British Columbia History

BC Historical News British Columbia Historical Federation 1992

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Volume 26, No. 1
Winter 1992-93
ISSN 0045-2963
Journal of tne B.C. Historical Federation
British Columbia
-■''H ^Xf
Stories From Across The Province MEMBER SOCIETIES
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 Editor at the addresses inside the back cover.
The Annual Return as at October 31st should include telephone numbers for contact.
Members' dues for the year 1990 - 91 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 1A0
Burnaby Historical Society - 6501 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby, B.C. V5G 3T6
Chemainus Valley Historical Society - Box 172, Chemainus, B.C. V0R1K0
Cowichan Historical Society - P.O. Box 1014, Duncan, B.C. V9L 3Y2
District 69 Historical Society - Box 3014, Parksville, B.C. VOR 2S0
East Kootenay Historical Association - P.O. Box 74, Cranbrook, B.C. V1C 4H6
Gulf Islands Branch -BCHF- c/0 Wilma J. Cross, RR#1, Pender Island, B.C. VON 2M0
Koksilah School Historical Society - 5203 Trans Canada Highway, Koksilah, B.C. VOR 2C0
Kootenay Lake Historical Society - Box 537, Kaslo, B.C. VOG 1M0
Kootenay Museum & Historical Society - 402 Anderson Street, Nelson, B.C. V1L 3Y3
Lantzville Historical Society - c/o Box 274, Lantzville, B.C. VOR 2H0
Lasqueti Island Historical Society - Lasqueti Island, B.C. VOR 2J0
Nanaimo Historical Society - P.O. Box 933, Station A, Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 5N2
North Shore Historical Society - c/o 333 Chesterfield Ave., North Vancouver, B.C. V7M 3G9
North Shuswap Historical Society - Box 22, Celista, B.C. VOE 1L0
Princeton & District Pioneer Museum & Archives - Box 687, Princeton, B.C. VOX 1W0
Qualicum Beach Historical & Museum Society - 444 Qualicum Road, Qualicum Beach, B.C. V9K 1B2
Salt Spring Island Historical Society - Box 1264, Ganges, B.C. VOS 1E0
Sidney & North Saanich Historical Society - P.O. Box 2404, Sidney, B.C. V8L 3Y3
Silvery Slocan Historical Society - Box 301, New Denver, B.C. VOG 1S0
Surrey Historical Society - 8811 - 152nd Street, Surrey, B.C. V3R 4E5
Trail Historical Society - P.O. Box 405, Trail, B.C. V1R 4L7
Vancouver Historical Society - P.O. Box 3071, Vancouver, B.C. V6B 3X6
Victoria Historical Society - Box 5123 Stn. B., Victoria, B.C. V8R 6N4
Fort Steele Heritage Park - Fort Steele, B.C. VOB 1N0
The Hallmark Society - 207 Government Street, Victoria, B.C. V8V 2K8
Nanaimo Centennial Museum Society -100 Cameron Road, Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 2X1
Publications Mail Registration Number 4447
Published winter, spring, summer and fall by the British Columbia Historical Federation, P.O. Box 35326,
Station E, Vancouver, B.C. V6M 4G5. A Charitable Society recognized under the income Tax Act.
SUBSCRIPTIONS: Institutional, $16.00 per year, Individual (non-members), $12.00; Members of member
Societies - $9.00; For addresses outside Canada add $5.00.
Financially assisted by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Recreation and Culture, through the British
Columbia Heritage Trust and British Columbia Lotteries.
Back issues of the British Columbia Historical News are available in microform from Micromedia Limited, 20
Victoria St., Toronto, Ont. M5C2N8 (416)362-5211 • Fax (416) 362-6161 • Toll Free 1-800-387-2689
- Micromedia also publishes the Canadian Magazine Index and the Canadian Business Index.
Indexed in the Canadian Periodical Index. BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORICAL NEWS
Volume 26, No. 1      Journal of the B.C. Historical Federation     Winter -1992-93
We are beginning a new year with
this issue. Your editorial staff wishes
each reader a Very Happy 1993, and,
as long as manuscripts are being submitted, we promise to produce a
worthwhile quarterly journal into the
foreseeable future.
We hope that potential writers with
loosely assembled notes on a favorite
event (or character) in local or provincial history will take advantage of the
winter season to finish off their story,
then to send it in as their contribution
to our magazine.
What is considered historical? History does not have to be long, long
ago; it is merely a recounting of what
has happened in the past. A few eyebrows were raised when (in 1989) I set
"Memories of the 1930s" as a theme.
Since then many histories of the 1940s
have appeared, so 1 am not alone in
considering stories set in relatively recent years as "history."
I quite enjoy being dubbed as "historical" first as a volunteer, wearing
1898 garb, at Fort Steele Heritage
Town; secondly for persisting to hang
laundry on a clothesline despite having an electric clothes dryer indoors!
A Thank You goes to all the writers
who contributed work in 1992, to
those who sold subscriptions, to Nancy
Peter for maintaining the subscription
list, the production staff at Kootenay
Kwik Print, and the hard working
proof readers. Naomi M1ner
The cover of each B.C. Historical News, as far
as possible, is an illustration for one of the articles contained therein.
This issue has references to a great many
communities within British Columbia. There
are four Kootenay stories, two set on Vancouver Island, one in Vancouver, and two on
Coastal shipping. And there is the story of a
remarkable person who walked through British
Columbia to Alaska. We have chosen to flag a
map of B.C. to indicate most of those places referred to in this magazine.
The Nelson Club - List of Members
Gone But Not Forgotten: The Nelson Club
by Ron Welwood
A Kettle VaUey Rail Ride
by Ernest A. Harris
The Reverend Mr. Procunier
by Naomi MUler
Bailiff MacAulay
by C.J. P. Hanna
Croatians Killed in Ladysmith Mine Blast
by ZeJimir Bobjuricic
Lillian Ailing
by Win Shilvock
Captain Batchelor and the Crimps
by Suzanne Spohn
The Aylmer Family of Queens Bay
by E. L. Affleck
Nurse Brigid of East Vancouver
by Betty Vogel
Competition Between the Princesses and the
Princes on the Pacific Coast
by Norman Hacking
The Saga of Lieut-Col. CF. Houghton
by Win Shtivock
Valley of Dreams
Review by Derryl White
One Hundred Years of Singing
Review by Thelma Reid Lower
Boats, Bucksaws and Blisters
Review by Ian Kennedy
Land of Destiny
Review by Jim Bowman
Now You're Logging
Review by Jim Bowman
Spilsbury's Coast
Review by Jim Bowman
A Fruitful Century
Review by George Newell
Manuscripts and correspondence for 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
Cranbrook, B.C.
B.C. Historical News • Winter 1992 • 93 mimm Omb.
List of Members-September, 1898.
Alexander, George
Keen, John
Applewbaite, E
Kinghoro. R. S.
Arthur, Dr.
Kirk, G. A.
Ashpitel, W. S.
Kurtz, D. G.
Kokanee Creek
Archbold, T. R.
Bairow, A. R. M.
Kydd, George
Barton, H. A.
La Ban, Dr.
BodweU, E V.
Lawford, L. C.
Beasley, H.
Lendrum, T. J.
Bostock, H.
Bowes, J. K
Pilot Bay
Macdonald, W. A
Brainerd. Dr.
Macdonell, a E
Last Chance Mine
MacLaren, J. B.
Brougham. W. E
Mara, J. A.
Brown, C. M.
Martin, G. E. C
Brown, Geo. McL.
Mathews, E J.
Pilot Bay
Brown. G. Noel
Three Foiks
MaunselL R. E H
Buchanan, A. H
McArthur, J. B.
Busk. C. W.
Kokanee Creek
McCune, A. W.
Salt Lake City
Butcher, H.T.E
McFarland. D. A
McGregor, J. H.
Campbell. J. J.
McKillop, A. L.
Corbin, D.C.
Macleod, N. T.
CortwuM, W. H.
Milboume, C. K.
Mountain, F. A. R
Croasdaile, H. E
O'Reilly, F. J.
Davys, M S.
Toad Mountain
Day, Robert
Day, R W.
Pearson, S. G.
Dennis, 0. C
Peters. F. W.
Dick, Alexander
Procter. T. G.
Diuimuoud. C. S.
Duncan, Capt.
Elliot, John
Evans, H. J.
Farwell, A. S.
Retallack. J. L.
FeU, EN.
Richardson, G. W.
Finch, a Wynne
Robertson, J. R
Finucane, F. J.
New Denver
Robson, G. R
Fletcher, Frank
Rolfe, W. N.
Fowler, S. S.
Goepel, W. J.
Gere, Capt.
St Barbe, C.
Griffith. C. G.
Selous. H.
Senkler. E C.
Hamilton, CR
Sherwood, A. R
Harris. H.
Sword, J. D.
Healhcote, C. W. B.
Symonds, Dr.
Hedley, R. R
Heginbottem, G. A
Pilot Bay
Taylor. W. J.
Thomson, a B.
Hodgins, A. E
Thomson, J. A.
Holdich, A. a
Troup, Capt
Holt, G. V.
Hutchison, W.
Wad. T. M.
Innes, F. C.
Whalley, E P.
Johnson, A. M.
Wilson, D.
Johnston. R C. Campbell
Wilson, EG.
Johnstone, George
Wilson, a J.
Jowett, W. A.
Nelson Club. List of Members - 1898
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1992 - 93 Gone, But Not Forgotten: The Nelson Club,
1869 -1925
by Ron Welwood
While renovating an old Nelson
house, the new owner uncovered a single sheet of paper in a partition: Nelson
Club. List of Members — September,
1898. He gave this list to David Scott,
local historian (deceased) who, in turn,
presented a photocopy to his friend, the
Hon. Judge Leo S. Gansner. At Judge
Gansner's suggestion a Nelson old-
timer, Violet Greyson who remembered
the Nelson Club building and some of
its members, began to research and prepare short biographies on the members
listed. Mrs. Greyson died in October
1983 and, shortly afterwards, her son removed these files (including the Club's
Committee Minute-book and Suggestion Book) to London, Ontario. The
author began the long process of repatriating this material for the Kootenaiana
collection at David Thompson University Centre in Nelson, but it was
discovered that Mrs. Greyson wished to
have her files deposited at the Provincial
Archives in Victoria. Fortunately, her
son agreed that by letting the Archives
microfilm her files and by depositing the
originals in Nelson the spirit of his
mother's wishes would still be fulfilled.
This process was completed by February
At the turn of the century, social activities often centred around the church
or various community organizations.
The Nelson Club, located on the northeast corner of Silica and Kootenay
Streets and a short walk from the city
centre, was a rather exclusive gentlemen's club with a difference. This
conveniently located establishment provided a refuge in which men could relax
by reading contemporary newspapers
and magazines while enjoying their fa
vourite cigar or drink, playing cards or
billiards, or even lawn bowling during
the fine summer weather.1 Its early
membership list reads like a who's who
of the Kootenay business establishment.
If a gentleman was Conservative in politics, Anglican in religion and connected
to the mining industry in one way or
another (engineer, banker, lawyer, supplier, etc.) then, in all likelihood, he was
also a member of the Nelson Club.
There is no information available
on the club's early history, but the Nelson Club was probably formed
sometime in 1896.2 It quickly became a
well-established organization with 112
members in September 1898. Annual
elections for President, Vice-President
and five "Committeemen" were held to
oversee the affairs of the club. These
trustees were assigned to one of three
standing committees: Finance, House,
or Wine. The club had a paid staff
which varied in size but, basically, consisted of a steward, two assistants and
two Chinese workers (a houseboy and a
gardener). The club secretary, who was
also a member, was paid a monthly
Income to run the club was generated by an entrance fee ($30.00) and
quarterly membership dues. Charges
used to help defray costs included hot
water baths (25<t) and payment for playing various games. At the February
1910 meeting, the secretary was instructed to post the following House
rules: "Hereafter the charge for 'Life
Pool' will be at the rate of IOC a cue"
and "The minimum charge for the use
of the card rooms shall be 10<t per
player — In addition the price for cards
shall be — new 30C a pack and 'old'
10<t a pack." During its heyday the
Nelson Club's revenues had to be rather
substantial in order to maintain the
building and to help defray average
monthly expenditures of just over
Prior to prohibition, the sale of liq-
jt*     ^11                                       BBS*™ ^^1
'>rr-- ..- .   • "x:.2xx^:. J.--^:^.
^ V-x.-;i'';-
Nelson Club Building, Nelson, B.C. c. 1896.
Photo courtesy of B.C. Archives and Record Service EP13050
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1992 - 93 uor generated the largest source of revenue as well as the greatest amount of
debate. In December 1903, Frank
Fletcher, a charter member of the Club,
suggested to the Wine Committee ". . .
that the Committee consider the proportionate values of drinks &
refreshments — viz; If Two (2) Oyster
Cocktails cost 25 cts — Why should a
glass of Beer cost 15 cts!" Three different entries in 1904 (two signed by
Fletcher) "Suggested that it is unreasonable to charge 65 cts for 5 drinks when
one can get the same at any other decent
saloon for 50 cents." The secretary's response to these suggestions was that the
Wine "Committee do not consider it
advisable   to   change   present   prices."
These "unreasonable" prices did not
inhibit the consumption of alcohol by
the members. In fact, a few outstanding
bar tabs were getting so high that the
club discussed the possibility of placing
a limit on bar credits. This prompted
Frank Fletcher to remark on 15
December 1903,
". . . that if a Member's Credit is only
worth $5.00 what [is the] advantage of
being a member of the Club?" By April
1906, matters between the club and
Fletcher were getting desperate and the
club executive felt
That no action be taken at present towards asking Mr. Fletcher to resign but
that he be notified that in the future he
will be given no more credit at the Bar —
Also that he be notified that should his arrears of subscription amounting to $30.00
not be paid forthwith his name will be
Frank Fletcher, a provincial land
surveyor by profession,5 served two
terms as alderman on the Nelson City
Council (1897, 1899) and two terms as
mayor (1901, 1902). This distinguished-looking gendeman constructed
his own magnificent residence directly
across the street from the Nelson Club.
In spite of this convenient location,
Fletcher was reprimanded for sleeping
in the club all night (August 1906). In
December 1908 it was recorded "That
on account of the innumerous [sic]
complaints that have come to the Committee regarding the conduct and
language of Mr. Frank Fletcher. . . that
should these complaints be continued
the Committee will be compelled to
take action . . . ."   By March 1909 the
Nelson Club did take action by unanimously passing the following motion:
That in the opinion of the Committee
the conduct of Mr. Frank Fletcher has
been injurious to the interests of the club
and should any of the offences complained
of be repeated a quorum of the committee
is hereby authorized to ask for his
In most cases resignations, either volunteered or requested, were not
accepted until such time as the individual's "subscription" (outstanding club
debts or arrears) had been paid in full.
Over the years vast quantities of alcoholic beverages were consumed at the
Nelson Club. Recommendations for a
new set of dice and more poker chips to
replace well-worn sets suggested frequent use and also implied that
gambling was a popular pastime among
club members. This is confirmed in the
minutes of 16 February 1912 where it
was resolved to adopt a new house rule:
"Any member incurring a debt of honor
in the club premises and not paying
same within thirty-six hours, the Committee shall on the matter being
brought to their notice either directly or
indirectly invoke the provision of section 3 of the rules." In response to a
letter received from F.L Rhodes, the
Committee decided that this new house
rule ". . . was not retrospective and applies only to debts contracted after Feb.
16th 1912...." It is interesting to note
that Mr. Rhodes' resignation from the
club was accepted at the very next
The Nelson Club not only provided a bar and gaming facilities but also,
space for reading and writing. The club
subscribed to a large number of magazines and newspapers for its members
and many suggestions were made for
specific, contemporary titles. Although
these rooms were designated for quiet
contemplation, some rather delightful
entries in the Suggestion Book give a
different impression.
8 Aug. 1902: "Suggested that some
measures be devised to stop the infernal
chatter that goes on in the reading room
when certain members get together
4 Dec. 1903: "Suggested that the
Committee pass a Rule that no refreshments in the way of tea or crackers be
allowed to be served in the Reading
Room.      The   annoyance  of hearing
members     eating     should     not     be
7 Nov. 1904: "Suggested that the
Writing Room be left for those members wishing to use same and not used as
an office...."
27 March 1905: "Almost every evening the Reading Room is used by
certain members as a dormitary [sic],
and their sterterous [sic] snoring is an
intolerable nuisance and has not infrequently driven myself and others from
the Room. It is suggested that the
Committee take steps to prevent one or
two individuals from annoying and discomforting a large number of
28 March 1905 (Fletcher): "Suggested
that the Committee take steps to prevent the Reading Room being turned
into a Night Restraunt [sic], as the dissa-
pointed [sic] Bridge Players invariably
drink Beef Tea and 'munch' Krackers
[sic] which under ordinary 'peaceful'
conditions would drive any person to
(undated): "Suggested that the Committee form a spelling class for 'Silver-
haired' members."
All of these recorded events happened during the Nelson Club's very
active and formative years preceding the
outbreak of the Great War in  1914.
These halcyon years were not to be repeated.  The war and, subsequently, the
declaration of the British Columbia Prohibition Act (1916) altered the club's
activities and membership  forever.  Although the Act came into force on 1
July 1917, it was just over two months
later on 18 September 1917 that the
Wine Committee reported
. . . wines and liquors on hand at
date are valued at $430.00, more or
less, and recommending that a list
of these goods be posted and bids
asked for same, no bids less than
cost to be considered.   No bids to
be received after   September 26th,
and all stock remaining on hand after bids have been accepted to be
sold by auction on September 27th,
at 8 p.m.
To add insult to injury, the committee
was renamed the Recreation
With vastly decreased revenues the
club had to resort to drastic cost-cutting
measures in order to continue operations: stop work on the garden, cancel
B.C. Historical News ■ Winter 1992 • 93 milk delivery, cancel newspaper and
magazine subscriptions, and negotiate
with the city to reduce electric light, water and scavenger rates. Staff hours were
at first cut back and, eventually, only
the steward was retained. By September 1917, he was asked to perform
duties both inside and outside the building until the end of the year for $130.00
per month. Matters may have slightly
improved for the next twenty months,
but by September 1919 it was agreed
that ". . . the new arrangement with the
Club Steward made by the President of
$100 per month, the services of the
Chinaman to be dispensed with come
into effect as from October 1st." These
measures did not seem to help the once
prestigious Nelson Club and interest
continued to decline.
By 1920, the steward was also acting as secretary for the club. Ironically,
this expedient move created a golden
opportunity for unscrupulousness. In
June 1905, the Secretary of the Nelson
Club had been given extraordinary powers "... to draw, sign, make, endorse,
negotiate and dispose of all or any
Cheques. ..." This was precisely what
happened for some time prior to the Labour Day weekend of 1920 except, in
this case, the bank transactions were unauthorized. Two cryptic entries about
this incident were entered into the daily
police logbook by Constable T.D.
Sept. 7th Wm. Matthews Steward
of Nelson Club reported fled with
Sept. 8th Went to S.S. Nasookin
for Sergt Stewart and learned that Wm.
Matthews Steward of the Nelson Club
had purchased [a] Ticket to Spokane in
his getaway.
The 10 September issue of the Nelson Daily News reported this incident
in greater detail:
Matthew's operation was one of the
most completely organized coups ever
heard of in this part of the country.
Very few business houses in the city escaped his attentions, and many private
citizens also were among his victims. It
is estimated in banking circles that his
worthless checks [sic] have a face value
of around $2,000. . . . Matthews used
checks of the Nelson club, as well as his
own checks, in his operation. How he
managed to put over his cash raising op-
Frank Fletcher
Nelson Club members including Frank Fletcher
considered themselves part of "the better class'',
whereas John Houston of die Nelson Tribune sarcastically referred to them as "u/hite-shirted
hoboes". (Nelson City HaU)
eration, dealing with forty or fifty people, without tripping up, is one of the
remarkable features of the case....
It is altogether improbable that Matthew's cash assets when he boarded the
Crow boat Sunday morning were limited to nearly the amount he had
obtained on his checks, as his position
as club steward gave him an opportunity to indulge in other forms of
liquidation. Various annual subscriptions, at $30 each, obtained on Saturday
■or at the end of the week, are said to be
unaccounted for.
The Labour Day weekend gave the
swindler plenty of time to escape before
his operation was discovered and by
then it was too late. The Nelson Club
soon  published   notices  in   the  local
newspaper announcing that
An extraordinary general meeting
of this club is called for Sept. 24, at
8 p.m.   All members are urgendy
requested  to  attend.     In  consequence of the disappearance of the
late steward and the loss or destruction   of   the   Club's   books   all
members in arrears for subscriptions    and    all    persons    having
accounts against the club are requested to forward same to the
J.S. Carter,
Hon. Sec.
At the meeting a brief summary of the
club's financial position was circulated
to the 29 members in attendance:
Your committee regrets to report
that on Sunday 5th of Sept. our Steward, who was also Secretary, took his
departure unannounced for parts unknown. A hasty examination of the
Club affairs proved matters to be in a
chaotic state. It was necessary to force
the various locks and employ a professional to open [the] safe. Up to present
the books cannot be found and it is assumed they have been destroyed. Thru
[sic] our Auditor and from other sources
we have an indefinite list of members...
There are on the list at present about
140 active members. If all members will
come forward with dues for next quarter, use the Club and take an active
interest we can survive, if allowed to go
on as at present the Club is doomed.
Obviously William Matthews, who ap-
parendy lived in utmost rectitude, knew
exactly what he was doing. His plan
was too well executed to conclude otherwise. Why did he do it? Did he foresee
that his increased duties and decreased
salary indicated that there was no future
as an employee of the Nelson Club?
Was he a disgruntled employee tempted
by his trusted position? Nobody will
ever know because his disappearance
was complete.6 By fleeing the country
he not only escaped the law but he also
deserted his wife and young children.
Even this abandonment must have been
The members made a valiant effort to
save the club but it was, indeed,
"doomed." By March 1922 the Nelson
Club property was conveyed to its debenture holders and the building was
vacated for premises leased ". . . at [a]
maximum of $65.00 per month including heating, — heat to be kept to [a]
minimum temperature 60 to 70 degrees
Fahrenheit." In April 1924, the club
again applied for a liquor license but by
then it was too late; and by 1925 after a
great deal of discussion and consideration of the membership list and
accounts7 it was decided "... to close
the Club as from the last day of October, owing to the lack of support."
Ever since its formative years the Nelson Club served as a popular refuge for
Kootenay entrepreneurs and many business deals were probably concluded
behind its walls. The club members often met within its comfortable and
secure confines for a drink, for a friendly
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1992 - 93 game of poker or billiards, or just to relax with a good cigar and some reading
material. The club saw many Nelson
and Kootenay characters come and go.
To outsiders the Nelson Club had a
mystique about it.; and it was precisely
this mysteriousness that has enshrined
the club in Nelson folklore. Those bygone days will never be duplicated.
Ron Welwood is a Ubrarian at Selkirk College
and currently the chairman ofNebon's Heritage
1. According to E.C. Wragge, the Nelson Club ". . .
was very comfortable with [a] large billiard room,
bar, reading and writing rooms downstairs, card
rooms upstairs, and a nice gaiden with [a] bowling
green ac the side."
2. The Nelson Club is first recorded in the 1897 volume of Henderson's British Columbia Gazetteer
and Directory (it is not listed in the 189S directory). Also, the Nelson Club plumbing application
No. 42 of May 5,1898, co install 1 wash bowl and
2 urinals has a notation that "this plumbing is addition to old plumbing put in before [the] Plumbing
By-Law came into force' in 1897.
3. Monthly expenditures between 1905 - 1913 varied
from a low of $445.88 (March 1913) to a high of
$2,001.93 (Aug. 1910). But not all income was
used to help defray club costs. For instance, on 5
Nov. 1914, $85-00 was raised from a Smoker and
Billiard-Snooker tournament and donated to the
Canadian Patriotic Fund.
4. The club made every attempt to recover bad debts
before posting a member's name. In fact, che secretary sent a form letter to the member reminding
him of his unpaid tickets and requested payment to
clear this outstanding balance. Posting a member's
name for oustanding debts was che club executive's
last resort to collect arrears. Such a move could dishonour a member's good name (and credit rating?),
so this matter was not taken lightly. On 21 May
1906, it was resolved "That Mr. Frank Fletcher be
posted for arrears of subscription."
To solve this kind of problem a new ticket system
was implemented in November. Once che ticket
system was in place several members "Suggested
that the Club tickets be exchangeable with Revelstoke, Rossland, Greenwood & Fernie Clubs."
5. Frank Fletcher compiled che Map of the East and
West Kootenay District Qanuary 1894) and, according to the Nelson Tribune (22 May 1897) he
". . . has his new map of the Nelson and Salmon
river district about ready for sale. The map takes in
all the country between che Columbia river and che
heighch [sic] of land between Salmon river and
Kootenay lake, as well as the adjacent tributaries of
Kootenay river. . . The mineral claims are placed
upon the map approximately. There are 1417
claims shown. The map should be very useful to
mining men."
6. The Nelson Daily News (15 September 1920) re
ported "So far nothing has resulted from the telegraphic inquiries sent out by the police, and
merchants and others sharing in che distribution of
his checks, which ran close to $2000 in nice value,
are caking ic out in making humorous appUcation
of his souvenir scraps of paper. One of che checks
for $25, is exhibited in a Baker Street window, with
the appropriate commen t, 'Gone, but no c
According co che Cash Statement Nelson Club
Oct. 3, 1925 there was an overdrawn balance in
the bank of $29.88. With cash in hand of $30.00
this left a cash balance of 12*! The dub also had
outstanding accounts of $181.65. What an incredible letdown from che extravagant and heady days
of the early 1900s.
British Columbia Provincial Police.  Nelson.  Minute-book. 1920. (Nelson Cicy Hall Archives)
Henderson's   British   Columbia  Gazetteer  and
Directory 1895-1925.
"Matthews is not as yet located."   Nelson Dairy
News. 10 September 1920: 8
"Matthews left club safe empty."   Nelson Dairy
News. 15 September 1920: 8
Nelson Club.    Committee Minute-book.    Nov.
1904-Oct. 1925. (KootenaianaArchives)
[Suggestion Book]. 1898 - 1906. (Kootenaiana Archives)
Wragge, Edmund C. Memoirs.   1950-60, part 4.
(Kootenaiana Archives)
Bank of Montreal - Baker Street Nelson, B.C.
This building was designed by F.M. Rattenbury - and built 1899-1900.
Anglican Cathedral of Our Saviour
Nelson* B.C. 1898-1900
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1992 - 93 Kettle Valley Rail Ride
by E.A. Harris
The Kettle Valley Railway has a most interesting history. Reading recent books about it brought back memories
of the trips I made over that line. That very special rail link left a proud heritage for us to enjoy.
"The Kettle Valley" was not a nickname even though there might be a suggestion of Puffing Billy locomotives, not
too far removed from James Watt's
steaming tea-kettle. The Kettle Valley
line, a wholly owned subsidiary of the
CPR, was a standard railway that tunnelled and trestled, switch-backed and
shunted over the rugged terrain of southern British Columbia to cross the
Rockies via Crow's Nest Pass and re-join
the CPR's mainline near Lethbridge, Alberta.    The railway derived its name
from the fact that for part of its route
the line followed the Kettle River, a
tributary of the Columbia. In B.C. the
Kettle begins as two southward flowing
streams in parallel valleys that merge to
meander along the international boundary in the Grand Forks area. The
river then crosses into the United States
to join the Columbia at Kettle Falls.
Over many centuries the falls created a
deep cauldron, or kettle, that gave the
river its name.
The discovery and subsequent devel
opment of rich mineral deposits - gold,
silver, lead, zinc, copper and coal - in
the Kootenay and Boundary areas of
southern B.C. spurred railway construction. Transportation was a vital
necessity of the mining boom that began in the late 1880s. This was also the
great railway building period in North
America - no competition yet from
motorized highways and air transport
was only a dream. The railway builders
were eager to participate in the profits
all this development would produce.
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1992 - 93 While there were a number of lesser
operators the main contenders for transportation control of the region were the
Canadian Pacific Railway and James J.
Hill's Great Northern Railroad that
crossed the northern tier of American
states from St. Paul, Minn, to Seattle on
Puget Sound. The CPR, completed in
1885, used the Kicking Horse Pass
through the Rockies, which was rather
too far north for easy access to the Kootenays. It was much easier for the Great
Northern to extend acquisitive fingers
up into Canada and pick the profits off
into the United States. The result was a
bitter rail-running battle, that lasted for
more than twenty years, with the Canadian Pacific finally emerging as the
In 1896 the CPR met Hill's challenge
by securing a charter from the Canadian
government to build a branch line from
Lethbridge through the Crow's Nest
Pass to Kootenay Lake. Stern-wheel
steamers would provide a connection
with Nelson on the lake's west arm. By
1900 the CPR, after buying out some
local railways and rights-of-way, had extended its southern branch lines as far
west as Midway, which as the name suggests is about half-way to the west coast.
J.J. Hill continued his invasion of Canadian territory, which the CPR
regarded as its own special turf. On one
occasion in 1908 at the so-called "Battle
of Midway" work-crews of the two rival
companies actually engaged in violence
- that ended in a draw. The CPR had
plans to continue westward to Penticton, Princeton, and Merritt and then via
the Nicola valley re-join the main-line at
Spence's Bridge.
The ultimate objective of both railways was to attain west coast terminals
at Vancouver but there were many obstacles, political as well as physical, to
overcome before this could be achieved.
The rivalry between the two companies
remained intense especially as James J.
Hill added several new extensions to his
GN railroad.
In 1910 the CPR acquired control of
the as yet unbuilt Kettle Valley Railway
which its promoters had planned to construct from Midway to Merritt. It
would serve the fruit-growing centres of
Penticton and Summerland as well as
the coal-mining region near Princeton.
Also in 1910 the CPR was fortunate to
secure the services of a very competent
and dedicated engineer named Andrew
McCulloch. It was in large measure due
to his skill and determination that the
line was successfully completed. By the
end of 1912 the KVR had been pushed
as far west as Princeton but it was not
until May 1915 that the first through
train ran from Midway to Merritt. This
was still a round-about route to the
coast. The most direct was down the
narrow valley of the Coquihalla river
that made a steep descent to join the
Fraser at Hope.
Both GN and CPR fought for control
of the Coquihalla. J.J. Hill had considered avoiding the most difficult sections
by following the Tulameen river and
building an eight-mile tunnel to the
lower reaches of the Coquihalla but the
high cost was a deterrent. By 1913
when Hill had resigned from direct
management of the GN and with a
change in economic conditions the two
rail-rivals agreed to bury the hatchet.
Construction of the Coquihalla section
was allotted to the CPR with the Great
Northern being allowed running rights
- which soon lapsed.
Building a railway through this rugged
cleft demonstrated Andrew McCul-
loch's supreme ability as an engineer.
By constructing a series of tunnels, steel
bridges, and rock cuts he brought the
rails down a stiff but acceptable grade to
Hope, where a bridge across the Fraser
provided a connection with the CPR's
main-line into its terminus at Vancouver. On July 31, 1916 the Kettle Valley
line was completed and regular direct
train service from Vancouver to Nelson
Completion of the KVR did not mean
that all problems were over. Maintaining a regular service through the
Coquihalla was especially difficult in
winter because of heavy snowfall. Slides
and washouts sometimes blocked the
line for lengthy periods. With snow-
sheds, snow-plows, and man-power the
company struggled against these natural
hazards to keep the trains running.
However in 1960 the CPR decided to
abandon the Coquihalla Pass route.
The Kettle Valley trains then travelled
via Spence's Bridge and Merritt for another four years but traffic continued to
decline and on January 12, 1964 ceased
entirely. Rails that had been laid with
such optimistic determination were torn
up and the road-bed abandoned.
My first Kettle Valley rail ride occurred in January 1927. Train travel
was not a new experience for me because, with my family, I had previously
crossed Canada twice by rail. However
my Kettle Valley journey was something
of an adventure because, at age 18,1 was
setting out on my first teaching assignment to a dot on the map called
Boulder, in the West Kootenay area - a
part of the province I had never visited
The letter, dated January 5, 1927,
from Registrar J. L. Watson of the Education Department in Victoria offering
me this small ungraded school stated:
"Inspector P.H. Sheffield, Nelson, has
asked me to secure a young man for the
Boulder School, just recently re-opened.
This school is three miles from Salmo,
which is on the Great Northern Railway
about 34 miles south of Nelson." (This
was one of J. J. Hill's extensions into
Canada) "All the residents of Boulder
are Independent Doukhobors. There
will be about nine pupils in attendance." (Actually there were twelve -
two who were not Doukhobors. Pupils
ranged from ages 6 to 15 and in grades
from One to Seven) "The annual salary
is $1020. It is just possible the snowfall in that district is quite heavy." (Fortunately I was able to board with the
Chernenkoff family and did not have to
make a daily 6-mile trek through deep
snow -1 just walked to Salmo on Saturdays to get my mail). A job was a job so
I accepted the offer, packed my trunk,
and bought a ticket to Nelson via the
Kettle Valley to leave Vancouver on
January 10, 1927.
The Kettle Valley trains left Vancouver at 7 pm from the CPR station, a
busy place at departure and arrival
times. I checked my trunk through to
Nelson and with suit-case in hand
found my seat in the sleeping car. The
conductor called, "All aboard" and we
were on our way. After leaving the
lights of Vancouver it wasn't possible to
see much in the dark world outside as
the train clicked over the rails along the
north bank of the Fraser. The porter
soon made up the berths and by the
time the train reached Hope I was in
my upper bunk only vaguely aware of
where we were.  I remained in the dark,
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1992 - 93
8 punctuated by numerous jars and jolts,
until dawn at Penticton.
On that first Kettle Valley ride I saw
nothing of the Coquihalla and it was
not until a later daylight journey that I
could appreciate the achievement of
building a railway through this scenic
but rugged pass. A rail-line truly described as "McCulloch's Wonder."
I knew from the time-table that stations in the Coquihalla section were
named after Shakespearian characters
but I was not aware that McCulloch was
also a Shakespeare fan. These stations
were not settlements but merely provided facilities for operating the railway -
sidings, water-tanks, etc. with accommodation for employees. The only
exception was Brookmere, a divisional
point just east of the Coquihalla summit, and a junction with the line to
On that January journey the train also
passed through Princeton during the
night. On a later trip in September
1927 (when I went in the day-coach to
save the price of a berth) I remember
seeing the dark shapes of buildings in
the old mining towns of Tulameen and
Coalmont. The 4-story Tulameen Hotel, a square wooden structure, ghostly
in the early morning darkness, had only
a dim light in a ground floor window to
show it was still occupied. At Princeton
another GN branch line ran south
through Hedley and Keremeos into the
United States. A Kettle Valley spur line
wriggled its way up to Copper Mountain, perched high on the summit of a
perpendicular cliff.
On January 11, 1927 it was daylight
when the train pulled out of Penticton,
rounded the south end of Okanagan
Lake past Naramata, to begin the long
tortuous climb up the steep hillside.
About 9 am I went into the sparkling
dining-car for breakfast. The train had
stopped, probably to get up steam for
the ordeal ahead, and I could observe
the outside scene. A pale Okanagan sun
shone on a snowy hillside that sloped
down to the lake below. The only sign
of human habitation was a solitary station named Arawana.
The waiter brought me a pot of coffee
which I proceeded to pour into a cup.
Just then the locomotive gave a sudden
snort and the car - with my coffee-cup -
lurched forward, resulting in a spill and
a brown stain on the spotless tablecloth.
When the waiter returned he commented I must be a little nervous this
morning to which I replied, "Don't
blame me - the engineer did that." The
train began moving again and chugged
doggedly up the stiff grade. After several switch-backs it reached the summit at
an elevation of more than 4000 feet.
The station there was appropriately
named McCulloch.
I overheard a Knowledgeable Passenger say that we were not very far from
Kelowna - half-way up Okanagan Lake
but over a vertical half-mile above it. At
McCulloch the line turned south, gradually working its way into the valley of
the Kettle River. The scenery had
changed from the more open Okanagan
vistas to a dense forest of spindly pine
trees on either side of the track. There
were two settlements at Carmi and Bea-
verdell but most of the other stations
seemed to be replicas of Arawana. At
Westbridge there was a general store but
not much else and at Rock Creek,
where the railway turned east, there
were no visible traces of the gold-rush
camp of 1860.
The train now rolled along over an
easier grade. The sky was overcast and
there wasn't much to see except snow
and trees. I heard the porter tell a
young passenger there were bears out
there but I imagined all sensible bruins
were snoozing winter away in their
warm dens rather than wandering about
in the cold forest.
By afternoon the train had reached
Midway, a divisional point and legal terminus of the Kettle Valley railway.
Midway had a station and other railway
buildings set in a wide expanse of snow.
There must have been a townsite but I
didn't see it. When the train resumed
its journey over Canadian Pacific rather
than Kettle Valley rails the only visible
difference was that the train crew now
wore caps with the initials CPR instead
of KVR
The train rattled along during the afternoon with nothing to see except
snow and trees on one side of the track
and trees and snow on the other when
suddenly, to my amazement, there on
the floor of the valley was a city. A real
city with a grid of streets, a compact
business section of two and three-story
buildings, one of them boasting a brick
clock-tower. This was the City of
As the train drew into the station I
saw that Greenwood was a city that had
seen better days. It had a generally
shabby appearance with a number of vacant buildings. I knew that Greenwood
had once been a busy mining town and
as the train moved on I heard the
Knowledgeable Passenger say that it was
once a city with a population of 7000
(with 29 saloons) but both had declined
drastically when the mines closed down.
He pointed out some abandoned mine
workings but didn't indicate, and I
didn't see until a later trip, the tall brick
chimney of the derelict smelter with its
immense black slag-heap.
In 1927 Greenwood's chief claim to
fame was that it rated as the province's
smallest incorporated city. However in
1942 it had an influx of Japanese residents, displaced from their homes on
the coast because of the war. More recently Greenwood has turned to its
history and the restoration of its heritage buildings. Tourism and some local
industries have fortunately saved Greenwood from becoming a ghost town.
East of Greenwood the train halted
briefly at a settlement with a large general store bearing the name Eholt. The
Knowledgeable Passenger explained that
Eholt was a former junction with a
branch line that twisted its way up a
steep mountainside to the rich copper
mines at Phoenix. Established in 1900
this mountain-top community, with a
population that peaked at 4000 (no pun
intended) also became an incorporated
city, and at elevation of 4600 feet the
highest in Canada. It was a booming
town for nearly twenty years but in
1918 copper prices collapsed and mine
closures followed. The city of Phoenix
soon died and with no ore to process so
did the smelters at Grand Forks and
Greenwood. In 1927 the shell of the
abandoned city was still there but today
few traces remain. One exception is the
cenotaph erected in memory of Phoenix
men killed in World War I - still a memorial for them and for their city too.
As the train moved on from Eholt
daylight was fading and it was dark by
the time it reached Grand Forks. I was
enlightened to learn that Grand Forks
had two stations — one called Columbia
was about a mile from the town station.
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1992 - 93 This was because of the rail rivalry during the construction period. Although
the loss of its smelter was a serious economic blow Grand Forks, located in an
open area of the Kettle valley, had extensive farm-land that provided a solid
agricultural base. Some of the farmers
settled there were Doukhobors living in
communal villages. However not until a
later daylight trip did I see their square
two-story brick houses with gardens that
usually included sun-flowers.
East of Grand Forks the railway and
the river parted company. The Kettle
turned south, crossing the border to join
the Columbia at Kettle Falls. The railway swung north-east to reach the
Columbia at Castlegar and then along
the Kootenay river to Nelson. As the
train began this route the Knowledgeable Passenger pointed a knowing finger
into the outer darkness and said Christina Lake was out there and the old boom
town of Cascade City was over there.
Years later I visited Christina Lake but
Cascade City had long since disappeared. Beyond Castlegar it was too
dark to see anything of other places
along the way, like South "silvery" Slocan or Doukhobor communities around
Brilliant, but the power plant at Bonnington Falls was brilliantly lighted. A
few more miles and the train reached
journey's end at Nelson, by the west
arm of Kootenay Lake.
Passengers continuing east could
spend the night aboard the stately sternwheeler Nasookin (or Kuskanook) and
next morning be ferried across Kootenay
Lake to continue their rail journey.
However I was staying in Nelson and on
the advice of the porter I opted for the
Savoy Hotel, whose taxi took me there
in a 3-minute uphill drive from the station. The Savoy was a new 2-story brick
building where I was alotted an excellent
room, with a shower, for three dollars.
Conditions were much more conducive
to sleep than on the previous night's
upper berth.
Next morning I saw Nelson by daylight - a small compact city in a snow-
covered world. Most of the buildings in
the downtown area were brick and stone
structures with the decorative cornices,
towers, and columns typical of late Victorian architecture. I noticed one of
Nelson's (two) street-cars turn off Baker
Street to zig and zag its way up steep
hillside streets to the GN's Mountain
station from which I would depart next
I had phoned Inspector Sheffield from
the hotel and arranged to meet him at 9
a.m. in the post office, an ornate stone
and brick building with a tower (it now
serves as Nelson's city hall) and which
was easy to locate. From there I accompanied Mr. Sheffield to his office in the
Court House building across the street.
This was another imposing stone structure with a decorative turret having
some resemblance to a medieval castle -
but built in 1909.
Inspector Sheffield, who was official
trustee for Boulder School, gave me
some basic supplies - a box of chalk, a
package of foolscap, drawing paper,
pen-nibs, and a bottle of powdered ink.
He also gave me a letter of introductions to a Boulder parent, Fred
Chernenkoff, and then, hospitably, an
invitation to the Sheffield home on Silica Street for supper that evening.
Next morning I was conveyed by the
hotel's taxi to the GN's mountain station. (When I knew Nelson better I
took the street-car - the fare was 5
cents). Departure time was 8 a.m. and
a fair-sized crowd was waiting on the
frosty station platform.
The GN "train" was actually a single-
car day-liner, which becuase of its rolling gait and raucous hooter, was known
locally as "The Galloping Goose."
From Nelson it was an uphill climb to
Apex after which the Goose galloped
over an easier grade beside the southward flowing Salmon river. The first
settlement was called Porcupine where
there was a small saw-mill and several
dwellings built of raw lumber. A signboard proclaimed in large letters:
a recently established Doukhobor colony. The residents at Boulder were
Independents, who had broken away
from communal living.
A short time later when the conductor
called out, "Wy-mer, Wy-mer next," I
new how to pronounce Ymir. I also
knew the stop after that would be Boulder. Ymir was an old mining town with
a row of dilapidated wooden hotels
along its main street. One mine, the
Yankee Girl, atop the mountain opposite, was still active with an aerial tram
line in operation, its ore-buckets moving up and down.
Five miles later the Goose, after emitting one of its sustained honks, slowed
to a stop at Boulder. It halted long
enough for me and another passenger (a
log buyer) to get off and for my trunk
to be dumped on the snow beside the
track. The Goose galloped off to Salmo, three miles down the line, and then
on to Northport, south of the border.
The deserted sawmill stood beside the
track but off to the right a group of
men, with horses, were loading poles on
to a freight-car parked on a siding. One
of them called out to me to leave my
trunk and the boys would take it up to
the school. I waved in reply and proceeded up the snow-road to the
settlement, a scattering of unpainted
buildings on either side of Boulder
Creek. The mountain slopes in the
creek area, largely denuded of trees by
logging and a forest fire, were covered
by a deep white blanket of snow. The
resident families had moved into three
of the larger houses but most of the other buildings, mainly shacks, were
vacant. There was a large abandoned
mess-hall, two long low horse-barns
built of logs, and a double row of a dozen empty shacks - one of which had
been converted for use as the school. In
his report Inspector Sheffield described
it as "a rough but comfortable classroom." It was comfortable enough when
the wood-burning heater was radiating
some warmth but on many a below zero
morning it was cold enough to freeze
more than the ink-wells.
Entering the building I found there
was basic furniture in addition to the
stove - two rows of desks, a teacher's
desk, and a blackboard. There was also
a bell and a flag - the Union Jack - to
raise on a short pole fastened to the outside wall. During the day I met most of
the residents, including pupils, and
made boarding arrangements with the
Chernenkoff family. On the following
day school assembled and for the next
year and a half Boulder was the centre
of my educational endeavours and my
home away from home.
From January 1927 until June 1928 I
made a half-a-dozen trips over the Kettle Valley so that it became familiar
territory. The terrain displayed a much
friendlier face in the spring, summer
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1992 - 93
10 and fall months than it did in bleak wintry January. Even after sixty-five years
unblurred memories still remain - such
as coming in from Boulder at dusk and
from Nelson's mountain station looking
down on the bright lights of the mini-
metropolis below, a sparkling jewel in a
mountain setting.
I can still see the meandering Kettle
river at Grand Forks, a beautifully clear
gentle stream flowing across a wide fertile valley. However I know it is not
always so quiet and through some rocky
canyons the Kettle boils madly. I can't
forget the visual impact of the old mining town of Greenwood with its dead
smelter. The tall brick chimney and
huge black slag-heap are relics of past
production (and pollution) but also memorials to an era of pioneering
In June 1927 I saw Arawana again, no
longer snow-bound but sun-drenched,
with an orchard oasis around Okanagan
Lake from Naramata through Penticton
to Summerland. I can recall the glimpse
of an angler casting a fly on the glassy
waters of Osprey - or was it Otter Lake
- and the Tulameen and Similkameen
rivers, with names that sound like rippling streams.
Above all is the memory of riding
over the Kettle Valley rails through the
Coquihalla in daylight and marvelling
how this railway was built. As a sculptor works with, not against, his material
so Andrew McCulloch planned the
grades, built the bridges, bored the tunnels by maintaining a kind of harmony
with the rugged Coquihalla. In spite of
winter avalanches and spring wash-outs
this rough rapport continued for over
40 years - until 1962. Perhaps McCul-
loch's entire Kettle Valley line may be
regarded as an immense, extended
sculptural achievement - a work of art.
Andrew McCulloch was a practical
hard-headed engineer but he had a romantic side too - he named his
Coquihalla stations after Shakespearean
characters with Juliet and Romeo at the
top of the list - and the whistles of his
steam locomotives were never discordant. The Kettle Valley Railway is now
history but for all those who worked to
keep the trains running, for all of us
who were sometime passengers on those
trains, and for present-day hikers who
explore sections of its abandoned right-
of-way the Kettle Valley is indeed a railway to remember.
Ernest Harris happily adapted his skill as an
artist to illustrate his writing. This Vancouver
octogenarian prepared this piece especially for the
B.C Historical News.
Barrie Sanibid, McCulloch's Wonder: The Story of [he
Kettle Valley Railway (Whitecap Books) 1977
Beth Hill, Exploring the Kettle Valley Railway
(Polestar) 1989
F.W. Anderson, The Dewdney Trail
(Frontier Books 19 and 20) 1969
Murphy Shewchuk, Coquihalla Country
(Sonotek Publishing) 1990
Garnet Basque, West Kootenay: The Pioneer Years
(Sunfire) 1990
Canadian West #21, Phoenix, T.W. Patteison
Canadian West #25, Pioneer Smelters, Jay Morrison
Roland Moigan, B.C. Then & Now
Bodima Books, 1978
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1992 - 93 The Reverend Mr. Procunier
A Kootenay Pioneer
by Naomi Miller
Rev. Charles Ault Procunier served pioneer congregations for thirty years,
twelve as a Methodist minister and
eighteen as an Anglican. He was born
in Ontario in 1863 and arrived in British Columbia in 1893. His first posting
as a Methodist probationer was in
Springford, Ontario in 1885. In 1886
he was assigned to Oxford Centre, in
1887 to Townsend, and in 1888 he was
in Cobourg as a student at Victoria University. (This university had
amalgamated with the University of Toronto a year earlier, agreeing to become
exclusively a Theological College and
ceasing to award degrees in Arts, Medicine, Law and Science.) In 1889 he
served in Napinka, Manitoba then,
"with full connection" was in Edmonton, North West Territories, from 1890
to 1892.
He married P.E.I. born Jessie Maxfield
in Edmonton. The newlyweds arrived
in Revelstoke early in 1893. One of the
highlights of his incumbency as Methodist minister was officiating at the
wedding (on May 17, 1894) of his sister-in-law, Margaret Maxfield to Rev.
Ernest Hardwick of Salmon Arm, B.C.
He was assisted by Revs. J.F. Betts and
W.J. Hall. Mrs. Procunier enjoyed that
wedding then delivered her firstborn,
Charles Adam, a few weeks later. Mr.
Procunier was awarded his Bachelor of
Philosophy in 1894 then prompdy enrolled with Illinois Wesleyan University.
This university offered degrees through
a program of directed reading and
mailed examinations proctored by a reputable person near the student's home.
After reading Kant, Bosanquet, Descartes, Berkeley and others, he was
awarded an MA in 1896. Mr. Procunier was evidently a good speaker
because he was asked to host church parades for various organizations such as
the Orange Lodge, Masons, Foresters
and others. In fact, it was arranged that
he return from Kaslo in July 1897 to
preach at an open air service held be-
B.C. Historical News • Winter 1992 • 93
Rev. C. A. Procunier
Rector St. Peter's
tween the Methodist and Presbyterian
churches at 7:30 pm. Other churches
would hold no evening service so that
their choirs could unite and all citizens
could hear "the popularly known Rev.
Mr. Procunier."
In 1895 the Procuniers moved to Kaslo where the Reverend had charge of
Ainsworth and Kaslo. Methodists had
built a parsonage and were building a
church. There was good rapport between all Protestant ministers at that
time as news items reported participation in concerts to raise money for the
school, or to share in the building of
one church hall or other. The Koote-
naian of July 30, 1897 told of "The
steamer Kokanee returned last evening
with a load of happy children. They
were members of the Church of England and Methodist Sunday Schools on
their annual Outing." In February
1898 Rev. Procunier assisted with the
induction of Presbyterian pastor, Rev.
AD. Menzies. Vesta Elizabeth Irene
Procunier was born in Kaslo in 1896.
The various ministers joined in the citizen's welcoming committee when the
Governor-General, the Earl of Aberdeen
and his wife visited Kaslo.
Topics of sermons were printed in the
weekly anouncements of services. Some
were a Bible text, others philosophical
such as "Dedication", "Esteem", "Reverence and Worship", "Are Angels' Visits
Few & Far Between?", "Prayer" or "The
Use of Speech." One subject advertised
for a sermon came in March 1898,
"Doubt In Relation to Religion." A few
weeks later, Charles Ault Procunier submitted what he hoped would be his Ph
D thesis to Illinois Wesleyan University:
its title, "Philosophy and Psychology of
Doubt." At the May 3, 1898 meeting
of Kootenay District of the Methodist
Church, he resigned his position as a
minister of the Methodist Church with
the intention of taking orders in the
Church of England. He requested letters of standing. It was moved by Bro.
Morden, seconded by Bro. Calvert that
the communication be received and that
the District recommend to the ensuing
Annual Conference that Bro. Procuni-
er's resignation be accepted and that he
be granted credentials of standing.This
had fallen unexpectedly onto the agenda
so the usual 'accepted with regret' was
omitted. Neither, however, was 'accepted in silence' appended as was the
custom if a scandal surrounded the departing member.
Mr. Procunier left the conference and
continued enroute to Chicago. He returned to B.C. expecting to be
welcomed into the Anglican Church on
June 5 but the Bishop of New Westminster (and all British Columbia) was
detained in England. Alternate arrangements were made for Wednesday, June
22, 1898 at 10 a.m., in St. George's
Church, Rossland where Bishop Lemurl
Wells of Spokane inducted CA. Procunier as a Deacon.
The Procuniers' third child, lona Maxfield, was born in Kaslo on July 5th. It
is not indicated whether the Procuniers
travelled elsewhere to spend the inter- vening weeks until Mr. Procunier received his appointment to Fort Steele.
The Prospector newspaper noted on
August 20 that "Rev. CA. Procunier,
M.A has been appointed to the charge
of Fort Steele Missionary District. He
was recendy ordained, being previously
one of the ablest ministers in the Methodist Conference. He will assume charge
shortly, and hold services in Cranbrook
and Moyie. His family will not move
here until the Crow's Nest Railway is
Fort Steele was booming at the time
the Anglicans received their minister.
The Presbyterians had built their own
church, and the Catholics were constructing St. Anthony's. Prior to this
any services had been held in the one-
roomed schoolhouse. Catholic Mass in
the morning, Anglican and Presbyterian
congregations, using Lay Readers, alternated with afternoon and evening
services. In January 1898 a new two-
roomed school was opened. The Anglicans inherited the one-roomed school,
naming it St. John's Church, and installing an organ earned from a ball held in
the new Opera House. Fort Steele had
a bank (with a burglar proof safe), a
Government Building, a Customs Office, a bridge replacing the original ferry
across the Kootenay River. It had nine
hotels, several stores and livery stables,
assay offices, a small hospital, a weekly
newspaper, three newly created lawyers,
weekly mail service and jitney connection with the railway. In short, it had
much to offer new citizens and old.
Fort Steele Anglicans heard but two of
Mr. Procunier's sermons before voting
to build a vicarage. Mrs. Procunier arrived in October. She soon established
herself as a good hostess, first in their interim home, then in the neat little
vicarage. Commencing November 3 a
reading club to study Shakespearian literature was opened to all ladies and
gentlemen every Thursday evening at
their home. A few weeks later a chapter
of the Masonic Lodge was instituted,
with the Anglican Reverend as Senior
Warden. The couple's name appeared
in guest lists published when reporting
social events in their new hometown.
For example, they played progressive euchre weekly with citizens such as the
Government Agent, his wife and two
clerks; the Duricks of the Mercantile
Store; the postmaster and his wife; the
druggist, A.W. Bleasdell and Mrs. Bleas-
dell; the school teacher; Dr. Hugh Watt
M.D.; two real estate brokers; the lay
reader from the Presbyterian church;
and others. Rev. Procunier resumed his
studies but no degree was awarded either because the thesis was not accepted
or other requirements were not met.
Meanwhile he coached the pharmacist's
son, Willie Bleasdell, for entrance examinations to McGill University. Willie
passed with honors and the whole community rejoiced. In the fall of 1899
Mr. Procunier acted as teacher when
needed in the school. He became a
member of the new lodge of the Independent Order of Foresters. He was
raised to priesthood by Rt. Rev. Dr.
Perrin at St. Saviour's Cathedral in Nelson on September 30, 1899. During
his tenure Sunday School flourished; for
some reason Presbyterian youngsters
met at 2 pm. while the Anglican Sunday
School was held at 2:30. He watched
young neighbours sign up to fight in the
Boer War. Early in 1900 this gentleman became Master of the Masonic
Lodge, and attended the provincial
meeting in Vancouver in June. When
Mr. Procunier was giving services in
Cranbrook or Moyie, Lay Readers
would lead the worship at St. John's in
Fort Steele. The accredited Lay Readers
were RL.T. Galbraith, Indian Agent
and wealthy landowner, and J.F. Armstrong, Government Agent and Gold
Commissioner. A small number of parishioners were prepared for
confirmation in June 1900. (These included his wife Jessie.) Fort Steele was
losing some of its citizens to Cranbrook
since the railway was routed through the
latter community, but it did remain viable until 1904 when the Government
Office closed at "Steele".
Fate decreed, however, that the Procuniers were not to stay in Fort Steele
until the demise of the town. St. Peter's
Anglican Church, Revelstoke lost Rev.
F.W. Ford in a fatal accident. Rev.
EC. Paget was about to take over this
church (in the hometown of his brother) when he was elevated to Dean of
Calgary. Parishioners eagerly adopted
their former neighbour, CA. Procunier.
The family moved to Revelstoke in September so that young Charlie could
start school there.   Fund raising started
immediately to improve and enlarge the
rectory, not only for the comfort of the
minister and his family, but because
travelling Anglican dignitaries chose Revelstoke as a likely place to break a train
Charles Ault Procunier became a
member of the Masonic Lodge in Revelstoke in 1893. He transferred to Kaslo
Lodge where he was JW and SW. Next
he became a charter member of North
Star Lodge No. 30 at Fort Steele. He
commuted back to Fort Steele for
monthly meetings till his term of office
was up. This meant leaving Revelstoke
Monday morning by train to Arrowhead, boat to Robson, train to Nelson,
boat to Kootenay Landing, train to Eager near Cranbrook, and stage to Fort
Steele late on Tuesday. He had to leave
Fort Steele no later than Friday morning
to be home late Saturday evening. He
reestablished himself with the AF & AM
Kootenay Lodge No. 15 in 1902 and
was elected Worshipful Master for
1903-04. He became active in coordinate bodies becoming First Principal of
the Royal Arch and a charter member of
the Preceptory. He acted as secretary of
the Masonic Lodge for several years, resigning when tragedy struck his family
in 1909.
Rev. Procunier was officially instituted
at St. Peter's on Wednesday, November
21, 1900 by the Venerable Edwyn S.W.
Pentreath, D.D. Archdeacon of Columbia. The following week the church
committee rented Tappings Theatre for
a fund raising evening of entertainment.
(Gross proceeds $180.) Church programs continued for all age groups with
little extras such as, "St. Peter's Church
Ladies Guild will hold sewing meetings
during Lent every Monday afternoon at
the Rectory. Any member not attending will be find 10<£." During the
Procunier incumbency the church walls
were reinforced and a pipe organ installed (a cast off from a Calgary
cathedral.) The popular preacher sometimes exchanged pulpits with other
ministers, and he was invited to take services in other communities such as
Vernon, Nakusp, and Nelson.
The Procuniers became involved in
community life. Rev. Procunier was on
the school board for some years. He
joined the fledgling Alpine Club of Can-
ada-Revelstoke Branch, assisting them
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1992 - 93 with the construction of a small chalet
atop Mt. Revelstoke. Both Mr. and
Mrs. accompanied groups of young people on hikes to this summit. Four
Reverend gentlemen registered as a rink
during the curling season. The rectory
garden was kept bright with beautiful
flowers, and a vegetable garden was cultivated at their 'ranch' just north of
town. Honey from their hives won prizes regularly in the Fall Fair, as did some
of their garden produce. On October 1,
1907, Rev. CA Procunier sustained a
very serious injury while chopping wood
at his ranch. The axe hit a knot,
glanced off and cut deeply into his right
ankle severing an artery and damaging
the joint. He very pluckily bound his
wound himself (for he was alone),
limped home and was assisted from
there to the hospital. A portion of the
bone had to be removed. He was hospitalized for 12 days, then made good
progress in recouping his agility. They
hosted Christmas parties and sleigh
rides, organized family picnics, masquerade parties and stereoptican shows, and
assisted with a snowshoe club for teens.
The two Procunier daughters took piano lessons and became medal winning
performers. There certainly seemed to
be more to life than Sunday services,
weddings, baptisms and funerals.
A Kootenay Oldtimers Reunion was
held in February 1909. Membership
qualification - "males with residence in
the Kootenays prior to 1894, or their
male descendants over 21 years of age."
The most senior of this group had arrived in 1866, and Procunier was among
the juniors, but was appointed to arrange future annual gatherings.
Headlines a few weeks later told of
flooding in the district, some of which
washed out road and railway bridges
across the Illecillewaet River. School resumed in mid August; Irene Procunier
commenced high school; lona "Max"
Procunier was rushed to hospital with
appendicitis and died early on the morning of Sunday, August 22 at age 11
years, one month and 17 days. Her funeral was arranged for Tuesday and the
school dismissed for the afternoon.
Children filled most of the church. The
hearse was covered with flowers. The
school children walked in a body behind
the hearse to the cemetery. A long procession of vehicles also followed.   The
pallbearers were young schoolmates representing all denominations.
Devastated by their loss, Mr. & Mrs.
Procunier went away for a holiday, returning to service early in October.
Meanwhile Revelstoke citizens
watched the unravelling of the two Presbyterian churches. In July Rev. J.R.
Robertson of Knox Church handed in
his resignation, even though he had no
other call or opening in sight. In October Rev. W.C. Calder preached his
farewell sermon at St. Andrew's, and
moved across the river to expand his little ranch into an experimental farm.
Both wished to force amalgamation.
Knox Church was renamed St. John's.
Lay readers conducted services for a few
months, alternating between the two
buildings. Later St. Andrew's was eagerly appropriated by the school board to
become an annex to an overflowing
school. Rev. Robertson attended the Alpine Club Camp as a staff member then
sat in Revelstoke considering alternatives. Finally he transferred to St.
Andrew's, Nanaimo. Rev. N.G. Melvin, BA, formerly of Arrowhead,
returned from postgraduate studies in
Glasgow, accepted the call to St. John's
Presbyterian. He took his place in the
pulpit in January 1910, saying that the
troubles of the Presbyterian church in
Revelstoke should be buried, and he
wished to hear nothing about the past.
Concurrently the Baptists changed ministers only to lose the newcomer fairly
quickly when his wife became ill. The
Roman Catholics bade farewell to Father Pecoule and welcomed Rev.
Coccola to St. Francis; Fr. Coccola delivered sermons first in English then in
Revelstoke was always a railway community. Its life was touched by the
successes, changes and accidents on the
rail line. One conductor killed at Field,
B.C. came home to be buried with services by the four fraternal organizations
to which he belonged. On March 5,
1910 a massive snowslide in Rogers Pass
took the lives of 75 workers attempting
to clear an earlier avalanche. The dead
included many Hindoos and 37 Japanese. A public memorial service was
held at the opera house on Sunday afternoon with choirs from several churches
joining together. Mr. Procunier took a
funeral service, for those without lodges
or church affiliation, at the YMCA on
Monday. Virtually every issue of the
Mail-Herald noted a derailment, bridge
washout, runaway train, workers or trespassers killed or injured, or the building
of new spur lines; if there was nothing
on the CPR they found some railway
news from a foreign country!
At this time British Columbia was
considering sites for the planned university. Rev. Procunier became the
Kootenay delegate (in 1910) on the
committee preparing for a theological
college. He served until 1916.
Miss Hall, Revelstoke's respected music teacher had her pupils give a recital
annually and participate wherever appropriate. Her last recital before she left
the city was in July 1910. Miss Hall
noted to the audience that Irene Procunier, winner of a Gold Medal for
Pianoforte, was the youngest church organist in British Columbia. Mrs.
Procunier presented Miss Hall with "a
handsome fountain pen" as a farewell
Charlie Procunier finished high school
and passed entrance examinations for
McGill University. He stayed home,
finding work locally until early in 1914
when he moved to Comaplix, on the
upper Arrow Lake, where he was placed
in charge of the office of the Forest
Mills Company. The news item concluded, "Charlie will be missed among
the young people of our city."
Everything appeared to be "business as
usual" at St. Peter's Church except for
correspondence noted in Vestry Minutes
but no longer extant. Mr. Procunier resigned in April 1914, but continued to
serve. In August 1915 parishioners
asked the People's Warden to write to
the Bishop of Kootenay protesting his
letter requesting our Rector to resign.
When the war started Mr. Procunier
was on every local committee to recruit,
to encourage the troops, to meet every
troop train, and to arrange for an insurance policy on the life of every
Revelstoke boy going into service.
Daughter Irene started as a substitute
teacher in the fall of 1914, and likely
found other part time employment.
Fire in October 1914 damaged some of
the buildings at Comaplix, but 50 men
were retained to load lumber as orders
came in. Then the arsonist finished the
destruction in April 1915.  Every build-
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1992 - 93
14 ing except the school was destroyed, 14
million cubic feet of lumber went up in
smoke, the steamer Revelstoke was
burned to the waterline because the
flume bringing water which could have
fought the blaze had been severed in
three places. Charlie Procunier was out
of a job, except for appearing at repeated
police and insurance investigations. For
her wartime preparedness Mrs. Procunier completed a St. John Ambulance
course. Rev. Procunier was master of
ceremonies for a great patriotic meeting
(June 2, 1915) to aid recruiting for the
54th Kootenay and Boundary Battal-
lion. His son was one of 62 young men
who signed up that day. A special train
took Revelstoke citizens to Vernon to
visit their boys at the completion of basic training. Australian cadets were
hosted by Revelstoke families for a few
days before continuing east. The big adventure for recruits at the front was
gradually recognized as the horror it
was. Casualties were reported frequently and one of the earliest recruits was
invalided home at the first of the new
year. Things became increasingly tense
even in places like Revelstoke.
Rural Dean (a promotion) Procunier
submitted his resignation from St. Peter's as of AprU 24, 1916 "PROVIDED
that all his salary to date was paid." A
month later a meeting was held to authorize the Wardens to borrow money
from the bank "to pay off the indebtedness to the Rector." Also tabled at that
meeting was a letter from Irene Procunier tendering her resignation as organist
effective 24 April. Mr. Procunier went
teaching at nearby Skeene to finish the
school year. He then made the home
on his ranch comfortable for all seasons,
bade his wife "good bye," and joined the
army. He became Captain (chaplain) in
the Engineers. Charlie Procunier was
wounded in action and taken prisoner
by the Germans. He returned in May
1919 as Sergeant Procunier. He was
welcomed at the Revelstoke railway station by his father, Captain Procunier
"who had come down from Roger Pass
where he was teaching school."
Mr. Procunier taught school on letters
of permission until his two children
were married and away from home.
Irene wed George Hardy at St. Peter's in
July 1922. At age 59 he went to Victoria to attend Normal  School for the
1922-23 academic year. He continued
to teach as long as his health permitted,
visiting his children and grandchildren
in Ontario and Nova Scotia from time
to time. He passed away in Kamloops
on March 6, 1940.
The writer spends many hours as a volunteer at
Fort Steele Heritage Town. The extended research for this story did not answer the question,
"Why did this gentleman switch from the Methodist to the AngUcan church?"
Anglican Archives - Provincial Synod, Vancouver
- Diocese of Kootenay, Kelowna
United Church of Canada - B.C. Archives
Victoria University (United Church Archives), Toronto
Illinois Wesleyan University Archives
David Procunier - Grandson, at Celista, B.C.
Kailo Claim-1895-1898
Revelstoke Mail-Herald 1900-1916
Revelstoke & District Museum staff..
The Prospector (Fort Steele) - 1898-1900
St. Peter's Anglican Church 90th Anniversary Booklet -
Special thanks to Derryl White of Fort Steele Archives.
Iff OS
Day Dress 1890's
The leg-of-mutton sleeves, high waist, corsetted
torso and very full skirt   were favored by Mrs.
Procunier and her friends at Fort Steele.
Methodist Church and Parsonage in Kaslo, B.C. 1895.        Photo courtesy of Elsie Tumbul.
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1992 • 93 Bailiff Macaulay
by CJ.P. Hanna
Donald Macaulay was a servant of the
Hudson's Bay Company and its close affiliate the Puget's Sound Agricultural
Company for more than thirty years until his death in 1868. Well-regarded by
such prominent fur trade figures as
Hudson's Bay Company chief factors
John McLoughlin and James Douglas,
Macaulay is best known for his service
during the 1850's as bailiff of the Puget's Sound Agricultural Company's
"Viewfield" farm near Fort Victoria.
Macaulay was a Scot, born in 1805 on
the shores of West Loch Tarbert, Harris,
on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. Little is known of his early life.
Later described as having been a crofter,
Macaulay reportedly worked as a shepherd in Scotland before entering HBC
service. At some point in his life Macaulay received a rudimentary education
as he could read and write, though his
grammar and spelling were often peculiar and sometimes a source of
amusement to others.1
In his British Columbia Coast Names
Captain John Walbran states that Macaulay crossed the Rocky Mountains
about 1834 and then served aboard the
HBC coastal trading brig llama (or
Lama) under Captain William H.
Donald Macaulay was probably the
"Macaulay, a Lewisman" with whom
Dr. William Fraser Tolmie went on a
hunting expedition in July 1834 near
Clarence Straits during the removal of
the first Fort Simpson from the Nass
By 1839 Donald Macaulay was employed as a labourer at the second Fort
Simpson (now Port Simpson) on the
northwest coast of British Columbia.
The only surviving records of Macau-
lay's work at Fort Simpson mention him
preparing bear skins for storage and attending natives bringing seaweed to the
fort's vegetable garden. By 1841 Macaulay was one of three assistants to
John Work, the officer in charge of Fort
Shortly after his arrival at Fort Simp
son Macaulay married Margaret
Snaach, a native woman, probably from
the Tlingit tribe on the Tongass river.
Like most marriages in the fur trade territory, the marriage was done "in the
fashion of the country" without clerical
blessing. While at least six daughters
were bom to Macaulay and his wife, the
lack of records renders it uncertain exactly how many children they had.5
Macaulay remained at Fort Simpson
until the late 1840's. The few remaining portions of the Fort Simpson
journal reveal very little about Macau-
lay's life there, save that on one
occasion he chased and wounded a large
shark seen offshore and shortly after
Christmas 1842 was caught in the fort
storeroom tapping rum from a cask he
had bored with a gimlet. Since Christmas day had been "gloomy and dismal
with heavy rain all day" and the men's
"Christmas regale" consisted of molasses, rice, flour and grease, Macaulay's
theft of rum was perhaps understandable and apparently soon forgiven for no
record of any punishment appears in
the Fort Simpson journal.6
Despite the occasional transgression,
Macaulay's reputation among his superiors was such that HBC chief Factor
John McLoughlin described him in
1844 as one of the Hudson's Bay Company's three "Best common men"
serving on the Pacific coast.7
By the summer of 1850 Macaulay had
moved to Fort Victoria where HBC
chief factor James Douglas, the Puget's
Sound Agricultural Company agent at
Fort Victoria, appointed him bailiff of
the new PSAC "Viewfield" (or "Viewpoint") farm. While the Puget's Sound
Agricultural Company (PSAC) was legally distinct from the Hudson's Bay
Company, the two companies were very
closely linked and Macaulay transferred
from one to the other without
Writing to the PSAC management in
London, Douglas justified his appointment of Macaulay by describing him as
"honest, careful and industrious"
though "not a very active person."8 In
view of the crippling shortage of non-
native labour at Fort Victoria during
this period Macaulay was probably the
best choice available for the position as
he was semi-literate, had previously
worked as a shepherd and was experienced in dealing with natives.
Under the initial unwritten terms of
his appointment Macaulay received the
use of the lands, buildings and livestock
of Viewfield farm in return for providing the PSAC with half of any increase
in the farm's livestock and half of the
farm's profits.9
Viewfield farm was located at the
southern end of the Esquimalt peninsula, at the mouth of Victoria harbour,
and comprised about 600 acres of
woods, rocks and grassland. While the
PSAC later brought out bailiffs and settlers from Britain for their Craigflower,
Esquimalt (or Colwood), and Constance Cove farms, Viewfield farm
remained under Macaulay's control
throughout its existence and received
virtually no setders from Britain.
Due to the great shortage of white labour at Fort Victoria, native labourers,
usually hired at the rate of 2 blankets
per month, were essential to the development of Viewfield. In addition to
supplying their labour, natives also
traded salmon, halibut, potatoes, shingles and canoes to the farm in exchange
for clothes, blankets and firearms.10
In the early 1850's James Douglas was
too busy with his responsibilities as colonial governor, HBC chief Factor and
PSAC agent to devote much time to
the close supervision of Macaulay who,
as a consequence, was rather left to run
Viewfield as he saw fit.
Sheep-rearing was the main activity of
Viewfield farm, but it also had about
two dozen cattle and a small herd of
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1992 • 93
16 horses by the mid-1850's. Unfortunately
many of the sheep at Viewfield in the
early 1850's died from lack of food, shelter and attention while scab often caused
much of their wool to be lost.11
Instead of concentrating his efforts on
providing food and shelter for the farm's
large flock of sheep, Macaulay expended
time, energy and resources breeding a
herd of horses which were useless for the
PSAC farms as they were too small to
serve as draft animals.12
Though Macaulay's insufficient industry and attention hampered the
development of Viewfield, his superiors
in the PSAC, particularly James Douglas,
bore some responsibility for the sorry
state of the farm. After choosing a farm
site with little land suitable for crops,
Douglas placed a large flock of sheep on
Viewfield farm before adequate shelter,
food and care could be provided. The
choice of the Southdown breed of sheep
which required particular attention to
their feed and shelter only increased the
difficulty of caring for the flock.13
As bailiff of Viewfield Macaulay did
not wine and dine his visitors as lavishly
as did other bailiffs, such as Captain Edward Langford at Esquimalt farm, but
his kindness and hospitality to visiting
naval officers from H.M.S. Thetis in
1853 was such that they gave him a silver
cup in appreciation. Since Viewfield
farm had the only stable of horses on the
PSAC farms at that time, the officers'
gratitude probably stemmed in large part
from Macaulay providing them with
mounts during their visits to Fort
Victoria. u
As an individual Macaulay appears to
have been rather a local character, in his
Reminiscences Doctor John Sebastian
Helmcken described Macaulay as "a
most trustworthy man," "long and spare"
in build, who spoke "peculiar English."15
Among the anecdotes Helmcken recorded about Macaulay were a court case in
which Macaulay suddenly became more
"deaf' than usual when called upon to
submit evidence, and an incident when
he claimed to have cured Helmcken's
horse of the grip [sic] by placing a roasted shoe over its muzzle.16
After their arrival at Fort Victoria Macaulay and his wife had been officially
married and their daughters Margaret,
Mary Ann, Catherine and Sara baptized
by the HBC chaplain Robert John
Staines.     During  Macaulay's  time  at
Viewfield two more daughters, Margaret and Mary Ann, were born. The
eldest, Mary, was married to William
Henry McNeill, Jnr. in June 1853 and
Flora married James Tod in October,
Macaulay's family, like many other
HBC families, straddled both white
and native societies.   While Margaret
Macaulay continued to visit her relatives
on the Tongass river until the early
1860's and her brother Joe worked on
Viewfield farm in exchange for clothes
and blankets, her daughter Mary insisted upon a band and wedding procession
around the little settlement of Fort Victoria when she married McNeill in
The ?.Sft.C. Farms on Vancouver fclandl c. 1SSM.
Jkr: "The &o& EatefntXfWk<jf VWooyt*- kWii." by XT). Tfejoer+or, e.lcCTlfJ.
B.C. Historical News • Winter 1992 - 93 In April 1854 James Douglas was succeeded as PSAC agent at Victoria by
Kenneth McKenzie, bailiff of the
PSAC's Craigflower farm. Described as
"well meaning" and "thoroughly honest," McKenzie was also said to possess a
"hasty temper and unsound judgement."" Five years after McKenzie's
appointment a senior HBC officer, Alexander Grant Dallas, was moved by
McKenzie's record as PSAC agent to report to the PASC management in
London that "a more unfit man . . .
could not have been selected to exercise
the control and direction" of the PSAC
Mckenzie soon found much to fault
with Macaulay, describing him in private as "a very stupid ignorant man and
not one at all adapted to have charge of
a farm" and Macaulay's flock of sheep as
"the most deplorable looking stock (he)
ever saw ... "2I
In an attempt to rectify the poor state
of Viewfield farm McKenzie held a public auction of horses from Viewfield
farm in July 1854 and cut off Macaulay's supplies from Fort Victoria in early
1855 until Macaulay ceased to kill
Viewfield sheep for food.22
The 1855 census of Vancouver Island
provides a dismal portrait of Viewfield
farm. Only 35 of the farm's 600 acres
were under cultivation and the total agricultural production of all crops in
1854 came to less than 200 bushels
which was clearly inadequate to support
the 675 sheep, 24 horses and 35 catde
on Viewfield farm in 1854.23
In the summer of 1855 McKenzie had
the flocks of Craigflower and Viewfield
farms combined at a new sheep station
located north of Fort Victoria at Lakehill in an attempt to provide better
forage for the animals and reduce the incidence of scab among the flock. The
new sheep station was a success until the
fall of 1856 when Macaulay accused
McKenzie of taking the best lambs from
the Viewfield flock. When McKenzie
then permitted Macaulay to drive the
Viewfield flock back to Viewfield farm
Macaulay instead drove it to the farm of
Captain William H. McNeill where it
promptly got the scab again. McKenzie
then refused to provide Macaulay with a
loan to pay off his debts while Macaulay
refused to provide monthly reports on
Viewfield farm, failed to send 100 View-
field ewes to Constance Cove farm, and
mislabelled his wool shipments to
Macaulay was aided in his disputes
with McKenzie by the absence of explicit written agreements regarding the
terms of his employment. Also important was the support given Macaulay by
members of the local HBC hierarchy,
such as Governor James Douglas,
whom McKenzie had antagonized.
McKenzie was placed in the difficult
position of having to discipline a rebellious subordinate and social inferior
who was able to state that the Governor
was his "friend and advisor in all
Despite complaints about his management, Macaulay remained in charge of
Viewfield farm until his contract as
bailiff ended in September 1857.
Viewfield farm was then combined
with Constance Cove farm while Macaulay rejoined the HBC as an "Indian
Trader" at Fort Victoria and took up
residence on Humboldt street in the
village of Victoria.26
In October 1859 Macaulay professed
to be greatly offended when one of his
acquaintances, the Attorney General of
British Columbia, George Hunter
Cary, became embroiled in a personal
dispute with another local lawyer and
politician, David Babington Ring.
Claiming that Ring had "stigmatised"
Cary, Macaulay publicly challenged
him to a duel with a variety of weapons,
ranging from rifles at 80 yards to Bowie
knives in a dark room. Ring prudently
ignored the challenge and Macaulay
quickly abandoned his blustering challenge as unbefitting his position as "a
gentleman and a man of honour" when
Cary was sent to cool his heels in Victoria jail for inciting violence.27
Whether Macaulay was acting alone
in this ridiculous affair or serving as a
"stalking horse" for Cary's supporters is
unclear, but the erudite language of
Macaulay's challenge and its revocation
indicate that Macaulay was probably assisted in their composition by persons
better educated than himself. The incident can only have helped to cement
Macaulay's reputation as a bit of a
By early 1860 Macaulay had apparently overcome the debts he amassed
while serving as bailiff of Viewfield as
he owned a lot in the James Bay district
of Victoria which enabled him to vote
for George Cary in the March 1860
elections to the Vancouver Island
House of Assembly.28
At the end of May 1861 Macaulay returned to his old post of Fort Simpson.
Apart from a brief note in the fort's
journal that he had become drunk on
liquor traded from a coastal trading
schooner, Macaulay's service at Fort
Simpson was apparently without incident. In July 1862 his daughter
Catherine married Pym Nevins Comp-
ton, an HBC officer serving at Fort
Simpson. When news of gold finds on
the Nass river reached Fort Simpson in
August 1862 Macaulay reported the
news to the Colonist newspaper in
Macaulay's report to the Colonist is
the last known account of his whereabouts until his death six years later.
Macaulay apparently remained at Fort
Simpson until the late 1860's when he
returned to Victoria and was placed in
charge of the HBC floating powder
magazine. In September 1868, six
months after the magazine was moved
to Esquimalt harbour during a Fenian
raid scare, Macaulay died while fishing
in Esquimalt harbour when his hand
became entangled in the anchor line of
his small skiff and he was pulled overboard and drowned. Macaulay's wife,
Margaret, survived him for only a few
months and died in July 1869.30
Though a relatively unimportant figure in British history, Donald Macaulay
is an excellent example of the class of
men who with their native wives played
an invaluable and often overlooked role
in the society and economy of the fur
trade by serving as interlocutors between white and native societies.
Despite his failings, Macaulay's loyalty
to Hudson's Bay Company and his
general reliability caused him to be repeatedly given positions of
responsibility in Hudson's Bay Company service. The accolades he received
during his life outweigh the often-
merited criticisms he also received.
At least 48 children were born to Macaulay's daughters Mary McNeill, Flora
Tod, Sarah Mordaunt, Catherine
Compton and Margaret Hankin/
Loring. No records have yet been located for Mary Ann Macaulay.
B.C. Historical News • Winter 1992 • 93
18 Mary McNeill and Flora Tod (later
spelt Todd) bore at least ten and fourteen children, respectively, and lived out
their long lives on the large McNeill and
Tod(d) farms near Victoria. Catherine
Compton and her husband had three
children, but she and her husband died
within nine months of each other in
1879 and 1880 with the unfortunate result that their children were left destitute
and a least one was placed in the Protestant Orphanage at Victoria. Sarah
Macaulay married one Alfred E. Mor-
daunt in 1869 and bore four children
before she and her husband died in 1880
and 1882, respectively.31
Margaret Macaulay married the pioneer Hazelton merchant Thomas
Hankin and bore seven children before
his death in 1885. In 1889 she married
one Baron Alfred von Wilke - better
known as Richard Ernest Loring - the
Indian Agent at Hazelton, and three
children were born to them. Fluent in
the local native languages, Margaret Loring accompanied her husband on all his
official trips in order to serve as his interpreter. In the early twentieth century
her daughter Constance Cox, nee Hankin, continued the family tradition as
interlocutors between white and native
societies through her recording of the
history and traditions of natives in the
Hazelton area.32
Macaulay Point, Macaulay Plains, Macaulay Road and Macaulay School
within the former boundaries of View-
field farm commemorate Donald
Macaulay and his family.
Christopher Hanna is a recent graduate of the
University of Victoria with a special interest in
British Columbia's colonial period
Brian Charles Coyle, 'Problems of che Puget's Sound
Agricultural Company on Vancouver Island: 1847 -
1857," Simon Fraser University, M.A. Thesis, 1977, p.
12; Doroth Blakey Smith, ed., The Reminiscences of
Doctor John Sebastian Hetmdom, (Vancouver
University of British Columbia Press, 1975), p. 153;
Christ Church Cathedral, Marriage Register; Saint
Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Victoria, Burial
Records, information from Dr. Allan O'Neil, archivist.
The spelling of Macaulay's varies. Macaulay signed che
marriage register as "McAuhy," but Macaulay is the
form adopted by geographers and used in this paper.
John Walbran, British Columbia Coast Names,
(Ottawa; Government Printing Bureau, 1909), pp.
309-310. "Log of the HBC brig Una, 11 Dec.
1832-02 Dec.1833,' BCARS, notes a 'John McCaulay,
Assist't Steward" who was "Sent on shore at Fort
Simpson' c 1833. The other source cited in this
paper almost certainly refer to Donald Macaulay.
3. (William Fraser Tolmie), Physician and Fur Trader,
(Vancouver Mitchell Press, 1963), pp. 286-287.
4. Hudson's Bay Company, Columbia District,
'Establishment of Servants Coasting Trade
Establishment, Outfit 1839," BCARS, lists "Donald
McAulay" at Fore Simpson; E.E. Rich, ed., The
Letters of John McLoughlin from Fort Vancouver to
che Governor and Committee, Second Series,
1839-1844, (Hudson's Bay Record Society, 1943), pp.
372-374; "Fort Simpson Journal," 1 March and 10
April 1843, BCARS.
5. Christ Church Cathedral, Marriage and Baptismal
Registers; "Fort Simpson Journal," 15 November 1842.
6. "Fort Simpson Journal," 24,25,26 and 29 December
1842,1 March and 10 April 1843, BCARS.
7. Rich, ed. The Letters of John McLoughlu ..., pp.
8. Coyle, p. 12.
9. Ibid. pp. 12-13.
10. Coyle, p. 52, and various undated chits, Kenneth
McKenzie CoUection," BCARS.
11. Coyle, pp. 51-53; Kenneth McKenzie to Andrew
Colvile, 23 December 1842, "Kenneth McKenzie
Collection,* BCARS; The Census of Vancouver
Island, 1855," British Columbia Historical Quarterly,
Vol. IV (January 1940), pp. 51-58.
12. Coyle, pp. 51-53.
13. Coyle, pp. 51-53.
14. Victoria Daily Colonist, 23 May 1861, p. 3.
15. Helmcken, p. 153.
16. Ibid.
17. Christ Church Cathedral, Baptismal and Marriage
18. "Fort Simpson Journal," 8 January 1862; chit dated 30
March 1855, "Kenneth McKenzie coUection;"
Helmcken, pp. 153-154.
19. A.G. Dallas to PSAC, May 1858, quoted in Coyle,
p. 62.
20. Ibid.
21. Kenneth McKenzie to Andrew Colvile, 23 December
1854, "Kenneth McKenzie collection:' Kenneth
McKenzie to Andrew Colvile, 31 March 1854, quoted
in Coyle, p. 138.
22. Coyle. pp. 51-53; WK(aye).L(amb)., "Diary of
Robert Melrose," British Columbia Historical
Quarterly, Vol. VII (January 1943). pp. 203.
23. W. K(aye). L(amb)., The Census of Vancouver Island,
1855," British Columbia Historical Quarterly, VoL IV
(January 1940), pp. 51-58.
24. Coyle. pp. 51-53.
25. Kenneth McKenzie to Donald Micaulay, 12 March
1856, "Kenneth McKenzie collection."
26. Victoria Gazette, 15 October 1859, p. 2; Edward
Mallandaine, First Victoria Directory, (Victoria:
Edward Mallandaine, 1860), p. 32; and Kenneth
McKenzie to Donald Macaulay, 28 February 1857,
"Kenneth McKenzie collection."
27. Gazette, 15 October 1859, p. 2; Colonist, 21 October
1859. p. 2.
28. Vancouver Island, Sherriff, Poll Books, Victoria Town,
22 March 1861.
29. Colonist, 15 September 1868, p. 3; "Fort Simpson
Journal," 30 May 1861, and 16 November 1862;
Christ Church Cathedral, Marriage Register.
30. Colonist, 21 September 1868, p. 3, and 31 Jury 1869,
p. 3.
31. BCARS, "Vertical Files;" Christ Church Cathedral,
Baptismal, Marriage and Burial Registers; St. Luke's
Church, Victoria, Baptismal, Marriage and Burial
Registers; Saint Andrew's Presbyterian Church,
Marriage and Burial Records; Cridge Centre, Victoria,
"Register of Orphans at Protestant Orphanage;" Peter
Baskerville and others, 1881 Canadian Census:
Vancouver Island, (Victoria: Public History Group
(University of Victoria), 1990); Eric Sager and others,
The 1891 Canadian Census, Victoria, British
Columbia, (Victoria: Public History Group
(University of Victoria), 1991); Victoria Standard, 11
August 1879, p. 3,24 January 1880, p. 3,30 January
1882, p. 3; Colonist, 23 January 1880, p. 3, 17
February 1886, p. 3,13 January 1912, p. 6; Victoria
Times, 13 January 1911, p. 7,15 September 1911, p.
Canada, 1891 Census, British Columbia, New
Westminster District, Nominal Roll; BCARS,
"Vertical Files;' Christ Church Cathedral, Baptismal
and Marriage Registers; St. Luke's Church, Baptismal,
Marriage and Burial Registers; Colonist, 5 Jury 1871,
p. 3,13 January 1991, p. 6; Times, 13 January 1911,
(BCARS = British Columbia Archives and Records
Thanks to Mra. J. H. (Madge) Hamilton for the use of
her notes on Donald Macaulay; Dr. Allan O'NeU,
archivist of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Victoria
for checking church registers; and the staff of the
(Bishop) Cridge Centre, Victoria, for checking records
of che Victoria Protestant Orphanage.
Haida Mortuary Pole in Thunderbird Park,
Victoria, B.C.
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1992 - 93 Croatians Killed in Ladysmith Mine Blast
by Zelimir Bobjuricic
*»&&  & A
Extension Miners, c.1909.   They were a cosmopolitan mix.  Thirty-two of them lost their lives on October 5, 1909.
Photo courtesy of B.C. Archives and Records Service. #HP80599
In the northwest corner of the Ladysmith cemetery, in the Roman Catholic
section, a cosmopolitan mix of people
are buried. They include Irish, Scottish,
Belgian, Finns, French, Americans, native Indians, and a number of Croatians.
The majority of plots of the latter are
well preserved. A few have been desecrated by vandals; pieces of broken
crosses, marble tablets and columns lie
scattered about. Many tombstones have
Slavic names inscribed on them: Kulaj,
Hocevar, Popovic, Mrus, Badovinac,
Keseric, Berdick, Bulic, Grubacevic, Bu-
car.   One inscription reads: here lies a
"native of Croatia, Austria." On another, a "native of Crotia," a carver
having misspelled the name of the country of the deceased. Or "here lies 36
year old Native of Kroatia," Croatia
having been spelled with a K. Many
graves are of the young, 20 to 30-year-
old Croatian miners who worked, and
died, in the Dunsmuir Wellington-
Extension Collieries mines. Along the
main pathway, two unassuming graves
stand out. They are unlike any other in
the cemetery. On truncated obelisks,
the epitaphs are written in the Croatian
language. They read:
Ovdje   pociva   Geo   Badovinac,
clan   Dr.   Orel,   No.   109   SNPY,
Rojen u Zumberku, umro 5 Oct.
1909 u Explosinu. (Here lies Geo
Badovinac, member of the SNPY,
born in Zumberak, died  5 October 1909 in the Explosion).
And, on another, also in Croatian:
Ovdje pociva Tade Ranilovic, clan
Dr. Orel, No. 109 SNPY rojen u
Socica, Croatia, umro 5 Oct. 1909 u
Explosinu. (Here lies Tade Ranilovic, a member of the SNPY, born in
Socica,   Croatia,   died   5   October
1909 in the Explosion).
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1992 - 93
20 Who were these two men and how did
they come to be buried here, in Ladysmith, thousands of miles away from
their native Zumberak, the picturesque
area in northwestern Croatia?
On Tuesday morning, October 5,
1909, at between 8:30 and 8:45, the
mining community and coal-shipping
port of Ladysmith was awakened with
news that an explosion had occurred at
levels two and three of No. 2 mine in
the new Extension site where most of
Ladysmith's miners worked.
A somber crowd assembled on the Ladysmith railway station platform to find
out details about the tragedy. Al Lund,
the perturbed treasurer of the company,
told the assembled wives, mothers,
brothers, sisters, and anxious relatives,
"All we know is that an explosion has
taken place and that the men working in
No.2 mine have been entombed."1
For the wives of Croatian miners,
many of whom had only recendy come
from the old country, and could neither
speak nor understand English, finding
out about their loved ones was an agonizing experience.
In an interview that's on tape in the
Provincial Archives the son of one of the
miners says:
My mother was only here just a
week when that happened. She
pretty near went nuts! Yes, she
come here, and, there's this store
man come to the house, fella that
had a store, and he is tellin' my
mother's brother-in-law he was
stayin' there, talking in English -
and she seen him turn pale. Right
away she knew there was some-
thin' wrong, see. She kept
buggin' him, he wouldn't tell her.
See. She kept buggin' him, what
was wrong. And he said well
there's an accident in Extension,
you know, but - my father was all
right. And that calmed her
The force of air, caused by the explosion, was so powerful it blew out some
of the stoppings  (airtight walls  built
across passageways and cross-cut tunnels), and unhinged doors, thus short-
circuiting the flow of air in the mine.
My father was lucky he got out.
Him and another young fellow, my
father was timberin' at the time,
Croatian miners on a picnic at Shell Beach, Ladysmith. c. 1905.
Photo courtesy olTom Klilal. Naualuo.
and timber broken in the level, see,
in one place. It had to be repaired.
They had to put a new post there.
It was just a low place, six feet high.
He told the young fella; go up the
slope and bring him that six foot
post. Which is not heavy, you
could pack it under your arm.
Young fellow goes, and father says
now wait a while. I'll go and help
you carry that in. He got his head
- in the slope, see. And comin'
back in, at the side they had trap
doors. Dividin' air. You heard of
trap doors? They're not like this -
they're darn heavy doors, you
know. And fella went to open the
door, and whangst! Gee, it blew
that door to smithereens. And
knocked him and his helper down,
on track. They had open lights at
that time, see a pitlamp. And my
father got cut here (pointing to
head) where he fell on the rail, you
know, and the blue mark from the
coal. And that's how they got out.
Everybody that was on the inside of
the door got killed. If he and his
partner were on the other side of
the door, they'd got it too. That
was how close.3
By mid afternoon, on Tuesday, the"
first five bodies had been recovered. Joseph James  Mullin,  Extension's  29-
year-old doctor, examined and identified the bodies as they came out of the
mine. Among the victims were some of
Ladysmith's most renowned citizens:
Robert White, a 40-year-old father of
six and a member of the local school
board, his brother-in-law Thomas
O'Connell, the well-known fullback of
the Ladysmith football club, and his
friend James Molyneaux, a popular
young tenor in the town's Welsh Glee
Club and a presiding officer of the Ladysmith Aerie of Eagles.4 The three
were working partners. Rescuers expressed little hope that any of the 28
miners still trapped in the levels where
explosion occurred, would be found
At 7:30 in the evening, the first train
reached Ladysmith yard with the bodies, swathed in linen shroud and placed
on the floor of the caboose. There, as
each stretcher with a body was lifted off
and name called, wives and mothers of
the victims, or some relation or representative of a society to which the dead
man belonged claimed it and took it
home. Orders were given by the trainmen to have the stretchers returned so
that they could be taken back at once to
the mines.
The rescue work continued late into
the night. By midnight, five more bodies were found. These men had all
strayed away from the others and went
towards the explosion, instead of from
it, until they were overcome by the
deadly afterdamp, a gaseous mixture re-
B.C. Historical News • Winter 1992 • 93 suiting from the explosion. They all fell
together, clinging to each others' coat-
tails, their bodies found in a heap.9
The bodies of the first group of Croatian miners were brought out in the
morning of the following day. Each
one, as he was found, had the number
corresponding with the order in which
he was found, chalked on his clothing.
He was then wrapped in sacking, placed
in the bottom of a coal truck and
shipped to the surface and on to a temporary morgue. A fearfully burned and
mutilated body of William (Croatian-
Vasilij) "Bill" Keserich (Keseric), a miner, and his loader-partner Geo
Badovinac, were found near foot of stall
27 off 21//2 west level. Two shovels, a
drill, a hammer, an axe, and a safety
lamp were uncovered under a pile of
coal. On a half-loaded car, found
turned up on its edge near their stall,
was blown the front part of the mule.
Keserich's "was the only body, where
the hair and mustache was singed,
which probably would indicate that
there was flame at his place of work."6
The 30-year-old Keserich was well-
known in the district and highly respected among his countrymen. Born in the
village of Keserici, in the province of
Zumberak, in Croatia, he came to Ladysmith from the U.S. with his brother
Juraj. They'd worked for poor wages:
10 hours a day, 11 cents an hour in Chicago steel mills. When they heard the
Dunsmuirs were looking for miners for
his newly-opened mines in Extension,
they decided to try their luck in the
wilds of British Columbia. They arrived
in Oyster Harbor, as Ladysmith was
then called, in 1898. Bill became very
active in social and trade union activities. He was founder and president of
the The Croatian Fraternal Union
(Hrvatska Bratska Zajednica), lodge No.
268, named "St. Nicholas," which was
an affiliate of the Croatian Fraternal Union of Pittsburgh, Penn., the first
Croatian fraternal benefit society of mutual aid on the American continent.
Formed in 1903, with eighteen members, the Ladysmith branch was the first
Croatian Fraternal Union lodge in Canada.7 As a delegate from British
Columbia, Keseric attended the 1904
CFU national convention in St. Louis,
Missouri.8    It was at that memorable
conference that the delegates decided to
dispense with the use of private newspapers for the publication of official
notices and for publishing the official
lodge directory, and open its own publication facilities for the purposes of
publishing its own official organ the
Zajednicar (Fraternalist) as a monthly
newspaper. It continued as a monthly
until 1909 - the year of Keseric's tragic
death - when it became a weekly of
four pages. It has continued as a weekly to this date, although in an expanded
format averaging 20 pages with both
Croatian and English pages.
As a trade unionist, Keseric served on
the executive of the first Miner's Union
on Vancouver Island, called Enterprise,
branch #181, of the Western Federation of Mines.9
The body of Bill's brother James (Juraj) Keserich, mistakenly reported in
the local press as Alex,10 was found near
the foot of the stall No. 25, pitched
over, face downwards, with hands
clutching his face in a futile attempt to
protect himself from the afterdamp,
which chokes out life quickly. James
was single. Bill left behind a wife and
three children.
John (Janko) Bulich (Bulic), who
worked close to James' stall, died either
from afterdamp, or injuries received
from the force of the explosion. At his
stall there was no sign of real fire; the
timbers were only slighdy scorched.
A reporter, who was present as the
bodies of the two men were being laid
on stretchers, wrote: "The faces were
unrecognizable except to their nearest
By Thursday night, all the bodies had
been recovered. Among the last to
come out were those of John (Ivan)
Wargo (Vargo), Alex Milos (Milos),
and Tedd (Tade) Ranilovich
The body of John Wargo, 39, an experienced Croatian miner,12 was lightly
burnt on face, and back of hands. The
coroner's inquest decided he, too, died
of afterdamp.13 Known all over the district as "the Prince of Sports," Wargo
was an experienced marksman and an
enthusiastic hunter. As a result of an
accident some years ago he lost his sight
in one eye. He therefore had a special
gun made with a special front sight so
that when he held the gun to his right
shoulder he sighted with his left eye.
He had just received a new gun and
only started work in the morning of the
accident after a week's hunting trip
with Bill Keserich to Wolff mountain.
Both had intended to hunt another day
but changed their minds at the last moment and went to work instead. Wargo
left a wife, nine children,14 and a brother at Extension.15
The body of Alex Milos, Wargo's car-
pusher, was found further down the
level of stall No. 26, having been blown
there by the full blast of the explosion.
His head was badly smashed and his
face and hands so badly blackened and
scorched that for a long time he was
taken for a colored man.16 When
found, his right boot was missing and it
was found twenty eight metres away
from the body. The sole had been torn
clean away from the uppers and there
was not a sign of lace having been used
in it.17 Milos was single.
The greatly disfigured body of Tedd
(Tade) Ranilovich (Ranilovic), was
found at the cross-cut to left stall 22.
He had first degree burn on his face
and upper body.
It was a custom among the Croatian
miners' families, when a man got killed,
to "put him in a corner of the sitting
room for several days before he was
buried. Sometimes, maybe a week. In
their own house. And they used to
have a big black ribbon come down on
the door, maybe four feet high. And
then they used to wear black bands.
But he used to be in the corner in the
sitting, or, the dining room, before he
was buried. Not only that. They used
to embalm them on front room table.
We, as kids, used to watch them
through the window, takin' the blood
out of them. They've done that right
in Ladysmith. At the day of the funeral, the undertakers would come and put
the coffin in the wagon and take 'em to
the cemetery."18
Toll of death was now complete: 32
men had lost their lives in the explosion. Fourteen of the men were said to
be married, but of that number two or
three had their wives in the old country. The number of children who were
orphaned by the event was estimated to
be around 40." It was decided that the
B.C. Historical News • Winter 1992 - 93
22 widows would receive the sum of $300
from the miners' sick and burial fund,
and that under the Workmen's Compensation Act, each family was endded
to the sum of $1,500 from the company.20 The beneficiaries of deceased
Croatian miners, those who belonged to
the Croatian Fraternal Union, received
additional compensation. The maximum amount of insurance was $800, a
sufficient sum to cover funeral expenses
and provide for the victims' families immediate necessities.
The cause of the explosion was never
satisfactorily explained. Six young Croatian miners lost their lives in the
disaster. They are gone but not
The writer is a professor and former chair of
the Department of Slavonic Studies at the University of Victoria. The author of five books and
many scholarly articles, he ispresendy involved in
the preparation of a book on the history of Croatians in British Columbia.
1. Terrible Disaster in Mine at Extension," Victoria
Dairy Times, (Victoria, October 5,1909), 1.
2. Interview, Myrtle Bergen with George Badovinick,
February 9,1979. B.C. Provincial Archives, Coal
Tyee History Project #4051:14.
3. Ibid.
4. "Extension mine explosion. 25 to 30 men are imprisoned," The Nanaimo Free Press (Nanaimo, October
5,1909), 1.
5. "Bodies of five victims found today," Victoria Dairy
Times (Victoria, October 6,1909), 12.
6. Coroner's Inquisition, Extension mine disaster, the
County of Nanaimo, Province of British Columbia,
October 20,1909. B.C. Provincial Arcives, #GR
The Roman Catholic Section of the Ladysmith Cemetery where most ofCroation miners are buried.
7. Interview, Zelimir Juricic with Drago Balaban, Nanaimo, June, 1991.
8. "Local items," Ladysmtth Ledger (Ladysmith,
December 24,1904), 4.
9. The Minute Book of the Enterprise Union #181,
March 15,1903. Ladysmith Historical Society
10. "Thirty killed in mine at Extension," Victoria Dairy
Times (Victoria, October 6,1909), 1.
11. "Bodies of five victims found today," Victoria Dairy
Times (Victoria, October 6,1909), 12.
12. M. Wargo, a relative of John, worked for Canadian
Collieries (Dunsmuir) Ltd., from 1900-1918. See
Canadian Collieries (Dunsmuir) Ltd. Record Book,
in Ray Knight Private Collection.
13. Coroner's Inquisition, Extension mine disaster, the
County of Nanaimo, Province of British Columbia,
October 20,1909. B.C. Provincial Archives, *GR
431,vol. 8,18.
14. "Thirty killed in mine at Extension," Victoria Dairy
Times (Victoria, Ocoober 6,1909), 1.
15. Nanaimo Free Press
(Nanaimo: October 7,1909), 1.
16. Nanaimo Free Press
(Nanaimo, October 6,1909), 5.
17. Coroner's Inquisition, Extension mine disaster, the
County of Nanaimo, Province of Bridsh Columbia,
20, October, 1909. B.C. Provincial Archives, #GR
431, vol.8.113.
18. Interview, Zelimir Juricic with Tom Kulaj,
Nanaimo, August, 1991.
19. "All bodies of mine victims recovered," Victoria
Daily Times (Victoria, October 7,1909), 1.
20. Ibid., 1,11.
The acronym SNPY stands for Siovenska Narodna Potporna
Yednota (the Slovenian National Benefit Society) which had
its headquarters in the U.S. and a number of branches in Canada, including one in Ladysmith.
JQHN MAHRER,     -   ~~" PROPRIETOR.     I
Opposite the Iiteraiy Institute Hall, NANAIMO, B. C.
J. E. JENKINS, Proprietor.
Good Accommodation for Transient and Permanent     ;
Boarders and Lodgers.. j
|       As Bar is snpplai witli tiu Bast Branda of Wias, Idqam ud Ggan.
FROM AN 1889
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1992 • 93 Lillian Ailing
by Win Shilvock
Lillian Ailing with her dog Bruno at the 6,000 foot Summit Pass.
The Far North in Canada holds many
secrets of mysterious, unsolved happenings, but one of the strangest is the story
of Lillian Ailing who walked, alone,
6,000 miles from New York to the Bering Sea.
She spoke litde to people en route and
accounts vary concerning her. However,
it's generally conceded she was Russian;
was well educated and spoke English;
was 25 years old; 5'4" tall and had arrived in New York in 1925. Unable to
save enough money to return home, she
decided to walk back to Russia via Siberia. To prepare for the trip she studied
maps and books in the New York Library, and for one untrained in
cartography, drew a remarkable map of
her proposed journey across the North
American continent.
Lillian started her trek in the early
Spring of 1927, neatly dressed in a
brown skirt and shirt waist, jacket, headscarf and stout walking boots. Marching
westward at a speed of 30 miles per day
she passed Chicago, headed north to
Minneapolis, then west through North
Dakota and into central Montana.
Turning north she entered Alberta and
passed Medicine Hat, Red Deer and Jasper. At Prince George in British
Columbia she veered north again and on
September 10, 1927, arrived at Number
Two lineshack on the Telegraph Trail,
about 50 miles north of Hazelton.
The journey had taken its toll and a
startling sight greeted Blackstock, the
astonished telegrapher at the line post.
Lillian's neat skirt was in rags, her shirt
torn to shreds and the walking boots
had been replaced with running shoes
through which her toes poked. A gaunt
look portrayed her physical condition so
the first thing the operator did was feed
When Blackstock asked where she was
going Lillian replied, "Siberia." Winter
was just starting to get a hold on the
north and he knew that any attempt to
travel in the condition she was in would
be suicide. But when Lillian remained
adamant about going on he wired Constable J A. Wyman of the Provincial
Police in Hazelton for help. After some
persuasion Lillian agreed to return with
Wyman and on September 21st she was
charged, with vagrancy by Justice of the
Peace, W.Grant. However, the legality
of the charge was doubtful for she had
$20 and was on a peaceful walk.
Among Lillian's possessions was an
18" thin iron bar which she said she carried as "protection against men." The
humane Grant was trying to keep her
from travelling north to sure death so
the iron bar provided a solution. He
changed the charge to "carrying an offensive weapon" and fined her $25 and
costs. Since her cash was limited to $20
the fine couldn't be paid so an alternative sentence of two months in Oakalla
Prison in Vancouver was pronounced.
Thus the headstrong Lillian was saved
her $20 and assured free food and lodging until the weather got so bad that
even she knew it would be impossible to
travel in the north.
From the middle of November when
she was released until the end of May,
1928, Lillian worked in a restaurant in
Vancouver and saved enough money to
start out again. By now the story of this
mysterious girl had spread throughout
the Provincial force and Sergeant A
Fairbairn at Smithers was alerted when
Lillian left Vancouver. He was therefore
amazed at her speed when she arrived on
July 19th. When asked if many people
had given her a ride on the 750-mile
jaunt she proudly replied, "I walked all
the way and I go to Siberia."
The Telegraph Trail was a very tough
one to traverse. It wound up and down
valleys, crossed gigantic mountains and
meandered through mud and swamp
land. By the time Lillian reached Cabin
Number 8, some 160 miles along the
trail, on September 12, she was in a
frightful state. Her clothes were in
shreds and her shoes were falling apart.
Her face was badly burned by sun and
wind and was swollen from continuous
bites by mosquitoes and black flies. Still
she insisted on going ahead.
For three days while she rested, Jim
Christie and Charlie Janze who manned
the station, tried to arrange for clothing.
Janze was the smallest so a pair of his
work pants was remodeled and he also
gave two shirts and a felt hat. A pair of
his stout shoes were found to fit if two
pairs of heavy socks were worn. Just before hitting the trail again Lillian was
given a dog named Bruno, her first and
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1992 ■ 93
24 only companion on her incredible
When Cabin 8 was left on September
15, Jim Christie accompanied her to see
that she got safely over the treacherous
6,000 foot Summit Pass on the way to
Telegraph Creek. At the summit he
took the only known picture of Lillian,
along with Bruno. Somewhere between
Telegraph Creek and Atlin Bruno fell
into a river and was drowned.
When Lillian reached Whitehorse the
end of September she was extremely
weary but nevertheless pushed on over
the 300 mile stretch to Dawson, arriving
October 5. This leg of the journey took
39 days and it has remained a mystery
how she survived without adequate food
and clothing. As far as is known she had
only a loaf of bread to sustain her.
Even Lillian realized it was now too
late in the season to travel on for winter
was rapidly closing in. During the next
several months she worked as a waitress
in Dawson and devoted her off time to
repairing a small, old battered boat.
When Spring breakup arrived in
1929, Lillian loaded her dinky little
craft with supplies and set off down the
mighty Yukon River. For 1,600 miles
she bobbed along, carried by the current to the river mouth on the Bering
Sea. Here she abandoned the boat, and
tugging a small two-wheeled cart she
had brought with her, headed north,
following the shoreline.
She must have passed Nome for about
75 miles north of there near Teller, an
Eskimo later reported seeing her trudging along with her cart.   She was now
almost at the narrowest point of Bering
Strait and just ahead, across a narrow
strip of water, was her goal. Then she
It's difficult to imagine that a very
small woman who had traversed 6,000
miles and had overcome so many bizarre hardships in a lemming attempt
to reach home would not be capable of
crossing a mere 75 miles of water. It's
nice to think she crossed the strait in a
kayak and made it safely home and that
she didn't, as some suppose, drown in a
river at Teller. But whatever happened
to Lillian Ailing we will never know for
This writer is a longtime friend of this magazine. He delights in researching and sharing
interesting stories from B. C. 'spast.
S«*  Nom
• vmitehorse
# TelegrajJh^
■  Creek/
» Hazelton
Prince George
*  ' Jasper i
♦j&noouver 'Medicine Hat
"Aflew ^orlc
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1992 - 93 Captain Batchelor and the Crimps
by Suzanne Spohn
Marked from birth with a temperament to match his fiery red hair, Bob
Batchelor was one of those courageous
Scotsmen who helped knit together the
vastness of the British Empire with the
skeins of commerce. Born with 6 brothers and 6 sisters in the coastal town of
Montrose, he went to sea as a green
hand in 1885 at the age of 15 aboard
the barque Sidlaw, carrying gin and pianos to New Zealand.
Batchelor was able and ambitious. He
climbed the ladder of success quickly,
becoming a second mate at 19 and receiving his papers as first mate at 21. He
served as first mate on the clipper Glen-
farg and later on the ship Lord
In 1901 at the age of 31 he was given
his first command, the barque Clydebank. As captain of a sailing ship he
exercised supreme power. He could remove his officers from their posts and
assign them to do the duties of seamen.
He kept himself in complete isolation
from his officers and crew and his only
permissible companionship would be
that of the passengers.
Of medium height and square build,
Batchelor believed strongly in physical
prowess. When he was at sea, he would
get his exercise each morning by climbing the ratlines of the mainmast. Then,
60 feet above the deck, he swung across
the ratlines on the down side and ran
hand under hand down the ratlines to
the deck. Attired in his shorts, he
walked to his cabin for breakfast.
Captain Batchelor found time to take
a wife, Ariadne. She must have been a
woman of considerable courage and
stamina, since she accompanied her husband on sea voyages. It was on one of
these voyages that tragedy struck. Ariadne gave birth to a daughter, also named
Ariadne. It is sad, but not surprising,
that she died in childbirth. Conditions
on board ships were extremely primi-
Captain Batchelor on his appointment as a pilot
c. 1910 Photo courtesy of Vancouver Oty Archives
tive. One can only imagine the anguish
of being alone at sea, responsible for a
ship and her crew during that most private of experiences, the death of a
spouse. He may have even put himself
and his crew through more rigorous
paces than ever. Did he believe that Ariadne might have survived childbirth if
she had been on land? If so, the combination of grief and guilt must have
tormented even a man of Batchelor's
stoic countenance.
Young Ariadne did survive and was
taken to an aunt in Ontario to be
raised. Perhaps because of the trauma
associated with her birth, Batchelor was
never very close to his daughter. Even
when she married, had children and settled in Vancouver where he was retired,
they spent very little time together.
It was on board the Cedarbank, a
grand four-masted steel sailing barque
that Bob Batchelor first did battle with
crimps, the scourge of many a port and
the bane of many a captain's life. Organized racketeers, crimps would often
entice the entire crew from a ship and
then charge the captain exorbitant
amounts of money to replace them.
The liquor offered freely by the crimps
was a bad brew indeed.
One day shortly after dropping anchor in New York harbour, the first
mate found a crimp on board the Cedarbank, urging seamen to join him in
a small boat moored alongside. The
mate informed the Captain. Batchelor
lost no time in confronting the situation directly. He picked up a departing
seaman by his trousers as he was going
over the rail and threw him across the
deck. Turning to the remaining crew he
said, "Who's going ashore?" The men
made no reply but simply turned and
went back to the forecastle. Batchelor
looked over the side to see a boat with
another of his men and two crimps in
it. He ordered the crew member to return only to be met with a stream of
waterfront profanities from the two
crimps in the boat. Batchelor held out
the ship's 150 pound anvil and threatened to drop it into the boat. When the
crimps refused to let the seaman aboard
Batchelor let the anvil fall. It tore out
the stern of the row boat and stuck in
the shattered wood. The crimps reluctantly helped the seaman to reboard the
Politically powerful, the crimps had
charges of attempted murder and damage to property laid against Captain
Batchelor. Batchelor consulted a lawyer
in port who advised him to say the anvil slipped from his grasp. Batchelor
replied that, "My mate saw me throw
it, two apprentice boys behind me
heard me say I would, and saw me do
it. What chance would such a defense
have with them, pledged to tell the
truth? Also, I intended to throw the an-
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1992 - 93
26 vii and would do it again." The lawyer
declined the case and Batchelor conducted his own defense. He pointed out
that the seaman had signed on for a period of two years, which he had not yet
completed. He asked the judge, "If a
man rode up to you, as you stood on
the curb, and took your watch, your
honour, wouldn't you shove a cane or
an umbrella in his bicycle wheel to
make him stop?" Batchelor was acquitted of all charges. He carried the anvil,
which had been used as evidence, from
the court room and went straight to the
shipping exchange. He was greeted by
cheers when he announced the verdict
and his peers asked him to leave the anvil on the floor of the exchange as a
reminder of his victory over the crimps.
Batchelor refused, saying "I'm going to
other ports where crimps are active, and
maybe I'll need it again."
His next encounter with the crimps
occurred in Callao, Peru. The Cedarbank had sailed from India with a crew
hastily assembled from the inhabitants
of an Indian port. On arrival in Callao,
the entire crew deserted — much to the
relief of Batchelor and his mates, and he
was forced to hire a crew from the local
crimp king. On delivery, it was discovered that the roll was short two men.
The wily crimp king had filled in his
own name and that of his cook. Batchelor invited them to his cabin for a drink
to celebrate the successful completion of
the deal. When they rose to leave,
Batchelor called out to his waiting first
mate, "Turner, iron these men, they are
attempting to desert." It required the
threat of Batchelor's favourite weapon,
the ship's anvil, to dissuade the crimp
king's men from liberating him. The anchor was raised and sails set for a voyage
to England via Cape Horn. That voyage
the cry "all hands ahoy" included two
very infuriated seamen.
It was also on this voyage that the Cedarbank ran into a storm off Cape
Horn. Her sails were tattered, upper
masts broken, and the cargo shifted.
The cargo was, unfortunately, bird guano used for fertilizer. Batchelor ordered
his crew into the hold. The crew, led by
the rebellious crimp king, refused and
proposed to abandon the ship. Batchelor lifted the king over his head and
threw him into the foul smelling hold.
The crew reluctantly followed, shovelling guano while the ship rolled in a
heavy sea. One by one they became unconscious from the gases, they were
revived with fresh air and coffee and
then sent back into the hold. After 48
hours, the ship was trimmed on an even
keel and enough canvas could be spread
to get her under way. Upon reaching
Plymouth the crimp laid charges of assault against Batchelor. Batchelor was
acquitted, and the crimp only missed
being charged with mutiny as a result of
Batchelor's intercession on his behalf.
Captain Batchelor's final tangle with
the crimps occurred in the harbour at
Portland, Oregon. As soon as the Cedarbank had dropped anchor, the crimp
boats came alongside. A message was
passed up to the Captain demanding
£60 for each seaman provided to the
short-handed ship. Batchelor's response
was to drop his favoured anvil into the
crimp boat, which this time sank immediately. The occupants were picked up
by the other crimp boat. The Cedarbank raised anchor and proceeded to
her moorings at the wharf. Immediately,
two of Batchelor's crew were arrested on
trumped up charges from a fictitious
earlier story in Portland and taken into
custody. Batchelor immediately took
matters into his own hands. He confronted the crimps on the wharf. Two
hours later he was arrested on charges of
assault and attempted murder. In preparation for going ashore he gave his
revolvers to his officers and left instructions that no one was to go ashore
under any circumstances.
When his trial commenced he discovered that the crimp who had been
assaulted and the sheriff who had arrested him were brothers. The charge of
murder was dismissed but Batchelor was
sentenced to one month in prison without the option of a fine for ill-treating
the sheriff's brother. After serving his
sentence Batchelor returned to find his
ship and crew loaded and ready to sail.
The next morning when she was towing
to sea, the still angry sheriff and his
brother followed the ship in a launch.
They ordered the ship to return to port
on the grounds that she was too short-
handed  to  be  seaworthy.  They  also
showed warrants for the arrest of two
crew members on charges of stealing
greatcoats. Neither of the crew had gone
ashore. The wily Batchelor told the
sheriff that he would look for the stolen
items and interrogate the crew when his
ship reached the bar. Once there, he immediately ordered all sails set and
outran the angry brothers.
Batchelor later returned to his native
Scotland where he was given command
of the SS Imeric and continued for a
time in the Pacific trade. He was eventually forced to resign from deep sea
service due to ill health and chose North
Vancouver as his home. Unwilling to
abandon the sea, his remaining years
were spent on coastal steam ships. He
joined the Union Steamship Company
and served aboard the Capilano I.
Then, having gained his coastal experience, he was assigned as captain of the
Camosun I with a complement of 38
crew and 199 pasengers. It transported
hundreds of Chinese, Indian and Japanese workers during the main fish
canning season (July to October) to
Prince Rupert, stopping at 25 fish
Batchelor became a prominent figure
in his adopted community. He was a
member of the pilotage service from
1910 onward and in 1923 he became
president of the B.C. Pilotage Association. By 1928 he had joined a masonic
order and moved to West Vancouver,
and in 1930 a local cove was named
Batchelor Bay in his honour. He went
on to become the first president of the
Canadian Merchant Service Guild and
died at West Vancouver on January 9,
1934. He was described in the Canadian Merchant Service Guild Year Book
as "one of the most highly respected
men in the marine circles on this coast."
Captain Batchelor was a man of strong
character: fearless, decisive and quickwitted. He was an able captain and a
formidable adversary.
Copyright © 1989 by Suzanne Spohn
Suzanne Spohn is a biologist living in Vancouver, B.C. She is the great-granddaughter of Bob
B.C. Historical News • Winter 1992 - 93 RFERENCES
Anonymous, 1934. Eight Bells Strike for Captain
Batchelor. 10 Jan. The Dairy Province, Vancouver,
Dana, R.H. Jr., 1946. Two Years Before The Mast. A
Personal Narrative of Life at Sea. Worid Publishing
Company. Cleveland, Ohb. 415 pp.
Green, R., 1969. Personality Ships of British Columbia. PubL Marine Tapestry Publications Ltd., West
Vancouver, B.C 341 pp.
Kelly, L.V.. 1955. Captain and the Crimps. 12 Nov.,
1955. The Vancouver Province, B.C. Magazine p. 8
and 13 taken from "Beating the Crimps" in Canadian
Merchant Service Guild 1933/34 Annual
Lloyd's Register of British and Foreign Shipping. 1
Jury 1892 to 30 June 1893.
Rushton, GA, 1974. "Whittle Up The Inlet — The
Union Steamship Story. PubL J.J. Douglas Ltd., Vancouver, B.C. 236 pp.
West Vancouver News, 1926. Re-Naming Coves, Inlets, Etc June 18.
West Vancouver News, 1929. The New Names on the
Government Map. September 27.
West Vancouver News, 1930. The New Names Given
Coastline Points in West Vancouver. January 3.
West Vancouver News, 1934. Capt. Batchelor Passes.
January 11.
The Cedarbank (1905) with her canvas spread before ihe wind.
Photo courtesy of Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society.
*7Aode, We, othuse, otfanoned
The British Columbia Historical Association/Federation
has given Honorary Life Membership to various individuals who have made rich contributions to the province
and to our organization. Our archivist has provided the
following list. There are some gaps in the records available, so if a reader spots an omission please notify the
editor. Latterly the Federation limits itself to the nomination of one person, or one couple, per year. The date
of presentation is listed before each name, and the year of
death, if known, follows.
Oct. 1,1923    (1st AGM) Mrs. McMicking, Lady
Douglas Chap. IODE. 1944
Dr. CF. Newcombe Nov. 1923
Mar. 28,1928 Mrs. Henry Spencer Palmer
Jason Ovid Allard Jan. 1932
Dr. MarkS. Wade 1929
Capt Robt. Barkley - Grandson
of CW. Barkley, discoverer of
Straits of Juan de Fuca.
Oct. 11,1929 A. Bruce McKelvie
CC. Pemberton
Oct. 1930       Beaumont Boggs
July 14,1933   A.H. Maynard
1936 James Buie Leighton
Mrs. Cree
Major J. S. Matthews
1938 Judge Howay
Feb. 1939        Dr. W. Kaye Lamb
Jan. 6,1942     Mrs. G. Fay (nee Hutchison.)
Jan. 17,1947   Mrs. Curtis Sampson
Jan. 15,1954   Miss Madge Wolfenden
(Later Mrs. J. H. Hamilton)
May 2,1960    Alfred Carmichael
Major H. Cuthbert Homes
Major F.V. Longstaff
Major Harold T. Nation
May 11,1963 Hon. Frank Mck. Ross
Minutes 1963 to 1978 are not in the archives.
1974 Donald New d. 1989
1976 Philip and Anne Yandle
1977 Mrs. George W.S. Nicholson
1981 Ken Leeming
1983 Ann Stevenson
1985 Barbara Stannard 1990
1992 Margaret Stoneberg
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1992 ■ 93
28 The Aylmer Family of Queens Bay
by E. L. Affleck
The great orchard land development
boom which took place in the Kootenay
District between 1905 and 1912 caused
a major upheaval in the lives of many
families from Britain, Eastern Canada
and Manitoba who migrated to the Kootenay with high hopes of making a
fortune in the west in the fruit growing
industry. The water-shy benchlands at
Queens Bay near the Kootenay Lake outlet, however, eroded the hopes and
vitality of more than one settler. We can
only conjecture on the extent to which
the move from Ottawa to Queens Bay in
1909 altered the lives of the five children
of Sir Matthew, Lord Aylmer, 8th Baron
of Balrath and his wife Amy Gertrude,
members of the "Canadian Establishment." As this account will show, the
Aylmers were "movers and shakers" who
might well have taken a prominent part
in the political and economic life of the
Kootenay District. Instead, they lived in
a state of semi-seclusion.
The Aylmers were members of the Anglo-Irish gentry who had held land at
Balrath in County Meath, Ireland since
pre-Tudor times. The Stuart Restoration
of 1660 spurred on the fortunes of the
family. In 1662 a baronetcy was conferred on Christopher Aylmer of Balrath.
Sir Christopher's second son, Matthew,
became a distinguished naval officer during the reign of James II, but, emulating
the Churchills, later turned his support
to the Whig party and held a seat in the
British House of Commons from 1695
to 1718. In 1718 he was elevated to the
Irish Peerage as 1st Baron of Balrath. As
the fortunes of the Whig party waxed
and waned in Britain during the 18th
century, so did those of the Aylmer family. Sir Matthew, Lord Aylmer, who
succeeded in 1785 at the age of ten as
5th Baron of Balrath, pursued an active
army career and attained the rank of
General in 1825. From 1830 to 1835 he
served as Governor of Lower Canada
and gave his name to the settlement of
Aylmer,  Quebec. Although  reasonably
popular, he did not have the political
acumen to stem the tide of rebellion engineered by Louis Joseph Papineau, so
he was recalled to London. He died
there in 1850 and was succeeeded by a
bachelor brother. Upon the death of
this brother, the title moved to a distant
Canadian branch of the family.
John Aylmer, a British Naval Officer
descended from a younger son of the
2nd Baron of Balrath, had accompanied his second cousin, Sir Matthew,
Lord Aylmer, to Canada in 1830 when
the latter had taken up his gubernatorial duties, and had settled on land in the
Township of Richmond, Quebec. It
was John's son, Udolphus, who succeeded as 7th Baron of Balrath in 1858.
Sir Udolphus played an active part in
the public life of Quebec, particularly
in furthering the cause of secondary
and post-secondary education.
Four sons and two daughters were
born to Sir Udolphus and his wife
Mary-Eliza. The eldest son, Matthew,
bom in Richmond on March 28, 1842,
succeeded to the baronetcy and the title
as 8th Baron of Balrath in 1901. The
second son, Henry, after a career in the
Royal Marine Artillery, was called to
the bar in Quebec and held the Federal
Seat of Richmond & Wolfe as a Liberal
from 1874 to 1878. The fourth son,
Frederick Whitworth, after serving as
an engineer in the Canadian Militia,
came west in 1882 to work on the survey of the Canadian Pacific Railway
through the Rocky and Selkirk Mountains and later pre-empted land in the
Lake Windermere area of the East Kootenay District. Subsequently, Frederick
was appointed first Chief Engineer in
Kootenay District for the Federal Department of Public Works.
Sir Matthew, Lord Aylmer, 8th Baron
of Balrath, attended McGill and Dublin Universities before embarking on a
distinguished 35-year career with the
Army in Canada, seeing service in the
Fenian Raids of 1866-1870 and in the
Boer War. From 1904 until he retired
in 1907, General Lord Aylmer served as
Inspector-General of the Canadian
Forces. In 1875 he had married Amy
Gertrude, daughter of the Hon. John
Young, for many years Chairman of the
Montreal Harbour Board. Both Lord
and Lady Aylmer were decided "achievers." In addition to his military interest,
Lord Aylmer was an outstanding sportsman and played an active part in many
public and political causes. Lady Aylmer was not only a competent concert
pianist, but also an outstanding gardener, having at one time won first prize in
the Ottawa Beautiful Garden Competition. Five children were born to Sir
Matthew, Lord Aylmer and his wife:
Winnifred, John (b. 1880), Kenneth
(b. 1883), Basil (b. 1887) and Gwendolyn (b. 1891). These children spent
their earliest years in the rural surroundings of Melbourne, P.Q, but
with a move to Ottawa they were exposed to all the advantages the capital
city had to offer. They were a striking
fivesome, possessed of dark flashing
good looks, likely an inheritance from
one of Lord Aylmer's French Huguenot
ancestors. (There was later much conjecture in the Kootenay District that
the inheritance also included a strain of
Iroquois blood.)
At the time of his retirement, Lord
Aylmer was advised to seek out a new
climate which might alleviate a chronic
bronchial asthma condition. Some enthusiastic words from his brother
Frederick about the climate, the scenery
and the hunting and fishing in the
Kootenay District prompted Lord
Aylmer to get in touch with an assiduous land agent in Nelson, B.C. In a
trice, Lord Aylmer became the owner,
sight unseen, of a property in the new
Queens Bay orchard development. Early in 1909 the contents of the Aylmers'
commodious house in Ottawa were
packed and shipped west. By the time
of this uprooting some of these sons
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1992 - 93 and daughters had already lingered long
in the familial nest. None appeared to
have established ties in the east which
could not readily be broken. The entire
family entrained for the Kootenay Lake
outlet port of Procter, B.C. Several days
later, after a transfer to the CP.R's
Crows Nest branch at Medicine Hat,
Alta. and a further transfer to a C.P.R.
sternwheeler at Kootenay Landing, they
disembarked at the outlet point and put
up at the Outlet Hotel.
A primitive highway connection between Queens Bay and the outlet was
still a couple of years away. The day after their arrival in Procter, the father
and his three sons set out by rowboat for
Queens Bay, three miles distant, avid to
set eyes upon the lush hillside which had
been described to them by the spellbinding Nelson land agent. As the ragged,
fire-blackened benchlands swung into
view, they were all dumbstruck. The
young men then and there tried to persuade their father not even to bother
setting foot on Queens Bay's blasted
shore, but to turn back to Procter, order
their household effects forwarded to
Victoria, and to make their way without
delay to the Vancouver Island city.
Aylmer, Sr. was made of sterner stuff.
They landed and struggled up the uncleared slope to the rocky blackened
bench on which the Aylmer property
was situated. With his usual military despatch, Lord Aylmer soon had his sons
"under canvas" engaged in a furious bat-
de to clear their land of rocks and
burned over stumps. The young Aylmer
men fortunately all had husky constitutions. Jack and Basil had played football
for the Ottawa Rough Riders, and they
were all skilled axemen, having worked
on survey parties in the Rideau area.
When a small amount of land had been
cleared, their brawn and brain was put
to the task of erecting a barn which was
to house the family and the carload of
furniture and household effects pending
the building of a house.
As soon as the barn was built, their
carload of furniture was unloaded at
Procter, barged over to Queens Bay and
dumped on the shoreline. As the lake
level was rising rapidly in the spring
run-off, the furniture had to be hauled
up the slope forthwith. A stoneboat and
a team of horses was employed for this
purpose. Nelson architect and builder
Alex Carrie was hired to supervise construction of a large residence which was
erected and roughed in expeditiously.
Until some foliage took root on the ravaged Queens Bay bench, this large
house stood out like a bastion. For the
next four years, the parents and the five
children all lived together in the well-
appointed dwelling, bending their efforts towards orchard development and
the creation of some really fine gardens.
Were these eminently nubile prospects
destined to remain forever immured in
father's castle?
In a taped interview given in his old
age, Basil Aylmer conceded that his
family had "gone to seed" in Queens
In the same interview, Basil Aylmer
recalled that one morning while the
house was still under construction, the
C.P.R sternwheeler Moyie made an
unscheduled call at the Queens Bay
shoreline and idled there as a party disembarked by footplank. It was none
other than Lord Aylmer's old friend
Earl Grey, Governor-General of Canada and his retinue, who had chartered
the Moyie to visit Lord Grey's lakeside
land holdings at Boswell and were calling on the Aylmers en route.
"My word, Aylmer, what in the world
are you doing in a place like this!" was
Earl Grey's greeting as he appeared at
the top of the slope.
"God only knows," was Lord Aylmer's reply.
Basil Aylmer recalled that the Governor-General and his party sat down to an
impromptu luncheon in the barn,
which proved acoustically kind to the
strains of a Beethoven sonata played by
Lady Aylmer on their concert piano.
Lord Grey left the Aylmers a case of rye
whiskey, probably figuring that it
would come in very handy.
Lord Aylmer's bronchitic condition
did improve markedly after the move to
Kootenay Lake, and the fishing on the
Lake surpassed his fondest hopes. A
good army pension enabled him and
his wife to make frequent trips back to
the convivial city life in Ottawa while
the younger generation struggled manfully but in the long run unsuccesfully
to make a paying fruit ranch out of the
Queens Bay property. Basil Aylmer described the first futile efforts to grow
potatoes on the burned over soil now
denuded of stones and stumps. The district horticulturalist enlightened them
on the virtues of working humus into
the soil, so the following season they
not only had a bumper crop of potatoes, but grew prime crops of tomatoes
and strawberries as well. These latter
were expressed to a fruit broker in Calgary. In the years before the growers
associations were established in the
West Kootenay, it was a regular ploy of
certain prairie brokers to report the arrival of produce in poor condition and
thus make no payment on it. Lord
Aylmer was not a man to be treated in
this fashion. He sued the broker and
got a prompt settlement. Other struggling settlers were not so fortunate in
this regard.
In 1913, both Basil and Kenneth
Aylmer embarked on developing their
own properties in Queens Bay. The
first real break in the Aylmer household, however, came with the marriage
in June, 1914 of Gwendolyn to Arthur
Scott-Lauder, a neighbouring rancher
who had come out from Edinburgh,
Scotland to Queens Bay with his brother in 1908. It took World War I,
however, to shake the young Aylmer
men out of the nest. Basil Aylmer went
overseas and married a nurse while on
active service. Kenneth Aylmer later
married a friend of Basil's wife. After
World War I Basil and his wife homesteaded in the Peace River area, but
eventually returned to Queens Bay.
Winnifred, the shyest member of the
seclusive fivesome, married in 1918
Henry Perry-Leake, a civil engineer,
and settled with him in nearby Balfour.
Jack Aylmer became 9th Baron of Balrath in 1923 on the death of his father.
In 1928, at the age of 48, he married
the local school teacher, Gertrude
Black, and settled with her in obscurity
down the West Arm of Kootenay Lake
at Willow Point. The Dowager Lady
Aylmer in Queens Bay maintained
some remnants of her life style until her
death in 1935, but her children faced a
diminished existence as the fruit market
dissipated during the depression years.
With others, the Aylmers worked off
their taxes by joining road construction
and maintenance crews. Basil Aylmer
later became a purser on the Kootenay
Lake ferry. Kenneth Aylmer served as
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1992 • 93
30 postmaster in Queens Bay from 1928
until the office closed in 1964.
No children were born to either Jack
or Kenneth Aylmer. One son, Matthew,
was born to Basil and Bessie Aylmer.
This promising young man inherited all
the quiet charm and good looks of his
parents, but he was killed on Active Service during World War II. In the post
World War II period, Basil Aylmer's
life in Queens Bay became increasingly
bleak as his wife's health failed, and after her death in 1956 he seemed
destined to become a morose recluse. A
turn in the wheel of fortune, however,
brought Helen, the widow of Fred Ri-
seborough and mother of muralist
Douglas Riseborough into Basil's life.
They were married in 1960 and spent
eighteen happy years together.
The 1970 decade was to witness three
nonagenarian Barons of Balrath. In
1971, Kenneth Aylmer succeeded as
10th Baron, and was in turn succeeded
by Basil in 1974. With the death of Basil in 1978, the title passed, as it had in
1858, to a distant branch of the family,
and it is now held by Sir Michael, Lord
Aylmer of London, England.
The conundrum of the Aylmer family
remains unsolved. To what extent
might the five children of Sir Matthew
and Amy Gertrude Aylmer have flourished had their roots been transplanted
from Ottawa to some soil other than
that of isolated Queens Bay? Had the
Aylmers moved on in 1909 to Victoria,
would they still have remained somewhat underachieving children of
overachieving parents? Would one or
more of them have responded to some
call which did not sound in Queens
The author grew up in Nelson, attended U.B.C., served in
the army in WWII, was teacher, Ubrarian and accountant before retiring m Vancouver. He, like your editor, knew members
of the Aylmer family in the Kootenays in the 1940s and '50s.
Two workers clearing trees for a future road north of Queens Bay — c. 1912.
The Anglican Church at Queen's Bay.
Courtesy of Bruce Patereon.
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1992 - 93 Nurse Brigid of East Vancouver
In 1930 Violet Maria Nairn came to
St. James' Church in Vancouver from
England. She had conducted her own
school in Ireland, but sold the school
when she felt called by God to become
an anchoress. Arriving during the
depths 6f the depression, however, she
noticed the plight of the poor, and felt
moved to serve them. While searching
for a convenient location, Fr. Whitehead arranged for her to live at the
convent operated by the Anglican Sisters
of the Society of the Love of Jesus.
In his memory sketch of Fr. Whitehead, Fr. Cooper says:
"It was not long however, before she
found a double row of cabins to suit her
purpose on the east boundary of St.
James' parish. They were mostly inhabited by men: there were two old lady
tenants. The place was grimy and unsavoury. Nurse Brigid gave all the men
notice, but not before she had found a
new abode for every one of them, and
paid a month's rent for each. She had
the place fumigated and painted: and,
naming it the "Little Haven", she then
opened her door for old lady tenants.
But it was old gentlemen who applied!
So the heroic soul accepted the inevitable: for clearly it was the Divine Will.
The place soon filled .... Father
Whitehead became the Spiritual Visitor
of the Litde Haven, as well as the business manager for many of the poor and
disabled pensioners."'
After her death Fr. Whitehead wrote:
"Wishing to hide herself in her work,
she took the name of Nurse Brigid, by
which she could easily be addressed, and
the nature of her work was made clear
to the simple. Though English, she had
a great devotion to the saint and people
of Ireland, in which country she had
done notable educational work.
Her life was one of the simplest. Her
room was the least desirable and all but
unfurnished. Gifts to her were quickly
passed on. Her food allowance was
based on the lowest scale for city 'relief
cases. Though she was of the highest intellectual attainments, having amongst
by Betty Vogel
other distinctions passed in the honors
school of modern languages at Oxford,
she undertook as a matter of course the
lowest menial work which ministered to
the needs of those she served for Christ's
Fr. Cooper adds:
"She nursed the sick, scrubbed the toilets and generally served her very mixed
company of friends."3
"She was not known far outside of the
East End except at the relief office and
the hospitals, for she took no holiday
and declined to have anything which
any of her people might not have."4
"Nurse Brigid herself was rather lame:
but she rode a bicycle (till someone stole
it) and almost never missed Mass morning by morning. Her firm ascetic
principle was that she would allow herself no amenities that her tenants could
not afford to possess so the bicycle was
never replaced."5
"Bright, gentle, gracious, cultured,
courteous, unafraid, she was unable to
bear any hardness or discourtesy to children or to the poor. The strength and
inspiration for it all came from a hidden
life of prayer, for she was a mystic who
day and night was in the presence of
Five years later, over-worked, she
caught a virulent infection which she
was unable to conquer. Two days later
she died at the General Hospital on
Sunday, Sept. 22, 1935.
"Her body was brought to the Church
on the Wednesday evening. There Fr.
Whitehead, with the help of Fr. Pollinger of Prince George, held a "Memorial
Service" with nearly all the old folk of
Little Haven; a simple and very moving
occasion - just such as Nurse Brigid
would have loved. Later in the evening
came Vespers, and at 9:30 on Thursday
morning the Burial Office and Requiem. She was laid to rest by her own
wish in the pauper section of the Mountain View Cemetery where so many of
her friends have been laid."7
"There Harold and George Buxton set
a beautiful Calvary to sanctify the spot.
Some years later an undertaker was
heard to say - "That used to be a dismal
part of the cemetery: but it's altogether
different now since Nurse Brigid was
buried there, and the Calvary placed on
her grave."8
After her death the work of Little
Haven was taken over by Nurse Marguerite Philips. According to Fr.
Hulford "Nurse Philips continued to
care for the old men who lived at Little
Haven with the same selfless devotion
and poverty of life as did Nurse Brigid
for about twenty-five years."9 Her work
was taken over by Charles Grinnell, Jr.
in I960 who "lived an heroically simple
life there for two or possibly three
years."10 At this time the building was
condemned and sold by 1964. Both
Charles and Fr. Hulford ensured that
the residents were able to obtain suitable
alternative housing. The proceeds of
the sale was used to buy the property
across Cordova Street from St. James,
and is now the site of Cooper Place, a
medium care facility.
The writer is a librarian working at the Revenue Canada office in Vancouver. She is also
volunteer librarian and archivist at St. James
Church on Cordova Street
1. Wilberforce Cooper. Father Whitehead of St. James',
Vancouver: a memory sketch, (s. 1.: s. d.) p. 18.
2. Sl James' Occasional paper, Michaelmas 1935.
3. Cooper, p. 18
4. Occasional paper, Michaelmas 1935.
5. Cooper, p. 18
6. Occasional paper, Michaelmas 1935.
7. Ibid.
8. Cooper, p. 18
9. Letter from Fr. Edward J. Hulford, January 28,1992.
10.     Ibid.
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1992 - 93
32 Competition Between Princesses and Princes
on the B. C. Coast
After the Canadian Pacific Railway acquired control of the Canadian Pacific
Navigation Co. Ltd. in 1901 from the
Hudson's Bay Co., there was rapid expansion of what was to become the
British Columbia Coastwise Service of
the CP.R Under the dynamic leadership of Sir Thomas Shaughnessy,
president of the railway company, and
Capt. J.W. Troup, general manager of
the service, the fleet of Princesses they
built were to dominate the coastwise
scene for more than half a century. At
first, the only major opposition on these
routes came from the Union Steamship
Co. of British Columbia Ltd., which specialized in serving the minor outports,
and the Puget Sound Navigation Co.,
which ran a mediocre service between
Seattle and Victoria.
Real competition only appeared in the
offing when the Grand Trunk Pacific
Railway was incorporated in 1903 to
build a second transcontinental railway
to rival the CP.R. Charles M. Hays,
general manager of the Grand Trunk,
was a man of vision, and he dreamed of
a fleet of transpacific liners to rival the
famous CP.R Empresses, and a fleet of
coastal passenger vessels to challenge the
CP.R monopoly. The ocean liners
were never built, but with the choice in
1906 of the new townsite of Prince Rupert as the western terminus of the
G.T.P., he set out to build a competitive
shipping company to serve the new port.
Mackenzie Brothers Steamships Ltd. of
Vancouver, who had a small fleet of
coasters, began to serve the new port of
Prince Rupert with the chartered passenger ship Powhatan, which they renamed
Rupert City in 1908. Later that year the
Grand Trunk bought the tug and barge
operation of MacKenzie, which they
used to transport men, machinery and
equipment from Vancouver to Prince
Meanwhile the CP.R had developed a
by Norman Hacking
flourishing service to Alaska with the
Princess May and Princess Beatrice,
while in 1908 Captain Troup established the 'triangle' service between
Victoria, Vancouver and Seattle, with a
sailing daily each way with the speedy
three-funnelled steamers Princess Victoria and Princess Charlotte. The
Amur maintained a Queen Charlotte
Islands service.
Charles M. Hays coveted these routes
for the Grand Trunk, and Grand
Trunk Pacific Coast Steamship Ltd.
was incorporated on May 26, 1910, to
fight the CP.R on the coastwise runs.
His company received a government
contract to provide steamship service
between Prince Rupert and the Queen
Charlottes and the Steamer Prince Albert was purchased for this route. The
new company thus deliberately copied
the CP.R with the prefix 'Prince', instead of'Princess'.
An order was placed with the Swan,
Hunter yard of Newcastle-on-Tyne for
two three-funnelled flyers that were
markedly superior to the CP.R ships
on the northern run. The Prince Rupert and Prince George arrived from
England in 1910, to begin service between Vancouver, Victoria, Seattle and
Prince Rupert. New dock facilities
were constructed at each port that year,
including the extensive G.T.P. pier in
Seattle and a new pier at the foot of
Main street in Vancouver. These fine
twin-screw steamers were 307.6 feet
long, 3379 tons gross, and had a maximum speed of I8V2 knots. They were
the first merchant ships of any size to
have cruiser sterns.
Not only did the two new ships operate a fast service between Vancouver
and Prince Rupert, they also competed
with the C.P.R. ships on the triangle
run. Thus the Prince Rupert would
leave Prince Rupert at 9 a.m. on a
Monday and arrive at Vancouver at
4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, sail at 6 p.m. for
Victoria; arrive at Victoria at 10:30
p.m. and sail at midnight for Seattle, arriving at 6 a.m. Wednesday; sail at 9
a.m. for Victoria, arriving at 1:30 p.m.,
and leaving for Vancouver at 4 p.m.; arriving at 8:30 p.m. and sail for Prince
Rupert at midnight, making 17.5
knots; arriving at Prince Rupert at 9
a.m. Friday.
It was an exhausting schedule and had
a disadvantage on the triangle route, for
while the CP.R could make two sailings daily, the Grand Trunk could
make only two sailings a week. The
service was discontinued in 1923. Service to Skagway, Alaska, commenced in
June, 1916, but was discontinued in
Charles M. Hays, the dynamic force
behind the Grand Trunk system was
lost in the Titanic disaster in 1912, and
the company went downhill thereafter.
The big shipping and real estate boom
on the west coast ended in 1913 and
the outbreak of war in August, 1914,
was disastrous to business. The high
hopes for the new railway and the port
of Prince Rupert vanished in a deep depression. On March 7, 1916 the
Grand Trunk Pacific was forced into
receivership and operations were taken
over by the Canadian government. On
August 23, 1920, the G.T.P. was
turned over to the Canadian Northern
board for operation, and on January 30,
1923, both railways became part of the
Canadian National Railways. On February 26, 1925 Grand Trunk Pacific
Steamships became a part of the Canadian National System.
The Prince Rupert and Prince
George were highly successful ships and
continued to provide keen competition
for the CP.R
In 1929, during an expansionist
boom, Sir Henry Thornton, president
of the Canadian National, decided on
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1992 - 93 tougher competition on the Pacific
coast. Like Captain Troup, Sir Thomas
Shaughnessy and Charles M. Hays, he
was American-born, and was a man of
big ideas. He ordered the grand new
Hotel Vancouver and three new super-
ships, hoping to put the CP.R. in the
shade. But he failed to recognize the
cloud of depression that was hanging
over the land. First of the trio was the
Prince Henry, which arrived in Vancouver in 1930 from the Cammell Laird
yard at Birkenhead, and was placed on
the Alaska run. She was named, not after the royal prince of that name, but
after Sir Henry himself. Her sister-ships,
Prince David and Prince Robert were
named after his vice-presidents.
In 1931 the Canadian National
opened a triangle service in opposition to
the CP.R with the Prince Henry and
Prince David. It proved a disaster. The
two were fast and luxurious, but expensive to operate. They were much less
manoeuvreable than the Princesses and
found it difficult to enter and leave Victoria harbour without tugs. After only a
year in service they were sent to the east
coast to operate cruises. The Prince
Robert was laid up for a time, and then
entered summer cruise runs to Alaska
until she was taken over by the Royal
Canadian Navy in 1941.
Meanwhile the veterans Prince Rupert
and Prince George continued to operate
very successfully on the run to Prince
Rupert. The Prince George was lost by
fire at Ketchikan, Alaska in September,
1945, leaving her sister to carry on alone.
She was replaced by a second Prince
George, built at Esquimalt and placed in
service in June 1948. By 1955, with the
extension of the road system and enhanced travel by air, there was no room
for competition on the northern route.
The venerable Prince Rupert was sold
for scrap in Japan, and the CP.R and
CN.R made an arrangement for a joint
service with the Princess Norah, under
the name Queen of the North. This arrangement lasted only until 1958 when
the Queen of the North was sold to
Northland Navigation Co. and renamed
Canadian Prince.
The new Prince George operated on
cruises to Alaska until the end of the
1974 season, when she was laid up and
S.S. Prince Rupert - 1910 - 1955
S. S. Prince Robert built in 1929, and named for a Vice President of the Canadian National Railway.
offered for sale. Her subsequent career
was full of vicissitudes, and she is still
afloat in poor condition. Thus ended
the last of the magnificent Princes on
the Pacific coast. With the withdrawal
of the second Princess Patricia from
the Alaska run in 1981 the famed British Columbia passenger service of the
CP.R also came to an end.
Norman Hacking has lived in Vancouver all
his Ufe, always attentive to the shipping in Van
couver Harbour. His B.A thesis at U.B.C in
1934 was on "Early Marine History of British
Columbia." From 1935 to 1977he was on die
staff of the Vancouver Province where many of
his columns "Ship to Shore" were featured on the
business pages. He co-authored The Princess Story with Dr. W. Kaye Lamb in 1974.
Norman R. Hacking and W. Kaye Lamb.
The Princess Story. 1974
Norman Hacking. The Two Barneys. 1984
Robert D. Turner. The Pacific Princesses. 1977.
M.S. "Canadian National Railways' History in B.C" n.d.
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1992 - 93
34 The Saga of Lieut-Col. CF. Houghton
by Win Shilvock
The weirdest federal constituency election ever held in Canada was conducted
in the Yale-Kootenay riding in British
Columbia in December, 1871, five
months after the province entered
The new riding was geographically
huge. It covered all of southern B.C.
from the Cascade Mountains to the
Rockies but encompassed a population
of only about 400. It boggled the mind
as to how an efficient election could be
conducted in so vast an area, so in the
interest of expediency the action was
confined to Yale on the Fraser River
where potential voters were close at
The key figure in the election was Captain Charles Frederick Houghton. He
was born in Ireland in 1838 and spent
several years in the British army. In September, 1863, he arrived in Priest Valley
(Vernon) along with his friends, the
brothers Forbes George and Charles A.
Vernon and for a time the trio mined for
gold at Cherry Creek. In 1865 Houghton explored and opened up a pass from
Cherry Creek to the Columbia River.
In 1866 the three men pre-empted
land in Priest Valley in the area that later
became known as The Coldstream, but
in May 1869, Houghton sold out to the
Vernons and the partnership was dissolved. Extensive holdings held by
Houghton on Okanagan Lake were later
sold to Cornelius O'Keefe.
By 1871 Captain Houghton was unencumbered in the Okanagan Valley and
free to go where he wished. It's not clear
exactly how he became mixed up in politics and whether or not he sought the
nomination for the Yale-Kootenay riding. However, the late journalist, B.R
Atkins, ferreted out a story that he
claimed was true concerning events that
happened on election day in Yale.
The December day was very cold and
the returning officer, Arthur T. Busby,
whose claim to fame was that he was
married  to   a  daughter  of Sir James
Douglas, found that the population was
loath to venture out, preferring to stay
at home or remain in one of the numerous bars.
It was necessary to have someone to
whom he could read the election writ
so Busby sent a constable to round up
some bodies. The officer finally
brought in two men and after the writ
was read a discussion ensued as to who
might be nominated to run in the election. Several names were considered,
but when one of the men said, "I nominate Captain Houghton. I think he's a
rancher in the Okanagan," the second
man, anxious to get the matter setded,
happily seconded the motion. There
were no further nominations and Captain Houghton won the election by the
decision of two electors.
Back in 1868, in the the Priest Valley,
Houghton had married an Indian princess, the granddaughter of the Great
Chief N'Kwala. She gave birth to a
daughter in December, 1870, but when
a son was born in 1872, she died soon
after. Houghton, who adored her, was
devastated and soon after gave up his
seat in Parliament and returned to his
first love, the army.
A promotion to Lieutenant-Colonel
in 1873 saw him take over command of
the British Columbia Military District
No. 2 in Victoria. Here, in 1879, he
married Marion Dunsmuir of the famous Vancouver Island coal-mining
family. Unfortunately, she too died at
an early age in 1882.
An appointment as Deputy Adjutant-
General of Manitoba took him to Winnipeg in 1884 and the following year he
participated in the Northwest Rebellion
and won a decoration for bravery in
His final posting was to Montreal in
1886 where he became Officer Commanding Military District No. 5, the
largest military post in Canada. Ill
health caught up to him in 1897 and
he was obliged to resign from the army.
Retiring to Victoria, he lived only a
short time after and died August 13,
1898, age 60.
Lieut-Col Charles Frederick Houghton contributed much to the early
development of Canada and British Columbia, but for some reason history has
treated his efforts in a most casual manner. Nowhere is his name honored or
remembered in a permanent way.
One thing is certain, however. He set
an election record in 1871 when he won
a seat in Canada's new parliament for
the constituency of Yale-Kootenay with
the votes of only two electors.
The Kelowna author of this story has discovered
many tidbits of history in our province. We are
most grateful that he has written this and other
stories to share with our readers.
Lieut-CoL C. F. Houghton
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1992 - 93 NEWS & NOTES
What do you think would be a suitable
logo and/or letterhead for the B.C.
Historical Federation? We feel sure that
some of our readers must be inspired to
create a logo. Even if art or lettering are not
your forte, just sketch your idea and mail it
Ron Welwood,
RR#1, S22, C1, Nelson, B.C. V1L 5P4
Deadline for this competition February 15,
1993. Prizes to be announced later.
Two long-time members of the
Federation have added yet another book to
their impressive list of publications. Watch
for H.M.S. virago in the Pacific. 1851-1855:
To the Queen Charlottes and Beyond bv
Philip and Helen Akrigg. Sono Nis Press.
The Akriggs discovered a log book written
by an officer of the Virago while they were
in Australia, then they found the "Private
Remark Book" of navigating officer Inskip
in England, and further records in Canada.
We search genealogical and historical
materials in Russia, Ukraine, Byelorussia,
and all other parts of the former Soviet Union. The genealogists and professional
historians on our staff can provide photocopies of documents, answers to specific
questions, or complete personal family histories. No job is too difficult - we have
traced records for clients back to the sixteenth century. We have obtained
photocopies of the labor camp records of
Jews persecuted under Stalin.
Our basic rate is $12 per hour plus $1
per page of photocopies. There is a 50%
discount for professional genealogists. To
place an order or inquire about specific
costs, please write to our United States
Urbana Technologies, 2011 Silver CL E.
Urbana, IL 61801 U.S.A.
Urbana Technologies exchanges electronic
mail messages with us daily.
If you plan to be in Moscow, our English-
speaking staff will be glad to talk to you in
person. Please call our office at 928-60-78
and ask for Marina or Yelena. If calling
from the United States, dial 011-7-095-
928-6078. Because of the difference in
time zones, you may find it more convenient to call at our home phones,
(011-7-095) 962-3934 [Marina] or
(011-7-095) 336-8565 [Yelena].
Jeffery W. Locke
Jeffery W. Locke now lives in Victoria,
but his family lived in virtually every
province while he was growing up. Jeffrey
was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1967
where his father was serving in the
Canadian Armed Forces as an air traffic
controller and his mother had recently left
the navy. Living on both coasts, the
prairies and northern Ontario gave him a
valuable appreciation and perspective for
the vastness and diversity of Canada. But
attending eleven different schools in as
many years left him struggling through his
high school studies, followed by an aimless
year in Red Deer College. He then worked
for a year to save money and set goals for
himself.ln 1987 he commenced a two year
mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter Day Saints, doing volunteer work in
Oklahoma and Missouri.
Shortly after returning from the U.S., he
became engaged and soon married to the
'girl next door' (actually she lived across
the street.) He had had a crush on her
since junior high but needed a few years to
muster up the courage to do anything
about it
He enrolled at the University of Calgary
in 1989, with the goal of law school in his
mind, and enjoyed four semesters on the
Dean's list, in 1991 he transferred to the
University of Victoria working towards a
double major in history and political
science. One of his courses was "Fur
Trade History" given by the new PhD.,
Richard Mackie. (Mackie was a winner of
the 1985 BCHF Writing Competition.) Dr.
Mackie inspired this year's scholarship
winner to further interest in research and
Jeffrey Locke was presented with his
$500 BCHF Scholarship at a meeting of the
Victoria Historical Society.
British Columbia history is full of
allusions to certain immigrants whose
successes, failures or eccentricities were
explained by offering the definition, "He
is/was a remittance man." A lady on staff
of the History Department at the University
of Aberdeen is researching the careers of
British (especially Scottish) remittance men
in B.C. If you would like to tell her the story
of your community's favorite remittance
man please send your papers to:
Dr. Marjory Harper
Department of History
University of Aberdeen
"After discovering your publication in
Victoria's Museum and subsequently
buying three issues on display, I simply
must subscribe to this fine publication.
Please find enclosed a cheque for $10.00.
(What a bargain!)"
P.G.V. August 1,1992
The cost for Individual Subscribers goes
up to $12.00 per year immediately.
Members of member societies continue
with the bargain cost of $9.00 - through
their society treasurer.
Send ycur change cf
address tc:
Nancy Peter,
Subscription Secretary
#7 6400 Patterson Avenue
Burnaby. B.C. V5H 2M5
ll ycu have enjcyed this
magazine, why net give a gift
subscripUcn tc a friend?
SI2.CC inside Canada, S17.CC
tc addresses cuUide
Send ycur cheque tc Nancy.
(address above)
B.C. Historical News • Winter 1992 - 93
Books for review and book reviews should be sent directly to the book review editor
Anne Yandle. 3450 West 20th Ave.. Vancouver B.C. V6S1E4	
Valley of Dreams: A Pictorial History of Vernon and District
Greater Vernon Museum and Archives, 3009 32nd Avenue, Vernon,
B.C, V1T 6N7,1992,251 p. $29.95
ISBN 1-55056-148-0
This is a local history in a large pictorial format. The photographs are
nicely reproduced, giving crisp and
clear images. For anyone in the business of history Valley of Dreams is
particularly useful in presenting 18 or
so interior commercial views. The detail in these photos alone earns this
volume a place on my bookshelf. The
wild linoleum patterns employed by
F.B. Jacques and W.C. Pound(pp. 70-
71) are enough to give any reader
pause to consider a different time period, a different world.
The rich complexity of detail in the
photographs is enhanced by the generous size of the reproductions. Things
such as cots, bicycles, baby buggies,
bathing suits, posters, parasols, ice
tongs, tiaras and tin ceilings pop out
with excellent clarity, paying rich dividends to inquiring eyes.. I only wish
the photographs were dated, an action
which would have elevated this work
to prominence in the library of every
museum and antique dealer in British
This volume works best as history
when the text both articulates and informs the image. The picture of Price
Ellison on p. 20, with his growing family   gathered   around   him,   speaks
directly to the extract printed on p. 21.
Under   a   large   photo   of   a   well-
developed farm is part of a letter from
the brother of Price Ellison's wife,
three months before their marriage:
"(Mother) says you will not be
happy as a farmer's wife, you are
fitted for better things than 'cooking good suppers'. . . She says
you must not marry that man.. "
Supported by quotes from two published sources, the photographs play
to the letter fragment, proclaiming the
success of the union and the ability of
the bride to follow her own heart. The
presentation works to combine the five
sources open to the reader into one internal reality, a total construct within
the larger story of Vernon. We are
given "interactive" history, creative
and informative.
Valley of Dreams uses archival material to good advantage, and in doing
so hints at a richness and diversity of
source material. In reading through
the volume I kept expecting the compilers to burst forth in an in-depth
exploration and analysis of these
sources, but unfortunately this does
not occur. Checking the bibliography
reveals that archival sources are not as
numerous as first impressions indicate. Skillful combining of extracts
with appropriate photographs gives
the reader a feeling of greater depth
and diversity, a tribute to the skill employed in putting this book together.
I expected to learn more about who
the people were that inhabited this
"Brand New Country." In particular I
anticipated discovering the links between the new settlers and the land
they occupied, what brought them
and why fruit became the crop of
choice. I looked forward to learning
about the new social order a Valley of
Dreams would bring forward. My
thirst in this area was never really satisfied, but my interest was certainly
Occasionally an image appears apparently unanchored. It does not tie in
with the quotation, nor does it make
an immediate link with the photograph on the adjoining page. The
reader is left to derive whatever intrinsic value exists in the image, but
continually wondering what the contextual relationship might be. This
could have been corrected with some
brief editorial comment.
Sometimes there arises a situation
where one questions why a particular
arrangement was decided on. Such a
case is the picture of the Vernon Jubilee Hospital and Mrs. W.F. Cameron
on p. 52. The fact that Mrs. Cameron
was unable to get City Council involved in furthering the establishment
of the hospital may ring faint bells of
memory in the reader.    Scrambling
back to p. 44 one can rediscover the
fact that W.F. Cameron was Vernon's
first Mayor. The unspoken possibilities here are quite wonderful. He took
no heed of his wife! He was unable to
command his Council! She was a
strong-willed woman who would have
her way! Of such unspoken possibilities comes an unquenchable thirst for
more historical knowledge.
There are many statements and images in Valley of Dreams which yield a
strong sense of place. One of my favourites occurs in discussing Luc
Girouard (p. 15), Vernon's first
"When the mail sack arrived he
invariably emptied it out in the
middle of the floor and then proceeded to sort the mail by tossing
the letters and newspapers into
piles   with   each   man's   mail
thrown in the direction in which
his land lay.   When the settlers
became  so  numerous  that his
floor was not large enough for
sorting, he resigned."
Such is the feeling of rootedness that
each of us still longs for, that simplicity  of  life   which   allowed   intimate
knowledge of one's neighbourhood.
While evoking this sense of nostalgia
the volume at the same time cleverly
capitalizes on some of the cliches of
modern culture, targeting the antics of
cartoon characters in passages such as
the following from Dreamland on p.
".. . There is a large mirror at the
exit so that ladies can see to adjust their hats before leaving. It is
requested that ladies remove
their hats when visiting this place
of entertainment, and that men
refrain from spitting on the
The reader's eye, bouncing from the
image of the theatre's exterior, cluttered with period advertising posters,
across to the image of the large-hatted
ladies, rests for a moment on the text.
A bridge is built in the reader's mind
and, hopefully, a chuckle or two is elicited. This is what I meant earlier by
"interactive" history.  The volume so-
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1992 - 93 BOOK SHELF CONT'D
licits you to combine and recombine
the facts presented, all the time involving you more in the history of Vernon.
Give Valley of Dreams a try, you
won't be sorry.
Derryll White
Derryll White, historian at Fort Steele
Heritage Town, is the author of
Fort Steele: Here History Lives.
One Hundred Years of Singing:
Arion Male Voice Choir of Victoria
R. Dale Mcintosh. Victoria,
Arion Choir, Beach Holme Publishers,
4252 Commerce Circle, Victoria, B.C.
78 p. $9.95
To celebrate their 100th anniversary
the Arion Male Voice Choir of Victoria
has published a meticulously definitive history of their numerous
activities during a century of singing
1892-1992. In accordance with its strict
tradition the title page is enhanced
with the choir's musical signature tune
which the men have sung in harmony
at the beginning of every rehearsal,
every performance, indoor and outdoor, and every regular monthly
meeting since their inception in 1892.
The musical motto is worth examining
because it gives the clue to the Arion
Choir's amazing success - it is the oldest continuously singing choir in
Ecce quam bonum
Quamque jocundum
Habitare fratres in unum
This portion of Psalm 133 translates
as "Behold how good and pleasant it is
for brethren to dwell together in
The Arion Choir's history has been
compiled by Dr. Mcintosh from a
wealth of records kept by the Arion
Choir, some of which have found their
way into the Provincial Archives and
private collections. Herbert Kent, a
founding member of the late 19th century Arion Club can rightfully be
called British Columbia's first music
historian. He was president of the Arion Club for 4 years, conductor for 7
years, assistant conductor for 12 years
and historian for more than 50 years.
A record almost as extensive as Kenf s
is that of Kyrle W. Symons who took
over the role as historian in 1953 and
still maintains the choir's records to
date. Appropriately this history One
Hundred Years of Singing is dedicated to Kyrle W. Symons "For his deep
devotion and touching generosity to
the choir".
In 1893 Herbert Kent began his "Roll
of Members". Their attendance sheets
at rehearsals and concerts have been
used to formulate an impressive name
list of close to 600 members which
reads like a "Who's Who" of British
Columbia's musical families.
The first concert of the Arion Choir
took place in May 1893 and it was
soon acclaimed as Victoria's ceremonial choir participating in the frequent
occasions of pomp and circumstance
required by a capital city. Since then
the choir has sung all over the Pacific
Northwest with many fraternal and
festival interchanges with choirs in
Seattle, Tacoma, Portland and Eugene.
Abroad, the Arion Choir has sung in
England, Scotland and the Eistedd-
fodd in Wales.
It is said every choir has a personality of its own. Dr. Mcintosh has chosen
to avoid the standard chronological
approach. Instead he has chosen a
topical examination of the choir's activities and in the course of this
method he has uncovered the secrets
of the choir's successful longevity.
The subject index lists some eighty
topics by which one can see the connecting links between the choir and its
surrounding community as it adapts
to the changing times of one hundred
The story of the Arion Choir is a story of adapting to change and a
triumph of discipline. Dr. Mcintosh
states: "What of the future? Members
of the choir wonder if there will be a
bi-centenary in 2092 unless more interest is taken in male choir singing. But
here is the value of history. The same
doubts and concerns were expressed
in 1914, again in 1939, and at many
times throughout the 1950s and 1960s.
In the latter decades the club almost
collapsed on several occasions due to
a lack of interest and an aging membership. But it didn't. Through the
interest and initiative of key members
of the organization and concentrated
recruitment drives to strengthen the
membership the organization grew
and flourished. And it is still with us,
celebrating 100 years of singing.
Thelma Reid Lower
Vancouver Historical Society
Thelma Lower, a music historian, is author oi
many articles on Opera and Choral Music.
Boats, Bucksaws and Blisters.
G.W. "Bill" Thompson, Powell River,
Powell River Heritage Research
Association, 1990.
410 p., illustrated, maps. $34.95
Imagine a gab fest round a fire listening to all the old-timers of the Powell
River area telling of life in the early
days. Bill Thompson's Boats, Bucksaws and Blisters gives the impression
of just such an occasion. Rather than
interview, research and then re-write
the recollections of the loggers, fishermen, and settlers of Powell River, Bill
Thompson lets the pioneers speak for
themselves. Audio tapes, newspaper
stories and interviews from various
sources are quoted in whole or in part
and these give the book the aura of
fire-side conversations. The plethora
of photographs in the book adds to the
atmosphere as though family photo albums are being shared as the stories
Divided into fifty-two chapters -
thirty-seven of which are interviews
with pioneers - and moving geographically northward up the north side of
Malaspina Strait from Jervis Inlet to
Lund the book describes the origins
and major occurrences in each community along the peninsula. Texada
Island to the south is also included.
Logging and saw-milling attracted
people to the area and the huge Brook,
Scanlon and O'Brian railway-logging
industry in the Gordon Pasha Lakes
behind Powell River at one time employed over 1000 men at the turn of
the century. Chapter 16, "Logging",
gives a particularly fine history of the
logging industry in British Columbia
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1992 - 93
outlining the equipment used, the conditions in the logging camps, the
logger's lifestyle, the contract system,
and finally the record trees found and
cut in British Columbia. Fascinating
tidbits gleaned from the chapter reveal
that signs existed saying, No Englishmen Wanted, simply because they
generally tended to be such greenhorns that they were a danger to
themselves and others; the wood preservative Creosote comes from
Creosote, Washington; that cedar trees
which weren't in demand, other than
for shinglebolts, were simply cut down
and burned.
A modern-day ecologist might view
Boats, Bucksaws and Blisters as the story
of an environmental nightmare.
"When second growth fir began growing up in our stump ranch... we used
to light fires in the fall, as early as we
could, with the idea that the fire would
run and kill these damn trees off." (p.
156) One family, the Padgetts, hunted
wolves and cougars to extinction in
the area and in his later years Roy Padgett said, "We had this fond idea: kill
the predators off, and there will be
more for the real predators - man."
(p. 147) In fact he reveals; "looking
back the deer did not increase when
the cougars decreased. Things tended
to balance out." (p. 146) Little attention to any kind of conservation killed-
off creeks which once supported huge
runs of coho and other salmon.
Boats, Bucksaws and Blisters contains tales of hardship, resolve,
ingenuity, kindness, and tenacity. One
particular story about Fred Fletcher relates how when he lost his boat
propeller fifty miles from home he
spent a day whittling a new one out of
red fir with his hatchet, attached it,
and headed home. When the 100
m.p.h. storm swept through Stillwater
and Lang Bay in 1921 wiping out the
places, the Rev. George Pringle valiantly attempted to conduct a service
of worship until forced to quit when
his congregation became too "jumpy".
Rachel Dickson thought nothing of
walking the 22 mile round trip to Powell River to shop.
Thompson intersperses the personal
recollections with chapters on important aspects of community life.    As
already mentioned there is one on
Logging. Others include Bears, Cars
and Roads, Steamers, Radio, Women,
The Native People, and the communities of Stillwater and Lund.
While Thompson provides some
very useful maps on the inside front
and back covers, persons familiar with
the Powell River area would gain
more from reading the book than an
outsider. Boats, Bucksaws and Blisters is very much a local history. A
very fine index facilitates readers and
the photographs illuminate and
A number of problems manifest
themselves when relying on interviews and pioneer reminiscences.
Firstly, annoying repetitions crop up
and secondly, while the stories can be
fascinating one wonders how much
they have been embellished and enhanced by the tellers over the years of
telling and how historically accurate
they really are.
Apart from these limitations, Boats,
Bucksaws and Blisters is the kind of
book every B.C. community should
have to preserve the memories and
stories of the past.
Ian Kennedy
Ian Kennedy is the author of SunnvSandv
Savarv and A Guide to Neighbourhood Pubs in
Greater Vm°UYer
Land of Destiny: The Golden Age
of British Columbia.
Charles Lillard & Michael Gregson,
Vancouver Pulp Press, 1991.
162 p., illustrated $32.95
"1945 to 1975. Thaf s when we had it
all. That was the Golden Age of British Columbia," says the introduction
of this unusual book.
The compilers have indeed captured
the essence of those years, which now
seem so prosperous, yet innocent. To
document the era, they have assembled a collection of archival
photographs; reproductions of advertisements, book jackets, posters, and
other printed items; and short quotes
from various textual sources.
This book is a feast for the nostalgic.
Veterans of highway travel  in  the
province will see a picture of a Garbage Gobbler, that ubiquitous bug-
eyed guardian of roadside viewpoints;
and Old Wooden Head, who cautioned drivers on the Big Bend
Highway. For sports fans, there's a
picture of Nancy Greene and the photo-montage of the Trail Smoke Eaters.
There's even a picture of the waiters at
this reviewer's favorite Chilliwack
pub, who dared to defy the stern LCB
inspector by wearing roller skates
while serving beer in 1952.
Generic west coast totem poles with
outstretched wings were used to promote nearly everything. The gnomelike Century Sam was the mascot of
four Centennials. Phil Gaglardi's
"Road under construction, sorry for
any inconvenience" signs decorated
every highway.
And the smiling face of W.A.C. Bennett seems to appear on nearly every
other page of this book, radiating eternal optimism for a province of
unlimited prosperity.
Indeed, it was a prosperous time.
We see a picture of the B.C. Electric
Building under construction on Nelson
Street, surrounded by Victorian rooming houses. Advertising by Bloedel,
Stewart & Welch Ltd. promised "regeneration of the forests" and
"maximum utilization of waste products of the industry." Charles Lillard
tells of his first trip by VW through
northern B.C. in the '60's, being offered
jobs everywhere he stopped.
The weakness of this book is that it
doesn't really contain enough information to be of value to the scholar. Nor
are the illustrations sumptuous
enough to make it a compelling coffee
table book. Still, it provides an enjoyable evening's reading, and it says
something about the culture of the
province we have inherited. Land of
Destiny is recommended as a gift for
Jim Bowman
Chilliwack Archives
Now You're Logging.
Bus Griffiths, Madeira Park,
Harbour Publishing, 1990,
119 p., illustrated $16.95
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1992 - 93 BOOK SHELF CONTD
Spilsbury's Coast: Pioneer Years in
the Wet West.
Howard White and Jim Spilsbury,
Madeira Park,
Harbour Publishing, 1991,
190 p., illustrated $14.95
These engrossing works by two of
the west coasf s Living National Treasures have been re-released in
paperback form by Harbour
Now You're Logging is a "comic
book novel" set on the remote B.C.
coast in the 1930's. Its hero, a young
logger named Al, is a little larger than
life. He's courageous, handsome, resourceful, and a gentleman in spite of
the rough "brush-apes" he works
with. After a series of hair-raising adventures, he gets promoted, and he
gets the girl of his dreams, too. The
value of this book does not rest on the
intricacies of its plot, but on the visual
representations and footnotes which
explain the logging technology and jargon of the times. Griffiths has a
justifiable pride in the skill and ingenuity of the forest industry in those
days before it became controversial.
Spilsbury's Coast is the autobiography of one of B.C.'s most creative
entrepreneurs, who developed a boyhood hobby into a successful radio
repair business. He hit upon the idea
of visiting his remote customers by
boat, then by float plane. This led to
the formation of Queen Charlotte Airlines, which is chronicled in his book
The Accidental Airline. His radiotelephone manufacturing business,
Spilsbury & Tindall, meanwhile, became a world leader in the electronics
field. Spilsbury is also an accomplished visual artist and photographer,
and the book's illustrations add to its
Jim Bowman
Chilliwack Archives
A Fruitful Century. The British
Columbia Fruit Growers'
Association 1889-1989.
Kelowna, B.C. Fruit Growers'
Association, 1990.
207 p., illustrated $35.95.
A Fruitful Century was written to commemorate the one hundredth
anniversary of the British Columbia
Fruit Growers' Association, and was
commissioned and financed by the Association. Dendy, the principal
author, notes that the Association "allowed me a free hand in its
preparation and did not assume the
role of censor." While the book is a
history of the Association it is, as
Dendy writes in his "Author's Note",
"also a history of fruit growing and
marketing in British Columbia."
The text of the book is divided into
eight chapters, the first "Introduction:
Preparing the Ground", gives a useful
short account of the beginnings of
fruit growing in British Columbia.
The following six chapters survey,
chronologically, the activities of the
Association, the first five being written
by Dendy, the sixth, "Harvest, 1973-
1989", by Kyle, and the final chapter,
"Afterword: Next Year's Crop - Looking on to the Second Hundred Years",
being the musings of five recent presidents of the Association. Three
appendices list (1) the presidents of
the Association, with biographies of
most of them; (2) the dates and venues
of the annual conventions; and (3)
"The Industry Companies", some details about B.C. Tree Fruits Ltd. and
Sun-Rype Products Ltd.
Although the authors attempt to concentrate on the history of the
Association, this they cannot do in a
vacuum and they are obliged to provide some general background
material for the fruit growing industry. In a number of "vignettes", short
articles set aside from the text in boxed
off areas, they deal with various components of the industry and, as far as
it goes, this is an effective solution.
However, of necessity, there are many
elements which receive little or no
consideration. Numerous photographs provide additional details -
but those not closely informed about
fruit growing may well find the legends for the photos somewhat cryptic.
There is one perfunctory map which
adds little.
Dendy writes that in the 1890s the
Association was "a forum to exchange
information among horticulturists and
as a collective voice for them", and, essentially, those have been the primary
functions throughout the "Fruitful
Century." Unfortunately, as Dendy
expresses it, those growers best served
by the Association were often "not
men enlisted by the philosophical conviction that cooperation was the
proper and inevitable form of organization", and the Association has seen
continual struggling between those
who felt that the federal and provincial
governments ought to control markets
for fruit, those who wanted the growers themselves to control their
marketing, and those who wished to
act independently. The persistent
problem of those growers who marketed outside the aegis of the Association
and yet took the benefits of the Association's efforts is a prominent theme. It
required major international events, in
particular the great depression of the
1930s and the Second World War, to
bring some order to the marketing of
fruit - the Second World War, Dendy
writes, "was a godsend to the cause of
central selling." The overall impression, however, is of an industry
plagued by overproduction and with
little control over its markets.
The fruit growing industry is not one
with the glamour and mythology for
the general public of, say, the cattle or
the lumbering industries, and its history has received meager acceptance in
popular writing. This book will not
change the situation - it will appeal
primarily to those with some familiarity with the industry in central
southern British Columbia. There is a
lengthy bibliography which provides a
useful introduction to those wishing to
read further about the industry, and
altogether it is a well made book with
the photographs carefully reproduced,
the text clearly printed with few typographical errors, and a solid binding.
George Newell.
Victoria Historical Society
B.C. Historical News • Winter 1992 • 93
Honorary Patron:
Honorary President:
His Honour, the Honourable David C. Lam, CM, L.L.D.,
Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia
Keith Ralston
1st Vice President:
2nd Vice President:
Recording Secretary:
Past President:
Myrtle Haslam, P.O. Box 10, Cowichan Bay, B.C. VOR 1 NO 748-8397
Alice Glanville, P.O. Box 746, Grand Forks, B.C. VOH 1 HO 442-3865
Ron Welwood, RR#1 S 22 C 1, Nelson, B.C. V1L 5P4 825-4743
T. Don Sale, 262 Juniper Street, Nanaimo, B.C. V9S 1X4 753-2067
Arnold Ranneris, 1898 Quamichan Street, Victoria, B.C. V8S 2B9 598-3035
Francis Sleigh, Box 29, Deroche, B.C. VOM 1G0 826-0451
Mary Rawson, 1406 Woodland Drive, Vancouver, B.C. V5L 3S6 251-2908
Wayne Desrochers, 8811 152 Street Surrey, B.C. V3R 4E5 581 -0286
John D. Spittle, 1241 Mount Crown Road, North Vancouver, B.C. V7R 1R9 988-4565
B.C. Historical News
Publishing Committee
Book Review Editor
Margaret Stoneberg, Box 687, Princeton, B.C. VOX 1W0
Tony Farr, RR#3 Sharp Road Comp. 21, Ganges, B.C. VOS 1E0
Anne Yandle, 3450 West 20th Avenue,
Vancouver, B.C. V6S1E4
Subscription Secretary
Naomi Miller, Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0
Nancy Peter, #7-5400 Patterson Ave., Burnaby, B.C. V5H 2M5
Historical Trails & Markers   John Spittle, 1241 Mount Crown Road, North Vancouver, B.C. V7R 1R9
Membership Secretary        JoAnne Whittaker, 1291 Hutchinson Road, Cobble Hill, B.C. VOR 1L0
Publications Assistance
(not involved with
B.C. Historical News)
Jill Rowland, #5-1450 Chesterfield Avenue, North Vancouver, B.C. V7M 2N4
Contact Jill for advice and details to apply for a loan
toward the cost of publishing.
Scholarship Committee        Arthur Wirick, 2301 - 4353 Halifax St., Burnaby, B.C. V5C 5Z4
Pamela Mar, P.O. Box 933, Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 5N2
Writing Competition
(Lieutenant - Governor's
758-2828 The British Columbia Historical News
P. O. Box 35326, Stn. E
Vancouver, B.C.
V6M 4G5
Publications Mail
Registration No. 4447
British Columbia Historical Federation
The British Columbia Historical Federation invites submissions of books for the eleventh
annual Competition for Writers of B.C. History.
Any book presenting any facet of B.C. history, published in 1993, 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
All entries receive considerable publicity. Winners will receive a Certificate of Merit, a
monetary award and an invitation to the B.CH.F. annual conference to be held in Parksville in
May 1994.
Submission Requirements: All books must have been published in 1993, and should be
submitted as soon as possible after publication. Two copies of each book should be submitted.
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.
Send to: B.C. Historical Writing Competition
P.O. Box 933
Nanaimo, B.C. V9R5N2
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
2,500 words, typed double spaced, accompanied by photographs if available, and substantiated
with footnotes where applicable. (Photos will be returned.)
Please send articles directly to:
The Editor, B.C. Historical News
P.O. Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0


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