British Columbia History

British Columbia Historical News 1990

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Volume 23,  No. 3
Summer 1990
ISSN 0045-2963
British Columbia
Historical News
Journal of the B.C. Historical Federation
"Grand Forks-Conference 1990" MEMBER SOCIETIES
***** ********
Member Societies and their secretaries are responsible for seeing that the correct address for their society is up-to-date.
Please send any change to both the Treasurer and the Editor at the addresses inside the back cover. The Annual Return
as at October 31st should include telephone numbers for contact.
Members' dues for the year 1988/89 were paid by the following Members Societies:
Alberni District Historical Society, Box 284, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M7
Atlin Historical Society, P.O. Box 111, Atlin, B.C. VOW 1A0
BCHF - Gulf Island Branch, c/o Marian Worrall, Mayne Island, VON 2J0
Burnaby Historical Society, 4521 Watling Street, Burnaby, B.C. V5J 1V7
Chemainus Valley Historical Society, P.O. Box 172, Chemainus, B.C. VOR 1K0
Cowichan Historical Society, P.O. Box 1014, Duncan, B.C. V9L 3Y2
District 69 Historical Society, P.O. Box 3014, Parksville, B.C. VOR 2S0
East Kootenay Historical Association, RO. Box 74, Cranbrook, B.C. V1C 4H6
Golden & District Historical Society, Box 992, Golden, B.C. VOA 1 HO
Kootenay Lake Historical Society, Box 537, Kaslo, B.C. VOG 1 MO
Kootenay Museum & Historical Society, 402 Anderson Street, Nelson, B.C. V1L 3Y3
Ladysmith Historical Society, Box 11, Ladysmith, B.C. VOR 2E0
Lantzville Historical Society, Box 501, Lantzville, B.C. VOR 2H0
M.S.A. Museum Society, 2313 Ware Street, Abbotsford, B.C. V2S 3C6
Nanaimo Historical Society, P.O. Box 933, Station 'A', Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 5N2
North Shore Historical Society, 623 East 10th Street, North Vancouver, B.C. V7L 2E9
North Shuswap Historical Society, P.O. Box 22, Celista, B.C. VOE 1L0
Princeton & District Pioneer Museum and Archives, Box 687, Princeton, B.C. VOX 1 WO
Qualicum Beach Historical & Museum Society, c/o Mrs. Cora Skipsey, RO. Box 352, Qualicum Beach, B.C. VOR 2T0
Saltspring Island Historical Society, RO. Box 705, Ganges, B.C. VOS 1E0
Sidney and North Saanich Historical Society, P.O. Box 2404, Sidney, B.C. V8L 3Y3
Silvery Slocan Historical Society, P.O. Box 301, New Denver, B.C. VOG 1S0
Trail Historical Society, P.O. Box 405, Trail, B.C. V1R 4L7
Vancouver Historical Society, P.O. Box 3071, Vancouver, B.C. V6B 3X6
Victoria Historical Society, c/o P. Odgers, 3075 Southdowne Road, Victoria, B.C. V8R 6H3
Affiliated Groups
B.C. Museum of Mining, P.O. Box 155, Britannia Beach, B.C. VON 1J0
City of White Rock Museum Archives Society, 1030 Martin Street, White Rock, B.C. V4B 5E3
Fort Steele Heritage Park, Fort Steele, B.C. VOB 1N0
The Hallmark Society, 207 Government Street, Victoria, B.C. V8V 2K8
Nanaimo Centennial Museum Society, 100 Cameron Road, Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 2X1
Second Class registration number 4447
Published fall, winter, spring, and summer by the British Columbia Historical Federation, P.O. Box 35326, Station E,
Vancouver, B.C. V6M 4G5. A Charitable Society recognized under the Income Tax Act.
Subscriptions: Institutional, $16.00 per year; Individual (non-members), $8.00; (to addresses outside Canada) $12.00.
Financially assisted by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Recreation and Culture, through the British
Columbia Heritage Trust and British Columbia Lotteries.
Back issues of the British Columbia Historical News are available in microform from Micromedia Ltd., 158 Pearl St., Toronto,
Ontario M5H 1L3-Micromedia also publishes the Canadian Magazine Index and the Canadian Business Index.
Indexed in the Canadian Periodical Index. BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORICAL NEWS
Volume 23, No. 3        Journal of the B.C. Historical Federation        Summer, 1990
The 1990 Conference is history!
Grand Forks hosted a crowd of
eager participants to a program i
highlighting Doukhobor history as S
well as some little known Boundary A
District activities. The Boundary «
Historical Society did an
outstanding job of organizing this
B.CH.F. Conference. Our thanks to
the team of hosts and hostesses.
We can promise a great variety of
topics to be presented in future
issues of the News. College
students and other writers have
submitted some top quality i
manuscripts; local historians help j
with their own special contributions.
We ask you, the reader, to inspire
others to subscribe to this magazine.
An increase in the number of units
printed results in a decrease in cost
of production per unit. Help us
minimize the pain of G.S.T. when it
arrives — and introduce friends to
some delightful tidbits of B.C.'s
Naomi Miller
Cover Credit
Conference    organizer    Alice
Glanville poses with guest speaker
Eli Popoff and his wife Dorothy.
The Popoffs were part of the choir
which performed at Expo '86, and for
delegates to the 1990 conference in
Grand Forks.
Photo by John Spittle-
Frank Wade: Journeyman Canadian Actor
by Frank Wade Jr.
Cattle Branding in the Cariboo
by T.D. Sale
The Capilano Suspension Bridge
by Jean Leedale Hobson
East Princeton - My School 1917-19
by Ruby Sidney Forteath
PS.: by Margaret Stoneberg
Giscome Portage and the Huble - Seebach Trading Post
by June Chamberland
Letter from Vancouver Island
by Peggy Imredy
Murder on the North Trail - Cariboo 1862
by Marie Elliott
Writing Competition Guidlines
Marl Brown's Spring Pelt
by Gerri Young
Intrepid in the Name of God
by Pixie McGeachie
Report of Conference 1990
News & Notes
A Tribute to Dr. & Mrs. Blythe Eagles
Book Shelf: Book Reviews
A White Man's Province
Reviewed by Yim Tse
Atlas of the British Empire
Reviewed by Angus Weiler
The Field Naturalist
John Macoun
Geological Survey and Natural Science
Reviewed by W Kaye Lamb
B.C. Sugar; One Hundred Years, 1890-1990
Dr. Luke A. Port; Builder of Deepwood
Manuscripts and correspondence for the editor are to be sent to PO. Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0
Correspondence regarding subscriptions are to be directed to the subscription secretary (see inside back cover)
BC. Historical News Frank Wade, Journeyman Canadian Actor
by Frank Wade Jr.
My father, Frank Wade, was a
professional actor in Canada for fifty
eight years, from 1922 to 1980, and
took part in some of the major
episodes in the history of the
Canadian performing arts. There
were good years for him and some
lean ones, but he persevered in his
chosen craft throughout his life and
brought a lot of pleasure to
thousands of people.
He was born in Liverpool,
England, in 1897 and later moved
to Croydon, a suburb of London,
where he went to Whitgift School. It
was here that he was bitten by the
theatre bug, playing the weaver
Bottom in Shakespeare's A
Midsummer Night's Dream. He was
admonished by his teacher to cut
down on the lion's roaring and all
his life had to fight overacting. As
he said you must hit it just right. It
is perhaps acceptable in Sheridan,
but one must be natural in
Shakespeare and phraseology is the
thing in Shaw.
World War One started when he
was seventeen and he was one of
the lucky ones who lived through it.
He went straight to the front when
he left school; with the London Irish
Rifles. He joined the Shamrock
concert party which was a group put
together to provide entertainment
for the troops when they were out of
the line. They were fighting men
first and entertainers second. He
worked with London stage
professionals and learnt much from
them. It was a way to keep his
sanity and somehow he got through
the terrible nightmare of trench
warfare - he was wounded.
After the war he got married and
came to Canada, and, after a short
period at a desk job, started work in
the Winnipeg theatre.
I suppose the first drama  in
Canada was the great tradition of
the Indian tribes with their strong
sense of mythology and pageantry.
Many of them were putting on ritual
spectacles with story lines,
costumes, masks and music long
before the white man came.
The western theatre tradition
started with the French settlers in
the 1600's but really began to
flourish when the English - the race
with the greatest dramatic tradition
- arrived. The British military were
forever putting on amateur
dramatics. Some were even written
about Canadian life. One of a
political nature caused a riot in
Halifax. We were a more boisterous
nation in those days. One was
about a love affair between a naval
officer and a merchant's daughter:
along the lines of the affair that the
young Nelson had with a girl in
Quebec City and left behind.
In the 1800's, the American
professional theatre companies,
following in the tradition of their
forebears, began to come across the
border and Canadians started to
have the opportunity to see the
great thespians of the day, despite
the backwardness and remoteness of
the country. Mrs. Fiske, Henry
Irving, Mrs. Patrick Campbell, John
Martin Harvey and many others
toured Canada.
The theatres were very makeshift
at first but later proper ones were
built in the major cities. The frontier
audiences were very rough and took
to throwing things at the actors
they didn't like and sometimes even
chasing them out onto the streets.
Any mention of sex was definitely
out and Shaw's Mrs. Warren's
Profession was called an
unwholesome repulsive play by the
Winnipeg Free Press in 1907.
The first professional company to
perform in British Columbia was in
Esquimalt on board H.M.S.
Tricomalee in 1855. The Vancouver
Opera House was built in 1891 by
the CPR for $100,000; the 2000
seat Winnipeg Walker theatre in
By the 1900's American, English
and a few Canadian companies were
touring the country on a regular
basis bringing operas, operettas and
dramas to smaller towns as well as
the bigger cities. A touring opera
company in 1910 gave four different
operas in one week in Vancouver. In
1932 the English Stratford touring
company performed sixteen
Shakespeare plays in two weeks in
When my father arrived, Canadian
theatre was at its highest point.
The twenties were heyday of the
resident and touring stock
companies of North America. Radio
hadn't arrived and the silent movies
were still something of a novelty.
After the horrors of the war people
were letting their hair down and
wanted live entertainment and
flocked to the theatres. "The
roaring twenties" was an apt
phrase. Any young man who had a
mind to put on greasepaint and feel
the excitement of the lowered
houselights and the overture and
who had some talent could get a job.
My father was tall, good-looking
and, what was more important,
blessed with an excellent baritone
voice. He had received some musical
training at school and had sung
with the Shamrocks during the war.
He immediately got a job as a
soloist in the Winnipeg Dominion
theatre; hired by the orchestra
director, Mr. McLasky, who liked his
voice. Strange as it may seem to us
today, this theatre put on nothing
but operettas, musical revues and
RC. Historical News "black face" shows. Vaudeville was
on a separate circuit.
The shows changed every week
unless there was a hit, when they
were kept on until the houses
started to drop. This was exciting
live theatre and the public lapped it
up. As my dad said, We packed em
in. Singers had their following like
pop stars today, only on a city or
provincial basis. All that was
needed was talented singers,
comics, dancers and musicians and
a show could be quickly put
together. He said that one of the
biggest thrills that he got in his long
career, was the applause that he
received from those sympathetic
Winnipeg crowds when he belted out
a good song. One of his big hits was
"West of the Great Divide".
To supplement his income he sang
in the legion halls and, after awhile,
got into a some straight acting roles
in local stock companies. My mother
Audrey Wade - now in her nineties -
danced in the chorus line and played
piano in silent movie houses. He
was in such plays as White Cargo,
Madame X, Up In Mabel's Room and
Charley's Aunt.
In 1923, he formed a vaudeville
act with Don Adams senior, who
was working in Winnipeg at the
time. He toured the States and was
the juvenile lead with a touring U.S.
musical show called Talk of the
Town, out of Chicago. He toured the
Mid West and the South for almost
a year. He was paid $75 a week
plus train transportation, which was
a lot of money in those days; and
out of this had to pay for his hotel
room and meals and send money
home for his family. They did
one-night stands in cities or towns
that had a theatre or an auditorium
and were booked for longer in major
He went back to musical and stock
company work in Winnipeg after the
tour, until in 1926, when he was
called to take one of the leading
roles in a show called So This is
Canada out of Vancouver. It had
been written by a Vernon, B.C. man,
W.S. Atkinson. He was also a
British war veteran, then called
"Imperials", and he wrote a farce on
the problems of such veterans fruit
ranching in the Okanagan. It was
billed as funnier than Charley's
Aunt; about the shenanigans of the
ranchers - an Englishman, Irishman
and Scotsman - when they tried to
impress a visiting aunt from
It had run for two months in the
then very modern Empress Theatre
in Vancouver; something unheard of
for those days. Later going to
Victoria, Duncan and Chemainus.
After this, a touring company was
organized and this was when my
father joined the cast. From August
to December 1926, it toured B.C.
and western Canada going to
Vancouver (Orpheum theatre - the
old Opera House), Kamloops (Opera
House), Vernon (Empress theatre),
Revelstoke (Province theatre),
Nelson (Opera House), Grand Forks
(Empress theatre), Winnipeg
(Walker and Grand theatres),
Regina (Grand theatre), Prince
Albert (Orpheum theatre) and finally
finishing up in Spokane,
Washington State.
The family then moved to
Vancouver where he joined the
Vancouver United Players stock
company in the Empress theatre
working from January 1927 to May
1928. Here he continued to broaden
his acting experience by being in a
great range of plays from the
classics to farces.
In his career he acted in eight
Shakespeare plays: Romeo and
Juliet (Capulet), A Midsummer's
Night Dream (Bottom), The
Tempest (Caliban), Julius Caesar,
Measure for Measure, Hamlet,
Macbeth and Richard III; five Shaw
plays: Candida, You Never Can Tell
(Crampton), The Doctor's Dilemma,
Arms and the Man, and Pygmalion;
two Sheridan: School for Scandal
and The Critic (Sir Fretful Plagiary).
Two plays that stuck in his mind at
this time were Bill of Divorcement
and Ghost Train, both big hits in the
He also acted in another
production of So This is Canada and
a new Atkinson play The Man from
As Capulet in ROMEO and JULIET. Royal
Alexandria Theatre, Toronto, 1946.
Saskatchewan. Company members
were the Australians Richard
Bellairs, Frank Vyvyan, Millicent
Hallatt, Allen Strickfaden and Iris
There was a new play every week
and, what with rehearsing the new
play, acting in the current one and
singing on the radio, it was a busy
time for him. He sang on radio
station CKWX from the top of the
Georgia Hotel and from the
Orpheum theatre on Sundays and
from CNRV in the CNR station on
Main Street.
By this time radio was starting to
compete for the public's attention.
In the early twenties stations
started to broadcast live music for a
few hours a day. The Canadian
National Railway set up radio
stations across the country to
supply programmes to their trains
which were fitted with radios.
Initially it was a primitive
experimental set-up with people
listening in on home-made crystal
sets. A private cross country
network started in 1930. The first
radio play in Canada, called The
Rosary, was put on by the Moncton
station CNRA in 1925. A series on
Canadian History was directed by
the famous Tyrone Guthrie from
CNRM Montreal in 1931 and 32.
The Canadian Radio Broadcasting
Commission CRBC network was
established by the conservative
government under R.B. Bennet in
B.C. Historical News 1932 to offset American cultural
After this, a move was made to
Regina because the director of the
stock company at the Grand theatre
there had seen my dad's work in So
This is Canada. He worked there
for three years, from May 1928 to
January 1931. It was back to the
weekly play and singing on radio
station CHWC. He also did some
work in Saskatoon.
With the onset of the depression,
theatre in Regina hit hard times
and Major Graham, the owner of the
Grand Theatre, to keep the
company together, moved it to
Winnipeg to the Playhouse theatre
In the summer, when there was a
recess, he joined a Chautauqua
company, touring the prairies. The
Chautauqua movement started in
the States at the end of the
nineteenth century to bring the
performing arts into smaller
communities. The Canadian circuit
was organized out of Calgary in the
Two shows were put on each day.
In one tour that he went on, he
recalled that an afternoon musical
concert was performed followed by a
light comedy called Applesauce in
the evening. The cast included
Rosie Jones, a soprano; Charlie
Ross, a tenor and my father, a
The company would stop at a
small town each day with a break
as circumstances permitted. He
said it was very well organized and
the pay wasn't too bad. Two
capable young women managed the
tour. One was the business
manager who paid all the bills and
arranged for accommodation and
meals, whilst the other was the
publicity girl who went on ahead of
the company arranging for
advertising and making contact
with the local business people who
would underwrite the venture and
cover any losses. Where an
auditorium was not available
arrangements were made to have a
tent transported to the town and
assembled like a circus.
It was tiring work, but the
members of the company were
young and energetic. They were
well treated at each stop by the
locals and well wined and dined on
occasion. These shows were a
welcome break to humdrum small
town life. With the improvement in
the economy and with movie houses
being built in the smaller
communities, the Chautauqua
circuit, one of the most colourful
chapters in the history of Canadian
theatre, died in the late thirties.
Theatre life in Winnipeg in the
thirties was difficult. Times were
hard and there wasn't the demand
for live entertainment that there had
been in the twenties. Trying to
make a living as an actor, even for a
seasoned veteran, was very difficult
and there were times when the
family was in straitened
Commercial theatre was in great
trouble. There was some activity in
the amateur field. The Little
Theatre movement of amateur
non-profit companies was started in
the late twenties. The Vancouver
Little Theatre, which was one of the
best in Canada, started in 1921 and
petered out in 1980. The Dominion
Drama Festival was started in 1932
to provide competition and
motivation for the many amateur
groups across the country.
My father was just about able to
keep his head above water by doing
a number of things. He worked in
several stock companies that often
didn't last a season, sometimes he
never got paid. He got some singing
work (live shows were put on in
between films in the big movie
For a period he managed a radio
station run by the Winnipeg Grain
Exchange until it went bankrupt.
He did some teaching and started
performing in CBC radio dramas.
Radio broadcasting was reorganized
in 1936 and the CBC was formed
and there was more money for
When the Second World War
started in 1939, things improved
somewhat.    There were wartime
radio dramas and live
entertainment for the troops. In
1942 he went overseas to England
as an auxiliary services officer.
After the war he toured the Far
East with a British ENSA concert
party, from November 1945 to June
1946. The company was practically
all-Canadian, consisting of my
father; Kathleen Kidd, actress; Joan
Ryan and Eric Tredwell, singers;
Ross Pratt, a concert pianist and
two female dancers from Australia.
They entertained troops in
Australia, Hong Kong, Indo-China,
Thailand, Burma, the Malay States
and Singapore.
After this interesting trip around
the world - he returned to Canada
via Egypt and London, a move was
made to Toronto where it was hoped
that there would be more
opportunities. Here he took part in
one of Canada's greates artistic
achievements: the famous radio
Sunday night one hour "Stage"
dramas and "Wednesday Night"
two or three hour programmes
covering symphony, opera and
drama. They were broadcast
initially only from CBC Toronto with
some later programmes coming from
Montreal and Vancouver, and ran
from 1947 to 1960. In their day
they were acknowledged as being as
good as any in the world and won
many international prizes. Initially
they were directed by Andrew Allan
and later Esse Jungh, with whom
my father had worked in Winnipeg.
These radio shows covered the
gamut of western dramatic
tradition; some were original pieces
written by Canadian writers. Len
Peterson, Lister Sinclair, Joseph
Schull and Fletcher Markle were the
top Canadian radio writers at this
It was out of these radio dramas,
and not the live theatre, that
Canada first produced actors and
actresses that became household
names across the country; some of
them later becoming international
stars. The most well known were
Lome Greene, William Shatner,
Chris Plummer, Robert Christie, Don
Harron, John Drainie,  Francis
B.C. Historical News Hyland, John Colicos, Kate Reid,
Frank Peddie, Tommy Tweed, Jane
Mallet, Bud Knapp, Austin Willis
and many more. My father worked
with many of them.
Radio was particularly suited to
his English dramatic training where
the spoken word is stressed. He
could change his voice, accent and
manner to great effect from one role
to the next. Probably some of the
best work of his career occurred in
radio. He was partricularly good in
the lead roles as the erratic but
endearing Toad in the Toad of Toad
Hall, as the bumbling mayor in
Gogol's The Inspector General and
the lovable eccentric Doctor Doolittle
- all CBC Wednesday Night radio
dramas from Vancouver. They were
adapted from the original books by
Ian Thorne with music by Ricki
Other radio shows, from both
Toronto and Vancouver, that he was
in were John Buchan's Tlie Thirty
Nine Steps, Dorothy L. Sayers' The
Zeal of Thy House, Macbeth adapted
by Lister Sinclair, The Last Tycoon
by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Moby Dick by
Herman Melville and Justice by
John Galsworthy and many more.
In this post-war period he also
worked at the Royal Alexandria
Theatre in Toronto. Most of these
productions had American stars in
the lead roles backed up by a
Canadian cast. He had supporting
roles in light opera and plays. He
was in The Merry Widow, The
Desert Song Anything Goes, The
Vagabond King, Richard III and
Noel Coward's Hay Fever plus
others; working with Estelle
Winwood, Jose Ferrer, Eugenie
Leontovich, James Mason,
Claudette Colbert and American
light opera stars.
He was also in some plays put on
by the New Play Society company,
which performed in the Royal
Ontario Museum. It was a
non-profit group started by Mavore
Moore in a valiant attempt get more
live theatre going in Toronto.
He was in Spring Thaw, a topical
revue of skits and songs put on
annually by the company.    This
show became a Toronto institution.
In this company he acted in
Sheridan's The Critic; Shaw's You
Never Can Tell, Sophocles' Oedipus
The King and Charley's Aunt. Here
he acted with other well-known
Canadian performers - Toby Robins,
Frank Perry, Pegi Brown, Peter
Mews, Mavor Moore, Eric Christmas
and Lloyd Bochner.
He also did a season of summer
stock in Kingston putting on British
and American comedies, working
with Josephine Barrington, Arthur
Sutherland, Drew Thompson and
Barbara Hamilton. He was
particularly good in comedy and
farce which requires split second
timing and team work.
In the fifties it was back to
Vancouver, where things theatrical
were beginning to pick up. There
was radio, TV and theatre work.
TV had now become a major form of
entertainment, even hurting the
movies     and     preventing    the
Newspaper advertisment in the Vancouver Sun ■ SO THIS IS CANADA ■ 1927.
B.C. Historical News re-emergence of a vibrant Canadian
live theatre. Some very successful
CBC TV dramas were made but
they never achieved the status of the
radio dramas of the forties and
With his singing experience there
was work in the summer in the
Theatre Under The Stars
productions in Stanley Park. This is
one of Canada's most successful
summer theatre projects, and
certainly the longest running. It
started in 1940 and, except for a
six-year break from 1963 to 1969, is
still going strong today: starting
long before the Stratford or
Charlottetown summer festivals. It
has always been a very professional
organization with well mounted
productions with excellent casts.
My father performed in supporting
roles in fourteen productions from
1952 to 1960 - Timber, Waltz in Old
Vienna, The Red MiU, Maid of the
Mountains, Carousel, Song of
Norway, The Desert Song, Music in
the Air, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,
The Merry Widow, The Student
Prince, The Great Waltz and
Kismet. He did the older parts,
often a comic, for instance he was
the timber tycoon in Timber, General
Birabeau in The Desert Song; and
Lutz, the Prince's valet in The
Student Prince
Timber was an interesting show.
The music was written by Dolores
Clayman, then a talented young
24-year-old Vancouver-born pianist
composer; David Savage and Doug
Nixon did the libretto. It was quite
a hit, particularly appropriate to
Vancouver; about some young
loggers and their romantic
entanglements on a holiday in the
big city.
Some of the well-known west coast
performers that he worked with in
TUTS were Don Garrard, Barney
Potts, Frank Vyvyan, Robert
Clothier, Sam Payne, Betty Phillips,
Lorraine McAllister, Thora Anders,
Robert Goulet and Bruno Gerussi.
For two years (1958 and 1959) he
went to Hollywood. He did some
directing, teaching, recording and
produced his own work - A Galaxy of
Dogs; an extravaganza of actors,
dogs and music. He only acted in
one movie, Cold Day in the Park
directed by Robert Altman, which
was shot in Vancouver.
By 1970 when he was 73 when
most men are retired and taking it
easy, he took part in Canada's most
successful TV venture, The
This TV series is still running;
now in its eighteenth season, having
started in 1971. It was originally
planned as a Sunday night family
half hour show about the adventures
of some young people, two
beachcombers and the local
inhabitants of a small town on the
British Columbia coast.
It was to be very loosely based on
English pantomime in a Canadian
TV format. There was to be plenty
of farce, adventure and humour
showing the interplay of children
and adults. Sometimes there was to
be a moral or a serious aspect to the
storyline. In addition to the two
lead actors, who play the
beachcombers, and the child actors
there were to be older character
actors based on the eccentric
personalities that can be found in
It far exceeded the hopes of its
originators; very quickly becoming
very popular, even outdrawing
Hockey Night in Canada at one
point. Later meeting with
considerable international
acceptance; being especially popular
in Australia, England, French
Canada and Germany.
Why it has been so successful is
difficult to say. Some say it is the
mountains and waters of Howe
Sound, where it is shot, which
compares favourably with any of the
great beauty spots of the world. It
certainly started off with two solid
Canadian lead actors; Bruno
Gerussi and Robert Clothier; and
both of them have stuck with it from
its beginning. The series has a
certain special indefinable Canadian
quality and maybe this is one of the
reasons that it has been so popular
My father played the character of
Colonel Spranklin until 1979, when
at the age of 82 he had to quit
because of his health. It is
interesting that his first big role was
a British officer in So This is Canada
and he ended his career playing
another one in The Beachcombers.
Other well known B.C. actors who
are or were in the series are Rae
Brown (Molly), the Indian actor Pat
John, Joe Galland, Joe Austin, Reg
Romero, Ivor Harries, Jackson
Davies and the many child stars.
He took part in 23 episodes from
1971 to 1979. One of his major
. parts in the series was in Boat in a
Bottle, the first two-part episode. It
was about the children and Nick, the
beachcomber, wanting to drag a
reclaimed Japanese fish boat
through the colonel's property and
he refusing, because of the ill
treatment that he had received in a
Japanese prisoner-of-war camp.
The first writers for the show were
Marc and Susan Strange, and both
continue to write along with other
regulars Merv Campone, Allan
Oman and Dennis Donovan. Phil
Keatley and Len Lauk conceived the
idea of the show, among others, and
Phil was its first executive producer.
It has probably brought in more
money than any other Canadian
artistic endeavour with the possible
exception of the Stratford festival.
One episode in the first year cost
$36,000; by 1978 this had increased
to $120,000. In 1978 $650,000
was put into the Gibsons economy.
With 20 episodes per year for 18
years, the total approximate cost of
the series to date is upwards of
around 30 million. Foreign sales to
September 1978 were to 42
countries: 15 to the Americas, 12 to
Europe, 6 to Africa, 5 to the Middle
East, 2 to Micronesia and 2 to the
Far East. Presumably a fair
proportion, if not all or more, of the
costs have been recovered by
national advertising and foreign
My father also did quite a bit of
other TV work at this time. Being
very fond of animals, he did a
segment about dogs on the TV
series Bazaar and the BobSwitzer
B.C. Historical News Show and also, for a time, had his
own show.
He published a book of verse on
dogs called A Galaxy of Dogs.
He was the lead in Len Lauk's TV
drama The Clubman, which won the
Wilderness Award in 1968 as the
best TV drama for the year. It was
written especially with my father in
mind. It is about an aging man and
his difficulties in facing change.
Politics came into the dialogue and
"Wacky" Bennett, then Premier of
B.C., enjoyed the piece and asked to
meet my father.
He was still active in radio and,
during this later period, appeared in
over a hundred dramas; in such
series as C.S. Forester's The
General (General Leigh),
Commander Hornblower (Admiral
Cornwallis) and Cervantes' Don
Quixote, along with many others
including the school drama series.
Canada's man of letters George
Woodcock who wrote the script for
the Don Quixote series, remembers
him fondly as a man of great charm
and a fine actor. He did a daily spot
on CKNW called Brush Up Your
English and later The World Around
Us and a delightful CBC radio spot
called Told in Rhyme; reading
dramatic and humorous poetry and
monologues,   some   written   by
himself. In 1967 he did Crumpets
and Crackers, a collection of
Christmas reminiscences with
original poetry.
My father's life occurred during a
period of extreme change in the
performing arts; what with the
introduction of radio, films and TV
It is a tribute to his flexibility and
skills that he was able to cope with
the switch from live theatre to the
other new media and make a living.
Before he died in 1982, he was
amazed at the increase in the
number of successful live commercial
theatres across the country in the
last years of his life. Whereas, after
the demise of theatre at the end of
twenties, he had to cope with
working for companies that were
forever going broke through lack of
public support, now there are at
least six successful full-time theatre
companies in Vancouver putting on
productions, with Canadian lead
actors, that are as good as anything
one can see in London or New York.
The same is true across the country,
and this despite the fact that TV,
radio and the movies are still
B.C. now has a New Play Society
which looks at over a hundred new
plays written by B.C. playwrights
every year and some of them are put
into production.
Quite a change from his day. No
doubt there are still problems but it
is a great improvement. My father
was one of those who kept on with
his acting career throughout his life
despite the difficulties and, I think it
is fair to say, that he had some
small part in paving the way for the
success that we have today.
The author is president of the Vancouver
branch of the Canadian Authors Association.
He is currently publishing A Midshipman's
War based on the life of a naval veteran, Bill
Brown of Chemainus.
E. Benson and L. W. Connolly, Egnlish - Canadian
Tteatre, Toronto, Oxford University Press, 1987.
Tlie Canadian Encyclopedia Edmonton, M.Hurtig, 1988.
Theatre, English; Radio, Drams; TV Drama; Allan.
Alice Frick, Image of the Mind, CBC Drama 1944 to 1954,
Toronto, Canadian Stage and Arts Publishers, 1987.
D.J. Duffy, Imagine Please, Earty Radio Broadcasting in
British Columbia, 1983, B.C. Government Provincial
Conversations with Len Lauk, CBC; Phil Keightly, CBC:
Robert Clothier, actor
TheBrachcctnbersCBC TV Series; CBC, Vancouver,
CBC radio Stage and Wednesday Night series; CBC
Radio Archives, Toronto; CBC Times 1944 to 1960, CBC.
Theatre Under The Stars, Vancouver, programmes 1940
to 1962, Vancouver Public Library; files on Vancouver
theatre, City of Vancouver Archives.
Papers of Frank Wade, actor, including theatre
programmes, scripts, tapes, records, photographs,
newspaper clippings, letters, manuscripts, poetry and
writings, covering the period 1917 to 1980.
As the valet Lutz, with MUdred Franklin (The Grand Duchess) and Robert Clothier (his valet) in
the TUTS production of THE STUDENT PRINCE June 1967.
RC. Historical News Cattle Branding in the Cariboo
Undoubtedly the cattle are the
most important animals in the
Cariboo District of British Columbia
since they are the main source of
beef, milk, and dairy products such
as butter and cheese. In addition to
bones, hoofs and hides find a ready
market. Thus all parts of the animal are put to good use. One way
the Cariboo ranchers protect their investment in the cattle industry is by
the use of brands.
The dictionary defines branding as
marking cattle with a hot iron.
Throughout history branding has
been well known even to the point of
wife branding, slave branding, and
the branding of criminals. The oldest brand without a doubt is 'X' (x
marks the spot or the ownership).
Cattle were first brought to North
America by Christopher Columbus
and the subsequent early explorers.
Over the next five hundred years
North American cattle breeders have
developed such "meaty" strains of
cattle as the Texas long horns, the
Aberdeen Angus, and of course the
white faced Hereford which is so
common throughout the vast Cariboo
area of British Columbia. To care for
these numerous herds of range beef
cattle the cowboys are of great importance along with their faithful
saddle horses. The quarter horses
possess the dependability and endurance required for cattle branding.
Prior to branding the calves during
the fall roundup the cowboys are frequently called upon the rope the
young animals and apply two
wraps and a half hitch. While restrained in this way or within a
chute a red hot branding iron is applied to a designated area of the animal's body. Care is taken to make
the newly applied brand visible and
placed in such a way as to not spoil
the leather. An acrid odour of burning hair and flesh permeates the air
during a branding session. When
released the calf hurriedly exits from
the corral to the holding area or to
B.C. Historical News
by T.D. Sale
the pasture sometimes at the urging
of the cowboys.
The enormous Cariboo area
stretches from 70 Mile House north
to Prince George and west towards
the coast. Sources of water are not
that plentiful in the Cariboo so
branding is the accepted way of sorting out intermingling herds of cattle
that populate the wide open spaces
of the area. The brands were found
to be especially useful when the old
trail drives were employed to take
the cattle to market. Strays which
became scattered across the range-
land could easily be sorted out and
by means of their brand could be returned to their rightful owner. Even
today when cattle are driven to market by mechanical means the brand
plays an important part in identifying proper ownership of cattle offered for sale by the rancher. All
brands must be carefully checked by
the government branding inspector
prior to shipping from the loading
Ranchers who graze cattle on the
large tracts of available Crown Land
are required to observe certain regulations which limit the number of
head allowed to the acre. By checking the brands an inspector can ascertain whether a rancher has violated the regulation. Range cattle
wander extensively where there are
broken fences, open gates or possibly
no fences at all. In the winter especially straying cattle tend to gravitate to a "feeding lot" and remain
undetected until they are culled out
in the spring as a result of their individual brand.
Among the oldest in the Cariboo
and adjacent areas are the following
brands: St. Joseph's Mission,
Ashcroft's Hugh Cornwall registered
in 1862, and the Gang Ranch registered in 1884. Nine of the historic
Cariboo-Chilcotin brands are shown
in the accompanying illustrations.
It must be noted that there could be
a difference between the time when
a ranch started using a brand and
when the brand was officially registered (in some cases years). For example St. Joseph's Mission was established in the 1860's but their
brand was not registered until
The brand for the Mission stands
for O.M.I. (Oblates of Mary
There are close to 9000 registered
brands in use in British Columbia
with over one third of that number in
use in the Cariboo area. Brands
must be registered with the provincial brands branch in Victoria accompanied by the necessary branding
fee. The Recorder of Brands determines where on the animal the
brand is to be placed. It could be on
the right hip or left hip, right shoulder, left shoulder or on the ribs. A
registered brand must be novel and
have a minimum of two characters
which may be letters, numbers,
symbols, rafters, bars, slashes, boxes, triangles or diamonds. Curves
are better than sharp corners which
tend to cause infection. Connected
characters are forbidden as they become to hard to distinguish as the
cattle grow. Picture brands cannot
be computerized. Similar characters
such as "B" and "8" can be easily
confused and are therefore forbidden.
A minimum and maximum size of
brands are enforced. Picture brands
blotch too easily and thus are not allowed. Brands within brands (an S
within a diamond) are unacceptable.
The simpler the brand the better is
the existing rule. Old brands in use
prior to the newer regulations have
been permitted present day use.
The brands branch keeps a record of
all the brands it has registered since
1914. Brands in use and registered
prior to 1914 are stored in the
Provincial archives.
In some cases the branding irons
were forged in the blacksmith shops
of the local ranches.   The blacksmith starts with a four foot long piece of
iron which is approximately half an
inch in width and a quarter of an
inch in thickness. It is heated red
hot and beaten down to an eighth of
an inch in thickness then shaped to
the chosen design of the brand. The
handle is usually rounded.
To supplement branding, one or
both ears are marked. These ear
cuts act as a double check and often
eliminate the necessity of a rider
having to locate the brand mark
which might have been partially
grown over or otherwise hidden from
view. Ear-cuts in the Cariboo tend
to be on the way out.
Unfortunately to prove the changing of a brand by cattle rustlers it is
first necessary to kill the animal in
question. A burned over brand
shows plainly on the inside of the
hide. The old scar tissue leaves a
different colour and texture from the
new one on the under side of the
To cross out a brand legally the
new owner of an animal might burn
a straight line through the old brand
and place a new brand directly under the old one or the discarded
brand might be repeated under itself
to show that it is in-operative and
the new brand can then be burned
Branding inspectors have a great
responsibility and are usually very
knowledgeable in regard to brands.
In Williams Lake an early and well
known branding inspector was Billie
Pinchbeck. Probably the branding
inspector who became best known
and highly respected in the area
was Joe Smith who passed away in
1954 shortly after his retirement.
Other large cattle spreads in the
Cariboo deserving brief mention are
those of R.C. Cotton, C. Moon, T.
Bayliff (Brand is Bar two-II) and
Bridge Lake Estates (Brand is
Quarter circle S - S).
For over a century and a quarter
the cattle brand has performed a
very important task in assisting the
ranchers to do business.
Don Sale taught in the Cariboo for severed
years prior to enlisting in the army in
W.WJI. He has been a citizen of Nanaimo for
many years, where he is very active in numerous organizations. He is currently
Corresponding Secretary for the B.C.
Historical Federation.
1. William Lake Tribune Newspaper
2. Mrs Irene Stangoe - Cariboo Historian.
Historic Ccuiboo-ChUcxtin brands
The region has a number of cattle
brands either in use for much of the past
century or linked to historical figures.
Top row are: the brands first used by
Ashcroft s Hugh Cornwall in 1862 (left);
a brand used at Alkali Lake and dating
to the 1880s; and the Gang Ranch
brand registered 100 years ago by
Jerome and Thaddeus Harper. Middle
row (left) is the brand registered in 1914
by St. Joseph's Mission and now used
by the Onward Ranch; an Alkali Lake
brand registered in 1914; and the Hance
family brand (right) registered in 1914
and used at Hanceville s TH ranch ever
since. At bottom (left) is a brand registered by a Fosberry in 1920; Franki
Johnson and Charles Spahan 's brand
used on their Alkali ranch since 1918;
cmd (right) Loyd West and Dan Dorrell 's
brand registered pr their Clinton ranch
in 1937.
Illustrations by Brad Ward
RC. Historical News The Capilano Suspension Bridge
A Century Old and Still Swinging!
by Jean Leedale Hobson
Visitors on the bridge Circa 1918.
Eons ago, as if smiling too broadly
at such a beautiful spot, the earth's
face split. The crack was wide and
deep. Rains spilling down the
mountains trickled and ran along
the gorge until they became a river
running toward the sea.
Indians roamed the forests nearby
and, when they came to the canyon,
they also were moved by its awesome grandeur. More than that, the
thick firs that had grown up its rock
walls, interspersed with cedars,
gave them materials for canoes and
baskets. Salmon and trout in the
river meant food. This was a good
summer place. They named it
Capilano Canyon after their beloved
great Chief Ki-ap-a-la-no.
Then, one day a century ago, a
white man came and he, too, fell in
love with the rugged, wild beauty of
the area we now know as North
Vancouver. George Grant Mackay
was a Scotsman who was lured by
the potential for land development
in the young port of Vancouver, so in
1888 at the age of 62, he and his
family emigrated and began a new
life in Canada.
On one of his land searches he
crossed the Burrard Inlet, followed
dirt trails and found himself gazing
down and across the canyon which
hemmed in the Capilano River. Its
wild beauty captured him, resulting
in the purchase of several hundred
acres on both sides of the river.
Here, he decided, would be a perfect
spot for a retreat, a home in the forest, far from the fast-growing city
In the spring of 1889 he took on the
arduous task of getting building
supplies to the isolated site and his
dream home - a four-room log cabin
on the very rim of the canyon - became a reality
But another challenge wouldn't let
him rest: how was he to even see the
inaccessible land he owned on the
other bank? Defying all logic, he did
the impossible - slung a suspension
bridge over the gap! Two Indians
helped him fling hemp ropes down
the rocky, treed wall below his cabin's verandah; horses dragged it
through the 450-foot-wide river, then
the men hauled it up the far side.
Even though the ropes were anchored under piles of huge logs, the
makeshift bridge swayed terrifying-
ly 230 feet above the water. Small
wonder that Mackay's family and
summer guests dubbed it the
"Nervous Bridge" as they inched
precariously along on the cedar footboards!
Visitors at that time had to be ardent nature lovers to make the long,
slow trek from Vancouver. The only
steamer, the S.S. Senator, carried
horses and buggies along with about
twenty passengers across the
Burrard Inlet. On the north shore
the only dirt road to the Mackay
home gave families a jolting ride for
six miles; those without buggies
trudged with hampers of food, the
ladies in their restrictive long dresses and the gentlemen uncomfortable
in the formal attire of that period.
Their obvious enjoyment of the outings, though, gave Mackay a dream
of turning his lands into a public
park. His vision only became reality
after his death, but a series of owners over the years kept his unselfish
legacy alive and none has allowed
the march of progress to spoil the
natural wildness and age-old beauty
of the spot.
Naturally, with the influx of visitors increasing constantly, the
bridge had to be strengthened.
Today, tons of concrete anchor the
steel cables which will stand up to
100,000 pounds' pressure. It even
withstood the devastating hurricane
of 1962!
The scary, exhilarating thrill of
crossing over the wide canyon seemingly in mid-air has lost none of its
excitement for modern visitors,
though, as they come in hundreds of
thousands every year. The virgin
forest is as hushed and as beautiful
as it was when Mackay first laid
eyes on it. And the region's history
is treasured, its heritage kept alive
in the symbolic totem poles which
depict the ancient beliefs of the earliest inhabitants of Capilano Canyon.
Thanks to the aesthetic dream of
the Scotsman more than a century
ago, millions of people have been
able to enjoy, appreciate and learn
about this uniquely beautiful parkland where the busy world outside
its gates seem so far away.
The world's longest suspension
bridge is alive and well as it swings
into its second century!
%%%%%:   jr.   %   %   jr.   %.
Mrs. Hobson is a freelance writer now living
in Vancouver's West End
Your editor was told the story of honeymoon-
ers visiting the "nervous bridge" in 1925. The
bride haltingly asked, "Are you sure it is safe for
Presbyterians?" (she meant "pedestrians.") The
groom promptly assured her that it was safe for
Presbyterians, and Anglicans, . . .and Roman
Catholics, too.
B.C. Historical News
10 East Princeton - My School 1917-19
by Ruby Sidney Forteath
The dusty road stretched on - no
On either side scattered young
pines. Nailed on one near the road,
a sign, "Beware of wild range cattle
crossing the road." How did one beware? A magic rabbit hole? On I
went, my lunch in a neat, little lard
pail (so handy). No houses. No people.
Suddenly a change! Along came a
fine-looking one horse buggy which
stopped beside me on the road. The
man with the reins had a pulled-
down hat and a wealth of red whiskers. If it hadn't been for the lovely,
smiling girl beside him, I'd have
wondered about being beware of him
as well. He looked me up and down
and finally barked, "You're so little,
do you think you can walk away out
here every day?" I replied stoutly,
"I'm a good walker," and we carried
on (I thought of the 5 years I had
walked to Sr. schools in Vancouver
to earn my 1st Class Teaching
Certificate - from near Kitsilano
Beach to 12th Avenue near City Hall
now). Yes, I could walk.
(Later, I learned about those people. Mr. Hugh Hunter, a veteran
mining man and now Gold
Commissioner with an office in
Princeton. Margaret was having a
ride to school in town.)
When pupils graduated from
Normal School (Teacher Training
now) they generally wrote letters
(maybe a dozen or so), trying for jobs
somewhere. Some girls went up
North - places not on the maps, and
some stayed and helped to make a
better place - men needing wives - often a happening with teachers.
Well. I guess I was lucky, for in
good time I received a letter of appointment and an offer of a place to
stay. Such beautiful copper-plate
style hand writing from Mr. King,
head of the School Board of
Princeton.   My school would be the
one-room one at East Princeton.
(Not on the map).
So, as Dad would say, "I made
haste to send an acceptance." Most
people at the Coast at that time
knew about communities as far as
Hope, but not much farther afield.
Not too many roads, or travellers in
cars. So get on the train and it will
take you!
My sister had gone through
Normal and was teaching in the
Fraser Valley. Now it was holidays
and she was home sitting talking
with Mother in the Kitchen.
When I was at home going to
school, I always had a few small
jobs on a Saturday. I was out front
sweeping the big front porch and
wide steps when a telegram came
for me. I left the broom and rushed
in to see what it was. It was an offer for a rural school in the Fraser
Valley, near to my sister and near
to Vancouver.
My folks thought it would be wonderful. What was I to do - ethics
and all.
I said that I would go out and finish my sweeping and I'd know when
I came back in. Didn't take long at
all. I went in shouting, "Princeton it
is!" Nothing altered, and I wasn't
sorry, tho' it was a totally new life.
I didn't know what a grape-vine
was till a girl teacher we'd known at
church began to phone around and
tell that Ruby Sidney was going to
Princeton where she herself had
So when Mother and Dad took me
to the 7:30 p.m. Kettle Valley train,
they were less doubtful upon seeing
my good company - Beth and sister
Mildred Beattie and Sibyl Hardwick.
(No berth for we'd arrive in the morning.) We could turn the seat around
and be sociable. I was 18 years and
first time away from home, but all
were friendly.
It was said that the CPR. made
sure that the most chilling sights
were hidden by darkness on the
way. After the long night in the
train we were glad to arrive at the
Princeton station. Such a fine sunny
early morning and the air so invigorating and unlike Vancouver.
I had read once a poets "blurb" -
"the air like new wine," but I knew
nothing of wine, new or old. I had
had, "tea-kettle tea." Nothing but
tea in our house!
And there was Mr. King to meet
me so early. An English gentleman,
slim and erect with white hair and a
small white goatee and very pleasant. He took my suitcase (trunk later) and led me from the station
yard, across the road - not far - to a
cream-coloured bungalow behind a
white picket fence - Looked nice. Up
to the veranda and there was Mrs.
King! She opened the screen door
and gave me a big hug. I had a new
So nice and kind in her English
way. Short and rounded - very blue
eyes and smooth white hair.
We went to the kitchen to locate
my room. The small upstairs was
divided into 2 rooms with a narrow
stair leading up.
Mrs. King said she never went up
there but would leave clean sheets
at the bottom for us to pick up,
make the bed and clean the room.
Seemed O.K. The front room was
held by a Miss Pearl Murray who
had been there before.
At supper time (dinner really) in
the dining room, a big table, white
table cloth and napkins and many
hot dishes of good food. (We were
always well fed) and Miss Murray to
meet me.
Mr. King, at the head of the table
said Grace (as Dad always did)
first. As we were eating, I heard
him say to Mrs. King, "She hasn't
got red hair," and looked at me.
"Our girls always had red hair," he
RC. Historical Newrs said, "And one always had to wash
her hair before a dance to have lots
>of ringlets." Miss Murray had red
hair as did the Beattie sisters, but I
didn't see the others.
Mr. King pointed to a framed portrait on the wall. That was their
dear daughter, Rose, long-lost and
much lamented, so beautiful! They
did have another daughter, Rhoda,
married to a store-keeper in town,
but the family was living out of town
and not often mentioned.
Next day was Sunday and Mildred
B. offered to take me out to East
Princeton to see my school, which
had been hers last year. We put on
our Sunday clothes and, silly me, I
wore my new and cherished footwear - black kid, high-heeled little
boot. (They got put away and I soon
had low-heeled comfortable walking
boots.) As we went further along, I
could see several long avenues cut
through the trees and ready for
building lots for the East Princeton
town to come. Already a store and a
few houses.
A friend at the Coast was so curious about what kind of school I'd get
so far away, even sent me a snap -
was this it? - Small and square,
painted blue and yellow and in a
flat meadow. How wrong could she
be! My school was the Store! Large,
brown and unpainted. Several steps
led up to the front door with large,
glassed, store-front windows on each
Mildred unlocked the door and we
entered. - Not too long since she'd
left in June, so she must have felt
quite at home in showing me
Very large room, very large heater
in the middle, with maybe a dozen
or so desks, various sized, arranged
not far from it - Along one side and
over a side window, a long, green
blackboard with lots of room for the
many classes. There was one shelf
with books called Readers, which
would run up to what's now Grade
6. Another shelf with a few other
books in other subjects. Mildred
showed me the teacher's desk and
chair and the neat drawer she'd left
with the precious register and all
the teacher's needs,  including a
hand bell.
A door at the back led into another
room but narrower. Maybe storeroom? It was now used for pupils'
wraps etc. - a cloakroom. Out from
that an outside door leading to a
Boys and Girls building. There was
no regular playground, but lots of
room to run around away from the
trees. Well! ! Time to walk back;
Mildred would be teaching at the big
school in town with Beth and Pearl
Rhoda's boys, not far from the
school, were in turn, the caretakers.
I met my young janitor on the first
day of school. He was a nice youngster, good-natured and a good worker, tho' at first, the broom looked too
big for him to wield. He had brought
in a pail of fresh water, with dipper
and put at the back of the room for
free use. (One took all in one's
stride). After school the floor was to
be swept and kindling and wood put
ready for when fires were needed.
There were maybe 10 or 12 pupils
at times and such good kids. Three
from one English family, Hilda,
John and wee Mary. Their father
was watchman on the East
Princeton machinery building.
There was Freddie, so fair and with
chestnut coloured hair - and the cutest wee Welsh maiden and so it
I divided up that big blackboard so
that every class had a space and in
that, I wrote the work of the day, so
that everyone knew what to do, if I
were busy.
This was put to the test one day
when I had to go to the Doctor for an
ear syringe (thought he'd taken my
head off!) and when I walked back to
school there they all were, the dears,
busy and quiet.   Imagine!
One new, sturdy little boy was
brought to school - a beginner all by
himself and very well behaved. I remembered that at Normal, we were
taught to get the child to say the
new sound needed, (f). I said, "If
your cat wasn't thin, what would
you say of it?" "Thick," he said, so
instead of fat I had gone on to "th".
There was also a lovely girl,
Gladys Allison, but she was called
for and taken home before winter, as
not being strong. I had thought
that all that family would be very
able and I was sorry to see her go.
One day Mrs. King spoke to me in
the kitchen alone. She told me to be
sure not to teach too long, for teachers got too bossy and well she knew!
Also she didn't like anyone, maybe
visitors, men or women, to argue
with her husband, to upset him.
One afternoon Miss Murray asked
me to go with her to a "sometimes"
show. We sat on rough benches and
paid a whole 25(2. (I felt guilty, for I
wanted to send some money home
from the PO. in town.)
Once when the lovely, Fall colouring was all around, the sisters and I
went to a sheltered spot by the River
for Mildred to do some water-colour
painting. Of course, in Victoria
there is much of that done. I
learned from Mildred of the struggle
of Emily Carr to have her great work
given its due.
I also attended morning Anglican
Four School Marms:
(left to right)
Pearl Murray,
Mildred Beattie,
Ruby Sidney &
Beth Beattie.
RC. Historical News
12 Church when I could.   The other one
was Catholic.
When I was walking to school one
day, a couple of cowboys rode along
quietly behind me and until they
came to a cross-road they galloped
off. (If I had been different, I might
have turned and waved for a jolly
It was pleasant to be with Mildred
but she was called home to Victoria
to tend to her special Aunt who'd
brought her up.
The Huston's became firm friends
and I sometimes walked across
town to visit. I heard many great
records there, for Bill was a collector
of good music. He was tall and
loved to tease his little wife and she
also loved his good-natured fun.
They were happy with their toddler,
They also had a treasure they
shared - a Bath Tub. Bring your
own towels. One Friday when I got
out of the tub and starting to clean
it, I bent and twisted in such a way
as to put my knee out. What a sudden pain! I spent the weekend with
bandages and liniment. On Monday
morning I borrowed a cane to walk
to school, but soon was overtaken by
a car full of men, offering a ride. I
stood on the running board and
hung on.
You'd think I wouldn't be inveigled
into trying "something new, so good
- Fruitatives - Take 2" - Never again
with no inside plumbing!
Mother sent me a fine winter coat
she'd made beautifully for me, and a
soft, fluffy set of tam and scarf in
bright orange - all really right for
cold weather walking.
Miss Murray often walked out to
see her friends, the Hunters, and
once she asked me to go with her - a
little past the E.P school down a
hill to a large piece of flat, fertile
land beside the River. Hunters had
a large house with a large garden
(and a man to look after it.) The visit was very enjoyable and I mentioned on the walk back that it
would be a lovely place to stay.
"Think no more of that," said Pearl,
and I didn't.
For Christmas holidays, Beth and
I sat on the back platform of the
K.V train to go to Vancouver. When
it came to a slide we had to get out
and walk over a great jumble of
rocks to a train brought up to the
other side. Freight also had to be
moved. A man carrying a box higher
than himself, stumbled and fell
down. Dried cod fish from the thin
white box fell on him and skittered
all over.
A line of men appeared, each one
carrying one heavy-looking brick up
high in his right hand. What was
that, I wondered?
We were late into Vancouver and
Dad, punctual as usual, had a long,
difficult wait.
Back at school it was cold, and my
young caretakers had to work hard
to keep a good fire going. The
lunches froze in the "cloak room"
and all of them and coats etc. had
to be in by the heater, and the lunches eaten there too. Quite a diversion
in schooling, but we managed.
Sometimes we enjoyed singing and
all was flexible.
I was warm walking with my new
coat and scarf set, but also with "leg
warmers" buttoned up to my knee,
warm boots and mitts.
No loitering with after school work
for I liked to get in town before
dark's early coming.
In Spring we sometimes found
wild flowers in the bush. Some I
hadn't seen before, and I urged the
pupils not to pull them up.
Sadly now, Mr. and Mrs. King
were not able to keep anyone, thus
ending a happy time there for Pearl
and me. We must find other quarters. Pearl and Beth settled together well and "bothered" each other. I
got a bed in town with a retired
teacher and her 12 year old son,
who was a big help to her. I had my
meals in 3 different places - Several
kind ladies offered great help to me
for an evening meal, and gave me
wonderful meals and family life
Mrs. King was devastated on losing her dear husband, and went to
live with Rhoda and family in East
Princeton. Before June, Mrs. King
was much recovered and asked if I
would go back next year to stay
with her in a good small house with
her and she'd board me (in East
Princeton). I agreed ... No long
So once again my parents took me
to the 7:30 p.m. Kettle Valley Train,
but with none of those former companions or a kind School Board
head, like Mr. King to meet me at
the Princeton Station. (I was now
an old timer!)
It was quite pleasant in the cottage and Mrs. King and I spent
quiet evenings doing much hand
Rhoda wanted to show me how to
ride and fixed me up on her"staid
pony". We got on fine and went
some distance, when "we" decided
to turn back home. Sometimes on
the railroad track and sometimes beside it and I just simply stayed on,
tho' my hair fell down around from
the braids around my head. (The
pony knew, not I, that it was time
to feed her baby!)
Another time Sibyl Hardwick
asked me to ride with her to Hedley.
On that mount, I felt a mile above
the ground, but we got on fine except
for once he shied at some moving
paper - Sibyl was a good horse man.
At that time, Hedley was in full
swing and the gold mine ore cars
were going up and down the steep
incline to the top. I met a young
teacher who told me she lived up top
and taught a small school there.
She said it was pretty scary coming
down in an ore car with only a partition between passengers and the
load of ore. Sibyl and I were both
tired and stiff after riding 25 miles
each way, but it had been a very interesting outing.
On the 24th of May holiday Mr. &
Mrs. Huston asked me to go with
them to Merritt. It was very hot so
we paused at a wayside pond to
"give the car a drink." This was my
first ride down the big hill into town,
and up, up again next day. We all
enjoyed the trip in their touring car.
Sibyl Hardwick accompanied me to
Vancouver once. The Coquihalla
Pass was closed with a slide so the
train had to go to the mainline and
RC. Historical News transfer passengers. A dance was
held for the train load of delayed
travellers at Spence's Bridge. We
did not reach Vancouver till late next
morning. My parents had very little
sleep, but Dad still agreed to deliver
Miss Hardwick to an address across
town from our home.
In October 1918 I had to find a
new place as Mrs. King was ill and
returned to Rhoda's home. A surprise visitor arrived mid-morning
during lesson time. Mrs Hunter insisted I move to her house immediately. She declared she couldn't let
me go to town to look for a place
when the flu epidemic was raging.
The Princeton Schools closed, but
East Princeton stayed open till year
Mrs. Hunter, very tall and erect,
had been a teacher in Nova Scotia.
She liked law and order in all
things. The white table cloth and
napkins were clean and crisp even
at breakfast time. She served me
cracked wheat cereal which had been
slowly cooking all night on the big
black range in the kitchen, with
creamy milk from her own cow,
Agnes. We had lots of fresh vegetables from her garden. Once, when
eating spinach, I bit on a hard object
- a beetle. This I quickly put into
my pocket so as not to embarrass
my hostess.
Mrs. Hunter mothered me as she
did her own daughter Margaret.
She would put a "pig" in my bed,
close my window and open the door
to the hall where she stoked the
heater for the night. I was well fed,
and welcome to the living room with
its piano, gramaphone, large table,
bookshelves full of good reading, and
a quiet corner where Mr. Hunter
could concentrate on his mining
records and other papers.
About this time there were many
young English clergy sent to the
"Colonies". They were grateful for
an invitation to a good home. One
day Mrs. Hunter invited the
Anglican clergyman for lunch at
which she served a delicious meat
pie. (We thought it was chicken but
were told it was a rabbit raised by
Mrs. Hunter.) The Reverend asked
me to go for a walk with him. When
RC. Historical News
down by the river he showed me how
to reckon its speed. On later outings we drove to the mine and town-
site of Copper Mountain where we
met the teachers and a young singer. He gave me driving lessons on
the road above the river, always
with a "Be very careful" at a bend
where someone had gone over the
bank. One evening when he delivered me to Hunter's gate he asked
for some light so he could see to fix
something. I walked into the house,
took the lamp from my room, lit it
and held it till the adjustment was
made, then quickly and quietly returned to my room. He was my boyfriend till school was out. He moved
to Vancouver and I transferred to
I rode the Kettle Valley Railway
often during my two years in
Princeton. This line had snowsheds,
tunnels, and bridges that looked as
if made from matchsticks. Wooden
trestles were used for 12 years then
replaced by steel structures. The
workers on that line were very safety conscious, and did their best in
that difficult and dangerous stretch
of line. The KVR was my connection
with new experiences, kind friends
and happy memories.
The author taught in Ladysmith,
Vancouver and Trail. She married in 1925
and has lived in Trail ever since. Previous
writing has included two books of poetry. In
July 1989 she was a delegate at the 1st
Annual Convention of the American Poetry
Association in San Francisco.
The Hunter family at home.
P.S.  by Margaret Stoneberg.
The charming story of Ruby Sidney's
adventures while she was teaching in
the interior community of Princeton
caused me to read through the 1917
and 1918 issues of the Princeton Star
newspaper. I have had the sensation
of opening a door and passing into the
landscape brightly lit by the sun of long
I could see the little schoolteacher
jumping down from the Kettle Valley
train at 5:30 in the morning, the sky already lightening in the dawn, met by
Mr. King and escorted across the
street to his home.
Very soon, perhaps next morning,
she would step out the front door to
explore. On her right she would see,
opposite the station, the big, white
building which was the Princeton
Brewery. Turning left she would walk
past the Similkameen hotel, then the
Courthouse, some stores, one of
which was the post office. Turning the
corner she was on Bridge Street, the
shopping centre of Princeton.
In her cozy, upstairs bedroom,
through the open window she could
listen to the street sounds. She could
hear the shouts of the cowboys and
the bawling of the cattle as they were
driven to the station for loading on the
train carrying them to Vancouver stockyards. The sound of harness bells
would tell her the big horses were pulling the wagons from Garrison's barns,
perhaps slowing up to a stop the automobiles that would otherwise be
whizzing along with horns sounding at
the dizzying speed of 30 mph.
On August 31, 1917 it was noted
that "The public school (located almost
opposite Mr. King's house on
Vermilion Avenue), and the East
Princeton school will reopen Sept. 4.
Miss Elizabeth Beattie will take up her
duties as Principal of Princeton
School. Miss Murray will again have
charge of the Intermediate room and
Miss Mildred Beattie the primary classes. Miss Ruby Sidney of Vancouver
has been engaged to teach East
Princeton school."
Both the schools mentioned had
been enlarged and greatly improved during the previous spring. The
one-room school at Copper Mountain
opened that year to serve the children
of the mining community of the
Canada Copper Corporation. Sadly
the mine was to close in 1918 for a
time due to labour troubles and the low
return for copper.
Mr. T.C. King, the secretary of the
school board, was English and had
moved to the United States as a young
man. Starting as a teacher, he later
became an architect and drew the
plans for some of the most prominent
buildings in Des Moines, Iowa. Later
he moved to Lacombe, Alberta and
then to Princeton. His last
professional work was the enlarging of
the Princeton school and duties as
government building inspector. As
Miss Sidney has told he died March
26, 1918, leaving his widow, one
daughter, Mrs. S.R. Gibson (Rhoda)
and two sons.
At one time the Allison family owned
land downriver from the forks and Mrs.
Allison at this period was "Grandma",
her husband long buried at the foot of
Castle Rock and her family grown up
and scattered. She had come to the
Similkameen in the 1860's as the first
white woman to settle with her
husband, John Fall Allison. She now
had the time and the opportunity to
write her memoirs and add to her
collection of Indian legends and lore.
Mrs. Allison could remember the
exciting days around the turn of the
century when she laid out what was
expected to become the metropolis of
East Princeton. She was assisted by
her brother-in-law, Edgar Dewdney,
the Lieutenant-Governor of the
Province (but still involved in sundry
real-estate deals). He was confident
that the coming railroad would
terminate there, locating the station.
So East Princeton was planned with
streets and boulevards, stores, a log
hotel, and a school which Mrs. Allison
indeed taught for a short time.
Unfortunately their plans came to
naught. The town of Princeton grew
rapidly between the forks of the river in
the area which is now Princeton. By an
irony of fate, Allisons had given over
the plot to their son-in-law, Sands, and
he immediately sold it to the Vermilion
Forks Coal and Land Company. The
company sold it in lots and in no time at
all there were at least three hotels
serving the hundreds of miners
swarming in to prospect at Copper
Mountain. Stores and the post office
and houses mushroomed. The railway
came in and built the station at the
west end of town. East Princeton
faded away along with Mrs. Allison's
prospects for material success.
Then came the exciting years of
1911-12. The Portland Cement
Company of Vancouver appeared on
the scene and built a huge
stone-walled plant, installed massive
machinery and employed hundreds of
men to make cement. This was to be
shipped out on the railway spur just
built. A Methodist church was built.
But disaster struck in 1913 at the
time of a world-wide slump which killed
the market for cement. The local
material proved insufficient, men went
to war. The cement plant closed, the
machinery was sold and the building
became and remains to this day a
haunted shell. So it was when Miss
Ruby Sidney taught at E. Princeton.
Leaving Mrs. Allison with her
memories, we can go a short distance
from the school to the home of her
long-time friends Mr. and Mrs. Hugh
Hunter, on the river road. Hugh
Hunter was mining recorder at Granite
Creek in 1889. He had married the
young school-teacher at Nicola and,
when the gold rush was over and the
government office was moved to
Princeton (located in the Courthouse),
the Hunters moved into town. Here
Mr. Hunter was justice of the Peace,
tax collector, etc.
No doubt, when Ruby stayed with
the Hunters, their daughter Margaret
played on the piano the sentimental
songs of the period. However, it is
Mrs. Hunter's cottage organ that is a
legend. When church services were
held in barrooms, sometimes in
houses (usually Irwin's or Cook's), Mrs.
Hunter would play the organ. This was
later given to the St. Paul's
Presbyterian church when it opened in
1920. When a different organ was se-
cured the 'old' organ was given back to
Margaret Hunter (now Mrs. F. Mitchell).
I believe it is still in her possession at
her home in Olalla.
(Incidentally, the Courthouse was
moved across the street to be used as
the first High School and later, lamentably, demolished.)
Another among Miss Sidney's
friends was the Hardwick family. E.E.
Hardwick was a Methodist minister who
moved to Princeton from Nicola in
1899. His daughter, Patsey was the
first white child born in Princeton town.
He was overseas during all of W.W.I.
Hardwick descendants still live on the
One-Mile. The Hustons had a store in
town, Mrs. Lovina Huston sold millinery
and he had a rig which he drove to
Copper Mountain. Mr. Gibson had a
hardware store where he sold also
coal, cement, lime and plaster and was
also a blacksmith. Mr. TC. King is
credited with having the first garage in
town in 1911 and he had other commercial interests as well.
A two inch item in the Star of April 20.
1917 was headed "Women May
Register" and stated: "Hugh Hunter,
government agent, has all the
necessary papers enabling the women
to have their names placed upon the
voters list. Under the bill just passed in
Victoria women can register at once
and have till may 14th to get their
names on the list. Affidavits can be
made before a justice of the peace,
provincial constable, postmaster and
some other people. Applications are
to be forwarded to the Registrar of
Voters at Fairview. Note: She must be
a British subject or married to one."
The editor who wrote the articles and
the editorials maintained a lofty
indifference. Nowhere else in the any
of the issues of 1917 or 1918 is any
reference made to the subject.
Conscription, too, was not important,
it seems. There was a paid
government advertisement advising
men to register for service in the armed
forces. And again this did not merit
any special coverage other than to
have it stated that the recruiting officer
had little to do here as practically all of
the men of military age had already vol-
RC. Historical News unteered. So great was the patriotic
fervor at the start of the war that there
was a serious shortage of marriageable
men in the valley.
The ladies of the town worked hard
to knit and raise money for 'comforts'. I
did not find any reference to any income tax, still a gleam in the government eye.
This was the time of Prohibition and
here, so close to the U.S. border there
were many violations. The road over
the Richter pass was well used. In
spite of a customs office here freight
sometimes was not what it seemed. A
load of hay was sometimes worth much
more than a silver spoon, and a load of
logs was sometimes hollow.
1918 was the year of the Spanish flu'
when it was said there were 400 cases
and many died.
It is very interesting to read Mrs.
Forteath's stories about this time in her
life and what it was like to be a school
teacher when pupils were graded on
the Honour Roll for "Deportment",
"Punctuality and Regularity" and
As I close my imaginary door to the
past I hope to have some more from
Our B.C. Historical Federation
Archivist prepared a post script to
tell us more of Princeton and East
E.A. Harris delighted readers with his article "Memories of Motoring in the
1930's." In it he declared that his 1928 Chev. had 'a small red triangle on the
left rear mudguard indicating the car had hydraulic brakes." Car buffs promptly
notified me that the red triangle indicated FOUR WHEEL BRAKES.
Obviously a vehicle with brakes on 4 wheels could stop in a shorter distance
than one with 2 wheel brakes.
Further details from Don S. Robb of Sidney, B.C. give us an explanation of
early braking systems: A two wheel and the successor, the four wheel braking system, were operated by a series of levers put into play when the pedal
was depressed. These levers tautened the cables, wires extending to a cantilever mechanism that opened or closed a shoe embracing a brake drum surrounding the centre of the rim of the wheel. These were a system comprising
what was known as "mechanical" brakes. Early models were applied and fitted
only to the rear wheels. The cables often become slack, rendering the brake
less efficient. Gadgets called Tensioners were sold as accessories to be
used (like clothes line tighteners) to snug up the cables to improve stopping
power. When the first four wheel brakes were introduced a home mechanic
occasionally overtightened the cables for the front set causing the vehicle to
go "arse over teakettle" when braking.
Hydraulic systems were quite different. Hydraulic cylinders delivered fluid
through tubes to other cylinders on the wheel. The wheel cylinder engaged
a cam that depressed the brake shoe to effect a pressure, thus arresting the
progress of the vehicle. Hydraulic systems were tried on expensive vehicles
in the 1920's and were adopted by Chevrolet in 1934 and Ford in 1938. At
first hydraulic systems were on rear wheels only with mechanical brakes on
the front wheels.. During that era cars were stopping mainly with rear brakes
as the task of tightening the front brake was such a dirty job.
RC. Historical News
16 Giscome Portage and the Huble - Seebach
Trading Post
In the fall of 1862, two colored
men, John Robert Giscome, who was
born in Jamaica in 1832, and Henry
McDame, who was born in the
Bahamas in 1862, after meeting in
Quesnel, decided to go into the
Peace River area to look for gold after hearing gold had been found in
the Finlay and Parsnip rivers in the
Peace River water-shed. However,
they got caught in a freeze-up so
wintered in Fort George and not at
Fort St. James as planned. From
Fort St. James, they would take the
overland route to the McLeod Lake
post. During their stay in Fort
George, they met up with Indians
trading at the Hudson's Bay post
who told them of an alternate route
to McLeod Lake via the Salmon
River, which is a tributary of the
Fraser, 18 miles north of Fort
George. This route involved a short
portage from the upper Salmon to
Summit Lake, where they'd reach
the Crooked River, a tributary of the
Peace River. Consequently, in the
spring of 1863, they set out for this
portage with an Indian guide. They
headed down the Fraser River and
upon coming to the Salmon River,
found it badly swollen with the
spring run-off. The guide told them
there was another trail about 12
miles further up the Fraser. This
trail began at the present day Huble
homestead site and cut across
through the bush to Summit Lake, a
distance of nine miles. It was Peter
Dun levy who established a trading
post at the south end of the portage
around 1873, who named the
Giscome Portage after John Robert
Giscome, when Giscome was cooking
for him.
There was another more popular
route to reach the Peace River involving the Telegraph Trail from
Quesnel to Fraser Lake, then taking
the fur trade trail to Fort St. James
and thence on to McLeod Lake.
When the Omineca gold rush began
by June Chamberland
in 1870, people in Quesnel went after the Government to build a wagon
road across the portage. In 1871
John Trutch took the contract to
build this road, with G.B. Wright
and Mr. John Grant in charge of
building it. With mosquitoes, black
flies, and the swampy land, they
had a hard time keeping men on the
job and could not totally rely on the
Indians either. This short distance
required 2000 feet of corduroy and
thirty-seven culverts. This portage
trail was used for many years but it
became overgrown with brush by the
1890's when Dunlevy's trading
ceased. No community was established at the Giscome Portage until
the arrival of Huble and Seebach.
Albert J. Huble was born at Oak
Lake, Ontario in 1872. Coming
West and being a very adventurous
soul, he had tried fishing off the
coast of B.C. Huble, along with
three other men, had purchased a
fishing schooner. However the first
time out on the water, a violent
storm came up and all being inexperienced, were glad to get back on
shore. At this point, Huble said "I'll
never go out there again." 1 He also
went to the Yukon to try his luck on
the gold-fields. However, when he
got there he found that all claims on
the Klondike had been staked. It
was the winter of 1899 and people
were starving, there was no food in
the country. So he took off from
Dawson City in December, an almost unheard of and unparalleled
feat of endurance, going across the
headwaters of the Pelly, down the
Stikine and came to Telegraph
Creek where he stayed for awhile.2
In 1900, Albert Huble came to the
Fort George area where he trapped
on the upper Fraser River. Edward
Seebach, born also in Ontario, in
Perth County in 1880, was trapping
that area too. In 1904 Huble and
Seebach formed a partnership and
started up a trading post which
really did a flourishing business.
Albert Huble pre-empted D.L. 848
where the Huble house now stands.
(He later pre-empted D.L. 762 -
Sunnybrook Ranch.) They re-cut
and rebuilt the old Portage trail and
many, many loads of freight passed
over this road on it's way to Summit
and McLeod Lakes. Edward
Seebach pre-empted land near
Huble's homestead around 1909.
Huble staked out many sections and
quarter sections of land, there being,
around 1911, twenty-seven settlers
in the vicinity. This settlement became known as the Giscome
In 1911, Albert Huble brought a
wife, the former Annie Hart, back
with him from Ontario. In 1912 he
started building a large two-storey
squared log house. Each corner was
dove-tailed and carefully fitted.
Moss was gathered and clay dug to
be used for chinking. He went upriv-
er and cut cedar blocks to be made
into shingles later. It was very appropriate for him to build such a big
house as they had a large family.
Annie had brought with her, one
child, Ada, from a previous marriage
in Ontario. Albert and Annie had
seven other children - Bertha,
Martha, Patricia, Gladys May, Al
Junior, Samuel, and Dean (who
drowned in Summit Lake while just
a young man). Another building
moved over to the big house was
joined to it with a breeze-way. This
served as a kitchen and was used
both summer and winter. At one
time, in later years, they had a
Chinese cook who would sit in this
kitchen and churn butter while rocking the baby in the cradle. The rest
of the house consisted of five bedrooms (four of these being upstairs),
an office, and a big living-room,
where they ate, with a pantry.
Along with freighting of goods over
the Portage, summers were spent
picking wild berries - huckleberries,
RC. Historical News raspberries, and strawberries.
Clover, oats, and barley was grown
and harvested. Days were spent
haying, at home and at the
neighbours. Huge gardens were
planted - potatoes, turnips, carrots,
cabbage, beets, onions, and peas.
These vegetables, as well as for
their own use, were sold to the boats
that stopped on their way to Tete
Jaune Cache. Huble and Seebach
guided scows through the Giscome
Rapids which were seven miles in
length. Sometimes a boat would get
stuck on the rocks there and they
would have to get it loose.
Black-smithing and shoeing horses
also took up some time, as horses,
as many as four to a wagon, would
be used in freighting. As well as
horses, they had cows, pigs,
chickens, ducks, and geese. They
also tended store and bought furs
from the Indians and white men
alike. In the winter season, they
themselves would trap. Al Junior,
who is now 71, remembers as a
young lad, going out with his father
in later years, to check traps. At the
cabin Mr. Huble cooked up a big pot
of oatmeal. Next day he sliced up
some of this cold porridge, fried
bacon and the porridge and "it was
good" Al said. One time, while out
at Avril Lake, Albert Huble came
upon some grizzly bears. He killed
four grizzlies in all, but one that was
wounded, mauled him. As the bear
attacked him, Huble's gun flew out
of bis hands. The bear was biting at
both of his arms. He was saved by
his dog who started worrying the
bear's tail. With this the bear
released his hold on Huble who was
able to retrieve his gun and kill the
bear.3 A trapper's life can be quite
Huble built a freight warehouse on
the banks of the Fraser at a spot
where the water was deep enough
for the boats to tie up at the wharf.
At one time, in the early 1900's,
there were many stern-wheelers on
the Fraser plying their way to Tete
Jaune Cache - the Chilcotin, the
Nechacco, later named the Chilco,
S.S.B.C., the BX Express, Charlotte,
Conveyor, and Operator were some
of the boats that stopped at the
Portage. Here they would load up
with horses, oats, hay, and
vegetables and would unload tons of
goods. This warehouse was a sort
of clearance station for much freight
besides their own, freight that would
be hauled North to the Hudson's
Bay stores at Summit Lake, McLeod
Lake, and to the various survey
parties for the railroad - Bledsoe's,
Harvey's, Holland's, Corell's,
Burden's, Freeman's, Bower's,
Morrow's, and Weber's, to mention a
few, using four horses and a large
wagon per load. Huble later had a
frame store built with a big sign
MERCHANDISE". This store had a
false front, large windows, a
varnished office and a home-made
fur press which was used to bale
Group out on lake, 1924 - left to right; Albert Huble (holding Sam Huble),
Directly behind him Mrs. Huble. Girl in front/Pat Huble, directly behind her girl
with spotted bow on dress is Bertha Huble. Young Al, at the extreme right
sitting on edge of boat. Photo courtesy ofAl Huble.
furs. He had many items for sale
here, one order consisting of a barrel
of mixed cookies, as well as ginger
snaps, cream sodas, Edam cheese,
Beecham's pills, fruit salts,
Spearmint gum, one dozen can
openers, two dozen cigarette
holders, a 5-gallon keg of vinegar,
flour, a dozen playing cards, stove
polish, a box of hammers, and
cigarettes, 2 dozen Lacrosse
chocolate, one-half dozen fruit jars,
100 cigars, 100 cork cigars and a
box of Mogul cigarettes. Missing on
the weigh bill were a case of Climax
jam and a case of plum pudding.
Another time he ordered one-half
dozen men's suits - black, blue and
one-half dozen women's dresses -
serge - black, blue.4 So we can see
from this that the store was a busy
place, supplying the settlers with
food and other goods. In 1915 they
opened up a post office at the
Giscome Portage but it closed down
after two short months of service.
British Columbia became a
province in the Dominion of Canada
in 1871. Because of this union, a
railway was to be built to the Pacific
coast. This would increase business
for the stern-wheelers with activity
equal almost to the gold-rush days.8
However this also meant the end for
stern-wheelers because once the
railway was built, the need for them
ceased, as transportation shifted
from river to road. Two routes were
decided on. One went down the
North Thompson River to Kamloops,
through the lower Fraser canyons
and on the Pacific Ocean. The other
was to go from the Yellowhead Pass
to Fort George, following the upper
Fraser River, then southward across
the Chilcotin country. The second
route never went through as the
Chilcotin Indians became
troublesome, having killed some
men. However, the decision to put a
railroad through Central British
Columbia became a reality and by
October 1st, 1913 trains began
running between Prince Rupert and
Smithers. On January 27th, 1914,
the first train reached Prince
George.6 Meanwhile, the Pacific
Great Eastern railway was
completed as far as Soda Creek from
RC. Historical News
IB ta Peace Rwe
Urc\\C Lake
Pacific Lake.
fraitr Lake
for! fro-ttr
j/eiv Caledonia
Historic features
OKm       20 40 60 BO
RC. Historical News the South. When World War I broke
out in 1914, work ceased on the
P.G.E. and steamboat business
wavered. It was the last season for
the S.S. Operator, Conveyor, and the
Hammond but the B X Express
continued on it's run. However, even
the BX was not used in 1916, thus
bringing an end to steamboats on
the Fraser. With the construction of
a road between Prince George and
Summit Lake in 1919, and the
Giscome Portage being by-passed,
trading there became a thing of the
past. The place was rented for a
while as a guest ranch and in 1929
it was sold to Mrs. Josephine E.
Walker Mitchell, who also brought
up the surrounding homesteads.
Together, with Les Woods, the WM.
Ranch was established. In 1978 the
B.C. Government purchased the
property and it became a
Community pasture. In 1983, after
news seeped out that the old Huble
house was to be moved into Prince
George and restored as a heritage
house at the Brewery site, a group
of concerned citizens from Summit
Lake and Salmon Valley met and
declared it to be part of the history
of their area and a decision was
made to leave the house where it
stood and not to move it. Thus the
Giscome Portage Historical Society
was formed, plans for restoration
made, the land (25 hectares)
purchased by the Regional District
of Fraser-Fort George, and it was
designated as an historic park, later
to be named the Giscome Portage
Regional Park.
This park is a very pretty place
with the spruce and poplar-covered
hill-sides, and the Fraser River
flowing by, the huge cottonwood
trees lining its banks. The old
square-log house, white-washed and
trimmed in green, has been restored
and made ready for public viewing,
each room being equipped with
period furnishings. The freight
ware-house down by the river's edge,
will, in all probability, be open to the
public this summer, 1990, along
with the big barn. Plans to build a
black-smith shop, meat cache, frame
store, and to fix up two other old
cabins - one as a trapper's cabin, the
other to be used as a gold, Indian
and Chinese display with a bit on
Father Coccola, who had at one time
stayed there, are in the making.
The Giscome Portage trail has been
re-cut, using old trail blazes and
following the old wagon ruts, which
are still very deep. You can now
walk, snow-shoe, or ski down this
trail out to the highway, just south
of Summit Lake, a distance of 7.5
The Giscome Portage Historical
Society and the Regional District are
working hand-in-hand at this project
and hope to have a truly workable
homestead, farm, and trading post
established in the years to come.
Summer hours are from 9 a.m. until
5 p.m. and we will be open from
May 24th till September 30th. We
hope to have many visitors in the
future to learn of the colorful history
surrounding the area.
June Chamberland is the President of the
Giscome Portage Historical Society.
1.-2.       From conversation with Al Huble Jr.
3. From Huble diaries and conversation with Al
Huble Jr.
4. From the diaries.
5. Raddlewheels on the Frontier-Art Downs.
6. AHhtayofPrinceGewgebyRev. F.E. Runnals.
Martha Huble by Fraser river with the blacksmith shop in back. Circa 1917-18
Courtesy of Barbara Munk.
RC. Harris
R.C. Harris, long time contributor to
the News, received the first
Certificate of Appreciation prepared
as a "Thank You" from the editorial
staff. Harris hikes for history - and
shares his findings with readers of
this magazine. (He is coauthor of a
book on trails soon to come off the
press.) His knowledge of early routes
in British Columbia starts with the
study of many maps filed in the
Provincial Archives. When he is out
tracing a trail he takes many photos,
altimeter readings and observations.
He insists on walking the trail both
ways,  then spends many hours
preparing a map to illustrate his
Harris was born and educated in
England. He served as a Captain in
the Royal Engineers in WW. II. R.C.
"Bob" and his bride came to Ontario in
1948, and to B.C. in 1950. He was
Chief Engineer for Dominion Bridge
for most of his 25 years with that
company. Latterly he works,
supposedly part time, as a consultant
engineer in an office fairly close to hi?
home in West Vancouver.
J.C. Historical News
20 Letter From Vancouver's Island
by Peggy Imredy
Pre-1900 publications are a gold
mine of information if someone has
access to the issues. Special
Collections of the University of
British Columbia library has some of
these early Canadian magazines.
Recently, Margaret Waddington,
CIHM i researcher and volunteer in
the library found a juvenile magazine, The Snowdrop, published out of
Montreal in the 1850's.2
One of the items was a letter written from Vancouver's Island by a
young girl to her grandfather.
Careful reading of the communication revealed the young writer was
Cecelia Douglas, daughter of James
Douglas. The letter gives us, 140
years later, a glimpse of James
Douglas' character and events of
that time.
Grandfather was William
Connollys, who had entered the
North West Company's service in
1801. He left the fur trade after 30
years service and returned to Lower
Canada (Quebec) with Suzanne *, his
Cree wife and unmarried children.
Within a year he had left Suzanne
and married in a Catholic ceremony,
his cousin Julia Woolrich. Unknown
to the Douglas family when the letter was written Connolly had died
the previous June. After his death,
his will leaving the estate to Julia,
triggered a landmark court case
which had repercussions throughout
the fur trade.
We know James Douglas as an
"accomplished business-man and
shrewd diplomat, deeply religious
and tolerant" through McKelvie's,
Douglas: A New Portrait °. That article states . . . but even within his
own home he could not altogether
free himself from the mask he wore
before the world . . . This recently
found letter reveals a father who
would lead his children on hands
and knees through rose bushes to
the top of a cliff to have the exhilarating experience of watching waves
dash against the rocks below.
The journey from Fort Vancouver
was not easy. Rebecca, the Douglas'
newest child was about a month old
when the arduous trip began. Five
wagons carried the household goods,
gold dust, and bales of fur and also
Mrs. Douglas and the two younger
children. Douglas and the three
eldest girls rode ahead on horseback. Thus they arrived at Fort
Nisqually e.
At the Fort all the goods and family boarded the Hudson's Bay
Company's schooner, Cadboro, 7
bound for a new home at the recently established Fort Victoria.
Captain James Sangster 8 was in
command at that time.
James Douglas, who had found
the site for the New Fort was sent to
be the interim Governor of
Vancouver's Island and New
Caledonia. Richard Blanshard arrived on March 11, 1850 to be the
Governor but left September 1851 9
when Douglas again took over the
reins of governing the colony.
One book in the Hudson's Bay
Library was Vancouver's Voyages.
We can picture Douglas, reading
aloud the sections on Puget Sound
where the Cadboro was wending its
way through the islands. The description of their haven by Cecelia
matches Vancouver's version 10. Port
Discovery, named for Vancouver's
ship, was not a habitation but a safe
anchorage from storms.
Cecelia, born in 1834, was the fifth
child born to Amelia and James
Douglas. The first four had all died
within a few years of birth. The
other children on the journey to Fort
Victoria were, Jane, born 1839;
Agnes, 1841; Alice, 1844; Rebecca
born as stated above; two more
children were to be born after their
arrival in Fort Victoria n.
Alfred Robson Benson, M.D. was
the first Doctor at Fort Victoria. For
a short period, Dr. Helmcken worked
with Benson. When Richard
Blanshard arrived at the Fort as
Governor and became ill within a
year, Dr. Tolmie was called in from
Fort Nisqually. In the meantime
Benson was sent to Fort Vancouver,
from there he was transferred to
Colville (changed to Nanaimo,
1860). He worked with the
Hudson's Bay Company until 1862
then took over the same duties for
the Vancouver Coal Company until
1864. He retired to his home town
in England where he died after the
turn of the century ^.
Rev. Robert John Staines became a
controversial figure after he arrived
at Fort Victoria. His first profession
was a school teacher but when the
Hudson's Bay Company required
the teacher to be a Priest he
acquired the necessary diploma.
Although he and his wife thought
their destination was Fort
Vancouver, it was Fort Victoria
where they were put ashore, a few
months before the arrival of the
Douglas family. In the beginning
Rev. Staines was amiable to
Douglas. Mrs. Staines trained the
girls and Rev. Staines taught the
boys. Previously Douglas had
taught his own children, as the HBC
advised their employees 13, and, as
the editor wrote . . . only instructor
. . . been her good papa . . . 14.
As early as 1784 the education of
the trader's children was a concern
of the London Committee. Primer
reading books and spelling books
were part of the freight sent to the
posts. Books for post libraries were
also sent and circulated through the
system. In the larger posts schools
were set up, children from the age of
five were to attend for seven years
RC. Historical News 15. The boys would then be useful to
the Service and a perpetual source of
Rev. Staines had many problems
in the new Colony. He was on his
way to London to take his case
before the House of Commons when
the barque Duchess of San Lorenzo
sank and all were lost including
Staines. Mrs. Staines sold their
property later in the next year
(1855) and left for London is.
Cecelia did not address Connolly's
wife as grandmother but as Mrs. C,
Suzanne died in 1862. It appears,
at that time, there was no
animosity between the families,
At this time I have been unable to
find the names of all the Connolly
children. Suzanne's children were
John, the oldest son and the person
who instigated the court case;
William; Amelia, Lady Douglas and
oldest daughter; Julia; and two
unknown . . Julia had two
daughters 17, names unknown.
If anyone has knowledge of the
names of Connolly's children I would
appreciate your writing me to
complete my file.
The letter leaves us with the
impression, that members of the
Douglas family corresponded with
William Connolly. Perhaps
sometime in the future further
letters will be found written by
members of this important British
Columbia family
Peggy Imredy is a Past President of the
Vancouver Historical Society. She is currently
researching material for a book on early
church leaders.
THE SNOW DROP; or, Juvenile
Magazine, Vol 1, No. 10 (April 1851)
p. 299 - 301.
We insert with much pleasure the
following letter from Vancouver's
Island written by a young girl
"whose only instructor," as the note
received with it, informs us, "except
for a very short period, has been her
good papa." The writer of the note
goes on to say very justly, that "to
most of the readers of the
SNOWDROP, Vancouver's Island, in
the great Pacific Ocean, is known
barely by name, and it will
assuredly interest and gratify them
to learn, that little girls there as
well as here, are taught not only to
foster the "household" affections,
but, to cultivate the mind and refine
the task to a true sense and practice
of the religious, the beautiful, and
the GOOD."
We should be much gratified by
receiving further communications
from the writer of the very artless
and interesting letter which we give
Fort Victoria, 17th Feb., 1850
Colville will take this, next week, to join
the express at Vancouver, I take
advantage of his kindness to write to
you. We were very much distressed at
hearing of the bad state of your health,
and our frequent prayers are daily
offered to heaven for your recovery. I
long for the period which will bring us
the intelligence of your restoration to
health. We have had our own
afflictions, during the past year, and
the thoughts of your illness, have
added to their weight.
Papa having been appointed
Governor of Vancouver's Island, we
removed from the Columbia to this
place, in the month of May last. The
journey partly in boats, on horseback,
and from Nesqully by sea, was very
pleasant; we had but one stormy day,
on entering the straits of DeFuca,
which alarmed us greatly and made us
all sea-sick; but the good, kind
Captain, on witnessing our distress,
ran into Port Discovery, where we
remained until the weather became
more moderate. We landed on
Protection Island, which is so
beautifully and truly described in
Vancouver's voyages.
The weather was delightful and I was
never tired of wandering about the
lovely spot, picking flowers and
enjoying the charming prospect on
every side. There is a tall beetling cliff
which overhangs the ocean, at the
west end of the Island. The summit
was covered with rose bushes, In full
flower, papa made us creep on our
hands and knees to the very verge of
the precipice, to see the surf dashing
wildly against it. What a sight! my head
yet reels at the recollection. I would
certainly have fallen headlong into the
sea, had I not been firmly held. We
arrived here in the beginning of the
month of June, and we like the place
very much. The early part of summer
was rather cool; from the middle of
July, the temperature was delightful.
There was scarcely any rain from the
time of our arrival to the middle of
October, yet vegetation was fresh and
luxuriant owing to the heavy dews of
night. The fort is situated on an inlet
about one mile from the straits of
DeFuca, and ships anchor within 50
yards of the gate. To the north and
east there is a beautiful open country,
swelling here and there, into gentle
undulations, with groves of shady
oaks, dispersed by the hand of nature
in the most perfect order. During the
fine weather, we used to ride out into
the country every Wednesday and
Saturday afternoon. I have a beautiful
mouse-colored pony, which I dearly
love; he is so gentle and tractable that
a child may guide him. Jane and
Agnes have a grey pony between
them; they go out only every other
day, as we have only two side saddles
between us three; but papa says he
will get another one, when my sisters
are a little older.
This is a far healthier place than
Vancouver. There being no sickness,
either among the whites or Indians,
except an occasional attack of cold.
Death must have his victims
every-where, and we have not
escaped the common lot of suffering
mortals. It has pleased Heaven to take
from us our darling sister Rebecca, in
her eight month. She suffered from
some unknown complaint for several
weeks, notwithstanding all Dr.
Benson's care and attention. We sat
up with her night and day, but our
cares were of no avail. She died on
Sunday    evening   the    11th    of
RC. Historical News
22 November about 5 minutes to 6, and
her happy spirit fled to that happy
home where sin and sorrow shall never
enter. She was buried by the Rev. Mr.
Staines, on the 14th following, and he
was so much affected, that he could
hardly read the service through.
Imagine what our feelings were,
particularly poor mama's who was quite
heart-broken, and has hardly yet
recovered the shock; but the hopes
and consolations of our blessed faith
supported us in our affliction. Papa
was absent from home at the time, or
we would have felt the trial less
severly. I am attending school with my
sisters, at the Rev. Mr. Staines', a
Church of England clergyman, who is
also the Company's Chaplain, at this
He is an excellent teacher, and takes
a great deal of pains with the children
who are placed under his care. I am
happy to inform you that mama is quite
well, as are my three sisters, Jane,
Agnes, and Alice. They all unite with
me in love to yourself, and Mrs. C.
Louisa and William. I love Louisa very
1. OHM. Canadian Institute for Historical
2. SnowDroRof Juvenile Magazine. Montreal.
Robert W. Lay, ed., 1850 -1852. Vol 1, No.l tApril
1847 - Vol. 4, No. 3. (June 18501. At UBC Library,
Special Collections.
Halpenny, Francess. G., ed. DICTIONARY OF
Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1988.
p. 204 - 6.
Halpenny, Francess G. ed. DICTIONARY OF
CANADIAN BIOGRAPHY, Vol. IX, 1861 -1870,
Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1976.
p. 149 - 50.
McKelvie, B.A. Douglas: a New Portrait, BRITISH
April 1943, p. 93 -101.
Farrar, Victor J. The Nisqually Journal,
QUARTERLY, Vol. 10, 1925, p. 218. and Ormsby,
Toronto, The Macmillans in Canada. 1959, p. 93.
York, Antiquarian Press, Ltd., 1961, p. 3.
Walbran, Captain John T.   BRITISH COLUMBIA
COAST NAMES, 1592 -1908, Vancouver, The
Vancouver Public Library, 1971, p. 437.
Ormsby, p. 95-6'105.
VANCOUVER, 1791 -1795, Vol. II, London,
Hakluyt Society, 1984. p. 514.
TWO EMPIRES, Vancouver, Mitchell Press
Limited, 1969, p. 48.
Walbran, p. 48.
Norman, University of Oklahoma Press, 1980, p.
Brown, Jennifer, S.H. STRANGERS IN BLOOD,
Vancouver, University of British Columbia Press,
1980, p. 106
both Brown and Van Kirk have many references to
the education of the trader's children.
Slater, G. Hollis. Rev. Robert John Staines,
QUARTERLY, Vol. XIV October 1950,
p. 187 - 240.
Collard, Edgar Andrew, MONTREAL
YESTERDAYS, Toronto, Longmans Canada
Limited, 1962, p. 74-81.
Bowsfield, Hart well, Ph. D. FORT VICTORIA LETTERS
1846-1851, Winnipeg, Hudson's Bay Record Society, 1979.
Brown, Jennifer, S.H. STRANGER IN BLOOD, FUR
Vancouver, University of British Columbia Press, 1980.
Collard, Edgar Andrew. MONTREAL YEATERDAYS,
Toronto, Longmans Canada Limited, 1962.
Farrar, Victor J. The Nisqually Journal, WASHINGTON
STATE HISTORICAL QUARTERLY, Vol. 10, 1925, p. 218.
Halpenny, Francess G. ed. DICTIONARY OF CANADIAN
BIOGRAPHY Vol. DC, 1861 -1870, Toronto, University of
Toronto Press, 1976.
Halpenny, Francess G. ed. DICTIONARY OF CANADIAN
BIOGRAPHY, Vol. VII, 1836 -1850, Toronto, University of
Toronto Press, 1988.
VANCOUVER, 1791 -1795, Vol. II. London, Hakluyt
Society, 1984.
Lamb, W Kaye, ed. Some Notes on the Douglas Family,
XVII, Jan. - Apr. 1953, p. 41 - 51.
BIOGRAPHY, Vol. X, 1871 to 1880, Toronto, University of
Toronto Press, 1988.
McKelvie, B.A. Douglas: a New Portrait, BRTTISH
1943, p. 93-101.
Toronto, The Macmillans in Canada, 1959.
EMPIRES, Vancouver, Mitchell Press Limited, 1969
Slater, G. Hollis. Rev. Robert John Staines, BRTTISH
October 1950, p. 187 - 240
FUR-TRADE SOCIETY, 1670-1870, Norman, University of
Oklahoma Press, 1980.
NAMES, 1592 -1906, Vancouver, The \&ncouver Public
Library, 1971.
Antiquarian Press, Ltd., 1961
Winston Shilvock of Kelowna receives a "Thank You" for the
Okanagan Special from Editor, Naomi Miller.
Participants listening to Anne Yandles 's words of wisdom.
RC. Historical News Murder on the North TraU
Jewish Merchants in the Cariboo -1862
by Marie Elliott
When hordes of gold seekers made
their way up the creeks and canyons
of the Cariboo in 1860, 1861 and
1862, seeking the mother lode, there
were Jewish merchants in the vanguard. On his way to Antler Creek
in July 1862, British traveller W.
Champness noted that the small
community of Forks of Quesnelle
consisted of "general stores (mostly
kept by Jews), and drinking shops."
Many of these merchants had begun
their careers in San Francisco during
the California gold rush. They knew
how to cater to the rough and ready
prospectors, and they were excellent
In addition to these pioneer storekeepers, Jewish merchants in
Victoria and New Westminster undertook the difficult journey north to
sell merchandise, perhaps completing several return trips during the
favourable months from June to
October. Two such men were Harris
(a.k.a. Herman, Dutchy) Lewin of
Lewin and Braverman, Victoria, and
David Sokolowsky of Sokolowsky
and Lewin, New Westminster.
In mid-July 1862, having disposed
of their merchandise, Lewin and
Sokolowsky left Antler Creek on
their journey south. Their packer
Charles Rouchier (Bouchier), formerly a trader at Nanaimo, was reported to be carrying $5,000, Lewin
$12,000, and Sokolowsky $1,000.
Lewin is supposed to have made a
handsome profit selling long rubber
boots at $60.00 a pair. On July
26th they reached Cap Mitchell's
bridge over the North Fork of
Quesnel River at 5:00 p.m., en route
to the village of Forks of Quesnelle.
A waiter at the stopping house suggested that they take the north trail
over the mountain to the Forks because the south trail was still wet
and muddy.    He noticed that three
strangers left ahead of the merchants and their packer.
Two days later, when other travellers reached the Forks and inquired
after Lewin and Sokolowsky, suspicions were aroused. John Boas, of
Levi and Boas, set out by the south
trail to find them. At Mitchell's
bridge he asked a party of miners
heading south to take the mountainous trail and keep a lookout for the
missing men. The miners found the
bodies of Sokolowsky, Lewin and
Rouchier beside the north trail, five
miles from the Forks. The three
men had put up a struggle before being murdered, their gold was missing, and even their watches, jewel-
ery, and hats. A party of twenty-
five to thirty horsemen brought the
bodies into the Forks; tin coffins
were ordered for Sokolowsky and
Lewin in the event that their relatives wished to remove their bodies
to a cemetery at New Westminster
or Victoria.
The murders required immediate
investigation, but the small community had been without a magistrate
since October 1861. Thomas Elwyn,
Gold Commissioner and magistrate
for the Cariboo, had relocated further
north at Williams Creek. Reverend
Arthur Browning, a Wesleyan minister, recalled: There was no magistrate, nor coroner, and the solitary
constable was drunk, and if he had
been sober was no use in an emergency like this. A mass meeting
was called and I was elected coroner, and after the verdict of wilful
murder was returned I was elected
magistrate, having a young Jew as
magistrate's clerk. The court was
formally constituted, and one or two
suspicious men arrested, examined,
and then let go, for everybody said
the murderer was Boone Helm.
Browning's      clerk,      Samuel
Goldstone, of Sporborg and
Goldstone, Victoria, had been on a
selling expedition to the Cariboo,
also. He brought back safely
$15,000 in gold to Victoria, and at
the same time delivered a description of the public meeting at the
Forks to the British Columbian
Newspaper in New Westminster,
and to the British Colonist in
Victoria. The citizens at the Forks
had passed a resolution stating that
a reward of $3,000 would be paid by
the government, or if they refused,
by the citizens of the Cariboo. The
residents at the Forks raised $750
immediately to send four men in
pursuit of the assassins.
Victoria police reacted to the news
of the murders by making several
arrests. There were two suspects,
Henry Diekker and David Darling.
Diekker had deposited over $2,000
in a hotel safe while awaiting a
steamer to California, and Darling
was reported to have accompanied
the victims for part of their journey
south. But both men were released
for lack of evidence.
Lewin's brother Hieman, and
Isadore Braverman offered a $1,000
reward for information about the
murderer(s). A column in the British
Colonist on August 11, 1862, described Lewin thus:
Most of our old residents will remember the young Prussian
"Dutchy" who, two or three years
ago, peddled apples and peanuts in
the theatres and on race days occupied an extensive booth at the
course. This "Dutchy" and Harris
Lewin, mentioned elsewhere as one
of the unfortunate three lately murdered and robbed at Cariboo are the
. . . Commencing his business career
here in 1858 with fifty cents in his
pocket and a box of cigars under his
RC. Historical News
24 arm, in four years, by patient industry and correct business habits he
had become a partner in the firm of
Braverman and Lewin, and had
been to Cariboo, where, by the sale
of a large stock of goods he had acquired a considerable amount of
money . . . Not a man in Victoria
who knew him well, but liked poor
The suspected murderer, Boone
Helm, has become the "Jesse James
of the Pacific Northwest" because of
his exploits on both sides of the
Canadian/United States border. He
is reputed to have been involved in
numerous murders, robberies, and
even cannibalism (on a winter trek
over the mountains from Oregon to
Salt Lake City). How much of this
information is true and how much is
exaggeration is difficult to determine
at this late date. Several old timers
insisted that they had met up with
Boone at the time that he was in the
Cariboo. For example, William
"Tom" Collinson claimed that Helm
and a partner held him up near
Cook's Ferry (Spence's Bridge) shortly after the murders took place, yet
Helm does not appear to have been
on the "Most Wanted" list when he
was arrested in Victoria in October
1862 for refusing to pay for drinks
at a saloon. He reputedly returned
to the United States and joined the
Henry Plummer Gang in Idaho. He
was hung by vigilantes at Bannock
Mines in January 1864. The legend
maintains that Boone buried the
gold stolen from Lewin and
Sokolowsky somewhere in the
Cariboo, and that its whereabouts
has never been discovered.
The murder of the three men
caused the editors of both the British
Columbian and the British Colonist
to demand more law enforcement in
the Cariboo. John Robson, of the former paper, wrote:
This terrible crime, though it appalls, does not take us altogether by
surprise . . . We have every reason
to fear it is but the first of a series of
robberies and murders, which, unless the most energetic and thorough means be promptly adopted by
the government, will equal if not
surpass anything recorded in the
history of either California or
But the Cariboo did not turn into a
lawless region. James Douglas's
unique system of justice, which
relied on Gold Commissioners to act
as local magistrates, handled most
problems that arose. Gold escorts,
implemented by Douglas in 1861,
and again unsuccessfully, in 1863,
did not gain the trust of the miners
or the patronage of the banks.
Other young men died anony
mously during the Cariboo gold
rush, taking their stories with them.
The sad fate of Sokolowsky, Lewin,
and Rouchier is one of the few incidents that we can document. It is a
poignant reminder that to be young
and ambitious was not enough during that tumultuous era. A good
measure of luck was needed, too.
$:   ^c   j):   :jc   :£
The writer is the former editor of the B.C.
Historical News. She lives and works in
Victoria, but spends many hours serving as a
Director of Island Trust.
Writing Competition - 1990
The B.C. Historical Federation invites submissions of books or articles for the eighth
annual Competition for Writers of British Columbia History.
Any book presenting any facet of B.C. history, published in 1990, is eligible. This
may be a community history, biography, record of a project or an organization, or
personal recollections giving a glimpse of the past. Names, dates and places with
relevant maps or pictures turn a story into "history."
The judges are looking for fresh presentations of historical information, (especially if
prepared by amateur historians) with appropriate illustrations, careful proof reading,
an adequate index, table of contents, and bibliography.
Winners will be chosen in the following categories:
1) Best History Book by an individual Writer (Lieutenant-Governor's Medal for
Historical Writing.)
2) Best Anthology (i.e. Best History prepared by a group.)
3) Best History for Junior Readers.
Awards are given where entries warrant, (i.e. a lone entry in group 2 or 3 will not automatically be given a prize.)
Submissions are requested as soon as possible after publication. Please state
name, address and telephone of sender, the selling price of the book, and an address from which the book may be purchased if the reader has to shop by mail.
Send to:
B.C. Historical Writing Competition • PO. Box 933 • Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 5N2
All entries receive considerable publicity. Winners will receive a Certificate of Merit,
a monetary award, and an invitation to the B.C. Historical Federation's Annual
Conference in Duncan in May 1991.
******* ********
The Best Article award is given annually to the writer of an article published in the
B.C. Historical News magazine with the aim of encouraging amateur historians
and/or students. Articles should be no more than 2,500 words, typed double
spaced, accompanied by photographs if available, and substantiated with footnotes
if possible. (Photos will be returned.) Deadlines for quarterly issues are February
15, May 15, August 15, and November 15. Please send articles directly to:
The Editor • B.C. Historical News • P.O. Box 105 • Wasa, B.C. • VOB 2K0
RC. Historical News Marl Brown fs Spring Pelt
by Gerrie Young
Marl Brown's beard is a
community monument. Marl had
always hated shaving. He figured if
God gave a man whiskers, it was for
a purpose. On April 17, 1982 it was
fourteen inches long, and
accompanied by long hair, rather
like Santa Claus, or the town
patriarch, because Marl had not
shaved for twelve years. And a man
and his beard are not to be parted
lightly, which is why the beard
auction was alive with fear and
The beard auction idea originated
from Cliff Prouse, or Ron Ried, or
maybe Wayne Fell at the Fort
Nelson Historical Society Old
Timer's Dance on April 17, 1982. At
that year's popular dance, Kay
Dolan had come up with an idea to
raise additional money for the
museum fund. She suggested that
tickets for the dance cost $100.00
and with that amount the purchaser
would be buying a log to help build
the museum and have their name
enshrined on an honour role at the
museum. An ambitious scheme for a
small town, but after some
reluctance the idea caught on and
many logs were "bought".
The dance was packed that night.
The museum had been talked about,
and worked towards, for years by
Marl, and everyone knew he was
determined to get what he wanted.
Because of the respect in which he
was held, people believed it would
happen and were excited to
participate, and were in a happy
mood at the Old Timer's Dance.
Sometime later in the evening a
yell was heard, was it Cliff, or Ron,
or Wayne, "Hey Brown, how about
auctioning off your beard?" Marl
was startled, but only momentarily.
"Sure, why not," he said with
hardly a quiver. "If you can get
enough money!"
Galvanized by the prospect of
RC. Historical News
seeing that famous beard removed,
the crowd took off and bids came
tumbling in. $50.00! $100.00!
People hollered across the room.
Kay Dolan had been worried that
asking $100.00 for a log was expecting too much and here people were
spending even more money to see
Marl without a beard.
Mavis Brown, Marl's wife, started
worrying as the bidding got louder
and louder. Marl had always had a
beard and she wondered about the
trauma he'd feel seeing himself
without one. She got so upset she
couldn't watch and went to the other
end of the room, turned her back and
busied herself with some chores to
shut out the noise.
The crowd's momentum began to
concern Marl. All that boisterous
one-upmanship might begin to go
astray. So at $3800 he told them it
was enough. In the dying clamor
Wayne Fell shouted out something
about Brown not having to shave.
"That's asking too much!" and he
started bidding to keep Marl's beard
The energy level flared back up,
and spurred by by philanthropic
good will and a lot of wild jesting,
the bids flew in, for and against, until some people didn't know what
they were bidding for. The bidding
fever went on, neighbour against
neighbour, until Marl again sensed
a hint of frenzy, and wanting no disaster, he called a definite halt.
Marl Brown offered himself to the
crowd ready to be shaved. No one
had a razor! Or a pair of scissors!
Marl, the sacrifice, sat there, a bemused smile in his soon to disappear gray whiskers, and waited until the search turned up a pair of
nail scissors from someone's purse.
The chipping and snipping away of
Marl's massive beard began with the
tiny scissors until he looked like a
cartoon character. His smile broadened as they cut and soon turned
into a laugh of triumph when it was
announced that he'd help raise the
whopping sum of $10,143.00
Over ten thousand dollars was
astounding and unmatched. And it
was worth it. All involved were
pleased that their money was going
to a good local cause, and the
Historical Society knew that the museum was ten thousand dollars closer to being real.
In 1987 the Fort Nelson Museum
became a reality when the 2700
square foot log building was officially opened. It was the culmination of
a habit of Marl Brown's to collect
everything, despite Mavis's complaints that their yard looked like a
junk heap.
Marl's artistic vision and persistence have filled the museum with
artifacts and displays that transport the visitor to the early times of
the Fort Nelson area. The emphasis
is on trapping and the building of
the Alaska Highway which are the
two original forces behind the community's presence in the wilderness
of northern British Columbia.
Marl has always been a collector.
His specialty is old vehicles. Before
the museum provided the space the
Brown's front yard was occupied by
a 1938 GMC fire truck, a 1954 3/4
ton Dodge truck, a 1937 Caterpillar
tractor, a 1927 Graham Bros, truck,
a 1928 farm tractor and a 1957
crankshaft from a B.C. Hydro engine.
He came by his mania naturally.
His father, Donald Brown, could never resist buying old vehicles either,
and from an early age Marl went
hunting with his father around their
home in Delburne, Alberta. During
the Depression Marl's dad bought a
Mercer for $15.00 and in 1948 sold
it for $1250.00. It later became one
of the highest priced antique cars be- cause it turned out to be Barney
Oldfield's dirt track racer. But
Donald Brown was always buying
cars, engines, trucks and not bringing them home. He always meant
to, but never got around to it. He
was too busy with the first truck he
bought, for $1.00, with which he
hauled freight between Delburne
and Calgary.
One of Marl's proudest possessions
is a tiny 1908 Brush. His father
bought it 50 years ago, and Marl
brought it to Fort Nelson in 1988.
He refurbished and rebuilt it and
now it runs so well he wants to drive
to Inuvik in it.
Marl noticed that everyone who
left Fort Nelson in the early days
had a souvenir and he felt something had to be done about the drain
of valuable artifacts from the area,
so he began collecting everything he
could get his hands on. This ran
from ashtrays from early businesses
to Alaska Highway signs, to World
War II quonset huts and the old
Hudson's Bay factor's house. Over
the years the idea of a museum began to grow in Marl's mind. A museum that would preserve the history of the place and of the people who
had once lived here.
In 1977 the Fort Nelson Historical
Society was formed with a bank balance of $1100. This money came
from the sale of some light fixtures
the schools were getting rid of and
which Marl bought and resold.
Now Marl was unstoppable. He
was insistent that the museum be
built from locally earned money, and
not with any government grants. So
with the dedicated help of his family
and others including Kay Dolan,
Jack Sime, Betty Gustafson, Wayne
and Connie Fell, Donna and Bill
Gault, Ken Jenkins, Jim Khober,
Bill Hardy, and many Katimavik
groups, he began holding huge and
profitable garage sales. They were
held in the local Arena at first, and
then they moved to the wartime
quonset hut the Historical Society
had purchased. Then Marl built a
little, mobile fast food 'wagon' and
began selling hamburgers, hot dogs,
pop and coffee at every dog sled
race, rodeo, July 1st parade, and
tournament that was hosted in Fort
Nelson. Whether it was freezing
cold, and the workers wore parkas
or sweltering hot, and the workers
gushed sweat, the 'Hamburger
Wagon' was in business.
To show townspeople what they
were working towards, he constructed a model of the log museum to
help encourage the locals to believe
in it. They did believe it because
they could see that Marl's whole life
was dedicated to it. He even dedicated his beard to the cause. A contribution he questioned the morning
after being shorn. He went out the
next day, going in and out of stores
on errands for his job as Water &
Sewer Treatment Plant Operator for
the Town, and going for coffee, and
no one talked to him.
They did not know who he was.
Marl said, "You may as well have
sent me to Siberia". He felt very
strange in a town where no one
knew him. He knew he didn't look
the way people always expected him
to, and he kept hoping someone
would recognize him and ease his
loneliness. Mavis was right; it was
a shock. However, Marl was game,
and by the end of the week people
were greeting him, and teasing him,
again. He stayed shaved until after
the first snowfall in October.
The next week the local paper, The
Fort Nelson News, didn't write up
the event, but somehow Don Hunter
of the Vancouver Province got hold of
the story and wrote about "200 happy drunks" putting up the money.
This annoyed a number of people in
Fort Nelson, like Shannon Soucie
who wrote to the local paper saying
the event "came out sounding like a
thoughtless act by a bunch of
drunks". And Trudy Bennett who
wrote that "Fort Nelson's history is
worth preserving, and that the large
amount of money raised from the
beard sale could happen only to
Marl wrote to the local paper
thanking people for supporting the
dance and funding the museum so
generously. He wrote, "The money
collected for the beard - a cool
$10,000 - is probably a record price
for a spring pelt."
The author and her husband moved to Fort
Nelson in 1963. She published the 200page
Fort Nelson Story in 1980, then earned her
BA, from U&.C. in 1986. (Mainly by correspondence courses).
April 19,1982
April 17,1982
RC. Historical News Intrepid in the Name of God
by Pixie McGeachie
The opening up of the Pacific
Colonies provided fertile ground for
English missionaries eager to sow
seeds of Christianity. Both men and
women of Anglican faith were
among the first to arrive in this untamed land. These intrepid souls
were pioneers in the true sense of
the word.
They came from comfortable homes
and secure social positions to primitive and often harsh conditions and
yet they coped - even thrived - on the
challenge to survive and eagerly
spread The Word.
In the spring of 1858, the peaceful
course of British Columbia's history
was abruptly shaken by the cry that
went around the world - "Gold in the
Fraser River."
"Never in the history of the migrations of man has been seen a 'rush'
so sudden and so vast" marvelled
Anglican missionary Reverend R.C.
Lunden Brown of Lillooet.
The native Indians were swept
along into a new mode of life for
which they were unprepared. They
saw the white man at his greedy,
destructive worst and many of them
succumbed to the two curses he
brought with him - alcohol and disease. It was a sad and difficult time
for the men of the cloth who had
braved much to come to the wilds of
British Columbia to 'convert the
heathen'. They must have wondered at times who was the most
heathenish, the white men or the
Indians. It was certainly no easy
task to try to convince the Indians to
accept the white man's God, in the
face of the white man's ungodly behavior.
Mindful of the need to keep the
bright light of Christianity burning
in the midst of all the people pouring into the gold-fevered colony, the
Anglican Church recruited the services of Reverend James Gammage.
He was selected by the Society for
RC. Historical News
the Propagation of the Gospel in
Foreign Parts as the first chaplain
of the Church of England specially
sent to minister to the gold hunters.
Rev. Gammage arrived in Lytton on
June 4, 1859. Getting immediately
down to business, he conducted two
services the very next day. He
"Twelve attended in the morning
and nine in the afternoon. I do not
think I should have had even that
number if I had not gone to each
house half-an-hour before the service
and invited people to attend."
Gammage's immediate superior in
the new land was George Hills,
Bishop of British Columbia, who has
left for posterity 39 descriptive - but
exceedingly hard-to-read diaries.
In the latter half of 1862 a great
disaster overtook the Indian population. White man's disease, smallpox, to which the Indians had no resistance, struck with devastating
effect. Sweeping from Victoria northward and inland, the dreaded disease is estimated to have reduced
the native population of the province
by almost one-third. Bishop Hills lamented, "It is mowing them down
without mercy. The readiness with
which these tribes trust us and yield
to our advice is a great proof of their
confidence in us It is of importance to give the Indians the benefit
of vaccination."
Despite the upheavals caused by
the white man in their way of life,
the Indians continued to seek more
knowledge of Christianity. They did
not wait for the clergy to come to
them but often travelled en masse
and sometimes in the most trying
weather to hear the words of the
Gospel. Reverend John Booth Good,
a successor to Rev. Gammage,
wrote, "An Indian messenger came
on March 2, 1867 to announce the
approach of a large body of natives
from Lytton and Yale.    Headed by
Sashiatan, a chief of great repute
and influence and a warrior noted
for his prowess and cruelty. It was
a bitter cold day but their anxiety to
be taught a better way than any
they have yet known seemed to render them oblivious of external discomfort."
The Indians had come to ask for
teachers of the Anglican faith to live
among them but the Society for the
Propagation of the Gospel had no
one to send at that time.
Initially stationed at Yale, Rev.
Good was given the task of setting
up a Mission at Lytton. He moved
his family there on June 10, 1867
and proceeded to transform some old
buildings into a chapel, a schoolroom
and a mission house. Spreading
Christianity was no easy task.
Tribal beliefs and customs were an
integral part of the Indian's way of
life and language was a barrier to
communication. Six days after John
Good arrived in Lytton, he officiated
at the first Anglican service ever
held there. Two hundred people
crammed into an old building formerly used as a store and kindly donated for the occasion by the
Thompson Indians.
On August 5, 1867 another first
took place in Lytton with the arrival
of "lads with intelligent countenances" to attend the newly established
Indian Boy's School.
Good must have been delighted
when, on February 9, 1868 he officiated at the first Indian baptism in
Lytton. Here was visible proof that
his teachings were bearing fruit.
But while Good was pleased at the
size and state of his Indian flock, he
was less than ecstatic about the condition of the souls of the white population. He referred to Lytton as". . a
town which cannot be surpassed. .
as far, at least, as the whites are
concerned - ungodliness, profanity
and vice." In 1868, an event took place in
Lytton that greatly upset Rev. Good
and sent him on a tirade of protestation. A brothel was established almost under his nose. But his life
was much too full for him to brood
over such a trying development. In
his diaries, he tells of walking from
one Indian station to the next administering to the sick, receiving
groups from distant points and often
sleeping overnight in Indian homes.
As the Indian congregation
swelled, a larger church became necessary. A site was chosen, construction begun and by September, 1871
Good was happy to report the move
into the new St. Paul's Mission
Home "which has a view of the river,
valley and mountain, unsurpassed
even in the neighbourhood".
One year later on October 1, 1872,
tragedy struck at the home of Rev.
and Mrs. Good. Their beloved
daughter, Lillian Booth Good, died.
John Good poured out his anguish
in a letter to a friend:
" to me she was so precious
that perhaps nothing could have
been taken from me that would have
been harder to surrender than this
holy and blessed child We buried her within the fence of our Indian
Church, just opposite the east window and can see her little grave
from the Parsonage."
Gathering strength from his faith,
John Good continued his dedicated
work in and around Lytton until
1882 when he was re-appointed to
his former church, St. Paul's in
Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.
Except for the occasional services
held by Reverends Robert Chesshyre
Whiteway, George Ditcham and
D.H.W Horlock (who all had their
own postings to attend to) no work
was done at the Lytton Mission by
the Church of England until May
1884 when Richard Small answered
his call to missionary service.
Reverend Richard Small became a
legend, beloved by whites and
Indians alike. He was 35 years of
age when he received his long-
awaited call to leave a comfortable
ministry in England for missionary
work.    He did not need to think
twice about the invitation from Right
Reverend Acton Wendeyer Sillitoe,
first Bishop of New Westminster,
asking if he would like to take
charge of the Mission to the
Thompson River Indians in British
In May, 1884 he arrived at the
Mission which, at that time, was
centered at Forty-two Mile House on
the Yale and Cariboo Road. For two
years, he shared accomodation there
with Rev. Henry Edwardes and then
moved to a more convenient spot in
He made friends of all - both white
and Indian - and won great respect
with his completely unselfish way of
life. He had to cover a lot of ground
to minister to his wide-spread flock.
He was an excellent horseman and
for a number of years a stalwart
horse, answering to the imposing
name of Jupitor, was his main
means of locomotion. So many miles
did they travel together that it became almost impossible to imagine
one without the other.
Many times, horse and rider were
forced to swim through a swirling
current in order to reach their destinations. Once on dry land again,
Small would light a huge fire so that
limbs could be warmed and soaking
clothes dried before the journey was
Richard Small brought new life to
the Anglican mission work in British
Columbia's Interior. Bishop Sillitoe
declared, "A prosperous day has
broken upon the long-neglected
Indian Mission in the diocese."
One of the first changes to take
place after Small's arrival in Lytton
was the pulling down of the dilapidated Indian church and the erection
of a new one which was consecrated
on October 19, 1885. The consecration ceremony was conducted by
Bishop Sillitoe who was assisted by
Small and Rev. Henry G. Fiennes-
Small's work took him to Ashcroft,
Lillooet, Lower Nicola and various
camps in between. A diocese publication paid tribute to his dedication:
"For indomitable courage, perserver-
ence and zeal, no one has or will
Archdeacon Small in his earUer days.
likely excel Reverend Mr. Small.
Many a tale is known of how, in the
face of the most extraordinary difficulties, he has trudged on foot or ridden to keep his appointments, and
nothing, even when the hardiest of
old timers would have given in,
could be allowed to stand between
Small and Duty."
The mission itself was supported
mainly by the English Society for
the Propagation of the Gospel which
supplied annual grants of $1440 for
the salaries of two missionaries plus
$240 each for two native catechists.
In 1890, Small reported on the
state of his parish, "Our Indian
Mission has made progress. The
number of communicants has increased from 332 to 448, and baptized from 108 to 122. The
Confirmation numbered 103, precisely the same as the previous year."
After six successful years spent
looking after his flock, Small decided
to take his missionary zeal to even
further lands. He volunteered for
service in Corea (Korea) and was appointed to St. Edwards Mission,
Fairview, in Seoul.
Almost a year after Small left
Canada, Bishop Sillitoe's efforts to
fill his place was still proving fruitless. Consequently, all the good
work that had been done at the
Mission in Lytton began to suffer. It
was suggested that Small return to
RC. Historical News the Mission and he landed back in
Canada in November, 1891 to pick
up where he left off.
The following year, he set up a
dispensary in the back room of the
Mission House. It was from this
humble beginning that St.
Bartholomew's Hospital in Lytton
grew. The hospital was officially
opened on August 26, 1893. Small
became a patient some time later
when his feet were badly frostbitten
and blood poisoning affected one of
his toes which had to be amputated.
During the construction of St.
Bartholomew's, Sister Francis of St.
Luke's Home of St. James' Church,
Vancouver travelled to Lytton in order to assess the needs of the hospital. She was well qualified for the
job having founded the first Training
School for Nurses in Vancouver. She
was asked to take charge of the administration of St. Bartholomew's
and did so by making periodic trips
from Vancouver.
Small's duties often took him to
the parishes of St. John the Divine,
Yale and St. Mary the Virgin,
Lillooet. The mission centre at Yale
received an energetic boost in
October, 1884 with the arrival of
three Sisters from the Community of
all Hallows, Ditchingham, Norfolk,
England, who came to set up a
school (All Hallows) at Yale. Only
women such as these with strong religious convictions and unlimited
courage could have survived the rigors of early missionary life in B.C.
In February 1909, Richard Small
celebrated his 60th birthday and 25
years of unstinted devotion to missionary service. Sadly, his role on
earth was cut short by a dreadful
fire that swept through the Indian
Reservation at Lytton. Small, oblivious of personal safety, dashed
through the smoke and flames to retrieve the life savings of an old
Indian woman who was lamenting
her loss. He paid dearly for his selfless act. The cold winds fanned
him, hot and tired as he was, bringing on a severe attack of pneumonia
and pleurisy. He was moved to
Vancouver where, despite the tender
care of Sister Francis and her staff,
he fell peacefully asleep one night
and was granted "a portion of His
Tributes were many but one from
an unknown writer said it best,
"New Westminster and the Cariboo
has lost its saint and the Indian
people their real father."
In his memory, a stained glass
window depicting him astride his
faithful mount, Jupiter, was installed in Lytton's St. Mary and St.
Paul's Indian Church. This beautiful stained-glass window still serves
not only as a tribute of love to one
man, Richard Small, but also as a
reminder of all the other brave and
dedicated men and women who answered the challenge to propagate
their faith in an untamed land.
Researched by Canon C.EJI. Williams and
written by Pixie McGeachie of Burnaby.
Memorial Window at St. Mary's and
St. Paul '8 Indian Church, Lytton, B.C
Nearly 100 history-minded people descended on Grand Forks to attend the
1990 B.C. Historical Federation
Conference hosted by the Boundary
Historical Society from May 10-13. Warm
hospitality, enlightening talks, interesting
tours and delicious food combined to make
the event a memorable one.
Attendees arriving on May 10 were able
to register and then enjoy a wine and
cheese social evening renewing acquaintances and finding out from where other
people hailed. Everyone received a kit full
of helpful local information,
At 8:30 the next morning, wake-up cups
of coffee and muffins awaited at the Yale
Hotel to help attendees start a day full of
events.   Alice Glanville opened the day's
sessions. President of the Boundary
Historical Society, Rose Gobeil and Mayor
Sugimoto of Grand Forks greeted the assembly and exhorted everyone to have an
enjoyable time. The group then split up,
some going to the Fire Hall to hear Anne
Yandle give a talk on historical research,
and the others remaining at the hotel to
learn about the Cascade Powerhouse from
Eric Coleman and the history of local sawmills from Leo Mills.
Eric, who worked for the West Kootenay
Power Company for 20 years, stressed the
importance of protecting the Cascade
Powerhouse as a heritage site. The
Cascade Power Restoration Society has
been formed and a study is underway to
establish the feasibility of restoring the
powerhouse and setting it up as a working
museum. The talk was followed by a slide
Leo, who has spent all but 20 months of
his 82 years in the Grand Forks area, presented a glimpse into the history of the
wood industry in the Boundary district.
The first sawmill in the valley was built in
1900 after the railway came in. The principal wood logged in the early days was pon-
derosa pine. Leo recalled when he delivered slab wood for $1.50 a load and
sawdust at $2.50 a load right into the customers' sheds. He earned 35 cents an
hour working nine-hour days and 54 hours
a week - with no unemployment benefits
during layoffs.
After a coffee break, the assembly was
RC. Historical News
30 treated to a presentation by Eli Popoff who
drew from his outstanding knowledge of
Doukhobor history. He went back to the
coming of Christianity to Russia in 988
A.D., explaining the origin and concept of
the Doukhobor Christian faith, the persecution of the sect in Russia for refusing
military service and the emigration of the
first 7,500 Doukhobors to Canada in 1899.
He explained the difference between the
radical Sons of Freedom and the Orthodox
Doukhobors who believe in non-violence
and peaceful co-existance that strives for
common good.
After lunch, two buses filled with eager
sightseers set out on a tour of historic
sites. First stop was "Frog Pond" where
several old houses stand as reminders of
the former red light district. Then it was on
to the meeting hall of the Union of Spiritual
Communities of Christ, or Orthodox
Doukhobors. Both spiritual and social occasions are celebrated in this hall. Several
ladies in the large kitchen were baking pies
for a wedding that was to take place the
next day. The aroma from the baking set
collective mouths watering.
The next stop was the small flour mill run
by'the Grand Forks Milling Cooperative
Association which supplied enthusiastic
guides on tours through the site, The mill
produces white, whole wheat and rye
flours-all without additives, - which are sold
under the name "Pride of the Valley" in surrounding communities.
Next stopping place was the Fructova
Doukhobor Heritage Centre which was, until 1949, Fructova School, built in 1929.
Now a historic site, this building is recognized by the Conservation Branch of the
B.C. Heritage Trust as one of the finest living examples of Doukhobor architecture in
B.C. Currently, the Doukhobor Historical
Society of B.C. is planning a broad program of development for the site. The
group toured the building, which contains a
library and craft display, and then were
treated to tea, tasty homemade tarts and
an informative slide presentation.
Leaving the Heritage Centre, the buses
wound their way to the old Granby Smelter
site with its towering black mounds of
smelter waste that is finally being put to
good use in the making of abrasives and
insulating products.
The evening found everyone gathered at
the Granby House restaurant for a typical
Doukhobor vegetarian meal that will be
long remembered with pleasure. John
Verigin, leader of the Doukhobor community, gave a welcoming address and the
Doukhobor choir brought the evening to a
close with splendid acappella renditions of
old Doukhobor hymns which are passed
down through the generations without the
aid of any written music.
Saturday started out with more coffee
and muffins at the Yale Hotel before the
commencement of the annual meeting.
Presided over by John Spittle, BCHF president, the agenda moved along in good order. The treasurer reported an excess of
revenue over expenses of $1994.23 as of
March 31,1990.
It was announced that the BCHF now has
24 member societies, five affiliates and
fourteen associates. Sixteen historical
groups from Atlin to Victoria gave oral reports of their activities both past and
planned for the future. It was heartwarming to hear about the various ways in which
enthusiastic volunteers are preserving and
promoting the history of their communities.
Naomi Miller, editor of the British
Columbia Historical News, reported
that subscriptions now total 1150. The
cost of printing and mailing (in Canada)
four issues per year now amounts to
$6.92. Nancy Peter, subscription secretary, requested that the money for subscriptions be sent directly to her and the
dues for membership in the BCHF sent directly to the BCHF treasurer, in order to
simplify bookkeeping. The membership
dues structure was tabled for study by the
BCHF council.
Two minutes of silence was called for in
tribute to the late Barbara Stannard, a past
president of the BCHF who "believed actively in the presentation of our history".
All those nominated by the nominating
committee to fill BCHF offices for 1990-91
were elected by acclamation:
John Spittle - President
Myrtle Haslam -1 st Vice President
Alice Glanville - 2nd Vice President
Members at Large - Mary Rawson and
Daphne Paterson
Recording Secretary - Shirley Cuthbertson
Corresponding Secretary - Don Sale
Treasurer - Francis Sleigh
Invitations from the Cowichan Historical
Society to host the 1991 BCHF annual
meeting in Duncan and from the Burnaby
Historical Society to host the 1992 annual
meeting in Burnaby were accepted,
Lunch, hosted by the Boundary
Historical Society, was followed by two
speakers who gave well-researched talks:
Jim Glanville on the agricultural development and George Stewart on the mining exploration and production in the Boundary
area. After that, a walking tour of The
Grand Forks Museum, Court House and
City Hall provided both exercise and further insight into the community's history.
In the evening, the Awards Dinner gave
everyone further opportunity to meet fellow
historians, exchange ideas and enjoy another hearty meal. There was a noticeable
feeling of comradeship in the air. The dinner was followed by the announcement and
presentation of writing awards, by Naomi
The Lieutenant-Governor's Medal was
awarded to Professor John Hayman of the
University of Victoria for his book Robert
Brown and the Vancouver Island
Exploring Expedition. Jack Green
was chosen as the author of the best article in the B.C. Historical News in 1989.
Triple Certificates of Merit were awarded
for Widow Smith of Spences Bridge which
was judged the Best History for Juniors,
Recipients of the certificates were: Audrey
Ward and Meryl Campbell, who put together their grandmother's memoirs, and
Murphy Shewchuk who, recognizing a
good story, edited and published the book,
Milton Parent of Nakusp received a
Certificate of Merit for Best Anthology,
Faces of the Past, published by the
Arrow Lakes Historical Society.
Special awards went to R.C. Harris for
his extensive research and plotting of historic trails and maps, and to Winston
Shilvock for compiling the contents of the
"Okanagan Special".
The winner of the 1989 BCHF scholarship
of $500 was David McCrady of Penticton.
The evening ended on a high note with a
spirited talk by Bill Barlee who recounted
many anecdotes about his endeavors to
preserve the history of old B.C. ghost
towns and mining sites and his quest for
artifacts. John Spittle thanked Bill Barlee
for his much-enjoyed talk and presented
him with a copy of the first map to be printed of the gold fields on the Fraser River,
People left the convention not only with a
greater knowledge of the Boundary area
and the Doukhobor culture but also with a
strong sense of having shared a common
interest with those who value and strive for
the preservation of history. The 1990 convention was an occasion to remember.
President Rose Gobeil, Sue Thompson,
Alice and Jim Glanville, Pat Gasston, Ada
Clapper and other members of the
Boundary Historical Society are to be
thanked and congratulated for all the
thought, endeavor and hospitality that
went into an event enjoyed by all who attended.
by Pixie McGeachie
RC. Historical News NEWS & NOTES
Terry Halleran of Kaslo is seeking
old movies of Kootenay sternwheelers, and pictures of orchards
and settlements these ships served.
If you have any material that will
help him prepare footage for the film
being made through the Westland
series which airs on B.C.'s
Knowledge Network, please contact:
Terry Halleran,
Box 684, Kaslo, B.C. VOG 1M0 or
Phone (604) 366-4310
An older member of the B.C.
Historical Federation recently asked
about some friends she had met at
many Annual Conferences in the
past. We were able to help her reestablish contact with these friends.
If any of our readers wish to find former colleagues we will help as long
as the lost friend is a subscriber to
the B.C. Historical News. Contact
the Editor or Subscription Secretary
to request an address.
Tom Parkin sends thanks to readers
who contributed to his dictionary
WestCoast Words. Now he is preparing a revised, expanded collection. He is seeking more words, and
requesting help from those willing to
complete a questionnaire on a short
list of B.C. words. If you are in a position to help please write to:
Tom Parkin, Box 629, Nanaimo,
B.C. V9R5L9or
Phone (604) 756-7944 and leave
a message.
The Medal winning book (1988)
Stoney Creek Woman by Bridget
Moran is now on the recommended
reading list for Grade 9 English in
B.C. schools.
RC. Historical News
The R.B. McLean Lumber Mill has
been declared a National Heritage
site. The Building is being restored
and members are currently taking
inventory of all records pertaining to
this Mill.
Daphne Paterson has been
working closely with several
heritage/museum societies to obtain
a professional archivist to serve the
city and volunteer organizations in
Each November the society has a
Princess Royal day ceremony to
commemorate the arrival of the
earliest citizens.
Victoria no longer lists itself as
"BCHF-Victoria Branch." They have
chartered themselves as a separate
entity. This group has also
separated from the Victoria Heritage
Cemetery Society (formerly a
committee within the Branch.) Note
the new title and new mailing
address inside the front cover of the
Historical News.
The Burnaby Historical Society has
chalked up another year of
accomplishment in its mandate to
preserve and present the history of
Under the direction of Mary Forsyth,
special projects coordinator, 10 large
frames of photos were collected and
professionally mounted with
identification. This is a travelling
display which has already hung for
public viewing in two credit unions and
at several community events. Mary,
with the help of several other BHS
members, also organized the research
and production of biographies of the four
Burnaby citizens who were presented
with gold keeper key pins in honour of
their service to the Municipality.
Altogether, six people were presented
with these pins before 1965 when the
Municipal Act was changed to allow
Burnaby to honour citizens and others by
conferring on them the title of Freeman:
Queen Elizebeth, Princess Margaret,
Charles Boyer Brown, George A. Grant,
Richard Bolton and George Green.
While photos of all Burnaby's Freemen
hang in the Municipal Hall, the
recipients of the gold keeper key pins
were not represented. The biographies
were presented to the Mayor and Council
by the BHS with the request that the
photos of the key pin recipients be
installed in conjunction with those of the
Freemen. Council agreed to install the
additional photos.
In December, an exciting presentation
was made to the Burnaby Historical
Society by long-time members, Dr.
Blythe and Mrs. Violet Eagles who
donated $10,000, in honour of BHS past
President Evelyn Salisbury, to be set up
in perpetuity as a scholarship of
approximately $500 to be awarded each
year to a fourth-year under-graduate
student enrolled in a major or an
honours program that specializes in the
history of British Columbia.
Evelyn Salisbury was recognized
further for her contribution to preserving
Burnaby's history when she was named
Burnaby's Citizen of the Year for 1989
and was presented with the Kushiro Cup.
(Kushiro is Burnaby's Japanese sister
Submitted by:
Pixie McGeachie
Burnaby Historical Society
Tombstones can tell a story.
Graves and graveyards are historic
sites.        The    B.C.    Historical
Association/Federation has always
encouraged    locals   to   become
acquainted with pioneer cemeteries.
We ask those who have researched,
investigated or cleaned up an old
cemetery to drop us a few lines
telling us of their project.
Please send your comments to:
The Editor, B.C. H. News
Box 105 Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0 Tribute to Dr. and Mrs. Blythe Eagles
by Evelyn Salisbury
Blythe Alfred Eagles was born in New
Westminster in 1902 and grew up there.
As early as 1885 his parents settled in
B.C., his father Jack Eagles arriving
from England via Manitoba and meeting
and marrying his mother Amelia
Johnston who came from Ontario. The
Johnston family gave their name to
Johnston Road, Surrey, now 152nd
Street. Both families were actively engaged in agricultural or horticultural
Young Blythe and his peers were
known as children of the Fraser. They
caught oolichans and watched the
streamers and sternwheelers. He remembers reaching their Boundary Bay
summer camp by steamer or by horse and
In 1918 as World War I was drawing to
a close, Eagles enrolled in a double
Honours program in Biology and
Chemistry at UBC, studing agriculture
as a minor. He graduated in 1922, winning the Governor General's Gold Medal
as top student.
In June 1914, 150 acres of the Point
Grey site had been cleared, but World
War I was declared and the only bids accepted for the construction of the Science
building were for the concrete and steel
frame. In July 1915 authority was given
for the construction of temporary univer-
sity buildings on the grounds of
Vancouver General Hospital. Between
1916 and 1922, 1176 students received
university education in the 'temporary'
Fairview shacks, in tents, attics and
church basements.
Eagles was active with fellow students
in gathering signatures to induce the
provincial government to build the university campus at Point Grey. With
56,000 signatures the students began the
Great Trek from the Georgia Street
Viaduct to Point Grey - the 'Promised
Land". Trekkers climbed the skeleton of
girders of the Science building and movie
cameras captured speeches, songs, and
the erection of the cairn, a milestone and
symbol of the effort to obtain a university of which all could be proud. At the
Legislature in Victoria, it required six
pages to carry a pile of the petitions of
50,000 signatures before the Speaker's
chair. Premier John Oliver's government voted $1,500,000 for immediate
construction of university buildings at
Point Grey.
Eagles could not take part in the actual Great Trek of 1922 due to a fellowship
to pursue graduate studies at the
University of Toronto. However, since
1950, a Great Trekker award has been
given in honour of outstanding persons
in the life of the University and in 1966
Dean Blythe Eagles was honoured with a
Great Trekker award.
Eagles obtained his M.A. in 1924 and
Ph.D. in 1926 after which he became a
Research Fellow at Yale University
(1926-1928) with time spent at the U.S.
Dept. of Agriculture in Washington, D.C.
He then did post-doctoral study at the
National Institute for Medical Research
in London, England.
In 1929 Blythe Eagles returned to
UBC in a program of teaching and research. Shortage of funds, with a 40%
reduction to UBC's operating grant
caused a lay-off of 40 faculty members,
Eagles being among them. He found employment as an industrial chemist with
the Powell River Pulp and Paper Co. until March 1933. Following the death of
Professor W. Sadler in 1933, Eagles assumed heavy teaching responsibilities
and became Head of the Dept. of
Dairying (1936-1955), Chairman of the
Division of Animal Science (1955-1967)
and Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture
in 1949, until his retirement in 1967. In
1968 he received an Honourary Doctor of
Science award from UBC.
Eagles served on the UBC Senate from
1947-1967 and was President of the B.C.
Academy of Science 1946-1947. He is a
fellow of the Agricultural Institute of
Canada, Royal Society of Canada and the
Chemical Institute of Canada. Eagles
made a valuable contribution in preserving the history of UBC by serving on the
Alumni Association's Heritage
Dr. Eagles tells of enrolling in a
Physiology class during his latter student days. In the class there were seven
men and one woman, Violet Dunbar.
Violet and Blythe became campus sweethearts and married in 1930. By then
Violet had her B.A. from UBC in 1921,
her M.A. from UBC in 1922 and her Ph.
D. from University of Toronto in 1929.
Her graduate studies at University of
Toronto entailed research in pure proteins and enzymes and she was recognized as one of the leading enzyme
chemists in the country. At UBC in 1929
she participated in research funded by
the Powell River Co.
Violet Evelyn Dunbar was born
September 29,   1899  in  Stratford,
Ontario, Downing Country. Her early
education was in Mitchell, Ontario before the family moved to Vancouver in
1912. She is a graduate of the 1916 class
from King Edward High School.
The Eagles built their home (their
Eagle's Nest) in 1930 in Burnaby on seven acres of terraced land that included
the shoreline of Deer Lake. Dr. Eagles
used his Model T Ford to commute to
UBC and he recalls that there were no
stop lights between his Burnaby home
and UBC.
The Eagles entertained a great deal
with teas, dinners and garden parties,
their home being a second home for UBC
students. Mrs. Eagles was President of
the Faculty women's Club UBC 1944 and
1946, Member of the University
Women's Club, Member of the
International Council of Women,
President of the Burnaby Council of
Women, Member of the Burnaby
Historical Society, and Member of the
Valley View Health Club.
The acquisition of Dr. Blythe Eagles
papers for the UBC archinves is a valuable addition in that the collection contains information about the history of
the Faculty of Agriculture, the
University and his distinguished career.
Dr. and Mrs. Eagles have been active
supporters of the Burnaby Historical
Society since its founding in 1957 and
are Life Members. It is their belief that
by preserving the best of our history and
heritage we maintain and strengthen our
inheritance, thus serving ourselves, our
municipality and our province. They are
also firm believers in helping students to
help themselves in enriching their lives.
It is significant that the BHS
Scholarship award is in recognition of academic excellence. It is worth noting as
well that the scholarship award is in perpetuity and in the event that the
Burnaby Historical Society disbands,
then the principal and the interest accumulated at the time of dissolution shall
be transferred to the Director, Financial
Aid and Awards, Simon Fraser
University, Burnaby, B.C.
1. Dr. and Mrs. Blythe Eagles
2. Christopher L. Hives - UBC Archivist
3. Jonathan Mercer from Tlie Great Trek book.
RC. Historical News Book Shelf
Books for review and book reviews should be sent directly to the book review editor;
Anne Yandle, 3450 West 20th Ave., Vancouver, B.C. V6S 1E4
A White Man's Province; British
Columbia's Politicians and Chinese
and Japanese Immigrants,
Patricia Roy. Vancouver, B.C.,
University of British Columbia
Press, 1989.   Pp. 327.   $37.95
The first Chinese arrived in British
Columbia in 1858, soon after gold
was discovered in the Fraser River.
Nineteen years later, in 1877, came
the Japanese. Thus the history of
Asian immigration in British
Columbia began. The aim of the author of this book is to examine the
reasons why white British
Columbians wanted to make a
"white man's province" and how
they achieved their ends. The book
covers the period from 1858 to 1914.
Chapters 1,3,4,5,7 and 9 deal with
specific periods. Chapter 2 discusses the paradox of laws and regulations legislated to ensure that
Asians lived up to "white standards". It was by means of such
legislation that Asians were kept to
a separate and inferior environment.
The infamous Vancouver Riot of
1907 and its repercussions are described in Chapter 7.
The Asian immigrants were tolerated at first when employment opportunities were plentiful, but hostility developed when there was a
recession in the economy. The antipathy often appeared as a conflict
between capital and labour.
Throughout this period capitalists
needed cheap labour for the development of British Columbia, while
white workers objected to the presence of Asian immigrants on the basis of their low living standards,
willingness to accept cheap wages
and increased job competition. The
history of the Canadian Pacific
Railway, the Vancouver Island coal
mines and the Fraser River fisheries
provides many examples of the division between capital and labour.
No politician disputed the necessity of controlling the numbers of
Asian immigrants entering Canada
B.C. Historical News
or restricting their activities while
they were in the country. However,
a major source of federal and provincial conflict developed over the question of who had the ultimate authority over Asian immigration. For
example, an "Act to Regulate
Immigration into British Columbia"
was the first in a series of similar
statutes the British Columbia legislature would pass and the Federal
Government would disallow over the
next decade. Sometimes British
Columbia legislators anticipated
that an act would be disallowed, yet
they would legislate it just to attract
Ottawa's attention. In 1884, three
anti-Chinese acts were passed by
the province, but they were disallowed by Ottawa, creating a seesaw battle between the Provincial
and Federal Governments. The
strategy employed by the province
was to play the political game of
"fighting Ottawa".
All Asian immigrants were subjected to injustice, such as disenfran-
chisement and restriction of employment. Yet the Chinese and
Japanese were treated quite differently. A fifty dollar head tax was
first introduced in 1885. Eventually
it was raised to five hundred dollars
in 1904 in order to deter Chinese immigrants. The restriction of
Japanese immigrants was dependent upon a gentlemen's agreement
between Canada and Japan, whereby the Japanese government limited
emigration. The different treatment
of these two groups of immigrants
reflected the different attitudes towards them. Japanese immigrants
were looked upon as a "different
class", since Japan was considered
a military power and an ally of the
British Empire. Japan also took a
paternalistic interest towards its nationals. The Canadian Government,
on the other hand, showed little respect for China and its nationals.
How compensation was carried out
after the Vancouver Riot in 1907 reveals different attitudes toward the
two groups and, as a consequence,
different treatments. Soon after the
Vancouver Riot in order to ensure
continuing good relations with
Japan, the Canadian Federal
Government acted immediately to
compensate loss of Japanese property. Compensation for Chinese losses
was not even considered until the
British Government, who were trying to strengthen their position in
China, pressed Ottawa to act.
Asian immigration was always a
political game. Much attention is
paid in this book to the players who
were capitalists, labourers, and politicians. However, personal accounts
of the suffering of Asian immigrants
are generally overlooked.
Nevertheless, sieving through massive resources of information,
gleaned from newspapers, pre-1914
British Columbia magazines, government records and private manuscripts, Roy presents a coherent picture of how economic, racial and
political factors interplay. Roy concludes that "the campaign for a
'white man's province', though blatantly racist in appearance, was, in
fact, a catch phrase that covered a
wide variety of concerns, and transcended particular economic interests", (p 267)
Patricia Roy has produced a book
of scholarship with copious footnotes. Anyone seriously interested
in the early history of Chinese and
Japanese immigrants in British
Columbia, should read this book.
Yim Tse is a librarian at the Asian
Library, University of British
Atlas of the British Empire:
The Rise and FaU of the Greatest
Empire the World has ever Known.
Ed. Dr. Christopher Bayly.
New York, Facts On File, Inc.
39 maps, 200 photographs and
80 sidebars. $40. As a cartographer, I feel compelled
to review this book in a positive
light. Time after time, I have found
myself in projects that are underfunded or faced by deadlines that
force the work to be terribly incomplete. The book I have been asked
to review here is incomplete.
The first major problem is whether
the title of this book is appropriate.
Do we in fact have an atlas here? I
would suggest we do not. An atlas
is a book of maps. The atlas here
has 39 maps in a book of some 256
pages. Personally, I can conceive of
an atlas with this few maps but
such an atlas would require the text
to be tightly tied to the maps.
(Open the book to any page and
choose a topic discussed and attempt to locate it on the map.) As I
am writing this review, I have
opened the book to page 115 to find
written, "In 1827, Captain James
Sterling returned from an anti-
piracy voyage in the Timor Sea via
the western coast of Australia". The
next thing I do is flip to the relevant
map. The map has no body of water
labelled on it anywhere. It also has
no scale, north arrow or latitude or
longitude lines or any other means
of orientation. O.K. lets flip to the
index for some help. The index is totally inadequate; in this instance
there is no listing for the Timor Sea.
Is the failure to show any water
bodies really a problem? In my opinion, it is very serious, as the British
Empire was the empire of a seafaring people. If you are landlocked
and carry out your culture without
the sea then you do not need to
know about oceans, but if you are an
island you need to know where you
are and generations of British navigators did gather enough information to round out these maps.
The Canadian maps are flawed.
On page 34, the Continental Divide
does not conform to the hydrology,
showing the Finlay River to join the
Kechika River in northern British
Columbia, thus making its waters
appear to flow north by an inappropriate route. Williston Lake is
shown even though it is a recent
man-made feature. On page 76, the
map shows the main settlement on
the British Columbia mainland, New
Westminster, to be some 50 kilometres up the coast, not on the Fraser
There are a great many other concerns that I have noticed and have
refrained from writing about. The
point is, that although I am not extremely well acquainted with the
facts presented in this volume, yet I
have found enough general errors to
make me concerned about the whole
book. I would not recommend this
book to anyone seeking ac general
reference to the British Empire, or
an atlas. It might be a useful book
for a person with an extensive
knowledge of the facts about the
Empire, but for most of us it will not
be useful. I recommend saving your
money until a better book of general
data turns up on the British
Angus Weiler
Angus Weiler, a member of the
Vancouver Historical Society, is the
cartographer for the Society's Atlas
of Vancouver Project.
The Field Naturalist: John Macoun,
The Geological Survey, and Natural
WA. Waiser.   Toronto, University of
Toronto Press, 1989.   Pp. 253.
Illustrated.   $30.00
This interesting biography is essentially an account of the extraordinary way in which John Macoun's
life became entwined with the development of Canada., Natural history
had fascinated him during his boyhood in Ireland and it became a consuming passion when he emigrated
to Ontario in 1850 and found a
whole new world awaiting exploration. To collect, describe and catalogue its flora became his life-work.
He turned from farming to school
teaching because it gave him more
time for collecting, and in 1868 his
appointment to the new chair of natural history in Albert College, at
Belleville, gave him still greater opportunity for field work. By that
time Macoun had become known internationally.   He was not a trained
botanist, and although he was a
tireless collector and describer of
plants, he was aware of his inability
to identify many of them accurately.
He had therefore taken to sending
specimens to authorities in Great
Britain and the United States for
identification, and they in turn had
recognized his skill and usefulness
as a collector. As early as 1863
they had named the first of several
dozen new species that would honour him.
Meanwhile events were on the
march in Canada. Confederation in
1867 had been followed in 1870 by
the aquisition of Rupert's Land,
which included the vast prairie region between Lake Superior and the
Rockies. In 1871 British Columbia
joined the youthful Dominion, one
condition being the building of a railway to the Pacific Coast. Over both
the prairies and the railway project
hung the heavy shadow of the adverse views expressed in the report
of the Palliser expedition, which had
surveyed what became the
Canadian West for the British
Government in 1857-60. Palliser
considered the geographical obstacles made an all-British route for a
transcontenental railway impracticable, and he pictured the prairie region as consisting of a huge semi-
arid triangle, unpromising for settlement, topped by a narrow woodland
strip that had been dubbed the
Fertile Belt.
But Sir John Macdonald, the
Dominion's first Prime Minister, refused to be discouraged. He was determined to build a railway by an
all-Canadian route, and engaged
Sandford Fleming, as engineer-in-
chief, to find it. And the Geological
Survey was instructed to take a look
at the prairies and see if they were
as forbidding as Palliser had suggested.
By sheer accident Macoun became
involved in the railway surveys and
he was soon appraising the prairies
as well. In 1872, bound for Thunder
Bay on a collecting expedition, he
overslept, missed his train, decided
to sail from Collingwood instead of
from Sarnia, as intended, and found
that Sandford Fleming was a fellow
RC. Historical News passenger on shipboard. Fleming
was setting out to take a personal
look at the projected route for the
railway that would run through the
Fertile Belt and continue on to the
Yellowhead Pass. Prompted by
Macoun's enthusiasm he invited him
to come along.
From Edmonton Fleming continued on westward, but he sent
Macoun north on a sidetrip to visit
the Peace River country. Macoun believed that the natural vegetation of
a region provided an infallible indication of its climate and agricultural
capabilities, and, based on his collections, he returned from the West
convinced that it was a land of immense promise. The report he wrote
at Fleming's request caught the attention of Dr. Selwyn, Director of the
Geological Survey, with the result
that Macoun paid a second visit to
the West in 1875, this time in
Selwyn's company. Once again he
branched off on his own to descend
the Peace River valley and returned
in triumph with 20,000 specimens,
including sheaves of wheat and barley from a mission farm near Fort
Chipewyan that had created a sensation in Winnipeg and would win a
silver medal at the 1876 Centennial
Exhibition in Philadelphia. He told
a Parliamentary Committee that
the Peace River country was "the
garden of the Dominion."
Alexander Mackenzie, Macdonald's
cautious Liberal successor, distrusted Macoun's enthusiasm and his
contention that millions of acres
awaited settlement. But when the
Conservatives returned to power in
1878 they recognized the value of
the support his reports and opinions
could give to their efforts to settle
the West and find a syndicate that
would build a railway. Sir Charles
Tupper, Canada's first Minister of
Railways, realized that knowledge
of the southern prairies - Palliser's
triangle - was still scanty, and in
1879 and again in 1880 he sent
Macoun westward to investigate.
Macoun confesses in his autobiography that Tupper cautioned him "in
plain words, not to draw upon my
imagination", but he returned more
enthusiastic than ever.
RC. Historical News
Exaggerated or not, as Waiser remarks, Macoun's findings "perfectly
suited the needs of the Canadian
government." He had rendered a
signal propaganda service and had
effectively demolished the arid triangle theory.
This biography supplements and
at times corrects the autobiography
that Mecoun wrote in his old age.
One moot point has long been his account of a visit to St. Paul in the
spring of 1881, supposedly at the
invitation of James J. Hill, to meet
members of the board of the recently
incorporated Canadian Pacific
Railway. Macoun states that the
decision to abandon the route
through the Fertile Belt and to move
the line to its present location much
further south, was made at this
meeting, and (by implication) in part
on his evidence. Waiser rejects the
story, and in a convincing separate
study in Prairie Forum goes so far
as to suggest that "there is reason
to doubt whether this crucial gathering actually took place."
Throughout the 1870's Macoun's
employment had been precarious
and usually temporary, but late in
1881 he was at last given the full-
time (but not at first permanent) position of Dominion Botanist. Waiser
describes the painfully slow rise in
his status and that of official botanical activity over the next thirty
years, which culminate in the organization of a Natural History Division
adequately housed in the Victoria
Memorial Museum building, completed in 1910. It is a story replete
with both internal and partisan politics, for the administrative history of
the Geological Survey is at some
points turbulent.
Over the years Macoun continued
his collecting activities. Darwin's
Origin of Species had been published
in 1869, the year the Hudson's Bay
Company surrendered Rupert's
Land, but its implications passed
Macoun by, as they did most
Canadian scientists in early years;
he could never admit that we live in
an evolving world and face up to its
implications. His ambition continued to be simply to collect, describe
and catalogue, and he was reward-
ed over the years by the publication
in parts of his Catalogue of
Canadian Plants, which was followed by the first edition of a
Catalogue of Canadian Birds. He
retired to the West Coast in 1912, ,
and lived onto his 90th year in
This well-made book, printed on
acid-free paper and carefully proofread, is a credit to its publisher. Dr.
Waiser tells us that the text originated in a doctoral dissertation, but
the transition has been most successful. The only evidence of its origin is 35 pages of notes. This reader would have welcomed the
convenience of a bibliography as
W Kaye Lamb
Vancouver, B.C.
Dr. Lamb is the former Honorary
President of the B.C. Historical
B.C. Sugar; One Hundred Years,
Vancouver, B.C. Sugar, 1990.
Pp. 24. No price.
A handsome, well illustrated capsule history of B.C. Sugar,
Vancouver's first industry not based
on forestry or fishing.
Dr. Luke A. Port; Builder of
Deepwood. An Urban Report from
England to Salem, Oregon and San
Diego, CaUfornia, Salem, Marion
County Historical Society and the
Friends of Deepwood. 1989. Pp. 94
(260 - 12th St. S.E., Salem, Oregon
97301.   $9.50 U.S.
An excellent history of a historic
house in Salem, Oregon, and its
builder, Dr. Luke A. Port. Dr. Port,
trader, soldier, doctor, speculator,
builder and resident of Salem, first
came to Vancouver, B.C. in 1886,
shortly after the fire; over a period of
years, he acquired "large interests"
in the city.
Honorary Patron:
Honorary President:
1st Vice President
2nd Vice President
Recording Secretary
Past President
His Honour, the Honourable David C. Lam, CM, LL.D., Lieutenant-Governor
of British Columbia
Mrs. Clare McAllister
John D. Spittle, 1241 Mount Crown Road, North Vancouver, B.C. V7R 1R9
Myrtle Haslam, P.O. Box 10, Cowichan Bay, B.C. VOR 1N0
Alice Glanville, P.O. Box 746, Grand Forks, B.C. VOH 1H0
T. Don Sale, 262 Juniper Street, Nanaimo, B.C. V9S 1X4
Shirley Cuthbertson, 306 - 225 Belleville Street, Victoria, B.C. V8V 4T9
387-2486 (business), 382-0288 (residence)
Francis Sleigh, Box 29, Deroche, B.C. VOM 1G0
Mary Rawson, 1406 Woodland Drive, Vancouver, B.C. V5L 3S6
Daphne Paterson, 2650 Randle Road, Nanaimo, B.C. V9S 3X2
Naomi Miller, Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0
Committee Officers
B.C. Historical News
Publishing Committee
Book Review Editor
Subscription Secretary
Heritage Cemeteries
Historic Trails & Markers
Publications Assistance
(not Involved with
B.C. Historical News)
Scholarship Committee
Writing Competition
(Lieutenant - Governor's
Margaret Stoneberg, RO. Box 687, Princeton, B.C. VOX 1W0      295-3362
Anne Yandle, 3450 West 20th Avenue, Vancouver, B.C. V6S 1E4
228-4879 (business) 733-6484 (residence)
Naomi Miller, Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0    422-3594
Nancy Peter, 5928 Baffin Place, Burnaby, B.C. V5H 3S8      437-6115
John D. Adams, 628 Battery Street, Victoria, B.C. V8V 1E5    342-2895
John D. Spittle, 1241 Mount Crown Road, North Vancouver, B.C. V7R 1R9    988-4565
Helen Akrigg, 8-2575 Tolmie Street, Vancouver, B.C. V6R 4M1     228-8606 or 955-2963
Contact Helen Akrigg for advice and details to apply for a loan
toward the cost of publishing.
Evelyn Salisbury, 5406 Manor Street, Burnaby, B.C. V5G 1B7     298-5777
Pamela Mar, P.O. Box 933, Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 5N2
758-2828 The British Columbia Historical News
PO. Box 35326 Stn. E.
Vancouver, B.C.
V6M 4G5
Second Class Mail
Registration No. 4447
«, n «;       *v*^«
» ** • J 1 It«   - *'
ffefen Brown, Burnaby; Lloyd Forsyth, Burnaby; Margaret
Stoneberg, Princton.
John Spittle, N. Vancouver; Helen Akrigg, Vancouver; Peter
Miller, Wasa.
Choir from the Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ ■
singing for guests at theB.CJHJR Conference.
Alderman Sue Thomson teUs a bit of Grand Forks history
to a group on a walking tour downtown.


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