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Sketches of pioneering in the Rocky Mountains, British Columbia Jobson, Anthony 1905

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KETCHES of Pioneering
in the Rocky Mountains,
British Columbia.   .   .
B. T. ORD, PRINTER AND BOOKBINDER, TOWER STREF/J The following narratives were published
some years ago in the local press, and on showing
them recently to a friend he suggested that it
would be interesting to have them published in
pamphlet form, if only for the sake of my children.
The idea commending itself to me I have got a
few extra copies printed, and now have pleasure in
handing you one, in the hope that it may give you
an hour's pleasant reading as you sit by the
Christmas fireside.
Hebron House,
Grange Road,
West Hartlepool.
'Xmas, 1905. —
Wild Horse Creek,
Kooteney River,
British Columbia.
I WAS sitting in the office one morning, it
was the 25th of April, 1867, when I had
my attention drawn to a stranger, who was
coming slowly along the main street. He was •
a man of medium size, and was dressed in a low
crowned hat, and the military cloak and pants
of the United States Army ; the pants were all
lined or fixed on the outside with buckskin, a
common thing among horsemen in that country,
to prevent the seat and legs of the breeches
from wearing away too fast ; he had on also a
pair of low gaiter boots, square toed, and a
splendid silver mounted six-shooter hung from
the belt by his side. His face, his form and
features, were remarkably careworn and thin.
and the expression of his deep sunk lightening
eyes, as they passed from one group to another
of the bystanders, conveyed the impression at
once that he was a hard case. As he passed
the corner where I was, he caught a glimpse of
me sitting at the desk, and thinking may be I
was some disagreeable old acquaintance, or
perhaps knowing my face, and wanting to recol-
1 lect when and where he had seen it, he stopped,
and turning round, he cast a long anxious look of
enquiry upon me. It was the self-condemned
look of the guilty wretch who looks with alarm
upon every one he meets, and, knowing his own
misdeeds, thinks other people know them too ;
but, evidently satisfied with his scrutiny of me»
the muscles of his face relaxed, and his eyes
fell, as he passed on up the street.
During the course of the day, I made
several enquiries about the stranger, and found
from a neighbouring storekeeper, who had been
packing goods into the Carriboo country, that
his character and antecedents were pretty well
His name was Charles Brown, said by some
to be an Englishman, others said ihe was a
Pennsylvanian Dutchman. Anyhow, he bore a
very bad name, and had the reputation of being
an excellent swimmer, a dead shot with the
revolver, always carrying an extra cylinder,
ready charged for an emergency ; he was known
also to be a good bushman or mountaineer,
and could endure almost any amount of hardship, and live upon next to nothing.
He was known to have left the Boise mines
and also the Blackfoot mines by the orders of ——	
the Vigilant Committee, in each place receiving
twenty-four hours notice to quit, and had he
not taken his departure before the expiration of
that time from those places, he would soon
have been dangling from the top of the nearest
At Walla Walla, and several other places
in Idahoe and Washington territories, the
Vigilantes had got after him again, and finding
at last that the American side was getting
rather too hot for him, he crossed over the
boundary line into British Columbia.
Here he was comparatively safe from the
punishment of his past deeds, so long as he
behaved himself, as under the Extradition
Treaty he could not be arrested for any crime
committed on the American side, without a
special requisition from the Governor of the
state or territory where the deed was committed, and also the fullest proof of his guilt
and identity must be given in a British Court
of Justice before he could be handed over to
the American authorities.
He was not long, however, in British
Columbia, before he was sentenced to a term
of years in the chain gang (convicts) for selling
whisky to  the Indians, and only  regained his w
liberty by being executioner to two Hydah
Indians, who had murdered an old settler and
his daughter at Couichan. This execution I
witnessed myself, in the Spring of 1864, at
Victoria, Vancouver's Island.
In the fall of 1864 (9th Oct.), two days
after I passed Quesnelle City, on my road to
Victoria, he again performed the last rites and
ceremonies for five more Indians, who had been
concerned in the murder of thirteen white men,
on the Bute Inlet Trail. I may here mention
that the British Columbian Government, not
quite able to keep a professional hangman constantly in their employ, generally engaged the
first renegade who offers his services, but there
being several offers in this case, Brown got the
preference from his well known proficiency in
the art, and those who witnessed his performance on this occasion were satisfied that his
reputation would not suffer in thafc respect. He
received $250 from the Government as compensation.
These being a few of the antecedents of this
man which I have just given you, you will not
be surprised to learn that he was looked upon
with evident suspicion and mistrust by everyone,
and the quiet order-loving population of miners
U! and tradesmen often asked, each other, and
wondered what brought the fellow there, or what
business has he on hand now ? They had not
long to wait for an answer, for scarcely two days
elapsed before two Frenchmen arrived from
Colville, and laid a charge of horse stealing
against Brown. They stated in an interview
with the Gold Commissioner, that they were
farmers in Colville Valley (a fertile settlement
on the Columbia river) and that they had lost
four horses, which they accurately described,
and the time when they lost them. After receiving information at the head of the valley, they
followed a man answering Brown's description
on to the Spokan river, and there found he had
taken the Kooteney trail. Following on his
tracks, they had crossed Pen-de-Oreille lake at
Haine's ferry, the lower Kooteney at Bonner's
ferry, forded the Moyea twice, and heard tell of
him last at Galbraith's ferry, on the Upper
Kooteney, but six miles from the town, thus
making the whole distance something like three
hundred miles they had followed him up. We
all knew he was the guilty party, for some of us
had seen the horses.
The Gold Commissioner told them it was
rather a hard case ; he could not give them any
redress, as the offence had been committed on the American side of the line, and therefore he
could not move in the matter, or arrest the
prisoner without a requisition from the Govenor
of the territory where the deed was committed.
This being altogether out of the question, as the
capital, or the governor's residence, was four
hundred and fifty miles away, they must do the
best for themselves they could. The men were now
in a fix, and could not tell what to do, till John
Lawson, the constable, a stout young Canadian,
27 years of age, volunteered to go out to Brown's
camp without a warrant, and either talk him
out of the horses, or arrest him if he got a
chance. This arrangement being agreed to by
the Frenchmen, the next morning, Lawson
armed himself with his revolver, and a splendid
double-barrelled shot gun, belonging the Government staff, and mounting an old grey mule,
borrowed for the occasion, he started in company with the two Frenchmen, who were on
foot, to the place were Brown was camped.
This was in a log cabin, about five miles up the
river, half way to Pearson's ranch, on a small
creek that came out of the mountains, and was
lost in the sandy benches before reaching the
The  encounter that   took   place   between
Brown and the Constable was witnessed by the
two Frenchmen, and an Indian boy, whom we
had sent an errand to our cattle ranch just
previous to Lawson's leaving. Scarcely an hour
elapsed from thus leaving the town, before the
Indian boy came galloping back with the startling
intelligence in Kooteney, (Kammin kanupka
saane suaapee ona mitkaan chin kinka) viz.,
Lawson was a dead man. Brown had shot him
dead, and then deliberately walked up and taken
the shot gun and ammunition from the dead
man's person. Turning next to the Indian boy,
who was sitting on his horse close bye, he said
in Chinook (Indian trading language), spose mika
halo hyack clatwa, nika memoloose mika. That
is, that if he did not get away quick he would shoot
him too. Upon which the Indian boy turned his
horse's head, and scampered back to town as fast
as he could.
The two Frenchmen arrived shortly afterwards, and corroborated the boy's story, with
the addition that Lawson on nearing Brown in
the road left them a few yards behind, and rode
ahead to meet him, and when they met they
held a long altercation together, Lawson at the
same time keeping Brown covered with the
muzzle of his gun. At the end of their conversation Lawson raised himself in his stirrups and
was about to alight, when Brown, watching for 10
this opportunity, drew his pistol in a moment,
and fired three shots in rapid succession at
Lawson. This was the extent of the Frenchmen's information, and on being asked what had
become of Brown, or why they did not take a
hand in the affair, they said they had no firearms with them, so they came straight back to
town with the information. I made one of a
dozen or fourteen men who hastened out to the
place, and we found the mule quietly grazing at
the foot of the hill, Lawson lying on his back on
a grassy bench, but quite dead ; his right arm
was by his side, and his left one stretched out,
while his head and face were disfigured and
bloody, where the ball had gone in at the side of
the head and come out between the nose and
the mouth.
I need not attempt to describe the feelings
of the crowd as they gathered round the body of
the murdered man, so lately full of life and
animation, but now silent in death. It is
sufficient for me to say that he was well liked,
and everybody seemed determined to be revenged.
Some of the party then removed the body
to town, while the rest of the party commenced
to search for the murderer. This was no easy
task, as their was any amount of cover where a
man could hide  among the thick brush  and 11
young pines that grew up in rank luxuriance by
the margin of the creek ; the ground in the immediate neighbourhood also was" hard and
gravelly, so that their was no possibility of
following on his tracks. Had he taken the mule
and rode off there would have been less difficulty
in tracking him, as the impression of a horse or
mule's hoof is much more easily discerned than a
man's foot, which very often cannot be seen at
all. Some of the party being mounted, scoured
the country for miles round, and the rest being
on foot, hunted every bush and tree where they
thought it possible for a man to hide ; but it was
all to no purpose, for night came and found us
all without having o.btained the least clue to his
whereabouts. Returning to town weary and
dispirited, we found the whole of the small
population gathered in knots and groups discussing the probability of Brown's capture, and we
were glad to learn that the inhabitants had
offered a reward of two hundred and fifty dollars
to the Indians for his apprehension.
Next morning at sunrise, the same party
were all mounted and armed, and being still resolved to continue the search, we rode out and
went over the ground in the immediate vicinity
of the sad occurrence, but not seeing or hearing
of anything fresh, we took the  up-river trail, 12
that crosses the Kooteney, thirty miles higher
up, and then leads through the Rocky Mountains
by the Kooteney Pass.
Keeping the river a mile to the left, the
hills and timbered benches to the right, stretching away for miles before they reach the base of
the mountains beyond, we followed the trail for
eight or ten miles, and then met a couple of
Indians riding to town. Knowing the Indians
well, they told us that late on the previous evening, while sitting round their lodge fires, the
Indian dogs belonging to the camp commenced
barking at something in the direction of the
mountains back from the river, and this led
them at daylight next morning to examine the
ground in that direction, and there sure enough
they had found tracks of the missing man, for
they led us up the hill and showed up the impression of a man's boot, which from its being
so fresh and also square-toed and nailless, we
knew at once to be that of Brown.
We now followed the tracks for some
distance along the brow of the hill, and then
found them gradually working into the trail,
which they crossed, and then getting into the
river bottom, viz., the broad valley through
which the river flows, he had travelled a mile
and a half over an alkali surface, going in and 13
out among the underbrush till he arrived at the
river side. Here he had gone up and down a
long gravelly bar seeking for a place to cross,
for we found his tracks quite plain in the sandy
beach. On going a little higher up, we found
where he had entered a dense thicket and constructed a raft ; gathering a number of dry young
saplings, he had bound them together with
strips of buckskin, cut from his riding pants ;
upon this raft he had then pushed out into the
open stream, leaving the broken twigs, fag ends
of buckskin, and his footprints on the sand to
tell the tale of his departure. We were now at
a loss to know what to do, so we sat down and
held a consultation. Some thought he had
crossed over to the other side, and would lie in
ambush there till dark, while far the major part
thought he would go down the river some
distance to throw us off the tracks, and then
leaving the raft, take one of three main trails
leading out of the country. The Indians didn't
believe he could have crossed the river at all on
a raft, and said he was drowned ; but they offered to swim the river on horseback to the other
side, and there try to find tracks of his landing.
Upon our assenting to this proposition, they soon
divested themselves of their blankets, leggings,
mocassins, and leaving themselves nothing on
but an old striped calico shirt, which they had 14
picked up round some miner's cabin, they next
took the saddles from their horses, and quietly
mounting them, led the way down to the river?
each one guiding his horse by a short piece of
hair rope, knotted round the horse's neck, and
passed in a half hitch over his nose.
On entering the river at the head of the bar
they soon got into swimming water, and were
swept away down stream so fast that we thought
they were going altogether, but those Indians
are well accustomed to this kind of work, and
consequenty think nothing of it, so that while
the horses were panting and snorting, and blowing the water from their nostrils, they were
laughing and talking to each other. They each
held on by their horse's mane with their hands,
and swam with their feet, directly above the
horse's back, so that the horses had little or no
weight to carry, and also had the advantage of
their head and neck being perfectly free. On
reaching a little island in the middle of the river,
they rested a minute or two, and then starting
in again from the upper end of the island, they
soon reached the other side in safety. Emerging
from the water, they quickly disappeared among
the dead and living timber which lined the river
brink for miles down the other side, and we had
nothing now but to wait patiently for their re. "H  15*
turn, so turning the horses loose to feed on one
of the benches above the river, we lit a fire, and
discussed the matter over, while we partook of a
little beef and bread, and a cup of water from
the river.
Some hours now elapsed, and we waited till
the sun had nearly set before the Indians again
appeared on the other side, and entering the
river a little higher up this time, they re-crossed
in the same manner as I have just described.
On coming to camp they told us they had been
several miles down the river, but had not seen
any.tracks, it being utterly impossible to follow
the river bank, because of the impenetrable
forest, which made it impossible for man or
beast to travel ; hence they had been compelled
to keep on the outskirts of it, some distance
away back from the river.
We now gathered our horses up, saddled
them, and rode a few miles further down the
river, to an old log cabin, where some of the
party leaving to return to town, the rest of us
camped there all night, turning our horses loose
to feed on an open bottom or prairie by the river
side. At daylight next morning we saddled up
again, and riding a few miles further down still,
to another Indian camp or rancherie, we borrowed a canoe from the Indians, and two of the boys 16
crossed again, in the hope of cutting his tracks,
in case he had gone down the other side, but
after proceeding some distance straight back
from the river, they returned again, only to say
that they had seen no tracks, or 'any other
evidence of his having gone that way.
The party here resolved upon a different
course of action, which was to divide the party
into three lots, and each one take a different
road, so that by this means we hoped to come
across him somewhere, either dead or alive. In
pursuing this course, we had three roads to
watch, while the rest of the country was impassable for mountains and rivers, and orests of
timber. The first road started three miles lower
down, at the Hudson Bay Company's trading
post, near the ferry, and running for sixty miles
on the south side of the river, it crossed the
boundary line at Tobacco plains, and then
following a natural highway in the mountains, it
crossed Flathead Lake, through a magnificent
country, and ended at the Blackfoot Mines, three
hundred miles distant ; the second road ran for
sixty miles down the opposite side of the river,
and then divided itself, one branch crossing the
river and joining the Blackfoot trail, while the
other followed the big bend of the Kooteney, and
ended at Bonner's Ferry on the lower crossing ;
the third or Walla Walla trail leading to the
lower country, was by far the most travelled,
and it also commenced from the ferry, and running west for one hundred and twenty miles, it
also crossed the Kooteney at Bonner's Ferry,
and then crossing Pen de Oreille Lake, and the
Spokan River, it either kept on to Walla Walla,
or branched out in different directions.
The whole party, now twelve in number, all
assembled at the Hudson Bay Co.'s Store, and
made the necessary preparations for the journey,
each man taking his fair proportion of the *tea,
sugar, flour, and bacon allotted for the trip5
along with the indispensable tin tea-pot and
metal frying-pan for each party, then wrapping
them up in a pair of sleeping blankets, we
strapped them on behind our saddles, and all
mounted on good horses, and armed with guns
or rifles, we started out on the expedition. The
first part of the party left us at the house where
we started, and the other two, after crossing at
the ferry, also separated, one keeping the north
or left bank of the river, while the other ' party
steered west by the Walla Walla trail.
I will now be brief with my narrative, pass
over the minor incidents of our several journeys,
and state principally the results obtained by
each party,  as narrated when they returned ; 18
always supposing that the reader, in imagination, can see the broad muddy river, with its
swampy shores and driftwood islands, the forests
of pine that covered the hills and mountains,
and the snow-covered peaks that reared their
lofty summits away up into the clouds.
Making one of the party that kept the north
bank of the river, we followed its course for
three days over a hard rocky mountainous road.
It was an Indian trail, very seldom travelled,
and just wide enough for a horse to pass ; in
many places it was so completely overgrown, or
blocked up with fallen timber, that we had our
clothes dreadfully torn, and often had to cut
away the trees to allow the horses to pass ; some- ,
times we were climbing some rocky mountain
side, or traversing the pine covered benches
overhanging the river ; again, we were down by
the river side crossing a swampy bottom, or
jogging across some upland prairie, with the
long tufts of bunch grass up to the horse's
knees. Our usual way of travelling, when we
could adopt it, was to camp about sundown on
the edge of some open prairie, with plenty of
bunch grass for the horses to feed on, and wood
and water handy for ourselves. Having taken
saddles and bridles from the horses, we would
turn them loose, and light a fire, cook supper,
 : — -
and bake bread for the morrow's breakfast, then
sit and smoke and yarn till bed time, and building up a huge fire before we retired, each man
would spread his blankets down on the softest
place he could find, take his gun by his side, his
saddle, boots, or anything that came handiest
for a pillow, and, rolling his blankets tightly
round him, would coil himself up for the night.
At the end of the three day's travel we came to
the parting of the roads, and not having seen any
fresh tracks, and knowing we had passed rapids
where it would be impossible for a small raft to
live, we concluded to return home, so turning
our horses' heads homewards, we reached town
late on the evening of the fifth day.
On our arrival in town, we learned that the
party which took the opposite side of the river
to us had just arrived, and like us without
having accomplished the end of their journey.
They had gone as far as Elk river, a very rapid
tributary of the Kooteney, fifty miles from town,
and everything had gone well with them except
when crossing Bull river, the first day out, when
they had the misfortune to lose their frying pan
in the river. This apparently trivial loss was a
rather serious one to them, as they had nothing
else to bake their bread in, but remembering
that necessity is the mother of invention, they (Iff
turned to and cooked their bread in the following
manner :—Taking the mecheres or thick leather
cover from one of the Mexican saddles, they laid
it on the ground, and emptying as much flour
as they needed upon it, they mixed it up to the
consistence of thick dough, and then cutting it
into long narrow strips, they twisted it round a
small stick, and held it over the fire till it was
baked, and in this way they managed very well
for the time they were out. Fancy, then, you
see three or four hungry fellows after a day's
ride, cooking their supper in this fashion with a
stick in each hand, one for the bacon and the
othei for the bread, and you have an ordinary
sample of life in the mountains.
It was late on the evening of the third day
after our arrival that the last party made their
appearance in town, wearied and worn out with
fatigue and watching. They had gone one
hundred and thirty miles, or ten miles below the
lower crossing of the Kooteney, before they had
accomplished the end of their journey. Their
story was this :—
After leaving us at the ferry on the other
side, they rode to the lower end of St. Jules
prairie, some twenty miles from town, where
they got into a narrow defile, and determined to
watch for Brown coming along the road.    Not 21
coming along by the time they expected, they
rode back to the prairie to borrow a fresh horse
from a packer who was recruiting his animals
there. The packer told them that Brown had
been to his camp a short time previous, and
begged some flour and bread from him, saying
that he had lost his gun and provisions while
crossing St. Mary's river, (a very rapid stream
emptying into the Kooteney just above the
ferry). He also acknowledged to having killed
the constable in a dispute about some horses,
but excused himself by saying it was forced upon
him. The boys now remounted their horses,
and knowing for certain which road Brown was
going, they kept straight on down the trail
watching for him, and never knowing the minute
they might come across him. They several times
saw his fresh tracks in the trail, but never saw
himself, there being so much brush and timber
all round, that a regiment of soldiers might be
planted alongside the trail and you would never
know they were there. Fording the Moyea
river twice, and several smaller streams on their
journey, they reached the springs, nine miles
from Bonner's ferry, where the country opens
out a little, and here they lost sight of his
tracks altogether, and judging that he had
turned to the left, and would swim the river a
little lower down, and then bye and bye work I
into the trail again, they pushed on to the ferry
house, where they rested that night. Next
morning early, two of the party leaving their
horses there also, crossed the river and travelled
on foot ten or twelve miles along the trail.
Here they laid themselves down among some
bushy young pines at the further end of an open
glade, on a side of a hill, to watch his coming,
and they had not long to wait, for scarcely three
hours elapsed before they saw him coming
through the open in the trees with no hat on his
head, which was swollen with the heat of the
sun, his clothes torn to shreds, a long knife on
one side of his belt and his pistol on the other.
The boys now sprang out of their ambush and
stood right on the trail before him, with uplifted
rifles ready to fire. Nothing daunted at their
attitude, the villian's hand was on his pistol in
a moment, and he was ready to fight, but his
time had now come, for crack went the report
of the two rifles, and in a moment more Brown
was lying on the ground a bleeding corpse.
With his dying breath he cursed God and the
two men who had rid society of a pest, and thus
dying no doubt as he lived, he passed away out
of time into eternity disowned and dishonoured.
The boys returned to the ferry, and  procuring a spade, went  back  again,  when  they 23
buried him on the spot where he fell, and the
upheaved mound of earth and stones alone
marks the lonely spot, and warns the passer-by
of the fearful reward of sin and crime.
The remains of his victim (Lawson) were
interred two days after he was shot, in the burying place on the hills just above the town, and a
wooden paling with a small inscription marks
the spot and tells the story of his untimely
death. No stone wall or iron pallisading marks
the cemetery as sacred ground, no sound of tolling bell paid the last tribute to his memory, but
there, away up in the Rocky Mountains, far removed from the haunts of civilization, the home
of his friends and youth, among the savages of
the wilderness, his bones lie mouldering till the
last trump of the great Archangel will wake the
dead to life, and bid the sleepers come forth. 24
Vancouver Island,
Nov. 23rd, 1863.
ON leaving Victoria this spring en route for
the mines, we proceded by steamers which
ply on the Frazer river to the town of Yale,
which is the highest point of the river to which
the steamers can ascend, and is dependant, alone
on the traffic to and from the upper country. It
is about 90 miles from New Westminster, the
latter place being about 15 from the mouth of the
Frazer, so the whole distance from Victoria to
Yale is about 170 or 180 miles. After leaving
the steamers, we commenced the most arduous
and toilsome journey that ever I undertook,
being upwards of 400 miles of land travel from
Yale to Williams Creek. The most of the
country we passed through was rugged and
mountainous in the extreme, and over it we had
to pack our blankets, tents, and other little
necessaries, together with a sufficient quantity
of provisions to serve us, from time to time, as 25
we came to the accommodation houses on the
After leaving Yale, the road winds up the
devious course of the Frazer for some 70 miles
or so; at which point stands another small
town dignified with the name of Lytton, also
dependant on the trade to and from the
mines. The river between the last mentioned
places is narrow, passing through a break in the
Cascades, or coast range of mountains. The
banks on either side are high precipitious rocks
of the primary formation. In some of those
narrow gorges or canons the water rushes through
with fearful velocity, causing great whirlpools
and eddies just below, and in those places many
boats or barges have been engulfed with all their
crews. The river, however, may in general
terms be described as a broad, muddy, shallow,
and rapid stream, there being in many places
bars or riffles, as they are called, on which there
is only from 6 inches to 2 feet of water, and over
which the steamers in the spring of the year
have often to be hauled with ropes.. At various
points along the river we saw the old river
workings and the shallows or bars that were
worked to advantage in 1858, 1859, and 1860.
At other points here and there may be seen the
Indian rancheries or camps, around which are
generally gathered a motley crowd of dirty half- naked Tiwash, their squaws, and the younger
branches of the tribe, called tenassman (boy),
and klotchman (girl). They are in general a
stout and strong built race, living chiefly on
salmon and potatoes ; there is plenty of the
former in the river at certain times of the year.
I have seen the men carry 160 or 200 pounds of
freight, the women 100 pounds, and a little boy
or girl 50 pounds of flour from Yale to Lytton, a
distance of 60 odd miles, in three days. At the
various burying grounds up and down the river I
observed they generally covered the place of
interment with a calico tent or covering of some
kind. Others were fenced in, and the most of
them had long poles stuck up at the head of the
graves, with muskets, blankets, coloured shirts,
or some other momento of the departed hero's
greatness, while at the foot of the graves were
generally some rude carvings in wood, of men,
birds, and animals.
Immediately above the city of Lytton, the
Thompson river joins the mighty Fraser, the
dark green waters of the Thompson running for
some hundreds of yards below the confluence,
before they mingle with the muddy current of
the Frazer. Following up the course of the
Thompson for some 25 miles, we crossed the
river in a ferry-boat, and then at last began to 27
emerge from this waste howling wilderness into
a rather more inviting country. It is here, for
the first time, that we came to a country that
offers any inducement to a man to settle down,
the great distance from the low country being
the greatest obstacle in the way. Many farms
are already taken up, and a considerable portion
of the land is under cultivation. Leaving the
banks of the Thompson river away off to the
right, we strike about due north, and next come
to the Buonaparte range of mountains, which
are a continuation of the Cascade, or coast range.
At the foot or on the south-east slope of the
Bounaparte, runs a diminutive stream called the
Buonaparte river, a tributary of the Frazer, and
along its banks are several more farms, taken up
and in various stages of cultivation. Passing
west over a long stretch of high table-land and
small rolling hills, we enter the Cut-off Valley
which, I may observe, is the prettiest place I have
seen in British Columbia. It is a fine open
valley, highly timbered, with a good soil, and a
long string of fresh-water lakes, upon which may
be seen any conceivable number of mallard ducks.
From Bridge Creek to Soda Creek, some twelve
miles below Alexandria, we have roadside Inns
and Farms combined, in all stages of advancement. The productions of the farms are
principally barley,   oats,   and  garden  produce.
1 28
The latter supplies the table, mostly for
travellers ; and if you saw the immense quantity
of vegetables a lot of hungry miners eat after
being fed on beans and bacon at Cariboo all the
summer, you would be perfectly astonished. The
oats and barley find a ready market from the
Pack-trains and waggoners, who give about 5d.
per lb. for the barley, and the same for the oats.
The bunch grass grows in the swamps from
three to four feet high, and when cut and
dried makes excellent hay, large stacks of which
were to be seen at most of the roadside farms,
ready for sale or brutes' use. There are, I
suppose, keen, nipping frosts in the months of
June and July, snow having fallen this summer,
at one place, six inches deep, in the latter month.
Passing the old-established Hudson's Bay Company's station, Alexandria, on the opposite bank
of the river, we strike the mouth of the Quesnelle
River, a stream of considerable size, which falls
into the Frazer some 50 miles above Alexandria.
This being the place where all the roads passing
through Alexandria meet, gives promise of supporting a town of considerable dimensions. I
may mention that it was up the north fork of
the Quesnelle River that the pioneer gold-hunters
proceeded in their search for gold, Keithley's
Creek, I believe, being the first that was discovered to be auriferous,    The country around the mouth is comparatively low, barren, and
uninteresting, the timber poor and scrubby,
and the soil light and sandy. Adjoining the
river we find high gravelly beaches, or terraces,
rising one over the other, rolling sand hills, and
here and there high bluffs of slate rock cropping
out on the points of the hills or by the river side.
This was the last place on the road up where I
saw any attempt at farming.
After travelling sixty-five more miles of bad
travel, the last half of which was over the snow,
we arrived at Lightning Creek, on the 7th May,
at which time there was about four feet of snow
on the ground. I think we were a little over
three weeks going up, but on coming down we
. made the entire distance in a fortnight. We
came to the mouth of Quenelle in three days,
where we took the steamer (which only commenced running this summer), and came down
in her to Soda Creek, twelve miles below Alexandria. Starting from their again, we came to
Lillooet, about 180 miles, in a little over six
days. Lillooet stands on the Frazer, forty-seven
miles above Lytton. Leaving there again, we
crossed a string of small lakes in steamers ;
walked sixty-four miles on the portages between
the lakes, and then we took the steamer at
Douglas, came down the Harrison River into the so
Frazer, stopped at New Westminster one day, and
then came on to Victoria. The down trip cost
us 65 dois, or £13 sterling.(the American doHar
is equal to 4s. 2d. of English money).
The Cariboo country is named after a large
species of elk or deer, which frequents those
heavily timbered hills and gullies in winter time
in search of food. The natives kill them for
their flesh, which is strong and savory. I saw
the skin of one that was killed this spring as
large as a bullock.
The mines are no great distance from the
Rocky Mountains, one of the great spurs of
whioh I have seen from the top of the eastern
slope of William's Creek on a fine day. The
elevation of William's Creek is something over
6,000 feet above the level of the sea, and the
country presents the same wild, broken, irregular
appearance to the eye that the clay slate group
does in Australia and New Zealand. There is
no doubt but that the whole of the country
flanking the Rocky Mountains on the western
side is more or less auriferous. Throughout the
whole length of the mountain chain, the surface
configuration is the same, and the bottom or bed
rock belongs to the same group of the meta-
morphic system, viz., the clay slate.    We find m
the slates here also lying on their edges, and in
layers running north and south, but the lines of
stratification are not so clear and distinct, nor
the varieties of colour and texture so great here
as I have seen them in other places. Their
colour is generally dark blue, or black, and their
texture hard and indurated. The quartz veins
that traverse the system contain a larger percentage of metals than any I have seen before.
Some of the reefs have iron, others lead, silver
and gold, and not unfrequently all three amalgamated together. I believe that as soon as the
facilities for easy and cheap transportation are
at hand many of these reefs will be worked to
advantage and profit. The deposits, however,
in which we generally find the gold, are those
which lie immediately above the slate rocks,
though at times gold in payable quantities is to
be found in all the superficial accumulations
from the surface down to the bed rock. This is
only the case where the bed rock is to be found
cropping out on the hill side or mountain top,
where being subject to wasting or decomposing
influences, it yearly sends down its share of
mud, sand, gravel, and gold, to fill up the valley
beneath. The rocks generally associated with
the gold are shingly slates, and quartz boulders
of all sizes, more or less washed, and which are
undoubtedly derived from the rocks upon which I
they are found deposited. As to the manner
and the conditions in which they were laid down,
I cannot arrive at any satisfactory conclusion.
The bed rock undoubtedlv has undergone some
convulsion, otherwise it would not be found
lying upon its edge ; but the peculiar manner in
which the gullies and ranges lie with regard to
each other, the short distance separating them,
the great distance they run parallel with each
other, and the immense number of hills and
valleys stretching over the area they do, incline
me to the belief that some other agency has
been at work, cutting and chiseling down those
valleys, than a river in the first instance, but
what those other agencies were I will not at
present attempt to determine. We have, however, undoubted proof of the presence of old
river channels or water courses in the gullies,
the beds of which are the usual places resorted
to at the present day in the search for gold.
The depth of sinking required to be done before
the pay dirt is reached, varies from 10 to 60 feet
from the surface. The sinking is generally good,
but the water is very troublesome. The shafts
require to be well timbered, and must have experienced miners to put them down. There is
almost a total absence of those black and red
ferruginous clays, which generally overlie runs
of deep ground in Australia, and also of those SI  38
thick layers of consolidated lava which form
such considerable impediments in the way of
sinking at Ballarat and other places. But the
difficulties of mining here are not such but a
man of ordinary energy may easily overcome in
a short time. The cost of living at the mines
is one great drawback ; it cost me 25 dollars or
£5 a week the first two months after I arrived
(7th May) on William's Creek, but the cost of
living came gradually down bill a man could
board himself for 15 dollars a week, his daily
fare being, besides beans and bacon, tea or
coffee, dried apples, and bread of his own baking.
I may add, by way of finish, that mining operations can only be carried on about four months
in the year. The rest of the year the country
is locked or frozen in, so that between the high
price of provisions, the shortness of the season,
and the length of journey up and down, a man
requires a little pile, to start upon, while the
chances of his getting a pile in return are like
angels' visits, " few and far between." 34
Winter in the North-West
of Canada.
SOME 30 years ago, long before the Canadian
Pacific Railway was thought of, I spent
two winters right in the heart of the
Rocky Mountains, with a band of cattle and a
number of horses. Though we had practically
no winter feed to fall back on, and the cattle
had to run out and fend for themselves, they
kept in a remarkably good condition, and we did
not lose any by hunger or death, so that the
country cannot be so bad when you can do
that. Moreover, the cattle were not acclimatized, having been bought in the spring of the
year in the Willamette Valley, (Oregon), and
driven 600 miles to the Kosteney gold mines,
where we slaughtered a goodly number. At the
back-end (in November) we killed a number
more, and sold them out in quarters, sides, and
whole bullocks ; then, driving the rest before us,
went into winter quarters. Crossing the Elk
River, the Tobacco Plains, and arriving at Flathead Lake about the end of the month, we
stayed there till the following spring, when we "\
returned to the mines with the cattle in a fatter
and better condition than when we left. We
might say that the country round the head of
the Lake appeared to have been submerged at
one time, and consequently had received rich
alluvial deposits ; and now, when from some
cause or other it was elevated, it was a rich
pasture land. The grass, in long tufts or
bushes 12 or 15 inches long, was comatable by
the cattle, unless there was very much snow on
the ground, and by the river side there grew tall
succulent reeds, evergreen in winter, and hollow
or tubular, and these were filled with water, so
that they were both meat and drink to the
cattle. Then again there were warm springs
that came out of the mountain sides, that never
froze up, where the cattle could drink. At
times, the whole band of 150 to 200 would" come
to our log cabin, lounge about, yawn, and gape,
and refuse to go away until we " salted " them—
that is, we took a few buckets of coarse salt
out, and put round the roots of the trees, so
that they could all get a lick at it. This was
necessary to keep them, as the grass was more
or less dry, and the elevation some 6,000 feet
above the level of the sea. The alkali or salt
that was obtainable in summer time from certain
grounds or localities was not to be got at then,
being covered up by the snow.
j 36
The next winter we spent at the Columbia
Lakes—which, although in British Territory,
are the head waters of the Columbia River, and
1,000 miles or more from the point where the
river falls into the Northern Pacific Ocean, at
Astoria. These lakes are some 60 or 70 miles
long, in what is called the Selkirk Range,
beyond which you cross the ridge or summit
and the waters begin to flow towards the
Atlantic seaboard. The country between the
foot of the hills and mountains is rolling hills,
and consequently more suitable for cattle which
cannot paw like the horse, and some of these
hills were always bare of snow through the
action of the wind, and the result was that,
though we had not an ounce of hay, or any
shelter or 'protection, the cattle did well, and
came out in the spring in capital order, and the
horses were just the same or rather better.
Although the snow was heavy at times, and the
frost intense, yet from the dryness of the
atmosphere it seemed more bearable, and we
were able to be in the saddle and out every day,
and never had a cold or anything to lay us aside.
In early January* I rode down to the mines in
two days, with much snow on the ground, when
I had great difficulty in keeping the track except
by the blazing of trees as we rode along. The
frost was keen, freezing the breath as it passed pp	
through my whiskers until it was nearly solid,
and my feet wrapped in moccasins and buffalo
shoes. When I came to the Kosteney crossing
I found the river frozen over. Dismounting, I
walked over on the ice, leading my horse, and as
it was nearly dark I camped by the riverside for
the night. I found an open glade where my
horse could find something to eat, while I
gathered some wood and made a big fire where
some Indians had camped a few nights before.
Carrying a tin pannikin with me, I melted some
snow and made myself a cup of tea and enjoyed
my supper with bread and dried beef. Then
gathering some more wood to keep the fire
burning all night, and some branches from the
adjoining trees, I made myself a bed on the
snow, wrapped my blanket about me and coiled
up for the night, the wolves keeping up a
musical entertainment by the river side close
by, and my horse quietly grazing the most of the
night. After a peaceful slumber I awoke with
the break of day, cooked my breakfast after the
fashion of the night before, saddled up my
horse, and off again on my next day's journey,
the end of which I reached in peace and safety
by nightfall.
These facts will give intending  emigrants
some idea of climatic conditions, and the kind ^ -
— n
of rough life they may expect in the far west.
But this certainly is not enough to deter any
young man with grit in him and a determination
to get on.—Contributed to the Newcastle Daily
Chronicle, March 23rd, 1903.  I li
ù F 5"g0%3    -J51 -;;..   -r   I    I ■    ■     ■


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