British Columbia History

British Columbia Historical News 1993

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Volume 26, No. 2
Spring 1993
ISSN 0045-2963
Brittrii GoiflHblA
Journal of tne B.C. Historical Federation
wedding of an
Telephone Operator.
Surveying B.C. Since 1793 MEMBER SOCIETIES
Member Societies and their secretaries are responsible for seeing that the correct address for their society is
up-to-date. Please send any change to both the Treasurer and Editor at the addresses inside the back cover.
The Annual Return as at October 31st should include telephone numbers for contact.
Members' dues for the year 1990 - 91 were paid by the following Societies:
Alberni District Historical Society - Box 284, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M7
Arrow Lakes Historical Society - Box 584, Nakusp, B.C. VOB 1 RO
Atlin Historical Society - Box 111, Atlin, B.C. VOW 1A0
Burnaby Historical Society - 6501 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby, B.C. V5G 3T6
Chemainus Valley Historical Society - Box 172, Chemainus, B.C. VOR 1K0
Cowichan Historical Society - P.O. Box 1014, Duncan, B.C. V9L 3Y2
District 69 Historical Society - Box 3014, Parksville, B.C. VOR 2S0
East Kootenay Historical Association - P.O. Box 74, Cranbrook, B.C. V1C 4H6
Gulf Islands Branch -BCHF- c/0 Wilma J. Cross, RR#1, Pender Island, B.C. VON 2M0
Koksilah School Historical Society - 5203 Trans Canada Highway, Koksilah, B.C. VOR 2C0
Kootenay Lake Historical Society - Box 537, Kaslo, B.C. VOG 1M0
Kootenay Museum & Historical Society - 402 Anderson Street, Nelson, B.C. V1L 3Y3
Lantzville Historical Society - c/o Box 274, Lantzville, B.C. VOR 2H0
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Nanaimo Historical Society - P.O. Box 933, Station A, Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 5N2
North Shore Historical Society - c/o 333 Chesterfield Ave., North Vancouver, B.C. V7M 3G9
North Shuswap Historical Society - Box 22, Celista, B.C. VOE 1L0
Princeton & District Pioneer Museum & Archives - Box 687, Princeton, B.C. VOX 1W0
Qualicum Beach Historical & Museum Society - 444 Qualicum Road, Qualicum Beach, B.C. V9K 1B2
Salt Spring Island Historical Society - Box 1264, Ganges, B.C. VOS 1E0
Sidney & North Saanich Historical Society - P.O. Box 2404, Sidney, B.C. V8L 3Y3
Silvery Slocan Historical Society - Box 301, New Denver, B.C. VOG 1 SO
Surrey Historical Society - 8811 - 152nd Street, Surrey, B.C. V3R 4E5
Trail Historical Society - P.O. Box 405, Trail, B.C. V1R 4L7
Vancouver Historical Society - P.O. Box 3071, Vancouver, B.C. V6B 3X6
Victoria Historical Society - Box 5123 Stn. B., Victoria, B.C. V8R 6N4
Fort Steele Heritage Park - Fort Steele, B.C. VOB 1 NO
The Hallmark Society - 207 Government Street, Victoria, B.C. V8V 2K8
Nanaimo Centennial Museum Society -100 Cameron Road, Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 2X1
Publications Mail Registration Number 4447
Published winter, spring, summer and fall by the British Columbia Historical Federation, P.O. Box 5254,
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- Micromedia also publishes the Canadian Magazine Index and the Canadian Business Index.
Indexed in the Canadian Periodical Index. BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORICAL NEWS
Volume 26, No. 2      Journal of the B.C. Historical Federation       Spring -1993
Last Call for Conference
Kamloops beckons! History buffs
everywhere are invited to enjoy the tours,
guest speakers, meals, and camaraderie
April 29-May 1, 1993. Some of the topics
on tap are "The Notorious McLeans,"
"Early Medicine in Kamloops," "Hat
Creek Ranch", and slides on "Wallachin",
plus a visit to the Secwepemc Museum.
Registration ($80.) includes 2 lunches and
2 dinners.
DEADLINE: April 19. Obtain a
registration form today from your local
historical society secretary, or phone Mrs.
E. Murdoch at 372-3827.
We are fast approaching the centennial
ofthe Women's Institute, (1897 - 1997).
Surely some of our readers have memories
. of special activities undertaken by the local W.L? Send in your memory, or your
mother's story to the editor. Even if you
only write a paragraph or two, we can
stitch them together to make a quilt of
stories about this Made-in-Canada
Gems from the Archives
Do you have a favorite newspaper clipping, postcard from long ago, poster or
picture that you would like to share?
Please send it, or a clear photocopy of it,
to N. Miller, Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB
Naomi Miller
Laura Gilbert of Nanaimo posed for this pic-
cure on her wedding day in 1887. Read the
story of this wedding dress, and the life of this
bride and her family as told by Pamela Mar on
page 5 & 6. B.C. Tel acknowledges her as one
of the earliest telephone operators in the
Photo Courtesy Nanaimo Museum & Archives.
Show Us Where Mackenzie Walked
by John Woodworth
A Long Distance Line To The Past
by Pamela Mar
The Island Weavers
by Shirley Cuthbertson
Vancouver's Jim Garden
by H. Barry Cotton
No Salmon, No Furs: The Provisioning of
Fort Kamloops, 1841 - 1849
by Jeffrey W.Locke
U.B.C.'s Deans of Women
by Dotty Sinclair Kennedy
Conrad Kain: Mountain Man Par Excellence
by Mary Andrews
Captain Evans Represented the Miners
by Lloyd Bailey
The Baileys of Colonial British Columbia
by Lloyd Bailey
Rollin Art Centre of Port Alberni
by Catherine (Lord) Kean
Vancouver and Its Region
Review by Mary Rawson
Otter Skins, Boston Ships and China Goods
Review; by John Fraijer Henry
Ragged Islands: A Journey by Canoe Through
the Inside Passage
Review by Kelsey McLeod
The Dunsmuir Saga
Review; by Bill McKee
Brother Twelve
Review by Peggy Imredy
Sunny Sandy Savary: A History 1792-1992
Review Phyllis Reeve
The Run of the River
Review by Kelsey McLeod
Manuscripts and correspondence for the editor are to be sent to P.O. Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0
Correspondence regarding subscriptions is to be directed to the subscription secretary (see inside back cover)
Printed in Canada by Kootenay Kwik Print
Cranbrook, B.C.
B.C. Historical News • Spring 1993 "Show Us Where Mackenzie Walked"
by John Woodworth
The author examines an axed square survey
post found on the 1909 Cluscus trail (now
part ofthe AMHT.)
1993 is the bicentennial ofthe first recorded crossing of continental North
America. For Canadians to-day it .signifies A MARI USQUE AD MARE on
our Coat of Arms, "from sea to sea".
For an older generation's schooling,
there was "Alex Mackenzie, From Canada, by land, 22nd July, 1793", in 1926
chipped into a dominating rock in Dean
Channel 50 km through fjords from
Bella Coola — much memorized from
the textbooks.
Mackenzie's CANADA was Lower
Canada, now the Province of Quebec.
He recorded in his 1801 journals ' the
Northwest Company's Route of the
Voyageurs from the St. Lawrence River
to Fort Chipewyan and Athabaska country, plus his unsuccessful search for a
Pacific trade outlet in 1789 (the first
"wrong-way Corrigan" paddled downstream to the Beaufort Sea), and finally
his 1792-93 zig-zag canoe and backpack
expedition to the Pacific.
There he missed Captain George Vancouver's coastal survey crews by several
weeks. But between the two explorers,
both gentle but determined men, Canada's "sea to sea" motto was assured.
Mackenzie's breach of the Rockies
brought the fur trade into New Caledonia, which along with the Cariboo gold
rush gave us a British Columbia. Although each assumed Britain would
claim the coastline from the Gulf of
Alaska to south ofthe Columbia mouth,
B.C. got only half a border on the
Mackenzie's crew of French Canadian
voyageurs, native Indian guides and his
aide, Alexander Mackay, after wintering
near the present Alberta town of Peace
River, paddled, portaged, and risked
their lives via the Peace, Parsnip and
McGregor Rivers to an eventual stalemate at or near Fort Alexandria on the
steep-walled Fraser north of Williams
Lake. Taking local (Shuswap) advice
they then struggled back north to a river Mackenzie named the West Road,
known to-day as the Blackwater, just
north of Quesnel. Here they donned
85 lb. packs and in 14 days, guided
over the native "grease trail" and also a
surprising alpine diversion, reached the
Bella Coola Valley and further canoe
Our story centres on this overland
trek, a 350 km foot-trail that to-day is a
designated linear heritage site under the
B.C. Heritage Act. Officially it's the
Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail
(often abbreviated to AMHT). En
route signage sub-titles also say "Nux-
alk-Carrier Route" which recognizes its
Southern Carrier origins on the Necha-
ko/Chilcotin plateaus, and its coastal
Nuxalk (Bella Coola) connection.
But if you live out there, it's the
Grease TraU. While there are dozens
of Coast-to-interior "grease trails",
from Alaska to California, where rendered oil from the little eulichan fish
was the high-priced trade item, there's a
loyalty from Bella Coola to the Fraser
that the AMHT is not just Mackenzie's
trail. "It's the Grease Trail!" So be it.
From 1975 until 1982, a small core of
Cariboo and Bella Coola citizens plied
the political path to get Canada and
B.C. to agree that this prehistoric route
should be recognized and preserved.
Names like Rene (Kopas) Morton,
daughter of Bella Cook's famous writer
and promoter, Cliff Kopas, stand out.
And Andy Motherwell, former Quesnel
school principal, realtor, and regional
district rep. And geographer Kent
Sedgwick, Prince George planner and
currently President of the 300 member
Alexander Mackenzie Trail Association
When these volunteers first asked for
support from the forest industry, an aggressive woods boss - or maybe an old
hand B.C. Forest Service manager -
said bluntly, "So, show us where
Mackenzie walked."
A good question. Moccasins don't
leave 200-year-old tracks. Or do they?
A forties Canadian from Banff, naturalized Swedish park warden and
photographer, Halle Flygare, with his
travel agent wife Linda, took up the
land search between 1975 and 1982 in
a series of summer contracts with Parks
In the late 20th century, one starts
with a look-see from the air, backed by
government 1:50,000 maps, plus
Mackenzie's journal r—s and useful
1875 reports from ' . Geological Survey of Canada's " ^. Dawson2 and Sir
Sanford Flem' 6s 3 CP.R. reconnaissance ofthe same period.
But the "nub" rests with the journals.
"Walk west", Mackenzie's guides said,
"along a river to a lake whose water is
nauseous." When you climb west by
air from the mouth ofthe Blackwater,
the torturous Blackwater canyons are
soon succeeded by a shallow wooded
valley laced with lakes and a river, coming in from due west with Tweedsmuir
Park's Rainbow Mountains on the
In broad terms, this rimrock-lined river valley separates the lava layers of the
Nechako Plateau to the north and the
Chilcotin to the south. Where else but
the river valley would you look for a
prehistoric path? Sure enough, it's
there. And not just the obvious 1900s
wagon and 4x4 rutted trails. In some
places, as Flygare was to learn, were
moccasin trails that connected 4000-
B.C. Historical News • Spring 1993 year-old * prehistoric habitation sites.
But the obvious direct valley route to
the coast mountains was initially not
enough evidence to establish B.C.'s first
designated linear heritage site. Not in a
territory that was beginning to see hundreds of logging trucks rumble out daily
to mills at Vanderhoof, Prince George
and Quesnel.
"Show us where Mackenzie walked!"
Fortunately Mackenzie's journals give
us linkups in a chain of unarguable
landmarks. He wrote that the 1793 trail
to the Pacific starts upstream a few miles
from the Blackwater's mouth. His Naz-
koten guides slipped him by their village
at the south end of Punchaw Lake on
the old Blackwater Road, but Simon
Fraser archaeological students in a 1973
site excavation recorded the old footpath
there at the logical north-south, east-
west trail intersection.
Glacial kettles that Mackenzie called
"basons" are at the foot of Titetown
lake, for example (km 82.5 Trail
Guide5). Chine Falls, where the Black-
water drops out of Kluskoil Lake (km
99), fits too well the walking time from
the Fraser up onto the plateau where the
river has slowed into a long chain of
lakes. So does Sandyman Crossing (km
137) where hikers to-day still wade or
swim the Blackwater to get to the old
(and now new) Kluskus village site that
entranced Mackenzie.
And it's hard to argue that the coastal-
type trading house at Gatcho Lake (km
247), so vividly pictured by Mackenzie,
then in 1875 photographed by G.L.
Dawson and in the 1970s excavated by
archaeologist Paul F. Donahue4, is not a
believable landmark. Nor is the fishing
encampment -site in the Tanya Lakes
Rainbow Mountains (km 289) which
was recendy reestablished by the Algatcho Band.
But the irrational climb Mackenzie's
local guides showed him through a 6000
foot snow-choked pass and down the
cliff-face to the Bella Coola River and
Friendly Village, we'll come back to.
First, "Show us where Mackenzie
Most credit for the field proof that
eventually produced a measured and
marked historic route, goes to Halle and
Linda. But their friend Peter Alexis, a
descendent of original residents (km
204)  not  only shared  campfire with
"Flagged" marker on the old trail
them but tempted them with many
glimpses of abandoned foot trails and
river fords.
Were these bush-covered segments the
aboriginal trail? Useful 1875 maps
from both Dawson and Fleming, plus a
1909 survey sheet of the Cluskus Trail
from the Fraser to Kluskus village, narrowed the field. While wagon trails still
in use identified (and also obliterated)
most of the foot trail, there were some
gaps where the horses and wagons took
the easier and often swampier way, and
the native trail, as described by Mackenzie, went direcdy west over hills and low
It was in these undisturbed sections
our modern explorers exploited their
working clues. First, they knew approximately where the foot trails separated
from the wagon roads or the key link
points. For example, at the west end of
trout-filled Eliguk Lake, trader Paul
Krestinuk's winter road to the abandoned village at Gatcho Lake slithered
over swamp and underbrush to bypass a
low mountain, whereas Mackenzie
hiked up a trail over the top - where,
incidentally he describes the view of the
Anahim Lake/Dean River valley to the
south, and further on the snowcapped
Rainbows they were to thread through
in the west. The original foot trail simply had to be buried somewhere
Halle's bush sense helped him here.
First, as an aid to distinguish prehistoric
footpath from meandering game trails,
he says, "Could you walk it in your
stocking feet?" That is, moccasins or
Vibram soles? The latter ruled out a lot
of aimless side trails.
Then, just as the big question mark"?"
on a modern highway leads to a tourist
information centre, similar "?" trademarks (see sketches) from early
surveyors' "flags" led him to search out
telltale linear footpath depressions. You
can imagine the elation when a footpath
siting occurred between several of these
"hooked" marker trees in a row. Or
when the trail on the forest floor
stopped at a big tree and emerged again
on the other side!
What really convinced forestry officials
however was Halle's handy core drill.
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1993 He's a trained forester as well as park
warden and professional outdoors photographer. Core drill annular rings,
drawn from above a thumb-shaped stub
where a marker tree branched sideways,
again and again gave an origin of 1875 -
the year when Dawson and the CP.R.
looked to the grease trail for a Canada
sea to sea rail route.
This writer's father led him many
times on bush searches, and I can see
him to-day regularly slicing off the top
of a sapling as we moved into new territory, to leave a row of white slashes like
bandaged thumbs to guide us homeward. (Readers please note, including
my friend Halle, these are heritage trees
to-day and not to be mounted like antlers over your fireplace.)
Among other clues that lead a trail
walker to-day to expect to run into
Mackenzie in the deep woods, or the
group Mackenzie met "... every man,
woman and child carried a proportionate burden consisting of beaver coating
and parchment, as well as skins of the
otter, the bear, the lynx, and dressed
moose skins ..." are the "kickwillie"
holes: over-grown pockmarks, from 25
foot diameter family size for permanent
residences, down to smaller for temporary sites and food storage pits. When
you spend time on the trail, your primal
human senses guide you to them. Permanent sites where fishy streams leave
lake systems, food pits at salmon river
mouths, lookout sites where to-day's
woods-wise person would tent for bug-
free breezes, or to watch for game or
Then there are the black glass-like obsidian chips, not only at obvious
campsites but under foot on the moccasin trail. Follow our familiar
archaeologist Victoria's Ian Wilson,
head down, on a wet day and he shows
you one after another tiny worked chips
that reflect up through the needles. For
unknown millennia, quarries in the
Rainbow Mountains have yielded these
jewels for arrow heads, knives and scrapers, that through scientific tests produce
a map pattern that covers both the sea-
coast and the Interior for hundreds of
miles around. Please, "Leave 'em be."
They're protected by law.
So for several summers of rain, flood,
frost, gales, bugs and occasional
drought, Halle and Linda used their
clues and their woods sense to find the
missing links between the known linkage points. In some heavy timber sites,
often regrowth over forest fires, where
the trail simply had to be, they were reduced to flagging large acreages into
rectangles for conventional "square
searches" literally nose to the ground.
A great sensation on a needle-cover forest floor to find perhaps first the
hooked tree and then the logical ongoing scoop-shovel-width section of
continuing trail depression!
Little by little, between the Fraser
River and Tanya Lakes in Tweedsmuir
Park, a legitimate-looking AMHT
came together - much of it existing
wagon or horse trail, but with enough
wilderness walking to challenge 15 to
20-day long-distance trekkers. For day-
trippers, several easy walks exist close to
public roads.
But an enigma exists in Mackenzie's
"grease trail" travels. At Tanya Lakes
his native travelling companions pointed south to a "vee" in the Rainbow
Mountains horizon. Through that vee
they said were the seacoast natives
Mackenzie wished to visit.
As for themselves, they had other
plans. For Takia River, the Tanya Lake
stream where they caught spawning salmon led steeply downhill about 25 km
to Salmon House Falls on the world famous Dean River. Why not.. .Ho Ho
Ho . . .bump this enquiring Whiteman
50 km in the opposite direction to be
someone else's guest?
Whatever their intent, Mackenzie
hiked south through a narrow alpine
valley to a 6000 ft. snow-drifted pass,
from which he could see to the south
"...a stupendous mountain . . . between it and our immediate course
flowed the river to which we were going." This was to-day's landmark
Tremendous Mtn. at the foot of which
are the Bella Coola Valley sites Mackenzie called Friendly Village and Great
Village (the latter recently subject to rewarding archaeological excavations by
Simon Fraser University).
While there is a 60-70 km ancient
abandoned trail, known as the Algatcho
Summer Trail between Tanya Lakes
and the Bella Coola River further
downstream, it's not the way Mackenzie went. Too many clues, both going
down and coming back up, have him
walking straight to the lip of the 4500 ft
plateau below the pass and then scrambling down the cliff face into Burnt
Creek and out to the valley bottom.
To-day's descendants ofthe original Native families who greeted him have no
doubts that he came and went via Burnt
Bridge. So, by a kind of "judgement
call", to-day's Alexander Mackenzie
Heritage Trail comes down off the alpine on an established switchback pack
trail through the west arm of Burnt
Bridge Creek.
The 450 km AMHT full trip is described in detail and with accompanying
photos, 1:50,000 maps, sketches, ianec-
dotes, and Mackenzie quotations in "In
the Steps of Alexander Mackenzie" by
Woodworth and Flygare. ($20.00
mailed from AMTA, Box 425 Stn A,
Kelowna, B.C. V1Y 7P1.) Some hikers, such as a Sidney Girl Guides group
who wrote us, broke the challenge into
three good August excursions.
At present, several day-trip brochures
describe a variety of walks at each end of
the AMHT. Off the Quesnel-Prince
George west-side Blackwater Road along
the Fraser are both the Lower Blackwater Bridge outings and a range of
Titetown Lake walks. The latter includes shallow fords on the Euchiniko
River and the glacial kettles Mackenzie
called "basons". There's also a favourite
hour-long loop trail at the western trail
end, up Burnt Bridge Creek from Highway 20. Brochures are stocked by B.C.
Forest Service and B.C. Parks, at Williams Lake and Bella Coola.
John Woodworth was founding president of the
Alexander Mackenzie Trail Association and is
now their volunteer executive secretary and produces its quarterly Newsletter. He is a retired
architect who makes his home in Kelowna.
Mackenzie, A. (1801) Voyages from Montreal on
the River St. Lawrence Through the Continent of
North America to the Frozen and Pacific Oceani
in the Yean 1789 and 1793 (various editions),
M.G. Hurtig, Edmonton, Alberta, 1971.
Diary of George Dawson, Geological Survey of
Canada, Ottawa ca 1876.
Fleming, Sir Sanford, Report on Surveys and Preliminary Operations of the Canadian Pacific
Raflway, ca 1875.
Donahue, Paul F.   Ulkatcho : An Archaeological
Outline - look for pollen studies at Tezli Site.
Woodworm 6c Flygare, In the Steps of Aloander
Map - See page 36.
B.C. Historical News • Spring 1993 A Long Distance Line To The Past
For some time the British Columbia
Telephone Company has exhorted us to
"reach out and touch someone". An opportunity to do so in a very practical way
came in May 1991 when Nanaimo's past
and present telephone operators held a
reunion to celebrate the company's
100th anniversary.
In the costume and textile collection at
the Nanaimo Centennial Museum is a
wedding dress worn by Laura Gilbert.
She became the wife of George Cavalsky
in 1887. George had a store on Victoria
Crescent, which housed Nanaimo's first
telephone switchboard. Laura Cavalsky
was the first operator, and likely the first
female to hold such a post in the
The idea of displaying her dress to recent operators was appealing - it would
form both an historic link with the past
and honour their reunion.
The dress is very small - Laura was petite even for her day - and mounting it
was a challenge as none of our models
was suitable. But we improvised and
achieved the necessary effect. A check of
accessories revealed that we had not only
her dress, but also her kid leather shoes
and gloves. Together with our wedding
"finds" a good display ensued, and those
who were able to visit the Museum were
happy to see this link with the past. Af-
by Pamela Mar
ter a month or so, everything was returned to storage. But Laura has come
back several times to jog my memory.
Earlier this year a relative brought in a
photo of Laura in her wedding finery.
For our records this was invaluable as
we could see just how the dress had
looked, and what was missing in the
way of trims. In the summer, another
descendant visited and was delighted to
see "grandmother's" wedding dress
once again.
The family promised further information for our archives. However, this
article was invited, and so I went in
search of "Laura" once more.
On the occasion of their Golden
Wedding, November 1937, the 'Nanaimo Free Press' published a short
biography of the couple. Laura was
born in Penzance, Cornwall, in 1864.
She came to Nanaimo in 1874 with
other family members to join their father, who was working in the mines.
George Cavalsky was born in Denmark
and came to Victoria in 1880. He
sailed in coastal shipping for some years
and settled in Nanaimo in 1886 to
open a grocery store. Presumably he
lost little time in courting Laura as they
were married the next year on November 9th.
In its history, B.C. Tel notes that in
Fernville, the Cavalsky family home on Esplanade in Nanaimo. Mrs. Cavalsky made gardening her
hobby, and the cultivation of many types of cactus a specialty.
Photo from the Heritage Homes Collection at Nanaimo Centennial Museum.
Laura Gilbert/Cavalsky in her wedding dress.
Photo courtesy of the
Nanaimo Centennial Museum & Archives.
1878 or a little earlier, WUliam Wall
was the first person in the province to
make telephones and install a line.
This was for Dunsmuir's Wellington
mines, and other telephones followed as
the Dunsmuir interests grew.
Although a telephone company was
not set up officially in Nanaimo until
1890, lines were placed in August 1887
and a switchboard installed in George
Cavalsky's store, with less than a dozen
subscribers. Newly-weds George and
Laura acted as operators. After a year
or so, the exchange was moved to a
more central location, and by 1890 the
system had about 37 subscribers.
Laura's wedding photo shows a pensive and very young-looking woman.
She was given away by John Pawson, a
former Mayor of Nanaimo, her father
having died in 1876 and his brother,
her Uncle William, in the big 1887
mine explosion. The family had begun
the Temperance Hotel on Bastion
Street soon after their arrival, and Mrs.
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1993 Gilbert re-opened it following her husband's death. Weekly board was $6 or
could be had by the day. That they
must have prospered is indicated by the
reports of a sumptuous wedding breakfast and the fact that Laura's wedding
dress was a rather "impractical" white.
A coloured dress which could later be
worn for best was often the 19th century
bride's choice.
Laura and George were a prominent
part of pioneer Nanaimo, being active in
various lodges and societies. George
played a major part in public life. He
joined the Fire Department in 1888, becoming its secretary in 1895, a post held
for over 40 years. He was elected an Alderman for 17 different terms between
1908 and 1935.
Their home on the Esplanade near
No. 1. Mine was a social gathering
place. At the entrance the name of the
house, "Fernville", lettered on large blue
tiles is still on the concrete path.
George was said to have named other
homes in Nanaimo in this manner, but
they have mostly vanished.
They raised three daughters, and a
son, J. King Cavalsky. B.C. Tel proudly
notes that the son followed the example
set by his parents and served with the
Company for 38 years until his retirement in 1961. Two daughters married.
The third, Bertha, remained in Nanaimo, living at Haslam Hall. This was the
building that started Nanaimo's move
towards heritage preservation.
Laura died in January 1940, and
George in July of the same year. A photo taken at the time of their Golden
Wedding shows this tiny lady with curly
hair and a smile. George sported a
moustache as in the earliest photos we
have of him. Many people in Nanaimo
still remember the Cavalskys with warm
NCveiiber 1.2 th 1387
Nanaimo Free Press.
The writer is a volunteer at die Nanaimo Centennial Museum and Archives. She dedicates
much time to working with the textile collection,
Princess Royal Day, and other projects.
Information for this article has been culled from material in
the Nanaimo Community Archives and the Nanaimo Historical Society Archives. In particular Nanaimo Free Press,
November 1887, November 1937, January 1940 and
March 1991: B.C Telephone pubUcations Telephone
Tapestry* and "Spirit of Vision*; sections in 'Nanaimo Retrospective" and "History of Nanaimo Pioneers*. Mrs.
Peggy NichoUs also drew on her personal archives for early
Mnrrlagre of Mr. Geo. Cavalsky
and Miss Laura Gilbert t!
On Wednesday morning tbeciiizena
of Nanaimo were alLin a flutter to
witness tbe ceremony that would
unite Mr. George Cavaliky and Miss
Laura Gilbert in wedlock. Shortly before 10 o'clock the spacious Methodist
Church was filled with an expectant
congregation, tbe fair sex largely predominating. In a few minutes the
groom, accompanied by Mr. William
Lewin, to support him through the
trying ordeal, entered the Church and
took their seats near the pulpit. Shortly after 10 o'clock the handsome and
youthful bride, leaning upon the arm
of Mr. John Pawson, ex-Mayor of this
City, entered the church and walked
up to the altar, when the Rev. Joseph
Hall, Pastor of the Methodist Church,
read the ceremony that made George
Cavalsky and LauraJGilbert man and
wife. At the conclusion of this ceremony the groom saluted his bride
with a kiss and this was followed by
the bridesmaids and numerous friends.
As the bridal party returned down the
aiaU to the carriages, the church bells
rang out a merrie raerrie peal.
The bridesmaids were' Miss Maggie
Jones, Miss E. Williams,. Miss Laura
Green and Miss Lillie Freethy.'
The bridal party and several invited
guests proceeded to the residence of
Mrs. J. K. Gilbert (mother of the bride)
on Bastion Street,1 where a sumptuous
wedding breakfast was in waiting, to
which most ample justice was done.
The newly married couple left by the
afternoon train for Victoria, on a wedding tour to'Puget Sound.. As the
train moved off showers', of rice were
thrown over the yondg couple as' an
emblem of good luck and happiness.' '
The young bride haB lived in this
city for a number of years and was- a1
general favorite, while the bridegroom
is a most popular "gentleman. Tbe
newly married couple were tbe recipients of hearty and numerous wishes
for a united life, of unalloyed happiness and prosperity,' and' with : this
general felicitation the Fuse Press, is
heartily', in accord. ; On their return'
Mr. and Mrs.' Geor'ge. Cavalsky 'will
take up their residence' bn • Victoria'
Crescent. ,   ;'  '     ; "";''_'• ';,.      ; -;;
In the evening asocial pftrty trjblr
place at the resideiice'of Mrs. Gilbert1,'
and a pleasant evening was passed.1 At'
Victoria, Capt. Rudlin gave the newly
married couple an evening party which
was also numerously attended. '-->>' '
;     THE DRESSES. X   "
The bride'wore. a: wu'i^'itjdn'drfisi'
trimmed with .creorp;. jc^qred : Flinch
lace and pearl beads, orange blossom
wreath and embroidered^ tulleveit,..' ,
i Miss Maggie; Jones,, ,(br]desmaid')
Wore a pink satin dress trinonjed with
cream colored French lace and pearl
beads.   . ■.   . jX .",'.'
Miss E. Williams (bridesmaid) wore
a ruby plush dress trimmed with crpani
colored French lace aruj pearl beads.
Miss Laura. Green (niece: of the
bride) and Miss Lillie Freethy (cousin
of the bride) (bridesmaids) were dressed alike and wore creapj  lace: dresses
and ruby flowers.    '
»■>   t^t?——•• -
.<:.'THE PRESENTS., ii .,    ._,;,...;.
Following is the list of the1 presents
received (omitting -a' unique present
received by the groom in the shape of
a minature baby doll) ' by tine ■ newly
married couple, The parties making
them have • exercised -excellent judgment, for they are of a practical chae-
acter and just the thing tcjsturl housekeeping with:—	
Mr. J. Rertram—Two-largo oil' paint-
inb'8- ■    : ..   ..:,-   .-.   i .-■•■ -    ■
Mr, Wm. Lewis (groomsman)—AnAl-
bum. '*■'.'
Mrs. J. W. Glaliolm—'A pttir 'of' vase's.'
Mr. J. Pawson, J. P.—A cooking stove.
A Friend—An extension tabic
' Wis. T. W.Glaholm—A butter A\At
Miss Williams (bridesiaaid)^-A silver
cake basket. ..,      ;;,,..;    .
Air. Jas. Williams—A cruet stand...  .,
Mrs. John Hilbert—A'cruet stand.
Mrs. Sarah Johns—A Plush Tabic
Scarf.. ' X»      ■
Miss Luney—A cake holder.     " '•''
Miss Bertram—A tea set. ■ ■ ■ '    -'■••■•
Mr. Cicero Westwood—A flower' stand.
Miss Jones (bridesmaid)—Catsup Jar
and Butter Knife.     •  >...t    •  .
Mrs. Jones—A bed spread. ,,■ .
Richardson & Horner—A bed spread.
MisB Parkin—A table cover.
Miss Barbara Prhnin—A decanter.   '
Mrs. J. E. Jenkins—A lamp and teapot.
Mrs. Monck—A pin cushion,
Miss Maggie Watkius—A mat;  ; • j   ' •
Miss Jennie Jones—A mat.
Mrs. W. Bone—A fruit basket.:;:: .
Mrs. G. Old—A handsome; pair of
vases. :..,..       i
Mr. Clias. Donahue—AWkiiig chair
aud towel rack-
Mr. Hehry Hague—A dftzen silver'tjja
spoons.'   •  :'-"'    "-«-•*
Mra. J. E. Gilbert (mbtKerof the bride)*
—Half-dossen cluiirs, a centre table and
bookcase.. ^ . ..;-..... ■    .!,:...■ i:
-•Mips Katie. Gilbert— Half-dozen. jeUy:
dishes. ..;   :,-. ..',.i;iK ,)i
° A friend—A pair of cornice pojes-;  ;;
Miss Bryant—A copy of Scotts' poem's!
Miss Mebius—A hind-painted handker'
chief case:         '■■   ■•" — ',   •'   •• ::
Miss Barker—Apin-cushion:'-■•«*-•'••■'-
Mr. George Mitehell—Asilver fifth sltee!'
Mrs.Garlaud-rA pickle jar. .: .i..»  >.i
Miss Garland—A card reocivor..   i. .. ,-
Mr. John Hilbert-7-A coal scuttle, scrubbing brush, blacking brush, black .lead
brush and a broom. .'' .,'   .'■.',
»» »*>■ «■'  r———J"
The J 887 News Item.
B.C. Historical News • Spring 1993 The Island Weavers
by Shirley Cuthbertson
If you lived in Victoria (or Vancouver)
from 1933 to 1974 you may remember
buying fabric or a suit at the "Island
Weavers". The Island Weavers was a
small company with its headquarters in
Victoria, that made quality tweeds and
tartans and shipped them as far away as
New York. Their story is representative
of a business that started as a small family business, flourished and then stopped
- for many reasons, some of them typical
of other small businesses in the history of
this province. It also represents the story
of many people who came to this country, contributed ideas, energy and
products to our way of life, and who take
themselves for granted, so that we don't
always recognize the contribution.    In
Joan Oldfield working the Loom. c. 1940.
some ways, it's a remarkable story, because it is a success story that started
during the early years of the Depression
and survived until the seventies.
For the Royal B.C. Museum's History
staff, the story began with a loom, collected in 1975. The catalogue card that
is supposed to tell us everything about
this object had this photo on it, and the
card said that the source was "not established". Between the time that it was
collected and the present, the museum's
large artifacts had been moved from
one warehouse to another. Everything
was moved and had to be inventoried
later, so the Museum hired summer
students to help. Although the museum
had the data in the files, no one had
Photo courtesy of Bonlta Jackson.
time just then to go through all the papers; if a tag came off during the move,
the original number was missing.
Without a number or a name, any
paper concerning an artifact is just one
of several hundred thousand pieces of
The loom no longer had all its parts,
as some had been moved separately. In
order to stabilize the frame, we needed
two crossbars replaced. One of our
staff, a conservator who looks after the
textile collection, gave me the name of
someone who fixes looms for members
of the Weavers' Guild - Emory Lalonde.
I called his home, and his wife said he
would probably be very pleased to help.
In fact, she said he was "a loom nut"!
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1993 Emory came, figured out what was
needed, he and some of our History
staff got the materials, and conservator
George Field worked with him to replace the essential pieces. While Emory
was working on the loom, he suggested I
talk to Chris Howland, who had worked
for a long time in Victoria as a professional weaver. I called Chris, who came
out to see the loom, and of course he
recognized it immediately. Chris had
been the one responsible for bringing
the loom to the Museum from the last
place it was used, at 1019 Langley
Street. Later I found a "specimen receipt" dated October 25th, 1975, with
Chris's signature as the donor, and since
he still lives at the same address, I would
have been able to track down the story
through this piece of paper. However,
as often happens with museums, it is the
community network of people with similar interests and good memories that
got us started on this story.
The loom was one of those brought to
Victoria by Chris's employers, Major
R.G.H. and Mrs. Enid Murray, after
they started the Island Weavers company in Victoria in 1933. Chris told us it
was a Galasheils loom, 54" width, made
by Thomas Kennedy in Scotland. Sidney Pickles, who had been a consultant
to GM on gear ratios, designed and
built the gears in Victoria.
I asked Chris if he would talk about
the loom while I videotaped, because
when you have a very large, complex object like this loom, the best document
you can make is one that connects the
spoken word with the object and its
parts. What we wanted for our records
was its origins, history of use, and something about how it worked, since none
of us are weavers. While we were doing
this, Chris said I should talk to Mrs.
Murray, who lived in Victoria, and who
could tell me much more about the Island Weavers. So I wrote to Mrs.
Murray and followed up with a phone
call and visit. She told the story in her
business-like way, not making too much
of her and her husband's
The Murrays chose Victoria to start a
weaving business when Major Murray
retired from the British Army in the early 30's. Major Murray had wanted to
come to Canada, and a naval officer
they met in India, who had been sta
tioned in Esquimalt, mentioned that
"Victoria has everything, except good
Enid Murray's father was a civil engineer in India (he laid the railroad into
Karachi), and her husband's father was
Surgeon-General there. She had come
through British Columbia when she had
been sent to school in England. Mrs.
Murray says that although the British in
India refer to England as "Home"', and
she had been born there, it had never
been "home" to her. Her father had
wanted to come to Canada earlier. He
had brought her back to India after a
visit to England when he found she was
studying Latin by candlelight because
she wanted to be a doctor - "No daughter of mine is going to work for a
For a retiring Major, the British Army
pension after 1929 was not enough for
both to live on, especially as the stock
market crash and depression altered circumstances. Mrs. Murray became a
weaver because it was suggested by her
husband - "Enid, you're going to be a
weaver!" She had had some experience
with textiles, having worked at a friend's
tweed shop in Kashmir, and had
watched the Kashmir weavers producing
exquisite work on primitive looms. In
fact, weaving done on hand looms was
superior to fabric produced on power
loom systems. (A power loom is any
loom that is run by machinery, a hand
loom such as the one in the Museum
collection is powered by the treadles
worked by the feet of the weaver.) The
Murrays decided that Canada, especially
western Canada, might be a good market for Scottish style weaving. They
came to Victoria from India in March
1932, and she left for England in April.
Major Murray used the Public Library
to research the business, and the Librarian had put him in touch with a Mr.
Cochrane, who said "You must go to
Galasheils Technical College".
Galasheils was the centre of the Scottish tweed trade, and the college, started
in 1909, is the Scottish Woolen Technical College, Selkirkshire. Mrs. Murray
went first to London and "went to all
the shops" - doing what we would call
today "marketing research". Then she
went to Galasheils and entered the
Technical College, which had been built
to train the sons of the mill owners. At
first she lived in a room over a grocery
store, and was able to visit her husband's
sister on weekends as her only break.
As she was there to learn a complex
craft as quickly as possible, she often
worked from eight in the morning until
midnight. There is more to weaving
than learning the physical movements.
One of her instructors told her to find
the reciprocal square root of an area in
order to determine the number of
threads to the inch. Fortunately, although she was not acquainted with
square root, mathematics was one of her
better subjects.
She must have done well, although it
was unusual to have a woman in the
College - she was only the second woman in 32 years to apply. The mill-
owners, who treated her well, invited
her to visit the mills, and one of the
large manufacturers, Fairgraves, took her
in. In fact, throughout her years in business, she retained close ties with a
number of the mill-owners, and returned at least once, often twice a year,
to purchase yarns. Arranged by Paton
& Baldwin's Canadian agent, yarn was
shipped via the Panama Canal. One of
the mill-owners, a Mr. College, showed
her the material "S - P", a hard-wearing
fabric, which was to become a staple of
her business. She returned to Victoria
in November 1932, with a Scots weaver
loom and 500 pounds of yarn. The Island Weavers is listed in the 1932-33
Directory. The name "Island Weavers"
was suggested by his mother, who lived
in Victoria for several years.
The first loom brought to Canada
(they had limited capital, as some money Mrs. Murray had inherited had been
invested and was lost in the "crash" of
1929), was set up in the attic of Ross-
mead, now the Olde English Inn in
Esquimalt. Rickards bought the house
three months after the Murrays rented
it. They then rented a room in the old
Esquimalt High School (818 Esquimalt
Road, near Dominion Street), for $13 a
month, and later bought the building.
Later in 1933, the Murrays brought
over two more looms, and two Scottish
boys as weavers. These were older
looms, which they got from Mr.
Major Murray did the accounting for
the firm. The Murrays had a "Head
Boy" running the factory in Esquimalt,
B.C. Historical News • Spring 1993
8 4 «A
Mrs. Enid A. Murray, 1935.
Photo courtesy of Chris Howland.
and by 1938 the business had prospered
so that ten looms were kept in production. The first head boy was Jimmy
Davidson, who later returned to Galasheils, as did Jimmy Birney, who had
come from a large working class family.
In 1939, he joined the Air Force, and
was given a commission as a Flight Lieutenant. Mrs. Murray took him to
Wilson's in Victoria to get him a uniform. Later he became manager of Mr.
College's firm in Galasheils.
Before the war, the Murrays employed
only boys, after the war started, only
girls. In addition to weavers, they employed two darners, who went over the
fabric, took out any knots and wove the
threads in. Cloth was measured by the
Scottish "porter" system (20 porters in
37"). In the early days, they sometimes
worked from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.,
not just on the looms, but doing all the
other work to get ready and finish the
The loom in the museum collection
was used to weave Harris tweed as well
as other  fabrics.  The  Island Weavers
wove the "S - P" fabric, and Kashmir
yarn as well. It took anywhere from
2 V2 to 3 or even 4 hours to set up a
loom for weaving. The actual weaving
time for the professional weaver averaged about IV2 yards an hour. The
cloth was removed from the loom,
checked, and menders removed any
knots or loose ends before it was "finished" - washed, stretched and pressed.
Some of this work was done in women's homes. This attention to detail is
what makes hand-woven material a
higher-quality product than machine
The first downtown retail outlet was
in the Belmont Building - they had a
corner window in the Period Arts Shop
opposite the Empress Hotel in 1933.
In 1936, they opened their own shop at
1013 Government, with a tailoring
shop in the room above. Mrs. Murray
had a retail oudet in Vancouver at 12th
and Granville in 1935, which she
moved to Georgia Street opposite Hudson's Bay, and which did well after the
war. When they needed to fill a Vancouver order, Mrs. Murray drove it to
the ferry and sent it express.
In 1935, realizing that the summer
tourist trade in Victoria was not sufficient and they needed the business over
the winter, she went to the U.S. immigration authorities and the people in
the Textile Tower in Seattle, and since
no one was weaving in Seattle at that
time, she was allowed to bring over two
Scots boys and set up two looms in the
Tower. She was partly financed by
mill-owners in Galasheils, and bought
yarn and fabric from them for the
American market.
In order to find markets in the United
States, she travelled to New York, stopping at Chicago en route with an
introduction to the man who was the
buyer for Marshall Fields. (They had
bought out Frederick & Nelson in Seattle, where Mrs. Murray dealt.) He
referred her to McCutcheons in New
With orders from both Marshall
Fields - the dress she was wearing
turned out to be "the Marshall Fields
colour" for that year, and from McCutcheons, she and the two "boys" worked
long hours from July 4, when they received the yarns (it usually took two
weeks for an order to come from Brit-
Chris Howland in an Island Weavers Suit.
Photo courtesy of Chris Howland.
ain) until September, when the orders
were due for the winter line of clothing
to be manufactured.. They had to make
their own warps and patterns, and Mrs.
Murray did the "darning" in the evenings. The looms they used there were
74" wide to meet American demand.
They were hard to operate: "too demanding, heavy", compared with the
54" width in Britain and Canada. During this period, 1935 to early 1940,
they (mostly Major Murray) spent a
good deal of time in Seattle and travelling, so they (mostly Major Murray)
lived at the Empress. He belonged to
the Union Club and had some of his
meals there. Their daughters attended
Queen Margaret's School at Duncan.
They kept on with the Seattle business, eventually with four looms (Mrs.
Murray trained two American boys),
until war made it too difficult to get the
yarns in time to fill the orders. They
sold once to Bullock-Wiltshire in California, but they were difficult to deal
with. During this time, they started
sending parcels from the U.S. (a neutral
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1993 country at the time) to Canadian prisoners of war. By the time they finished,
they were sending up to 230 parcels a
month to Canadian and Galasheils
POWs. At first they did it on their
own with a few friends, but later money
was contributed by all their customers
via a charitable organization in the
Mrs. Murray had been selling for two
firms in Scotland as well as her own, but
did not enjoy dealing with the New
York buyers, the cost of yarns went up
very quickly, (especially after the war).
When double knits came into fashion,
exports coming into the United States
were severely limited, and the devaluation of the French franc gained the
advantage for that country in shipping
goods into the States, the Murrays
closed the business in Seattle.
Because the Murrays had built in the
Brentwood Bay area near Woodward's
farm in 1946, Mrs. Murray was acquainted with the Woodward family,
who built two shopping centres in Vancouver. She was invited to move her
Vancouver shop to Park Royal when it
opened in 1950, and later to Oakridge
when it opened in 1959. Mrs. Murray
ran the Oakridge shop herself, and lived
in Vancouver. They employed eight tai-
loresses from a variety of national
backgrounds (Danish, German, Japanese and others), in the back of the
Oakridge shop. Oakridge was their
"best-paying" place, but in 1974, when
the lease went from around $300 a
month to $1,500, added to the fact that
taking on the shop as it was, they had
borrowed to fix it up, they decided to
sell the lease.
They ended up with eleven 54" looms
in Victoria before they closed. There
were a number of reasons for closing,
but probably the most important were
that the cost of yarn "sky-rocketed":
sometimes when she first started Mrs.
Murray was able to get odd bits of yarn
for as little as tenpence or a shilling a
pound, more often it was 2 shillings a
pound. By 1950, the minimum price
was 20 shillings a pound, rising to 35
and sixpence. By the early 70's, it was
anywhere from $3.50 to $6.00 a pound
and still rising. It became harder to get,
and other kinds of fabric (mostly synthetics) became more and more popular.
The Murrays' daughters had decided to
develop their talents in other ways than
to carry on with the weaving business,
so in 1974, Mrs. Murray closed the Island Weavers.
Some of their work was used in the
Canadian Embassy in Washington in
the 60's, and they were asked to exhibit
at the Rockefeller Institute in New
York. The quality of their work may
have been better known away from their
"home town" than here. Mrs. Murray's
husband Robin (Major R.G.H. Murray)
died in 1973 - as did Jimmy Davidson
and Jimmy Birney, her two early "head
The Island Weavers operated during
the best years for handweaving. From
the early 19th century, when the heavy
tweeds of Scotland began to be marketed elsewhere, until synthetics were
developed for outdoor wear, there was a
great demand for warm, tough fabric
with a wide range and mixture of colour. Handweaving in Scotland, which
was maintained for an elite market, has
lost ground in the competition with
synthetic fibres and large-scale production as recently as the 1980's. The
Toronto Globe & Mail (January 1,
1990, B3) reported that weaving production in the Hebrides has declined
from a high in 1984 of 5 million metres
to 2.1 miDion metres in 1989, when the
U.S. buyers bought less than 200,000
metres. The hand-weaving industry in
Scotland is still a mixture of old and
new - yarn is produced and finished in
mills, but handweaving is a cottage industry. In Scotland, this means that the
crofters, who get the yarn from the mills
and weave it in their homes, then return
it to the mills for finishing and distribution, face a bleak future. One of them
was quoted as wishing that it would be a
"terribly hard, cold winter in America so
all the Yanks buy some tweeds."
Elsewhere, as here, new technology,
cheaper material goods and increased international marketing have a powerful
impact on everyday life. As I said, the
story of the Island Weavers is representative of many manufacturing businesses
in British Columbia, they are a part of
world economic change.
The story of the Island Weavers loom
is also typical of many artifacts in the
Museum: the donor recognized it as a
piece of twentieth century history,
which is how most museum collections
continue to grow. What museums and
archives will have to tell about the 20th
century depends on what we decide to
keep. But museums have almost run
out of space, so our dilemma is to decide
now what can be kept for the future. It
may be that the best understanding of
the past will come from maintaining traditions in the "museums" we preserve in
our homes, like the other Island Weaver's loom, still in use in Chris
Howland's basement.
Shirley Cuthbertson is a senior staff member at
the Royal RC. Museum in Victoria. She served
as secretary ofthe B.C. Historical Federation for
several years.
Bdford, Margaret, "The Island Weavers,"
Colonist, AprU 13,1969, p.4.
Howland, Chris, (interviews) 1989 - 92.
Murray, £nid, (interview and correspondence)
January - February, 1990
Prokesch, Stephen, 'Declining Harris Tweed popularity
jeopardizes age • old industry*. Toronto Globe & Mai
(January 1,1990, B3)
CbnfcnhitnHom to the City of Victoria on Hi
100th Anntvemry, u we join bi by celebrating our own 30 yean In budmn.
Hand-Woven Fabrics
Created al Oar Owa Looms la Victoria
[f desired, these fabrics designed lor oar
euslflmers, Into distinctive
• Special Orders
taken for
Island Weavers Ltd.
Ad from the Times-Colonist, 1962.
B.C. Historical News • Spring 1993
10 Vancouver 9s Jim Garden
by H. Barry Cotton
Practicing surveyors are not often
found as members of Provincial Legislatures, but as R.E. Gosnell wrote in
1926: "I know of no-one in my time
who was so personally popular in Vancouver as Garden . . . not because he
tried to be, but because he was always
'Jim Garden', with a smiling face and
cheery greeting". So it seems only logical that his career would expand into
His story begins on February 19th
1847, in Woodstock, New Brunswick,
where he was one of seven sons and two
daughters born to H.M.G. and Jane
(Gale) Garden. The family were of
United Empire Loyalist descent. The
sons were James Ford, Charles, Herbert,
Edward, Arthur, Julius and Henry, the
first four of whom followed the engineering profession, and were identified
with the construction of the main line
and branches of the Canadian Pacific
Railway. The two daughters became
Mrs. Ballock and Mrs. L Bull.
James Ford was educated at Charlotte
County Grammar School, and as a
young man he first worked at an oil-
refinery in Portland, Maine. Later he
came west to Ontario, and spent some
time on railway operation and construction under Hugh Lumsden C.E. About
this time, the Dominion Government of
Canada started a systematic survey of
the North-West Territories, and Mr.
Garden decided to go in for surveying.
He served his apprenticeship with Mr.
Sing, at Meaford, Ontario, qualifying as
an Ontario Land Surveyor in 1877, and
a Dominion Land Surveyor in 1880,
commission #49.
He was at Flat Creek, Manitoba in
1882, the headquarters for Dominion
Land Surveyors for that year. This was
the year when the earliest meetings of
the Association of Dominion Land Surveyors took place, and J.F. Garden was
one of those who attended. The year
1883 was noteworthy in that Township
layout in the Territories reached an unprecedented   peak   of  activity.   Otto
James Ford Garden - Mayor of Vancouver 1889 - 1900. MLA 1900 -1909
Photo courtesy of B.C. Archives & Records Service - Cat. No. HP21641
Klotz's diary for that year mentions
sharing a sleeper on the newly-
constructed CP. Railway with Messrs.
Garden, Cotton and Hermon, and preliminary evenings spent in camp at
Moose Jaw, where each survey party in
turn hosted a social evening. Garden
was in Moose Jaw for that year, and in
1884 also. In the fall he would return
to Toronto, where he made his home.
However in 1885, Louis Riel returned
to Canada, and the problems that had
characterized the young days of the
Province of Manitoba came to a head,
with the second North-West Rebellion..
Government surveys on the prairies
were suspended, and many surveyors
joined the Dominion Land Surveyors'
Intelligence Corps, which was being
formed under Capt. John Stoughton
Dennis Jr. It was a mounted corps,
formed for the purpose of scouting, and
having a somewhat top-heavy establishment (there were 22 commissioned
officers out of a total force of 53). J.F.
Garden was commissioned as
At Batoche - reputedly while General
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1993 Middleton and his staff had retired to
have lunch - the Surveyors' corps exchanged scouting duties for more direct
action, and went on to capture the position. Their success, however, was not
achieved without loss. Killed in the engagement was Lieut. W.A Kippen; while
amongst other casualties Lieut. Garden
was wounded in the left arm. He was
then 38 years old.
In the spring of 1886, work started
again for the profession, and Mr. Garden
received instructions to proceed to British Columbia and make surveys in the
Railway Belt - that strip of land 20 miles
on either side of the centre-line of the
C.P.R., granted by the Province to the
Dominion of Canada as part ofthe terms
of Confederation (It was conveyed back
again much later, in 1930). Thomas
Fawcett, who had also been wounded at
Batoche, and A.F. Cotton were also in
the contingent. EB. Hermon, whom
Garden had first met in 1882, was engaged as his assistant.
Mr. Garden's destiny from that time
on was to be bound up with British Columbia. In the fall of that year, instead
of returning to Toronto, he and E.B.
Hermon opened an office in Vancouver,
as the firm of Garden & Hermon, comprising two-thirds of the City's land
surveyors (the other one was John Stra-
thearne). In 1887 the first train arrived.
Mr. Garden continued on Government
work through the seasons 1887 and
1888, when local work increased sufficiently to pass on his contracts to
Colonel J.R.O. Vicars D.L.S. of
Mr. Garden's last season with the Dominion Government on Railway Belt
surveys deserves mention, as it was the
subject of an article in the Daily News
Advertiser, Nov. 1, 1887, when he returned to Vancouver. The article is
informative, and is entitled: "Dominion
Land Surveys in B.C."
It describes Mr. Garden's party - 8
men plus himself- the agricultural and
grazing land which would be available -
the 200 miles of lines run, mostly at the
junction of the North and South
Thompson Rivers. It also describes the
Fourth System of Survey.
The most general system in use during
the survey of Dominion Lands had been
the Third System, in which road allowances of one chain in width extended
along each Section line running north
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1993
and south, and along every alternate
Section line running east and west.
However, in the rugged terrain of British Columbia, to lay out roads
according to astronomic rather than engineering principles was (not
surprisingly!) considered impractical.
So, while the astronomic layout of
Townships and Ranges was still projected throughout the Railway Belt, the
Fourth System of survey came into being, in which road allowances were not
surveyed as such, but included in the
Sections, which were made correspondingly larger.
Later that year, a light-hearted account of Mr. Garden's leaving the City
to spend Christmas with his brother
appeared in the same newspaper: -
Mr. Garden was a Lieutenant in the
Intelligence -or as tbe irreverent called it
the "Intelligent Corps", during the North
West Rebellion, and received a severe
wound in the arm at the capture of Batoche. He is a great favorite in the City,
and a large number of friends assembled
at the CP.R. Depot to see him off.
Their feelings were so overcome, and their
tears so copiously shed, that the engineer
found it impossible to start the train until
he "gave her sand1". In fact a quantity of
the new embankment has been washed
away by the excess of emotion. The only
thing that mitigated the sorrow of the
boys was the thought that Mr. Garden
would return in a couple of months or so,
and probably not alone.
In the fall of 1888, Mr. H.M. Bur-
well joined the firm, and for the next
ten years their work embraced all
branches of surveying and engineering;
including much of the original layout
ofthe City of Vancouver, and resurveys
which followed the fire of 1886. Mr.
Garden who in 1894 was elected a
member of the Canadian Society of
Civil Engineers, had personal charge of
the Pitt Meadows Dyking Project, and
the original design, estimates and construction of the Vancouver Street
Railway Company. Several surveyors
of note, who were to play their part later in B.C's expanding economy, were
associated with the firm in those early
days - nephew H.T. Garden B.C.L.S.,
and R.W. Cautley P.L.S. were both articled pupils, and J.H. Bushnell P.LS.
was for a time inspector of construction
on the Vancouver Street Railway Co.
The day to day running of the prac-
rice of Garden, Hermon and Burwell is
illuminating. The bills for hardware
(from the good old firm of McLennan
& McFeely) were between 20 and 30
times less than pertain today, while as
for wages that ratio would be closer to
2 dozen surveyors pins $1.50
2 boys' axes $2.00
1 pr. leggings (a necessary item
today, too) $2.50
Insertion of a professional
card in J.H. Brownlee's
"Mining Laws of B.C." $4.00
Assistant's wages - per day $ 1.00
During the survey of Cranbrook
Townsite, wages were $2.50 per day,
room and board of 75$ per day being
deducted. But in the majority of projects, accommodation would be in a
tent for weeks at a time, and the grub -
salt pork, beans, bannock - would have
to be free. When the crews hit town,
they had cause to celebrate.
An account of one such celebration
appeared in the Vancouver Daily World
on February 10, 1896, describing one of
the early meetings of the Provincial
Land Surveyors Association. Mr. Garden was President, and it is noteworthy
that both E.B. Hermon and H.M. Bur-
well were on the executive. In the
evening, a banquet was held at the Merchant's Exchange, and although the
tenor of the article was quite sedate, it
seems that the evening was a lively one.
Speeches were made, mostly extolling
the virtues of B.C. and its future; songs
were sung, interspersed with numerous
toasts - to the Province, to the Armed
Forces, to the Press and, of course, to
the Ladies (who obviously weren't
present); and AF. Cotton demonstrated
both a song and a dance. The evening
concluded with Auld Lang Syne, and
God Save the Queen, bringing "a
charming evening, full of racy anecdote
and sweet melody to a close".
Such decorous reporting is highly conducive to reading between the lines; my
own interpretation is that it was a wing-
ding of an affair!
In 1890 J.F. Garden was elected an alderman of the City of Vancouver. He
was a very dynamic councilman, mosdy
active in engineering affairs, such as the
Cambie Bridge, sidewalks, approved
grades for city streets and water-works.
In 1891, however, allegations were
made that he still had connections with the Vancouver Street Railway Company
(they had been severed on completion of
construction, and before he was elected).
He resigned; which enabled him to carry
on serving the City in a consulting role.
Mr. Garden ran for the B.C. Legislature in 1894 as an independent, but
unexpectedly was defeated at the polls.
He had been known to favor Turner,
whose office was regarded as an "Island"
government. Turner was not popular
on the Mainland, where detractors insinuated that the administration was run
from the smoking-room of the Union
But on January 13th 1898, the City of
Vancouver was certainly ready for Mr.
Garden. He was elected Mayor with a
thumping majority. Enthusiasm was intense, and he was carried shoulder high
from the committee rooms to a waiting
carriage, then escorted in procession to
the corner of Carrall and Cordova
Streets. Here, there was much speechifying - mostly by others, including ex-
Mayor Collins, all of whom congratulated Mr. Garden and praised his
honorable character. After which the
City Band formed up, and the procession marched with blazing brooms to
the Hotel Vancouver, where rockets
were fired; and thence to the newspaper
office, where Mr. Garden again spoke to
the crowd.
Elections in the 1890's were meant to
entertain, and did so, unlike the somewhat dull events we hold today.
Mr. Garden was Mayor for three years,
dealing with all the problems inherent
in this rapidly growing city. Early in his
tenure, he was called upon to read the
Riot Act, to restrain one Theodore Ludgate from cutting down the trees on
Deadman's Island in order to establish a
sawmill there. The Ludgate affair has
been held up as a conflict between an
environmentally-minded City Hall versus commercial interests. Certainly
Mayor Garden and his council took a
firm stance; and when Ludgate, after listening politely to the announcement, set
his crew to cutting down the trees anyway, he was arrested. The affair could
also be construed as an early example of
Federal Government bureaucracy acting
without consideration of local interests
(and certainly not of Native concerns,
for which they were directly responsible).       Unfortunately   for   the   City,
Ottawa had provided Ludgate with a legally water-tight lease, and it took years
of litigation before the senior government backed down and ceded the land
to the City.
E.B. Hermon wrote: - "Garden was a
good Mayor. He had much to do with
getting the City started on the right
lines in those early days, and he had
great visions for its future as a commercial port". His last year as Mayor was
1900, and many electors felt that in a
new century, his abilities could be put
to use in a higher level of government.
After retiring from the firm of Garden,
Hermon & Burwell to avoid conflicting
duties, he ran for the House of Commons, but being defeated tried for the
Legislature, where he was elected on the
"Liberal-Conservative" ticket, as a
member for Vancouver City, and thereafter re-elected in 1903 and 1907.
The B.C. Legislature at the turn of
the century had its exciting moments.
Ever since Confederation, influence in
government had been determined by
the personal following of the premier
and cabinet, with little regard for party
affiliations. At this session, just prior to
that in which J.F. Garden took his seat,
this system was about to be put to the
test by a bizarre series of circumstances
which culminated in the elected members in a body stalking out of the
Chamber immediately prior to the
Throne speech, leaving the Lieut. Governor to read his speech to an audience
of two (one being the Speaker). The result of such shenanigans was, of course,
another general election, and, at the behest of Sir Wilfred Laurier, a new Lieut.
Governor. In the early 1900's political
life in B.C. could never be regarded as
J.F. Garden's name was included in
the 1st session of the 9th parliament,
also in 1900. He was quite active,
moving for the establishment of a Government Assay Office in Vancouver, a
private bill to amend the City Corporate Act, and two railway petitions.
Richard McBride's star would not be in
the ascendant for more than two years,
but invariably he received Mr. Garden's
Standing committees are where most
of the hard work of politicians takes
place. J.F. Garden served on Railway,
Municipal  Affairs,  Private  Bills  and
Standing Orders from 1902 until 1909.
The Province was undergoing unprecedented expansion during those years,
particularly in Municipal growth; railway lobbying was a way of life; and
many were the resolutions put forward
attempting to limit the employment of
Chinese and Japanese nationals.
Against the latter measures Mr. Garden
voted steadfastly, yet continued to support McBride. In 1906 he was
chairman of the select committee looking into the acquisition of parts of
Kaien Island by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, which found the
government blameless.
Politics aside, however, J.F. Garden's
profession was still that of a surveyor;
and in 1903 he had formed a new partnership with T.H. Taylor B.C.LS.,
which continued until 1909, when Mr.
Taylor dropped out, and a new firm of
Garden, Roberts and Hawkins continued until 1911. Mr. Taylor re-entered
the firm later. The firm was engaged in
the general survey work of timber limits, pre-emptions, mineral claims, and
subdivisions, and in particular had
much to do with the CP. Railway Co's
residential area of Shaughnessy Heights.
Mr. Garden's rifle, a model 1876
Winchester, similar to the North West
Mounted Police service issue, is in a
display case at the Surveyor-General of
B.C's office., where it is on loan from
the Association of B.C. Land Surveyors.
He was known as a man who had the
happy facility of making friends, and always had a sympathetic ear for anyone
in trouble. On December 8, 1914, he
died of a stroke, to general regret
amongst all classes. He was unmarried.
Richard McBride said of him: "I
knew him intimately, and was proud to
number him among my friends. During the period in which he sat as a
member of the Legislature, he showed a
marked capacity for public life, and did
a great deal of excellent work for his
constituents.    He will be very greatly
Mr. Cotton is a retired surveyor (B.C.LS.)
who makes his home on Salt Spring Island
B.C. Archives
Vancouver Chy Archives
B.C Legislative Library
Men & Meridians VoL 2 (Don W. Thompson)
The Colonist ■ March 2,1900
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1993 No Salmon, No Furs:
The Provisioning of Fort Kamloops, 1841 - 1849
fy Jeffrey W. Locke
John Tod — This Portrait was taken shortly after Tod retired to Victoria.
Photo courtesy ol British Columbia Archives and Records Service. HP57024
When news of the murder of Samuel
Black reached John Tod at Fort Alexandria he gathered a few men and quickly
set off for Fort Kamloops ' where Black
had been Chief Trader. Immediately
upon his arrival at Kamloops on August
3, 1841 Tod examined the state of the
provisions and supplies within the fort.
Having found all stores to be in satisfactory condition he proceeded with burial
arrangements for Mr. Black and other
matters of importance. In retrospect,
in the midst of such turmoil, it may
seem strange that Tod would be primarily concerned with the condition of
the stores. Such was the importance of
provisions to the fur traders of the
Hudson's Bay Company. Black, as important a man as he was, could be
replaced.    It would have been much
more difficult to replace the stores inside the fort.
The provisioning of trading posts was
one of the most important tasks of fur
traders. Without provisions they could
not expand operations or even survive
for very long in the wilderness. If the
traders could not survive there would
have been no fur trade. In the early
stages of the HBC, when the posts were
close to the Hudson Bay, most of the
provisioning was carried out through
yearly supply ships from England. This
was a costly and often unreliable method of securing supplies. On many
occasions ships would not make it
through the passage before the winter
freeze and would be forced to winter
As the fur trade expanded it became
increasingly evident that an alternate
food source would have to be secured.
Soon the Bay posts were taking advantage of the abundant fish and wild fowl
in the area and were able to provide
much of their own food.2
Further expansion to the west proved
existing supplies to be impractical. The
new exploration of the frontier was
accomplished primarily through voya-
geuring. This rapid movement of small
parties by canoe demanded a staple that
was fairly light, of a manageable size,
nutritious, and would not spoil easily.
The ideal solution to the problem was
found in pemmican, a food source
relied on by various native groups in
North America. Pemmican was made
by combining dried and pounded animal flesh, usually buffalo, with animal
fat. The product was an extremely concentrated food source that could survive
indefinitely if properly protected. It
was said that a man could survive on
two pounds of pemmican per day with
nothing else.3 Pemmican was used extensively by both the HBC and the
North West Company (NWC) in
building and maintaining lines of com-
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1993
14 munication across the west. *
When traders pushed across the Rocky
mountains into what is now the interior
of British Columbia they were faced
with the need for another staple. The
pemmican that had been used on the
plains and in the north was not readily
available in the interior. There was no
large reliable source of game animal like
the buffalo to be counted upon to produce the pemmican. The maintenance
of lines of communications across the
Rockies was difficult enough without
the added burden of provisioning the
new areas. To supply the expanding
trade by transporting pemmican would
have been nearly impossible. At best it
would have tied up a considerable
amount of resources. Once again the
traders turned to the natives and found
that they managed to survive quite well
off a local and abundant source of food,
salmon. Salmon soon became the staple
for the region, vastly outweighing any
other food source. Without it, it is
doubtful that many posts, and perhaps
even the fur trade itself, could have survived west ofthe Rocky mountains.
A significant illustration of the importance of salmon can be found in the
provisioning of Fort Kamloops. The period in focus, 1841 to 1849, is the term
when John Tod served as chief trader.
This is also a relatively early period in
the history of the post; a time when all
Europeans in the area were connected to
the HBC. A time when the only source
of provisions was the stores of the post.
Kamloops had originally been a NWC
post. The first traders in the area had
received their supplies overland from
Montreal by way of Fort William.
These goods were transported by canoe
and portage, an extremely difficult journey. This practice was continued until
salmon, a more expeditious source of
provisions, could be collected in sufficient numbers. 5 Norwesters continued
to supplement their diet with imported
European goods until the amalgamation
of 1821.*
The merger of the HBC and NWC
put an end to old provisioning practices
in the region. With the amalgamation
the HBC gained control of all NWC
posts in the interior region. George
Simpson, the Governor of the HBC,
was faced with rising costs, falling prof
its, and the redundancy of HBC and
NWC posts and institutions; he set
about on a zealous cost cutting program
under the maxim "Economize". As
part of this cost cutting program traders
in the interior were required to obtain
all their provisions from the land on
which they lived.
By the middle of the 1820s the fort
had become largely unproductive, the
furs in the area had been exhausted.
Simpson seriously considered closing
the post. He had tried to encourage natives in the area to use the post at
Rocky Mountain House as their trading area so he could close Kamloops.
Warfare between the Shushwap peoples
around Kamloops and the natives in
the Rocky Mountain House region prevented the Shushwaps from migrating
northward. When Simpson travelled
through Kamloops in 1828 he planned
to close the post. He was persuaded by
a clerk at the post, Archibald McDonald, to leave it open as a depot place
for the New Caledonia fbr brigade.
Simpson was convinced of the usefulness of the post and elected to keep it
open; he was also impressed with
McDonald and promoted him to the
position of Chief Trader for the post.7
Kamloops became an important area
for the administering of neighboring
departments, supplying food, and raising horses. The post was transferred
from the Columbia district to the New
Caledonia district as its main task was
in providing feeding grounds and a
breeding area for the northern horses.8
When the HBC entered the area in
1821 the overland supply route that
had been used by the Pacific Fur Company was taken over. This route, which
passed through Kamloops, became
known as the fur brigade trail. The
route began at the Yellowhead Pass and
travelled in a mainly southerly direction
passing through Fort Alexandria, Fort
Kamloops, Fort Okanogan and finally
to Fort Vancouver where the goods
could be transported to the Pacific via
the Columbia River. For this reason
Kamloops was equipped with corrals
and fenced pasture areas for the 250
horses it supported.
It was in this capacity that Kamloops
was operating when John Tod arrived
in August of 1841. As mentioned pre
viously the main reason for the arrival
of Tod at the fort was to survey matters
and take control of the post after the
murder ofthe former chief trader, Samuel Black. There is some debate over
why Black had been murdered.9 It had
been carried out by the grandson of a
recendy deceased native leader, Chief
Tranquil. One thing is certain, Black
had no great regard for the native people. The rest of the post company,
which numbered nearly twenty, fled after the murder fearing for their own
lives. This had left the post in the sole
care of Jean Baptiste "St. Paul" Lolo, a
native of Iroquois origin who had been
employed as post interpreter. As mentioned earlier the first matter of
priority upon his arrival was to take an
inventory of the stores and provisions
in the post. Tod was fortunate that the
most important article of provisions,
salmon, had not been stolen or ruined.
The importance of salmon to the
Kamloops post cannot be emphasized
enough. "No salmon, no furs" was a
saying in the regions west of Rocky
Mountains. I0 That is to say that without salmon the fur trade could not have
operated, it was the fuel of the operation. Later in his life Tod wrote that,
"to us the loss of salmon might mean
the ruin of our years' work". " Without a supply of salmon traders would
have been forced to abandon their posts
for other areas as a means of survival.
Archibald McDonald wrote that,
"Dried salmon is the staff of life", without it the post could not have been
maintained. 12
Salmon was an ideal food for the fur
trade. It met all of the requirements of
a staple as outlined by Tod, salmon was
"something obtainable regularly in large
quantities, something fairly nutritious,
prepared as to keep without decay, easily packed and carried, and with the
advantage, also, of cheapness [sic]". ,3
Kamloops was fortunate to be situated
near some of the best salmon rivers in
the west, for most ofthe term with Tod
as Chief Trader there was a large and
regular supply. Each man could survive
on a diet of twenty-one pounds of dried
salmon per week, even less if supplies
were low. When dried or smoked it
could keep indefinitely as long as it was
protected from the elements.    It was
B.C. Historical News • Spring 1993 also easily packed; each horse could carry two bags of 84 pounds each, this
combined for a total of 168 salmon
which could provide for a man for two
months.14 Salmon was also cheap both
in the fact that it was fished locally and
that its relative abundance gave it a
moderate trade value.
The vast majority of salmon was obtained by trading with the various native
groups in the area. The predominant
native group in the area were the Shush-
waps, seven different Shuswap bands
traded with the post. Other groups
from as far south as Fort Okanagan also
occasionally made their way to the post
to trade.15 Both dried and smoked salmon were traded as well as fresh fish
when it could be secured. A number of
goods were traded by the fort to obtain
the salmon. The most important of
trade goods were tobacco, guns and ammunition. Other trade goods such as
medicine, tools and baize, a coarse woolen cloth, are also referred to in the post
journal. '*
The natives, who also depended on salmon for their own survival, were well
experienced in the large scale fisheries
necessary to supply the posts. Fish were
caught by a variety of methods. One
method was to construct a weir, or trap,
by driving stakes into a stream at low
water. The salmon were driven into the
weir where they could be easily speared
or netted. Platforms were also built over
favorite fishing areas from which the fish
could be speared or netted.17 On the
lakes natives would often fish at night
from canoes using a torch to attract fish
to the surface where they could be
speared. While this method could not
be relied upon for large quantities offish
it was useful in providing enough for
daily fresh fish. '•
The native method of preserving the
salmon was both simple and efficient.
The fish were split into four strips, each
one of these was a "salmon" in terms of
accounting, approximately one pound
when processed. The strips were either
hung on racks and left to dry in the
wind or sun or were smoked over a fire.
Another method, although less common, was to pound the dried salmon
between two stones until it was a flaky
pulp. This pounded meat was placed
into specially prepared bags made of
grass matting and cured salmon skins.
The product was a pemmican like substance which could be kept for several
years. "
Local to Kamloops the Thompson
and Fraser rivers both supported a large
annual population of salmon. Along
these rivers some areas were particularly
outstanding as reliable fisheries. One of
these areas, Pavilion on the Fraser River, was important to the yearly salmon
supply for Kamloops. Pavilion, or Pe-
bion or Popayou M as it was called in
the native tongue, was relied upon each
year for a supply of between 10,000-
12,000 salmon.21 A large number of
salmon were secured each year from the
Coutamins, which appears to be south
of Kamloops and east of the Fraser River.22 The post also usually received a
few thousand salmon each year from
Fort Alexandria.
A large amount of salmon was needed
each year to provision the post. In 1842
when the post had traded approximately 20,000 dried salmon the trade of
salmon was stopped, having reached a
sufficient level for the winter. Trades
of between 2000-5000 dried salmon at
one time were not uncommon. Apart
from the dried and smoked fish traded
for use later on, fresh salmon, a much
more palatable food was traded whenever it was available.
Although salmon was usually plentiful
obtaining it was often not as easy as
simply trading it. One example of a difficulty in obtaining salmon occurred in
the summer of 1846. Tod had sent
Lolo and a company of natives with
horses to Pavilion to obtain the annual
supply from that area of the Fraser.
Two days after the party had left Tod
found that Lolo had returned to the
post alone. Tod experienced difficulty
in gaining any useful information from
Lolo except a continual request for a
fine horse that Lolo had been denied
several times before. After much prodding Tod was able to determine what
had happened to the rest of the salmon
party. En route to Pavilion Lolo had
[earned that another native group was
planning an attack on the fort, he had
hidden the rest of the salmon party so
they would not be discovered.
In the middle of the night, after Lolo
had fallen asleep, Tod left the fort to
find the rest of the salmon party and
find out if Lolo had been telling the
truth. Tod found the rest of the men
in hiding and unaware of any danger.
Tod ordered the party back to the fort
and rode ahead. As he approached the
Fraser he inadvertently came upon the
very war party that Lolo had warned
him of. Seeing that he was caught Tod
threw his sabre and pistol to the ground
and made his horse perform several
wild rotations on the spot then rode
into the midst of the natives. They
were stunned and taken aback by this
strange behavior. The natives demanded to know where Lolo was, Tod
quickly replied that Lolo had taken ill
with smallpox and was recovering in
the fort. He also told them that he had
come to vaccinate them all if they
The anger that the natives had felt towards Tod quickly turned to fear.
They begged him to save them from
the dreaded disease. Tod had noticed a
rack of some 10,000 salmon drying on
the shores and realized an opportunity
to trade. As a means of stalling time he
ordered the warriors to cut down a
large tree. As they did this he traded
with the women who had come out of
hiding. Once the tree was cut Tod
stood upon the stump and vaccinated
men with three pieces of vaccine scab
he had with him. These were placed
into a cut which he made in the arm of
each individual. For the serious troublemakers of the lot he made an extra
deep incision.
Once he had completed this task Tod
was able to return to Kamloops with
the 10,000 salmon he had managed to
trade. Lolo was very much surprised to
hear the news but was even more delighted when Tod rewarded him with
the horse he had requested. M This example clearly shows that even in times
of threat and grave danger traders
would be on the watch for the opportunity to trade. The consequence of
having no salmon would have been as
dangerous as a raiding party of warriors.
Even though salmon was "the staff of
life" it was not especially well liked.
Many times the men were forced to
spend much of the year enduring the
monotony of dried salmon and cold
water.24 Francis Ermatinger complained
of the "misery of Damned Dried Salmon [sic] - with which we are obliged
to   sustain   a   miserable   existence".29
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1993
16 While in the New Caledonia area trader
Thomas Dears complained that "many a
night I go to bed hungry and craving
something better than this horrid dried
salmon".26 John Tod noted that "We
became very tired - most of us - even of
the indispensable salmon".27 Tod understood that men often suffered, not
from the lack of food, but from a lack of
variety in their diets. In an effort to
make life a little better Tod and others
strove to add other items to the regular
The most prevalent secondary source
of meat at Kamloops was horse meat.
As mentioned previously Kamloops
maintained a large number of horses for
the fur brigade. Whenever a horse was
injured and had to be put down it
would be used to feed the men. Other
times, when supplies were low, a horse
would be slaughtered to tide the company over until other provisions could be
secured. On most holidays a horse was
butchered for the celebration. In later
years, as the salmon fishery became less
and less reliable, more reliance was put
on horse as a source of food. M By the
late 1850s salted horse meat had replaced salmon as the staple food. x
The local habitat also offered additional game animals. Venison was obtained
several times each year as was duck and
other wild fowl. Several different fish
besides salmon were also taken, including: white salmon, carp and suckers. *°
Although not mentioned in the post
journal it is evident that bear, elk, caribou, rabbits and dog were also used as
food in the region.31
Apart from meat other sources of food
were also sought out. One item that
was vigorously pursued in Kamloops
was potatoes. Once again traders
learned from local native practices. Experiments with potatoes had been
attempted early in the history of the
fort. Samuel Black had cleared land in a
valley near the post and had planted
some potatoes as an experiment. The
success of early trials encouraged Tod to
start his own project when he took control of Fort Kamloops.
At first potatoes were acquired from
the natives through trade. Once a tolerable seed stock was obtained Tod
organized the clearing of land near the
river for gardens. Initially it was difficult to cultivate the land.    The only
•  . ■ .1
,    ..v.sJ
S '-.'■"■
This family portrait was taken when a photographer visited Fort Kamloops in 1865. Jean Baptise "St.
Paul" Lolo had been in the service of the HBCo for many years. Lolo's scowl shows that he disliked having to pose for the camera. pho(0 courtesy o( Brrash Co|umb|a Arch|ves and Records Service. HP2007
plow was in poor shape and of all-wood
construction. Tod compensated for
this by paying natives in the form of tobacco to turn the soil by hand. The
soil was worked further by a crude harrow which was made by the men at the
post. The land used for the gardens
was irrigated by the river, producing
good conditions for potatoes. Still, at
times, the post had to contend with
floods in the spring and long dry spells
near the end of summer. By the third
year the enterprise had produced a considerable crop. The typical expected
yield was 17.5 kegs of potatoes for every keg planted. Even while the post
was enjoying a healthy harvest from its
own crops Tod never turned down an
offer to trade for good potatoes.
A second crop that was initiated under Tod was wheat. In 1843 Tod
planted 4 bushels as an experiment.
No mention is given in the post journal
as to the fate of this crop. It must have
been somewhat successful as there are
later references to a wheat crop at the
post. The closest mill for producing
flour was to be found in Okanagan
where a grist mill that had been built by
Peter Ogden was in operation. 32 it is
most likely that the majority of the
wheat found at Kamloops would have
been obtained from Okanagan, Cole-
ville,33 or even from the Cowlitz area
near Fort Vancouver. M
Additional provisions that were neither collected or produced at Kamloops
were imported from other posts. For
the New Caledonia district the main
supply centre was Fort Coleville. Cole-
ville boasted good gardens in which
barley, wheat, turnips, tomatoes, potatoes, and other vegetables were grown.
In addition to this the yearly rations of
flour and sugar were obtained from this
post. The men at Kamloops received
twenty-five pounds of flour and ten to
fifteen pounds of sugar each year.35
From the records at Fort Alexandria it
is evident that inland posts stocked a
variety of foods. Included in the 1832
inventory are: coffee, chocolutr [sic]
(chocolate), mustard square, black pepper, butter, spirits, salt, and sugar. x
While these items may have been kept
in stock it is not likely that they were
consumed on a regular basis, certainly
not by the general labourers. An example of an "extravagant" meal can be
found in the 1841 Christmas gift from
the post to the men. It induded: 1
quart flour, 1 quart Indian corn, 3
pounds of fresh horse meat, 1 pound of
grease and 1 pint of wine.37 Officers
could usually expect better provisions,
most often they were supplied with
flour, rice, beans, bacon, tea, sugar, and
Madeira wine and brandy.38 When this
B.C. Historical News • Spring 1993 ran out or was not available the officers
would eat salmon with the rest of the
While provisioning was a year long
task the various supply activities fell into
a yearly cycle. Since the main stock of
provisions was based on the salmon the
cycle really began with the salmon run.
The bulk of dried salmon was obtained
from late August to October. Often natives would keep their salmon en cache
and not trade until November or December. It was also in October that the
local potato crop was harvested. Again,
natives often stored their potatoes and
did not trade until later in the winter or
spring. By the middle of the summer
some salmon would begin to appear often making it possible to secure a daily
quota of fresh fish. By the late summer
stocks would be low and the post would
be ready to resume the cycle once again.
Although the provisioning was primarily concerned with food it also involved
fuel. Just as collecting food supplies occupied much of the activity at the post
so did the gathering of firewood. At all
times of the year at least one labourer
was employed in the task of gathering
and chopping firewood. In winter three
men were engaged in this activity. As
the wood immediately surrounding the
post was collected it became necessary to
travel dsewhere for a good supply. Obtaining enough wood became an
increasingly tedious task; Tod began to
employ natives from the area to maintain the supply; these workers were
usually paid in the form of tobacco.
The history of the fur trade in Canada
has produced a massive collection of literature. Much of this work has been
devoted to romanticization of the most
exciting tales of glory and adventure. It
is somewhat unfortunate that much of
the popular conception of the fur trade
is based on these accounts. Many important areas have received only cursory
treatment or have been neglected altogether. The volume of solid academic
work is growing and should be taken
into account. Areas ofthe fur trade that
are seemingly obscure, such as the provisions trade in Kamloops, played an
important role of the development of
the region. The provisioning of HBC
posts is an area of study that cannot afford to be neglected.
Jeffrey Locke is die winner ofthe 1992 BCHF
Scholarship. This essay was written as a third
year assignment at tbe University of Victoria.
1. Fort Kamloops has also been referred to as Fori
Thompson, Thompson's River, and Fort Shushwap.
2. Lois Halliday McDonald., Fur Trade Letten of
Francis Ermatinger, (Glendak, California: Arthur
H. Clarke Co., 1980), p. 49.
3. John Tod., History of New Caledonia and the NW
Coast, (Victoria, 1878), BCARS, p. 3.
4. Frederick Merk, ed., Fur Trade and Empire, (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1931), pp.
5. Inland Sentinel., "Kamloops and Yale*, (Kamloops
May 29,1905), p. 22.
6. Mary Balf., Ihe Mighty Company: Kamloops and
the HBC (Kamloops: Kamloops Museum, 1973).
7. Ibid.
8. M.S. Wade., "The Founding of Kamloops*, (Kamloops: Inland Sentinel Press, 1912).
9. One account states that the grandson of Chief Tranquil perceived Mr. Black to have caused the death of
the Chief. Another account explains that the grandson of the Chief thought Mr. Black would be a good
soul to accompany his grandfather into the hereafter.
10. Gilbert M Sproat, Career of a Scotch Boy who Became the Hon. John Tod, (Victoria: Victoria Daily
Times, Sept. 30-Dec. 30,1905), Chapter XXIII.
11. Ibid., Chapter XXII.
12. Rodney Wiens., The HBC in BC (Vancouver
Simon Fraser University History Dept, 1983),
BCARS, p. 9
13. Gilbert M. Sproat, Career of a Scotch Boy who Became the Hon. John Tod, Chapter XXIII.
14. Calculations: Each man could survive on three salmon per day (Tod Journal). Each man could Uve on
21 pounds of salmon per week (Career of a Scotch
Boy...). Therefore, each salmon weighed approximately 1 pound. If each horse could carry 168
pounds, they could carry 168 salmon, enough for 8
weeks at 3 per day.
15. Malcolm McDonald, ed., Peace Riven A Canoe
Voyage, (Ottawa: J. Durie and Son, 1872), p. 115.
16. John Tod., Journal of Thompson River, BCARS.
17. J. J. Morse., Kamloops: Hie Inland Capital,
(Kamloops: Kamloops Museum).
18. John Tod., Journal of Thompson's River., BCARS.
19. Frederick Merit, Fur Trade and Empire, pp. 40-41.
20. Tod referred to the area as Pebion in Career of a
Scotch Boy..., Dan Munday referred to the same
area as Popayou in, 'John Tod of Fort Kamloops*
in The Shoulder Strap, (February, 1942). The
name could either be different pronunciations of the
same word or the name ofthe same place; but in different native languages since several tribes shared the
21. Gilbert M. Sproat, Career of a Scotch Boy who Became the Hon. John Tod, Chapter XXII.
22. Coutamins, also called Countamine, Cutmins and
Cutanais, seems to be a native group and/or area located south-east of Kamloops. Several references are
made to it in the letters of Francis Ermatinger and in
the Thompson River Journal
23. Op. Cit Chapter XXII.
24. Gloria G. Cline., Peter Skene Ogden and the Hudson's Bay Company, (Norman, Okla.: University
of Oklahoma Press, 1974), p. 123.
25. Lois H. McDonald., Fur Trade Letten of Francis
Ermatinger, p. 64
26. Gloria G. Cline., Peter Skecne Ogden and the Hud-
ion's Bay Company, p. 123.
27. Gilbert M. Sproat, Career of a Scotch Boy who Became the Hon. John Tod, Chapter XXIII.
28. J.J. Morse., Kamloops: The Inland Capital, (Kamloops Kamloops Museum).
29. R.C Mayne,, British Columbia and Vancouver Island, (London: John Murray, 1862), p. 121.
30. John Tod., Journal of Thompson River.
31. G.P.V. Akrigg and Helen B. Akrigg., British Columbia Chronicle, 1778-1846, (Vancouver
Discovery Press, 1975), p. 244.
32. Gloria G. Cline., Peter Skeene Ogden and the
Hudson's Bay Company, p. 127
33. Lois H. McDonald., Fur Trade Letten of Francis
Ermatinger, p. 149.
34. Ibid., p. 142.
35. Gloria G. Cline., Peter Skeene Ogden and the
Hudson's Bay Company, pp. 127-128;
36. Papers relating to Fort Alexandria, BCARS.
37. John Tod., Journal of Thompson River.
38. G.P.V. Akrigg and Helen B. Akrigg,. British
Columbia Chronicle, 1778-1846, p. 198.
Akrigg, G.P.V. and Helen B. Akrigg., British Columbia
Chronicle: 1778 - 1846, (Vancouver Discovery Press,
Balf, Mary., Kamloops: A History of the District to
(Kamloops: Kamloops Museum, 1969).
Balf, Mary., The Mighty Company: Kamloops and the
HBC (Kamloops: Kamloops Museum, 1973).
Cline, Gloria Grifren., Peter Skeene Ogden and the
Hudson's Bay Company, (Norman, Okla.: Univeisity
of Oklahoma Press, 1974).
FortAlexadreia, Various Papers, BCARS,
Island Sentinel, "Kamloops and Yale*, (Kamloops:
May 29,1905), BCARS.
Mayne, R.C., British Columbia and Vancouver Island,
(London: John Murray, 1862).
McDonald, Malcolm, ed... Peace Riven A Canoe
(Ottawa: J. Durie and Son, 1872).
McDonald, Lois Halliday., fur Trade Letten of Francis
Ermatinger, (Glendak, Calif.: Arthur J. Clark Co.,
Merk, Fredrick, ed.., Fur Trade and Empire,
(Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1931).
Morse, J. J.., Kamloops: The Inland Capital,
(Kamloops: Kamloops Museum).
Munday, Don., "John Tod of Fort Kamloops*, in
The Shoulder Strap, (Victoria: Feb. 1942), BCARS.
Rich, E.E.., Fur Trade and the North West to 1857,
(Toronto: McLelland Stuart, 1967).
Sproat, Gilbert Makom., 'Career of a Scotch Boy Who
Became the Hon. John Tod*, in Victoria Daily Tunes,
(Victoria: Excerpts taken from Sept 30 to Dec 30,
1905), BCARS.
Tod, John., History of New Caledonia and the NW
Coast, (Victoria: 1878), BCARS.
Tod, John., Journal of Thompson River, (Kamloops:
1841-1843), BCARS.
Wade, M.S.., The Founding of Kamloops, (Island
Sentinel Press 1912), BCARS.
Wiens, Rodney., The Hudson's Bay Company in BC
(Vancouver: SFU History Dept. 1983). BCARS.
B.C. Historical News • Spring 1993
18 U.B. C. ys Deans of Women
by Dolly Sinclair Kennedy
Mary Louise Bollert
Dean of Women 1922-1941
The older universities in Canada were
founded by religious bodies - Roman
Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist. They were modded on
Paris, Oxford, and Edinburgh, according
to the nationality of their founder. In
the western provinces of Canada provincial universities were established in the
20th century. McGill was the parent institution of the University of British
Columbia, having established McGill
University College of B.C., 1906-1915.
At this time in Canada, many persons
felt that higher education was beyond
the mental and physical capacity of
women. But educators fought for the
equality of women to participate. Gradually universities which had been a male
prerogative began to admit female students. Among the early brilliant teachers
at McGill College, was Isabel Maclnnes.
She was first appointed to McGill University College of Vancouver in 1911.
She struggled for status in a world of
male scholarship and administration.
Beside her teaching duties, she and the
faculty wives acted as chaperones at coeducational functions. Maclnnes went
on in 1915 to become Instructor at the
University of British Columbia. She was
the first, and until 1921, the only woman holding a permanent appointment on
Dr. Dorothy Mawdsley
Dean of Women 1941-1959
the teaching staff. When Isabel Maclnnes retired from UBC in 1948, with
an Honorary Doctorate, she had for
some time been Head of the German
Department, the first woman to hold
such an appointment at UBC.
The first Dean of Women, Miss Mary
Louise Bollert, was selected for the newly-created office of "Advisor to Women
Students" in 1921. In 1922 she was
given the title of Dean of Women, and
served the university in this capacity
until 1941.
Mary Bollert was born in Guelph, Ontario, and was a graduate of Toronto
University, with honours in Modern
Languages. She took her MA. degree at
Columbia University, New York, in Education and English. For several years
she was Instructor at Columbia, and at
the same time was lecturing in the New
York Public Lecture Course under the
Department of Education of New York
During her residence in New York,
Mary Bollert became very interested in
the large number of girls who were taking University courses intending to go
into business afterwards. This research,
begun in New York, and continued in
Toronto, led Toronto University to ask
her to lecture on the openings for worn-
\1V       '
Y       "
i %
a     m_
Dr. Margaret Fulton
Dean of Women 1974-1978
All photos courtesy of UBC Special Collections.
en in industrial life.
Canadian at heart, Miss Bollert could
not resist the call of service in Western
Canada, spending four happy and useful
years organizing the Women's Department at Regina College.
With the introduction of co-education
the provision of a Dean of Women had
become a common response of the established universities. The word
"Dean", in general secular use, meant
the head or senior member of certain
bodies: responsible for the selection of
curriculum and instruction.
Lee Stewart in her recent book, It's
Up to You; Women at UBC in the Early Years, has pointed out that Mary
Bollert being appointed as "Advisor to
Women Students", rather than Dean of
Women, significantly lowered both her
status and her salary. She was meant to
be a counselor to women in all matters
except those related to their chief reason
for being at the university - their academic studies.
Dean Bollert was a strong and original
person. When urged by the women's associations in Vancouver, she ran and
was elected as a member ofthe University Senate, a position she retained from
June 1933 until her retirement in 1941.
As Dean of Women, Mary Bollert set
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1993 up the student's loan fund. She believed
it was more difficult for women students
to earn as much money during the summer months as did the males. Loans
added money they often depended on to
aid them to complete their education.
Vitally concerned with education, Dean
Bollert became involved with setting up
the Parent-Teacher movement in B.C.
She was concerned with the inadequacies
of teachers' salaries.
Dean Bollert was a woman of wide interests. She was a very visible
representative of the University. A
member of the National Association of
Deans of Women ofthe United States; a
member of the Women's Canadian
Club; for three years she was national
convener of the Committee on Education for the National Council of
Women. In Vancouver she was active in
the Business and Professional Women's
Club. She was President of the University Women's Club of Vancouver and
President of the Canadian Federation of
University Women. Under her leadership, CFUW urged the appointment of
women on boards and commissions of
the League of Nations.
In 1934, Bollert was chosen as one of
the 12 women in North America to tour
Japan as guests of the Japanese YWCA
For several years she was president of the
Pan-Pacific Women's Association.
Dean Mary Bollert died in Vancouver
in 1945. Her life reflected her commitment to educational and social values.
Dr. Dorothy Mawdsley replaced Dean
Bollert in 1941. She possessed all the academic qualifications of the other
Faculty Deans.
Dorothy Mawdsley, Dean of Women, and Professor in the Department of
English, was born in Florence, Italy.
Her elementary and High School education was in the public schools of Ontario
and Saskatchewan. Before receiving her
B.A in Honours English and Philosophy
at McGill, in 1920, she taught in ungraded schools in Saskatchewan and
During her student days, Mawdsley received awards for debating and public
After graduating in 1920, she taught
English and History at the High River
high school in Alberta. From 1922 to
1926 she taught English and French in
the    Lethbridge    Collegiate    Institute,
Mawdsley went on to take her M.A,
with Major English and Minor French,
at the University of British Columbia,
in 1927. Mawdsley became Assistant
Professor in the Department of English
at UBC from 1927 until 1932 when
she left for the University of Chicago to
complete her PhD.
In 1933, Mawdsley transferred to
King Edward High School, Vancouver,
and taught English until 1940.
In 1940 Dr. Mawdsley returned to
UBC as Assistant Professor in the Department of English. In 1941 she
became Dean of Women; and in 1945
Dean of Women and Professor in the
Department of English.
Publications: Mawdsley had articles
published in the Alberta Teacher's
Magazine and the McGill News. She
wrote a Children's book - Litde Children of Italy, published by Rockwell.
In collaboration with her friend Miss
Leeming of the King Edward high
school staff, she wrote a textbook -
Modern Composition, which was used
in the B.C. schools.
Dr. Mawdsley devoted much of her
time as Dean, in appealing to the public for housing, jobs, scholarships,
bursaries, and emergency funds for
women students at UBC. In most instances her pleas were answered by
women's organizations in the city,
whose vigilance kept issues concerning
women's education before the public.
Mawdsley endeavoured to be aware of
all clubs, programs and off-campus
housing for female students. For example, she came to dinner at the Girls Coop Boarding House at least once a year,
where she was welcomed as if she was a
favorite aunt.
Mawdsley had been familiar with and
objected to the segregated English classes for first and second year students at
UBC, which was the custom at the
time at UBC.
Dr. Mawdsley believed that the lack
of dormitory accommodation for women students was a serious impediment
to their access to campus facilities, particularly the Library. Women's groups
kept this issue before the government,
and finally in 1951, a women's residence on campus was finally
The first two Deans at the University
had to define the role of Dean of Women. Dr. Mawdsley spent much of her
time legitimizing and expanding women's place on the campus. Two
buildings on the UBC campus honor
their memory. Mary Bollert Hall is
now an office complex, while Mawdsley
House is one of the Place Vanier
Dean Helen McRae was a member of
the Faculty of the University of British
Columbia for 23 years. She joined the
teaching staff of the School of Social
Work in 1950, and was appointed
Dean of Women in 1959. She hdd
this post until her retirement in 1973..
Helen Dalrymple McCrae was born in
Glasgow, Scotland, and educated in
Ontario. She received her B.A at Victoria College, University of Toronto in
1929. As an undergraduate she won
the Hamilton Fisk Bigger Scholarship,
and the Prince of Wales Gold Medal.
After completing a year at the Ontario
College of Education in 1930, she began her teaching career in Lindsay,
Ontario, and in Lindsay she married
Charles H. McCrae. After his death in
1942, she came to B.C. and enrolled in
UBC's School of Social Work, receiving her master's degree in 1949. She
took further graduate work at the New
York School of Social Work and at
Smith School of Social Work.
Helen McCrae's work experience included that of Protection Supervisor,
Child Welfare Division, British Columbia; Field Worker and District
Supervisor, B.C. Provincial Government; Commonwealth Fellow, Ryther
Child Centre; Winnifred Culis Lecture
Fellowship, British American Associates. Helen became Field Supervisor,
Casework teacher, and Director of
Field Work, at the School of Social
Work, UBC.
Dean McCrae's academic qualities led
her, in 1959, to being asked to serve as
a consultant to the United Nations in
two roles; with United Nations Technical Assistance (Sweden) first as Child
Welfare Consultant, and later as Case-
.work Consultant.
In an era of rapid change and growth
at UBC, Helen worked quiedy and effectively to ensure that the office of the
Dean of Women evolved to meet the
needs of all women students, induding
mature students who wished to resume
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1993
20 their education.
Her accomplishments at UBC included the establishment of a "Needy
Women's Loan Fund", raising the money with the aid of Vancouver Women's
Associations. Dean McCrae gained subsidized housing for single mothers. She
was instrumental in establishing Day
Care on Campus. She encouraged women students in residence to take office on
Residence Councils to improve their administrative skills.
Dean McCrae was a member of the
Canadian Task Force on the Status of
Women in Canadian Universities. As a
member of the Council of Deans and
Faculty Councils, she gave women a
voice in the highest administrative circles
at UBC. Dean Helen McCrae through
her personal qualities of diplomacy and
grace and her unfailing sense of humour,
contributed immeasurably to the Status
of Women at UBC, received the Alumni
Award of Distinction, the Association's
highest honor.
Dr. Margaret Fulton, the fourth and
last Dean of Women at UBC, was born
in 1922, in a small community, northwest of Brandon, Manitoba. In that
rural community, women could be educated as long as they became teachers,
secretaries or nurses.
Margaret Fulton taught school in
Manitoba from 1942 to 1948. She
then earned a diploma in physical education from the University of
Minnesota, and moved to Thunder
Bay, Ontario, where she taught school
until 1953. She obtained her BA
from the University of Manitoba in
1955. In 1960 she obtained her MA
from UBC. Fulton received her PhD.
in 1968 from the University of Toronto. Dr. Fulton returned to UBC in
1974 as Dean of Women and Associate
English Professor. During the next
four years she encouraged the expansion of counselling services for women.
She won equal pay for female professors, and she helped establish a
women's academic association. Fulton
was one of the first mature women students to work their way up to a
doctorate. She completed her doctorate
in Victorian literature.
Dr. Fulton's philosophy on education
can be gained from reading her address
to the University Women's Club, Vancouver, in April 1981. The topic was
"Women and Social Change". I quote
"The topic seems to imply two assumptions: one, that social change is needed,
and two, that women can bring about
some kind of constructive social
Dr. Fulton visited Copenhagen and
China. In 1975 and 1976 she was involved in two other United Nations
World Conferences, that is, the International Women's Year in Mexico City,
and the Habitat Conference in
She believes that if we are to break
our universities out of the mold in
which they have been cast, it will require a courageous effort on the part of
a new breed of educators and leaders.
She continues . . ."No area of society
needs re-thinking more than education,
unless it be economics."
Margaret Fulton resigned from UBC
in 1978 to become the first secular
President at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, a position which she
held for six years.
At present Dr. Margaret Fulton is an
adjunct professor at UBC in the field of
education. She holds several honorary
degrees, and was given the Human Relations Award by the Canadian Council
of Christians and Jews plus the YWCA
Woman of Distinction Award. She is
an officer ofthe Order of Canada.
The Dean of Women's Office was replaced in 1978 by the Women
Students' Office. In the 1970's, female
students began to seek access to the faculties of science and engineering,
traditionally dominated by men. Recent events on Canadian campuses have
high-lighted our awareness of an unacceptable situation and reinforce our
sense of responsibility to women in
Dean Helen McCrae (1959-1973) with her two assistants, Margaret Frederickson (left) and
Kathleen Jackson on die right.  This picture was taken in the Dean of Women's Office,
Buchanan Building, U.B.C.
The writer is a longtime member ofthe
University Women's Club. She met the
four deans at various meetings of that
The University Women's Club. Vancouver. Archives
Lee Stewart; "It's Up to You, Women at UBC in the
Earfy Years.
The Courier, June 2,1977.
Suzanne Zwarun for her article in Chy Woman, Fall of
B.C. Historical News • Spring 1993 Conrad Kain: Mountain Man Par Excellence
by Mary Andrews
The Rocky Mountains attracted adherents to the sport of mountaineering
as soon as transportation became available upon completion of the railway.
Shortly after opening the line in 1885,
the Canadian Pacific Railway imported
Swiss guides as part of their own scheme
to attract tourists. The Alpine Club of
Canada, formed in 1906 by Dominion
Land Surveyor Arthur O. Wheeler,
made these mountains accessible to
many more tourists at annual summer
camps. The participants at these camps
were for the most part novices in
mountain exploration; guides were
needed to "show them the ropes." Swiss
guides, loaned by the CP.R, filled this
need. Then one day in 1909 Wheeler
got a letter from a Dr. Pistor in Vienna
inquiring if he could possibly use the
services of a guide in his early twenties
who had already become one of the best
in Europe, but whose pay was insufficient to support his large family.
Wheeler's affirmative reply was to make
Conrad Kain God's gift to Canadian
mountaineering. With Kain as guide,
not only did peak after peak of Canada's
western mountains fed the impress of
hobnailed boots and ice axes, but blanks
on the map came to be filled and geographical riddles solved. Almost totally
transcending these accomplishments
was his remarkable personality which
endeared him to all who benefited from
his services. These included scientists,
doctors, professors and statesmen, as
well as ordinary folk getting their first
taste of the mountains. In every conceivable situation, he gave unstintingly
of himself.
Conrad was born in 1883 in Nass-
wald, Austria, a village southwest of
Vienna. His father, an iron miner, died
while Conrad was still in school. The
burden of supporting his mother and six
younger siblings fell upon his shoulders.
He had to leave school, and travel the
country on foot to find work breaking
stones. All too often, his feet suffered
from frostbite as he walked from one
job to another, finding sustenance in
soup kitchens. When he did find work,
the pay was too small to sustain him, let
alone his family. On one occasion he
found himself stealing, not without
trepidation, a loaf of bread from a lady
who had shown him hospitality. On
weekends he would put his life in danger poaching chamois on the Raxalpe,
the large mountain near his home, so
that his family might have meat. In doing so, he acquired the skills that would
later place him in the first rank of
mountain guides in the Alps, the Rockies and the mountains of New Zealand.
It did not take him long to realize he
could translate his agility on the Raxalpe into a livelihood.     One Easter
Conrad Kain taken on an outing up Findlay Creek, 1930.
Photo courtesy of Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.
B.C. Historical News • Spring 1993
22 Sunday, he showed his first party the
mountain he knew so well. The twenty-six Austrian kreuzers he earned were
probably as much money as he had seen
in his life. "By this money my mother
and I were much helped," he admits in
his autobiography Where the Clouds
Can Go.' From that day he acquainted
himself with every nook and cranny in
the mountains of his native Austria.
Clients flocked to him, won over by a
charm undiminished by his not having
had as much schooling as some, and by
his meticulous attention to safety. One
of his steadiest clients was the aforementioned Dr. Pistor (referred to as Dr. P.
in Where the Clouds Can Go), who
made it possible for him to travel beyond Austria into the French and Swiss
Alps, and who was later instrumental in
getting him work in Canada. There was
also a "Miss B", an enthusiastic but imperious person who believed that by
addressing a guide as "Mister" he would
thereby become spoiled and think himself "God only knows what"2 A more
pleasant association resulted from a contract with a mother and two daughters,
one of whom, Amelia Malek, became a
lifelong friend and whom he might have
perhaps married had circumstances not
forced him to leave Austria. With these
and other clients he developed a keen
understanding of human nature and a
unique guiding psychology.
On his time off he sought - and found
- challenges of quite a different nature
from the rock and ice faces of the Alps.
In reference to "going to the window"
to woo attractive farmers' daughters, he
states that "to overcome difficulties is
what makes life and love sweet. Often
it is a dog or a stick, or the farmer's
whip, or a bucket of water from
The year 1906, Conrad's twenty-
third, was an important one. Accompanying a client to Corsica in the
Mediterranean he accomplished his first
ascent: the Capo Talfonato. From then
on he made so many he was hard put
(like Don Giovanni with conquests of
quite a different nature) to keep count
of them.
Two years later, after completing a
course which gave him formal qualification as a guide and having gone to
Vienna to be tutored in English by Dr.
Pistor's wife, Conrad paused to reflect
on his life. Admitting its ups and
downs, he concluded that, so far, it had
been good, even "splendid". He could
not, however, go on living "from hand
to mouth", * and he might be better off,
certainly from a financial standpoint, if
he were to leave Austria. So Dr. Pistor,
doing him one of many good turns,
wrote the Canadian Pacific Railway on
his behalf, about the possibility of his
being taken on as a guide in the
The Railway, already having at its disposal a "stable" of Swiss guides,
responded negatively. Another letter to
AO. Wheeler of the Alpine Club of
Canada produced the desired result. So
in 1909, Conrad, with financial help
from his friends supplementing his own
hard won earnings, set out for Canada.
He took with him a suitcase, a trunk, a
rucksack, two ice axes and a handful of
flowers from the valley that had been his
home. It goes without saying the sorrow he felt leaving was echoed in the
family and friends he left behind.
After the monotony of ocean and prairie, his first sight of the Rockies, with
their covering of snow, filled him with
longing. Taken as he was with red and
yellow flowers by Lake Minnewanka
near Banff, cerulean lakes bleeding glaciers in the high country, and mountain
goats footing the crags, these beauties
served only to remind him of what he
had left. In spite of his resolution to
"fight out the battle",5 the "heim-weh"
(homesickness) he felt was never to
leave him.
Wheeler, however, found plenty for
Conrad to do. At the Alpine Club
camps his services as a guide were much
in demand. Mountains having worked
their way into his being, he could be
alive to their dangers without being
afraid. This inspired confidence in his
clients, regardless of experience. AH.
McCarthy, who participated in the first
ascents of Mounts Robson (highest in
the Canadian Rockies) and Logan
(highest in Canada) was quite happy to
follow in the steps Conrad cut with
great skill into Robson's icy face. Conrad took special care with women,
"quieting" their nerves over rough spots
with stories, or a few harmless "love"
gestures. He would pack extra pairs of
mitts (which on one occasion were used
as socks) for those who, underestimating
how cold it could get in the mountains,
neglected to bring their own. He could
also be stern. When he observed one
gentleman to be having more than he
ought to of difficulties, he told him in
no uncertain terms to go easy on the cognac. Instead of turning against
Conrad, the man chose to regard him as
a friend. And back in camp (where
Wheeler would have no end of chores
lined up), instead of calling it a day,
Conrad, when asked by clients to repair
their climbing boots, would do so "with
a smile".6
One thing that impressed Conrad
about the camps, and about Canada,
was the prevailing democratic spirit. He
marvelled that both men and women
carried their own gear. Back home in
Austria, his dient, Miss B., once made
him carry half a dozen pairs of her
boots. When he led McCarthy and
Colond W.W. Foster, Deputy Minister
of Public Works for British Columbia,
to the summit of Mount Robson in
1913, he was pleased with the thanks
they expressed, especially that coming
from Foster, "a Canadian Statesman".7
This would not likely have happened
had the "statesman" been European.
Most startling of all was the occasion
when Conrad took his hat off to Whed-
er and Wheeler replied: "You do not
need to take your hat off to me, for if
you do it I shall have to also and I am
not accustomed to any such thing".8
At the end ofthe summer, when Conrad received his first Canadian pay, he
was surprised at the number of Austrian
kronen that could be squeezed out of a
Canadian dollar. He went to his hotd
room, closed the door, and counted the
money several times. He admitted that
back home in Nasswald, the amount
would make him feel "just like a Rothschild". 9 What did he decide to do with
it? He would pay off a debt to a friend,
then send some to his "dear" mother.
When camp was over, Wheder put
Conrad to work on his surveys, both in
the mountains and in the Kamloops region. On one of his days "off", Conrad
took a notion to dimb Mount Sir Don-
B.C. Historical News • Spring 1993 aid, a feat he claims gave him no difficulty.10 While in the Kamloops region,
he had occasion to observe the plight of
the Indians. Aware of their alcohol ridden state, he noted that the white
traders to whom they brought handicrafts and pelts paid only a tenth of the
value. He pitied the women for being
treated like slaves, but admired how
they "carried their children".11
During his first winter he worked as a
carpenter in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta.12 There he found people going to
work on Christmas Day, and afterward
making for the local bar, where they
wasted no time getting drunk. A far cry
from the inns of Austria, where the day
would be celebrated with singing and
In the course of this winter he and an
Indian co-worker both suffered frostbite. He paid an Edmonton hospital for
the Indian's treatment as well as his
own. Then he worked on a prairie
farm, finding himself having to wriggle
out of a situation in which the farmer
tried to marry him off to his daughter.
This made him decide that if he were to
marry, it would have to be to someone
who shared his love of nature. He had
left one such person behind in Austria
(Amelia Malek). Some years and many
adventures later he would find another
in the Columbia Valley.
Glad to get back to the mountains, he
accompanied Wheeler on surveys to the
Purcells and the Yellowhead region.
While in the Purcells they glimpsed for
the first time the needle-like spires of
the Bugaboos which, closely resembling
similar formations in the French Alps,
would tantalize Conrad for the rest of
his life.
While in the Yellowhead region, feeling boxed in on a day when weather
conditions precluded surveying, Conrad
set out alone to make the first ascent of
Mount Whitehorn. When he got to the
top he found no evidence of anyone
having been there before him. After
carefully constructing a "stone man"
(cairn) and placing a note in it bearing
the date (August 10, 1911 - his twenty-
eighth birthday) and his name he began
what poor visibility made a difficult descent. Feeling his way with his ice axe,
he often found it to strike nothing but
air. Then' a flash of lightning showed
him the way to go.   When his feet felt
rock under them he "yodelled with delight".13 When he told Wheeler what he
had done, the latter would not take him
at his word, there having been no companion along to back him up. Conrad
had to wait two years to be vindicated,
when a climbing party found his cairn
and retrieved his note.
The following winter was the first of
many he would spend trapping, living
"a lonely, Walden like existence"14 in
cabins he would build during time off
on Wheeler's surveys. For food he was
totally dependent on animals that, all
too often, could be obtained only with
difficulty. In the course of that winter
he got caught in an avalanche while pursuing a mountain goat. When it was
over and he found himself miraculously
still alive, if somewhat the worse for
wear, he happened to see the goat's head
sticking out of the snow. Apologetically, he killed the animal as it struggled to
free itself. A vegetarian would be hard
put to survive the Canadian wilderness
in winter. Of this life itself, despite its
hardships, Conrad admitted a predilection for it. "Many wouldn't spend a
single hour alone in a forest where there
are all sorts of wild animals . . . But I
have always had a taste for it. . . There
can be no finer life."15
With the year 1912 came an opportunity for travel, and a visit home. A
zoologist, Ned Hollister, whom Conrad
met in the Mount Robson region the
previous summer, asked him to accompany and assist him on a collecting
expedition to the Altai Mountains in Siberia. There Conrad found "snaring
mice can be as exciting as hunting elephants". 16 The experience stirred up in
him a feeling that what he really would
like to have been in life was a scientist,
or something that would have enabled
him "to do something good and great in
the world".17 He felt keenly his lack of
formal education, and the circumstances
which brought it about. Afterward he
made his way to Austria and his family,
to see both for the last time. Even while
enjoying "a jolly time, living my youth
over again" 18 he found himself missing
"the solitude that one finds in the Rockies; for the campfire and the carefree
life"." Clearly, his feelings were split between his two worlds.
Back in Canada in 1913, he was to
perform the one feat that would make
him an icon of Canadian mountaineering: leading the first officially
acknowledged ascent of Mount Robson.
Other peaks in the Rockies and Selkirks
he regarded as easy game when compared to the Alps. Not so Robson.
This 12, 972 foot monarch ofthe Rockies, located on the British Columbia
side of the Yellowhead Pass and hoisting
its castellated splendour above the Canadian National Railway line, he found
"no baby to be fondled by everybody".20
Its loftiness making it a cynosure for
weather, it hurled snow and ice, avalanches, rockfalls and difficult visibility
at all who dared challenge it. None of
this deterred Conrad as on July 31 he
led his "herren": the aforementioned
AH. McCarthy and W.W. Foster, to
the cloud capped summit. The ice into
which he cut steps fell off in showers of
glistening chunks. When they "arrived", Conrad remarked: "Gendemen,
this is as far as I can take you."21 All the
while, he took time to observe "overhanging cornices fringed with long
icicles glittering in the sun."22 There was
also a sunset and, needless to say, the
view was splendid. These things meant
as much to Conrad as having made the
first ascent. He pitied those for whom
climbing meant nothing more than winning the race to the top. On reaching
"terra firma", Conrad must have felt, to
quote his editor J.M. Thorington, "how
gay the flowers, how bright the sky."23
That same year Conrad travelled
again, this time to New Zealand, at the
behest of another mountaineering
friend, Herbert Otto Frind. In 1914 he
became head guide at the Hermitage, a
centre for mountaineering in the Mount
Cook region. In the course of three visits to the country during the World
War I years, he ascended over fifty
peaks, twenty-nine of them first ascents.
Most notable was his traverse, in January, 1916, in company with a Mrs.
Thomson of Wellington, a lady in her
sixties, of all the peaks of the 12,349
foot Mount Cook. To more conventional souls looking on askance at
exposing a lady, and an elderly one at
that, to the dangers involved, Conrad
replied: "When a lady wishes to go on, I
never turn back." u In many instances
throughout Where the Clouds Can Go
Conrad rates women's climbing ability
as equal to that of men, and their capac-
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1993
24 Conrad on an Alpine Club ascent, c. 1921
Photo courtesy of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies
ity to endure discomfort and pain, high-     to marry,
er.   As for Mrs. Thomson herself, she
was "ready to follow him anywhere in
the mountains .. . where the only view I
had for what seemed like quite a long
time was the sight of (his) hobnailed
Beautiful and challenging as New Zealand no doubt was for Conrad, at the
end of one of his trips he found himself
nostalgic "for the green woods and the
bears"26 ofthe Rockies.
In 1916, during one of his Canadian
interludes, Conrad, in company with
AH. MacCarthy, confronted the Bugaboo Spires. Located in the northern
part of the Purcell Range, these sharp
quartzite peaks to this day are regarded
as some of Canada's most difficult and
challenging, and draw mountaineers
from all over the world. They were
named for a prospector who worked the
area to discover that what he found glittering therein was not gold. From a
mountaineering standpoint, Conrad
struck "pay dirt". In August 1916 he ascended the 10,250 foot Bugaboo Spire.
Reaching a spot where there were no
hand holds he "applied the vacuum grip
and pulled himself up and over". 27 He
admitted this to be his most
difficult Canadian climb.
Later, he would attempt
Bugaboo's neighbor, Snow-
patch, to meet defeat on a
mountain for the first time.
It was not beneath him to
send a photo of Snowpatch
to Amelia Malek, and other
friends, in Austria, labelled
"The Mountain that Conrad
Could Not Climb".28
Also during his Canadian
interludes Conrad, again
with AH. MacCarthy,
"knocked off" a good number of the highest peaks (all
over 10,000 feet) in the Purcells, the range facing the
Rockies across the Rocky
Mountain Trench in Southeastern British Columbia.
Among them was the highest, 11,342 foot Mount
Farnham, climbed in 1914.
Thus Conrad eased himself
into what might be regarded
as the last phase of his life,
when he finally found a lady
and made the Purcells his
In June, 1917 Conrad married Henri-
quito Ferreira, nicknamed Hetta, a
"quiet, interesting woman"29 of Portuguese descent and conversant in several
languages, who had come to Canada
from British Guiana in 1913. He met
her at McCarthy's ranch near Wilmer
on Lake Windermere, where she was
cook. Following their marriage, they
bought a ranch in the same area. Conrad raised pack horses for hunting and
climbing expeditions and Hetta raised
mink, marten and chinchilla rabbits for
fur. She is reported to have had a talent
for handling these animals. Philadelphia ophthalmologist James Monroe
Thorington, intrepid explorer and author of The Glittering Mountains of
Canada, testifies to her domestic abilities when he describes a visit to
Conrad's ranch following a trip they
made to the Lake of the Hanging Glaciers in 1928:
". . . his wife cooked us a dinner of
fried chicken and trimmings that none
of us have ever forgotten. We treasure
the memory of the white cottage, window deep in sweet peas and currant
bushes, with Conrad and his wife waving goodbye as we started homeward.
The dusky foothills of the Rockies
spread a gorgeous panorama across the
Columbia Valley: Lake Windermere is
almost below, and it is easy to see why
Conrad had chosen it for his home."30
On day he almost lost this home -
and Hetta. Taking his cue from "a mystical New Zealand lady" (Mrs.
Thomson?") he had guided, he sought
to induce in himself a trance like state
by gazing at a candle he had set at the
foot of his bed. When his spirit was
about to "take off", some hot candle
grease fell on his toe. In trying to put
out the fire that ensued when this
caused him to tip the candle over, he almost drowned Hetta in the room
below.311 can imagine she was none too
pleased when confronted with the mess.
Hetta seems not to have shared Conrad's love of wilderness and outdoor life.
"She was too much afraid the white
blankets would get dirty,"32 Conrad told
Thorington. All the same, she seems to
have been a good companion to Conrad
and provided for his roving spirit an
emotional anchor.
After he had married and set up his
ranch, Conrad shifted from climbing to
guiding and outfitting, mostly in the
Purcdls and around the Columbia Icefield.- Under Conrad's guidance,
Thorington, Eaton Cromwell and others in 1928 set eyes for the first time on
that jewel of mountain lakes, The Lake
of the Hanging Glacier, with the icebergs that had broken off the glacier
"standing in the dusk like white
ghosts."33 The following year they
traced Dutch Creek from where it discharges into Columbia Lake to its origin
in a mountain they called Tri-Kootenay
Peak. They established this as the
source of the Columbia River, rather
than the Lake, as explorer David
Thompson gave the world to believe.
This geographer of geographers must
have somehow missed the entrance of
the Creek into the Lake, or was held
back from further investigation by time
or bad weather.
In the Columbia Icefield Conrad and
fellow guide and outfitter Jimmy Simpson would entertain by swapping
stories. Listening to these "was to know
where Munchausen left off".34 On all
these trips Conrad's natural intelligence
B.C. Historical News • Spring 1993 made him a good companion. An avid
reader as well as observer, he "could talk
of many things from the history of Austrian royalty to the intimate domestic
habits of marten and muskrat, and there
was always something to learn from
Conrad's abilities with people also extended to animals. He would pet and
spoil his horses and talk to them like a
father to his children.
In off season, Conrad continued to
wander the country setting up traps, living in the little cabins he would build
for himself. One gets the impression
that beneath his charm, good humor
and other marks of the extrovert there
lurked a substratum of melancholy originating, perhaps, in the poverty of his
early life and which made him want to
"pull away", even from Hetta. In a letter to Mrs. Thomson, the lady he led
across Mount Cook in New Zealand, he
describes the animals with whom he
once shared his trapping cabin: "a most
wonderful clever dog, sixteen mice ... a
big snake" to whom he would play music on his mouth organ, "The ugliest
looking toad you can imagine", but
whom he loved "for his good natured
character", and a porcupine who stayed
for "hours" and whom he "lernt" to
shake hands.36 He admitted to finding
them all "better friends as one does
amongst people".37 On another occasion
Victor Hugo's Les Miserables kept him
from going "insane" from loneliness.38
Throughout all Conrad's "walkabouts"
Hetta kept the home fires burning. She,
too, must have been lonely.
With the onset of the Depression in
1929 the dark angel of poverty, always
present at Conrad's shoulder, asserted its
menace once more. While, thanks to
the farm, they could always feed themselves, the Kains failed to make a profit
on their enterprises. Demand for the
products of both farm and trapline had
fallen, and they had to give up the animals they raised for fur. Neither did
Conrad expect much from his outfitting. He made a point, however, of not
giving in to despair. In March, 1932 he
writes: "The robins, blue birds, crows
and geese have arrived here and things
look a little more cheerful ... I for one
look at thing with hopes that all will
come right again."39
Then in February, 1933 Fate robbed
him of Hetta, his companion for seventeen years. After being rushed to
hospital in Cranbrook for an intestinal
obstruction, she died following surgery.
Conrad felt her loss keenly. In a letter
to Thorington dated August 30, 1933
he admits: "... my little place does not
look so nice as it did when my dear old
girl looked after it in my absence ... at
times I get so damnable lonely. I miss
my old sweetheart more than ever."40
Following his wife's death friends report that Conrad, always negligent
about caring for himself, became even
more so and took fewer precautions
against exposure. His health declined
and he came to find climbing difficult.
On his fiftieth birthday in August, 1933
- his last - Conrad, in company with
friends, climbed Mount Louis which
pokes its impressive finger into the sky
near Banff, and whose first ascent he
had made some sixteen years earlier.
On top, the event was celebrated with a
small cake and a candle.
Early in 1934, he too, was admitted to
Cranbrook hospital suffering from encephalitis lethargica. On February 2, he
died. Friends from Wilmer notified
Amelia Malek with the request that she
deliver the bad new to his mother, still
living in Nasswald, and to his brothers
and sisters. A headstone was erected to
Conrad Kain, "A Guide of Great Spirit,
Mt. Robson, 1913. Erected by his
friends." Earle Birney wrote in retrospect; "The glow of our rocks is richer
by the life of an Austrian goatherd, of
Conrad Kain the mountain man, of
Conrad Kain the Canadian."
Mary Andrews is librarian at the Whyte Museum in Banff. She won Best Article for 1991
with her story of Alpine Club Summer Camps,
vol 24:1
Kain, Conrad Where the Ootids Can Go. p. 152.
Ibid p. 26S.
Ibid p. 198.
Ibid p. 248.
Letter written by Jimmy Simpson to J.M. Thorington, March 23,1934.
Op. cit. p. 321.
Ibid p. 212.
Ibid p. 243.
Ibid p. 230.
Ibid p. 234.
Listed in Mace Names of Alberta, Geographic
Board of Canada, 1928.
Where the Cloud. Can Go, p. 286.
Conrad     Kain     (unpublished     article)     Colin
Op. cit p. 279.
Ibid p. 299.
Ibid p. 306.
Ibid p. 301.
Ibid p. 308.
Letter from Kain Co Mr. Lindsay, March 15,1929.
Where the Clouds Can Go, p. 317.
Ibid p. 316.
Ibid p. 313.
Recollections of Conrad Kain by Mrs. J. Thomson
p. 2-3 Thorington papers f. 196).
Ibid p. 2.
Where the Ootids Can Go p. 305.
Ibid p. 373.
Ibid p. 440.
Ibid p. 378.
Ibid p. 404
The Glittering Mountains of Canada, James Monroe Thorington p. 224.
Where the Clouds Can Go, p. 379.
The Purcell Range of British Columbia, J.M.
Thorington p. 54.
Where the Clouds Can Go. p. 415.
Conrad Kain, 1883-1934. p. 6 (Thorington papers,
f. 186).
Where the Ootids Can Go, p. 377.
Loc cit
Where the Clouds Can Go. p. 380.
Ibid p. 410.
Ibid p. 440.
Birney, Earle. Coming of Age in Erickson, B.C.
B.C Outdoors September, October, November,
December, 1980.
Dowiing, Philip. The Mountaineers: Famous
Climbers in Canada. Edmonton: Hurtig, cl979.
Kain, Conrad. Where the Clouds Can Go. 3d ed.
New York: American Alpine Club, cl 979.
Thorington, James Monroe. The Glittering
Mountains of Canada. Philadelphia: J.W. Lea, 1925.
Thorington, James Monroe. The Purcell Range of
British Columbia New York: American Alpine
Club, 1946.
Thorington, James Monroe. Papers, 1825-1974.
Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies Archives,
' M. 106. (Originals housed at Princeton University,
New Jersey).
Monteath, Colin. Conrad Kain: article (ca 1975).
Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies Archives,
M. 343.
Birney, Earle. Papers, 1896-1971. Whyte
Museum of the Canadian Rockies Archives, M. 201.
B.C. Historical News • Spring 1993
26 Captain Evans Represented the Miners
by Lloyd Bailey
Captain Evans and his son TaUesin.
Years ago, RL Reid and F.W. Lindsay
published separate accounts of one ofthe
most curious of British Columbia's historical figures. Captain John Evans
seemed the Don Quixote of the Cariboo
gold rush ofthe 1860's.
His early life and experiences in no way
fitted him to be a pioneer in a rough
Western mining camp. He was born in
the village of Machynlleth, Montgomeryshire, in North Wales, on January 15,
Photo courtesy of BCARS Cat. No. HP2876
1816, and grew up to manhood there.
In 1858 and succeeding years, news
travelled throughout the world that in
an unknown country, under the British
flag, on the North Pacific Coast of
North America, there had been great
discoveries of gold, and that people
from all countries were flocking there
to make their fortune. Some of the
lucky people had come from Wales.
Why should not others fare as well?
Evans would not have been true to his
Welsh blood if he had not longed for
an adventure in the search for gold.
It was Mr. Evans who dreamed up the
idea ofthe "Company of Adventurers,"
as the group was called, but it was Henry Beecroft Jackson who put up the
necessary money. He was a longtime
friend of Evans and both of them had
worked in the cotton industry in Manchester. But Jackson was a man who
loved to take chances, whilst Evans was
the cautious type. At one time, indeed,
both men had equal chances to take
over a cotton manufacturing plant in
Manchester. Evans considered the installment payments too big a risk.
Jackson jumped in single-handed and
made a fortune. It was from this that
the funds came to support Evans' gold-
seeking venture, though in all truth,
Evans was no miner. His total knowledge of mining had been gained
through three years work in a Welsh
slate quarry.
Evans was delighted to accept Jackson's offer, and set to work without
delay to select his men. Some he chose
from the residents of Carnarvonshire,
the balance were taken from Flintshire.
Among the former was Taliesin Evans,
the Captain's son. All the men sdected
were of good standing in the communities in which they lived. They
addressed Evans as "Captain" out of
Twenty-six Welshmen, bound for the
golden Cariboo, landed in Liverpool
that December 1862. Liverpool, with
its Naval yards and Her Majesty's ships
anchored out in the roadstead. Liverpool, bleak and snowy and windy, with
the salt air blowing in off the ocean, almost as bleak a land as the Cariboo was
said to be. Now there was the urgent
business of finding a ship called The
Rising Sun, lucky omen, for it was on
this vessel, sailing three days before
Christmas, that Mr. Evans had made
arrangements for the passage to Cariboo of the Company of Adventurers;
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1993 first stop Victoria, British Columbia, by
way of Cape Horn.
It took the Company of Adventurers
almost six month to reach Victoria on
the sailing ship. John Evans, taking a
faster vessd and crossing the Isthmus of
Panama instead of the long and fearsome journey around the Horn, had
beaten the Adventurers to Victoria by
two months. But his passage was not
what you would call luxury travel. In
his diary, he describes part of this journey and also tells how he spent those
two months of waiting for the men, in
an even more rugged exploratory trip up
the Fraser River to look for a suitable location where claims could be staked.
The Adventurers stayed five days in
Victoria. Victoria, in 1863, saw '49ers,
from the played-out California gold-
fields, returnees from the recent
Australian gold rush and Cariboo miners, fresh from new strikes on Williams
or Lightning Creeks, milling about the
booming tent-town. Thugs, gamblers
and the off-scourings of the world
watched each incoming boat for gold-
laden miners and each Fraser river-
bound craft for future victims. But
somehow, the 26 Welsh Adventurers appear to have come through unscathed
and innocent. On the 16th of June they
boarded the Elizabeth Anderson for the
trip across the Gulf of Georgia to the
Fraser River, then up the Fraser to New
Westminster, jumping-off place for the
golden land. Here they changed to a
smaller craft which would take them
further up river, into Harrison Lake and
on to Port Douglas at its head.
Before he left Victoria with his men,
Evans had a long conference with Governor Douglas and his advisors as to
mining matters. The discussion was
mainly directed to the mining laws of
the Mainland colony. Under the law as
it then stood, no one could mine on
Crown lands unless he were the holder
of a Free Miner's certificate issued by a
Gold Commissioner. Any one holding
such a certificate could stake a claim on
unoccupied Crown lands and mine
thereon, but by law no person could
hold more than two claims at the same
This he pointed out to the Governor,
and suggested that, if this remained the
law, it would be difficult to obtain English capital for mining development, for
under these circumstances, the investor
would be at the mercy of his workmen,
as they could sell what really belonged
to the employer, no matter what agreements had been made. He showed the
Governor the contracts with his men so
that it could be seen that no advantage
was being taken of them.
The Governor requested Evans to
write him an official letter, and assured
him that his suggestions would receive
his careful attention. In collaboration
with Mr. Rhodes, Evans "concocted,"
as he says, a letter setting out his views,
and delivered it to the Governor before
leaving Victoria. Notwithstanding his
aggressive attack on the mining laws,
no amending legislation followed.
What Evans did when he reached
Cariboo, therefore, was to look about
for ground in a favourable location not
already taken. He had a warm welcome
from those operating on Lightning
Creek. They were anxious for him and
his party to remain there, and by readjusting the abandoned claims and those
being worked, they were able to secure
for him 2,500 feet on the creek, clear of
any claims. Evans thereupon applied
for a lease for five years of this territory,
including the water rights thereon and
the hillsides, and this was granted.
Here they remained mining for two
years, at the end of which they had recovered gold to the value of $450 at an
expense of over $26,000. The expedition then disbanded. Some of its
members went back to Wales, some remained in British Columbia
Hardly had the Adventurers got settled in Van Winkle, when Captain
Evans was requested to run as candidate
for the British Columbia Legislature.
The first election in the Crown Colony
of British Columbia (the Mainland was
then a separate colony from Vancouver
Island), was held during the winter of
1863. The Legislative Council, as it
was then called, consisted of fifteen
members: five Government officials,
five magistrates, and five members
elected by the residents of five electoral
districts. Cariboo was allowed two
In Cariboo as in Wales he was still the
same old stalwart Puritan. By precept
and example he preached the religion
and morality of his faith. He did all in
his power to better the conditions of his
new home. Especially he watched over
his fellow Welshmen in Cariboo. As
early as 1866, he had induced a few of
them to gather together a few dollars
and build a small hall in Barkerville, to
be used for religious and literary purposes, on a lot granted for that purpose
by Gold Commissioner Cox. This was
called "Cambrian Hall," and religious
services were held therein until it was
destroyed in the fire of 1868.
According to Welsh Adventurer Harry Jones' records, Captain Evans was
almost a religious fanatic. Here in the
new country, he would allow none of
his men to travel on a Sunday. And
each evening his stalwart crew of 26
knelt in a circle while the good Captain
intoned his sonorous prayers. It may
have been irksome to some of the
Welshmen, but it proved a stellar attraction to the Indians who happened
by. Indeed, the sight of these men
kneeling and praying in a language that
was neither Chinook, Shalish, English
or French, must have been mystifying -
even terrifying to those Indians who
did not speak Welsh.
The completion of the miners' contract with Captain Evans and Henry
Beecroft Jackson was rapidly approaching. For two years they had worked
like slaves, faced insuperable odds and
gained nothing but experience. On
every side they had seen men, some as
green as they were, dig fortunes from
the gravel. True to their contract, they
had obeyed Captain Evans, but now it
dawned on them that the Captain, despite his honesty of purpose, despite his
integrity and regardless of his organizing ability, was a losing proposition.
It is quite possible that the Welshmen
might have stayed with him for another
season under a modified contract, had
the Captain agreed to hire just one experienced Cariboo miner and put him
in charge of operations. The difficulties
of mining on Lightning Creek were at
least twofold those of Williams and
most ofthe other creeks. And although
the Welsh miners did not know this
then, they were getting nowhere under
Evans' guidance. They were anxious to
learn how to improve their methods,
for they must think of their own futures. Many had families back in
From the old records available con-
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1993
28 cerning the Welsh Adventurers, under
Captain John Evans, it would appear
that the whole expedition was compounded of a tragedy of errors,
insufficient capital, over one for Cariboo East, and the other for Cariboo
West, in which were situated Stanley,
Quesnel, and Van Winkle, where the
Welsh Adventurers were living.
Van Winkle was a typical pioneer
placer mining camp, the like of which
could be found throughout the Western
States north into British Columbia. It
consisted of the inevitable saloons, miners' shacks, a store and several flop
houses. About a hundred men were
working Lightning and Van Winkle
creeks, which joined waters at this
point. Lightning was one of the richest
creeks in Cariboo. But it was cursed
with "Cariboo slum", that bane of all
placer miners from that day to this.
Cariboo slum is a pea-soup mixture of
silt and water which swallows mine timbers, equipment, and men.
At Van Winkle, where Evans was
known, the vote was overwhelmingly in
his favour: Black 3, Evans 50, Ndson
But what happened at Quesnel? Let
Evans himself tell the sad story:
When the news came up from the
Mouth (Quesnellemouth) we found that
the two men who were nominated my
agents there got on a spree in going down
and only reached there the evening previous to the election, so that they had not the
opportunity of doing anything if they
tried, much less had the electors, as it was
found afterward they (the canvassers) were
bought over by Dr. Black with drink.
Only 4 voted for me there, who only came
to know of my being a candidate in the
afternoon. Dr. Black polled 127, but Mr.
Cox, who is the returning Officer, struck
out all the votes of Chinamen.
As the official record shows Dr.
Black's majority was 69, and Captain
Evans' figures show a majority of 76,
the Chinese votes struck out must have
numbered 7. So ended Captain Evans'
first appearance in the political world.
At Barkerville, on Sunday, gambling,
swearing, and other vices reigned unchecked. Of course, there were others
who deplored the condition of things,
but they were too few to force a change.
This state of affairs is not to be won
dered at when we consider conditions
in other mining camps in the West at
the time. Of all these camps, Barkerville was the most isolated from
civilization. In it a heterogeneous mass
of humanity had come together from
all parts of the world. Even in such surroundings Evans never faltered in his
stubborn pride and his attempts to keep
costs down. According to Harry Jones,
there were at that time many experienced miners on the creeks of Cariboo
and practically any one of them would
have been glad to advise the Welshmen
in the fine art of sinking a shaft, drifting into gravel or even timbering in the
mine. Jones said that none of the
Wdshmen had any knowledge of these
things, least of all about coping with
the infamous "cariboo slum" or the implacable waters of Lightning Creek,
which flooded so many shafts and
broke so many miners. But Evans was
determined to demonstrate to all interested onlookers the superiority of his
methods and of his crew.
And somehow, by sheer guts and tenacity, the Welshmen did manage to
sink a shaft some thirty feet before the
water came in. The log pumps were
put to work, sans iron bands, but were
of little value between splitting and
clogging up. So the iron hand-pump
was brought into action and the men
tried to bail out the shaft by bucket and
windlass, working in relays of two,
night and day. Pump and bail; pump
and bail. No time for sleep, or decent
food, or even prayers. Without proper
tools or dry clothes, they labored while
the water crept up. For Lightning
Creek is a sizeable stream and neither
Captain Evans' determination, nor the
unremitting toil of his men could master its flow.
Nor did Evans feel it was a necessary
expense to purchase steel with which to
tip the men's picks. Thus, when they
were working in gravel or hard pan, the
soft point blunted in a short time. So
desperate were the men that they used
their spare time and Sundays to search
around deserted mines and old shafts,
picking up any bits of steel they could
find from which their blacksmith "Old
Pritch," could make serviceable points
for their most important tool. After the
failure of this venture Evans remained
in Cariboo, seeking riches in the mines.
Like so many others, he felt that he
would sometime strike it rich in one of
his claims.
In 1872, he was working on a group
of claims on Antler Creek, east of Barkerville. By 1873, he was beginning to
fear that they were not going to turn
out as he had anticipated, and that he
would lose the $1,600 he had expended
on them. However, he had other
claims on Davis Creek, a tributary of
Lightning Creek, and he was sure that
they would be all right, "some day."
The last we hear of his mining claims is
in November, 1875, when he says that
he has several claims, but he does not
know whether they will turn out to be
anything or not. Evidently, his fears
were well founded.
A failure he may have been as a miner, but the "gray-headed old man," as
he called himself, kept the affection and
esteem of the people of Cariboo. In
1875, at the first election in British Columbia where the voting was by ballot,
he was again nominated as a candidate
for the Legislative Assembly of the
Province, in company with the Premier, George Anthony Walkem, and
A.E. B. Davie, later also Premier. This
time there were no accidents as in
1863, and he was elected.
He was very proud of his success,
both for the compliment which the
people of Cariboo had paid him by
electing him as their member, and also
for the monetary reward which accompanied it, which, no doubt, he needed
very much at that time. He attended
the three sessions of the Assembly in
1875, 1876, and 1877, and took an active part in the proceedings. The votes
show that he supported the Walkem
Government   until   its   fall   in  April,
1876. Mr. A.C. Elliott then became
Premier. Although Walkem was after
that time in opposition, Evans remained loyal to him and continued to
vote with him until the dissolution of
the House in 1878.
The Legislative Assembly was dissolved on April 12, 1878, and a general
election held in May. Evans was again
a candidate with Mr. Walkem and Mr.
George Cowan, a miner of Conklin
Gulch, as his associates. All were elected. The Elliott Government was
defeated and Mr. Walkem was again
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1993 Premier. In the first and only session
held thereafter in his lifetime, Evans
continued to be Mr. Walkem's faithful
But the Captain was growing old. He
was not feeling well and began to complain of the state of his health. In June
1879, he writes to his children that he is
feeling very well except for rheumatism,
which had been troubling him for some
time. He says that "It is in the nerves
and called Sciatica." On August 25,
1879, he died at Stanley of inflamma
tion of the bowels and kidneys, after an
illness of only two days.
Years later, when reminiscing about
the old days, Harry Jones told of the
Welshmen's departure. "As we were
leaving, the Captain came to say goodbye. I was the last one out of the
"I am sorry to see you go Harry,' he
said, taking my hand and looking into
my eyes. "I wish you better luck than
you've had with me." With that he
quickly dropped my hand and turned
away, but not before he had pressed a
twenty dollar bill into my palm. I managed to stammer my thanks, but that
was about all. I hurried from the
house. Taliesin followed and walked
part way down the trail with me."
The author Sves in Comox where he is a Teacher-Librarian.
He hat an ALA. in Canadian History and on M.E& from the
Unherdtj/ of Victoria.
The Baileys of Colonial British Columbia
by Lloyd Bailey
Philip James Bailey, the American
poet, 1816-1902, once remarked that
"the worst men often give the best advice." As a bona fide Bailey, I no doubt
qualify, albeit Lloyd James Bailey, occasional historian. A more germane
dictum comes from William Shakespeare: "What's in a name? That which
we call a rose by any other name would
smell as sweet." I am not writing a history of the "Rose" family but the point
is well-taken.
Rather, this is an attempt to identify
early settlers in colonial British Columbia who bore the Bailey escutcheon.
Why? Perhaps contemporary Baileys
like myself should search for roots
amongst these possible ancestors.
There is an old Australian adage, "To
know a country, you must learn its
memories." To know British Columbia
we might tap our genealogy. The British Columbia Archives and Records
Service can provide procedural details.
The surname Bailey is of French-
Norman origin, designating a bailiff or
lord's agent. His castle premises came
to be known as the "bailey" or "courtyard" or "castle walls." The venerable
Old Bailey stands today as a courtyard
of justice in London, England. Medieval England abounded in castle baileys
and baileys as officers of the manor.
Being an occupational surname like
Smith and Cooper, metalworker and
barrelmaker, there is a much wider possibility of Baileys not being related.
Geographical surnames are the best for
tracing family origins.
Aristocratic pretensions must be satisfied with the family name, Bailey, of
the Barons Glanusk of Northumberland, England. There are virtually no
famous Baileys, if one exempts minor
celebrities like the late American television host, Jack Bailey, and popular
songstress, Pearl Bailey.
My own family interest goes back to
1910 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. My
grandfather, Henry Townsend Bailey,
joined his brother Richard from Bar-
noldswick, Yorkshire, in the employ of
the Canadian Northern Railway, he as
a policeman, his brother as an express
clerk. World War One witnessed both
Baileys enlisting in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1914 and suffering
severe gassing and other wounds at
Vimy Ridge during that terrible conflict. My grandfather returned to
Canada only to gather his family of
wife, Rachel, and sons, Harold and
James, for a return trip to a small business in Yorkshire. Daughter Maude
had died of pneumonia on her original
voyage to Canada in 1911.   My great
grandfather, John "Jacko" Bailey, a
merchant farmer, paid trans-Adantic
fares several times as my young father-
to-be, Harold, developed chest congestion which demanded a dry, Canadian,
prairie climate.
In the early 1920's, Henry Bailey and
his young family tried valiantly to farm
in central Saskatchewan near Saskatoon. One winter they survived largely
on a diet of donated turnips. War injuries never really healed. By 1927, the
Baileys had moved to Victoria, buying a
large house on Scott Street. Grandmother Rachel fought with Royal
Canadian Legion support for a small
government pension for my incapacitated grandfather. Henry died of the
effects of mustard gas poisoning in
Son Harold worked in local sawmills,
educated himself and gained Victoria
prominence as a sports figure and associate of Archie Mackinnon at the
Y.M.C.A. After twenty years as an official of the Pacific Lumber Inspection
Bureau, he retired with his wife, Thora
Mathisen, to Sooke, B.C. Harold
passed away in 1974.
Younger son, James, went from the
Saanich Fire Department to the Victoria Machinery Depot as a supervisor
during World War Two.  The postwar
B.C. Historical News • Spring 1993
30 Benjamin Bailey who brought his family to Yale from San Francisco, 1858. He moved to Victoria
where he helped found St. Barnabas AngUcan Church. Photo courtesy of BCARS - Cat. No. HP4798
building boom saw Jim Bailey prosper
in subdividing many Shellbourne and
Lansdown area housing units. He retired to his apartment complex in
Esquimalt, leaving the widow, Eleanor
Anderson, in 1987. John and Carolyn
are surviving cousins.
Richard Bailey returned in 1919 to
the Canadian National Railway, retiring
in Vancouver in 1949 where he was survived by his son Ronald and daughter
Stella, now Mrs. Norman Johnson of
Qualicum Beach, B.C.
In colonial British Columbia no Baileys worked for the incumbent
Hudson's Bay Company which had established interior posts from 1805 and
coastal posts from 1827. Few settlers
were found either on Vancouver Island
or the mainland before 1858, year of
the gold rush. The limited immigration to the crown colony of Vancouver
Island after 1849 numbered no Baileys.
The year 1860 saw over 30,000 population in the new colony of British
Columbia. Fort Victoria experienced
an economic boom. Charles Alfred
Bayley (alternate spelling) opened Bay-
ley's Hotel that year. He went on to
develop a grocery business at two sites
on Yates Street before expanding to
Fort Street in 1868.
There were sixteen other known Baileys in the pre-1871 colonial era. John
Bayley led Victoria's nascent police
force as superintendent in 1860. U.F.
Bailey lived on Meares Street and he
was a stonemason in 1863.   That year
Leslie Bailey boarded at the St. James
Hotel on Government Street. Thomas
Bailey had no fixed address.
Benjamin Bailey came to British Columbia a gold-seeker, led a miners'
protest against arbitrary conduct by
Yale magistrate, P.B. Whannell, in
1860, and graduated to auctioning government property in 1866. Thereafter,
he resided in Victoria.
Nicholas C. Bailey too sought gold in
1858, first on the Naas River and later
in the Queen Charlotte Islands. Residing in Victoria on Langley Street, he
moved to the Star Hotel on Fort Street
in 1863 and then to the rural Parson's
Bridge Hotel in 1871. He applied to
Colonial Secretary WAG. Young for a
position with the new Gold Escort
Corps in 1863.
Of these pioneers, John Baity of Comox has left the most traces, in 1862,
he departed the sidewheeler Shannon
from Southampton at St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. After a train trip to San
Francisco by way of Panama, Baily
sailed in the steamship Oregon for Victoria, arriving on July 18, 1862. He
and three English companions, all from
Somerset, initially sought Stikine River
gold. Instead, they pursued Indian
tales of fertile lands and on August 10,
1862, began clearing the first farms in
the Comox Valley. They were followed
later that year by sixty purchasers of
Hudson's Bay Company lands, off
H.M.S. Grappler.
As Comox Road Commissioner, John
Baily was the first elected municipal official on northern Vancouver Island.
He proved aggressive in that position
and also augmented his holdings to 310
acres. After ten years, Baily returned to
Glastonbury, Somerset, to take up the
management of a large flour mill inherited from his father. He became mayor
of his hometown in 1880. Baily refused to sell his Comox farm, instead
renting it with its substantial house and
barn. Just before his death on May 12,
1916, his lawyer son sold the land to
Dr. C. Denton Holmes of Victoria. Of
the three surviving children, Mrs. S.S.
Gardner lived in Everett, Washington.
Murray Bailey arrived in Victoria in
1862. Son of a London merchant, he
came with sterling references and a desire to gain government employment.
Governor James   Douglas   found  no
B.C. Historical News • Spring 1993 place for him. More employable was
Madison F. Bailey, a plasterer, and he
lived on Meares Street from 1868 to
The last of the island Baileys would be
James Bailey, farmer, resident on East
Road in the Lake District or Royal Oak
between 1864 and 1869. A community-spirited fellow, James donated one
quarter acre of his land for a school site
at the corner of Elk Lake Road and
North Saanich Road in July 1864.
The colonial government felt the lot to
be too small and requested a larger
Four Baileys sought mining claims or
pre-emption land grants on the mainland before 1871. William Bailey
worked at Lightning Creek. Odo Bailey lived near Richfield. Albert Bailey
pre-empted land in the central Cariboo.
And Robert Bailey farmed along the
Fraser River above New Westminster.
Bailey and Lawrence were general merchants at Yale in 1871.
The most ambitious Bailey in colonial
history never arrived in British Columbia. Formerly of Her Majesty's
Colonial Land and Emigration Office,
C. Stuart Bailey served as secretary and
chief spokesman for the Emigrant and
Colonist's Aid Corporation Limited,
headed in 1870 by one Irish duke and
three members of the British Parliament. Its board of directors counted six
aristocrats, four high military officers,
five territorial officials and one insurance company executive.
C. Stuart Bailey espoused the Gibbon
Wakefield scheme of government-
assisted, farmers-proprietors. The colonial government responded with a visit
to London of Chief Lands Commissioner J.W. Trutch in July 1870. The
Bailey proposal involved a huge land
grant to the Corporation along with the
issuance of long-term colonial bonds.
Five hundred families would immigrate
to 100 acres each of crown land. All
transportation and settlement costs
would be administered by the Corporation, the colonial government need
spend no money, only float 76,000
pounds of funding bonds for the first
400 families and allocate 40,000 acres.
The Corporation would receive 10,000
acres to settle another 100 families as
they saw fit. Redemption of the bonds
with   interest   and   collection   charges
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1993
would have cost 157,500 pounds in
1884. Neither C. Stuart Bailey nor his
ambition could be afforded by the colony, itself in economic doldrums.
It is said that Napoleon despised his
family. Perhaps they knew each other
too well. Such is not the case with the
pioneering Baileys of colonial British
Columbia. Much more needs to be
known and the adventure of discovering an historical connection should be
The writer, who has been instructor at Malaspina College and the University of Victoria, has
recendy completed requirements for his PhD. at
Columbia Pacific University.
James Bailey - resident of Royal Oak 1864 - 1869.
Photo courtesy of BCARS - Cat. No. HP61584. Rollin Art Centre of Port Alberni
by Catherine (Lord) Kean
Fred and Ellen Rollin on the steps of their new home in Alberni, 1914.
Photo courtesy of G. White.
Tucked away on the corner of Eighth
Avenue and Argyle Street in the heart of
Port Alberni stands a relatively modest
building, now Rollin Art Centre. Shaded behind a protective screen of large
evergreen trees and a row of sturdy fencing which encloses each of the centre's
three distinctive community gardens,
many people would not immediately acknowledge the 1914 heritage home. Yet
Rollin Art Centre, once the house of the
young married couple Fred and Ellen
Rollin, has its own tale to tell of the history of the Alberni Valley, and of the
achievements of Fred Rollin.
Frederick Benjamin Rollin was born
into an English family in April, 1890,
and his life began with an adventurous
voyage to Canada at six months of age.
The three member family landed in Victoria, significantly "at the same time as
the Empress Hotel was being built and
they were driving piles to put the building on."1    Fred's father, James Surfleet
Rollin, established a small butcher's
shop on Government Street, and became renowned as a "specialist in pork
After several successful years in this
occupation, and the birth of a second
child, Dorothy Victoria, James sold his
butcher shop and became an owner and
operator of a hotel in Victoria. Yet the
tales ofthe gold discoveries in the interior of British Columbia which drifted
back to Victoria convinced him to relocate, and in 1898, James moved to
Lake Bennett to assume ownership of a
local hotel. His wife Helen, Fred, and
Dorothy followed later that year.
The prosperity of the gold fields was
naturally short-lived, and the boom
rapidly shifted to Dawson Creek and
Whitehorse. The family left Bennett a
year later in February or March, 1900,
and returned briefly to Victoria. Later
that year, they relocated to Port Alberni,     at  this  time  "a world  of stage
coaches, miners, early settlers, high button shoes, trailing skirts and little girls
in pinafores."3 While separated into
two distinct towns until 1967, Port Alberni was just beginning to emerge as a
considerable settlement, partly due to
the presence of the Alberni Pacific
Lumber Company, the fledgling company of what is now MacMillan
Bloedel. James became the proprietor
of the Armour Hotel, and the family
ran this business until 1908, when they
constructed their own establishment,
the King Edward Hotel. The grand
opening of this premises was celebrated
with a dance, and a "general and cordial
invitation"4 was extended to the people
of both Alberni and New Alberni in the
December 7, 1907 issue of the Alberni
Pioneer News.
It was through his parents' business
that Fred met the young and talented
schoolteacher, Ellen Ohlsen, with
whom he would eventually share the
Eighth Avenue home. She was the
daughter of a Victoria family who had
recently immigrated from Europe. Her
parents owned the Oakland nursery in
Victoria, which specialized in exotic
plants and shrubs. Many of these were
later transplanted to the Rollin gardens.
Ellen's school teaching career began
in the valley at John Howitt School,
which was established about 1900. She
also taught classes at the school in the
basement of the Watson Building,
which opened in 1903, and at the New
Alberni Public School which was established about 1906.' She continued to
teach until she and Fred were married
in 1913, in Victoria.
Fred and Ellen returned to Port Alberni after their wedding, and after a
temporary residence moved into the
home built on the corner of Eighth Avenue and Argyle, now Rollin Art
Centre. This 1914 white shingled, one-
story home, built by Warnock and Co-
B.C. Historical News • Spring 1993 chrane, contractors, for Mr. Lighter, the local jeweler, was the second of three
identical homes built in the Valley. * Photographs from this period show the
home to be a pleasant construction of
the period, surrounded by a fence composed of poles of wood.
Ellen's school teaching career did not
long surpass her marriage. She retired
from the public school teaching system,
but this encouraged her to devote her
time to teaching what she loved most-
music. An accomplished concert pianist,
Ellen had studied music in Dresden,
Germany, when a young girl; upon her
return to Victoria, she gave a performance at the prestigious Empress Hotel.
These accomplishments no doubt fostered the rumours amongst friends that
she was "high society."7 Ellen gave lessons in her own home on her grand
piano, which had been shipped round
the Horn from Germany. Apparently,
she had many, many local girls-and boys,
too-taking music. She took them at half-
hour lessons, twice a week? Lessons cost
about $5 per month.
During this time, Fred was employed
as a boom man with the Alberni Pacific
Lumber Company. He worked on the
booms for a number of years, until poor
health forced his early retirement. He
had suffered from asthma from the age
of eighteen, and his frequent falls into
the water on the job merely aggravated
his health problems.
Fred's life after retirement centred
around his home and the outdoors. A
true outdoorsman, Fred loved to travel,
and he and Ellen undertook many hiking expeditions around Vancouver
Island, including treks to Buttle Lake,
Nahmint Lake, and the Golden Eagle
mine. Fred's nephew George (sister
Dorothy's son), often accompanied
them. A good hunter, Fred often packed
a rifle with him, and the 1930 trek to the
Golden Eagle mine was commemorated
by several trophies, "the hides and heads
of two black bear, one of them the largest ever known to have been taken in
this neighborhood."9 The hides and
heads together weighed 108 pounds.10
These mementos were displayed prominently on the walls and floors of the
Rollin home; a visitor to the house after
Fred's death commented that it was
crowded with the results of Mr. Rollins
success with a gun. A wolverine shares
space on the back of an old fashioned
couch with various other variety of local
Ellen's grand piano was privileged to
rest on both bear and cougar rugs.
Fred also spent much time tending
the large garden surrounding the
Eighth Avenue home. It was lush with
rare plants and shrubs which had been
given to him and Ellen by her parents,
as well as an orchard of fruit trees. Every spring, the garden blossomed a
myriad of colours as the various tulips,
narcissus, and other flowers opened;
400 tulip bulbs alone were planted to
commemorate his and his sister Dorothy's birthdays in April.12 Some of the
plants he collected during his hikes, for
example on his trek to the Forbidden
Plateau and Mount Albert Edward with
his friend W.H. Crowshaw. It was reported that the floral specimens brought
home were white and purple heather,
mountain wallflower and mountain daisies. Mr. Rollin now has these planted in
his Port Alberni garden, and is confident
they will thrive there.13
Gardening became especially important to Fred after Ellen's death. She
passed away in Port Alberni on October
27, 1944, at the age of 60, after suffering for several years from what was
rumoured to be cancer ofthe lung.14
Facts surrounding the discovery of her
illness are obscure, but one source indicated she collapsed on a hiking
expedition and was rushed back to
medical care in Port Alberni; her condition was quickly diagnosed. After
treatments in Victoria, and the realization that her illness was terminal, Ellen
returned to the valley home, where she
remained until her death.15 For Fred,
the garden became a means of solace
and of refuge. Alone in the home he
had shared for so many years, his life
became haunted with memories of his
beloved Ellen.
Despite his retreat into a world of isolation and loneliness, Fred tried to
maintain a link with his community.
He donated money to many charitable
organizations in the valley, and invested
in many businesses. He also established
a rapport with teachers and many of
the students of the neighboring Eighth
Avenue School.  Often he would invite
teachers and students into the home for
afternoon tea.16 And, as George White
asserted, "in small ways he was always
very generous to the kids when they
came around." 17
Fred Rollin died in the home in March
1976, at the age of 86. In his will, he
bequeathed two of the four lots of land
surrounding his home to the City of
Port Alberni, to be developed into a
public park. The third lot was purchased by the city from an heir. The
fourth lot was left to School District
#70, for the children of Eighth Avenue
School to enjoy. After consultation with
City Council, the city lands were leased
to the Community Arts Council of the
Alberni Valley. The aim of this institution was to restore the rather dilapidated
pioneer home and to develop it into a
community base for the arts; recitals, exhibitions, workshops, and other special
events would be held here. As well, it
would upgrade and maintain the gardens for the public to enjoy.
Extensive renovations were made to
the building in order to make this goal
feasible. Approximately eight cords of
dry wood were removed from the basement level, an incredible fire hazard
which had gone undiscovered until this
time. As one newspaper reporter indicated of the state of the home, it was
easy to imagine Fred passing from room
to empty room during his last years of ill
health, feeling the loneliness which only the
aged can know . . . Looking about me, I
saw old fashioned lighting fixtures hanging
from soot-blackened wall and ceilings,
beamed and panelled, [and] the old wood
furnace in the basement which had only a
decayed plank floor}*
As well as general repairs, the entire
building had to be raised, a new cement
floor poured, rewiring completed, and a
new heating system installed. The overgrown gardens were maintained to the
best of abilities by dedicated volunteers,
but minimal funding seriously hampered
all efforts to keep them cultivated. Rollin Art Centre, the visible extension of
the Community Arts Council, was established in 1977. Its name pays tribute to
the man who engendered its existence.
In 1988, with massive community support for what was named the Garden
Project, the centre was able to renovate
the old gardens and make the home into
B.C. Historical News • Spring 1993
34 It^k   •    ^1
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f      Some crests which
appeared on early
railway cars.
Fred Rollin with nephew George, Dolly White (Fred's sister) and Ellen Rollin. c. 1914.
Photo courtesy of G. White.
a popular tourist attraction. Many of
Fred's plants, trees, and shrubs had degenerated over the years, and the orchard
no longer produced fruit. It was no
longer feasible to maintain the original
gardens. Following a plan envisioned by
landscape architect Arne McRadu, three
distinct gardens were created: the Macmillan Native Plant Garden, the
Margaret B. Smyth Garden, and the
Children's Garden, which is dedicated to
the children of School District #70 as
Fred would have wished. The official
opening of the new gardens was held on
August 20, 1988.
With its newly landscaped setting and
modernized structure, Rollin Art Centre
looks very different to the building in
the early photographs of the young married Fred and Ellen, poised at the top of
the porch steps over 70 years ago. However, this does not reduce its significance
in the history of the Alberni Valley. Its
name recognized Fred Rollin's contributions to the community, and perpetuates
his memory. With this in mind, it is
clear that Fred, if he were to visit his former home in spirit, "would smile
blithely with joy at a job well done."19
Catherine Lord worked at Rollin Art Centre
for three consecutive summers while she studied
at die University of Victoria. She then took a
post-graduate Works of Art diploma course at
Sotheby's in England She was married in July
1992 and die couple Uve and work in Orlando,
Catherine Lord, Interview with Mr. George White,
Victoria, September, 1988, p. 1.
Ruth Roberts, Turn-of-the-Century Link Dies with
Fred Rollin, Alberni Valley Tunes, March 16,1976.
Alberni Pioneer News, Saturday,
December 7,1907, p. 8.
Valley Heritage - 100 Yean of Schooling in the
Alberni VaUey, 1887-1987. Alberni Valley Museum,
pp. 2-4.
Roberts, 1976.
Catherine Lord, Interview with Mary Wood,
Port Alberni, Jury 12,1988, p. 4.
Ibid., p. 1.
Port Alberni News, May 15,1930.
Roberts, 1976.
Port Alberni News, September 12,1929.
Catherine Lord, Interview with Mr. Johanessen,
July 14.1988.
Lord, White, p. 3.
Lord, Johanessen, 1988.
Lord, White, p. 7.
Laura Evans, A Moment of Silence, Alberni Valley
Times, January 28,1977, p. 1.
Ibid., p. 3.
k "Alt,***     .
^^H   n*»n   W/
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1993 NEWS & NOTES
Ron Welwood's story ofthe Nelson Club
in Vol. 26:1 was on a disc - very carefully
prepared. The proof readers were so
confident that no typos could appear that
vigilance was relaxed. We were very
chagrined to discover that the date "1896"
in the title appeared as 1869.
Dr. David Chuanyan Lai was awarded the
Commemorative Medal for the 125th
Anniversary of Canadian Confederation. He
has done a great deal of volunteer work and
consultation re restoration of Chinatowns in
victoria, Barkerville, Kamloops, and
Edmonton. He has also written two very
successful books, one of which won a
Certificate of Merit in the 1988 BCHF
Writing Competition. His Forbidden City
Within Victoria, Orca Publishers, 1991 has
been on the best seller list for several
Did you know that at least 245 steamers
worked the inland waters of B.C. over the
years? E.L (Ted) Affleck has tracked down
information and registration from various
archives. He has produced a compact
listing of those vessels with their original
specifications at the time and place of
shipbuilding, and the routes they plied.
This 50 page book Affleck's List of
Sternwheelers Plying the Inland Waters of
British Columbia, 1858-1980 is available
for $6 from Ted at
#208 - 2250 S.E. Marine Drive,
Vancouver, B.C. V5P 2S2.
Pictures Wanted I
If any reader has a picture of any of the
buildings (interior or exterior), or the bus,
that served as Mission to Seamen in
Vancouver will you please lend it to the
editor to illustrate a well written history to
be published in the Fall issue of this
Readers particularly enjoy references to
people and places they have known. Ken
Leeming commented on many of those in
the list Those We Have Honored" plus his
mother's friend Lady Gertrude Aylmer (Vol.
26:1). Another faithful reader from White
Rock wrote to state that she was born in
the Methodist Manse in Kaslo, shown in the
picture on page 15 of that issue.
Following Mackenzie's route
Nine Lakehead University students arrived by canoe in Peace
River, Alta. August 29. They are retracing the route taken by
Alexander Mackenzie in his sea-to-sea journey across Canada.
The expedition will end next July as the voyageurs reach
Mackenzie Rock exactly 200 years after the explorer's arrival.
BoAufort ^
Sea    /\V*\
Summer 1989
• Fort McMurray to
Kendall Island on
the Beaufort Sea
• The 3,235 km trip
took 2 months
Summer 1993
• Peace River to
Mackenzie Rock
• 2,000 km trip
will take 2 months
Summer 1992
• Winnipeg to
Peace River
• 3,200 km trip
took 3 months
Summer 1991
• Lachine, Que. to
• 3.400 km trip
took 4 months
We are now into Vol. 26, ie. 1993.
Check the address label on the back cover.
The number on the end ofthe corner
indicates which issue marks the end of
your paid subscription. If it says, "26/2" it
also says That's all Folks!" Send a cheque
for renewal to the Subscription Secretary
or your local society treasurer. AND please
use the same format in registering your
name. The computer sends out duplicates
if John Jones reregisters as E.J.Jones, or
John E. Jones.
Also note - the Post Office Box in
Station E, Vancouver, which has served as
collection point for the BCHF and BCHN for
the past ten years, is no longer applicable.
Canada Post is divesting itself of Station E.
The Post Office Box will vanish in every
sense of the word.
Please address any subscription
payments/inquiries/complaints of missing
issues to Nancy Peter, Subscription
Secretary in Burnaby. Any other
correspondence re the magazine should go
Send ycur changed
address tc:
Nancy Peter,
Subscription Secretary
#7 5400 Patterson Avenue
Burnaby, B.C. V5H 2M5
II ycu have enjcyed Uiis
magazine, why net give a gilt
suDscripticn tc a friend?
S12.CC inside Canada, S17.CC
tc addresses cutside
§end ycur cheque tc Nancy.
(address above)
B.C. Historical News • Spring 1993
Books for review and book reviews should be sent directly to the book review editor
Anne Yandle, 3450 West 20th Ave., Vancouver B.C. V6S1E4
Vancouver and Its Region
Edited by Graeme Wynn and
Timothy Oke. Vancouver,
University of British Columbia
Press, 1992,133 p.,
Illustrated. $45.00.
It would be hard to find a better book
about Vancouver than this one. It is
informative, visually attractive, comprehensive and well-referenced. That it
should also be well written from start to
finish, given that at least eighteen authors
collaborated, is in itself some sort of miracle. Each author is a geographer. That
may be one key to the book's cohesion. It
may also account for the down-to-earth
interpretation of social facts.
Opening with a series of aerial photographs, subtle and striking at the same
time, modern Vancouver is captured in a
setting recognizably linked with the distant
From primordial times to the present,
section by section the book progresses.
Through the coming of the first human inhabitants, the impact of Europeans and the
rise of the city, to the state of the environment to-day, we are given up-to-date facts
sensitively interpreted. Each of the several
sections is an excellent compression of relevant information, yet each will yield some
fresh intriguing fact or some unusually
perceptive insight even to those of us already well-acquainted with Vancouver's
As a town planner, I was pleased by
Wynn's own chapter on "the rise of Vancouver", especially by his treatment of
Bartholomew's lasting work. As a municipal history buff, I was disappointed that
our longest serving, remarkable and influential mayor L.D. Taylor, was not
mentioned, not anywhere in the book. As
a book user, I found one feature quite awkward: the book is hard to hold open for a
full reading of the left hand page (because
the generous margin allowance is asymmetrical - too little on the right). But
enough! Apt and unusual illustrations
gleaned from a great array of sources add
so much to this excellent book that I must
stop carping.
Great credit is due Messrs Wynn, Oke
and their colleagues from the U.B.C. Department of Geography. Fortunate is our
City to have this set of understanding ob
servers.  Lucky the students to have such
Mary Rawson
Mary Ramon, a town planner, is a member
ofthe Vancouver Historical Society.
Otter Skins, Boston Ships, and
China Goods
James R. Gibson, Montreal,
McGill-Queen's University Press,
Illustrated $39.95
In a nine page introduction, the author
of this excellent book defines the Northwest Coast as "one of the most distinctive
aboriginal areas of the continent". He continues by establishing at the outset the
unique character of the coastal area,
stretching from the Columbia River to the
western end of the Aleutian Islands.
Forty-five years prior to any British or
American commercial interest in the
Northwest Coast, the Russian expedition
of Vitus Bering and Alexsey Chirikov in
the St. Peter and St. Paul in 1741 obtained
hundreds of sea-otter skins (and resulted
in the tragic loss of Bering and some of his
companions). The skins were in demand
in China by the wealthy Manchu class,
who paid handsome prices. Knowledge of
this enticing development resulted in a
"fur rush" across the Aleutian chain of islands to the Alaska mainland. "From 1743
to 1800 one hundred ventures obtained
more than 8,000,000 silver rubles worth" of
sea-otter skins.
In 1799 the Tsarist government chartered
the Russian-America Company, resulting
in enormous profits to the franchise holder, the virtual enslavement of the Aleutian
natives, and the near extermination of the
sea-otter. The latter, plus international and
domestic difficulties for Russia, encouraged the eventual sale of all of Alaska to
the United States in 1867.
The Spanish presence on the Alaska
coast antedated that of Russia (except for
the Bering-Chirikov expedition). However, Spain's interest was mainly strategic,
preferring to avoid foreign penetration as
much as possible by keeping its discoveries secret. Any motivation to develop a
Spanish fur trade was consequently almost
nonexistent, although several feasible
plans had been offered. By 1800 Spanish
interest in the Northwest Coast north of
the Columbia River had almost completely
The attention of maritime fur traders
(other than Russian) to the Northwest
Coast largely came about as a result of the
pubUshed report of Captain James Cook's
sojourn in 1778 for nearly a month in Nootka Sound, repairing storm damage and
replenishing stores of water and firewood
in his two ships, Resolution and Discovery. Cook's crewmen traded scraps of iron
to the Indians for sea-otter skins to make
warm clothing in preparation for exploration of far northern waters. The better
quaUty skins were sold in Canton for
astonishing profits.
Exploration of this unique area began
with the British captain James Hanna in the
60-ton Sea Otter, who sailed for Nootka
Sound in 1785. After five weeks in the
Sound, he procured a "valuable cargo of
Furs", resulting in a handsome profit when
sold at Canton the next year. Hanna was
foUowed by others, including the King
George and the Queen Charlotte, skippered by members of Cook's own
expedition, Portlock and Dixon.
Despite this auspicious beginning and a
few other notable successes, the British
traders suffered from restrictions imposed
by the monopolistic practices of the East
India Company and the inactive South Sea
Company. A licence granted by the East
India Company imposed substantial restraints on British trading vessels. The
restrictions placed on British traders plus
the growing competition from American
vessels, were among the major factors
causing the decline and eventual extinction
of British participation in the maritime fur
trade on the Pacific Northwest Coast. The
author persuasively points out that British
traders, too, may well have been less ruthless, less resourceful, and less efficient than
their free-wheeling Yankee rivals, although
the vaunted shrewdness of the latter may
have been simply the result of their freedom from the former's commercial
constraints ... A Spanish commandante
noted early that "the EngUsh, and more especially the Americans, give anything they
have, or for which the natives may beg, in
exchange for the skins of the sea otter".
And a Russian commander declared that
"the spirit of commerce, is, perhaps, nowhere greater than in America". "The
Americans", he continued, "avail themselves quickly of every advantage that is
offered to them in trade."
B.C. Historical News • Spring 1993 BOOK SHELF CONT D
In closing, this reviewer has never encountered a more coherent, useful,
enjoyable, and detailed account of the Pacific Northwest Coast maritime fur trade
than that offered by this book. It contains a
total of ten chapters, the first four of which
as mentioned above, deal with the Russian,
Spanish, British, and Americans engaged
in the trade. The concluding six chapters
go into even more widespread and keenly
detailed examination of aU possible aspects
of the trade, ranging from "The China Market" to "The Impact of the Trade".
It is strongly recommended as the definitive work on the subject both for the casual
reader and the dedicated researcher.
John Frazier Henry
John Frazier Henry is author of Early Maritime
Artists of the Pacific Northwest Coast.
Ragged Islands: A Journey by
Canoe through the Inside Passage
Michael Poole, Vancouver,
Douglas & Mclntyre, 1991.
248 p. $26.95
This book holds something for everyone.
Whether you tend towards tales of adventure, lean towards unusual sagas, Uke to
read of strange places where you will never go, are an environmentalist, yearn to
read about unusual Uves and individuals,
it is aU in these pages.
Michael Poole paddled his canoe through
but a portion of the Inside Passage, yet
such is the terrain that it took him most of
three months. He actuaUy explored only
Seymour, Kingcome and Loughborough
Inlets. Knight Inlet was bypassed, and he
crossed the mouth of Toba at the end of his
trip. This is the area of the mainland coast
in the vicinity of Queen Charlotte and
Johnstone Straits, and the upper reaches of
Georgia Strait.
Once I had reassured myself (by going to
the back of the book) that the canoe of this
odyssey was not an ordinary canoe, but
one which contained flotation tanks and
other safety features, I felt free to read in
There is a peculiar blend here; he finaUy
gave in to the strange love-hate relationship the B.C. coast engenders, and started
his long-dreamed-of soUtary trip. As much
as anything else, it was a personal quest in
search of identity, it was with considerable
reUef that I read at the end that the author
had paddled the coast "out of his hair",
and had faced the fact that a life of isolation and hardship in a lonely, mountain-
girt inlet was not for him.
If only because it takes us to an area we
are unlikely to actually visit, the days of
the Union Steamship being long over, it
makes worthwhile reading. The awesome
loneliness, the awesome terrain, the brooding quaUty of the landscape, the always-
lurking danger from the tides and narrows
such as the Arran Rapids, or Roaringhole
Rapids, the winds sweeping down the inlets from the lofty peaks, hold the
imagination. No benign zephyrs here; no
warm waters, due to the glacial run-off. It
is strange that a land so melancholy and
dangerous casts such a spell.
We travel a land in transition economically: a land where loggers now fly in for
brief stints, then leave, a land where expensive yachts, mainly American, clog the
inlets like floating luxury hotels during the
summer season, and fill up their freezers
with over-limit loads of fish, then leave at
summer's end, a land where fish farms are
the latest industry attempting to provide a
living for residents.
We visit abandoned Indian villages, totally bushed individuals, isolated beaches
and bays where it seems aU is as it was
hundreds of years ago. Some of the people
he visited are not among those you would
like to cultivate as friends. It almost seems
that a violent eccentricity is a must for anyone who remains up the B.C. coast -
interesting, certainly, but comfortable? No,
no, and no.
Canoeists would find the hints he gives
for managing in the violent tidal rips and
currents helpful. On the down side, the
fact that one gets the impression he is cold,
wet and anxious much of the time rather
limits the enjoyment of going along with
him. Thrown in for good measure are
snippets of history and environmental
broadsides. There is a predictable eyeball-
to-eyeball encounter with a killer whale.
My favourite page details the unusual experience of finding himself in the middle
of a school of feeding dogfish. Unique!
The whale-watchers, the whale chroniclers, the bushed, the idealists, those who
come to exploit and spoil, those who came
with starry dreams and are still trying to
make a life and a Uving, all are here. Michael Poole met them all, and paddled on,
till he eagerly yearned for journey's end at
Okeover Inlet - an exceUent read.
Kelsey McLeod
Kelsey McLeod is a member of the
Vancouver Historical Society.
The Dunsmuir Saga.
Terry Reksten, Vancouver, Douglas
& Mclntyre, 1991. 290 p. $29.95
In the history of British Columbia, perhaps
no other family has attracted the intense
loyalty, despairing hatred, moral outrage
or just simple interest that the Dusmuir
family of Vancouver Island did in the late
1800s and first decades of this century. In
choosing to name her study of three generations of the family The Dunsmuir Saga,
author Terry Reksten could not have selected a more apt title, suggesting as it does
the rich history of that clan.
In The Dunsmuir Saga the author has
summarized, in a very readable and enjoyable form the complex story of the rise of
the Dunsmuir family, from its humble origins, through hard decades, to its sudden
emergence in a position of immense, virtu-
aUy unequaled economic and political
power in British Columbia. It is a story of
particular interest, especially when the
reader stops to wonder why the dynasty,
which had dominated the Pacific coast, has
now disappeared from the public stage.
Reksten's rich narrative provides the complex answers, tracing the dissipation of the
family position and fortune in the hands of
later generations. The author begins by
tracing the hardworking, common Scottish
origins of Robert Dunsmuir, who emigrated to Vancouver Island as a coal miner in
1851, settling at Fort Rupert where a coal
seam had been located. She then examines
the long lean years that Dunsmuir experienced before the dramatic discovery of
massive coal reserves in the Nanaimo area,
and then the rapid rise in the fortunes of
the Dunsmuir family. By the 1880s Robert
Dunsmuir was the coal baron and raUway
tycoon who controlled much of the economy of Vancouver Island. The book reveals
the driving business ambition that took
Dunsmuir to the heights of power, but it
also demonstrated his often very controversial relations with his employees.
This is, however, not the biography just
of a prominent industrialist, but truly a
family history. Reksten also provides a
rich, detailed examination of the other
members of the clan, including Joan, the
matriarch who outlasted her husband and
retained control of the empire weU after his
demise. It also provides an extended review of the colourful and often sad lives of
Robert and Joan's two sons and eight
daughters. At his death, Robert Dunsmuir
willed virtuaUy his entire estate to his wife,
provoking a long and bitter feud between
the elder son James and his mother, as weU
as no doubt contributing to the long term
and steady decline of the Dunsmuir businesses and family fortunes.
While lacking the business talents of his
father, James Dunsmuir eventuaUy became
the   premier,   and   then   the  Ueutenant-
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1993
governor of British Columbia, either of
which positions would have been a remarkable achievement in itself. Younger
son Alexander Dunsmuir became an alco-
hoUc. The Dunsmuir Saga provides
valuable glimpses into Alexander's sad deterioration, and a particularly interesting
review of the costly and scandalous lawsuit that emerged from his will, a court
action that attracted the interest of the
press from Victoria to New York.
The author describes in great detail the
lives of luxury and adventure of the next
generation, the two sons and eight daughters of James and his wife Laura. Some of
the most interesting material in the saga, in
the opinion of this reviewer, is to be found
in Reksten's review of the Uves of this generation. One son, for instance, ran away
with the daughter of actress Lillian Russell,
and died an alcoholic in Singapore. The
hope for this third generation, James,
known as "Boy", was tragically lost at sea,
as a passenger on the Lusitania, which was
torpedoed and sunk, during the First
World War. EUnor experienced a major
struggle with her sexuaUty, Reksten's recognition and treatment of the issue adding
depth and value to this family history. Elinor also contributed to the dissipation of
the Dunsmuir legacy, losing much of her
fortune in Monte Carlo. Another daughter,
Muriel, married a Parisian couturier, who
worshipped his wife but also had an interest in members of his own sex. Daughter
Kathleen lost much of her part of the fortune investing in early unsuccessful talking
pictures based in British Columbia.
Daughter Dola Francis, who lived until
1966, was a long time companion to Tallu-
lah Bankhead. In the end, the fortune was
disbursed, and little of the Dunsmuir legacy remained, except in the form of notable
buUdings, such as Robert and Joan's Craigdarroch Castle, Robert's Esquimalt and
Nanaimo Railway, and James and Laura's
Hatley Park residence, now the centerpiece
of Royal Roads College on Victoria's west-
em perimeter.
Possibly The Dunsmuir Saga is the best
legacy, since it places aU of these artifacts
in context, and has brought to the reading
public a much richer understanding of the
important place and colourful lives of the
Dunsmuir family in the history of this
province. I found the genealogical outUne
of the Dunsmuir family, provided at the
beginning of the book, a valuable reference
tool, as I followed Reksten's narrative
through several generations of a very complex famUy. The historical photographs
also added depth to the study. The book
provides a very useful perspective on the
industrial and transportation history of
British Columbia. Terry Reksten has exhibited great dedication over the years in
her persistent work on this project; the immense amount of detailed research has
resulted in a family history that is extensive, and shows the mundane as weU as
the more colourful sides of her subject.
She has produced a product that is not a
glowing, uncritical review of her subject,
but a balanced study that examines both
the positive and negative. Her style is
very readable, and follows the exceUent
form that she offered her readers in previous publications.
For anyone interested in learning more
about one of British Columbia's most important family dynasties, some of its rich
industrial history, or just enjoying a very
entertaining account of the Uves of some of
British Columbia's "rich and famous", I
recommend that you take the time to read
The Dunsmuir Saga.
Bill McKee
Bill McKee, a native of Sechelt, currently
works for the Museum of Man, Ottawa.
Brother Twelve; The Incredible
Story of Canada's False Prophet
and His Doomed Cult of Gold,
Sex, and Black Magic.
John Oliphant, Toronto,
McClelland & Stweart, 1991,
384 p., $29.95
John Oliphant has provided us with a
fresh look at Brother Twelve, one of our
notorious British Columbians whose fame
goes beyond our borders.
He has presented new information on
the background of Brother Twelve giving
us insight into the man's character. His religious parents belonged to one of the
many new sects springing up in the 1900's,
the Catholic Apostolic Church; in the
1920's there was a branch in East
Brother XII apprenticed in the British
Navy, where he became skilled in many
trades. Marriage and family did not alter
his restless nature, and he finally abandoned them to continue his travels and
"ever seeking his Quest". This quest eventually led him back to British Columbia
and the Cedar district, near Nanaimo and
DeCourcy Island. Here he made the headquarters for the Aquarian Foundation and
home for his converts. Like many cult
leaders, he made rules for the converts, but
not for himself. The converts toiled in his
fields while he spent his time writing and
travelling. Finally his uplifting words and
lofty   ambitions   could   not   quell   the
The book contains excerpts from WUson's
publications. We can wonder why people
gave up their jobs, homes and donated
thousands of doUars on the strength of his
While my family were Uving on Gabriola
Island prior to the second World War, rumors were always circulating about
DeCourcy. I remember looking across
Northumberland Channel and seeing
Brother Twelve's yacht and looking
through binoculars at the gun emplacements which he had built on DeCourcy
Island. Later, I met Mary ConnaUy and
Margaret Whyte, two of Brother XII's disciples, on a trip to DeCourcy Island for the
Victoria week-end in 1935. Mary ConnaUy
eventually sued Brother XII, recovering the
whole island for herself.
Peggy Imredy
Peggy Imredy is a member of the
Vancouver Historical Society.
Sunny Sandy Savary; A History,
1792-1992. '
Ian Kennedy, Vancouver, Kennell
Publishing, 2177 West 13th Ave.,
Vancouver, B.C. V6K 2S2. 1992.
188 p. $11.95
On July 1, 1792, Peter Puget and Joseph
Whitbey, of Captain George Vancouver's
surveying team, camped on Savary Island,
"in a delightful plain with a fine smooth
beach before it for the boats". Diligently
completing their assignment, and exchanging courtesies with "a small party of
Native inhabitants", they lingered just long
enough to stock up on clams, "as many as
we could conveniently stow". Then they
sailed away, back to work, refreshed by
their picnic on Savary.
For two hundred years - and more, as
the Native inhabitants attest, - people have
gone to Savary Island to enjoy the delightful plain, smooth beach, and the clams.
Since 1980, Ian Kennedy has been among
these people, summering on Savary and
relishing the snippets of summers past
which appeared in the Savary Island
News and in the books of Jim SpUsbury.
The Vancouver Bicentenary spurred him to
gather Savary's past into a chronological
narrative, beginning with the geological
adventures which gave little Savary more
sandy beaches, more sunshine, and warmer waters than British Columbia's other
The first summer visitors, the Sliammon
people, named the island "Ayhus", a double-headed serpent.   Vancouver named it
B.C. Historical News • Spring 1993 BOOK SHELF CONTD
"Savary's Island". No one has been able to
identify Savary, but Kennedy has fun speculating. He has even more fun with the
story of the island's first permanent settler,
John Green, sixty-nine years old in 1886
when he arrived on the island to set up a
farm and trading company. If this were
fiction, a reviewer could take Kennedy to
task for suddenly turning this idyU into a
lurid tale of Jack's murder, and the pursuit,
trial and execution of his killer, postscript-
ed of course with a rumour of buried
By the turn of the century the island had
a resident family, the Andersons. In 1910
Savary was rediscovered by George Johnstone Ashworth, crime reporter for the
Vancouver Province, who came in search
of the site of the Green murder and left in a
frenzy of enthusiasm for the vacation potential of "the CataUna Island of these
northern seas". His aggressive real estate
promotion interested some prominent Vancouverites, notably CR. Townley and
Harry McMicken Keefer. One could be ap-
palled by their development tactics; the
advertising was misleading, the lots were
too small. But their most significant sales
were to themselves and their like-minded
friends. These developers recognized a
good deal, but they also fell in love with
the island and stayed in love for the rest of
their lives.
The story then becomes one of summer
cabins and Union Steamships, long friendships, family memories, and community
efforts - and people. The cast is varied; celebrities range from Jim SpUsbury making
his first wireless in his father's cabin in
1922, to Margaret Trudeau sauntering
down the dock in a bikini in 1973.
Troubles plague paradise, exacerbated by
decisions made far away by bureaucrats
unacquainted with the island and uninterested in learning. Kennedy tells how
"improvements" in transportation and
highways increased the time and discomfort involved in traveUing from Vancouver
to Savary. He recounts the story of the
Royal Savary Hotel, built in 1927-28 by the
Ashworths, and finally defeated in 1983 by
incongruous but inflexible government
But he does not belabor the troubles; this
is a sunny book. It is also a useful contribution to the history of our islands and
rural communities. As a footnote to larger
Histories, it happily reveals what Vancouver families did on their summer
Phyllis Reeve
Phyllis Reeve is a resident of
Gabriola Island.
The Run of the River; Portraits of
Eleven British Columbia Rivers.
Mark Hume, Vancouver,
New Star Books, 1992.
205 p. $14.95
I waded into the Run of the River all unsuspecting. When I emerged,
waterlogged, 205 pages later, I felt I had
sojourned in a surrealistic world inhabited
by beings entirely removed from reaUty.
This is a book not as much about eleven
B.C. rivers as about protest - a book for the
fanatical fisherman and the career environmentalist. The inhabitants of the world of
the book are mainly male, see our habitat
as a vast wUdemess that should be kept for
ever so, in order that they can fish, white-
water raft, watch fish and birds, etc. The
real world of those who work in B.C., and
pay taxes, of the logging, mining, pulp and
paper companies, the commercial fishing
industry, not to mention the ranchers, is
viewed not as an economic necessity, but
as a threat to this sacred and hallowed
The government which created the
W.A.C. Bennett dam, which brought electricity to thousands, jobs to thousands, is
labelled as a "rapacious regime". Government agencies are accused of mismanaging
the fishery resources, and slammed from
all angles. (These same governments funded this book with grants from Canada
Council and the Cultural Services Branch
of the Province of B.C.)
The author is upset during his yearly
"pUgrimage" to the Capilano fish hatchery
(hatcheries are termed "technological fixes",) because he finds the fish there have
"blank" eyes. Yet he writes lyrically and at
length about the barbaric playing of a
steelhead: "after fifteen minutes I began to
ache". Meanwhile, a companion is "shouting out joyfuUy every time the fish
jumped" to cheer him on. What this fish's
eyes looked like when he finally landed it
is not recorded, but he loosed the exhausted fish into the river, "to teU its story to the
Ranchers who allow their herds to wade
into rivers to drink are censured for fouling the river and damaging river banks.
Yet a fly fisherman who takes a chain saw
with him and carves out an area of riverbank so that he can cast is lauded.
Similarly, the white-water rafters are applauded for trudging off into the bush
with a roll of Delsey, and "burning the toilet paper" afterwards. One pictures the
rafting rivers ringed with blackened patches left by these stalwarts who have never
heard of leaves or moss - aU this illogic
gives one occasion to pause.
Perhaps part of the disquiet one feels on
reading this book is caused by the uneven
quality of presentation. After ploughing
through pages of statistics, one is hurled
with no warning into sudden and inexpU-
cable flights of fancy that strain towards
the poetic. After hearing of the horrors of
damming the Nechako, we suddenly find
ourselves flat out on a dry stream bed, gazing up through the non-existent water in a
strange kind of trance. "I Ue on the gravel.
.. and dream of the Nechako passing over
me... salmon hold in the current... some
. . . have in their mouths the bones of the
Cheslatta people ..." Similar writing
comes at random moments throughout.
The sad truth is that economically we use
the rivers to survive; in the real world people work in the here-maligned industries in
order to survive - a fact that is apparently
a bagateUe in the Uves of the so-caUed
sportsmen and environmentaUsts.
There are pages of statistics from eveiy-
thing about the different fish runs,
numbers of fish returning to habitats, etc.,
and all the data on the building of different
dams throughout the province. The stories
of the dams make interesting reading from
a historical standpoint. There is an index
for quick reference, and selected bibUography for those wishing to read further on
the subject. And, perhaps aU this information will contribute to a solution being
found between the extremes of viewpoint,
which wiU in turn lead to a satisfying balance being worked out between fact and
fancy, wish-fulfillment and reaUty.
Kelsey McLeod
Kelsey McLeod is a member of the
Vancouver Historical Society.
B.C. Historical News • Spring 1993
Honorary Patron:
His Honour, the Honourable David C. Lam, CM, LLD.,
Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia
Honorary President:      Keith Ralston
1st Vice President:
2nd Vice President:
Recording Secretary:
Past President:
Myrtle Haslam, P.O. Box 10, Cowichan Bay, B.C. VOR 1N0 748-8397
Alice Glanville, P.O. Box 746, Grand Forks, B.C. VOH 1 HO 442-3865
Ron Welwood, RR#1 S 22 C 1, Nelson, B.C. V1L 5P4 825-4743
T. Don Sale, 262 Juniper Street, Nanaimo, B.C. V9S 1X4 753-2067
Arnold Ranneris, 1898 Quamichan Street, Victoria, B.C. V8S 2B9 598-3035
Francis Sleigh, Box 29, Deroche, B.C. V0M1G0 826-0451
Mary Rawson, 1406 Woodland Drive, Vancouver, B.C. V5L 3S6 251-2908
Wayne Desrochers, 8811 152 Street Surrey, B.C. V3R4E5 581-0286
John D. Spittle, 1241 Mount Crown Road, North Vancouver, B.C. V7R 1R9 988-4565
B.C. Historical News
Publishing Committee
Book Review Editor
Margaret Stoneberg, Box 687, Princeton, B.C. VOX 1W0
Tony Farr, RR#3 Sharp Road Comp. 21, Ganges, B.C. VOS 1E0
Anne Yandle, 3450 West 20th Avenue,
Vancouver, B.C. V6S1E4
Subscription Secretary
Naomi Miller, Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0
Nancy Peter, #7-5400 Patterson Ave., Burnaby, B.C. V5H 2M5
Historical Trails & Markers   John Spittle, 1241 Mount Crown Road, North Vancouver, B.C. V7R1R9
Membership Secretary        JoAnne Whittaker, 1291 Hutchinson Road, Cobble Hill, B.C. VOR 1L0
Publications Assistance
(not involved with
B.C. Historical News)
Jill Rowland, #5-1450 Chesterfield Avenue, North Vancouver, B.C. V7M 2N4
Contact Jill for advice and details to apply for a ban
toward the cost of publishing.
Scholarship Committee       Arthur Wirick, 2301 - 4353 Halifax St., Burnaby, B.C. V5C 5Z4
Pamela Mar, P.O. Box 933, Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 5N2
Writing Competition
(Lieutenant - Governor's
758-2828 The British Columbia Historical News
P. 0. Box 5254, Stn. B
Victoria, B.C.
V8R 6N4
Publications Mail
Registration No. 4447
British Columbia Historical Federation
The British Columbia Historical Federation invites submissions of books for the eleventh
annual Competition for Writers of B.C. History.
Any book presenting any facet of B.C. history, published in 1993, is eligible. This may be a
community history, biography, record of a project or an organization, or personal recollections
giving a glimpse ofthe past. Names, dates, and places with relevant maps or pictures turn a story
into "history".
The judges are looking for quaUty presentations, especially if fresh material is included,
with appropriate illustrations, careful proofreading, an adequate index, table of contents and
bibUography from first-time writers as well as established authors.
Note: Reprints or revisions of books are not eligible.
The Lieutenant-Governor's Medal for Historical Writing will be awarded to an individual
writer whose book contributes significantly to the recorded history of British Columbia. Other
awards will be made as recommended by the judges to valuable books prepared by groups or
All entries receive considerable publicity. Winners will receive a Certificate of Merit, a
monetary award and an invitation to the B.CH.F. annual conference to be held in Parksville in
May 1994.
Submission Requirements: All books must have been pubUshed in 1993, and should be
submitted as soon as possible after publication. Two copies of each book should be submitted.
Please state name, address and telephone number of sender, the selling price of all editions ofthe
book and the address from which it may be purchased if the reader has to shop by mail.
Send to: B.C. Historical Writing Competition
P.O. Box 933
Nanaimo, B.C. V9R5N2
There is also an award for the Best Article published each year in the B.C. Historical News
magazine. This is directed to amateur historians or students. Articles should be no more than
2,500 words, typed double spaced, accompanied by photographs if available, and substantiated
with footnotes where applicable. (Photos will be returned.)
Please send articles directly to:
The Editor, B.C. Historical News
P.O. Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0


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