British Columbia History

British Columbia Historical News 1996

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Volume 29, No. 3
Summer 1996
■:■■:    j-N
X   '.
Journal of the B.C. Historical Federation
ISSN 1195-8294
v f;
Member Societies and their Secretaries are responsible for seeing that the correct address for their society is up to date.
Please send any change to both the Treasurer and the Editor at the addresses inside the back cover. The Annual Return
as at October 31 should include telephone numbers for contact.
MEMBERS' DUES for the current year were paid by the following Societies:
Alberni District Historical Society Box 284, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M7
Arrow Lakes Historical Society Box 584, Nakusp, B.C. VOB 1 RO
Atlin Historical Society Box 111, Atlin, B.C. VOW 1AO
Burnaby Historical Society 6501 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby, B.C. V5G 3T6
Chemainus Valley Historical Society Box 172, Chemainus, B.C. VOR 1KO
Cowichan Historical Society P.O. Box 1014, Duncan, B.C. V9L 3Y2
District 69 Historical Society Box 1452, Parksville, B.C. V9P 2H4
East Kootenay Historical Association P.O. Box 74, Cranbrook, B.C. V1C 4H6
Gavel Historical Society 3 -1384 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, B.C. V6H 1J6
Gulf Islands Branch, BCHF c/o A. Loveridge, S.22, C.11, RR#1, Galiano. VON 1 PO
Hedley Heritage Society Box 218, Hedley, B.C. VOX 1 KO
Koksilah School Historical Society 5213 Trans Canada Highway, Koksilah, B.C. VOR 2C0
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North Shore Historical Association 1541 Merlynn Crescent, North Vancouver, B.C. V7J 2X9
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Fort St. James Historical Society Box 1421, Kwah Road, Fort St. James, B.C. V0J 1P0
Fort Steele Heritage Town Fort Steele, B.C. VOB 1 NO
Kamloops Museum Association 207 Seymour Street, Kamloops, B.C. V2C 2E7
Kootenay Lake Historical Society Box 537, Kaslo, B.C. VOG 1 MO
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Back issues of the British Columbia Historical News are available in microform from Micromedia Limited, 20 Victoria
Street, Toronto, Ontario M5C 2N8, phone (416) 362-5211, fax (416) 362-6161, toll free 1 -800-387-2689.
This publication is indexed in the Canadian Index published by Micromedia.
Indexed in the Canadian Periodical Index.
Publications Mail Registration Number 4447.
Financially assisted by the Ministry of Small Business, Tourism and Culture through the British Columbia
Heritage Trust Fund. Historical News
Journal of the B.C. Historical Federation
Volume 29, No. 3 Summer 1996
The only constant in this world is
change! Here in British Columbia
there have been some changes at
museums and heritage sites - and
there will continue to be revised management strategies following a major     survey     currently     being
undertaken for the Heritage Society
of B.C. and the B.C. Museums Association. Museum Societies and local Historical/Heritage organizations
are being asked to pause to evaluate their current program and plans,
then to give input as to their expectations of the provincial umbrella organizations. Questions formulated at
the sessions thus far can be summarized, "Are we getting the biggest
bang for our buck? Are we thoughtfully involving the volunteers in our
community? Are we presenting a
specific facet of history? Does our
presentation fill a niche in telling the
whole story of our area? of the province?" This FOCUS ON THE FUTURE is open to the public on June
22 in Fort Langley, June 29 in Bevan
House in Nanaimo, and July 6 in
Vancouver. Phone Kathleen Trayner
at (604) 595-4349 Tuesday through
A Merry Tourist Party... Jessie McLenaghen -1906   3
try Mary DeZwart
by Tom Barnett
West Kootenay Sawmills 1890 -1950 10
by Charles Jeanes
by Helen Foster
A Surveyor's Story: A.F. Cotton    17
by H.B. Cotton
James Ferguson Armstrong 21
by Winnifred A. Weir
Drawing the Line: The Boundary 1846 -1996 24
by Jim Glanville
The Pacific Coast Logging Industry in the 1930s 26
by Daryl Wong
Bathing Suits 31
by Iris Emerson
The Terrible Tempered Joseph Irwin    32
by Edward L. Affleck
Report of Conference 1996    34
NEWS and NOTES    35
Tr^ik to Gold                                                                                                               37
rnaay ror oeians, or rax trie riannmc
Studies Group at (604) 388-4490.
Review by Gordon Elliott
Salmonopolis: the Steveston Story       37
Review by William McKee
Historic Nelson        38
Review by Adam Waldie
Geology of the Kelowna Area and Origin of the Okanagan Valley    38
Review by K.C. McTaggart
Kanaka: The Untold Story of Hawaiian Pioneers in B.C    39
Review by Michael F.H. Halleran
Faces of British Columbia: Looking at the Past 1860-1960      39
This picture (c-1910), entitled "A
Skeena River Freighter", shows e
mixed dog team packing in supplies
tor crews starting survey work in tne
early spring. The large snowshoes
on top of the load may have been
used to beat down a path for the sled
Review by George Newell
Flapjacks and Photographs      39
Review by E.L. Affleck
Home from the HUL Three Gentlemen Adventurers      40
to follow.
BCARS #A-05560
Review by George Newell
Also Noted      40
Manuscripts and correspondence to the editor are to be sent to P.O. Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0.
Correspondence regarding subscriptions is to be directed to the Subscription Secretary (see inside back cover).
Printed In Canada by Kootenay Kwik Print Ltd Addenda: Correction
Rex vs Davidoff
The Last Hanging in B.C., 1951
C.I. Walker of Squamish wrote to
point out an error, either in content or
punctuation. "While John Davidoff was
the last person to be hanged in B.C. in
1951, he was certainly not the last to be
hanged in this province. I enclose a list
of executions taken from Earl Andersen's
Hard Place to do Time. If the comma
were replaced by "in" the title would be
Jack Bedford of Willow Point was introduced to the B.C. Historical News
with the Spring 1996 issue. He writes:
"I was amazed to read in the first article
about a man I knew in the late 40s. I
did quite a bit of work for him in the
Nakusp area. John and his son boarded
with us and one day while we were out
they packed up and left without paying
for their board or for the work which I
had done.
In the winter of 1949 while I was
guarding on the Brilliant bridge John
appeared, apologizing for not paying
and promising to pay me in a few days.
He never did pay me.
* if.  if. if.  if. *
See also SS Beaver and Elsie G.
Turnbull on page 6.
See picture on page 40 of the
Kelowna resident John Woodworth receiving the Gabrielle Leger Medal from
Heritage Canada's President.
Executions at Oakalla
Number Name Ag
2883 IGNACE, Alec  25
4905 ROBINSON, Alan   20
5080 PAULSON, Alex  25
8063 BOW, ChongSam   45
9997 BAKER, Owen B  39
10048  MYERS, Harry F.   24
11191 DeBORTTLI, Alexander   40
10996  PASQUALI, Benito   50
12726 BAILEY, Kenneth R  25
12901 YAOKI.Nichi   32
14464 NASSA, Dominico   25
20129 SOWRY, Mike  52
20926  MATHOFF, BiU  40
20709  SAKURADA, Suikichi  40
20710 HTTOMI, Tadao'  50
27947 GEORGE, Richardson  32
27948 GEORGE, Eneas   39
31011 RUSSELL, Charles  27
31113 DUNBAR, Earl  32
31651 MACCHIONE Vincent  36
38535 WRIGHT, R. A  68
42111 SYLVESTER, Frank   21
45831 BEATTY, Douglas R  27
49857 HAINEN, William J  29
47985 PRINCE, Alex   23
50281  POTTER, Byron'-.-,  49
52917 HOUSTON, Davis  28
53709 MEDOS, Harry  19
60671 PRESTYKO, Walter  34
60716 WOROBEC, WUUam J  37
62775 DUCHARME Frederick R  33
62573 OULETTE, Joseph A  21
69658 DAVIDOFF, John K  48
71447 CUNNINGHAM, Arthur B  60
73937 VIATKIN, Alexander  24
73020  MATHEWS, Charles   21
86060 BORDENIUK Peter  60
87290 HOODLEY, Robert   21
81746 VINCENT, Lawrence   27
91238 GRAHAM, Robert   24
98129 BUCK, Evan G  29
92224 GORDON, Joe  36
94839 EATON, Gerald   51
117913 MANTHA,Leo   33
This list was prepared from the Archives at Oakalla Prison. It is reprinted here with permission from Earl
Andersen, author of HARD PLACE TO DO TIME, Hittpoint Publishing, 1993.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 XA Merry Tourist Party... Jessie McLenaghen
in Vancouvery 1906"
by Mary DeZwart
What would you do
in the summer of 1906
if you were a single,
twenty-two year old
teacher in Portage Ia
Prairie? If you were
Jessie McLenaghen,
you would come with
your sister, Jen, and
Mr. and Mrs. Hendry,
a married couple as
chaperones, to Vancouver by train. In
Vancouver you would
discover several things
that surprised you;
"spoons" on the beach,
the meaning of "two
bits", what side pedestrians passed on in
Vancouver. A ceaseless
round of social activities including attending several different
churches, swimming
with Joe Fortes, extensive visiting, going for
ice cream, sightseeing in Stanley Park, travelling up Pitt Lake and climbing Grouse
Mountain would not stop you from commenting in your journal "Loafed in the afternoon. We are getting exceptionally good
at loafing as practise makes perfect" Quly 23,
1906). At the conclusion of your trip, you
would write in your daily journal " [We] go
away with pleasant memories of kind treatment which we received from perfect strangers" (August 20, 1906).
The school year was over and Jessie attended a family party that didn't end until
two a.m. on June 29, 1906. Her party left
Portage La Prairie at 11:05 p.m. June 30,
1906 and arrived in Vancouver on July 5 at
12:45 a.m. Eight changes in transportation
were required. A derailment at Gull Lake,
Saskatchewan caused a twelve hour delay, finally solved by building a new track around
the wreck. A planned detour through the
Kootenay Branch enabled the party to travel
by boat to Nelson, then train to West Robson,
Climbers on Grouse Mountain in 1906. Imagine climbing wearing long skirts and carrying awkward
bundles by band!
Courtesy City of Vancouver Archives #394-2
again by boat to Arrowhead, and finally reconnect with the main line at Revelstoke.
Jessie, her sister Jen, Mr. and Mrs. Hendry
and a friend from Winnipeg, Miss Hall,
found their rented cottage at 1352 Bidwell
Street, Vancouver to exceed all their expectations. "It is furnished in first class style and
you cannot imagine any convenience that is
not right at hand. It contains a parlor, dining room, kitchen, beautiful pantry and two
bed-rooms. Our bedroom is off the parlor"
(July 5,1906). Jessie's share ofthe house fund
was sixteen dollars.
An outstanding event ofthe summer was
the climbing of Grouse Mountain. Plans began to be laid July 1906, with Jessie recording the following in her journal: "Plans all
laid for mountain climbing. The Misses
Johnson have undertook to get young men
for us as each lady must have a gent". The
trip took place on July 14, 1906 and was
noted in the Vancouver Daily Province;
A merry tourist party, which included several local persons, made a successful ascent of
Grouse Mountain last
Saturday. The party left
the city on the 2:15p. m.
firry and on reaching
North Vancouver secured packhorses upon
which a liberal outfit of
supplies was taken. The
amateur mountaineers
reached Mosquito Creek
at 4 oclock where a
short halt was made and
then they pushed on to
the summit, which was
reached at 8:30 o 'clock,
just in time to view the
glorious sunset. A big
campfire helped make
things comfortable for
the merry mountaineers
in their aerial camp
that night. Breakfast
was partaken of at 4:30
the next morning and
the party spent from
that until noon on the summit. The return trip
was broken at 4 o'clock to allow of luncheon
being served at Mosquito Creek, and the party
reached home at 8 o'clock, well pleased with the
outing. Mrs. B. Steele and Mrs. J. Hoffmeister
acted as chaperones for the trip. Those who
composed the party were Mr. and Mrs. B. Steele,
Mr. and Mrs. J. Hoffmeister, Miss Hall (Winnipeg), the Misses McLenaghin [sic] (Portage
La Prairie), the Misses Johnson (Hamilton),
Miss Graham (city), Mr. Lawrence (Westminster), Mr. Dixon (Kingston), Mr. Watson and
Mr. Wilson (Vancouver) ("Social and personal",
1906, p. 9).
The first recorded climb of Grouse Mountain had been made twelve years earlier on a
nonexistent trail by Sidney Williams and Phil
Thomson, surveyor and printer respectively.
The mountain (1211 metres high) was
named for the grouse they shot on it. In the
early years, the trip took up to three days;
one day to take the ferry to Moodyville [now
North Vancouver] and camp on the
mountainside, the next day to the summit
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 SiJs
This map depicts a later time when North Vancouver was built up. Jessie McLenaghen's party had lunch at "A" where Mosquito Creek and the trail cross.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 and part way down, the third day to the ferry
and back to Vancouver. When Mrs. Roger
Casement ascended Grouse in either 1894
or 1897 (accounts vary), her son Robert reported that "There was no trail and they had
to use a compass; probably near the inlet there
were logging trails, but beyond that it was
virgin forest; absolutely no trail, and hard
work". ("Grouse Mountain, first ascent by
women", 1938)
Appropriate mountain-climbing apparel
was a problem for women. It was unseemly
to appear on the street in trousers of any type.
Phyllis Munday, one ofthe foremost mountaineers in British Columbia history, told the
following tale about proper dress:
1 used to go up Grouse Mountain on my own,
or with a few Girl Guides. We started off from
home with a skirt on. You were never seen on
the street with a bloomer or a pair of pants or
anything like that. It just wasn't done, in those
days. So we'd wear our skirts on the streetcar
from home, and the ferry, and the streetcar in
North Vancouver], and then up to the trail
and cache our skirts under a log. That meant,
of course, you always had to come back the same
way to get your skirt, because otherwise you
couldn't go home (Leslie, 1980, p. 52).
Another problem was mixing ofthe sexes.
"Every lady must have a gent" (July 11,1906)
and every party must as well have a chaper-
one or two. The social scene was changing
rapidly however, and a few days after Jessie's
party climbed Grouse Mountain, the following commentary appeared in the Vancouver
Daily Province:
And what of the passing ofthe chaperoned
That she is a slowly vanishing institution is a
fact frankly admitted by those who know. A
mother of a debutante daughter might deny it
in self-defence, but ask the matron with sons
who figure in society or ask the girls themselves,
especially those who have been out a few seasons, and they will tell you that the lady is going- in fact almost gone... Time was when the
young men of our best families would not have
dared ask a young woman to go to the theatre
with him, without inviting her mother too. Now
he makes up a little party in which a young
married couple are often included or sometimes
two or three young people, who are not married, in which case there is not even a pretence
of a chaperone ("Social and personal", 1906,
p. 20).
In 1902 members ofthe local Tourist Association climbed Grouse and by prearrange-
ment, lit a campfire clearly visible from the
streets of Vancouver. According to reports of
the time "The appearance of a tiny speck of
light on the mountain top excited much comment on the street and those not on the streets
went out from their homes to a point of vantage to look" ("Forty years ago", 1942). By
1906, the event had become somewhat more
commonplace, but it was still hard work, especially for a prairie girl:
July 14. Felt listless when we got up but
had to get a move on to get prepared as party
planned leaving at 1:30 p.m. About one
o'clock we three started for Johnson's with
our blanket and box. Eight ofthe crowd met
here and when we started out for the car we
were a very conspicuous looking crowd with
our very short skirts and sunshades. Certainly
we were prepared for the work ahead of us.
But little did we realize what that meant. At
the Ferry we met the rest of crowd making
16 in all. We crossed the Ferry in the St.
George and at 1:45 p.m. started our walk
across the wooded plains to reach the foot of
the mountain. The heat was most oppressive
the hottest we have had and we had not gone
far when we shed our collars and made ourselves as cool as possible. Appearance now
has not the least consideration.
We walked quite rapidly in spite of extreme
heat. We were overtaken by a party of three
gentlemen, Mr. Miller, Mr. Parkinson and
Mr. Doxson, Prof, of Science Queen's University and they having a pack horse were
kind enough to relieve us of our heaviest
burdens which we fully appreciated before
reaching the top. I overlooked mentioning
our crowd so Iwill name them now. Misses
Johnson, Graham, Hall and McLenaghen.
Mrs. and Mrs. Steele, also Messrs. HofFmaster
[sic], Steele, O'Driscoll, Wilson, Watson,
Rand, Hill, and Lawrence.
When we reached Mosquito Creek at foot
of Mt. I was almost exhausted but being the
largest in the crowd would not give in. If we
had not rested here I never would have made
the top. Here we had lunch, rested about half
an hour and then the climb in earnest began. We took more time on this part of road
and certainly we needed it. What a fatigued
looking crowd! Propelling themselves by
sticks and resting every ten or fifteen minutes. Making a desperate struggle we reached
the top by nine o'clock and then the boys
lighting the bon-fire we had our hard-earned
supper. For my part I was past eating and
after supper was over we repaired to the sitting room on rocks at front of rhe mountain. Here the time was spent in telling stories
and singing. The view of lighted city was
magnificent. About twelve we looked up a
place for sleeping but it was rather dark and
our bed was slightly uneven. We slept for a
short time but wakened at 2:30 got up at 3
and left the rest in peace and watched the
morning break over the city. All at once every
light was extinguished. We had breakfast at
five and you may imagine the length ofthe
day and especially Sunday when amusements
were limited. Several snaps were taken but
everyone was ready for the descent at 1:30
p.m. Got a very good view of Capilano Canyon.
The descent, though not so hard on the
wind was much harder on the muscles. The
brakes were very necessary as the road was
too rough and crooked to permit any increased pace. Of course the crowd got separated and Miss Hall, Mr. HofFmaster and
myself comprised the centre crowd. The first
crowd reached the foot a full half hour ahead
of us but would have been better to have
taken it easier as we intended waiting here
until it began to get cool. We had supper here
and it was the best meal as everything seemed
much cleaner. We got nicely rested and
started across the level at 5:35 and reached
the wharf just in time to catch the ferry-boat.
The people of North Vancouver seemed to
find considerable reason for looking and I
guess we were a pretty sorry looking crowd
for Sunday when everybody was done out in
the very best. We all got on the car in Vancouver and of course were spotted out as
mountain climbers. Before the crowd separated we got an invitation for Wed. Eve. One
young man expressed himself that they were
going to see that we girls had a good time
while in the City. We three girls were the last
to leave the car and we were very glad indeed
to see 1352 Bidwell once more. Had to go
down and tell Stuarts a few of our exploits
but soon got into the house finding Mr. and
Mrs. Hendry at church. She left a note on
table telling where the good things to eat were
and I assure you we were not long in finding
them. Mr. and Mrs. H. then came home and
of course it was a regular hub-bub for a while.
Then each of us had a hot bath and went to
1906 was the first time that Jessie
McLenaghen visited British Columbia; she
returned permanently in 1926 as the first
Provincial Supervisor of Home Economics.
In the intervening years she had taught elementary school in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, worked at the Saskatoon Normal
School, attended Lillian Massey Treble
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 School of Home Economics in Toronto, and
received her Bachelor's Degree from Columbia University (DeZwart, 1991). In British
Columbia she was responsible for standardizing home economics throughout the province; while she still travelled extensively,
visiting every home economics teacher in the
province, her carefree days were long gone.
Jessie's diary remains as a social commentary.
Bio Note: Tbe author is a Home Economics
teacher in Kamloops. Sbe read and transcribed
Jessie McLenaghen's diary while researcbingfor
ber Masters degree (which sbe received in 1991
from UBC).
DeZwart, Mary Leah. (1991). Proving its worth: Jessie
McLenaghen and home economics in British Columbia.
Canadian Home Economics Journal, 41(3). 134-139.
Forty years ago, July 16, 1902, Grouse Mountain conquered.
(1942). Vancouver Daily Province. City of Vancouver
Archives, Add-MSS 54, Vol. 13, Microfiche 01912
Grouse Mountain, first ascent by women. (1938). City of
Vancouver Archives, Add.MSS 54, Vol. 13, Microfiche
Leslie, Susan. (1980). In the western mountains: Early
mountaineering in British Columbia. Sound Heritage,
8 (4). Victoria: Queens printer.
McLenaghen, Jessie. (1903-1906). Unpublished personal
diaries, [in possession of Frances Mitchell, West
Vancouver, B.C.]
Social and personal column. (1906, July 21). Vancouver
Dairy Province, p. 9.
Social and personal column. (1906, July 28). Vancouver
Dairy Province, p. 20.
1. Wear well-nailed boots and take extra
2. Carry a light and a waterproof match
box filled with matches.
3. Tell someone where you are going and
when ydu are coming back.
4. Have a leader and stay with the party.
6. Put out your fire—with water where
possible—and make sure it is out.
6. Start back early, darkness comes
quickly in the woods,
7. If loBt, (a) keep cool—stop and think;
(ft) in snow, back track; (e) in woods,
look for blazes on trees; (d) in darkness, light a fire and watch; (e) when
you start again leave marks as to
which way you go. If you have to give
up, stop in a conspicuous place and
stay stopped so search will not be
wasted. Build a fire, making it smoke
by day and blase by night and watch
for relief.
8. Do not eat too heartily before a climb.
9. Never start a boulder or rotten log
rolling down hill—there might be
someone below you.
10. A trip should never be undertaken
with less than three in a party.
Notfh {Shore
Iitucd bj
Britlib Columbia Eltotrlo Railway Co. Ltd.
Coplil of tblt map ma? be obtained free at H.C. Rlrrtrlc
Information Hun aw,Carrall Birtit ■iMlnn, or will fa-
ma II td on reoilpt of poiloard directed lo I'ttldlrli v I trpt,
IM—March, I9M
Excerpt taken from an information pamphlet published March 1934.
S.S. Beaver and Elsie G. Turnbull
In the latest Issue of B.C. Historical News
(Spring 1996), I was struck by the Ironic link
between two items on opposite pages: "A Bit of
the Beaver" by Terry Julian (p.34) and the obituary of Elsie Grant Turnbull (p.35). It just so happens that over the past several months, I have
been compiling a bibliography of EGTs published and unpublished works which are now
located at Selkirk College in Castlegar.
More specifically, I had been attempting to
verify an unidentified newspaper clipping found
in her files. It is captioned '"Beaver' Medal Has
History Full of Drama" and is addressed "Dear
Mr. Editor of'Odds and Ends'." After a great deal
of research it was discovered that Fred H. White
of the Rossland Miner had written a short item
about the Beaver medal in his "Odds and Ends"
column (8 May 1958); and Turnbull had responded with a detailed description of these
medals in her letter to the editor (15 May 1958).
Quotations from her letter provide a detailed
complement to Terry Julian's "Bit of the Beaver."
"....C. W. McCain, salvaged 1,050 pounds of
copper from the wreck and decided to manufacture medals in commemoration of the little
by Ron Welwood
ship. He obtained a patent and copyright and
stamped most ofthe medals himself. One side had
a picture of the Beaver on the rocks and the inscription: "Wreck of H. B. Co. S.S. Beaver, Vancouver, B. C, 1892. Built 1835." The reverse side
bore the words: "This copper was taken from the
wreck of H. B. Co.'s S.S. Beaver, the first steamer
on the Pacific, also crossed the Atlantic in 1835."
The first issue measured 1 11/16 inches in diameter and weighed about 1 1 /4 ounces and sold for
$1.00 and $1.25. After 226 medals had been cast
the dies were spoiled in an accident McCain made
a second lot, 1 3/8 inches in size, weighing 3/4 of
an ounce. This group also commemorated the
400th anniversary of the discovery of America, so
the reverse side showed a picture of the Santa
Maria, Columbus' ship of 1492. These sold for 75
cents each. He then decided to use the rest of
the copper in a smaller size of medal. This weighed
11A of an ounce and was some what smaller than
a 25 cent silver coin. In order to establish authenticity McCain stamped his name on each medal
and placed a number on the edge in sunken figures. In the first two issues the "C. W. McCain"
was conspicuously placed near the periphery in
raised letters, but in the smaller medals it was embossed in very fine lettering upon the portion of
the design representing the rocky cliff. Mr.
Spatari's medal belongs to the third group and
a magnifying glass is necessary to distinguish
the maker's name along the outer circle of the
McCain's project had a tragic sequel. On
the evening of Dec. 31,1892, he set out with a
friend, E. A. Brown, to secure some further relics from the Beaver. From a boathouse at the
foot of Carrall Street they selected a four-oared
skiff and were soon gliding along on the strong
tide.The: darkness of the night obliterated the
shoreline and prevented them from realizing
the strength ofthe current until suddenly rounding the point of the narrows they were faced
by a snowy wall of hissing foam - the dreaded
tide-rip.The boat shot broadside into the breaking wave and capsized. McCain and his friend
clung to the boat but the rough seas swept
Brown away and he sank to his death. McCain
astride the upturned boat was carried on to
calmer waters in English Bay. A breaker turned
the boat over and then he found an oar still
hanging in a loose rowlock. Although the gunwale was below the surface of the sea the bow
rose above the water and he was able to paddle himself to shore and save his life."
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 Wells: Sixty and Counting
by Tom Barnett
In the summer
of 1994 the people of Wells
staged a 60th An-
nivetsary Party
which I was not
able to attend. I
was at the 50th,
where a surprising
number of us
who had been
around in 1934
showed up
among the throng
of succeeding
generations of
Wells dwellers.
We had a ball!
Wells is a product of the time
when the only
prosperous indus-
Crew outside tbe nuts ball Cariboo Gold Quartz Mine. Wells, B.C 15/9/36.
Main Street. Wells Hotel, S. Cafe, Barber Shop, Theatre, Pool HaU.
snowshoers. The old
timers in Barkerville
knew that most of the
claims were worthless,
but that ground that
had gold-bearing
quartz, though fruidess
in the stamp mill era,
with new milling technology might bring a
new bright future to
the old town as the
centre for a number of
hard rock mines.
Williams Creek. A
quite modest operation, it was continuing to pour its gold
bricks quite regularly.
I had already
learned that Fred
Wells, even before
the first Cariboo gold
brick was poured,
had become a legend
among the prospecting and mining fraternity. He had
combed the hills
from the Boundary
Country to Alaska,
following that dream
of one day bringing
in a mine. Now, as
he approached old
age, the dream had
come true. I quite
looked forward to meeting him.
The first thing he said to me when I introduced myself at the door was, "You can't
come in here with your boots on." I hastily
took them off"on the porch and entered, clad
as he was in heavy socks. He had just moved
in to the brand new manager's house; and
was obviously uncomfortable with all this finery: shining waxed floors, gauzy curtains,
fancy chesterfield in the still rather sparsely
furnished front room. Fred had a housekeeper whose husband acted as chauffeur and
general factotum. It was quickly apparent
who ruled the house - and her husband, and
The photos are courtesy of Betty Ruhl.
try in the Province was gold mining; and was
added as a place name along with several others. Bralorne and Zeballos come to mind. In
a sense Wells is the step-child of Barkerville,
historic capital of B.C. gold-mining. Pouring of the first gold brick at the Cariboo Gold
Quartz in 1932 set the stage for Barkerville
to become once again a bustling boom town.
In the staking frenzy ofthe winter of'32-
'33 the country for miles around was plastered with mineral claims by agents of big
mining    companies    and    greenhorn
Fall of 1933, the snow still
not being too deep, I
hiked from Barkerville up
Stouts Gulch and down
Lowhee Gulch to say
hello to Fred Wells, manager at the still new
Cariboo Gold Quartz
mine. It was located at the
lower end of Jack of Clubs
Lake on the far side of
Cow  Mountain  from
Jack of Clubs Hotel & Pool Hall
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 Center of town - Wells HoteL
Fted. Now that he was a mine manager with
some money he needed housebreaking! My
conversation with Fred would have been
much more relaxed in an old log cabin.
New ore was being blocked out which justified enlargement and improvement. A stable future for some time to come seemed
assured. In addition the Newmont Mining
Corporation of New York was bringing a second mine into production on Island Mountain, just across the end of the lake. The
directors of Cariboo Gold Quartz, Dr.
Burnett of Vancouver, President, Sollibacke
of Seattle and Fred Wells decided they didn't
want just a mining camp; they wanted a full-
fledged town close by, causing some consternation in Barkerville. The remote directors
of Newmont Mining wanted no part of it,
though quite prepared to accept the community benefits it would bring.
So it came about that a wholly-owned subsidiary ofthe Gold Quartz was formed called
The Wells Townsite Company Ltd.  and a
colade he ever received.
The Townsite Company wasted no time in
getting to work on the
chosen site, a nearly flat
piece of benchland about
a mile from the mine.
Roads and lots were surveyed, a water system installed and a line built
across the Lowhee tailings
from the mine powerhouse. By the end of 1934
the town was becoming a reality.
The two business streets were laid out as a
T. At head of the T rose a general store and
post office, with a Mr. James as the first postmaster.     Kitty-corner  across,   Paddy
McDonnell erected the town's most imposing structure, the Wells
Hotel.   On the other
corner a garage and gas
station sprang up. At
the foot ofthe T, at its
junction with the last
residential crossroad, a
two-room school was
built. All this reflected
the orderly mind of
the townsite manager,
a young civil engineer
from West Vancouver
named Eddie
Richardson. In this
day and age he would
have become a town
stantial number of houses built by the Company to help get things started.
The new citizens of Wells rather gloried in
the fact it was not a company town, while
recognizing a son of fairy godmother in The
Townsite Company. And there was some realization that behind it all loomed The
Cariboo Gold Quartz and RR Rose who
became its managing director and lived in
that big house across the way at the mine.
The town continued to grow apace. The
Royal Bank opened a branch. A movie theatre was built. Buckley's Drug store opened.
MacKenzies, long established in Williams
Lake and Squamish, started a mini department store with a full-fledged food section.
A second hotel, the Jack of Clubs, appeared.
The United Church sent in an ordained minister. The hall they built also became the lo-
Starting line for a cross country race, in front of Wells Hotel, early-mid 30 's.
The old Ski Jump built by the Swedes and Norwegians in die early 30s on the Lougheed
new town was born called simply "Wells".
Fred probably regarded this as the highest ac-
A Townsite
Office was
built in the
business section, which
became the
nearest thing
to City Hall.
That was
where the water bills and
the light bills
were paid.
That was
for the Wells
volunteer fire
brigade, and
the townsite maintenance department.
Rental accounts were dealt with for a sub-
cation ofthe Wells revolving book allotment
from the Prince George headquarters of the
provincial Open Shelf Library. The Anglicans
built a church which was served from the
Quesnel parish. Volunteers constructed a
curling rink and a hockey rink. The hockey
league had teams from Williams Lake,
Quesnel, Wells and Prince George. (The year
the finals came to Wells there was a sudden
chinook, so the puck got lost in the ice before the game was over!)
A hiatus in growth occurred in 1936 when
the employees of both Island Mountain
Mines and Cariboo Gold Quartz were on
strike for a lengthy period. The basic issue
was union recognition; and against this the
employers were adamant. In the end the
strike was lost. A qualified miner at the time
was paid $5.00 per day.
Things returned to normal fairly quickly
after the strike. Rounding out town facilities
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 WeUs Junior Skiers ready to leave for a tournament in Princeton, B.CJaek Riley - taxi
driver, Jack Barton, Jack Anderson, Bryce Meauseae, Don Green and Don Juan.
the Townsite Company built a fine community hall. Wells and Bralorne basketball teams
travelled to play each other. A Dr. Sutherland moved in from Prince Albert, with some
sort of guarantee from the mining companies; and a hospital was built. Employees at
the mines paid $ 1.00 per month towards support of these services. The Wells Chronicle
was established; and in part of the newspaper building the historic Government Telephone & Telegraph Service installed a
telephone exchange. An old music teacher
moved into town and established what was
vaingloriously called the Wells Symphony
Orchestra, with all of six to eight pieces. For
concerts the conductor was resplendent in
an old tail-coat. The B.C. Ski Jumping
Championships were held in Wells one year.
The original two room school was more than
outgrown, so the school board decided to
look to the future by building a new eight-
room, two-story edifice, leaving the top floor
unfinished. This provided the six working
classrooms needed at the time. Construction
of this school could be described as the end
ofthe first chapter in the story of Wells. The
town had reached its zenith.
Outbreak of World War II in 1939 had an
almost immediate effect. Many of the
younger men quickly enlisted. Many of the
family men found more attractive opportunities on the "Outside", some returning to
areas from which they had been banished by
The Depression. Gold mining ceased to be
an economic magnet. The mines carried on
for a good many years; increasingly, after the
war, with aid from the Emergency Gold
Mines Assistance Act, enacted by Parliament
to help cope with the problems of a fixed-
price product ($35/oz. US) and rising costs.
The EGMA Act was renewed several times;
but eventually the mining towns were told
they were on their own. In the end, as it must
to all mines, first Island Mountain and later
Cariboo Gold Quartz ceased production.
Now, in one of those ironic twists of fate,
Wells has become much dependent on the
"stepmother" it helped to destroy. It is the
entry to the ghost of Barkerville, now a historic park ofthe 1860's, and to the magnificent wilderness of Bowron Lake Provincial
Bio Note: Tom Barnett went to Barkerville in
October 1933 and from 1935 lived in Wells
until W.W.II began. When researching the
present status of WeUs, he learned that the
monthly WELLS COMMUNITY NEWS is published in die same building where he started
For those interested in more about Wells: Wells
Museum, c/o WeUs & Disu Chamber of Commerce, Box 123, WeUs, B.C VOK2R0. Tel
994-3489, Fax. 994-3237.
Tbe pictures are from the coUection of Mrs. E
Ruhl of Summerland Betty Ruhl lived in WeUs
with her husband and young children during
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 MiUs in the West Kootenay, 1890 - 1950
by Charles Jeanes
History deals in past events, but
historians define what is interesting
in the past by what is interesting in
the present. Canadians find the level
of unemployment today a subject of
anxiety; they also think and talk a
lot about the natural environment.
So the history of sawmill employment, and the impact of government
policy for forest management,
should be of concern to many. This
paper concerns West Kootenay industrial history; I was recently curator ofthe Nelson Museum's exhibit
entitled "Loggers, Mill Owners, and
A major source of information was the
three-volume oral history of the West
Kootenay, A Life in the Woods. (Kootenay
Museum Association and Historical Society,
1993/94). To begin the investigation of sawmill employment in the West Kootenay, it is
instructive to start with the words of some
men who worked in the industry in the period between the world wars.
"...I'm a log scaler from back in 1920, and
course it was different then. When your sawmill ran out of logs, they shut her down. You
rusded another job, went someplace else. And
when that shut down you would go
someplace else ...Mills don't shut down for
anything — unless they got a breakdown.
Well, if they cut out of timber or the timber
burns or something like that, that does them
off, which happens a lot of times." (Russ
Fletcher, quoted in volume one, pp. 3 and
"And then in 1921 I started in the sawmills around and I worked in the different
sawmills. In those days you never had to
worry about a job. You could walk out of
this sawmill and walk down the road to the
next sawmill and they'd give you a job.
"...But there is a big difference now, although some ofthe smaller sawmills are starting to come back now. ...As far as I'm
concerned, the big sawmills spoilt the — how
should I put it? When all the small sawmills
were all working, there seemed to be jobs for
everybody. Since the small sawmills have
closed down and they have the big saws, they
haven't got half the people working..." (Al
The crew at tbe J.B. Winlaw sawmill in 1909. * Andrew Nelson "Nets"
Winlaw worked for his father, x RA. Bell is believed to be son of John Bell,
tbe builder of many mills.
Courtesy Kootenay Museum
Wilson, quoted in volume three, pp. 56 and
The recollections of these two
woodsworkers indicate the same thing about
the interwar era of sawmill operations and
logging in the Kootenays: the structure ofthe
industry then meant many small sites for
milling lumber, and a corresponding ease for
the worker when changing his place of employment. It is clear too that there was no
certainty that jobs would always be available,
when and if a worker did quit one mill, or a
mill shut down.
Mills powered by steam were "portable"
in the way boilers could be moved by the
transport facilities ofthe period from 1885
to 1925 (rail and steamboat, then by horse
over rough terrain). At the site where the
steam engine was housed, the logs were almost always congregated in a pond, and they
got to the pond by flumes, by chutes, or by
horse-drawn vehicles, or simply floated by
river or lake. This fact of their operation accounts for the high number of mills in the
Kootenays, a region abundant in waterways,
and yet the requirement for water transport
was still a limitation on where mills could be
set up profitably. A steam-powered mill
needed a boiler, an engine turned by the
steam, and a shaft turned by the engine and
running the length ofthe mill. Saws and belts
could be run from the turning shaft; a skilled
millwright was needed for this set-up.
Steam technology needed a millwright;
gasoline mills did not. In the 1890's, throughout the West Kootenay, there was one wright
who erected more mills for pioneer
industry than any other - John Bell.
Bell was the millwright for the
Genelle brothers at Nakusp and
Wesley, for the Hill brothers at the
north end of Slocan Lake, for Shook
and Arnott at Lemon Creek, for
Dewar at Nelson, Ymir, Rossland,
and Trail, and for Feeney at Salmo,
to name some of his enterprises. His
own mill, in partnership with Alexander Lambert, was at Taghum from
1905 to 1913. George Lambert, son
of Alexander, recalled that Bell "was
a builder, and he was not interested
in the routine of business of sawing
lumber", so in 1913 Bell sold his share to
Lambert "because it had got to the stage
where it wasn't mill building." (George Lambert, quoted in volume one, p. 14).
Bell was the type of individual who started
businesses for the pleasure of his craft as a
millwright, installing the steamdriven mill
machinery, and then looking for a new mill
to erect. The story of how Bell and Lambert
brought their mill plant to Taghum illustrates
well how the technology ofthe day lent itself
to a multitude of mills existing throughout
the region. "Plant", as the machinery for driving mill saws was called, naturally was not
produced in the Kootenays in the 1890's; the
foundries for ironwork were all in the USA
or Central Canada. Dr. Arthur Hendryx, for
example, brought his plant from Bonner's
Ferry to erect at Pilot Bay sawmill. Bell and
Lambert got their first sawmill from Willow
Point, recounts George Lambert:
"All the machinery for this mill was prearranged down at the lakeshore [Willow Point]
. Dad made a deal with Captain Seaman of
the Moyie [a sternwheeler boat] . After they
came back from the Kaslo run, they would
take a barge from Nelson and go up and push
it against the beach at Willow Point. They
loaded it all on the barge, took it down to
the CPR wharf [Nelson] ... unload it off that
onto flat cars, and then out to Taghum, and
then up the creek [Sproule] all by four-horse
teams, a piece at a time. They put it together,
built the whole framework, and put it into
operation. The mill was capable of cutting
about fifteen thousand feet of lumber per day
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 and was a steam mill - a steam boiler and
steam engine." (quoted in vol. one, p. 15-
The mills operating on steam, then, were
relatively portable with the transportation
methods available before WWII. It was also
not complicated for an entrepreneur to get
the proper governmental approval to set up
as a mill operator. There was a simple process for a pioneer to set himself up as a miller
in the region in this era. First he "cruised timber", looking for trees of merchantable value,
and approached the government Lands Ministry for a lease. The essential next step for
any prospective mill owner was to find a seller
of plant, preferably already on the ground in
the Kootenays, and a millwright to erect it
on the site ■where the owner had acquired timber "limits", as an area of timber rented from
the Crown was called.
In the era after WWII, the numbers of
mills in the woods did not decline. When
gasoline-powered engines came into the industry during the 1940s, "portable mills"
were even more abundant because all operators needed was a place to collect logs, and
the legal right to cut timber. The construction of roads for logging trucks moved into
high gear after WWII, making the portable
gas mills even more easy to move to their
logging sites. Gasoline powered mills were
very portable, cheap, easy to set up, and had
ready markets. There was a home-building
boom after the second world war; mills
thrived. The period of many small mills
ended when consolidation into few large ones
occurred in the 1950's and '60s.
The reasons for consolidation are not far
to seek. First, improved transportation technologies allowed for the centralisation of log
supplies at, and the distribution of product
from, one location. The coming of pulping
mills to the Kootenays, which maximized the
utilisation of trees of all sizes, was another
factor favouring big mills which could afford
the new saws and chippers. Then there are
the "market forces": consumers favour the
lowest priced lumber that is produced by the
economies achieved by largescale operation,
economies that small lumber mills can't
Not least ofthe reasons for concentration
of milling into large corporate structures has
been the policy ofthe owner of BC's timber,
the Crown. Government decisions about the
management ofthe timber resource have promoted consolidation of mills. This process
of politically-originated change is oudined
by Ranger Buster Ross, recalling a new gov
ernment "edict":
"When I started [in the 1940's] there were
close to a hundred, believe it or not, a hundred little logging operators and two or three
large outfits... Some of them had sawmills,
small ones. A lot of them had heavy equipment, but then, an edict came from the coast,
[government]. They said there will only be
so many large operations in the valley and all
those little fellahs with their machinery and
sawmills and that, they were dropped, and
there was three left: Creston Sawmills,
Wynndel Box, and Huscroft." (Buster Ross,
quoted in volume one, p. 64.)
Inquiry into consolidation in the mill industry divides naturally into two channels:
the tendency of market forces in the industry to agglomerate many milling operations
into dramatically fewer locations, in mills
whose production of lumber could surpass
the sum of all the older small mills' output;
and the effect of government policy to consolidate mills into fewer and bigger operations.
Touching on the governmental level, BC
provincial timber policy has been the subject of several monographs, (see bibliography
in Marchak, 1983). Policy as it affected the
West Kootenay is as much a part ofthe story
as technological change: both factors promoted concentration into big mills.
Timber revenue for the BC government
was an early bone of contention. Before the
first Forest Act of 1912, the Crown got revenue from the timber as ground rent, rather
than as stumpage fees. George Buchanan,
who had timber limits in the area of Harrop
in 1889, became a stern critic of this policy
of ground rent, for he said it "cost the Province millions of dollars of lost revenues."
(Buchanan, 1908). Buchanan made an observation about the need for competitive bidding for timber sales in 1908. His judgement
was widely supported, and the idea was effective in the formulation of the Forest Aa
"...under the different forms of leases and
licences that have been issued, ground rents
are payable annually of from $96 to $160
per square mile, with no competition for the
acquisition of the licences, and a royalty of
50 cents only payable when the timber is
cut." (Buchanan, 1908)
Buchanan's point about stumpage, or royalty, is that stumpage was paid only for trees
cut, not for the actual standing timber on
the land, which led to wasteful cutting practices because good wood was smashed and
left when timber-lease holders had nothing
to pay for trees that were not brought out as
logs. In the Forest Act of 1912, inspired by a
report by the Cambridge graduate and onetime Coast logger Martin A. Grainger, BC
moved to tax the actual standing trees in a
lease-holder's limits. Revenue from timber
would now bear some relationship to the
density of the timber leased to an operator,
and operators were theoretically bidding
competitively with one another for timber
The Forest Act created the British Columbia Forest Service (BCFS). Its mandate was
to enforce policy for the use and revenue of
timber. (Grainger was Chief Forester from
1914 to 1920.) A timber inventory was ordered; minimum tree diameters were established, to prevent high-grading and
over-cutting. With the legislation enforced
by the BCFS began the debate on forest use
which has never abated to this day. Environmentalist opinion was pitted against industrial users' demands from the start, with the
BCFS in the middle. Technological change
determined the context of the debate; the
type of machines and their productivity set
limits to what could be used or preserved.
A Forest Ranger relates how logging was
regulated in the 1930 s, before clear-cutting
for pulpmills was introduced:
"In the Interior, for one thing, the clearcut
didn't exist. Slash burning didn't exist. The
machines were all much smaller then they
are today. ...The logging was all selective logging... you weren't skidding tree-length stuff,
you were skidding already-manufactured
logs... So, in a lot of these stands, you didn't
get a lot of other stuff knocked over, because
[trees] were selectively cut and logs were
manufactured in the bush." (Les Stilwell,
quoted in volume three, p. 101-102)
This Ranger's opinion about "selective logging" is contradicted by a logger's recollection of what he saw on the job in the same
"Now-a-days they talk about 'raping the
old-growth.' All the companies have done for
a hundred years is rape the forest. They took
the best and they burnt up the rest. There
were no pulp mills to utilize the small wood.
Everything that was left, they just bulldozed
over with Cats, getting out the logs. Then
the Forestry said to burn it, because if you
didn't, the lightning would." (Oscar Schmidt,
quoted in vol. one, pp.25 - 26).
Schmidt called the old way of logging "absolutely highgrading" (p.26) but the Ranger,
Stilwell, replied to the suggestion, that
highgrading was the practice, in this way:
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 "No. There was nothing wrong
with a lot of those smaller trees except that they were younger, and the
standard in those days was fourteen-
inch-diameter stump... That was the
size of tree that was classed as
merchantable timber in the early
days." (vol. three, p. 102).
Schmidt, the logger, also recalls
that he and his peers had to try to
satisfy both their mill owner, who
bought the timber loggers' cut, and
the Rangers; the mills wanted trees
of bigger girth and the Forest Service stipulated that the logger must
cut trees smaller than the mill wanted.
(Schmidt, p. 26).
These conflicting testimonies about the
effectiveness of early Forest Service regulation on the proper management of the forests were omens ofthe debates to come. After
the Act of 1912, the BCFS had its own experience to direct the next study which resulted in a new Act in 1946.
Another concern with timber revenues was
Buchanan's point in 1908: the lack of competition among bidders for timber sales. The
concern was not properly addressed by the
1912 Act's regulations. William Waldie, junior, whose father's company had timber limits under the Act of 1912, all up and down
the Arrow Lakes, recalls no competition during his bids. He also remembers receiving
help from the BCFS to locate timber for his
mill at Robson.
"The Forest Service cruised it [timber sale
land] for you. You apply for a certain piece
of timber, they cruise it for you. You know
what they think before you put up any
money. We would make an application for a
timber sale — that's all."
[Interviewer asks Waldie: "Would they
decide the boundaries?"]
"Oh yes. You couldn't just bite out a few
acres ofthe choicest.... We were never working on just one sale. We were working on
dozens of different places at the same time.
Timber sales were active for many years. They
advertised that it was offered for sale, and
the date of the sale was mentioned — See,
we never had any competition on any sale
that I remember. No, never any competition
on any sale. I say this now. I could be wrong.
There might have been one or two cases, but
I don't remember any others turning up at
our sales. (Waldie, quoted in volume two,
It was no concern ofthe owner of timber
limits whether he replanted the trees cut
The J.B. Winlaw MiU, at Winlaw in tbe Slocan VaUey. When this mill
burned down operations were moved to Wynndel near Creston.
Courtesy Kootenay Museum
down by his logging crew; government policy
did not require it, and "expert" opinion in
that era did not yet think that replanting was
a responsibility for human agencies. Nature
would take care ofthe reforestation, was the
attitude, and it must be said that in this age,
forests were not clear-cut. Lumber mills took
only the best timber out. Clear-cutting of all
trees was pointless when there were no mills
to pulp all timber into useable product. The
first Kootenay pulp mill came in 1951.
In 1912, BC's Forest Act had not addressed the issue of reforestation. Academic
opinion was beginning to see the need for
replanting, as the remarks by George
Buchanan to the Nelson University Club in
1908 illustrate:
"In all civilised countries, efforts are now
being made to save what is left ofthe natural
forests and to aid nature in the reforestation
of part of what has been destroyed... the timber on these reserves [in the USA] is regarded
as a crop, to be harvested when ripe. The
stumpage of market timber is sold to best
advantage, and the under-size trees are protected."
It was not until 1946 that BC legislated a
new Forest Act which was based on the
premise of "sustainable yield" forestry. Now
the Forest Service began to enforce regulations on operators to ensure timber supply
in the future by creating Public Sustained
Yield Units which were leased to large corporations. The BCFS professional foresters
and civil servants favoured large corporate
licensees, believing "that larger timber holdings and longer-term harvesting rights would
allow them to plan, and therefore to implement sustained-yield policies." (Marchak,
It was during the implementation of these
timber-licensing policies that small operators
were slowly squeezed out of the market by
fewer and bigger corporations who bought
the small ones for the timber licences
the latter had obtained. Waldie tells
how Celanese America (later to be
Celgar) bought his company in
"...they approached us... and financially we might get the worst of
competing with them. They didn't
want to be competing with us, having any trouble with the government
saying 'you're squeezing out these
small fellahs.' They didn't want
that." (Waldie, v. 1, p. 32)
The new regulations had an effect on the work of Forest Rangers,
as Buster Ross attests. Recalling how
the multiplicity of mills had to be regulated
by the Forest Rangers, Ross had this to say:
"... we used to inspect them every chance
we got. ... You came around and they figured you were looking for trouble. They had
that attitude. Not whether you were just looking to see if they had their fire tools or
whether they were following the rules ofthe
timber sale contract, but they had a chip on
their shoulder all the time. ... Made a few
enemies doing it, but they managed to weasel around the [regulations] ... Lots of times,
they had friends in high places, these loggers." (vol. one, pp. 64 and 66-67)
This paper has been concerned only with
mills producing dressed lumber for construction uses, not with products such as sashes,
doors, stairs and railings, office furnishings,
clothespegs, boxes, matchblocks, and custom-ordered wood products. Kootenay
towns, in particular Nelson, were noted for
this sector of the wood industry. "Value-
added" factories abounded before the 1960's,
but the necessary research for a history of
value-added industry has not been done.
This paper can only raise some questions
about why wood "re-manufacturing" underwent drastic reduction in the Kootenays.
Some ofthe answers might be similar to the
reasons mills were consolidated after 1950.
Bio Note: Charles H.Jeanes, BA. (history, Trent
University) and curator of Nelson Museum exhibit "Loggers, Millowners, and Communities"
in 1994-95.
Primary Sources: Buchanan, George O., Address to Nelson
Univenity Club, May 9th, 1908 (Nelson Museum, Archive #440).
A Life in the \Gbods, Volumes one, two and three. Editors: P
Chapman, J. Russ, (Kootenay Historical Society/Nelson Museum
Association: Nelson, 1993 and 1994)
Secondary Sources: Gould, Ed, Logging (Hancock Press: Victoria,
Halleran, M., Loggers and Lumbermen (Kelowna, 1994)
Marchak, Patricia, Green Gold: the Forest Industry in British
Columbia (UBC Press, Vancouver 1983).
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 Doc English
by Pat Foster
Research by Helen Forster
Pauline English lived with her
son 'Doc'for tbe last few years
of her life.
Courtesy Ashcroft Museum
At the age of five he rode
bareback from Missouri to
Oregon; at fifteen he returned to Missouri to
lead a group of setders
over the same trail; at
seventeen he was part
of a wagon train heading for the B.C. gold
fields that was forced
back by hostile Indians;
at nineteen he moved to
B.C. where he spent the
rest of his life. And this was
just the beginning of the
life of Doc English, horseman, veterinarian,
packtrainer, rancher, gambler, lawman, husband and father.
To survive and prosper in the early west, a
man had to be a special breed - had to have
an overriding drive to try new things and see
new places - had to think on his feet and react with lightning speed - had to have a lot
of common sense and keen powers of observation - and being good with a gun didn't
hurt. Such a man was Doc English, born
Benjamin Franklin English Jr. on March 19,
1841, in St. Louis, Missouri, fifth ofthe
eleven children of Benjamin Franklin and
Pauline (Durbin) English.1
Benjamin Franklin English Sr. is listed as
farmer, horse-raiser, wood chopper, Pauline
as mother, housewife, homesteader, but they
were much more than this. They were bona
fide pioneers, and Doc followed in their footsteps.
Benjamin Franklin English Sr. was born
in Madison County, Kentucky, September
8,1815, the son of Mr. & Mrs. Charles English. The family moved to Missouri in 1818,
and lived in several counties in that state. In
1833, he met and married eighteen-year old
Pauline Durbin in Clay County, Missouri,
starting out on a life that is usually only heard
of in the movies or wild west fiction. Their
first home in that county was on the extreme
frontier, only Indian hunting grounds to the
west, and, of necessity, the young couple both
became proficient Indian
fighters. They stayed here
for thirteen years,
during which time
they became parents of five sons
and two daughters. Ben cleared
land, farmed,
chopped wood, and
hunted to support his
growing family. Both
he and Pauline had numerous encounters with
hostile Indians during
this time. In one of his
many confrontations
with the natives, he was
struck in the eye by an arrow, and suffered a
partial loss of sight, but this never deterred
him from carrying on his chosen way of life.
In 1846 the family of nine set out on the
long and arduous trek on the inhospitable
Oregon-Applegate Trail to Polk County,
Oregon. Through heat and dust, cold and
snow, across plains and mountains, through
swift and deep rivers, harassed by hostile Indians, the intrepid family struggled for several months, but they finally won out and
arrived in Oregon, settling near the
Luckiamute River in Polk County. Here they
took up a homestead, but were still victims
of Indian attacks, inclement weather, and
food shortages until they could build their
home, plant their garden and crops, and increase their livestock. They lived in Oregon
for seventeen years, during which time four
more children were added to the family, a
daughter and three sons.
In 1863, Ben and Pauline and some ofthe
younger children moved to California, living
in Solano County until 1870, and in Lake
County until Ben's death in 1883 at the age of
sixty-eight years. His headstone in the
Middletown Cemetery bears, below his name,
the inscription "I go to prepare a place for you."
Young as he was, Ben Jr. rode bareback almost the entire trip west from Missouri to
Oregon. He experienced one of his very early
Benjamin English Sr. moved
many times within the U.Sji.
Courtesy AshcroA Museum
encounters with the natives
when he and his father
stopped to pick berries
to supplement the food
supply. Ben's horse
was struck by one of
the poisoned arrows
used by the attacking
Indians, and the animal survived barely
long enough to get him
back to the wagon train.
Ben Jr. lived and
worked with his parents
until 1856, when he left
Oregon, at the tender age
of fifteen, to return east.
Undeterred (or maybe
lured) by his memories ofthe first trek west,
he led a train of friends and relatives from
Missouri to the Rogue River, bringing the
entire party in safety to its destination.
Ben II acquired his nickname 'Doc' when
he was still in Oregon because of his ability
from a very early age to calm and care for
ailing animals, and, wherever he lived, he was
called upon by neighbors to tend their sick
or injured livestock. Throughout his life he
had a consuming interest in horses, particularly racehorses, and became an authority on
many ailments peculiar to that animal.
There is little information available about
Doc's three sisters, but the saga of his seven
brothers is a storey in itself. Three of his
younger brothers, Harmon (Ham), Lawrence
(Buck), and Eugene (Gene), spent some time
in Canada with or near Doc. While here,
Buck worked as a cowboy, a scout for the
Canadian Army in the Riel Rebellion in
which he was seriously wounded, a whisky
smuggler, and a gambler. On his father's
death, he returned to California and brought
his mother to live with Doc. He later returned
to the U.S.A where he drove a stage coach
for a while, but spent five terms in jail for
highway robbery and rustling, the last being
a life sentence, of which he served seventeen
years before being released. The other brothers remained in the U.S.A. They were a free-
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 ers remained in the U.S.A. They were a free-
spirited bunch, often in trouble; David was
hung for highway robbery, Daniel was killed
by a bullet to the head in a dance hall fracas,
Charles' body was found in the Columbia
River, Warren was shot in an Eng-
lish-Durbin family feud. Suffice it to
say that Doc has been accurately referred to as the "white sheep"2 ofthe
The discovery of gold along the
Fraser River was a signal to Doc to
head north. He was part of a two
hundred man wagon train from Oregon to British Columbia in 1858
that was ambushed by a party of eight
hundred Indians in the Okanagan.
Knowing that the Indians in this area
were hostile, the train leader sent out
a small party to scout a canyon they
were approaching. Just at the mouth
ofthe canyon, they saw a roll of blankets and shot at it to make sure it was
harmless. It wasn't. An Indian concealed in the bundle was killed. The
fight was on. Had the party entered
the canyon with the pack animals
they would surely have been massacred, but outside the ravine they had
a chance. McLachlin, the leader of
the party, and his brother led the
fight, tying bunch grass around their
heads and crawling through the grass,
Indian style. After a fierce three day
battle the party finally beat off their
native attackers, but felt it wiser to
return to Oregon. In 1860 Doc again
went north from Oregon, arriving
without incident in B.C. where he spent his
remaining sixty-two years.
Doc drove cattle for H.O. Bowie north
from Oregon until he started up his own pack
train to Barkerville in the 1860's. Here he
met O. Tom Hance, from Pecteconica, Illinois. The two men side-tracked up the
Chilcotin when they heard of the rich fur
trade there. Here they established the TH
Ranch. They packed in millstones from the
coast and ground their own flour, brought
in a saw, and built a water wheel on upper
Withrow Creek to cut lumber for their ranch.
Any surplus supplies, flour, potatoes, etc.,
were loaded on packhorses and, with beef
cattle, taken to Soda Creek where the foodstuffs were crossed on a boat while the animals swam across the river, and then on to
the mines at Barkerville. Once a year, one of
them took their pack train on the two-month
trek to Yale with the year's take in furs, and
would return with trade goods and supplies
for the store that they operated.
Doc always had a reputation for reliability
and honesty. On seeing an opportunity to
make a good deal of money in for, he ap-
From L to R: Ben English, Arthur English, NeUie Baker (nee English),
Ruby English (nee PhiUips). Front Row: Brian Arthur English and
Sharon Ann English. Taken at NeUie Baker's ranch in Quesnel, 1946.
Courtesy of Ashcroft Museum - 994.37.1 OB818
proached the Hudson's Bay Company manager in Victoria for supplies worth $ 10,000.
When asked by the company representative
if he was prepared to pay for the provisions,
Doc replied "Yes, certainly, I am always prepared to pay for what I get. But not right
now." He got his order, which was taken by
train as far as possible, then hauled by bull
teams the remaining three hundred miles to
the Chilcotin. Although he was in Victoria
on one or two occasions, the debt was never
mentioned to him until eighteen months
later when he returned to Victoria with
$40,000 in furs. He gave the Hudson's Bay
Company the first chance to bid on them,
but they were outbid by $6,000. He sold to
the highest bidder, and paid off his debt immediately.
Doc never took up gold mining despite
the time he spent in the Cariboo, but was
knowledgeable about the subject from ob
serving others who were bitten by gold fever.
Some areas that he predicted held large gold
deposits were ignored by the miners at the
time, but years later were found indeed to
hold a wealth of gold.
All his life Doc was involved with
horse racing, winning many races on
his own and other people's horses. On
one notable occasion he was in a relay
race with a string of his own horses,
which he knew were outclassed by the
competition. Doc had his companions
hold the horses in readiness, and when
it was time to change mounts, rather
than stopping, jumping off and remounting the next horse, he leaped
from the moving horse to the back of
the next one, thus winning the race.
On one of his pack-trips to Yale, riding a part quarter horse, Doc was challenged to a race by traders from
Oregon. Never a man to turn down
such a dare, Doc raced, won and collected five hundred dollars. Two years
later these same traders were waiting
for him, but the results of this race were
not so happy. Doc lost all the money
he had, some three thousand dollars
that belonged to the ranch. Always an
honorable and honest man, on his return to Chilcotin, Doc turned over his
share ofthe TH Ranch to Tom Hance
to make up the loss, and went to live
at Deer Park Ranch where, in 1873,
he pre-empted 320 acres.
In the early days in the West, citizens often assisted the widely separated
lawmen in apprehending outlaws, and
Doc, who was very low-keyed and never
bragged about his exploits always seemed to
be in the right place at the right time. After
the massacre ofthe Waddington party at Bute
Inlet, Theodore Davie, Governor of British
Columbia, asked Doc if he could capture
three Indians who had taken part in the
murder, but had so far eluded every attempt
to capture them because they were being protected by their tribesmen in the Chilcotin.
Doc agreed on the condition that he be given
a free hand. He went to the three chiefs of
the district, and offered pardons to all Indians charged with horse stealing and other
minor offenses if the three outlaws were
handed over to him the next afternoon, warning the chiefs that if they refused, he would
hang them in place ofthe miscreants the next
day at sundown. Knowing Doc and his reputation, the chiefs agreed to hand over two of
the outlaws, but told him he had to capture
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 the third, the most menacing, himself. Doc agreed. That night, Doc
crept to the desperado's tent, carrying his shot gun in front of him.
The Indian suddenly stepped out of
the tent, gun in hand. Doc was immediately on him before he could
fire a shot and next day took the
three outlaws back for trial. They
were found guilty, and hanged in
Doc and a cattle man from
Savona, Johnny Wilson, became
suspicious of an old prospector at
Scotty Creek who seemed to have
struck pay din, making between one
and two hundred dollars a day in
an area where more experienced
miners could find only minute
traces of gold. It also seemed odd
that this man, Rowlands, always collected the gold when his workers
were at lunch, never when anyone
else was around. Two days before he
had set up his claim, an elderly highwayman had committed the biggest
robbery in the history of the BX
Stage. A chest of gold valued at
$15,000 from Barkerville area had
been taken. One day, English and
Wilson followed Rowlands when he
was taking gold to Ashcroft, where
he deposited it in the F.W. Foster
Store. They approached the local
authorities with their suspicions, a
warrant was issued, and Rowlands
was arrested by Chief Constable
J.W. Burr. Gold from any specific
area is easily recognizable, that from
each location having a distinctive appearance.
This gold of Rowlands could not possibly
have come from Scotty Creek; but was from
the claims that had sent their gold on the
recently held up BX Stage. Although the evidence was circumstantial, Rowlands was
found guilty of the robbery and sentenced
to seven years in the penitentiary at New
Westminster. English and Wilson were given
the reward offered for the capture ofthe highwayman.
Doc had a near thing with one ofthe infamous McLean brothers, Archie, who was to
ride Doc's entry in a race at Williams Lake
against a mount owned by Tom McDougall.
Doc was told that McLean was going to
throw the race, on which Doc had bet all of
his own money and all he could borrow. Just
as he was being weighed in at the starting
gate, McLean was pulled from his horse by
Doc English and his son Bus of Ashcroft.
Courtesy Kamloops Museum Archives
Doc, and another rider put in his place.
McLean swiftly drew a small derringer and
would have shot Doc had a bystander not
grabbed him. These McLeans were a dangerous crew. All three of them, Allan, Charles
and Archie, and a friend, Alex Hare, were
hanged at New Westminster after terrorizing the countryside and murdering a provincial policeman, John Usher, a couple of years
after this incident. Happily for Doc, even
with an inexperienced rider, his horse easily
won the race.
Doc had three sons from his first marriage
to a young Indian girl, Ann Fontaine: Frank,
Chris, and Fred. When only fourteen years
old, Frank (Franklin Benjamin) took his father's pack train on its regular two-month
trip to Yale, taking furs down and bringing
trade goods back. Quite a responsibility for
a boy of that age. Frank obviously inherited
his father's adventurous spirit and
good common sense. He married
and bought a ranch in the Chimney Creek area where he lived until his death.
Cris (Charles William) was an
athletic young man, strong and daring who served with valor in WWI
as a sniper and raider when he
wasn't fighting in the trenches, but
his health was severely affected by
his military service. Cris drove a
freight team in the Omenica District for many years, and was killed
in 1930 when he fell from a sleigh
and was kicked in the head by one
ofthe horses he was driving. There
is little information about the
youngest son, Fred. All we know is
that he died at Alexis Creek in
Doc also raised Willie Frank
English who was probably the son
of Doc's brother Lawrence, better
known as Buck, who worked for
Doc in the 1880's, and then returned to the United States. Willie
Frank was a well known character,
a teamster on the Cariboo Road,
and a racehorse owner. His wife was
a descendent of the legendary Indian, Diable, of Pavilion.
It was on the trip to Victoria to
sell furs that Doc met the woman
who was to become his second wife,
Ellen Martin, the daughter of a sea
captain. Born in London in 1858,
she had sailed with her father
. around the Horn to Victoria. She
and Doc were married in 1884, and settled
on the Deer Park Ranch in the Chilcotin.
Ellen was reputed to be the most handsome
woman in the province at that time.
In 1896 their big ranch in the Chilcotin
was sold to Beaumont and Drummond, and
Doc, Ellen, and family settled on the lower
Bonaparte, a few miles north of Ashcroft
where they lived for several years, raising cattle and horses. In 1902 he bought R.P.
Rithet's racing stock for $900. In 1904 he
sold many of his racehorses, 'Reciprocity' for
$500, Ben E for $500 (taken to California
for training), Kamletta for $400, Creole Bell
for $300, and other stock to the value of
$1200, and he still had as many horses as
when he made the 1902 purchase. For Doc,
raising racehorses was a paying proposition.
The English family sold the Bonaparte
ranch to a man named Doxat, and moved to
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 This 1994 picture shows the grandson and great-
grandson of Doc English posed with tbe Ashcroft Derby
Cup which now rests in tbe Ashcroft Museum.
Courtesy Ashcroft Museum
the Venables Valley, between Spence's Bridge
and Ashcroft, where they tried sheep-farming, but after about a year and a half they
saw that sheep did not fare too well in this
area, so went back to cattle ranching. Doc
sold this property for $20,000 in 1919 to
the Marston brothers, returned soldiers, and
bought another ranch in the Upper Hat
Creek area, and finally moved to Ashcroft in
1919. He lived an active life until he died in
the Ashcroft Hospital May 6, 1922. Ellen
moved to live with her daughter Nellie for
some time before her death in Quesnel in
October, 1927.
The couple had five children: Lily, Alice,
Nellie, Thomas (Buss), and Ben III.
(Benny), all born in the Chilcotin. Little
is known of two ofthe daughters of Doc
and Ellen. Lily, born in 1886, was the first
white child born in the Chilcotin. She and
Alice married and moved out of the district. Ellen Elizabeth (Nellie) was born in
1888. She travelled a great deal with her
father, and shared his ability with and love
of horses. After her second marriage to Dr.
Paddy Baker of Quesnel she became a legend in her own right in that part of B.C.2
Both of Doc's sons also displayed outstanding horsemanship. Thomas, better
known as Buss, was born in 1887. In his
earlier years, despite a nearly fatal attack
of typhoid fever in his youth which left
him with a heart condition, he was one of
the top bronc busters in British Columbia, winning in the early 1900's a $200.00
first prize in the Bucking Contest at the Victoria Fair, the only rider able to "sit the gay
and festive bronco" as the horse was described
in a newspaper ofthe time. The next year, he
was the runner up for the world championship bronc rider title. Much of his life was
spent riding the range for ranchers in the
Chilcotin. While chasing wild horses on the
D.B. Hutchison cattle ranch near Green Lake
in September, 1940, he suddenly slumped
in his saddle and slipped from his horse -
death due to heart failure was instantaneous.
He was fifty-three years old. He was buried
in the Quesnel Cemetery.
Doc's youngest son, Benny (Ben III) was
also a very fine horseman. In September,
1909, while still a teenager, he won the
"World Championship Cup" donated by
Doering's Vancouver Breweries for being the
outstanding bronc rider at the Ashcroft
The English family is typical ofthe hardy
pioneers who settled western Canada; people who faced hardships every day of their
lives and overcame them with courage and
strength; people who could be relied on for
honesty and integrity; people who were always ready to take on a new challenge and
see it through; people who cared for and
helped those in need of their assistance; people who knew how to enjoy life to the full;
they have left us a legacy to be proud of.
Bio Note: The author is a retired teacher from
Alberta. From 1982 to 1993 sbe and her bus-
band enjoyed Uving in Chemainus (where they
learned to sail). Then, craving yet another experience, they moved to Ashcroft where they
enjoy golf and researching local history.
1. "Grandmother and Granddaughter: the Pioneer Spirit",
British Columbia Historical News, Spring 1995.
2. From notes of Michael Chegwyn, biographer of Lawrence
(Buck) English.
Ashcroft Museum - newspaper files and photographs.
Chegwyn, Michael, notes.
Wade, Mark S. The Cariboo Road, The Haunted Bookshop,
Panelists Howard White, Jean Barman, Helen Akrigg and Gordon Elliott are shown
here during question period foUowing their talks.
Photo courtesy of Skip Fennessy
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Ron Welwood exchanges an aside with Myrtle Haslam at the Friday evening
Photo courtesy of John Spittle
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 A Surveyor's Story
Tbhe Autobiography of Arthur Fredericlt Cotton1
by H.B. Cotton
The practice of surveying in Canada has
always been physically demanding, and never
more so than in the late 1800's and early
1900 's when exploration and mapping were
the order ofthe day. Surveyors, who spent
their working lives amongst the mountains,
rivers, lakes and swamps of our hinterland,
developed qualities of resourcefulness and
hardihood which may well he unknown in
this modern age. One such man was A.F.
Cotton D.L.S. O.L.S., who underwent several noteworthy experiences both before and
after coming west in 1886. His autobiography, with footnotes to explain some ofthe
more obscure references, is given here...
"In the following pages I have tried to
give a brief outline of my experiences as a
Surveyor, from 1866 to 1924. Also a
meagre description ofthe mode of travel
and living which prevailed in my early
surveying days.
I was born on 8th August 1852, in the
City of Quebec. My parents moved to Toronto in 1855, and returned to Quebec in
1859. In those days the only means of travel
was by steamboat in summer, or by sleigh in
winter, as the Grand Trunk Railway was not
In 1864, a company of Royal Engineers
began the survey for fortifications on the
Point Levis side of the river, opposite Quebec. It was then that I, as a boy, saw a survey
party for the first time, and I think I can say
it was that that led me into the profession. I
was with them every chance I could get. They
had been about three weeks on the work,
when they woke up to the fact that it would
be better in every way to employ local
axemen; their own men were continually
cutting themselves, felling trees along the line,
and finally killing one man. Then they hired
French-Canadians to do the axework.
When I look back and think ofthe labour
that chaining2 entailed then, I am greatly
impressed. Gunter's chain was the only one
in use. The chainmen were armed with that
and a set of 10 iron pins, with a brass one to
Arthur Frederick Cotton, 1852 - 1925.
Courtesy BCARS #A 07634
mark the end ofthe 10 chains or tallies. I
wonder how the chainmen of today would
enjoy it, 80 times to the mile, and if the country is hilly, many times oftener. I have very
often chained 15 miles a day with an 8 lb
link chain. Try it and see how laborious it is!
The seat of government was moved to Ottawa in 1866 and I went with it. I went to
school there, and in 1870 passed my preliminary examination in order to become an
Ontario Land Surveyor.
The second Fenian Raid3 broke out on the
24th May 1870, on which day the militia of
Ottawa, which consisted ofthe Ottawa Brigade of Garrison Artillery, "G" Battery, and
the six companies ofthe Civil Service Rifles,
had held the usual Queen's Birthday parade.
My brother, who later on was a Brigadier-
General, was in command of No 2 Battery,
in which I was a sergeant.
We had just got home and were eating
lunch, when a messenger came with orders
to turn out at once and proceed to Cornwall.   I was sent out to notify all the men,
and by 3 pm we were assembled in the
drill shed. Equipment was served out, and
by that evening our Battery left on the
Ottawa and Prescott Railway for Prescott,
thence by boat to Cornwall, where we
arrived on the morning of the 25th. We
then had to set to work to locate billets
for ourselves and others that were to follow.
Cornwall, the county town of the
United Counties of Dundas, Stormont
and Glengarry, was a thriving manufacturing town of about 3000 at the foot of
the Cornwall canal. Great excitement prevailed, and rumours of all kinds were floating around. The feeling was very tense;
the people being glad to see how promptly
the call had been responded to. In three
days there were 1000 men of various units
stationed there. Sentries were posted on
both sides ofthe canal for its entire length.
We remained there about a month, but
nothing of any importance took place.
The heaviest work was in the Eastern Townships in the Province of Quebec. Incidentally,
about 40 years later we received our medals!
Then about eight years later the Ontario
Government gave 160 acres to everyone who
had served in that Province, and some years
after that the Dominion Government gave
everyone a grant of $100.
The lumbering business in Western Quebec and Eastern Ontario was very brisk in
my time, and surveyors had a great deal to
do with it. It is only those who were then in
practice that know what had to be contended
As I stated before my digression about the
Fenian Raid, I passed my preliminary in
1870, and in 1871 was articled to WR. Thistle. The winter of 1871 /721 was sent out on
a timber limit survey with the late John
McLatchie. We went up to the head of the
river Coulogne. A few days before completing the work we ran across a fresh moose trail.
Now the snow was very deep that winter,
between four and five feet, and two crusts,
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 and this track showed us that the moose was
having a hard time of it, and was bleeding
freely. Our crew of five Indians said: "Catch
him quick, good meat". McLatchie said: "We
have no guns or rifles; how will you kill him?"
"Kill him alright". So he let them go after
him. We followed up, and it was not long
before we got to them. Two of the Indians
were teasing him with poles, and the other
three were felling trees on him, and at last
broke his back with one, after which they
cut his throat. This sounds a little like a fish
story but it is not!
In May 1872, John McLatchie had a Government Survey in Manitoba, and took me
with him as assistant. We left
Ottawa on May 14th and arrived
in Winnipeg, then Fort Garry, on
June 13th. Travelling those days
was no pleasure. We sailed from
Collingwood to Duluth, then
took a work train on the Northern Pacific to Moose Head,
thence down the Red River to
Fort Garry on the S.S. Selkirk.
We ran the Third Correction
Line and Fourth Base Line4 about
80 miles and over the Riding
Mountains and subdivided eight
townships. We returned to Winnipeg in November, and there I
found a mutual friend, J.H. Gray,
who was on one ofthe C.P.R survey parties. You can imagine my
delight at meeting my old school
friend in a strange land. (He then
came to B.C., and I afterwards
returned to Ottawa). We left
Winnipeg in December, by four-
horse stage, and drove to within
a few miles of St Paul, Minn.
That winter, my chief and I
went up the Ottawa River and
over to Lake Nippissing, and examined a
number of timber limits that were to be sold
by the Ontario Government. We took a team
of horses and drove from Ottawa and back,
as there were no railroads then.
In the summer of 1873 I was on the subdivision of a 200 Acre lot which is now in
the centre of the present city of Ottawa. In
those days chains and links were the unit of
measure, and naturally broken distances came
in very often. To show what some people
thought of accuracy in land matters then, let
me tell you a short story...
We had a Civil Engineer, a graduate of
Trinity College, Dublin, as a draftsman in
the office making the plan. A great number
of lots had frontages varying from 1.00 to
1.05 - 15/16. Now putting that on the plan
was tiresome work, and the draftsman, in his
Irish brogue, exclaimed: "What the divil
mathers a couple or three perch5 in the mile
in Canada, anyhow!"
I became a P.L.S.6 for Ontario in July 1874,
and six months later passed as P.L.S. for
Quebec, and opened an office in Ottawa and
practiced there until 1886.
The Ottawa River country was the centre
ofthe lumber business in those days, and
Timber Limit surveys kept us pretty busy
during the winter seasons. I have been to the
L      ;■
A  '  >
1  i
Manson Creek north ofthe 55° parallel, in the Omineca district. Cotton had a
survey crew here in 1895. It is still a tiny mining community.
BCARS #F-09943
head of every river running into the Ottawa
back in Ontario and Quebec.
What a change has taken place since then,
more especially in the boarding of men!
Then, all we had was Chicago prime mess
pork in barrels, pilot bread and dried apples.
Tea was supplied free on surveys, but in the
lumber camps the men were charged $1 a
month for the luxury. Wages ran from $11
to $15 per month for axemen. Camp stoves
were a thing unheard of. Three pairs of blankets to every two men were supplied, and I
can assure you it was not a tropical climate -
often 30 or 40 below for a week at a time;
but we enjoyed it, or thought we did!
In 18801 became a D.L.S.7 and was given
a subdivision contract south of where the city
of Brandon stands today, and from 1881 to
1884 I was employed on Township outline
The second Riel Rebellion, breaking out
in the spring of 1885, put all surveying out
of the question. This rebellion is now history and has often been written about, at least
most of the causes have been told, but not
all. Here is one very few know anything
In 1884 my instructions informed me that
I was likely to rub shoulders with Chief Picau
and his outfit, and I was warned to be very
careful. In August I found myself in the heart of what he
claimed as his Reserve, that is
north-west of Saddle Lake and
south ofWhite Fish Lake. I knew
that Picau had been to Regina to
see Lt. Governor Dewdney,8 who
was also an Indian Commissioner. On his return he found
me running Township outlines,
and he was naturally wrathful, for
he had secured the Lt-Governor's
promise that no surveys would be
made until his Reserve had been
allotted to him. He and his tribe
came to camp, and we had a three
day pow-wow. He suggested that
he and I go to Regina, and while
we were gone his men would live
at my camp. I refused to do so,
and told him that I would not
stop my work until forced to do
so. Well, the next day he DID
stop me. In my absence next day,
the chief and a couple of his followers forcibly stopped the survey by folding up the instrument,
and handing it to the transit-
man. Nothing more happened, as I had told
my men not to resist should the Indians show
hostility. I went to Edmonton and wired Lt.
Governor Dewdney. It took three weeks for
a reply to reach me, and then all it said was:
"Take Mounted Police if necessary". I then
went to Fort Saskatchewan and saw Inspector Greisbach. We decided that he and I go
back to White Fish Lake and interview Chief
Picau, which we did.
I know the Indian Commissioner never went
to see Chief Picau or send anyone to quiet him
until October,9 when it was too late. The seeds
of rebellion had taken root. The Frog Lake
massacre April 2nd 1885, was the beginning
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 ofthe rebellion, and it was instigated by the
Indians with whom I had had the trouble.,
After finishing my work we drove to
Calgary, stored my outfit and took the C.P.R.
to Ottawa. After completing my returns and
reports, I went to the head of the Ottawa
River on a timber limit survey. Returning, I
reached the CPR at Mattawa on the 12th
of May, 1885, and heard ofthe rebellion and
the battle of Batoche. You can imagine how
I felt! I then realized how closely I had been
with it.    A
slip on my
part might
have started
it in August
1884. But as
I had looked
upon it then,
it was a matter of "safety
first", or to
use the
words of an
o 1 d
westerner, "It
is better to be
a live surveyor than a
dead hero".
The survey of the
was more
like a picnic
than anything else. There were no hardships
or privations to endure.10
We would gather at the outfitting depots
in the month of May, there generally being
from eight to ten parties. After putting the
chainmen through a course of "sprouts"11,
we would start for our various locations. It
was quite a sight to see five or six parties of
from seven to ten carts and a buckboard each.
It made a nice impression.
Now we had to be careful in guarding the
health of our men. It would be no joke to
have a sick man on your hands out in the
wide outdoors, so every precaution was taken.
Should a horse get mired in a mudhole or
creek, the men had to get in and help him
out. Now very often the men would get their
feet wet! As soon as we saw that, we, the
chiefs ofthe parties, would immediately take
a drink to prevent the men from catching
The summer of 1885 gave me a chance to
be with my wife and family, which I greatly
enjoyed. To fill in the time that was not engaged in local practice, I took up my old
hobby, rifle shooting. I attended all the principal matches in Ontario and Quebec, and
achieved a goodly amount of success. Paid
expenses anyway, and had a good time.
The winter of 1885/61 made a survey of a
mineral claim on LakeTimagami. It was the
first to be taken up in that section, and was
■0/1   g*
*dk   '    -    /'ii <ks.X
—— ._
'-. , - r ^;;
**■■"**"        s.
PN,  '
not far off from the famous Cobalt country.
LakeTimagami is a beautiful lake, with deep
bays and numerous islands, and has a shore
line of about 3000 miles. Today the Ottawa
Government Railroad touches a great part
of it, and it is one of the famous summer
In the spring, I, in company with Thomas
Faweett and the late J.F. Garden, left Ottawa
for British Columbia,12 to carry on surveys
in the Railway Belt.. I was posted to the New
Westminster District and the others to the
Interior; my first work being the subdivision of the land lying between the Fraser
River and Harrison Lake. I shipped my camp
outfit by boat to what was known as Agassiz's
Upper Landing, where there was a store
house. I followed in a day or so by rail, and
there I met Mrs. Agassiz, and she said: "So
you are the surveyor whose supplies are in
our warehouse?" I asked her how she
knew they were surveyor's supplies. "Why it
is perfectly plain - there is a keg of whiskey
on the top ofthe pile". I tried to make believe it was vinegar. She replied by telling me
this story...
During the construction ofthe C.P.R., the
Resident Engineer was located on my property, and one day another Engineer, whose
section was further up the line, was on his
way to New Westminster and stopped at the
Agassiz camp. He looked about, and then
asked the
cook where
Mr. So-&-
So was.
"Out", was
his reply.
"Well then,
where does
he keep his
When the
Agassiz Engineer returned, the
cook said:
"An Engineer man
come see
you." "What
was his
"Not know".
"Well, how
pabc 59764 do you know
he was an
Engineer?" "Him wear bad clothes and ask
for whiskey!"
I continued in the service of the Department ofthe Interior until the fall of 1888,
when I accepted the office of Engineer for
the City of New Westminster. I resigned in
1892, and then went into the service ofthe
Lands and Works of B.C., and worked for
them on surveys up the Coast until 1894.
Hard times hit the Province in 1895. That
year I did not do a day's work, so took to the
rifle again. I attended the meeting of the
Provincial Rifle Association, and won a place
on the Ottawa team, and went to Ottawa
and competed in the Dominion Rifle Meeting. In 1895 a syndicate of Ottawa men had
formed a company to operate a bunch of
claims on Manson Creek in the Omineca
District, which they had secured. This company was named the 43rd Mining and Milling Co.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 When I returned home, I had the appointment of Engineer in Charge, and began
preparations for my trip in. The route was to
be up the Skeena River by H.B.Co boat to
Hazelton, then on foot to Manson Creek -
200 miles. We left Port Simpson about the
6th of May. The water being high, it took us
ten days to reach Hazelton. There I hired
Indians to pack the outfit. It was too early to
take horses, snow being still deep. After a hard
trip we got to our destination early in June
with hardly any provisions left.
I began the survey and location of ditch
line, and put men to work building camp
and clearing mill site. I remained with the
Company five years, built saw mills, nine
miles of ditch and flume and several miles of
wagon road, installed electric light plant and
telephone line.
I had finished my work by July 1900, and
then had the misfortune to break my leg.
There being no doctor in the country something had to be done, and someone had to
do it, and do it quickly. I had a box made,
and after getting the bones in place and bandages on, put my leg in the box and poured
well-puddled blue clay in, and left it there
until set. I thought I might not have made a
success of it, and might have to have it
rebroken and reset, so decided to come to
the Coast.
I got to Fort St James on Stuart Lake on
horseback, and from there to Quesnel by
canoe, and then B.C. Express to Ashcroft. I
immediately had the leg examined by the
doctors, who pronounced the set perfect.
Prior to the breaking I was subject to rheumatism, and since then I have not felt the
slightest twinge - strange but true.
19011 spent up the Naas and Stikeen River
country, which is about as rough and wild a
country as I was ever in.
1902 we spent on the Bulkley Valley and
around Hamilton, having to travel the Skeena
River by canoe, which was very dangerous.
1903 and 1904 I was with the location
party on the Grand Trunk Pacific around Port
Simpson, as the latter place was originally
intended for the terminus for the Grand
Trunk Pacific. For two years Mr. A.E. Hill
and myself were on this work.
1905, I went into Northern Ontario as
Location Engineer for the National Transcontinental Railway, starting from Abitibi
River west, 250 miles or more. This work
continued five years until the location was
finally settled and construction was under
way. During this time, the town of Cochrane
came into being as it was at the Junction of
the N.R.C.13 andT.N.O.14 Railways.
1910,1 went up the Montreal River to Elk
Lake and Gou Ganda which were two mining towns in the making.
1911 found me once more back in New
Westminster where my family lived, and in
the spring ofthe same year I went out again
for the B.C. Government up to Stuart Lake,
where we worked the summer and part of
the fall, when we moved south. As we had a
large party, and the travelling was bad on
account of snow, I bought a canoe from the
Hudson's Bay Company. This canoe was a
dug-out fifty-five feet long, and four-and-
one-half feet wide, the largest canoe ever built
in the country. This was big enough to take
the complete outfit and all the men with
Jimmy Alexander as guide and captain.15 Jim
Smith was also coming out with his party,
who were travelling in a large scow. We travelled down the Stuart River into the Nechako
River, and finally reached the Fraser at Fort
George,16 where we found the river full of
pancake ice, which made canoeing very hard,
but as we had no other way to travel we continued. The Fort George canyon was frozen
solid, and we had to spend nearly one day
dragging our canoe and outfit over the rough
ice and stones. The Cottonwood Canyon was
open as the water was too fast and rough for
ice to form, so this we ran and finally arrived
at Quesnel. I then discharged half of the party
and the remainder went into Harper's
Camp,17 east of 100 Mile House to work and
traverse Horsefly Lake, but the weather became so cold we had to get out, after waiting
for the cold to lessen so the horses could come
to move us back to Harper's Camp. The
Government Recorder recorded 61 below
zero for nine days.18
1912. The spring of this year I was again
sent out to Harper's Camp to finish the work
we had had to give up the previous winter,
and after completing this work, we went to
Fort George and walked in to the Nechako
country, where we spent the remainder of
the season.
1913. Again I returned to the Cariboo
country, and worked from William's Lake to
Little Timothy Mountain, but spent a short
season this year.
1914.1 went up to Masset Inlet and spent
the summer amongst the cedar swamps and
flies, and when war broke out, I returned
home, and Government work was finished
for some time. From the end of the season
spent at Masset until 1920,1 did very little
work other than local surveys, of which there
were very few.
1921.1 was Municipal Engineer for Surrey, and continued on this work until I went
to Bull River as Construction Engineer. Here
I stayed two years until, the work being completed, I returned home.
Mr. Cotton's autobiography closes with the
year 1921. Subsequently to that he did very
litde work. He was taken ill and entered the
hospital at New Westminster about the beginning of April 1925, and died there August 6th, 1925. He was buried on his 73rd
birthday. Many of his descendants are alive
and well and living in British Columbia, the
Province of his adoption.
Bio Note: H.Barry Cotton B.C.LS. (Ret'd) lives
on Salt Spring Island Despite the same surname he bas not found anyfamUy connection
toA.F. Cotton.
1. Originally published in Proceedings ofthe British
Columbia Land Surveyors Corporation 1929, and
reprinted by courtesy.
2. Horizontal measurement was (and still is at times) known
as chaining, since it was done with a Gunter's Chain. A
chain was 66 ft long, and consisted of 100 links, each of
0.66 ft. There were 80 chains to a mile (49.709 to a
kilometre - an unused equivalent at that time).
3. The Fenian Brotherhood was organised in New York in
1859 to assist the movement for Irish Independance by a
diversionary invasion of Canada. The first raid in 1866
was repulsed by Canadian (mostly volunteer) forces, as
was the second in 1870. The country was, however, kept
in a chronic state of alarm during these years.
4. Base Lines and Correction lines are surveyed lines on the
ground controlling the layout of Townships in the vast
Dominion Government Grid system of survey that
eventually covered Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and
pans of British Columbia.
5. A rod, pole or perch was 16 1/2 feet long (four to a chain).
6. Provincial Land Surveyor.
7. Dominion Land Surveyor. The commission of D.L.S. was
the authority to act as a surveyor of Public lands in
Canada. During the 1870's and 1880s the extension of
the survey system across the (then) North-West
Territories, required the services of a great many such
land surveyors.
8. Edgar Dewdney was appointed Commissioner for Indian
Affairs ofthe North West in 1879, and Lt/Governor of
the North-West Territories in 1881.
9. My italics.
10. Readers will probably conclude otherwise.
11. Training.
12. A.F. Cotton was 33 years old.
13. Northern Rly of Canada (originally Ontario, Simco &
Huron Rly, now part of C.N.R.)
14. Temiskaming & Northern Ontario Rly (now Ontario
Northland Rly)
15. Jim Alexander was a Hudsons Bay Co man, born in Fort
St. James 1868. He was well-known throughout B.C. as
an expert canoeman, and the party were fortunate in
having him as a guide. In the party also were two of A.F.
Cotton's sons - W.H. and E.M. Cotton - who had been
working on the survey with their father. For E.M.
Cotton (who was 20 years old at the time) it was a hair-
raising adventure, particularly the running of
Cottonwood Canyon. The people of Quesnel turned out
in force to welcome them on arrival there. Later, after
they had gone, the townsfolk erected a shelter over the
canoe and it was preserved for viewing until the 1940's,
but has since rotted away. - B.C.Hist Qlyjuly 1945
"The last voyage of B.C.'s largest canoe". E.M. Cotton.
16. Now Prince George.
17. A centre for hydraulic mining since the 1890's.
18. Degrees Fahrenheit.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 James Ferguson Armstrong:
Provincial Employee 1893 - 1926
by Winnifred A. Weir
Grandparents today see more of their
grandchildren than in pioneer years. Not only
is travelling simpler but also grandparents are
younger and more active than their predecessors. Fashions for grandparents have changed,
too. Grandmothers no longer wear floor
length black dresses (over restricting corset)
and shawls like my grandmother did. My
English grandmother put on a little white
lace cap after her marriage to denote her
matrimonial status; she was never seen again
without her head covered. Now grandmothers wear shorts on the tennis court, bikinis
on the beach, slacks on the golf course and
smart pant suits to business. Grandparents
take cruises, bus tours, plane trips to faraway
destinations or drive their own cars where
they will.
But something has not changed. That is
the deep-lying affection that is a magnet between grandparents and the grandchildren
they dote on.
My clearest memory of a grandparent is of
my mother's father, James Ferguson
Armstrong, elder brother of Captain Frank
Armstrong of Columbia River paddlewheeler fame. (See BC Historical News
Spring 1995, Vol 28:2, p5-10.) These brothers spent most of their working lives in the
East Kootenay.
James Ferguson Armstrong, born February 14, 1847 at Sorel, Quebec, was the eldest in a family of sixteen descended from
United Empire Loyalists who came to Montreal in 1783. His father was the Hon. James
Shearer Armstrong, CMG, Chief Justice of
St. Lucia and Tobago. His grandfather was a
St. Lawrence River pilot, Captain Charles
Logie Armstrong. By marital agreement between his parents the twelve sons were
brought up as Anglicans and four daughters
raised as Catholics. Grandad's devotion to his
church was passed on to his daughters. That
is why I am Anglican today.
James was married in 1871 to Gertrude
Maud Ranney, the daughter of General
Nathan Ranney, a U.S. Army officer who ran
riverboats out of St. Louis, Missouri. They
had six children. Maud Ferguson was born
James Ferguson Armstrong c-1885. His hair turned
white shortly after this.
Courtesy Fort Steele Heritage Town
in 1872 and died in 1877. In 1875 twins,
Gertrude Ranney and Louise Olivier were
born and lived briefly. Three more daughters followed; Edith Shackford in 1876,
Winifred Heber in 1882, and Marjorie
Frances, my mother, in 1889.
The family came west in 1892 after James
left his work in the Montreal office of the
Ohio and Mississippi Railway. He first became secretary for his brother's Upper Columbia Transportation Company in Golden.
The following year he commenced service
with the government of British Columbia,
serving both Donald and Golden. He had
his home in Golden where he was a leading
figure in the building of St. Paul's Anglican
Church. Church records name him as Secretary as well as Lay Reader. His duties took
him south to the emerging community of
Fort Steele with visits every two or three
months; by 1897 it was necessary to go down
once a month, at which time he would conduct Divine Service on a Sunday evening in
the schoolhouse, assisting R.L.T. Galbraith
who was also a Lay Reader.
His transfer to Fort Steele was announced
in August 1897. Tenders were called for the
construction of a Government Office... even
before the site was finalized. Four lots were
purchased and J.J. Lamont erected a two
story building with offices, court room, jail
cells, with a gaolers' residence added as a
wing. The editor ofthe Prospector newspaper declared that the government agent had
chosen "a slantindicular position to hide the
prison yard from the street." On September
18,1897Mr. Armstrong returned to Golden.
He put his daughters, Winifred 15 and
Marjorie aged 8, on the train to Yale where
they became students at the Anglican Girls
Boarding School, All Hallows. (See BCH
News Vol 22:2, p.6-9.) Mrs. Armstrong then
boarded an eastbound train to visit family
near Montreal. Armstrong's eldest daughter
Edith, 21, had married Dr. Norman Taylor
of Golden shortly before the move to Fort
Steele. Mr. Armstrong brought their household furnishings to Fort Steele and arranged
to live in a wing of the government office
while his new house was readied.
Fort Steele may have been deemed too
rough for Mrs. Armstrong's daughters but it
was adding amenities such as an Opera
House, hospital, a book store and a bank.
The Kootenay Men's Club held an inaugural
tea on the afternoon of December 13, 1897
followed by a "smoker" in the evening. The
Prospector listed the honored guests who attended in the afternoon; the first named were
Mr. & Mrs. J.F. Armstrong. A week later the
newspaper reported that the new club was
accused of violating liquor laws; the president, vice-president and secretary appeared
before Magistrate Armstrong pleading that
they were unaware of any wrongdoing. The
secretary was M.A. Beale. Magistrate
Armstrong did not know what legislation
applied so adjourned the case for one month.
Nor did he know that M.A. Beale was destined to be his son-in-law, my father.
In January 1898 the officers of the
Kootenay Club appeared again in court and
the paper reported, "Magistrate Armstrong
ruled that, because the club was not selling
liquor for a profit, there was no violation of
the law."
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 The Armstrong home in Golden, June 1892. James Ferguson Armstrongwith
bis wife Gertrude and daughters Marjory (b. 1889), Winifred (b. 1882),
Edith (b. 1876).
Courtesy Winn Weir
Duties as Government Agent, Gold Commissioner, registrar of births, marriages, and
deaths, deputy coroner, commissioner of
lands and public works, as well as being Stipendiary Magistrate kept this civil servant
busy. Presentations in court sometimes took
an almost humorous vein. " Two young males
were charged with discharging firearms
within the city about midnight. The charge
was admitted but the plea was set up in extenuation that a rabbit had been espied
prowling about the rear of the quarters occupied by the young men. This dangerous
rodent had to be removed at any hazard and
a fusillade with a rifle was begun upon it.
The rabbit escaped. Not so the young men
for they were mulcted in the costs ofthe prosecution, though otherwise they went, like the
rabbit, unscathed except for a severe lecture
by the magistrate on the iniquity of nocturnal pot shooting generally."
Although my grandfather always used the
name James and the initial F, he was known
to family and close friends as Fergie. I have a
letter written by my grandmother to him in
1917; she addresses him as "Dear Fergie" and
signs herself, "Your loving wife, G.R.
Armstrong." Charlotte and Ruth, daughters
of Captain Frank Armstrong, always referred
to him as "Uncle Fergie." He was active in
the Masonic Lodge - rising to Deputy District Governor. In that role on December
27,1905 he installed M.A. Beale as Master
ofthe lodge at Fort Steele. In November 1899
he became an officer in the newly formed
lodge of the Independent Order of Foresters.
Fort Steele began to fade when the Crow's
Nest Railway bypassed the community and
was routed through the infant   city of
Cranbrook. The government office was closed
and the staff transferred
to Cranbrook in May
1904. Armstrong and
seven others were consigned to a small
schoolroom. He reported to the Provincial
Secretary that there was
not sufficient storage
space so he had rented a
room on the opposite
side ofthe street at $10
per month. In that same
letter he appealed for an
increase in salary for two
young staff members.
Both Mr. Clark and
MissTaenhauser had lived with their parents
while working at Fort Steele. Miss Taenhauser
found that she could not afford room and
board in Cranbrook with her pay of $30 per
month. "I do not think I could secure another stenographer at $30. Her services are
worth $50 a month," wrote Mr. Armstrong.
His letter concluded, "In case they leave the
government will you authorize me to employ
temporary assistance until their places are
filled.?" Herbert Clark's dilemma was solved
by appointing him Deputy Mining Recorder
to remain at Fort Steele. MissTaenhauser apparently received an increase in remuneration.
An elegant building was erected in 1907
to house offices of both provincial and city
administrators. This landmark, at the end
of Baker Street, was demolished years later
to allow for a commercial mall. Armstrong
headed staff there until May 1912 when his
colleague Alfred Clement Nelson replaced
him at the Cranbrook office.
Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong moved to Victoria where James F. was with the provincial
water board. My own memories are of his
visits to my childhood home in Cranbrook.
Those memories are vivid and happy. His
arrival was heralded with joy, partly because
his suitcase yielded a gift for each of us three
grandchildren. Mine was always a book in
which I would get him to write my name
and the date in his beautiful Spencerian handwriting. I still have those books and treasure
the inscriptions as much as the books.
Grandad was a "fixer" while my father
scarcely knew one end of a hammer from the
other. My mother used to save all the broken
articles accumulated since his last visit. He
would whittle down empty sewing thread
The three daughters of Government Agent
Armstrong are shown here on the verandah of their
Cranbrook home c. 1907. Edith was visitingfrom
Golden. Winifred, with an unidentified male
friend, worked and played in Cranbrook.
Marjorie (right) walked across the street on the
morning of her wedding to scrub the floor of Christ
Church - where she was married in August 1908.
Photo courtesy the author
spools to make new knobs for saucepan lids;
shorten frayed cords on lamps; set picture
frames that needed glue; mend broken china
and chairs that had broken rungs. He would
have had a fit at today's throw away society.
Grandad was an early riser. When he visited we children would come down in the
morning to find him, wearing an old grey
cardigan, standing at the McClary coal and
wood range, stirring his porridge. His Scottish ancestry was evident in the way he ate
his oatmeal. He wouldn't have deigned to put
sugar on it. He had a glass of milk beside his
bowl; each spoonful of porridge was dipped
into the milk then conveyed to his mouth.
One of grandfather's good deeds left a
legacy to his daughter and grandchildren.
When travelling to Fort Steele from Golden
by stage coach fellow passengers were a diminutive Japanese couple, newly weds not
long in Canada. When the stage reached
Windermere at dusk travellers were tired and
dusty. My grandfather was assigned a room
for the night. The clerk at the Windermere
Hotel told the Japanese couple, the Futas,
that there was no room left for them . In indignation J.F. A. said, "You will give them my
room !" Apparently accommodation was
B.C. Historical News • Summer 1996 This is a staff picture taken on tbe steps ofthe Government Office in Cranbrook
c-1910. Government Agent Armstrong is at the far right. Back row is A. C Nelson,
John Fingal Smith, t, Herbert Clark. Seated- Miss W. Armstrong and RL. T.
Galbraith. NA. WaUingerstandsbetween GaUrraith and Armstrong.
Photo courtesy M. Fennessy
vca< Jca.
Sample of James Armstrong's fine Spencerian handwriting.
found. The Futas established a small grocery
store in Cranbrook. Each Christmas he presented gifts to Mr. Armstrong. Later when
Mr. Armstrong had moved to Victoria the
gestures of appreciation continued for daughter Marjorie and her family. Mr. Futa would
arrive at our back door with a large box laden
with fancy silk embroidered handkerchiefs
for my mother, sister and me, tobacco for
my dad, boxes of oriental nuts, Japanese lily
bulbs for spring flowering, candy and biscuits. Then my sister and I would be sent to
the grocery with a box of homemade cook
ies and jam that our mother had prepared.
Mr. Armstrong did not take retirement
until he was 80. His wife died and he moved
in with his daughter Winifred, Mrs. Arthur
Pope. He died in Victoria on December 10,
1930. The Cranbrook Courier outlined his
working years in the East Kootenay and
noted, "He was a man of splendid education
who spoke French as well as English fluently.
He wrote a fine Spencerian hand and his signature would remind one of script copperplate. He was not much given to levity but
would tell a good story on occasion." He was
predeceased by his brother Frank in 1923.
Grandfather was a gentle man, quiet, conscientious, reliable while Uncle Frank was
noted for his indomitable energy, enterprise,
perseverance and determination (which
sometimes carried him over obstacles in disregard of laws.) Both were respected for their
generosity to church and community.
Bio Note: Winn Weir is known as die historian
of Windermere and die Columbia VaUey. She
still resides in Invermere.
Two delegates from die Okanagan Historical Society Denis MarshaU and
Yvonne McDonald of Salmon Arm at the Museum of Cariboo Chilcotin.
Photo courtesy of John Spittle
Peggy Imredy and Jean Barman of Vancouver pose here with one ofthe Williams Lake
Photo courtesy ot John Spittle
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 Drawing the Line: Tbhe Boundary 1846-1996
bys Jim Glanville
For those of us privileged to live
in the "Boundary" we know it
means that area of British Columbia stretching from the Anarchist
summit to the summit east of
Christina Lake and comprising the
drainage area of the Ketde River
with the southern boundary being the 49th parallel. For the purpose of this article, however, the
emphasis will be on the line which
delineates the border between
British Columbia and Washington
June 15,1996 marks the 150th
anniversary ofthe Oregon Boundary Treaty.1 By this treaty of 1846
it was agreed that the boundary
would be the 49th parallel until it
reached the Pacific Coast and then
it would dip south through the
Strait of Juan de Fuca, leaving
Vancouver Island within British
Prior to the establishment of
this common border, travel by
native Indians and fur traders was unrestricted between the two territories. The discovery of gold in 1856 suddenly created an
urgency to survey this vast wilderness. The
United States and Britain agreed to a joint
survey and to the subsequent creation ofthe
Boundary Commission. The Americans began the survey in 1857 and the British started
a year later.
While the Boundary Survey was in
progress, Lieutenant Palmer of the Royal
Engineers was given instructions on September 8, 1859 "to gain information on the
country lying between Fort Hope and the
49th parallel where it meets the route to Fort
Colville"2 Carrying out these instructions, he
reached Grande Prairie (Grand Forks) on
October 2, 1859. At the same time as
Palmer was exploring from the west, Captain Palliser was heading a scientific expedition which would take him from the Red
River to Grande Prairie. At Grande Prairie
he was welcomed to the camp ofthe American Boundary Survey Commission.3
The British Boundary Commission was
surveying the border and spent the winters
Surveyors attempting to mark a line in a had piece of bush full of windfalls.
BCARS #D-7311
of 1860 and 1861 at Fort Colville. The Commission established base camps along the
Ketde River, one of which was in the vicinity of Gilpin, 6 miles east of Grand Forks
and was named Statapoostin.
To quote Gerry Andrews, former B.C. surveyor general and director of surveys and
mapping, "It's all right for diplomats to sit
down in a palace and decide that the boundary will be the 49th parallel, but it's something else to get out in the wilderness and
decide where the 49th parallel is".4 Although
accuracy was striven for, the survey line from
the Rockies to the Pacific deviates from the
49th parallel. This line was located with the
survey equipment ofthe day. Gerry Andrews
explains, "Theodolites used to establish latitude depend on gravity to establish the vertical. However, gravity varies slightly from
place to place, depending on the density of
the earth's crust. A nearby mountain range
or a buried mass of basalt will result in a deviation of the vertical. When this happens,
astronomical sightings are thrown off"5 The
international peace arch at Blaine is actually
one fifth of a mile north ofthe 49th parallel.
Access to property is sometimes impeded by the geographical terrain along the
Canada-USA border. At Carson
the boundary line climbs Galena
Mountain for a short distance,
then drops down to head east
across the valley bottom and
gathers in 285 acres of agricultural land before climbing Galena Mountain again and
heading east toward Cascade.
Access to this American farmland can be attained only
through Canadian territory.
Similarly, the American Point
Roberts can be reached by land
only through Canadian territory.
Following the boundary survey monuments were erected at
selected sites along the demarcation. These monuments are
used for survey purposes. A
1904 map shows monuments
with the numbers 155 to 166
from Carson to Cascade.
Custom points, at designated crossings and
staffed by customs officers on both sides of
the line, control traffic north and south. It is
interesting to note that today there are three
border crossings on the Kettle River. One is
at Midway (Ferry, Wa.) where the Kettle
River flows south into American territory.
The second crossing is at Carson (Danville)
where the Kettle River flows north and returns to the Canadian side and the third is at
Cascade (Laurier) where the Kettle again
heads south to join the Columbia at Kettle
At Carson, the early customs building was
located beside the Great Northern Railway
crossing and the Danville (American) customs was across the Kettle river. In the early
thirties a general store was built on the border with an entrance from both the American and the Canadian side. A sign on the
store read, "Save money, save time, shop at
Joe's on the line". Needless to say this situation was not tolerated for too long.
The Carson-Danville border crossing and
the one at Noyan, Quebec were the first joint
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 customs facilities to be built in Canada. These
dual customs offices in one building are located on the border with check points on either side.
There were many unofficial border cross-
■ ings during the days of American prohibition. Trails existed at various locations
through the hills where "rum runners" delivered liquor to their thirsty counterparts on
the American side. High powered cars loaded
with liquor also ran the border at high speed
and the confrontations with the law enforcers were frequent.
A unique feature ofthe Boundary area was
the establishment of the Avey International
Airport in 1963 at Cascade. B.C. and at
Laurier, Wa. This airport, one third of which
is in Canada and two thirds in United States,
accommodates aeroplanes that want to clear
customs more quickly.
History tells us that the Columbia basin
could have been a part of Canada or we could
have lost to the Americans much of British
Columbia, at least as far as the 54th parallel.
The 49th was a compromise, but a compromise that has lasted 150 years. That slashed
and blazed trail, heading off into the sunset
does, however, indicate a barrier. As Canadians, we have adapted. We have American
friendships and commerce flows both ways
across the line, but the boundary is there as a
reminder of our different loyalties.
Bio Note: Jim Glanville is, with his wife Alice,
the resident historian of Grand Forks and the
Boundary area. He bas noted tourists posing to
have their picture taken as tbey stand with one
foot in U.SA., the other foot in Canada.
1. In American history it is known as the Treaty of
Washington. George F.G. Stanley, Mapping the
Frontier between British Columbia and Washington,
Toronto, Macmillan, 1970, p.7.
2. "Copy of Instructions" from Captain Parsons to Lieutenant
S. Palmer, September 8,1859.
3. Palliser Papers, 1860
4. Daily Colonist, 1967, "U.S.-Canadian Boundary,"
Boundary History, Report #12,1992 p.57
5. Ibid.
Head table at tbe B. CH.F. Awards Banquet in Williams Lake, April 27, 1996.
Lori Hudson-Fish, Vicki Sale, Jim GlanviUe, Alice Glanville, Melva Dwyer.
Photos courtesy of John Spittle
Helen and Philip Akrigg - Coffee time at Quesnel Forks, April 28. 1996.
Tony Farr, Thelma Lower, and Ina Farr admire the mannequin at the piano at
tbe Museum in WUUams Lake. April 26,1996.
TtW*- * mm1 «?$
" x*r,
w \    ^m
Jill Howland on B.CH.F. tour at Quesnel Forks, April 28, 1996.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 The Pacific Coast Logging Industry
in the 1930s
The forest industry has always played an
important part in the development of British Columbia. An advertisement in Forward,
a monthly magazine published in 1937, emphasized this point by stating that the "lumber industry is building with British
Columbia" and that a "greater industry means
a greater British Columbia."1 In a predominantly resource extractive economy, the lumber industry ranked high. Like all industries,
logging started out with the human-driven
power of the handlogger and eventually
mechanized with the emergence of technology such as steam donkey engines and logging railroads. However, while other
industries were becoming larger, more like
factories, and consolidating labour into unions in the early twentieth century, logging
did not incorporate collective organization
for workers in the form of unions until the
Roderick Langmere Haig-Brown's novel,
Timber: A Novel Of Pacific Coast Loggers,
is a representative portrayal of logging on the
Pacific Coast. It is set following the 1934
strike on Vancouver Island and deals with the
period leading up to the establishment ofthe
International Woodworkers of America
(IWA) in 1937.2 Haig-Brown, once a logger
himself, gives an authentic and colorful firsthand account of the tensions and conflicts
of logging on Vancouver Island during this
highly charged period. The characters in the
novel are living in a transition period where
many are ambiguous about whether to continue to live a logger's life of transient freedom and independence or to begin to
consolidate and form unions. In his story,
Haig-Brown brings a unique perspective on
unions. As his personal notes reveal, "I have
not been concerned to write a tract in favor
of unionism" but that "my book is conceived
primarily to give an account ofthe life of one
particular and very fine type of working
man."3 Therefore, this paper will argue that
Haig-Brown's novel gives a more liberal than
socialist view of logging unions in the 1930's,
a view more reflecting the perspective of
working men than of union organizers.
by Daryl Wong
Umber is a story about logging society on
Vancouver Island and deals with the turmoil
and problems of the industry during the
1930's. Three characters bring out the mood
or ethos of this interesting period. The main
protagonist in the novel is Johnny Holt, who
is generally portrayed as the stereotypical logger. Johnny is characterized by his "catty"
(cat-like) actions on the job as a loader, and
by his physical prowess. He also represents
the predominant logger mentality towards
unions at this time. Johnny admits that "I
know there's lots of good things about unions... if the average working guy could keep
control of them. But it don't happen that
way."4 He feels that unions are effective during strikes but, as Johnny's friend reminds
him, "in good times there's always a bunch
of bohunks gets control of it and the ordinary guy who's minding his own business gets
nothing but grief."5 In other words, Johnny
believes that unions will end up being controlled by nonloggers and will benefit them
instead of the "ordinary guy". Simply put,
most ofthe loggers believe that "unions will
come but not right now."6
Alec (Slim) Crawford, Johnny's best friend,
who is also a logger (a surveyor), represents a
more optimistic attitude towards unions.
Throughout the novel he is constantly debating with Johnny and other loggers that
unions will be to their advantage. One of
Alec's main concerns is that "a union could
get better safety regulations and make sure
they were enforced."7 In fact, the novel opens
up at an inquest in Vancouver over the death
of Charlie Davies, a fellow logger. It is accidents like this that Alec is trying to prevent
from happening. Alec also feels that unions
will bring "a decent wage and decent treatment"8 as well as social stability, as "right now
the companies do everything they can to keep
a man from getting married."9 Basically, Alec
feels that unions will only help the situation
ofthe loggers, who are being continually exploited by the logging companies, by giving
them a collective voice.
Julie Morris, Alec's cousin, eventually falls
in love with Johnny and marries him. Julie is
a very beautiful girl who is "overflowing with
herself and foil of life...fresh and strong and
foil of colors."10 Her decision to move up to
live at the logging camp with Johnny foreshadows the growing sense of family and
community that would establish itself in the
logging community. Johnny's friend Eric and
his wife, Marion Denton, are also a couple
who have chosen to live close to the logging
operation and represent a trend to end logger transience.
Haig-Brown's novel reveals many components of the growing and changing logging
industry during the 1930's. I will use Timber as a vehicle to draw out certain aspects
ofthe logging industry to show Haig-Brown's
authentic vision of logging. The remainder
of this paper consists of three parts. The first
part deals with Haig-Brown's vision of logging, the second part discusses unions, and
the final part talks about social organization
and living conditions.
As mentioned earlier, Timber presents a
unique view of unions and the logging industry on the Pacific Coast. Haig-Brown
states that the only function of unions ... is
the ultimate good ofthe individual. Unions
must help the individual, but they must be
only incidental to his life, a convenience and
measure of security... If unionism demands
too much ofthe individual, too great a share
of his concern, his rigor, his strength, his
earnings, his happiness... unionism defeats
its own purpose—that of benefiting and increasing the stature ofthe individual, who is
the single ingredient ofthe mass.11
In effect, Haig-Brown is taking a more
popular liberal approach to the issue of unions. He sees them as empowering the loggers by being a "convenience" and not a
burden to be dealt with. The novel revolves
around the unsure position of the loggers
who feel that if a union was formed it would
be controlled by "a lot of foreigners that never
saw a pair of caulked shoes except in a Hastings Street store."12 Dal, one of Johnny's
friends, sympathizes with the transient freedom ofthe loggers by saying that "this country's too near pioneering. A man likes to think
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 he's his own boss and can work how he wants
and where he wants."13 Haig-Brown paints
a powerful picture of loggers caught between
the luxury of movement and the desire to
stay rooted by settling down with a wife in a
logging community. Dan, one ofthe loggers,
points out that "young guys... ought to get
married and live in camp. Instead of that you
make a stake, then go to town and let some
goddamn chippy clean it off you before
you've even taken up her skirts."14 Pete, a
good friend of Alec, advises him that "a man's
only half a man without a woman."15 In
short, women mean stability.
Roderick L. Haig-Brown, a noted conservationist, was once a logger himself. He began his logging career in 1927 as a scaler,
someone who identified, marked and appraised the logs to go to the mill.16 Bennett
E. Metcalfe, who wrote a biography of Haig-
Brown, states that "even in his later years,
when he was beginning to understand the
imperatives of conservation, he would still
retain a certain ambiguity about logging out
of nostalgic respect for the young man of
action he had been in this time."17 Therefore, even when Haig-Brown's attitude
changed from falling trees to saving them,
he still respected the turbulent life ofthe logger. He sympathized with the loggers and
adopted a working man's point of view especially concerning the issue of labour and the
question of unions. Haig-Brown's view on
unions will be divided into safety conditions,
blacklisting, the idea of collective consolidation (unions) versus individualism, and a history of unions on the Pacific Coast with
reference to the 1934 strike.
The novel starts and ends with two fatal
accidents. The victims of the forest are
Charlie (mentioned earlier) and Johnny's best
friend, Alec. Although Charlie's death is
mostly attributed to his own heroism, Alec
dies because of slack logging regulations and
standards. The issue of safety was a strong
incentive to organize as a union. The lack of
safety practices goes back to the pre-World
War I period where logging operators established their own working conditions.18 During this time, safety and the concern for
loggers' welfare was unknown as "workers
were a dime a dozen" and "burial procedures
took place when it became convenient."19
Even during the interwar years with the introduction of new equipment, increased production also meant increased injury. Many
of the logging companies saw their workers
as "expendable and easily replaceable items
of equipment."20 It was not until the establishment ofthe IWA in 1937 that the operators began to implement standards and
regulations for the logging industry. For
Johnny, the death of Alec definitely caused
him to think more about the role of unions
to prevent this type of tragedy from happening in the future.
Blacklisting is another important issue to
consider when dealing with unions. In Timber, some time after the 1934 strike, Johnny,
Alec and some of the loggers at the Bryan
and Assalt Timber Company get together and
organize a small union meeting.
Unfortunately not all the loggers from their
camp show up to support the union efforts
and as a result, Johnny and his friends get
blacklisted by all the big major companies.
Johnny admits that "we were just plain sticking our necks out"21 and wonders why more
loggers did not show up to the meeting. Alec
explains the small turnout by saying that
"mostly they're just scared. Jobs have been
scarce a long time now and most of them are
just beginning to get a little ahead."22 Shortly
after, Eric gets fired, partly for mouthing off
to Dachnan (the superintendent) but mostly
for participating in the union meeting. Eric
explains his plight by saying that blacklisting occurs "when one ofthe big outfits ties a
can on you."23 Following Eric's lead, both
Johnny and Alec quit and head for Vancouver to look for work. They soon realized that
none of the big firms will hire either one of
them as Johnny and Alec are seen as radical
union agitators. The logging companies are
truly afraid of union organization. As Alec
states, "the way they're scared of unions they'd
put an old-age pensioner to load Johnny's logs
sooner than a good union man."24
The blacklisting that the Bryan and Assalt
Timber Company used in the novel parallels
the reality of the 1930's. Any union sympathizers were seen as a threat to the logging
company and were blacklisted and fired. In
Vancouver, as early as 1919 the logging operators created a Loggers' Agency that kept
track of every man by a well-organized filing
system of cards which kept track of a logger's
employment, his work ability, and especially
his conduct with regard to union sympathy."25 During this period, most ofthe blacklisted loggers had no other choice but to work
for the smaller "haywire outfits" who were
more lenient and acceptable to unions. This
is what Johnny and Alec did as they were
unable to get on with the larger, more respectable firms which took a "hard-line po
sition"26 about unions. However, many of the
blacklisted loggers got jobs in the bigger firms
under "assumed false names... and continued to spread the union word."27 The company's response to union persistence was to
broadcast anti-union messages and drop
propaganda leaflets by plane to warn of the
'Red' takeover ofthe province's number one
industry."28 Clearly, the big companies did
not want to deal with unions and would do
anything to stop their formation...
One of the key themes in the novel that
oscillates primarily between Alec and Johnny
is the loggers' identity—that of collective
consolidation (unions) or independence.
Throughout the story, Alec is continually
championing the cause of unions and how
they will solve all the problems of the loggers: problems such as safety, wages and better living conditions. Initially Alec's solution
is for the loggers to take some action to get
the unions started and also to guarantee that
they have a hand in running the union. Alec
takes this position because he understands
what is happening in the logging industry...
His job as a land surveyor puts him in a position above the common logger as he is more
educated and knowledgeable. He states that
"it's going to come and if good guys would
get in at the start and keep busy in the thing
they could control it."29 Therefore, Alec represents the pro-union stance.
On the other hand, Johnny feels that the
only ones to gain from unions will be the
"bohunks and bums"30 from Europe who will
dictate the loggers' actions anyway. He represents the common loggers' attitude that
things are fine the way they are, therefore do
not try to make things worse... Johnny is not
as knowledgeable as Alec and admits that "I'm
too dumb to do anything except tag along."31
Simply put, Johnny does not understand his
position in the formation of unions. Aside
from his ambiguous position on unions,
Johnny also represents the loggers as a community. There are good examples in the novel
that demonstrate comradery and how loggers look out for one another. In an early part
of the book, Johnny and Alec deal out loggers' justice by beating up Farley, a card shark,
and his crew to get back several loggers' company cheques that were lost in a card game.32
Both ofthe protagonists feel a responsibility
to make sure that loggers are treated fairly
and are not cheated out of their hard earnings. A second example of loggers' justice
deals again with Johnny and Alec breaking
up a "chippy joint" where crooks lure log-
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 gers there and beat them up and take their
money. Johnny does not think much of these
people and releases his anger by saying that
"I hate these goddamn suckers... sitting in
town getting fat off guys that have been out
working in rain and filth for six months."33
In both cases, there is a feeling of community among the loggers somewhat similar to
an earlier period of logging where the Georgia Strait was seen as a "main street" and the
coastal area ofthe logger's world was referred
to as the "jungle."34
Although Alec and Johnny take different
positions on unions in the end they both
agree that unions should be handled by the
"real organizers, professionals that know the
job and get paid for it."35 The job ofthe logger then is simply to keep doing his job and
help when he can but leave most ofthe work
to the hired organizers. By having everyone
do their own job efficiently, unions will come
to benefit the logger. As Haig-Brown notes,
"unionism can be a valuable servant of the
working man... Above all, unionism is not...
achieved by sacrifice ofthe independence and
integrity ofthe individual man."36
The final part of my analysis of unions
deals with a history of the union movement
up to the period covered by the novel and
concluding with the formation ofthe International Woodworkers of America (IWA) in
1937. The 1934 strike on Vancouver Island
in the Campbell River area, mentioned in
Timber, was an important stepping stone for
the Pacific Coast loggers, and the Interior
loggers as well, in encouraging unionization.
The background to the 1934 strike reveals
the mentality of the union organizers. The
nature of the logging industry in British
Columbia is important to explain why it was
so difficult to organize. Gordon Hak states
that the geographical separation of the logging industry into coastal and interior regions
was partly responsible for collective organization. The coastal industry was dominant
because of higher quality trees (Douglas fir
and Cedar), its moderate climate allowing
year round operation, mechanization, and its
ties to Vancouver as a reference point for the
loggers as well as a source of labour.37 On
the other hand, the interior had smaller trees
of poorer quality, seasonal and transient labour, horse-drawn power, and a labour base
in the Prairies.38 Because of these differences,
it was harder to organize.
Due to its advantage in mechanization, the
coast began to industrialize in the 1910's
which resulted in a breakdown of personal
contact between logger and owner that had
previously prevailed.39 By 1918, the divide
between labour and capital was so great that
the B.C. Loggers Union was formed with
15,000 members to address grievances such
as wages and unsanitary living conditions.40
The secretary ofthe union was Ernest Winch,
who had joined the Socialist Democratic
Party (SDP) in 1911 (which changed its
name to the more radical Socialist Party of
Canada (SPC) in 1918).41 Winch, who identified himself as a '"practical socialist,"42 followed SPC belief that "their primary
commitment was to the political struggle and
the furthering of'scientific socialism through
education."43 He seemed to have a different
agenda for the union as a way to prepare the
workers for the "impending revolution"
where "industrial organizations could be used
for political purposes."44 In 1919 the B.C.
Loggers Union changed its name to the Lumber Worker's Industrial Union (LWIU).45
However, the strikes and walkouts which
were organized failed and by 1926 the LWIU
had disappeared.46 Much ofthe resistance was
due to a ruthless anti-union campaign by
employers, strong action by the state, and a
post-war depression.47 Another major problem was internal within the LWIU between
leaders and members. The leaders had revolutionary socialist political motives while the
loggers were leaning towards "economic
struggle and militant industrial unionism."48
Haig-Brown supports this working-class view
later on in the 1930's as part of his liberal
vision of unions helping the workers to improve their position relative to capital.
Myrtle Bergren offers a good description
ofthe logging industry in the 1930's. She
states that bv 1929, "Vancouver and British
Columbia in general were in the mainstream
of the North American labour movement,
through such unions as the printers and
building trades, coal and hardrock miners—
yet the lumber workers of the province had
not as yet succeeded in becoming organized."49 This lack of organization was due to
camp isolation meaning little communication, the transient nature of the work, the
number of small operators, and the rough
conditions in the camps.50 Therefore in 1929,
the Lumber and Agricultural Workers Union (Lumber Workers Union) was formed in
Vancouver with initially 25 members who
believed that the "conviction... to organize
the union was the most important thing in
their lives, next to survival."51 This union was
a re-emergence of a militant industrial un
ion, led by revolutionary socialists.52 However, the leaders corrected their previous approach by combining both political and
economical forms of struggle. By the early
1930's, many of the organizers set up their
"soap boxes" and spread the "word of trade
unionism" to the loggers and millworkers.53
Another form of union propaganda was the
secret distribution of the "union rag," the
B.C. Lumber Worker newspaper.54 The logging operators were so strict that "if they seen
you distributin it, it wasn't just that you got
fired there. You was blacklisted in every
camp,"55 This newly reformed union was
definitely taking a more active stance in
spreading the idea of unions.
The 1934 strike was a large collective effort by the west coast loggers to stand up
against the logging operators and voice their
demands. In December 1933, during the
annual shut-down, a wage-scale conference
was held on Vancouver Island to discuss proposals for an increased wage-scale.56 By January 1934, the "fighting spirit" of the
conference had spread outwards as loggers
everywhere were angry at the "autocratic
treatment" ofthe operators.57 The loggers had
many grievances such as wages being based
upon "the whim of the employer—what he
wanted to pay" and also the "high rate of
accidents" that the operators made no attempt to prevent.58 On January 26 of that
same year, 62 loggers at the Bloedel, Stewart
and Welch Company at Menzies Bay were
fired.59 However, the union was prepared.
The union organizers held a series of meetings to stress the unfair conditions of working in the logging camps. One ofthe speeches
emphatically exclaimed that "you are not a
man at all—you are a serf!"60 The union demands consisted of a wage increase of 15
percent, $3.20 a day minimum, recognition
of union camp committees, and an end to
Sunday work.61 By this time, the union had
organized several of the large railway camps
in the Campbell River area to walkout.62 The
logging operators, who had formed the B.C.
Loggers' Association in response to the Lumber Workers Union, exclaimed: "you will
never work in the B.C. woods again!"63
Public support in Vancouver was overwhelming as union publicity campaigns canvassed the city to make the citizens aware of
the loggers' cause. The loggers reinforced the
justice of their cause by keeping "strict cleanliness" in the picket camps and making certain that there was "no drinking
whatsoever."64 The public sympathized with
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 the loggers and donated food to keep the loggers going. In April 1934, the Bloedel,
Stewart and Welsch Company reopened with
The union organized a massive 500 man
■ march to harass the strikebreakers, preventing them from moving any logs.66 The march
was successful. The B.C. Loggers' Association "fought a losing batde on every front."67
They tried to churn up public support by
claiming that the union was Communist-inspired and Moscow-led."68 The operators did
not succeed, and by this time there was an
increased demand for government intervention to step in and salvage the province's most
important industry. On April 26, 1934,
the strike ended with the union satisfied with
their demands, including the raised minimum wage to $3.20 a day.69 Union activity
continued and in 1937, a legally recognized
union was formed—the International Woodworkers of America (IWA) which included
logging and sawmill workers.70 The struggle
was finally over.
This analysis on the contribution of unions in the logging industry helps to reveal
one of the central unifying themes in Timber. The novel seems to revolve around this
crucial issue that the loggers had to face. Even
after the 1934 strike, which was a tremendous effort to help establish the IWA in 1937,
Haig-Brown reveals through his characters
that there was still some doubt as to whether
the loggers wanted unions or not. Although
Johnny eventually realizes his proper role (to
just do his job), he still symbolizes the ambiguity among the common logger. For Johnny,
he "merely [wanted] a better deal without any
political affiliation."71 Johnny represents the
average logger and reinforces my argument
that the establishment of unions for the loggers were motivated more by "bread and butter"72 issues than by political ones. The IWA,
led by socialist organizers, gave the loggers
the best chance of getting a "better deal," and
that is what they got. The socialist influence
in unions dating back to the LWIU in 1919
remained a dominant presence after the legalization of the IWA in 1937. Hak states
that "the communists established a close relationship with the workers, a relationship
which was extremely important in building
the strong International Woodworkers of
America and in maintaining a powerful left-
wing presence in British Columbia circles."73
The second part of this paper deals with
the living conditions and social organization
as seen in the novel. This section ofthe pa
per will be broken down into two parts. The
first part will look at living conditions and
the second part will evaluate social organization dealing with logging communities versus logger independence. These two parts are
interconnected with unions, which had a
hand in shaping the loggers' social landscape
in the 1930's.
The living conditions ofthe loggers gradually improved over the years. In the pre-World
War I period, there were crowded
bunkhouses, few or no windows, no ventilation, and no mattresses or bedding.74 The
camps were also known for their bad food
which was often "served on battered enamel
plates which housed all manner of bacteria."75
Many of these conditions were partly due to
the transient nature of the workforce. With
so many loggers coming and going the operators did not pay too much attention to
the loggers' living conditions and therefore
provided the minimum necessities of life.
These conditions improved in the period after the war as there emerged "smaller, steam-
heated, electrically lit bunkhouses...with
individual rooms for two to four men" along
with bedding bullcooks (who did the cleaning) and the establishment of dining rooms
accompanied by improved meals.76 Many of
these living conditions are seen in Timber.
At the Bryan and Assalt Timber Company
camps, the bunkhouses had several wings to
house small groups of loggers. The camps also
had steam heating, as Johnny enjoyed the
"warmth ofthe boiler."77 Regardless of these
improved conditions, many ofthe loggers still
moved around with their "suitcase under the
bunk,"78 ready to leave at a moment's notice. As industrialization progressed in the
industry, there was a need for more reliable,
skilled, stable workers.79 One ofthe most significant changes was the establishment ofthe
logging community. Richard Rajala points
out that "the logging communities which the
operators hoped would provide a permanent
solution to the problem of an independent
workforce ultimately allowed the unionization of the industry."80 Therefore, this attempt to provide worker stability was directly
connected to the establishment of unions.
The second part of this section deals with
social organization. As mentioned in the previous part, the logging community emerged
in the post-war period as a way to stabilize
the workers. This is where the role of women
in the novel is emphasized. Julie and Marion
(Eric's wife) both live at the logging camp
with their respective husbands. In a sense,
they are pioneers ofthe logging community
as they enforce morality upon the men.
Marion "straightened" Eric up as he was getting to be "quite a booze-hound."81 Just by
doing this, Eric was "steadier and a whole lot
more sure of himself" on the job and was
"getting ahead."82 Johnny was also affected
by Julie's presence at the camp as he was "so
sure of himself all the time, always one jump
ahead of whatever is happening."83 Rajala
verifies the point that women affected the
logging communities by stating that the "new
industrial villages would domesticate the log-
ger. m
The flipside to the logging community was
logger independence. Before Johnny married
and setded down with Julie, he embodied
the popular loggers' attitude. He once used
to be caught in the loggers' cycle: "they'll work
like hell in camp for six months, then go to
town and spend everything they've got in a
couple of weeks on booze and chippies... then
go back and do the same thing over."85
Johnny also talks about the freedom of movement ofthe logger as he leaves one job to get
another or just quits and goes to town to
drink. He compared this independence to
"living like a goddamn animal."86 As the size
of the logging communities grew, many of
the loggers realized that they should get married and setde down as Johnny did. By providing a sense of place for loggers in a rooted
environment, unionization was more possible as many loggers hoped to give up the transient lifestyle in favour of a stable one.
Roderick Langmere Haig-Brown's novel
Timber offers an excellent representation of
the logging industry on the Pacific Coast
during the 1930's. Haig-Brown brings out
many aspects of logging life within the camp
but also outside the camp in places such as
Vancouver as well. Unions are the key to the
novel as most of the events revolve around
this constantly pressing issue. As I argued in
this paper, Haig-Brown takes a liberal
workingman's approach to unions and expresses sympathy for the loggers as they struggle to better their position in the logging
industry. The alternative view emphasizes
socialism which progresses from a political
revolutionary form to a more moderate rhetoric which recognized both political and economical issues. It was this mutual
understanding that resulted in the forming
ofthe IWA in 1937. The IWA continued to
represent loggers in the late twentieth century. During the late 1980s, the IWA was
concerned with serious issues such as preserv-
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 ing the environment while at the same time
keeping jobs. As we enter the middle ofthe
1990s, the IWA is still going strong as one
of the strongest industrial unions in
Haig-Brown was primarily known as a
conservationist and his attitude toward the
logging industry is interesting and revealing.
He was once a logger himself and as Metcalfe
noted, Haig-Brown had a "nostalgic respect"
for the men of the woods. This was partly
due to his love of the outdoors, which
brought to him a "touch of romance."88 Also,
Haig-Brown enjoyed the nature ofthe work
which he described as "hard but exhilarating."89 In his later years, Haig-Brown reflected on the logger in the forest going
through a "pioneer's struggle." but "as soon
as survival is assured he turns from his hatred of trees and begins to plant trees."90 Even
though Haig-Brown develops a conservationist attitude, he still acknowledges the loggers'
struggle with the land and accepts this. He
truly sees the logging industry as initially one
of destruction, but eventually one of conservation.
Bio Note: Daryl Wong is the 1995 winner of
the Burnaby Historical Society Annual Scholarship. He is a student at the University of British Columbia.
1 "British Columbia's Greatest Industry", Forward: Official
Publication of the Vancouver Junior Board ofTrade,
6 (May 1937), 5.
2. Ken Drushka. \K>rking in the woods: a history of
logging on the West coast. (Madeira Park: Harbour
Publishing, 1992), 103.
3. Roderick L. Haig-Brown Papers, Box 30 UBC Special
Collections Division.
4. Roderick L. Haig-Brown. Timber: a novel of Pacific
Coast Loggers. (New York: Grosser & Dunlap, 1942),
5. Ibid., 18.
6. Ibid., 19.
7. Ibid., 19,
8. Haig-Brown, Timber, 57.
9. Ibid., 56.
10. Ibid., 223.
11. Haig-Brown Papers, Box 30.
12. Haig-Brown, Timber, 57.
13. Ibid., 128.
14. Ibid., 157.
15. Ibid., 347.
16. Bennett E. Metcalfe. A Man of Some Importance: The
Life of Roderick Langmerc Haig-Brown (Vancouver
James W. Wood Publishers, 1985), 91.
17. Metcalfe, 94.
18. Ed Gould. Logging: British Columbia's Logging
History. (Saanichton: Hancock House Publishers Ltd,
1975), 178.
Ibid., 178.
Drushka, 94.
Haig-Brown, Timber, 279.
Ibid., 284.
Ibid., 281.
Ibid. 279.
Gordon Hak, "British Columbia Loggers and the Lumber
Workers Industrial Union, 1919-1922," Labour/Lc
Travail, 23 (Spring 1989), 85.
Drushka, 107.
Gould, 182.
Ibid., 182,
Haig-Brown. Timber, 57.
Ibid., 56.
Haig-Brown. Timber, 253.
Ibid., chapter 6.
Ibid., 197.
Jeffrey L. Mitchell. "The Community on the Coast: the
Social Structure of West Coast British Columbia, 1900-
1914," (unpublished paper, History 404,1993) taken
from History 404 lecture (Feb. 8, 1995).
Haig-Brown. Timber, 367.
Roderick L. Haig-Brown Papers, Box 30, UBC Special
Collections Division.
Hak, 69.
Ibid., 69-70.
Ibid., 70.
Hak, 67, 71.
Ibid., 74.
Ibid., 74.
Ibid., 75
Ibid., 76.
Drushka, 101.
Ibid., 101.
Hak, 68.
Ibid., 68.
Myrtle Bergren. Tough Timber: the loggers of British
Columbia - their story. (Vancouver: Elgin Publications,
1979), 25.
Ibid., 25.
Ibid., 27.
Hak, 87.
Bergren, 31.
Gould, 183.
Bergren, 55.
Bergren, 33.
Ibid., 33.
Ibid., 33-4.
Ibid., 34.
Ibid., 34.
Ibid., 34.
Drushka, 102.
Bergren, 35.
Bergren, 37.
Drushka, 102.
Ibid., 103.
Ibid., 102
Ibid., 102.
Ibid., 103.
Ibid., 103.
Gould, 180.
Bergren, 44.
Hak, 88.
Drushka, 99.
Gould, 177.
Drushka, 99.
77. Haig-Brown. Timber, 158.
78. Ibid., 167.
79. Drushka, 99.
80. Richard Rajala. The Rude Science: Technology and
Management in the West Coast Logging Industry,
1890-1930. (unpublished paper, 1986), 19.
81. Haig-Brown. Timber, 159.
82. Ibid., 159.
83. Haig-Brown. Timber, 215.
84. Richard Rajala. "Bill and the Boss: Labor Protest,
Technological Change, and the Transformation ofthe
West Coast Logging Camp, 1890-1930," Journal of
Forest History, 33 (October 1989), 176.
85. Haig-Brown. Timber, 163.
86. Ibid., 167.
87? Jack Munro and Jane O'Hara. Union Jack: Labour
Leader Jack Munro. (Vancouver Douglas & Mclntyre,
1988), 209.
88. Metcalfe, 96.
89. Ibid., 98.
90. Roderick L. Haig-Brown. Measure of the Yfear:
Reflections on Home, Family and a Life Fully Lived.
(Vancouver Douglas 8c Mclntyre, 1950), 42.
Bergren, Myrtle. Tough Timber: the loggers of British
Columbia - their story. Vancouver: Elgin Publications, 1979.
"British Columbia's Greatest Industry," Forward: Official
Publication ofthe Vancouver Junior Board ofTrade, 6
(May 1937): 5.
Drushka, Ken. Working in the woods: a history of logging
on the West Coast. Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing,
Gould, Ed. Logging: British Columbia's Logging History.
Saanichton: Hancock House Publishers Ltd., 1975.
Hak, Gordon, "British Columbia Loggers and the Lumber
Workers' Industrial Union, 1919-1922," Labour/Le Travail,
23 (Spring 1989): 67-88.
Haig-Brown, Roderick L. Measure ofthe Yean Reflections
on Home, Family and a Life Fully Lived. Vancouver:
Douglas 8c Mclntyre, 1990 [1950].
Haig-Brown, Roderick L. Timber: a novel of Pacific Coast
Loggers. New York: Grosser & Dunlap, 1942.
Metcalfe, E. Bennett. A Man of Some Importance: the Life
of Roderick Langmerc Haig-Brown. Vancouver: James W.
Wood Publishers, 1985.
Mitchell, Jeffrey L., "The Community on the Coast: the
Social Structure of West Coast British Columbia, 1900-1914"
(unpublished paper, History 404, 1993).
Munro, Jack and Jane O'Hara. Union Jack: Labour Leader
Jack Munro. Vancouver Douglas 8c Mclntyre, 1988.
Rajala, Richard, "Bill and the Boss: Labour Protest,
Technological Change, and the Transformation ofthe West
Coast Logging Camp, 1890-1930," Journal of Forest
History, 33 (October 1989): 168-179.
—, The Rude Science: Technology and Management in the
West Coast Logging Industry, 1890-1930. (unpublished
paper, 1986).
Roderick L. Haig-Brown Papers. Box 30. UBC Special
Collections Division.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 Bathing Suits
by Iris Emerson
When it came to swimming, gendemen
led the way. They enjoyed a dip in a lake or
river or the seaside waves. Ladies preferred
to sit on the beach but the more adventurous donned bathing costumes and waded up
to their knees... or waists with never a thought
of actually swimming. As more and more ladies took to the water, bathing costumes became a fashion item. When both sexes were
assembled at a popular beach gentlemen
adopted a suit of wool that was very like their
underwear except the colors were dark, frequently striped. The ladies in Victorian and
Edwardian times could not reveal their bodies so they were clad in calf length dresses,
also wool, that had long sleeves, high necks
and long bloomers tucked into stockings and
worn with bathing shoes. How cumbersome
these must have been especially if they got
wet! Little by little the costume was modified until the 1890s when some dared to remove the skirt. Without that extra nuisance
they might actually be able to swim. In the
swimming baths (as pools were then designated), one could always touch the bottom
and stand up if necessary; at natural beaches
the use of "water wings" kept milady afloat.
Bathing dresses followed the popular dress
styles. Sleeves were puffed at the shoulders,
the bodice had ample gathers and some even
sported sailor collars.
As time went on the bloomers shortened
and sleeves eventually disappeared. Knitted
bathing suits became very popular with men,
women and children. The skirt was now very
short on all suits but ladies retained their long
stockings and bathing shoes. It was 1920 before it was acceptable for a lady to appear
bare legged on the beach.
In 1930 a "Sun Tan Bathing Suit" was designed for men. It had large cut out sections
back and sides. The cut out back was quickly
adopted by women as well. Some suits were
still itchy wool; some knitted cotton suits,
mainly in children's sizes, appeared. The wet
cotton bagged when wet and worse, if white
or light colored, wet cotton became virtually
transparent! By the late 1930s the two piece
bathing suit had emerged for women. Men
were now discarding the top half of their suits
in favor of trunks only. But many public
swimming pools insisted that men's suits with
This girl is modeling a 1902 navy blue bathing
suit of very fine wooL The skirt is removable. There
is a sailor collar. The bathing shoes are authentic
The Uttle boys suit (with buttons on the shoulder)
is dated 1900.
Picture courtesy Canadiana Costume Museum
tops were mandatory. Designers obliged with
a swim suit with a detachable top.
Wartime economies meant no elastic and
very few buttons so styles changed to accommodate these problems. Bathing suits were
now made with cotton and some very attractive designs blossomed. After the war elasti-
cized rubber bathing suits molded the figure
and were very "dressy" for the beach. (They
were also very hot to wear.)
With the introduction of nylon into the
fashion world, swim suits took on a new look
and built in bras gave everyone a terrific figure. Cole of California created some fabulous swim wear known as their "Scandal
Collection." These were made in beautiful
color combinations together with flesh toned
net. Very low cuts could be revealing and yet
covered at the same time.
1965 brought the bikinis to the beaches
for both men and women, shocking the general public. The new sensations were obviously here to stay... and stay they have !
Bio Note: Iris Emerson is a coordinator of most
ofthe displays arranged by die Canadiana Costume Museum in Victoria. Currendy see displays at Craigflower Farmhouse and School
Swimsuits popular in 1884.
Smithsonian photo 58466
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 The Terrible Tempered Joseph Irwin
by Edward L. Affleck
The one-room school began to mushroom
in British Columbia during the last decades
ofthe nineteenth century and continued to
proliferate until the time of World War II.
The task of a teacher in a one-room school
was always a challenging one. The successful
teacher in such a school required not only
uncommon powers of creativity and leadership to provide stimulating learning situations in classrooms virtually devoid of
learning resources, but also uncommon powers of diplomacy to cope with parents and
other adult members ofthe litde school district. Fortunate was the teacher who arrived
in a community not already divided over
some educational or taxation issue. Heaven
help the teacher who, in an effort to mitigate a certain amount of community strife,
succumbed to "taking sides."
The teaching career of Joseph Irwin, one
ofthe early teachers in the British Columbia
interior, epitomizes the wretched lot which
could befall an individual who, however intelligent, lacked many ofthe essential diplomatic skills. Born in Ontario on
Christmas Day 1856, Irwin followed in the
footsteps of his older brother Archibald by
qualifying for a First-class Ontario teaching
certificate then seeking a teaching career in
British Columbia. Archibald Irwin began
teaching in the Nicola Valley in 1875, married into the well-regarded pioneer
Woodward family, and then served briefly as
Principal of the Cache Creek Boarding
School, a political bed of red hot coals.
Archibald later became active in politics in
the Kamloops district and served as Indian
Agent in that area.
Joseph Irwin began teaching in British
Columbia in August, 1882, when he was
appointed @ $60.00 / month to take charge
of the one-room school in the rough and
ready railway construction setdement ofYale.
Of Irish Protestant descent, Irwin seems to
have inherited a potent Irish temper. His experiences with the rough, tough kids in Yale
over a period of five years likely encouraged
him to develop a somewhat summary approach to the meting out of punishment.
Joseph Irwin had not been long in British
Columbia before he further followed faithfully in his brother's footsteps by espousing
Alice Ann Woodward, sister of Archibald's
wife Eleanor. In August, 1887 the younger
Irwins again emulated the older couple by
taking charge ofthe Cache Creek Boarding
School, Joseph as Principal and Alice as Matron. Steadily dwindling enrolment marked
their tenure there, but this development
seems to have arisen partly because after a
decade as the victim of political scrummage
the reputation of the school was in shreds,
and partly because local one-room schools
were opening up all over the B. C. interior.
In August, 1890, the sudden decision of
the Provincial Government to close the
boarding school left Joseph Irwin, now the
father of three, with the unenviable task of
seeking a teaching post after the school year
had begun. A term at Lulu Island was followed by two years in his wife's home district of Lower Nicola. It was in August, 1893
that he made his fateful move to take charge
of the one-room school in the burgeoning
agricultural and railway community of
Salmon Arm. Settlement in Salmon Arm did
not really begin in earnest until the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in
1885.1 By 1893, however, the community
was already somewhat divided between "old-
timers" who had taken up land before 1890
and "latecomers." Population increase
had been so rapid that the log school erected
in 1890 had already been replaced by a frame
building 20' x 34'. By August, 1893 this
building was pressed to house 31 pupils, triple the 1890 enrolment, and would be more
severely taxed by further increases in the next
two years.
Joseph Irwin apparently lost little time in
establishing law and order in the classroom,
then turned his attention to straightening out
the community. When an Orange Lodge was
started in 1894, Irwin was elected Master.
The baseball craze having penetrated to the
Interior, Irwin was elected chairman of the
baseball club. The equally active temperance
movement also found him an ardent supporter. One surmises that Alice Irwin, now
the mother of five, was housebound at this
time. This participation was an exemplary
measure on Irwin's part, but unfortunately
he began to extend his influence in community affairs to the point of pressing for a
change in the make-up of the three-man
school board. Algernon Joseph Palmer (secretary), J. Stace Smith and Thomas Shaw had
struggled to establish the school district in
1890 and had served on it ever since. The
trio seem to have worked hard and to have
been acceptable to the settlers until sometime in the spring of 1894 when Irwin
touched the match to the fuse by claiming
that since Shaw was Palmer's son-in-law, a
broader representation of settlers on the
three-man board was required.
During 1894 battle lines were drawn in
Salmon Arm School District, with teacher
Joseph Irwin actively campaigning against the
incumbent trustees. His efforts were successful, as three new trustees were elected that
summer. The election, however, proved to
be but an opening skirmish in a community
bombardment of S.D. Pope, B. C. Superintendent of Education in Victoria. Letters,
petitions and counter-petitions winged their
way to the Capital City into the spring of
1895. The "old-timers" faction wanted Irwin
fired, while his supporters larded their communications with praise. Irwin, too, swelled
the post with long effusions of explanation
and justification. Among complaints levied
against Irwin were abusive language, fisticuffs
with C. B. Harris, a parent, closing the school
to attend a shooting match, undue punishment of ex-trustee Palmer's daughter Mamie,
undue favouritism towards his own children,
and being a cause of annoyance and trouble
in the neighbourhood. The current trustees
attempted to hold a public enquiry, but no
one would chair the meeting which seems to
have deteriorated into a shouting match.
The current trustees continued to uphold
Irwin's management of the school with the
result that in January, 1895 Harris and
Palmer proceeded to keep their aggregate of
nine children at home and other dissidents
proceeded to do likewise. Pope's efforts at
peace-making by post proved fruitless, so in
March, 1895 he sent William Burns, later
the first principal of the Vancouver Normal
School, to Salmon Arm to conduct a proper
public investigation of the situation in the
school district. Burns seems to have made a
thorough job of listening to everybody, including the children, who dutifully took
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 whatever side their parents were on. He found
that there was obvious exaggeration on both
sides, but despaired of arbitrating an agreement. He found Irwin himself to be violent
in his words and quite unconciliatory in
manner. Pope accordingly ordered Irwin's
dismissal. The current trustees would not
carry out this order, so that finally the B.C.
Council of Public Education, which had control of payment of teachers' salaries in "assisted rural districts," advised Irwin that he
would receive no salary after the close ofthe
1895 spring term. Irwin appealed to the
Minister of Education, but to no avail.
The continued increase in population offered Irwin another chance. A new school
district of Upper Salmon Arm (popularly
known as "Dolan's Corner") opened in August, 1895 and he was appointed teacher.
Alas, dissention did not die down, and Irwin
was ousted as at March 31,1896. A Legislative Hearing followed this last event, culminating in Irwin being deprived of his First
Class B. C. Teaching Certificate. The family
left the district in April, 1896. The bevy of
reports and correspondence offered as evidence at the Hearing were enshrined in the
1896 Sessional Papers of British Columbia.
Perhaps the most gruesome event to be recorded for posterity was the dropping of a
dead dog in Irwin's well. The dissidents were
not lacking in resourcefulness.
Having a wife and five children to support, Irwin set himself up as a notary public
and mining and real estate broker in the
Slocan mining settlement of New Denver,
while continuing to lobby for the restoration
of his teaching certificate. Eventually his
certificate was restored, so in January, 1899
he started teaching at the remote Okanagan
Lake setdement of Short's Point (now Fintry).
One surmises that the .fact that four of Irwin's
children were still of elementary school age
and could thus swell a skimpy enrolment may
have served as an enticement to the Short's
Point school board. In August, 1899 Irwin
secured a position in the school at New
Denver. This was a fortunate break, as New
Denver showed promise of urban growth,
and only urban schools offered much chance
of advancement for teachers, as the salary
offered a teacher in an assisted rural school
usually remained year after year at minimum
scale. Alas, however, Irwin's vicissitudes had
done nothing to ameliorate his formidably
short temper. He was wont to berate pupils
and to beat them violently on little provocation. Two years of this behaviour sufficed for
parents in New Denver, so that once again it
was time for Irwin to move on.
August, 1901 found Irwin ensconced at
the former Kootenay Lake smelting settlement of Pilot Bay, which was in a somewhat
moribund state, as its sole remaining industrial unit, a large sawmill, was in the process
of winding down. Once again, Irwin's three
children still of elementary school age served
to make up the quota necessary to stave off a
school closure. In 1965 your author had occasion to interview Mabel (Davis) Fay, who
was a pupil in Pilot Bay during the Irwin regime. The passing years had not impaired
Mrs. Fay's memory of the "reign of terror"
that ensued with Irwin's arrival. His paroxysms of fory, which prompted him to lash
out with a heavy hand and a fiery tongue,
vitiated his teaching ability.
When the Pilot Bay school closed in 1903,
Irwin moved to the Hume Extension School
serving an area east ofthe Nelson City Limits, which two decades later was incorporated
into the City as the suburb of Fairview. He
survived at the Hume School for three years,
but by August, 1906 a move 17 miles south
to the somewhat tough mining settlement
of Ymir was warranted. One year in the turbulent Ymir school sufficed, and it seemed
now, at the age of fifty, Irwin and teaching
had reached the final parting. He secured a
job as freight clerk at the Nelson City Wharf.
World War I, with its attendant teaching
shortage, re-opened the classroom door for
Irwin. In September, 1914 he embarked on
three years in the one-room school at the now
vanished mining settlement of Erie, southwest of present-day Salmo, where he earned
the sum of $75 monthly, thanks to wartime
inflation. His last teaching berth was in the
small Slocan Valley community of Perry Siding.
Joseph Irwin's death in Nelson in 1918
brought to an end his turbulent days in the
teaching profession. He was a man of considerable intellectual and organizational ability, but ill-suited to a teaching career.
Weighed down by the responsibilities of a
large family, he seems to have had few options outside ofthe classroom. It would be
consoling to think that Irwin's life represents
an isolated example in the saga of the one-
room school in British Columbia. The early
Public Schools Reports, however, indicate
that Irwin was not the only "Flying Dutchman" constantly Searching for the school
district which would offer him some respite.
The other side of the coin offers examples
such as pioneer teacher Adelaide Bailey who
was dearly loved and valued in the various
communities where she taught. Even such a
teacher as Miss Bailey, however, scarcely
found life in the one-room school to be a
rose garden.
Bio Note: the author read the article "The Cache
Creek Provincial Boarding School" in die previous issue of this magazine then quickly reactivated bis file on the last teacher at that school
We thank this energetic researcher for presentations on a great variety of topics.
1. Doe, Ernest. The History of Salmon Ann, 1881-1912.
Salmon Arm, The Observer, 1947. Page 4.
1916 and 1917 swim suits.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 Report of Conference ** 1996
Eighty-five history buffs arrived in
Williams Lake to attend the Annual Conference ofthe B.C. Historical Federation April
26-28. Friday a new, helpful package was
offered. The morning workshop featured Lee
Boyko and Greg Evans of the B.C. Museums Association talking on accessioning
materials by small museums while the second workshop was a panel of three, moderated by Helen Akrigg, presenting helpful
hints to writers of local history. Jean Barman
and Gordon Elliott concentrated on researching and writing while Howard White gave
advice and explanations on the mechanics of
getting one's book into print.
The Museum of Cariboo Chilcotin was the
site of a welcoming wine and cheese party.
Delegates circulated meeting old friends and
new while admiring the beautifully laid out
Late arrivals swelled the attendance on
Saturday to 110 eager participants. George
Atamanenko, 150 Mile House resident and
president elect of the Heritage Society of
B.C., introduced the speakers. The first
speaker, John Roberts, chose some examples
of "Litigation in the Cariboo" as his topic
which was delivered in a very lighthearted
manner. "The Tale of a Chilcotin Rancher"
was told by Tim Bayliff of his grandfather
Hugh on the spread now being worked by a
fourth generation member of the family.
Gerry Bracewell, cowgirl and guide-outfitter, told of many of her adventures in the
Chilcotin. This lady met each challenge from
the time she arrived as a teenager to now
when she is proud grandmother of three preschoolers. After a catered lunch, Branwen
Patenaude, author of Trails to Gold showed
slides of many ofthe roadhouses built to cater to foot and horse traffic in the days ofthe
Cariboo gold rush.
Next came the Annual General Meeting
and the evening Awards Banquet. Master of
Ceremonies for the dinner was Barry Sale,
principal of Anne Stevenson Secondary
School in Williams Lake and son of our Corresponding Secretary Don Sale. After saying
a memorable grace he directed diners to the
laden buffet table. Pixie McGeachie, chair of
the annual BCHF Writing Competition announced and introduced the winners for
1995. Paula Wild, author of Sointula: Island Utopia and Ken Drushka, author of
H.R.: A Biography of H.R. MacMillan
were honored in absentia. Co-authors of
Atlin: The Story of British Columbia's Last
Gold Rush received the Lieutenant-Governor's medal. Christine Dickenson of Houston and Diane Solie Smith of Atlin had
cooperated by phone and fax to polish the
writing of this book. Howard White of Harbour Publishing was honored for publishing
Sointula' and H.R. and many other excellent books on B.C. history. The winner of
the Best Article in B.C. Historical News in
1995 was Esther Darlington of Cache Creek.
She was presented with a certificate and
cheque for "Fabulous Fanny Faucault". Next
introduced was Richard Thomas Wright. It
is said that laughter is good for digestion and
laugh we did at his embellished history which
contained subtle admonitions about the care
and management of our heritage sites. The
evening ended on a musical note. Geoff
Patenaude of Horsefly has composed songs
about the Cariboo. He plays guitar to accompany his three daughters in the rendition of
these ballads.
Sunday morning two buses left Williams
Lake about 8:30 am. Branwen Patenaude
pointed out specific lakes and roadhouses
along the way. When we approached Quesnel
Forks we were stopped and encouraged to
go to a viewpoint to observe a mudslide on
the far bank of the Quesnel River. We then
trekked through the Quesnel Forks (Likely)
Cemetery which has explanatory signage and
restored grave markers. Among the remaining log buildings we found students serving
tea, coffee and doughnuts to
fortify us. These students
from Likely Secondary are
keen supporters of their
teacher Dave Falconer in his
bid to preserve as much of
Quesnel Forks as possible.
They eagerly explained the
reconfiguration of the river
beside us, lamenting the loss
of a calm swimming hole behind a now vanished island.
They dressed in period costume as they stirred the
campfire under the waterpots, and joined in
answering questions about the decaying log
buildings on this point at the confluence of
the Quesnel and Cariboo Rivers. The bus
ground up steep hills and along a narrow
gravel road back to Likely where a tasty repast awaited us at the Likely Hilton. (That's
right, folks. The Likely Hilton.) The bus was
now back on tarmac but the 85 km. to 150
Mile House is very winding and reaches an
elevation much higher than Williams Lake.
We extend a great big THANK YOU to
the committee who organized this 1996 conference.
Branwen Patenaude - shown here at the
conclusion of her slide show and talk on
Cariboo roadhouses.
Photo courtesy of John Spittle
Mayor Walt Cobb and bis wife- Head table at B.CH.F. Awards Banquet.
WiUiams Lake, April 27, 1996.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 NEWS & NOTES
BCHF 1996 Annual General
The Annual General Meeting was conducted in
a businesslike manner by President Alice
Glanville. Forty-five voting delegates represented many of the thirty-two member
societies. Correspondence included notices of
[1] meetings being held across the province to
prepare long term plans for the B.C. Museums
Association and the Heritage Society of B.C.
and [2] pending changes in the structure of
B.C. Archives and Records Service in Victoria.
Committee reports were presented by Tony
Farr on the B.C. Historical News publication;
Pixie McGeachie on the mechanics of handling
the 34 books entered for the Writing Competition; Anne Yandle giving notice that Frances
Gundry will succeed her as Scholarship
Chairman; John Spittle pleased to announce
that the first streetcar on the old Interurban is
returning to Vancouver; Publications Assistance has had no recent requests for funds; and
Melva Dwyer reported that the special
workshops were within budget.
Our new Honorary President, Len Nicholls of
Nanaimo, was introduced and welcomed. Then
a very deserving (and very surprised) John
Spittle was declared to be now an Honorary
Life Member.
Reports from member societies were subjected
to time restraint but the following tidbits were
gleaned. Aldergrove Historical Society is
opening a museum on June 22. The North
Shuswap Historical Society has produced its
fifth volume of Shuswap Chronicles. Victoria
Historical Society has expanded its executive
council and finds the "share the work" philosophy has improved participation tremendously.
District 69 in Parksville reports increased
attendance at its Craig Bay Museum site;
visitors stopping at the Chamber of Commerce
(now immediately adjacent) walk through the
museum before driving onward. Our Archivist
from Princeton notes that considerable material
used in four separate histories of the Kettle
Valley Railway came from her hometown
archives. Arrow Lakes Historical Society is
upgrading their archives so five members
attended a Basic Archives course recently. The
Okanagan Historical Society announced that
Dr. Jean Barman was scheduled to be guest
speaker at their May 5th meeting in Salmon
A Recollection in Stanley
 Interchange '96 was held on February 16-17
at the Stanley Park Pavilion. This annual
meeting, sponsored by Heritage Trust, is a
gathering of representatives of the umbrella
organizations, namely: B.C. Museums
Association, Heritage Society of B.C., B.C.
Historical Federation, B.C. Archivists, Archaeological Society of B.C. and the Underwa
ter Archaeologists. Several of those present
mentioned a special memory of an earlier visit
to this Stanley Park building. We would like to
share the memory of John Bovey, Provincial
Archivist, from Victoria.
"I attended a French kindergarten and the
graduation of my kindergarten class was held
in this Stanley Park Pavilion. I was a five year
old, garbed all in green as a pixie with a little
green hat. (That hat was prominent in my
mother's house until she died.) The guest
speaker that afternoon was the French consul.
He started to address the group then burst into
tears. He had learned, minutes before leaving
his office, that France had fallen to the
Germans, June 22,1940. Seeing a grown man
weep printed the memory of that day indelibly
on my mind."
Eleanor Hancock's
December marked the final issue of
Thompson's River Post, thrice-yearly
newsletter of the Kamloops Museum Association. Eleanor Hancock finished up 11 years as
editor/manager, probably a record - editors do
come and go!
Eleanor Hancock laughs about the end to her
job. She and her partner gave one year's notice
but were terminated early in favour of a short,
more frequent publication initiated by KMA
president Wilf Schmidt.
Later, on behalf of the Association, president
Schmidt presented them with handsome pens,
with a reminder that there was always additional volunteer work at the museum.
Eleanor says that during those 11 years, she
worked with six Association presidents, two
curators and numerous other supportive board
members and staff. She served twice on the
board. Three years ago she was joined by Mel
Rothenburger, editor of the Kamloops Daily
News and author of four books.
Mel Rothenburger undertook to paginate the
newsletter, ending the cut and paste work. The
result was a classy looking publication. And a
new name. 'Thompson's River Post.'
Balloon Bomb Defense
Douglas Patten of Saanichton recently read the
Summer 1995 issue of this magazine. He wrote
to tell us:" My brother Gordon was decorated
for shooting down many of these balloon
bombs before they reached the coast. He flew
a Kittyhawk P40#N1051 on March 10,1945
over Salt Spring Island. He flew with Fighter
Squadron #133 Royal Canadian Air Force. The
aircraft he flew is now at the Planes of Fame
Air Museum in Chino, California. It is still flown
and last flew in a Sony TV commercial in
October 1995. Gorden now lives in Roseville,
Do you Happen to Know ?
• A reader in Coquitlam wants to know whether
anyone can provide information on the Sun
Ray Radio Club, or Uncle Billy Hassel, or a
character known as "The Kootney (Kootenay)
Kid. Write or phone the Editor - address inside
the back cover.
• Father Chris Thomas, University Chaplain,
University of Liverpool, Mount Pleasant,
Liverpool, England L3 5TQ is trying to trace
relatives who emigrated to Canada sometime
after 1918. His great uncle Sam Lloyd married
and came to Canada, fathered two daughters,
one of whom was called Doris. Doris had a son
who lost touch with the family in England. Can
anyone help Father Chris get in touch with any
descendant(s) of Sam Lloyd ?
• Residents of Elko in southeastern B.C. are
trying to learn more of their early history. They
are denied information normally gleaned from
tombstones in the old cemetery. Most of the
wooden grave markers were burned by a grass
fire in 1947. This community once boasted a
sawmill and two railway lines (C.P.R. and Great
Northern Railway.) If you had family or friends
who lived, worked or may be buried there
please supply the name and any remembered
facts to: Mrs. Carolyn Haarstad, Box 1068,
Elko, B.C. VOB 1J0, Phone (604) 529-7637.
Constitutional Frustration ?
It used to be that any group wishing recognition
as a non-profit society decided local aims and
objectives then enlisted the help of a lawyer to
draft a constitution and by-laws. This then was
registered with a government department. It
was kept current by annual payment and report
to the Registrar of Companies. Process was
described for amending your constitution as
North Shore Historical Society had attempted
to update their constitution. Each altered
clause cost an individual fee... if the wording
was accepted by officials in the provincial
office. After several rejections of attempted
revision, a member of the Society (a Solicitor
and Barrister) recommended that this North
Vancouver Historical Society cancel its old
Constitution, obtain a refund for so doing, then
reapply for Incorporation, using the basic
Constitution and Bylaws provided and preferred
by the Ministry.
Details of this, should you need this for any
local non-profit society of which you are a
member, are available from:
Ministry of Finance and Corporate Relations
Registrar of Companies
2nd Floor 940 Blanshard Street
Victoria, B.C. V8W3E6
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 NEWS & NOTES
Cranbrook Archives,
Museum and Landmark
This organization, locally referred to as
CAMAL, celebrated its 20th anniversary on
February 21,1996. At the annual dinner many
of the past boards of directors were present
and acknowledged. While the initial thrust
concentrated on Archives it quickly expanded
to landmarks. Garry Anderson, while a student
in the faculty of Architecture, had done a
Heritage Study for Cranbrook City Council, of
older buildings in town.
The Museum facility has grown from the Dining
Car Argyle which was acquired in 1977 - to
twenty-three railway cars, a railway station, and
a water tower. Under the energetic leadership
of Garry Anderson most of the on-site cars
have been restored and opened to the public
during visiting hours. Six units of the Cranbrook
Railway Museum were displayed at Expo '86.
By 1993 this Cranbrook based display was
granted the name "The Canadian Museum of
Rail Travel." This unique railway museum is a
recommended destination for history buffs.
There are great plans for the future - more
units and two engines are promised. Fund
raising is underway to build a giant roof to
protect these gems.
Canada-Wide Health and
Medical Archives
Telephone Information Network
Metro Toronto: 416-978-6738
The Centre for Research in Information Studies
at the University of Toronto, in association with
the Hannah Institute for the History of Medicine, has established a new non-profit toll-free
reference, advice and communications service
specifically designed to help practitioners,
researchers, custodians of archival materials,
and others find answers to research problems
and get advice on practical issues associated
with keeping healthcare and medical archives.
The Network uses a menu-based voice-
messaging system to route callers to recorded
information on specific topics, and also allows
callers to record personal messages requesting advice and assistance about specific
problems and issues - to be answered by
Network administrators or referred, as appropriate, to various consulting advisors.
Callers may also use the Network to record
messages announcing events, programs and
activities of interest to the archival and medical
history research communities in Canada - new
publications and work-in-progress, upcoming
meetings and conferences, professional
archival education and training opportunities,
and new acquisitions - which will be made
available to other Network users. In addition,
callers can use the Network to request copies
of research resources, such as a bibliography
of research tools used by health archivists and
medical/healthcare historians.
For more information, or to contribute an
announcement for distribution through the
Network, please contact Barbara Craig,
Director of the Centre for Research in Information Studies, Faculty of Information Studies,
University of Toronto, 140 St. George St.,
Toronto ON, M5S 1A1; (416) 978-7093, fax
(416) 971-1399, email:
Silverton Site of Workshop
Linda Wills of Vernon conducted a workshop on
April 13 and 14, on Basic Archives for 16
volunteers from several Kootenay museums
and community archives. Five members of the
Arrow Lake Historical Society in Nakusp drove
over for both of the two days of sessions.
Others who attended the course came from
Cranbrook, Greenwood, Rossland, Nelson,
New Denver, Kaslo and Silverton.
North Pacific Cannery
The oldest cannery still standing in British
Columbia is now a museum. It is a wonderful
place. And, if you time your visit right, you will
be treated to a fascinating history of the
development of canning and canneries at the
mouth of the Skeena River. Curator/actor/
teacher David Boyce portrays dozens of the
characters who left their imprint on North
Pacific Cannery. You can almost feel their
ghosts trotting along the wooden walkway in
and out of the buildings standing on pilings
near the village of Port Edward, a few minutes
east of Prince Rupert.
Haunted House??
Have you heard bumps in the night? or had
doors opening when no one was there? Author
Robert Belyk is seeking local ghost stories for
a future book. If you know of eerie happenings
please share them with Mr. Belyk by letter.
Write to him c/o P.O. Box 78052, Port
Coquitlam, B.C. V3B 7H5.
f, Gerry BraceweU, and John Roberts - Williams Lake reception for
B.CH.F. April 26,1996.
The Patenaude Singers from Horsefly entertained after the
Awards Banquet.
Photo courtesy of John Spittle
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 BOOKSHELF
Books for review and book reviews should be sent directly to the Book Review Editor:
Anne Yandle, 3450 West 20th Avenue, Vancouver, B.C. V6S 1E4
Trails to Gold. Branwen C. Ffetenaude.
Victoria, Horsdal & Schubart, 1995. 201 p.,
maps, illus. $12.95. Paperback.
Branwen C. Patenaude fills her Trails to
Gold with misplaced or forgotten material,
every bit of it of interest and importance, some
bits more than others and each bit appealing
to the tastes of different readers. She often reveals her own Quesnel connection by pointing
out people who also had Quesnel connections:
John McLean, mere early; Roddy Moffat a
freighter; W.A. Johnson, or Fred and Florence
Lindsay, people with business interests.
Though never pressing the point, she also
inadvertently shows us the variety of peoples
hustling northward to the new goldfields, the
Americans, the Germans, the Englishmen, the
Frenchmen, the Italians, the Mexicans, the
Scots, the Welsh, and the many Eastern Canadians. One of the most interesting aspects of
this book is its introducing us to people long
before they had become names well-known in
the history of the Cariboo and to the "networking" going on amongst them. In 1858 the "keen
edged" Franklin Way was at Spuzzum, in 1862
he is a partner of Gustavus Blin Wright; in 1859
Wright was at Rort Douglas in a freighting partnership with Thomas Davidson; later that same
year those two ran a "transportation company"
at Bridge River. Davidson builds a farm and
stopping house at Williams Lake and then develops a couple of easy trails from there to Deep
Creek where Wight and Way had bought property and through which Wright built the road
to the Fraser at Soda Creek where he had
steamboat interests.
She introduces them effortlessly, often
through items from newspapers - even advertisements - through letters and comments of.
government people like Lieutenant R.C. Mayne
of the Royal Navy, and even of Governor
James Douglas himself. She uses the letters
and the diaries or books of educated travellers:
Dr. William D. Cheadle: Sarah Crease, William
Higgins, journalist and later author of The Mystic Spring; and Bishop George Hills. These and
lesser lights describe the roads and inns and
people encountered on the trail to gold, and
their comments and asides are often more interesting than the facts.
With such material, this should be an exciting book to read; unfortunately it is not And
for many reasons. For one, the title is misleading and the introduction fails to indicate that
the book is only about trails to Cariboo gold,
not to Omineca gold or Big Bend gold, not even
to gold at Stud Horse Creek. The text does
mention a road being under construction from
Cache Creek to "Savannah's Ferry" or to "Savannah steamboat landing", but gives no reason for its being built; a map does indicate a
road to "Savona", but the text fails to explain
the difference between Savannah and Savona.
While struggling to discover the main topic of
the book, while trying to decide whether it is
about the trails to gold, or about the inns on
those trails, or about the people met at those
inns on those trails, the reader becomes picky,
unresponsive, and exasperated.
Unnecessary detail also helps deaden this
text Great story tellers increase the power of
what they write by ignoring any material irrelevant to their themes and by heading directly
to a punchline when they see one. Too often
writers of local histories are unable to throw
out their hard-come-by notes and by failing to
do so weaken their texts by including material
that has no direct bearing on the stories they
are telling. Here, the story about the pig stealing Moberly's boot is a good story, but because
it does not further the forward movement of
the book it merely becomes distracting detail.
The same is true of the one about William Jones
and the blasting powder, and the one about
Mrs. Carson and the liquor. Interesting, but
In spite of the many problems with this book,
and because of the great array of interesting
material that should be dug out bit by bit and
not gone after in one or two long sessions, Trails
to Gold should be on the bookshelves of every
patient reader interested in the Cariboo gold
rush. Regardless of its clumsy organisation,
its lack of focus, and its ability to drive a reader
mad, it fills in many details, particularly about
obscure roadhouses, forgotten Places, and
lesser People, and leaves a reader more alert
to the history but still wanting to dig for answers to questions raised by subjects not fully
developed. And that surely is a recommendation in itself. For example, Judas goats are well
known, but a "Judas cow" is surely a phenomenon known only to the Cariboo. Or is it?
Gordon Elliott
Gordon Elliott is the author of Quesnel,
Commercial Centre of the Cariboo Gold
Salmonopolis; the Steveston Story.
Stacey, Duncan and Susan. Madeira Park,
B.C. Harbour Publishing, 1994.152 p.
illus. $29.95. Hardcover.
Those interested in the history of Canada's
west coast fishing industry will already be very
familiar with the Stacey name, so will not be
surprised to learn of the publication of this book
on the history of Steveston, the important fishing industry community at the mouth of the
Fraser River. Yet, despite this reviewer's prior
knowledge of Duncan Stacey's extensive previous work on the industry, 1 have to say that 1
found Salmonopolis to be even better than 1
had anticipated.
A survey of Salmonopolis illustrates that the
volume begins with a rich account of the origins of the Steveston area as a farming community that eventually served the growing
nearby cities of New Westminster and Vancou
ver. It then traces the maturing agricultural
community, which occupied some of British
Columbia's richest soil, but then turns to focus
on the emergence of Steveston as B.C.'s premier salmon canning centre, a "Salmonopolis"
as the graphic title suggests.
This change brought a total transformation
to the area, where a small farming settlement
was pushed aside by a fishing industry town,
as cannery after sprawling cannery lined the
nearby banks of the Fraser River. At the same
time, the local population boomed as workers
arrived to build fishing boats, operate huge
fishing fleets, and toil in the canneries. Other
businesses such as banks, cafes and chandleries arrived to service the industry and the growing town. It also brought a demographic change,
as natives, who had once congregated in the
area on a seasonal basis to fish, now returned
each season to labour in the canneries.
Asian Canadians also found ready work in the
area, and it became the major centre for Japanese Canadians on the British Columbia coast
as they became more and more prominent in
fishing and boat building.
The book has a special strength because it is
not just a local history, only focusing on issues
of parochial interest It certainly provides a readable and informative overview of the history of
the riverside community, but it also reaches out
showing Steveston's transformation by a large
industry. It illustrates how Steveston fitted into
that wider coastal and even international context Furthermore, while it also concentrates on
the significant arrival and activities of the pioneer European settlers, Salmonopolis also provides insights into the earlier use of the area by
aboriginals, and their later seasonal presence
and work in the canneries. The authors also
provide an extensive account of the Chinese
and Japanese presence in Steveston. Reflecting the increasingly important role that Japanese Canadians played in the industry, and in
the community of Steveston itself, much of the
book also focuses on that community. As such,
it provides a very concrete or specific picture
of the growing influence and contributions that
Japanese Canadians have provided to British
Columbia, despite often arduous lives passed
in a province that was racist and openly hostile
for decades.
Salmonopolis is enriched by the extensive
quotations from a wide range of archival
sources which the authors have included, both
at the beginning of each chapter and within the
body of the text Those statements, by pioneers,
the press of the day, or other observers, bring
life - in the sense of the opinions or accounts of
actual individuals - to the book, adding to its
value. It is not a superficial overview, but a detailed picture of life at one point on the British
Columbia coast The book is also strengthened
by a lavish number of photographs that have
come from the holdings of the authors, and
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 BOOKSHELF
other private and public collections. They are
well labelled and add to the depth of the portrait of Steveston that the authors and publisher
intended to provide readers, lt also made the
book and its subject extremely accessible for
the many readers who may only wish to acquire an introduction to Steveston.
My only criticism of Salmonopolis is the
absence of maps, both archival and recent;
much valuable information could have been
added by the inclusion of some early maps of
the community, such as an early fire insurance
map, and a more recent map of the area perhaps just inside the front and back covers. 1
would urge the authors to consider this suggestion in any future editions.
Otherwise, get out and buy yourself a copy
of Salmonopolis.
William McKee.
Bill McKee is the Pacific Historian at the
Canadian Museum of Civilization.
Historic Nelson; the early years. John
Norris. Lantzville, Oolichan Books, 1995.
319 p., illus., maps. $21.95 paper; $36.95 bd.
The publication of John Norris's Historic
Nelson is like the raising of a curtain before a
stage play. Even to most Kootenaians the early
story of Nelson prior to the discovery of the
Silver King claims on Toad Mountain in 1886,
overlooking the site of the present City of Nelson, seems to have been lost in shadow. In an
unusual, if not at times a quaint style of prose,
Mr. Norris writes fluently, and with obvious
enthusiasm, about some of the drama and excitement of the early exploration and prospecting of the Kootenays between the time of the
gold rush on Wild Horse Creek and the building of the Dewdney Trail, in 1863-64, and the
incorporation of the City of Nelson in 1897.
The chapter headings are reminiscent of 19th
century British travel books about western
Canada, and the author will interrupt an interesting account of historical journey to reflect
Thoreau-like, on the beauties of primordial
spring on Kootenay Lake:
"Already the light-sleeping squirrels had left
their winter nests; in a few weeks bears - the
mothers with newborn cubs - would emerge
from caves and hollow cedars to feed on multifarious stems and roots that awakening plants
were quickly providing."
Anyone familiar with Nelson will be fascinated to read of the early characters whose
names are perpetuated in street and place
names: Anderson Creek, after an early settler
who pre-empted the eastern half of the town
first known as Bogustown and latterly as
Fairview; Ward and Josephine Streets after an
easy-going man and his aggressive wife;
Hendryx Street after the Grand Rapids physician who turned entrepreneur and built the Pilot
Bay Smelter, and Baker Street, named after
Col. James Baker, a Cranbrook resident who
was MLA for the area. Nelson Rower and Light
was the second utility company incorporated
in Canada (1893), though not necessarily the
second to produce electricity as there was a
delay till 1896. The Nelson Street Railway was
likely the first electric trolley in Canada, as is
claimed. The author, who grew up in the east-
em half of the city now called Fairview, has
done a lot of original research as have some of
his colleagues to whom he gives full credit.
Edward L Affleck, son of a long-time Clerk of
the City of Nelson, is credited with discovering
an obscure passage in a Spokane newspaper
of the 1880s which may well force the reinter-
pretation of the story of the conviction and
hanging of Robert Sproule for the alleged murder of Thomas Hammill in 1885 at the Bluebell Mine near Riondel. Sproule always
maintained his innocence but was nevertheless convicted and hanged after several delays.
Nelson, formerly called Stanley, emerged as
the definitive city, over previous starts by
Ainsworth and Kaslo, probably due to its more
central location to service the many mining and
prospecting activities which flourished in the
Kootenays in the decade prior to the turn of
the century. Norris's book weaves an interesting story of the interplay between American
population pressures, the building of the
railroads and the last vestiges of British colonialism in the area, all determined in the end by
the north-south geography as it affected the
westward expansion.
Coming soon after the publication of Jeremy
Mouat's Roaring Days - the story of
Rossland, this book adds a major contribution
to the history of the Kootenays which in many
ways repeated the effects of the great gold rush
to California and the silver frenzy of Colorado
in the latter half of the nineteenth century.
However, it is unique in that the quality of its
prose is outstanding.
Adam C. Waldie.
Adam Waldie, a retired physician, grew up
in Trail.
Geology ofthe Kelowna Area and
Origin of the Okanagan Valley, BC.
Murray A. Roed, with contributions from
Don A. Dobson, George Ewonus, John D.
Greenough, Brian Hughes, H.A.
Luttmerding, Peter Peto and Norman
Williams. Kelowna, Published by the
Kelowna Geology Committee, c/o Geology
Dept Okanagan University College,
Kelowna, BC , 1995.183 p., illus. $14.95
The fields of expertise of the eight authors
range widely: college teacher, geological and
engineering consultant, archeologist hydrolo-
gist soils expert and exploration geologist Consequently they are able to provide an unusually
complete and wide-ranging account of the
geology of the Kelowna area.
The volume begins with a discussion of geologic time and includes a useful time-table and
geologic column. The chapter describes rock
units ranging from ancient gneisses, 2 billion
years in age, to scarcely cold lavas poured out
less than one million years ago.
After a brief account of the physiograhic divisions of southern British Columbia, the main
geological events are summarized. This involves
consideration of plate tectonics as it involves
the Kelowna area, faulting, numerous volcanic
episodes and the origin of sedimentary strata
ranging in age from Triassic to Recent
There follows a discussion of the ice age, starting some 1.6 million years ago and marked by
several separate glacial episodes. Valley glaciers
scoured the bedrock floor of present Okanagan
Lake to a depth of 640 metres below sea-level.
During the waning stages of the ice-age, silts
accumulated in a vast glacial lake, and are now
seen as forming silt bluffs and terraces up to
100 metres above the level of Okanagan Lake.
A description of soils and agriculture of the
area is illustrated by a useful map. An interesting chapter on the ancient peoples of the area
calls for further investigation of some 350 archeological sites.
Chapter 8 is entitled "geologic landscapes of
the Kelowna area." Thirty-five easily accessible sites, marked on a handy full-page map,
are described and many of them illustrated with
photographs or sketch maps. The features described range widely, some, for example, are
panoramic scenes, others are views of lava columns or close-ups of coal beds and fossil trees.
This account is complemented by two appendices: Appendix A consists of directions for a
one-day motor trip to nine of the sites described
in chapter 8; Appendix B, a field trip designed
for serious students and which covers earlier
topics in more detail.
Of particular interest to the general public is
a chapter on geologic hazards, including landslides, sinkholes, floods, earthquakes and volcanoes. This is followed by an appraisal of local
geotechnical conditions and a description of the
difficulties of building bridges and large buildings on the highly compressible sediments that
underlie parts of the Kelowna area.
Final chapters deal with watershed management and groundwater resources. A very complete bibliography, a useful glossary of
geological terms, and an index round out the
The success of a book of this sort depends
largely on the quality of the illustrations. The
maps are numerous, bold, strongly coloured
and easy to follow. Cross-sections and sketches
are well integrated with the text The photographs are generally excellent
The reader encounters a few difficulties: profiles distorted because of the use of different
horizontal and vertical scales (figure 14) will
mislead some lay-reader. Where is Okanagan
Centre (figure 11)? Why put figure 20 upside
down? A visitor from Texas might find sightseeing easier if the city of Kelowna had been
marked on some of the maps and he might be
puzzled by the references to Ogopogo. A glance
at the photo of Layer Cake Hill (plate 17) shows
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 BOOKSHELF
that it cannot be a geotectobolt (p. 150) - they
invariably have a left-hand thread!
The authors are to be congratulated on turning out an interesting, useful and up-to-date
K.C. McTaggart.
Dr. McTaggart is a retired professor of
Kanaka: the untold story of Hawaiian
Pioneers in British Columbia and the
Pacific Northwest. Tom Koppel. Vancouver/
Toronto, Whitecap Books, 1995. 152 p.
$14.95, paper
This is a book that is long overdue. The
Hudson's Bay Company and its predecessors
depended heavily on the Hawaiian Islands as
a source of labour for their posts on the North
West coast of America from at least 1812 to
the end of the fur trade era. They employed
approximately 500 Kanakas (the term used for
Hawaiians in 19th century British Columbia,
which actually is the Hawaiian word for "people or mankind") scattered among their various posts.
By the 1830s a number of these employees
had married native wives in the custom of the
country and a resident Hawaiian colony was
beginning to grow. Sojourners were becoming
settlers. The Hawaiians were an essential source
of labour, and their presence was crucial to the
success of the colony. Without them it is doubtful that this coast would have remained a British possession in face of American expansion.
Koppel has provided as complete an overview of the history of Kanaka settlement as
probably can be done on the basis of English
language sources alone. To gain further and
different insight into the world of the Kanakas
and their relationship with the Hudson's Bay
Company and colonial society it would be necessary to go to Hawaiian language sources.
This will have to await another researcher, as
it would appear that Koppel does not read Hawaiian, or at least has not cited any Hawaiian
texts in the original.
In 1831 there were 1100 "common schools"
in the Hawaiian Kingdom, so that many of the
Kanakas had likely received some education
in their own language, but with the exception
of William Kaulehlehe, and possibly a very few
others, they were illiterate in English. (Heneri
Opukahaia, 1787-1818, who translated the
Book of Genesis into Hawaiian, claimed it was
easier to translate between Hebrew and Hawaiian than it was to translate between English
and Hawaiian. If this was true for a scholar,
English would have been a greater barrier for
semi-educated labourers.) However, the existence of Hawaiian Bibles in British Columbia,
which would have hardly been imported by
people unable to read them, and the fact that
William Kaulehlehe and Mary Kaai's departure
from Honolulu in 1845 was the subject of an
article in the newspaper Ka Elele Hawaii suggest that research in Hawaiian sources may
prove fruitful.
One small example will suffice to illustrate
where reliance on English language sources is
a weak reed to rely upon. In 1860, Prince Lot
Kamehameha, Heir Presumptive to the Hawaiian Throne, visited Victoria. The English language press made no mention ofthe Kanakas'
reaction to this visit, which is not untypical of
coverage of ethnic communities either then or
now. Koppel suggests that "perhaps" the visit
instilled pride in the Kanakas' hearts, but the
word "perhaps" implies that they may have
ignored the visit. That would be totally contrary to the place of the Alii (nobility) in Hawaiian culture. The actions of Mele Kainuha Kela
Azbill when King David Kalakaua visited the
United States in 1887 are much more culturally consistent and in character. Thus, it would
be safe to assume that the visit of Prince Lot
was one of the most significant events in the
Kanakas' lives. The likely place to look to find
evidence of this would be the papers of Prince
Lot Kamehameha (later King David Kalakaua)
and Governor, the Hon. Mateil Kekuanoao
(Governor of Oahu), all of whom were in Victoria at the same time and all of whom had
reason to both have interest in and be of interest to the Kanakas.
Koppel shows the many ways in which the
Kanakas were a typical immigrant community.
Many of their experiences have echoes in the
lives of other communities of new Canadians
who have arrived in more recent times. A
happy example of this is the description of the
luau held in 1865 to celebrate the birthday of
Pilipa Kaoo where poi, imported from Hawaii
for the occasion, was one of the dishes served.
Many people can probably relate to this, where
something which was very everyday in the "old
country" becomes a special dish for festive times
here. In a more sombre note, the story of the
hanging of Peter Kakua, has echoes with other
minorities in other times, as it can be argued
that someone in the English speaking majority
community might have received a lesser sentence under the same circumstances.
Koppel traces some Kanaka families to the
current generation, and shows the one way that
the Hawaiian community has been an atypical
immigrant group. Descendants in the female
line have tended to assimilate into the genera!
population whereas in some families descendants in the male line have tended to assimilate
into the First Nations, possibly the only immigrant group to do so to a significant degree.
This bears further study. The Hawaiians were
one of the four non-western cultures to respond
to the threat of western imperialism by rapid
westernization in an attempt to confront the
West on its own terms. The other cultures to
do so were Japan, Siam and Madagascar. The
two Asian nations succeeded, and the others
came very close to succeeding. Has this cultural background had an influence on the struggle for First Nations rights?
Kanaka: the Untold Story... is a book which
belongs in any collecrion which deals with British Columbia history or Canadian immigration.
It is very readable and should be a starting point
for further research on a community which has
been ignored too long.
Michael FH. Halleran.
Michael Halleran is a member of the
Victoria Historical Society.
Faces of British Columbia; looking at
the past, 1860-1960. Rosemary Neering
and Joe Thompson. Vancouver/Toronto,
Whitecap Books, 1995.166 p., illus., index.
$24.95, paper.
The authors caution in their introduction to
Faces of British Columbia that the book "is
neither an illustrated history of British Columbia nor a history of photography in the province... It is, rather, a photographic album chosen
from the several hundred thousand photographs in the photo files of the British Columbia Archives and Records Service." They also
point out that "the carefully posed nature of
most photographs often meant reality was devised by the photographers." Readers must
bear these considerations in mind.
The format for the book is straightforward -
an introduction of 9 pages, then 10 chapters,
each of which deals with a decade beginning
with one for the 1860s and ending with one for
the 1950s. Each chapter commences with a
short essay outlining the major historical events
and developments of its decade with some
comments on contemporary photography, and
is completed with about a dozen photographs,
usually one to a page, with a short legend for
each. There is a concise bibliography and an
Altogether Faces of British Columbia is a
commendable effort There are many good features to the book. The overall design is appropriate and effective, and the binding stands up
to rough usage. The photographs are beautifully reproduced; they are clear and in a good
size. The text both in the introductions and in
the legends which accompany the photographs,
is well written. The authors have a good control of their materials.
Readers ofthe province's history will find this
a useful publication.
George Newell.
George Newell is a member of the Victoria
Historical Society.
Flapjacks and Photographs. Henri
Robideau. Vancouver ft>lestar Press, 1995.
204 p., illus. $24.95. Paperback.
Flapjacks and Photographs is a book of
considerable originality and charm. Although
it will likely appeal principally to photography
enthusiasts, it also provides a considerable
amount of background history on the Lardeau
Mining Division of British Columbia not readily available elsewhere.
Young Will Gunterman from Iowa met and
married Mattie Warner from Wisconsin in 1891
in the brash frontier town of Seattle, Washington. Both Will and Mattie were rovers and
dreamers. In search of a climate which would
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1996 BOOKSHELF
be congenial to Mattie's chronic lung problems,
the two with their young son Henry visited in
1898 a relative who had settled on the northeast arm of Upper Arrow Lake at Beaton, the
western gate-way to the then booming Lardeau
mining country.
The enchanting scenery and salubrious climate of the Lardeau country cast its spell over
the Guntermans. For more than four decades,
Beaton was to remain their home base as they
lived a somewhat peripatetic existence of prospecting, logging, trapping and above all, as
camp cooks extraordinaire, flipping mountains
of flapjacks in the cookhouses of many different mining and lumber camps. Mattie
Gunterman, a compulsive photographer of no
mean skill, left a legacy of superb photographs
depicting their working and leisure life. The
engrossing pictorial record of the early 20th
century days in the backwoods of the Kootenay
District reproduced within the covers of
Robideau's book is a veritable bonanza.
To present Mattie Gunterman's photographs
in context Robideau has researched not only
the family history of the photographer but also
the history of the Lardeau Mining Division in
West Kootenay, the setting for the majority of
the photographs. Not satisfied with merely supplying captions to the photographs, the author
spins an interesting narrative which provides
aspects of family history, social history and industrial history, all skilfully interwoven. A collection of photographs by Gunterman related
to the topics discussed in the chapter follows
each chapter, and the occasional photograph
not by Gunterman is to be found within a chapter to illuminate Robideau's narrative. One gamers that the Guntermans did not amass many
material possessions in a lifetime, but they certainly wove a patchwork quilt of varied and
colourful experiences.
Given the attention devoted to the layout of
pictures and maps, and the general high quality of this book, the lack of an index is to be
regretted. The work, obviously a labour of love,
does, however, contain some useful bibliographical material. An epilogue, relating the
discovery of a store of Mattie Gunterman's
photographic plates sixteen years after her
death, reads like a realization of every archivist's fantasy.
Edward L. Affleck.
Ted Affleck, a Vancouver resident, is a
member of the West Kootenay Historical
Home from the Hill: three gentlemen
adventurers. Peter Murray. Victoria, Horsdal
& Schubart 1994. 214 p., illus. $14.95. PB.
The "Three Gentlemen Adventurers" of
Murray's Home from the Hill are Warburton
Pike, Clive Phillipps-Wolley and Martin
Allerdale Grainger. Each of these men was, as
Murray puts it "a product of the English public
(i.e. private) school system," and was "at home
with nature," and while their backgrounds and
interests were somewhat similar, their lives naturally took different turnings. Each came to play
a distinctive role in the affairs of the young province, in Grainger's case at least a not-insignificant role.
What separates these men from the great run
of immigrants to British Columbia, and piques
our interest is that they wrote and published
articles and books. In his bibliography Murray
lists two books for Pike, thirteen for Phillipps-
Wolley, and two for Grainger, one of which,
Riding the Skyline, is a recent compilation by
Murray of some of Grainger's articles and letters (published in 1994 and reviewed in this
magazine, Summer 1995 issue). Pike's books,
The Barren Ground of Northern Canada and
Through the Subarctic Forest are among the
classics of northern travel literature. Phillipps-
Wolley's larger production has left him with, as
Murray expresses it, a reputation that "has not
survived other than as a curiosity of his time."
Grainger's reputation, however, has enjoyed a
different fate for, as the critic George Woodcock observed, Woodsmen of the West is "a
fine small work which marks an almost unrecognized transition point in Canadian writing."
Quite apart from their writings, these men's
lives will interest those who read the history of
the province. Phillipps Wolley who, of all things,
was for a short time sanitary inspector for British Columbia, a position which "he plunged
into., .with more energy and enthusiasm than
expertise," was "a vain, often abusive man."
Grainger, "gentle, soft-spoken, unprepossessing," Chief Forester and later Vancouver businessman, and regarded by one authority as "the
father of rational forestry" in British Columbia,
worked hard for the preservation of the region
which became Manning Provincial Park. And
Pike, for years caught in marginal mining and
business adventures in the Stikine-Cassiar region, was described by the Duke of St Albans,
his major business backer, as a "hero and the
best traveller I ever knew.. the most unselfish
and modest man I've ever known."
The author and publishers
of Home from the Hill are to
be thanked and congratulated
for bringing these biographies
together. The narratives move
well; the writing is crisp. There
are numerous helpful notes
with references to the sources,
and a very adequate index.
The title is an appropriate one.
It is taken from the "Requiem"
which Robert Louis Stevenson wrote for himself, and the
peripatetic life of that great
Scottish author is reflected (albeit to a somewhat lesser degree) in the lives of
Phillipps-Wolley, Grainger and
George Newell
George Newell is a resident of Victoria.
Also noted:
The Geology of Southern Vancouver Island; a field guide. C.J. Yorath and H.W.
Nasmith. Victoria, Orca, 1995. 172 p., illus.
$14.95. Paperback.
Recapitulation; a spiritual and artistic
journey. Sveva Caetani. Vernon, Coldstream
Books, 1995. 128 p., illus. $70. Series of 56
watercolours painted for the Alberta Foundation of the Arte, along with an account of Italian-bom Caetani who lived in Vernon from
1921 until her death in 1994. Hardcover.
Bv  *
WW       j^flELJcBfc
Richard Wright - the after dinner speaker at the
1996B.CH.F. conference in WUUams Lake.
Photo courtesy of John Spittle
\\Wr%             ^^LmW
\\\\\\\           AmmmW                     W
John Woodworth of Kelowna, left, receiving tbe GabrieUe Leger Award
from Chairman Sheldon Godfrey at Heritage Canada's 1995 Annual
General Meeting at St. Boniface CoUege, Winnipeg.
His Honour, the Honorable Garde B. Gardom Q.C.
J. Len Nicholls
#103 - 550 Blue Girl Way, Nanaimo, B.C. V9S 5T6
First Vice President
Alice Glanville
Ron Welwood
Second Vice President     Marjorie Leffler
Recording Secretary
Members at Large
Past President
T. Don Sale
R. George Thomson
Doris J. May
Wayne Desrochers
Melva Dwyer
Myrtle Haslam
Box 746, Grand Forks, B.C. VOH 1H0
RR #1, S22 C1, Nelson, B.C. V1L 5P4
516 Willow St, Parksville, B.C. V9P 1A4 248-3431
262 Juniper St, Nanaimo, B.C. V9S 1X4 753-2067
#19,141 East 5th Ave., Qualicum Beach, B.C. V9K 1N5 752-8861
2943 Shelbourne St, Victoria, B.C. V8R 4M7 595-0236
8811 - 152nd St, Surrey, B.C. V3R 4E5
2976 McBride St, Surrey, B.C. V4A 3G6
Box 20,1875 Wessex Rd., Cowichan Bay, B.C. VOR 1N0 748-8397
B.C. Historical News
Publishing Committee
Book Review Editor
Margaret Stoneberg      Box 687, Princeton, B.C. VOX 1 WO
Tony Farr
Anne Yandle
Naomi Miller
Membership Secretary     Nancy Peter
Subscription Secretary     Margaret Matovich
Historical Trails
and Markers
John Spittle
125 Castle Cross Rd, Salt Spring Island, B.C. V8K 2G1 537-1123
3450 West 20th Ave, Vancouver, B.C. V6S 1E4 733-6484
Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0 422-3594
#7 - 5400 Patterson Avenue, Burnaby, B.C. V5H 2M5 437-6115
6985 Canada Way, Burnaby, B.C. V5E 3R6 522-5049
1241 Mount Crown Rd, North Vancouver, B.C. V7R 1R9 988-4565
Publications Assistance    Nancy Stuart-Stubbs     2651 York Avenue, Vancouver, B.C. V6K 1E6 738-5132
(not involved with Contact Nancy for advice and details to apply for a loan toward the cost of publishing.
B.C. Historical News)
Scholarship Committee    Anne Yandle
3450 West 20th Ave, Vancouver, B.C. V6S 1E4
Writing Competition
(Lieutenant Governor's
Pixie McGeachie 7953 Rosewood St, Burnaby, B.C. V5E 2H4
(NOTE: All phone numbers listed use the area code 604)
522-2062 The British Columbia Historical News
P.O. Box 5254, Stn. B
Victoria, B.C. V8R 6N4
Publications Mail
Registration No. 4447
BC Historical
The British Columbia Historical Federation invites submissions of books for the fourteenth annual Competition for Writers of B.C. History.
Any book presenting any facet of B.C. history, published in 1996, is eligible. This may be a community
history, biography, record of a project or an organization, or personal recollections giving a glimpse of the
past. Names, dates and places, with relevant maps or pictures, turn a story into "history."
The judges are looking for quality presentations, especially if fresh material is included, with appropriate
illustrations, careful proofreading, an adequate index, table of contents and bibliography, from first-time writers as well as established authors.
NOTE: Reprints or revisions of books are not eligible.
The Lieutenant Governor's Medal for Historical Writing will be awarded to an individual writer whose
book contributes significantly to the recorded history of British Columbia. Other awards will be. made as
recommended by the judges to valuable books prepared by groups or individuals.
All entries receive considerable publicity. Winners will receive a Certificate of Merit, a monetary award
and an invitation to the BCHF annual conference to be held in Nelson in May 1997.
SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS: All books must have been published in 1996 and should be submitted as soon as possible after publication. Two copies of each book should be submitted. Books entered become property ofthe B.C. Historical Federation. Please state name, address and telephone number of sender,
the selling price of all editions of the book, and the address from which it may be purchased, if the reader has
to shop by mail. If by mail, please include shipping and handling costs if applicable.
SEND TO: B.C. Historical Writing Competition
c/o P. McGeachie
7953 Rosewood Street, Burnaby, B.C. V5E 2H4
DEADLINE:      December 31,1996.
There is also an award for the Best Article published each year in the B.C. Historical News magazine.
This is directed to amateur historians or students. Articles should be no more than 3,000 words, typed double
spaced, accompanied by photographs if available, and substantiated with footnotes where applicable. (Photographs should be accompanied with information re: the source, permission to publish, archival number if
applicable, and a brief caption. Photos will be returned to the writer.)
Please send articles directly to: The Editor, B.C. Historical News, P.O. Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0


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