British Columbia History

British Columbia Historical News 1990

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Volume 24, No. 1
Winter 1990 - 91
ISSN 0045-2963
British Columbia
Historical News
Journal of the B.C. Historical Federation
"Fellowship of the Arts" MEMBER SOCIETIES
Member Societies and their secretaries are responsible for seeing that the correct address for their society is up-to-date.
Please send any change to both the Treasurer and the Editor at the addresses inside the back cover. The Annual Return
as at October 31st should include telephone numbers for contact.
Members' dues for the year 1988/89 were paid by the following Member Societies:
Alberni District Historical Society, Box 284, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M7
Atlin Historical Society, RO. Box 111, Atlin, B.C. VOW 1A0
Burnaby Historical Society, 4521 Watling Street, Burnaby, B.C. V5J 1V7
Chemainus Valley Historical Society, P.O. Box 172, Chemainus, B.C. VOR 1K0
Cowichan Historical Society, P.O. Box 1014, Duncan, B.C. V9L 3Y2
District 69 Historical Society, P.O. Box 3014, Parksville, B.C. VOR 2S0
East Kootenay Historical Association, RO. Box 74, Cranbrook, B.C. V1C 4H6
Golden & District Historical Society, Box 992, Golden, B.C. VOA 1H0
Gulf Islands Branch - BCHF  c/o Wilma J. Cross, Secretary, R.R.#1 Pender Island, B.C. VON 2M0
Kootenay Lake Historical Society, Box 537, Kaslo, B.C. VOG 1M0
Kootenay Museum & Historical Society, 402 Anderson Street, Nelson, B.C. V1L 3Y3
Ladysmith Historical Society, Box 11, Ladysmith, B.C. VOR 2E0
Lantzville Historical Society, Box 501, Lantzville, B.C. VOR 2H0
M.S.A. Museum Society, 2313 Ware Street, Abbotsford, B.C. V2S 3C6
Nanaimo Historical Society, RO. Box 933, Station 'A', Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 5N2
North Shore Historical Society, 623 East 10th Street, North Vancouver, B.C. V7L 2E9
North Shuswap Historical Society, P.O. Box 22, Celista, B.C. VOE 1 LO
Princeton & District Pioneer Museum and Archives, Box 687, Princeton, B.C. VOX 1W0
Qualicum Beach Historical & Museum Society, c/o Mrs. Cora Skipsey, RO. Box 352, Qualicum Beach, B.C. VOR 2T0
Saltspring Island Historical Society, RO. Box 705, Ganges, B.C. VOS 1 EO
Sidney and North Saanich Historical Society, P.O. Box 2404, Sidney, B.C. V8L 3Y3
Silvery Slocan Historical Society, P.O. Box 301, New Denver, B.C. VOG 1S0
Trail Historical Society, P.O. Box 405, Trail, B.C. V1R 4L7
Vancouver Historical Society, P.O. Box 3071, Vancouver, B.C. V6B 3X6
Victoria Historical Society, c/o R Odgers, 3075 Southdowne Road, Victoria, B.C. V8R 6H3
Affiliated Groups
B.C. Museum of Mining, P.O. Box 155, Britannia Beach, B.C. VON 1 JO
City of White Rock Museum Archives Society, 1030 Martin Street, White Rock, B.C. V4B 5E3
Fort Steele Heritage Park, Fort Steele, B.C. VOB 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
Second Class registration number 4447
Published fall, winter, spring, and summer by the British Columbia Historical Federation, RO. Box 35326, Station E,
Vancouver, B.C. V6M 4G5. A Charitable Society recognized under the Income Tax Act.
Subscriptions: Institutional, $16.00 per year; Individual (non-members), $8.00; (to addresses outside Canada) $12.00.
Financially assisted by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Recreation and Culture, through the British
Columbia Heritage Trust and British Columbia Lotteries.
Back issues of the British Columbia Historical News are available in microform from Micromedia Ltd., 158 Pearl St., Toronto,
Ontario M5H 1L3- Micromedia also publishes the Canadian Magazine Index and the Canadian Business Index.
Indexed in the Canadian Periodical Index. BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORICAL NEWS
Volume 23, No. 4        Journal of the B.C. Historical Federation       Fall, 1990
Note the slight change of seasonal
designation. Winter straddles two
years, therefore we acknowledge
both years.
We thank all those who have contributed to the content and well-
being of the News during the past
year, and look forward to another
four issues presenting many facets
of history within our province. In
this edition readers will find contrast in the story of an elite intellectual society and a tobacco chewing
pair of prospectors; growing up in
Alberni or serving in B.C. House of
Please keep stories coming in. We
are in need of a few short articles
(1800 words or less) to balance some
student essays which run well over
the suggested 2,500 words.
The 1991 conference in Duncan will
offer interesting outings and diverse
speakers. Plan to attend. (See details page 17)
Cover Credit
Tlie Elizabethans, 1933, shows costumed members of the Fellowship of
the Arts as they attended their
Twelfth Night Revel, January 6,
1933. Judge Howay sits at the lower left corner. Can readers provide
names of any others shown in this
Photo courtesy of Irving House.
Features Page
Who Pulled the Cord on the Mainliner 2
by Winston Shilvock
Case After Case: Canning at Bestovall 1933 to 1963 3
by Robert Griffin
British Columbia House, 1 Regent Street, London 9
by Garde B. Gardom, Q.C.
A Pioneer's Medicine Chest 11
by Shirley Cuthbertson
The Fellowship of Arts 1914 - 1968 14
by Kevin Barrington - Foote
The Great Sheep Creek Volcano Hunt 18
by Ted Burns
An Old-Fashioned Christmas 21
by J. A. Green
Women's Role in Early Farming in British Columbia 22
by Gwen Szychtef
Endicott Centre 26
by Shirley Armstrong
String of History 29
by Richard McMinn
News & Notes 32
BookSheffi Book Reviews
Atlin, the Last Utopia -
Reviewed by Gerry Andrews 34
Transit in British Columbia, The First 100 Years -
Reviewed by Kelsey McLeod 34
The Beloved Island: The Queen Charlotte Islands, Vol. 3
Reviewed by Stephen Lunsford 35
Ginger, the Life and Death of Albert Goodwin
Reviewed by Peggy Imredy 35
It's Up to You: Women at UBC in the Early Years
Reviewed by Jane Turner 36
Printed in Canada by Kootenay Kwik Print - Cranbrook, B.C.
Manuscripts and correspondence for the editor are to be sent to PO. Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0
Correspondence regarding subscriptions are to be directed to the subscription secretary (see inside back cover)
B.C. Historical News   Winter 1990-91 Who Pulled the Cord On The Mainliner?
Between 1916 and 1964 the
Kettle Valley Railway (KVR)
carried passengers from southern
British Columbia to the Coast,
running from Midway to Penticton
to Princeton to Brodie where the
tracks turned west and ran through
the Coquihalla Pass to Hope, except
when massive winter snows blocked
the Pass.
On these occasions the trains
were routed north from Brodie to
Spences Bridge where passengers
transferred to the Canadian Pacific
Railway Mainliner heading for
Vancouver. The KVR would arrive
at "The Bridge" around midnight
and lie over two or three hours,
waiting to pick up passengers from
the CPR. When this occurred on
December 24, 1924, one of the
strangest happenings in Canadian
railway history came about.
The KVR locomotive No. 3267
that was to be the principal actor in
the coming drama had been cut off
the train, wyed and put on the
track back of the station. The
engineer and fireman, after
completing this job, headed for the
bunkhouse for some much-needed
rest before starting the return run
to Penticton.
No one was moving around the
yard in the intense cold and copious
amounts of snow. The operator
was busy at his desk receiving
orders and the travellers waiting for
the west-bound passenger train
were congregated in the warm
waiting room.
Before leaving the engine the
fireman had banked the fire and
covered it with fresh coal to keep it
going. However, on his final check
he failed to notice that the engineer
hadn't completely shut the throttle
About two hours later the fire
took hold and pressure built up in
the boiler. Steam was forced
through the partially open throttle
valve to the main cylinders and
Engine No. 3267 started to move.
B.C. Historical News    Winter 1990-91
by Winston Shilvock
No one noticed as it broke through
the track switch at the end of the
yard and disappeared into the
night, heading east at a walking
speed toward Ashcroft on the
Canadian Pacific mainline track.
While this was going on the CPR
west-bound passenger train was
pulling out of Ashcroft, running an
hour late. Trying to make up time,
the engineer quickly reached
maximum speed on the 25-mile
straight stretch to Spences Bridge.
As he roared past the Toketic mile
board nine miles east of "The
Bridge", the three-chime signal,
"Stop at the next station," came
over the engine communication line
from back in the train.
Cursing his luck at having to pull
up at a non-scheduled stop, the
hogger eased the train to a halt at
the empty, snow-covered Toketic
station. While waiting for the
highball, he looked back down the
train but nobody got off. All he
could see was an irate conductor
running through the snow wanting
to know why in hell they'd stopped
since they were already late and a
second section of the mainliner was
hot on their tail.
A choice exchange of words took
place as the engineer claimed the
conductor had signalled a stop and
he in turn denied it.    Finally the
conductor yelled, "Get this *'## train
out of here," and the engineer
dropped into his seat and yarded the
The train had barely started to
move when the fireman screamed the
signal for an impending crash, "Plug
her!" and dove out of the gangway
into the night. Slamming home the
throttle and setting the brakes, the
engineer followed, head first into a
snow bank. Seconds later the
passenger train was almost stopped
when the front of truant No. 3267
nudged gently into it.
No passenger or crew member was
injured. This was fortunate when
one considers what could have
happened if the mainliner had been
barrelling at full speed.
An investigation later failed to
discover why the signal had sounded.
All the crew members denied pulling
the cord and it was unlikely any
passenger had done so as none got
off at Toketic.
The only solution advanced was
that on that cold, snowy Christmas
Eve, even though no one had sold
Him a ticket, God was a passenger
on that Canadian Pacific Railway
Win Shilvock is a retired businessman living in
Kelowna. He is a keen history buff who shares
the findings of any research by writing articles
like this.
Engine No. 3267 Kettle Valley Railway:
Pictwe courtesy:   Wm. J. Presley Vancouver. Case After Case
Canning at Bestovall 1933 to 1963
Of all the food processing
industries that have operated in
British Columbia, perhaps the least
known is that of fruit and vegetable
canning. Its economic contribution
to the province was significant. The
industry was also an important
employer even though its
contribution has never come close to
that of the better known fish
canning industry. The fruit and
vegetable canning industry was an
industry that existed in great flux,
profits were never large, most firms
operated very much on a hand to
mouth basis. The work for most of
the labour force was seasonal and
rarely paid enough to support a
family all year long, the only
exceptions were the few full time
employees. The industry was
dominated for many years by one
major conglomerate, Canadian
Canners, an Ontario based firm and
producer of the famous "Aylmer"
brand products. Despite this, many
independent firms operated in
British Columbia and a few of these
were quite successful, among them
was the Bestovall Canning Co of
Bestovall emerged in the midst of
the Great Depression. It was
started in 1932 by Charles C.
Hayden who, since 1918, had
worked at various Canadian
Canners plants in British Columbia.
He joined with several other men,
mainly from Canadian Canners, to
start their own cannery. It is unclear
at this point whether they were
unhappy with Canadian Canners or
if the company was reducing staff
due to the depression, though it
does seem unlikely that Canadian
Canners would have released such a
group of skilled men. But whatever
the reason the Bestovall Canning Co
was established. There were nine
original investors in the canning
company and all but two of these
by Robert Griffin
investors worked for the company.
Charles Hayden ran the operation
with his son Art acting as assistant
manager. Philip Metcalfe, a former
Canadian Canners field man, acted
as field man for Bestovall with his
son Donald as shipper. George
Lewis was the engineer, Lemond
Walkey was sales manager, for six
or seven years, and Newton
Freeland was the accountant.
Freeland, who married Charles
Hayden's daughter, took over the
selling once Walkey left. The two
major shareholders were Charles
Hayden and Philip Metcalfe.1
Despite starting in the midst of
the worst depression of the century
Bestovall, with its wealth of
experience, quickly established
itself. In that first year over 13,000
cases were packed, a good pack but
a figure which would nearly double
during the next year and grew
nearly every year thereafter.
Production was to peak at 278,821
cases of goods in 1950, about 5
percent of British Columbia's total
production for similar canned goods
during that year.
The first cannery building, 40 by
60 feet, was at 2244 West 10th Ave.
During those early years much of
the work had to be done by hand;
washing, cutting and filling. Once
filled the cans were run through an
exhaust box and an American Can
Company double seamer, which
applied the tops at about 50 cans
per minute. They moved on to the
two vertical retorts for cooking. The
cans were then placed in a cooling
tank and finally moved on into the
warehouse section. Even though the
cannery used very straight forward
processes, times were difficult and
novel solutions were sometimes
called for. When Bestovall first
started canning beans, one of their
main products, sacks of beans were
distributed throughout the
neighbourhood where the ends were
snipped by families using scissors.
This was a big event in Kitsilano
where money was scarce. Each day
there was a big lineup to get the
sacks of beans, many more could
have been distributed had they been
available. This unusual method
had not been in operation very long,
however, before a salesman from
Food Machinery Corporation of
Seattle called by the plant. He had
known Charles Hayden from
Canadian Canners days, and asked
"what . . . are you guys doing here."
He did not think too much of the
explanation and sent up a bean
snipping machine. The machine
could snip about 300 pounds of
beans an hour and go full tilt day
and night, eventually four snippers
were to be in operation doing about
600 to 800 pounds of beans an hour.
In 1943 Bestovall built a new,
190 by 200 foot, plant at 1775
Clarke Drive, a considerable
expansion over the previous facility.
It was also at this time that Art
Hayden, Charles' son, took over
management of the plant. Art had
been brought into the canning
business at Canadian Canners by
his father in 1927 at the age of
fifteen. He felt quite comfortable
taking over and running the
operation with 16 years canning
experience, 11 of which were at
Bestovall. He also immediately
began to introduce improvements to
the operation. His father, still
president of the company, initially
had some trouble relinquishing this
control but after a few tussles Art
hauled him to the office and asked
who was going to run the place and
his dad finally said, "you". After
that, excepting for an interlude as
shipper Charles Hayden just signed
the cheques.
The most significant improvement to the new plant was the introduction of conveyor belts.    Each
canning process required a different
B.C. Historical News   Winter 1990-91 combination of machinery and except
for the most permanent bean and
gallon can size line being able to
move the appropriate machines to
the conveyors greatly speeded
machinery change-over and greatly
increased production by speeding
the flow. The plant operated with a
wide variety of machinery from bean
snippers to pea hullers, three
different filling machines were
required. Various graders for sizing
were also used as well as a potato
peeler, apple parers and other
machinery. There were three 40
inch by 72 inch retorts with
twenty-six metal retort baskets for
cooking. In all about sixty different
machines were required along with
twenty-six cutting and grading
tables and a variety of conveyor
Throughout   the   1940's   and
1950's the plant underwent continu-
Retorts and Baskets in 1943.
Charles Hayden
is standing on the right
al modification2, every winter was
spent by several of the men working
on new equipment in order to improve on the previous year's operation. Most of these improvements
were devised by Art Hayden who
sometimes simply stood watching
the operation seeking to "dream up"
ways to increase plant efficiency.
The plant, after 1943, consisted of
five canning lines, a bean line (the
B.C. Historical News    Winter 1990-91
two largest packs were pork and
beans and beans), three smaller
lines and a gallon can size line for
commercial and institutional sales.
It was to the three smaller lines in
particular that machinery would be
moved and placed according to the
product being canned and the size of
can required. Everything was on
wheels that could be on wheels, to
speed the changing of the machines.
Similar to other industrial
enterprises, such improvements
were a survival necessity, if
equipment and process was too
outdated the business could not
compete. Bestovall was the first in
the industry to introduce the use of
coolers, the room could also be used
as a warmer for ripening, and
forklifts and pallets in the early
1950's. In another instance of cost
saving improvement the packing of
raspberries     was     completely
supplier and a filler was built at
Bestovall. Using the new
machinery, only 25 women
processing the same number of
raspberries were finished by 2:00
The canning of each different
product required its own special
equipment and processes. The
canning of cherries, for instance,
meant that the cherry stemmers
had to be moved in. The canning of
pumpkins required that all the
pumpkins be chopped by hand as
there was no machine available that
could handle the wide variety of
sizes. Squash was added to the
pumpkin for texture and to absorb
some of the water. Despite its
name, the squash was sometimes
so hard that it would stop a saw
and need to be cut by hand, often
the choppers had to swing away at
them "to beat the dickens."    The
overhauled, during the early fifties
when Bestovall packed between 50
to 70 percent of all the raspberries
canned in B.C. Before the changes
about 200 women were employed
filling cans which then moved on to
the weighing machine and the
syruper, the whole operation lasting
from 8:00 a.m. until about 5:30 or
6:00 p.m. each day to empty the
2000 crates. A washer and weigher
were purchased from a machinery
pieces were then placed in baskets
with screens and cooked in the
retorts for about 30 minutes at 220
degrees Fahrenheit. Upon removal
they were pressed and taken to
pulpers which consisted of several
metal paddles to beat the pumpkin.
The finishers then brushed the pulp
through screens to remove any final
seeds or bits of skin. The pulp went
to the can fillers and then through a
steam jet to create a vacuum for the closing machine which applied the
top. Into the retorts for a final cooking and through cooling tanks and
into the warehouse. In this process
both the pulper and the filler had
been designed by Art Hayden and
made at the Bestovall plant though
the finisher was a purchased
In November 1939 a pack of
beets was put up by thirty-four
women and four men.    Of the
remove both ends. They then moved
along on belts past women who
sorted the beans for spots and
oversize, the oversize going to a
sheer for French Cut beans. A bean
cutter sliced the rest into pieces
about one inch long and passed
them to a bean sizer. The sizer
would sort by l's, 2's, 3's 4's and
larger. The l's, 2's and 3's were
combined as fancy, the top grade;
the 4's as choice and the larger as
generally in comparatively small
packs, the largest packs being pork
and beans and beans. Even some
soups were tried as well as dill
pickles. One unusual pack was of
dried peas, Bestovall was probably
the only cannery in Canada packing
them. Production started in 1933
and continued until 1942. They
were mainly brought in from Ontario
though a few were purchased from
around Lytton.    Soaked overnight
thirty-four women, two were filling
the cans with brine and one was
stamping the cans. One man was
washing beets, another, dumping
into pans, another cooking and the
fourth was operating the Canco
(American Can Company) double
seamer, placing lids on the cans.
This crew packed 134 cases of 24/2s
squat (24 of that can size per case)
cans and 11 cases of 6/10s cans. A
day later, November 16 1939,
thirty-five women were packing solid
pack apples, including four on the
peelers, four on filling and
twenty-seven trimming and coring.
Green beans, one of Bestovalls
main products, came to plant in
sacks, about fifteen hundred of
which would be on hand at a time.
About sixty to seventy sacks were
packed each day. The beans were
dumped into the bean snippers to
standard. The beans were all
blanched and finally moved onto an
escalator to the can filler, a large
disc with about twenty holes in it.
At the filler women would scoop the
beans into cans through
appropriately sized holes. The cans
then went up to the brine room
where the liquid brine was poured
into the cans and then onto the
double seamer for the placement of
the tops. The double seamers were
generally running, by this time, at
about one hundred and thirty-five
cans per minute. They proceeded to
the retorts for cooking at 230
degrees F. for between 25 and 40
minutes depending on can size.
They finally moved into the coolers
and on to the warehouse for labeling
and storage.
Bestovall canned a wide variety
of fruits and vegetables though
they were then packed in 18 oz.
squat cans with a little salt and
sugar. Samples were sent out and
they went like wildfire, carloads
were shipped to Montreal and
elsewhere. Art Hayden thinks the
company must have bought up most
of the dried pea stocks in Canada.
When money became a little freer,
however, the market dried up and
Bestovall was forced to stop canning
them. Bestovall was also among the
first to can asparagus in British
Columbia commencing with an
initial run of 373 cases in 1935.
They secured the asparagus
through the Japanese strawberry
growers cooperative and picked it up
in New Westminster. Bestovall was
in fact instrumental in encouraging
the Japanese to experiment with
growing asparagus by offering a
steady market.   The removal of the
B.C. Historical News   Winter 1990-91 Japanese from the coast to
internment camps during World
War II put a stop to this budding
industry and asparagus was
imported from Washington State
The company was always
looking for a means to extend the
canning season, to keep the plant in
operation for as much of the year as
possible. Bestovall, in order to
achieve this, first began to pack
more jam and then started canning
pork and beans, both of which could
be done after the normal canning
season had ended for the other fruits
and vegetables. The fruit for the
jam would be stored outside in
about two hundred 45 gallon barrels
with S02. On one occasion, in the
middle 1940's, there was enough
stock on hand to make up about five
thousand cases of jam and Art
Hayden approached the salesman
suggesting they attempt to sell the
whole jam pack to one customer.
The salesman went to Spencers
Stores in Vancouver and gave them
such a good price that they were
able to sell at a considerable
discount. It was the great jam rush,
traffic was tied up on Cordova street
for blocks, Bestovall even received a
call from the Police traffic
department about the problem. A
Bestovall truck was dispatched to
Spencer's every morning with some
of the customers buying as many as
five or six cans at a time.
In the late 1940's the second
item developed to extend the
canning season was pork and beans.
Initially just a winter supplement, it
eventually surpassed beans as
Bestovall's main product. During
some years of the fifties it came
close to being half of the plant's total
output. Beans were brought in from
all over the world, but the majority
came from Ontario. The preferred
beans came from Lytton but the
local suppliers did not produce them
in the quantities required. Beans
were also tried from near Ashcroft
but they became damp and
mildewed which affected the flavour.
Carloads of tomato paste were
required to pack the pork and beans.
The sauce generally consisted of
half local puree and half imported
tomato paste from Italy and other
parts of the world. This was
necessary in order to achieve the
desired texture and colour.
Recipes for Canning
Pork and Beans
Canadian Canners, 1928,
also used by Bestovall.
"Materials needed
for 3000 sacks Beans
Beans       3000 sacks 100 lbs ea.
Salt 18,000 lbs
Onions 9,600 lbs
Pork 8,542 lbs
Allspice 262 lbs
Cloves 225 lbs
Mace 112 lbs
Red Pepper 132 lbs
stick 300 lbs
Sugar 690 lbs
(tomato) 12,000 gals
If all 2's Squats. 972,000 Cans
or about 27,000 cases. Above spread
over six weeks."
The above recipe was eventually
revised by Bestovall to the following
Soak 150 lbs Beans in large
Barrel for 18 hours, then strain,
rinse, and put into kettles.
Then bring to boil, skimming off
scum and floating beans with
wooden paddle.
When ready dump out of kettle
and put into filling machine as
#10's (can size)
- 3 lbs 14 ozs with 1 oz. Pork
#2 Va's -17 ozs with Pork
(1 lb. cut into 90 pieces)
Indiv. - 4 ozs with Pork
(1 lb cut into 130 pieces)
#2's Squat - 9 lk ozs with Pork
(1 lb cut into 100 (revised to 110)
2 72 Hours at 240
#2 Vs's
55 mins. at 248
40 mins. at 248
2's Squat
47 mins. at 248
5-#5's or 25 Gals of Tomato Pulp.
Add 25 gals of water bring to boil
Add:    -15# (pounds) Ground
Onions when boiling
-115 # sugar
-30# salt after ten
minutes boil
- 3 ozs Red Pepper after
salt & sugar
8 ozs Cinnamon
7 ozs Allspice Whole
6 ozs Cloves
3 ozs Mace
Put in Bag
and throw
in kettle at
Boil for 30 mins. then add
enough Boiling Water to make 50
gals finished product.
1 Batch of sauce to about 500 lbs
Each fruit or vegetable required
its own recipe, but these were
generally not as complex as the ones
for pork and beans. Most fruits
merely received a sugar syrup
solution while a brine solution was
added to most vegetables. Cooking
times and temperatures varied with
the product and can size, standards
were by this time well established
throughout the industry.
Bestovall was a very efficiently
run operation but not everything
always went smoothly. In one
instance a whole bunch of supposed
canned apricots was sent to
Edmonton, however, an angry
customer reported back that the
whole load was beans. They had
been canned at the same time as the
beans and had been mislabeled.
Another problem arose on one
B.C. Historical News    Winter 1990-91 occasion during a visit by the
inspector for the Federal
Department of Agriculture. The
inspector decided that the pork for
the pork and beans was being
brought out of the cooler too soon
and was ready to order the plant
closed. A call to the chief inspector,
however, quickly straightened out
the misunderstanding.
The number of employees not
only varied from year to year but
also varied according to the
production run throughout the year.
On the average, however, peak
employment might run up to about
175 for several months with about
25 kept on throughout the year.
Most of the employees were women
who lived in surrounding Kitsilano.
They were often housewives with
grown children and who used the
cannery as an opportunity to get out
of the house and earn some extra
money. The cannery supplied each
worker with a waterproof apron and
gloves for a deposit which was
returned upon the garments' return
at the end of each season. Every
year as well the Company held a
Christmas Party. In 1945, for
instance, the company served turkey
with all the trimmings for about 100
staff and employees. The dinner
was followed by carol singing and
two hours of dancing. Charles
Hayden also gave out the Christmas
Bonuses. Although a well run plant
with good staff and employee
relations, Art Hayden only fired one
employee in the thirty years of
operation; the company along with
the rest of the industry was
unionized just after World War II.
The good relations continued
however, including the annual
Christmas Party.
Every year as well, Art Hayden
attended the annual meetings of the
Canned Foods Association of British
Columbia3. The meetings were both
a work and a social event. A variety
of papers were usually presented on
aspects of the canning trade or on
new processes of interest. In 1950,
for instance, when the convention
was held at the Ballroom of the
Hotel Georgia in Vancouver, the
program commenced with papers by
F.E. Atkinson of the Research
Station at Summerland discussing
fruit as a raw material and H.A.
Nelson of Westminster Canners
discussing vegetables as a raw
material. In 1950 twenty-one
different talks were presented on a
wide range of topics and included
several talks with speakers from the
United States. As well, at the
"cutting bees" each canner's product
was compared with other canners for
quality. The cutting bee was not
just for show, it gave the canners an
opportunity to see how their product
stood against other canners. In a
1941 cutting report, for instance, a
can of "Choice Diced Beets" was
noted to have "a very ragged
appearance as though the dicer had
been dull; not a good 'Choice'." In
other instances in the same report
pumpkins and cherries were both
lowered in grade. One can of
"Fancy Pumpkin" had "too many
pieces of skin and seed" for its grade
but otherwise "color and flavor
good." One can of cherries had "too
many split (and) very soft, probably
overcooked." It should be noted,
however, that most of the cans
inspected were up to grade with
"flavor and color good." Much of the
meeting was of course a social
gathering, giving many of British
Columbia's canners a chance to let
off a little stem following an arduous
canning season of long hours and
hard work. During the main
canning season the plant might run
seven days a week with employees
often working nine hours or longer.
The presidency of the association
rotated through the various canners
with Bestovall's Art Hayden acting
as president or as a director for
many years.
The company generally
maintained good relations with its
growers and entered into contracts
for specified acreages to be grown by
the farmer for Bestovall. The
method was haphazard at best as
the contract was for acreage not
quantity, some years huge crops
came in and the plant had great
difficulty to can everything while in
other years the crop might be poor
and everything in short supply. The
cannery supplied the seed and then
took the crop at the price set in the
contract. Purchases also had to be
made from the various marketing
boards once they came into force.
The marketing boards reportedly
gave little consideration to the small
competitive edge that local canners
had over imported canned goods.
One of the primary objectives of the
boards was to secure as good a price
as possible for the farmer on whose
behalf they were acting. Art
Hayden suggested that this was
particularly true of the fruit
situation where often the canner
was required to take orchard run,
some of which could be unusable for
canning. At one point when canning
pears, Bestovall found that, due to
the price set by the board,
Okanagan pears were costing them
80 dollars a ton FOB Vancouver,
whereas they could buy American
pears for 40 dollars a ton plus 20
dollars shipping. Hayden indicated
that almost immediately the federal
government imposed a 20 dollar a
ton anti dumping duty. However, it
still might have been better to bring
in the American pears as they were
all graded and sorted prior to their
arrival at the cannery unlike the
Canadian pears.
Bestovall marketed some
products under their own labels but
these labels were rarely used in
British Columbia. Rather they were
generally applied to products sent
out of province, to Alberta in
particular and occasionally to other
provinces. In the 1940's Bestovall
introduced a black label with a
garden elf trade mark, a label they
hoped would stun the market. A
trade mark that still has an appeal
as it has been changed and revived
by Fraser Vale at Sardis B.C. Most
of Bestovall's pack was sold prior to
canning. As well, the company
would store part of the pack free of
charge until the next canning season
should the purchaser so desire. In
British Columbia most product was
sold under the wholesaler's labels.
Bestovall's   only   export   was
B.C. Historical News   Winter 1990-91 loganberries from Saanich on
Vancouver Island, sent by them to
England where they were in great
demand. Bestovall tried loganberry
jam as early as 1934 and by 1936
were canning loganberries. There
were difficulties in finding
customers, they even installed a
juicer and experimented with a
loganberry drink but were unable to
sell much. By 1943, loganberries
had caught on and Bestovall could
no longer buy the berries cheaply
enough to make much of a profit,
though they continued to can them
right up until 1962.
Tartaric Acid
48 lbs
100 lbs
7 lbs
4 oz of mixture
22272 degrees F.
38 to 40 cans - 4 lbs (each can)
Bestovall maintained a close
relationship to the wholesale firm of
Kelly Douglas who, in fact, assisted
them in obtaining the bank loan for
their 1943 plant expansion. The
product sold to Kelly Douglas was
in turn sold under the Nabob label.
Up to another 40 percent of the pack
went to Safeway. Bestovall in fact
found it almost impossible to get its
product into the big chain stores
under its own label. They were able
only to supply a few smaller grocers
in British Columbia. The close
relationship continued for many
years  with  Kelly Douglas  who
eventually absorbed about 80 per
cent of Bestovall's output. In the
late 1950's and early 1960's Kelly
Douglas however, began to reduce
their purchases and began to buy
instead cheaper product from
Eastern Canada where both grower
prices and wages were less.
Safeway for instance could bring in
canned fruit by the boatload from
Taiwan where cheaper wages and
costs reduced the price per can
considerably. Nor could the
company compete with the United
States, which had larger plants and
more up to date equipment. It has
been estimated that B.C. plants
were about five years behind
technologically as compared to the
U.S., B.C. companies often went to
Seattle and bought the used
equipment discarded by the more up
to date American plants. This
situation contributed to Bestovall's
demise in 1963-4. The company
found they could not compete with
the cheaper product being brought
into the province even though
Bestovall believed their quality was
much superior. They had even
selected growers who would supply
them with a superior product for
canning but this meant paying top
prices. Bestovall also began using
the recent technology of freezing but
the market situation combined with
bank loans coming due and
increasing indebtedness for supplies
decided the owners that the only
solution was to close the plant and
liquidate the assets to pay the
After packing nearly two million
cases of food products Bestovall
ceased operation in 1963 and
liquidated its assets in 1964. Much
of the machinery was sold to other
canners and the property and
building were sold to a steel
company. It has now been broken
up into smaller company spaces
from which a variety of retailers and
wholesalers operate. Despite the
sale of the plant and equipment
once the debts were paid Art
Hayden was unable to retire and
went on to work for Queen Charlotte
Fisheries. They had recently taken
over a Delta juice plant and
upgraded it to can a wide variety of
products, he managed this plant for
an additional 11 years, packing over
another million cans before retiring.
Bob Griffin is the head of the History
department at the Royal British Columbia
Museum in Victoria.
*       Unless otherwise indicated all information in this article
was obtained from Art Hayden in either oral or written
1      In 1055 the shares of Philip Metcalfe and and Lemond
Walkey were transferred to the other shareholders and
Charles Hayden became the largest single shareholder
The only other changes occurred in 1958 when George
Lewis died and 1959 when one of the non-employee
shareholders, Arthur Woodgate died. Despite an
agreement to keep the shares within the group of current
shareholders, Woodgate left his to a brother in England
causing considerable trouble until they were finally
recovered. The original investors stayed with the
company and it remained in their hands, with even a new
share issue going directly to them. The directors, as was
typical of such closely held companies, could veto any
share transfers,
Bestovall Canning Co. Ltd., 13870, Companies Office
Records, Provincial Archives of British Columbia.
2. Ibid.
3. Canadian Food Packer(January 1946), p. 41
4. Food In Canada (July 1943) p. 45
New University of British Columbia Guide Available
The Special Collections and University Archives Division of the University of British Columbia Library has just
published an eighty-two page guide to the literary, performing and visual arts holdings. The guide provides a brief
collection (fonds) level description of the materials which fall into these categories. The Division's holdings include
the private papers of Riderick Haig-Brown, Malcolm Lowry, Ethel Wilson, Jane Rule, Emily Carr, Toni Onley, Jack
Shadbolt, and Jean Coulthard just to name a few.
The guide is available for $15 from:    Christopher Hives, Special Collections and University Archives Division
U.B.C. Library, 1956 Main Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6T1Y3
Please make cheque or money order payable to "U.B.C. Library".
B.C. Historical News    Winter 1990-91
s British Columbia House, 1 Regent Street:
British Columbia Representation In London
by Garde B. Gardom, Q.C.
In 1872, the year after B.C.
entered Confederation, Gilbert
Malcolm Sproat became Emigration
Agent for British Columbia. He later
assumed the title of Agent General,
and the Province has been
represented in London for the
United Kingdom and Europe ever
The first B.C. office opened at 4
Lime Street where it remained until
1898. Mr. Sproat and his
successors, Thomas Stahlschmidt
and Henry Beeton, were "honorary"
officials, as opposed to being
appointed by statute as
subsequently has been the case.
For salaries/expenses $9,000
was allocated in 1894, with Forbes
Vernon becoming Agent General in
1895 until 1898 when he was
dismissed following a change in
Government. William Walter was
the next Agent General, at 15
Sergeant's Inn, Fleet Street, until
September 1901.
John Turner, who moved the
office to Salisbury House, Finsbury
Circus, then took over until he
retired on Government pension
fourteen years later in 1915.
Under the aegis of Sir Richard
McBride, then Premier of the
Province, Mr. Turner acquired the
leasehold of the ground (Crown
property) at numbers 1 and 3
Regent Street in 1913, and British
Columbia House went into
construction. The site was formerly
that of the Continental Hotel - of
questionable repute closed down in
1906, later to reopen as the Hotel
Chatham - finally demolished for
this construction.
The development of the whole of
Regent Street, however, was
undertaken about one hundred
years earlier by the renowned
architect John Nash, who made it
the then premier office and shopping
area in all of London. These early
improvements were implemented
between 1813 and 1816 under Act of
Parliament for about one and a half
million pounds (an enormous sum in
that era).
The design of the British
Columbia House office building by
Mr. Alfred Burr F.R.I.BA. a century
later complemented its neighbours.
The building's solid exterior is
pleasing, with an imposing front
entrance above which is the former
B.C. coat-of-arms in a curved
pediment beneath three sculpted
figures: "Progress, Justice and
The corner stone was laid by
H.R.H. Prince Arthur of Connaught
in July 1914, accompanied by a
number of dignitaries, the Band of
H.M. Grenadier Guards, and a list
of members of the Government of
British Columbia, the Programme of
the Proceedings of the day, with a
number of gold, silver and copper
coins were stationed in a bronze box
in the Foundation.
The building was built for
$212,801 which included architect's
fees and original furnishings. The
up-front purchase price for the
99-year lease (which expires in the
year 2013) of the crown land was
$145,624. In addition B.C. pays a
yearly ground rent of about $5,000
gross which by today's standards is
remarkably nominal and without an
escalation clause!
Earlier B.C. House tenants found
that "a charge will be made for each
coal fire per day", also in addition to
rents, "tenants had to pay £4 per
annum for each radiator". Today
B.C. still leases out the majority of
the building but now enjoys gross
rentals of nearly $800,000. A
remarkably good deal to say the
Initially   it   appeared   that
ac. Historical News  Winter 199041 acquisition of the land and the
construction of this six storey
building, with its Portland stone
facings, aroused adverse comment in
B.C. The Victoria Colonist in 1916
wrote critically of our "London
Palace". Today however, the vision
and efforts of Sir Richard McBride
and Mr. Turner thankfully are justly
Sir Richard McBride also
assumed first posting at British
Columbia House as Agent General
in January 1916.
Since 1872 there have been
twenty-two representatives,
including those mentioned and:
F.C. Wade - August 1918 to
November 1924; F.A. Pauline -
January 1925 to December 1930;
F.P. Burden - January 1931 to
January 1934; WA. McAdam,
C.M.G. - February 1934 to
September 1958 (for several of those
years only in an "acting" capacity);
B.M. Hoffmeister - October 1958 to
September 1961; J.V Fisher, Ph. D.
- October 1961 to September 1964;
Rear Admiral M.G. Stirling, CD. -
October 1968 to July 1975; R.M.
Strachan'- October 1975 to August
1977; L.J. Wallace, OC. - August
1977 to April 1980; WR. Smart
(Acting) - April to December 1980;
A.H. Hart, Q.C. - January 1981 to
June 1987; Garde B. Gardom, Q.C,
since June 1987.
No. 1 Regent Street, on the corner
of Charles II Street, is centrally
located - just two blocks from
Trafalgar Square and two blocks
from Piccadilly Circus. Down
towards The Mall, past the Guards
Memorial to the Crimea and
Florence Nightingale statue, is
Waterloo Place with the Duke of
York atop his 123 ft. column. Then
four blocks up The Mall is
Buckingham Palace.
B.C. House which clearly
enhances the prestige of Lower
Regent Street, also well personifies
the excellent image of British
Columbia in the United Kingdom,
and has experienced much of historic
Following World War I Armistice,
4,217 soldiers slept here in tempo
rary dormitory accommodation.
Canada negotiated to acquire the
British Columbia House building for
the Federal Government. Sagely
these negotiations halted because
the B.C. Government was "unwilling
to lose the identity of B.C. House".
So in 1934 Canada House opened in
Trafalgar Square and no longer did
Canada rent space from B.C. for its
operation in London.
At that time the remarkable Mr.
W.A. McAdam took charge at 1
Regent Street. To this day, people
still speak of his outstanding
representation. He was "at the
helm" when World War II broke out
and in November 1939 established a
canteen, run by women volunteers
and a "depot" for cigarettes and
food parcels from home for B.C.
armed forces. Mail was re-directed
for service personnel, and responses
made to enquiries from anxious
relatives at home. In 1942 the
reading room on the first floor of
B.C. House became an extremely
popular lounge for officers where
food was served (not drink). Many
have said that B.C. House became
the HEART of the war-time effort of
the Canadian community in London.
In the same year, the BRITISH
first produced to be sent to
Canadian prisoners of war. The
Newsletter is still going strong, and
is a valuable source of information,
and business link, between B.C. and
After World War H, in 1947, the
activities of B.C. House expanded to
spearhead trade and commercial
interests. Over many years as
Industrial and Trade Counsellor Mr.
Harry F.E. Smith led that aspect. A
few of the more spectacular
developments then initiated,
developed, or finalized were: Annacis
Island Industrial Estate,
Grosvenor-Laing Limited situating
in B.C. with its first big contract
being the B.C. Electric/Hydro
building in Vancouver, Northland
Navigation, the Peace River Dam,
Vancouver Wharves Ltd., and so on.
Many substantial projects have
stemmed from B.C. House, London,
including the concept of TRANSPO
'86, subsequently becoming EXPO
86, the benefits of which to B.C.'s
economy and tourism are still being
On the economic side for inward
investment, apart from Tourism
dollars, and apart also from stocks
and bonds and real estate, B.C.
House generated into B.C. for 1987 -
$40 million, for 1988 - $100 million
and for 1989 - $125 million, with an
increase projected for 1990. All good
business for B.C.
From time to time the
appearance of the interior of the B.C.
Government offices has been altered.
Unfortunately, not all the changes
made have been lasting
improvements. During early
renovations the Exhibition Hall and
its fine exhibits and handsome
chandeliers, was done away with,
as was the marble staircase and the
marble columns and flooring on the
main floor. The designed plaster
work on several ceilings became
hidden or spoiled, some elegant
mahogany paned windows were
eliminated. As well a number of
B.C. artifacts were disposed of, plus
the library! All treasures now
unavailable to be replaced. May
those who directed such well
intentioned inappropriateness in the
interest of modernization be granted
Recent renovations have
permitted restoration of some of the
grandeur and marble of the earlier
entrances. Also courtesy of a most
generous and kind donation by
Seaboard International Limited the
"B.C. Boardroom" has been
established together with its
handsome handmade B.C. wood
furnishings and boardroom table.
Apart from a one-time
representation by Tasmania, the
office of Agent General is unique to
Canada and to Australia - by virtue
of the sizes of our Provinces and
their States.
Today there are eleven
Commonwealth Agents General
based in London: six from Canada
representing British Columbia,
Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario,
B.C. Historical News   Winter 1990-91
10 Quebec and Nova Scotia, plus five
Australian States.
The historic responsibilities of a
B.C. Agent General were
immigration, capital and business
inflow, plus consular activities
(including assisting B.C. business
interests and travellers to this part
of the world and providing them with
up-to-date accounts of B.C. current
events). Throughout it has been,
and continues to be a Port of Call for
British Columbians in this part of
the world.
All of these duties have expanded
over the years to include assisting
B.C. exporters and U.K. - now
European - importers, B.C. tourism,
plus fulfilling landlord duties, and
today all of those functions continue
but more actively than ever before.
In addition, intensive attention is
being given and proactive initiatives
are taken to locate and attract
economic interests from this part of
the world to position in B.C. so as to
enjoy and complement both that
which British Columbia has to offer
as well as the remarkable
opportunities that present
themselves within our "Destination
Province" with its access to the
enormous markets of the United
States and of the Pacific Rim.
No. 1 Regent Street continues to
acquit  itself admirably  in  the
interest of our province and for all
British Columbians. Its unwritten
creed is "service". The B.C. flag is
still flying here and long may it
The writer practiced law in Vancouver,
became an MJjA. and later Attorney-General
under Bill Bennett, and is now the principal
resident at B.C. House in London. He thanks
Miss Audrey Mortlock and Mrs. Geraldine
Chalk for their research and assistance in
preparing this history.
The photo ofB.C House was taken in October
1990 especially for this magazine.
A Pioneer's Medicine Chest
by Shirley Cuthbertson
In 1906, Thomas Lindsay
Thacker, who had settled in Hope,
British Columbia, was visited by his
fiancee Beatrice Sprague (from
Edinburgh), and his sister, Gladys
Thacker. They stayed long enough
for Beatrice to appreciate not only
the natural surroundings but also
the isolation of Hope at that time,
because when she married Mr.
Thacker and settled there in 1908,
she brought a fully stocked medicine
chest. She was to rely on her own
medicine and skills for the next ten
years, until there was a doctor in
the community, and she continued
to use this resource for family ailments for many years. Her son,
Lindsay Thacker said, "The whole
family depended on the kit."1
The chest is now at the Royal B.C.
Museum - it is representative of an
important aspect of the history of
this province, since isolated families
throughout our history have had to
rely on the skills and knowledge of
someone in the neighbourhood. I
was particularly interested, because
my own great-grandmother was
supposed to have had a medicine
chest. I had never really considered
what it might be like. In fact, I
made the assumption that most
people make: that the home medical
resources of our great-grandmothers
were just kitchen and garden. For
some, this was far from the truth.
"Domestic" medicine chests were
made and filled to individual requirements with drugs of the orthodox medicine of the period. In
Canada, purchase of medicines "over
the counter" was not restricted until
1908. Chests contained both drugs
and implements for mixing and
measuring doses, since dosage was
neither standardized nor encapsulated. Ingredients were chemicals
commercially processed and refined
from natural sources (plant, animal
and mineral), but they were not
measured and mixed. Drugs came
in individual bottles and the owner
was expected to be his or her own
pharmacist, but these were ijq£ "herbal" recipes.
Until the last part of the 19th and
into the 20th century, many diseases and injuries could not be cured -
drugs were used to treat symptoms,
but those who understood their usage did not expect a cure. Standard
drugs in medicine chests were used
to treat symptoms of common ailments, minor injuries, and pain.
There was sometimes more than one
drug for treating the same symptom,
these were simply alternatives.
Commercially produced physicians'
chests had been used by naval and
military surgeons, and "domestic"
chests were produced for aristocratic
households from the 17th century.
Domestic medicine chests were common in both Europe and America by
the last half of the 19th century.
They became a popular item for educated emigrants to take with them
to the colonies. By the mid-
nineteenth century, travellers and
settlers coming to British Columbia
were quite likely to be well-informed
about what they should bring, including medical supplies.
B.C. Historical News   Winter 1990-91 The collection of the Royal B.C.
Museum includes two small leather
chests (one of which belonged to a
whaling captain who sailed out of
Victoria in the 1880's), and another
chest similar in size to the Thacker
chest. There are also domestic medicine chests in the collections of med-
ical groups in Vancouver and
Victoria, as well as a detachment
chest brought out by the Royal
Engineers (New Westminster
Museum) and Dr. Helmcken's chest
(Helmcken House, Victoria). There
is evidence that at least one engineer used what appears to be a company recipe some years after he took
up land in the Fraser Valley. Alben
Hawkins' ledger/diary gives the ingredients for a "Diarrhea Tincture".
Domestic medicine chests were never standardized, they were fitted out
according to requirements of the individual buyer, although some medical catalogues listed different sets of
contents for different circumstances -
sea captains, vicars or emigrants.
Usually home medicine chests no
longer have their contents, and some
have had bottle labels removed. So
far, very few of the medicine chests I
have seen have the contents intact.
Drugs prescribed by professional
doctors are usually described as "orthodox" medicines. These have
changed rapidly because of new research and medical fashion throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, but
some of the components isolated in
modern drugs go back centuries.
The chests that have survived indicate a wider use of orthodox medicines than one might assume from
the stories people tell of grandmother's favorite "cures". Perhaps these
cures are the more exotic, therefore
the more memorable, medicines inflicted on young families. Evidently
some homes had resources other
than kitchen remedies, although
both may well have been used by the
same people.
Mis-used, some of the drugs in domestic medicine chests could be dangerous, if not lethal. The only drug
common to nearly every chest I have
looked at is opium, or some derivative of opium. Medicine chests were
for use by people who must have
B.C. Historical News    Winter 1990-91
been literate in the more common
pharmacology of the period.
Some of the drugs in the Thacker
medicine chest include laudanum,
quinine (used to reduce a fever), ipecacuanha wine (an expectorant, or in
larger doses, an emetic), two kinds
of rhubarb which were not much
used (a purgative), aspirin ("for neuralgia, lumbago and painful rheumatism"), and large bottles of
Castor oil and Dr. Gregory's Powder
(both laxatives). The choice of these
drugs probably reflects family tradition or preference - some are already
a little old-fashioned for 1908, others were probably added later.
Lindsay Thacker and older members of my family remember both
kitchen remedies like mustard plasters and doses of the orthodox medicines in the chests (like ipecac or
blue mass). The medicine chest was
probably kept in the kitchen, since
bathrooms were not yet a place to
keep medicines. Medicine chests
were forerunners of both medicine
cabinets and first aid kits.
Medical catalogues in the latter
part of the 19th century not only
had lists of contents for ships, families or medical missionaries, they
also mention directions for using
them, which described symptoms
and prescribed doses for both adults
and children . . . and sometimes
horses. It is likely that the instruction booklets were similar to the
home reference books of the day, although few of the original booklets
survive with the chests. Medical reference books and even cook books
gave recipes for cooking for invalids
and for preparing doses from drug
ingredients. It was only in the
twentieth century that doctors' prescription medicine and home medicines became separated. In
England, a cheap case with a box
made of pine or perhaps leather,
could be purchased for a shilling,
while large mahogany cases with
silver-capped bottles could only have
been for the rich.
The chest that belongs to Mrs.
Thacker tells us that she made careful use of these orthodox drugs - successfully raising a healthy family.
Her care of the drugs is evident in
her replacement of the parchment
covers that sealed them, and in the
precise placement of items in their
niches. The key is still with the
chest, and it has its original leather
case, with a carrying strap. The
case and the interior are well worn,
but aside from a little corrosion of
the metal items, it is in very good
A domestic medicine chest that belonged to the Thacker family of Hope, B.C. The chest is mahogany, lined with red velvet, 9" high, 12" wide, and 5 Wdeep. It contains a measuring glass
and scales, and a small glass mortar and pestle as well as drugs.
12 condition and has nearly every standard item. All the bottles have
glass stoppers, and several are still
covered with parchment, tied round
the neck of the bottle with coloured
string. The brass scales and
weights are complete, and there is a
small glass mortar and pestle. It is
exceptionally well looked after, ingredients are not muddled, and
everything is in place.
This particular medicine chest was
made in England - it has "Chubb's
Improved Patent, 27618, St. Paul's
Churchyard" on the lock. All but one
bottle in the Thacker chest have the
label of Duncan, Flockhart & Co.,
Edinburgh. The contents reflect orthodox practice of the period during
which it was used, - it does not contain any of the notorious patents of
the day. Some bottles contain drugs
in their more recent forms: for example, the bottle labelled "Quinine
Bisulphate", which has the label
from a London company with outlets
including Montreal, has capsules,
rather than powders or pills. This
indicates a change of contents - perhaps by Mrs. Thacker.
It is very likely that the owners of
medicine chests refilled bottles from
time to time. Druggists might
change the label, but if supplies
were obtained in their own containers, owners could easily refill bottles
for convenience.
The Thacker medicine chest may
have been purchased by Beatrice
Sprague's family earlier than 1908.
One feature of this particular medicine chest is the inclusion of two
small tinned boxes. Dr. Anne
Mortimer Young mentions that
chests were" . . . often used by two
or even more generations of the
same family . . ."; and that ". . . early chests commonly had tin boxes for
powders. . . "3 This might mean
that the chest was made before
1850. However, the box has later
military style handles - inset, so
that they are flush with the surface
when they are folded down. The
fact that bottles containing opium
are labelled "poison" also indicates
the latter part of the 19th century,
since such labels were required in
Britain after 1868. It is possible
that   this   chest   was   used   by
Mrs. Thomas Lindsay
Beatrice's parents, but probably not
by her grandparents. It was perhaps refilled and given to her to
take to Hope, British Columbia in
Most young British Columbians
now take medical services for granted, even though some areas are still
isolated, and few can imagine what
it must have been like not having a
doctor at all. Lindsay Thacker remembers being given medicine from
the kit whenever he was sick: "ipecac, in water, for fevers; rhubarb,
soda, powders",4 and one that isn't
in the kit, but which grows in the
area: Cascara sagrada. Mrs.
Thacker was very knowledgeable
about natural history, and the diary
she kept in 1906 shows an inquiring
and literate individual. 5 A neighbour describes the family: "They
could talk on any subject, and their
house was a treasure trove of intriguing articles."6 It is likely that the
owner of a medicine chest would
have been able to read directions
about medicines which often had
Latin names, and that implies more
than a primary education. Mrs.
Thacker used Latin names for
plants in her diary, and later collected and wrote about insects for the
University of British Columbia. She
must have had the education or
background to measure doses accurately, including dividing a dose for
a younger child. It would be essential for the owner to be able to recognize common symptoms and diagnose ailments, which also implies
some medical knowledge and/or em-
Thacker and Family
pirical experience.
It would probably be reasonable to
say that, at least in rural areas,
many women and sometimes men
were expected to have a level of medical skill somewhere between first
aid and St. John's Ambulance training today, though with different re-'
sources. Many pioneer anecdotes
support this theory, but it is interesting to have evidence of a degree
of medical competency, like this
medicine chest. The prepared doses
and explicit instructions we receive
now do not require us to undertake
the responsibility Mrs. Thacker had
when she administered medicines to
her family.
If anyone has further information:
I would appreciate the opportunity
to photograph and document any
similar medicine chests within reach
of Victoria, and would also be interested in hearing recipes or anecdotes
from anyone who was given medicine from a domestic medicine chest.
(See Cuthbertson's address on inside
back cover).
The writer is on staff at the Royal B.C.
Museum in Victoria. She also serves as
Recording Secretary of the B.C. Historical
Personal conversation with Mr. Lindsay Thacker, 1988
Hawkins, Alben Ledger/Diary 1874-188* Add. Mss.
Provincial Archives of B.C.
Young, Dr. Anne Mortimer "Domestic Medicine Chests:
Part 1, Orthodox or Allopathic" Antique CoDfletar: Dec.
Personal conversation. 1988
Quoted in Forging a New Hope Hope and District
Historical Society, 1984, pp. 292 - 295.
[bid. p. 308
B.C. Historical News   Winter 1990-91 The Fellowship of Arts 1914 -1968
by Kevin Barrington - Foote
The Fellowship of Arts was the
brainchild of Freeman Bunting, a
citizen of New Westminster.   On the
evening of January 6, 1914, Mr.
Bunting called together a group of
twelve men and women to consider
"the formation of a brotherhood of
those to whom the intellectual side
of life is of interest and necessary."
At that initial meeting specific
proposals      concerning      aims,
membership, and structure were set
before the group.  The society was to
be open to both sexes who would
number thirty in total, twenty
"companions" and ten "initiates."
In order to join  the group an
individual's name would have to be
put  forward  by  a  member  for
consideration by all the members.  If
accepted — and apparently there
was usually no dispute - -the new
recruit would serve a probationary
period as an initiate before becoming
a full-fledged voting companion.
The  group  would  be  led  by  a
"Master or Dominus at the head,
and    a    Scriber    (Registrar    &
Secy-Treasurer)."   The  primary
objectives would be
to meet together at regular
intervals and partake of the joy
of companionship,   and  the
benefit of association of ideas in
literature, the arts and crafts.
To encourage and promote the
arts and crafts in any way that
may be advisable and necessary.
To assist in any manner that
may   be   deemed   well   any
member   or   friend   of   the
brotherhood,  who may be in
need, not necessarily of money,
but perhaps of that aid which a
little influence can give.    From
time   to   time   to   entertain
distinguished workers in the
field of art who may be visiting
the locality.
Mr. Bunting even went so far as to
propose that the Fellowship "might
one day form the foundation of an
academy and become an arbiter in
matters of art." The last of these
objectives was perhaps somewhat
pretentious or ambitious but was
likely born out of sincere
enthusiasm. Although    the
Fellowship never did become an
arbiter it certainly did achieve its
other objectives.
Bunting's proposed fraternity
received unanimous support. One of
the items not agreed upon at that
initial meeting was a name for the
society. It was decided that until
such a time as a satisfactory name
was found, they would refer to their
group as "The Circle." Further, it
was agreed that the society should
consist of the following departments:
literature and languages, music,
travel, arts and crafts, science, and
The Circle met again on January
21 and January 28. At the former
meeting the group elected an
executive, decided to meet once a
week, and noted basic expenses.   At
JftDototfijiP »f SSrUf
President  -  Judge Howay
Vice-President   Dr. B. A. Hopkins
Secretary-Treasurer   Mrs. C. D. Peele
3! Albert Crescent
Literature and Language   Mr. Dunlop
Music and Drama   Mrs. Clark
Science   Mr. Peck
Art  Mrs. Anstey
Travel  Miss Dauphinee
the meeting on the 28th a
constitution committee was
Having dispensed with the initial
organizational necessities The Circle
was ready to begin in earnest.
Their first real meeting was held on
February 4, 1914 when a paper was
read by one Mr. Savage about his
travels in the Peace River Country.
The next two meetings of
importance for our purposes were
February 26 when the group agreed
upon a constitution and by-laws,
and March 5 when the group
adopted the name of "The
Fellowship of Arts."
After only six months the FOA had
established the basic profile and
procedures most of which were to
characterize the organization for its
lifetime. The one item missing in
that first year was an insignia
which did not appear until January
1916. A printed program from the
following season, 1916/17, shows
that the FOA had adopted as its
of grts	
Sftaitm 1932-33
Columbian Co. Ltd.
Example #1
B.C. Historical News   Winter 1990-91
14 slogan a line of Ben Jonson, "Art
hath an enemy called ignorance."
Sometime between 1917 and 1922
the slogan and the insignia were
combined as seen in Example 1.
Apart from the insignia, however,
the basic policies and procedures
were in place. Each spring the
following year's program was
developed and individuals
committed themselves to
researching a topic and making a
presentation. The meetings were
held at members' homes alternately
and, as was clearly printed on the
programs, non-presenters were
expected to assist in any way as
required. The meetings began in
the early evening and included the
main presentation, refreshments,
death in that year, various members
held terms as president, the last
being Mr. W.R.T. Brooks, a high
school English teacher.
In the earliest days of the FOA
topics were apparently suggested
ad hoc by individuals and covered a
host of subjects including Travels in
the Peace River Country, Travels in
Egypt, The Parthenon, Love Letters
of Famous Men, Improvements at
the Mouth of the Fraser River,
Arthur S. Sullivan, The Territory of
Hawaii, Appreciation of Music,
Browning, Architecture, the Cost of
Living, and so on. At some point
the group began choosing a theme,
usually a place or period, for the
year and decided upon various
topics relevant to the theme.   Most
Each evening will be oponcil with ft qnotiitlon from Slinlcespcnrc appropriate to tlie occasion.
Oct. 5—Re-Union.
Hostess—Mrs.  Drew
Oct. 19—"The Worid as Known in Elizabeth's Reign"
Mr. F. J. Rundle
Hostess—-Mrs. Stevens
Nov. 2—"English Homes and Home Life"
Mrs. Anstey
Hostess—Mrs.  Anstey
Nov. 16—"Madrigals"
Mrs. Clark
Hostess—Mrs. Pock
Nov. 30—Spenser: "Faerie Queen"
Mrs. Stevens
Host—Judce Howny
Dec. 14—"The Two Queens"
Mr. Dunlop
IIomeKB—Mrs. Peele
Jan. 6—Twelfth Night.
Mrs. Peck
Hostess—Mm. Drew
Jan. 18—"England's Foreign Relations"
Judge Howay
Hostess—y\rx.  Hopkins
Feb. 1—"Elizabethan Seamen"
Mr. Dalton
Hostess—Mrs. Dalton
Feh. 15—"Marlowe"
Mr, Gordon Rundle
Hostess—Mrs. Rundle
Mar. 1—"Historic Thames"
Mr. Morey
Hostess—Airs. Stevens
Mar. 15—"A View of the Sciences"
Mr. Peck
Hostess—Mrs. Peck
Mar. 29—"Tlie Slory of the English Bible"
Mrs. Peele
Hostesft—Mr*.  Mntthlson
April  12—■"Bon Johnson"
Dr. E. A. Hopkins
Hostess—Mrs. Sinclair
April 29—Music
Miss Cavc-Brownc-Cavc
Ilnstosses—Misses Cave-Brown-Cave
and, frequently, musical
As the years passed there were, to
be sure, changes but only some of
the major ones need concern us here.
In 1916 the meetings were changed
to fortnightly and in 1942 to
monthly. Moreover, although
summer activities were originally
included in the annual plans, these
were eventually abandoned. In
1918, Judge F.W Howay took over
the presidentship from Bunting -
who stayed on as a member of the
group before moving to England in
1922 - and held that position until
1943.    Following Judge Howay's
Example #2
attention was devoted to western
European culture as evidenced by
such titles as Scandinavia,
Elizabethan England (Example 2),
Modern Germany, In Search of
Ireland. But other studies of, for
example, China, The Old South,
Australia and others are indicative
of the FOA's interest in expanding
its members' horizons.
Although the FOA relied for the
most part on participation from its
members, it did make connections
with other cultural organizations.
For example, on April 10, 1918 the
FOA spent a delightful day with the
Vancouver Vagabond Club, and
returned the favour in June of the
following year. In another instance,
the Vancouver Dickens Fellowship
wrote the FOA in May 1922
soliciting sales of its post cards.
Occasionally the FOA was able to
draw upon the resources of an
acknowledged artist or expert in the
arts. On March 16, 1921, a
Professor Ashton of the University of
British Columbia came to talk to the
group on Cyrano de Bergerac. In
November 1922 the FOA hosted
Bliss Carman, Poet Laureate of
Canada, and in 1923, Charles G.D.
Roberts, another renowned
Canadian poet.
Most meetings met the intended
goal of broadening, in a quite
rigorous fashion, the members
artistically and intellectually; more
will be said of this shortly. But not
every meeting was spent in such
earnest pursuit.    On November 14,
1914, it is recorded that "Miss
Collins displayed here (sic)
embroidery works which were very
highly praised. The evening was
spent musically and socially."
Although more lighthearted perhaps
than most of the meetings, that
same evening does illustrate a
characteristic of the group, namely
the encouragement of its members to
make original contributions. On
another occasion, February 24,
1915, Mr. Gildersleeve performed a
song of which he had written the
music and Mr. Bunting had written
the words. At the same meeting,
Miss Dauphinee "read a very
amusing dialogue which she wrote
last year on the occasion of a local
bridal shower." Scattered
throughout the minutes are many
acknowledgements of members'
songs, poems, and skits.
Unfortunately almost nothing of
these original contributions survives
in the FOA's archives. I did find,
however, among the music of Mabel
Cave-Browne-Cave, Beatrice's older
sister who died in 1958, a song or
two which were in all likelihood
performed at FOA meetings. The
song is a setting of a poem by
Charles G.D. Roberts, the poet
mentioned above. Except for the fact
B.C. Historical News   Winter 1990-91 that the poetry is of higher quality
than that written by the group's
members, we can safely assume
that this song is representative.
The musical setting is a fairly
simple one but shows due attention
to text underlay and some word
painting. Of particular interest is
the inscription by Roberts at the end
of the score which reads
As the words had their inception in
Vancouver, it seems appropriate
that they should acquire this lovely
setting in New Westminster.
Charles GJt. Roberts
Jan. 17,1927
It would be interesting to know
more about Freeman Bunting. The
only member of an age to remember
him was Miss Beatrice and,
although she spoke fondly of him,
did not offer any information that
would enable us to construct an
image of the founding president.
The New Westminster City
Directory of 1913 lists Mr. Bunting
as a court stenographer. Indeed, a
letter of his dated December 30,
1914 indicates he held the position
of secretary-treasurer of the Royal
Commission on Milk Supply in B.C.;
a later piece of correspondence from
1922 is written on letterhead from
the provincial Supreme Court. It is
perhaps in this latter capacity that
he met Judge F.W Howay, of whom
more will be said shortly, and
brought him into the FOA. Beyond
such scant details, however, we can
only surmise that Mr. Bunting
possessed an abiding love of the arts
on the basis of his initiative in
founding the FOA and on the
records of his contributions such as
the song text previously mentioned.
Fortunately we have a good deal
more knowledge about Bunting's
successor as president, Judge
Howay. Surviving members
remember him well. There is little
doubt that for three decades, Judge
Howay was the driving force behind
the FOA's success. From all reports
it seems that the Judge was a man
of extraordinary energy, personality,
and curiosity, who insisted upon
punctuality and quality. Meetings
B.C. Historical News    Winter 1990-91
started promptly at 8:00 p.m. and
members were required to wear
formal attire in keeping with the
Edwardian atmosphere of the
evening. Moreover, as W.R.T.
Brooks recalls, presenters were
expected to research their topics well
and did not even entertain the
thought of giving a poor
presentation. This is
perfectly in keeping with
what we know of Judge
Howay's activities in other
quarters. As an amateur
historian Judge Howay
produced an enviable
quantity of creditable work
including an early history of
the Fraser River mines and
an account of the work of the
Royal Engineers in B.C. from
1858 to 1863. He also
coedited items for the
Washington Historical
Quarterly in 1917. Several
of the FOA papers survive in
the archives; the length and
overall good quality of most
of them is ample testimony
to Mr. Brooks' recollections
and the assumptions about
Howay's expectations.
It is not clear whether the
initial meeting date of
January 6 was a conscious or
fortuitous one on the part of Mr.
Bunting. It is, of course, Epiphany
and that date soon became the
highlight of the FOA's annual
activities. Each January 6 or
thereabouts, starting in 1915, the
group held Twelfth Night Revels, an
evening of ceremony, singing,
dancing, acting, and general
festivities. It is this aspect of the
Fellowship that did receive the most
attention in local newspapers.
In that first year, 1915, the group
must have underestimated their
capacity for enjoyment. When it
came time to plan in September of
the same year for January of the
next year (1916) it was resolved to
start Twelfth Night at 7:30 p.m. in
future in order to allow "plenty of
time for business and pleasure."
Evidently, all must have gone
exceedingly well for a further
alteration was found necessary in
1917. In that year "the Festa was
changed to January 5th owing to
the 6th being a Saturday night
which would necessitate early
closing (Sunday, The Lord's Day)."
Each year the Twelfth Night revels
took on more importance; the
preparations   and   celebrations
Se Jfellotoship ®t acta—St pe sign of
pe goob ftt. Snoreta, on pe Street pclept
Carnarbon, an pc ttuelfth nigljt alter
(Christmas, both Ijonour to San Cljauccr
anb his $ilgrims, tobo tscnb them Canter-
burptoarb to pe shrine of &t. Stomas pe
3f pe be a bebout anb pious person, or if
pe be a merrie, anb tooulb journep tuttfj Item,
be-at the afaresaib place on the cbening ot
sixth Januarp, mcmxxx, at eight of pe clocfa
anb pe shaft be rarelp toclcomeb.
Vouchsafe a response to iBrS. C. 5B.
fjetlt, 31 aihert Crescent, iieto Westminster, JB.C,
Example #3
became more elaborate. Well in
advance of the night the invitation
(see Example 3) was printed and
distributed to the members and,
presumably, other selected
individuals. During the months
preceding the event, participants
would have designed and made
their often elaborate costumes.
Although in later years some
costumes were rented, the majority
of members still took considerable
pride and delight in making their
own. For many years the
gatherings were held at the larger
homes of the FOA's wealthier
members, such as one Dr. Clarke
whose house seemed to be a favorite.
(During the '50s and '60s local halls
were rented since Dr. Clarke's house
and others had since been torn
down.) In keeping with the general
atmosphere of a medieval pageant,
the main part of the house was
decorated appropriately including 1923 The Voyageurs & Indians
pewter and holly on the dining
The program from 1920 illustrates
not only the degree to which the
celebrations had developed within
four years, but also the basic format
that was followed annually
thereafter. The evening's activities
were contingent upon the choosing of
a Queen of the Revels. As explained
in the Proclamation - Proclamation
was not apparently read out in
1920 but was in subsequent years --
this was accomplished by the
implanting of a bean in a cake which
was cut up and distributed to
everyone at the beginning of the
evening. The lady receiving the
bean was crowned or, in the event
that a gentleman received the bean,
he would choose who was to be
Queen. According to the
proclamation this practice
apparently honours a custom once
followed at the Court of Mary,
Queen of Scots.
Once crowned, the Queen
commanded the festivities to begin.
The entertainment usually consisted
of a mixture of music, dancing, and
acting. Following the entertainment
were dinner, refreshments, more
music and conversation. The
evening concluded with a Sir Roger
de Coverley dance, a once traditional
finishing dance at English balls, and
the singing of Auld Lang Syne.
There is one item missing from the
1920 program, an item which
figured prominently in the Revels in
later years. Sometime probably
during the '20s, someone made a
boar's head out of papier-mache.
Once the revellers had donned their
costumes upstairs in Dr. Clarke's
house or in some anteroom, they
would process behind the boar's
head on a platter of leaves into the
main room singing "Deck the
Halls." The boar's head still survives
at Irving House along with several
photographs of the revellers in their
For over half a century the
Fellowship of Arts provided, just as
Freeman Bunting intended it
should, a congenial atmosphere
wherein the members could find
cultural and intellectual stimulation.
In the '50s and '60s interest in the
FOA -- and, it would appear,
cultural clubs in general - waned.
Many of the staunch old members
passed on and, at the same time, it
became increasingly difficult to
recruit new members. Perhaps in
the post-war economic boom
attentions and energies were
directed elsewhere. Certainly the
advent of television in the '50s must
have contributed to the decline.
Whatever the reasons the demise of
the FOA and groups like it signalled
a regrettable reduction in such
intellectual and cultural activities.
In the winter of 1968 the members
of the FOA gathered together for the
last time in order to say good-bye to
each other and to, what was for
many of them at least, a way of life.
NOTE: The basis for this article was an
interview with Beatrice Cave - Browne - Cave
in 1986. Miss Beatrice passed away in
February 1987 at age 103.
Judge Howay was one of the founders of the
British Columbia Historical Federation.
The writer graduated from UJB.C. with a
Master of Music in 1973. He teaches music
history and theory at Douglas College in New
B.C. Historical
Conference 1991
Cowichan Historical Society will
host the 1991 annual conference
from Thursday, May 9 to
Sunday, May 12, with headquarters at the Silver Bridge
Inn. The program will include
speakers, slide presentations,
tours and a lunch at Native
Heritage Centre. We will learn
about early settlement, district
pioneers, the Prince of Wales
Farm School, and the evolving
Ecomuseum, then have our
Annual General Meeting and
Awards Banquet.
Members of branch societies will
be able to obtain registration
forms from their local secretary
after March 1st. Readers who
are not members are invited to
attend and should write for details to:
Convention Committee
Cowichan Historical Society
P.O. Box 1014
Duncan, B.C. V9L3Y2
B.C. Historical News   Winter 1990-91 The Great Sheep Creek Volecuto Hunt
by Ted Burns
It happened sometime in late
October or early November in the
year nineteen forty-five. The first
report came from Mr. Ted Baker of
Sheep Creek, a small ranching
community in the East Kootenay
valley some thirty miles
northeast of Kimberley. Mr.
Baker heard rumblings and saw
flashes in the night sky east of
Sheep Creek and reported that
his cattle refused to drink from
Lussier River, known locally as
Sheep Creek, for seven days in
late October due to the presence
of turbid water which smelled
strongly of sulphur. Further
evidence that a major
disturbance similar to volcanic
activity had occurred in the area
was presented by Mr. James
White, a Fort Steele trapper,
and his partner, Mrs. J. Smith
when they encountered a heavy
flow of mud in Coyote Creek, a
major Sheep Creek tributary
while packing equipment into
their winter quarters on Coyote
Creek. The discharge of mud
was so great that one of Mr.
Smith's horses became mired and
required some effort to release.
This report was received
Cranbrook on November fifteenth.
Although geological authorities at
the University of British Columbia
and Victoria doubted the presence of
active volcanic activity in the
Southern Rockies, a great deal of
interest was generated by the
reports and wire services relayed the
story to many newspapers in
Canada and the United States. A
major North American weekly
magazine (Newsweek) also
expressed interest in the story and
two Kimberley residents familiar
with the area were commissioned to
try and determine exactly what
On November seventeenth, Charles
Wormington, miner        and
B.C. Historical News    Winter 1990-91
photographer, and W.J. (Red)
McKim, miner and widely travelled
prospector, left Kimberley for the
Sheep Creek valley. The following
account of their trip was extracted
from Mr. Wormington's field notes.
Red McKim and Charles Wormington on the trail.
Charieemrmington Photo
November 17
Left Kimberley by car for lumber
camp near Canal Flats where
trail goes into Sheep Creek.
Enough snow to make the trail
hard to see. Much deer, elk, and
moose sign.
Two miles along trail we came
to what is known as the Indian
grave. The old Indian custom is
to put an evergreen branch on
the cairn as you pass to insure a
safe return. One of the many
legends about this cairn is that
the son of a Kootenay Indian
Chief was slain here by the son
of a Stony Indian Chief.
Along the trail are natural salt
licks utilized by wildlife.
Arrived at hot springs beside
Sheep Creek at three in the
afternoon. These are hot
sulphur springs not
commercially developed.
Checked our equipment here: 8
dry soup mixes, 4 lbs. hard tack,
3 lbs. bacon, 1 lb. each of
butter, sugar, and coffee, 2
lbs. prunes, 1 lb. pancake
flour, 24 chocolate bars, 2
sleeping robes, ice picks,
axe, 2 pairs of snowshoes,
fluorescent light, cooking
utensils, and, finally, two
cameras and associated
equipment. The two packs
weighed around 45 lbs.
each. Spent the night here
and used the hot springs to
ease the aches of the first
day's travel.
It was here that we first
found traces of mud in Sheep
Creek. Red checked some
adjacent rocks with the black
light and discovered a
coating of lime that
fluoresced. Travelled six
miles today.
November 18
Breakfast consisted of hot cakes,
bacon, and prunes. As we left
the cabin a deer started up the
mountain after drinking at the
springs. A fine snow was falling
and old snow was knee deep on
the trail. Camping at Good
Luck Camp on Sheep Creek
where we found a water mark
two feet above the present level
of the creek. Weather began
clearing at dusk. Made six more
miles today.
November 19
On breaking camp we found ice
underneath the canvas where we
had slept. A four point buck was
standing on the trail and was
reluctant to move. Arrived at
Coyote Creek where the mud had entered Sheep Creek. From
this point the trail petered out
and going was rough with many
windfalls. Forded the creek
Stopped for lunch which
consisted of soup, cheese, and
hard tack. Made slow progress
during the afternoon. No
well-defined trail or good blaze
marks. Camped under big fir.
weather clear and bright, snow
eight to twenty-four inches in
depth. Only covered four miles
November 20
Up at six after a good sleep.
Weather fine after cold night.
Breakfast bacon, prunes and
hard tack. Had to wait for good
light to see blazes before leaving.
A five point bull elk was on the
trail and not anxious to move.
Little evidence of sediment in
the creek. Trail became well
blazed in timber eight to
twenty-five inches in diameter.
Arrived at small burn where trail
became indistinct. Snow very
dry. Came to the cabin of James
White of Fort Steele, oldest
trapper in the district. Mrs. J.
Smith, one of the several women
trappers in the East and West
Kootenay, assists him. Spent
the night here after a supper of
deer liver, bacon, macaroni and
cheese, hard tack and coffee.
Highlight of the day was Red
running out of snuff after
putting a thumb tack in the
bottom of the box to keep himself
from taking too much. Made five
miles today.
November 21
Red made breakfast of hot cakes
mixed with macaroni and
cheese, prunes and coffee.
Started out at eight on well
defined trail. Saw much
evidence of mud and debris on
creek bank. Along the trail we
came across martin sets. About
six miles up, we came to a slide
about six hundred feet wide. No
sediment and debris up Creek
Iv*-*   y *V^BM
\\ ,
Ijj -. !
*            '
1  Tyj^pS
*,   ^^^^^^B
EL ~ w
From Left: Red McKim, B. Ranch, W.C. Hughs and CF. Kearns
examining map at Canal Flats lumber camp. Charles Wormington Photo
above slide. Many big, mud
coated boulders in the slide.
Followed slide up a ravine to
where it narrowed. Took
sediment samples for future
analysis. It appears that source
of slide is at least another
several miles above this point.
Had supper of cold hot cakes
and hard tack and returned to
the cabin after travelling
fourteen miles today.
November 22
Turned back today since trip
was limited to eight days.
Weather fine, temperature
around freezing. Made good
time returning over our well
broken trail. Arrived at Good
Luck Camp at three in the
afternoon and decided to go on
to the hot springs. Deer, cougar,
and coyote had crossed our trail.
Arrived at the springs at six
p.m. after travelling in the dark
for at least one hour. Supper
soup, beans and hard tack.
Another bath in the sulphur
springs relieved our weary
November 23
Breakfast prunes, hot cakes, and
coffee. After breakfast met
Arthur Nicol, guide and hunter
on his way out from White Swan
Lake after photographing
bighorn sheep. Mr. Nicol, who
has climbed in this part of the
Rockies for thirty-five years,
agreed that a big slide could
obstruct headwater creeks until
they overflowed with
tremendous discharge carrying
large amounts of mud and
debris down stream.
Started out for lumber camp and
home. Met Inspector CF.
Kearns of the Provincial Game
Department's Nelson office,
Game Warden Ben Rauch of
Cranbrook and H.C. Hughes,
mine inspector from Nelson.
The party was conducting an
official investigation. We
informed them of trail conditions
and Red told them they needn't
worry about losing the trail as
long as it didn't snow since my
tobacco juice stains were plainly
visible at even intervals from the
camp to the slide.
November 24
Saw Mr. Kearns, Mr. Rauch and
the mine inspector on their way
and returned home by car,
arriving at mid day. Arranged
to compare notes following their
return. Both Red and I are
ready to tackle the next
erupting volcano in East
Kootenay environs.
B.C. Historical News   Winter 1990-91 A few days after returning to
Kimberley, Charles Wormington and
Red McKim compared notes with
Mine Inspector Hughes. Mr. Hughes
and the Game Department team
had climbed several miles up the
slide to its source: a high rock face
where huge rocks had given way
precipitating more trouble. The rock
obstructed a small stream creating a
pond which eventually spilled,
carrying more rock, sediment, and
debris down the ravine to Coyote
Creek. Coyote Creek was then
temporarily blocked to a much
greater extent,  and when  this
stream flushed the obstruction, a
great surge of mud and debris
roared downstream affecting the
lower section of the watershed and
nearly engulfing Mr. White and Mrs.
So there you have it. A slide which
carried large amounts of mud, rock,
and debris, a reasonably large
stream obstructed by the slide, a
build up of water behind the
obstruction, and the inevitable
breakthrough carrying a large
volume of water, sediment, and
debris downstream through an area
of sulphur springs.   Along with the
mysterious flashes and rumbling in
the East Kootenay sky, all the
makings of a first class volcanic
The writer grew up in Nelson, Ainsworth and
Kaslo and once worked as a wrangler on a
ranch near Skookumchuk. He now works as a
biologist stationed at Lake Cowichan. He has
written a children's book about salmon.
The photos were taken by Charles
Wormington, who is still the official
photographer for the Kimberley Bulletin
From the Archives
Pages from the 1883 British Columbia Directory
^^ESTABLISHED    1863.—?S\
mM*mm nor
Hotel, Store 9 Post Office,
Keeps constantly en band it large assortment of
Wines, Liquor*, Ales, Porter and Cigars.
! In fart anything and everything from a Needle to an Anchor,
Staple Bay, Vancouver Island.
Special Attention,
All Travellers and Tourists should remember that Maple Buy
is situated about half-way between Victoria and Nanaimo and
is the main outlet of the Great Cowichan Valley, and those
looking for Health, Wealth or Pleasure should not fail to
give Maple Bay a call.
SS" Persons looking for land can procure all necessary information from Mr. Beanmont, and Sporting Parties will find
a convenient place to stop, as there is plenty of
Game in the vicinity as well as numerous Lakes in the immediate
■all Steamer* call from two to four times per week
at Wm. Beaumont's wharf.
A. R. Johnston*. Thomas W. Glaholm.
jrfl. JK. ojrQDMNSTdUM <& G@.e
Gordon's Wharf, Nanaimo. British Columbia.
?i6E]wg pacific ceflgT jsvEfljajSHiP cejaPWY.
Steamers and Sailing Vessels Supplied.
SS^ Orders Solicited and supplied ut Lowest Rates. _55J
Merchant   Tailor,
And General Dealers in
m hods; mm imam anb corns wmm,
Victoria Crescent, Nanaimo, B. C.
Importer and Dealer in
Furniture, Bedding, Glass and Croekeryware,
Bastion Street, Nanaimo, B. C.
S3T Agent for the Genuine Singer Sewing Machines. JgS
B.C. Historical News    Winter 1990-91
20 An Old-Fashioned Christmas
by J.A. Green
While I don't feel that I've achieved
"Old-timer" status yet I'm sure that
my memories of Christmas will
relate to Christmases long before my
time - the family were staunch
observers of the traditional ways of
doing things.
Preparations for Christmas started
in November, on "Stir-up" Sunday.
The cakes and puddings would be
mixed on the Sunday next to Advent,
the Sunday when the Anglican
Church collect commences "Stir up,
we beseech thee, 0 Lord." and each
member of the family would stir the
mixtures, for luck. The puddings to
be eaten the following Christmas
had been made the year before, and
since then hung in the pantry, like
cannon balls in unbleached cotton.
No-one could expect a freshly cooked
plum pudding to have the proper
Early in December would come the
preparation of candy boxes, and
paper chains for decorations. The
candy boxes were shaped like
flowers, and by twirling crepe paper
on knitting needles a petal-like effect
could be obtained. Then followed
evenings of making divinity fudge,
Turkish delight and other goodies to
fill the baskets.
In early dawn on Christmas day
the children would find, by their
bedsides, stockings stuffed with
small gifts, candies and Japanese
oranges. Many people would attend
church during the morning, returning
to a light lunch, light to leave room
for the festive Christmas dinner.
After lunch gifts would be opened
and during the afternoon visitors
would call.
Christmas dinner was very special.
We only ate turkey once a year, at
Christmas, so it was an occasion to
celebrate. The table cloth and
napkins would be white linen, the
family silver was polished until it
glistened, and the best china and
glasses put out to make a show.
The table would be decorated with
crepe paper and crackers, and lit by
After drinking a toast the crackers
would be pulled, fortunes read and
paper hats donned. Then would
come soup, followed by turkey with
roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts and
other vegetables, cranberry sauce,
stuffing and gravy. All lights other
than candles would then be put out,
and the Christmas pudding brought
to the table, the blue flames from
lighted brandy curling up to a sprig
of holly on top. The pudding would
be eaten with brandy sauce, or hard
sauce laced with brandy. To finish
there would be trifle, mince pies,
nuts (in the shells, of course), candy,
coffee and liqueurs. A feast to
After dinner all gathered in a large
room referred to as the billiards
room, though billiards had not been
played there for many a year. The
room would be decorated with
streamers, paper chains and tinsel,
all wound across the animal heads
which were trophies from African
expeditions of earlier times. As a
small boy I used to keep looking in
the adjoining rooms being sure that
the animals' bodies must be there
somewhere attached to the heads.
The Christmas tree, a real tree
reaching to the ceiling, would be
decorated with tinsel and
ornaments, some of which, of blown
glass, had been set out for many
years and were like old friends.
Clipped to the tree were candles,
possibly three dozen or more. These
would be lit and for a brief quarter of
an hour the tree would be lit up in all
its glory. Of course a modern fire
marshal would curl up with horror at
such a fire hazard, but with so many
people near the tree, and damp
cloths kept ready, the occasional
branch which caught fire would be
quickly snuffed out.
With the punch bowl fully active,
games and dancing would
commence. The "French Minuet",
"Sir Roger de Coverley" and other
folk dances were known to all.
Everyone, grandmothers to toddlers,
joined in singing games such as
"Nuts in May", "In and Out the
Window", "Musical Chairs" and
"Forfeits". After the children had
gone to bed there would be dancing -
fox trots, waltzes and tangos, to the
music of the Victrola, one person
standing by to wind it up, turn the
records, and change the needles.
Sometimes a piano would provide
And so another Christmas went by.
The older generation has gone its
way. Habits and values have
changed. My wife, reading this, tells
me that I am more than showing my
age - it is like a chapter from Charles
Dickens, a memory from those far off
days before Television when family
groups would gather to share good
Jack Green grew up in Victoria and now lives
in Cowichan Bay. He heads the committee
planning the 1991 conference for B.C.
Historical Federation members in Duncan,
ac. Historical News   Winter 1990-91 Women's Bole in Early Farming
in British Columbia
by Gwen Szychter
The development of agriculture as
an economic sector in British
Columbia has been relegated traditionally to at least secondary status, certainly by historians. J
Perhaps this neglect stems from a
perception of the production of food
as a primary activity, which can be
taken for granted, and consequently
is not very exciting on its own merit.
The prevailing myth of British
Columbia has been founded not on
agricultural settlement, but rather
on the gold rush, which has largely
excluded the participation of women.
In addition, geographical reality
dictates that the widely dispersed
arable land constitutes only 5 percent of the province's land area.
Therefore, agriculture in British
Columbia has been carried on in
widely scattered pockets, and has
been diversified into a wide variety
of farming, pursuits from the earliest
days. Centre stage in the economy
has been assumed by other sectors,
namely forestry, mining and fisheries.2 Natural resources existed in
abundance and fortunes could be
made in the exploitation of those resources. In this province, farming
did not hold the same promise, at
least not without hard work on the
part of the settlers themselves in the
early years.
This paper will examine the history of Euro-Canadian agriculture in
British Columbia,3 by exploring its
early development in two of the principal agricultural areas. In spite of
limited sources, women and their
contributions to agriculture will be
introduced to complete the story,
wherever possible, with a view to determining how much can be learned
about women's role in the early period of farming. There is no doubt
that women contributed to settlement and early agriculture, in this
province as in other parts of
Canada.4 Certainly, women's activities often propped up the agricultural economy in the early years. A
prime example is dairying, which,
as Cohen has shown for Ontario,
was the mainstay of farm survival,
and was carried on by women until
improved technology and expanded
markets made factory production
feasible.5 This occurred in British
Columbia as well,6 but obtaining documentary evidence of the extent of
women's involvement in farming enterprises has proved a major challenge.
Agricultural history in British
Columbia essentially began in the
early part of the nineteenth century
in a neighbouring country, namely
the United States, during the fur
trade era. In the Hudson's Bay
Company's territories, provisioning
was a major requirement that stimulated the development of agriculture. In Rupert's Land, the need for
less expensive and better quality
provisions led the Hudson's Bay
Company to encourage the founding
of the Red River Colony under Lord
Selkirk in 1811.7 In New Caledonia,
the region that would later become
British Columbia's interior, and
Columbia, part of which would form
the province of British Columbia, agricultural self-sufficiency was a principal component of George Simpson's
belt-tightening policy after the 1821
merger. Even the North West
Company prior to 1821 had attempted to meet the needs of its
posts by introducing gardening
where conditions permitted, as had
also the Pacific Fur Company8
In the Oregon Country, at the junction of the Columbia and Willamette
Rivers, a settlement developed at
Fort Vancouver which did just that.
In 1839, a wide variety of products
was made available for the five hundred or so white inhabitants and a
substantial number of mixed-bloods.
Among the crops grown were wheat,
oats, barley, peas, melons, squash,
berries, tomatoes, and apples.
Livestock was also raised, including
horses, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens,
turkey, and pigeons. The fort was
able to supply beef, hide, mutton,
wool, milk, butter, cheese, and flour,
not only for its own use and to augment the provisions of other forts,
but also for export.9
It is noteworthy that very few experienced farmers were brought from
Great Britain. Among them were
Mr. and Mrs. Capendal who were
hired in 1835 as field supervisor and
dairy manager respectively. Gibson
reports that the couple "returned to
England in 1836 because Mrs.
Capendal found circumstances on
the Columbia 'different to what she
expected.'"10 There is no indication
of whether Mrs. Capendal objected to
the physical conditions, which were
decidedly basic, or to the social
structure, which has been described
as being patterned after manor life
in England.11 This is the only reference to a woman's involvement in
the farming operation.
In what would remain British territory after 1846, Fort Langley was
one of the more successful locations
that produced a surplus of flour,
beef, and dairy products not only to
supply its own inhabitants, but also
to supplement the efforts of other
forts to achieve self-sufficiency. The
exporting of agricultural produce began in the formation of the Puget's
Sound Agricultural Company in
1839. Through this arm, the
Hudson's Bay Company exported
wool, skins and hides, and horn to
England, and wheat, beef and butter
to the Hawaiian Islands.    It also
B.C. Historical News    Winter 1990-91
22 shipped wheat and butter to the
Russians on the Northwest Coast in
what is now Alaska, under an
agreement with the Russian-
American Company.12
The 1846 boundary agreement between Britain and the United States
made the Hudson's Bay Company's
position untenable in the Oregon
Country because of encroaching
American settlers. The Company's
headquarters and economic operations were moved between the years
1845 and 1849 to Fort Victoria on
Vancouver Island,13 which had been
established in 1843 for just such an
eventuality. There, and at Fort
Langley, farming was continued, although on a smaller scale. The provisioning of the Russian-American
Company was suspended under
these new circumstances.14
Agriculture from this point onward
was limited to the support of the local population.
Farming was slow to develop during the 1850s in British Columbia,
even after the gold rushes had run
their course. An examination of the
topography of the region reveals
that although 5 percent of the land
area may be considered to be arable,
only a fraction of it is rated first-
class.15 Much of this required dyking and drainage in order to facilitate more stable production. In
most of the balance, irrigation was
essential to make the arid land viable for farming. The remainder of
what was classified as arable land
was deemed suitable only for cattle
grazing. The Hudson's Bay
Company traders regarded the climate as inhospitable, being often
wet and cold in the lower Fraser
Valley, and dry and cold in the
upper Fraser Valley and the interior
of the province.
Added to the physical disadvantages was the inconsistency of colonial, and later provincial, land policy. Settlement by pre-emption was
permitted to take place before the
land had been surveyed, which resulted in haphazard settlements of
people. A substantial portion of the
land after 1873 was set aside by the
provincial government as railway re
serves to induce the building of
transportation and communication
links. These reserves reduced the
amount of land that was available
for pre-emption. Also, the province
did not help prospective settlers by
directing them to land suitable for
farming, with the result that a significant number of failures took
There is disagreement over the extent to which provincial land policy
in British Columbia differed from
that of the Dominion government, if
at all, in the later nineteenth century. In respect of the Canadian prairies, orders-in-council in 1871 and the
Dominion Land Act of 1872 provided
for 160 acres of free land on the condition that homesteaders met certain residence and improvement requirements.17 According to Cail, free
land in British Columbia, however,
was made available for only a short
period of time between 1874 and
1879. In addition, he suggests several possibilities as to why the free
land policy was unceremoniously
abandoned. In his opinion, the most
plausible explanation was that the
greatest percentage of people continued to be willing to purchase land
outright.18 On the other hand,
Siemens, a geographer, maintains
that a system of free land grants
did operate in British Columbia, beginning in 1873, and remained in
force. This system "allowed a man
160 acres ... for a nominal payment covering the processing of the
transaction and the promise to live
on the land for a time, and to carry
out certain improvements."19 The issue of free land, therefore, is neither
straightforward nor resolved.
Nevertheless, farming did gradually develop. Fort Victoria continued
to grow through this period. In the
early 1850s four farms were established on Vancouver Island by the
Puget's Sound Agricultural
Company, which grew in importance
during the period of the Fraser River
gold rush in the late 1850s.20 Since
the area for ten miles around Fort
Victoria was held by the Hudson's
Bay Company, out of necessity private farming expanded beyond these
lands into the most fertile valleys.
In the 1860s, farms became established in the Alberni, Cowichan, and
Comox valleys, after the forests had
been logged off. The farms of
Vancouver Island and of the Gulf
Islands have almost exclusively supplied the local market since the
1880s. They concentrated initially
on dairy production, followed by
poultry production.21 At the turn of
the century, these islands were the
only locality raising sheep in considerable numbers.22 In addition, berries and apples were being cultivated on the Saanich Peninsula, and
the Gordon Head area was becoming
known for its flower bulbs, seeds,
and vegetables.23
What is missing from this description is an acknowledgement that
women were integral to the development of agriculture on Vancouver
Island. There are few direct references to their contributions, even in
books about women. Wild Roses at
Their Feet: Pioneer Women of
Vancouver Island contains only very
sketchy accounts of women's economic role. At best, the information
confirms that numerous women participated in the early dairy industry.
They milked the cows, made the
butter, and occasionally even carried
it on horseback to Victoria to sell.24
Whether women did more than this
is difficult to determine since the references are rather vague. Mrs.
Cheeseman, for example, a pioneer
who arrived with her husband and
child in the 1850s, is credited with
"sparing what time she could from
her household duties to help her
husband clear the land."25 Elizabeth
Rath is said to have "worked with
her husband to clear the land,"26 but
what this means in terms of specific
labour is unclear. Florence Cliffe,
who began farming with her husband in Comox Valley in the 1870s,
"drove a team of oxen over the
fields" in the early years.27 In the
1890s and 1900s, Mary Woods, also
in the Comox Valley, sold eggs and
vegetables in addition to butter and
made weekly day-long trips to
Comox or Cumberland to sell her
produce.28    Some women attempted
B.C. Historical News   Winter 1990-91 to continue operating their farms after their husbands died, but few
were successful.
Widespread farming also gradually developed in the lower Fraser
River valley. Of this region, the
Bureau of Information was saying in
1905 that "there are few, if any, agricultural districts in the world of
similar extent of equal fertility."29
Not surprisingly, the land was alienated early on in the settlement
period, in part by men who had originally come for gold. The first to settle in the lower Fraser Valley was
Hugh McRoberts who in 1861-62
"dyked in, cultivated and harvested
a field of wheat and planted fruit
trees for an orchard on Sea
Island,"30 where     Vancouver
International Airport is now located.
On Lulu Island, which presently
forms the major part of the
Municipality of Richmond, William
McNeely was the first settler there
to have land dyked and ploughed
between 1863 and 1865.31 Shortly
thereafter, other settlers followed.
On the north side of the Fraser's
north arm, which is now the southern edge of the city of Vancouver, the
McCleery brothers, nephews of
McRoberts, had taken up land for
farming.32 In 1864, Henry Mole and
others acquired land in what is now
Point Grey.33 On the south arm of
the Fraser, in 1868, the Ladner
brothers, Thomas and William, preempted land, on part of which the
village of Ladner now stands.34
Further upriver, farms were developed on the land outside the established townsite of New Westminster
and on Hall's Prairie, near present-
day White Rock.35 By 1870, there
were "nearly three hundred farms of
1,200 or more cultivated acres in the
lower Fraser Valley" in widely separated communities.36
The area around Fort Langley,
commonly referred to as the Langley
Prairie, continued to be an important agricultural area. Fort
Langley remained a principal provisioning centre as well as the embarkation point for the Fraser River
gold fields and later for the Cariboo.
Once the Hudson's Bay Company
had reached an agreement with the
colonial government in respect of its
land grants,37 it began to contemplate withdrawing from the farming
business, convinced that it was unprofitable.38 From 1870 on, its properties were leased to farmer tenants
and later sold outright. By 1886,
all Hudson's Bay Company lands
had been disposed of through private sale.39 Further up the Fraser
valley, farms were established as far
east as Chilliwack, predating even
those on the Delta, for disillusioned
gold miners had begun farming here
in 1862 to supply the gold field markets.40
Clearing the land was an expensive and arduous undertaking. In
addition, some of the terrain, especially in the municipality of Delta
and in some parts of Langley, as
well as all of Lulu Island and Sea
Island, had to be dyked and
drained. The original rudimentary
dyking was made of unstabilized
earth, which was subject to frequent
deterioration by the periodic flooding
of the Fraser River. Furthermore,
dyking was initially done on an individual basis, each farmer being
concerned to protect his own holdings.41 Even after dyking and drainage had been carried out, the soil
had to settle for a number of years
before regular cultivation became
feasible.42 Improved dyking for areas like Delta and Richmond was not
constructed until late 1890s, since
municipal governments, with limited
revenues, were reluctant to undertake expensive public works. After
the disastrous flood of 1894, the provincial government became involved
in financing the construction of a
system of permanent high dykes.43
Essentially mixed farming was carried on in the lower Fraser Valley,
not unlike the situation which had
existed in the fur trade period.
Dairy farming and poultry raising
were major activities, although both
were carried on initially as cottage
industries. Most of the goods produced were exchanged for staples
with merchants in the local town or
village. In the period to the turn of
the century, the production of field
crops concentrated on the basics:
hay, oats (which was the principal
grain crop), wheat, potatoes, turnips, beets, and other vegetables.
This production was geared more for
the market, constituting the farmers' primary source of revenue.
However, different areas also had
developed specialties. In Richmond,
mostly dairying was carried on,
while Burnaby was noted for fruit
and market gardening. In the district of Maple Ridge, a considerable
amount of fruit farming was being
done in the early twentieth century.
Fruit and hops were also grown in
the region near Chilliwack.44 The
growing of wheat in the lower
Fraser Valley ceased in the late
1890s because British Columbia
farmers could not compete profitably
with those in the Prairies.45
Even sympathetic observers do not
do justice to the role of women in the
establishment of agriculture in this
region. T. Ellis Ladner in Above the
Sand Heads acknowledges the participation of women in a fashion,
saying "More has been written and
said about the adventurous and courageous men than about the women,
yet without the women few of the
men would have pioneered."46 The
activities of his mother, who came to
Delta with her husband in 1870, occupy all of three pages in the next
chapter.47 The balance of the book,
however, is devoted almost exclusively to male activities. Alfred
Parmiter, an oral history source,
was certain that his grandmother,
Mary Ann Parmiter, had milked
cows and made butter to sell in the
1870s and 1880s. He has in his
possession her account book, recording information about butter sales,
probably in New Westminster. She
was thus able to supplement the irregular farm income derived from
shipping hay to Victoria.48 It is not
surprising, therefore, that Mrs.
Parmiter is described in Above the
Sand Heads as a hard-working
Perhaps a more realistic approach
B.C. Historical News    Winter 1990-91
24 is to view much of the work that
women did in support of men's economic activities as farm work. The
following example from wild Roses
at Their Feet, describing the contribution made by Margaret Williams
to the butchering, salting and smoking of meat, may serve as an illustration. "On butchering day there
was always extra work for Margaret
not only in feeding the men who
came to help and to buy, but in
cleaning up the shed after the day
was over."50 In addition to their
family and household responsibilities, women were doing farm work,
whether we define that as field work
or as support activities. The challenge is finding documentary evidence to substantiate the recognition
that these women truly deserve.
The writer prepared this paper as part of
her studies leading to an Af-A. at Simon
Fraser University. Ms. Szychter lives in
1. See Margaret A. Ormsby, British Columbia! A History
(Toronto: The Macmillan Company of Canada
Limited, 1958) in which the development of agriculture
is incidental to the political history of the province.
2. Martin Robin, The Rush for Spoils: The Company
Province 1871-1933 (Toronto: McClelland and
Stewart Limited 1972), p. 35. See also Margaret A.
Ormsby, "Agricultural Development in British
Columbia," Agricultural History 8 (Fall 1979), p. 14,
where the figure of 5% is used. On the other hand,
Fritz Dalichow in Agricultural Geography of British
OohunbiaCVkncouven Versatile Publishing Co. Ltd.,
1972), p. 13, uses a much lower figure of 2%. Robert
E. Cail, Land, Man, and the Laws The Disposal of
Crown Lands inr British Columbia, 1871-1913
(Vancouver University of British Columbia Press,
1974), p. 168, used the figure of 3* for the amount of
arable land.
3. This paper will not consider group settlements, since
the region of interest for research purposes was not
settled by groups. Native peoples will be regarded as
a group for the purposes of agricultural development.
4. Veronica Strong-Boag, "Pulling in Double Harness or
Hauling a Double Load: Women, Work and Feminism
on the Canadian Prairie," Journal of Canadian
Studies 21 (Fall 1986): 32-52. Also Mary Kinnear,
"Do you want your daughter to marry a farmer?:
Women's Work on the Farm, 1922," in rhiwrffa™
Papers in Rural History, VC,ed Donald H. Akenson
(Gananoque, Ont.: Langdale Press 1988), pp. 137-
5. Marjorie Griffin Cohen, Wfamen's Work, Markets, and
Economic Development in Nineteenth-Century
Ontario (Toronto: University of Tbronto Press, 1988),
Chapter 5.
a Even official sources acknowledge this fact. See
Bureau of Provincial Information, Bulletin No. 10j
Land and Agriculture in British Columbia. 6th ed.
(Victoria: Kings's Printer, 1907), which confirms that,
prior to the advent of creameries, formers' wives and
daughters had carried on the work of dairying, p. 6.
7. A.S. Morton, "Tlie Place of the Red River Settlement
in the Plans of the Hudson's Bay Co., 1812-1825,"
Annual Report of the Canadian Historical Association
(1929): p. 105.
8. Jamss R. Gibson, Farming the Frontier! lite
Agricultural Opening of the Oregon Country 17M-
1846 (\feneouver. University of British Columbia
Press, 1985), p. 14.
9, Gibson, p. 37.
10. Gibson, p. 37.
11. N. de Bertrand Lugrin, The Pioneer Women of
Vancouver Island 1843.1868, ed. John Hosie (Victoria:
The Women's Canadian Club, 1928), P. 17.
12. Gibson, pp. 82-83
13. Gibson, pp. 203, 257. Also Mary K. Cullen, The
History of Fort Langley, 1887-96 (Ottawa: Parks
Canada, 1979), p. 38.
14. Gibson, p. 107.
15. None of the sources I consulted were in agreement on
how much of the land was capable of sustaining all
kinds of agriculture.
16. Cail, p. 56.
17. Gerald Friesen, The Canadian Prairiesi A History
(Tbronto: University of Tbronto Press, 1984) p. 183
18. Cail, pp. 33-35.
19. Alfred H. Siemens, "The Process of Settlement in the
Lower Fraser \falley • in its Provincial Context: in
Lower Fraser VaUey! Evolution of a Cultural
Landscape, ed. Alfred H. Siemens (Vancouver:
Tbntalus Research Limited, 1968), p. 31.
20. Gibson, p. 119.
21. Dalichow, p. 113.
22. Bulletin No. 10, p. 30.
23. Dalichow, p. 113.
24. Elizabeth Forbes, Wild Roses at Their Feest Pioneer
Women of Vancouver Island (Victoria: British
Columbia Centennial 71 Committee, 1971), p. 75.
25. Lugrin, p. 97.
26. Forbes, p. 123.
27. Fortes, p. 125.
28. Forbes, p. 133.
29. Bulletin No. 10, p. 49.
30. Thomas Kidd, History of Lulu Mnnd and Occasional
Poems (Vancouver: Wrigley Printing Company
Limited, 1927), p.22.
31. Kidd, p. 27.
32. Kidd, p. 22.
33. Kidd, p. 23.
34. T. Ellis Ladner, Above The Sand Heads (Burnaby:
Edna G. Ladner, 1979), p. 11.
35. Catherine J. Rosie, "Richmond - Delta - Surrey 1879-
1979," The British Columbia Genealogist 8 (Fall
1979), p. 54.
98.  Ormsby, British Columbia A Histoid p. 238.
37. Cullen, p. 64.
38. Cullen, p. 71.
39. Environment Canada, Fort Langley National Historic
Ruk (Ottawa: Supply and Services Canada, 1987).
40. George R. Winter, "Agricultural Development in the
Lower Fraser Valley", in Lower Fraser Valleyi
Evolution of a Cultural Landscape, ed. Alfred H.
Siemens (Vancouver: Tantalus Research Limited,
1968), p. 106.
41. Kidd, p. 61.
42. Kidd, p. 106.
43. Leon J. Ladner, The Ladners of Ladner O&ncouven
MitcheU Press Ltd., 1972), p. 131. Also Bulletin No.
10, p. 65.
44. Bulletin No. 10, pp. 50 -52.
45. Ormsby, "Agricultural Development," p. 14.
46. T. Ellis Ladner, p. 14.
47. T Ellis Ladner, pp. 27 - 29.
48. Interview with Alfred Parmiter, Ladner, British
Columbia, 24 June 1988.
49. T Ellis Ladner, p. 33.
50. Forbes, p. 137.
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AgricultureinBrinihCalumbiB. 6th ed. Victoria: King's
Printer, 1907
Cail, Robert E. Land, Man, and the team The Disposal of
Crown Lands in British Columbia, 1871-1913. Muicouven
University of British Columbia Press, 1974.
Canada West Foundation, Western Canadian Agriculture to
1990. Calgary: Canada West Foundation, 1980.
Cohen, Marjorie Griffin. Women's Wjrlfc Markets, and
Rnonnmin Development In NineteentbCentiny Ontario.
Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988.
Cullen, Mary K. 1*e History of Fort Langkw 1827-96.
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and History, No. 20. Ottawa: Parks Canada, 1979.
Dalichow, Fritz. Agricultural Geop-apfcp of British Columbia.
Vancouver Versatile Publishing Co. Ltd., 1972.
Environment Canada.  Fort Langley National Historic Park.
Ottawa: Supply and Services Canada, 1987.
Faragher, John Mac. "History from the hskfeoun Wiling the
HhtayofWomentnRural Amcrkn." American Quarter*/
33 (Winter 1981): 537-567.
Forbes, Elizabeth, wild Roses at Their Feats Pioneer Women
of Mtncomerldand Victoria: British Columbia Centennial
71 Committee, 1971.
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University of Tbronto Press, 1984.
Gibson, James R. Isi aaam therYonttar The Agricultural
Opening of the Oregon Country 1786-1848. Vancouver
University of British Columbia Press, 1985.
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A Hfetory of the Canadian Peopte and Their Institutions,
Vol. 22, Section XI, Part II. Edited by Adam Shortt and
Arthur G. Doughty Toronto: Glasgow, Brook, and
Company, 1914.
Gould, Jan, editor. Messrs lea Never Lose Stories of the
Pioneer Vkmm at the Cowichan \Uley and a Brief History
of the VaUey 1850-1920. N.P.: Pioneer Researchers, 1986.
Howay, F.W British Columbia From EarUest Times to the
Present, Vol II \feneouven The S J. Clarke Publishing
Company, 1914.
Kidd, TTiomas. Hhtory of Lum Island and Occasional ftjesss.
"tancouver: Wrigley Printing Company Limited, 1927.
Reprinted by Richmond Printers Ltd., 1973.
Kinnear, Mary. *Doyon want your daughter to many a fsne-
BfTiwanerisWiek on the Farm, 1922." In Canadian
Papers in Rural History, VI. Edited by Donald H. Akenson.
Gananoque, Ont.: Langdale Press, 1988.
Ladner, Leon J. The Ladners cfLadnen By Cowered Watpm to
the Wttare State. Vancouver: Mitchell Press Ltd., 1972.
Ladner, T. Ellis. Above die Ssnd Heads. Burnaby: Edna G.
Ladner, 1979.
Laugrin, N. de Bertrand. lliePioneerWanenaf Vancouver
Island 1843-1866. Edited by John Hosie. Victoria: The
Women's Canadian Club, Victoria, B.C., 1928.
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Plans of the Hudson's Bay Co, 1812-1825." Annual Report
of the Canadian Historical Association, 1929, pp. 103-
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PadftcNorttnwst History." In Experiences in a Promised
Laid Eteays in Pacific Northwest History. Edited by G.
TTiomas Edwards and Carlos A. Schwantes. Seattle:
University of Washington Press, 1986.
Ormsby, Margaret A. "Agricultural Development in British
Columbia." Agricultural History 19 (January 1945): 11-20.
Ormsby, Margaret A. British Columbia] A History. Tbronto:
The Macmillan Company of Canada Limited, 1958 (reprinted 1971).
Parmiter, Alfred. Ladner, British Columbia. Interview, 24
June 1988.
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Women's Vlbrk in Canada." Atlantis3 (Spring 1978): 72-
Robie, Reid L. "Early Days at Old Fort Langley." British
Columbia Historical Quarterly 1 (October 1937): 71-85.
Robin, Martin TneRushfarSpoOaTheCompair/Provtnce
1871-1933.  Tbronto: McClellan and Stewart Limited,
Rosie, Catherine J. "Richmond - Delta • Surrey 1879-1979."
The British Columbia Genealogist 8 (Fall 1979): 5045.
Siemens, Alfred H., editor. Lower Fraser Mdleyi Evolution of
a Cultural Landscape. B.C. Geographical Series, Number 9.
^uicouven Tantalus Research Limited, 1968.
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Hauling a Double Load: Women, Work and Feminism on
the Canadian Prairie." Journal of Canadian Studies 21
(Fall 1986): 32-52.
B.C. Historical News   Winter 1990-81 Endieott Centre
by Shirley Armstrong
The original concept of the Dr.
Endieott Home was proposed by Dr.
W.F. Endieott, a family physician
from Trail, B.C. He became concerned about the number of handicapped children brought to him for
treatment. At this time, the education of mentally handicapped children was not a part of the regular
public schools responsibility as it
was thought they were incapable of
learning. The only alternative for
parents was to send their handicapped children away to one of the
major institutions if they were to acquire any form of training. Dr.
Endieott did not hold the opinion
that the mentally handicapped
could not learn, as through his association with them as a medical practitioner he saw the wasted potential. Dr. Endieott also felt it was
unfair to families to have to send
their children out of the region eliminating opportunities to visit with
them and retain family ties. So, as
early as 1948 be began the task of
developing a residential school within the Kootenays.
Dr. Endicott's first step in the realization of his unorthodox dream was
the establishment of an organization
which he named the Kootenay
Society for Handicapped Children. In
1951, with the help of a few friends
and professional associates, he
started the first branch of this
Society in Trail. He was appropriately elected its first president.
Under Dr. Endicott's leadership,
chapters of the Kootenay Society for
Handicapped Children were later established in Nelson and Kimberley,
and on April 18, 1956, a chapter
was also started in Creston.
Lastly, chapters were formed in
Cranbrook and Castlegar to make a
total of six. While each chapter was
a separate entity with its own membership and officers, they were unit
ed under a regional group of officers,
known as the Board of Governors,
who are elected representatives from
each of the six branches.
Dr. Endicott's idea of decentralized
care of handicapped children spread
throughout the province, and in
1955 the British Columbia
Association for the Mentally
Handicapped was formed. This organization was the co-ordinator of
all local chapters in the province, including those in the Kootenays. It
represented the local associations in
presenting policy and proposed legislation to the provincial government.
Pine Grove School:
On September 6, 1956, the Creston
day school for handicapped children
was begun under the auspices of the
Creston Chapter of the Kootenay
Society for Handicapped Children.
Mrs. Eva Street of Creston was a
teacher. The class had five pupils,
and school was held in the Mission
Covenant Church in Erickson. It
was named the Pine Grove School.
A year later in 1957, the Pine
Grove School was moved to the
Malandaine Building, situated just
below the old Creston elevators on
Canyon Street. The following year
the school was closed, but in the fall
of 1961, it was opened again with
Mrs. Street once again being appointed teacher. Class was held in a
room of the Creston Elementary
School Building. When the
Kootenay Society for Handicapped
Children took possession of the
Archibald property in 1963 for establishing the Endieott Home, the Pine
Grove Day School was moved to the
Archibald estate. In 1964, this day
school became a part of the Endieott
Home's residential school.
The Dr. Endieott Home:
Even while the Creston Chapter, as
well as its five affiliated chapters in
the Kootenays, were setting up their
respective day schools for mentally
handicapped children, Dr. Endieott
was making arrangements for establishing a central custodial home
and residential school in the region.
In 1956, he and the Society made
plans to build his dream home at
Blewett near Nelson, where property
had been donated to the Society for
the purpose. However, a year later
the Board of Governors of the
Kootenay Society abandoned the
Blewett location and chose the
Creston area for the proposed home
because it was more central. A 35
acre plot at Alice Siding, north of
town, was purchased in 1961. It
was decided to name the new structure the "Dr. W.J. Endieott Home
and School." in honour of the man
who had first proposed its creation.
A sign was erected on the Creston-
Wynndel highway pointing toward
the Endieott Home site.
Then, in 1962, the plan for the
Home's location was unexpectedly
changed once more when Donald K.
Archibald offered to sell his large
family estate south of Creston to the
Kootenay Society for Handicapped
Children. The Archibald property
consisted of forty acres of orchards,
gardens and hay fields with a large
brick dwelling in which ten or twelve
people could live. There were some
brick outbuildings which included a
double garage, a steam heating
plant and a gardener's home. All of
these buildings were supplied with
Creston water and there were wells
for irrigating the orchards and
The Board of Governors of the
Kootenay Society for Handicapped
Children voted to sell the Alice
Siding site and to purchase the
Archibald estate. The Society took
possession on April 1, 1963.
B.C. Historical News    Winter 1990-91
26 First Unit built - Dr. Endieott Home for Mentally Handicapped
Children s Unit - now called Lenden Place/Cedar Place.
Archibald Estate:
The Archibald dwelling, which became the first administrative centre
at the Endieott Home, was built in
1929 by the famous Consolidated
Mining and Smelter Company, commonly known as "Cominco" for
William M. Archibald, who was vice-
president of the company. The brick
mansion was constructed near
Creston because the town was situated midway between Trail-
Rossland, where Cominco had a
mine and smelter, and Kimberley-
Maiysville, where the Company operated a smaller smelter and the
North Star and Sullivan mines.
Official Opening of Children's Unit:
Construction of a dormitory building to house thirty children at the
Endieott Home was started in
October 1964 and it was completed
in March 1965. Financial drives to
obtain the necessary funds were conducted by the six chapters of the
Kootenay Society for Handicapped
Children. The new dormitory consisted of two wings - one for boys
and the other for girls. Each wing
also contained a classroom and an
infirmary, and the full unit had a
kitchen and an auditorium which
also served as a dining room.
The Endieott Home and School was
officially opened on May 23, 1965,
during the Creston Blossom
Festival. Five hundred persons attended the opening.   Richard Vogel,
president of the Board of Governors,
was master of ceremonies. Dr.
Endieott, chief founder of the Home
was present at the ceremony. After
helping to cut the ribbon, he was
presented with a portrait of himself
by an artist from Trail. This portrait now hangs in the Board Room
of the main office of the Endieott
Donald Archibald, whose former
residence had become the site for the
Endieott Home and School, came
from Sidney to attend the ceremony.
He gave a short speech in which he
said that the creation of such a
needed residential home and school
on his old family estate brought him
and his family great satisfaction
and happiness.
A Board of Management was
formed to operate the newly opened
Endieott Home. Richard Vogel and
A.W. Burch resigned as president
and vice-president of the Board of
Governors so that they could serve
as the first chairman and vice-
chairman of the Home's Board of
Five Sisters of our Lady of the
Cross, a Catholic Order of Nuns,
signed a two-year contract with the
Society to provide the first care,
training, instruction and administration of the Home. Sister Mary
Joseph was appointed
Administrator       and       Sister
Bernadette was made Principal and
Head Teacher.
The Sisters took up residence in
the old Archibald dwelling, which
also became the Home's first
Administrative Centre. The Nuns
operated the Home and School for
two years under the policies set up
by the Board of Governors of the
Society and the Board of
Management of the Home. The policies and administration were completely non-religious and non-
sectarian even though the Catholic
Nuns were the first administrators
of the new institution. It served the
entire East and West Kootenay region.
The Sisters taught the students by
designing programmes individualized to the needs of the whole child,
therefore programming began at the
wake of day by teaching self care
skills and whatever housekeeping
skills were needed to tidy one's
room, before coming out for breakfast. After breakfast the residents
dispersed to either of the two classrooms or to crafts and prevocational
training. Life Skills such as tying
shoes, doing zippers, etc. were an integral part of teaching independent
living skills.
Initially, there was no teacher
training for working with the mentally handicapped so teachers had
to use their own initiative which involved lots of imagination, trial and
Sister Joseph & one of the first pupils
B.C. Historical News   Winter 1990-91 error, if one approach didn't work
they developed another approach.
The prime qualification was lots of
patience and the ability to be consistent over time.
As more schools for the mentally
handicapped developed throughout
the province, and more and more
teachers were reaching out for help
and training to enable a more efficient approach, the Association of
Instructors of the Mentally Retarded
was formed. Each summer there
was a training session held at various universities or colleges with experts in the field such as Dr. Bob
Poute, Mark Gold, W.
Wolfensburger, etc. presenting. The
Endieott Centre sent their instructors each summer to broaden their
knowledge as well as offering in-
service training on a regular basis.
Through accessing whatever came
available in the way of teacher training, the Endieott Centre was able to
offer the residents and day students
of the Endieott Centre School a well
rounded education which included
not only academics, but life skills
and vocational training.
Mrs. Sophie Baynton probably deserves more credit than any other individual for constantly changing the
school system to keep up with ever
changing technology. She was a
part of the Endieott Centre for over
twenty years and touched the lives
of many handicapped people in a
most positive way.
Official Opening of the Adult Unit:
As families of mentally handicapped persons became increasingly
aware of the Dr. Endieott Home,
there was pressure to develop an
Adult Care facility. Attitude and beliefs surrounding the lives of mentally handicapped persons were rapidly changing. The concept of
normalization conceived by Dr. Wolf
Wolfensburger was rapidly gaining
approval in North America. Designs
for residential facilities for mentally
handicapped persons were becoming
.more normative in their appearance
and function. Construction of an
Adult Residence for fourteen mentally handicapped persons started in
August of 1969 and was completed
in April 1970.
RC. Historical News   Winter 1990-91
Archibald Residence, Orchard House
and Apartment Programs:
The original Archibald residence
and EBjnor property residence were
renovated and furnished for further
adult residential accommodation in
1971. The realization that mentally
handicapped persons could function
independently as contributing members of our society prompted the development and plan for a transitional program into the community.
Construction of a motel-type duplex,
housing four mentally handicapped
persons commenced in June 1975
and was officially opened for residence on November 1975. The facility was constructed by high school
students of Creston's Prince Charles
Secondary High School.
Progression of History and
Normalisation Movement:
Dr. Endieott and his many associates worked towards improving
the quality of life for all mentally
handicapped persons. The original
Endieott Centre Custodial Care
Model of Service was changing rapidly in 1975.
The various program models in
place up until that time were designed for group activities with concentration on "Maintenance and
Care." In 1976, the momentous beginning of Dr. Endicott's noble and
revolutionary dream of improving
life for mentally handicapped persons was being actualized.
Developmental models replaced custodial care models with several individuals who have lived at the Centre
for many years moving on to community-based residential options.
On June 29, 1976, the Board of
Governors of the Kootenay Society
for the Handicapped adopted the following    Policy    Statement    of
"The Board of Governors of the
Kootenay   Society   for   the
Handicapped believes that each
handicapped person should be
given the opportunity to develop
to his/her fullest potential in the
most unrestricted way possible.
A variety of services, facilities
and     programs     must     be
developed to meet the individual
needs of the handicapped."
In early 1977 the Dr. Endieott
Home's name was officially changed
to the Endieott Centre with Dr.
Endicott's full appreciation of the issues and with his delighted approval.
Dr. Endieott lived to see his impossible dream come true. He died at
his home in Trail on May 1, 1977 at
the age of seventy-five. However,
his dream will live on forever, not
within the walls of the Endieott
Centre, but in the lives of married
couples and persons living independently in the Creston community
and Kootenay region who are graduates of the Endieott Centre and his
The Provincial school system finally accepted responsibility for the education of the mentally handicapped
and in 1982 the Endieott Centre
phased out the school program and
consequently the child care services,
and has now as its main focus adult
residential services.
There is presently an Occupational
Orientation Course at the East
Kootenay Community College,
which accommodates the educational needs of the adult mentally handicapped.
As a result of the many hours of
dedicated and innovative work by
the instructors at the Endieott
Centre, many of the original "children" are now adults living independently or semi-independently in the
community. Several are happily
married and I believe a smaller percentage than the national average
of marriages have failed.
The Endieott Centre continues to
change and to educate the mentally
handicapped in whatever aspects of
life they need help and training,
with the focus always toward enabling them to maximize their potential in life.
The writer is a Creston resident who served
for many years as secretary of the Endieott
Centre. She also served as leader of the
Brownie Pack which was organized in the
Centre. She thanks Mrs. Gay Peck and Mrs.
Sophie Baynton for their assistance in researching this material. String of History
by Richard McMinn
NOTE: Prior to 1987 "Port Alberni" was two
cities, Alberni (incorporated 1913) and Port
Alberni (1912). Alberni lay along the mouth of
the Somass River and Port Alberni to the
south along Alberni Inlet. Dick McMinn grew
up in "Port Alberni" but would roam over to
'Alberni'at will.
The McMinn family arrived in
Alberni in 1919. We travelled on the
Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway
train following tracks down the
Beaufort Range, through Bainbridge
and out to the green flats at the harbour. (The E. & N. Railway first
came to Port Alberni in 1912.) On
the east side of the E. & N. depot
the Somass Hotel dominated with
green lawns and shrubbery; the
streets were gravel with board sidewalks. Horse-drawn vans were
standing with their teams;
Roseborough Transfer and Shead's
Transfer were ready to haul freight
from the incoming train. We were
driven to the "Calgary Side" in a jitney. My father had rented a cottage
from Mr. Pender on 8th Avenue just
off Bute Street.
Memories of the world around 8th
and Bute include the view of Mt.
Arrowsmith from our front door, the
mighty edifice of the West Coast
Hospital half a block away, and the
people who lived close by. Across
the street lived a mysterious figure
in a long black dress with a white
collar - "Sister Bertha" whom we
viewed from afar. At the corner
lived Fred Marshall who became a
schoolmate. Just below 8th on Bute
lived the Robinsons. Mr. Robinson
was a fisherman with daughters
Dorothy and Jean. Inside the West
Coast Hospital I was fascinated by
a large brass door at the end of the
entrance hallway. Dr. Morgan, very
confidentially, told me that babies
came out through that brass door. I
never entered that hall without casting furtive glances at it - but it never
Dick McMinn February 1973
opened to flip out a baby when I was
there. (Years later I learned it was
a laundry chute.)
A walk (for miles it seemed to me)
up the gravel road that was Bute
Street to Drummond's farm at what
is now Seventeenth Avenue was a
great adventure. My older sister
Jessie and I each carried a clean five
pound lard pail to fetch milk. The
Drummonds had cows and geese.
More than once a can of milk came
to grief as we fled before a hissing
By the time I was old enough to
start school we moved to a new
home on North Park Drive. We
could walk to school down a trail to
Dry Creek, across a log near the
present 10th Avenue, up a trail
through the "Rec" or recreation field
to the 8th Avenue School. Or we'd
take a longer route down the road to
the "Golden Stairs" (wooden staircases on either side of the ravine
with a footbridge across the creek).
There were many new friends near
this new home; Muriel Rogers and
her brothers, Bill and Gertrude
Jones, Bert and Willie Carson with
little brother Fred, Willie Archer,
Gordon Barr, and the Olsen boys.
The world of these children was the
creek and the woods, school and the
Golden Stairs. We caught minnows
in the creek, floated bark boats, built
forts, played cowboys and Indians.
And in summer my mother took us
down Redford, across Third Avenue
where the Cablevision is now, into a
swampy trail that came out on the
"Y", the E. & N. turnaround track
which wound out across where the
Pulp Mill now stands, into acres of
grass and wild crab-apple trees till
we emerged at the river mouth onto
the most beautiful sandy beach Port
Alberni ever had. There she taught
us all to swim.
My father had been in three wars:
the Zulu Rebellion, the Boer War,
and the 1914 War. He had been
wounded, gassed and shell-shocked
and his body finally rebelled. The
doctor's verdict was that he must go
to a warm dry climate. Mother had
relatives in Africa so it was agreed
he would join those family members.
There was not enough money for the
whole family to go. Poor Mother!
The new house was given up. We (5
children and mother) moved to a
two-room shack in a grassy patch at
about Bute and Seventh Avenue.
Father was away for seven years.
My mother gave music lessons at
750 a lesson. Her piano was her
only source of income. There was no
such thing as welfare. You supported yourself - or you didn't make it!
Mother got a job at Mr. Hamly's Port
Theatre, which was opposite Alberni
Hardware. She made music for the
silent movies, be it Tom Mix drawing his guns or Mary Pickford
"pitching woo." Once in a while, one
of us accompanied my mother to a
movie. It was quite a treat. On one
occasion Mr. Hamly sold peashoot-
B.C. Historical News   Winter 1990-91 ers at the door; the next night he
was collecting them to avoid further
In the summer of 1924, I remember sitting on the steps of the shack
watching tall trees at about Twelfth
Avenue burst into flames. In that
hot summer evening the great forest
fire worked its way down Dry Creek,
south as far as Tenth Avenue, then
almost to Polly Point. The highway
was closed and there was talk of
evacuating the townspeople by sea.
The town policeman came into the
Port Theatre and commandeered all
able bodied men to help fight the fire.
Thankfully the fire burned itself out
and history continued.
After about two years in the two-
roomed shack we moved into a large
house on 6th Avenue between
Redford and Bute. The shack had
been a little crowded for mother and
five children. I remember when
chicken pox or measles struck the
neighbourhood she would put us all
in one bed hoping that we would
catch the affliction at the same time
to keep her sick-bay duties reasonably short. Mr. Imlach, known as
"Bucky George", was a Scottish fisherman living nearby, who many
times brought mother a huge fresh
ling cod saying, "A wee bite for the
bairns, Missus!" An old gruff builder
of fishing skiffs would occasionally
let me help him, but more often he
told me to get the hell out of his
way. The Gattman family lived
close by; Mr. Gattman was Port
Alberni's blacksmith, and later the
builder of the Arrowview and
Kingsway Hotels. There were the
Kevis family, and a Japanese family, the Toni's, and others. Haunches
or roasts of pitlamped venison would
turn up in our outside cooler by the
back door. Neighbours quietly
helped those in need!
Our new neighbours were the
Mulcasters. One day I was helping
their daughter Annis to mow their
lawn. We found a tennis ball, and
while trying to toss and mow, the
ball rolled under the lawn mower. I
inserted my hand between the
blades to retrieve it just as Annis
pushed the mower.   When I stood up
the diagonal half of my index finger
was hanging by the nail; in a welter
of blood and tears I hiked for home.
My practical mother swabbed it with
iodine, pushed the slice back in
place, and fastened it with sticking-
tape. It grew back perfectly, but
years later when I joined the Navy
the finger-printing Petty Officer advised, "With a print like that don't
ever take up a life of crime." Thanks
All this time my older sister and I
went to 8th Avenue School via the
Golden Stairs, along with most children on the Calgary side. (The district was known as "Calgary side"
because of a large influx of Calgary
people and real estate investment in
1911 - 1912 as the railway opened
the area). There was a distant awesome figure known as Mr. O.
Harries, the Principal. My teachers
were all feminine - Miss Loudon,
Miss Horner and Miss Smith (daughter of Andrew Smith whose name appears on many Alberni Valley surveys). I think the most startling
event of my years there was the day
Lloyd Forsythe took Miss Horner's
brutal pointer from her and broke it
over his knee. He never returned to
school. (It was an act of insubordination that I secretly admired.) New
faces appeared in our school.
Hilliard Strain, Jock McKay with his
Scottish accent, and others. All became part of the Valley's history.
Our next move was to a house
which stood on the corner opposite
Woodwards present store. Boys at
Angus and Third played beside the
brick Post Office with its large clock
tower. (The gravel walk to my
present home is lined with bricks
from that old building.) Dr. Hilton's
home stood where Woodwards is
now, very conveniently near the day
my brother pulled a kettle of boiling
water onto his back. Hortons and
Mowats were other neighbours.
George Shead's large stables, sheds,
and office took up most of that block
on Third.
Our swimming place changed to
the rocky beach where Imperial Oil
now stands. It was bordered on the
south by a large cannery, and on the
north by the C.P.R. dock. Bathing
houses were built because half the
town swam there. The harbour was
clean then.
That bathing beach nearly terminated my career. I was poking
around the steeper rocks when the
afternoon westerly was blowing
quite stiffly with the usual choppy
waves surging up the rocks. I
slipped and went in. The wave went
over my head; I don't know how
many times I went under and came
up clawing at the slippery rock.
Finally two pairs of arms reached
down and hauled me out. The two
older Brimacombe boys had been up
on the cannery and had seen me fall
in. They hauled me back up on the
cannery roof and took off my clothes
to dry in the wind. I recall that my
only worry was that my clothes
might blow away and I'd catch hell
from my mother. As it was she never did know it happened.
Regarding transportation, bulk
goods came to the Alberni Valley by
E. & N. rail freight or by Princess
Maquinna to the C.P.R. docks.
Roseborough and Shead's transfers
delivered around the valley. There
were a few automobiles; a sprinkling
of Model T Fords, Mr. Shead's Moon
(thought of by local boys as "the hot
rod"), and Mr. Fred Street's air-
cooled Franklin. Most transportation locally was by horse and buggy.
I particularly recall the bread delivery wagon driven by Fred White,
who on occasion would allow youngsters to accompany him. And there
was great excitement the day an
aeroplane came to town. It was a
little biplane which gave paying passengers a short flight over the harbour.
The town had one sawmill, the
A.PL. (Alberni Pacific Lumber). One
other mill stood on the tide:flat west
of the E. & N. near where Revelstoke
Ltd. now stands. I never saw it operating. It had weather bleached
booms of logs floating around it, from
which we boys used to swim. Mr.
Potter, the policeman at the time,
came down over the booms. He said,
"A lady at the Somass Hotel has
complained about naked boys swim-
B.C. Historical News    Winter 1990-91
30 ming off the boom." We looked
astonished ~ the hotel was a good
distance away. Potter grinned.
"She has a very good pair of field
glasses. Now look, suppose you fellows move over to the other side of
the mill." We gladly followed his advice.
About this time my mother had a
windfall. Someone in the old country
died and left her a thousand dollars.
She immediately booked passage for
all of us to join our father. I remember a letter from Africa in which
Uncle Willie enclosed a snapshot of
the pony he would give us when we
arrived. But it was not to be. My
older sister developed double pneumonia and was seriously ill. My
mother cancelled passage, and,
grimly determined to have a roof
over our heads, bought a 5-roomed
cottage on 5th Avenue between Mar
and Montrose.
When I was old enough to take on
my first newspaper route, I delivered
and sold the "Vancouver Star". The
eight dollars a month it brought was
a godsend. I also found other methods of capitalism. We caught perch
and cod down at the floats and sold
them to the Chinese at YeeLee
Laundry at the bottom of Third
Avenue hill. We collected beer bottles
and sold them to Mr. Roseborough.
About once a month we crawled under the sidewalk outside the Somass
Hotel beer parlor where we picked up
a bonanza of coins which had fallen
through the cracks from drunkards'
pockets. Fred Marshall and I used
to dive for nickels, dimes and two-bit
pieces at the Fishermen docks. The
trick was to dive deep just as the
thrown coin hit the water, turn and
come up so we could see the coin
moving in slow arcs like an autumn
leaf, then catch it with one hand under its gentle descent. And I
watched boats for those away in winter, pumping water out and checking
fenders, receiving a payment when
the owner returned.
Next summer a fisherman friend
took me to sea with him in a little
troller named Useless after Useless
Inlet. We anchored in Dodger's Cove
and went fishing every day at 2
a.m., returning to Bamfield about 3
p.m. to sell the catch at about seven
Uchuck HI
cents a pound, then crossed to
Dodger's Cove to anchor again.
Those were good days, be they sunlit
or rainwashed, calm or windy. I
steered through the swells for hours
and caught "sea-fever" for the rest of
my life.
Father came home from Africa. He
and Mother traded the cottage on
5th Avenue for one acre of land and
the creamery on Creamery Road
(now Margaret Street) beside
Kitsuksis Creek. This was in the
"Old Town" section of Alberni. We
attended the Johnston Road School.
I became Troop Leader of the
Arrowsmith Scouts under Reverend
Porter. Father took a government
exam, became a Customs Officer,
and suddenly, we were living "high
on the hog" at the astronomical sum
of a hundred dollars a month.
A Chinese market gardener delivered vegetables in a horse and wagon, selling the produce from his property on Beaver Creek Road. Many
times I passed his sign, placed
prominently beside the road where
the creek cut through his property.
That sign read, "NO FISHING ARE
I started High School in 1929 at
the brand new high school at the corner of 4th Avenue and Redford. Mr.
Eric Dunn was the Principal, and to
many of us, a good friend. I finished
school in 1932, but had failed in
Algebra. I went to work for
Thompson & Clarke at Horne Lake,
setting chokers. Mother mailed my
algebra book to me when I requested
it. After studying algebra all winter
I went down to Parksville in June
and passed the exam 96 out of 100,
which proved I could do anything if I
really worked at it.
A variety of employment kept me
away from the Alberni Valley for
twelve years except for brief visits. I
served as a seaman on the Princess
Maquinna. Port Alberni was one of
her many ports on Vancouver
Island's west coast. Then other
ships, other places, and service in
the Canadian Navy during WW II.
In February 1945 I put my Master's
ticket in my pocket and registered
for courses in Victoria College where
the aim was not to change my profession, merely a yen to learn more
about more things.
Captain George McCandless purchased the Uchuck I in partnership
with Captain Esson Young, from
Captain Dick Porritt. McCandless
asked me if I'd like a job where I'd be
home every night. I had known
George in the merchant service before
the war, and Esson in the Navy. It
was worthwhile to leave the world of
education and return to the Alberni
Valley where I became Master of
Uchuck I, then Uchuck II, and
Uchuck III. When Esson and George
took off for Nootka Sound, my friend
John Monrufet and I acquired the
Lady Rose. We served Barkley
Sound out of Port Alberni year round
for twenty-five years - and then retired.
The Alberni Valley ties a string to
its own people; this is the String of
Captain Richard (Dick) McMinn was born at
Ladysmith, B.C. in 1914. He writes poetry
published locally under the name of "Pat
RC. Historical News   Winter 1990-91 NEWS & NOTES
WANTED: items suitable for the "From
the Archives" section. If you have a
favorite clipping, ancient advertisement,
programme of a special event, or similar
tidbit, obtain a good quality photocopy
and send it, with a few words of
explanation on its source or significance
The Editor - B.C. Historical News, Box
105, Wasa, B.C, VOB 2K0.
Two Regional Certificates of Merit were
awarded to B.C. citizens at the annual
conference held in May 1990. The
winners were:
A. Mrs. Gladys Blyth, a self-taught
community leader from Port Edward,
B.C. Mrs. Blyth created and directed the
Northcoast Marine Museum in Prince
Rupert; led a successful campaign to
preserve British Columbia's oldest
standing cannery, the North Pacific on
the Skeena River, and to have it
designated a National Historic Site; and
has done much to enhance our
understanding of B.C.'s northern
B. Norbert MacDonald, author of
Distant Neighbours; A Comparative
History of Seattle and Vancouver.
Dean Crawford UBC
The Burnaby Historical Society's first
scholarship of $500 was awarded to Dean
Allan CRAWFORD, a fourth year UBC
student enrolled in an Honours History
Program. The Presentation Ceremony
took place at 7:00 p.m. Mon, Sept. 17/90
in the Council Chambers of Burnaby
Municipal Hall. Dean Emeritus Joe
Gardner brought greetings from UBC.
Dean Crawford, born in 1968, moved
with his family from Edmonton, Alta. in
1977 to Creston, B.C. where he
graduated from Prince Charles
Secondary School in 1986 with honours
standing. He served on the student
council and was the school's male
student of the year and citizen of the
year. He participated in several sports
and at UBC played for two years on the
UBC junior varsity soccer team. Dean
was inspired to choose history as his
major after winning the SOWARD prize
and being influenced by his teachers of
History and Social Studies. His thesis
topic is "Early Trail: Social Life and
Labour Relations as influenced by
Dean's summer employment (1990)
with the provincial government's Public
Affairs Bureau in Victoria has enabled
Dean to do preliminary research on his
thesis. For four summers he has worked
as a newspaper reporter for the Creston
Valley Advance. His knowledge of B.C.
was increased as he visited many areas
in his capacity as a member of the B.C.
Youth Parliament over the past six
years. At present he serves as their
The Cornish American Heritage
Association invites all persons with an
interest in Cornwall, past and present, to
the sixth gathering of Cornish Cousins to
be held August 8-11, 1991 at the
University of Victoria. Those interested
please write to:   Ross Lane,
823 Gulfview Place
Victoria, B.C. V8Y2R6
Lasqueti Island has rural route mail
service. The contractor doing these
deliveries is about to make a change in
the interest of clean air and
reestablishing a historically correct
transportation. Perhaps you can help.
Any reader who has a picture of a horse
drawn mail delivery carriage is asked to
send a photocopy of that picture to:
Gail Fleming, 3/4 Thyme,
Lasqueti Isle, B.C. V0R2J0
Fleming is particularly interested in a
single horse wagon called a 'C cab.
We are looking for individuals or
groups who have done research and/or
restoration of pioneer cemeteries. Please
drop a line to the Editor to tell us of your
historic graveyard. We thank Ron
Welwood for this information on
Nelson Memorial Park Cemetery is
located in the Uphill district south of the
city centre. The cemetery is a
beautifully treed, 14 acre park that
provides an excellent site for a serene
walk past approximately 10,500 graves
of some of Nelson's most prominent and
earliest citizens.
The first funeral in Nelson was for A.
Bart Henderson who died in 1888 and
was buried at a site near Baker and Falls
Streets in what is now the downtown
district. The bodies from this first
graveyard were eventually removed by
contractor, Mickey Burns, to Nelson's
second cemetery located in the vicinity of
the City Tourist Park on High Street.
By 1898 forty acres of land had been
purchased from the Canadian Pacific
Railway for a permanent cemetery. The
bodies were once again exhumed and
transferred to the present cemetery via
the Resurrection Wagon driven by the
City's powderman, Thomas Jerome.
In 1898 the city had passed a
debenture by-law to raise $5,000 "for the
purpose of acquiring and holding lands ..
. for a cemetery for the burial of the
dead". An unregistered by-law drafted in
1901 "intended to place the cemetery on
a proper and businesslike basis," was
expanded and approved (1903) to include
clauses common to many communities in
the province:
"No horses will be allowed to pass
through the grounds at a rate faster than
a walk."
"Neither bicycles nor tricycles will be
allowed on the grounds."
"Drivers of carriages at funerals are
required to remain in their seats, or by
their horses, during the performance of
funeral ceremonies."
"No picnic party will be admitted to the
"No smoking will be allowed within the
"Dogs will not be admitted."
B.C. Historical News    Winter 1990-91
32 "Any person disturbing the quiet and
good order of the place by noise or other
improper conduct, or who shall violate
any of the foregoing rules, will be
compelled instantly to leave the
All individuals interred in the cemetery
contributed in some way to the
development of the city's character and
charm. In order to sustain some interest
in Nelson's historical personalities, the
compilation of a Heritage Cemetery
Tour has been endorsed by the Nelson
Heritage Advisory Committee and City
Council. When published this brochure
will be a companion piece to the very
successful, award winning Architectural
Heritage Walking and Motoring Tours.
Anyone wishing to do research on
Banff or the Alpine Club of Canada
would naturally head to the Whyte
Museum of the Canadian Rockies. Your
editor has recently acquired two
catalogues listing the manuscripts,
pictures and records held in the
extensive archives in Banff. The
descriptions and titles of pieces held in
this repository promise fascinating
reading for a researcher.
The B.C. Historical Federation is
awarding $500 this year but
arrangements have been made to
substantially increase the value of this
scholarship in the future. The 1990
winner of the Federation scholarship is
John Angus MacTavish. McTavish, 28,
is a student at Simon Fraser University.
He is married to a fellow student at
John MacTavish
BCHF Scholarship winner 1990
Thirteen years have passed since the
Diocese of Ely declared the Church of St
Andrew the Great redundant. It
contains, you may recall, a magnificent
family plaque portraying Cook's voyages
and the grave of his wife and two of their
sons. When it was learnt that it might
be redeveloped as a shopping center,
protests, both locally and from around
the world, resulted in a public enquiry.
Finally, in September of this year, it was
reported that the way had been cleared
to lease the church to Grosvenor
Properties who had supposedly agreed to
restore the building for use as a tourist
information office to be run by the city.
In reality, as I learnt during my visit to
Cambridge last month, the agreement
reads ". . . Shall be used for civic,
cultural, community, retail, financial
services and banking purposes ..." The
fight is still on to have it limited to the
first three uses. Frankly, I find it hard
to believe that any property developer
would be interested in investing in a
tourist bureau. Meanwhile, the church
remains boarded up and a sign warns
pedestrians to beware of falling
APRIL 24-26 1992
It will soon be 1991 and the Vancouver
conference on exploration and discovery
will be but one year away! This
conference will commemorate the
bicentary of the arrival of Captain
George Vancouver on the Pacific
Northwest Coast and already an
impressive list of participants from over
a dozen countries has been confirmed.
The programme sessions will focus not
only on George Vancouver, but include
the Russians, French and Dutch in the
Pacific; overland expeditions; the
indigenous people; navigation and
technology - to name but a few.
Appropriately, it is to be held in the
downtown campus of Simon Fraser
University at Harbour Centre
overlooking Burrard Inlet where
Vancouver sailed in 1792. All of us
remember the invaluable contribution
made by, and the enormous success of
the Cook Conference in 1978. Once
again, therefore, SFU is to be
commended for hosting what will, I am
confident, be an equally exciting event.
Make cheque payable to B.C. Historical News
Mail to:   Subscription Secretary
5928 Baffin Place
Burnaby, B.C. V5H 3S8
Postal Code.
.Gift From
B.C. Historical News   Winter 1990-91 Book Shelf
Books for review and book reviews should be sent directly to the book review editor;
Anne Yandle, 3450 West 20th Ave., Vancouver, B.C. V6S1E4
Atlin, The Last Utopia. Allison
Mitcham, Hansport, Nova Scotia,
Lancelot Press, 1989. 204 p., illustrations, maps, no index. $12.
(Anne Yandle thinks I know a lot about
Atlin. She is right, but I learned more
from this book. Over 60 years ago a
chum of mine taught the Discovery
school near Atlin, 1923-24. Among other
things his letters mentioned gold nuggets, placer activity on Spruce Creek and
"moonshine". My colour photos of the
area date from 1948, and include exquisite air views. Most recent are of Atlin
celebrities at their 1989 Old Timers' dinner. I first put my feet on Atlin ground
in 1953 when we were mapping it. This
initiated enduring friendships. I still enjoy my Atlin cabin, inherited in 1965
from Harper Reed, a remarkable character who is not mentioned in Mitcham's
book. I am proud of my "Certificate of
Lifetime Membership in the Atlin
Historical Society" dated 3 December
An attractive photo of the author of
Atlin The Last Utopia appears on page
202, with this annotation:
"A westerner and northerner by birth,
Allison Mitcham attended schools
and universities in six provinces.
She has lived for the past thirty
years in Sackville, New Brunswick,
where her husband Peter teaches at
Mount Allison University.    They
have three children.  This is Allison
Mitcham's tenth book; her fourth
with a northern focus."
After acknowledgments and foreword, Chapters are: I Introduction II The
Town, III The Environs, IV The Gold
Seekers, V Eccentrics, VI Missions, VII
Medicine, VIII The Native People and K
A Special Place Threatened".
A six-page listing of source material affirms diligent research over a wide
range. Some unusual references include
Narcisse Belleau Gauvreau (1855-1933),
early B.C. land surveyor, who in 1892,
was probably the first white man to report on Atlin Lake; Philip Marmaduke
Monckton, BCLS (1892-1965) in 1930 explored the old Telegraph Trail between
Telegraph Creek and Atlin for road location; Ernest Chas Wm Lamarque BCLS,
DLS (1879-1970) blazed the trail for the
Bedaux Expedition, 1934. Some omissions are Christine Dickinson and
Dianne Smith, former Atlin residents
and writers of Atlin history; Dr. Peter
Steele whose Atlin articles appeared in
the Medical Post and the Atlin Claim;
and Bob Coutts, an Atlin resident, who
wrote Yukon Places & Names.
I learn that Dr. F. Banting of insulin
fame was an Atlin devotee and an artist,
inspired by the Group of Seven. He was
much in the limelight when I studied at
Toronto University, 1926-30. Perhaps
Professor E.W Banting, who taught us
surveying for two years was related.
The enduring delights of Atlin are well
described, but GOLD put it on the map,
contemporary with the Klondike Rush,
in 1897. Atlin had the advantage of being 300 miles closer to "civilization". It
featured all bizarre aspects of gold fever.
Atlin's true location was then uncertain.
It was near the then unsurveyed B.C./
Yukon boundary (on the 60th parallel of
North Latitude), but on which side?
Mining laws differed accordingly. In
1899, 1900 and 1901 experts from
Ottawa, G. White-Fraser, DLS, and A.
Saint Cyr, DLS, located and demarked
the 60th parallel from Teslin Lake west
some 117 miles to the Takhini River.
This put Atlin about 30 miles inside
B.C., so provincial officials moved in to
make everyone behave. Mitcham deals
colourfully with this. A book could be
written about the B.C./Yukon boundary
surveys. People are still alive who could
help. Two early B.C. land surveyors who
rationalized property and mining claim
boundaries were J.H. Brownlee, D.L.S.,
1899 and T.H. Taylor, O.B.E., M.C,
1904. Brownlee was held in high esteem
by the local Indians for his skills at the
poker table.
I learned much of interest in the chapters on missions and medicine. The dedi-
cation of both Roman Catholic and
Protestant clerics was exemplary.
Father Joseph Plaine, present incumbent
at St. Joseph's, is my good friend. The
Rev. EL. Stephenson's 600-mile trip, circa 1905, by dog team from Atlin to the
Bulkley Valley on the old Telegraph
Trail was epic. His son, Daryl, born in
Port Simpson, circa 1898, died in
Victoria two years ago. A daughter,
Molly (Mrs. H.S. McLeod), born in Atlin,
now lives in Victoria.
The native people mostly of the Tlinkit
(or Tlingit) race, are an interesting feature of the Atlin story. Atlin was an ancient seasonal camp. Their origin seems
to have been the lower Taku River and
Inlet near Juneau. It is probable that
there have been infusions of both
Tahltan and European blood. Their cemetery, on the Indian Reserve about a
mile south of town is a model. One grave
identifies "Mary Susie Jackson, wife of
Paddy Ward, died Sept. 6, 1961, age 115
years". Her story could be interesting.
Chapter V, "Eccentrics", offers much
humour and history. Some of Atlin's
characters, permanent and seasonal, living and deceased, are understandably
omitted. A book could be written about
my benefactor, Harper Reed. Herman
Peterson, pioneer Atlin bush pilot, now
lives quietly with his wife Doris, on the
lake south of Rant Avenue. His hobby is
making violins in a beautifully equipped
workshop. Mile. Renee Maluin from
Saint Jean de Monts, Vendee, France, as
a child spent many summers in Atlin
with her father, Henri, a principal in "La
Compagnie Francaise du Mines d'Or du
Canada" with placer claims on Otter
Creek. She still has a small cottage in
Atlin where she visits with her pal, Dr.
Anne Ripoche. Renee, with keen humour, tells delightful stories about her
early days in Atlin. My sister Nora studied art in Paris 1928-29, where Renee
was a friend. Another book?
There are forty-five interesting black
and white illustrations, of which nine
are Naomi Mitcham's water colours.
Two colour plates and the cover do better
justice to Naomi's art. Nine maps suffer
from reduction to fit the page format.
An index would have helped with this review, and is a desideratum for serious
study by others. I repeat, there is much
scope for another Atlin book by Allison,
and competent people, still alive, would
be glad to help.
G. Smedley Andrews
Gerry Andrews is a past president of the
British Columbia Historical Federation.
Transit In British Columbia. The
First Hundred Years.
Brian Kelley and Daniel Francis,
Madeira Park, Harbour Publishing,
1990.    150 p., illustrated, maps.
For British Columbia history readers,
this book is a must, for it is not about
transit only. As the pages are turned,
the province's history unrolls, and the
importance of transportation to a vast
area is shown. An area does not develop
unless quick and easy transit is possible,
whether it is urban or rural, a fact early
entrepreneurs were quick to grasp, and
here we get a clear picture of how they
went about it.
The pictures are excellent, and their
B.C. Historical News    Winter 1990-91
34 accompanying explanations explicit and
have an interesting feature: the reader is
instructed to compare a given photo to
another: for example, the photo opposite
"Contents" is to be compared to one on
page 16, taken at the same spot thirty-
five years earlier.
From the beginning of public transit in
British Columbia, on Saturday, February
22, 1890 in Victoria, to the spanning of
the Fraser River with the SkyBridge to
carry the SkyTrain into Surrey, it is all
there, starting with street railways, going on to interurbans, buses and trolley
coaches, stage lines, sea bus, sky train ..
The pictures alone are worth the book's
price. So much to be seen: the fashions of
the early years, the varying uniforms of
the transit workers, the proof that we
drove on the left until 1922, shots of the
interiors of the cars. A photo on page 32
is hilarious- passengers in the year 1914
are clinging like flies to the rear of a
streetcar. To compare this to to-day's super-cautious approach to passenger safety
is a fascinating insight into our society's
changing values. There are photos of the
many men who brought about the transformation, the wreck scene of the Point
Ellice Bridge disaster, "... still the worst
accident in Canadian transit history".
Others are as interesting. Not only the
transit of the Lower Mainland is detailed,
but that of the entire province.
This is not just a coffee-table book, but
an illustrated history. There are even
cutaways of SkyTrain's Burrard Station
and the SeaBus terminal. The maps are
good, the appendix concise; all of this
work together to make a valuable reference book. That it is also entertaining
makes it unique in that field.
Whether your interest is in the actual
vehicles themselves, the way transportation developed, reference, or in the adding to the general knowledge of how
British Columbia developed, there is
something to be discovered in this book.
Kelsey McLeod
Kelsey McLeod is a member of the
Vancouver Historical Society, she has
contributed articles to the B.C. Historical
The Beloved Island: The Queen
Charlotte Islands, Vol. 3
Kathleen E. Dalzell. Madeira Park,
Harbour Publishing, 1989. 152 p.,
illus., maps. $24.95
Kathleen Dalzell is well known to many
readers of North West Coast history for
her two previous volumes of Queen
Charlotte Islands history. The Queen
Charlotte Islands 1774-1966, now published over twenty years ago, is a compendious overview of the discovery, ex
ploration, and settlement of the
"Canadian Galapagos." Places And
Names, the second volume of history, is
an island by island, place by place geographical dictionary and local history of
the entire Queen Charlotte archipelago,
reminiscent of Capt. Walbran's classic
BC Coast Names. Both volumes show
an easy familiarity with the complex web
of native prehistory, sporadic but intense
early exploration, settlement, and industry of this network of islands. Useful to
historians, travellers, and residents, the
earlier volumes have gone through many
reprintings, and are still in wide demand.
With The Beloved Island, Dalzell's
work finally comes home. The book is
largely a tribute, lovingly drawn, of
Dalzell's parents, Meta and Trevor
Williams, pioneers in northerly Graham
Island's Masset Inlet area. Originally
from Wales, Trevor leaves the close confines of late - Victorian Great Britain for
distinguished action in the Boer War, a
stint in Argentina, and clerking in
Montreal before being lured to British
Columbia in 1908. The excitement attending the completion of the Grand
Trunk Pacific and the coal developments
around the Yakoun River in the
Charlottes persuade the adventurer to
seek a homestead pre-emption in the
Masset Inlet area.
Dalzell's treatment of this early period
of settlement around Masset will be of
considerable interest to those curious
about this still rather untamed and remote area. The gold-seekers, the missionaries, the land grabbers, the toilers
against the wet and shaggy forests of the
near rain forest conditions were all partners with Trevor in exploring and exploiting this area. The briefest of mention is given to the local Haida,
principally at Masset - but one gets the
impression that most of these settlers had
little or no contact with the native people.
In common with her Places And Names,
Dalzell supplies The Beloved Island
with detailed maps of these early homesteads, townsites, skid roads, logging
trails, and other landmarks. By consulting modern maps of the same area, the
ups and downs, and eventual centralization of the settlements around Port
Clements can be seen to follow the pattern documented here by Dalzell. A major element of this settlement, the arrival
of wives and children, also is clear from
Dalzell's narrative. Meta's arrival from
Wales and her participation in the small
community form the complement to the
bushshacking and land scheming typical
of the men depicted here. Unfortunately,
Dalzell's treatment of Meta's reactions
and adaptions to life in the wilderness is
much thinner and less satisfactory than
to Trevor's. Since Dalzell refers to
Trevor's diaries and notebooks, one can
only assume that very little similar material exists for Meta, and her death occurred before Dalzell was able to record
her reminiscences as she was able to do
for Trevor.
The calamitous disruption of life even
in these remote outposts caused by the
First World War brings this early narrative to a close. What follows includes a
fascinating and harrowing excerpt from
Trevor's war diary. For those familiar
with the horror of the campaigns around
Vimy Ridge, the excerpts reveal nothing
new. Coming on the heels of homestead-
ing in the wilderness, the grim events
here recounted bring a cold sweat to one's
palms. For those like Trevor, whose prose
is honest and level-headed observation -
and all the more horrifying, returning to
anything like a normal life must have required a soundness of will and spirit that
the reader must admire with awe. Yet return with Meta he does, prospering
through the twenties, slogging through
the thirties, and bearing it out through
another war.
Only the last thirty five pages of the
book are devoted to the period from 1919
to Trevor's death in 1976. For me, this
brief look was sad and worse than anti-
climactic. The Williams' lives seem to
bog down in a series of minor disasters
and trivial victories, distinguished by
competent bridge-playing and struggling
tennis. I suppose pioneers must often
suffer this fate, striving against wilderness, only to succeed into normalcy and
the ticking of the clock on the mantel.
I have long admired Dalzell's two earlier volumes on the Queen Charlotte
Islands. The Beloved Island clarifies
why she wrote them. It is an elegy, loving, poignant and ultimately sad to a
man and a woman who chose to live on
our evergreen coast.
Stephen Lunsford
Stephen Lunsford is a Vancouver bookseller, specializing in the Pacific
Ginger, The Life and Death of Albert
Susan Mayse, Madeira Park,
Harbour Publishing, 1990. 230 p.,
Susan Mayse has used her descriptive
skills as a novelist to write a biography of
Albert 'Ginger' Goodwin. She gives us a
feeling of the times and atmosphere in
British Columbia's mining towns of Trail
and Cumberland during World War I.
Goodwin after his arrival in Canada at
the age of 19, in 1906, until his death in
1918, was a restless young man. He
moved across Canada, back and forth in
British Columbia; when he was living in
B.C. Historical News   Winter 1990-91 a town he lived everywhere and anywhere. Interviewees claimed he either
lived at their house or dined at their table, and as children they were not privy
to the union talk in the next room after
the meal was finished.
We never learn from the book what
drove this restless man. Did he deliberately put himself in situations where he
had to move on? He helped organize unions wherever he lived. He belonged to
the Socialist Party, which repudiated him
when he allowed his name to be put forward for Deputy Minister of Labour in
the Harlan Brewster Government,
though he was not appointed. Had
Goodwin decided it might be easier to
change the system from inside the government?
While Goodwin lived he was not treated
by Cumberland people as anyone special;
he was one of their own young men. It
was Joe Naylor, one of Goodwin's old
friends, who insisted that the shooting be
investigated and the record be set
straight. Later, no one who was involved
with the shooting, discussed in any great
depth their thoughts and actions at that
time to their relatives or to younger
After the trial his grave was unmarked
for 20 years. The stone has now become
an icon for labour in British Columbia.
Tighter editing would have eliminated
Joe Naylor twice taking measurements of
the body on page 189.
Mayse is mistaken in the date of naming of Forbidden Plateau on page 149.
Cecil Scott was editor of the Vancouver
Province, April 17, 1927, when a short
article, written by Ben Hughes was published, describing the beauties of the region and a mythical tribe ... a race of
Indians, ferocious and wild, of another
nature altogether . . . inhabited the centre of the Island . . . Mr. Scott titled the
story The Forbidden Plateau - Beauty
Spot on Vancouver Island.
Peggy Imredy
Peggy Imredy is a past President of the
Vancouver Historical Society.
"It's Up to You": Women at UBC in
the Early Years
Lee Stewart. UBC Press, 1990, 176
p., illustrated. Cloth, $29.95; paper
Lee Stewart's thought provoking book
offers a well researched and clearly
written study of the strategies and
struggles of women to establish and
define their role within the conservative
patriarchal structure of UBC. As might
be expected, the story of women at UBC
in the early years reflects the general
trends of Canadian society in which
women began to articulate and challenge
their secondary status in both public and
private life. Throughout this time,
changing social mores simultaneously
altered and reflected the status of
The book presents readers with the
history of the university as seen from the
perspective of women. Such a perspective
offers an unusual and refreshing twist to
a normally staid tale. It is also a tale
that is at once both disheartening and
encouraging. It begins with an
amendment to the University Act of 1891
which proclaimed a bold and enlightened
commitment to the premise that "no
woman shall, be reason of her sex, be
deprived of any advantages or privileges
accorded to other students of the
Stewart then proceeds to describe and
analyze the women's protracted and
successful campaign that resulted in the
establishment of programs in nursing in
1919, teacher training in 1924, home
economics in 1942, and social work in
1945. Women also were successful in
establishing a women's residence and an
office of the Dean of Women. The women
believed that these two offices could
provide practical support to women in
their struggle to educate themselves in
the midst of an overtly patriarchal
environment. The discouraging part of
the story resides in the solid
entrenchment and pervasive hostility of
that environment.
Throughout the book, Stewart identifies
a central division that existed in the
women's strategy. A small number were
outspoken integrationists, who demanded
full equality in all disciplines including
science and engineering, no matter what
the level of hostility encountered. Most,
however, were separatists, who worked
for the establishment of more socially
accepted women's programs such as
nursing and home economics.
Stewart exerts much effort in
analyzing the responses of the separatist
women. While she presents their story
sympathetically, she obviously is
uncomfortable with their perspective.
Stewart's editorial comments sometimes
jump erratically between extolling the
active role women took to ensure their
participation in higher education, and
chastising the separatist women for
choosing alternatives that in her view
narrowed their future choices.
Stewart's argument could be better
supported by more clearly placing the
example of the UBC women into the
perspective of the Canadian women's
movement of the early twentieth century.
The debate about whether the maternal
feminists were essentially radical or
conservative continues. Some argue that
such women limited their role to the
private sphere of motherhood. Others
argue that their redefinition of
motherhood to include all of society
radically altered their arguments.
Whatever the answer to the continuing
debate, all must agree that Stewart's
study indicates that the UBC women
demonstrated an intelligently devised
strategy in which persistent and effective
pressure was applied to the university
administration in order to force it to
respond to their demands. The women
began with the stringent limits by society
and with slow and determined imposed
force first identified those limits, and
then proceeded to extend the boundaries.
The question of whether such strategies
were essentially radical or conservative
may never be answered to anyone's
satisfaction. What is indisputable,
however, is the fact that women
established for themselves a place in
higher education, against great odds.
Stewart's book is a compelling reminder
to any who might forget our history that
women have long sought to identify and
redress their secondary status in
Jane Turner
Master of Archival Studies Program UBC
Other Books Received
From Trail to RaU; Surveys and
Gold, 1862 - 1904.
The story as told by people who were
there. Vanderhoof; Northern B.C. Book
Publishing, 1990. $9.95.
From Trail to Rail; Settlement
Begins, 1905-1914.
The story as told by people who were
there. Vanderhoof, Northern B.C. Book
Publishing, 1989. ip9.95.
These two titles cover the historical area
of Fort George, Fort St. James and Fort
Fraser. First person accounts cover early
construction of the telegraph and railways, Indians, Hudson's Bay Company,
the important role played by Giscome
Portage, and gold.
B.C. Historical News    Winter 1990-91
Honorary Patron:
Honorary President:
1st Vice President
2nd Vice President
Recording Secretary
Past President
His Honour, the Honourable David C. Lam, CM, LLC, Lieutenant-Governor
of British Columbia
Mrs. Clare McAllister
John D. Spittle, 1241 Mount Crown Road, North Vancouver, B.C. V7R 1R9
Myrtle Haslam, P.O. Box 10, Cowichan Bay, B.C. VOR 1N0
Alice Glanville, P.O. Box 746, Grand Forks, B.C. VOH 1H0
T. Don Sale, 262 Juniper Street, Nanaimo, B.C. V9S 1X4
Shirley Cuthbertson, 306 - 225 Belleville Street, Victoria, B.C. V8V 4T9
387-2486 (business), 382-0288 (residence)
Francis Sleigh, Box 29, Deroche, B.C. VOM 1G0
Mary Rawson, 1406 Woodland Drive, Vancouver, B.C. V5L 3S6
Daphne Paterson, 2650 Randle Road, Nanaimo, B.C. V9S 3X2
Naomi Miller, Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0
Committee Officers
B.C. Historical News
Publishing Committee
Book Review Editor
Subscription Secretary
Heritage Cemeteries
Historic Trails & Markers
Publications Assistance
(not involved with
B.C. Historical News)
Scholarship Committee
Writing Competition
(Lieutenant - Governor's
Margaret Stoneberg, RO. Box 687, Princeton, B.C. VOX 1W0      295-3362
Tony Farr, RR#3 Sharpe Road Comp. 21, Ganges, B.C. VOS 1E0   537-5398
Anne Yandle, 3450 West 20th Avenue, Vancouver, B.C. V6S 1E4
228-4879 (business) 733-6484 (residence)
Naomi Miller, Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0    422-3594
Nancy Peter, 5928 Baffin Place, Burnaby, B.C. V5H 3S8      437-6115
John D. Adams, 628 Battery Street, Victoria, B.C. V8V 1E5    342-2895
John D. Spittle, 1241 Mount Crown Road, North Vancouver, B.C. V7R 1R9    988-4565
Helen Akrigg, 8-2575 Tolmie Street, Vancouver, B.C. V6R 4M1     228-8606 or 955-2963
Contact Helen Akrigg for advice and details to apply for a loan
toward the cost of publishing.
Evelyn Salisbury, 5406 Manor Street, Burnaby, B.C. V5G 1B7    298-5777
Pamela Mar, P.O. Box 933, Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 5N2
758-2828 The British Columbia Historical News
EO. Box 35326 Stn. E.
Vancouver, B.C.
V6M 4G5
Second Class Mail
Registration No. 4447
British Columbia Historical Federation
The B.C. Historical Federation invites submissions of books or articles for the eighth annual
Competition for Writers of British Columbia History.
Any book presenting any facet of B.C. history, published in 1990, is eligible. This may be a
community history, biography, record of a project or an organization, or personal recollections
giving a glimpse of the past. Names, dates and places with relevant maps or pictures turn a story
into "history."
The judges are looking for fresh presentations of historical information, (especially if prepared by
amateur historians) with appropriate illustrations, careful proof reading, an adequate index, table of
contents, and bibliography.
Winners will be chosen in the following categories:
1) Best History Book by an individual Writer (Lieutenant-Governor's Medal for Historical
2) Best Anthology (i.e. Best History prepared by a group.)
3) Best History for Junior Readers.
Awards are given where entries warrant, (i.e. a lone entry in group 2 or 3 will not automatically be
given a prize.)
Submissions are requested as soon as possible after publication. Please state name, address
and telephone of sender, the selling price of the book, and an address from which the book may be
purchased if the reader has to shop by mail. Send to:
B.C. Historical Writing Competition • P.O. Box 933 • Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 5N2
All entries receive considerable publicity. Winners will receive a Certificate of Merit, a monetary
award, and an invitation to the B.C. Historical Federation's Annual Conference in Duncan in May
******* ********
The Best Article award is given annually to the writer of an article published in the B.C.
Historical News magazine with the aim of encouraging amateur historians and/or students.
Articles should be no more than 2,500 words, typed double spaced, accompanied by photographs
if available, and substantiated with footnotes if possible. (Photos will be returned.) Deadlines for
quarterly issues are February 15, May 15, August 15, and November 15. Please send articles
directly to:
The Editor • B.C. Historical News • P.O. Box 105 • Wasa, B.C. • VOB 2K0


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