of the
Nanaimo tribe, entered the Penellahut rancheria to consult with the
tribe as to what they should do in case the Bella Bellas returned on
mischief bent. As nothing could be done that night, it was arranged
to hold a grand council next day. The Nanaimo chief was longheaded and crafty. He did not anticipate the Bella Bellas returning
so soon from Victoria, but he did believe that when they returned
mischief and murders would mark their track. He had noticed their
canoes passing outside Protection Island on their way south and their
numbers made him uneasy.
As day began to break the Nanaimo chief, who had been sleeping
uneasily all night, thought he could hear a sound like paddles striking
the water and canoes grating on the shingle. There were many—
yes, he was sure. Springing out of his blankets he made his way to
the door. One glance, and turning round he rushed for his axe, knife
and rifle, at the same time giving the war cry of his tribe. The Penellahuts had hardly got on their feet when the Bella Bellas burst in upon
them. It was now one wild "sauve qui peut," as the savage northern
Indians shot, stabbed and struck down with stone clubs and axes the
unfortunate Penellahuts.
Winni-win-chin in the meantime was not idle. He was a powerful man and knew not what fear meant. With his rifle in one hand
and his short axe in the other, he hewed his way through his enemies
17 and gained the door.    A Bella Bella warrior was standing there to see
that none of those within should escape.
As W'inni-win-chin drew close to him, the Bella Bella swung his
war club and dealt a fearful blow at the chief's head. Dodging the
blow, WTinni-win-chin killed him on the spot and then gained the outside and made for his light canoe, which was concealed a short distance away in the bushes that lined the shore. As he did so he was
surprised to be addresesd by a young woman in his own tongue. She
explained as they ran side by side that she had been captured by the
Bella Bellas four years previously and had been a slave in the chief's
family ever since. Telling the young woman to hurry, he promised to
take her back to her tribe. He knew her as the daughter of a lesser
chief who had since died.
Gaining his canoe, into which they both leaped, he paddled furiously for the Vancouver Island shore, which he finally gained, and
hauling up his canoe hid in the bushes and awaited a favorable time
to return to the Hudson's Bay Company's post and tell of the massacre of the Penellahuts.
The exit from the rancheria being deprived of its guardian, was
free to those Penellahuts who could gain its portal. But there were
few who escaped. Some of the Penellahuts made a brave resistance,
and many Bella Bellas fell before them, but in the end the former were
beaten down and killed. Out of the four hundred Indians who were
sleeping in the building one hundred and seventy-five escaped and
hid in the bush.
The Bella Bellas camped there that day and the following night,
and after setting fire to the building left for their northern homes.
In the meantime Winni-win-chin had made all haste, under the
cover of the night, and reached Nanaimo a little after daybreak. On
landing he had at once gone to Mr. A. G. Home, at that time in charge
of the Hudson's Bay post, and reported what had occurred. The
news quickly spread and aroused a great feeling of uneasiness among
the servants of the company. A little after noon the Bella Bellas-
were seen passing north, outside of Protection Island, and as they
passed they shouted and yelled to express their delight, as well as
defiance of the Nanaimos and those in the settlement.
As matters appeared very serious a canoe was manned by eight
stalwart white men and sent to Victoria to report to Governor Douglas what had occurred. Their orders were to travel swiftly and keep
the canoe going day and night.
Governor Douglas saw the canoe containing the white men enter
the harbor of Victoria, and turning round to Mr. W. A. G. Young he
18 said: "That canoe is carrying bad news—those Bella Bellas have
been up to some devilment." In a short time a man entered the fort
and presented a letter from Mr. Horne. "Just as I told you, Mr.
Young, I have been expecting some news like this ever since the Bella
Bellas left this harbor."
Sending a courier to Esquimalt, with a request for Captain Richards of H. M. S. Plumper to come to the fort on important business,
he turned to Mr. Young and requested him to write a letter to Mr.
Horne, at Nanaimo, to embark on H. M. S. Plumper, taking a constable with him, and endeavor to arrest the chiefs of the tribe of Bella
Bellas who had been guilty of the Penellahut massacre.
Captain Richards was not long in obeying the request of the
Governor, who gave him freedom of
action in dealing with these
savages.
Picking up the eight messengers and their canoe, Captain Richards set out for Nanaimo. There the captain took on Mr. Horne and
Constable Gough (the first Nanaimo constable created) and set out in
pursuit of the murderous Bella Bellas. He overtook them on the
third day, and found them encamped on Vancouver Island, almost
opposite Cape Mudge, at a place now known as Willow Point.
Here the Plumper came to an anchor, putting out a stern anchor
so as to hold the warship's broadside to the shore.
Then Mr. Horne, who was a brave and fearless Scotchman, went
ashore, accompanied by Constable Gough. So soon as he landed he
walked up to where the Bella Bellas were camped, and meeting the
chief, demanded in the name of Douglas that those who were guilty of
the murders on Kuper Island should be given up. But this the chief
refused to do and became somewhat abusive. As they neared the
shore on their return to the ship's boat, Mr. Horne was explaining that
extreme measures would be taken to enforce obedience to the demands
of Governor Douglas, when Tsaltum, the chief, gave Mr. Horne a
push, at the same time saying : "Mika cultas wawa, hyack mika killipi
kopa miki ship, halo nika quass." (You are talking nonsense; hurry
up and return to your ship; I'm not afraid).
Now, Mr. Horne was not a man who allowed another to push him
twice, let alone a Siwash, so turning swiftly he dealt the chief a mighty
blow with the butt of his revolver upon the top of his cranium,.which
brought him to the ground. Everything looked threatening for a few
moments, but, standing his ground with a revolver in each hand, the
brave Orkneyman, backed up by the equally brave constable, told
the savages that no Siwash ever struck a Briton with impunity.
Returning on board, after seeing the Bella Bella chief arise and
19 stalk off to nurse hi^ -cranium, Mr. Horne went on board and reported
to Captain Richards the result of his interview with the Bella Bella
chief.
"We must resort to force and give these blood-thirsty Indians a
lesson," said Captain Richards, "but before doing so I will give them
a last chance. You see that large cedar tree ashore Mr. Horne, I will
have one of my guns loaded tomorrow morning and you will go ashore
and tell them that if they do not comply with our demands at once,
that I will serve them in the same manner that I will serve that tree.
By raising your arm you will notify me that they have again refused
and the gun will at once be discharged at the tree, and there is very
little doubt but that very little of that tree will be left after the shot
has been fired."
Next morning Mr. Horne again went ashore with constable
Gough, and, although he appreciated the very dangerous position he
stood in, after the trouble with the chief on the previous day, no sign
of nervousness was apparent in his face or demeanor. On the contrary, when landing, he walked boldly to where a large number of the
savages were congregated and, addressing Tsallum, told him he was
there to give him a last chance.
"We have the guns," said Mr. Horne. "See yonder cedar tree;
if you still refuse we will do to you what we will do to that tree. Do
you still refuse?"
"We want to fight," said the savage, "and when we are through
we will have your big canoe and all your goods. Get aboard your
canoe, and fight us if you are not afraid."
"Good," said Mr. Horne, and raising his arm, the signal was instantly answered by a puff of white smoke and the grape shot, tearing
through the cedar, tore it into a thousand fragments.
The Indians took to their heels while Home returned on board
the warship. The war drums then began to beat, and many of the
Indians, parading up and down, shook their arms at those on board.
Before parting from the Indians, Mr. Horne had warned them that
when a black flag was run up, the ship would fire.
In compliance with this promised notice, -Capt. Richards ordered
a flag to the foremast head. Then training their guns on the defiant
murderers the gunners fired a broadside, which laid them low in
groups. But they were still defiant and some of the Indians, lying
down behind logs, began a fusilade upon the ship.
Another broadside cleared the whole front, but a large number
ran for protection behind a hill. Then a few shells dropped among
them disposed of many more, among whom was the principal criminal,
20 Tsallum, himself. Then the canoes were smashed, as the greatest punishment that can be inflicted next to taking an Indian's life is to destroy
his canoe.
Going ashore after the cessation of the firing, Mr. Horne found a
few women huddled together in abject terror. Now, as a matter of
fact, women with a war party are not entitled to any more consideration than the men. These women in the massacre of the Penellahuts
employed themselves during the massacre in striking on the head any
helpless wounded with a stone mallet, made and used for that purpose,
and in doing so were guilty of the most awful cruelty it is possible to
imagine.    It is they who disfigure the wounded before killing them.
However, seeing that they had everything in the form of food destroyed by gunfire, Capt. Richards had a boatload of supplies sent
ashore and deposited on the beach. This proved a great lesson to this
hitherto troublesome tribe, as ever afterwards they behaved themselves, and were often employed by the Hudson's Bay Co. or the Government on expeditions where reliable men were wanted.
As for the Penellahuts, their dead bodies were not buried until
1881, when Rev. Mr. Roberts, who was a cousin of "Bobs," arrived to
open the Church of England mission to that inoffensive and almost
annihilated tribe.
On the return of Capt. Richards in the Plumper to Victoria he
reported what he had done to Governor Douglas. On hearing of the
destruction of the canoes, Governor Douglas was much enraged, as he
said that it laid the Bella Bellas open to the attacks of the ferocious
Euclataws, whose rancheria was on Cape Mudge, almost directly opposite. He threatened to have the captain tried by a naval court-
martial, but his anger blew itself out at that.
21  SIR MATTHEW BAILLIE BEGBIE
I have taken the liberty of giving a short history, and telling a few
stories in connection with the life of the late Sir Matthew Baillie
Begbie, the first Chief Justice of British Columbia, whose ability and
courage as a judge in administering the laws of a crown colony, at the
most critical time of its existence, have won for him the admiration
of the English-speaking race, at least throughout Canada. This might
be looked upon as an exaggerated statement, but there are very few
in Canada who speak the English language, who have not heard of
Begbie, the upright and impartial judge, and the terror of all evildoers.
Matthew Baillie Begbie was the eldest son of Col. T. S. Begbie
of the 44th Foot. He was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1819, and
after a thorough school training entered St. Peter's College, Cambridge, where he took the degree of B.A. with honors in 1841, and
M.A. in 1844. He was called to the bar in Lincoln's Inn in the latter
year, and practised his profession in England until 1858.
In this year Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton, secretary for the colonies, resolved on proving "by active and original work, that he could
23 be a practical colonial statesman, as well as a novelist, a playwright,
and a parliamentary orator," introduced into the British House of
Commons a bill creating the crown colony of British Columbia, which
was to comprise "all such territories as were bounded to the south by
the frontier of the United States of America, to the east by the main
chain of the Rocky Mountains, to the north by Simpson's river and
the Finlay branch of the Peace river, and to the west by the Pacific
Ocean.
For this separate colony of British Columbia a judge was required, and Matthew Baillie Begbie, at that time thirty-nine years of
age, received the nomination of Sir Hugh (afterwards Lord) Cairns,
and his appointment speedily followed.
For many months after his arrival in Victoria, Begbie acted,
with the consent and approval of the Colonial Secretary, as attorney-
general for the separate colony of Vancouver Island, of which Cameron was chief justice.
Cameron, at the time of his appointment as chief justice, was a
clerk in the employ of the Hudson's Bay Company, as superintendent
of the Xanaimo coal mines. He was not a lawyer by profession, but
an ordinary draper, but what was of more importance, a brother-in-
law of the governor. As superintendent of the coal mines he had been
paid £150 a year, and to overcome any objections which the colonial
secretary might have to his appointment, the Governor arranged that
he should still draw this stipend from the company, and nothing from
the Home Government.
David Cameron's first appointment to the bench was in December, 1853, as judge of the Supreme Court. By authority of a royal
warrant, he was raised by Governor Douglas to the position of chief
justice of Vancouver Island. On account of his salary being paid by
the Hudson's Bay Company, his appointmnet gave rise to a great deal
of dissatisfaction among those who were not employees of the fur
company. Any servant of the company who would have raised his
voice against the appointment would in ordinary parlance have lost
the number of his mess.
Cameron was succeeded by the Hon. Joseph Needham, a selection
of Sir Bulwer-Lytton. He arrived in Victoria on the 30th September, 1865, and was sworn in as chief justice of Vancouver Island on
the 11th of October, 1865, which was the same day on which Cameron
resigned. With the union of Vancouver Island and British Columbia
there existed two chief justices, one for the mainland (British Columbia), and one for Vancouver Island.
When Chief Justice Needham landed in Victoria he understood
24 that he would be called upon to sit in every court then in existence.
He had in consequence provided himself with wigs and robes to suit
the court he was sitting in, from the full bottomed wig of the Court of
Queen's Bench to the more modest headgear of the County Court.
On the opening of the assizes he always appeared on the bench with
a full bottomed wig and scarlet robes trimmed with fur. He was likewise attended by a chaplain, like the custom in vogue in England. He
was extremely well posted in commercial law, and endeavored to do
his duty faithfully and well. Chief Justice Needham resigned in
March, 1870, and was honored with knighthood, after which he was
appointed to a judicial position in Demarara.
Matthew Baillie Begbie was sworn in as judge of British Columbia on the 19th November, 1858, at Fort Langley, the time and place
being also adopted for the proclamation of the mainland as a separate
colony under the name of British Columbia.
In 1859 and 1860 the placer mines of the Fraser were attracting
miners from all over the world, and more especially from California.
Many gamblers, roughs, thugs and bad men of the Golden State
found their way to Victoria. Not liking the aspect of affairs in that
city, this canaille crossed over to Whatcom, U.S.A., where they expected to see a city spring into existence, but being disappointed they
made their way to Yale and the mining camps along the Fraser River.
There was a great deal of legal business to be done in both colonies, and there was a great dearth of legal practitioners to do the
work. I will now refer to a celebrated case which was tried before
Judge Begbie, and from the date of which all the ill feeling which
existed for years between the judge and the Hon. George A. Walkem
had its inception.
I hope those who read this book will pardon my intruding what
might be considered almost personal matters seeing that Mr. Walkem
was my brother, but he was also a public man and was very much in
the limelight in the early history of the Province. This case was the
Cranford case, and Mr. Walkem, who had not been able to secure
admission to the bar, although he had been admitted to practise his
profession in both Upper and Lower Canada, before leaving Toronto
for the Pacific coast, was at the time of the suit in the employ of
Cranford. One day when discussing his case Mr. Walkem suggested
to Cranford some legal moves it would be advisable for him to take
in the suit which the latter was taking against Gus Wright, a trader
and packer, for breach of contract. Mr. Cranford was so surprised at
the wisdom of the advice that he asked Walkem how he came to be so
well posted in law, and the latter replied that he was a full fledged
25 lawyer of Upper and Lower Canada. After that conversation Walkem
was always consulted by the counsel in charge of the case, and when
the trial came on in court he was asked to take a seat beside Mr.
Cranford's counsel. No sooner did Judge Begbie notice Mr. Walkem
giving" advice to counsel, than he ordered him to retire from the seats
allotted to barristers. Some words ensued between them and from
that day onward the two were constantly coming; into collision in the
courts of the Province. This case also gave Mr. Walkem such a
good reputation as a lawyer, as to attract many clients, and also made
him many friends. Although steps were being taken by other parties
to secure the intervention of the Secretary for the Colonies, the Duke
of Newcastle, and an order from him to Governor Dougdas for Mr.
Walkem's admission to practise, a petition very extensively signed
was presented to Governor Douglas, asking him to allow Mr. Walkem
to follow his profession. The petition was refused, and its rejection
was solely due to the advice of Judge Begbie, who had not forgotten
the wordy dispute between them during the trial of the Cranford case.
About this time a good deal of trouble arose at Hill's Bar in which
the notorious Ned McGowan played a very conspicuous part. The
foreign element labored under the erroneous impression that the
Lower Fraser, Langley and Hope were in United States territory. In
a spirit of bravado, they defied the proper officers to collect taxes as
well as duties on goods coming in from the other side of the line. The
authorities, with the exception of Douglas, held this foreign element
in some fear, but Douglas knew he could bring them very speedily
into subjection whenever it pleased him. However, he did not go to
extremes, for by the Royal Engineers and Judge Begbie the majesty of
the law was upheld. It was at this time that Begbie first impressed
the lawless with a wholesome fear for British law and justice.
A short time after this McGowan shot a man at Hill's Bar, and
confiding to a comrade that he had a great fear as well as respect for
the cut of Begbie's countenance, he left the country.
Judge Begbie's first circuit was undertaken on March 28, 1859,
and although his journey was a short one his report was voluminous.
This was sent to the Geographical Society of Great Britain and published by them and filled eleven pages of their pamphlet.
In his administration of the laws he endeavored to be just, but at
times he was extremely tyrannical towards many barristers who
appeared, before him.
The mining population were divided in their estimation of his
decisions. They took particular exception to his frequent annulment
of decisions of mining recorders, of gold commissioners and county
26 court judges, as well as his setting aside of verdicts of juries. He was
also complained of as being arbitrary, partial and doing illegal things.
The miners of Cariboo held a mass meeting, the result of which was a
petition for his recall. But no attention was paid to this and Begbie
continued on the even tenor of his way.
In criminal cases where the prisoner was not represented by
counsel, Judge Begbie invariably cross-examined all the witnesses)
just as a counsel would have done on his behalf. He made it his duty
to see that the man obtained fair play. Those who carried bowie
knives, pistols and other weapons of the same nature were, when found
guilty, treated with great severity. He showed no mercy to murderers when tried and convicted before him, and frequently tongue-
lashed a jury when he deemed they had not done their duty. In confirmation of this I will now proceed to cite a case.
A miner, named Gilchrist, killed another miner under the following circumstances : While Gilchrist was sitting at a faro table at William's Lake, a man named Turner came in, and throwing down a sack
of gold dust upon the table, bet an ounce. Turner won his bet, and then
doubling it, placed two ounces upon the table, which bet he also
won. Picking up his winnings, the miner turned to leave, at the same
time asking Gilchrist in a good natured tone of voice, if there was any
game he could play better than that one. Irritated by the remark,
Gilchrist rose from his chair, and drawing his pistol pointed it at
Turner. Just as he pulled the trigger, a spectator present turned Gilchrist half round, and the ball struck another man, who was leaning on
the bar of the saloon, fast asleep. He was killed instantly. Gilchrist
was arrested on a charge of murder.
The case subsequently came before Judge Begbie, and a jury
chosen from a class of people composed of many fugitives from justice
from the American side, and known to be horse thieves from the
Dalles, Oregon.
After a very patient hearing of the evidence, which was clear and
uncontradicted, Judge Begbie charged the jury very strongly against
the prisoner, at the same time severely condemning the carrying of
weapons of a dangerous and deadly character. He warned the jury
against being carried away by sympathy, or by the accidental nature
of the shooting. The prisoner in attempting to kill one man, had
killed another. That was murder. He told them also that if they
believed the evidence which had been uncontradicted, there was only
one verdict they could return, and that was "wilful murder."
The jury retired, and after an absence of thirty minutes returned
a verdict of "manslaughter."    Turning to the prisoner, the chief justice
27 said : "Prisoner : It is far from a pleasant duty for me to have to sentence you only to imprisonment for life. I feel I am, through some
incomprehensible reason prevented from doing my proper duty. (In a
voice of thunder) Your crime was unmitigated, diabolical murder.
You deserve to be hanged! Had the jury performed their duty I
might now have the painful satisfaction of condemning you to death,
and you, gentlemen of the jury, you are a pack of Dalles horse thieves,
and permit me to say, it would give me great pleasure to see you
hanged, each and every one of you, for declaring a murderer guilty
only of manslaughter."
Gilchrist escaped the rope, but was sentenced by Judge Begbie
to penal servitude for life. At that period in the history of British
Columbia there was no penitentiary, as there is now, but the common
gaol of New Westminster was used for that purpose, and in it were
confined all manners of convicts, of long and short terms. It was to
this prison, therefore, that Gilchrist was conveyed to serve out his
sentence. After being in this gaol three or four years, he met one
day, in the yard one of the most desperate thugs that ever crossed the
international boundary line. Taking hold of the sleeve of his prison
jacket, the criminal told Gilchrist that a conspiracy had been entered
into by the long term prisoners, to fix on a certain day, to attack, and
possibly kill their guards, on filing out from breakfast, escape from the
prison, and with the aid of outside friends, make their way back to
the United States.
Great was the surprise of this convict when Gilchrist refused to
have anything to do with the conspiracy. In a few words Gilchrist
informed him that he had one life on his conscience, and he resolutely
refused to engage in any plot, especially when its success was dependent on the taking of human life.
In the course of the day he considered it his duty to inform the
warden of the jail of the plans of the conspirators. That night a
search of the cells was made before the convicts were locked up at
the close of the day, with the result that packages of red pepper, and
even pistols were found concealed in some of the bedding. Governor
Seymour paid a visit to the gaol, and after hearing from Gilchrist the
whole story of the plot, pardoned him there and then.
A few years later some citizens of New Westminster paid a visit
to San Francisco, and while there went with some friends to inspect
the San Quentin penitentiary on the other side of the bay. They
were shown round by the warden, a most gentlemanly official. Just
before leaving, the warden said to one of the visitors from New Westminster :
28 "Do you recognize or know who I am?"
"Yes," said the gentleman addressed, "I knew you the moment 1
laid eyes on you, and remember you well in old Cariboo. Your name
is Gilchrist."
'Yes," admitted the warden, "but please do not call me by that
name. Ever since I left British Columbia I have lived in California
and changed my name and mode of life. Now I am warden of this
prison, so if you have any sympathy for me never mention my name
or allude to that horrible time, which I wish to forget."
The visitors promised to comply with his request. He is now
dead or I would not refer to the matter here.
Another similar case occurred in Victoria not very many years
ago. A well known mining man, named Robertson, had been sandbagged and killed in a most cowardly and brutal manner. The evidence against the prisoner in the opinion of the chief justice was clear
and most convincing. I think the judge was right. The prisoner got
a very patient and fair hearing. The evidence was submitted by the
crown in anything but a vindictive manner, but the crown counsel
called for justice to be meted out and an example made of men of the
prisoner's type of character which others would take earnestly to
heart.
In summing up the chief justice told the jury, as in the case of
Gilchrist, that there was only one verdict which they could return,
and that was "guilty of wilful murder." The jury retired and after
being out only a few minutes returned a verdict of "not guilty." The
most surprised man in that court that day was the prisoner himself.
Addressing the foreman in his most courteous manner, the chief
justice said:
"Mr. Foreman—with your permission I will say a few words to
the gentleman in the dock?"
The Foreman (delighted to be thus addressed by the chief justice :
Certainly, my lord; certainly, I have no objection whatever.
The Chief Justice (turning to the prisoner)—You have escaped.
The jury in their infinite wisdom have declared that you are not guilty
of sandbagging the deceased. In return for this I.would simply
state that 3^ou would do me an inestimable favor if, after leaving this
courthouse, you sandbag each and every one of that jury, and see that
not one escapes.    As I said before, you have escaped!    You can go.
Captain John Thain, an old pioneer of this province, was called to
his fathers some years ago, and buried in Victoria. Four large granite
stones marked the four corners of his grave. These stones were connected with each other by steel chains to prevent people from tramp-
29 ling over the grave. One day these chains were missed, and a man,
wlio was subsequently tried at the assize, was arrested, charged with
stealing them and then selling them in a junk shop. This case was
also tried before Begbie, and the evidence was very clear against the
prisoner.
The chief justice told the jury what he thought they ought to do
and if they were honest men could find but one verdict and that was
guilty. Here again the jury did not see eye to eye with the chief
justice.    They brought in a verdict of "not .guilty."
"What?" exclaimed the chief justice, "do I hear correctly?"
The Registrar—Not guilty, my lord !
Chief Justice (addressing the jury)—This verdict you have
brought in is a disgrace to British justice. Have you not common
intelligence ?
I think, sir, (looking at the jury) by this verdict you have
shown that you are not fit to sit on any jury where common intelligence is a requisite."
To the Prisoner—"The jury have seen fit to allow you to escape.
It is my opinion, however, that you have been guilty of stealing these
chains from a late Victoria citizen's grave, and the crime is about as
mean a one as stealing coppers from a dead man's eyes.    You can go."
Another case was called and a jury was in course of selection
when the name of the foreman of the preceding jury was called.
Taking a quick step forward this juror addressed his lordship as
follows : "Noble lord. After the remarks which your lordship saw
fit to make about the preceding jury, of which I was the foreman, I
don't think I am fit to—"
The chief justice (interrupting)—"I quite agree with you, sir, I
don't think you are fit to sit on this, or any other jury. Mr. Sheriff,
strike this man's name off the panel."
The gentleman who thought he was about to take the chief justice down a peg or two, retired discomfited.
But the chief justice could be very facetious at times, and before
I proceed to give an instance of this kind I must tell another story.
When Judge Begbie was sojourning in New Westminster in the early
days, some of its good citizens pressed upon the attention of the judge
a mining claim which had been staked on a creek which ran under
Hon. Henry Holbrook's building. This claim they had salted with
pyrites and other material which to the uninitiated, resembled gold
in appearance. Here his lordship stood with trousers rolled up
to his knees, and pan in hand washing the gravel.
On the side of the creek stood a glass containing the gold (?)
30 which he had washed and which nobody dared to handle. The glass
was half full. His success created such a stampede that Capt. Spauld-
ing, S.M., applied for a company of Royal Engineers to guard against
a riot. The price asked for the claim was $500—and the judge was
about to close with the offer when Mrs. Lewis, an old-timer, advised
him to try and cut his washings with a knife. He fell in with the
suggestion, with the result that the deal was off. Hon. Wymond
Hamley was a partner of Judge Begbie on this occasion.
A year or so after this episode a banquet was given by the New
Westminster city council to which Judge Begbie was invited. Among
the toasts offered on that occasion was one by the late Hon. John
Robson to "New Westminster's Pioneer Miner Matthew Baillie Beb-
bie," which was drunk, so the chronicler told mè, amid great enthusiasm. Begbie never forgot that incident, and often in the latter
days of his life mentioned it to me.
Thomas was the name of a man who kept a boot and shoe store
in New Westminster. He had hung a pair of boots upon a nail outside
the door of his shop. An Indian passing saw the boots, and thinking
that he needed them more than Thomas did, took them and fled. He
was shortly afterwards arrested and brought before a magistrate, who
committed him for trial.
I was at that time living at the Hastings Mill, and being a witness
in a case, attended the same assize at which this Indian was to stand
his trial. Chief Justice Begbie presided. The sittings were opened
in due and ancient form, Mr. W. Norman Bole appearing for the first
time as crown prosecutor. After several cases had been disposed of
the Indian's name was called, and he stepped into the dock. His appearance there was the signal for considerable confusion in the body
of the court, constables and ushers running hither and thither, and the
sheriff assuming a very anxious expression of countenance. All of
this did not escape the eagle eye of Sir Matthew, who, ieaning over the
front of the desk, addressed the crown prosecutor, and the following
colloquy ensued :
Sir Matthew—Mr. Attorney ! Is there no Indian interpreter in
court?
Crown Prosecutor—No, my lord, but we have^sent for one and he
will be here shortly.
Sir Matthew—'Very strange ! Very strange ! But, Mr. Attorney,
is not the prevailing language of New Westminster Chinook?
Crown Prosecutor—No, my lord, I have never heard such to be
the case;
31 Sir Matthew—But, Mr. Attorney, is it not a fact that more people
of this city speak Chinook than Indians speak English ?
Crown Prosecutor—I believe it is, my lord.
Sir Matthew—Quite so, Mr. Attorney, quite so. It simply shows
the natural tendency of a people to fall back to the original state.
I have been told that Mr. Bole made quite a pointed remark to the
chief justice, but if such a remark was made I did not catch it. However, the judge told the crown prosecutor to let the Indian's case stand
over until an interpreter was obtained.
At another assize I heard one of the most scathing addresses to a
convicted prisoner to which I have ever listened. Before hearing this
one I had in my mind the address of Judge Aylwin to Barreau, a man
convicted in Montreal of murder in the village of Laprairie in 1865 or
1866. It was a fearful lashing, but did not approach in severity the
one which I will now repeat.
A man was brought up on an indictment charging him with
having entered a church and broken open a box containing money
belonging to some Sunday School children, which was hanging on the
wall. The money was to be devoted towards the establishment of a
Sunday School library.
Sir Matthew was again presiding. The prisoner appeared in the
dock with three medals upon his breast. One medal was a Crimean
one, with three clasps for Inkerman, Balaclava and Sebastopol, a Turkish medal (Medije), and an Indian medal with the Lucknow clasp. He
was undefended, but Sir Matthew cross-examined every witness in the
hope that he might find some redeeming feature for a British soldier.
After the evidence was all submitted, the jury retired and the prisoner
disappeared. In twenty or thirty minutes the jury returned to court,
and so did the prisoner, who, however, had removed his medals from
his breast.    The verdict was ".guilty."
Sir Matthew, after the usual question had been asked the prisoner
if he had anything to say why the sentence of the court should not be
passed upon him, and had given a negative shake of his head, paused
for some time. I could see that this was a very painful case for him.
Suddenly collecting himself, he first addressed the crown prosecutor:
"Mr. Attorney, I scarcely know how to deal with this case—(a
long pause)—Prisoner, you are the most consummate scoundrel that
ever disgraced a dock. To think that you, decked out in all Her
Majesty's war paint, which you no doubt obtained by skulking in the
trenches before Sebastopol, should arm yourself with an instrument
like a hatchet, and crawl into the House of God upon your hands and
knees, and break open a box in which the little children had placed
32 their sixpences to purchase books wherewith to make themselves more
acquainted with their Maker ! Ugh ! A Siwash would not do it. A
Chinaman would not do it, but if on the other hand you had decked
yourself out in this war paint which, as I said before, you no doubt obtained by skulking in the trenches before Sebastopol, and had armed
yourself with a double-barrelled gun and crawled up behind some poor
wretch and blown his brains out—there might have been some merit in
that, for you would have had the sure and certain conviction in your
own mind that you would, if convicted, have been sentenced by me to
be hanged by the neck in the shortest space of time which God and the
law would have allowed ; but I think eighteen months will meet all of
the requirements of your case.
"When you come out, never shake an honest man by the hand—
never look an honest man in the face! Go to the other side of the
world, where you are not known. Should you be so unwise as to stay
in this country, and should your form again throw its shadow in this
courthouse, charged with crime, and you are found guilty, and I am
sitting on this bench, I will send you to a place where you will speak
to your fellow men no more, at least while there incarcerated. Go
down !    Warder, take him out of my sight."
There is no doubt but that the sight of medals upon this man's
breast gave the chief justice intense irritation, the more especially as
Col. Begbie, the judge's father, was a Peninsular veteran.
When Judge Begbie was holding an assize about two years after
his arrival in the colony, a notorious horse thief, bully, and all-round
bad man, who had been driven out of "hang town" at the foot of the
Sierra Nevada mountains by a vigilance committee, was convicted of
stabbing a man near Williams Lake, and was up before the judge for
sentence. This was the first case of using a bowie knife which had
come before his lordship. The court was crowded, as the general public, consisting of all sorts and conditions of men, were very anxious to
ascertain of what kind of mettle this British judge was composed.
Taking a very deliberate survey of his audience, Judge Begbie
said : "Prisoner, I am glad to see that your case has drawn together,
in this temporary court of justice, so many of your compatriots. I am
given to understand that the mining class of the western states look
upon liberty as a condition- of life which gives them the right to defy
the laws of their country, and to govern it according to their wishes
by the might of the bowie knife and Colt's revolver. You, prisoner,
are a good representative of that class, and I am told that there are
many more of your kidney within the sound of my voice.
33 "Let me define for those who have come from the United States
what our laws look upon as liberty. It is laid down very clearly so
that no person can make any mistake as to its meaning. "Liberty is
the power of doing what is allowed by law. When you go beyond
that you indulge in license." I have been appointed a judge to interpret the law, and to see that the law is carried out. We have a law
which prohibits the use of bowie knives, pistols and other offensive
weapons, and in those countries over which the British flag flies there
is no necessity for carrying or using offensive weapons, and let me tell
those who are in court that in the course of my duty I will punish most
severely all those who, coming into this British colony, make use of
such deadly weapons. Prisoner, the jury have very properly found
you guilty of this wanton and cowardly attack. You will spend three
years in a place of confinement to be determined on, and in giving you
this sentence I feel that I have been very lenient with you."
I have often heard a story to the effect that on one occasion on
sentencing a man he directed him to pay a fine of six hundred dollars,
and that the man interjected the remark, "Oh, that's easy; I have that
in my pants' pocket—" and so on. I am sorry to spoil this story, but
this anecdote is not a Begbie one. The same story was told about a
noted judge of Missouri, and was published in Harper's Magazine
when I was a boy.
A correspondent of a United States journal, who was travelling
through British Columbia, heard many stories about the judge, and
duly chronicled them in his paper. One of these was that when on
assize in Cariboo he always made it his business to spend his Sundays
in selecting the trees on which to hang his victims who might be convicted during the week.   This, of course, was untrue.
In the course of his duties as a criminal judge in the early days,
Judge Begbie received many threatening letters, both anonymous and
signed, in which the writer threatened to do bodily harm and worse
to the judge in case he punished with severity certain parties about to
be tried. One of these writers he had arrested and brought before
him, and after lecturing him on the gravity of his offence, discharged
him with the remark that he and others like him were beneath contempt or his notice.
It was said that he was afraid to go to Rock Creek during the
so-called Rock Creek war. As a matter of fact, he earnestly asked
Governor Douglas to be sent there, but the governor told him that he
had duties of greater importance to deal with near the coast, and that
he, the governor, and Judge Cox would deal with the situation.
34 One one occasion when trying a case at Yale, Mr. Uriah Nelson
was the principal witness. It was a civil suit. This gentleman was,
as all old timers know, a celebrated character in British Columbia's
commercial life. In giving his evidence he did a little fencing with
the lawyer who was examining him. At last Judge Begbie turned to
the witness and said :
"Witness, be careful !    Do not prevaricate."
Well, the examination of the witness was resumed, and* Mr. Nelson resumed his fencing with the examining barrister. Then Judge
Begbie turned on the witness and in a voice of thunder said :
"Witness, I told you a few moments ago to be careful, and to
cease prevaricating. If you do not pay attention to what I tell you,
I will commit you."
"Well, judge," said Uriah, with a long drawl, "how can a fellow
help prevaricating when he's lost all his front teeth?"
The court broke into a roar of laughter, in which the judge joined.
At a time in our provincial history when we were short of county
court judges, the judges of the supreme court often took up the work
of these lower courts. On two or three occasions the amount sued
for did not exceed in value more than two or three dollars. When
these cases were called the judge would put his hand in his vest pocket and, taking out the amount, would settle the case, at the same
time remarking that his time was too valuable to be frittered away in
petty suits of this kind.
The late judge was very fond of music, and when the Philharmonic Society was organized in Victoria, many years ago, he was its
first president. When living in New Westminster as judge of British Columbia, he sang in the choir of the cathedral (Church of England) and his voice could be heard drawling out at the end of a verse
after every one had ceased singing. He had a chair placed for his
use outside of the choir, as the seats would not admit his long legs
between the rows. For some years antecedent to his death he was
a member of the choir of what was known as the "iron church," Victoria, and frequently read the lessons, and a remarkable good reader
he was.
The late Ike Johns used to tell a story about Judge Begbie (whom
he did not know at the time by sight, but simply by reputation), having come to his cabin one night in Richfield and borrowed an overcoat,
which was of a pattern commonly used by American soldiers. The
night was dark and the weather very wet. As he passed the coat
out to him, he said: "Stranger, you want to keep a good look out for
that man Begbie; he will give you six months on sight for wearing
35 one of those coats." The coat was returned next day while Johns
was in the mine.
Sir Matthew was very fond of both shooting and fishing. With
the gun he was very handy, being a good shot, right or left.
One day a curious accident occurred to him in New Westminster
when the judge was shooting in the swamp at the lower end of the
city. The late Mr. C. E. Pooley was with him. A snipe arose and
darted off on swiftly moving wings. Up went the judge's gun; he
fired, and the bird dropped. Beautiful shot! was it not, Mr. Pooley?"
in which remark the latter concurred.
Almost immediately after this remark was made, Jack Fannin,
late curator of the provincial museum, came out of a cabin on the
opposite side of the swamp, bleeding from a wound on the nose directly between his eyes. One of the shot had passed through Jack's window and wounded him. The judge immediately went over to Jack,
and with him went to Mr. Adolphus Peele, at that time a druggist,
who removed the shot. On regaining the street, the judge remarked:
"That was not such a beautiful shot after all, Mr. Pooley."
In stature Sir Matthew was over six feet, and would have been a
remarkable figure in any company.
36 MR. HORNE'S TRIP ACROSS VANCOUVER ISLAND
In Nanaimo, on one
beautiful morning in the
month of May, 1883, an
old friend of mine was
sitting on a bench in the
centre of his well-kept
lawn. Mr. Adam Horne
was a gentleman who
had once seen very strenuous times in the service
of the Hudson's Bay Co.
He was now approaching
the sere and yellow leaf
in physical strength, but
his brain was as clear
and as active as ever. His
tales of bygone days were
always a strong temptation to me to seek his
company and draw from
his inexhaustible store
some interesting tale of
adam horne the early pathfinders.
Opening the garden gate I approached the old gentleman, who
was leaning forward, with his hands crossed over the head of his
stout walking stick, and his forehead resting on his hands. "Good
morning," I said, and he looked up at me through a pair of gold-
rimmed spectacles. After a moment's hesitation he replied : "Good
morning, doctor, I knew your voice, but my sight is failing me, and
I did not at once recognize your face." Still holding my hand, he
remarked : "I was thinking of bygone days and of the many strange
incidents of my earlier life in the service of the company, and all at
once it occurred to me that was this day the anniversary of the murder of the small tribe of Indians who lived at the Qualicum, by a party
of Haidahs from the Queen Charlotte Islands. It was one of the
most cruel massacres that have ever happened on the Pacific coast of
British Columbia. I was thinking of it when you spoke to me, and
the incidents of that tragedy are as vividly clear to my memory today
as they were at the time of its occurrence. But sit down and enjoy
the ozone of this balmy atmosphere. Sir George Simpson was a
great believer in British Columbia ozone." His reference to a massacre stimulated my curiosity, so I asked him to kindly tell me all about it.    Changing my seat into a garden chair, I awaited his reply.
After a moment's pause, he said:
"The story in connection with this massacre is a long one, because it is interwoven with the account of the first trip made by a
white man across Vancouver Island. This account is interesting
from a historical point of view, and of some importance because it
has never before been told. But to us, the old employes of the Hudson's Bay Company, these happenings were of passing interest because they were in the ordinary course of duty and of everyday occurrence. I will do my best and ask you to be patient and make some
allowance for the infirmities of one who is now well advanced in
years."
I was more than pleased and promising him my best attention
settled back in my chair to hear his narrative.
"In 1855, or thereabouts, I was, as I am now, living in Nanaimo ;
I have no record of the exact date. Roderick Finlayson, who was
the Hudson's Bay Company's official in charge of Fort Victoria, sent
me word that he desired to see me at the fort. I accordingly met him
there. Then he told me why he had sent for me. He said he wished
me to undertake a somewhat dangerous expedition, and calling me to
his side, he pointed out on a rough sketch, which he held in his hand,
a creek on the east side of Vancouver Island, and a short distance
north of Nanaimo. This creek he called the Qualicum. He explained
that the Company was anxious to ascertain whether a trail existed
from the Qualicum to the head of Barclay Sound, and if not whether
it was possible to construct one at a low figure. He told me that I had
been selected to head a small expedition to proceed to the creek, interview the Indians there, and if a trail existed ask their permission to use
it. We believe, he said, that the natives of both sides of the island use a
trail of some kind, and we look to you to find it." Mr. Finlayson then
continued : 'The natives at the Qualicum are said to be of the same
tribe as those at Cape Mudge. Their dwellings are inside the mouth of
the creek. You will use great circumspection in approaching these people on the subject of using the trail, if there is one. They are not well
known to the Company, but their relatives at Cape Mudge have a very
bad reputation for treachery and theft. If they refuse to give you any
information, or deny you the use of their trail, you will at once leave
their camp, and use your own discretion in completing your task.
Above all things be constantly on your guard against treachery. You
will be allowed to choose four out of your six companions. There is
one man we are sending with you and for whom you must find room.
His name is Cote, a French-Canadian.      He is a good canoeman ;
38 knows the waters of this coast thoroughly, is invaluable in a crisis,
and does not know what fear means. We will also furnish you with
an interpreter and with all necessary supplies of which you will furnish us a list, and also with some small goods for presents to the
natives of both coasts. You will proceed to carry out these orders
without delay.'
"It was early in the day when I had this interview with Mr.
Finlayson, and at once proceeded to write out a list of what we might
need, which I handed in within an hour. I was told that they would
be packed ready for transportation in the canoe that afternoon, in
several small tarpaulins, which might be of use on the trip should 1
require to cache any of my supplies. I made preparations to leave
Fort Victoria by the flood tide next morning, which set in about half
past four. I looked up four other men to accompany me, one of
whom was an Iroquois, one of the old engages of the campany. We
all met that night, including the interpreter, Lafromboise, and Cote,
This man Cote was a peculiar character, with a shock of wiry curly
hair, which hung in ringlets about his shoulders. He was greatly
given to profanity, but which he always confined to the French
language.
Next morning the canoe was brought around to the foot of what
is now known as Fort street, and on entering the fort we found all.
our goods packed into portable packages. These we carried down
and placed in the canoe. Mr. Finlayson came down to see us off, a
remarkable thing for a gentleman in his position to do, but it showed
the interest he took in the expedition. Cote entered and took his
place in the stern, and we all followed. The canoe was pushed off
and we made for the outer waters, and as we disappeared round the
bend we saw the chief factor waving us an adieu with his lantern,
for it was not quite daylight.
When we got out into the gulf we met a stiff southerly breeze
and a fast flowing favorable tide. Sail was hoisted, and under its
pressure and the rising tide, we bowled along nearly all that day at a
great clip. The cânoe which the Company furnished us with was
what is known as a Haidah canoe. It was roomy and light and would
have been an excellent model for a large vessel. It behaved well in
a heavy sea, and we met many that day, throwing the water from its
bow as it rose on the stormy brine like a duck. We saw no natives
on our long run that day. As evening approached the wind gradually
died down to a light breeze off shore, so we thought it better to go
into camp for the night. It was some little time before we settled
where we would land, as we wished to obtain a spot where we might
39 be able to have a camp secure from the intrusion of natives, who generally prove a great nuisance, being always "hyas kla-howya" and
sticking to a camp until they eat you out.
"We landed in a snug- bay on the west side of what is now known
as Salt Spring Island, so called from some salt springs which were
found there. We made a small camp fire and after a hearty supper,
made preparations for bed. I appointed a Red River half-breed as
night watch, with orders to call us early. We sat around the camp
fire for some time, the several men, who were all voyageurs of the
old school, telling some very interesting stories. We finally rolled
into our blankets and were soon sound asleep. It was half past four
when the watchman called us next morning. He had breakfast all
ready, which we soon disposed of. Once more we loaded and manned
the canoe and, like on the previous day, had a fair tide as well as
fast breeze to carry us on our northern journey. We sailed between
many islands, beautifully clothed in verdure to the very water's edge.
About 10 a.m. as we were slipping through a rather wide stretch
of open water, we saw a deer about a mile distant on our port side,
swimming for his life toward Vancouver Island with three wolves
in pursuit. The deer was evidently holding his own. It was too far
out of our course, or I would have directed the crew to make some
attempt to intercept and kill it, as we were much in want of fresh
meat.
"We saw many canoes, all manned by natives, fishing. Although
they saw us they made no attempt to get better acquainted. We
camped that night on the eastern side of Newcastle Island. As it
was our object to escape observation, we made no fire, as it might
have been seen by the natives living at the mouth of the Nanaimo
River. We lay concealed on this island until- nine o'clock next night,
when we again put the canoe in the water. We had a stiff southerly
breeze at our backs, and every appearance of an approaching storm.
The water was very rough, sometimes pouring over the sides of the
canoe in bucketsful. Although there were no Indian settlements
along the coast, we saw many camp fires on the beach as we sailed
by, which must have been those of Siwashes going north or south.
At 2.30 a.m. we ran on a mud flat, which Cote said was near the
mouth of a river, five miles south of the Qualicum. We managed to
get off again, but the wind approaching a gale, we had to land on a
long, flat beach, a few miles further north. The wind had changed,
and was now blowing from the north. As the water's edge was
some distance from the timber, we had hard work packing our supplies and the canoe up into the bush.      The beach was rough,    and
40 covered with heavy boulders, and as it was as dark as Erebus the
moving of the canoe into the brush and timber was attended with
heavy work and many falls. We were rewarded, however, by finding
the snuggest place for a camp that one could desire. It afforded
splendid protection against the gale which was still blowing heavily.
Tired out, we all turned into our blankets and went to sleep.
It must have been six o'clock next morning, or a little later, when
the Iroquois aroused me, and told me in a subdued voice, that we were
within one mile of the Qualicum, and that, for some time, he had
S.P.Ouctge
HORNE ENTERING THE BIG QUALICUM.
been watching a large fleet of northern canoes approaching the creek.
W^hat they intended doing, of course, he did not know, but he anticipated trouble.
We were fully awake without any loss of time, and from the edge
of the timber we saw these large northern canoes enter the creek one
after the other, and disappear behind the brush which bordered the
banks of the stream. Then we took breakfast, and while doing so,
thick volumes of smoke arose from the creek and poured down across
the front of the timber where we lay concealed.
'We waited patiently to see whether those Indians would return
or not. It was fully twelve o'clock before the first of them came into
view in the lower reaches of the creek. We were horrified at the
antics of these demons in human shape, as they rent the air with their
shouts and yells. One or two of those manning each canoe would
be standing upright going through strange motions and holding a
human head by the hair in either or both hands. The wind at this
time was almost blowing a hurricane from the north, and the sea was
41 tipped with angry white caps in every direction. Turning the prows
of their canoes to the south, these northern Indians hoisted mats as
sails, and fairly flew along before the gale. In an hour s time they
were all out of sight behind a bend in the shore line. There was no
doubt in our mind but that we were about to face some dreadful
tragedy.
After lying concealed another hour we once more launched our
canoe, loaded it up with our supplies and impedimenta, and poled our
way along the shallow beach towards what we were now convinced
was the mouth of the Qualicum. On account of its south eastern approach being extremely shallow, we had to make a detour and enter
from the north. In the creek we found the current swift and a great
volume of water to contend with, so we continued the use of the poles.
Both sides of the creek were covered with'small brush to the water's
edge. In case we met with any natives, who might give us a hostile
reception, all of our men had their muskets loaded and lying by their
sides. We saw nothing of the rancherie on entering, but volumes of
smoke were still pouring out from one side of the stream beyond a
projecting point, covered with heavy timber.
In five minutes we were round this point, and then a most desolate and pitiable condition of things met our view. What had evidently been a rancherie was now a blackened heap of burning timbers.
Naked bodies could be seen here and there, but not a living being was
in sight. Our interpreter called out several times that if there was
any person living to come out—that we were friends, and would do
them no harm. He got no answer, except the echoes from the surrounding hills, and he then walked over to where the lifeless bodies
were lying. Horror of horrors ! Every trunk was headless and fearfully mutilated. We searched the surrounding underbrush for living
beings, but without success. Discouraged, we sat down upon a drift
log to discuss what we should do. Some of my men were for returning at once to Fort Victoria, but this I positively refused to do. I
was sent out to do a certain work, and that work must be done, jr a
good reason given for my failure. There were no Qualicum Indians
from whom I could gain my information, so I must try and find the
trail without assistance. If there were any left they must be prisoners in the hands of these northern Indians. While discussing- our
own position as the result of this massacre, the Iroquois suddenly
left us, and walked diagonally toward the bank of the creek. Then
he halted as though he were listening. He stood in one attitude of
keen attention for some moments, and then glided with moccasined
feet toward the creek.    There he lay down and placed his ear to the
42 ground. Rising he went a few yards further down the bank of the
creek and lay down again with his arm well over the edge of the
bank, beneath an overhanging maple tree, and extending his arm he
bent it underneath the bank and drew the living body of a naked
Indian woman from her place of concealment. She was a fearful
sight. Old and wizened, she held a bow in her dying grasp, and was
chanting some dirge in a low monotone. On her left side she had an
ugly wound, from which the blood was flowing freely. This, with
her pale face, and her very weak condition, told me that her end was
near. However, she was not too far gone to speak, for she murmured
something, and looked at us all, with fear expanded eyes. Evidently
we were the first white people she had ever seen. I gave her a little
rum and water, and then called Lafromboise, the interpreter, to my
side. I asked him to question her as to what had taken place. After
many attempts to get her to speak, he at last succeeded in obtaining
the following story:
They had all been asleep in the large rancherie when the Haidahs
crept in with stealthy step, and more than half of those asleep were
killed without awakening. The remainder were quickly killed, there
being five Haidahs to one of themselves. She was wounded with a
spear, but had seized a bow and fled to the side of the creek and had
hidden herself beneath the bank. The Haidahs had taken away with
them two young women, four little girls, and two small boys. This
expedition was in revenge for the killing of one of the Haidahs when
attempting to carry off the daughter of one of the principal men who
live where the death curents meet (Cape Mudge). Beyond this we
could get no further information. Her voice became weaker and
her breathing more difficult, until she finally became insensible. As
I looked down on her I could not help thinking of the uncertain and
unsettled condition in which these people lived. At no time could
they consider themselves safe from the attacks of other tribes, even
when they were supposed to be living on terms of the greatest friendship. Even as I looked at her, her eyes became fixed, her jaw dropped—she had passed away.
"This camp, with its headless bodies, was no place for us, so we
returned to our canoes and left the creek as we had entered. Paddling
two miles up the coast, we landed and removed our supplies, and
placed them on the beach. Then paddling a short distance further
north, we cached our canoe in some thick shrubbery. After returning
to where we left our supplies, we dug a hole, wrapped in tarpaulin
what we thought would be sufficient to take us to Fort Victoria, after
returning from the west coast, placed these supplies in the hole, filled
43 it up, smoothed it over, and then made a fire over all.    This effectually concealed our cache.
"At this point we struck into the forest, taking a southerly course,
in the hope of striking the trail if there might be one. After a most
arduous trip of four hours we struck a trail going in a N. N. \A .
direction. We had thus far only covered four miles. The underbrush was heavy and thick, and interspersed were recumbent giants,
in all stages of decay. These lay lengthways, crossways and every
other way, in wild confusion. With heavy packs upon our shoulders,
the ups and downs of that journey were very exhausting, and when
we reached the trail we were thoroughly spent. Some of my men
wished to camp here, but Cote and the Iroquois both objected, as
they said it was too close to the Qualicum rancherie. They both
pointed out that we were totally ignorant as to whether any of the
tribe were absent at the time of the massacre, and were some absent,
and return, they would institute a search, and finding us so close, they
might decide that we were the murderers of their friends. With this
I agreed and we continued our march along the trail until dusk, when
we emerged from the forest upon the shore of a large and placid sheet
of water, which we knew must be the lake which the trail was said to
lead to. We made our camp inside a lovely grove of arbutus. We
had supper, and then, tired men as we were, rolled ourselves in our
blankets and soon were sound asleep.
About midnight I was awakened by the howling of wolves and the
screech of a cougar close to our camp. I got up and piled more wood
on the fire, which was nearly out. I was never in any part of the Pacific coast where I heard so many owls calling to one another. Whether
our presence disturbed them or not, I cannot say, but for hours the
cries of at least three different species of owl broke in upon the usual
silence of the night. The screech owls were particularly noisy, as they
called and answered their friends and neighbors, probably telling one
another of the arrival of a new species of the genus homo, who did not
smell of salmon, and who had invaded their ancient homes. As I returned to my couch Cote got up, and said he would remain awake
and guard the camp, as he did not like the proximity of hungry wolves,
with our supplies at their mercy, if there was no one awake to guard
them. The last I saw of him as I dropped off to sleep, was with his
eyes gazing fixedly into the trees above him, looking for the great cat
which was giving vent to the most blood-curdling screeches every few
minutes. He had nothing to report next morning, except that two
large timber wolves kept hovering round the provisions, but always
under shelter of the underbrush.
44 I was up next morning bright and early, and taking a small pole
as an improvised fishing rod, and my musket under my arm, I wended
my way towards the lake. As I emerged on the shore, I saw a cow
elk and a young calf standing up to their knees in the waters of the
lake, having a morning drink. They saw me at the same time, but
they did not appear to have the least fear of me. Our camp was
much in want of fresh meat, so I made up my mind to kill the calf.
Making a slight detour to get the cow elk out of the line of fire, I
crept up to within forty yards of them and shot the calf through the
neck. She fell dead in the water, and the Iroquois coming up at the
same time, dressed the beast and carried the carcase into camp. With
a hook and line and a piece of dried venison I tried my luck in this
lake, the first white man to do so, and with very flattering results.
The water was very clear and cold, and I could see the trout moving
about in every direction. In fact, this lake fairly teemed with fish.
Just as soon as I had caught sufficient to meet the wants of our camp
I detached my line, and walking back gave my catch to the man whose
turn it was to cook the breakfast that morning. As the men were
very tired from the previous day's work, we did not start on the trail
again until after the noonday meal. We had a haunch of young venison for dinner, cooked in a hole in the ground beneath the fire, and
encased in a thick coating of mud. I have never tasted venison that
could compare with the haunch of that young wapiti. As we could
not take all of the meat with us, as we were already pretty well loaded,
we hung part of the carcase on a tree a short distance from the trail,
hoping to be back at this place on our return journey before the meat
spoiled.
"We started on the trail again shortly after dinner, our road
leading us round the shore of the lake, which was everywhere marked
with the footprints of wapiti (elk), deer, wolves, and occasionally
those of the black bear. This lake was evidently the drinking place
of the wild animals of that part of the island. After leaving the lake
the trail became tortuous, and unnecessarily so, like most of the Siwash trails. A native will walk yards out of the direct route to avoid
some small obstacle which we could remove with a little labor.
Darkness overtook, us at the foot of the last mountain trail we
were to climb, before we might look down upon the waters of the
western coast. Here we again camped for the night, but before turning into my blankets I put two men on watch, to be relieved after
four hours by two others. This I thought to be necessary in case
some wandering natives might be in the vicinity. Taking up the
trail next morning shortly after daybreak, we arrived at the summit
45 about noon, and from this point we had a fine view of the west coast
and of Barclay Sound. On the summit we cached some more of our
provisions, and we had a very steep and difficult descent to make,
which would be made dangerous with heavy packs upon our backs.
The gifts intended for the natives we of course took with us to propitiate any tribes with whom we might come in contact. It was to
the interests of the great company we had to look, and a friendly attitude on the part of all natives was of the first importance in obtaining
their furs, and their trade. We were told that the majority of the
natives of Barclay Sound had never seen a white man, and consequently they might be difficult to approach, or even hostile, unless we
succeeded in gaining their confidence and friendship. I shall never
forget that trail down the mountain side. It was so exceedingly
steep in places that we could only descend by hanging on to the brush
which skirted the trail, and letting ourselves down. The trail at the
foot of the mountain led directly to the salt water, and our arrival
there was productive of great excitement among the Indians. We
heard shouting in the timber, and the savages calling to one another
in that weird and abrupt cadence so peculiar to the Indians of British
Columbia. We could see none of them, but that they were within
easy bow-shot was evidenced by the flight of an arrow which found a
resting place in the bark of a Douglas fir, not far from my head. Cote,
who was walking a few feet in my rear, advised me to keep more within the timber, where I would be safe from flying arrows, or other
missiles. I recognized the value of his advice by complying with his
suggestion. The shouting now seemed to come from the other side
of a narrow canal, and presently two Indians appeared on the opposite bank, shouting, gesticulating and brandishing some weapons which
they held in their hands. The interpreter, Lafromboise, attempted to
hold some conversation with them, but the attempt was a failure.
"Taking off my pack, and filling my canvas bag with knick-
knacks and biscuit (hard-tack), I advanced along the water's edge,
in the hope of obtaining some means of crossing to the opposite side.
After walking a short distance we found a canoe on the bank. We
then pantomimed to the savages our intention of crossing over, to
which they showed strenuous objection, but after a little over half
an hour's pantomiming with our hands and arms they finally consented. There were no paddles in the canoe, but Cote went into the
bush and returned with a branch of a fir tree, with which by vigorous
use he propelled the canoe to the opposite bank. On our advancing
towards them the two natives, and many others who had joined them,
retreated with threatening gestures.    One, however, stood his ground,
46 but showing some timidity I thought it advisable to try the effect oi
some of my knick-knacks. I accordingly drew from my bag some
small looking-glasses, and threw one towards him, as well as a one-
bladed knife. These laid for some time on the ground before he
would touch them. He finally took up the small mirror and gave vent
to some grunts of satisfaction which brought the others from the timber, where they had been concealed. Taking nip the one-bladed knife,
which I had opened before throwing it to him, he appeared to know its
use, and they were all pleased with it, and made signs for more.
"Taking some biscuits from my sack, I threw one in the direction
of an Indian who appeared to have some authority, and taking another
I put it in my mouth and bit off a chunk, which I commenced to chew.
But he looked at his buscuit, and would not touch it, and after I had
eaten half the one in my hand he motioned to me to throw it to him,
which I did. Biting a piece off, he chewed it, and seemed highly
pleased with its taste. Taking some more from my bag I advanced
and he stood his ground. I then offered him some of those just taken
from my bag, but he would only eat them after I had eaten a piece of
them myself. Many more natives coming up, they asked me for biscuits, mirrors and knives. I gave them all I had with me, but I was
joined shortly after by the remaining members of my party who had
been ferried over by Cote, while I was going through a pantomime
with the natives. The most of these natives were completely naked,
but some had coverings made from the inner bark of the cedar tree.
The interpreter then asked in a loud voice if there were any of the
Indians who spoke the Songhee tongue, when a young man who
appeared to be about 18 years of age stepped forward and said he
could speak the language. He explained that he was a Songhee and
captured when a boy had been living with these Indians ever
since. He told us that we were the first strangers they had ever
seen, and they were afraid. The Indian who appeared to be the chief,
invited us to visit his rancherie. We walked down with them after
sending one of my men back for a Hudson's Bay blanket. The rancheria was situated some distance from the salt water canal. As we
approached this large structure Cote objected to my entering the
building. He said the Indians were already showing signs of becoming troublesome, by trying to steal from the supply bag and jostling
some of the party.
"We were all well armed, but I wished to avoid trouble in the
interests of the Company. The interpreter told the Songhee to ask
the chief to make his people behave themselves or there would be
trouble, which he did, as the chief addressed the natives, and they fell
47 back a little from about us. I was suspicious, however, of the chief's
intentions, and refused to enter the rancherie, although pressed to do
so.
The blanket in the meantime had arrived, and I presented it to the
chief with much ceremony. He was highly pleased with it, and in return he gave me two otter skins, which he had intended trading with
the Indians on the outer coast.
I then explained to him that the blanket was a present from the
Company, who had trading posts at different places in Briish Columbia, and that the Company would be glad if he took any furs they
caught to these posts and be well paid for them. The young Songhee
then asked if we could get him his freedom to return with us to his people at Fort Victoria. Before making any proposition in connection with
him we distributed a few of the mirrors and knives. I was on the
point of returning to the foot of the trail, where we intended camping
for the night and leaving early in the morning. It was now close to
4 o'clock in the afternoon, and it was necessary that the men should
have their supper, as they had had nothing to eat at noon. Taking
the chief on one side, I explained by signs that I would give him two
blankets in exchange for the boy. At first he refused, but at last he
consented. Not wishing him to see what goods we had with us, I
told him to come to the foot of the trail in the evening, and bring the
young man with him. We were glad to leave this tribe, and make
all haste to a place at the foot of the trail which I had noted in the
morning as offering a good site for a camp, if I returned that day.
While they were preparing a camp and getting supper, I took Cote
and Lafromboise with me, and walked down a couple of miles to salt
water. Here I saw a native fishing, but I did not leave the protection
of the timber, as I was interested in his peculiar method of spearing
cod-fish. This man had a wooden block carved into the shape of a
boy's spinning top, and adorned with a circlet of feathers.
This shuttlecock, for it closely resembled one, he placed at the end
of a pronged spear, and pushed it far down into the water. Then
standing over it he withdrew the spear and allowed it to come slowly
upwards in front of the shuttle. This was evidently a bait, for a few
moments after withdrawing the spear he plunged it quickly downwards again, and then withdrew it with a struggling grey cod on its
extremity. After watching the man for some time I came out of the
timber, whereupon the Indian paddled off with great shouts of fear
towards the rancherie. When I came back to camp the supper was
ready, and while disposing of it, the Indian chief or headman came
in, accompanied by the young Songhee.    Then another blanket was
48 asked for, in exchange for the Songhee's liberty, in rather an imperious manner. This I 'point blank refused to give him, and he was about
to take the boy back with him, when Cote took the boy by the shoulders, and pushed him among our men, at the same time throwing the
two blankets at the chief, and motioning him to take himself off. He
left us in high dudgeon, and we were told by the boy that he would
return with more of his tribe and kill us all. As I said before, we had
an excellent place for a camp, and we immediately began to prepare
for eventualities. In about half an hour's time we heard shouting
throughout the timber, and we saw the chief with a considerable number of men returning to retake the boy and punish us. We lay concealed in the brush and the natives halted, and one man shot an arrow,
which passed over our heads. Cote, who was on one side of the trail,
then arose with his rough shirt tied over his head and fired his musket
in the air. This appeared to throw the Indians into a panic. They
fled in dismay, headed by the chief, who, to expedite his movements,
left his blanket which I had given him in the morning, on a bush. For
sanitary reasons we left it there and then got everything ready for an
early start. Night came down upon us shortly after and we turned
into our blankets, with Cote and the Iroquois as night watches. We
left next morning just before day break, and gained the summit, where
we had breakfast. Just as we were about to take the trail again we
saw some of the Indians dodging along the road which led to our
camp, unaware that we had left. We had a much easier tramp towards the lake. It was down-hill, and when dusk overtook us we
went into camp. Next day we reached the lake about noon. We
found our venison where we had left it, but the ground beneath showed unmistakable signs of wolves having been there in force. I forgot
to mention that at the summit we found our cache of supplies intact,
with no evidence that any animal or human being had been in the
neighborhood.
We stayed at the lake until early next morning. Here some of
our party shot some mallards and teal, as well as a few grouse. We
made our camp close to the shore and built a large fire to keep off the
wolves which were howling all around us. It was impossible to
tell their number, as two wolves will make noise enough for a pack.
Our old friends, the owls, were also present, in good voice. After a
noisy night we made preparations next morning to return by way of
the Qualicum, if the route proved safe. Before starting I directed one
of the men to try and get some meat for our return journey. He had
not left the camp more than a few minutes when we heard his musket,
and in the course of twenty minutes he returned with a fine yearling
49 buck. It was dressed when brought into camp, so that all that had to
be done was to divide it into quarters, of which we took the best, and
left the rest for wild animals to feed on. Just before we left this
camp we saw a large cougar, or panther, jump from a tree, almost
above our heads, and in a few leaps disappear in the forest.
We started for the coast about seven o'clock. When about, as
we thought, one mile from the mouth of the Qualicum, we halted, and
I sent the Iroquois forward to ascertain whether any Indians were at
the scene of the late massacre, and then to come back and report. We
did not care about repeating the tramp we made through the bush on
our westward journey. He returned in a little over half an hour and
reported that we were only half a mile from the late rancherie, and it
appeared as though no person had been there since our last visit.
This was good news. He also reported that he saw no canoes i i the
gulf. We therefore continued our tramp in the direction of the late
abode of the Qualicums. On our arrival there we found the buildings
still burning, but the headless bodies of the dead had been partly devoured by wild animals. There was nothing to claim our attention
so after a few moments spent in examining the place we walked
down the beach to where we had cached some of our supplies. We
found these in the same condition as we had left them, and after hunting up the canoe, which had been undisturbed, we set out for Fort
Victoria. During the course of the second afternoon of our journey
southward, we turned into the mouth of the Nanaimo River, and were
accorded a very friendly reception by the Nanaimo Indians. Here we
saw a very interesting method of killing ducks and geese. At the
mouth of the river is a large flat piece of swampy land much frequent^
ed by waterfowl. Sometimes they congregate here in thousands,
more especially in the early months of the year. I asked the chief to
have supper with us, after which he accompanied us to the flats I have
mentioned. About the middle of this flat and cutting it in two are a
series of posts about twenty feet in height and forty feet apart.
Stretched between the posts was a large and extensive net. At dusk
when the flats are covered with waterfowl the Indians frighten them,
and rising in a large body with necks extended these waterfowl circle
round, and without seeing the net they push their necks through the
mesh and fall back with broken vertebrae, but retained in a hanging
position until removed. Stray flights of waterfowl are caught in the
night when the Indian is asleep within his dwelling.
On the second day after my visit to the Nanaimos I arrived with
my party at Victoria, and received the commendations of the chief
factor.
50 NED   STOUT
A PIONEER OF '58.
There are few of the "old timers" better known to British Columbians, than Net Stout, of Yale, and none, certainly, can tell a more
interesting story than this sturdy old pioneer.
I had heard his name mentioned as that of a miner who had come
to the Fraser River, in the van of the "first rush." His experiences
with the Thompson tribe of Indians, as told to me, were so enthralling
as to warrant my visiting Yale, where he had his home, to obtain his
story at first hand.
On arriving there I had no difficulty in finding his house, which
was situated a short distance from the railway station. Knocking at
the door, I was admitted by Ned himself, and after mentioning my
51 name I was invited to take a seat. In reply to his question, I stated
I was a brother of the late Mr. Justice Walkem, which appeared to
please him greatly. Mr. Stout said he knew Mr. Walkem well when
he was member for Cariboo, and Premier of the Province, and had
voted for him on every occasion on which he had been a candidate for
the legislature.
After explaining the object of my visit, he at once put my mind at
ease by inviting me into a room provided with a table and chairs, and
stating that he would willingly tell me the story of his early experiences in search of gold.
"Those were stirring and eventful periods in the history of my
life," said Ned, "filled with episodes which are indelibly fixed upon my
memory."
"There are only a few of us left, doctor, time is fast thinning out
our ranks, but I may say that of those who came to the country with
me, only four out of the twenty-six survived the war with the Indians
on the Fraser River. I have heard of some who claim to have gone
through that war, but any stories which they may have to tell in this
respect must be taken with a great deal of salt."
Mr. Stout is a gentleman who probably would measure five feet
six or seven in height. Though stout by name, he is almost the opposite in the flesh. His face is a very pleasing one, as though the
owner was possessed of an excellent temper, while his lips and jaw tell
of an iron will to attempt, and carry out, if possible, any enterprise or
project upon which he has set his mind. His moustache is grey, but
not white, and a small pointed beard, of the same color, covered a
square, well-formed lower jaw. His eyes are light in color, and his
nose is decidedly aquiline. His movements would lead one to believe
that he was a much younger man that his stated age. On his arms
are the evidences of the strenuous times of those early days, in which
all, but three or four of their party escaped alive from the attacks of
the blood-thirsty savages. His groin bears witness, in a large puckered scar, to where a musket ball entered, fired from one of the old
muskets supplied by the Hudson's Bay Company to the natives to
hunt game with. This wound nearly terminated his existence, and I
believe that if it had not been for his magnificent recuperative powers,
and his careful manner of living he would have succumbed to the
dangerous wound. His arms and body are literally covered with the
scars of arrow wounds. There are over forty of these plainly to be
seen. These scars are not confined to any particular part of his body,
but are to be found everywhere an arrow could find a place for entry.
When his arms are exposed, you do not see a limb of massive propor-
52 tions, but one in which the muscles stand out like whipcords, and
eloquently speak of great strength and wiry endurance.
"I was born," said Mr. Edwin Stout, "in Germany, in 1827, but
came to America, landing in New York in 1846. From there I proceeded to Milwaukee, where I obtained employment on a schooner, on
which I sailed Lake Michigan for over a year. On this schooner I
visited nearly every port on the lake from Chicago at the southern
end of it, to the Canadian frontier line in the northern end. In the
spring of 1848 I moved to Council Bluffs.
"I stayed with the Mormons, who were a thrifty and industrious
people, until the spring of 1849, when I joined a cattle drover, who
was driving a band of cattle in  connection with  some immigrant
wagons across the plains to California.    It was a long, but at that
season of the year, a pleasant journey.    I can remember it most distinctly.    We passed over a beautiful country literally swarming with
buffalo, elk and other deer, as well as antelopes.    We travelled by
way of the North Platte, Salt Lake City, Laramie, Bear River, the
Little Desert, the Big Desert, and passed where the Humbolt disappears from sight in the bowels of the earth.    Then we crossed the
Sierra Nevada Mountains and arrived in "Hangtown," or Placerville,
as it was afterwards called, in the month of November, 1849.    I may
rightfully be called one of the forty-niners of California.      To be a
forty-niner of California and a fifty-eighter of the Fraser River is
very exceptional, and I should say that the number of such men living
at the present time, might be counted on the fingers of one hand. This
village, or town, derived its name of "Hangtown" from the number of
desperadoes who were hanged within its boundaries by the Vigilance
Committee.    In the centre of the town was an oak tree, with large,
thick and widespreading branches.    One could count the number of
hangings that had been carried out by the number of rings on the
branches of the tree, just as you can tell the age of some trees by the
number of circles or rings which can be counted within the bark when
the tree is felled to the ground.    Every time the rope from which the
criminal was pendent was thrown over the branch and drawn into the
air, the friction removed some of the bark in a circular manner and
left its count.
"About twenty-five or twenty-six of our party engaged in mining
in various creeks and streams of California. The last place we tried
our luck was in Georgetown, El Dorado County. Among those who
were with me then and afterwards accompanied me to this Province
were Alexander Coultee, of the Nicola Valley, now deceased, and
John O. , of Yale.    We crossed the plains together.
53 "In 1857 rumors of rich diggings on the Fraser River were going
the rounds of the mining camps of California, and these rumors did not
lose anything in the description of the richness of the new finds by
their repetition. These reports produced intense excitement, and we,
like a great many more, we struck by an intense attack of Fraser
River gold fever. We made up our minds to seek out the new El
Dorado without loss of time, so we hunted round for some kind of
transportation and we finally succeeded in obtaining a schooner to
take us there. We made a bargain with the captain and owner to
take us to Bellingham Bay for $2,000, including the carriage of our
supplies and a sufficiency of timber to build two large boats with.
There were twenty-six of us all told. We would have cleared for Victoria, V. I., but it was not a port of entry, so we had to clear for Bellingham Bay instead. In the schooner we put a good stock of supplies, and what lumber we thought we would require. We started
from San Francisco, California, and arrived, after a medium passage,
in Bellingham Bay, in March, 1858. We were the only vessel in that
spacious harbor. Whatcom, at that time, consisted of two or three
houses, or cabins. With the lumber we brought with us we constructed two good, large flat bottomed boats. They were easily
handled and carried with comfort a large amount of freight, as well as
ourselves. We arrived at Canoe Pass on May 2, 1858. When we
arrived on the Fraser River there was not a living soul to be seen.
We did not even see the mark of an axe on any of the timber. We
passed up to what is now known as Langley. At Fort Langley we
saw one white man, a Hudson's Bay employe, and at Fort Hope we
saw only two. After a long struggle of eighteen days we arrived
opposite the present town of Yale. Of course it had no name at that
time. You will naturally enquire as to whether we saw those who
had been mining there, for it was at Yale where they found their first
pay dirt. Well, the history of the original claim strikers is a very sad
one. Old Chief Jim, whose rancherie was on the opposite side of the
river, told us that the previous year two strange white men made their
appearance on the river from the direction of Fort Langley, and employed Jim to work for them. They went across the river and sunk
two holes, and after washing a lot of dirt appeared to be very happy.
They got quite a large amount of gold. After a while they ran out of
supplies and then started out for Port Townsend to obtain some more.
On passing Bellingham they told of their great luck, and they mentioned their wonderful success at Port Townsend as well. Then they
went on to Seattle and repeated to the inhabitants of that city the
story of what they had struck on the Fraser, and showed their gold.
54 After getting a year's supplies they started out to return to their
claim, but on reaching the upper end of Lulu Island they were suddenly attacked by a band of Squamish Indians from the North Arm of the
Fraser, and murdered. Their vessel was looted of everything of value
and then burned. Jim said we were the first who had appeared since
the two original miners had disappeared. I asked him if he knew
their names. He replied that he only knew that one of them was
called Charlie. They told him when they left that they would soon
return, and that by and by there would be crowds of white men on
the river.
"We now made arrangements to start mining.    The first thing
we did was to elect officers to see that everything was carried out in
a proper manner.    It was necessary to do so where there were twenty-
six men to manage and in one company. Our officers were as follows :
"Chief, or foreman, John McLennan.
"Assistant Chief, Archie McDonald.
"Two under officers, two ex-Texas rangers.
"Poor Jack McLennan, a really good fellow, was subsequently
killed by the Indians. After we had been prospecting for some weeks
Jack McLennan called us together one day and .said : 'Boys, we have
been, working here for some time, and have found nothing but fine
gold, and in California we have been accustomed to coarse gold. Let
us pull our stakes and go right up the country, and try to find out
where this gold comes from. It comes from somewhere, and if we j
can find that 'somewhere' we may discover some valuable placer mines.
If we fail in finding what we are in search of, we will return to California." To this we all agreed. In the meantime during the week we
had been working men were pouring in by the hundreds, so that when
we left we had no fear of Indians murdering the two men we were
leaving in charge of the two boats, and some supplies, to be used on
our return or forwarded to us in case we made a strike.
"Just about this time the Hudson's Bay Company attempted to
establish a post or fort at Yale. In fact, they did establish one, and
Mr. Ellard, the chief factor at Fort Hope, called the post Fort Yale,
but through some misunderstanding with the natives they were compelled to abandon their project until after the signing of the peace
agreement after the Fraser River Indian war, when they established
the post.
"In accordance with the suggestion of our foreman, Jack McLennan, we took up our packs, quitted the scene of our three weeks'
work, and started out to ascend the Fraser River. First we made for
the mountains, and I can tell you there was no trail, or sign of a trail
55 on which to travel. We left Yale on June 2, 1858, and in making our
way through the timber we had the hardest kind of a time. Sometimes
we had to use the axe, for it was impossible to make headway without its assistance. We never had a glimpse of the sun except when
it was almost overhead. When lying on our backs at night, listening
to the racoons quarreling among themselves, we could discern some
stars through the tops of the giant trees. At last, after herculean
efforts, we succeeded in making our way through the big canyon, and
reaching the forks of a large river which met the one whose banks we
had been skirting. This was what is now known as the present town
site of Lytton. The mainland of the colony was known to us as New-
Caledonia, and a Scotchman of our party on reaching this point, extended his arm in a most dramatic fashion, and said : 'This is Queen
Victoria's New Caledonian Land. Oh, Mighty Mountains, what may
be behind you?' We were to find out, alas! to our cost! Leaving the
forks of the river, we ascended the Thompson, prospecting all the way
until we reached Nicomen, now called Thompson's Siding, where we
struck some gold, but not sufficiently rich to justify our staying there.
We once more started out in search of something better, and arrived
at the mouth of the Nicola River, on June 14, 1858. From this point
we started out in an east and southeast direction, prospecting the
mountains in search of a placer mine, but found none. Then we returned to Nicomen, and resumed mining, where we had left off previously. We stayed with it until the middle of July, when something
occurred which led up to our leaving a number of our men dead upon
the trail.
As we progressed through the country we came across several
small bands of Indians of the Thompson tribe. An innocent and good
looking woman child of the forest, had formed a strong attachment for
our foreman, Jack McLennan. When we first met her she was practically naked, and Jack out of pure good nature and compassion for
her nude condition, had given her sundry shirts and trousers to cover
her nakedness. She, in return, had fawned on him like a dog does on
his master. She followed him about, working for him, insisting on
carrying his pack, and otherwise showing in her childish innocent way
her strong love and affection for him. She was in love with Jack, but
beyond having a natural pity for the woman, I do not think he reciprocated her love. At night she usually stopped with some member
of her tribe, who followed in our trail.
"One night—it must have been close on midnight, and many of us
were still sitting in front of the blazing log fire—this woman suddenly
appeared, and placing her finger on her lip, as she walked to take a seat
56 close to Jack, said in a very low and subdued voice, 'Hist!' Taking
her seat upon a fallen tree, she stated gloomily, if not sadly, into the
fire. Cautioning silence, Jack said to us : 'Boys, something serious has
happened or is going to happen which concerns us all. This woman
would not have come here tonight unless she had something important
to tell us. Let no man speak, but let us wait until she is ready to tell
us what it is.' The woman in the meantime still kept her eyes fixed
upon the blazing logs. Twice she made a move as though to speak.
At last, in a most intensely sad tone of voice she said : 'Before sun
up you white men go. Go back in the stick, far, far, then you back to
salt chuck (water). Indian kill all white men in canyon, by-by he
come kill you all. Tomorrow he come. Go now, go quick,' and rising
from the log she disappeared as suddenly as she had come. We understood her warning to mean that the Indians below were killing all
the white men, and had killed all those in the big canyon, and if we
did not get far back in the bush and work our way back to salt water
we would be surrounded on the morrow and killed. We determined
to take the trail without loss of time. It was fair travelling where
we were, and there was a bright new moon to light our way.
"Carefully putting out our fires we struck into the thickest portions of the timber and travelled until daylight, when we lay down for
rest and repose. We were now divested of everything that would
encumber our rapid flight to the lower reaches of the Fraser. We had
thrown away everything but our guns and ammunition, as well as a
blanket apiece, but we kept some jerked venison as the best and most
easily carried of our supplies. After a short rest we struck across into
the hills until we reached Jackass Mountain near the Fraser River.
While we were in the act of walking from a little bench below Jackass
Mountain to another bench, the Indians, who were concealed in the
brush, suddenly fired on us from above. They were hidden among
some rocks and brush on the mountain side. Three of our men were
wounded, and as the arrows were poisoned, they died next da)', after
several attacks of convulsions. At death the poor fellows turned
black. The poison with which they anoint the tips of the arrows is
made as follows : Some teeth or fangs from the rattlesnake are placed
in a sort of mortar, with some deer's blood and are rubbed up together.
Sufficient moisture is added if necessary, to make it possible to anoint
the tips of the arrows. To prevent the Indians from robbing the dead
of their clothing or other belongings, we pushed the bodies of our late
comrades into the Fraser, and they were soon carried out of sight.
"As it was extremely dangerous to travel by day, we made our
way in the night time.    As soon as the day broke we built small forts
57 upon the bank of the river with stones and pieces of timber. Detached
parties of Indians often hemmed us in, skulking behind low bushes,
while occasionally some of them would send a chance musket ball
whistling across the rocks with savage interest.    Our arsenal consisted of twelve double-barrelled shotguns and six Kentucky rifles, and
several large horse pistols.    We lost a man nearly every day; Jack
McLennan was one of these, and at Slaughter Bar we lost six of our
comrades.    This Slaughter Bar was between Boston Bar and Jackass
Mountain.    Opposite  Keefers  we  made an  attack on  their caches
which contained all their dried salmon and berry cakes, and burned
the rancherie as well.    When we arrived at Ten-Mile Creek the Indians tried to head us off, but we set fire to the bush about 2 o'clock
at night and retired into the darkness.    The light of our bush fire
exposed the Indians who were lying waiting for us on the opposite
bank, and they were all killed off by the fire of the heavy Kentucky
rifles.    All of our men were expert shots.    At Four-Mile Creek they
had hung four poisoned salmon on a pole, expecting that we would
eat them.    Mike Mallahan, an Irishman who was with us, when we
approached the salmon, pointed to some blue jays lying dead beneath
the salmon.    He warned us not to touch the fish as they were undoubtedly poisoned.    The dead jays were good evidence of this.    We
threw down the pole, and after reducing the salmon to small pieces,
pitched them in the river.    We next descended to Boston Bar, and
crossed Anderson River on a natural bridge made from driftwood,
jammed tight in the narrow space.      Then we made our way round
China Bar Mountain to China Bar, where we built a fort.    There were
only five of us now left.    The rifles were no longer of any use to us
as we had no ammunition to suit them.    We broke them to pieces and
threw them in the river.    Every one of us was wounded, and as we
were unable to travel we laid behind our fortifications, expecting to
be attacked at any moment, but we were relieved by Capt. Snider and
his company on the following day.    If he had not come when he did
I would not be here today to recount to you the story of our rescue.
"I have said little of the privations of that trip. Let me tell you
that our sufferings from many causes were terrible. The total number
of whites who were murdered by the savages will never be known.
Capt. Snider took out of the water at Yale ten dead whites ; at Dead-
man's Bend on the opposite shore they took out nineteen, and the Hudson's Bay Company at Hope took out thirty-two. Of those who were
murdered all of them had their heads and arms cut off, while those
who were killed otherwise were not mutilated, but simply had arrows
sticking in their bodies.    Some of the corpses found their way to the
58 ocean. A doctor had been sent up to attend those who might be
wounded, and as I was not able to move, from a dangerous wound in
the groin, the doctor stayed with us, and to him I am indebted for my
being here today. Leaving us Capt. Graham, an American Scotchman, took the route over the mountains, while Capt. Snider kept
straight on. At Spuzzum they met, and were joined by Yates and
Ellard of the Hudson's Bay Company. These officials had paraded
all of the Indians in the vicinity with white flags in their hands. They
addressed the Indians and told them they must not kill any more
whites.
'"To h—11 with those flags,' said Graham, 'we are here to find out
and kill those who are responsible for the dead bodies which are to be
seen floating daily down the river.'
"On the way up Snider and Graham had come across the following
dead and missing people of and from their several claims. At Rocky
Bar, one mile above what is now known as Camp 16, on the opposite
side of the river, they found seventeen Scotchmen and one American
dead, and their heads and arms cut off. At a spot corresponding to
where the Spuzzum bridge now stands, or stood, some Germans and
many of <M-her nationalities were missing and never found. At what
is now known as Hell Gate, Dick Green and six of his brother Cor-
nishmen had been made away with by these blood-thirsty hell hounds.
At Boston Bar the savages had murdered every Frenchman who had
been working there. As they tramped along the river bank dead
bodies were in evidence everywhere. Some were floating in the swift
waters of the Fraser, while others were lying headless on the shore,
as evidence of the carnival of blood of which these Indians had been
guilty. Poor John McLennan and the other officers of our force had
perished in our attempts to gain the lower Fraser, and if it had not
been for the timely arrival of Captain Snider and his miner-soldiers
from Yale, not one of us would have lived to tell the sad tale of our
sufferings and of our companions' deaths. To Ned McGowan, who
had sent up his doctor to attend us, being unable to travel from the
nature of our wounds, and to the miners, noble fellows, of Yale, who
kept us supplied with food, we were indebted for our lives.
"At Spuzzum, Snider and Graham separated, Snider continuing
his course up the Thompson, while Graham turned into the mountains with the intention of following up the Fraser. On the second
day after parting with Captain Snider, Captain Graham, Jim McCor-
mack and two French-Canadians were standing before a fire warming
themselves, for the night was very cold, when the cracks of three muskets were heard in the night air, and they all fell dead beside the fire.
59 They were shot by Indians armed with muskets supplied them by the
Hudson's Bay Company, not for the purpose of shooting white men,
but for getting furs in a more easy manner than by the ancient way
of bow and arrow. These Indians had hidden themselves in the brush
and rocks immediately above where their three victims were standing.
"In his march to the upper country, Snider was unable to control
his men. They were fairly maddened by the sight of the numerous
corpses floating down the swift waters of the Fraser River, and in
disobedience to orders, they killed numbers of natives at Chapman's
Bar and at Boston Bar.
"Peace was finally signed with the Indians on August 11, 1858.
But people must not imagine that because peace was signed, and that
no overt acts of rebellion have been made since that date, that they
love the white men any better than they did then. They do not, and
if they were strong enough and were given the opportunity, they
would once more be on the warpath.
"After I recovered from my wound, and the conditions of existence had once more become normal, I resumed mining. I worked on
Yankee Bar and made good money in 1859. In 1860 I started up the
Fraser River and worked on Quesnel River and Keightley Creek in
the fall of that year and made good pay.
"In 1861 in company with "Dutch" Bill as my partner, I crossed
the mountains and we took up a claim on what was afterwards to
prove the richest creek in Cariboo. It was called William's Creek
after my partner. Our 'discovery' claim was in the canyon, and was
called Stout's Gulch. At the depth of a few feet the gold had a totally
different color to what it had at a greater depth. The shallower gold
was dark, while the deep gold was of the same color as that found in
William's Creek. Billy Barker, or as he was called, Billy the 'bladge'
or 'blage,' had a claim below us which paid him $5.00 to the pan. We
worked there for some time, but finally sold out to George Black for
$600, who subsequently went into the butchering business in 'Old
Gasstown.' There were four of us in this claim and two of us stayed
on Keightley Creek rocking. Hunt was just above us when we held
the canyon, and Curley below. After selling out to George Black we
took up the Dutch Bill claim above Richfield. There were five or six
of us in this. On account of the state of the law at that time we were
cut out by the Steele claim. Our stakes did not go far enough back.
The Steele claim struck it rich. Then we started to work at the entrance to Stout's Gulch and washed what we found above the clay,
making $75 a day each. We took out two kinds of gold at this place—
blue gold, which was William's Creek gold, and yellow gold, which be-
60 longed to Stout's Gulch. We worked here for two years and then sold
out to 'Doc' Chisholm, afterwards M. P. for New Westminster; 'Doc'
Edwards and 'Doc' Holloway.
"In the fall of 1861 we followed Dick Willoughby for two days
when he found Lowhee, Jim Bell was with me, but we returned to the
gulch and in the following year sold it to a man named Smith. Where
we worked was a part of the Ship claim. Next year we sunk a shaft
in the gulch and got considerable gold, but it did not turn out very-
well and we gradually sold out. On the benches on each side of the
gulch other miners found plenty of the precious metal.
"It is not the discoverers who reap the cream of the mining claims.
Ten to one it is some fellow who knows nothing about mining, but
comes along and is lucky enough to strike it.
"Cariboo still holds millions and millions of dollars worth of gold.
From what I hear of mining in that country at the present time, I am
sure, if the proper assistance is given to those who are trying to develop the claims which have been abandoned long ago, there will be
millions taken out, and very soon, too. At the foot of William's Creek
there is a large flat covered with water, and if that flat is ever dredged
it will give those who dredge it an immense return. It has been a
kind of sump for William's Creek. It requires machinery to develop
these properties, and large machinery cannot be brought in over the
present roads. It will take a railway to do this, but none of the present lines run close enough to deliver the machinery. I have the utmost faith in the old Cariboo. So far it has been only scratched over,
but good engineers, backed by the proper machinery, will prove what
I am saying to be correct. Like the balance of the miners, I always
returned to the coast at the close of the mining season. I generally
came down in a boat. I was the first man to bring a large boat do^ui
from the Forks of the Quesnelles to New Westminster, with passengers. When they were building the overland Russian telegraph,
abandoned on the laying of the Atlantic cable, I brought a large boat
down for the company. I also brought one down for Pat Hickey and
for many others.
"I mined every year in Cariboo, until 1870. In 1862 Rose and
Johnston were lost in a prospecting trip to Bear River, from which
they never returned. I was the last person to see them as they passed
out into the wilds.
"For two years Dick Watters and I searched the country for them,
doing a little prospecting at the same time, but we never came across
any traces of them.
61 "Although I am 87 years of age, I am still engaged in mining. I
have a claim on Siwash Creek, and it is turning out very well. On the
mountains back of us, I have a silver, gold and zinc claim. Everybody is surprised at my vigor, seeing that I have passed the three score
years and ten allotted to man. A very curious thing is that at 75
years I was unable to read without a strong pair of glasses, but now I
can see print as well as I did at eighteen. Do I speak the Thompson
Indian language? Oh, yes, as fluently as the Indians do themselves.
Sir Matthew Begbie, and your brother always had me sent for when
an interpreter was required in court.
"I hope to live many years yet. I have never tasted liquor, by
which I mean intoxicants, in my life. I have always lived a regular
steady life, and to these two reasons I attribute my excellent health at
the present time."
Ned Stout has referred to two miners, Rose and Johnston, having
lost their lives in 1862 when on a prospecting trip to Bear River. They
were reported as having died from starvation, but Johnnie Bryant, of
Nanaimo, who was. an intimate friend of Rose, told me a short time
ago that Rose was far too good a frontiersman to have perished from
any such cause. The truth of the matter is they were both murdered
by the Bear Lake Indians. Peter Ogden, the Hudson's Bay Company's official in charge of Fort St. James, Stuart Lake, told a number
of miners at the Forks of Quesnel, that the two prospectors were murdered by the Indians I have mentioned, and their bodies were subsequently buried under their camp fire. He also said he knew the
names of the murderers, and could put his hands upon them at an}r
time. I am surprised that the authorities did not make Mr. Ogden
furnish them with these names, after he had made such a bold statement, in such a public manner.
As many enquiries have been made as to the origin or meaning of
the word Lillooet, and no satisfactory explanation given, I took the
opportunity of asking Ned Stout if he could explain the meaning of
the word. Stout, who speaks the Thompson tongue like a native,
said the word was really pronounced ill-oo-it, the accent on the second
syllable, and very softly pronounced. The "oo" was pronounced like
the o in the word "do." The whole word was applied as the name
of the tribe, and had no other signification that he knew of.
62 '  ' 'IM^gÔ^^jgg
FORT   VICTORIA   OR   FORT  CAMOSUN.
AN EARLY TROUBLE AT FORT CAMOSUN
By the Ashburton Treaty of 1845, the international boundary line
of Canada was so decided that we lost, in addition to a good part of
Maine, all of that valuable territory now known as Oregon. It has
been customary to ascribe to a British naval officer, a relative of the
Earl of Aberdeen, the loss of Oregon, on the ground that the country
was no good, as the salmon would not take a fly. If careful enquiry
were made by those who made this charge, they would, I fear, find
that the loss of Oregon was in a great part due to many Canadian
settlers in that territory who had taken the oath of allegiance to the
United States, after foreswearing their allegiance to the British crown,
and also to the machination of missionaries who, while they were receiving many kindnesses from the Hudson's Bay Company with one
hand were writing letters to their detriment with the other. I will
say no more on this subject. Its discussion is too prolific of ill-feeling,
but I thought that it might be as well that "palman qui meruit ferat."
With the loss of Oregon, the Hudson's Bay Company were compelled to seek some site, under the protection of the British flag,
whereon they could erect a fort, or post, which would serve as a central distributing point for Sitka, and their posts in Caledonia and the
northern Pacific coast.
Mr. James Douglas, the assistant chief factor at Fort Vancouver,
was appointed to attend to this work. After examining several bays
and inlets on the southeast coast of Vancouver Island, he decided upon
Camosun Bay, as a site which would meet their requirements. His
selection being approved of, he left Fort Nisqually on the 13th of
March, 1843, with fourteen workmen, many of whom were carpenters,
and a missionary, Father Bolduc, and directed the course of the steamer Beaver towards Vancouver Island, and at four o'clock on the after-
63 noon of the 14th, the steamer anchored off Shoal Point. On the following- day the workmen and missionary disembarked on the land
now covered by the municipality of Victoria. Then the steamer proceeded north, and after paying a visit to Sitka, proceeded to Fort
Durham, on Taku Inlet, where they took on all the supplies and other
material to be found there, closed the post, and then sailed for Fort
McLoughlin, which was also dismantled and abandoned. Mr. Charles
Ross, who was in charge of this post, was taken on board. Then turning the prow of the vessel towards Fort Simpson, Mr. Roderick Finlayson was embarked, and Mr. Joseph W. Mackay placed in charge as
chief trader. During the absence of the vessel in the north work had
been started on the new Fort Camosun, and on the return of the
Beaver Mr. Charles Ross was put in charge of the new post, with Mr.
Finlayson as his assistant. Mr. Ross died in the following spring
(1844), and Mr. Roderick Finlayson was appointed to succeed him.
The Rev. Father Bolduc had not been idle either during Douglas'
absence. He held many services among the Indians and made many
converts. One must admire the zeal and activity of these early missionaries. They suffered privations which will never be known, and
risked their lives in obedience to the mandate of their conscience and
their church. To them as well as to the Hudson's Bay Company are
the people of this province heavily indebted for the peaceable attitude
of the Indians at the present day. However, the reverend father had
carried out his work, and on 13th April returned to Nisqually before
the Beaver dropped her anchor on her return from the north (1st
June).
Mr. Finlayson was one of the old officers of the Hudson's Bay
Company whom I met on my first arrival in the province. I was
introduced to this gentleman by the late Dr. Tolmie, an old chief factor, who remarked: "Mr. Finlayson, let me introduce you to a late
arrival in the province, who is a great delver after the early history of
this Great West." "Indeed," said Mr. Finlayson, "I shall always be
too happy to give you any information you may require. I like to see
that disposition in any young man, so bear that in mind, please."
I did bear it in mind, and many were the conversations we had
in respect to men and events of the long ago.
Mr. Roderick Finlayson, as I knew him in 1875, was a fine, well
developed man, of magnificent physique. He was about five feet ten
inches in height, with square shoulders and deep chest. His whole
appearance denoted a man of great strength. His facial appearance
and conversation were indicative of good mental capacity, as well as
64 of great determination and force of character.    His hair was distinctly
blonde, not gray, even at his age, and slightly curly.
He was the owner of a large amount of real estate within the
municipality in 1875 and 1876 and perhaps longer, for I ceased to
reside there after the first of January, 1877. This valuable property
was vacant and he time and again refused to sell any part of it. When
urged by his friends in consideration of the heavy taxes he had to
pay to the municipality to part with a portion, at least, he would invariably reply : "I need it a' to pasture my coo."
Calling at our residence to see my brother in October, 1875, Mr.
Finlayson very kindly recounted to me the first and only trouble
which at one time threatened to be serious between himself, as representative of the company, and the Indians, in the early days of Fort
Camosun.
"You will understand, of course, doctor," said Mr. Finlayson,
"that we always endeavored to treat the Indian justly—to give him exactly what was his due, but nothing more. To have given him more
than what was his right to have, would have encouraged him to make
further demands. We always made it a point to give him justice. We
punished them for any offences they committed and punished our servants when they wronged the Indian. You have often heard, of
course, of their inability to count above ten. Well, that was strictly
correct. We had to do that for them. In the north we had some
trouble owing to their lack of confidence in us. That was all brought
about by an American ship captain taking advantage of them and robbing them of what was their due in a trade for furs. The same condition of suspicion existed at Fort Camosun, and from the same cause,
when we first arrived, but we finally gained their confidence and afterwards they always took our word as to a count in a fur trade without
cavil and without suspicion.
Among the tribes we met at Camosun on our first arrival were
the Clallams, the Songhees and the Cowichans. The last named tribe
was at that time a very troublesome one. They bullied the other tribes
whom they had beaten in war, and were generally overbearing to
every one, ourselves included.
We were a new people to these Cowichans and I suppose they
thought it was due to their dignity, as well as lofty position, so far as
other tribes were concerned, that they should treat us like those they
had beaten in warfare., 'What is yours, is mine,' was their motto,
and their views of ownership of anything they craved for was governed by their ability or power to take it from the possessor.
65 In the spring of the year following our first arrival at Camosun,
my senior officer, Mr. Charles Ross, died, and I was appointed to
succeed him. On my arrival I at once set to work to acquire a knowledge of the Songhee tongue. Somehow I never had any difficulty in
acquiring a language. I always had a gift that way, and in about a
year after first stepping on the beach at Camosun I could speak the
Songhee language perfectly.
As we were to be the principal depot for furnishing the Russians
with beef and mutton, our steamer Beaver had been making regular
trips between Nisqually and Fort Camosun transporting cattle and
sheep, and a few horses. The last we required for various purposes
incidental to farm work. The cattle had been collected from the
plains east of Nisqually, and some had been driven from grazing
grounds more inland, and were totally unacquainted with human beings, except those occasionally on the range to count and sort them.
The breed was mostly Mexican, and had been imported from the company's farms in California. We had fenced a large area for the express purpose of corralling these cattle, but a large number had escaped into the bush, and we were doing our best to get them within the
enclosed area. Those that were without the enclosures were wild
and far less approachable than the deer, which were so common in the
forests of the Island.
We had given all of the natives timely notice of the arrival of
these cattle, and had warned them that if they interfered or killed any
of them they would be held strictly accountable for their misdeeds.
Up to this time we had had no trouble of a serious nature with these
Indians, or with any tribes in fact, but we knew that they held our
threats of punishment in contempt, and that when it suited them te
disobey our commands they would do so, under the idea that we
would not dare to punish them. Shortly after the arrival of the
cattle, a band of truculent Cowichans arrived, and encamped not far
from the fort. I suppose our near neighbors, the Songhees, had informed the new arrivals of the new kind of beast which took the place
of their women in the tilling and cultivating of the ground. It must
have been fully a week after the arrival of the Cowichans that some of
our workmen had occasion to go out to one of the corrals to get some
work oxen for use about the fort. What was his surprise to find few
of the work animals within the enclosure. On making a search he
found offal and blood in one corner of the corral, but no animals in
sight. That corner was the nearest as well as the most convenient to
the camp of the Cowichans.
The report of the loss was at once reported to me, and I immcdi-
66 ately took steps to bring this tribe to their bearings. It would never
do to allow this truculent band of plunderers to break and defy the
orders of the company. If this offence were allowed to go unpunished, the company would become the laughing-stock of the adjacent
tribes. Moreover, if this wholesale killing of our cattle were permitted to go on without some swift and condign punishment, then the
usefulness of Fort Camosun as a central supply post for Alaska and
the Pacific Coast was gone, as well as my own usefulness as an employe of the company.
The Hudson's Bay Company always had a number of Iroquois
among their engages, and at Fort Camosun was one, named Peter,
whom I had picked up at Fort Tako, and who had shown signal service at Fort Simpson, in defending me against the attack of a treacherous Tsimpsean Indian. I selected him to carry a message to the
Cowichan chief, to surrender those who had killed the cattle, or pay
their value in furs. Sough-hi-lam, on receipt of the message, attempted to intimidate the Iroquois, but finding he was made of sterner stuff,
then pretended that he had killed them in a most innocent manner,
being totally ignorant, so he averred, of their use or value. "You have
the message of our great chief," said the Iroquois, "and he must have
payment for those animals you have killed." "Did he make those
animals you have asked me to pay you for?" said the chief of the Cowichans. "They are like the deer to me," he continued, "and where I
see them I will kill them and will pay no man for them." "Well,"
said the undaunted Iroquois, "I have known our chief for many years,
and when he asks you to pay for those animals he means it, and if you
do not you will never get inside of that fort again—you will get no
powder, but you will be treated as a thief." "If you close your gates
against me, I will beat them down. I am Sough-hi-lam, a great chief
in the Cowichans, and I fear no man, not even the white chief inside
your fort. I lived here before the white man came, and can live still."
"I will tell the white chief that you are a boaster and a fool," said the
Iroquois, and then turning on his heel he left the camp with stately
tread.
I had no fear of the Cowichans, as I knew that they had never
heard the sound which accompanies the discharge of a nine-pounder,
or had seen the effects of a shot. I commended Peter for the dignified
manner in which he had represented me, as a messenger to the Cowichan camp. I then gave orders that no Indians were to be admitted
inside of the gates without first consulting me.
Three Cowichans were turned back on the following day, at
which they were very indignant.    When they were about three hun-
67 dred yards away from the fort, after being refused admission, they
turned and shook their useless muskets at us in token of their hatred
and defiance. They were extremely angry, as they had no powder
for their guns.
It was but a day or two before word reached me that a grand
council of the different tribes was to be held for the purpose of discussing a plan to capture the fort, massacre those inside and then loot
and burn it. Peter, my Iroquois friend, came to my office a few minutes after my receipt of this information and offered to bring in the
scalp of the Cowichan chief if I would only give him leave. I had to
decline his offer, pointing out to him that it was the desire of the company to live on terms of friendship with all the natives, and that they
were averse to the taking of a single life.
Well, the council was held at which the three tribes of that part
of the coast were represented. I mean the Clallams, the Songhees
and the Cowichans.
I had seen, from one of the bastions, the Songhees pass over to
the council meeting from their dwellings on the opposite side of Camosun Bay.
From the fort we could hear the beating of drums and boards, and
the usual howling, attendant on every council meeting. Where
rancherias exist, and the council is held there, the speakers always
address their audience from the elevated beams which are used at pot-
latches, and which are to be found in front of any important Indian
settlement. As the Cowichans were not permanent residents at, or
about Camosun, all the speeches had to be made from the ground floor.
Sough-hi-lam, who considered himself the most important as well
as the most powerful chief of the council, opened the pow-wow. I
can not tell you the exact words he used, but I have been told they
were something like these:
"Brothers, we have seen a strange people arrive upon our shores.
They have built themselves strong houses, and have brought strange
animals here to do the work our women do. These strange animals
have frightened away our deer, and because we have killed some of
them, the man calling himself the white chief, has sent a message to
me, that we must give up those who have killed these animals, or pay
their value in furs. My heart is sick. Never before has Sough-hi-
lam received a message like that. Then I told his messenger that I
would kill any animal I saw, and would pay no man for it. Let us
join together before it is too late, and kill these strange people before
they extend themselves over our land. Let us batter down those sticks
68 and capture the strong place, and kill them all. We will be well paid
by the booty we get inside."
The next speaker was Tsil-al-thack, the chief of the Sanghees.
His being there showed what little faith one can place on the word of
an Indian, who has not learned by experience that the company is
his best friend. I had shown this man many little favors, and often
had given him presents. He may have regarded them as exhibitions
of fear on my part, or that I wished to secure his friendship, in case
he, and his tribe should propose to kill the inmates of our fort. He is
said to have spoken to the following effect: "Brothers! We are
come here today to decide what we shall do in answer to the message
of those white men and their chief. They were strangers to us when
they landed on our shores. We have lived here, and our fathers before us, for many winters, and these strangers now come among us,
and drive our deer away with strange animals. We must live—and if
my brother has killed those strange animals for food, has he not done
right? They have taken a little land from us, but they will take more
when they get stronger. Let us destroy them." It was then decided
that the fort was to be attacked by the now allied tribes.
Nothing was done, however, for two days, during which time a
regular sentry duty was carried out on the part of those within the
fort. Those days were days of great anxiety to me. We were anxious to live on friendly terms with the natives, but I knew it was
against the policy of the company to spill blbod, unless actually driven
to it. Yet we had to keep a strict watch against being taken by surprise. I knew well enough that if these Indians only understood our
ability to destroy them they would act differently. I had also decided
in my own mind that those who had killed the cattle should reimburse
the company for the loss, no matter what happened. To do otherwise
would be backing down, which had never been the policy of the company.
Immediately after the dissolution of the council word had been
sent to the absent members of the assembled tribes to come and assist
in the capture of the fort, so that in a very short space of time quite a
large force was gathered in front of the fort.
On the first night after the council a kind of preliminary performance was enacted by our enemies in front of the fort, by which I
mean the north and east side of it. It was intensely dark that night
owing to the sky being covered with heavy dark clouds. There were
many within the fort who were totally unaccustomed to Indians or
their ways and they were timorous. The fort was faced by a large
number of dancing figures, with lighted torches in their hands, wildly
69 gesticulating, and every few minutes of time were punctuated by a
horrible yell. All the figures were naked, with their hair flying loosely
from their heads. Some wore hideous head dresses, giving them the
appearance of monsters of another world, and all keeping step to the
beating of a shaman's drum, or to the rythmic beating of sticks upon
boards, brought from the opposite rancheria for the purpose. The
forest trees afforded a dark back ground to the dancing figures before
the fort. We were told there was to be no attack that night. Women
lined the edges of the forest, providing a dismal accompaniment to the
dancing figures by a monotonous howling in one key. I have seen representations in the theatre of satanic goblins, dancing about the fires
of hell, and these figures were very like them. At one stage of this
demoniacal performance, a band of naked warriors, with large masks
upon their faces, charged across the open ground in front of us, and
were met, half-way, by a similar body of masked figures, in imitation
of some battle between opposing forces.
At one period of this weird spectacle a single figure rushed out
and faced the fort. On his face he wore a huge mask, from which
depended long tresses of human hair. By means of a funnel which
penetrated that part of the mask which overlapped the crown of his
head, the warrior blew a shower of sparks into the atmosphere above
his head. All this performance was, I suppose, intended to strike
terror into us, within the fort, and also as a kind of proof to their allies
and friends that they were true and doughty warriors whose prowess
had been proved on many a bloody field. After this performance had
lasted for at least an hour another figure stalked into the centre of the
open space before the fort. He was, like the rest, naked to the waist,
with a necklace of bear's claws round his neck. In his right hand he
held a musket, and in the other a heavy war elub. No sooner had he
gained the centre than he halted and raised the heavy club with extended arm above his head. His appearance there alone, without
mask or decoration, was followed by a complete lull in the horrible din
which had up to this time prevailed. Then his clear voice could be
heard all over the crowded ground. It was Sough-hi-lam. He was
telling me, so the interpreter told me afterwards, what he was going to
do to us on the following day. He was the hero of so many fights he
could not count them. Turning to his followers he told them of the
booty which awaited them on the morrow. Then he stalked away and
the warriors also sought their couches to await the coming of the
eventful morrow.
Before retiring to bed that night, I made a round of the fort and
gave a great deal of advice to the sentries as to their great responsibil-
70 ities. These sentries were doubled, and also relieved every hour. As 1
turned to enter my room that night, I encountered Peter, my faithful
Iroquois. I scarcely knew him. He was got up in war paint of due
and ancient Iroquois pattern, and once more begged my permission
to go in search of the Cowichan brave, but I refused absolutely to
allow him to go on any expedition of that kind.
At last the morrow came. Once more the Indians with horrible
and terrifying masks upon their faces, engaged in a series of antics,
accompanied by hideous yells, then they advanced in front of the fort.
This time, however, they treated us to a shower of arrows and musket
balls. Many of the latter riddled the stockade and pattered on the
roofs of the bastions, and the buildings within the square. The stockades were well backed, however, and the balls did them no harm beyond providing holes for those within to look through. I had given
orders that not a single shot was to be fired in return. Ï knew that
armed as we were with several six and nine-pounders, we at anv crucial moment could annihilate their exposed forces, but until that crucial moment arrived, I deemed it to be in the best interests of the company to avoid bloodshed.
I assure you that it was with the greatest difficulty I restrained
&
some of our men from returning the fire of the Indians. The barbaric
display of the previous evening seemed to have effected what the savage intended it should do—frightem them while they worked their own
valor up to the boiling point. I told these men, who were mostly carpenters brought from the other side to work on the buildings, that
there was no cause for fear, as the fort was well able to resist and repel
any attack from a lot of ill-armed Indians. These men were anxious,
so they said, to teach the natives a lesson, to which I replied that I
was equally bent on teaching them a lesson, yes, the great lesson of
magnanimity.
The musketry fire was kept up for about half an hour, when it
commenced to be intermittent and then gradually declined, and became what you would call a "dropping" fire. It was extremely amusing
to observe the antics of some of the Indian warriors. After loading his
musket he would advance in front of the fort and g;o throug-h a series
of strange motions, which were supposed to be of a most offensive
character and to represent insults, which, if there was any fight in us,
would surely act as a stimulus to any slumbering valor we possessed.
After aiming and discharging his piece, the doughty braggart would
strut up and down like a male grouse on a log, in our forest glades.
At last the firing completely ceased, when Lafromboise, our interpreter, informed me that they were run out of ammunition, as he had
71 13m*
heard the Cowichan Indians asking the Songhees for more powder
and ball, and that they replied they had no more, but would get plenty
when they took the fort.
After waiting for some ten minutes I called Peter to come up to
me. I directed his attention to a shack which was standing some four
hundred yards away, and told him to make his way there as quickly as
possible and warn the inmates to vacate the building at once, as the
white chief was going to destroy it with a blast of thunder and lightning, and that if they did not leave it they would be killed. Peter
managed this very well. He left the fort at full speed, as though he
was pursued, and though many Indians were about, they never attempted to stop him. In the shack he found three young women,
wives of the Songhee chiefs, and to them he delivered my message,
no doubt with many additions. They left without delay. Then he
started on his return. It was now that his speed of foot was of great
service to him. He easily distanced those who attempted to follow
him. When half way to the fort a Cowichan brave, armed with a
stone war club, attempted to strike him down. Peter was too quick
for him. Just as the Cowichan swung his club, Peter came to an
abrupt standstill. In a moment he shot out his fist on his enemy's
nose, and raising a most frightful war whoop, continued his course
towards the fort.
After waiting fully half an hour I directed the interpreter to call
for Sough-hi-lam. In about twenty minutes or so the chief came forward and asked what was wanted. Did we wish to give up the fort
and save our lives? That query was somewhat of a surprise to me,
but under the circumstances quite a natural one. Assuming my most
severe tone of voice I said, through the interpreter : "Sough-hi-lam !
Fool that you are! Did you think that you could steal our animals
and then defy us after we asked you to pay for them ? Do you think
that with those worthless guns of yours you can take this fort, kill us
all, and steal the great company's stores and supplies ? I thought you
were a great chief. I could have killed you all with a wave of my
hand. But we look upon you as children, and the company does hot
wish me to kill any unless compelled to do so. See yonder house ! I
could sweep you off the face of the earth, yes, you and all your tribe
as easily as, standing here, I can smash that house to chips." Then
raising my hand as a signal a gunner in charge of a nine-pounder in
the n. w. bastion, fired the gun which was loaded with grape and canister at the house I had pointed to. The flash of the piece, the sudden
puff of dense smoke, and the loud noise following the explosion were
terrible to those ignorant natives, but when they saw that the house I
72 had told them all would be blown into splinters was utterly destroyed,
the effect was magical. They fled in terror in all directions, fearful
lest the fate of the house should be theirs also. Some threw themselves on the ground and grovelled with their faces in the earth. They
were afraid to look up in case they should be destroyed. It was well
on to sundown when a deputation of chiefs approached the fort and
asked to see me. I did not make my appearance for some time, as I
did not think it wise to show too great a desire to come to terms, after
their late behavior. They were told I was very angry, and after making them wait for fully an hour I came out at last and asked them to
come within the stockade. They were afraid to do so in case I should
kill them. To allay their doubts and fears I sent two of our men out
to act as hostages to the tribes for the safe return of their chiefs.
Once more I explained to them that unless those who killed our
cattle wrere delivered up or the cattle paid for not one of them would
obtain any supplies from that or any other trading post of the company. I then showed them our big guns, our rifles and knives and
pistols, and their jaws dropped in wonder and surprise. These coast
Indians do not possess the same stoicism as the Indian of the great
plains. They finally agreed to pay for the cattle, and next day furs
equivalent in value to the slaughtered beasts were brought in and
delivered to the clerk of the storehouse.
After the delivery of the furs they begged me to fire off another
gun so that they could judge of its effects. Accordingly I set to work
to have such an arrangement made as would leave a lasting impression
on their minds. Our best gunner was sent for. A canoe was placed
out near the entrance of the harbor and there made fast so as to
present itself broadside on to the aim of the gunner in the s. e. bastion. A round shot was fired at the canoe, which struck it amidships,
cutting it in two and throwing both ends high into the air. It was
as much as I could do to persuade the Indians from taking instant
flight.
From that time forth, with the exception of several isolated cases
of murder, we have had very little trouble with these tribes. They
are aware of our superiority to them in every way, and they behave
themselves accordingly. After reporting the matter to my superior
officers I was highly commended for my way of settling this troublesome question without the spilling of one drop of blood, although 1
might have had good grounds for doing so.
I thanked Mr. Finlayson for his kindness in telling us such interesting facts.
73  FORT SIMPSON   IN   EARLY   DAYS
LIFE AT FORT SIMPSON IN THE FORTIES
When I arrived in British Columbia, in 1875, many of the gentlemen of the Hudson's Bay Company who had served that company
faithfully and well in many positions of trust and responsibility, were
still alive, and what is more important, were in full possession of all
their faculties. I have often regretted that I did not commit to paper,
instead of trusting them to a treacherous memory, the many interesting tales which they have told me, of incidents and hazardous journeys
in connection with the business of the company. These legends were
apparently inexhaustible, and so enthralling, that I regretfully watched the hands of the clock approach the hour of ten, at which hour I
always made it a rule to bid "good night" to my host.
I had a keen appetite for all information about the habits of the
aborigines, more especially in connection with any observances or
ritual incidental to the ceremony of installing a shaman. Of the
gentlemen whom I met and conversed with on all these topics, Mr.
Moffatt, Mr. John Todd, Mr. Joseph W. McKay and Mr. Adam Horne
were the most entertaining. With the writing of these tales of early
days'/ many others have recurred to my memory, and I propose telling
here a few interesting facts, as communicated to me by Mr. J. W. McKay, in 1876.
Before I do so, however, I might say that I have often heard
gentlemen expressing their opinions as to where the aborigines of this
coast came from. In 1876 when I was editing the Victoria Standard,
a French savant arrived from France. His form of insanity was ethnology.    He was very anxious to find some of the burial places of the
75 early races. I drove him down to the Gorge. Here he selected a
spot, which I could find again, and engaging four men, began to sink
a small shaft. After sinking fifteen feet, or thereabouts, the men uncovered some skeletons of a former race, whose heads were of a far
different shape to those at present constituting the aborigines of British Columbia. They were buried in a sitting posture, with their arms
crossed over their breast, and their posture as though looking towards
the setting sun. The savant explained to me that these skeletons
were of a race which lived some thousands of years previously and
were of the same type as some that had been disinterred in Peru, and
who were supposed to have lived at about the same period as those
found at the "Gorge."
It was about a week after my return to Victoria that I met Mr.
J. W. McKay, on Government street. We were mutually glad to see
one another. His face as usual was wreathed in smiles ; in fact,
trouble or worry never appeared to have any place with them. "You
have returned, have you?" he said. "I called in to see you the other
night but your brother told me you were in Comox and did not know
when you wiuld return. It was nothing important. I called to simply
smoke a pipe, and listen to any new stories you might have about
eastern politicians." "Come up with me, now, McKay, it is a few
minutes to six o'clock, our dinner hour, I have, a few stories to tell
you about my trip to Comox, and what I saw there." Our conversation ended in his accepting my invitation and together we wended our
way to my residence, which at that time was on the corner of Yates
and Douglas streets.
After dinner we adjourned to the smoking room in the front part
of the house, and taking easy chairs, I forthwith related to him what
I had seen at Comox, when Johnny Chiceete was introduced into the
ranks of the shamans, or wise men of the Yuclataw tribe. "Well,"
said McKay, "you were a very lucky man, doctor, a very lucky man"
laying particular stress on the word "very." "Ten years ago," he continued, "it would have been impossible for you to have seen a fraction
of what you did see, except at the risk of your life. No friendship or
influence would have gained you admission within the rancheria. I
dare not tell you what they might have done to you, had you gained
admission by any crafty or deceitful method. Let me again say to you
that you were a very, very lucky man."
"Of course you have seen this ordeal or performance before?" I
said. "Oh yes," said McKay, "and from what you have told me of
the ceremony in connection with Johnny Chiceete's entrance into the
brotherhood of the shaman, that performance was a very tame affair
76 in comparison with the horrible, awful orgies which I once witnessed
when chief trader at Fort Simpson, in 1847." "Would you mind telling me of it?" I said. "I will," said McKay, "If you will tell me some
of your eastern political stories.
"Well," said McKay, settling himself back in his chair, "if I
ramble somewhat in telling you this story, it is because you have
taken me somewhat by surprise, and the period of time in wrhich
my story lies is so long ago that it is rather a difficult matter to put
my facts in consecutive order, so as to give you an idea of the terrible
load of responsibility which rested on my shoulders, situated as I was
among the most lawless, bloodthirsty and aggressive bands of Indians at that time living on the coast. The last words Douglas,
whose factotum I had become in this northern district, said to me
were these : "You have assumed a very dangerous and important position, McKay, and I hope to have satisfactory reports from you—you
have those scheming, tricky Russians to deal with in the north,
with whom our obligations must be carried out to the letter, and it
will be your duty to see that they do the same by us. Assert, both
with them and with the Indians, the supremacy and rights of the
company on all occasions, where you may think it necessary to do so.
As to the Indians, they are a scheming and treacherous lot, and to go
out alone with any of these savages would simply mean that Joe
McKay would never return alive. There are the Tungas and the
Stikine tribes, with whom the Russians are constantly flirting with
a view to driving us off this northern coast. I leave everything in
your hands. Do your best; always keeping in mind the interests of
the company to guide your actions."
The occasion of the chief factor's parting with me, before stepping once more upon the Beaver, was the first time I had seen him
abandon that hauteur—and yet I can not call it hauteur, in an offensive sense, but that distant reserve which, from long habit, he had
always assumed towards his subordinate officers. On the contrary,
he was kindness itself, and as he bade me "good-bye," he took my
hand between the palms of both of his and pressed it most gently.
"Remember what I told you, McKay. Be careful of these Indians;
they are most treacherous."
With these parting words, our chief stepped aboard the Beaver,
the lines were cast off, and under a full head of steam the good old
boat turned its prow southwards on its return journey to Fort Vancouver, on the banks of the Columbia River.
As I watched it gradually fade in the distance, I felt, for the first
and only time in my life, an acute sense of loneliness.    I was im-
77 pressed with the thought as I saw the chief depart, that he was returning to the post where I had spent some of the happiest years of
my life, under the kind-hearted chief factor, Dr. McLoughJin. It is
true that he had retired from the service, and that chief factor Douglas had succeeded him, with Peter Skene Ogden as his assistant; but
the associations of the old fort were still strong in my mind. A few
years after the time I am speaking of, Douglas removed to Victoria,
when Oregon and the old fort were abandoned to the Americans.
After the departure of the chief factor, I set to work to make
myself thoroughly acquainted with the business of the fort and to
study the language and habits of the different tribes with whom I
should be brought in contact. We had part of the Russian coast at
that time under lease from the Russian-American Fur Company.
From that strip of coast we obtained the right to procure all the furs
caught by the Indians, and in return we furnished the company with
vegetables and fodder for their cattle, also beef and mutton, at certain
contract prices. These supplies our post had nothing to do with, but
we bought all the furs these Indians brought into Fort Simpson and
also to Fort Stikine, which we built on Wrangell Island (part of the
leased coast).
To make sure of this trade, I had been placed in authority over
all the posts, some six or seven in number, of the northwestern coast,
so you may imagine that my responsibility was very great, more
especially when you remember that I was in the centre of the most
treacherous and unreliable Indian tribes of the Pacific northwest
coast. My dislike for them was increased by hearing that the Indian
medicine men had a few days after my arrival eaten the body of a
slave, to propitiate the evil spirits.
At the risk of repetition I may say That the Tsimpseans, Stikines,
Tongass and Haidahs were the worst lot of cut-throats I ever had to
do business with. We had so little confidence in them, that an order
had been made by my predecessor, forbidding the admission of more
than two of these Indians to the store at the same time. My clerks
and assistants were constantly telling- me to be on the watch for
treachery.
I had assumed charge of the post in October, 1846, and during
the whole of the succeeding winter there was one plot after another
to capture Fort Simpson and murder the officials, with the object, of
course, of looting the fort of the valuable stores and supplies. These
plots originated sometimes with one tribe and sometimes with another, and in every one, the tribe to which we were the closest neighbors, the Tsimpseans, took a very prominent part.
78 In all of the dealings we had with our Russian neighbors, I found
them very sociable, but also very tricky. They appeared to be very
jealous of our large trade with the natives, and their queries as to
where we obtained particular furs, especially otter skins, were very
wearisome.
These constant plots gave me a large amount of anxiety, as I felt
that I was responsible for the young men in the company's employ
and also for the company's property, and I was hoping against hope
that I could fix the origin of any one of these plots on any particular
individual, when an incident occurred that nearly led up to a serious
"fall out" between two friendly nations.
It was towards the last of the month of August, 1847, that I was
sitting in my office, going over the list of the last spring's shipment
of furs to Fort Vancouver, when a clerk entered and said that one of
the principal chiefs of the Stikine tribe of Indians, known locally as
the "Panther," was in the trader's, or bartering room, and wished to
see me. As soon as I entered, the chief came towards me and said
that he had very bad news to tell me, but the trading room was too
dangerous a place to speak in. There was another Indian of the Ton-
gass tribe not far off, and if he, the Panther, spoke at any length to
me, he would notice it and mention this to the Indians elsewhere.
Then he told me that there was a plot to take the fort and kill me and
the staff and then loot the premises. He wished I would allow him
admission to the fort late at night, when it was dark, and he would
tell me everything. To be of any use to the company, he must see
me that night. He pressed me for an answer, as he said it was dangerous for him to stay any longer. After giving the subject a moment's
consideration, I told him to approach the wicket at 10 p.m., giving four
hoots of an owl, as a warning that he was there. With this arrangement made, he left the fort, and I returned to my official room.
Sitting down in my chair to think matters over, I asked myself
what information of an important matter could this Indian have to
causeHhrin^ to-come, to me.-andLask for a private inlxrviierwri^theriort,
and late at night. Was it a plot by the natives to gain admission and
capture the fort by superior numbers? I thought not. I knew the
"Panther" well, and had the fullest confidence in his loyalty, not only
to me but to the company. Worried as to the best course to pursue,
I walked into the next office and directed one of the clerks to find
Iroquois Joe and bid him come to my office. Iroquois Joe was a
Caughnawaga Indian who had joined the company's forces at Fort
Vancouver, the same day as I had joined, both of us arriving by the
regular company's express from Montreal. He had, however, like
myself, been in the service for some years, and I had always consulted
79 Joe when I had some important affair like the one created by the
Panther to deal with. As I sat there awaiting Joe's coming, I asked
myself whether I was justified in breaking one of the company's most
important rules, in admitting a native into the fort after seven o'clock
at night. I thought I had stretched my authority somewhat in doing
so, but had not the Panther told me that the lives of the company's
servants were at stake, and the property of the company liable to be
stolen or destroyed? I was still wondering what plot was on foot,
when I heard Joe approaching my office humming one of the good old
boat songs:
"Rouli, foulant, ma boule roulant,
En roulant ma boule roulant,
En roulant ma boule."
That deep rich "roll, rolling" from the throats of the canoe men
as each dip of the paddle seemed to lift the canoe like a living thing
through the waters of our overland route, I had heard so often under
happier circumstances, and its remembrance gave me new spirits, as
Joe knocked at my door and the next moment, in obedience to my
summons, stood within. Bidding him to take a seat, I told Joe why
I had sent for him, at the same time telling him in detail what the
Panther had told me and of his request for a night conference.
Joe's opinion was to the effect that the Panther knew of a very
serious plot among the natives in which his tribe, as well as the
Tsimpseans, were associated. He, like myself, had full faith in the
Panther's loyalty, but, said Joe, "Mr. McKay, if the Panther comes
here tonight he will be followed and perhaps killed; but, believe me,
after what I have heard from you, the man that kills the Panther, his
scalp will dangle in my belt next morning." Joe promised to "dog"
the footsteps of trie Panther, to see that no treachery or danger came
to the inmates of the fort.
Promptly that night at 10 o'clock I heard the hoots of the owls,
and so perfectly were they imitated that at first I believed they were
the birds themselves, but the regular repetition of the four hoots told
me that the Panther was close to the gate. I went to the gate with
the regular gateman and admitted the chief, as well as Iroquois Joe,
who was close at the chief's heels. In my private room the Panther
unfolded the details of a deep conspiracy on the part of the Russians
to have us all wiped off the northwestern Pacific coast. Some of the
Russian officers had approached the Panther, made him presents,
which he produced, and endeavored to persuade him to get a coalition
of the Stikines, Tongass and Tsimpseans to make war on Fort Simpson and kill all the Hudson's Bay men, and if they would do so they
80 would get all the weapons and ammunition they required from the
Russians to carry out the project.
He had given the Russian officers no decided answer, but they
had succeeded in inducing the chiefs of all three tribes to enter the
conspiracy. They had held several grand councils to arrange matters, and they intended attacking the fort just as soon as they obtained the guns and ammunition from Sitka.
I gave him no further advice than to return to his camp and I
would take care of the fort, at the same time making him a present
and thanking him for his warning, which it was very important that
I should attend to.
He left the fort shortly after midnight, followed in a few minutes
by Iroquois Joe.
Next morning Joe informed me that the Panther had been followed by one of the Tongass, who had attempted to shoot him with
an arrow, but the Stikine chief was too wary and had managed to
grapple with his tracker and after a short struggle had first stunned
and then killed him.
Next day I made arrangements to leave for Sitka, and as one of
the company's vessels was in port, I left in the evening, accompanied
by Joe and two French-Canadians named Bruneau and Cote.
In due time we arrived at Sitka. The governor's name was Etho-
line, who had succeeded Wrangell, who had died some years previously. One or two Russian ships lay in the harbor, which I recognized
as having seen off Fort Simpson, cruising about in search of any
canoes laden with furs obtained on the Russian coast. As soon as
word was transmitted up to the governor, a salue was fired from a
battery of brass guns mounted in Sitka Castle.
We had scarcely dropped our anchor when Governor Etholine
left the shore in his well-manned gig, and came out to greet us, and
ascertain our wishes. Etholine was a very clever man, and came, I
believe, from a very noble and distinguished family. He had succeeded Baron von Wrangell. As it was very early when we arrived,
we were perforce compelled to breakfast with the governor, and it
was a breakfast which resembled a banquet more than anything else.
His wife was a most charming lady, with whom I had a very interesting conversation, in French, about the coast and her life there. She
was, of course, very anxious to return to Russia, as her surroundings
there were not to her taste. Sitka itself was a very dirty village, and
very full of semi-nude dirty Indians of the Thlinkeet tribe.
I had made known to the governor the reasons for my visit. He
was very straightforward, and assured me that he was totally ignorant
81 of any intrigues between the Russians and the Stikine, or any other
Indian tribe, to attack the British. He would have a strict enquiry
made, and if he succeeded in finding out the guilty, would punish
them severely. I thanked him for his promise, and let the matter
drop. Of the breakfast I will say no more than mention that on the
table were the best of wines, fruits from California, and from Spain,
delicious pickles, caviare, and everything else that was good to the
Russian palate. They just lived like fighting cocks, if you understand
what I mean by that.
After breakfast he gave me a long list of supplies which he
wished forwarded from Fort Vancouver, as speedily as possible.
Having nothing further to do, we took a walk through the village, and I was surprised to see the deformities of mouth, everywhere
present where women were.   I refer, of course, to the native women.
I fully intended leaving on my return journey to Fort Simpson
the night following my arrival at Sitka, but the governor importuned
me to wait and see some Indians who were aspiring to be doctors in
the tribe complete the last performance in connection therewith.
There were some girls, too, who had arrived at womanhood, and who
were to go through the ceremony of the baptism of the block. Surprised, I asked the governor if they allowed him to witness these
ceremonies. "Allowed? Did you say allowed?'' said the governor.
'Yes," I said. 'They are very particular in not allowing any of the
white men in British territory to witness any of these ordeals." The
governor laughed. "I am a law unto myself," he said. "I would like
co see the native who would dare attempt to stop me in entering any
of their rancheries to witness any of their pagan performances. I
would hang the first man as high as Haman who would dare attempt
such a thing.   I see to it that they treat me with proper respect."
Accordingly at nine o'clock that night we set out, attended by a
small army of attendants carrying lanterns, to light our way with, and
in due time arrived at a building where we were met by a Russian
officer, and shown up to the best positions. These were on a dais
specially raised during the day, to afford us a view of everything
without coming in contact with the dirty Indians that crowded the
building. An open place was kept cleared of all Indians in the centre,
where the ceremonies took place. Soon after our entry, an Indian
with a shock of hair on his head, unkempt, and hanging in long locks
down his back, rushed in, naked all but a breech clout. He was mad
with hunger; in fact, he was almost insane, and without a moment's
warning he rushed at one Indian, who happened to have his head
turned away at the moment, bit a large piece of flesh out of his arm
82 and swallowed it in the most ravenous manner. He was, after repeating- these bites on other Indians six or seven times, seized by
several stalwarts. Then some shamans advanced and ran some skewers, made from the walrus ivory, beneath the deep muscles of the
would-be shaman's back. Two of these were used, and to each one was
attached a rope made from the hide of the walrus. By these ropes the
man was hauled up into mid-air over pulleys -set in the top of the
building. Then he was swung backwards and forwards, until his
feet almost touched the roof, the muscles of the back bulging forward
as though some part of the flesh would give way at any moment. The
man in the meantime never uttered a sound; but a number of shamans, dressed in skins of beasts, and their heads surmounted with
a mask, denoting a raven, kept walking up and down in the central
space and administering a lash each time the body of the man swung
by.
In a little time the man was lowered to the ground, and it was
really marvellous to see the activity he displayed after going through
such an ordeal. He fought and struggled with those about him to get
away, and he made frantic efforts to get at their arms with his mouth.
However, they managed to give him a coating of some oil, and then
covered I him with a coating of fine feathers. This is the common
covering of all these northern Indians; at least it was in those days.
Taking advantage of some inattention on the part of his captors, he
at last broke away and rushed towards the entrance of the rancheria,
where a mass of natives jammed the opening. I never saw a crowd
disperse so quickly in my life as that crowd of natives did on the approach of this hungry human being. But one young man suffered
the loss of one mouthful of flesh. He took the loss most philosophically; in fact, he was proud of having been so highly honored as to be
chosen as a victim. The future shaman disappeared through the entrance, and, I suppose, was taken care of by his friends.
The next performance was what has been called by early explorers the baptism of the block. It is customary in the Thlinkeets and
their branch tribes, to insert in the lower lips of all their female
children a block of wood, which is held in place by the sides of the
aperture. Some parents prepare the lip either when the child is a few
months old, or when they have come to the age of puberty. We were
to see the performance at the age of puberty.
Twelve or thirteen young girls stood in a row in the centre of
the open space, and each one went up in turn to have the lower lip
bored through with an ivory needle. Then a piece of copper wire was
inserted in the aperture.   All of these thirteen girls, children I might
83 almost call them, came up in turn, and submitted to the same ordeal.
Of course, I only saw the first part of this tribal performance. Day
after day, the mothers pull the wire to and fro, and put 4 pressure on
it parallel to the opening of the mouth, until it is sufficiently large to
hold a small block of wood. A continuous strain is kept on the aperture by the block, until such a time has arrived when it will take a
larger block of wood. It takes years for the aperture to arrive at the
proper dimensions. Then an oval block, or it may be called elliptic
in shape, grooved along the sides so as to fit the upper and lower
edges of the aperture, is inserted. These blocks are from 2 to 6 inches
long, 1 to 4 inches in width, and about half an inch thick round the
edge, and highly polished. These appendages to the lower lips are
considered by the women as a great addition to their natural beauty.
Should the block be removed, more especially in the case of a woman
who has worn one for a number of years, the lip falls down over the
chin, producing a horrible appearance. An old woman does not dread
the increase of age, so far as her personal appearance is concerned,
as the size of the lower lip is the standard by which her beauty is
gauged. I have seen women of this tribe, right down here in Victoria,
who, when the block was removed, could extend their lower lips over
the tips of their noses and almost to the margins of the lower eyelids.
These Thlinkeets inhabit all the islands and shores from the
Copper River to the Naas. They live in communities in different
localities. For instance, there are the Chilcats, at Lyn Canal; the
Hoodnids, at Cross Sound; the Auk; the Tatoos, and the Stikines.
With all their peculiarities, they are a fine race, and not so deformed in the legs as the Haidahs, who are bow-legged, from sitting
in their canoes from a very early age. The women have a filthy habit
of daubing their hair and bodies with a mixture of grease and, differently colored. They scar their faces, too, and their bodies, with
sharp-pointed instruments. They also wear earrings with small shells
as appendages. They often pierce their noses through the centre
cartilages, and pass rings, with green stones attached, through the
small holes.
Most of the men and women I saw at Sitka wore dressed robes
made of the skins of wild animals, which extended to their knees.
These skins are made to go over the head, having holes for the arms
and neck. The chief I saw there was dressed in exactly the same way
as I remember Vancouver described in one of his works, as having
seen in some bay along this same coast. He had a robe woven from
mountain goat and dogs' hair, covered with little tufts or frogs dyed
in different colors.    He had some kind of wooden head-dress much
84 like a crown, adorned with burnished copper plates, from which hung
a number of streamers of racoon tails, and others made of wool.
We left Sitka during the night, after bidding the governor a
hearty farewell. On arriving at Fort Simpson, I was surprised to
hear that some of the Russian vessels which we had seen at Sitka had
been chasing some of our boats, bringing in furs. I was more surprised to hear this after the fulsome professions of friendship which
the governor had expressed for our company.
The following day Iroquois Joe came in to tell me that the
Stikines and Tongass were at war, and that a battle had taken place,
in which the Tongass had been badly beaten. The Tsimpseans had
also made a prisoner of the Panther during my absence, and were
going to put him to death as soon as the head chief of both tribes
would meet, which would be on the following day. The chief of the
Tsimpseans was at Masset interviewing the Haidahs with the view of
effecting an alliance for the extermination of the whites. I made up
my mind that the Panther must be saved at all hazards, so I asked
Joe to hunt up Bruneau and Cote, and tell them to come to my
private room in the fort at once.
In the course of twenty minutes, all three turned up in my room
as desired. I pointed out to them that it was necessary to arrest the
Tsimpsean chief before he succeeded in returning to his camp. He
should be captured when he landed from his canoe, but Iroquois Joe
suggested that it would be better to go out in a boat or large canoe
and intercept him. If he refused to stop when called upon to do so,
then he should be killed. I agreed with what Joe said, told him to get
what he required for the expedition from the store, and take or choose
those he wished to go with him. I then gave him directions as to his
movements, should he be successful. He was to make a prisoner of
the chief and those with him, and on landing, which must be at night,
bring all the prisoners to the fort, and I would then know what to do.
With these few directions, Joe and his companions left my room
to prepare for their expedition.
About three o'clock next morning I was awakened by a rap on
my door, and on opening it was surprised to see the smiling and
swarthy face of my faithful Iroquois. He had two scalps dangling
at his belt, which I noticed were fresh. "What!" I said, "have you
killed the chief?" "Oh, no," said Joe, "we have him below, safe; but
we had a bad fight before we captured the chief." Calling him into
the room, he told of his adventures. They had armed themselves
with pistols, guns and long sharp hunting knives. They had chosen
two o'clock as a good time to set out; but on reaching the beach,
85 they were surprised to see the chief, with two others, making a landing. Joe dealt the chief a blow on the side of the head with one of
his pistols and was immediately attacked by the other two. One of
them, just before turning on Joe, had badly wounded Bruneau, who
fell to the ground, and Joe at the time thought he was killed. Another
Indian came down from the rancheria and attacked Cote, but the
French-Canadian soon disposed of him, and Joe, to save his own life,
was forced to kill the other two, whom he had likewise scalped. They
had gagged and bound the chief, who showed signs of coming-to, and
had carried him to the fort, where they had him a prisoner in one of
the cells.   He had a good bed and was comfortable.
Poor Bruneau, who had likewise been carried into the fort, was
confined to his bed for over a month. The knife with which he was
struck had been poisoned, as most of their weapons are; but the
poison must have been rubbed off in going through the Frenchman's
thick clothing, and he thus escaped the poison in the wound. But the
knife had pierced the lung, and for some time his life hung, as it were,
upon a thread.
Having the chief as a prisoner, I was enabled to dictate terms
for the surrender of the Panther. He was escorted to the fort by a
number of the Tsimpsean tribe before their own chief was let out. I
took occasion to give the chief a warning, that if I heard of any more
plots to kill any whites I would send for a man-o'-war and blow all
their villages to pieces. Next spring H. M. S. Constance, a well
equipped frigate, very opportunely came up from Esquimalt and gave
them a very good idea of what they were likely to encounter, in case
they entered into any more conspiracies against the whites.
Still they swaggered about, and at times were very insolent; and
on one occasion a Tsimpsean, who entered the fort to purchase some
goods, spat on some material which was being shown him. As he
would not pay for what he had spoiled, I had him made a prisoner
and gave him a dozen, to show he could not do these things with
impunity.
"Now, doctor, I have fulfilled my part of the compact; let me
hear you tell some of your Eastern stories, as you promised." But
just at this moment Mr. Walkem and Mr. Farwell came into the room,,
and my stories were postponed to another time.
86 GRANVILLE IN THE EARLY DAYS
CHRISTMAS THIRTY-EIGHT YEARS AGO.
Burrard Inlet, so far as population was concerned, was a very
small place in 1877. There were two mills doing business on the Inlet
then—mills, too, that were renowned all over the world, even at that
early period, for the quality of the lumber that they shipped abroad.
These were the Hastings Mill and the Moodyville Mill. Both of these
mills employed a large number of hands. The manager of the Hastings Mill was Capt. Raymur, who had formerly been a ship captain,
as well as ship's husband for Anderson, Anderson & Co., the owners
of the mill, in London.
Mr. R. H. Alexander was next in authority-at the Hastings Mill,
and he had with him in the office Mr. Ainslie Mount, whose father
had been an employe of the Hudson's Bay Co. in Victoria. Mr.
Henry Harvey was manager of the mill store, and also postmaster.
Mr. Charles Coldwell, afterwards Alderman of Vancouver, was the
mill foreman, and Mr. P. Gaffney, the engineer, completed the roll of
the official class.    Capt. W. Soule was the mill stevedore.
The Moodyville Mill had for its manager Mr. Hugh Nelson,
afterwards Senator, and later Lieut.-Governor of the Province. Mr.
Ben Springer, everywhere respected and beloved, was next to the
manager, and head bookkeeper. Mr. Hermann Brantlecht was assistant, Mr. David Shibley Milligan was storekeeper and postmaster,
while Mr. Philander Swett was mill foreman, and Mr. Murray Thain
was the company stevedore. Murray was sometimes assisted in this
work by Capt. John Thain, his brother, whose residence was in Victoria. Of all these officials, I think only Hermann Brentlecht is still
living. I forgot to tell you of Jim Lockhart, the mill engineer, one
of the cleverest men in his particular line that has ever been on Bur-
87 rard Inlet. He, too, has passed away. James Van Bramer, who ran
a ferry between Hastings, Moodyville and Gasstown, or Granville,
also lived at Moodyville; nor must I forget that Nestor in the tow
boat business, Capt. Smith, Sr.
At that time there were no hotels, or saloons, in Moodyville; but
there might just as well have been, because there was one hotel at
Hastings, kept by Maxime Michaud, a French-Canadian, who was
reputed to be wealthy, and there the men obtained all the liquor they
desired.
Now as to Gasstown, called after the celebrated philanthropist,
Gassy Jack, or Jack Deighton. To get an idea of old Gasstown, picture to yourself a road extending from what is now known as the
Alexandria Hotel, west as far as 113 Water Street, which corresponded with the western boundary of Gasstown. The northern side of
this road was open and faced the sea. Where the Alexandria now
stands there was the Sunnyside Hotel. Many people who are residents in the city today will remember it, as it is not many years since
it was pulled down to make room for the present structure. This
hotel had the front resting on the bank, and the rear extending out
over the water and supported on piles. It had been built with an eye
to convenience as well as comfort, for in the floor of the back was a
trap door, through which one could lower groceries, clothing and
other comforting articles into canoes beneath.
Next to the Sunnyside dwelt Mr. George Black, well known all
over British Columbia as an ardent and patriotic Scotsman, and poor
indeed would be the Scotch dance or picnic if Black, in Highland
dress, were not there to give the affair a "go." Next to his residence
Black had his butcher shop, where he or his man Robinson dispensed
meats to the residents and shipping of Burrard Inlet. I can see Black
now in my mind's eye as, with a preliminary twist to his curled moustache, he would lean, one hand on his hip and the other resting on his
knife, whose point was pressed into the block, tell some amusing story
about something he had seen or heard of lately.
On the opposite side from the Sunnyside, and facing it, was the
Deighton Hotel, managed by Messrs. Clarke & Cudlip. Poor Tom
Cudlip has played his last game of cinch, and passed in his checks.
He came from a good Cornish family, and had great expectations
through a young son he had, but who unfortunately died of diphtheria,
in 1878. Capt. Clarke, his partner, is still alive and in good health,
and lives here in Vancouver. Capt. Clarke had many little confabs
with Lord Beresford when he was here, and whom he knew in early days when he  (Clarke)  was master, pilot, boatswain and cook of
Governor Seymour's yacht.
Since the foregoing was written Capt. Clarke has passed away.
He died in the month of May, 1914.
West of the Deighton Hotel was the "lock-up," where those under arrest by Jonathan Miller, constable and collector of taxes, were
kept in limbo. Mr. Miller's position in those days was no sinecure.
A pretty hard crowd used to find their way to Burrard Inlet from
other parts to escape arrest, and it consequently fell to him to put
them in the skookum house. This was more often effected by strategy
than by main force; but when Miller had the drop on them he never
funked his duty, and never failed to land his man. Mr. Miller was
also a school trustee ; but I will allow him to tell his trials and tribulations as such in his own way.
A little further down was a Chinese store. The proprietor of this
shop, or store, had a boy who attended the local school, and who was
a wonder in his class. I have heard since that he turned out well and
was about to leave for China to take an important position in the British Embassy, when he was struck down by the hand of death. The
Granville Hotel, of which Joseph Mannion was proprietor, occupied a
position corresponding to the centre of the town. Joe is still alive.
His hotel was well patronized. He had a taking way with him, and
always a pleasant smile and address to those who called upon him.
Mr. Mannion had many stories to tell about his early experience in
seeking for gold. Having had a good education, he could converse
on any subject of interest. He knew Davitt and Dillon, the Irish Nationalists, and went to school with one of them.
If Burrard Inlet had mills that turned out lumber of world-wide
reputation, it also had shoemakers who were justly celebrated for the
quality of the leather they put in their boots and shoes, as well as in
the careful and substantial manner in which they were made and
finished. One of these shoemakers was McKendry, who had a small
room adjacent to Mannion's hotel, and which was always well patronized by those who took an interest in what was going on in lumbering on the coast, and other interesting gossip. The other subject
of St. Crispin was John Fannin, who lived at Hastings, and who afterwards became curator of the Provincial Museum. Both of these old-
timers turned out an article which was in great demand in all parts of
the Province. Many of their orders came from far off Cariboo, and,
though the charges were high, they were paid with pleasure.
Mr. Isaac Johns, customs officer and harbormaster, lived in a
neat dwelling to the west of Mannions.    Ike, as he was called, was
89 from Bristol, England. He was a capable musician and much in demand for concerts in New Westminster. Often we would sit and
listen to "Crazy George" performing on the flute, of which he was
a perfect master. But of course Crazy George was of later days, lie
came here from Peru on a lumber vessel. He was in the band of one
of the men-of-war of the Peruvian navy, and became mentally affected from having been jilted by his ladv love. Poor George ! He was
kind to children. I hope he has the flute I gave him in the hospital
for the insane, where I understand he is at present. At a date later
than that of which I speak, George lived in a small house at the south
end of Main Street bridge.
'The Hole in the Wall" was the next dwelling, as well as house
of cheer, beyond the dwelling- of Ike Johns. Mr. Peter Donnelly was
the proprietor, and a thorough Scotchman. On the opposite side of
the road facing the south was the Methodist parsonage. This dwelling is now used for the fruit business, and is 113 Water Street.
Coming back to the Deighton Hotel, it is worth mentioning that
a two-plank wooden walk extended from Gasstown to the mill. It
was a lovely walk on a hot day, as it went through close timber and
brush. At the Deighton Hotel was a large maple tree, whose extended branches gave ample shade to the verandah of the hotel, and
was a favorite lounging place for the "tired" Siwash. A wide road
extended from the Deighton Hotel to False Creek, flanked by the
trees of the primeval forest. At the bridge across False Creek was
Geo. Black's slaughter-house. After crossing the bridge, the trail
extended down to the Fraser River.
In addition to the many employes of the mills living in their
immediate neighborhood, were numerous logging camps, both on the
inlet itself and scattered along the coast on the several timber claims
belonging to the companies. Jerry Rogers had a large camp, for instance, at Jericho, where some of the finest timber that was ever cut
was got out and towed by the powerful tug Maggie Rogers to the
booms of the Hastings Mill. Angus Fraser had a camp on Bowen
Island, and Furry and Dagget had another camp in what is now
known as Stanley Park, removing some of the giant timbers from
that now famous reserve. This camp was the last of five different
camps which at one time and another worked within its boundaries.
Scattered along the coast from the head of Johnston's Straits to
Burrard Inlet were the shacks of scores of handloggers who cut timber on their own account and sold them to the mills after they had
been scaled by the mill scaler. These men were usually in partnerships of two.    Some of their dwellings, or shacks, were located in
90 most picturesque spots, and were often hidden in the dense foliage
which surrounded them, and their locality could only be divined by
the chutes they built, on which the immense sticks glided into the
water. For it must be remmebred that in those days no logs were
taken, or even looked at, which contained a knot to mar the beaty
of the flooring into which much of it was cut. The trees cut down
were generally those which had not a branch below sixty or seventy-
feet from the ground. Oh, they were giants in those days ! Sticks
have been turned out from the mills 30x30 and 120 feet long. There
was a great demand at this time for square timber of large size in
China, and a great deal of it went there.
Most of these loggers led a very lonely life. There were very
few steamers churning the waters of the northern coast in those days,
except one or two bound for Alaska, or an occasional tug in search
of some hand logger's boom, which was ready for the mill. Months
might go by, and these men would never see a stranger. You may
imagine therefore that they looked forward to Christmas time with
a happy anticipation of fun and frolic. Those who were any distance
away would take advantage of some passing tug, perhaps a couple of
weeks before Christmas, and make their way to "Gasstown." They
were, on the whole, a good class of men. Brawny and well developed, they were the finest of axemen. Those who arrived first in
Gasstown usually spent the most of their time on the waterfront,
keeping a sharp lookout for others who were expected from day to
day. Every man was known, and it was a daily speculation with
those already arrived as to whether Jack or Tom would be the next
arrival.
Yes, it was good to see the welcome which each man received as
he ran his boat up by the floating stage in front of Mannion's Hotel.
xAll hands wouldgo down on the landing stage until it would threaten
to sink with all on board. Then the hand-shakings followed. Having
moored their craft, they would be led up the bank—and the drinks
that would go round, and the questions, and the laughter—all good-
humored, and then the enquiries as to their prospects, and as to how
much they had cut, and what their last boom had measured. Then
out they would all go, and visit some other house of cheer, until they
had made the round.
And I am proud to add that there was little drunkenness among
them. They drank, but they were not drunkards. They were a superior class of men to that. Ask Mannion, who is here with us today
in Vancouver. He will tell you the same. Of course there were
many  among  these  happy  fellows  who   never  touched   any  liquor
91 stronger than beer, and some not even that. The most of these men
were of a saving character, and had money coming to them at the
offices of the mill, and after spending Christmas in Gasstown would
take a little trip to Victoria, which was at that time the Mecca of
British Columbia.
When Christmas Day arrived, the hotels would all be full. The
tables always groaned with the best the market afforded. Geo. Black
made a point of having the finest of bunch grass beef for those who
patronized him on Burrard Inlet. The dinner was the meal on Christmas Day, as it always is the world over, and these dinners in the
hotels of Burrard Inlet were no exception to the rule. Yes, and the
boys always had toasts, in which their lady loves were not forgotten.
Joe Mannion and Capt. Clarke would sit at the heads of their respective tables with smiles broader than their countenances, and that they
were not niggardly in any way was amply demonstrated at the close,
for cheers for their hosts invariably followed. Then all would adjourn and play cards, or checkers, in the rooms allotted to those
games.
Leaving the hotels of Gasstown, and paying a visit to the logging
camp at Jericho, there you would receive a welcome spontaneous and
hearty. Jerry Rogers was always proud of his Christmas dinners.
They were high-class, and put on the table with great ceremony.
Sometimes a miniature barbecue would be furnished the boys, as the
old man affectionately called his workers. Such a dinner! Better
than you can see in this city today. Venison fat and juicy—sucking
pigs and turkeys (none of your cold storage turkeys either, but killed
and dressed a few days before) ; ducks and geese, both wild and tame,
and a huge sirloin of George Black's best bunch grass product. A
monster plum pudding with a sprig of holly, and aflame with brandy,
wound up the feast, to bind together what had gone before. Small
stowage, Jerry called it. How the old man's eyes would twinkle as
he watched the feast, and listened to the occasional sallies of wit
which burst from different parts of the table.
That gathering of men represented some of the finest lumbermen
on the continent. The axemen had no equals in the deftness with
which they wielded the single or double-bitted axe. To give a proper
touch to the feast, there were always two twenty-gallon kegs of beer
on tap. The good old man was the happiest of the band, for to make
his men happy at this festive time was his single aim. Among those
who worked in the camp at that time was Mike King. Mike in those
days was dressed in a blue shirt, sans coat, a broad strap around his
waist, his hair rather long, curly locks, and hatless.   He was an expert
92 with the axe, and was generally selected on state occasions, such as
the visits of the Governors-General, to fell the giants of the forest.
The only thing that remains to tell of the glories of departed
days is the name Jericho. This name was given to the camp by Jerry
himself, to conform to Scripture, for did not Jeremiah once dwell in
Jericho? The other camps also commemorated Christmas Day after
similar methods. There was the Furry and Daggett camp. This
outfit was always celebrated for the excellence of their table, which
was looked after by the wife of one of the partners. Angus Fraser,
who had a heart as big as an ox's, made a special point of seeing that
the Christmas dinner should be up to the mark. Being a married
man, his Christmas was partly spent in the camp and partly at home.
On both sides of the inlet, those who were not connected with
the camps spent their Christmas much as they do now. Plum puddings and mince pies engaged the attention of the busy housewives
for weeks in advance of the festive occasion. Isolated to a certain
extent from the rest of British Columbia, a social and sympathetic
feeling bound all as though in one family bond. Go into any house
where there were children, and your ears were greeted with squeaking trumpets and hammering of drums, and even before you reached
the door the evidence that Santa Claus had not forgotten the little
children of this far western harbor was before your eyes in sleighs
being pulled on sawdust and mud, or skates being tested on the same
material. You often hear today of the high prices of eggs ; but prices
here today are low in comparison with the price of eggs in 1877. We
obtained most of our eggs, turkeys, geese, ducks and chickens from
an Irishman who paid occasional visits to Burrard Inlet with the fowl
I have mentioned, and also with potatoes and vegetables, which might
be in season.
Billy Paterson—that was his name—came from Semiahmoo, and
did a roaring business here. He always managed to sell his whole
cargo, which was carried in a 12-ton sloop. Just about Christmas
time those with eyes bent upon the First Narrows would see this
indefatigable trader making his way in on the rising tide. After
clearing his sloop at the local custom house, Billy would make the
round of Gasstown to ascertain how the supply and demand stood,
in respect to the farm produce which he carried under his hatches.
Eggs were always in demand at this period for making "Tom and
Jerries," and good stiff prices were asked and paid for absolutely fresh
eggs. In 1877 eggs were high—in price, I mean—and you could not
buy them for less than $3.00 per dozen, and we were lucky to get
them at that.
93 "I have already told you that the little children were not forgotten
at Christmas time. The population of the province was small and
much scattered, and old Santa Claus had very long journeys to make,
which necessarily took up much of his time. He always came to the
inlet two or three weeks in advance of Christmas and took a good
look at all the little boys and girls to settle in his mind what kind of
a present would suit each one. As his sleigh was always full for little
Indians of the northern missions, and as he had to make time, he
always made arrangements with the captain of the Etta White, who
was a distant relation of his—at least the captain used to say so—to
bring up most of the presents from his storehouse in Victoria the day
before Christmas, and also a special team of reindeer, small enough
to make their way down the stovepipes which led into the houses.
There were no chimneys, consequently he had a tight squeeze to get
near any little child's stocking. But he was very good and never forgot any child.    They were all well satisfied and well treated.
The effects of Christmas generally led up to a kind of ennui which
lasted until over New Year's Day. Then the boys would begin to
make a move towards their shacks, laden with all kinds of remembrances of their holidays. Let me add that many of the residents
here spent their Christmas in Victoria or New Westminster. Some
even went as far as San Francisco.
"We had visitors, too, from New Westminster, as the sleighing
was good in winter, and if there was not too much snow on the ice I
think a good many used to find their way to Burnaby Lake, where
they would enjoy themselves immensely.
"A visit to New Westminster always resulted in your being well
treated there, and they had no bounds to their hospitality. When you
went there you were sure to see Captain Adolphus Peele, weather prophet, who always greeted you with some reference to the weather.
On my visit there a short time since, although I had not seen him for
twenty years, he had the same reference to the weather, and the beauty
of it was that he was nearly always right. He has today probably the
most valuable collection of weather reports of New Westminster district, and of this province generally that can be found outside the
Bureau at Ottawa. Mr. Joseph Armstrong was another gentleman
who was there then, and is there now. He has not changed in the
slightest within the last thirty years.
"When the Christmas week was over in old Gasstown the little
burg went once more asleep for another year."
94 MAKING  OF  AN   INDIAN  SHAMAN
THE ORDINATION OF A MEDICINE MAN.
In another chapter of this book, I have described in detail
what I saw and heard on my first visit in 1875 to an Indian potlatch.
This experience was gained in a casual trespass on the grounds of the
Saanich Indians, which were situated a fewr miles from the city of Victoria, the capital of British Columbia.
My second visit to an Indian potlatch was made in the following
year, but the locality where it took place was Comox, and the circumstances which led up to its being given, were totally different from
those which were the origin of the first one, as will be gleaned from
the narrative as I will tell it.
It was in the fall of 1876, that taking advantage of a temporary
lull in my duties as health officer of the city of Victoria, I took passage on the steamer Cariboo Fly, on a flying visit to Comox. Old-
timers there will remember this pioneer steamer of the east coast of
Vancouver Island. It was a slow little thing, totally unlike the midget wmose name it bore, and was owned by Mr. Joseph Spratt, of Victoria. I had been requested several times by the Indian Department
to visit the Indians of that settlement and vaccinate them all, without
making any exceptions.
It was in consequenece of that request that I landed one bright
afternoon in Comox, where it was my great luck to witness one of the
most interesting, as well as exclusive Indian rites as handed down
from generation to generation, from time immemorial. It is rarely,
indeed, that any white man is admitted to the arena to witness the
95 ceremonial observed in the "making" of an Indian Shaman, or Medicine Man. If I had not been on an official visit to the tribe, and the
bearer of a letter of introduction to the Indian agent, Mr. A. G. Horne,
I would never have witnessed this great exhibition of Indian fortitude
in the last stages of an unearthly drama. I had often heard weird
stories of Indian Medicine Men, and of the ceremonial incidental to
their assumption of that uncanny office, but all these accounts were
a long way short in the tragic details as I witnessed them, on this my
second visit to an Indian potlatch. In describing this function, I will
stick strictly to the facts, and furnish my readers with nothing but
the facts.
How I came to describe this as my second visit to an Indian potlatch is because the most interested person in the ceremony gave a
grand potlatch on the day after passing through his trying ordeal.
After a tedious trip on the Cariboo Fly, consuming three days of
my time, I landed, as I said before, one bright afternoon, on the wharf
at Comox. As I was anxious to get back to Victoria without loss of
time, I at once set out to hunt up the Indian agent, Mr. A. G. Horne,
to whom I had a letter of introduction from the superintendent in Victoria. I found the gentleman in the Hudson's Bay Co.'s post on the
Indian reservation, where he also represented the big company in his
position as chief trader. He received me very kindly and read my letter
of introduction. He expressed his regret that my visit was made at
such an inopportune time, at the same time explaining to me that it
would be utterly impossible to vaccinate any of the Indians on the
Comox reserve.
They were, he said, in a high state of excitement, bordering on
frenzy, over the coming ceremonies incidental to the "making" of a
Shaman, or Indian medicine man.
"These rites," said Mr. Horne, "will be in connection with the elevation of a man to the most important office among Indian tribesmen,
and bring with it an influence and dictum which are superior to those
of the chiefs of any tribe. This ceremony," continued Mr. Horne, "has
never been witnessed by any white man, except those in the service of
the Hudson's Bay Co., and they, as a matter of policy, are particularly
careful never to tell to outsiders anything in connection with what
they see there—in fact, were they to do so, their lives would not be
worth a day's purchase. They trust us most implicitly, and we repay
that trust by observing an absolute silence as to everything we see and
hear. It is only by observing these confidences that we enjoy the
influence over them that we do. It is sometimes very dangerous to
be near the candidate during some parts of the ceremonial ,and we
96 have to be very careful of our demeanor and facial expression during
the continuance of the whole performance. I am going myself this
evening, and will be accompanied by Mrs. Horne and Mr. Alexander
Grant and his wife. I have taken great care that our seats are far
above the ground tier, and I think and hope they will not be in the zone
of danger."
"Oh," I said, "Mr. Horne I will give a month's salary to see this
ceremony. Mr. Charles and Mr. Moffatt have told me so many things
about this ritual, without telling me what actually happened, that
I fairly burn to see it. Is there no way by which I can obtain permission to be present? I may never get the chance again, and I would
be disappointed if I returned to Victoria without witnessing a ceremony which might not be again used in the lifetime of these tribes,
who are fast disappearing from the land of their birth and inheritance."
"Well," said Mr. Horne, "I will arrange for your meeting Chief
Nim-nim at this office at 5 o'clock, and will explain your wishes to him,
at the same time giving him to understand that you are a very important official of the department, on an official visit here. Perhaps that
will work the oracle." I agreed to this, returned to the hotel, and after
brushing myself up, and slinging an important looking satchel across
my shoulders, returned to Mr. Home's office, and reached there sharp
at 5. The chief had not as yet arrived, but he did not keep us waiting
long, and at five minutes past the hour, he stepped across the threshold of the agent's tidy little office.
Chief Nim-nim was rather an imposing personage, as he was
dressed that day, with silk hat and scarlet coat (of some ancient militia
regiment), and a golden eagle's feather in his hat. His eyes were
bright and clear, and seemed as though they would look one through.
He had heavy jaws, firm set lips, Roman nose, and his hair was care-
iuiiy groomed. He looked extremely "fit" as he stalked into our presence, and apologized for being late. I was duly introduced as a "delate
hyas tyee" from the Indian department in Victoria, and had been sent
to see if there was anything that would add to the comfort and dignity
of the 'delate hyas tyee" Nim-nim. The chief was possessed of a
rather wide mouth, but when mention was made that part of my duty
was to see whether there was anything that might add to the comfort
and dignity of Nim-nim, a smile of an amazing width spread across his
countenance. His necessities were many, of all of which I made due
note in a spare note book, carried in my inner coat pocket.
I told him his requests would be made known to the Queen, and
he would hear later on from me. Shaking me heartily by the hand,
he said I must honor them with my presence at the rancherie that
97 night to witness the Indian Shamans receiving another addition to
their number. I looked up with eyes of thankfulness and gratitude to
my friend Mr. Horne, whose face gave no indication of his thoughts
or feelings. The chief then asked me to step over to the rancherie,
and view the preparations that had been made for the night's performance.
As we walked over he told me of the former importance and numbers of his tribe, and how the deadly smallpox introduced by an Indian
who had been in Victoria, and had returned with the disease, had carried off more than five hundred of his tillicums. Then he would
fiercely tell me that it was brought to the country by the white man
Now white men ploughed the fields where they once hunted the wild
animals for their meat. They were now confined on reservations,
while long ago they moved about where they wished to go. But the
Government was good to him, because they knew he was a "hyas
closhe man."
Thus he poured into my ear the woes and troubles of his tribe.
We shortly arrived opposite the entrance of the rancherie. Two
planks of three inches in thickness, fastened together by two stout
cross pieces led up on an inclined plane to the entrance, and as we
reached the wall of the building I observed that the footwalk was
curved on both edges like the sides of a canoe. Crossing the doorway under the lintel, the footwalk sank down like a see-saw, and the
end rested on the ground within the building. As soon as we stepped
off the board walk, it rose slowly upwards and stopped with a snap.
On looking at it from within, the entrance was fashioned to represent
the head of a bald-headed eagle. The planks on which we entered the
building filled the place of the lower beak or mandible. We therefore
came in through the bird's throat.
It was a very clever and ingenious piece of work. The whole
head was almost a perfect model of what it was intended to represent.
For eyes the Indian had used some large shell, which gave a savage
glint, as would be expected to emanate from such a bird. The building itself was not quite so long as the one at Saanich, but it was equal
to it in width. This one, however, had a large square opening in the
centre of the roof. Over this opening was a square covering raised
on four posts about four feet in length. This covering was to prevent
the entrance of rain, during the rainy season or at other times. From
the ends of four timbers, which were bound firmly together, and projected into the square opening, hung a pulley, attached to the timbers
by a stout rope. Another rope ran over the pulley wheel, at one end
of which was a long steel hook.    The remainder of the rope, which
98
•    ; was of considerable length, was coiled on the outside of the roof. All
this was explained to me by the chief, and I have described this pulley
and the way it was attached to the timbers at some length, as it played
a very important part in the functions of the night.
Chief Nim-nim explained to me that it was not a member of his
tribe who was to become a Shaman that night, but one Johnny Chi-
ceete, from Cape Mudge, not far from the entrance to Seymour Narrows. Johnny was one of the Yu-kwul-toes, or Yuclataws, as white
men usually call the tribe. They were at one time the most bloodthirsty, and the most dreaded of the coast tribes. Johnny was com-
pelled to come to Comox for his initiation, as it was the only camp
where there were many Medicine Men to take part in the ceremony.
In consideration of this privilege, Johnny intended on the following day giving as a free gift to those assembled for the ceremony,
one thousand dollars' worth of goods. This was termed a cultus potlatch, and went to show as well, for the Indian dearly loves boasting,
that he had a "shook-um tum-tum," and was possessed of "hy-yu ic-
tas," much substance, or to put it in our language—that he was a man
of wealth, and gave away for the mere love of it. He wished coûte
qui coûte to have his name noised about as a prince of good fellows.
This is the Indian character, on this coast at least.
At this point in this narrative- is a good opportunity for me to explain the process through which a novitiate passes in his course to
become a full fledged medicine man, which I am enabled to do from
a long residence in this province, during which time I have had a great
deal to do with Indians and their affairs and customs.
The first movement of the aspirant for medical honors is to take
to the woods and find some isolated lonely spot, either on some mountain top or by the waters of some lake, where his cries to his "tern-, n-
wos" will not be heard by human ears. All Indian cries are a species
of lamentation, and are much the same whether made by the novitiate to his "temenwos" or by the hired howler on the sea shore, by the
side of some dead body. They are fearfully sad, and striking so
weirdly on your ear at dead of night, give you the shivers.
Thirty-three years ago I had to go to the head of the North Arm
to see a sick logger. I had hired Big Footed George of Seymour
Creek to take me there. As we approached the shore line beneath
Temenwos Lake, now called Lake Beautiful, one of these howlers
broke out with her dismal lament. George would go no further. He
was afraid of the spirits of the lake above. He turned the canoe, notwithstanding my protests, and fled swiftly away towards his home on
Seymour Creek.    I had to engage a white man to take me up next day.
99 It is, or was, very difficult to get a Siwash to take you anywhere at
night, unless he was one of the Mission Indians.
When camped on the shores of Lake Buttle some twenty years
ago, I was awakened about two o'clock in the morning by a most
plaintive wail, which struck upon my ear from a distance which I
judged was half a mile away. The wailing continued for fully three
hours. I recognized it as the plaintive appeal of the future Medicine
Man to his temenwos. My companion, a young Irishman not long
out from the "ould sod," would not agree with me as to the reason or
cause of the wail. He insisted that it was a "banshee" for he had
heard the same on the Lakes of Killarney, when he was a boy. I
smiled, and said no more, for argument was useless. Towards morning the wail of the novitiate was supplemented by the screams of two
cougars from opposite sides of the lake. This produced a far greater
impression on my young friend than his banshee. He insisted that
we should return home on the morrow, as it was a most uncanny
place in which to be camped at night. I saw the novitiate the next
day. He was almost naked, but stole away into the timber as fast as
possible on seeing me. I afterwards learned that he was an Indian
from Alert Bay. In their incantations by the lake they are sometimes
answered by the laughing quaver of the Great Northern Diver, as
though resenting the encroachment on his solitude.
For six weeks or more the "would-be" Shaman wanders sadly
through the mountains picking his sustenance from the berries, or
edible tubers which everywhere abound. His nights were wholly consumed in the never-ending appeal to the temenwos, or to those spirits
good or evil which may hear his distressing appeals for recognition.
They are spiritualists, pure and simple, but their spiritualism differs
from the modern "ism" of the present day, in that the spirit or "temenwos" whom they appeal to is in their belief an original spirit, and not
the spirit of one who has died. Privation and lack of food no doubt
reduce the Indian novitiate to a condition bordering on hysteria, and
when in that condition he is liable to believe that he hears the answer
to his plaintive wails for help and recognition. It is at this stage that
he determines to return to the homes of his tribe. He is now dangerous—a species of demon, whose hunger must be appeased by flesh.
Slowly and stealthily he makes his way back to where his former
companions are anxiously awaiting his return. When within a short,
distance of his place of birth, he rushes in with frightful yells, and woe
betide the unfortunate native whom he first encounters on his way.
He leaps upon him like a wild beast, and probably bites a piece out of
his victim's arm.    No resistence is offered, as it is considered a great
100 privilege to be thus bitten by the future Shaman. The man is famished and he devours the piece of flesh like a hungry dog. If, instead of
meeting with one of his own kind, he sees a dog, he will, if possible,
seize it with both hands and rend the animal in pieces.
Once inside the village or settlement, four or more sturdy members of the tribe pounce on him and confine him for the last and trying
ordeal which I saw in the case of Johnny Chiceete, or "grey-haired"
Johnny, as he was known to the whites.    I will describe this short!)».
After parting with Chief Nim-nim at the entrance to the rancherie,
I returned to the hotel where I was a guest, and after dinner made my
way to the Hudson's Bay post, where I met Mr. and Mrs. Horne, as
well as Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Grant, who were the only other whites
who were permitted to view the ceremony. As the ceremony was
supposed to begin at 7 o'clock we lost no time in hastening to the
rancherie. We were accompanied by a large number of Indians from
Cape Mudge, and other points, who did not live in the Comox rancherie. As I looked at them, I thought of Cooper's "The Last of the
Mohicans."
These, too, were among the last of a passing race, whose ranks
even from the date of my arrival, had been sadly decimated by smallpox and other diseases. Of course we did not want to have him with
us, dressed out in the panoply of war, stealing stealthily on his neighbors, knife in hand, slaughtering men, women and children without
distinction of age or sex, but we would love to see him leading an
industrious life and enjoying that civilization which we had brought
him. The Pacific Coast Indian is not fitted by disposition or inclination to take advantage of what is offered him.
It was still light when we entered the rancherie, two at a time,
through the eagle's throat. Four Indians with wolf masks over their
faces guarded the entry on the inner side. Two other natives with
bear and eagle masks stood close to these four. They were all there
to see that no interlopers gained admission to the building. Chief
Nim-nim stood a short distance from them, resplendent in scarlet
tunic and high silk hat. His hat had received since I saw him in the
afternoon three additional eagle feathers to reinforce his dignity and
importance as a chief. The building was well filled with a mixed
audience of Indians from up and down the coast.
We were shown to seats well up from the floor, but commanding
a perfect view of the whole inside of the rancherie. At intervals
along the front were sentinels encased in a complete suit of feathers,
their figures being topped by a mask of a most perfect imitation of the
bald-headed eagle, and glittering eyes as already described, as com-
101 pleting the eagle head entrance. I noticed that all the women of the
tribe were seated well up from the ground floor, and appeared to me
to wear upon their faces an aspect of anxiety, if not of fear.
About three quarters of an hour had elapsed when the drummers
in the centre of the ground space began to beat a regular rhythmic
stroke upon the gigantic drums which they had before them. Four
Shamans were walking up and down in this space, one of whom reminded me of a huge baboon I had seen at the Zoological Gardens in
Regent's Park. While singing they were shaking rattles, as well as
their ankles, most assiduously, which were adorned with shells and
small rattles. In a few moments some of the women and men stepped
out upon the floor, and began to move about in the usual dancing
step. Their tunes are always the same, and the movements of the
dancers also. These dances were kept up for some time, one middle-
aged man showed his gastric capacity by swallowing a square gin
bottle of dog fish oil without drawing a breath. He subsided in a helpless condition upon the earthen floor, from which he was promptly
packed off to one of the platform seats.
At 8.00 o'clock everything was perfectly quiet, so quiet indeed,
that you could have heard a pin drop in the dusty floor. Then a noise,
with much howling was suddenly heard proceeding from the roof. In
a few moments a human body was pushed through the square hole
in the roof of the rancherie. As the body dangled inside of the skylight, as I will call it, I was able to see that the figure was pendant by
four hooks and chains, from the pulley I have already mentioned as
being at the ends of the four poles, lying across the skylight. It was
the body of Johnny Chiceete which was dangling in the upper air. He
was hanging suspended by four hooks, one through the muscles of
each upper arm, and one through the muscles of each thigh. He was
completely naked with the exception of a loin covering made from
the inner bark of the cedar.
His attendants on the roof lowered him slowly to the ground,
then back to the roof and down again. This was repeated three times.
While going up and down he shouted out some words which I took to
be a species of ritual, for at every pause in his speech he was answered
by the Shamans on the ground below. They kept walking up and
down in line for about twenty feet and back, silent while Johnny
Chiceete was speaking, and picking up the words just as Johnny
ceased. No sign on Johnny's face told of the horrible torture he
must have been enduring. He could not have been more quiet if he
had been lowered and raised in a capacious basket.
102 At the termination of the third drop, four big powerful members
of his tribe rushed out and grasped him by the arms, while the hooks
were kept quite taut to prevent his breaking away. Straps were
slipped round his arms to give his captors a good firm hold and
command of his body. The hooks were then removed, and Johnny
sprang to his feet, and attempted to break away.
Many of the audience, fearful he should escape from his captors,
began to seek safer positions. Now came the most curious part of
the ceremony. Ten Indians came down the circular pathway, naked
to the waist. Johnny saw them, and began to gnash his teeth in
anticipation of a feast, for he was fearfully hungry, having arrived
from the mountains a short hour before his appearance on the roof.
As Johnny strained like a dog on the leash to get at the first semi-
naked Siwash, he seemed more like a wild beast than a human being.
Gradually he dragged his keepers to his first victim, the Shamans
following in the rear with pieces or strips of cotton and Indian balm.
Arriving at the first man, he seized his arm, and bit a large piece out
of it. and then passed on towards the next. The Shamans to our
surprise called our special attention to the wound in the first man's
arm, to show there was no fake about it, I suppose. Then they
applied some balm or ointment, and wrapped up the whole in cotton.
After binding up the wound on the first man's arm, a Shaman
slipped a ten-dollar gold piece into the victim's hand, according, as I
was afterwards told by Mr. Horne, to an arrangement between the
victim and Johnny Chiceete's friends. After this first performance
with his teeth, Mrs. Horne and Mrs. Grant retired from the building.
It was too horrible for their sensitive nerves. Mr. Horne, Mr. Grant
and I stayed on to see the ceremony through. Johnny completed his
round with the hired victims, and just as he finished with the last, he
saw a small dog near the platform, which he seized with both hands
and began to eat alive. He was pushed, with the dog in his hands,
towards the entrance and was taken by his friends to a cabin specially
prepared for him, where his hook wounds received special attention.
All of those who supplied Johnny with arms to bite were rewarded in
the same way as the first one was, who by the way was an Indian
known to the whites as Siwash George. I only heard the names of
three others. They were Three Fingered Jimmy, Saweetlum and
Potato Johnny.
If this represented the ceremony of making an Indian Medicine
Man at a time when the province was well settled, what must have
been the orgies in connection with the same performance before the
whites came.
103 The late Mr. Moffatt, an old servant of the Hudson's Bay Company, told me when spending the evening with him, in Victoria, that
once when stationed at Fort Rupert he saw one of these novitiates,
on his return from seeking his temenwos, run amuck throughout the
rancherie, biting men, women and children, and he even attempted to
bite Mr. Moffatt, but he felled him with a blow, which the natives
thought would be followed by his instant death. The natives consider
it a great privilege to be bitten by a novitiate, or rather I should say,
they once thought so, but now they must receive compensation for
providing the material for the proper carrying out of the ceremony.
After the retirement of Johnny Chiceete, wine made from the
ollale (salmon berry) was handed round among the guests.
The last performance was very amusing. Two of the men covered with complete suits of bird plumage, engaged in a fight in the
centre of the arena. By some means they opened their beaks and
took a bite out of each other's plumage, and then blew the feathers
into the air through a hole in the top of the head. They imitated the
rasping screech of the bald-headed eagle to perfection. Then an encounter took place between a wolf and a bear, which was a tame affair,
as they were rather clumsy on their feet.
We left the rancherie at midnight, but we could hear the beating
of the dance drums until past daylight.
Next day Johnny Chiceete gave a grand potlatch, when he threw
away to his tillicums, one thousand dollars' worth of goods, consisting
of bales of blankets, a cuddy of tobacco, boxes of crackers, barrels of
molasses, as Mr. Grant told me to make his friends stick to him, boxes
of apples, flour, and not forgetting the red and yellow handkerchiefs
so dear to the Siwash heart.
To show his indifference to money values he broke up and burned
a new, large war canoe, valued at $175.
I had my surfeit of Indian ceremonies so I did not stop to see
another novitiate pass into the ranks of the Shamans, although the
Chief Nim-nim pressed me very hard to stay and see it. It took place
the following Sunday.
I returned to Victoria the night following.
104 MY FIRST VISIT TO AN INDIAN POTLATCH.
In the month of September, 1875, I was living in a comfortably
furnished house on Gonzales Farm, Victoria, the property of Mr. J.
Despard Pemberton, who was, at that time, travelling in Europe,
with his wife and family. This farm had had no tenant for some time,
but the large fields had been temporarily let to Mr. J. Reynolds, a
butcher, wherein to keep his cattle as they arrived from time to time
by steamer from the mainland. These cattle, which had a free run
over the outside premises, were exceedingly wild and dangerous, as
all cattle were that came in those days from the upper country. The
last tenant, whoever he might have been, had been exceedingly careless of the premises.
It was a beautiful farm, but sadly neglected. Turkeys and other
poultry were perfectly wild, and had been allowed to make their nests
and rear their offspring according to the laws of primitive nature.
The farm was also a covert for large numbers of grouse, and California quail, and was an ideal place for shooting, when these birds
were in season.
The location of the house was, as it is now, a lovely spot, from
which a view could be obtained that, for extent and variety of scene,
is unsurpassed in British Columbia. How impressive was the sunrise as Old Sol stole over the mountain tops of the Coast Range on
the opposite shores of the Gulf of Georgia, tinting those snow-capped
peaks with ever-changing hues, imparting an ideal touch to the sloping sides at early morn.
But while at eventime the whole view might be a delightful
recreation on a summer's evening, the isolation and consequent loneliness, as the night came on, were depressing. I had been warned by
the agent, Mr. Leopold Lowenberg, to be extremely watchful, and
vigilant, as the outbuildings on this farm were a favorite sleeping
place for thieves and tramps.   Within,—the building was a lengthy
105 one, and was divided down the centre by a passage which separated
the front from the back rooms. The ceiling of this passage was
covered with a network of wires, communicating at one end with
every door and window in the building, and at the other with a num-
of bells, constituting a perfect burglar alarm.
This provision, with the isolation of the building and the solemn
warning of the agent about tramps and thieves, had a very depressing
effect upon me—a tenderfoot. My nights were rendered sleepless by
the frequent ringing of bells, a full chorus of them. During the first
week, I jumped out of bed three or four times a night, and, with a
black thorn stick in one hand and a revolver in the other, I walked
the rounds and examined every door and window in the building.
I had about arrived at that stage when I was fully convinced that the
house was haunted, or in the grasp of spooks, when accident informed me of the fons et origo of these constant alarms.
One night, when the bells were more than usually active, I
rushed into the passageway to see a swarm of rats travelling down
the close-strung wires, while the bells were jangling furiously. About
4 a.m. the bells were once more ringing, but this time accompanied by
a loud rapping on the hall door. At last, I thought, that tramp, predicted by Mr. Lowenberg, is here. Putting on my dressing gown,
and shoving a large revolver in my pocket, I cautiously opened the
hall door as far as the restraining chain would allow. A man was
standing there, with a fragment of a lighted candle stuck into the
neck of an empty bottle to give him light. "Pawdon me," he said, at
the same time glancing with a kind of nervous look over his shoulder,
"I have a note for you, if you are Dr. Walkem —but, oh! those cattle;
they gave me such a turn !"
He gave me the note, which was from Dr. Ash, asking me to visit
a patient of his who lived at the far end of the Saanich road, about
seventeen miles distant. I was not long in dressing, for in ten minutes we were driving up the carriageway to the gate. Cattle were
very numerous on each side of the road—cattle which were fresh from
the upper or "bunch grass" country, and which were very wild and
dangerous. My companion told me that in driving down to the house
we had just left, he was in constant dread of these animals, which
made several hostile demonstrations, charging down parallel to the
phaeton as it rolled along. We passed safely through them, and,
after a drive over a splendid road, arrived at our destination at noon.
Here I saw the young man who was ill, and shortly after had
lunch with his parents. I was preparing to return to Victoria, when
a neighbor of my host rode up on a stout little cob and asked whether
106 there was anything he could get in Victoria for his neighbor. He
also said he had just met the official who looked after the telegraph
cable, and who would be returning to Victoria as soon as some
necessary repairs were made and the cable placed in working order.
1 saw at once that this would give me an opportunity of relieving the
young man's father of the trouble of driving me back to Victoria, and
of a long, lonely drive back to his farm. After making the suggestion,
the farmer reluctantly consented to my hunting up the operator, and,
DUMMIES REPRESENTING  FRIENDS AT POTLATCH.
after giving me minute directions as to the path I was to take to
arrive at the cable station through the woods, I packed my satchel
and started out. Before going, however, I gave the neighbor who
had called a prescription to have filled at Shotbolt's, in Victoria.
The cable station was said to be about a mile distant, and, after
walking at a good pace for over half an hour, I came to where three
roads or trails converged. Uncertain which one to take, I at last
chose the centre one, and, once more looking at my watch, I came to
the conclusion that I must have taken the wrong trail, otherwise I
would have arrived at the station long before that hour.
I was still in the bush, but I knew that the trail must lead somewhere, and I pushed on, following the trail I was on. I had not
walked more than ten minutes when I heard shouting.   I felt relieved,
107 as I knew I must be approaching some human habitations where I
could get directions as to my future course. At last I saw an opening
in the trees, at right angles to the trail, and I turned off and made
for it through heavy brush and fallen timber. Several grouse started
up almost under my feet ; and presently I emerged upon the beach, at
the rear of a large Indian rancherie.
This was the first rancherie I had ever seen, and, I might truthfully add, ever smelt. It was not unlike a large flat-roofed barn,
slightly higher in front than behind. The roof consisted of long,
wide split cedar boards, laid over one another, supported by cross-
pieces, which were held up in turn by cedar posts. The sides of this
building were also composed of split cedar boards, but they were
bound to the uprights and many crosspieces by withes. There was
not a single nail in the building; but I afterwards learned that this
building was an old one, and erected before a white man had come
to the country.
In front of this building were three upright posts, on the top of
which, and connecting them, or holding them together, was a long
stick of timber, flattened top and bottom. The posts were thirty feet
in length. A native was walking up and down this crosspiece,
addressing a large concourse of Indians, and they appeared much
impressed with what he said, as ejaculations of approval, as I took
them to be, punctuated his remarks every few minutes. His audience,
composed of a large concourse of natives, were seated on the ground,
with blankets gathered round their bodies.
I knew there was something unusual taking place, and was
about to retreat to the bush once more and try to find my way back
to the house of my patient; but on turning to do so, I was accosted
by an Indian in civilized garb, with a white band over the cuff of his
coat. He walked beside me as I pushed my way out of the excited
crowd, and seized my bag by the handle, asking me some questions
in Chinook, which at that time I did not understand. I refused to let
him open my bag, and a scuffle would certainly have ensued, as I felt
disinclined to allow him to touch it without a struggle; but just at
that moment I heard two whistles, and, looking up, I saw a man
standing at the edge of the timber a little west of where we stood,
beckoning to me to come to him. The Indian immediately let go of
my bag, and, pointing towards the man, said :    "Go—police."
Never did I feel more relieved in my mind. I was in the midst
of Indians whose ways I did not understand, and in a locality where
I was practically lost. Walking up the shingle, I noticed that the
afternoon was well advanced, as the sun was beginning to haze, and
108 would shortly be below the horizon. When I met the man who had
hailed me, I saw from the label on his vest that he was a provincial
constable. He asked me what my name was, and, on telling him, he
at once asked me to come up to his tent. I said that I was anxious to
find the telegraph operator, who was supposed to be down attending
to the cable, as I expected to be able to obtain a seat in his carriage
on his return to Victoria. He told me that the operator had left an
hour previously, and that if I cared to share his tent I was welcome.
There were two camp beds, he said, and the other officer was in Victoria and would not return until the following morning, so I would
have a bed to myself. Superintendent Todd of the provincial police
force was also expected down on the morrow with some additional
constables.
Sergeant Bloomfield, for such was his name, said they were expecting trouble at the Indian camp, as they were holding a potlach,
and the Nitinat Indians from Cape Flattery were about to meet the
Cowichan Indians for the first time in peace after a state of warfare
which had existed for very many years. Bloomfield, I learned, was
really a city constable, but had been borrowed by the provincial
authorities on account of his intimate knowledge of the Indian character and ways, as well as to prevent the introduction of spirituous
liquors among the Indians by unscrupulous white men.
As it was after six o'clock, and I saw no chance of returning to
Victoria that night, I gladly accepted his kind offer of the tent and
bed, and walked up to his camp with him. The tent was a very roomy
one, and furnished with three chairs and a small table, as well as two
comfortable beds. A small canvas addition to the tent formed what
was called the kitchen, which was furnished with a small sheet-iron
stove and a table. As soon as we arrived in the tent Bloomfield set
to work to prepare supper, which we soon disposed of, after which he
started out to take a walk around the Indian camp, while I turned
into bed. A small spaniel belonging to the officer made friends with
me and took up a position across my feet at the bottom of my bed.
My head had scarcely touched the pillow before I fell asleep ; and
although there were no wires, rats or burglar alarms about the tent,
I found myself engaged in a desperate battle with a swarm of brown
rats, who were all snapping at me at once, and I could see their black
eyes twinkling as they took a bite out of me every minute.
It was at the most desperate period of this encounter that I was
awakened by the dog barking furiously, and the next minute Bloomfield entered the tent, dragging one of the toughest looking specimens
of the white race I had ever seen.   He was resisting the constable as
109 he came in ; but as soon as the light of the lamp fell upon him, Bloomfield slipped the darbies over his wrists quicker than you could wink.
Behind the prisoner came a Siwash, with his arm wrapped up in some
white material.
"It's a lucky thing you are here," said the constable. "This
Nitinat has a badly gashed arm, and if you will attend to it, I will
see that you are paid for your professional^ work."
I immediately tumbled out of bed, and after examining the arm,
proceeded to dress it. My ideas of Indian stoicism had been formed
from reading J. Fenimore Cooper's books ; but, alas ! they were sadly
dissipated by the behavior of this representative of the red man. I
had to put six stitches in the arm, which I only succeeded in doing
with the assistance of Bloomfield, as the Indian struggled with the
insertion of every stitch. When I had completed the dressing, the
officer told him to make himself scarce, in short and angry language.
After ascertaining from the prisoner where he had obtained the
liquor, he asked me to examine his face, which was covered with
blood. This, I found, came from his nose, which had received rude
treatment at some person's hands.
Then Bloomfield told the man he was about to let him go free,
but at the same time warned him against being seen in the vicinity
of the camp on the following day. If he was, he would be arrested,
and taken before the nearest magistrate, by whom he would be committed to prison for a long term. Taking off the man's handcuffs, the
officer led him to the door of the tent, and there administered some
powerful vis a tergo, which almost turned the whisky peddler into a
skyrocket.   I saw him no more.
Sergeant Bloomfield explained to me that, as there was no lockup, he did not feel like sitting up and wasting sleep watching one of
this offender's class. With the departure of this whisky peddler, we
both "turned in" and slept well.
Next morning Bloomfield walked down to the Indian camp, but
came back in a short time to tell me that the Cowichans were expected about noon. What was of more importance, he said, was that the
Nitinats were now going through an ancient war dance, which was
a very rare thing for them to do—that the dance was most weird and
uncanny, and that probably I would never have such a chance again
as the present one of seeing a dance they very seldom performed. He
advised me to return with him.
I readily accepted his invitation, and, stick in hand, accompanied
the officer to the rancheria. I was not sorry I did so, for I will never
forget that dance.    When I entered the building it was packed all
110 round the sides with Indians of the Nitinat tribe. Some of them were
sitting, while others were standing. A long board extended down in
front of these Indians, so that both those sitting and those standing
could strike it with a stick. Others had drums of native manufacture.
The dance was  in active operation as we  entered,  and these and then advance and cross over, turning round in the centre, so that
when they reached the opposite side they were facing one another.
As they turned in the centre, the shamans (doctors) gave two sharp
blows upon their drums, and the dancers immediately gave vent to
the most blood-curdling yells, that denoted, as I was afterward informed, their moment of victory. Some of these dancers were armed
with stone clubs, others with stone axes, while the others had arrows
pointed with jasper and other stones.
While the dancing was in progress, one wizened old klootch.man
(woman) rose on one of the benches, and shouted out that she was
the daughter of the ancient arrow-maker of the tribe, who likewise
made the knives, which were so sharp, to kill their enemies. She was
like an uneasy spirit as she rolled from side to side and uttered most
ear-piercing, hysterical shrieks. She was evidently held in deep veneration and respect by the women folk, for at the termination of every
shriek these women would express their feelings with a compassionate voice and "Ah-s-t ah-s-t." The "ah" would be prolonged,
while the "s" would be made to whistle through their closed teeth.
Then followed an Indian war dance, in which one Indian, tall
and powerful, waved over the head of another a blood-red club ; an
exhibition which left us nothing to conjecture.
Our attention was suddenly called to the door, through
which many of the natives were passing to the open air, shouting
excitedly as they went. Almost at the same moment a well-formed,
square-shouldered Indian, with an otter skin bound around and over
his head, and a magnificent one hanging down his back, rushed in
between the dancers, and said something to them in a loud voice.
Then the dancers dispersed in a few moments.
Following the constable, we gained the open air, and there saw
what was causing the commotion. The Cowichan Indians were coming over the water in twelve canoes, arranged in the shape of a fan,
and about 100 yards apart. Every few minutes one could see a puff
of smoke from one of the canoes. What these Cowichans meant,
I could not say; but the puff of smoke preceded the skipping of a
bullet along the surface of the water, until it sank a few feet from
shore. As the canoes came nearer, the bullets sank closer to the
shore line.
In course of time it became dangerous to stand upon the beach,
as the bullets fell upon the shingle, while others would strike the
front of the rancheria. Then "puff," "puff," and the report, loud and
sharp, from the bushes on our left hand, indicated that the Nitinats
were firing from the shore, and we could see where their bullets
112 struck the water, some of them close to the advancing canoes.    At
last a thud told that one of these was struck.
The cracking of the rifles was now continuous, and Bloomfield,
calling my attention to one of the canoes, in which some commotion
existed, said this shooting must be stopped, as serious consequences
might follow. The Nitinats noticed this also, for immediately a drum
was struck in quick time, accompanied by boisterous whoopings and
singing to the cadence of the drum. Bloomfield l'e-^ me, and I saw
him disappear within the rancheria, accompanied by the Nitinat
constable.
The firing still continued from the Cowichan canoes, and I could
hear the lead passing through the atmosphere. I then laid down
behind a large log on the upper part of the beach. While lying here
waiting for Bloomfield to reappear, the beating on the drum suddenly ceased with a kind of rattle. Then I heard his voice raised in
angry dispute with some Indian, who was also speaking rapidly and
in a high key.
I sprang to my feet, ran across the beach and entered the
rancheria. Bloomfield was standing in front of the chief, whom I
recognized by the otter skin hanging down his back. His face was
now covered with a mask like a frog, with two side pieces hanging
down in front to represent the front legs. The Indian doctors, or
shamans, held Bloomfield by the shoulders, while the Nitinat constable was standing a few feet away, apparently cowed. I pushed
aside one of the doctors, and was about to strike the other, when
Bloomfield asked me not to make another move, as these Indians
were a wild and savage lot, and any violence might provoke a row in
which we might fare badly.
While hesitating as to what I should do, I was surprised and
delighted to see Superintendent Todd come through the entrance.
He came over to where we stood, and Bloomfield explained what the
trouble was.
The superintendent was immediately recognized by the chief,
who took off his mask, as well as by the two shamans, who let go
their hold on the constable's arms. Todd expressed surprise at seeing me there, and after he had repeated Bloomfield's orders, through
the interpreter, about calling his men in from the timber, we all
Went out.
The Cowichan Indians were now stepping out of their canoes,
and were being welcomed by the Saanich chief, whose potlach they
had come to partake of. One of the visitors had the middle finger of
the left hand shattered by a bullet from a Nitinat rifle ; and had it not
been for the presence of Superintendent Todd, and his constables,
113 there probably would have been bloodshed, as the law of all the coast
tribes is "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." This law, which
has been handed down from father to son for many generations, has
led up to the killing of many settlers, traders and prospectors.
After Superintendent Todd had had a brief conversation with the
chief of the Cowichans, we all walked up to the tent I had slept in the
previous night. There I saw two lately arrived constables erecting
two more tents, the furnishings for which had been brought down
from Victoria in an express wagon, and which were scattered around
upon the grass.
After an excellent lunch, we returned to the rancheria, where
it was understood the Saanich chief would present some of his visitors
with flour and blankets. When we arrived in front of it, the Indian chief was addressing his visitors, from the elevated platform
which I have already mentioned, and his words must have been very
pleasing and acceptable to those who understood them, for they were
purictuated by grunts of approval by the majority of the audience.
Our Nitinat interpreter and constable was standing on the end of the
platform, translating into Nitinat language what the chief said to
them.
After his speech of welcome, the chief descended to mother earth,
and gave orders that sacks of flour should be carried out, and one
sack given to the head of each family.
It was a matter of wonder and astonishment to me how this untidy, half clothed native chief managed to purchase the large quantity
of flour he gave away on this occasion.' The number of sacks distributed amounted to 250; and as these were not sufficient to go
round, he announced that those who had not received one would be
supplied next day, as he expected to receive a further large supply
from the Hudson's Bay Company that night. The blankets also had
tot arrived, but he expected them towards evening. He wished
everybody to know that next morning, after the distribution of the
flour, a grand scramble would be a prominent part of the festivities.
The natives were then much more numerous than they are today,
and a potlatch was in consequence a very serious undertaking. A
combination was often formed of several of the more wealthy "members of a tribe, who pooled their money or wealth to make the potlatch a success, as well as a credit to the tribe to which they belonged.
It would be as well for me to explain the manner in which the
various tribes are invited to a potlatch, as it constitutes a ceremonial
and is extremely interesting.
A chief, having decided upon giving a potlatch, selects the most
114 prominent and trustworthy, as well as respected, young men of his
tribe, and, after giving them instructions as to which of the neighboring tribes he wishes to invite, provides them with an adequate
number of blankets, to be used as I will presently describe. Choosing
the largest of their war canoes, which, as is well known, are handsome models of sea-going canoes, and manning it with the very best
"paddlers" of the tribe, they set out for the various Indian settlements. As they approach the first village, the visitors strike up a
song. When opposite, and close to the landing place of the first
village, this chorus ceases, and one of the crew, arising, commences to
sing another song in a loud, moaning tone—sadness itself. The
method of approaching a village for the purpose of extending an
invitation to a potlatch, is so well known to every tribe on the North
Pacific coast, that few, if any, of the tribe run down to welcome the
visitors, it not being considered the proper thing to do. On landing
from the canoe, the last singer calls out the name of the chief's heir,
or, if he has no son, his next of kin. The chief sends down one of his
young men, and to him is given a blanket for the chief, although his
name is never mentioned, for the parent is always sheltered behind
the heir. After sending a blanket as a present to the chief, another is
given as a present for the second chief, and so on until six chiefs are
the recipients of presents. The visitors, or embassadors, or whatever
name you may call them, are then invited to the rancheria, and properly entertained. Then they take their leave and proceed to the
village of the next tribe on the invitation list, and the same present-
making is gone through.
A formal warning, or invitation, is subsequently sent to these
various tribes, to whom presents have been made, that their presence
is expected soon after they have received the warning. The chief of
the tribe who is giving the potlatch, privately warns all the members
of his tribe to be prepared to entertain those he has invited, in a
manner which will reflect credit upon their tribe. This gives them
an opportunity to lay in a stock of supplies usually purchased from
the Hudson's Bay Company, or at the nearest trading post. The
time of starting out to comply with the invitation to the feast is one
of excitement to the favored village. All the able-bodied men, and the
majority of the women, take their places in the canoes, eager to enjoy
themselves to the full.
Their arrival at the village to which they have been invited is
also attended with great excitement. Poor, simple creatures ! As the
canoes approach the shore, the occupants arise and sing and dance in
them.   Drums are beaten and the sides of the canoes are beaten with
115 the paddle handles, so as to make as much noise as possible. To add
to the din, old muskets are shot off with great frequency. All the
visitors are at once taken charge of by the members of the tribe whose
village they are the guests of, and at once provided with what always
appeals to an Indian's mind, a good meal.
To resume my story.—It must not be assumed that the rancheria
accommodated one-third of those who were present on this occasion.
The Saanich Indians at that date gave up all their sleeping places,
which were arranged around the inside of the building to accommodate the needs of their visitors. These sleeping places very much resembled the bunks to be found in the forecastle of an old windjammer.
The Nitinats, being the first to arrive, were the lucky recipients of
this accommodation. The Cowichans were compelled to erect structures for themselves, much like the tepees of their brethren of the
prairies, but covered with mats woven from the bullrushes. The
Saanich Inlians, who had given up all their sleeping places to accommodate their numerous guests .did the same. Camp fires were lit
all along the beach, which were provided with various kinds of kettles and iron pots. With the arrival of the Cowichans, pieces of meat
of the best quality were distributed among the different families at
regular intervals of time. These were' cooked in many ways according
to the fancy of the recipient.
As nothing more was to be seen that afternoon, we returned to
our tents.
About 7 o'clock we walked down to the rancheria, where seats
had been set apart for three of us, Superintendent Todd, Sergt. Bloomfield and myself. We were to be given an entertainment by some
Nitinats, which the Saanich chief told the superintendent was really
wonderful.
The performance began with some incantations by the Shamans
who, after the introduction of the star performers, kept up an incessant beating on big drums, each tap being given slowly, and a most
weird wailing as a kind of accompaniment. There were five performers in the troupe, all short and thick set in figure. Their black, glossy
hair was clasped to the head by raccoon tails round the head and forehead. Projecting from the side, of each Indian's head was a tail
feather of the bald-headed eagle. An ordinary biscuit box was
brought in and placed in the centre of an open space, which was kept
clear by men evidently assigned to that duty.
As these five Indians entered the building they moved, as they
always do in any performance, with measured step, to the slow beating
of the Shamans' drums.    Passing into the open space, they moved
116 slowly round the box twice. On the third round they took the
feathers from their heads and threw them with considerable force inside the box. One could distinctly hear the thud as the quill struck
the bottom of the box. Still moving round, they commenced a low,
wailing song, in which all the audience joined. Then the quills began
to rise above the edge of the box, spinning rapidly and perpendicularly
upon their axes. When risen to a height corresponding to the
arm of the performer, each one grabbed his own feather and, moving
round one circle, threw the feather again within the box. Still moving round, the feathers rose once more in the same mysterious manner
and, deeming this sufficient, they replaced the feathers on their heads.
But at this moment another performer appears upon the scene.
He enters the centre space and empties a bucket filled with water into
the box and retires. Again those with the feathers circle the box and
repeat their first performance. Again one hears the feather strike the
bottom. The sixth performer appears again with another bucket of
water and empties it once more within the box. As he retires the
feathers rise as before, spinning rapidly and apparently quite dry.
This is repeated seven times and then all retire, the performers with
their feathers, and the entertainmnt is at an end.
I examined the box, but there was no sign of water, nor was the
floor in any way different from other parts of the surrounding earthen
space. No water had apparently escaped, nor was the box wet. The
floor was always dry except in the winter season, when passing feet
might introduce moisture from without.
0
I may say that I saw this same performance by these Nitinats
many years after this at Duncan's, Vancouver Island, to which the
Indian agent, Mr. Lomas, and a few others were admitted. The agent
offered the performers quite a sum of money as an inducement to
tour the world, and give the same performance, but they refused.
What we saw on this occasion was the subject of much discussion
when we returned to the tent that night.
We had breakfast at half-past seven next morning, and Bloomfield strayed down to the Indian camp to ascertain what the programme for the day might be. On returning, he said that 250 extra
bags of flour had arrived, and had been distributed to the great satisfaction of the Indian guests, who were now convinced that the Saanich
chief was a "delate hyas tyee." A grand distribution of blankets, both
Hudson's Bay, and native, would take place at 10 a.m. to which he
carried an invitation from the chief for us to attend. We arrived on
the potlach ground a short time before the appointed hour, and were
given chairs and a good position to see everything that took place,   f
117 have mentioned native blankets. These were made from the hair of
the Rocky Mountain goat (king of all mountain climbers), mixed
with the long, light hair of the Indian dog. In 1875, the year in which
this story lies, the head and entire skin could be purchased for the
sum of two dollars. They are, of course, much.more expensive now,
for Rocky Mountain goats were hunted in all the mountains of the
coast range in those days.
The mountains of Burrard Inlet, and more especially of its North
Arm, were favorite feeding places of this great mountaineer, long, I
fancy, before the ancestors of the coast Indians found their way over
from Japan. The Indians hunted and killed them for the purpose of
obtaining the long hair, which with the finer wool beneath, protected
these animals from the intense cold on their natural haunts, the very
extreme peaks of the coast ranges. When killed, the skin was removed at once, taken to the Indian's home and there well washed.
Then the longest hairs were picked out, and being placed together,
were rolled into one long strand, over the bare knee of an Indian
woman. These strands were attached to one another to make a long
rope, which were woven like their mats into squares, which, joined
together, served the purpose of a blanket. In many cases the Indians
used the fine, long, silky hair of their dogs to supplement the goat's
hair in the making of these blankets.
Of late years goats' hair blankets have become obsolete,
and at potlatches held during the last tern or fifteen years, small
squares about six inches each way, are the only specimens one can see
of bygone years. When these small pieces are distributed amongst
the assembled Indians, one or two of them will endeavor to purchase
all of these small squares, and if they are successful, will join them together to form a larger square, which finds a ready sale at a good
figure anywhere along the coast.
During the last fifty years, goat hair formed a large item in the
trade between the mainland Indians and those living on Vancouver
Island. At this, my first Indian potlatch, goat hair blankets could be
obtained for $12 or $15. At the present time, 1914, they are worth
from $60 to $75. Just as soon as the Indian found he could buy from
the Hudson's Bay Company a better and warmer blanket for a few
dollars,