British Columbia History

British Columbia Historical News 2001

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 British Columbia
Historical News
Journal ofthe British Columbia Historical Federation
Volume 34, No. 2
ISSN 11Q5-82Q4
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On 18 December 1919 Colonel E.G Prior became eleventh Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia. He died a year later after undergoing a major operation. In his regular contribution, "Token History,"
Ronald Greene describes E.G. Prior's career, his company E.G. Prior
Ld. Ly, and the tokens the company issued.
Canneries and charcoal
Port Essington
Esquimalt's gigantic dock
Teaching in the Peace
Rose of Arrow Lakes
Vancouver in bronze alloy
Archivist W. Kaye Lamb
This issue contains a copy of
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ISSN 1195-8294
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British Columbia Historical News
Publishing Committee see column on left side
Our Web site,, is hosted by Selkirk College in Castlegar, BC British Columbia
Historical News
Journal of the British Columbia Historical Federation
Volume 34, No. 2
Spring 2001
ISSN 1195-8294
2 Japanese Charcoal Pit Kilns on the Gulf Islands
by Stephen Nemtin
4 Charcoal Production for the Salmon Canning
Industry in British Columbia
by Mitsuo Yesaki
6 The Chinese Canners in Port Essington
by Lily Chow
12 Esquimalt's First Graving Dock
by Cyril E. Leonoff
17 Letters from Montney: An insight to the rural
teaching experience in early twentieth century BC
by Julie Stevens
26 The Rose Murder Trial
by Rosemarie Parent
28 Token History: E.G. Prior Limited Liability and the
Company's Tokens
by Ronald Greene
30 Archives and Archivists
"Keeping the Past Up to Date." by Normand Laplante
WiUiam Kaye Lamb (1904-1999) by Glyndwr Williams
29 Reports:Trail Celebrating its Centenary
by EE. (Buddy) Devito
42 Reports: Remembering George Vancouver
by J.E. (Ted) Roberts
34        Book Reviews
40        News and Notes
44        Federation News
Any country worthy of a future should be interested in its past.
W. Kaye Lamb, 1937
We thank Selkirk College at Casdegar
for generously continuing to host our
Web site, launched by Ron Welwood
some years ago. Recendy the BCHF site
changed its appearance. Thanks to the
skills of Barbara Litdejohn of
Cedarplace, GaUano Island, we have
now again a well-designed presentation
ofthe Federation's objectives and our
More information is now available.
For instance information about the
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information are available on our Web
site. Some pages may remain unchanged for a longer time, but others
show information that will be updated
at least every three months: news items,
and information about the winners of
awards. Also the content ofthe most recent issue of BC Historical News will be
This is a new beginning and we are
still working on further development of
the site. There are of course opportunities for improvement. Perhaps you have
some ideas that may help us to promote
BC history through our Web site. Please
visit If you are happy
with the site: teU others and spread the
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ideas or suggestions: let us know.—the
PS We have a Web master but would
welcome an editor or a caretaker for the
content of the Web site. Let me know if
you are interested:
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - SPRING 2001 Japanese Charcoal Pit Kilns on the Gulf Islands
An untold story of early BC and Japanese-Canadian history
by Stephen Nemtin
Stephen Nemtin is an
educator, sculptor, and
musician, with a
passionate interest in
the archaeology of
Galiano Island.
'Johan Goudsblom, Fire
and Civilization (New
York: Penguin Press,
2 Tom Prideaux, Cro-
Magnon Man. (New York:
Time Life Books, 1975).
3 Daniel Rhodes, Kilns:
Design, Construction and
Operation. (Philadelphia:
Chilton Book Co. 1968).
4 Fuel Wood and Charcoal
Preparation (International
Labour Office, Geneva,
5 The Emergence of Iron
Smelting and Blacksmithing
:900 B.C. to Early Roman
Empire http://
6 Mary Ohara interview,
1999, Stephen Nemtin.
7 Walter Emrich, Handbook
of Charcoal Making (New
York: Kluwer Academic
Publishing, 1985).
I ([H^^l£i
''  \.-V'"
Overlooking Georgeson Bay on Active
Pass on Galiano Island stand five large
tear-shaped rock-walled structures.
These Japanese charcoal pit kilns are a testimony
in stone to the Japanese setders that came to British Columbia in the 1890s.There are also known
charcoal pit kilns on Mayne, Pender, and Salt
Spring islands.
The existence of charcoal goes back to the
dawn of time. Wherever there was fire, charcoal
would have been produced as its by-product.1
Prehistoric finds, dating back to 21,000 BC, have
revealed fingerprints and small figures of hardened clay in a small pit-like structure.2 About
15,000 years later, in different places around the
world, people made a more conscious effort to
use an earth pit as a kiln for the making of ceramics and charcoal.3
The key to making charcoal is carbonizing
smouldering wood in an oxygen-limited environment without flame. Don't try this at home,
but if you filled your oven with wood, turned
the dial to 300 degrees and left it for a number of
hours, eventually you would have an oven full of
charcoal (and a house full of toxic smoke).
Once charcoal is made, it can be used as a
source of intense heat. Charcoal burns at temperatures from 400 to 700 degrees or more, depending on the kind of wood used and how the
pit kiln or furnace was built.4
By about 3,000 BC it was realized that the
high heat given off by burning charcoal could be
used for melting copper, making bronze alloy, and,
about 2,000 years later, for the evolutionary step
of making steel.5
There has been a charcoal-making industry in
Japan for thousands of years and it is this technology that has made the Japanese renowned
worldwide for their ceramic and sword-making
arts. The first Japanese setders brought this technology with them to British Columbia.
Stories of good fortune that explorers and setders sent back to Japan about their adventures in
North America lured new setders to Canada.The
first documented immigration from Japan to
Canada was in the late 1870s. Jobs available to
the Japanese at this time were limited. Some immigrants came as fishermen and farmers but most
found themselves involved in the logging industry as wood cutters and fallers. In the GaUano
cemetery a gravestone states in Japanese that
Yasomatsu Oka leftTakui village in theWakayama
prefecture in 1897 at age 17 and died two years
later pinned under a tree in a Galiano logging
accident.6TheWakayama prefecture is well known
for its charcoal production; many of the setders
that came to British Columbia, and particularly
to Steveston and the Gulf Islands, were from that
To make a large charcoal pit, nothing is needed
but a shovel and an axe. Two men can build an
efficient pit in about a week. The pit is usually
dug into a slope so the earth can be used to insulate the carbonizing wood.7 The average size of a
charcoal pit on Galiano Island is about 16 feet
long, 14 feet wide, and 5 XA feet deep. The pit is
lined with a rock wall to absorb and radiate more
heat; Uke a furnace. At the back, the wide end of
the tear-shaped pit, is a small fireplace with a
chimney. At about three feet on either side of
this central chimney and halfway up the rock wall
are two air holes that extend upward into flues
allowing for more efficient adjustment ofthe heat.
Opposite the chimney, at the front, the circular
shape narrows to a three-foot passageway for loading the kiln.
To prepare the pit for firing about six large
logs, the length ofthe pit, are laid parallel to one
another and spaced so the air is drawn between
them and toward the fireplace and the chimney
and flues at the back. Across this log-base is placed
a base of smaller, six to eight-inch diameter, logs.
Onto this base or "crib" the pit is now packed
with about two or three cords of logs of relatively the same diameter, stacked vertically side-
by-side to fill the pit. Once filled, the pit is first
covered with an approximately 20-centimetre-
thick layer of branches and leaves and a final layer
of soil or sand clay firmly patted down, sealing
the wood into a large dome-shaped kiln.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 34 No. 2 chimney
The fire is started at the narrow front end using easily flammable material, twigs and small
branches, until there is a strong fire. Once the
fire is well established, and smoke starts pouring
out ofthe chimneys, the front end is sealed, save
for a small air-intake hole, and the wood begins
to smoulder.The smouldering process takes three
to five days; the changing colours of smoke indicate the different stages of carbonization. Controlling the air and circulation ofthe gases is tricky.
Too much air can cause the wood to burn or to
be totally consumed. If the temperature gets too
high, certain kinds of charcoal can break or crumble rendering it less useful as a fuel. A smouldering charcoal pit cannot be left alone. A large tub
near the pit is kept filled with water in case it is
necessary to cool down the smouldering proc-
ess.When the smoke becomes a translucent purple it is time to end the smouldering by covering
the flues and cutting off all the oxygen. The pit
then needs to cool down before the kiln is opened
to reveal about half a ton to a ton of charcoal.
Alder was the main wood used for making charcoal in British Columbia.
The Japanese produced charcoal in British Columbia as a fuel for the salmon-canning industry
and also for use in Gulf Islands' explosives industry. Farmlands were cleared using dynamite to
blow up stumps and rocks. The gunpowder used
in making dynamite is 15 percent charcoal.8
Charcoal was also used as a fuel for soap making.
Isaburo Tasaka had two charcoal pits just outside
Ganges on Salt Spring Island. His sonTy remembers being ten years old in 1923 when he helped
his father load 200 bags of charcoal onto their
Left: Photo showing Jim
Tanaka, Sam Hirano, and
Stephen Nemtin at the
restored charcoal pit kiln on
Galiano Island.
Left and above: Sketches
of a charcoal pit kiln
shown from the top and
from the side.
fishing boat. They took it to a soap factory in
Victoria where they were paid 30 cents a bag.
Ty's sister Omy (Angela), remembers being eight
years old in 1918 and sewing the "ears" (corners) of rice sacks filled with newly made charcoal.9
There are as many as four known charcoal pit
sites on Mayne Island, five on GaUano, two on
Salt Spring, and at least two on Pender. Charcoal pits apparendy existed on Saturna Island
and Prevost island as weU. I recendy visited a
charcoal pit on Mayne Island that was 7 feet
high by 18 feet wide by 20 feet long. For the
Skeena canneries, there were charcoal pits located at Port Essington and Port Edward.10 Most
people probably wouldn't recognize the remains
of a charcoal pit, and it is Ukely there are others
dotted around the islands and on the mainland.
People have mistaken abandoned pits for Native pit houses, Scottish cairns, and garbage pits.
I've already restored one charcoal pit on private land on GaUano Island and I am in the process of restoring another one on the island, located in a pubUc park. If you think you might
know of a charcoal-pit site not mentioned here,
please let me know by e-mail
or write me at 2646 West 11th Avenue,Vancouver, BC V6K2L6.<^
8 Peter Tooley, Fuels, Explosives and Dyestuffs (London:
William Clowes and Sons,
9Ty Tasaka, interview 1993,
Angela Tasaka, interview
2000, Stephen Nemtin.
10 Gladys Young Blyth,
Salmon Canneries B.C.
North Coast (Lantzville:
Oolichan Books, 1991).
Mitsuo Yesaki, Mary
Ohara, Angela Tasaka,
Ty Tasaka, Bob and Joy
Riddle, Eli Nemtin,
Martha Miller, and
Penny Street.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - SPRING 2001 Charcoal Production for the Salmon
Canning Industry in British Columbia
by Mitsuo Yesaki
Mitsuo Yesaki is a
retired Fisheries
biologist interested in
Japanese Canadian
history. Mr. Yesaki's
recent books, Steveston
Cannery Row (together
with Harold and Kathy
Stevens) and Salmon
Canning ofthe Fraser
River in the 1890s
(together with Sakuya
reviewed by Arnold
Ranneris in BC
Historical News, 34/1.
1 Henry Doyle, notebooks.
University of British
Columbia Library,
Special Collections.
2 S. Nishimura and M.
Yesaki, Nikkei Images, vol.
4, no. 1,1999.
3 T. Gonami, Canada and
the Japanese (Asian
Library, University of
British Columbia, 1999).
' M. Elliot, Mayne Island
and the Outer Gulf Islands:
A History (Gulf Islands
Press, Mayne Island, BC
'WalterWicks, Memories of
the Skeena (Saanichton,
BC : Hancock House,
s Nishimura, Sakuya, and
"Sannosuke Ennyu's
Diary," Nikkei Images, vol.
4, no. 1,1999.
7 Larry Maekawa, personal
Centre: Figure 1.
Soldering machine.
Drawing by Duke Yesaki.
The first salmon canneries on the Fraser
River were built at Annieville and
Sapperton in 1870. The early canneries
were basically large wooden buildings constructed
on pilings along the riverbank and with few machines. By the late 1880s, salmon canning had
evolved into a manually operated, mass-production process manned
by large numbers of
Chinese men and
Native women. A
steam engine provided   steam   for
cooking the cans and
cleaning, as well as
providing power for
the  fish  elevator.
Four-foot lengths of
wood were burned
in the steam engine.
Chinese men powered the gang knife,
crimping and soldering machines. Charcoal was used for fuel
in the soldering machine to seal the bottoms and tops onto the cans
(Fig. 1). Charcoal was also used in portable furnaces (Fig. 2) to heat the irons for soldering the
sides of the cans and stopping the vents in the
can tops.
Virgin forests blanketed the west coast of North
America, providing abundant supplies of firewood
for the salmon canning industry. Cannery managers contracted woodcutters to supply them with
firewood. Henry Doyle1 estimates from 10 to 15
cords of wood were required to make 1,000 cases
of canned salmon. Woodcutters on the Skeena
River in 1895 were paid $3 for each cord of
wood.2 Charcoal was probably imported during
the initial years, but in the early 1890s, Japanese
started making charcoal at various locations on
the British Columbia coast. Doyle states 150
bushels of charcoal were needed for every 1,000
cases. He also quotes the price of charcoal rang
ing from 12 cents per pound in 1901 to 7 cents
per pound in 1906.This compares with the price
per pound for potatoes of 1.2 cents and rice of
4.8 cents. Fraser River canneries commonly
packed 25,000 cases of canned salmon during
the dominant sockeye-cycle year. A cannery's operating oudays during a dominant-cycle run
would have been
between $750 to
$1,125 for cordwood and $5,250 to
$9,000 for charcoal,
assuming each
bushel of charcoal
weighed 20 pounds.
By 1888, there
were 150 Japanese
fishermen primarily
on the Fraser River.3
There were few employment opportunities for Japanese at
the turn of the
twentieth century
other than fishing,
so there was considerable incentive to make work for themselves.
Most of the Japanese were from Wakayama and
familiar with making charcoal, as this was an important industry in this prefecture. As the salmon
fishing season extended only through July and
August, Japanese started cutting wood and making charcoal during the off-season on the outer
Gulf Islands. The 1891 Canada Census shows
there were only 11 Japanese in the Gulf Islands.
They were living on Saturna Island and involved
in the coal-mining project on Tumbo Island. On
the other hand, the 1901 census reports a total of
311 Japanese in this area, comprised of 306 men,
4 women and 1 child. The Japanese population
of Steveston at this time was 396 men, 46 women
and 23 children under 16 years of age. The high
proportion of males on the Gulf Islands suggests
a population of transient workers. The highest
concentration of Japanese was on Mayne (includ-
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 34 No. 2 ing Saturna), followed by Pender (including
Prevost) and Salt Spring islands.
The highest concentration of charcoal kilns
has been found on the outer Gulf Islands,4 but
they have also been reported from other locations on the British Columbia coast. Wicks5 and
Ennyu6 wrote of charcoal kilns operated by Japanese in the Skeena River delta. Charcoal Bay in
inner Rivers Inlet is apparendy named after its
charcoal-making operations. Japanese, having difficulty pronouncing charcoal, refer to this location as Sumi-yaki (charcoal-burning) Bay.7 Charcoal kilns have apparendy also been found on
Bowen Island, but this has not been confirmed.
An immigration officer visited Mayne and
Saturna Islands in 1901 to investigate the prevalence of illegal immigrants.8 He found three camps
of Japanese cutting cordwood on Mayne Island
for Fraser River salmon canneries. M. Furukawa
owned 150 acres and operated the largest camp
of 55 woodcutters. He supplied cordwood to
Victoria Canning Company canneries and had
the use of their boats. Sam Matsunaga owned
land to the west of Furukawa and employed 24
woodcutters. S. Suzuki had his camp of 10 woodcutters on Worge's ranch. The immigration officer ascertained their store-bought suppUes consisted of rice, flour, and a few groceries. They
essentially Uved off the plentiful resources ofthe
island, including fish, waterfowl, and deer.
Furukawa, Matsunaga, and Suzuki were probably
fishing bosses with contacts to cannery managers and the woodcutters most probably fished for
them. No mention is made in this report of charcoal making, perhaps overlooked by the immigration officer unfamiUar with this trade.
These Japanese entrepreneurs probably negotiated amount and price for charcoal and
cordwood with cannery managers. It's not known
how the landless entrepreneur compensated the
landowner for his trees. Did he pay a certain
amount for each cord of wood or did he agree to
clear a plot of land in exchange for the logs? Fishermen and boat pullers were most Ukely recruited
to cut down trees for cordwood to fuel the steam
engines and wood for the charcoal furnaces.
Sannosuke Ennyu's diary of his activities in
the Skeena River area during 1894-1895 describes his venture with three colleagues into cutting trees for charcoal. In August 1895, they contracted with a charcoal furnace operator to supply 100 cords of wood.They started cutting wood
on 29 August and continued to 2 October. Dur
ing this 35-day period, they worked only 19 days
with many days lost because of heavy rains.They
laboured for three days loading the cut wood onto
a scow and then moved the scow to the site of
the charcoal furnace. They resumed logging on
11 October and worked for 16 days until 17 November. They cut 52 cords of wood in 35 days
for which they earned $156. Their expenses included $95.35 for food and $69.35 for personal
effects for a total of $164.70.The $8.70 shortfaU
was covered by sale of excess food and the assistance of acquaintances. The four men were engaged for 81 days in the wood cutting venture.
Their daily food expense was $1.18 for the group
and $0.29 for each person.They augmented their
food supply by harvesting sheUfish and seaweeds,
fishing and hunting waterfowl and game. Ennyu
records memorable meals of blue heron eaten
with freshly made udon on one occasion and duck
eaten with Chinese wine purchased for $1.00 on
another occasion.
Charcoal making on the British Columbia
coast was an important industry for the Japanese
at the turn of the century. This industry flourished for approximately 15 years from the early
1890s to about 1908, when the canneries switched
to coal instead of cordwood and charcoal. For
the entrepreneurs, charcoal making afforded them
an exceUent opportunity to accumulate wealth,
requiring virtuaUy no capital oudays for material
to build the kilns and only labour to dig the pits
and to fashion local rocks and clay into kilns. For
the loggers, charcoal making gave them employment during the off-fishing season and the pos-
sibiUty of earning a Utde extra cash. The charcoal
industry in the outer Guff Islands was also important in affording the Japanese an opportunity
to observe the bountiful natural resources ofthe
Gulf Islands. In the early Twentieth century, they
started a two-boat seine fishery for herring, which
was salted for export to Japan and China. With
the mechanization of fishing boats in the 1910s,
the Japanese developed the Uve-bait Ung-cod fishery in the Gulf of Georgia. They also participated in the fledgUng troU fishery in the Gulf of
Georgia for springs, cohos, and bluebacks that
developed in the late 1910s.They harvested nori
(Porphya sp.) from the intertidal zone ofthe Gulf
Islands initiaUy for their own use and later for
sale in the Japanese communities of British
Columbia. <<5;=»'
Above: Figure 2, charcoal
furnace. Drawing by Duke
! British Columbia. Report of
Immigration Office, (BC
Sessional Papers, 1902).
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - SPRING 2001 The Chinese Canners in Port Essington
by Lily Chow
Lily Chow retired from
high-school teaching
in 1993 and from
lecturing Mandarin at
the University of
Northern British
Columbia in 1998. She
is a researcher and a
published author. Her
books on the history of
the Chinese in northern British Columbia
include Sojourners in
the North, which won
her the Jeanne Clarke
Memorial Local History
Award in Prince
George in 1997, and
Chasing Their Dream,
published last year. She
has also found recognition for her poetry in
Canada and the United
Port Essington is a ghost town located on
a rugged peninsula west of EcstaU River,
about 30 kilometres away from the mouth
of the Skeena River. In 1883, Robert
Cunningham, the founder of the viUage, estabUshed the first fish cannery. Subsequendy other
merchants went there to set up different kinds of
businesses. During its heyday Port Essington had
a bank, two hotels with bars and saloons, restaurants, meat and butcher shops, several general
stores, a drug store, a dress shop, and a laundry
shop, an employment office, and a medical cUnic
where a doctor and a dentist practiced their professions in the community. There were three
newspapers, The Port Essington Loyalist, The Port
Essington Star and The Port Essington Sun. However, it was a smaU viUage with narrow streets of
wooden boardwalks, and 30 or more buUdings
that included two churches, two schools and a
community hall. The chief industries consisted
of sawmiUs and fish canneries. During the fishing season this vUlage boasted a population of
approximately 2,000 people, but only about 500
were year-round residents.1
The Roles of the Chinese Workers
The Chinese workers formed the major labour-force in the fish canneries although each
cannery also employed Europeans, Native people, and Japanese in their operations. The Europeans were the administrators, clerks, mechanics,
engineers and fishermen. The Native men went
out to fish in the rivers or in the open sea wrule
the Native women made and mended nets, and
then worked with the Chinese workers in the
canning plant. The Japanese carried out maintenance work on the wharves as weU as in the cannery plant. A great majority of the Chinese and
the Native people were seasonal workers who
went to canneries at the beginning ofthe salmon
Before canning began the Chinese workers
were the first to arrive as they were required to
make cans.They cut out strips of tin metal, roUed
them on a cyUndrical mold and soldered the sides
together to form a round cyUnder.They punched
off round discs from other metal sheets to fit the
opening ends ofthe cyUnder.Then they soldered
a disc to one end ofthe hoUow cyUnder to form
an open can. AU the work was done by hand and
required speed and precision in cutting the tin
strips. In the early days a charcoal burner was
used to heat up the soldering equipment, and to
melt lead for seaUng up the parts of a can. Around
1915 a sanitary can-making machine was intro-
' Agnes Harris, "The
Ghosts Walk in this BC
Town," The Province, May
1 Imbert Orchard, "People
in Landscape," CBC
Interview Tapes, 1978,
No. 2489 - 1
Right: Port Essington
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 34 No. 2 duced to the canneries to replace the manual can
When the fish arrived they were thrown into
a sluice box that transferred them to a scow. One
or two Chinese workers, clad in heavy waterproof capes, hats and pairs of long oUskin boots,
would sort out the fish with a metal fork and
toss them into boxes. The fish-sorting job not
only required muscular strength but also the sorter's abiUty to maintain his equiUbrium in the sorting process while standing on a wet and sUmy
surface. After sorting, the boxes offish were taken
manually to the canning plant. In later years the
fish were deUvered to the canning plants by escalator.
In the canning plant a group of Chinese workers cut off the heads and fins ofthe fish, sUt open
their beUies, removed the guts and sUced the large
fish into halves lengthwise. Some of these Chinese "sUtters" could butcher about 2,000 fish in
a 10-hour day2. These butchered fish were then
pushed to the opposite side of the bench where
native women would scrub off the scales, carry
out final trimming, and wash the fish with water.
The remnants such as guts, fins, and scales were
thrown back into the sea through a large hole in
the bench, and were washed away by the rising
tides. The sea guUs consumed the discarded fish
parts floating on the water.
In 1905, a butchering machine, the "Iron
Chink," was introduced by aU fish canneries in
an attempt to replace the Chinese workers. At
that time anti-Chinese sentiment was simmering and theVancouver Trades and Labour CouncU discouraged merchants from employing Chinese labourers. One of the by-laws of the
Workingmen's Protective Association stated that
its members should "solemnly pledge...neither
[to] aid or.. .patronize or employing] Chinamen. . ."The white people often labeUed the Chinese with derogatory terms such as Chinamen,
Celestials, Chinks, etc. The term "Iron Chink"
certainly reflects the discriminatory attitude of
the cannery management.
Before the introduction ofthe Iron Chink,
the Chinese workers were responsible for cutting the fish into uniform pieces and the native
women fUled them in cans, which were placed
on a tray. Some other Chinese workers would
cap and seal the cans, and take them to a steam
box to cook for 30 minutes. After cooking the
Chinese workers pulled out each tray and
punched a tiny hole in each can to release the
steam. Immediately, they sealed up the hole with
a drop of molten solder. Then another group of
Chinese workers stacked the sealed cans in another tray and pushed them into a retort or boUer
to cook for another 50 minutes. Afterward, each
can was dipped into lye water to remove grease
and put on the floor to cool. FinaUy, the Chinese
workers would brush a layer of lacquer on each
can to prevent rusting, and paste labels on the
cans by hand before they packed them into boxes
for shipment
At the end ofthe season the seasonal workers
celebrated and gave thanks before they went
home. The Native people usuaUy had a dance
festival wlule the Chinese workers held a feast
and gave thanks to the Almighty or Tian Shen. In
such thanksgiving event the Chinese workers always offered a roast pig as sacrifice for the occasion.The young piglets, which they had raised in
the pigpen set up near their vegetable plot, would
then be mature and ready for butchering and
The Chinese Bunkhouses
Living quarters were provided for staff and seasonal workers but each nationaUty was segregated
from one another. Some experts asserted that
housing for different nationaUties was separated
Above: Sketch map of
Port Essington and
surrounding areas.
Below: In 1905, a butchering machine, the "Iron
Chink,"was introduced.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - SPRING 2001 3 S. Mark & Associates,
Report: North Pacific China
House Archaeology Project,
1992, 3 and 92
4 G. Meggs, Salmon:The
Decline ofBC Fishery
(Vancouver: Douglas &
Mclntyre, 1991), 24
for cultural and Unguistic reasons as each group
would feel more comfortable Uving with its own
people. Others maintained that it was the management strategy in deaUng with manpower.
David Boyce, a writer and a guide in the North
Pacific Cannery VUlage Museum, remarked that
if the different racial groups did not have the opportunity to interact with each other socially, each
group would not know about the wages of the
other national groups. Anyway, the Chinese workers were put in bunkhouses at the rear of the
canning plants.
These bunkhouses were barn-Uke wooden
buUdings with two storeys that could accommodate between 50 to 60 people in each buUding3.
The downstairs usuaUy consisted of a few rooms
with bunk beds and a long haU furnished with
rough wooden tables, stools, a wood stove, and
two or three cupboards to keep dishes. The Chinese workers were not expected to cook in the
bunkhouse for meals could be bought in the mess
haU. But when they were tired of the cafeteria
meal, they could boU water to make themselves a
cup of tea or cook simple meals over the wood
stove in the evening. Their home-made meals
consisted of rice, salt fish, pickled vegetables, or
fermented bean curds. The lower level was also
the place where they played games and socialized with one another. The upstairs contained
rows of bunk beds for sleeping. When workers
arrived at the canneries they brought with them
pUlows, straw mats, thin blankets, and mosquito
nets, which were needed as swarms of mosquitoes would be present in summer. Some
bunkhouses had verandahs where the workers
could sit around and smoke their pipes during
their leisure hours.
The Chinese workers usuaUy found a plot of
land near their bunkhouse to plant vegetables and
raise fowls and pigs nearby. This was to ensure a
fresh supply of food whUe working in the canneries. As mentioned, roast pigs were essential for
thanksgiving and it was cheaper to raise these
animals than having them brought up from the
south. Moreover, it did not cost much to raise
the pigs as they were fed with slurps or leftovers
from the mess haU.
Another feature was the bathing facilities for
the workers. Behind each bunkhouse they enclosed an area for showers. Near the enclosure
the men buUt a hot-water tank heated by wood
over a clay stove. Since it was not easy to find
fresh water in Port Essington, workers would go
to the nearby spring to get water for the hot-
water tank as weU as for supplying cold water.
When they took a shower they would mix the
cold and hot water in a barrel before they
scrubbed and rinsed themselves with scoops of
warm water.
China Bosses
The contractors or "China Bosses," were employees or partners of some weU-known employment agencies such as Chock On, Lew Bing,Yip
Sang, and other companies in Vancouver. In Port
Essington each cannery had at least one China
Boss or a contractor who was knowledgeable
about the canning procedures. In early May these
contractors brought the Chinese workers to various assigned canneries and supervised the workers in their jobs. In most canneries the China
Bosses also contracted and paid Native women
to help out cleaning fish and stuffing the cut fish
pieces into cans. The whole contract system reUeved the cannery manager of personnel problems and placed the recruitment of labourers and
the financial risk on the contractors.4 However,
there is no evidence that contractors suffered financial loss. The contract system was set up in
such a way that the Chinese workers would absorb any loss if it occurred. To begin with, the
contractors were given a certain sum of money
to bring up the crew. This money was to pay for
passages, food, and any overhead cost, but not on
wages. The workers were paid at the end of the
fishing season according to the number of cans
they had made, the number of fish they slaughtered, and other piecework they performed in
one season. In a good year they would be able to
earn more as there would be plenty of fish for
them to butcher and can. Thus the system was
set up in such a way that it was almost loss-proof
on the part ofthe contractors. In addition, these
contractors operated some kind of business in
the community. When they came to the canneries they brought with them some Chinese deU-
cacies, tobacco leaves, rice wine, workman clothing, wooden clogs or flannel sUppers, and daUy
articles such as tooth brushes, razors, and other
things to seU to the Chinese workers. The contractors would make profits from retaUing their
merchandise too.
These contractors had to keep in touch with
the employment agencies in Vancouver and send
reports to them regularly.The Chock On coUection contains numerous Chinese reports and cor-
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 34 No. 2 respondence about the production of canned fish,
the weU-being of the workers, and the working
conditions in the canneries. One report mentions that the Chinese bunkhouse in one of the
canneries was very large and contained bunk beds,
two large tables, a good number of stools and
benches, and two cooking stoves, but no place to
put the garbage. Another letter informed Chock
On Agency that Utde flat land was avaUable to
cultivate a vegetable garden at a certain cannery,
and the crew requested to have produce and other
food items sent up. In some dispatches contractors complained that certain newcomers were
unfamUiar with the tasks; consequendy, the production of that season was less than expected. A
couple of letters asked the Chock On Agency to
stop shipping groceries and other perishable
goods up because the salmon run was poor and
the crew would go back to Vancouver earUer.
Other ledgers state the total number of boxes of
canned fish that had been produced for export.
At the end of the season the contractors setded the wages for the crew members and closed
the book for the year before heading south. Although the workers were housed in the
bunkhouses they had to pay a smaU sum of money
for rent.They ate in the mess haU on credit, which
had to be deducted too. Thus, it is unclear how
much money each worker could take home after a
each season. When the book was returned to the
management individual names of the workers
were not stated but just the number of persons
hired was written down. Even at work every
worker was given a number for identification.
UsuaUy the good and hard working ones were
asked to return for work in the next fishing season but not the slow and poor ones.
The social and leisure activities
Although the Chinese workers Uved and worked
with other nationalities in the same area around
the canneries, their social interactions with others were rather limited.The housing arrangement
separated each nationaUty from the others, making each group keep to itself. The language barrier and cultural differences would have made it
difficult anyway to socialize. Although the Chinese workers Uved together as a group and provided companionship for each other, their bond
of friendship could not replace the warmth and
love of their famUies. A Chinese diary was found
in a box containing the 1901 fishery reports. In
this diary the writer described his feeUngs of lone-
Top: Port Essington Cannery. 1890s
Middle: Port Essington, Dufferin Street, ca. 1905.
Bottom: Bunkhouse at Seal Cove near Prince Rupert. 1907.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - SPRING 2001 Above: Port Essington.
Opposite page: Port
Essington. 1908.
Essington, BC:Whites
and Indians," Tlie Mission
Fields, October 1,1897,
5 The Vancouver Province,
July 5,1961, 1
Uness away from home. Apparendy he left his wife
shordy after their wedding. In the diary he wrote:
.. .1 could never forget her silky skin and the fragrance given out by her youthful body. Although I
met her only on the night of our wedding I feU in
love with her at the very moment I saw her. She
was so sweet and gende... I hope she finds life comfortable living with my parents, and that she has
carried out her duty as a good and respectful daughter-in-law. I pray that my parents do not enslave
her but treat her like a daughter... So far I have not
received any serious complaints from my parents
about her except that she daydreamed a lot... In all
her letters she reminded me to make lots of money
and return home soon. Don't I wish to do that! I
miss her and want to go home to be with her, but
This diary, written by one cannery worker, reflects the feeUngs of loneUness and isolation of aU
the men who came to pursue their dreams in the
land of gold mountains.
Although the Chinese workers were prepared
to work hard, there were days when the catch
was smaU, and they finished their work earUer.
During those long summer evenings they often
created some activities for themselves. Some of
their famous indoor activities included playing
domino, mah-jong, Chinese paper cards
(shiwuhu), and fan-tan. These games gave the
gamblers some excitement and anticipation, but
also regret and remorse when they lost. Some
old-timers say that gambUng helped to stimulate
their minds. Games Uke domino and mah-jong
require mental strategies and watchfulness in order to win.
When the weather was good, some seniors
would sit on the verandah and smoke their
favorite pipes while watching a beautiful sunset.
Young people would go to Dufferin Street, the
main street of the town, to sit or stand around
and watch the whites having fun in the bars or
saloons.Young people usuaUy participated in some
outdoor recreation.
One of their favorite pastimes was a game tossing a shuttle with their ankles.5 This shuttle is a
homemade toy consisting of three large feathers
with their shafts inserted into the center of a spool
or a stack of rubber washers.The shuttle is tossed
into the air by an ankle until the player faUs to
catch it with the ankle. One person can play this
game as a form of exercise, or it can be played by
a group of people in competition to see who can
sustain the longest time in tossing, or who can
obtain the largest number of tosses within a Um-
ited time period.
Another favorite outdoor recreation was kite
flying. The Chock On Fond coUection contains
a Chinese poem about kite flying written by a
cannery worker. The poem is translated as follows:
Though you are saUing
high up in the sky,
you are stiU held
in my hand.
Fly higher and float afar!
My beloved one
in distant land
would know
I am around
thinking of her,
when she sees
your beautiful wings
fluttering below the clouds.
Indeed, Chinese people love to fly kites in early
autumn when the wind blows.Their kites can be
as simple as a piece of quadrangular rice paper
pasted on a bamboo frame, or as elaborate as an
eagle or butterfly, a real piece of art. It gives the
kite maker a sense of great pride when he sees
his creation flying high up in the sky. At the end
of the kite-flying season, the kite is usuaUy cut
off from the string wlule stiU floating in the air. It
is a symbol of letting go one's poor luck.
Decline of the Canneries
Unfortunately the fishing industry decUned as
time went on. By 1920 more than a hundred
canneries had been estabUshed along the Pacific
West Coast and at the mouth ofthe Skeena River.
Consequendy, the area was overfished and catches
became smaU.The Fisheries Department also revised its poUcy in issuing fishing Ucenses and im-
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 34 No. 2 posed restrictions on commercial fishing. The Department also advocated
restoration and conservation programs to maintain the salmon runs in the
Skeena region. When the fish cannery industry became fuUy unionized in
thel940s, the contract system of recruiting Chinese people to work in the
canneries graduaUy disappeared. As time went by the population of Port
Essington became smaUer and smaUer. The development of Prince Rupert
also attracted canneries to be estabUshed near the town on the Kaien Island
and stimulated the cannery people to leave Port Essington and to Uve in an
urban area. AU these factors made it tough for the canneries to continue
their operation there.
Fire was perhaps the main cause ofthe end of Port Essington. Throughout its 90-year history numerous fires took place; some of them were very
destructive. For example in 1908, a fire destroyed the Cunningham SawmUl. A fire in 1909 burned down two large Chinese bunkhouses although
no casualty was noted. Two fires in the 1960s truly snubbed out the Ufe of
Port Essington. On 4 July 1961, a fire, caused by the reflection of Ught and
heat from a shining broken mirror in a warehouse, destroyed a great part of Port Essington.
This fire destroyed more than twenty buUdings
leaving fifty people homeless. Women and chUdren did not have time to save their belongings
but just managed to escape.6 In 1965 another
big fire totaUy wiped out the remaining town
site.These disasters and the limitation offish supply graduaUy made the Chinese workers leave
their jobs. Now, Port Essington is a piece of waste
land with charred poles sticking out from the
muddy shores whUe the tides rise and ebb qui-
edy, or at times, dash ruthlessly against the rocky
terrain, f*5^
Boyce, D. Red, Yellow, White: Colours ofthe Salmon Canning Industry. Victoria, BC: Questing, Archival Research & Creative Development, 1997.
Blyth, GladysY. Salmon Canneries, British Columbia North
Coast. Victoria,BC: Morris Printing Company Ltd.,
Harris, E.A. Spokeshute. Skeena River Memory. Victoria: Orca Book Pubhshers, 1990.
Haig-Brown, Alan. Fishing for a Living. Madeira Park,
BC: Harbour Publishing, 1993.
Lyons, Cicely. Salmon: Our HeritageNancower. Mitchell
Press Ltd., 1969.
Meggs, G. Salmon: The Decline of the British Columbia
Fishery. Vancouver: Douglas & Mclntyre, 1991.
Wicks,Walter. Memories ofThe Skeena. Saanichton.BC:
Hancock House Publishers Ltd., 1976.
Appleyard,B. "Port Essington,B. C.:Whites and Indians," The Mission Field, 1 October 1897.
Documents, Reports & Records
Chock On Fond, 1928-1940, Box 1 & 2, (Chinese
Version), UBC Special Collections.
Department of Fisheries, Correspondence & Applications for Licenses, 1907-1910. Gr. 435, Box 14
Orchard, Imbert. People in Landscape, CBC Interview
Tapes, 1978, No. 2489-1
Report: North Pacific China House Archaeology
Project, Shannon Mark & Associates, NpCh 1992.
Ross, WM. Salmon cannery packs statistics : Nass &
Skeena River ofBC. unpublished, 1966.
Newspaper and other Articles
Bowman, PhyUis. "Cunningham BuUt Port Essington
As Base For Skeena River Travel," Daily Colonist, 10
September 1967.
Port Essington Loyalist, 7 November 1907, January-
August 1908.
The Daily Colonist.
The Vancouver Province.
11 Esquimalt's First Graving Dock
Vancouver Island's Link to Canada and Empire
by Cyril E. Leonoff, FEIC, PEng
Cyril E. Leonoff is a
professional engineer
and a past president of
the Vancouver Historical Society. He has
authored books on the
commercial and
industrial photographers Leonard Frank
and Otto Landauer.
Below: The official party,
commemorating the
Esquimalt First Graving
Dock as a National
Historic Civil Engineering
Site, 20 March 1999.
From left: Rear Admiral
Ron Buck, commander
Maritime Forces Pacific;
Raymond Rice, mayor of
Esquimalt; Peter Hart and
Ralph Crysler, Canadian
Society for Civil Engineering, Montreal;Thor Tandy,
chair, CSCE, Vancouver
ON the beautiful spring morning of Saturday, 20 March 1999, with the Japanese cherry trees in fuU blossom, I
joined 35 civU engineers, naval personnel, and
guests at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt Naval
Dockyard on southernVancouver Island.We gathered to witness the unveUing of a plaque commemorating the Esquimalt First Graving Dock
as a National Historic CivU Engineering Site, a
weU-deserved designation owing to the historic
role of this dry dock in buUding the Canadian
nation from coast to coast.
StiU in active duty, this gigantic structure was
completed in 1887 at the then enormous cost of
$1,171,664.74. It is more than 8 metres deep, 17
metres wide, and 139 metres long (equivalent to
one and a quarter footbaU fields) and has serviced 1,900 mUitary and civUian vessels over a span
of 112 years. WhUe it is the oldest operating dry
dock on the west coast of North America, yet it
is stiU capable of handUng any Canadian warship,
except for two over-sized supply ships. The imposing waUs ofthe dry dock and the pumphouse
stack are lined with durable sandstone blocks
quarried at Newcasde Island off Nanaimo, now
a Provincial Marine Park. Sirrular stone can be
seen in the BC Penitentiary (1875), New Westminster, and inVictoria at the Bank of Montreal,
Douglas and Yates streets (1907), and Christ
Church Cathedral (1926).
In order to extend its commercial empire across
northwestern British America to the Pacific
Ocean, the Hudson's Bay Company estabUshed
Fort Vancouver on the north bank ofthe lower
Columbia River in 1825, the first permanent
trade depot and ocean port on the Northwest
Coast. This locale was particularly advantageous
because of its fertile agricultural lands, used to
supply posts as far north as Alaska. By 1842 the
first American setders crossed the mountains in
their "covered wagons" and setded in Oregon
Territory on the south bank of the river. Thus
the Oregon boundary dispute flared between the
Americans and British and it became apparent
that the compromise boundary would be set at
the 49th parallel.That year Dr. John McLoughUn,
head of the Pacific Department, dispatched his
young Chief Factor James Douglas to search for
a replacement site for the Company's operations,
safely within British territory.
Douglas, who had known the coast from personal experience, rejected the westerly coast as
too exposed. His reconnaissance concentrated on
three ports of southeastern Vancouver Island:
Sooke, Esquimalt, and "Camosack" (Victoria). On
12 July 1842 he reported to Dr. McLoughUn
(quotedin Scholefield, 1914):"
one ofthe best harbours on the coast, being per-
fecdy safe and of easy access, but in other respects it possesses no attractions. Its appearance is
strikingly unprepossessing, the outline of the
country exhibiting a confused assemblage of rock
and wood....The shores ofthe harbour are rugged and precipitous, and I did not see one level
spot clear of trees of sufficient extent to buUd a
large fort upon....Another serious objection to
this place is the scarcity of fresh water."
Douglas, from his viewpoint as a fur trader and
colonizer, went on to report favourably ofthe
next harbour, about one mUe and a half east,... the
port and canal of Camosack, which...I think the
most advantageous place for the new establishment [where] there is a pleasant and convenient
site for the [fort] within fifty yards of the anchorage, on the border of a large tract of clear
land...being the most picturesque and decidedly
the most valuable [for agricultural settlement] part
ofthe island that we had the fortune to discover."
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 34 No. 2 Left: HM sloop Cormorant entering the
Esquimalt First Graving
Dock, 20 July 1887.
£f£^#^x>x>- -"
FoUowing this recommendation, the Hudson's
Bay Company estabUshed its Fort Victoria at
Camosack in 1843. Nevertheless the narrow and
twisting Victoria harbour was no match for the
deep-sea harbour of Esquimalt, which would be
used by ocean-going vessels.
Years later, afterVictoria had become the chief
entrepot of the province, a historian (Bancroft,
1887) revisited the topic of assessing the merits
of the two proximate harbours, this time from
the viewpoint of a mariner:
"At the extreme south-eastern end ofVancouver Island is a large open bay caUed Royal Bay,
direcdy back of which is Esquimalt Harbor....That
part of Royal Bay leading more direcdy into
Esquimalt Harbor, and beginning at Albert Head,
is caUed Royal Roads. Vessels may there anchor
in ten or twelve fathoms, safe from aU winds save
those from the east or south-east. Esquimalt
Harbor may be entered at aU times, and there
vessels of any size may find safe anchorage.Victo-
ria Harbor, entered between points McLoughUn
and Ogden, by reason ofthe sunken rocks which
extend a mUe in either direction from the bare,
flat projection situated midway between the two
harbors, and known as...Macaulay point, is regarded as dangerous of entrance in bad weather.
The channel is so tortuous that long vessels of
ten run aground. 'It appears not a little
remarkable...that with the exceUent harbor of
Esquimalt within two rrules.Victoria should have
been continued as the commercial port of a rising colony.'"
WhUe commercial interests had bypassed the
natural advantages offered by the harbour at
Esquimalt, British naval interests would prove
more prudent. Great Britain's first mUitary connection with the Pacific Coast ofthe New World
began in 1837 with estabUshment ofthe South
American station at Valparaiso, ChUe. From this
port frigates, corvettes, and Une-of-battle ships
made periodic cruises north to give their crews
the benefit of a change of cUmate.Thus after the
border dispute broke out, in 1844 the Navy began sending warships north to the Columbia
River and Juan de Fuca Strait to make contact
with Hudson's Bay Company officials and British setders. However, when the frigate Fisgard
arrived at Juan de Fuca in 1846, it could not dock
there as the harbours had not yet been surveyed,
but her boats took the officers to visit FortVic-
toria.That summer the hydrographic survey brig
Pandora, under Lieutenant James Wood, started
charting Esquimalt andVictoria harbours;Wood's
charts were pubUshed in London in 1848. That
year the first British war vessel, the frigate
13 Constance, entered Esquimalt harbour.
The war Britain and France fought against
Russia in 1854 to assert territorial and fur-trading rights in the North Pacific, resulted in the
first shore estabUshment at Esquimalt; a joint British-French squadron saUed against Petropavlovsk
on the coast of Kamchatka and, on the return of
the expedition, their sick and wounded were cared
for in three hospital buildings erected at
Esquimalt. This war and the subsequent great
population influx, much of it American, with the
British Columbia gold rush of 1858, made the
government and citizens of the British Crown
Colony ofVancouver Island (which would join
with mainland British Columbia in 1866) nervous about foreign annexation.
The cry for an adequate defence of its Pacific
colonies was heightened in 1861, when three
British Pacific warships, the Plumper, Termagant,
and Hecate, required repair and overhaul.The nearest British repair facUity was in AustraUa; instead
cosdy and embarrassing repairs were undertaken
at the United States Mare Island Naval Dockyard in San Francisco Bay. (This dry dock was
fUled in during the 1950s). Amor De Cosmos,
editor of the Victoria British Colonist, led the caU
for a dry dock and repair facUity at Esquimalt, to
ensure that maritime security could be maintained
through local resources.The caU was heeded, and
in 1865 the Royal Navy Pacific Base at Esquimalt
was officiaUy created by an Order-in-CouncU
passed in London. In 1867 a board of officers
was set up to report on the best site for a dry
dock. Although Burrard Inlet and Nanaimo were
also considered, the board recommended its location in Esquimalt harbour, "should borings
prove satisfactory."The buUding ofthe dry dock
figures in the 1871 entry of British Columbia
into the Dominion of Canada. Among the terms
of Confederation was the weU-known promise
of a raUway Une to connect the seaboard of British Columbia with the existing raUway system of
Canada. Not so weU known was a negotiated
guarantee by the Canadian Government on a loan
of £100,000 for a graving dock at Esquimalt.
WhUe the projected raU Unk to Vancouver Island
through the impractical route of Bute Inlet and
Seymour Narrows was never achieved, the graving dock was, although it took more than twenty
years of poUtical wrangUng through a succession
of Imperial, Dominion, and Provincial governments, and enormous cost overruns, to achieve.
The initial estimated cost ofthe Esquimalt dry
dock was $500,000, a very cosdy project for the
fledgUng Provincial Government. In 1873 De
Cosmos, now Premier, went to England in search
of additional funding and he was promised the
contribution of a British grant of £30,000 upon
completion ofthe facUity. That year the Dominion agreement was renegotiated, instead of a loan,
to a grant of $250,000 to be advanced as the work
progressed. In 1874 the succeeding Walkem government, on appeal to Her Majesty, got the Imperial grant increased to £50,000.Thus the combined grants equaUed the estimated cost. In 1875
contracts for the cofferdam and pumping machinery were let to two British firms, a site selected, engineers engaged, and a contract for the
cement concluded. The designers were civU engineers Kinipple and Morris of London, England, with J.W. McKenzie, Royal Naval Engineer.
However, before construction commenced, in
1876 the Walkem administration feU, pardy on
complaint that the government was spending
money on a "luxury" for the Island, whUe refusing to do necessary pubUc works on the Mainland.
Another decade of government bungUng and
contractual ineptitude foUowed. With return to
power of the Walkem/Beaven administration, in
1880 a contract of $350,000 was entered into
with F.B. McNamee & Co. of Montreal for the
main portion of the dock. Adding the cost of
"incidentals" to be provided by the Provincial
Government, such as the caisson (a watertight
chamber used in construction work under water) and the cement, the total estimated cost had
risen to $620,000. But the cement, estimated at
100 tons costing $3,500, would then baUoon up
to 5,000 tons costing $150,000 (eventuaUy nearly
7,000 tons were required).This fed the flame of
the Island vs. Mainland controversy, the government took fright, and the contract was terminated in AprU 1882.The Provincial Government
took possession of the site from the contractor
and in June decided to carry on construction by
day labour, pending new arrangements; a force
of 160 men was engaged at a cost to the Province of $500 a day. This continued for some
months, then the government feU by a vote of
the House in January 1883.
The subsequent Smithe administration then
joined into negotiation with the Dominion Government and on 24 August 1883 the graving dock
was formaUy taken over by Canada, repaying the
Province the money already expended ($182,000)
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 34 No. 2 Left: The Esquimalt First
Graving Dock, 20 March
and a further sum of $250,000. The contract for
its completion was awarded to Larkin, Connolly
& Co. of St. Catharines, Ontario. Less than 3 years
later, buUt with sandstone blocks embedded in
cement, the last block was laid on 26 June 1886.
And with state-of-the art gates, valves, and steam
pumps, it was regarded as the best and most modern dry dock on the Pacific coast. Before the end
of that summer, Prime Minister of Canada Sir
John A. Macdonald drove the last spike of the
Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway at Shawnigan
Lake on 13 August 1886. Now Canada's Unk from
sea to sea was complete,
The official opening of the Naval Dry dock
on 20 July 1887 was attended by "members of
the Dominion senate and parUament, the Provincial government and assembly, the civic councU, a large number of leading citizens, together
with a sprinkling ofthe fair sex." Honoured guests
included Rear Admiral Sir Michael Culme-
Seymour, whose flagship HM batdeship Triumph
was at anchor in the harbour, awaiting repairs,
Lieutenant-Governor the Hon. Hugh Nelson,
and his predecessor the Hon. Joseph W. Trutch,
who had been the first Lieutenant-Governor of
British Columbia and was a civil engineer by
profession. A blue ribbon stretched across the
entrance to the dry dock was cut by Miss Kathleen
O'Redly, the daughter of Judge Peter O'ReiUy, a
coUeague of Sir Matthew BailUe Begbie. The
highUght of the ceremony was the entry and
docking of HM sloop of war Cormorant, the first
ship to enter the dry dock, for huU repair. With a
complement of 138 officers and men, she was a
170-foot barque-rigged vessel of 1,130 tons, having a 950-h.p. steam engine, equipped for saU or
steam power. Mrs. JuUa EUzabeth Trutch, with
her "gende hands," switched on the "ponderous"
pumps, driven by a 600-h.p. steam engine, and
"the immense volume of water ejected by the
pumps" emptied the dry dock. The Honourable
Trutch "said it was but just that he should commend one who had grown gray during construction ofthe great work ...[Mr. Bennett, the resident engineer]...who throughout the many
changes.., from the beginning ofthe work until
the present happy conclusion had always...a
marked abLUty and unflagging zeal.'The contractor, P. ConnoUy,"entertained in his generous style
a number ofthe gendemen... particularly connected with the progress of the work."
At the beginning of the 20th century, Great
Britain was relinquishing to its Dominions control of their miUtary defences. On 9 November
1910, the operation ofthe Esquimalt Naval Yard
was formaUy transferred to Canada.The second-
15 class cruiser Rainbow arrived as a training ship, but the attempt to form an
effective Canadian naval service was slow; just 56 men joined up the first
year. Only Umited active service was provided during the First World War.
However, a fresh start was made in 1922; the Canadian mUitary acquired
destroyers and a nation-wide Naval Volunteer Reserve was estabUshed. In
1927 a second Dominion Graving Dock went into service in Skinner's
Cove. During the Second World War, the Royal Canadian Navy was a
potent force in the war at sea. In the Korean War, 1950-1953, three Esquimalt-
based destroyers Athabaskan, Cayuga, and Sioux and the reUef ship Crusader
were in the forefront of the action by United Nations forces, aimed at
thwarting Soviet Union expansionism during the Cold War.
At the end ofthe Second World War in 1945, the First Graving Dock at
Esquimalt was modernized and refitted with diesel pumps, and along with
adjacent electronic, plastic, and machine shops, it stiU functions as Ship
Repair Unit Pacific. By the time ofthe commemorative service in 1999,
the role of the Canadian Navy had gready changed from war service to
coastal surveiUance and international peacekeeping.The modern Navy, under
the tide Maritime Forces Pacific, equipped with five ultramodern computerized patrol frigates, monitors 84,000 square mUes of ocean (equivalent
to the combined area of BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan). At the time ofthe
unveiUng, three vessels were in port and one was on service in The (Persian) Gulf. Testament to the modernization of the Navy, each ship, with a
complement of 125 personnel, has quarters for 40 women.
As a National Historic Civil Engineering site, the Esquimalt First Graving Dock is recognized by a professional society, which also had its origin
in 1887. The Canadian Society for CivU Engineering is a national nonprofit organization, promoting civU engineering education and awareness
to its members and the pubUc. The National History Program was commenced by the Society in 1983, to commemorate the work of civU engineers in the buUding ofthe country. Since that time, 33 National/International Historic Sites have been recognized from coast to coast. To be commemorated, a site must be at least 50 years old and its history must be
suitably documented. The Esquimalt First Graving Dock joins such other
notable British Columbia projects as the Last Spike ofthe Canadian Pacific
RaUway at CraigeUachie, the Ketde VaUey Railway at Midway, Vancouver's
Lions' Gate Bridge, and the Alaska Highway, Dawson Creek to Delta Junction, Alaska.<<**'
Bancroft, Hubert Howe. "War with England." History
ofthe Pacific States: Alaska 1730-1885. San Francisco:
The History Company, 1885.
 "Douglas' Survey." History of British Columbia
1792-1887. San Francisco: TheHistory Company,
1887. Bancroft quotes Imray, James F. The West Coast
of North America. London:  1881,1885.
Beatty, Jim. "Navy Official Defends West Coast Patrols." Vancouver Sun: September 4,1999.
British Colonist.Victoria: pass.
Canadian Society For CivU Engineering. Historic Civil
Engineering Sites. Montreal: AprU 1998.
 A Little History on the Esquimalt First Graving
Dock. Montreal: March, 1999.
Casde, Geoffrey, "H.M.S. Cormorant at the CFB.
Esquimalt Drydock, 1887."
More Victoria Landmarks. Victoria: Sono Nis,
"Esquimalt Graving Dock: Successful Opening ofthe
Dock Yesterday." Daily Colonist. Victoria: July 21,
Howay, F.W. "The Graving Dock." British Columbia
From the Earliest Times to the Present. Vol. II, Chap.
XXIII.Vancouver: S.J. Clarke, 1914.
Kerr, J.B. Biographical Dictionary of Well-Known British
Columbians.Vancouver: Kerr & Begg, 1890.
Logstaff, F.V, Major. "The Beginnings ofthe Pacific
Station and Esquimalt Royal Naval Establishment."
Third Annual Report and Proceedings.
Victoria: British Columbia Historical Association, 1926.
 "The Centenary of the Pacific Station 1837-
1937." British Columbia Historical Quarterly. Victoria:
BC Archives, July 1939.
 -Esquimalt Naval Base: A History of Its Work and Its
Defences. VictoriaVictoria Book & Stationery, 1941.
 and Lamb, WKaye. "The Royal Navy on the
Northwest Coast, 1818-1850." BCHQ. Part ^January 1945, Part II, April 1945.
Murphy, Patrick. "Event Marks Historic Role of Dry
Dock." Times Colonist. Victoria: March 19,1999.
Rayner, William. "Canadians in Korea by Land and
Sea." Vancouver Sun: June 23,2000.
Robinson, Leigh Burpee. Esquimalt: Place of Shoaling
Waters.Victoria: QuaUty Press, 1948.
Scholefield, E.O.S. "The Founding ofVictoria." British
Columbia From the Earliest Times to the Present.Vol. I,
Chap. XlVVancouver: SJ. Clarke, 1914.
Walbran, John T. "Esquimalt." British Columbia Coast
Names 1592-1906:Their Origin and History. Ottawa:
Government Printing Bureau, 1909.
WUd, Roland. Amor De Cosmos. Toronto: Ryerson,
Left: Ultramodern patrol frigate in Naval Dockyard,
Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, 20 March 1999.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 34 No. 2 Letters from Montney
An insight to the rural teaching experience in early twentieth century BC
by Julie Stevens
Julie Stevens is the winner ofthe
2000/2001 BCHF Scholarship Competition.
Her essay was recommended to the
Scholarship Commitee by Dr. Susan Neyland,
University of British Columbia, who said of
Julie Stevens's submission: "a thoroughly
engaging and exceptional essay."
IN the early twentieth century, British Columbia witnessed vast discrepancies between
urban and rural schoohng throughout the
province. Until the 1940s, these two regions offered markedly different teaching experiences.
Rural teachers faced chaUenges particular to rural BC, and their relationship to land and community was a unique one, not played out in the
classrooms and streets of urban BC. Edgar Covert Latimer was a teacher at Crystal Springs school
in the Peace River Country between 1933 and
1936. During this time, he dUigendy wrote letters home to his parents, providing detaUs about
Ufe in an isolated district. In one such letter he
commented: "some day we may have these frontier schools running Uke those in more setded
districts." (24 September 1935)1 Edgar's letters
serve as a reference point to exempUfy and illustrate the experience of rural teachers in contrast
to their urban counterparts.
In order for a rural school to open, ten students were required, with an average regular attendance of eight. When attendance exceeded
forty pupils, a second teacher could be hired.2 In
remote areas ofthe province, where famUies were
few and scattered, it was often difficult to achieve
the minimum attendance. In their desire to provide education for their chUdren, parents and
teachers were often resourceful in convincing the
government of their vaUd, young learning community. ChUdren as young as four years old were
brought to school, and youngsters were "borrowed" and boarded in town. In 1927, the school
of Argenta had only eight pupUs and was in danger of closing. Teacher Kathleen Elder brought
her two younger brothers to school, thus raising
enrolment to the minimum, keeping the school
open, and retaining her teaching position.3
When the need for a school had been determined, the government provided a smaU sum of
money to buUd a school. This amount usuaUy
covered a bare minimum of costs and materials;
land was most often donated by a local resident
or farmer, and the community constructed and
assembled the school themselves. Once a school
was estabUshed, government aUotted a percentage of local taxes for a three-person school board,
locaUy elected, to be in charge of the school.4
Left: Edgar Latimer in his
riding chaps. He rode his
horse to school each day.
1 Edgar Covert Latimer,
letters from Montney,
BC, to his parents in
Burnaby, BC, 1933-
1936, describing his
teaching years in the
Peace River Block,
2 Francis Henry Johnson,
History of Public Education
in British Columbia
(Vancouver: UBC Press
Columbia, 1964), 96
5 Kindling the Spark: the Era
of One-room Schools:an
Anthology ofTeachers'
Experiences. (Richmond:
British Columbia
Retired Teachers'
Association, 1996), 33
4 In 1919, local school
boards began in some
areas to dissolve in favour
of one official trustee
who assumed the
responsibility of several
small rural schools
Johnson, 1964,97).This
change reached Edgar's
district in 1934, and he
viewed this transition
with hopefulness: "I
think the change should
be of advantage to me,
for I should have less
trouble getting the
supplies I need. It also
throws a greater
responsibility on me, for
I have to keep Mr
Morrell [the new Official
Trustee] informed on
conditions here, and do
certain business. Gordon
[a neighbouring teacher
friend] has had an
Official Trustee for two
years, so I know it will
not be a bad change for
me." (27 October 1934)
17 Right: Crystal Springs
school classroom. It is a
largely log building with
the places between the logs
filled with plaster... There
is a good floor and the
ceiling is high. There are
six good windows on the
sunny south side and one
window on the north side
looking towards the barn."
Opposite page: The
1933 class of Crystal
Springs school and the
5 Kindling the Spark, 50
6 Ibid., 78
7 Ibid., 17
Rural school buUdings varied across the province, but were aUke in distinction from their urban brothers. Schools ofVancouver were typi-
caUy multi-roomed brick buUdings, with plumbing, pot-beUied stoves, and coal furnaces.The typical rural school was a one-room buUding made
of wooden boards or logs. Sometimes a community would make do with buUdings that already
existed, such as barns or old bunkhouses. Eric
Woodman taught at Pender Harbour in 1929 out
of an abandoned logging bunkhouse that had
been converted into a school buUding. The entire room was 15 by 20 feet and rested on two
logs, which functioned as sleigh runners to push
the bunkhouse where needed!5The school buUding, as student instruction, operated to suit the
rhythms ofthe community. In logging camps that
consisted of buUdings on rafts, class continued as
the community moved along the coast from one
work site to the next. Eleanor Anderson was a
teacher for one such transient community and
taught up to sixteen students in a one-room raft
as the camp floated along.6 Ofthe school in Crystal Springs where he taught, Edgar wrote: "It is a
largely log buUding with the places between the
logs fiUed with plaster.. .There is a good floor
and the ceding is high. There are six good windows on the sunny south side and one window
on the north side looking towards the barn." (27
September 1934)
The Crystal Springs example demonstrates that,
in addition to less-than-adequate school buUdings, there were other rural conditions facing
teachers and students on a daUy basis. AU rural
schools had a wood stove that provided heating
for the classroom and was also used for cooking
lunches and melting ice and snow for water. In
the cold of winter, it took a whUe for a stove to
warm up a school to a temperature at which the
teacher and students could work. Edgar mentions
in his letter of 12 November 1935, that "Mr.
Smith banks the fire at night, so the school is
warm in the morning." In such cold conditions,
inkweUs could freeze, thus delaying studies even
after fingers and toes had been thawed out near
the stove. Compounded by the cold, the already
lengthy trek that many students took to school
every day was even more arduous. Attendance
was lower at these times, and school would sometimes be canceUed on account of weather conditions. In northern areas school hours were also
affected by the limited dayUght in the winter. In
oudying regions, the rural setting and the quaUty
of rural school buUdings caused Mother Nature
to be a more disruptive visitor than in urban centres. Encounters with wUdUfe were not rare on
the way to school. LiUian Clare, the teacher at
Newton in 1919, reported that porcupines ate
the seats in the outhouses.7 Edgar Latimer wrote
of having to dismiss his students early because
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 34 No. 2 Kilometres
the mosquitos were so bad. (11 June 1935)
For the teachers who worked in these schools,
the end of the school day brought litde escape
from the trials and uncertainties of rural Ufe. A
teacher's dweUing place was often as remarkable
as the school in which he or she taught. Most
often, when a teacher left town for a rural teaching post, they arrived with no idea of where they
would spend the night, let alone the entire year.
Teachers might board with a famUy, "batch it",
or Uve at a local hotel. Edgar's boarding situation
was ideal. He lived with a fanuly named the
Parises, and their daughter was one of his students. The fanuly had boarded off one corner of
their house into a private bedroom for Edgar,
while they themselves shared a common room
for kitchen, bedroom, and dining room. Edgar's
letters frequendy mention the Parises, and give
every indication of a mutuaUy amiable, supportive and respectful relationship.
It could have been otherwise, however. When
a teacher boarded, it was most often with the
family of a student, and this created obvious problems: loss of privacy, and conflict of interest. Some
teachers even had to share a bedroom with a pupU!
Some boarding situations presented undesirable
Uving conditions, such as the famUy that Winnie
KeevU stayed with at CraigeUachie in the 1920s.
Their house was below ground—because of cold
winters—and two of Miss KeevU's pupUs slept
on the ground while pigs and chickens Uved in
the kitchen.8 Boarding arrangements could also
be uncomfortable because of disagreements or
an incompatibiUty between host and teacher.
Teachers that Uved on their own might reside
in a teacherage, a room speciaUy created for the
resident teacher, and often buUt onto the back of
the school. Edgar described the Uving space of a
teacher friend in North Pine, twelve mUes from
Crystal Springs:
She has a Utde place in one corner of the school
grounds. It is fenced off with a high fence, inside
which she keeps her horse... The house itself is the
most interesting thing! She had it made a year ago.
It is made on wheels, and can be moved from place
to place. (24 September 1935)
Stories abound of other bizarre Uving arrangements. The teacher at Soda Creek in the 1920s,
for instance, Uved in the government jaU whUe
waiting for proper accommodation.9 The female
teacher at Alert Bay Uved at the hotel and was
constandy harassed by bar patrons caUing her
name through the waUs at night and offering to
keep her company in bed.10 Teachers may not
have had the most comfortable Uving arrangements, but was it unreasonable of them to expect
that their schools would be adequately outfitted?
One of the biggest problems aUing the rural
school was a lack of suppUes. Urban schools were
located at the source of teaching materials, or at
Above: Map of a part of
the "Peace Block" based on
a 1933 map. The Crystal
Springs school is closest to
the settlement of Montney.
The Reserve, exchanged for
other lands, was after the
Second World War
subdivided for returning
8 Joan Adams, Floating
Schoob and Frozen
Inkwells: the one-room
schoob of British Columbia.
(Madeira Park, BC:
Harbour Publishing Co.,
1985), 56
' Ibid., 60
10 Kindling the Spark, 209
19 11 This poverty in rural
areas was exacerbated by
the Depression during
the 1930s. In September
of 1933, Edgar wrote:
"Most ofthe people
living here are on
government relief...
They [the students] are
expected to buy their
own geographies,
histories, grammars,
composition and
literature books, but their
parents haven't any
money, so there's no use
asking them to buy
them. We'll just have to
wiggle through as best
we can."
12 Kindling the Spark, 49
13 In 1940, the Rural
Teachers' Associations
(est. 1938) and the
BCTF Executive "asked
for either a) a separate
Rural Schools
Programme of Studies, or
b) a revised Programme,
so that teachers might
better arrange their work
in accordance with the
programs of ungraded
schools." (The BCTeacher:
Official Organ ofthe BC
Teachers' Federation,
February 1940), 289)
least had readier access to materials through proximity to major transportation routes. However, it
was cosdy and inconvenient to transport suppUes
to oudying regions ofthe province. Furthermore,
these communities were seldom in a financial position to pay for suppUes. Parents could not afford materials that students were expected to in-
dividuaUy provide, and a local school board was
only as wealthy as the community it served. "The
scarcity of suppUes was endemic in rural schools.
Edgar told his inspector "how handicapped we
were for books, and he said it was the case aU
over the district, and it was only expected that
we should do the best we could under the circumstances." (11 December 1933)
"Doing the best" usuaUy meant resourcefulness and improvisation on the part ofthe teacher.
The teacher could usuaUy depend on desks being provided, and when proper furniture was not
possible, overturned fruit boxes or packing crates
would suffice. Blackboards were a necessity, and
sometimes took the form of tar-paper, or boards
painted black or green. The Nielson Chocolate
Bar Company generously suppUed rural schools
with maps—a less-than-subde advertising ploy
that featured the world's geography bordered by
pictures of chocolate bars. When schools had
books, they were frequendy few and out of date.
When Edmund Edgar arrived to teach in the
Cariboo in 1929, the entire suppUes in the school
consisted of a box of chalk, a three-volume copy
ofthe history of World War One, and a copy of
BC Trees and Shrubs. For $7.50, Edmund bought
a six-month subscription of theVancouver Province from a traveUing salesman, and this provided
reading material for his class.12 Edgar Latimer
often requested his parents to maU books to him
from the city, some of which were his old texts,
others were new ones that he bought with his
own money. SuppUes were also ordered by catalogue. Catalogues were used by consumers in
urban areas as weU, but were just part ofthe variety that city folk had at hand. In isolated areas of
BC, the Eaton's catalogue was a prized item, providing reading material and visual and paper suppUes for students, whue offering a welcome
glimpse ofthe 'outside world' for rural folk.Teach-
ers sent orders to Eaton's for chUdren's presents
that would arrive in time for the annual Christmas concert. Edgar spoke of fimdraising for the
purpose of purchasing such gifts:
Besides giving a dance, I am going to raffle off a
fruit cake which Mrs. Paris will bake for me. The
cake wiU be 5 or 6 pounds.The tickets wUl seU for
10 cents or three for 25 cents. If we can seU a hundred, the school Christmas treats will not be such a
burden on my own purse. (24 November 1935)
When lucky, only half of these expenses came
from his own pocket.
It was not at aU unusual for rural teachers to
provide school suppUes out of their own salaries.
Edgar's letters alone emphasize this trend.When
visiting the Rose Prairie School, Edgar remarked
"It is vasdy superior to aU the rest of our schools.
Miss Meade herself has spent a lot of time and
money on its improvement." In December 1935,
Edgar wrote of his friend George: "[He] spent a
great deal of his own money for the chUdren's
Christmas treats—more than was justifiable, I beUeve (when one considers how the same people
wiU turn around and condemn a teacher in a few
weeks)."This last comment also gives teUing insight into the relationship between teacher and
community, as wiU be discussed later.
A scarcity of suppUes only added to the difficulty of teaching in a rural school. Training at
Normal School was geared towards the management of one grade, as would be the case in an
urban school, and did not prepare teachers for
the chaUenge of instructing in a one-room school.
Rural teachers had the monumental task of teaching multiple grades, aU in the same room, and in
the same amount of time that would be aUotted
one grade in an urban school. As such, teacher's
talents were spread thin:
It surely is hard to take up a lesson with every grade
in nearly every subject during the day, and to keep
those who aren't reciting profitably employed in
the meanwhile... I am sufficiendy bewildered with
grades one and two. They need so much personal
attention, and yet so does grade eight. (7 September 1933)
Each grade had a particular curricular standard
to meet, and this demanded considerable energy
and organization from the teacher, especiaUy if
he or she attempted to foUow the course and
curriculum outUnes as laid out by the Department of Education.13 Most rural teachers quickly
reaUzed that this was a superhuman task, and devised their own systems. Edgar's discouragement
is evident in his letter of 27 January 1934:
I could spend every bit of my time preparing school-
work. These 7 grades surely tax my abilities. I wish
I was brilliant enough to go ahead and teach without any preparation. I don't seem to be getting anywhere as it is. Work is far behind in all subjects, in
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 34 No. 2 all grades.
As Mr. Latimer's letters indicate, whUe the teacher
was occupied with one grade level, the remaining students did seat work. Older students helped
the younger students with lessons. ChUdren shared
books and copied exercises from the Umited
blackboard space that the, teacher used thriftily.
The combination of grades in one room was a
source of disruption; the lesson of one grade level
would capture the attention of aU the chUdren.
Sometimes students rivaUed the teacher in age
and size, making it difficult for the teacher to
maintain discipUne and authority.
The actual lessons taught in ungraded rural
schools often did not resemble those of cities and
towns. Some subjects were not taught, fewer
materials were avaUable, texts were possibly above
the level of students, and standards differed from
one district to the next.14 A wider range of courses
were avaUable in urban centres, including commerce, domestic science and manual training. In
1906, vocational training emerged in the commercial centres of Vancouver.Victoria, and New
Westminster, offering such subjects as bookkeeping, typing, stenography, and business.15 Rural students desiring such an education would have to
move to the urban centres ofthe province. Grade-
eight students wrote high-school entrance exams, usuaUy traveUing into a larger town for this
purpose. When a student faded, they had the
choice of leaving school or repeating grade eight.
Teachers were expected to prepare their students
for these exams, and Edgar expressed anxiety over
his students' performance in the upcoming exams:
I've done about all I can for them. Their government exams start a week from tomorrow. The four
pupils have to go to Fort St. John to write them.
I've been having them try the Entrance papers of
the last 4 years, and the results are very discouraging. They can't even pass in some subjects. I don't
know what wUl happen when they get down to St.
John in strange surroundings. (18 June 1935)
Beginning in May, Edgar spent two and a half
hours each Saturday with his four grade eight
pupUs, helping them to prepare for government
exams.This responsibUity illustrates how the role
of a teacher in a rural community extended far
beyond classroom instruction five days a week.
The rural schoolteacher wore many hats
around school and in the community. They performed numerous tasks that would have been
shared amongst staff in an urban school, and occupied a distinct social space in the community.
Rural teachers had professional, social, and moral
expectations to Uve up to. In short, "a huge guff
existed between what was expected of them and
what in reaUty they could achieve given the circumstances in which they were required to perform."16 In addition to educating chUdren, most
rural teachers performed the janitorial work of
the school: chopping wood, fetching water, scrubbing and oiUng floors, washing windows, cleaning toUets.... In 1933, Norval Brown cleared a
section of forest around his Alexandria school-
house to provide a playing field for the chUdren.17
The teacher was responsible for planning and directing the celebrated annual Christmas concert.
This, the biggest social event ofthe year, needed
to include the participation of every student, and
it was a difficult task to incorporate the pupUs'
varied abiUties into a performance with which
everyone would be pleased. Provincial Department of Health regulations required rural teachers to perform general health care checks, and
inspect chUdren for contagious diseases.18 Rural
teachers were expected to deUver night school
classes for adults, where there was an interest.
Night school did not materiaUze in Crystal
Springs because attendance did not reach the requisite ten. However, Edgar was obUgated to help
another teacher run her night school, and this
involved leaving immediately after school on
Friday to ride twelve mUes in sub-zero weather.
Furthermore, and perhaps most significandy,
the rural teacher was expected to behave in a
"teacherly" manner. The school was usuaUy the
centre of the community, so wlule the urban
teacher could seek relative anonymity after school
hours, the rural teacher was constandy in the pubUc eye. He or she was, Uke the minister, held apart
from the rest of society, and expected to provide
a moral example. They had to guard their reputation and be mindful of their conduct in every
situation. The teacher was expected to attend
church, to make visits to famiUes, and to fulfil
social obUgations. Edgar discusses the rural teacher's role with a tone of exasperation:
There are so many things to think of! The combination of plans for the play, Christmas concert, together with school work, and exams just concluded,
has made my poor head pretty muddled. In this
country there is no limit to the amount of work,
visiting etc. that the teacher is supposed to do. I'm
rushed aU the wlule. The minister is in the same
14 Schooling and Society in
Twentieth Century British
Columbia (Calgary:
Detselig Enterprises
Limited, 1980) 31
15 Ibid., 45
16 Penelope Stephenson,
'"Mrs. Gibson looked as
if she was ready for the
end of term': The
Professional Trials and
Tribulations of Rural
Teachers in British
Columbia's Okanagan
VaUey in the 1920s."
Children, Teachers and
Schoob in the Hbtory of
Britbh Columbia (Calgary:
Detselig Enterprises,
1995), 247
17 Kindling the Spark, 4
18 Penelope Stephenson,
21 Qv(»tgfeaCanctjgk, ■
11**" X  •
Above: Cover of Christmas Concert program,
1934 of Crystal Spring
[sic] school.
" Kindling the Spark, 146
20 Stephenson, Penelope,
21 Joan Adams, 19
position.Yet people think we have very Utde to do.
(2 December 1933)
As educational caretaker of the schoolchUdren,
and physical caretaker ofthe school buUding, the
teacher necessarUy occupied a central role in rural society.
In rural areas that lacked the amenities of the
city, the one-room school was usuaUy the centre
of the community. Urban centres presented a
variety of locations that could be utiUzed for or
represented social organization, such as churches,
Ubraries, community haUs, poUce stations, government offices, theatres, parks etc. For many rural
residents, a schoolhouse was the only pubUc buUding the community could boast, and was the logical physical and social centre of community Ufe.
The school was used for church services, weddings, and funerals.The community hosted dances
and concerts, and held speUing bees, fundraising
and box socials. Gatherings of a more serious
nature, such as temperance meetings, men's and
women's clubs, and poUtical events (elections,
community meetings and speakers) were Ukewise
held at the school.
The schoolchUdren and their activities constituted a vital contribution to community Ufe. As
mentioned before, the school Christmas concert
was the biggest event of the year, anticipated by
aU, and attended even by people who had traveUed rrules from neighbouring communities.
Ernie and PhyUis Hatch, who taught in the Peace
River country in 1940, took pleasure in the many
events put on by the school: pie socials, turkey
shoot (i.e. hit a buU's-eye with a gun and win a
chicken), a Red Cross concert, fireworks at Halloween, a Hard Times dance, and a Valentine's
party.There were three schools around CecU Lake
where Ernie and PhyUis taught, and these schools
coUaborated to organize badminton tournaments
and joint Sports Days.19 Crystal Springs Ukewise
had Sports Days with neighbouring communities. To underUne the community involvement
in this event: when Edgar's students won the
Sports Day, they were awarded a green and gold
felt pendant that read "1935 Champions," and
which was made by the local Ladies'Aid. (11 June
1935) The school dance, another event attended
by multiple communities, was a popular affair in
Crystal Springs and nearby districts. Edgar frequendy mentions dances that did not end until
four in the morning, posing an even later evening
for those that had several mUes to ride before
they reached home.
This marriage of school and community had
immense repercussions for the teacher. The rural
teacher could not function autonomously or in-
dependendy ofthe rhythms of community:
In isolated districts, schools were so closely adapted
to the communities of which they were a product
that the level of education children both required
and received represented no more than the needs
of rural society. It was a reflection of what rural
parents expected.20
As explained earUer, the community's expectations of the teacher were many and high. The
expectations, practices, and values of the community could work against the teacher, making
Ufe difficult for them. Conversely, the teacher
might express beUefs that caused contention in
the community. The teacher walked a precarious
balancing Une between the varied interests in the
community, striving to maintain neutraUty. BC's
rural teachers would have agreed with Edgar
when he wrote to his parents: "You wiU readily
perceive how careful I must be constandy so as
not to give anyone any chance to find fault with
my work" (8 March 1936)
Community poUtics wove a complex web that
would inevitably snare the teacher sooner or later.
Sometimes the school was direcdy tied to these
issues. For instance, the $25 or so that a teacher
paid for board was a welcome monthly income
to any homesteader. Particularly during the Depression years when no other income could be
had, rivalries and bitterness ensued over which
fanuly the teacher would stay with. A teacher
needed to exercise diplomacy when dealing with
the people of the community. A hot-tempered
teacher in Salmon Arm, who was "meddUng" in
School Board affairs and was not mindful enough
of his conduct, was faced with the wrath of the
There were petitions for the dismissal of Mr. Irwin,
and counter-petitions. There were accusations that
a parent had assaulted Mr. Irwin on the street, and
that he had unjusdy and brutaUy strapped one of
the school children.. .There was the offer of ten
dollars to any gendeman who would thrash the
schoolteacher...Parents withdrew their children
from school, and the children all lined up on the
side of their parents.21
WhUe Irwin reportedly got what he deserved,
there were many situations in which the community's abuse of the teacher had been unprovoked. In isolated regions where people were
Organized October 12,1922, as
The British Columbia Historical Association', and registered under the Societies Act, March 2,1927.
Change of name Registered under the Society Act, July 29,1983.
2. The purposes ofthe Federation are:
(1) to stimulate public interest, and to encourage historical research, in British Columbia History;
(2) to promote the preservation and marking of historical sites, relics, natural features, and other objects and places of historical interest;
(3) to publish historical sketches, studies, and documents.
3. The operations of the Federation are to be carried on chiefly within the Province of British Columbia.
4. The purposes of the Federation shall be carried out without purpose of gain for its members and any profits and other accretions to the Federation shall be
used for promoting its purposes. This article is unalterable.
5. In the event of winding up or dissolution of the Federation, any funds ofthe Federation remaining after the satisfaction of its debts and liabilities, shall be given
or transferred to such organizations promoting the same object of this Federation as may be determined by the members of the Federation at the time of winding
up or dissolution, and if effect cannot be given to the aforesaid provisions, then such funds shall be given or transferred to some other organization, provided that
such organization referred to in this paragraph shall be a registered charity recognized by the Department of National Revenue, Taxation, as qualified as such
under the provisions of the Income Tax Act of Canada from time to time in effect. This article is unalterable.
Part 1 - Interpretation
1. (1) In these Bylaws, unless the context otherwise requires,
(a) "councillors" means the councillors of the Federation for the time being;
(b) "Society Act" means the Society Act of the Province of British Columbia from time to time in force and all amendments to it.
(2) The definitions in the Society Act on the date these Bylaws become effective apply to these Bylaws.
(3) Words importing the singular include the plural and vice versa; and words importing a male person include a female person and a
corporation or institution.
Part 2 - Membership
2. There shall be three classes of membership:
(1) Member Societies: Local historical societies are entitled to become Member Societies ofThe British Columbia Historical Federation:
(a) They may use such local designation as they choose;
(b) their objects shall not be inconsistent with those of the Federation;
(C) their powers shall not exceed those of the Federation;
(d) they may choose words to the effect that the Member Historical Society is a member society of The British Columbia Historical Federation; and
(e) all members ofthe local Society shall ipso facto be members ofthe Federation and shall pay dues to the Federation as hereinafter provided.
(2) Affiliated Groups: Organizations with specialized interests or objects of a historical nature may participate in the activities of the Federation, and may
send observers to its meetings, but without voting privileges. Dues, if any, for such groups shall be set by Council.
(3) Honourary Members: Such persons shall be specially distinguished for their attainments in history and historical research, or otherwise deemed worthy
of the honour. They shall be elected unanimously by Council on the nomination of a President of a Member Society on theinstructions of that Society. They shall
be nominated from the members of the Federation and shall be elected at the Council meeting immediately preceding the Annual General Meeting. Not more
than one Honourary Member may be elected in any one year, and the maximum shall be ten Honourary Members. Honourary Members shall have full privileges of
the Federation for life and will be exempt the payment of annual dues.
3. Application for Membership:
(1) Member Society or Affiliated Group - upon submission of the prescribed Application Form by the Officers of an organization for either Membership or
Affiliation, Council shall decide whether the organization should be more appropriate as a Member Society or Affiliated Group, and may authorize membership or
affiliation by a 75 per cent majority vote of Council Members in attendance.
(2) Member Societies and Affiliated Groups determine their own membership criteria.
4. A Member Society or an Affiliated Group shall cease to be a member of the Federation:
(1) by sending written notice of withdrawal, signed by the President and the Secretary ofthe organization, to the Secretary ofthe Federation; or
(2) by failing to forward dues of the members of a Member Society for a period of more than two Annual General Meetings of the Federation; or
(3) for cause that is detrimental to the Federation, specified by special resolution of Council by a 75 per cent majority vote of Coun~ members present. Two
month's notice in writing ofthe special resolution for expulsion must be given to such organization and such organization shall be given an opportunity to be
heard at the meeting of council before the special resolution is put to the vote. An appeal for reconsideration may be made to the next succeeding general
meeting ofthe Federation.
5. (1) Every member of a Member Society shall uphold the Constitution and comply with these Bylaws.
(2) Council may, by special resolution passed by a 75 per cent majority vote of the members of Council present, expel a member of a member Society from
membership in the Federation because of behaviour that is detrimental to the Federation. Such person shall be given the opportunity to be heard at the meeting
of Council before the special resolution is put to the vote. The Member Society to which such person belongs must be advised of the decision of Council. 6. Honourary Patron:
The Federation may invite His Honour, the Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of British Columbia, during his term of office, to be Honourary Patron of the
7. Honourary President:
The Federation may have an Honourary President nominated and elected by Council annually at its meeting immediately following the annual General
Part 3 - Meetings of Members
8. General meetings ofthe Federation shall be held at such time and place, in accordance with the Society Act, as the Council shall decide.
9. Notice of a general meeting shall specify the place, the day and the hour of meeting and shall state the nature of the business of that meeting.
10. The Annual General Meeting shall be held at least once in every calendar year and not more than 15 months after the holding of the last preceding Annual
General Meeting. The place ofthe Annual General Meeting shall be fixed by the previous Annual General Meeting at any place in British Columbia. Should this not
be possible, Council shall decide the place ofthe succeeding Annual General Meeting.
11. The Executive Committee, or any five members of the Executive Committee, or no less than 10 per cent of the members ofthe Federation, may requisition an
extraordinary general meeting ofthe Federation for any purpose.
12. Any persons calling a general meeting of the membership of the Federation pursuant of clause 11 immediately preceding shall be responsible for the
administration and preparation ofthe meeting.
13. All members ofthe Federation are entitled to attend and take part in discussions at general meetings. Voting at any general meeting ofthe Federation shall be
by: (a) each member of Council in attendance; and (b) voting delegates accredited by Member Societies — one (1) delegate for each ten (10), or part thereof, paid-
up members.
14. Any resolution or motion shall be deemed passed if a majority of the voting members present vote in favour of such resolution or motion unless otherwise
stipulated in. the Bylaws. The Chairman does not have a second vote, and proxies will not be accepted.
15. A quorum at all general meetings shall be 25 members of Council and/or voting delegates.
16. The rules of procedure at any general meeting shall be determined by the Executive Committee, or, if any member objects, by a late edition of Robert's Rules of
17. Notice of any general meeting shall be given to each Member Society at least fourteen days before such meeting, and seven days should be allowed for
18. Ten days before any general meeting of the Federation, the Secretaries of Member Societies shall forward to the Federation Secretary a list of voting delegates.
Part 4-Officers
19. The Officers of the Federation shall consist of the President First Vice-President, Second Vice-President immediate Past President (ex officio). Secretary,
Recording Secretary, Treasurer, and Editor.
20. The President may not serve more than three consecutive years, and shall not be eligible for re-election for at least three years.
21. The offices of Secretary and Treasurer may be combined into one office—that of Secretary-Treasurer.
22. The offices of Secretary and Recording Secretary may be combined into the one office of Secretary.
23. (1) The President First Vice-President Second Vice-President Secretary, Recording Secretary, and Treasurer for the ensuing year shall be elected at a properly
constituted election at the Annual General Meeting, at which meeting they may be re-elected subject to the limitation in Bylaw 20 relating to the length of service
ofthe President.
(2) These positions may be filled by suitably qualified members of the Federation who need not be members elected to Council for the ensuing year.
(3) Separate elections shall be held for each office to be filled.
(4) An election may be by acclamation, otherwise it shall be by ballot.
(5) If no successor is elected, the person previously elected or appointed continues to hold office, except for the President as provided in Bylaw 20.
24. Council may, by special resolution passed by 75 per cent majority vote of Council members present, remove an Officer before the expiration of his term of
office because of behaviour that is detrimental to the Federation. The remaining members of Council may appoint a member to take the place of the former
Part 5 - Duties of Officers
25. The President:
(1) shall preside at all meetings of the Federation and of the Council, unless the members or Councillors otherwise decide;
(2) is the chief executive officer of the Federation and shall supervise the other officers in the execution of their duties.
26. The First (or Second) Vice-President shall carry out the duties of the President should he be absent.
27. The Secretary shall:
(1) conduct the correspondence ofthe Federation;
(2) issue notice of meetings ofthe Federation and the Council; (3) have custody of all records and documents of the Federation except those required to be kept by the Treasurer; and
(4) see that a register of Member Societies and Affiliated Groups is maintained.
28. The Recording Secretary shall:
(1) keep Minutes of all meetings ofthe Federation and the Council; and
(2) present such Minutes to the succeeding meeting ofthe Federation or Council respectively.
29. The Treasurer shall:
(1) keep the financial records, including books of account necessary to comply with the Society Act
(2) render financial statements to the Council, members, and others when required;
(3) have custody ofthe common seal ofthe Federation.
30. Other Officers shall perform such duties as Council may decide.
Part 6-Council
31. The affairs of the Federation shall be administered by a Council consisting of the Officers of the Federation and the following members:
(1) the Presidents of the Member Societies, or such other member of a Member Society as that Society may elect
(2) one Councillor for each one hundred members or fraction thereof in excess ofthe first one hundred members of each Member Society; and
(3) two members-at-large to be elected at the Annual General Meeting ofthe Federation.
32. All Councillors shall hold office from the time of the first Council meeting after the Federation Annual General Meeting until the end of the following Annual
General Meeting.
33. Prior to the termination of the Federation Annual Convention and following the Annual General Meeting, the incoming Councillors, including the Table
Officers, shall meet for the purpose of dealing with such business as may come before them. They shall appoint the Editor, and the co-Editor or Assistant Editor, if
34. The Councillors for Member Societies shall be those elected by each Member Society each year prior to the Federation Annual General Meeting.
35. The Council shall have the custody and disposal of all the property of the Federation.
36. Five Councillors shall constitute a quorum, and in case of equality of votes, the Chairman does not have a second vote. Council shall hold at least one meeting
each year other than the ones immediately preceding and following the Annual General Meeting.
37. A Councillor may send another member of his Society in his place to a Council meeting which he cannot attend. Such a representative may vote at the
meeting upon production of credential from the Councillor authorizing him to do so.
38. The Council shall have the power to make REGULATIONS, providing they are in accordance with these Bylaws and are approved by a two-thirds majority vote
of Council members present.
Part 7 - Executive Committee
39. (1) The Executive Committee shall consist ofthe regularly elected Table Officers: President two Vice-Presidents, Secretary, Recording Secretary, and Treasurer;
the immediate Past President and two Councillors elected by Council from its members at the meeting immediately following the Annual General Meeting. Five
members shall constitute a quorum.   -
(2) The Executive Committee shall meet at the call of the President or of three of Its members. It shall have no power to originate policies independent of
Council, and it shall report any activities to the succeeding meeting of Council for appropriate action.
(3) No member of the Executive Committee shall receive remuneration for his services.
Part 8 - Miscellaneous
40. Resolutions: A resolution signed, or approved by telephone, by 75 per cent of the members of the Council or Executive Committee respectively, and placed
with the Minutes of Council, shall be as valid and effectual as If passed at a meeting ofthe Council or Executive Committee duly called and properly constituted.
41. Financial Yean The Financial Year ofthe Federation shall be from April 1 st to March 31 st ofthe foUowing year.
42. Auditor. The financial records of the Federation shall be audited as prescribed in the Society Act.
43. Annual Dues: The annual Federation Dues for all members shall be set at the Annual General Meeting for the succeeding financial year.
44. Borrowing Powers: The Federation shall exercise no borrowing powers.
45. Inspection of Books: The books, papers, records, and other property of the Federation shall he open to inspection by any member, at any reasonable time,
upon due notice.
46. Seal: The Seal of the Federation shall not be affixed to any instrument except by authority of a resolution of Council, or of the Executive Committee, and in the
presence of such officers as may be prescribed in and by such resolution.
47. Amendments to the Bylaws: Bylaws shall be amended only by special resolution at a general meeting of the Federation. Motions to amend the Bylaws may be
proposed by Council, or by a Member Society transmitting the proposed amending motion through its Secretary to the Federation Secretary. Such motions,
together with reasons therefore, will be distributed to all Member Societies ofthe Federation at least one month before the meeting. A 75 per cent majority vote
of Council members and of accredited delegates in attendance will be required to pass the amendments). THE BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORICAL FEDERATION
The Federation President, First Vice-President, and Second Vice-President should, if possible, be members of different Member Societies.
The position of Honourary President shall be offered to any one person for not more than three consecutive years.
(1) The application Form (Bylaw 3(1)) is to be completed in duplicate - one copy to be returned to the applicant society.
(2) All members ofthe Federation must be members of a Member Society.
(3) Persons resident within or without British Columbia may belong to any Member Society of their choice.
(4) An Honourary Member of a Member Society is not an Honourary Member ofthe Federation, and, therefore, the local society is responsible for
any dues owing to the Federation.
(5) Life Membership may be awarded by the Council with privileges similar to those granted Honourary Members (Bylaw 2(3)).
(6) Dues for an Affiliated Group are set by the Federation.
The Recording Secretary shall forward to all members of Council, or ofthe Executive Committee, as appropriate, copies of all Minutes of meetings
as soon as possible after the meeting.
The Financial Records of the Federation shall be kept at the address ofthe Treasurer for the time being.
Any two of the Treasurer, the President and one other member of Council shall be signing authority for cheques. Should the Treasurer be unable
to sign, the other two must keep a separate record of all income and disbursements so that the Treasurer may write up a permanent record later.
At the end of September the Federation Treasurer must send to the Treasurer of each Member Society an "Annual Return" Form to report
information as at October 31 st of that year. The Form, together with any monies owed to the Federation, is to be sent to the Federation Treasurer
by the next, succeeding, December 31 st.
The publication of a quarterly magazine shall be a continuing effort ofthe Federation.
(1) The Editor (and, if necessary, a co-Editor or Assistant Editor) shall be appointed by the Council (Bylaw33), and shall have the responsibility of
preparing each issue through to the completion ofthe printing.
(2) A Publishing Committee may be appointed by the Federation to assist the Editor.
(3) The Subscription Secretary: (a) shall be appointed by Council; (b) shall be responsible for the maintenance ofthe list of subscribers; and (c) shall
invoice and collect subscription payments from individuals and/or member societies. Close liaison must be maintained between the Subscription
Manager and the Treasurer.
(4) Member Societies and members of Council shall make every effort to increase subscriptions and sales at commercial sales outlets.
(1) Convention Fund: Any Member Society that acts as host for the Convention and Annual General Meeting of the Federation may apply for an
advance of up to $400 to make preliminary arrangements and reservations. Written application for financial assistance from the Member Society,
duly counter-signed by the Federation President, shall authorize the Federation Treasurer to make such an advance. The loan, together with 50
per cent of any profit in excess of $20, is to be repaid to the Federation Treasurer, to be credited to the Convention Fund, within six months of the
date ofthe loan.
(2) Council Travel Fund: Member of Council who must travel over 600 miles to attend Council Meetings will be refunded the cheapest method of
public transportation, on application to the Federation Treasurer.
(3) Publications Assistance Fund: A member of the Federation, or a Member Society who/which wishes to publish works of local historical value
may apply for an advance towards publication costs by submitting the prescribed Application Form, through the Federation Secretary, to the
Publications Assistance Committee of Council. The recipient of such assistance will submit a progress report at six-month intervals. After
publication, the loan is an early charge on the receipts from sales, and 10 per cent of any profits over $20 or such other recompense to the
Federation as may be agreed upon, should be donated to the Publications Assistance Fund ofthe Federation.
(4) Seminar Fund: Any Member Society that wishes to organize a Seminar on a topic of historical value may apply for an advance towards the
preliminary expenses of such a seminar. The application should give full details of the proposed Seminar and the anticipated expenses, and
should be directed to the Executive ofthe Federation. The repayment ofthe loan is an early charge on the receipts ofthe Seminar, and 10 per cent
of any profit over $20 should be donated should be donated to the Seminar Fund ofthe Federation.
Current documents and papers of the Federation shall be kept by the respective Table Officer for three years. The Treasurer shall retain the
financial papers for the period required by the Income Tax Act. Thereafter, following each Annual General Meeting, the appropriate documents
and papers shall be transferred to the Provincial Archives with two provisos (Letter from the Provincial Archivist, March 8,1983):
"(a) That the records deposited will be non-current ones which, in the judgement of our staff, are of permanent archival value;
"(b) That the initial sorting of the records will be done by the Federation and that the Provincial Archives reserves the right to decide what it will
accept. This agreement could be terminated by either party on one year's notice."
Documents and papers not accepted by the Provincial Archives may be disposed of or destroyed by authority ofthe Federation Council.
March 2000 hard-pressed for communication and entertainment, the gossip mill, or "moccasin telegraph",
as it was called in Crystal Springs, ran overtime.
Mary WiUiams, who taught in Mud Creek near
Prince George between 1922 and 1924, was one
victim of this vicious phenomenon:
By the end of the first school year, this young
woman, now 19 years old, had been regaled in all
quarters with tales ofthe valley's darker side—allegations of cuckolding, incest, infidelity, greed, bootlegging, drunkenness, treachery, temporary insanity and failure.22
When certain members of the community disapproved of a teacher's behaviour, the teacher
could be out of luck. Such was the case with
Miss Beechy of Ootsa Lake: she was dismissed
because of her engagement to a man not well
liked in the community, who spent too much
time at the young teacher's house.23
Tensions also resulted from a difference in
philosophy between parent and teacher. At times,
parents and local boards wielded tyranny over
the teacher. Social pressure and ostracism as techniques of manipulation had more influence in a
rural district where social options were limited.
Events in the classroom found an audience in
the larger context of the setdement, just as the
issues of the community were transferred to the
smaller stage ofthe classroom. Children brought
their parents' attitudes with them into class—be
it a grudge against a particular family, indifference or enthusiasm towards education. The
teacher could not dismiss these values. In rural
areas, teachers were not always supported by parents who had an agrarian background and who
therefore did not place value on education to
the same degree that parents in a metropolitan
area might have. Parents who required their children's labour pulled them out of classes. Parents
also resisted education by refusing to pay school
taxes, or by withdrawing their children in hopes
that the school would be forced to close.24 In the
southern Okanagan, teachers had to be aware of
and sensitive to the values of the Doukhobor
community. Parents of Doukhobor children were
often wary of education as a state institution and
a threat to their beUefs. They frequendy puUed
their chUdren out of school, and the more radical elements of the community burned and
bombed schools as a form of protest. Most BC
teachers in the early twentieth century had either been trained in, or had Uving experience in
an urbanized region ofthe province. Just as rural
parents often had an agrarian bias, teachers also
had their biases. Edgar's bias is apparent in his
letter of 2 December 1933:
The homesteaders, on the other hand, are a pretty
lazy bunch.They wouldn't be much good working
eight hours a day at a job...I wouldn't mind so
much, but their whole attitude is reflected in the
behavior of the children at school, who have no
ambition whatsoever, and no sense of the value of
FoUowing are excerpts from a heated correspondence between Mr. Latimer and the mother of
five of his students. (June, 1936) Their remarks
Ulustrate respective urban and agrarian biases of
teacher and parent, as weU as the tensions that
could develop between the teacher and the community:
Mrs. W. —...the insults you have thrown at the
parents at different times through the children,
which you must know gets repeated, I have neither respect or sympathy for such a person. We
backwoods people may be pretty ignorant and may
not amount to much, through the eyes of city people, but it does not help matters any to be always
throwing insults at the parents and farmers through
the children...
Edgar—...If these remarks about the colds
could have been twisted about in such a wrong
way, what assurance have I that other things I am
reported to have said have really been so objectionable as you claim? .. .1 am sorry if your children have given the impression that I despise farmers and consider "city People" as the only persons
who amount to anything. I who have spent at least
half my life in rural districts would be very foolish
to make such an assertion. In my opinion, however, an educated farmer is better able to make a
successful living, to find more enjoyment in life,
Above: This shack was the
home ofthe teacher at
Murdale, north of
22 Thomas Fleming and
Carolyn Smyly, "The
Diary of Mary Williams:
A Cameo of Rural
Schooling in British
Columbia, 1922-1924."
Children, Teachers and
Schoob in the Hbtory of
British Columbia.
(Calgary: Detselig
Enterprises, 1995), 271
23 Ibid., 295
24 Schooling and Society in
Twentieth Century British
Columbia. (Calgary:
Detselig Enterprises
Limited, 1980), 30
23 25 Kindling the Spark, 93
and to help his country more than an uneducated
Mrs.W.—If it had been just my own children
that I heard speak of the remarks passed by the
teacher previous to this you would never have had
the note. It happened that I heard other children's
parents discussing and laughing about it and not
lately either. But they are folks who talk behind
one's back, and are afraid to come forward and have
it out with the person himself...
Nevertheless, this intense connection to the community had its positive points as weU. Some teachers found Uving in a rural district to be a fulfiUing and unique social experience.
The dynamics ofthe rural community afforded
the teacher a closer relationship to his or her students than was common in the urban society that
drew a sharper distinction between child and adult
worlds. For others, however, their teaching experience in an isolated district was one of loneU-
ness and depression.Wlule rural areas did not offer
the cinemas, theatres, parades, technology, and
shopping options ofthe city, they had their own
brand of entertainment. Edgar's comments on
Peace River Ufe certainly do not portray the
country in a duU Ught:
Well, it certainly is a strange country. There's always
something happening here to keep the tongues
wagging. People trading one thing for another—
the minister the most eager trader of them all. Fights
at dances. Fires—a home in the Murdall was destroyed this week. Marriages—half a dozen since
I've been here, some of them by necessity. Men being tried for horse-stealing. A man from Clayton
spending his time in the Fort St. John jail for attacking the only girl in the Clayton district. Dog
teams. Indians. Extremes of weather. And so on and
so on.You know how handicapped we are for means
of communication, yet anything which happens here
is known all over north of the Reserve in a day's
time or so. (20 January 1934)
PauUne Romaine, teacher at BriUiant in 1931,
enjoyed the extracurricular interaction with students that was possible in the rural setting. Her
students visited her in the teacherage to Usten to
the phonograph, and invited her along on skating and bobsledding parties.25 Because of the
community poUtics described earUer, a teacher
had to use wise judgement about just how much
he or she became involved in the social circles of
the community. More often than not, the social
possibiUties that a rural district offered were undesirable, particularly for the teacher who was
accustomed to the variety, excitement, and com
forts of urban Ufe.Wbile some schoolteachers did
marry someone from their rural teaching district, the unsoUcited attention of a community's
bachelors was a grievance for many a young female teacher.
Teachers found themselves without peers or
friends they could confide in. There was usuaUy
no one they could turn to for professional advice or emotional solace. Their physical isolation
made communication with fanuly and friends
difficult. Telephones were non-existent (many
parts of rural BC did not receive electricity until
the 1960s), and radios were rare. MaU service was
unpredictable, dependent on weather and road
conditions.Teachers often reUed on their neighbours to transport them to town, and so if no
locals would be going into town for several weeks,
the teacher was not able to send or receive letters. Because of this isolation, the rural school
inspector was often a welcome visitor. His brief
(and frequendy unpredictable) visits were regarded with trepidation, because he was an authority whose criticism could gready impact a
teacher's position. But he was a new face that
brought news of the "outside" world, and frequendy provided the only professional feedback
that a teacher would receive in ten months.
Edgar Latimer was fortunate in that there were
five other teachers in nearby settlements. Even if
there was a twelve-nule horse ride between one
school and the next, these young people sought
each other out when time and conditions aUowed.
It was reassuring even to know that this social
oudet was there, regardless of how seldom it was
tapped. These teachers held the same position in
their respective communities, dealt with the same
conditions, and were of similar age.Thus, in each
other's company, they expressed themselves more
freely than their daUy role within the community permitted. In September 1935 Edgar wrote
about several teachers gathering at Miss Meade's
"house on wheels:" "We talked about the pupUs
and our schools, the parents and the other inhabitants, the inspector and the other officials,
and everything in general, and quite enjoyed the
evening." And again in May ofthe same year, aU
six teachers from schools north of the Indian
Reserve met to coUaborate on the annual Sports
Day: "Besides settling the athletic question, we
did considerable talking of a nature we cannot
indulge among the homesteaders."
Other teachers were not as fortunate as Edgar.
On 16 November 1928, a twenty-year-old
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 34 No. 2 teacher named Mabel Jones was found dead in
her Cowichan Lake shack. This young teacher
had been depressed in the isolated logging camp
school, and had been harshly and unjusdy criticized by the elected school board trustee. With
no friends to talk to, she was driven to take her
own Ufe.26 Mabel's tragic death awakened authorities to the chaUenges facing rural schoolteachers,
and to the psychological impact of such a posting. The Department of Education acted quickly,
and in December of 1928 appointed Lottie
Bowron as Rural Teachers' Welfare Officer. This
new position would be concerned primarily with
female teachers, and specificaUy, with those in particularly rough and remote districts. Lottie travelled around the province inspecting rural schools,
talking to teachers, and compiUng a report. She
Ustened to teachers explain their difficulties, offered advice on how to approach these problems,
and spoke direcdy to troublesome and quarrelsome parents. When the conflict appeared to be
too deep or difficult to solve, she recommended
that the post be designated "a man's school".
Bowron was not the first to suggest this; letters
from teachers to Victoria frequendy stated that
the rough and rugged conditions of rural teaching posts were not suitable for female teachers27
Wlule Bowron provided immediate consolation
for the teachers she visited, the creation of the
Rural Teachers' Welfare Officer was never intended to confront the inherent problems of rural schooUng.When Bowron's position was terminated in 1934 with a change of government,
Utde had been done to ameUorate the rural school
Not until the late 1940s was there a considerable change in the discrepancies between urban
and rural schooUng. Improved roads lessened the
distance between settlements, and between set-
dements and cities.The Cameron Report of 1946
truly turned the page on the traditional one-room
school. The Report caUed for the consohdation
of rural schools into larger districts, to which chUdren would travel a farther distance and attend
classes in multiple-room and multiple-teacher
schools. Conditions began to more closely resemble those of urban areas.WhUe the one-room
school was phased out and relegated to the haUs
of history, rural teaching conditions today stiU
leave much to be desired. As recendy as March
2000, an article in BC Teacher entided "Rural
Teachers Resent Rent Hikes for Substandard
Housing" discussed the poor Uving conditions
and disparities suffered by teachers instructing
in oudying areas of British Columbia Such
grievances are not too dissinular from the challenges that faced rural teachers in the early twentieth-century, and which have been Uluminated
by a study of Edgar Latimer's letters. «*^»'
Adams, Joan. Floating Schoob and Frozen Inkwelb: the one-
room schoob of British Columbia. Madeira Park, BC:
Harbour Publishing Co., 1985.
Barmanjean, Neil Sutherland, and Donald Wilson.
Children, Teachers and Schoob in the History of British
Columbia. Calgary: Detselig Enterprises, 1995.
Bello, Natale. What Kind ofTeacher Works in the Small,
Isolated Schoob of British Co/«m6w?Vancouver:
Educational Research Institute of British Columbia,
British Columbia. Dept. of Education. Fifty-Eighth Annual
Report ofthe Public Schoob For the Province of British
Columbia, 1928-29. Victoria: King's Printer, 1929.
British Columbia. Dept. of Education. Sixty-Eighth
Annual Report ofthe Public Schoob       ofthe Province of
British Columbia, 1938-39. Victoria: King's Printer,
Cottingham, Mollie Esther. A Century of Public Education
in British Columbia. Paper given at the first annual
meeting ofthe Canadian College of teachers, August
Glancing Back: Reflections and Anecdotes on Vancouver Public
Schoob. Vancouver:Vancouver School Board, 1988.
Glanville, Alice. Schoob ofthe Boundary: 1891-1991.
Merritt: Sonotek Publishing Ltd., 1991.
Jaeger, D.R. "Attention Rural Teachers." The B. C. Teacher.
Vol.19 n.6 (1940) 287-289.
Johnson, Francis Henry. History of Public Education in
British Columbia. Vancouver: University of British
Columbia, 1964.
Kindling the Spark: the Era of One-room Schools: an
anthology ofTeachers' Experiences. Richmond: British
Columbia Retired Teachers'Association, 1996.
Knickerbocker, Nancy. "Rural Teachers Resent Rate
Hikes for Substandard Housing."       Teacher,Vol. 12, n.
5, March 2000,20.
Latimer, Edgar Covert. Letters from Montney, B.C. to his
parents in Burnaby, BC, 1933-36, describing his
teaching years in the Peace River Block.
Morrison, D.G. "Rural School Problems." B. C. Teacher.
Vol. 18 n. 4 (1937) 193-94.
The Peacemakers of North Peace. Fort St. John: Davies,
Ventress and Kyllo, 1973.
PutnamJ.H. and Weir, G.M. Survey ofthe School System.
Victoria: Province of British Columbia, 1925.
Sandison, James Macleod. Schoob of Old Vancouver.
Vancouver:Vancouver Historical Society, 1971.
Society and Schooling in 2ffh Century B.C. Calgary: Detselig
Enterprises, 1980.
Vancouver's First Century. NorthVancouver:J.J. Douglas,
26J.DonaldWilson,"'I am
ready to be of assistance
when I can': Lottie
Bowron and Rural
Women Teachers in
British Columbia."
Children, Teachers and
Schoob in the History of
British Columbia (Calgary:
Detselig Enterprises,
1995), 285
27 Ibid., 293
25 The Rose Murder Trial
by Rosemarie Parent
Rosemarie Parent is
vice president ofthe
Arrow Lakes Historical
In the fall of 1902, a notorious murder trial in Nelson captivated the population ofthe Kootenays. Earlier
that year John Cole, a rancher, had been found killed by blows to his head and neck. All the evidence
seemed to point to Henry Rose as his murderer, but there was sufficient doubt in people's mind to divide
public opinion on the outcome ofthe trial.The author has pieced together the story from 1902 newspaper
articles from the archives ofthe Arrow Lakes Historical Society, and their book Port of Nakusp.
Opposite page: Jofttt
Cole's cabin survived on
Bert Herridge's
One of the three men involved in the
incident leading to the murder, Nels
Demars, was the first known white man
in the Nakusp area. He had been involved with
the Columbia Gold Rush of 1865 which lasted
only two years. Nels had also prospected in the
Caribou Creeks (Burton) as early as 1884, and in
1894, due to rumours concerning his finds, many
weU-known men of Nakusp and the district had
also placed stakes there.
The victim, John Cole, was the heir to a
wealthy eastern fanuly. He had taken up land
about five mUes from Nakusp which was later
bought by Bert Herridge, MP for West Kootenay,
who named it Shoreholme. Cole buUt a smaU
house that is stiU there and Herridge used it as a
Ubrary, study and storage area.
Henry Rose, the accused, came from Ottawa
and had at one time worked for the GeneUe Lumber Co. He was a quarrelsome man and was generaUy disUked on the Arrow Lakes where he
trapped and prospected and cut poles with old
Nels Demars. Rose was a husky man of 180 lbs.,
a competent woodsman, but he was prone to
bouts of excessive drinking and known for his
cruelty when intoxicated. This fact would weigh
heavUy against him later in the trial.
Lyle McDougald was in charge of the bar in
the Grand Hotel, across from the Leland Hotel.
The Grand Hotel burned down in 1925 and the
land is stiU vacant today. A Mr. Hudson leased the
bar business from McDougald and estabUshed an
"aU you can drink" attitude although this was
contrary to the laws of the province that stipulated that no Uquor was to be served to anyone
who was already intoxicated. This also became a
factor in the most notorious crime in the history
of Nakusp.
Cole joined Demars and Rose in a contract to
take out poles. There was some disagreement
about the handUng of the money received and
this may have been another factor in what happened. The three men met at Nakusp and Rose
asked Demars and Cole to go to his home with
him. Cole did not Uke Rose too weU and would
only consent to accompany him if old Demars
would go along. They loaded four bottles of Uquor in Rose's rowboat and aU were fairly intoxicated by this time. It was very windy, and shordy
after starting out Demars turned the boat to shore
because ofthe storm. Rose and Cole had started
to argue.
The story of what happened that night gets a
Utde confusing after this but the abnormal death
of John Cole near Nakusp brought about a trial
in Nelson that faU. A condensed version deaUng
with the famous court case was printed in the
Nebon Daily News.
The Rose Murder Case on Trial 3 October 1902.
"The murder case of Rex vs. Rose reached the trial
stage yesterday afternoon at the Nelson assize court.
There is always more or less interest attached to
cases in which the prisoner is playing in a game in
which his life is the stake and the case of Rex vs.
Rose is no exception to the rule...
This is in no small measure due to the fact that the
principal witness in the case for the Crown is old
Nels Demars, a man who has passed the allotted
span of life by almost ten years, and who for forty
years has followed every mining excitement in the
province that secured more than local notice.There
is not a prospector in the interior who is better
known to the old timers than old Nels and there is
none who is held in higher esteem....
The crime of which Henry Rose stands accused is
the killing which took place in June last, a short
distance from Nakusp by which John Cole, a rancher
living along the Columbia river, lost his life, and in
connection with which old Demars was frightfully
beaten, having one eye knocked out, and so badly
used up that it was considered doubtful at the time
whether the old man could pull through to give his
evidence at the trial...The case for the crown was
conducted by W.A. Macdonald, K.C, and the interests of the prisoner, Rose, were looked after by
J.A. Macdonald of Rossland... In his opening ofthe
case for the crown,W.A. Macdonald gave the outline of the frightful tragedy...Cole, Rose and
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 34 No. 2 Demars—the three actors in the drama—were more
or less acquainted [and] left Nakusp together on
the afternoon of June 4 to go down the lake on a
visit to the Rose ranch. They had considerable
whiskey aboard the boat on which they started out
to make the journey, and the lake was rough... .After they had travelled some two miles they decided
to land. Cole and Rose got out ofthe boat first and
Demars followed them.. .That Demars saw Rose and
Cole squabbling; that he called out to them with
the result that Rose rushed at him and struck him a
blow which rendered him unconscious. When he
recovered his senses Demars' story was that he saw
Cole's body on the ground. He then tried to light a
fire, but Rose made some further remark, put out
the fire, and struck him again. That same evening
Rose returned to Nakusp and told a story which
resulted in a party being organized to go to the
scene of the fatality, where the body of Cole was
found with old Demars in an unconscious condition with his head and face covered with blood. At
the coroners' inquest later, it was found that Cole
had received blows on the face and neck, and that
his jaw had been broken, but the wound on the
neck was considered sufficient to have caused his
The trial continued the next day as reported in
the Nelson Daily News of the 4 October 1902.
Leo E. Simmons, customs officer of Nakusp, who
had gone to the scene of the crime after Rose
had come back to Nakusp for assistance, was questioned. This is his version of what Rose told him:
"I left them here (using charts and diagrams
of the murder scene) and was rowing down the
lake when about a quarter of a mUe out, I heard
cries of murder, I came back as fast as I could and
found Cole dead and Demars badly knocked up.
I said to him, "For God's sake, what's happened,
Nels?" He said, "Two men came out ofthe bush
and beat us with clubs." Simmons, on reaching
the scene said to Rose, "That man has been
choked," but Rose said, "No, I don't think so..."
Jim Christie, Frank Bourne, Constable Walter
Scott, as weU as Leo Simmons had accompanied
Rose back to pick up Demars that night, because Rose said that he was in such bad shape
that if they waited, he might be dead by morning. Scott decided that Rose's story was a fabrication and prompdy arrested him on a charge of
Witnesses were caUed and stories were heard.
Rose tried to make it appear that Cole and
Demars, who had both been drinking heavUy,
had quarreUed and that Cole had punched
Demars in the eye. After that injury, Demars had retaliated with a club to
Cole, breaking his jaw and crushing his windpipe. Dr. Carruthers gave his
opinion of both men's injuries. He stated that Cole had the broken jaw
before he died and that death was from the condition of the windpipe,
which would have caused suffocation. He also stated that the severe blow
to Demars' eye would have knocked him unconscious for several hours—
not minutes as Rose was saying. Demars was an old man of 78 and, with
the eye injury he had sustained, the doctor did not think that he could have
kUled Cole, who was 35.
The jury heard the evidence and returned at 2:30 in the morning of 9
October 1902, to give a verdict of guUty. Rose was sentenced to death and
was hung on November 21 from a scaffold buUt in the Nelson jaU yard. He
claimed his innocence right to the end.
What reaUy happened that day would always remain a mystery. Many
felt Rose did not do the deed; however, the evidence seemed to point to
Rose as the culprit. He was the last to be hung in Nelson and was to be
remembered for this fact.
Colonel Lowery ofthe Denver Ledge best summed up the last moments
of Rose's Ufe:
A life shortened by liquor, insensitivity and the law ofthe land...Henry Rose
was hung in Nelson last Friday for the murder of John Cole last summer. He
exhibited nerve to the last, and died game protesting his innocence. He has
probably gone to heaven, as his spiritual adviser kissed him and said prayers over
him just as the hangman dropped him to Jesus. It seems like refined cruelty to
give a man a good breakfast, with a side dish of prayers, and then push him out
on the air with a tightened necktie. But law is law, even it if has several traces of
Nels Demars never reaUy recovered from the terrible beating he took at
the hands of Henry Rose in 1902. His brother and sister came out from
Quebec in 1908 to assist and comfort him. He was quite Ul and finaUy died
2 December 1908, at the age of 83. He was buried in an unmarked grave in
the CathoUc cemetery. Demars never made a large sum of money during
his prospecting days. There is a story though of a map he carried to his
dying day, and a place on Saddleback mountain which yielded a Utde sack
of nuggets each time Nels and his Utde dog disappeared from the traU
leading up the mountain. He would not reveal the exact spot of this bonanza and the map has never been found. '^*'
27 Token History:
E.G. Prior & Co. Limited Liability and the Company's tokens
by Ronald Greene
1 J.B. Kerr, Biographical
Dictionary ofWell-Known
British Columbians, 1890.
2 Victoria Gazette, 21 June
3 Colonist, 5 Jan. 1892.
4 Colonist, 1 Oct. 1885.
5 VictoriaTimes, 13Dec.
Edward Gawler Prior was born 21 May
1853 at Dallowgill, in Yorkshire. He
articled to a mining engineer and came
out to British Columbia in 1873, becoming the
engineer and surveyor of the Vancouver Coal
Mining & Land Company at Nanaimo. In 1878
he left the company when he was appointed Government Inspector of Mines for the province. He
subsequendy resigned as Inspector in May 1880
to buy into the Victoria iron and hardware firm
of Alfred FeUows.1
Alfred FeUows had founded his firm in June
1859.2 In later years the E.G. Prior Ld Ly dated
its existence from then. Fellows took in his brother
Arthur as a partner the foUowing year, but the
partnership was short-Uved and ended in February 1862. Six months later FeUows took another
partner, Francis J. Roscoe.That partnership lasted
until December 1878 when Roscoe, suffering
from depression, committed suicide.WhUe a partner, Roscoe had served one term as the Member
of ParUament forVictoria. After Roscoe died the
business reverted once more to Alfred FeUows.
FeUows' next and last partner was E.G. Prior.The
firm carried on as FeUows & Prior until FeUows
retired in October 1883 and returned to England. At that point E.G. Prior purchased FeUows'
interests and the company became E.G. Prior &
Co. At the end of 1891 it was incorporated and
assumed the name E.G. Prior & Co. Limited Li-
abUity.3 The company prospered and Prior became a wealthy man.
In 1878 E.G. Prior married Suzette Work, the
youngest daughter of John Work, of Hillside Farm.
She died in December 1897, aged 42, after a long
Ulness, leaving a son and three daughters. In February 1899 Prior remarried, this time to
Genevieve Baushter Wright Kennedy, a widow
from San Francisco and formerly ofVictoria. She
was the eldest daughter ofthe late Capt. Thomas
Prior's pubUc Ufe commenced when he joined
the mUitia in Nanaimo in 1874. When he removed to Victoria he joined the B.C. Garrison
ArtiUery. He was gazetted as Colonel in command ofthe 5th Regiment, Canadian ArtiUery in
1888, a command he relinquished in 1896.WhUe
in command he led the Canadian rifle team to
Bisley in 1890. Prior had many other interests
and played the lead in a production of GUbert
and SuUivan's Pirates of Penzance at the opening
of the Victoria Theatre in 1885.4 In 1890 he also
acted as manager ofthe Canadian tennis team at
The poUtical field also attracted Prior. He was
first elected to the provincial legislature in July
1886. He switched to Federal poUtics in 1888
when Noah Shakespeare resigned his House of
Commons seat to become postmaster. Prior won
the seat by acclamation. He served as a Cabinet
Minister in several governments and remained a
member in Ottawa until 1902 when he returned
to provincial poUtics. Winning a by-election on
10 March 1902, he served briefly in the Dunsmuir
government, and then as Premier from 21 November 1902. On 31 May 1903 he was asked to
resign over the award of a government contract
for wire rope awarded to E.G. Prior & Co. Ld.
Ly. He took the position that he had not influenced the bid and that the company was an incorporated company of which he was only a
shareholder. However, the Legislative Assembly
refused his request to pass supply and the Lieutenant-Governor refused his request for dissolution. He did not contest the next general election which was the first provincial election contested under party Unes. In the next few years he
traveUed extensively and became active in local
affairs such as the Victoria Board ofTrade.
On 18 December 1919 Colonel Prior became
the eleventh Lieutenant-Governor of British
Columbia. In early November 1920, while attending a tennis exhibition, he took Ul with a
recurrence of an old intestinal problem. His condition quickly worsened and he entered the Royal
Jubilee Hospital. In December he suffered a relapse and underwent a major operation from
which he did not recover. E.G. Prior died on 12
December 1920,5 survived by his second wife
and his four chUdren. A state funeral was held on
15 December with burial foUowing in Ross Bay
Cemetery beside bis first wife, Suzette.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 34 No. 2 Returning to the company, we find that in its
1909 catalogue there were a head office and two
oudets inVictoria, a store in Kamloops, another
in Vancouver, and offices in London, England, and
New York. Another hardware firm founded in
Victoria was McLennan and McFeely. The two
partners, Robert Purves McLennan and Edward
John McFeely, were from Nova Scotia and Ontario respectively. They met in Winnipeg and
when McLennan arrived inVictoria in 1884 he
asked McFeely to join him. Two years later the
firm moved toVancouver.This firm incorporated
in 1896 as McLennan, McFeely & Co. Limited.
The year 1898 saw McLennan take a load of merchandise into Dawson. Intending to stay only a
few weeks, he ended up staying there for five
By 1928 aU three principals ofthe two firms
had passed away and that year E.G. Prior & Co.
Ld. Ly. amalgamated with McLennan, McFeely
& Co. Limited to become McLennan, McFeely
& Prior Ltd. which became known universaUy
as "Mc & Mc" until its demise.The amalgamated
firm undoubtedly is still remembered by many
readers. In time the company was sold to Acklands
Ltd and in 1961 dropped out ofthe retaU field.
In 1967 various affiUated companies were con-
soUdated and the use ofthe name, Mc & Mc, was
Prior's house, buUt for him in 1885, survives
to this day at 729 Pemberton Road inVictoria.
Roscoe's house on Fairfield Road, which is somewhat older, was saved from demoUtion last year
as a result of a campaign by some dedicated heritage supporters.
The tokens are made of aluminum. The 25
cent denomination measures 25 Vi mm and the
$1.00 denomination measures 31 mm in diameter. The exact use of the tokens, which read
"Cartage Check," is uncertain, but probably they
were used as a discount on deUvery c. 1900. As
the tokens read Victoria they may have been issued before the company expanded to Vancouver and Kamloops, but that is speculation.There
is no mention of the tokens in the company's
1909 catalogue.'*=»'
Trail Celebrating its
by F.E. (Buddy) DeVito
Trail started life as a landing place for the sternwheeler Lytton
running on the Columbia River between Northport, Washington and Sproats Landing to pick up ore from the mines in Rossland,
6 mUes up the mountain.TraU's first Mayor, Colonel Eugene Sayer
Topping, had arrived at what was to become the TraU townsite
from the United States, and had foUowed the chase for fortune to
the Kootenays, finaUy being drawn to the then emerging gold
town of Rossland in 1890.
From this humble beginning and because of the need for a
better method of exploiting the increasing production ofthe mine
in Rossland, Augustus Heinz, also an American from Butte, Montana, constructed a copper smelter in Topping's townsite in 1895.
This smelter eventuaUy became the largest non-ferrous smelter in
the world.
By 1897 TraU had a population of 2,500. Rossland and Nelson
had been incorporated so some 40 ofTraU's leading citizens, claiming that TraU was "the geographical and business centre of the
TraU Creek mining subdivision," petitioned the then Provincial
Government inVictoria to recognize TraU as the site for various
official offices. In 14 June 1901 Letters Patent were granted estabUshing the Corporation ofthe City ofTraU. On July 6 in the same
year, the first TraU City CouncU was elected with Colonel Topping as its Mayor.
The TraU smelter was one of six that were buUt in the heady
days of mining development of that time in Nelson, Grand Forks,
Greenwood, PUot Bay and Northport,Washington.TraU's smelter
was the only one to survive the turbulent years before the First
World War. Once a city of 9,000 and the fifth largest city in British Columbia.TraU is now the home of 7,000 residents, with first-
class medical, education and recreational facUities, and is known
to the thousands who have, at one time or another worked or
visited here.
Preparations for a first class observation ofthe Centenary have
been going on for over a year. An enthusiastic group of volunteers
are determined to ensure that, while Homecoming Weekend June
29,30 and July lwiU be the highUght ofthe celebration, there will
be plenty going on aU through the year to recognize and acknowledge the foresight of the pioneers and citizens who have
made TraU a great place to Uve in 2001.f***'
29 Archives and Archivists
Previously published in
The Archivist, no. 119,
2000, National Archives
of Canada.
Reprinted in part with
kind permission ofthe
author, Normand
Laplante, Manuscript
Division and National
Archives of Canada.
! Dr. Kaye Lamb fonds,
MG 31 D 8, vol. 18, file
6, Foreword
'■ Dr. Kaye Lamb fonds,
MG 31 D 8, vol. 18, file
6, p. 5
' ibid.
The Archivist, no. 119, 2000,
National Archives of Canada,
copyright Minister of Public
Works and Government Services Canada 2000, ISSN 0705-
"Keeping the Past Up to Date"
by Normand Laplante
At the request of then Dominion Archivist,
Wilfred I. Smith, W Kaye Lamb agreed in 1984
to write his recoUections of a career as an archivist. In the foreword to the document, Dr. Lamb
does not define it as a memoir but "in less grand
terms as a sustained memorandum, intended to
provide the information on innumerable topics
that Dr. Smith was anxious to have avaUable in
the years to come.'^The 650-page "memo" found
in his fonds at the National Archives of Canada
constitutes an interesting account filled with personal observations on his formative years and his
later career as a weU-known historian, Ubrarian,
archivist and administrator. In memories from his
student days and his years as the Provincial Archivist and Librarian of British Columbia and as
Librarian ofthe University of British Columbia,
Lamb describes some ofthe influences and events
in his Ufe that led to his appointment as Dominion Archivist.
Born in New Westminster, British Columbia,
on 11 May 1904, Lamb was sent to Vancouver to
attend high school and University. As a youth, he
had no interest in history, especiaUy as he found
Canadian history textbooks boring. His passion
for history was ignited in his freshman year at
the University of British Columbia with a course
on modern European history taught by F.H.
Soward. In his memoirs, Lamb says that Soward
"made history immediate and relevant, expected
us to foUow current events, and devoted a good
part of the weekly tutorial periods to a discussion of them."2 Nevertheless, the study of Canadian history stiU did not appeal to him because
of its heavy emphasis at that time ("virtual obsession" according to Lamb) on pre-Confedera-
tion constitutional history.
However, new historical trends were taking
hold within the academic community. Defending his graduating essay in 1926 on the causes
and effects ofthe execution of Charles I, Lamb
was taken to task by a new history professor at
UBC, Hugh Keenleyside, for neglecting the economic and social impUcations involved in his
work. He remembers becoming "conscious of a
whole new dimension to history,"3 a dimension
which would gready influence his views on historical research and the importance of archival
The year 1928 was a self-described "turning
point" in Lamb's Ufe. He was awarded the Nicol
scholarship, a three-year bursary given to a UBC
student to study at a French University. In the
faU, he registered as a candidate for a Doctorat de
I'Universite de Paris in humanities. Reminiscing
about his studies in Paris, Lamb described his
encounters with weU-known French historians
such as Andre Siegfried, Charles de Seignobos,
and Albert Mathiez, the foremost authority on
the French Revolution at the time.
Forced to return to Vancouver for health reasons in the spring of 1929, Lamb decided to work
on completing his MA at UBC. In the spring of
1930, his thesis on the origins ofthe British Labour Party was submitted and approved. In consultation with departmental authorities at UBC,
Lamb decided to abandon the idea of obtaining
a doctorate in Paris. Instead, he registered at the
London School of Economics in the hope of
doing further work on the emergence of Labour's
poUtical independence in Great Britain. However, to retain the funding ofthe Nicol scholarship, he did most of his research in pubUshed materials and newspapers at the Bibliotheque nationale
in Paris. His thesis supervisor at the University
of London was the renowned sociaUst, Harold
Laski. Lamb's thesis was completed and defended
in November 1933.
In the faU of 1934, Lamb was approached by
the Provincial Secretary and Minister of Education of British Columbia, Dr. George M. Weir,
about a possible appointment as the Provincial
Librarian and Archivist inVictoria. He accepted
the offer and took command of a staff of five
housed in a wing ofthe ParUament buUdings. In
evaluating his archival experience at that time,
Lamb conceded that his involvement with archival holdings to that point had been Umited,
almost exclusively, to research on non-governmental material in manuscript repositories in the
United Kingdom. Help from the Canadian archival community could not be expected as the
profession was stiU in the early stages of development. Turning to the Manual of Archives Administration by HUary Jenkinson, he found Utde
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 34 No. 2 assistance as "in Jenkinson's view, only official
documents that had been continuously in official custody were entided to be designated as archives". He added that Jenkinson "would have
looked upon the Provincial Archives of British
Columbia, with its small coUection of official
records and its much
larger accumulation of
historical manuscripts,
transcripts, etc.', as being
Utde better than an archival dog's breakfast.'"1
Lamb's approach to
archival administration
was a simple one: "look
for practical solutions to
practical problems."5 His
first priority at the Provincial Archives was to
improve the management of space to give
better access to the existing archival holdings.
Next on his Ust was to
activate the acquisition
of post-confederation
provincial records. De- »
spite his best efforts, j
Lamb did not succeed in 3
obtaining legislation
which would have regulated the disposal of government records and assured the transfer of historical records to his institution. He attributes
his faUure to two factors: the "lack of accommodation to which records in volume could be transferred" and an old nemesis of his, which Lamb
calls the "1871 fixation—the widespread impression that the Archives should be concerned only
with the early days of exploration and the Colonial period that ended in 1871, when British Columbia joined Canada."6
Years later, as Dominion Archivist, Lamb would
face sinular chaUenges on the federal scene, trying to persuade the government ofthe need for
physical expansion ofthe PubUc Archives and the
implementation of a records management program for official records. In a kinder context, as a
result of an extraordinary increase in the production of government documents after the Second World War and with the resources to bring
about change at hand, his initiatives were successful. They were considered some of his greatest contributions to archival practice.7
To promote historical research and writing on British Columbia, Lamb launched the British Columbia
Historical Quarterly in 1936 and presided over successful efforts to expand the membership ofthe British Columbia Historical Association that same year.
He detaUs in his memoirs his efforts to bring the
publishing project to fruition and sustain it during his
ten years as editor. Lamb
would later be recognized
for his impressive work in
historical editing, especiaUy
with works on exploration,
such as the journals of Sir
Alexander Mackenzie and
George Vancouver.
In his dual position as
Provincial Librarian and Archivist of British Columbia,
he renewed his involvement
with libraries which had
started with part-time work
at the UBC Ubrary during
his graduate days.When appointed Superintendent and
Secretary of the PubUc Library Commission in 1936,
the largest extension service in Canada was added to
his duties. New chaUenges
awaited Lamb with his appointment as Librarian at
the University of British Columbia in September of
1940. At UBC, he was returning to an institution
which would see radical changes with post-war expansion. Lamb remembers the years 1945 to 1948 as
"a time of great stress and strain, as veterans arrived in
droves and we found ourselves trying to meet the
needs of 9,300 students with faculties that had been
designed to serve 1,800 at the most."8 He succeeded
in obtaining funding for additional quarters and
worked closely with architects in planning the buUding, completed in 1948.
WhUe at UBC, Lamb was asked to take on the
cause of creating a National Library as President of
the Canadian Library Association. In this capacity,
Lamb met with Prime Minister WUUam Lyon Mackenzie King in June 1948. The Prime Minister was
so impressed with him, that after the meeting he told
J. W PickersgUl, on his staff at that time, "that man
should become head of the Archives right away."9
Three months later, Lamb was appointed Dominion
Archivist, and 5 years after, National Librarian. <"s=s»'
Centre: Dr. Lamb
(secondfrom righr) at
a garden party ofthe
BC Historical
Association in
Victoria in 1937.
The exact date and
the occasion are not
known. The people
who are with Dr.
Lamb also need
4 ibid, p 67.
5 ibid.
6 ibid., pp. 70-71
7 See Ian Wilson's
article. "A Noble
Dream: The
Origins ofthe
Public Archives of
Canada," in
Archivaria, No. 15,
Winter 1982-83, p
35; Danielle Lacasse
at Antonio
Lechasseur, The
National Archives of
Canada, 1872-1997,
The Canadian
Historical Booklet
No.58,p 16.
'Dr. Kaye Lamb
fonds, MG 31 D 8,
vol. 18, file 7, p 127.
"Kaye Lamb in
Ottawa," in
Archivaria, no. 15,
Winter 1982-83, p
31 Previously published in
The Hakluyt Society
Annual Report and
Statement of Accounts
for 1999.
Reprinted with kind
permission by the
author, Glyndwr
Williams, and the
Hakluyt Society.
Archives and
Editor Frances Gundry
William Kaye Lamb (1904-1999)
by Glyndwr Williams
The death of Dr. Kaye Lamb on 24 August 1999
brought to an end one of the longest and most
productive careers in Canadian academic Ufe. He
was in turn Provincial Archivist and Librarian of
British Columbia (1934-1940), Librarian ofthe
University of British Columbia (1940-1948), Dominion Archivist of Canada (1948-1968), and
National Librarian of Canada (1953-1967). In
the latter post he was responsible for the creation
ofthe National Library, and before his retirement
saw the opening of a new buUding to house both
the National Library and the National Archives.
By training Kaye Lamb was a historian, not a
Ubrarian, and despite the heavy weight of administrative duties his working Ufe involved, he continued to pursue his researches into the history
ofthe Pacific Northwest and the fur trade. Soon
after taking up his first major post he founded
(in 1936) the British Columbia Historical Quarterly
and edited it for the first ten years of its existence. He also served as President of the Canadian Library Association, the Canadian Historical Association, and the Champlain Society.
Retirement to Vancouver in the late 1960s allowed Kaye Lamb to spend more time on his
scholarly projects, although his output of meticulously edited journals ofthe fur-trade explorers
ofthe late eighteenth and early nineteenth century was already in fuU flow. His Sixteen Years in
the Indian Country: The Journal of Daniel William
Harmon was pubUshed in 1957, to be foUowed
by Simon Fraser: Letters and Journals in 1966. It
was whUe stiU in Ottawa that Kaye Lamb did
most of the editorial work for the first of his
Hakluyt Society editions, The Journals and Letters
of Sir Alexander Mackenzie, pubUshed in the Society's Extra Series in 1970. For Kaye Lamb the
1970s were dominated in scholarly terms by work
on his edition of Captain George Vancouver's voyage of 1791-1795 to the Northwest Coast. This
grew with the years, for its editor was determined
to make it more than simply a reprint ofVancouver's own journal. He drew on a further twenty-
three logs and journals kept on the expedition,
and the footnotes and appendices began to take
on a Beagleholean splendour and length.The Society's President at the time remembers that as
the manuscript was being prepared for the press,
most weeks his post included a letter from Kaye
Lamb— suggesting this, enquiring about that, oc
casionaUy speculating whether he would Uve long
enough to see the great enterprise in print. In
1984, when Kaye was eighty years of age, the
Society pubUshed The Voyage of George Vancouver
1791-1795—four volumes, 1752 pages. It was,
in the words of Kaye Lamb's obituary in the Vancouver Sun (7 September 1999),"his masterwork
...edited and furnished with a 256-page introduction, in itself the definitive biography of the
As the years went by Kaye Lamb became first
housebound and then bed-bound in his apartment on PendreU Street overlooking the waters
of EngUsh Bay. There he held court in the afternoons, welcoming a stream of visitors, including
many from Britain and from the ranks of the
Hakluyt Society. However fraU the body, the mind
was as alert as ever. More than one visitor has a
memory of groping for the name of an author or
the tide of a book, only to find Kaye Lamb qui-
edy supplying it. In 1992 the bicentennial of
George Vancouver's arrival on the Northwest
Coast was marked by a conference at the downtown campus in Vancouver of Simon Fraser University. Kaye Lamb was unable to attend in person, but presented a paper to the conference that
showed that the journal kept on Vancouver's voyage by the naturaUst Archibald Menzies was intended as a rival record to the official journal
kept by Vancouver—a discovery that threw new
Ught on the tense relationships between Vancouver, Menzies and Sir Joseph Banks. It was characteristic of Kaye Lamb's relendess pursuit of the
last detaU that at his request two members ofthe
CouncU ofthe Hakluyt Society found themselves
spending time in the inadequate Ught ofthe old
Manuscripts Room ofthe British Library, struggling to read the dates of the watermarks on all
420 foUos of Menzies's original journal.
For some of Kaye's British friends, the conference year of 1992 was the last occasion on which
they saw him. Among Kaye's many regular visitors in his last twelve months, which were spent
in the University of British Columbia Hospital,
was an old friend who, one day only two weeks
before Kaye's death, found him asleep in bed,"but
with a book firmly clenched in an open position
in his hands."<^^
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 34 No. 2 Candidates for the 18th Competition for Writers ofBC History
Anderson, Ian: Sitting Bull's Boss: Above the Medicine Line With
James Morrow Walsh (Heritage)
Anderson, Margaret, and Marjorie Halpin, editors: Potlatch at
Gitsegukia: William Beynon's 1945 Field Notebooks. (UBC)
Barefoot, Kevin, and the editors of Monday Magazine: Victoria:
Secrets ofthe City. (Arsenal)
Bate, Geoff, The Places ofthe Kettle Valley. (1)
Bennett, NormaV, Dr. R.E.M. Lee Hospital
Foundation: Pioneer Legacy: Chronicles ofthe Lower
Skeena River - Volume II. (Harbour)
Braid, Kate: Emily Can: Rebel Artist. (XYZ)
Chalmers, WiUiam: George Mercer Dawson: Geologist,
Scientist, Explorer. (XYZ)
Clayton, Daniel W.: Islands qfIruth:The Imperial
Fashioning ofVancouver Island. (UBC)
Crawford, Scott: The Diary and Letters of a Seagoing Man:
April 1942-October 1945. (2)
Davis, Chuck: Where Rails Meet Rivers:The Story of Port Coquitlam.
Dunford, Muriel Poulton: North River: The Story of British
Columbia 's North Thompson Valley &Yellowhead Highway 5.
Elliott, Marie: Gold and Grand Dreams: Cariboo East in the Early
Years. (Horsdal)
FiSKE.JoAnne with the assistance of Betty Patrick: Cis dideen kat
(When the Plumes Rise):The Way ofthe Lake Babine Nation.
Forsythe, Mark: British Columbia Almanac, (Arsenal)
Francis, Daniel, editor: Encyclopedia of British Columbia, (Harbour)
Green, Lewis: The GreatYears: Gold Mining in the Bridge River Valley.
Green,Valerie: Upstarts and Outcasts: Victoria's Not-So-Proper Past.
Holley.D.A.: Don't Shoot from the Saddle: Chronicles of a Frontier
Surgeon. (Heritage)
Holmes,W. Leslie with Bruce Northrop: Where Shadows Linger:The
Untold Story ofthe RCMP's Olson Murders Investigation.
Horwood, Dennis, and Tom Parkin: Haida Gwaii:The Queen
Charlotte Islands. (Heritage)
Humphreys, Danda: On the Street Where You Live, Volume II: Victoria's
Early Roads and Railways. (Heritage)
Irvine, Thelma: Where the River Ran.The Story ofthe Peace, (Horsdal)
Joyce, Art: Hanging Fire and Heavy Horses: A History of Public Transit
in Nelson. (3)
Keller, Betty C: Pender (Harbour) Cowboy .The Many Lives of
Bertrand Sinclair. (Horsdal)
Lambert, Barbara Ann: Chalkdust and Outhouses: West Coast Schools,
1893-1950. (Heritage)
Macdonald, Ian, and Betty O'Keefe: Canadian Holy War:
A Story of Clans, Tongs, Murder, and Bigotry. (Heritage)
Mackie, Richard Somerset: Island Timber: A Social History
ofthe Comox Logging Company, Vancouver Island. (Sono)
McGillivray, Brett: Geography of British Columbia: People
and Landscapes in Transition. (UBC)
McLaren, T. A., and Vickie Jensen: Ships of Steel.
McLennan, Bill, and Karen Duffek: The Transforming
Image: Painted Arts of Northwest Coast First Nations. (UBC)
Neufeld, Andrew, and Andrew Parnaby: The IWA in
Canada:The Life andTimes of an Industrial Union. (New Star)
Phillips,Sallie: You're OnTheAir. (Sono)
Piffko, Karen: The Life andTimes of Texas Fosbery :The Cariboo and
Beyond. (Heritage)
Pigott, Peter: Flying Canucks III: Famous Canadian Aviators.
Princeton History Book Committee: Princeton Our Valley: A
History of Princeton, Allison Pass,Tulameen, Sterling Creek, Aspen
Grove, Osprey Lake, Copper Mtn., Darcy Mtn.,AUenby, Blakeburn,
Coalmont. (4)
Province, THE:The Way We Were. (Harbour)
Rayner,WiUiam: British Columbia's Premiers in Profile: the Good, the
Bad and the Transient. (Heritage)
Stangoe, Irene: History and Happenings in the Cariboo-Chilcotin:
Pioneer Memories. (Heritage)
Thirkell, Fred, and Bob Scullion: Vancouver and Beyond: Pictures and
Stories from the Postcard Era 1900-1914. (Heritage)
Thompson, Margaret: Eyewitness (5)
Watt, K.Jane: Milk Stories: A History ofthe Dairy Industry in British
Columbia 1827-2000. (6)
Yesaki, Mitsuo, and Sakuya Nishimura: Salmon Canning on the
Fraser River in the 1890s. (7)
Yorath, C.J.: A Measure of Value: the Story ofthe D'Arcy Island Leper
Colony. (Horsdal)
ZYTARUK,Tom: Millennium Milestones: A History of Surrey, White
Rock and North Delta. (8)
(New Star)
Arsenal Pulp PresslO3-1014 Homer Street,Vancouver,BCV6B 2W9 (604) 687-4233 Fax: 669-8250.
Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd. P.O. Box 219, Madeira Park, BCVON 2H0, (604) 883-2730, e-mail:
Heritage House Publishing Co. Ltd., #108-17665 66A Avenue, Surrey, BC V3S 2A7
Horsdal & Schubart Publishers, 618-425 Simcoe Street.Victoria, BCV8V 4T3. Distributed by Heritage House Publishing Co. Ltd.
New Star Books Publishers, 107-3477 Commercial Street,Vancouver,BCV5N 4E8 (604) 738-9429 fax: 738-9332 e-mail:
Sonotek Publishing Ltd., P.O. Box 1752, Merritt, BC V1K 1B8 URL
Gordon Soules Book Publishers Ltd., 1359 Ambleside, Lane.West Vancouver, BCV7T 2Y9. (604) 922-6588,fax: (604) 688-5442, e-mail:
UBCPress, University ofBritish Columbia, 2029West Mall/Vancouver, BCV6T 1Z2. (604) 822-5959 Fax: (604) 822-6083 ISBN:
0-7748-0785-7 Order from Raincoast Book Distributions Ltd. 9050 Shaughnessy Street.Vancouver, BQV6P 6E5.1-800-663-5714 or (604) 323-7106
Fax: 1-800-565-3770 e-mail:
XYZ Publishing, 1781 Saint Hubert Street, Montreal, Quebec, H2L 3Z1. Distributed by General Distribution Services, 325 Humber College Boule-
vard.Toronto, Ontario, M9W 7C3. (416) 213-1919 Fax: (416) 213-1917. E-mail:
(1) GeofFBate & Associates, 2278 Cooperage Drive, Saanichton, BC V8M 1N2 (250) 652-5360 e-mail:
(2) Published by Ruth Chambers, 1150 Madore Avenue, Coquidam, BC.V3K 3B9 (604) 939-7885
(3) Published by the City of Nelson, Nelson City Hall, 502Vernon Street, NelsonVIL 4E8
(4) Available fom: Princeton Chamber of Commerce, (250) 295-3103, Box 540, Princeton, BC VOX 1W0
(5) Ronsdale Press, 3350 West 21st Avenue.Vancouver, BCV6S 1G7 (604) 738-4688 e-mail: ronhatch(
(6) Published by Dairy Industry Historical Society ofBritish Columbia. Available from: Gerry Adams, 33362 Clayburn Road, Abbotsford, BCV2S 7T8
(7) Available from: Mitsuo Yesaki, Apt. 1105-1740 Comox Street.Vancouver, B.C.V66 2Z1.
(8) Published by Tom Zytaruk and the Now Community Newspaper, Ste. 201-7889-132nd St., Surrey, BC. Phone: 572-0064
33 Book Reviews
Books for review and book reviews should be sent to:
Anne Yandle, Book Review Editor BC Historical News, 3450 West 20th Avenue, Vancouver BC V6S1E4
Jean A. Murray
Music of the Alaska-Klondike Gold Rush:
Songs & History, reviewed by Philip J.
Daniel Frances, ed.
The Encyclopedia ofBritish Columbia,
reviewed by Dave Parker.
Edward L.Affleck
A Century of Paddlewheelers in the Pacific
Northwest, the Yukon and Alaska, reviewed by Tom Lymbery.
Muriel Poulton Dunford
North River.The Story of BC's Thompson
Valley &Yellowhead Highway, reviewed
by Melva Dwyer.
Andrea Lebowitz and Gillian Milton
Gilean Douglas, Writing Nature, Finding
Home, reviewed by Marie Elliott.
WiUiam J. Wheeler, ed.
Skippers ofthe Sky: The Early Years of
Bush Flying, reviewed by Robert AUen.
Eldon Lee
They Were Giants in Those Days: Stories
from the Heart ofthe Cariboo, reviewed
by Esther Darlington.
Stephen Hume
Bush Telegraph: Discovering the Pacific
Province, reviewed by Kelsey McLeod.
K. McTaggart
Golden Fleece: Mine-finding and Adventure in the Pacific Northwest, reviewed by
Ted Affleck.
WiUiam Chalmers
George Mercer Dawson, Geologist,
Scientist, Explorer, reviewed by Ken
Valerie Green
Upstarts and Outcasts:Vicoria's Not-so-
Proper Past, reviewed by Arnold
Music of the Alaska-Klondike Gold Rush:
Songs & History
Jean A. Murray. Fairbanks: University of
Alaska Press, 1999.440 pp. IUus., map
US$54.95 hardcover; US$35.95 spiral bound.
Reviewed by Philip J. Thomas.
In the Preface to Music of the Alaska-Klondike
Gold Rush,]ean Murray teUs us that in 1989
she back-packed the 33-nule trail that led
her over the Chilkoot Pass, the famed access
to the Klondike gold fields. Covering the
same ground that tested the commitment and
endurance ofthe gold seekers of 1897-1898,
she was symboUcaUy beginning her trek into
the past, into the gold-rush communities in
the Yukon and to the adjacent gold-bearing
diggings in Alaska. She undertook this journey not for gold, but for evidence ofthe place
of music in the Uves of those who took part
in the gold rushes of that period.
At the time of her Chilkoot trek Jean
Murray had been in Alaska for over twenty
years. In 1966, she and her husband Bob, both
university graduates, left Michigan with an
infant in arms to teach, first in Nome, Alaska,
and then in Fairbanks where Bob held the
principalship of a K-12 school till his retirement in 1989. In the foUowing ten years, with
Bob's active support.Jean uncovered masses
of material relating to music both in the Uves
of individual people and in the gold-mining
communities, finaUy bringing this book to
Although music had been part of their
lives with Jean's skills as a pianist and their
taking part in such social activities as informal singalongs, it had not been for the
Murrays a primary area of scholarship. Yet
once she set herself the task of reconstructing that musical pastjean was fortunate that
much information, as with the placer gold
itself, waited to be unearthed in Ubraries, in
archival coUections of songs and sheet music,
in letters and diaries, in books of recoUections, in contemporary newspapers, and in a
few cases in the Uving memory of a few aging people who could stiU help bridge the
Jean Murray Usts 21 Ubraries and archives
whose holdings she used. Many were in
Alaska, one-third of them in Canada, and
many to the south across the United States.
In the book, her bibUography of printed
sources fills six pages. As Murray's research
progressed, her aim became the fuU documentation of song and music both in the
Klondike, and in the rush to Nome, which
began with the gold strike in 1900.
Through her researches Jean Murray
amassed nearly a hundred musical items, aU
of which she presents with fuU piano accompaniment. While most ofthe music repUcates
the original printed sheet music, Murray did
arrange sixteen of the pieces herself.
Throughout the book each song or small
grouping is preceded on a separate page with
an introduction generaUy of one or two paragraphs. These introductions place the songs
or piano solos in a context, and are often
anecdotal, both interesting and amusing.
OccasionaUy the reader is provided with
sidebars or other "framed" items highlighting persons or social aspects of Ufe at the time.
The body ofthe book presents the songs
and piano solos in three main groupings.The
first part comprises songs homemade in the
gold rush communities by the miners or their
associates. The first, tided "The Carmack
Song," appeared soon after George Carmack
made in 1896 the gold discovery that led to
the Klondike rush. Tided "Songs and Parodies by Gold Seekers" this section contains
twelve songs and two piano solos. Murray
says the section includes "every song and
parody written by a gold seeker that [she]
found". Even at this late date, further search
may uncover others.
The book's second section, tided "Songs
about the Gold Rush by Professional Musicians" contains contemporary sheet music,
twenty-one ofthe thirty tides using the word
"Klondike" (with "i" or "y"). Only half are
songs, the bulk (on sixty pages) being piano
The final section, "Popular Music RecaUed
in Diaries and Other Accounts ofthe Gold
Rush", which takes up half the book, is almost entirely given to songs and their backgrounds. Most of them came from the nineteenth century body of popular song, including some hymns, and are still famiUar.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 34 No. 2 To complement the social history encompassed by the songs and their introductions,
the book has many large weU-produced photographs, most showing gold-rush musicians.
A double-page map makes it easy to locate
the references in the text.
Access to the book is aided by its table of
contents and by its indexes. For the songs
and music there are both a tide and a first
line index.The book's "Name & Subject Index" is double columned and fills over ten
pages. One inconvenience in the table of
contents is the lack of distinction between
song and piano-solo items, aU Usted in a column headed "songs."
One regret is that the book has no colour,
especially for the covers of the sheet music.
This lack is compensated in part by three
reproductions on the handsome dust jacket.
Under the jacket are strong boards, covered
substantially in white with tide on spine and
the front in bright gUt lettering.The volume
is printed in Canada by the University of
Toronto Press Inc.
FinaUy, it is noted that the University of
Alaska Press have produced a musical resource
on CD and cassette containing fifteen songs,
on one of which the accompaniment is provided by Jean Murray. <"5a>'
Reviewer Philip J. Thomas is Honorary Library
Associate, Special Collections,The Library,UBC
The Encyclopedia ofBritish Columbia
Daniel Francis Editorial Director. Madeira
Park, BC: Harbour PubUshing, 2000.850 pp.
IUus. $99.99 hardcover, (companion cd-rom
Reviewed by Dave Parker
"Concise, accessible information" is an exceUent statement of an encyclopedia's purpose. While seemingly straightforward it is
an extremely difficult task even if the subject
is limited in its scope by geography.This convenient single volume with its interactive cd-
rom is a long awaited, remarkable, work.
In his foreword, Howard White, the publisher, refers to some ofthe reactions he encountered when announcing his intention
to undertake the project. Probably the most
frequent of these were "what a wonderful
idea", and another, "what wiU be in it?" A
cynical reaction to that same question might
have been "sure, but it'U be BC as seen
through the mists of Burrard Inlet!" That
would have been unfair: the Encyclopedia of
British Columbia is far from being that.
Daniel Francis, the editorial director, has
shown considerable courage in undertaking
a project, which includes every reasonable
aspect ofBritish Columbia's natural and human history. It wasn't a commitment he could
have made easily, even with considerable experience as a writer and historian who is very
knowledgeable about his subject. He even
had involvement in producing large-scale
reference projects. That he undertook the
Encyclopedia at aU is impressive.
The inclusion of overviews on a variety
of subjects such as "BC History" generally,
and more specialized subjects, such as "MiUtary History," "First Nations," and various
industries and activities is a very useful feature of the Encyclopedia. Information from
weU-chosen subject consultants adds gready
to the quaUty and accuracy ofthe pubUcation. I found that the "Additional References"
section, however, left me wondering why
some sources had been included and others
not, but that is probably due, once again, to
individual experience.
Inevitably anyone, and possibly, everyone,
reading the Encyclopedia of British Columbia
with knowledge of BC wiU find what they
consider omissions, and inclusions that may
concern them. This is a given in this sort of
pubUcation where so much is being covered.
A case in point is under "Disasters-fires."
While Barkerville, Fernie, Armstrong,
Nanaimo, New Westminster, and even
Victoria, had equaUy destructive fires, it is
necessary to look them up individually. The
"Disaster" category, Uke others, is intended
as a guide, a brief and superficial chronology.
If you take the time to look, you wiU find
some information on almost any topic.
Conversely, there may be some disappointments in the sense that a topic may not have
received what is felt to be adequate coverage. An example relates to shipbuilding, a
major industry in Victoria and Esquimalt.
WhUe the overview provided is exceUent as
a survey of the history, it might have been
appropriate to have lengthier information on
companies important in shipbudding such
as BuUen's and Yarrows. The latter is cross-
referenced to Burrard.
Another example, for me at least, relates
to Fire Department history. The fact that
Victoria had what was Ukely the first department west ofToronto, and possibly north of
San Francisco in 1858, was not addressed. Fire
departments and their members were, especially in the nineteenth century, important
to the basic survival of a setdement no matter what its size.
These are minor concerns in the nature
of any encyclopedia: Diderot probably heard
complaints. But it is possible for readers to
redress the situation by contacting the publisher with additional information.
Statistical information in the Encyclopedia
is wide ranging in subject and of a length
that is informative wlule not being burdensome. Graphs and maps also are weU thought
out both as to subjects and what is included
by way of information. Execution is flawless
and very appeaUng. Photography is appropriate and very weU reproduced with colour
photos for most modern subjects, many of
which were taken especially for the Encyclopedia. Layout and other features such as selection of typeface and quaUty of printing
are exceUent.
The cd-rom, which is an interactive
multi-media version ofthe Encyclopedia, is a
very appeaUng aspect ofthe project and one
that wiU certainly attract the school age audience—hopefuUy they'U use both the book
and the cd-rom.
The Encyclopedia is very definitely "convenient, concise information," but it is more,
much more—it's also enriching, and even
entertaining. The pubUsher and editorial directors as weU as the contributors involved
deserve tremendous credit for undertaking a
project of this scope. Much more could be
said, but my feeUng, as one who has worked
with British Columbia history for almost
thirty years is: "WeU done, in fact, very weU
done! Thank you!"'*55*'
Reviewer Dave Parker is Esquimalt Municipal
A Century of Paddlewheelers in the Pacific Northwest, the Yukon and Alaska.
Edward L.Affleck, comp.Vancouver: 2000.
The Alexander NichoUs Press. 104 pp. IUus.
$25 paperback.
Reviewed by Tom Lymbery
Affleck records a thousand sternwheelers that
were buflt and worked waterways throughout the northwestern United States, British
Columbia,Alberta,Yukon, and NorthWest
Territories from the 1860s to about 1960.
Some lasted only a few months until they
were wrecked or burned, or, at the other end
of the scale, consider the Moyie, that served
Kootenay Lake for 59 years.
The author firmly resists insidious
metrification, since this was never used in
the period covered. His classification system
clearly shows the length, width, and depth of
35 each boat in feet, its gross and registered tonnages, the cylinder sizes in inches, and the
nominal horsepower that each steam engine
produced. After Usting aU these, the result of
his lifetime's research, he stiU asks: "Do you
know of any sternwheeler that I may have
The cover photo shows the steamers Trail,
Minto, and Rossland— three ofthe boats that
worked the more than 100-mUe route from
Robson west to Arrowhead. Nice, clear fuU-
page maps show the key to forty different
steamer routes from Pordand, Oregon, the
Peace River, to the Yukon and everything in
The abbreviation SS for Steam Ship, does
not appear anywhere in the descriptions or
text. As these boats were not budt to classify
with ocean-going vessels Affleck sticks to Str.
(Steamer). However, I would nominate an
honorary SS to the Nasookin—the largest of
the thousand, and the only boat with steel
huU and steel deck, strong enough to carry a
daily Greyhound bus carefuUy balanced across
the bow.
Fascinating information from our foremost paddlewheeler historian. How did the
Moyie last 59 years, when so many wooden
hulls deteriorated in eight or nine years?The
Moyie, Minto, and Tyrell were designed for the
Stikine River; so they had wood and steel-
framed construction. Only the Australian,
Bonnington, Beaver, and Nasookin had steel
huUs.Wood was actuaUy more suitable, with
more flexibiUty for river use.The huUs might
not last too long, but the durabiUty of those
steam engines was something else.You could
spend hours tracing what engines were
moved to what boats—and how many years
they survived.
This book is an epic work compUed from
records Affleck has researched ever since he
first traveUed on a boat pushed by thrashing
paddles. Sad to say there are few of us left
who, at perhaps 12 years of age, were aUowed
to take hold of that large wooden wheel, away
up in the pflot house, and feel the control of
that big boat.
Visit Kaslo, climb up to the wheelhouse
of the Moyie, take hold of the wheel, and
when you look down and across the lake,
begin to feel the magic of the
sternwheeler. <^=a»'
Tom Lymbery, a long-time resident of the
Kootenays, runs the Gray Creek Store.
North River:The Story of BC's Thompson
Valley & Yellowhead Highway
Muriel Poulton Dunford. Merritt, BC:
Sonotek PubUshing Ltd., 2000.384pp. IUus.,
maps. $19.95. paperback.
Reviewed by Melva Dwyer
This is one of the first books written about
the North Thompson VaUey, its river and the
YeUowhead Highway.The North Thompson
River joins the South Thompson at
Kamloops to form the Thompson River that
in turn joins the Fraser at Lytton. Prior to
this pubUcation, there has been some mention of the area immediately adjacent to
Kamloops but nothing has been written
about the entire vaUey with the wealth of
historical information to be found here.
This is a very scholarly approach to the
history ofthe region and includes much new
information. Particularly important is the
material obtained through interviews with
individuals Uving in the area.
The author has covered the time period
from pre-European occupation to the Second World War. She has traced the development ofthe vaUey from the beginning when
the river was the only means of transport, to
the completion of the Canadian National
RaUway and finaUy to the buUding of the
highway through to the YeUowhead Pass. AU
developments led to a variety of change and
setdement along the way.
At times, the detaU included seems almost
overwhelming.The author obviously did not
wish to leave anything out when teUing the
story. The very comprehensive table of contents, Usting 41 short chapters, assists the
reader to locate the sections of interest.There
is also an alphabetical index that includes both
geographical and personal names.This too is
very comprehensive.The eight maps located
at the beginning ofthe text make it easy to
pinpoint the locations that are mentioned in
the text. The maps are extremely clear. The
references and quotations used in the text
are listed at the end of each chapter. There
are also 117 numbered ulustrations with the
sources acknowledged. The bibUography is
divided by type of materials used: Journals,
books, newspapers, periodical articles, government reports, unpubUshed documents,
and interviews. My only criticism is that the
quaUty ofthe ulustrations does not equal that
of the text. There is at least one interesting
picture in each chapter, often more, but they
are not as sharp or as clear as they could be.
This is most likely due to the method used
in the printing process on non-gloss paper.
This book should have had better editing
and proofreading. In spite of that, it is one of
the most scholarly books written to date on
any aspect ofBritish Columbia's local history. The author is to be congratulated for
her research and attention to detail that has
resulted in this history of a unique area of
the province.'**8'
Reviewer Melva Dwyer, 2nd Vice President ofthe
British Columbia Historical Federation, was born
and raised in Kamloops.
Gilean Douglas, Writing Nature, Finding
Andrea Lebowitz & Gillian MUton.
Victoria: Sono Nis Press, 1999.227 pp. IUus.
$21.95 paperback.
GUean Douglas Uved from 1900 to 1993—
truly a woman of a new century. She discovered her love of writing at an early age, and
pubUshed her first poem at age seven. Over
the foUowing decades her prolific articles
were featured in such diverse periodicals as
Reader's Digest and the Canadian Mining
Journal. Her monographs include eight books
of poetry and four books of prose.
Douglas meticulously saved copies of her
writing, as weU as her diaries and personal
letters, which are now deposited with the
University ofBritish Columbia Library, Special CoUections Division. These papers have
been lovingly handled by GiUian MUton, lit-
erary executor for Douglas's estate, and Andrea Lebowitz, a professor in the Women's
Studies Department, Simon Fraser University. MUton and Lebowitz use a chronological framework for the biography, interspersing appropriate samples of poetry and prose,
and personal photographs.
Douglas was an only child, born to
wealthy, alcohoUc parents. She lost her mother
at age seven, and her father at age 15. We
foUow her adjustments to Ufe as she matures,
faUs in love, copes with a chronic illness and
the major social changes ofthe century. Sociable and fiercely independent, Douglas tried
to mesh writing with her need for companionship and adventure. She took four husbands but each marriage faded the test of
close companionship. Writing was her first
love, and she eventuaUy accepted the fact that
she needed to Uve by herself. For most of
her writing career a strong gender bias against
female authors caused Douglas to be inventive. She used various pseudonyms, includ-
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 34 No. 2 ing a male name, in order to try different
writing styles and broaden her choice of
pubUshers. GUean is an adaptation of her legal name GiUian.
The major portion ofthe book is devoted
to the last half of Douglas's Ufe, which she
spent in British Columbia. She first Uved in
a rustic cabin near the Coquihalla River, eight
mUes out of Hope. Rather than rebuUd after
the cabin burned down, she purchased the
large Poole homestead on Cortes Island, 100
mUes north ofVancouver. The semi-isolation
of both places gave her control of her space;
being "one with nature" brought her spiritual peace. Although she could write on diverse topics, many of them introspective,
Douglas's poetry and prose derived considerable inspiration from her natural surroundings. Two manuscripts, Silence is My Homeland and River for My Sidewalk, describe her
experiences in the mountains near Hope. The
Protected Place is based on a reworked coUection of her "Nature Rambles" columns written on Cortes, and pubUshed in the Victoria
Daily Colonist (later Times Colonist) between
1961 and 1992.
Douglas was an environmentaUst ahead of
her time. StiU vital and energetic in her 70s,
she used her organizational and futurist skills
by getting involved in land use planning for
Cortes. In order to attend meetings she had
to travel two miles by trad or boat to the
community centre ofthe island. Her written
reports were circulated to aU islanders. The
authors shy away from an in-depth analysis
of Douglas's writing, pointing out only that
her prose reflects her interests in nature, and
that her poetry is written in the romantic
style. It would be interesting to know how
Douglas dealt with her manuscripts. Were
they hand-written or typed? And how did
she manage deadlines in the wUderness? Since
computers were just coming into their own
in the early 1990s, Douglas possibly never
enjoyed the greatest invention of the century for journaUsts. We are brought to the
conclusion that GUean Douglas handled her
career and her personal life with grace and
gratitude.This book would have pleased her
and it should be required reading for any
young woman who aspires to be a writer in
our new century.'^*'
Reviewer Marie Elliott's latest book is Gold and
Grand Dreams: Cariboo east in the early
Skippers of the Sky: The Early Years of
Bush Flying
WUUam J. Wheeler, ed. Calgary: Fifth House,
2000.248.pp. IUus. $29.95 hardcover.
Reviewed by Robert Allen
Skippers of the Sky is a coUection of previously pubUshed papers from the Canadian
Aviation Historical Society Journal or papers that
were the basis of talks given to various chapters ofthe Canadian Aviation Historical Society. The editor, WiUiam J. Wheeler, has selected them to reflect the changes in the nature of both bush flying over the years as weU
as the diverse flying conditions found across
C.G. (Gord) BaUantine had a quotable
quote in his chapter, "West Coast Fisheries
Patrol." He describes flying by saying,"... it
can be quite safe; after all, it's just the
penultimate stage of a landing." Geoffrey (Jefl)
Wyborn in his chapter,"Hudson Bay on Skis
and Hoats," describes the strenuous work the
pUots and air engineers would have to go
through in minus 40-degree weather in order to ensure they could fly the next day and
he says: "Situations Uke this made the glamour of bush flying more myth than fact."
Given the type of work, the weather conditions they had to endure, and difficult situations they would often find themselves in,
the pUots and their air engineers had to have
a sense of humour.
The first bush planes appeared in Canada
in 1919 after the First World War. A number
of puots who were fortunate enough to have
survived the war returned home to Canada
and became the first bush puots. They became experts world-wide in bush and mountain flying in the harsh conditions found only
in Canada.The first chapter tided: "The EarUest Days of Bush Flying" by CoUn S. (Jack)
CaldweU starts off the book with his experiences beginning in 1922. Editor Wheeler
then does an exceUent job of'flying" us back
and forth across Canada from 1922 to the
1990s with the last Chapter by Robert S.
(Bob) Grant on "Water Bombing: A Demanding Job".
Wheeler precedes each chapter with a
short synopsis, a brief biography of each author, and the types of airplanes they flew. This
aU helps to bring each chapter together.
Wheeler has some of his own exceUent
ulustrations near the beginning ofthe book
and he nicely places numerous photographs
throughout the chapters. The two maps in
the book are weU done but it would have
been better to have more maps in order to
give a better perspective ofthe areas flown.
At the end ofthe book, there is a "Brief
Chronology of Bush Flying in Canada," a
glossary, and a Ust of books as suggested reading. These are aU very helpful.
My experience with bush and mountain
flying has only been since the late 1960s and
has been limited mainly to Cessnas, Beavers,
Single and Twin Otters, and heUcopters.There
is a sense of adventure once you have been
in a bush plane, even for someone like me
who has only ever been a passenger. It is Uke
gold fever where you always want to go back
looking for more gold, but in this case, you
always want to step into a bush plane and go
on another adventure.This book has the same
effect on me.'^'
Reviewer Robert Allen is a land surveyor living
in Sechelt.
They Were Giants in Those Days: Stories
from the Heart of the Cariboo
Eldon Lee. Surrey: Heritage House, 1999.
158 pp. IUus., map. $16.95 paperback.
Reviewed by Esther Darlington
Once again Dr. Eldon Lee has given us a
homespun glimpse into the back roads of our
famous Cariboo Country history in his latest book, They Were Giants In Those Days. This
time the locale is the author's home turf, the
Knife Creek Road, where he grew up and
met some of the fascinating characters he
writes about.
Dr. Lee could not have chosen a more
appropriate subject for the first chapter,Annie
BasU of Sugar Cane Reserve near WUUams
Lake. This old Native SaUsh woman was in
many ways typical of her time. Uniquely able
to survive, she could trap, fish, Uve off the
native roots and berries. Annie would camp
for months at a time at Knife Creek and was
befriended by aU. Her midwifery skills were
called upon by both Native and non-Native
famiUes including the Murphy fanuly. Annie
deUvered Denis Murphy who went on to
become a supreme court judge of British
Dr. Lee's book is fuU of biographical nuggets, replete with unforgettable, even haunting personaUties, from the eerUy dispossessed
LiUian, the night walker, who was deaf and
ultimately went mad, to the bizarre promiscuity of Hazel Rowan whose lust for Ufe
seemed whetted by marriage rather than
being repressed by it. Other notable person-
37 aUties were Patricia Jeanette Herber whose
late September marriage to a near stranger
shocked her chUdren and his, and makes for
delightful reading.
A hunting tragedy, foolhardy bravery with
a bear, romance, adventure, alcoholism, poverty, and deprivation, the whole gamut we
caU"the human condition," are treated deftly
and with a great deal of heart by Dr. Lee.
The book is not only a very good read, it is
a must for the professional and amateur historian alike. Though the biographies of individual famUies are necessarUy brief in the
genre of popular history paperbacks, They
Were Giants in Those Days gives just enough
colour and information to whet the appetite
of researchers.
There are famous persons in Dr. Lee's latest Cariboo history, their names legends in
regional archive files. But Dr. Lee's attention
to personal details excites the dust from these
gone but not forgotten persons. More contemporary famUies, such as the Mayfields,
who gave us PhiUp Mayfield, our present
Cariboo ChUcotin Canadian Alliance MP;
the ice skaters, the McKinnon twins; John
Dodd, the Second World War hero of Knife
Creek Road; and OrviUe and Marie Hetcher,
all mingle with Dr. Lee's selection of "worthy mentionables."
The book contains a good clear map of
the Knife Creek Road territory, many snapshots of famiUes of yesteryear, an index and
biographical sources. I heartily recommend
They Were Giants in Those Days for every kind
of read, and predict it will sell like
Reviewer Esther Darlington is a resident of Cache
Bush Telegraph; Discovering the Pacific
Stephen Hume. Madeira Park: Harbour Pub-
Ushing, 1999.283 pp. $28.95 hardcover.
Reviewed by Kelsey McLeod
This has to be the most informative and enjoyable book written about our province. It
should be a must for every schoolchUd. The
range of subjects covered is as vast as the province itself. From our northern border to the
49th, from the Rockies to the western shores
ofVancouver Island, to the Queen Charlottes—few, if any, areas are missed.
There are legends, there is a wealth of history, ecology, botany, you name it, it is included. We are transported from the Dry Belt
to the West Coast, and aU points between.
The prose often verges on the poetic.The
descriptions of places, flora, and fauna could
only have been written by someone with
intimate knowledge ofBritish Columbia—
and not only knowledge, but also a love of
Canada's most western province.There is Utde
more to say about the book in general.
To be more specific I wiU give snippets of
some chapters. "The ReefWhere Time Began" is about the Queen Charlottes, "an archipelago of 1,884 islands." This is one of
the poetic chapters. As you read it you feel
you are there: seeing, hearing, feeUng, "the
Galapagos of the North." Coverage ranges
from Indian legends to the geological origins ofthe islands.
"Ocean Plunder" tells us that the BC coast
is home to more than 6,000 marine species,
including 400 fish, 161 marine birds, 29
mammals.This essay, whUe containing information unlimited—insight into present-day
fishing methods, bottom trolling and dragging^—is an impassioned plea for conservation of our marine heritage.
In the chapter "Huckleberries" the author
waxes poetical and of course, with cause. We
learn about related varieties, a huckleberry
pie recipe and one for huckleberry bannock.
You can, it seems, also enhance salmon with
huckleberries during cooking.
Reading the chapter "Skunk Cabbage," I
realized that I had no idea that skunk cabbage was useful to the Natives as wax paper,
drinking utensil, sun shade, and as a treatment for ringworm, bronchitis, and asthma.
Only the uninformed seem to look down
on it. Information on varieties around the
world is included.
For a history buff Uke myself the chapter
"A Dry Wind in Eden" is high on the Ust.
This history of Walhachin gives many poignant insights into the past of the entire
area—16,000 fruit trees were once planted
there. This "reinvention of the lost bibUcal
garden" had a short Ufe that was "murdered
by the First World War." Much ofthe tale is
told by reciting the memories of survivors
of that war. Included is a discussion of the
mighty impact that war had on the entire
"Grey Shepherd of the Long Booms" is
the story ofthe K444, her romance and history. Many of us remember this hulk, aground
on the mud flats near Oyster Bay. She was
launched as HMCS Matane, and Uved but
three years, but what a Ufe she had seen, when
she died in 1946.
These are but a few ofthe essays contained
in Bush Telegraph, but it is hoped that enough
interest has been raised to lead to the reading of an exceUent book.'^s*'
Reviewer Kelsey McLeod, a member ofthe
Vancouver Historical Society, is a free-lance
Golden Fleece: Mine-Finding and Adventure in the Pacific Northwest
K. McTaggart. Vancouver: Elton-Wolf Pub-
Ushing, 2000. 261 pp. $19.95 paper.
Reviewed by Ted Affleck
Golden Fleece is an unabashed adventure novel
about characters involved in the mining Ufe
in British Columbia. Readers seeking to
savour the latest styUstic advances in novel
writing may look elsewhere, as the mission
of this author, a UBC Emeritus Professor of
Geological Sciences, is to provide the reader
with vicarious experiences of the British
Columbia mining scene. In lucid prose,
McTaggart paints a reasonably authentic picture ofthe Uves of prospectors, muckers, mining engineers, stock promoters, and others
bitten by the mining bug. A formidable
amount of information about mining in British Columbia's past and present can be found
in this work.
I won't undermine any of the suspense
elements in the novel by relating a capsule
version ofthe plot, but the fact that the protagonist is a young mining engineer getting
his footing in the mining business and that
the plot takes him from the inside of a mining exploration company's office to the
depths of a mining tunnel makes this book a
suitable gift for any teenager who is hungry
for verisinular information on vocations, as
it should provide him with a "feel" for the
mining Ufe.
Ken McTaggart is a very good raconteur.
Some of his own Ufe experiences have probably been woven into the plot of Golden
Fleece, but it is to be hoped that some day his
own life story may find its way into print.'"5^
Reviewer Ted Affleck is author of A Century of
Correction and Apology
In Mr. Paul Yee's review of The Chinese in
Vancouver (34/1) the first sentence should
read: "...I remember confronting the available historical works and complaining that
studies of white racism often masked as histories ofthe Chinese in Canada."The editor
apologizes for altering this sentence and for
any upset it may have caused Mr. Yee.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 34 No. 2 George Mercer Dawson, Geologist, Scientist, Explorer
WUUam Chalmers. LantzviUe: XYZ PubUsh-
ing, 2000.178 pp. $15.95 paperback.
Reviewed by Ken McTaggart
In 1875 British Columbia and the Yukon
were largely unexplored. In that year, George
M. Dawson (1849-1901), newly appointed
to the Geological Survey of Canada, arrived
by ship inVictoria. He was to spend most of
the rest of his Ufe exploring, mapping, and
studying the geology of British Columbia
and the Yukon, the ethnology and languages
ofthe Indians he encountered and the flora
and fauna ofthe region. His epic expedition,
in 1887, from the Stikine River across northern British Columbia to the Yukon River
and back to civilization by way of the
Chilkoot Pass, was a remarkable feat of endurance and skUl. It was aU the more amazing because Dawson was a hunch-backed
dwarf, standing about four feet taU. At the
age of 11 he had contracted tuberculosis of
the spine and would spend several years bedridden in a truss designed to stabUize his
curving backbone. On recovering his
strength, his geologist father, Principal of
McGiU CoUege, sent him to London where
he studied at the Royal School of Mines.
Canadians should be proud of this scientist who, in spite of a terrible physical handicap, traveUed with packhorse and riverboat
through the almost impenetrable western
wUderness, mapping the country and laying
a soUd foundation for future geological studies. He finished his career as the third Director of the Geological Survey (Sir WiUiam
Logan was the first). He was awarded many
honours and attained high office in several
scientific societies. Dawson City in the Yukon
was named after him.
WUUam Chalmers's brief biography, based
largely on Dawson's diaries, is a breezy story
told largely through imagined conversations
between Dawson and his family, his feUow
surveyors, his Indian packers, guides, hunters
and others. The book includes interesting
photographs of Dawson and his working
parties. It wiU probably find a place in many
school Ubraries.
This reviewer would have Uked to see a
few maps showing the routes of Dawson's
explorations. It is unfortunate that the author did not have a geologist edit his
manuscript. '*'*>'
Reviewer Ken McTaggart is Professor Emeritus,
Geological Sciences, UBC.
Upstarts and Outcasts: Victoria's Not-so-
proper Past
Valerie Green.Victoria:Touchwood Editions
(Horsdal & Schubart), 2000. 192 pp. IUus.
$18.95 paperback.
Reviewed by Arnold Ranneris
This is a fascinating book. The subtide gives
the essence of its approach, describing an aspect of Victoria's society Utde covered by
other books, from the days of its estabUshment as FortVictoria until the SecondWorld
War. It is actuaUy many stories, about people
who came from many places and Uved here
as labourers, domestic servants, tradesmen,
actors and actresses, to name only a few. Some
were from the Orient, others from the United
States or Britain or Europe; some were upright citizens and some were ofthe "criminal" group. The author notes in her introduction that "the common thread Unking
these people was.. .being born in the wrong
place, the wrong time, or in poverty.'Yet this
did not mean that they were destined to remain in that situation, and those who had
hope—and in some cases good luck—might
weU see their fortunes improve.
The book is divided into four parts: "In
Service," "East in the West," "On the Other
Side ofthe Tracks," and "In Trade." Each part
begins with a general introduction of the
setting or situation, and is then foUowed by
short biographical sketches of men and
women who could be found in that category.
These are often very touching. For example
in the part "East in the West," devoted largely
to the Chinese, we are told how and why
the Chinese arrived (for example between
1881 and 1884 over 14,000 Chinese arrived
from China or via the United States), and
about their Uving situation in Chinatown or
as servants ofthe wealthy.
This is a weU-researched book, often having accompanying photographs or portraits,
and weU-selected verbatim reports from The
Colonist (newspaper). There are good
endnotes giving the sources of information.
The stories of ordinary people, often neglected by historians, has been brought to
Ught. It is complementary to Terry Reksten's
book More English than the English (Orca,
1986), which deals with the "upper classes".
It is also an amplification ofVictoria's society, introduced by Valerie Green in her earUer book No Ordinary People; Victoria's Mayors Since 1862. (Beach Holme, 1992).'^'
Reviewer Arnold Ranneris is Secretary of the
British Columbia Historical Federation.
Commencing with this issue, the "Bo
Reviews" section wiU include under the
tide "Newsworthy" names of books
received by Book Review Editor, Anne
Yandle, which may be reviewed in a later
A Measure of Value; the story ofthe d'Arcy Island
leper colony. Chris Yorath.Victoria.Touch-
wood Editions, 2000. $17.95 paperback.
A Place for Cold. Walter Guppy. Tofino,
Grassroots PubUcations, 2000.
A Rich and Fruitful Land; the history ofthe
valleys ofthe Okanagan, Similkameen and
Shuswap. Jean Webber. Madeira Park,
Harbour PubUshing, 1999. $36.95 hard
Don't Shoot from the Saddle; chronicles of a
frontier surgeon. D.A. HoUey. Surrey, Heritage House, 2000. $16.95 paperback
Gold and Grand Dreams; Cariboo East in the
early years. Marie EUiott.Victoria, Horsdal
& Schubart, 2000. $17.95 paperback
Islands ofTmth; the imperial fashioning of
Vancouver bland. Daniel W Clayton.
Vancouver, University of B.C. Press, 2000.
$85 hard cover.
On the Street whereYou lit*.Vol. 2.Victoria's
early roads and raUways. Danda Humphrey.
Surrey, Heritage House, 2000. $34.95 hard
Pioneer Legacy; chronicles ofthe Lower Skeena
River,Vo\. II. Norma V Bennett. Terrace, Dr
R.E.M. Lee Hospital Foundation, 2000.
$35 paperback; $45 hard cover.
Port Coquitlam; where raib meet rivers. Chuck
Davis. Madeira Park, Harbour PubUshing,
2000. $39.95 hard cover.
Rebel Life: the life and times of Robert Gosden,
revolutionary, mystic, labour spy. Mark Leier.
Vancouver, New Star Boob, 1999. $19
Spirited Women; a history of Catholic sisters in
British Columbia. Deborah Rink.Vancouver,
The Sisters Association Archdiocese of
Vancouver, 2000. $27.95 paperback.
The IWA in Canada; the life and times of an
industrial union. Andrew Neufeld and
Andrew Parnaby.Vancouver, New Star
Books, 2000. $50 hard cover.
Where Shadows Linger; the untold story ofthe
RCMP's Obon murders investigation.^.
LesUe Holmes with Bruce Northorp.
Vancouver, Heritage House, 2000. $27.95  •
hard cover.
Where the Echo Began, and other oral traditions
from Southwestern Alaska, recorded by Hans
Himmelheber. Edited by Ann Fienup-
Riordan. Fairbanks, University of Alaska
Press, 2000. Price $39.95 US
39 News and Notes
Please send information to be published in News and Notes to the editor in Whonnock before 15 August, 15 November, 15 February and 15 May.
Left: This year's winner ofthe British Columbia Heritage Award is Garry Anderson of Cranbrook,
executive director ofthe Canadian Museum of Rail Travel. He is seen here on 19 February receiving
the award in Vancouver. On the right stands the Hon. Gerard Janssen, Minister of Small Business,
Tourism and Culture, who arrived on a motorcycle, fittingly dressed to highlight the theme of this
year's BC Heritage Week: Transportation. Roy Pallant and John Spittle ofthe BCHF were there.
Anderson is devoted to his projects. He is a tireless crusader for railway heritage, accomplishing small
miracles in finding cars and engines, having them brought to Cranbrook, and restoring each piece
lovingly. He had a rural rail station brought into town for use as office and archives. Another building
is being upgraded for displays and community art gallery. Now he is reinstalling the beautiful Edwardian style cafk room, once part ofthe 1906 Royal Alexandra Hotel in Winnipeg, at the Canadian
Museum of Rail Travel in Cranbrook. Source: Naomi MiUer
From the Members
Galiano Museum
Over fifteen hundred people visited the museum since it opened its doors to the pubhc
in June of last year. Membership totals more
than one hundred. The Galiano Museum is
looking for a more spacious location where
also farm, fishing, and logging equipment
could find a place. President Alistair Ross
reports that they are studying fishing over
the years and the resulting report will be the
basis of an exhibit this summer.
Source: Galiano Museum
Congratulations Joanne Savory!
Since Adrian Clark retired as president of
theVancouver Historical Society last sum-
mer.Joanne Savory has taken on the duties
of both acting president and vice-president.
On 24 January, the VHS membership
unanimously elected her as their president.
Source: VHS Newsletter
Nanaimo Historical Society
Princess Royal Day was weU attended. The
society thanked Dorothy Bendey, a dedicated
member since 1954, retiring after twenty
years organizing the phoning committee. As
part of their December celebrations, the Old
City Quarters caUed on Anne Royle and
Pamela Mar to guide Saturday tours of the
area.The society is considering a similar tour
as a field trip for their members. Negotiations concerning new premises for the
Nanaimo Community Archives are continu-
ing.The most recent City ofNanaimo plaque
was unveUed in January, commemorating
Nanaimo's Chinese community.
Source: Nanaimo Historical Society's newsletter
Arrow Lakes Historical Society
Milton Parent's Circle of Silver is the next book
ofthe Centennial series ofthe society. It wiU
teU the story of the Lardeau including the
towns of Trout Lake, Ferguson, and
Camborne, starting in the first days of mining until the present day. The book's pre-
pubUcation price is $46 including shipping
and handling.The book wUl be avaUable early
this summer.To order books caU (250) 265-
3323 on any day, or the ALHS archives office at (250) 265-0111 onTuesdays or Thursdays between 10:00 and 3:00.
Other News
BC Studies in Kamloops
"Beyond Hope, Constructing British Columbia in Practice and Theory." 10-12 May ]
2001 .This year's "BC Studies" conference wUl
take place at the University CoUege ofthe
Cariboo in Kamloops. For further information visit
beyond_hope/. For registration caU (250)
828-5116 or e-mail Lorna Obrien, conference secretary, at:
Delta Obituaries Database, Gwen Szychter's
Web site, recendy celebrated its first anniversary with the addition of a database of
obituaries of former Delta residents gleaned
from newspapers. The database contains the
obituaries exacdy as they appeared in the
newspapers. There are 200 surnames in the
Ust and over 300 entries.The database can be
downloaded for a small fee.
Gwen Szychter's newsletter
Nanaimo Concert Band
Garry Gaudet is looking for moving picture
films of the Nanaimo Concert Band for a
TV project. Ample written and photographic
material seems to be avaUable on the band
that started its existence in 1872, but the oldest film so far discovered is one from 1960.
Garry needs at least some scratchy, grainy bits
of early film for his project. If you think you
can help Garry on his quest please write to
736 LantzviUe Road, LantzviUe BC.VOR
2H0. Phone: (250) 390-1926,
e-maU: ggaudet@nisa:net
Archives in the news
ommunity archives are encoii&aged to submit press releases and stories pubUshed in the
local media relating to their activities for
posting in the "Archives in theJMews" section of the AABC Web site. Contact for more information, n
Source: AABC Newsletter ,
AABC Coursej^nd-Gonference
A new AABC course: "Getting Started: An
Introduction for SmaU Archives" wiU be presented inVictoria on 25 and 26 AprU. Registration deadline for the course is 4 AprU
2001. For further information check the Web
site of the Archives Association of BC,, or contact Deidre Simmons
by phone (520) 595-2932 or e-mail: For information on
the AABC conference on 27 and 28 AprU
Source: AABC Newsletter
The Langley Centennial Museum has recendy estabUshed an impressive onUne historical photograph database on its Web site
at   j
Source: AABC Newsletter
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 34 No. 2 Friends of the BC ArchivesX
If you use the services of BC Archives in any
way, the best way to say "thank you'Xis by
joining "The Friends of BC Archives," a
young and energetic organization that supports the British Columbia Archives. Contact their (and our) treasurer Ronald Greene
for membership information. Phone (250)
598-1835 or e-maU
HHiOfA^SocOTYoTBC Conference
The annual conference ofthe Heritage Society ofBritish Columbia wiU be hosted this
year by the City of Surrey. The conference
wiU be held at Ashton Pacific Hotel in Surrey from 31 May until 2 June. For more information contact the Heritage Society of
BC Conference office by phone (604) 582-
1332 or e-maU
Cassiar. . .do you remember?
Herb Daum of PoweU River is looking for
ways to preserve at least the memories and
history of Cassiar now that the townsite was
bulldozed away a few years ago. Cassiar's isolation formed a close-knit community now
dispersed aU over the country. To aUow residents to reconnect, a Web site has been created: and a
July reunion is planned at the SUver Star Ski
Resort in Vernon, BC, where hundreds of
participants are expected. Herb Daum can
be reached by phone (604) 485-5504, e-maU, or via Canada Post:
Herb Daum, 7304 Huntingdon Street, PoweU
River, BCV8A1P4.
Source: Heritage Branch/Dorothea Haeussler
VolNet—An offer you can't refuse
VolNet is a government initiative administered by Industry Canada. Their goal is to
make Internet connections affordable for
volunteer organizations: to get them aU on
the Web. Volunteer organizations struggUng
with narrow budgets and needing computer
equipment to access the Web and more: here
is your chance. To learn more about eUgibU-
ity and appUcation caU LesUe Adams ofBC
Museums Association 1-800-263-3787; BC
Connects in Kelowna (877) 717-2567; or
Vancouver Community Net (604) 257-3806.
Please mention BC Historical News when you
call them and visit our Web site as soon as you are connected.
Books on the Horizon
James Douglas is the subject ofjohn Adams's
new book pubUshed by Horsdal & Schubart.
It is expected for sale in October.
Remember Robert C. Belyk's weU-written
and weU-researched book John Tod, Rebel in
the Ranks? In August, his new book And the
Sea Shall Claim Them: Great Tragedies of the
Pacific Coast, (JohnWUey & Sons, New York)
wiU be avaUable. Belyk pubUshed an article
tided "Victoria and the Loss ofthe Pacific"
in BC Historical News (32/3).
Documenting Dunbar
Dunbar, a westside community ofVancouver, is preparing a history ofthe area through
interviews with pioneers' descendants. The
Dunbar Residents' Association is asking
former (or present) residents of Dunbar for
photos and input. Contact: Peggy Schofield,
coordinator, Documenting Dunbar, (604)
263-5590. E-mail
Canada Post: Dunbar Residents'Association,
PO Box 172, 3456 Dunbar Street.Vancouver BC.V6S 2C2.
Memorial Notes
Bernard George Webber 1914-2000.
Bernard George Webber died on 5 December 2000. He was born in Winnipeg and
attended the University of Manitoba until
lack of money during the depression forced
his withdrawal. He served as secretary to J.S.
Woodsworth, who later became first leader
ofthe Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), forerunner ofthe NDP
In 1935 Bernard Webber moved to Vancouver Island and started teaching in 1938. He
married Jean Browne in 1941. Between 1941
and 1945 he served as the representative for
Similkameen to the BC Legislature. He returned in 1945 to teaching and, wlule raising his fanuly with Jean, earned his BA and
MA from UBC. By then, he was principal of
Richmond High School. Subsequendy he
served as director in Vernon, and thereafter
as district superintendent in Kitimat, South
Okanagan, and Keremeos School districts. He
was seconded to the Ministry of Education
inVictoria as superintendent of special services in 1977, and retired in 1979.
Throughout he was active in community affairs, taking leading roles in a large number
of organizations, including the Okanagan
Historical Society. With his life-long interest
in learning, he understood the importance
of books, particularly Uterature. While in
Kitimat, and later inVictoria, he actively encouraged the development of courses in First
Nations' languages and cultures. His interest
in education was matched, if not surpassed,
by his dedication to the preservation of history. After retirement, he served on the ex
ecutive of various historical societies, conducted research in federal and provincial archives, authored numerous articles, self-pub-
Ushed "Silk Trains" and, until weU into his
eighties, served on the British Columbia
Historical Federation selection committee
charged each year with choosing the best new
books on BC history.
Martin Lynch 1924-2000.
Martin Lynch worked for the Vancouver Sun,
Macleans, and the Globe and Mail. He retired
to Shutty Bench near Kaslo in 1982 after
serving as editor ofthe Globe and Mail for 25
years. From his West Kootenay home he responded to questions phoned or faxed in by
historians and others. Lynch had an encyclopedic mind plus an extensive Ubrary and
48 filing cabinets fiul of facts and documents:
Among the many authors he assisted were
Peter C. Newman (10 books),Peter Corley-
Smith, and Robert D.Turner. Martin and his
wife Jane coordinated much of the
fundraising for the restoration of SS Moyie,
and researched many details to assist Turner
when he was loaned to the Moyie project by
the Royal BC Museum.
Lynch proofread faxed copy for BC Report,
Alberta Report and Beautiful British Columbia.
He frequendy suppUed information to CBC
announcer NeU GiUon.This remarkable gen-
deman died in his sleep at home on 10 December 2000 without ever meeting the hundreds of researchers depending depending on
him. He never learned to drive and was content to Uniit his travels to the occasional trip
to Kaslo, 12 km away. (Naomi Miller)
Philip Akrigg 1913-2001.
We are saddened to hear ofthe death in February of member Dr. G.P.V Akrigg, at the
age of 87. Dr. Akrigg, Professor Emeritus of
EngUsh at the University ofBritish Columbia, taught Shakespeare to generations of students and pubUshed widely in this field.Turn-
ing to British Columbia history, PhU and his
wife Helen, set up their own press, Discovery Press, to pubUsh their 1001 Place Names,
which came out in many editions, eventuaUy superseded by British Columbia Place
Names, required companion on any trip
through the province. Their next major undertaking was the two volumes of British
Columbia Chronicle, a Uvely and readable introduction to our history. Their final pubUcation together was H.M.S. Virago in the Pacific, pubUshed in 1992. We extend our sympathy to Helen and famUy in their loss.
(Anne Yandle)
41 Reports
Remembering George Vancouver  by j.e. (Ted) Roberts
Articles appearing in the BC Historical News
are as a rule based on historic fact, or a reasonable interpretation of events. For the moment I am asking the reader to indulge in a
bit of fantasy and imagine that, as a contestant on the popular TV program "Who wants
to be a Millionaire," you have reached the
final plateau and that with an answer to the
final question you wiU be the $1,000,000
winner. The house Ughts dim, the drum roU
begins and you are given the ultimate question: "What is the significance ofthe date of
May 12th to the citizens ofthe province of
British Columbia, Canada."
How did you make out? Are those tears
of joy or despair? Of course the topic gave it
away, but sadly, few among us are aware that
our government has declared that May 12th,
in perpetuity, be observed as "Captain George
Vancouver Day". Many are unaware ofthe
significance ofthe date or of what Vancouver did to deserve such recognition.The date
is the anniversary of his death in 1798 and
his accompUshments, which played such a
large part in determining the final shape of
the poUtical map of North America, are detaUed in the story of his Ufe.
The Government's declaration was the
result ofthe actions of a smaU group of dedicated and indomitable history-minded members ofThe Friends ofVancouver who pre-
vaUed upon the authorities to issue a formal
proclamation on behalf of Her Majesty
Queen EUzabeth II. As noted, the raison
d'etre for "The Friends" is to make one and
aU more aware ofthe work of Captain George
Vancouver and the important part that he
played in the ultimate formation ofthe Dominion of Canada. The body ofthe Proclamation declares that:
Whereas Captain George Vancouver was the foremost explorer ofthe coast ofBritish Columbia in the eighteenth century, and
Whereas his reputation has been unjusdy maligned, and
Whereas his meticulous surveys for the first time
clearly delineated our coast and were instrumental in determining the final boundaries of
Western Canada, and
Whereas he treated the aboriginal inhabitants of
these waters with respect and dignity:
Few of our citizens understand the contribution that Captain Vancouver played in
our history. Some ofthe citizens ofVictoria
know that his statue sits atop the ParUament
BuUdings, but the scale ofthe representation
is such that one could teU a visitor that it was
Ronald McDonald and they would not be
chaUenged. We have Utde around us to remind us of this important part of our heritage and it is the hope ofThe Friends ofVan-
Captain Vancouver aboard "Lady Washington"
couver that more of us wiU take it upon ourselves to increase our knowledge ofVancouver's work and in the process better understand how we became "Canadian." For our
part, on May 12th, we of "The Friends" wiU
quiedy raise a glass (or two) and give our
thanks that it was Vancouver who put the
"British" in British Columbia.
In other parts ofthe world that Vancouver knew celebrations wiU be more formal.
Recent events in Vancouver's hometown,
King's Lynn, and in Vancouver, Wash., have
acknowledged George Vancouver as one of
history's great seamen.
For the first time, the people of his place
of birth have a statue to his honour, placed
prominendy near the old Customs House
where Vancouver's father worked. This came
about from the actions of a few civic-minded
citizens of King's Lynn who felt strongly over
the neglect exhibited by the populace in general over the due recognition of George Vancouver. In January of 1997, Mr. Bryan Howling, former Mayor of King's Lynn, called a
pubUc town meeting from which a steering
committee was formed to explore the feasi-
biUty of raising funds to erect a life-size statue
in memory ofVancouver in his birthplace,
King's Lynn. Out of this meeting, the George
Vancouver Commemorative Project was
born. A maUing appeal to business and commerce in the local area was extended to possible interested participants around the world
and funds in support were received from the
City ofVancouver who donated ,£5,000 and
from the City ofVancouver,Wash, who gave
US$1,100. In August of 1999 their funding
was given a spectacular boost with an anonymous contribution of £10,000 from a Norfolk resident.
The commission for sculpting the statue
was awarded to Mrs. Penelope Reeve of Sussex. The statue, cast in bronze aUoy, stands
about two metres high on a one-metre tall
pUnth. On a rather wintry October day last
year, the statue, facing west, and standing
about 30 metres west ofthe Customs House,
was unveUed by His Highness, Prince PhUip,
to the deUght of the assembled dignitaries.
An interesting sideUght to the project was
the delayed arrival of a slab of granite for the
statue's phnth procured from Garibaldi Granite of Squamish, BC, quarried in an area visited by Captain Vancouver in 1792. For the
unveUing ceremonies a sturdy metal base in
the form ofthe final pUnth was fabricated as
a stand-in. The finished granite piece has
meanwhUe arrived and the statue was repositioned.
When word ofthe activities ofthe group
in King's Lynn was received in America, an
expatriate Englishwoman, AvrU Massey of
Vancouver,Wash., was stirred to undertake a
similar project. An active "Friends ofVancouver" group was formed and fundraising
star ted. This had a successful result, thanks in
large part to a financial boost given by Ehe
Kassab, a local entrepreneur, which enabled
the project to proceed.The finished product,
cast in a bronze aUoy, arrived in Vancouver
on 29 AprU 2000, in a most spectacular fashion, carried up the Columbia River on the
deck ofthe repUca brigantine, Lady Washington, Robert Gray's ship of 1792.
When the Utde ship docked at the Quay,
Captain George Vancouver, soUdly bolted to
her deck, was received with the pomp and
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 34 No. 2 Captain Vancouver in King's Lynn
ceremony of a colour guard and brass band.
"The SoUd Brass Ensemble" played a selection of appropriate music, including a portion of a symphony especiaUy commissioned
for the occasion.The festivities concluded that
evening with a Captain George Vancouver
MemorialVictory Celebration and a dinner
held in the ballroom of the Red Lion Inn
with speeches by Mayor Royce PoUard and
Mr. David Broom, HM British Consul. A
final site for the statue is stiU to be determined.
As a dedicated fan of George Vancouver, I
was interested in the artists' interpretation of
their subject. I must admit to a bias in favour
of the work Ulustrated in the King's Lynn
statue that shows a more rugged individual
with an in-your-face demeanour in the manner of a Jimmy Cagney, compared to the
more handsome countenance in theVancouver, Wash, representation with the finer features of an Errol Hynn, or Douglas Fairbanks,
What is important is that more people
have learned details ofVancouver's Ufe and
work than otherwise would have been possible. The statues, though static, draw an audience and with that, the possibUity that an
interest to learn more ofthe subject wiU be
piqued in the viewer. In Western Canada we
do not need another statue of Captain George
Vancouver. What we require is more and better books and articles, written with an open
mind, that examine aU facets ofthe work that
Vancouver did and how that resulted in the
formation of our Province of British Columbia and the country we call Canada.'
9:00-10:30 am
10:30-11:00 am
11 =00-12:00 am
12:00-12:30 pm
12:30- 4.-00 pm
Conference 2001 Pichmond
Program       JVLuseiim
Thursday, 3 May 2001
5:00 - 7:00 pm      Richmond Cultural Centre: Registration
7:00 - 9:00 pm      Richmond Museum, Richmond Cultural Centre
Welcome Reception (Wine and Cheese)
- Opening Remarks
-Welcome from Mayor Halsey-Brandt
Friday, 4 May 2001
Lecture Hall, Richmond Cultural Centre
Plenary Session:*The Land You Pass Through"
- Panel Discussion
Coffee Break
Session:The History of Richmond. Presenter: Harold Steeves
Short Break and Board Buses
Tours, including Lunch: choose one:
Tour A: Steveston
Lunch at Dave's (best fish and chips in town!) followed by a walking tour of
Steveston and a tour ofthe Gulf of Georgia Cannery.
Tour B:The Dyke (this tour involves a fair bit of walking)
Lunch at Yokohama followed by a tour of Britannia Heritage Shipyard, a
walk along the dyke, and a tour of London Farm (will include afternoon tea
and therefore may go a bit longer than the 4:00 pm scheduled end).
Tour GYVR (Vancouver International Airport)
Lunch at The Flying Beaver Pub followed by a behind-the-scenes look at
the operations ofthe airport.
6:30 pm Chinese dinner and visit to Asian malls.This is an optional, pay-
your-own-way event. For those not interested in the above event
Friday dinner and evening is on your own.
Saturday 5 May 2001
8:30 - 9:00 am     Richmond City Hall: Continental Breakfast
9:00-12:30 am   RichmondCity Hall: British Columbia Historical Federation AGM
12:30 - 1:30 pm   Richmond Cultural Centre, Lecture Hall: Lunch
1:30 - 2:00 pm    Short break and board buses
2:00 - 4:00 pm    Tours (choose one).Two of Friday's choices have been repeated in
order to accommodate the many people we think will be interested
in the various sites in Steveston.
Tour A: Repeat of Steveston Tour
TourB: Repeat of Dyke Tour
Tour C: "Uses ofthe Land"Walking tour of Finn Slough, followed by a bus tour of
agricultural Richmond.
6:00 - 6:30 pm      Richmond Inn: No Host Bar
6:30 pm Richmond Inn: Banquet and Awards Presentation
Guest Speaker: Michael Kluckner, Past President and BC Governor,
Heritage Canada
A registration form is available on our Web site: and is included in the winter issue (34/1) of BC Historical News. To receive a form by mail and for information contact: Eileen
Mak. (604) 875-8023, or Pat Gudlaugson, (604) 274-2808, The Richmond Museum can be reached by phone: (604) 231-
6457 or by e-mail:
43 Federation News
BCHF Council Meeting,Victoria, BC, 24 February 2001
Hosted by the Royal BC Museum and Victoria Historical Society
Some Highlights:
Three new members were nominated and accepted. CouncU welcomed as new members the
Jewish Historical Society, Finn Slough Heritage & Wetland Society, and the Langley
Centennial Museum. The British Columbia Genealogical Society joined the Federation as an affiliated group. We appreciate their interest in the BCHF
The people ofthe Richmond Museum Society are to be congratulated for the preparation
ofthe 2001 BCHF conference in May. For particulars see previous page.After Richmond
(2001) conferences are scheduled for Revelstoke (2002) and Prince George (2003).
Nanaimo and Victoria are considering hosting the 2004 conference. In 2005 the conference wUl be held at Kelowna in conjunction with the Okanagan Historical Society.
Not less than 43 books are considered as candidates for the yearly competition for writers of
BC history. See page 33 for a Ust of books submitted to the jury.
A genealogy column wUl be a regular feature of BC Historical News beginning with the
summer issue.
In September 2000 we mailed a survey regarding subscriptions to BC Historical News to 38
members: 30 members repUed. A subscription to the journal is part ofthe membership of
the Alberni Historical Society, the Nanaimo Historical Society, and the Vancouver
Historical Society.*) Fourteen other members give their members a choice to subscribe and arrange payment for their members.These two groups represent 61 percent of
our subscriptions. Other subscriptions faU mainly in two categories: individual subscriptions (32 percent) and institutional subscriptions (7 percent).An appeal to aU members to
promote subscriptions to BC Historical News. There are stiU many out there who have
never seen the journal. Ask for promotional copies.
The BCHF Web: see editorial on page 1.
Delegates reporting:
Boundary Historical Society:
NorthVancouver Historical Society:
Richmond Museum Society:
Vancouver Historical Society:
Victoria Historical Society:
AUce GlanviUe, in writing
Roy PaUant
EUeen Mak
AUda Kulash
Arnold Ranneris
Next Meeting: Thursday, 3 May 2001 in Richmond BC.
*) On 27 February 2001 the Victoria Historical Society decided to include a subscription to BC Historical News as a part ofthe membership to their society.
Publications Assistance
With many books on local history ready for
printing, a reminder that the BCHF provides
member societies and their members with
loans to assist in pubUshing work of historical value.These loans apply to printing costs
only, are interest-free for six months, and are
subject to approval by the publication
aasistance committee, British Columbia Historical Federation, PO Box 5254, Station B,
Victoria, BC.V8R6N4.
BCHF Endowment Fund
The BCHF Endowment Fund helps promoting a wider interest in the history of this province. There are many ways by which you
could help: small annual donations, occasional
gifts, or bequests. The purchase of an insurance poUcy with the British Columbia Historical Federation named as beneficiary is
another option. The Federation can provide
receipts for Income Tax purposes. Contact
Ron Greene. (250) 598-3035.
British Columbia Historical
Deadline 15 May 2001
The British Columbia Historical Federation
awards two $500 scholarships annuaUy for
essays written by students at BC colleges or
universities on a topic relating to British
Columbia history. One scholarship is for an
essay written by a student in a first- or second-
year course; the other is for an essay written
by a student in a third- or fourth-year course.
To apply for the scholarship, candidates
must submit (1) a letter of appUcation; (2) an
essay of 1500-3000 words on a topic relating
to the history ofBritish Columbia; (3) a letter
of recommendation from the professor for
whom the essay was written.
Applications should be submitted before
15 May 2001 to: Frances Gundry, Chair BC
Historical Federation Scholarship Committee,
PO Box 5254, Station B.Victoria, BC V8R
The winning essay submitted by a third-
or fourth-year student wiU be published in BC
Historical News. Other submissions may be
published at the editor's discretion.
BC History Web Site Prize
The British Columbia Historical Federation
and David Mattison are joindy sponsoring a
yearly cash award of $250 to recognize Web
sites that contribute to the understanding and
appreciation ofBritish Columbia's past. The
award honours individual initiative in writing and presentation.
Nominations for the BC History Web Site
Prize for 2001 must be made to the British
Columbia Historical Federation, Web Site
Prize Committee, prior to 31 December
2001. Web site creators and authors may
nominate their own sites.
Prize rules and the online nomination form
can be found on The British Columbia History Web site:
A Certificate of Merit and fifty dollars will
be awarded annually to the author ofthe article, published in BC Historical News, that best
enhances knowledge ofBritish Columbia's history and provides reading enjoyment. Judging
wiU be based on subject development, writing
skiU, freshness of material, and appeal to a general readership interested in all aspects ofBC
Manuscripts submitted for publication should be sent to the Editor, BC Historical News, PO Box 130, Whonnock BC V2W 1V9. Submission by
e-mail of text and illustrations is welcome. Otherwise please send a hard copy and if possible a disk copy ofthe manuscript by ordinary mail. Illustrations should be accompanied by captions and source information. Submissions should not be more than 3,500 words. Authors publishing for the first
rime a feature article in the British Columbia Historical News will receive a one-year complimentary subscription to the journal.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 34 No. 2 British Columbia Historical Federation
Organized 31 October 1922
Affiliated Groups
Archives Association ofBritish Columbia
British Columbia Genealogical Society
Member Societies
Alberni District Historical Society
PO Box 284, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 7M7
Anderson Lake Historical Society
PO Box 40, D'Arcy BC VON 1L0
Arrow Lakes Historical Society
PO Box 819, Nakusp BC VOG 1R0
Adin Historical Society
POBox 111, AtUn BC V0W1A0
Boundary Historical Society
PO Box 1687, Grand Forks BC VOH 1H0
Bowen Island Historians
PO Box 97. Bowen Island, BC VON 1G0
Burnaby Historical Society
6501 Deer Lake Avenue,
Burnaby BC V5G 3T6
Chemainus VaUey Historical Society
PO Box 172, Chemainus BC VOR 1K0
Cowichan Historical Society
POBox 1014, Duncan BC V9L 3Y2
District 69 Historical Society
PO Box 1452, ParksviUe BC V9P 2H4
East Kootenay Historical Association
PO Box 74, Cranbrook BC VIC 4H6
Finn Slough Heritage & Wedand Society
9480 Dyke Road, Richmond BC V7A 2L5
Gulf Islands Branch BCHF
c/o A. Loveridge S22, Cll, RR # 1
GaUano Island BC VON IPO
Hedley Heritage Society
PO Box 218, Hedley BC VOX 1K0
Jewish Historical Society ofBC
206-950 West 41st Avenue,
Vancouver BC V5Z 2N7
Kamloops Museum Association
207 Seymour Street, Kamloops BC V2C 2E7
Koksilah School Historical Society
5213 Trans Canada Highway,
KoksUah, BC VOR 2C0
Kootenay Lake Historical Society
PO Box 1262, Kaslo BC VOG 1M0
Langley Centennial Museum
PO Box 800, Fort Langley BC VIM 2S2
LantzviUe Historical Society
c/o Box 274, LantzviUe BC VOR 2H0
London Heritage Farm Society
6511 Dyke Road, Richmond BC V7E 3R3
Maple Ridge Historical Society
22520 116th Ave., Maple Ridge, BCV2X 0S4
Nanaimo & District Museum Society
100 Cameron Road, Nanaimo BC V9R 2X1
Nanaimo Historical Society
PO Box 933, Nanaimo BC V9R 5N2
Nelson Museum
402 Anderson Street, Nelson BC V1L3Y3
Nicola VaUey Museum Archives Association
PO Box 1262, Merritt BC V1K 1B8
North Shore Historical Society
c/o 1541 Merlynn Crescent,
NorthVancouver BC V7J 2X9
North Shuswap Historical Society
Box 317, CeUsta BC  VOE 1L0
Okanagan Historical Society
PO Box 313,Vernon BC V1T 6M3
Princeton & District Museum & Archives
Box 281, Princeton BC VOX 1W0
QuaUcum Beach Historical Society
587 Beach Road,
QuaUcum Beach BC V9K 1K7
Richmond Museum Society
Minoru Park Plaza, 7700 Minoru Gate,
Richmond BC V6Y 7M7
Salt Spring Island Historical Society
129 McPhiUips Avenue,
Salt Spring Island BC V8K2T6
Sidney & North Saanich Historical Soc.
9281 Ardmore Drive,
North Saanich BC V8L 5G4
SUvery Slocan Historical Society
Box 301, New Denver BCV0G ISO
Surrey Historical Society
Box 34003 17790 #10 Hwy.
Surrey BC V3S 8C4
Terrace Regional Historical Society
PO Box 246,Terrace BC V8G 4A6
Texada Island Heritage Society
Box 122,Van Anda BC VON 3K0
TraU Historical Society
PO Box 405,TraU BC V1R 4L7
Union Bay Historical Society
Box 448, Union Bay.BC VOR 3B0
Vancouver Historical Society
PO Box 3071,Vancouver BC V6B 3X6
Victoria Historical Society
PO Box 43035, Victoria North
Victoria BC  V8X 3G2
YeUowhead Museum
Box 1778, RR# 1, Clearwater BC VOE 1N0
The British Columbia
Historical Federation is
an umbrella organization
embracing regional
Local historical societies
are entitled to become
Member Societies ofthe
BC Historical Federation.
All members of these
local historical societies
shall by that very fact be
members ofthe Federation.
Affiliated Groups are
organizations with
specialized interests or
objects of a historical
Membership fees for
both classes of membership are one dollar per
member of a Member
Society or Affiliated
Group with a minimum
membership fee of $25
and a maximum of $75.
Questions about
membership should be
directed to:
Terry Simpson,
Membership Secretary,
BC Historical Federation,
193 Bird Sanctuary,
Nanaimo BC V9R6G8
Please keep the editor of BC Historical News informed about corrections to be made to this Ust. Return Address:
British Columbia Historical News
JoelVinge, Subscription Secretary
561 Woodland Drive
Cranbrook,   BC    ViC 6V2
Canadian Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement No. 1245716
Publications Mail Registration No. 09835
L^3.ri3QU     We acknowledge the financial support ofthe Government of Canada, through the Publications Assistance Program (PAP), toward our mailing costs.
Contact us:
BC Historical News welcomes your
letters and manuscripts on subjects
deaUng with the history ofBritish
Columbia and British Columbians.
Please send stories or essays on any
aspect ofthe rich past of our province to the Editor, BC Historical
News, Fred Braches, PO Box 130,
Whonnock BC, V2W 1V9.
Phone: (604) 462-8942
E-mail: ca
Send books for review and book
reviews direcdy to the Book Review Editor, BC Historical News,
Anne Yandle, 3450 West 20th
Avenue, Vancouver BC V6S 1E4,
Phone: (604) 733-6484
News items for publication in BC
Historical News should be send to
the editor in Whonnock.
Please send correspondence about
subscriptions to the Subscription
Secretary, Joel Vinge
561 Woodland Drive
Cranbrook BC ViC 6V2
r Phone/Fax: (250) 489-2490
Individual $15.00 per year
Institutional $20.00 per year
For addresses outside Canada add $6.00
The British Columbia Historical Federation
£    invites submissions of books for the io™ annual
Competition for Writers of BC History.
Any book presenting any facet of BC history, published in
2001, is eligible. This may be a community history, biography, record of a project or an organization, or personal recollections giving a glimpse ofthe past. Names, dates and places,
with relevant maps or pictures, turn a story into "history."
Note that reprints or revisions of books are not eligible.
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.
The Lieutenant-Governor's Medal for Historical Writing will be awarded to an
individual writer whose book contributes significandy to the recorded history ofBritish Columbia. Other awards will be made as recommended by
the judges to valuable books prepared by groups or individuals.
Winners will receive a Certificate of Merit, a monetary award and an invitation to the BCHF annual conference to be held in Revelstoke May 2002.
SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS: All books must have been pubUshed in 2001 and
should be submitted as soon as possible after publication. Two copies of each book
should be submitted. Books entered become property ofthe BC Historical Federation. Please state name, address and telephone number of sender, the selling price of
all editions ofthe book, and, if the reader has to'shop by mail, the address from which
it may be purchased, including applicable shipping and handling costs.
SEND TO:    BC Historical Federation Writing Competition
c/o Shirley Cuthbertson
#306-225 Belleville Street Victoria BC    V8V 4T9
DEADLINE: 31 December 2001


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