British Columbia History

British Columbia Historical News 1992

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Volume 25, No. 3
Summer 1992
ISSN 0045-2963
Journal of tne B.C. Historical Federation
F. J. Barnard
J. A. "Cariboo" Cameron
Member Societies and their secretaries are responsible for seeing that the correct address for their society is
up-to-date. Please send any change to both the Treasurer and Editor at the addresses inside the back cover.
The Annual Return as at October 31st should include telephone numbers for contact.
Members' dues for the year 1990 - 91 were paid by the following Societies:
Alberni District Historical Society - Box 284, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M7
Arrow Lakes Historical Society - Box 584, Nakusp, B.C. VOB 1 RO
Atlin Historical Society - Box 111, Atlin, B.C. VOW 1AO
Burnaby Historical Society - 6501 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby, B.C. V5G 3T6
Chemainus Valley Historical Society - Box 172, Chemainus, B.C. VOR 1K0
Cowichan Historical Society - P.O. Box 1014, Duncan, B.C. V9L 3Y2
District 69 Historical Society - 625 Pym Road, Parksville, B.C. V9P 1B6
East Kootenay Historical Association - P.O. Box 74, Cranbrook, B.C. V1C 4H6
Gulf Islands Branch -BCHF- c/0 Wilma J. Cross, RR#1, Pender Island, B.C. VON 2M0
Koksilah School Historical Society - 5203 Trans Canada Highway, Koksilah, B.C. VOR 2C0
Kootenay Lake Historical Society - Box 537, Kaslo, B.C. VOG 1M0
Kootenay Museum & Historical Society - 402 Anderson Street, Nelson, B.C. V1L 3Y3
Lantzville Historical Society - c/o Box 274, Lantzville, B.C. VOR 2H0
Lasqueti Island Historical Society - Lasqueti Island, B.C. VOR 2J0
Nanaimo Historical Society - P.O. Box 933, Station A, Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 5N2
North Shore Historical Society - 1541 Meriynn Crescent, North Vancouver, B.C. V7J 2X9
North Shuswap Historical Society - Box 22, Celista, B.C. VOE 1L0
Princeton & District Pioneer Museum & Archives - Box 687, Princeton, B.C. VOX 1W0
Qualicum Beach Historical & Museum Society • 444 Qualicum Road, Qualicum Beach, B.C. V9K 1B2
Salt Spring Island Historical Society - Box 1264, Ganges, B.C. VOS 1E0
Sidney & North Saanich Historical Society - P.O. Box 2404, Sidney, B.C. V8L 3Y3
Silvery Slocan Historical Society - Box 301, New Denver, B.C. VOG 1S0
Surrey Historical Society - 8811 - 152nd Street, Surrey, B.C. V3R 4E5
Trail Historical Society - P.O. Box 405, Trail, B.C. V1R 4L7
Vancouver Historical Society - P.O. Box 3071, Vancouver, B.C. V6B 3X6
Victoria Historical Society - Box 5123 Stn. B., Victoria, B.C. V8R 6N4
Fort Steele Heritage Park - Fort Steele, B.C. VOB 1 NO
The Hallmark Society - 207 Government Street, Victoria, B.C. V8V 2K8
Nanaimo Centennial Museum Society -100 Cameron Road, Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 2X1
Publications Mail Registration Number 4447
Published winter, spring, summer and fall by the British Columbia Historical Federation, P.O. Box 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), $10.00; Members of member
Societies - $9.00; For addresses outside Canada add $4.00.
Financially assisted by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Recreations nd Culture, through the British
Columbia Heritage Trust and British Columbia Lotteries.
Back issues of the British Columbia Historical News are available in microform from Micromedia Limited, 20
Victoria St., Toronto, Ont. M5C2N8 (416)362-5211 • Fax (416) 362-6161 • Toll Free 1-800-387-2689
- Micromedia also publishes the Canadian Magazine Index and the Canadian Business Index.
Indexed in the Canadian Periodical Index.
Volume 25, No. 3     Journal of the B.C. Historical Federation     Summer -1992
How successful are theme issues? Readers
occasionally mention them; friends of the magazine contribute works to them. We sought to
attract new contributors, and to inspire writers
by suggesting a favorite topic. The issues on
"Women", "Education" and "Because of the
War" drew many responses. A B.C. Historical
News supporter in Kelowna assembled the
manuscripts needed for the "Okanagan" issue.
It took far more time and effort than anticipated to fulfil our objective. Some stories were
already in hand when the theme "B.C.'s Coast
and Islands" was announced, enabling us to
present works from previously unknown
The word "Cariboo" suggests many fascinating scenarios, yet our appeal for presentations
by residents in that district was heeded only by
Branwen Patenaude. Don Sale, with his vested
interest in the Cariboo, made sure that at least
two parts of the history were presented. Winston Shilvock, Marie Elliott and Tony Farr
kindly prepared their look at happenings in the
district in fairly recent years as well as pioneer
times. We also introduce a new name, Lonna
Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick, in Calgary, holds a
wealth of well written material telling of her
ancestors in the Cariboo; we look forward to
sharing other episodes with you in future.
Readers - do you have suggestions/requests
for future topics? Write to your editor, or
write FOR your editor to share a favorite tidbit of history.
Naomi Miller
Two names which are unmistakably woven
into the fabric of Cariboo history are Francis
(Frank) J. Barnard and J. A. "Cariboo"
F.J. Barnard, left, was founder of Barnard's
Express, commonly known as the Cariboo BX
Express Company. At first Barnard, on foot,
carried letters between Yale and Cariboo, a distance of 380 miles. Later he used ponies, and
when a road was completed, stage coaches. He
was a member of the legislature, sitting for Yale
"Cariboo" Cameron made a major gold find
in August 1862, the site of which became
Camerontown, near Barkerville.
Photos from the "Builders of British Columbia"
series compiled for the British Columbia Centennial 71.
Features Page
A Tale of a Packer 2
fry Carle Jones
Cariboo Gold Rush 3
fry T.Don Sale
The Chilcotin War 5
fry Winston A Shilvock
War Bride in the Chilcotin 7
fry Anthony P. Fair
Peace River Pioneer 10
by C. J. St. Cyr-Tompkins
The Coastal Princesses 14
fry Daphne Baldwin
Quesnel Forks 18
fry Marie Elliott
Forgotten Cariboo Entrepeneurs 20
fry Branwen Patenaude
Old Time Cariboo Dances 22
fry Lonna Kirkpatrick
The Saga of Louis LeBourdais 25
fry Winston A. Shilvock
Remembering the P.G.E. (B.C. Rail) 27
fry T. Don Sale
The American Rush 30
fry Gerri Young
Alex Lord's British Columbia 1915-1936 36
Review by Gerry Andrews
Mutual Hostages: Canadians & Japanese During W W II 37
Review by Gordon R. Elliott
Canadian Pacific Railway Stations in B.C. 38
Review; fry Melva Dwyer
Writing in the Rain 39
Review fry Barry Goug}\
Helen Dawe's Sechelt 39
Review fry Bill McKim
Manuscripts and correspondence for the editor are to be sent to P.O. Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0
Correspondence regarding subscriptions is to be directed to the subscription secretary (see inside back cover)
Printed in Canada by Kootenay Kwik Print
Cranbrook, B.C.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92 A Tale Of A Packer
by Wm. Carle Jones
A Packtrain wearily plodded down a frail rough, narrow and steep,
A route pocked with many a hazard
Causing nightmares when the Packer sought sleep.
Sixty miles of that tortuous trail, from   Quesnel to Keithley Creek -
To that goldrush camp where big nuggets lay
Like coconuts in a heap.
The Paniers and Sawbucks were loaded, tied with a Diamond Hitch,
Filled with the goods and belongings
Of those who would soon strike it rich.
Between two Mules a load was slung on poles strong, slender and green -
An old fashioned upright piano
To grace the abode of a Queen.
In a moment of weakened willpower he'd taken the job.   She was sure
That such an adornment would add a great deal
To the lure of her Parlour d Amour.
As they inch down the stemwinder switchback the loose shale slips and rolls,
The Packer's heartfelt invectives
Must have seared those Mulish souls.
They sweated through mud and through sand till they got to their journey s end
Where the tinkling Honky Tonk tunes
Soon gladdened the hearts of the men.
The Packers voice is boastful as he savors his mountain brew.
He has proven once more what Mule strength,
Mansweaf and Savvy can do.
He s a vanishing breed though he lingers.   As I watch him I wonder why
Till he says, "Gol Dang it, Sonny,
You know I m afraid to die.
Only with age comes wisdom.   A strong young man is a fool -
And, Sonny, I know where I m going
That I'm sure to join them two mules.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92
The writer insists this is based on fact. He was a Packer in the
Cariboo in the 1930s, and now resides in Creston. The Cariboo Gold Rush
by T.D. Sale
The discovery of gold in the Cariboo
first became known as far back as 1852
when some Indians came to the Hudson's Bay Company post at Alexandria.
The young clerk Donald McLean supplied goods in return for gold that had
been discovered in the Thompson River
area near Nicomen. McLean reported
the find to Governor James Douglas
who tried to suppress the knowledge
since the fur trade would be seriously
disrupted by the inevitable rush of gold
By 1857 Donald McLean had become
Chief Trader at Fort Kamloops. Meanwhile sporadic gold finds had occurred
by miners panning the Thompson and
Lower Fraser Rivers. One particularly
lucrative find was made by John Houston in Tranquille Creek which flows
into Lake Kamloops. Approximately
$600,000 had been taken from these
river areas by the 'lucky ones' from
among the estimated 30,000 miners
who had flocked into New Caledonia by
Mass gold mining had begun on the
sand bars of the lower Fraser River. In
1858 alone sixty-seven ships, many of
which were unseaworthy, had steadily
transported overloads of miners from
San Francisco to Victoria where they
hurriedly purchased a mining licence
and supplies. They then arranged transport by canoes, rafts, and any other
available means of conveyance to the
mainland and up the Fraser River as far
as Hope. For many months both the
Otter and the Beaver were kept busy
plying between Fort Victoria and Fort
Langley with overloads of gold miners.
For countless centuries erosion on the
Fraser River had carried many tons of
soil in which much fine gold was located. Sand bars were built up at the many
twists and turns of the Fraser River
which made its final deposit by building
up Lulu Island and Sea Island at its
mouth. Some thirty sand bars had been
built up between Hope and Yale and a.
further fifty sand bars were located between Yale and Kumcheen (now known
as Lytton) where the clear waters of the
Thompson River join the muddy waters
of the Fraser River. It was on these sand
bars that the gold miners first staked
their claims and began panning for the
fine gold.
On November 19, 1858 James Douglas became Governor of the mainland
colony of British Columbia at Fort
Langley in addition to his duties as
Governor of the colony of Vancouver
Island. To help maintain law and order
a company of 150 Royal Engineers under Colonel Richard Clement Moody
came from England and set up their
headquarters at Sapperton (New Westminster). Their additional task was to
use their expertise in surveying and road
building. The arrival of Judge Matthew
Baillie Begbie ensured that law and order would be enforced amongst the
Most gold miners set out on foot with
as little as one change of clothing, a
knapsack containing a few essentials, a
supply of bacon, beans, flour, rice, salt
and tobacco. At the nearest Hudson's
Bay post they may have purchased a
pick, shovel, ladle and wire screen.
When gold was discovered in Williams Creek in 1860 the Cariboo gold
rush moved to the headwaters of the
Fraser River. Streams or creeks producing a good yield of the precious metal in
the upper Fraser River of New Caledonia included such names as Antler,
Keithley, Nelson, Lowhee, Lightning,
California, Grouse, Goose, Salt Spring,
Snowshoe, Jack of Clubs, and Last
A single mining claim was a square
piece of ground  100 feet wide from
bank to bank of a creek or stream. Each
claim had to be registered with the District's Gold Commissioner and was
subject to the approval of the Governor.
Disputes were usually settled by the
Commissioner who was also a Justice of
the Peace.
Life amongst the miners in the gold-
fields was very rugged and most of them
worked like slaves to eke out a bare existence. They jokingly referred to their
everyday food of bacon as Cariboo Turkey and beans as Cariboo Strawberries.
Fresh or smoked salmon was occasionally available from the local natives.
Winter temperatures often dropped to
20 degrees below zero on the Fahrenheit
Scale (-30 degrees Centigrade). Sometimes the reading dipped to minus 30°F
The climate as a whole was dry and
exhilarating. A common treatment for
fever was six grains of sulphate of quinine every day until completely
Unusually large "strikes" were made
by 'Dutch' Bill Deitz in February 1861,
Billy Barker in early 1862 and Cariboo
Cameron in August 1862. The towns
of Richfield, Barkerville and Camerontown mushroomed in size with
Barkerville becoming the largest city
west of Chicago and north of San Francisco. The actual yield of gold from this
area of the Cariboo was close to 95 million dollars.
Meanwhile on orders from Governor
James Douglas in 1861 the Cariboo
Road was in process of being built by
the Royal Engineers and other contractors. It was to be 18 feet wide and
extended from Yale to Barkerville. The
480 mile project was completed in
Before long the famous Barnard Express Coaches (better known as BX
Coaches)   began  travelling  the  newly
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92 constructed Cariboo Road. These
coaches were usually drawn by six horses
(two leaders, two spanners, and two
wheelers) specially selected for their task.
Horses were changed on the average of
every thirteen miles hence the numerous
Mile Houses which were located along
the Cariboo Road. In 1865 these coaches carried an estimated 1500 passengers
and gold worth nearly five million
In addition mule trains plodded up
and down the Cariboo Road at the rate
of 15 miles per day. Each animal carried from 150 to 200 pounds of freight.
Perhaps the most famous 'mule skinner'
was Cataline (Jean Caux). It took a
month to cover the 480 miles.
During 1861 inflation hit the cost of
necessities such as follows: 1. Flour rose
from 25 cents per pound to 70 cents, 2.
Beef rose from 12 cents a pound to 50
cents and 3. Beans rose from 30 cents a
pound to 90 cents. A mining pan
which was worth only a few cents
reached the 8 dollar price. Picks and
shovels (without handles) brought 6 dollars each. With handles the price rose to
seven dollars and fifty cents for each
item. Gold dust could be exchanged for
goods at the rate of 17 dollars per ounce
or sold for a maximum of sixteen dollars
and fifty cents cash.
Much of the gold located in the upper
Fraser River area tended to be rather
coarser and in the form of nuggets as
compared to the fine gold recovered by
pan washing on the sand bars of the
lower Fraser River. Digging for gold
down to bedrock handsomely rewarded
such miners as Billy Barker, 'Dutch' Bill
Deitz and Cariboo Cameron. Flumes,
sluice boxes and rocker washers were often constructed to assist miners in
surface mining while the bedrock miners
resorted to raising the dirt to the surface
of the hole by means of a rope and
The melting snow on the surrounding
high mountains often caused the rivers,
streams and creeks to rise and wash out
such homemade devices. Even the
primitive roads and trails were totally
submerged during the run-off season in
the late spring (end of May).
Broke, discouraged and hungry many
of the unlucky goldminers were forced
to hire themselves out as 'packers' for
the lucky ones. Except for a few mules
other pack animals were of no use for
much of the year due to the rough terrain and frequent inclement weather.
In September 1868 Barkerville was
completely destroyed by fire. Like a
phoenix, within six weeks Barkerville
began to rise from among the ashes.
Life around Barkerville during the
height of the Gold Rush was of a typical
mining frontier type town with all the
vices which included drinking, gambling, and sporting houses. By 1869
the Anglican Church minister, Rev.
James Reynard* had persevered against
great hardships and had built St. Saviour's Church which still stands today at
the entrance to the restored Barkerville
of yesteryear.
It only remains to state that many of
the Cariboo gold miners took advantage
of the Pre-emption Law of 1860. Thus
these ex-miners became the founder ancestors of many of today's Cariboo
Cattle Ranches. The main terms of the
1860 Preemption Law were:
1. Oath of allegiance to the
2. Parcel of 160 acres of Crown
3. Payment of two dollars recording
fee to the nearest magistrate who
issued a certificate of possession.
4. Permanent improvements were to
be at the rate of two dollars and
fifty cents per acre, or an overall
total of four hundred dollars on
the 160 acres (quarter section).
(No time limit for the
improvements was imposed - this
was added at a later date).
5.  First right to purchase at one
dollar per acre.
6. Mineral rights were NOT
7. First right to purchase adjoining
Crown Land at one dollar per
The elusive search for gold in the Cariboo continues from time to time by
lone prospectors and by big company
operations down to the present day.
T.D. Sale was a teacher in the Cariboo prior
to W WIL He is a B.C. history buff with a special interest in the Cariboo.
'Advemsinir from the 1865
courtesy of Barkerville Archives
"The   Cariboo   Sentinel."
Opnca—BARKERVILLE, Wiuiani Cam, Cutiaos.
Subscription, $1 per week,
(Including ci*t of delivery,) Payable to 11m Carrier.
Stages and Saddle Train!
well us the moat cumtoruble mod* ot imvel to the
lower country to by tnia line.
RADDlJi TRAIN' l.ravr* Richfield on MomMTa end
TainfDATS at NOOK, in time to catch the bTAOE at
Cottonwool for Qu<»nel Mouth and the steamer (vt
Soda Crwk. BARNARD'S STAGES leave Soda Crsrk
every Moidat >uil Tiiruui at 8 a. n. The Thun
■lay'* Stage will lay over at lluia'a, 111 mile poet, and
al CUM'Mi for n-M; the Monday^ Stage at Cunroi
oxiv; both arriving at vale in time ta catch the •team-
em for New Wcmtuinmer.
Iff Through Ticket* may be obtained at the Offlce
In KtchOel.l.
Steamer "Enterprise,"
Important to Miners!
The undersigned U prepared to
On CommlsAiim, or will purchase any quantity on ted
Mom UeuAL Tmjm, at the
' Reading Room, Cameronton,
Runer.riher Is now well known on William!Creek, aul
from Iheeonltdenco. reposed In him laut Fall in the
above bu*lD«w, he hope* to receive the patronage of
the Mining community the ensuing swiann.
WiH arrive at Riehoeld on Vedixmt and Satcbdati
and elixe on MoaDATfl and Thcrhdat , at NOON, cm
veviug Treasure, Letter* and Valunbl * tat ALL PART*
Neighboring Creeks and Gulches.
JOSEPH C. SPOONER will run an E*pr«nt
Heoularlv, in coanectiim with Bwnsril'n Kiprnn,
rr<«t WiiliaiuB Creek loGruuso, Stevens, Begga, Antler,
Cunningham, and KWtblcy Cro ka.
letters, fcc, to be left at Expnsae Office, Rjcbleld,
or John Buie'a, Barkerville.
TnE RATES FOR l'RKIOUT by the Rlageltom Yale
i" Richfield wiU ha
t to » ll)».
» to UK) tb-i
over MO Its
$1.00 * n,
*> «> It.
I» * ft
Tanoi-ua is m Mia.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92 The Chilcotin War
by Winston A. Shilvock
Alfred Waddington
Chartres Brew
Donald McLean
Compared with the United States,
Canada had few bloody encounters with
the red man as the white man
inexorably pushed his way across the
continent. However, in 1864 British
Columbia experienced a deadly
confrontation which became known as
the Chilcotin War.
The story begins when Alfred
Waddington commenced building a
road from the head of Bute Inlet to
cross the Chilcotin to Barkerville,
cutting 175 miles from the current
Victoria-Barkerville route via the
Cariboo Wagon Road.
An initial survey-pack trail followed
the Homathko River for 40 miles where
a small ferry, manned by Timothy
Smith, was required to cross the river.
On April 29 three Indians approached
Smith asking for food. Food was a
scarce commodity in the whole region
and the natives in general were verging
on starvation. Smith must have refused
them help for the trio assaulted and
killed him. Taking only food they
headed east along the trail.
Ten miles ahead was the main body of
road workers - 12 whites and 16
Indians. Travelling during the night the
three Indians caught up with the group
shortly before dawn and while the white
men slept the Indian workers were
prevailed upon to join the first three. It
took little convincing for they had been
receiving meager rations and were
hungry and in an ugly mood. At the
first light of dawn a quick attack was
made and nine men lay dead. In the
half-light three escaped - Mosley,
Petersen and Buckley.
In the meantime, four miles eastward,
superintendent Brewster and three men
were blazing a trail for the main gang to
follow and were unaware of the
massacre that had just taken place to
their rear. The Indians soon caught up
with them and it didn't take long to
dispatch the four unsuspecting men.
This time the Indians concealed some of
the implements they captured but, as
before, took only food with them.
News of these successful forays spread
quickly via the "moccasin telegraph"
and soon the raiding party grew to 30
men led by Chief Tellot. With all the
whites in the area disposed of, the
Indians headed over the Cascade
mountains for Puntzi Lake. On the way
they came on the home of a settler
named Manning and finding him
nearby killed him. The number of dead
white men now totalled 15.
While all this was going on a supply
pack train led by Alexander McDonald
was heading from Bentinck Arm to
meet the work crews at Puntzi Lake.
He knew nothing of what had
happened but an Indian woman
accompanying the group learned, as
only the Indians were able to do, of the
events and warned that an attack could
be expected. McDonald thought the
warning a matter of hocus pocus and
travelled on. It wasn't long until the
Indian warriors,  numbering  50  odd,
attacked from ambush and in quick
order killed the Indian woman, three
packers and McDonald. Although
wounded, five men escaped.
News of the first massacre didn't reach
Victoria until May 14. The next day 28
volunteers under the command of
Chartres Brew, Chief Inspector of
Police, left on H.M.S. Forward for Bute
Inlet intending to travel eastward into
the Chilcotin. However, they found the
route too difficult and after a fortnight
returned to Victoria. This delay caused
a rethinking of strategy and it was
proposed to have forces advance into the
Chilcotin from the Cariboo on the east
and from the coast on the west and meet
up at Puntzi Lake.
Accordingly 50 men were organized in
the Cariboo under the command of
"Judge" William G. Cox and left
Alexandria on June 8. When Cox
arrived at Puntzi Lake four days later he
was dismayed to find that no forces had
arrived from the coast and he was alone
to face a multitude of hostile Indians.
He quickly built a small fort on a slight
rise and prepared for the worst.
He realized his main hope was to
placate the Indians long enough for
reinforcements to get to him so the next
day he sent Donald McLean to seek out
Chief Alexis and ask for a pow-wow.
McLean was one time a Chief Trader
for the Hudson's Bay Company at
Kamloops, and while a rembunctious
individual, was generally regarded as
friendly by the Indians. Chief Alexis was
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92 the most powerful and influential of all
the Chilcotin Chiefs and if considered
to be not entirely on the side of the
white man was at least not unfriendly.
McLean found Alexis and his band at
the junction of the Chilcotin and
Chilko rivers and although the Indians
were armed and restive he prevailed on
Alexis to come to a meeting with Cox.
However, before this good news could
be conveyed, Cox stupidly attempted a
foolhardy manoeuvre. He sent out a
scouting party which a half mile from
the fort ran into an ambush and had to
retreat. This ended any chance for a
pow-wow and Cox was obliged to
hunker down and wait.
It wasn't until June 13 that the
western party of 38 men was organized
and, again under the command of
Chartres Brew, left New Westminster
on H.M.S. Sudej, this time to take the
Bentinck      Arm      route. The
newly-appointed Governor Frederick
Seymour accompanied the group to see
things first-hand.
When the Arm was reached on June
24 the invading force ran into the five
survivors of the McDonald massacre
and learned for the first time of that
event. This news caused Brew to make
a slow, cautious advance and it wasn't
until July 7 that he met up with Cox at
Puntzi Lake.
The white men now numbered 90 and
forays were made to attempt to locate
and take on the Indians. On one of
these, Donald McLean, although an
experienced woodsman, briefly let down
his guard and a camouflaged Indian
killed him with a bullet through the
No other encounters were made and
when Brew heard that the murderers he
wanted were hiding near the coast he
left with his men to seek them out.
When the search failed he returned to
Cox held his position at the fort and
gradually the Indians began to relent
their hostile attitude. One day Chief
Alexis presented himself to Governor
Seymour and carried with him a
message from the rebel chiefs Tellot and
Klattasine who offered to cease
hostilities and give themselves up. Cox
said he wished to make friends and
would guarantee the Indians safety if
they came peacefully, so a meeting was
arranged for August 11.
True to their word chiefs Tellot and
Klattasine and six of their followers
along with Chief Alexis and his band
arrived in good faith. But all the
wanted men weren't there. McDonald
had killed one, two had committed
suicide and ten had taken to the hills
and vanished.
As soon as the meeting began Cox
broke his word of friendship and
guarantee of safety and ordered his men
to surround the Indians who were
commanded to lay down their arms and
surrender as prisoners. The Indians
were stunned by this act of treachery
but in a stance of defiance and scorn,
Chief Tellot is reputed to have smashed
his rifle against a tree and standing with
his arms folded across his chest
exclaimed, "King George men are all
great liars."
Thus, through duplicity, eight of the
wanted men were captured. Under
heavy guard they were taken to Quesnel
Mouth (Quesnel) and kept in jail until
September when Judge Begbie arrived
to conduct the trial. Two of the Indians
turned Crown witnesses, one was
sentenced to life in prison but later
escaped and five were hanged. The
bodies were buried in unmarked graves
on the bank of the Fraser River.
During the Chilcotin War which
lasted from April 29 to August 11,
1864, 20 white men lost their lives. No
count was kept of the number of
Indians killed and it's interesting to
note that while the Indians were
labelled as murderers, no such
appellation was attached to the white
killers, none of whom were ever charged
or brought to trial.
Opinions vary as to why the conflict
started but historical evidence appears
to favor that it was the unfair treatment
of the Indians by the white invaders,
culminating in near-starvation that
brought things to a head. As the white
invasion progressed into Indian lands
their way of life and ability to live off
the land rapidly began to disappear.
Waddington's intrusion and his men's
callous disregard of the Indians' need
for food proved the final straw.
In every instance of a raid and
massacre, it should be remembered that
only food was taken and tools,
instruments and money were left
behind. It     thus     seems     that
indiscriminate plunder wasn't a motive.
Starvation breeds drastic action.
Although Judge Begbie hanged five of
the Indians, he apparently felt for their
situation for during the trial he stated,
"The treatment of the Indians,
employed in packing, received at the
hands of Brewster and his party was at
once calculated to arouse their cupidity
and provoke their vengeance."
Only 40 miles of Waddington's road
was ever completed and by a quirk of
fate he died of smallpox in 1872 just ten
years after the same white man's great
killer had ravaged the Indians.
The Chilcotin War is now an almost
forgotten event in British Columbia
history but two reminders of it remain
in the names of Mount Waddington
and Alexis Creek.
We are grateful to Winston Shilvock for
suggesting then researching this topic for our
Cariboo issue.
■^MpAIMO^  \^SfjSgT tAN0LEV_.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92 War Bride in the Chilcotin
In 1793 Alexander MacKenzie was the
first white man to see the 8000-square-
mile Chilcotin Plateau, a region of forest, lakes and open range extending at
an elevation of some 3000 feet from the
Fraser River to the Coast Mountains.
This is magnificent country for fish
and game. Paul St. Pierre, former Chilcotin MP and author of the 'Cariboo
Country' series of TV plays, compares,
not wholly in jest, a 6-in. long fish of
eastern Canada with those found in his
riding which also measure 6 inches - between the eyes. It is in this part of B.C.
that the life of the pioneers comes closest to living memory and where the
people of the mid-20th century faced
conditions not very much changed.
Here is a glimpse of this life, seen
through the pen of Mary, a war bride
who left London to share the fortunes of
a rancher - guide near Tatlayoko Lake -
an Indian name meaning 'Rough Water'
- on a 160-acre farm raising a hundred
head of Herefords. Mary's story is in
the form of selections from letters to another immigrant in Vancouver.
All measurements in the text have
been retained in Imperial units or Fahrenheit degrees. The use of metric units
would be an anachronism and deviation
from the actual words of Mary's letters.
3 August 1958
We've had some hot weeks lately, close
to 90°, though I can still see snow on
the peaks from my kitchen window.
Most summers we get frosts about once
a month usually when the moon is full,
but this year everything is early. Haying
is almost over, when normally we have
hardly begun.
I arrived eleven years ago in midwinter
and did the last twenty miles by horse
team and sleigh. At beef time the rancher drove their cattle to town on foot and
it took seventeen days.
We lead a simple life, eat moose and
deer meat, keep chickens, grow vegetables, have a cow for milk and do all our
shopping by mail order. There is no
electricity; our nearest store and tele-
by Anthony P. Farr
phone is 21 miles away and our nearest
doctor is at Williams Lake, 180 miles
east. We have three boys: Stephen,
nine; Ross, six; and Glenn, 18 months.
Our closest neighbours are li/2 miles
down the Homathko River which runs ■
right by our house. We have a little
school three miles up the valley and
three miles the other way is the north
end of Tatlayoko Lake.
25 October 1958
A week ago Jenny down the road had
a frightening experience. Her husband
was away, on a guiding trip. It was still,
peaceful weather. Suddenly Jenny
heard one of their pigs squealing frantically. She rushed over to the pen and a
big black bear jumped at her. Jenny
scrambled up the nearest tree. Luckily
it was a sapling about four inches
through and too slender for the bear to
climb. She began to scream every name
that came into her head and the bear
kept slapping at the tree, causing it to
sway wildly with her in the branches.
She tried to climb higher and the
branch broke beneath her foot and left
her dangling above the bear. From time
to time it left her alone and went back
to eating the stomach out of the pig,
which remained alive and squealing for
over an hour. Every time Jenny tried
screaming, the bear came back to the
tree; so she decided to stay quiet. She
had no coat on and after a couple of
hours it began to get dark. The bear by
this time was so full of pig that he was
panting, and he covered up the remains
with leaves, then lay down to sleep.
Jenny crept down the tree and ran to
the house. Next day she looked ill with
shock and her legs were an awful mess
of deep scratches and bruises from the
tree. Several people have since tried to
climb the tree she was in, but no one
Jenny and I will have the job of making all the popcorn balls for the kids'
Christmas party.
22 August 1960
The weather has turned cold and I'm
afraid we shall have to make silage of the
remaining three hay fields. We are not
very expert at this silage business yet.
It's messy looking stuff, and I can't
blame the cows for not eating it. I decided that either our silage was spoiled
or our cows are too fussy, as other farmers claim their cattle gobbled up their
silage greedily.
30 December I960
My husband Ken has to go to Vancouver. I'm not looking forward to being
alone at this time of year, and I always
feel a wee bit panicky when I see the
frost inside the house, and the kids'
clothes frozen to the wall, and us still
frantically stoking the fires to drive it
out again. He plans to start building a
new house this spring.
We had forest fires all around us this
summer. They spread for miles chasing
all wildlife before them. Some visitors
almost got trapped in the canyon by a
fire, and they backed their car all the
way out and came in on the old road,
which is really just a boulder-strewn
track. They said that living in the city
they couldn't really picture how bad the
fires are. One fire came a little too close
for comfort. It began after dark and the
whole mountain-side looked like a city
at night. We got all ready to leave but
the men managed to cut a firebreak just
in time. The biggest lumber merchants
in Williams Lake want to include Tatlayoko Lake in their work circle.
There's only one consolation I can see
and that is that we shall get forest fire
Work on the new house is all in my
head. Ken is too busy keeping the ranch
going. Home is just a shelter.
Stephen has a small trapline this year
to earn a few dollars. He has three lynx,
a coyote and a lovely big mink. Glenn
is his usual pesky little self, and this is
the month of Knocked Over according
to him
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92 5 January 1962
My sister in England got married in
October and from the list I sent her of
possible presents she chose a wool comforter. I groaned - she can't possibly
know the work involved - cutting the
wool off a fleece, then washing, drying,
teasing, carding and finally sewing it
into cheesecloth. Now there's only the
outer cover left to do.
1 October 1962
Ken has been getting very deaf this
year and the doctor in Williams Lake
sent him down to Shaughnessy Hospital. I can no longer mutter things under
my breath to him, and he can't hear
birds and squirrels when he is out riding, or horse bells or deer in the woods.
We were building a root cellar when
he had to leave. We got the cement
poured for it, and he gave the kids a list
of jobs to do towards it. I helped by
shovelling earth over a 6-foot wall all
day yesterday, and my muscles are protesting today.
Well, I have to punch my bread down
next. Are you planning on coming up
this winter? Keep in mind our outside
toilet - the torture rack.
29 December 1962
Ken can now hear again - thank heavens. The doctors did a complete cure.
The river froze over in a very unusual
manner this year. It seemed to be covered with a sheet of clear glass, very frail,
but upon examining it we found cracks
and trapped leaves and twigs that indicated the ice was three to four inches
thick. Yesterday we walked down the
river on the ice and lay on it to watch
little fish darting about in fear at the
tribe of monsters staring at them.
16 January 1964
Last summer we camped beside the Atnarko River. We caught rainbow, Dolly
Varden and coho, and then we saw huge
spring salmon leaping right out of the
water and sailing effortlessly over some
rocks. They must have been three feet
long and a foot thick. I hastily reeled in
my line in case I caught one. I'd either
have to let him have the lot or go with
The vicious mosquitoes also impressed
me - enormous ones. All that swamp
and muskeg is a vast breeding ground
for those vampires. Too bad for anyone
wanting to use the 'bathroom'.
Glenn's chief delight is the cat - a
golden kitty named Leo, Goldie, Old
Yeller and Mr. Needles.
I lose interest in the new house except
when Ross's bed goes through the floor,
or Glenn finds a toad hopping around
the bedroom, or the so-called bathroom
is black with ants.
24 June 1964
The other day Ken and I took a case
of dynamite up the hill to blow out
some lengths of ditch. Afterwards we
both had blasting headaches - a common ailment when using dynamite.
Ken, nervous of the caps, gave them to
me to mind, and I had them in a breast
pocket. When we got home, there were
still five caps left in a screw of paper,
and, unknown to me, Ken took them
out of my coat and put them on the table. After a brief lunch we lay down to
get rid of the headaches, and after a
while I got up and made some tea. I
called Ken and hastily snatched up all
the odds and ends of junk and stuffed
them in the fire - and, yes, those five
caps went in too. We were sitting
drinking our tea when 'BOOM!' the
stove lids all flew off the stove and a
great cloud of ashes and sparks and
burning chunks of wood belched into
the room. Ken leaped to his feet praying, at least I guess he was. I kept right
on sitting there - I remember thinking
'Good job I wasn't standing there cooking'. It took a lot of elbow grease to
clean the place up but the only damage
was a hole in the grates. I don't think
I'll forget that day though.
The house is progressing at last. We
have bought a mountain of building
supplies - pink plumbing and all.
12 January 1965
On 22 December in sub-zero weather
I got my crew assembled and we moved
into the new house. I felt a traitor leaving the poor old house to freeze up all
alone after sheltering us for eighteen
30 March 1965
While I was down in Vancouver, I had
a letter from Ken to say that Glenn had
taken his toy popgun up in the pasture
to look at the traps he had out for squirrels. In one of them was a skunk, and
Glenn cocked his trusty musket and was
about to give him what for, but the
skunk shot first and Glenn came home
to tell Ken he had been sprayed by a
skunk. As if Ken needed any telling.
Ken said he used a 40-foot pole to get
his clothes off, and I was nervous of
finding the whole house still reeking,
but he had managed to get rid of the
smell. What became of the clothes I've
never investigated.
11 October 1965
It got hotter than I've ever seen it this
year, up in the nineties. I only went
swimming once though, and once I fell
in the river. I was helping that dopey
husband of mine prime a pump that was
mounted on the end of a couple of
planks. They weren't fastened down
and I teetered on the end that was slowly pitching me in the river and couldn't
do a thing to save myself. Ken giggled
like a maniac.
25 January 1966
Since Ken is chairman of the Centennial committee we had an invitation
from Governor Pearkes to an old-time
ball, but we had to decline. First, not
enough spare cash, second, it's in Victoria - too far away, third, it's in April
and we can't leave the place in calving
time, and fourth, it would be too lavish
for the likes of us country mice.
29 January 1966
Christmas was a one-day affair for us,
as Ken had to go out to look for our lost
bulls on Boxing Day. With two to three
feet of snow on the ground, he had waited till then, hoping for a thaw. The
thaw came, but then it rained and a
frost followed, making the snow so solid
and crusty that we could walk on top of
it. Stephen went with him, and they
found the bulls in fairly strong condition, but it took them three days to get
them home, and the bulls' legs were
badly cut by the snow crust.
Ken now has the job of postmaster for
the valley, but with the ranch keeping
him so busy, I do most of the mail
14 January 1967
If the kids all go away to school, Ken
will be alone while I'm on holiday in
September and then when I come back
I'll take their place outside whenever he
needs help, such as with the cowboying.
I rode down the lake last spring but riding is not my favourite sport and I wish
there was a more comfortable way of
doing it.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92
8 One cold January morning (a mail
day) Ken touched a turning power-take-
off shaft with a wet mitt, and it froze instantly to the metal. He came into the
house and said "Mary, I've pulled my
thumb off," and he held up the evidence. There was a stump left from the
second joint, but the skin had torn off
clean from the base of the thumb. I
wanted to shut my eyes and tell myself I
was in a dream. With the aid of two
people who had come with mail, we got
the pick-up truck ready and his hand
bandaged. I fed him a couple of 292's.
In fifteen minutes he was on the road
for the doctor's and then I got through
mail day with a sick lump in my stomach. The doctor had to saw off the
stump of bone as there was no skin to
wrap around it. It is all healed now, and
although he misses it a great deal (it was
the right one), he is managing most
things very well.
11 January 1969
Last week it was really cold, down to
42 below, and we had an endless battle
to keep things thawed out, since we
have gone all modern with the plumbing bit. When the pioneers just had
frozen wild meat and dried foods and a
water bucket, such extreme cold spells
came and went with scarcely a ripple,
but these days everything is thrown into
I see the south wind has begun to
blow. The heavy snow on the trees will
be shaking off soon and it will look less
(Adaptedfrom an article in the Winter
1971 issue of The Countryman and reprinted by kind permission of the editor).
Tony Farr is a hard working member of the
B.C. Historical Federation and the Saltspring Island Historical Society.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92 Peace River Pioneer
by CJ. St. Cyr-Tompkins
Sgt. Philip F. Tompkins - 1915.    Emily A. Budd - 1915
At age twenty-six, in November 1917
Emily Tompkins, a war bride, mother
of two baby boys, ages 20 months and 3
months, successfully escaped the rationed conditions of England during the
Great War only to settle in the unimaginable, primitive conditions of the Peace
Region of Northern British Columbia.
It is hard to imagine the bustling sea
port of Bristol, England, an important
nerve centre for military supplies industries, where trams linked cities within
hours, where variety shows were plenty
and the mild climate lended itself to orchards, as a proving ground for a
pioneer lady.
In 1891 Emily (Emilia) was born to
Thurza and Fredrick Budd, a poor
wheelmaker, in Bristol England. She
was the eldest girl in a family of ten children, and due to depressed conditions at
home, Emily was forced to work at the
Imperial Tobacco Co. at the age of
Ten years later, still working at the
same factory pasting cigarette packages,
she met a Canadian soldier while on her
way to a burlesque with a girlfriend.
Philip Tompkins, a sergeant with the
9th Battalion from Edmonton, Alberta,
was in town with a special detail for a
military funeral and was instantly attracted to Emily.
"I didn't like his mustache, but I fan
cied him otherwise!" remembers Emily. "We wrote letters and when he
returned with shrapnel wounds gained
at the battle of Ypres, he proposed."
Emily still recalls his exact words: "I
will not return to the front a single
For an entire month, Emily chased all
over town for the required signatures of
prominent figures vouching for her
character, and physical certification, requested by the military. "I had to take
time off work," she said. "And at the
end, the military moved too slow, we
married without consent. Since Philip
sent all his money to his mother in
Canada, I even had to buy the wedding
• i»
On May 29, 1915, Philip and Emily
were married by the Justice of the Peace
in Bristol. When the military discovered his civil marriage, he was stripped
of his stripes and returned to the front
on the Continent.
Little mail was received from the
trenches so Emily turned to the newspaper for grim reports on the battles,
always checking the list of casualties.
She continued her work at the factory
until late in her pregnancy. On March
17, 1916, Eric their first child was
born. During Philip's leave, telegrams
were dispatched to Canada.
The Royal Navy kept the civilian population of Britain immune from direct
attack except for the sporadic raids
from zeppelins concentrated over the
East Coast.
"We rarely saw any aircraft, and when
we did, we went out in the streets to
marvel at those cigar-shaped flying machines. They appeared to have little
control over the winds and their aim
was so poor they rarely hit a target.
Most of their bombs exploded in far
fields or the ocean," said Emily.
But the war at sea caused increasing
hardships on Britain who relied on imports for a high proportion of her food
and many essential raw materials. Emily had to deal with shelves in stores that
were near bare with most of the cardboard boxes being dummies and lineups for merchandise getting longer every day. The food ration coupons
purchased very little with the inflated
prices and no choices.
On August 18, 1917, Emily produced
a second son, Brian. While Philip was
on leave he examined a live grenade
with a faulty pin and accidentally set it
off. Three of his fingers on his left
hand were blown off and his right eye
was injured. The military advised him
of his impending discharge and return
to Canada.
Though Philip was born and schooled
in Brockville, Ontario, he had moved
to Edmonton, Alberta, for work.
While exploring the northern region of
the province, he had fallen in love with
the Peace River country. A farm boy at
heart, his love for the land was ingrained and his vision of his return to
Canada included a dream farm in a vast
unoccupied territory where he would
show Emily marvels of uncrowded and
natural surroundings. He promised
someday he would be a 'Somebody"
important in the history of his country.
Emily, devoted to her husband, readied herself and the two babies for the
10 day sea voyage to an alien land
where everything was plentiful. Armed
with a bag of rags  for diapers, she
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92
10 boarded the troop ship while her husband was convalescing in a medical
Seasickness quickly took its toll and
Emily could no longer nurse her baby.
Beer bottles were sterilized and condensed milk was fed to the infant. The
infirmary attendant on the ship helped
the distressed mother.
"We were so sick,"  recalled  Emily.
"The dirty diapers went out the porthole
Late October 1917 Emily and the children, sick with dysentery, docked in
Montreal, Quebec. As pre-instructed by
her husband, they awaited his arrival at
Sue and Tom McNish's (his cousin)
home where they recuperated.
Three weeks later Philip joined them
and the family boarded a train. Still frail
from the sea voyage, Emily wondered if
she would survive the interminable journey through an unending vastness of
uncivilized wilderness.
"It took longer to get through the
province of Ontario than it took to cross
England from Plymouth to London,"
said Emily. "We were days passing few
stations through rolling land. Across frozen prairies covering stubble fields, the
train slowly, ever so slowly, made its way
northwest through wooded areas with
small patches of open plains."
When they arrived in Edmonton, Alberta, they were greeted by a cold snap
where the British bride finally met her
mother-in-law, Martha Tompkins. Emily's welcome was rewarding but her
expectation of the city was a great disappointment. Compared to Bristol it was
only a crude, small northern outpost
with only one main street.
Her first introduction to primitive conditions was the outdoor privies lined up
behind the houses like sentry boxes at
Buckingham Palace. Hanging the wash
outdoors in the winter was another
shocking surprise. Clothes stiffened like
boards had to be carefully pried from the
line to avoid tearing where they were fastened with a wooden pin. Used to a
temperate climate in Bristol where the
thermometer rarely varied made this
merciless weather cruel. Exposed to
mercury drops to 60 degrees below zero
virtually made her a prisoner in her own
Emily and Philip's stay in Edmonton
was short. Philip looked to the 'last
frontier' for his dream farm.  The Peace
Region in northern British Columbia
was mostly a spill-over from the Alberta
side and new settlers were attracted
with land offers of $10/quarter section
for homesteading. With the military
grants and government loans offered after a tour of duty in the Great War,
Philip enlisted the help of his brother
Stuart to pool their resources. In August 1919, the brothers purchased a
section of land at the junction of the
Peace and Halfway Rivers, midway between Fort St. John and Hudson's
Those were the days when Fort St.
John was still a trading post with the
competing Hudson Bay and Revillon
Freres. The fort had a government telegraph office and sub-land agency; a
police post; and the usual complement
of cabins, warehouses and Indian
It was a time when there were no
roads, only trails for horses, a time of
river travel by sternwheelers. From
1919 to 1929 the D.A. Thomas river-
boat operating from Peace River Town,
Alberta to Hudson's Hope carried 100
passengers and over 200 tons of cargo.
It was not all clear sailing, often the
boats encountered sandbars, changing
water levels, ice and spring run-ofls that
could delay delivery for days, even
weeks in extreme conditions.
Emily had married Philip for better or
worse; she carried her burden in silence
and loyally served him, though she
must have questioned her sanity many
times. It was a journey of 7 to 10 days
from Edmonton to the Halfway.
Over swamps and bogs, the train
crept and crawled as far as Peace River
Town, then the riverboat went up the
Peace River to British Columbia's Ca-
denhead's landing. Because of the
shallow water sternwheelers could not
land at the Tompkins farm. Boats of
20-30 feet with makeshift motors from
car engines navigated the channel down
the Halfway River with little freight
and few passengers. The pregnant Emily, wary of the small vessel, chose the
horse drawn wagon ride for the last
mile to her new home. It proved to be
an extremely bumpy and taxing trial.
At the confluence of the Peace and
Halfway rivers, the homestead was located in a land without habitation.
Provision lists had to cover a six
months' period because of the compli
cated travel to Edmonton. In those days
of undeveloped wilderness in northern
British Columbia, it was an ordeal of
two weeks or better each way to reach
Vancouver by rail via Peace River
Pass, down the Thompson River past
Philip and his family shared a four
room log house with Stuart and his wife
Edna. That winter was the coldest on
record with an unusual amount of snow,
and cattle freezing. Soon the two brothers engaged in serious disputes and
parted with heated words, never to
The lack of medical services was a real
concern. In January of 1920 Philip put
an ad in the Edmonton newspaper for a
domestic and mid-wife to help Emily
with household chores and the delivery
of her babies. Emma Jensen, a single
mother from Sweden was interviewed
and hired forsaking all previous ties.
Emily's first daughter, Alice, born on
March 26, 1920 is believed to have been
the first white baby born in the region.
Emma was a godsend, an immigrant
from 'The Old Country' and her company, confident manners, and even
temperament proved indispensable
through the years. According to Philip,
Emily baked the best bread in the entire
world but could achieve very little culinary delights. Emma taught her how to
cook 'Canadian Style'.
Just when Emily thought she had been
exposed to every cruelty of the back
country - biting insects, extreme heat,
Emily leaves for Grande Prairie on this steamer -
1926.  On shore are the hired hand, Philip
Tompkins, Donald, Alice, Brian and Eric.
B.C. Historical News • Summer 92 frost in July, poison ivy, and wild animals - she met Indians . . . savages on
their land by the river!
In the summer, the Sikanni Indians
hunted and fished; in the winter, they
trapped and their yearly pilgrimage took
them past the Tompkins farm, where
for centuries they used the same trail to
higher grounds for the summer. In
England, Emily had learned of savages
who massacred white people and for the
first year kept herself and the babies barricaded in the house. How was she to
know them from the peaceful tribes?
During lean years when winter had
been exceptionally hard the wild game
was scarce. The Indians were nearly
starved living off the snowshoe rabbits,
and babies could be heard crying while
the squaws helplessly watched them die.
Though Emily learned to keep a respectable distance between her and the
camping Indians, she did from time to
time leave bits of food that she could
spare for the squaws to feed their children. Without a word spoken, the
women communicated with motherly
"They were proud people and never as
much as stole a chicken," Emily said of
them. "And some years were very, very
hard indeed."
While Philip and the hired hands
cleared and broke new fields and tended
to the beasts, Emily honed her skills in
cooking, churning butter, sewing and
darning. There was not a moment to
spare and the days were not long
Fall brought the canning of wild meat
and vegetables to sustain the family for
the winter. Emma was a great help as
Emily had no experience in these areas.
After years of rationing in Bristol, this
abundance of food was overwhelming
and she gratefully grated, peeled, cored,
jarred and cooked as instructed.
Soon, dreaded winter was upon them
again, making already taxing tasks almost impossible. The drying of clothes
never ended. Once a batch was finally
ironed and put away, it was time to start
another. Breaking ice for water and
melting snow was another daily burden.
It took a pailfull of snow to yield approximately 4 inches of water.
Socializing was not an issue; they were
too tired to care.
In 1922 Emily lost a baby at birth.
Later that year she received news of the
death of her parents. They both died
within a year of each other. It was impossible to attend either funeral as they
were barely surviving - there was no
money for a trans-Atlantic voyage. Her
only visible link with Bristol was the occasional letters from her sisters and
In 1923, on May 25th, Emily was
sowing the garden when she doubled
over with abdominal pain. She went indoors to rest and James was born
premature, only a few pounds. She suffered complications with the afterbirth
and had to be sent to Pouce Coupe, the
only medical outpost in the North established by the Alberta Red Cross in
Philip took his wife down river on a
homemade raft of logs with a single rudder. "The river was swollen and the
night was very cold. Philip rigged a
hutch of sorts with wool blankets inside
to keep me warm," she recalled. "At
Roi la Landing we had to go by horse
and wagon to Pouce Coupe. It was a
terrible journey."
Emily received medical attention and
was kept there ten days awaiting a boat
to return home. It was the only vacation she had had since her marriage.
Emily never rode horses, leaving her
with only two alternatives: walking or
using a wagon with a team of horses.
Roads, if any, were narrow, poorly kept
and you risked your life on them. You
had to clutch the seat and brace your
feet against the front board to avoid being flung out as the wagon rattled and
bumped. A wise traveler would keep a
cushion handy to buffer against violence
to be endured for hours as it was the
only way to get around. Every time it
rained, the road became an impassable
mud trench.
On October 13, 1924, Arthur was
born in Pouce Coupe. Eric was eight
years old, Brian seven, and they were
under the direction of their father learning farm chores and sampling his heavy-
handed discipline. Emily never objected—he was the boss.
Emily went almost two years without
having a baby, then made up for it.
With the expected arrival of a baby at
the end of October, in September she
was forced to take the last sternwheeler
of the season to Dunvegan where she
transferred to ground transportation for
her destination: the hospital at Grande
Prairie, Alberta. On October 30, 1926,
she delivered twins: Margaret and Bill.
She recalls that event well. "On the
trip back home, I sat next to the mailman, Ed Anderson, in a truck with the
babies bundled in a laundry basket next
to the mail and we had our first overnight stop at the Cutbank. The Peace
River was not frozen solid yet and we
had to transfer to a boat to cross the river - to a sleigh, then stayed overnight at
Fort St. John, at Mrs. Pickles the wife of
the telegraph operator. The next day we
switched mailmen; Douglas Cadenhead
took us home with another overnight
stop at Cache Creek, halfway to the
1928 saw the opening of the first
school on the Halfway. It was a small
log dwelling the size of a chicken coop
with a sod roof, and was named Forfar
in honor of the settler from whom Philip had purchased the land.
After school the older boys helped
their father with freighting down the
Halfway River and met passengers off
the sternwheelers. Philip turned Emily's
home into a way-station, keeping
abreast of progress and political events.
The travelers stranded due to inclement
weather or delays in secondary transportation stayed at the Tompkins farm
until they could continue their journey.
Some were settlers, others were looking
for work; all were fed.
With one cake of yeast, Emily made a
laundry tub full of bread batter. It took
a hired man to mix it. (In Bristol, Emily used to take her mother's bread in
pillow cases to the bakery down the
street and picked it up after her shift at
the factory. Their hearth did not have
an oven and the Budds did not have a
gas cooker until Emily was eighteen
years old.)
On the farm, it took all day to bake
the week's supply of twenty loaves.
Controlling the wood stove's oven was a
maneuver in itself with the correct combination of dry and green wood. "We
had to cook for tables of twenty at a
time," Emily recalls. "There were always hired men to be fed and bedded,
our family of eleven, and travelers."
In 1929 Emma was plagued by terrible
headaches which led to her early death
on March 19, 1930, leaving the family
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92
12 shocked and Emily devastated. In September 1936, Emily's first born, Eric,
died of pneumonia.
1938 saw the construction of the
bridge at the Halfway linking Hudson's
Hope and Fort St. John by road. Philip's newly acquired sawmill, which
meant more men to board and feed,
supplied most of the lumber. It also introduced his sons to road construction
with the filling of the approach to the
bridge. Motor vehicles and road transportation revolutionized the area
bringing in civilization, technology and
gas explorations.
The Tompkins family prospered
through the years with Philip's amazing
ability to predict services and markets
and did fulfill his promise to Emily to
become a 'Somebody'. In the Peace Region of British Columbia, Philip became
known as: "PFT the King of the
Emily who enjoyed long walks to rid
herself of stress, was forced to a wheelchair with a stroke that paralyzed her
left side in December 1974. For
months, she refused to speak or cooperate for recovery. No one could have
blamed her for giving up but her sense
of duty to her husband, to honor and
obey, must have been overwhelming because she did eventually snap back to
Emily remained loyal to her husband
even after his death in 1986, at the age
of 95. This pioneer celebrated her
100th birthday on August 2, 1991 in
the midst of loving family and friends,
surrounded with all the modern conveniences. The lady who lived from horse
and buggy travels to spaceships has no
regrets and finds today's wife too spoiled
and too impatient. She still has an excellent memory, loves shopping and
dearly enjoys music and reading. Emily's advice for a long productive life is:
"Keep busy and keep your mouth shut."
The writer is currently researching WWI
brides. She has won awards for earlier literary
works, and is an inspiration to the Vernon Writers Group.
1. A History of Everyday Thing* in England 1914 -
S.E. Ellacott- Batsford 1968.
2. The Laic Summer-May to September 1914;
Kirety McLeod - CoUins 1983.
3. Condition of England - Essays and Impressions;
Lincoln Allison - Junction 1981.
4. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother; Trevor Hall -
Colour Library 1987.
5. England in the Twentieth Century; David Thomson;
Pelican 942. THO
6. Encyclopedia Britannica.
7. Weapons & Warfares Encyclopedia.
8. War Brides of WWII; "From Romance to Reality";
Peggy O'Hara - Highway Bookshop 1983.
9. Mrs. Milburn'i Diaries; An Englishwoman's Day-to-
Day Reflections 1939 - 45;
Schocken Books; 940.53 MIL
10. Peace River Chronicles; 81 Eye-witness Accounts of
the Peace River Region of British Columbia;
Gordon E. Bowes - Prescott Publishing 971.187.
11. This Was Our Valley, Matheson Pollon -
Detselig Enterprises.
12. WWI Brides - Letters from; Canadian National Red
Cross. Ottawa, Ontario; Veterans Affairs, Ottawa
Ontario; Immigration Canada, Ottawa Ontario; Bristol
University, England.
***   Most of the article was drawn from interviews with Emily and her family. ***
B.C. Historical News • Summer 92 The Coastal Princesses
by Daphne Baldwin
There are no Princess ships on the
British Columbia coast now. The B.C.
Ferries have replaced them. Nor were
the Princesses the first passenger ships
there. However, as B.G has always
looked to the sea, been explored and settled from the sea, it was ships that
brought settlers, provisioned and serviced the often tiny communities up
and down the coast. Before the advent
of Hudson's Bay men to trade and build
forts, Indians moved freely by canoe
throughout coastal waters. Later, miners, in search of gold, took ship up the
Fraser and Stikine Rivers.
The actual date of the beginning of
coastal shipping can be pinpointed as
May 24, 1827, when the Hudson's Bay
schooner Cadboro arrived on the Columbia River to inaugurate regular
supply and trading voyages. In 1836
the Hudson's Bay Company expanded
their service with the Beaver, a steam
driven vessel which dominated the coast
trade until 1883. It was in that year
that the H.B.C. fleet combined with the
Pioneer Line, which had operated a rival
service, to form the Canadian Pacific
Navigation Company with the H.B.C.
retaining a controlling interest. Then,
in 1901, it was announced that the Canadian Pacific Railway Company had
gained control of the Canadian Pacific
Navigation Company. The Company
was wound up in 1903 and was succeeded by the B.C. Coast Service of the
Canadian Pacific Railway.
Three men dominate the history of
coastal shipping service in British Columbia. They are Sir James Douglas,
Capt. John Irving and Capt. J.W.
Troup. However, it was H.B.C. Governor Sir George Simpson who
conceived the idea to engage in coastal
trade rather than simply transport supplies and trade goods to the forts. The
Cadboro arrived on the Columbia
whence Dr. John McLoughlin, in
charge of the division, dispatched her to
the newly established Fort Langley on
the Fraser River.   Conditions were haz-
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92
ardous, murder by Indians not unknown. Crews were hard to come by
until the Hawaians, or Kanakas as they
were called, were recruited. In his dispatches to Governor Simpson, Dr.
McLoughlin repeatedly pointed out the
hazards of coastal travel, the hundreds
of war canoes carrying forty to fifty men
each and the inadequacy of the Cadboro armaments for defense. However, in
1829, the Governor and Committee decided to pursue the maritime trade
vigorously. From then until 1849, the
Cadboro remained a fixture on the
coast to supply the forts, provide disciplinary action and engage in active
The Beaver arrived on the coast in the
spring of 1836 having left England 225
days previously. From then until her
somewhat inebriated crew ran her
aground on Prospect Point, Burrard Inlet, in 1888, she traded throughout the
coastal waters. Like all H.B.C. ships she
was armed, always kept in shipshape
fashion with plenty of spit and polish
and naval discipline. This was a tradition which in large measure carried
down to the Princesses.
By 1843, the decision to move H.B.C.
headquarters to Fort Victoria brought
the coastal vessels under the control of
Chief Factor James Douglas. In 1853
the Otter, the first propeller-driven
steamer, arrived to join the Beaver in
providing transport for Douglas and
H.B.C. officials for trading, exploring
for coal, maintaining order and generally conducting Company business.
It is amazing to read with what apparent ease these small vessels, (Beaver 70ft.
long and Otter 122ft.), travelled in all
weather, often in the face of belligerent
tribes. Douglas kept trouble to a minimum by strict law observance. He
acted promptly and did not hesitate to
call in the Royal Navy which, by 1850,
was a presence on the coast. Beaver was
actually under charter to the Admiralty
for eight years as a survey ship. She was
also a passenger vessel, albeit apparently
not a comfortable one.
With the coming of the Fraser River
gold rush in 1858-59, Douglas realized
that there was a need for a passenger service to transport miners and freight to
the Fraser from Victoria. There was also
money to be made. By 1861 business
was booming. Newspapers reported
$1,500,000 in Cariboo gold dust was
delivered by ship to Victoria between
August 17th and October 31st. More
ships were both needed and purchased.
One of these ships was re-named Princess Louise and ran from Victoria to
New Westminster. She was the first vessel to carry the title of Princess on the
coast but, fifty years later there was to be
aline of them.
The purchase of the Olympia, renamed Princess Louise was the result of
the challenge made by Capt. John Irving
to the H.B.C. for traffic on the Victoria-
New Westminster run. Capt. Irving
had up-river sternwheelers which had
taken over all traffic from New Westminster to Yale. Now he wanted the
trade from Victoria but the H.B.C. refused to co-operate. The fight was on to
see who could provide the better, faster
service. Both parties looked to purchase
speedier vessels and, by means of a rate-
cutting war, entice the passenger and
freight trade. Eventually the Pioneer
Line founded in 1862 by Capt. William
Irving, father of Capt. John Irving, combined with the H.B.C. fleet to form the
Canadian Pacific Navigation Co. Ltd.
in 1883.
The river boat masters were a colourful
lot who honed their skills on the rivers
and straits of the north Pacific. Many
gave their names to geographic features
such as Brotchie Ledge and Walbran
Park but Capt. John Irving was the most
personally renowned. Six feet tall and
with a naturally reckless disposition, he
was already an experienced river pilot at
seventeen. Self-confident, popular and
generous, he became a leading figure on
the B.C. coast for the next thirty years. He loved a party and conceived the idea
for coastal cruises which he captained
himself. In 1873 he inaugurated a run
from Victoria and up the Stikine in a
shallow-draught steamer which he had
had built in Victoria. This was in response to gold being discovered in
Cassiar. At the same time he renewed
his challenge for the Yale run. Cut-rates
reduced fares to 25*.
The incorporation of the Canadian Pacific Navigation Co. Ltd. in 1883 put
an end to competition and allowed the
company to profit from the great expansion of trade arising from the
construction of the Canadian Pacific
Railway. It was a natural outcome to
the rivalry between the H.B.C. and the
Pioneer line. They had bested all rivals
in the Fraser River trade. In a way, a
connection with the H.B.C. remained as
both Capt. John Irving and his financial
advisor, RP. Rithet, had married daughters of Sir James Douglas. The ships
were kept busy on an almost non-stop
basis until the completion of the railway
in July, 1886, brought a drop in freight.
In 1887 the Canadian Pacific Navigation Co. decided to build two fine
passenger steamers, the Premier and the
Islander in response to the new passenger traffic generated by the completion
of the C.P.R It was also decided to enter the Puget Sound trade which was
booming following the arrival of the
Northern Pacific Railway in Tacoma in
1887. Herein lay the germ of the passenger service maintained by the
Princess vessels in the next century.
Again rivalry, this time with American
interests, and not a little skull-duggery,
ensued. Capt. Irving was never far from
the forefront of battle to obtain passengers through rate reduction and
excellence of service.
The Islander was a true forerunner of
the Princess ships in design and appointments. She was used, in addition
to her usual run, as a cruiseship to Alaska. However, when news of the
Klondike strike arrived, she left Victoria
loaded with four hundred miners and
supplies bound for Dyea. The demand
for vessels increased and more keels were
laid as a result. Even the C.P.R was enticed into providing vessels for the
Klondike gold seekers. In so doing, they
fore-shadowed the inception of their
Princess  fleet.     However,  when  the
SS. Princess Elaine - postcard by Gowen, Sutton Co. Ltd.
Klondike rush subsided, ships of both
companies lay idle at dock. On January
12, 1901, it was announced that the
C.P.R had acquired control of the Canadian Pacific Navigation Co. Ltd.
The man put in charge of the new
company was Capt. James W. Troup
who had been a river boat captain with
Capt. John Irving. He had worked on
steamers in Oregon, then after returning
to work for the Canadian Pacific Navigation Co., had built a new fleet of
sternwheelers for the Kootenay trade. It
was he who in large measure designed
the ships as well as managed the Princess fleet.
It is not the place here to go into the
dimensions nor the history of each
Princess vessel. Suffice it to say that in
February, 1902, Swan-Hunter of Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, received an
order to build a steamer to service the
Victoria-Vancouver run. She was the
famous Princess Victoria, perhaps the
best known of the Princesses. Like all
the subsequent steamers, she sailed from
England under her own steam by way of
Cape Horn. Later ships were able to
use the Panama Canal. The Princess
Beatrice soon followed her to the B.C.
coast. Although Capt. Troup was not a
naval architect, he had practical knowledge and a keen eye, a combination
which produced a remarkable line of
The Princesses were attractive ships
with their lower hulls painted black, the
main deck and superstructure painted
white. Their funnels were yellow with a
black band around the top and wore the
red and white checkerboard emblem of
the company. From the Princess Victoria onwards they were well-appointed
vessels having caulked wooden decks
worn smooth by the sea and by constant
swabbing. The railings were of varnished wood, the brass bell and fixtures
shone with vigorous polishing. The interiors were well-appointed, even
opulent, with velvet hangings in the
public rooms and comfortable berths for
night travel. The dining saloons were
supplied with fine linen and heavy silver
cutlery. The service and food were exceptional. Each vessel was different and
her character was identifiable by her
funnels. The Princess Victoria had
three distinctive upright funnels, narrower than any other ship, whereas the
Princess Beatrice had only one.
By 1908 another rate war had broken
out with the Americans to oust the
Princesses from Puget Sound and capture the Victoria-Vancouver trade.
Eventually both sides came to terms in
order to benefit from trade engendered
by the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition
in Seattle in 1909.
Meanwhile, Capt. Troup ordered a
new flagship, the Princess Charlotte, a
larger vessel with three stubby funnels.
She did yeoman service on both the Victoria and the Nanaimo runs for many
years.   At the same time, the Princess
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92 SS. Princess Mary - postcard, by Gowen, Sutton Co. Ltd.
May, formerly the Hating had the distinction of being the first ship to have
wireless installed.
Three new ships, all having one funnel, joined the coastal fleet in 1911.
The Princess Alice and Princess Adelaide were almost identical. These two
ships had long service on the coast and,
when they were retired after World War
II, they, like the Princess Charlotte became cruise ships for a Greek line in the
Aegean. The third vessel, Princess
Maty was destined to sail B.C. waters
for forty years, largely on the Gulf Islands, Powell River-Comox run. She
built up such a loyal clientele that, when
she was retired from service, her aft superstructure was bought and became a
restaurant which is still popular in
Later the two stack vessel Princess Patricia arrived on the coast to take over
the Nanaimo run. She was a lightly
built ship and was never intended for
service beyond the Clyde. However, she
sailed out under her own steam to undertake many years of service, latterly as
an excursion boat.
The next to arrive was the Princess
Sophia whose one funnel became familiar on the Alaska run. It was here, in
Lynn Canal, that she met her tragic end
on October 26, 1918. She foundered
on Vanderbilt Reef in heavy seas and
sank after a day and a half wherein rescue vessels stood helplessly by unable to
take off any of the passengers and crew.
Shortly afterwards the Princess Maquinna came out to serve the west coast
of the Vancouver Island run. Later she
was joined by the Princess Norah.
Both these one stack vessels were easily
distinguished by the derricks attached to
the forward masts to enable them to
handle deck cargo. Between them they
provided the only means of communication and supply for the many isolated
communities up and down the coast of
Vancouver Island.
By the time the newest Princesses,
Margaret and Irene were ready for service, World War I had broken out.
They were requisitioned and converted
to fast minelayers, their beautiful fittings stripped from them. The Irene
blew up in the harbour at Sheerness but
the Margaret had a long and successful
career in the Navy. Neither ship ever
saw the B.C. coast.
The boom in passenger service following the War led to two new, up-to-date,
commodious ships being ordered in
1925 at Clydebank. These were the
Princess Marguerite and Princess
Kathleen which became a familiar sight
on the Vancouver-Victoria-Seattle run.
One surprising thing about these three
funnel ships was that they had space
provided for only thirty cars yet in
1927, the Princess Elaine was built for
car traffic and, in 1923, the Motor
Princess had been built at Yarrows in
Esquimalt as a car ferry.
In 1928 Capt. Troup retired after hav
ing built up a remarkable fleet of ships
which were admirably suited for service
on the rugged coast of British Columbia. They plied these often treacherous
waters with surprisingly few serious accidents. Inadequate navigation aids,
hazardous tides and currents and the vagaries of the weather, particularly fog, all
presented potential danger to vessels on
the coast.
Capt. Cyril D. Neurotsos succeeded
Capt. Troup and it was he who ordered
the Princess Elizabeth and the Princess
Joan in 1929 to inaugurate the night
run between Victoria and Vancouver.
This proved a very popular service with
passengers well into the 1950s. Rivalry
appeared again, however, when the Canadian National Railway built their line
of Prince ships to challenge the Canadian Pacific Coastal Service. They were
used largely on the northern coast
though and as popular cruise ships to
When World War II broke out the
Princess Marguerite and the Princess
Kathleen were commandeered as troop
ships. Service was maintained on the
coast although it put a great strain on
the remaining ships. After the war two
new ships were ordered. These were the
Princess Marguerite to replace her
namesake which had been sunk by enemy action and the Princess Patricia to
replace the first which had been sold.
The Princess Kathleen had returned
from her war service unscathed. After a
full overhaul and refitting she took over
the Alaska cruise service. Unhappily she
met her end in 1952 on the rocks of
Lena Point in Lynn Canal with some
loss of life.
The days of these mini-liners were
drawing to a close. They were becoming inadequate for the needs of post-war
passengers most of whom wished to
transport vehicles also. Although the
Princess of Nanaimo arrived in 1951,
her service in B.C. waters was short.
She was moved to the Bay of Fundy and
became successively the Princess of
Acadia then the car ferry Henry
The last ship to join the C.P.C.S. fleet
was the Princess of Vancouver whose
design allowed her to carry railway cars
as well as motors. She continued in service between downtown Vancouver and
Nanaimo even after the advent of the
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92
16 B.C. Ferry Corporation fleet. The other
ships which had grown old and were no
longer either serviceable or profitable
were gradually sold off as cruise ships for
other lines, dockside restaurants or hotels, barges or scrap. The last, the
second Princess Marguerite, was
bought by the Stena line and operated
on the Victoria-Seattle run as a casino.
She is now out of service and for sale.
An era ended with the disappearance
of the Princesses from the British Columbia coast. They had a proud
bearing. They provided quality service,
a touch of elegance, a sense of reliability
which is unsurpassed to-day. The advent of air transport, labour demands
and changing values made the Princesses in effect redundant. They were
beautiful, leisurely and comfortable but
their speed could not satisfy the demands of late 20th century living when
people prefer to get to their destinations
quickly, caring only that the vessel is
reasonably safe but, first and foremost,
Mrs. Baldwin grew up in Victoria but has
made her home in Prince George since 1954. She
has been chairman of the Prince George Public
Library Board, and served on the Provincial library Development Commission.
Coates, Ken and Morrison, Bill The Sinking of the
Princess Sophia,
Toronto, Oxford University Press, 1990.
Hacking, Norman R. and Lamb, W. Kaye
The Princess Story, Vancouver,
Mitchell Press, 1974.
. >-^.    STEAMSHIP   LINOS  Vfc       r
BritishG>Iumbia Coast Steamship Service    v^
AH D    UP
8 day trip.
2000 Miles of British. Columbia,
and Alaska Coast Scenery:
JUNE 15.29. JU1Y 15.271
AUC.10.24.SEPT 7:21.
JUNE 8.22. JULY 6.20.
Calls made atiDert Bay. Prince Rjjpat.KetahikanWrajw'elaridJuneau
Sailing's fiom^ctoria. are one daij earlier atlLOO p.m.
Qfcr further narticuiar*   *Ppty *° nttarost C.P.R. Ad<ants
AartCxnUVnngnAgut j>     VAMCOUVTO3.C S.».JPiu«^iA<iti<
Poster $75 trip to Alaska from Seattle - Vancouver - Victoria.
Captain J. W. Troup
on the occasion of his retiring from active
service as Manager
by the Officers and Employees of the
British Columbia Coast Service
(opw/iumenfaM/ J/Pfnticp
Toa/ifain ]p.   '//.  tS>cf//t'
/y> S/if (ijuifrri' st/if/' Gm^/ourrS' .<>/' //ic>
oOrittin' WofHmpta' wait t7rri<('ce>
tow /cat't/' ' c/rinrfii' *£cffrJe" sit 'firt'fia'
SfittttrJay, ffytrmtrr' 45t/r, -/92S
.at 8/une.
,%/r.t $2.50
R.S. V. P.  TO
Victoria, B. C.
Menu & ticket courtesy of the Vancouver Maritime Museum.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92 Quesnel Forks
by Marie Elliott
On the morning of October 12, 1880,
Jennie Stephenson watched in horror as,
one by one, fire consumed the buildings
in Quesnel Forks. The little village escaped a major forest fire in 1869 with
only the loss of the lockup, but this time
it would not be so fortunate. Jennie's
husband, Government Agent William
Stephenson, was a veteran of the Barkerville Fire Brigade and knew the dangers
in a frontier town. Before leaving on his
tax collecting rounds a few days earlier,
he had made certain that the water barrels on the roof of their home were full.
But this precaution and the fact that
they lived on the outskirts of the village,
near the South Fork toll bridge, were
small comfort. She was alone with two
little boys and a teenage nursemaid,
while the residents of Quesnel Forks -
mostly Chinese miners - fought to save
what little they could. Eventually,
sparks ignited the shingles of her home,
and a Chinese neighbour made liberal
use of the stored water. When it was all
over, only the Stephenson's residence,
the rebuilt lockup, and the South Fork
Bridge remained standing.
Most of the destroyed buildings dated
to the earliest days of the Cariboo gold
rush. In 1859, miners, tracing gold up
the Quesnel River, stopped to work the
gravel delta at the Junction of the North
and South Forks (now called the Cariboo and Quesnel Rivers). A number of
entrepreneurs quickly applied for a toll
bridge charter to connect the rapidly
growing village with the trail to the Fraser River. Sam Alder and William Barry
won out, and their bridge was in place
by 1862, in time to serve the hordes of
miners and the packtrains that came
through that summer on their way to
the gold fields.
From the very beginning, government
officials were dubious about the future
of the village. In his report to Governor
James Douglas in 1860, Gold Commissioner Philip Henry Nind thought the
town should be moved. There should
be a better location ". .. than a flat lying
between two swift rivers which can only
be approached by terrific hills, is many
miles distant from pasture, and forces
the trail to the mines, on which it is
principally dependent, over a country
where no money or labour can ever
make even a moderately good road."
Col. Moody of the Royal Engineers
refused to survey Quesnel Forks for a
townsite, correcdy predicting that the
miners would eventually move on. The
white miners did continue up the North
Fork to Cariboo Lake, and from there
followed Keithley Creek to the Snow-
shoe Plateau, then down the other side
to Antler and Williams Creek. But in
their wake, Chinese miners moved into
Quesnel Forks, and this hard-working
ethnic group were responsible for its
Oliver Hare, the first resident Government Agent, and a bachelor, found
Quesnel Forks very lonely in the late
1860's. and 1870's. He was often the
only white man in the town and seemed
completely unable to cooperate with the
Chinese miners. Eventually, his health
gave out and he died in Victoria in December 1876. Like his friend John
Bowron, Gold Commissioner at Barkerville, William Stephenson was Canadian
born and married when he took over
Hare's vacant position in
May 1877. Hare had described the Government
Agent's residence, with
adjoining lockup, as "the
best premises in town",
and possibly this was a
consolation to Jennie Stephenson as she settled in
to await her first child,
Henry Allen, that August. Her second child,
Gillespie Elliot, was less
than a year old when
Quesnel Forks went up
in flames in the fall of
If  the   1881    Canada
Census  is correct,  then
the Keithley Creek/Quesnel Forks census area had the third largest
concentration of Chinese residents, after
Victoria and Nanaimo. Because Quesnel Forks was the supply centre for more
than 250 Chinese miners and farmers,
many of the cabins, stores, and warehouses were rebuilt after the fire. Two
more fires in the 1880's did considerable
damage to the commercial buildings,
but the residents persevered.
The peaceful routines in the little village were badly shaken up in the early
1890's, when corporate businessmen invested thousands of dollars in the placer
mines, creating a hydraulic mining
boom. Executives of the Canadian Pacific Railway hired John Hobson, a
mining engineer from California, to supervise development of the Bullion Pit
Mine. By 1900 this mine was described
as one of the largest open pit placer
mines in the Commonwealth. Despite
miles of ditches and pipelines, and the
damming of numerous lakes, there was
never enough water to operate for more
than several months. Nevertheless, the
mine produced $350,000 in 1900, putting the Quesnel Mining section ahead
of the Barkerville section in gold
The increase in population forced Wil-
B.C. Historical News • Summer 92
18 liam Stephenson to rebuild the lockup,
and to request an assistant constable to
keep order while he was "on the road".
The floating population enlarged even
more when MLA Joseph Hunter, working as engineer for a London based
syndicate, dammed the outlet of Quesnel Lake in 1896. It was an idea that
had been considered ever since 1860.
Upwards of 200 men, working in shifts,
managed to stop the flow of water in
December 1897, in order that the bed
of the South Fork River could be mined.
To support the renewed interest in hydraulic mining, the provincial
government replaced the rough trail
from Quesnel Forks to 150 Mile House
with a wagon road, and rebuilt the
South Fork bridge so it could carry
heavier loads and teams of horses. Entrepreneurs moved into Quesnel Forks,
building large hotels, securing liquor licences, taking a keen interest in the
progress of mining companies. Although the dam project proved a failure
- the river bed was mined for only one
year - the mining at the Bullion Pit continued until June 1907 when it was shut
Quesnel Forks went into a decline, reviving slightly in the 1930's with the
reopening of the Bullion Pit mine. But
it never matched the activity of the
1890's, and after World War II the village ceased to attract residents except for
a few hardy miners. In 1948, the year
of the great Fraser River floods,  the
*                      :* ' ■■■ w'
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3t .*
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Quesnel Forks-c. 1900.
South Fork bridge was washed out and
never replaced. A road had been cut
through to Likely and Cedar Creek, using a bridge at the Quesnel dam site, in
the 1930's. This also helped to put
Quesnel Forks in a backwater.
In recent years, the Likely Cemetery
Society has restored many of the graves
in the historic cemetery. Here you will
find markers for the pioneers who made
Quesnel Forks a special community, including William Barry, the toll bridge
owner, William and Jennie Stephenson,
and their son Gillespie, and more than
Quesnel Forks in 1864 - watercolour by Lt. F. W. Whymper. Photo courtesy ot B.C. Archives.
Photo courtesy of B.C. Archives.
twenty Chinese men and women.
Wandering among the old cabins, or
along the river bank near the toll bridge
site, it is difficult to believe that in twenty years the ghost town of Quesnel
Forks will disappear forever. After more
than one hundred years of fighting the
elements, the fragile buildings cannot
hold up much longer, according to heritage experts, and yet . . . one wishes
Quesnel Forks could be frozen in time.
For here, history is not served up on a
silver (golden?) platter, fully interpreted.
Instead, the setting is the merest suggestion - a line drawing that your
imagination and senses must fill in.
Wondering how William and Jennie
Stephenson or the Chinese residents
coped with isolation, or the exciting
events that occurred during their lifetimes, is a rewarding exercise, because
your memories remain with you long after you have left "the Forks".
Quesnel Forks is easily accessible, approximately sixty miles northeast of 150
Mile House by paved road, and then ten
miles by gravel road from Likely. A
campsite is maintained by the Forest
Service there, and you can spend as
much time as you wish absorbing the
sights and sounds of the Cariboo gold
rush, limited only by the extent of your
Marie Elliott lives and works in Victoria, and
has done extensive research into the history of the
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92 Forgotten Cariboo Entrepreneurs
by Branwen C. Patenaude
108 Mile House in th 1880's.        Picture courtesy Provincial Archives of British Columbia.
While most historians applaud the efforts of such early pioneers as the
Harper brothers, Peter Dunlevy, William Pinchbeck or John McLean as
being among the first to venture down
the unknown trails of Cariboo, there
were many others, now forgotten, who
were just as early, or even earlier, just as
daring, and equally enterprising.
Among these were Charles Miles Beak,
and Michael Costin Brown.
As a young man in his twenties Beak
left England for California in the early
1850's. While mining along the Sacramento River, Beak also worked closely
with a vigilante group, routing out
cheats and outlaws, so prevalent in the
gold rush camps.  In the spring of 1862
Beak, with two other drovers, herded
300 head of cattle north to B.C., selling
the beef enroute. Following this Beak,
with a partner James Doyle drove a very
large flock of sheep all the way to Barkerville, where he opened a butcher
shop, selling mutton at 40<£/lb, and
candles of mutton tallow at 50<f/lb. By
1866, and due to the depressed
economy in the Cariboo, Beak closed
his shop and returned to the United
States. i In Oregon during the winter
of 1867 Beak married sixteen year old
Marie Johnson of Glencoe County.
Returning with his bride to the Cariboo
the following spring, he purchased the
108 Mile Ranch and roadhouse from
WilUam Roper, the first preemptor of
the land there. 2 At this time Beak
formed a cooperative movement with
the farmers of the 100 Mile and Lac La
Hache area, where they increased the
beef herds and established large dairies
at the 100 Mile, 105, 127 and 137 Mile
ranches. To provide a market for these,
Beak left the 108 and 105 ranches in
charge of his neighbours, David Pratt
and his step brother John Wright while
he reopened his butcher shop in Barkerville  in   1869.  3     Due to  the great
distance involved, cows driven to market from Lac La Hache were first rested
and fattened on the alpine meadows of
Bald Mountain, south of Barkerville.
When marauding bears and wolves continually harassed and killed the cattle, it
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92
20 depleted stocks to such an extent that it
forced Charles Beak, once again, to
close his shop. For a few years Beak
continued to maintain herds of cattle on
various ranches that he owned in the
Lac La Hache area. These were sold in
Barkerville through the butchers Von
Volcunburgh. 4
Convinced by this time that conditions for raising beef in the Cariboo
were far from ideal, Beak sold off his
properties, and by the late 1870's relocated in the Upper Nicola River, where
he became one of the founding members of the Douglas Lake Ranch.
Another very much overlooked Cariboo entrepreneur was Michael Costin
Brown, miner, packer, hotel proprietor,
and storekeeper in several gold rush areas of B.C. and the Yukon.
Leaving Ireland with his parents in
1850, Michael Brown, as a boy of eleven travelled across the seas to Ohio,
where he continued his education in
Cleveland. By the age of seventeen he
was already showing a talent for business as the proprietor of a hotel in
Oregon. A chance meeting with the
leader of the North West Boundary
Commission crew in Walla Walla,
where Brown was about to open a second hotel, led him to the Similkameen
country where gold had been discovered
in British territory. Now thoroughly
bitten by the gold bug, Michael Brown
mined on the Thompson River in 1858,
and on the Quesnel in 1859. In 1861
when he claimed to have been with William Dietz in the discovery of Williams
Creek, Brown claimed not only to have
named the creek, but also to have been
the first to stake a claim there.5
In Oregon during the spring of 1862
Brown purchased a packtrain of forty
two mules on which he transported
8000 lbs of provisions to Cariboo. In a
store built at Richfield in 1863, Brown
sold slabs of bacon to the miners for
$1.00 lb. 6 After this it became a common thing to meet the packer Brown on
the trail to Cariboo, and he became
popularly known as "Bacon Brown",
and his pack of mules the "Bacon
Train". 7 During the Cariboo goldrush
bacon and beans were the steady diet of
the miners, and as a result many complained of suffering with inflamed
mouths caused  by the strong curing
Michael C. Brown
agent in the bacon.
For many years during his long life
Michael Brown continued to mine, in
the Big Bend Country, the Omineca,
the Cassiar, and at Lightning Creek in
Cariboo. Leaving Cariboo for Victoria
in the 1870's Brown was married, and
settled down as owner of the Adelphi
Hotel for the next twenty five years.
But once a miner, always a miner, and
when gold was discovered in the Yukon
he had to go. There at Dawson City he
operated a hotel, the Melbourne, for
three years, before retiring for a final
time to Victoria.8
Branwen Patenaude is a Cariboo historian residing in Quesnel. She has published BECAUSE
OF GOLD, and is preparing a history of die
stopping houses.
1. Cariboo Sentinel, October 6,1866, p2. (adv)
2. Cariboo Sentinel, July 9,1868, p3
3. Cariboo Sentinel, June 3,1869, p2 (adv).
4. Cariboo Sentinel, Nov. 27,1871. p3.
5. "British Columbia", Biographical, Vol 3.,
Howay & Scholefield, pgs 1108 - 1112.
6. Diary of Biihop Hills, July 25. 1862.   Anglican
Ch Archives, UBC Campus, Vancouver, B.C.
7. ibid.
8. "British Columbia", Biographical. Vol 3.,
Howay & Scholefield. pgs 1108 - 1112.
Branwen C. Patenaude, Quesnel, B. C.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92 Old Time Cariboo Dances
by Lonna Kirkpatrick
The people of the Cariboo came from
all over the world to join the native people in a unique community. The Road
was a vital communication and transportation link that joined what would have
otherwise been remote settlements. The
sense of community was built with the
Road but it was truly given life by events
such as dances. Every dance brought an
opportunity to meet, to visit and to
My family were among the earliest settlers in the Cariboo. Both of my great
grandfathers came to find gold and
stayed to build large families with their
native brides. Music played an important part in their lives. My great uncle
Sam Kirkpatrick was a talented musician
and, happily, a talented writer as well.
He wrote two articles about the early
dances for the Ashcroft Journal in the
1950's. He also wrote a history of our
family in letters to my uncle. Following
are three excerpts from those articles and
The first dance in Cook's Ferry (now
Spences Bridge) took place in the early
1860's. Native women were invited to
come to be dancing partners with the
miners. Tom Kirkpatrick was Sam's father and my great grandfather.
Winter was closing in at the Cariboo
gold fields. All operations were suspended, and the big trek was on towards the
Coast for the winter. Seventy-five percent of the miners were making the trip
on foot. When they reached the ferry, a
great many laid over for a few days or a
week to rest and feed up, where provisions were plentiful, including liquid
refreshments. It was during this period
that some livewire suggested they have a
dance. Well, the idea caught on like
wildfire. They were all in favour.
So a ways and means committee was
formed, and they approached Tom Kirkpatrick, who was proprietor of the hotel,
and store at the time, who willingly donated the use of his dining room for the
It was soon found out that the only
musical instrument in town was a fiddle owned by Kirkpatrick. It was also
learned that the only man that could
play the fiddle was Tom himself, and
he was agreeable.
At nine p.m. the fiddle was tuned and
bow rosined and the MC declared the
dance open for auction. There was a
rush for partners as Tom struck up the
Grand March, assisted by an old fellow
named Hanse who had got a couple of
table spoons from the cook to drum on
the bottom of a wooden tub.
From then on the fiddler was kept
busy with hornpipes, jigs and reels.
There was no shortage of partners, in
fact the gentler sex, who by the way
were not so gentle, outnumbered the
men. A great number of the women
were on the heavy side, and not at all
graceful in their effort to do the white
man's dance. But the surplus avoirdupois sure helped to give the husky
miners a lively time when it came to
swinging on the corners which the men
enjoyed immensely. There were many
volunteers to call square dances, so they
became the order of the night.
Everything was free but the drinks,
and after many return trips to the barroom, the fun reached the altitude that
could be described as inebriated hilarity, but it was all good natured fun, and
everyone was happy.
But it seemed that it was too good to
last, because at eleven o'clock BANG!!
went the E string on Tom's fiddle and
he had no spares. The local blacksmith
who was fixit man about town, tried to
splice it but to no avail. It broke again
before it was in tune.
By this time the crowd was getting
real restless. Finally the MC said
"Three strings are as good as four for
this crowd, bring Tom another swig of
brandy, and let's get on with the
dance!" So they did just that, with a little more speed and a little more noise.
Apparently no one missed the broken
A short recess was called at midnight
for eats in the kitchen, where the cook
had provided a wonderful spread. For
three days he had baked bread for this
occasion, but after feeding everyone at
six p.m. and again at twelve there was
not a scrap of bread or anything else
Everyone was content, happy and raring to get going, so the supper hour was
cut short and the dance continued.
The spectators who did not dance were
kept highly amused by watching the native girls in their attempts to keep step
with the miners.
With Tom doing the best he could on
three strings and everything rolling
along so smoothly the happy time
passed very quickly. Then just as the
kitchen cook announced the hour of
four, Bang went the A string on Tom's
fiddle. The Master of Ceremonies lost
no time in shouting "Bring Tom another jolt of brandy, and let's get on
with the dance", which they did. Tom
could not play a tune on two strings so
he just sawed back and forward on the
open strings, making a sort of harmonious sound, and left the rhythm to the
tub thumper. This went on for over an
hour, but Tom was not playing as loud
as he did before, and they thought he
was getting tired. The fact was he was
worried about his bow, there were none
too many hairs on the bow to begin
with, and they kept breaking all night.
So now he was nursing them along trying to make them last the night out.
Another hour would do it but just as
this thought struck him, Bang, went
the last of the horse tail on Tom's bow,
so Tom said "That's that!"
But an old Missourian with a flowing
beard, stepped forward and said "My
dad got in that fix one time down in
Missouri, he just rubbed rosin on the
stick and it worked". So a bit of experimenting went on and some time lost.
Finally it was tried out and it did really
make a sound.
"Just enough for our final square
dance", shouted the crowd. They lined
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92
22 up again and were away like a hurricane. Then halfway through, just as
the caller said swing your buffalo gal,
Bang went the D string on Tom's fiddle. Well Tom quickly boxed fiddle
and bow, then turned and said to the
crowd: "Come on boys, we just have
time for another good swig before we
tackle the flap jacks!" '
When the sons and daughters of Tom
Kirkpatrick grew up, they formed The
Kirkpatrick Orchestra. Great Uncle
Sam was a part of the orchestra from his
earliest years. They were asked to play
for a wedding ball in Clinton and the
following story is Great Uncle Sam's remembrance of the event.
The day dawned clear as a bell at Ashcroft on November 22nd, as it usually
does up in God's country, with a slight
tang of frost in the air, then the sun
burst over the sand hills to the east in all
its glory, and soon the chill was gone
and the morning was lovely.
A BX special, an open type carriage
with three seats, drawn by four high-
stepping bay horses, came down the
main street and turned with a wide
sweeping curve and slowed to a stop opposite the ladies sitting room at the
Ashcroft Hotel.
That in itself, was a beautiful sight,
something that is not seen today. A load
of passengers were waiting on the sidewalk with their musical instruments.
They were members of the Kirkpatrick
Orchestra, who were to furnish music
for the Ball at Clinton, consisting of
myself, my four older brothers and three
sisters. At about 9:30 we boarded the
BX special and pulled out with a flourish that filled my boyish heart with
The horses were held to a walk for the
first few miles, but once we rounded the
rock bluffs, the whip popped and we
were away at a speed that was really
thrilling. That trip through the Valley
by horse stage was something you didn't
forget in a hurry. A beautiful Valley, a
picture of peace and contentment. The
prosperous ranches adjoining one another from Cache Creek to 20 Mile
Our driver, as well as being an expert
reinsman, was also quite an entertainer.
He whistled reels and hornpipes in time
with the steps of the lead team. He also
took the lead in singing songs that were
popular at the time, while we all joined
in the chorus.
Then he told us jokes about the farmers along the way, as we passed each
place he pointed out the buildings and
told us who lived there then recounted
some humorous incident concerning
them. I might say here that it was quite
the fad in those days to swap yarns
about your friends and neighbors and
to play practical jokes on them.
We passed many vehicles of various
types that day, mostly two-horse rigs.
There was always a lot of good natured
banter and shouting when one rig
passed another. A sort of rivalry existed
between the drivers. They all took a lot
of pride in the animals they drove.
We eventually pulled into Clinton,
and were put up at the Dominion Hotel, where we had a real Cariboo-style
supper, to which we did ample justice.
At a quarter to nine we started tuning
up and the crowd came surging in, and
in a very short time the place was overflowing with dancers. At nine sharp we
struck up the grand march and the
dance was on. The march was led by
the bride and groom, who were a handsome pair. After the grand march came
the Circassian circle, followed by three
round dances, then a quadrille and so
on all night.
There were quite a few round dances
performed during the nineties, those I
recall now include the Waltz, Schot-
tische, Jersey, Polka, Varsouvienne Heel
and Toe, Polka Flying Dutchman or
(Danish Polka), Seven Up, and Mazurka. Of course the waltz was done more
often then than the others as it was the
favourite then, as it is today. Once
each night the Caledonia Lancers were
put on in place of the common square
One of the highlights of the evening
was the waltzing of Mrs. Dougherty
(mother of the bride) and Mr. B.F.
English, the smooth gracefulness, the
perfect rhythm and time with each other and the music, made it a
performance of perfection. They were
not the only ones. Ninety per cent of
the dancers were good waltzers, in those
There was another couple that caught
the eye of the many spectators, Bessie
the bride and Jimmy Uren, they did a
novelty number. While doing a waltz,
Bessie held one corner of a large red
handkerchief in her left hand, and Jimmy held the other corner in his right
hand, and the large number of figures
they went through was surprising.
They dipped and dived, they whirled,
they swayed and turned in opposite directions, then together they danced
forward then backwards. One moment
they were far apart and the next they
were together, waltzing gracefully down
the hall. I had seen it done many
times, but this couple could do it just a
little better than the average.
There were a great many individuals
whose performance in the square dances was comical, some people having a
gift of being able to do a bit of clowning in their own way that seems to fit
in, and make an amusing spectacle for
those who are looking on.
Volunteer fiddlers took over (while
the band had supper) and no time was
lost. When we got back to the hall, the
step dancers had the floor, there were at
least a dozen of them. They danced in
pairs, facing each other, with intermittent walk-arounds, and believe me
those boys could shake a wicked leg.
After we resumed playing there was
an incident that amused me very much,
being only a boy at the time. While
dancing "pop goes the weasel", in the
set near the Orchestra, a big young girl
from down around hooked up with
(an) old "dame" and went three hands
round then popped, and the old
"dame" also popped. The result was a
head-on collision, it only staggered the
girl a bit but the impact brought the
old "dame" to her knees on the floor.
She was helped up and the dance went
on, and I only giggled to myself for
about an hour. I do not know to this
day who those ladies were.
Well the dance carried on to 6
o'clock, then we all hit the hay for the
day as there was another big night
ahead. The old timers can tell you that
big dances in those days were two night
At 9:00 p.m. November 23rd, we
were back on the job, raring to go, and
the crowd showed as much pep as they
did the previous night.
Well the programme was run through
on the same pattern as the night before,
with everyone having a whale of a time.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92 It also went till 6 o'clock, and strange as
it may seem the ladies, young and old,
were going strong to the end.
I had all I could do to keep awake that
second night, but I managed to hold
out till the end, but when we piled into
the buggy for the return trip I was dead
to the world in a few minutes and the
next thing I knew we were pulling in at
Cole McDonald's 12 Mile House for
It has been easy for me to remember
the date, November 24th, 1894 as it
was my birthday, and I was eleven years
And so ended a fine celebration, in
honour of a very fine couple Mr. and
Mrs. Mark Eagleson, and to my mind it
was the grandest of all of Clinton's
Grand Balls. 2
In the long winter months when the
ranch work was slow, small bands of
minstrels formed and traveled around
to friends and family for a visit and a
dance. Great uncle Sam was part of
one of these groups one year and the
following story is about one such family
All the farms had growing families of
young men and women, so they soon
got acquainted. The community got
together and formed dancing parties.
Word was sent around and they danced
at the farms, a different one each week.
With a hay rack covered with hay and
blankets, they traveled in large groups.
They sang songs while the sleigh bells
rang and had a whale of a time, so the
winter passed quickly. It was near
Spring when they got to Alkali Lake.
The Bowes had not attended those
dances as it was a long day's drive in
winter from Alkali Lake to Dog Creek.
When the crowd had visited the Mea-
son ranch, they were about half way to
Alkali Lake, so they decided to lay over
for a couple of days and then spring a
surprise party on the Bowes.
With six sleigh loads of dancers and
half a dozen fiddlers, they arrived unannounced, just at suppertime, but they
were made welcome by the Bowes as always with the pioneers of those days.
Arrangements were put under way to
feed the big gang. Soon the big front
room was cleared, candle wax scraped
on to the floor and the dance was on.
They danced until day light and breakfast was announced by the voluntary
The second night Emma Bowe went
to the Indian Village which was less
than a mile from the ranch house. She
invited the young folks to come down
and take in the dance. They were all
good dancers, as they had been dancing
for years in their own hall, so they came
eagerly and had an enjoyable time.
There was no discrimination, they
mixed and danced and had more fun
than the previous night. But time
marched on as usual and all too soon
the Home was danced. Many had a sad
feeling in their hearts, as they often do
when an enjoyable time comes to an
end and it is time to say Good Bye.3
My grandfather, Jim Kirkpatrick, and
my grandmother, Emma Bowe, met
and fell in love over those two days so I,
for one, am very glad for the old time
The writer has roots in the Cariboo but now
lives and works in Calgary.
1. The First Dance at Cook's Feny, by Sam Kirkpatrick, from the Ashcroft Journal, May 15,
2. Memories of the Gay Nineties, by Sam Kirkpa-
trick, from the Ashcroft Journal, April 1956.
3. Excerpt from the personal letter from great uncle
Sam Kirkpatrick to my uncle, also Sam Kirkpa-
trick, dated November 23,1963.
BACK ROW: Litta (Kirkpatrick) Stephenson, Ida (Kirkpatrick) Bowe, Mary "May" (Kirkpatrick) Felker, Jim Kirkpatrick.
MIDDLE ROW: Bill Kirkpatrick, Frank Kirkpatrick (16 yrs. old), Jack Kirkpatrick   FRONT ROW: Sam Kirkpatrick (11 yrs. old the next day)
MISSING: Tom Kirkpatrick (7yrs. old - at home) Photo courtesy of the Glenbow Museum.
B.C. Historical News • Summer 92
24 The Saga of Louis LeBourdais
There's a legend in the Cariboo Country of British Columbia that's almost
100 years old and has become a part of
the historical heritage of our province.
It's the story of the life of Louis LeBourdais, one of the most adored and
admired of our early pioneers.
Louis LeBourdais was born in Clinton
in June, 1888, the son of Adelbert LeBourdais from Quebec and Eleanor
Connich from Ontario. This was a freewheeling time in the Cariboo. It was
only 30 years after gold had been discovered to the south on the Fraser River
and only 26 years since "Dutch Bill"
Dietz and "Doc" Keithley had created a
stampede to the north with their fabulous gold strikes.
This was a time when the stage coaches of the BX Express skimmed over the
Great North Road at a speed of six miles
an hour and the massive, slower freighters, drawn by mules, horses and oxen
labored north with supplies for the
As a youngster Louis' first recollections
were of horses and he was able to ride as
soon as he was able to walk. At 13 he
earned extra money by breaking wild
stallions after school and from this he
developed a love of horses that never
However, this wasn't a profitable vocation so by the time he was 15 Louis had
learned to read and write well and,
taught by his father, had become proficient in telegraphy, at that time the only
means of transmitting messages. His
first job was with the government telegraph as operator/lineman . at Fort
Alexandria. Besides operating the telegraph key he also had to keep in repair
60 miles of line. To a youngster of 15
this was a very arduous task and he soon
gave it up.
The next few years in Louis' life were
restless ones for his wasn't a nature to be
tied down. For a year he worked in a
store in Clinton; next he tried his hand
as a cowboy and hostler for the BX
stages; then he and his brother operated
by Winston A. Shilvock
a small sawmill at Barkerville from
where he drove six-horse teams to take
out lumber and bring in supplies.
In 1910 Louis was 22, an age that in
those days was considered mature, so he
settled down and went back to the telegraph key, operating out of Golden for
the CPR Here he met and fell in love
with Katie Pughe whom he married in
1912, shortly after being transferred to
Grand Forks. This was followed with a
stint at the CPR main office in Vancouver and then a transfer to Vernon.
Then, for the first of two times Fate
made a move and Louis LeBourdais received a break that would determine the
course of the rest of his life. The Yukon
Telegraph offered him a job as operator/
lineman at its office in Quesnel. Louis
was about to return to his beloved
Katie was soon to have their first son,
Jim, so she stayed in Vernon until the
baby was born December 24. In February, 1915, she was able to undertake the
exhausting trip ahead which required a
week to travel by train to Ashcroft and
then by stage coach to Quesnel. In the
meantime Louis had established living
quarters in a two-story frame house on
Front Street situated on the bank of the
Fraser River. This also housed the telegraph office and would be home to the
LeBourdais for many years to come.
Considerable time was required to
maintain the telegraph lines and Louis
was away a lot making repairs. To fill
in for him Katie learned to operate the
telegraph key and was soon classed as a
professional. Her real name was Katherine Elizabeth but the nickname "Katie"
came from her key sign-off letters,
It was just over a year later, on January
17, 1916, when, for a second time, Fate
entered Louis' life. It was big news that
night when, in -45F temperature, half
of Quesnel was completely burned out.
Louis realized the importance of the
event and quickly filed a story on it to
The Vancouver Daily Province.   Al-
Louis LeBourdais
Photo courtesy of the Quesnel Museum.
though this was his first attempt at writing a story, it proved a huge success and
demands soon came for more.
Thus was launched the writing career
of Louis LeBourdais and over the next
30 years he wrote dozens of stories
about characters and events in the Cariboo. It was the fame generated by his
stories that led me to him in 1934.
That year I was researching material
for a film script on the history of British
Columbia and the natural person to
contact for the Cariboo segment was
Louis LeBourdais. I'd been told he was
"very approachable" and would be more
than willing to help me. This was the
under-statement of the year! Dropping
everything he took me in tow and for
two days we toured to Cottonwood
House, Barkerville and for miles around
Quesnel. He knew everyone and the
number of introductions he gave me
boggled the mind. One of my most
poignant disappointments in life has
been that I never again had the opportunity to visit with Louis before he died.
Louis never lost an opportunity to advertise his beloved Cariboo. In 1936 he
organized the Cariboo Pageant section
of a parade held in Vancouver to mark
the Golden Jubilee Mining week.  Van-
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92 couverites marvelled at the vast array of
bull teams, a six-horse stage coach, a ten-
horse pack train and colorful cowboys on
their ponies.
On one occasion after his election to
the provincial legislature in Victoria in
1937, to advertise the Cariboo beef industry, he treated his fellow members to
the largest, juiciest steaks ever seen on
Vancouver Island. This put the finishing touch to assure the passage of his
Beef Grading Act, the most advanced of
its kind in Canada.
Louis looked on alfalfa (Cariboo alfalfa) as a great health food and he once
served dozens of "Alfalfa Muffins" to his
fellow MLAs to advertise the agricultural
potential of the Cariboo.
When war broke out in 1939 Louis
was 51 years old. Although he had twice
been refused enlistment in the 1914-
1918 conflict, his patriotsm rose once
again and he offered his services. To his
elated surprise he was accepted for the
Royal Canadian Signal Corps and later
transferred to the Army Press Relations.
He was proud indeed that his son, Jim,
joined the army and served in the Italian and European campaigns and that
his second son, Jeremie, who turned 18
in 1943, was on convoy duty with the
Royal Canadian Navy.
After his discharge in October, 1945,
Louis went back to politics and as usual, was elected to Victoria with a very
large majority. Time was beginning to
run out for him, however, and this was
destined to be his last election.
In 1946 Louis had to miss the Fall
session of the legislature as his health
began to rapidly deteriorate and in February, 1947, he underwent major
abdominal surgery. He was still very
weak in June but he mustered enough
strength to travel to Williams Lake to
lead the parade to open the annual
Stampede. Three months later in September, 1947, Louis LeBourdais died
quietly in his home at Quesnel.
His funeral was conducted by the Masons and the Royal Canadian Legion
and during the service the song, "Don't
Fence Me In" was sung at his request.
This wasn't just a cowboy song - it was
his philosophy of life. The grave site has
no fence around it like other important
people and the headstone, a large rock,
is enscribed, simply, "Louis LeBourdais
- 1888-1947".
Travellers to the Cariboo today can
witness a pleasant reminder of Louis LeBourdais, for on the east side of
Quesnel, hard by the highway, is a large,
beautiful grassy knoll named LeBourdais
Park, a colorful tribute to the memory
of one of British Columbia's eminent
Winston Shilvock graduated from U.B.C. with
BA. 1931, B.Comm., 1932 and was working in
Vancouver in advertising when he visited die
Cariboo and met Louis LeBourdais,
A fateful acknowledgment is made to -
RUTH STUBBS - Coordinator of the Quesnel and
District Museum for supplying historical data on Louis
LeBourdais from -
1. Quesnel - Commercial Centre of the Cariboo Gold
Rush - Gordon R. Elliott.
2. AstorybyM,E. LeBourdais in the publication of the
Old Age Pensioners Organization, Branch #77,
Quesnel, B.C.
3. Because of Gold - Branwen C, Patenaude.
Letterheads Qrom Pioneer$$eg w trie Car/ioo,
©ffict of——
—^JOHN McRAE, ?&^
Dry Qoods,   Boots and Shoes,  Hardware, HI tiers' Supplies, SawmUl Supplies, Lumber,
Shingles, etc.    Wines, Liquors and Cigars.    Feed Stables.    Hay and drain.
.&.„._.<* x«t js ts. &fer<A>#£-■,**?>
♦   ♦♦♦♦♦
 DBAU3RS IW—-—•**
Hay, Grain ant) Parm Product,
MHnas, Liquors and Cliara.
2 *.4z£4   TSC^irt,, ^ -jf
SrABlirfq ApofttO
Butt'** and JiM«]
■ilk OrtVf n for fpfcwl
...   .J'jpy    j,
::"  freight   "':'"
bt*iv*d & Dt livtrtd with
,>    ditpaich.
Jp»rlal R;sttj quoted
Connecting with the "Western Union Telegraph Company.
T&ete Utter beads are refirodaced^rom tie aoi&etion o^Marie Eifiott, l/tbfork, 8. C.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92
26 Remembering the P. G.E. (B. C. Rail)
At 10 a.m. on January 1, 1914 an early
steam engine with two vintage coaches
carrying 150 passengers left the station at
the foot of Lonsdale Avenue in North
Vancouver. It travelled west along Burrard Inlet past the Indian Mission, over
the Capilano River and sixteen minutes
later arrived at Dundarave in West Vancouver. Both Mayor Hanes of North
Vancouver and Reeve May of the adjacent Municipality predicted a great
future for the Pacific Great Eastern Railway which had been named after the
Great Eastern Railway of England.
The P.G.E. was championed by B.C's
premier Sir Richard McBride and his
conservative government at the spring
sitting of the Legislature of 1912. Various and sundry surveys and plans had
been carried out prior to the awarding of
the contract to Foley, Welch and Stewart. The terms of the contract were (1).
B.C. held a first mortgage. (2). B.C.
guaranteed $35,000 per mile. (3). Interest on securities was at the rate of 4^2%
and was payable for not less than 30
years and (4) Only white labour was to
be used. It was envisioned that the
P.G.E. would carry all of the Grand
Trunk Pacific Railroad's freight between
Vancouver and Prince George.
Old discarded rolling stock was purchased from various sources. The day
coaches had very uncomfortable seats.
Antiquated heaters that had to be refueled constantly were located at each
end. Coal oil lamps were used to light
the coaches when necessary. Sudden
stops or starts frequently splashed some
of the liquid about if they had just been
filled. Schedules were printed but rarely
maintained in the early days.
Prior to the end of 1914 the P.G.E.
track was extended in West Vancouver
to where the Gleneagles Golf Course is
now located. My first train ride in early
1919 was on the P.G.E. from North
Vancouver to West Vancouver and return as a birthday excursion.
With the approach of World War I in
by T.D. Sale
1914 the boom that British Columbia
had enjoyed collapsed. Banks had less
money to loan. Unemployment saw
the advent of the soup kitchens. Labour problems such as the Nanaimo
strike increased. December 1915 saw
the resignation of Conservative Premier
McBride. The P.G.E. was in serious financial trouble.
Until 1914 Squamish was known as
Newport. In this area and in Clinton
all sorts of land development schemes
were underway. On February 20, 1915
the first P.G.E. train ran from Squamish to Lillooet. By 1916 construction
had reached Clinton and the Chasm.
The railway contractors had run out of
money. Premier Richard McBride had
been succeeded by Premier William
Bowser. Harlan Brewster was the Liberal Leader of the Opposition. It is
interesting to note that the Lieutenant
Governor was Frank Stillman Barnard
who was the son of the founder of the
famous Cariboo BX Coach Company.
The P.G.E. had become a political
football during the World War I years.
In the spring of 1917 an intensive parliamentary investigation was underway.
Much accusing and cross questioning
took place in the legislature especially
in regard to money outlay and payment
to individuals for services rendered. In
February 1918 the Government of British Columbia took over the P.G.E.
from the bankrupt firm of Foley,
Welch and Stewart for the sum of 1.1
million dollars. Following the death of
Premier Harlan Brewster in March
1918 John Oliver became Premier of
B.C. He promised that the P.G.E.
would be completed to Prince George
as soon as possible and extended to the
Peace River area.
In the beginning contracts had been
let by sections and not always to the
lowest bid per mile. No performance
bid bond was required. Cost overruns
were common. For material and horses
supplied five and one half percent was
P.G.E. circa 1950
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92 added. The government had appointed
the Northern Construction Company as
their chief contractor. Sub-contractors
were in the picture with the parent company pocketing substantial sums with no
accounting to the government.
The portion of the P.G.E. with which I
am familiar is between Horse Lake,
which was known as Fawn, and Williams Lake. In 1919 the railway was
built past this area which included Lone
Butte in April where there was a construction camp of importance, Canim,
Exeter, Tatton, Lac La Hache, Wright,
Enterprise, St. Joseph, Cariboo Indian
School, Onward, and in September
1919 Williams Lake.
By the end of July 1921 Quesnel had
been reached. In fact the rails had been
laid as far as Cottonwood which is sixteen miles north of Quesnel. Following
the Sullivan Report P.G.E. construction
came to a standstill. The Report recommended a "hold the line" policy with no
more money to be spent. Bonds were
not selling at all well on the money market. The sixteen miles of rails to
Cottonwood were ripped up and sold to
Japan for scrap.
In 1924 a Royal Commission was held
to investigate the high costs of construction and the apparent wastage. The
result was that the government was
cleared of all charges. By the end of
1924 the government loss on its P.G.E.
investment was approaching thirty million dollars and was increasing
substantially each year. Premier John
Oliver was known to favour selling the
provincially owned railway line along
with a crown land grant partially free of
taxes for a number of years to the
As a cost saving measure the popular
North Vancouver to Whytecliffe section
of P.G.E. was terminated in 1928. The
Horseshoe Bay to Squamish section was
put on hold necessitating travel by Union Steamships from Vancouver to
Squamish. The Company was left with
a railway operating from Squamish to
Quesnel often referred by the media
'from nowhere to nowhere.' The turning, twisting line received such jocular
publicity as "Please Go Easy" "Provincial
Government Expense" and "Prince
George Eventually."
Following the death of Premier John
Oliver in August 1927 his successor Dr.
John MacLean continued the efforts to
unload the ever increasing debt ridden
P.G.E. The 1928 Provincial elections
saw the defeat of the Liberal Government and the triumph of the
Conservatives led by Dr. Simon Fraser
Tolmie. Meanwhile the P.G.E. continued to cost the government over two
million dollars each year. There was
the humble beginnings of a slight reduction in the operating deficit.
The 1929 stock market crash heralded
the onset of the Great Depression of
the 1930's. There was a strong recommendation in 1932 to sell the P.G.E.
and drastically cut back operating
In late 1933 the Liberals with Duff
Pattullo as Premier became the governing party of British Columbia.
Although he also wished to sell the
P.G.E. to Canadian interests he was adamantly opposed to selling the
government's railway to the Americans
who were making tempting offers.
It was the 1934 to 1939 era when I
was able to observe the workings of
P.G.E. from my vantage point as a
teacher in the Cariboo. Velocipedes for
each section had been replaced by gas
speeders so that section crews could be
transported to and from the work site
each day. Each section had a house for
the section foreman and his family.
Other hired personnel lived in a bunkhouse. Their task was to keep their
section in good repair. Some of these
duties included changing damaged ties
by hand, spraying weeds along the
track, reporting the weather, and clearing their section of track of any
Many stations had large watertanks in
order to supply water to the steam engines. Fairly frequently cattle or other
animals would wander onto the tracks
and would be hit or have to be removed. Many small stations were flag
stops only. At most stations the train
would at least slow down to drop a mail
sack and pick up the outgoing mail
sack. Roads to the small stations were
very poor and some distance from
where the local residents lived. For example - Exeter Station was two miles
from 100 Mile House.
In the Depression Days local residents
were able to secure 'tie contracts' from
the P.G.E.   Usually the contracts were
for 200, 500 or 1000 ties. The contract
recipient cut his ties during the winter
and 'snaked' them out with the help of
his horse. The ties had to be delivered
to the railway track, inspected and
counted before payment was made.
A trip to the Cariboo in the Depression Days was quite an adventure. It
began in Vancouver by boarding a Union Steamship to Squamish. Delays
were frequent and unpredictable. It was
next to impossible to maintain a schedule. The coaches were uncomfortable.
There were no facilities for sleeping or
meals. Sleep was intermittent at best
since the steam train stopped with a jerk
and started with a jerk. Lighting was
poor. Reading was almost impossible.
On arrival at the destination the station
was either locked for the night or if it
happened to be opened it was "colder
inside than out." One couldn't expect
to be met at the station as the arrival
time could not be foretold. The only alternative was to walk to the destination
if the distance was at all reasonable.
In September 1939 World War II began and was to last for nearly six years.
By January 1941 the P.G.E debt had
risen to nearly 80 million dollars. In December 1941 Duff Pattulo lost the
leadership of the Liberal Party to John
Hart who became Premier. Following
the end of World War II, Premier John
Hart had more surveys done with a view
to extending the P.G.E. into the Peace
River with a terminal at Fort St. John
and another at Dawson Creek. The era
of the steam engines was rapidly drawing to an end. The notation such as 4-
2-2 is derived from the number of
wheels in each group (1) 4 leading carrying wheels (2) 2 driving wheels and (3)
2 trailing carrying wheels. The nose cab
type diesel - electric locomotives had by
April 1949 replaced the old familiar
steam engines on much of the P.G.E.'s
main line in the interior of B.C.
Meanwhile the Coalition under the
Premiership of Byron Johnson had been
voted out of office and B.C. was now
sampling the new Social Credit Party
with WA.C. Bennett as Premier.
Freight consisting of cattle, logs and
mineral ore was being hauled in box can
to Squamish and by tug and barge to
Vancouver. Finally in September of
1952 the P.G.E. reached Prince George
a distance of 80 miles from Quesnel.  It
B.C. Historical News • Summer 92
28 was exactly 40 years after the railway was
started. Premier W.AC. Bennett then
announced that the B.C. Government
would complete the Squamish to North
Vancouver extension with a target date
of June 11, 1956. By October 1958
(B.C's Centennial Year) the P.G.E.
reached completion at both Dawson
Creek and Fort St. John some 46 years
after its inception.
Shop crews located at Squamish, Lillooet, and Williams Lake took pride in
keeping the steam locomotives in top
running condition. The distance from
North Vancouver to Dawson Creek and
Fort St. John was 729 miles. On Sunday AprU 30, 1972 P.G.E.'s Time Table
Number 93 expired and British Columbia Railway Time Table No. 1 came into
force. That same year the railway expansion was completed to Fort Nelson and
begun to Dease Lake which was later
abandoned. The final extension which
was carried out in 1983 at the cost of
five hundred million dollars was a distance of 81 miles to Tumbler Ridge.
In 1984 through government reorganization of the company's finances it was
possible to trim $430 million from its
$600 million debt. As it stands at
present the B.C. Rail maintains 1388
miles of track and employs 2600 people. The corporation owns 120
locomotives and 10,500 freight cars. In
the period 1986-1990 passenger tourists doubled. In 1990 it was necessary
for the B.C. Government to subsidize
the B.C. Rail by three million dollars.
The assets of the B.C. Rail presently
amount to 1.2 billion dollars.
Modernization of equipment continues. The diesel-electric nose cab type
was followed by the road freight type.
Budd car passenger units make comfortable travelling to the interior of
Memories of the steam train era are
being kept alive each tourist season by
the Royal Hudson No. 2860 with its
notation of 4 - 6 - 4 as it runs on the
B.C. rail tracks from North Vancouver
to Squamish and return.
One final postscript in regard to the
Williams Lake station house; in addition
to serving the travelling public, the depot on MacKenzie Avenue has housed
the "Station House Gallery" for the past
ten years. Thus another building of the
early P.G.E. era has been restored and
preserved as a heritage location.
Don Sale is the Corresponding Secretary for the
B.C. Historical Federation, and serves as a judge
for the Writing Competition. He also keeps busy
with many community organizations including
the Nanaimo Museum.
1. Information from Provincial Archives.
2. Information from Vancouver Public Library.
3. Information from Vancouver Sun Newspaper.
4. Sundry historical records kept by friends.
Holiday Resorts—Seaside Cottages
"£/3ox;     i
DEC 9- 1932
■y     St
Delightful Coastal Trips from $1.00 to $55.00
and inip otf
Reproduced courtesy of the Vancouver Maritime Museum.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92 The American Rush
by Gerri Young
It started out quietly enough.
In the early thirties it was just the occasional bush pilot flying overhead
carrying mail and light freight. By 1937
Grant McConachie's Yukon Southern
Ar Transport acquired the mail route
between Edmonton and Whitehorse
which meant a regular stop in Fort Nelson. Yukon Southern operated ski and
float planes, which meant that for six
weeks of the year the plane couldn't land
because the river wasn't frozen enough
or thawed enough.
McConachie's dream was to have a
first class airline operating on wheels all
year long. He needed an airport in Fort
Nelson. The Canadian government did
have plans to build an airport there,
since Fort Nelson was part of the Northwest Air Staging Route over which lend-
lease aircraft were to fly to Russia. But
by the time the government hired a contractor from Edmonton to put a winter
road through from Fort St. John,
McConachie had already scraped and
ploughed a primitive runway cut of the
forest. Now he could land a 'big' plane -
with about twelve passengers in it.
In 1941 Fort Nelson was an isolated
fur trading post with a population of
about one hundred people. Then the
'town' was at the Old Fort on the east
side of the Nelson River, and the locals
soon got wind of the airport destined for
their back yard and the highway that was
supposed to connect them to the south.
Their skepticism was fueled by stories
they heard of the cat train that left Dawson Creek in February 1941. A
bulldozer broke the trail and the cat train
crept slowly north through the frozen
wilderness bringing construction supplies and equipment. The cat train
consisted of special sleighs with twelve-
foot runners and an eight-foot spread.
There were five freight sleighs consisting
of a complete portable sawmill, blacksmith shop, mechanical equipment, one
big grader, nails, tarpaper, miscellaneous
building materials, gasoline, diesel fuel
and food. One sleigh was loaded only
with meat. And there were four sleighs
with barracks for the crew. Five were
pulled at a time by a D7 Cat. The bulldozer would plow the trees down and
the D7 would pull five sleighs as far as
the trail was broken, then go back for
the other five.
They were plagued with mishaps and
progress was slow. It took three days to
go down the Sikanni Mountain. Bulldozing, clearing, blasting, making
bridges, roughlocking on all hills.
Sometimes taking one sleigh at a time,
leaving the rest chained to trees, up the
other side, winching, prying, cursing,
then go back and repeat the whole
Dropping the cat through rotten ice
was the most serious hardship. Fifty
feet from the Sikanni River bank the
cat slipped and plunged to the bottom
of the river. It took three days to raise
it up using a huge tripod made of logs
and cables, then it had to be dried out
under a large tent.
Sikanni was as far as they got by the
end of April. They had to return south
before spring breakup. It was impossible to drive bulldozers in muskeg,
which was like quicksand and the cats
would disappear into it.
They left the equipment guarded by
two men. When the river had finished
flooding in the spring a barge would be
sent from Fort Nelson to haul it all
The rest of the crew headed south.
They travelled day and night to stay on
frozen ground. They found it difficult
to sleep on the move and would sometimes wake up almost standing on their
heads to find their bunkhouse chained
to a tree on a steep hill.
By now crew morale was low, with a
lot of threats and cursing. Three
months of twelve hour shifts for forty
cents an hour didn't always help them
feel good about having a job. Even if it
was the first job for many of them since
the beginning of the depression.
Fort Nelsonites joked and doubted
they'd hear much more about it. They
were completely surprised by the arrival
of US Armed Forces and Engineer
Corps in the spring of 1942.
Pearl Harbor had forced the Canadian
and US governments into building a
road to Alaska as fast as possible. The
Canadian government agreed as long as
they didn't have to pay for it.
By the fall of 1942 there were 2000
US soldiers in Fort Nelson and more on
the way. It wasn't a gold rush, it was an
American rush. And the locals were
overwhelmed. The Americans came and
took over and built the road and spent
George's Store and Cafe was the only
one of either in Fort Nelson. Lodema
George said, "...they took over. They
had money and they spent it. We had
the only place anyone could go for a
meal...of course they were sick and tired
of Army food...they just about mobbed
us..." The Georges kept track of the
meals per day. "I only had one table
that would sit fourteen...we charged 75
cents for as much as you could eat...we
did the was hard work, but
it was lots of fun...some of the soldier
boys would have days off and I said if
you want to do something there's the
dish pan....and I had the Post Office, a
little six by six room, which was fine
when we got mail once a month, but
soon the American Army had mail coming in seven times a week, twenty bags a
day and I said, What am I going to do
with all this? I had to pile it up all
around the store."
The Americans even renamed the
town. They called it Zero. On their
maps it was the intersection of two
roads, the beginning of one road north
to Whitehorse and the other to Fort
Simpson.   The American Army started
B.C. Historical News • Summer 92
30 the first service station with a sign that
FOR CASH because it was for Army vehicles only. They opened another
restaurant with a flagpole in front and
set up a movie hall in a quonset hut.
They even had big name entertainers,
like the Andrews Sisters come and perform. They danced at George's and
skated on the river.
When Earl Bardett first came to Fort
Nelson, in 1943, he said the letters
USED were stamped on all vehicles. "I
was surprised there were so many used
vehicles, until I realized the letters stood
for United States Engineering Division."
Lodema George said, "There were a lot
of awfully nice men, a lot of awfully
homesick boys in the bush...", who by
the end of the year had completed the
road. "It seemed there was a vehicle every five minutes, on that old road...that
first bunch of boys that went
through...they deserve a lot of credit."
By 1943 a iot of Canadians were moving to Fort Nelson to work for the
American Army or to set up their own
businesses. By 1946 the US Army transferred command of the highway to the
Canadian Armed Forces. But the work
on the highway continued, with largely
civilian crews, to make it, and keep it, an
all-weather road.
Now the highway is wide and straight
with expensive sports cars and RVs from
all over the continent joining the transport trucks and local traffic which use
this route. It would be unimaginable to
the freezing men who struggled a hundred and fifty miles through the forest
with a lurching cat train in the spring of
Gerri Young came to Fort Nelson in 1952 with
her husband and young family. In 1980 she pubUshed a history of Fort Nelson. She works as a
librarian in Fort Nelson School District 81.
A -
Muskeg causes problems for road builders in this area.
Photo courtesy ot Michael Fraser.
U.S. Army Engineers dressed in full combat gear on die Alaska Highway.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Corps ot Engineers.
The First Convoy pf trucks on die completed route, November 20, 1942.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92 WRITING COMPETITION 1991
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B.C. Historical News • Summer 92
Burnaby Historical Society recently
received recognition from Heritage Trust for
their hard work and many achievements in
preserving local heritage. This award
comes during Burnaby's Centennial Year
but acknowledges the many projects
completed during the past 35 years.
From May to October 1992 replicas of
ships' boats will be moving along the B.C.
Coast and around the islands to follow the
paths of the crews exploring this area in
1792. The organizers are seeking:
1 ] donations to defray costs (Tax
deductible receipts will be issued.)
2] participants to sign up for various
stages of the journey.
3] audiences at each port of call.
For further details phone Malcolm F. Marshall
at (604) 539-2923
or Write to the Discovery Reenactment Society,
Whaler Bay, Galiano Island, B.C. V0N1P0
There is also a commemorative display
at Vancouver Maritime Museum until
September 1992.
A visitor in Victoria was researching his
ancestors when a thoughtful librarian directed him to an article on The Johnson
Street Gang," in the B.C.H. News. The
gentleman returned to Massachusetts, then
phoned your editor to request a copy of this
issue (Vol. 22 #1). He excitedly told of
finding a bit about his grandfather with a
longer item about his grand-uncle John J.
Hart 'who was sometimes involved in less
than legitimate business deals.' He found
more details on JJ's wrongdoings in the archives. Our caller concluded, "It's fun to
find an ancestor who was a scoundrel."
The Winter, 1990-91 edition of British
Columbia Historical News contained an
article by Dick McMinn giving an account of
his growing years in the Alberni area. It
was illustrated by a photo of the "Uchuck
III" one of the motor vessels which Dick
worked on as it plied its way up and down
the Alberni Inlet. As soon as he saw the
photo Dick bristled slightly: That's not the
'Uchuck III', someone has made a mistake".
The photo originally was in the collection
of the Alberni District Museum and
Historical Society which had been turned
over to the Alberni Valley Museum who
supplied the print. The donor had been
quite specific: the ship was the "Uchuck
III". Then we realized that there were only
two photos on hand although four Uchucks
had served up and down the Inlet - some
gaps needed filling.
The request went out via Society
members, the local newspaper and the
local radio station - we need information
about the Uchucks - all four of them -
please share! Our own volunteers started
reading microfilm of earlier papers and
copies of The Twin Cities Times" which
had reproduced some excellent historic
photos while it was in business. The
record grew and early in 1992 came the
piece de resistance - a visit from Dave
Young whose father had owned the early
Uchucks and now he himself is co-owner
and piloting the UCHUCK III west from
Gold River.
Dave brought along scrapbooks and
other material for us to copy, with the
promise that one day the originals would
come to rest in our Community Archives.
We now have photos of all four vessels -
"UCHUK", the "UCHUK I", "UCHUKII, and
"UCHUK III". Which ship was in the
photo? It was the original "UCHUK", after
it had been extended in 1938, so note the
correction below the illustration in the
The big bonus behind this research is
that we now have some first hand
information about the four "UCHUCK"s and
their role in keeping the little communities
along the Alberni Inlet in touch with their
neighbours. It was worth a second look!
Alberni District Historical Society,
Anne W. Holt, Volunteer Archivist
Workers are preparing a replication of the
Man Yuck Tong store which served Victoria
residents for 80 years. This new display
area will be opening very soon in the Royal
British Columbia Museum.
A carefully transcribed ledger of 1863-64
has been incorporated into a book, Fort
Pelly Journal of Dally Occurrences, 1863
edited by W.H. Long. 149 pp, plus biographical and explanatory notes,
bibliography and index. Softcover. These
are selling at $10 plus $1.50 postage.
Order from:
Regina Archaeological Society
P.O. Box 931
Regina, Saskatchewan, S4P3B1
North Shore Historical Society has lost
its secretary and enthusiastic promoter.
Elizabeth Grubbe, who attended many BCHF
Meetings with her husband David, passed
away in March after a lengthy battle with
Madge Hamilton, an Honorary Life
Member of BCHF, passed away April 28,
1992. She had contributed much to the
functioning of the provincial archives, the
Victoria branch of the B.C. Historical
Association and to the Federation. Madge
grew up in an age before the computer but
she had a built in data base and retrieval
system which functioned without crashing
to the end. Past President John Spittle
consulted her in February and was given a
lengthy episode from her phenomenal
Did you ever live in North Vancouver? If
"yes" you are invited to jot down or type
your memories of life and happenings in
this community and send them to:
Robert Brown - Ed'tior, North Shore
Historical Newsletter
2327 Kilmarnock Crescent
North Vancouver, B.C. V7J 273
The University of Victoria is presenting a
series of seven programs (averaging one
week in length) on topics such as Desktop
Publishing, Care of Old Books, Maritime
Heritage, or Writing for the Heritage
Community. For details contact the
Program Coordinator, Cultural Resource
Management Program, University of
Victoria, P.O. Box 3030, Victoria, B.C. V8W
3N6 or Telephone (604) 721-8462
The staff at this Historic Town take pride
in the programs and displays they offer for
summer visitors. They also present
hands-on-history lessons to hundreds of
schoolchildren during the spring and fall.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92 CONFERENCE 92 AT BURNABY
-.;;■-X-,. -p V..X
Ainu Totem Poles on Burnaby Mountain.
Brilliant sunshine and friendly smiles
greeted the delegates to the Annual Conference of the B.C. Historical Federation
held May 7 to 9, 1992. The Burnaby Historical Society planned and presented an
excellent program. Thursday evening's reception, Friday's speeches, and the Annual
General Meeting on Saturday were held at
the Burnaby Sheraton Inn. Mayor Copeland and Centennial Committee
Chairman Don Brown gave welcoming remarks before Don Wrigley spoke on the
history of carousels, leading into the special story of the Parker 119 which is being
restored for use in Burnaby Heritage Village. Jack Roff "fed" some alfalfa to the
two carousel horses poised on their pedestals in the lecture room, then slides were
shown explaining the carving and assembling of the beautiful wooden steeds of
A video was shown giving the life of
Robert Burnaby as portrayed by high
school students; this was introduced by the
illustrious Michael J. Fox. Young Jim
Wolf, Burnaby's archivist, presented an illustrated history of the evolution of this
lovely area sandwiched between Vancouver and New Westminster. The original
land speculators built increasingly extravagant homes with a view of Deer Lake and
enjoyed a very elite circumstance. Then
the interurban railway made it possible for
the working man to move out there - if he
could find a small plot of land with a clear
title. Delegates were then whipped over
to one of these pioneer estates where Hart
House serves as a restaurant. Visitors took
conducted walks through Burnaby Village
Museum soaking up details about historical displays and modern computerized
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92.
Saturday's tour zigged and zagged
through Burnaby, Confederation Park and
Capitol Hill then to the viewpoint on
Burnaby Mountain where the Ainu totem
poles stand, a rose garden promises a
wealth of blooms, and Indian Arm and
Burrard Inlet extend from the narrow
shore far below. Charming guides conducted delegates through Simon Fraser
University. Then busses took all back to
the Sheraton for the Annual General
President Myrtle Haslam conducted the
meeting efficiently and reports were concise with pertinent information. Eighteen
societies were represented in the voting.
The Treasurer's statements indicated comfortable financial reserves despite the
downturn in interest rates. Archivist
Margaret Stoneberg spoke on holders of
Honorary Life Memberships in the span
of our Federation. Pamela Mar explained
the judging process and named the winners of the 1991 Writing Competition.
Arthur Wirick defined the Scholarship selection committee. Trail's Chairman
John Spittle drew attention to five Provincial Heritage Sites, and advised that
1993 would see anniversary activities on
the Alexander MacKenzie Heritage Trail.
B.C. Heritage Council, chaired by BCHF
President Myrtle Haslam, is meeting with
ministries preparing to enact revised Heritage legislation next year.
Jack Green of the Cowichan Historical
Society proposed the following:
Moved that tke BCHF arrange for publicity
m Britain to seek out correspondence or diaries telling of early settlers in British
Discussion indicated that this was a viable suggestion, and that material
received would be directed to archives
serving the community described in the
Margaret Stoneberg of Princeton was accorded an Honorary Life Membership for
her many years of work for the B.C. Historical Association/Federation, the
Okanagan Historical Society, and the
Princeton Museum and Archives. Margaret has also been Subscription Secretary
for the B.C. Historical News and arranged to have the printing of labels
computerized. Only one Honorary Membership can be awarded annually.
Election of Officers
The slate of officers was acclaimed, with
the newest Member-at-Large being
Wayne Desrochers of the new Surrey Historical Society. All other officers remain
the same as 1991. (See inside back cover
for names and addresses of the BCHF table officers.)
Highlights from Member Societies
Atlin Historical Society has leaped to a
membership of 106. Arrow Lakes Historical Society is attempting to prevent
demolition of the Court House in Nakusp.
Burnaby Historical Society is actively in
volved in many parts of the Centennial
celebration in 1992.
Chemainus is happily noting its 10th anniversary of its first Mural. District 69 and
Qualicum Beach are already preparing to
host the BCHF Conference in 1994, and
have expanded their Museum.
East Kootenay Historical Association
notes that the Wild Horse-Fisherville
gold- rush area is now protected from future mining activity, but has yet to be
defined as a Heritage property.
The Kootenay Museum & Historical Society is working on documenting the
Walton boat works in Nelson.
Princeton Museum has had much patronage due to its fossil and mineral
Salt Spring Island is making a concerted
effort to collect archival material. Surrey
Historical Society is protesting the closure
of the Transportation Museum.
Sidney & North Saanich Historical Society have produced a video of district
history. They present four scholarships to
local students.
Kamloops Museum Society, represented
by Elizabeth Murdoch, invited members
and other history buffs to attend the 1993
Conference in Kamloops from April 29 to
May 1,1993.
Awards Banquet
The Awards Banquet, held at Burnaby
Lake Pavilion, was MCed by Pauline Mu-
drakoff, Conference Committee
Chairman. Florence Hart Godwin said
grace then diners filled their plates at the
buffet table. Charter member Fraser Wilson proposed the toast to the Queen.
Pamela Mar conducted the presentations
to winners of the 1991 Writing Competition. The Lieutenant-Governor's Medal
went to Geoff Meggs for his book, Salmon. Two first time writers were given a
cheque and a certificate; Laurie Jones for
Nootka Sound Explored, and Ellen Mackay for Places of Worship in the
Cowichan & Chemainus Valleys. The
winner of Best Article Award was Mary
Andrews of Banff who wrote on Alpine
Club summer camps in Vol. 24 No. 2.
Labor historian Mark Leier gave a brief
outline of the evolution of unions, especially the Industrial Workers of the World.
He punctuated his narrative with songs
which had buoyed up workers in adverse
situations, and certainly proved entertaining to die audience at the dinner.
Many thanks to the hosts and hostesses
in Burnaby, and a Happy Centennial Year
Helen Brown, Don Brown (Burnaby Centennial Committee Chairman), Sharon Rakoff, & Pauline Mudrakoff (Conference Chairman).
History Revisited! Don Sale at the teacher's desk in Seaforth School,
Burnaby ViUage. Don took his practice teaching in this school!
Editor Naomi Miller and Writing Competition Chairman Pamela Mar
present the Best Article Certificate to Mary Andrews.
Honorary life Member Margaret Stoneberg with
Past President John Spittle.
The visitors at Burnaby Village Museum - May 8, 1992
Four Burnaby ladies -Joan Bellinger, Florence Hart Godwin,
Helen Brown and Winn Roff relax before the Awards Banquet
On the bus to Burnaby Mountain & SFU.
President Myrtle Haslam conratulates
Writing Competition Winner GeoffMeggs.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92 BOOKSHELF
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	
Alex Lord's British Columbia; Recollections of a Rural School
Inspector, 1915-1936
Vancouver, University of British
Columbia Press,1991.212 p., $15.95
When our esteemed Book Review
Editor asked me to do this review and
mentioned its highlights, I readily assented. My year at Vancouver Normal
School, 1921-22 and four years teaching one-room frontier schools gave me
a lifetime interest in such schools and
high respect for school inspectors. The
book is small enough for bedtime
reading; an attractive one-room, rural
log school adorns the front cover; the
back cover gives an outline of Lord's
career and his benign influence on rural education, his memoirs, and
identifies the editor, John Calam, Professor Emeritus of Social and
Educational Studies at UBC. The introduction fills 30 pages; Lord's
narrative fills 90 pages, editorial notes
follow in 40 pages, and the index is 17
pages long. Larger print and fewer
notes would have made the book easier to read without increasing its size.
Alexander Russel Lord, one of five
brothers, was born, 1885, in Nova Scotia. His parents were prominent well
educated Presbyterians. He got a
Teacher's Diploma in 1904 and a B.A.
at Queen's in 1910. Then, responding
to "the lure of the west", Lord became
Principal of the Kelowna Elementary
School. In four years there he won
high repute and married Muriel
McNair, one of his staff in 1914. His
age was then 29.
After a year as Principal of Vancouver's Grandview Elementary School,
he joined the cadre of B.C.'s school inspectors. He was based at Prince
Rupert 1915-1919, back at Kelowna
1919-22, and in Greater Vancouver
1922-24. Lord became fascinated with
B.C's geography and pioneer rural
life. D.M. Robinson, head of the Vancouver Normal School persuaded Lord
to join his staff to teach geography,
1924-29. (Robinson was my esteemed
Principal there, 1921-22.) Lord then resumed inspectorships till 1936 when
he succeeded Robinson.  He held this
position with distinction till 1950
when he in turn retired. He was active in public affairs. His many
honours included a doctorate from
U.B.C He died in 1961, aged 75.
Lord has special interest in B.C.'s
"Assisted Schools" in remote pioneer
areas where money was scarce, settlement was sparse, and conditions
primitive. I think they were unique to
B.C. and spanned the period 1911 to
1930. The teacher's salary was paid by
the Government from Victoria. The
community provided the building and
its maintenance. Salaries were higher
for more remote schools. At least ten
registered pupils and an average attendance of eight were required. Lord
relates some interesting stratagems
where children were "borrowed" from
elsewhere to make up the minimum.
Busy farm mothers were glad to send
their 5 year-olds to school with their
older siblings, where they remained
all day. My annual salary at Big Bar
Creek, about 30 miles from the railway
at Clinton was $1,140. At Kelly Lake
in the Peace River, 60 miles from the
end of steel at Grande Prairie, Alberta,
it was $1,320. The teacher's board
money, about $30 per month, was a
significant source of cash in the community, and, of course, jealousy where
more than one family could accommodate her or him. I batched during
those years.
Rural school inspectors were both
feared and respected. For many teachers, mostly women, it was their first
school. Some married local lads and
made good pioneer wives. My inspector at Big Bar was A.F. Matthews. His
reports, dated 30 May 1923 and 15
September 1925 were favourable. At
Kelly Lake, G.H. Gower made only
one visit. His report, dated 12 March
1924, is reproduced in my book Metis
From the index I selected items relevant to Lord's narrative for reference
to his own observations, experiences
and reactions. He gives colourful accounts of the rigors of travel and
accommodation. Roads were primitive in the extreme. He enjoyed warm
and impromptu hospitality.     There
were few phones, no daily papers,
mail was infrequent and radios were
few and primitive. Visits of the inspector were supposed to be by
surprise so that he could examine the
school's normal routine. However, the
"moccasin telegraph" kept remarkable
track of his movements.
My knowledge of B.C.'s geography
and history began with a summer job
at Field in 1919, age 15. From 1920 to
1922 I commuted to UBC and Vancouver Normal School from East Burnaby.
Absences at Toronto, 1926-30, postgrad studies abroad, 1933-34, and military service overseas 1940-45, all
intensified my devotion to B.C. and
broadened its base. Forest and air
photo surveys, 1930-40, surveys and
mapping 1946-68 took me to all parts
of the province with unique facilities
for seeing it from ground and air, and
for making friends with local pioneers,
Indians and trappers. I would have
enjoyed talking to Lord about our mutual knowledge of many people and
Lord mentioned Charles and Ada
Place at Dog Creek and the awful
roads between there and the Churn
Creek Bridge. We enjoyed their hospitality when we used the Dog Creek Air
Field for early postwar air photo flying
operations. He refers to Jesmond on
the road from Clinton to Gang Ranch,
but does not mention the Goldwells,
Harry, Louise and children Pete, Elsie
and Evelyn. During my time in Big
Bar Creek they operated a small store
and the Post Office. They also had a
party line phone connecting Clinton to
Canoe Creek and beyond, which was a
source of local news and gossip (part
of the "Moccasin telegraph").
Lord's travels to the Peace River
Schools via the ED &BCR from Edmonton to Grande Prairie revive my
memories of that route in 1923 and
1924 and fill in details I had forgotten.
Lord enjoyed the huge Chilcotin
Lord travelled to all parts of B.C., often under most arduous conditions.
He enjoyed the local folk regardless of
race, colour or religion. His keen sense
of humour is evident. Recently a grad-
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92
uate of the Vancouver Normal School
in 1939 told me how highly he was regarded there. I had not the good
fortune to meet him. Thanks to this
book, I have enjoyed learning about
him. I apologize for including so
much about Gerry Andrews, but it
seems relevant. In preparing this review, Professor Calam's meticulous
notes and index have been very
Gerry Andrews
Gerry Andrews, a Victoria resident, is a former
President of the B.C. Historical Association.
Mutual Hostages:
Canadians and Japanese
during the Second World War.
Patricia E. Roy, J.L. Granatstein,
Masako Ino, Hiroko Takamura.
Toronto, University of Toronto Press,
1990.275 p. $24.95
Over the past few years journalists,
novelists, dramatists, and even folk-
songsters, have been making the most
of the Japanese evacuation, dispersal,
and repatriation issues arising with
and out of the Second World War.
Most of those writers who relied mostly on emotion to gain their effects
would have been considerably helped
had they been able to read Mutual
Hostages, subtitled "Canadians and
Japanese during the Second World
War", by two Canadian and two Japanese historians. Indeed, because, as
the authors say, "human memory can
be short", this meticulously written,
meticulously documented and meticulously indexed volume would
enlighten almost all Canadians, those
who merely want to know the differences between Nisei, Essei and
Sansei, others who might have forgotten or might never have known the
background details on which they
have been basing their biases, even statisticians who want to know about the
numbers of people and the selling prices of properties and household goods,
and especially British Columbians
needing an explanation for their apparently built-in attitudes.
Also meticulously organized - chronologically, in general - the volume
takes its readers through the arrival of
the first Japanese in Canada to the
1988 settlement of the Japanese claims
for compensation, all seven chapters
neatly wrapped around by a "Preface"
and a "Conclusion", the preface indicating the major themes and asserting
that the authors "have sought to explain, not to condone or condemn",
and the conclusion saying that the Canadian government "caved in to racist
fears and to the opinions of journalists
and amateur strategists", but also reminding readers that dictatorships are
not "hampered by the rhetoric of democracy" as was the government of
Canada, and pointing out that rough
though the treatment of the Japanese
in Canada might have been and in
spite of what mis nation has come to
believe, only about 800 Japanese were
really interned in this country.
Each chapter has a specific point to
make and many of them highlighted
through reprints of current political
cartoons from the Victoria and Vancouver newspapers. Graphs, charts
and maps, even a plan for a Tashme
house, also help. The first two chapters lay out the background, from the
arrival of the first Japanese in British
Columbia in 1877, through the Anglo-
Japanese Alliance with its resulting
hostilities, the Asiatic Exclusion
League and the Vancouver Riots, the
continuing fears through the 1920's as
British Columbians saw more and
more Japanese people arriving while
Japan itself, with its promotion of the
Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity
Sphere, was becoming more aggressive toward China and increasing the
fears of North America. One of the
most telling cartoons in the book, by
Jack Boothe for the Vancouver Daily
Province of February 22, 1938, shows
a panicking British Columbian trying
to put his fingers, and feet, into the
holes of the badly weakened dyke of
Japanese Immigration Laws.
The second chapter explains the very
early co-operation between the United
States and Canada in the face of what
might become Japanese attacks. Concentrating on the problems faced by
Canadian missionaries in territories
occupied by Japan, and then on the destruction of the Canadian troops at
Hong Kong - many later taken off to
desperate lives in camps in Japan - the
short third chapter becomes the climax
of this well organized drama.
This climax forces the resolution, explained in chapter four, "The Decision
to Evacudte"/ which further defines
the west coast fears driving the federal
government to move the Japanese
from the coast for the safety of those
coastal Japanese themselves. This
chapter leads naturally into the fifth
which details the movement of the Japanese to the Interior of the province
and the determination of the British
Columbia Security Commission, an
agency set up to do the job, "to treat
the Japanese fairly". This hostage taking was therefore mutual: "throughout
the whole evacuation and resettlement
process, the Canadians in Japanese
hands were the hostages who guaranteed at least a minimum standard of
living for those of Japanese race in
Canada." At the same time the Canadian government seems to have been
held hostage by British Columbia and
the BCSC held hostage by public opinion which would have been outraged
had the feared and evacuated Japanese
been treated better than the ordinary
Canadian soldier in any regular military camp. The fifth chapter, "In
Temporary Quarters" lays out the life
of Japanese evacuees in various places
in the province, describes living conditions, education, health, family life and
In these first five chapters of Mutual
Hostages the authors are as objective
as they can possibly be while authoritatively presenting the required
information - much of it through statistics - and leaving little open to
questioning. Interspersed throughout
is information obviously contributed
by the Japanese scholars of the team.
The technique was probably meant to
be a balancing-off of what is happening in the two warring countries,
especially after the Hong Kong disaster and the mess-ups with the
missionaries, but these insertions do
not really satisfy: more information is
necessary for other than a token balance. That information well might
have as easily come from returned
missionaries and from some of the
POWs who were finally sent home,
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92 BOOK SHELF CONT D
though many in physical and psychological tatters. The Preface assures us
that the pertinent records in Japan are
"thin" and that those in Canada are
fairly full: one wonders, therefore,
why the Japanese historians were
From this point onward, from chapter six, "The Dispersal and
Repatriation of the Japanese Canadians", Mutual Hostages slips into some
questionable editorializing. The ignorance and fears of Canadians have
already been well developed, and
some of the treatment accorded some
of the Japanese has already been admitted. The authors have also
established that in a democracy the
government must act on the will of the
people and that the government of
Canada did act on that will. The extreme detailing of what was going on
in Canada seems to cover, or reduce in
importance, what was going on in the
camps of Japan. Chapter seven, "Behind the Barbed Wire Fence", might
compensate for that cover, but almost
comes too late in spite of its reassurances: "The Japanese Canadians who
were moved to the BC interior were
not held behind barbed wire by armed
guards and, though subject to strict
controls and less than favourable conditions, they could move with relative
freedom. Those in work camps had
some freedoms restricted, though in
specified circumstances they too could,
for example, leave British Columbia to
take employment in Ontario. The
[800] internees at Angler [Ontario], in
contrast, were held under armed military guard, their liberty severely
constrained, their uniform dress
Somehow the choice of word here
suggests a comparison between Angler and Niigata or Sendai, or even,
ironically, Oyama. The use of an exclamation mark at the end of one final
sentence of a paragraph elsewhere
similarly makes an editorial comment.
When discussing the "defiant" attitude
of some prisoners at Angler, 33 of
them Nisei, the authors tell us that the
prisoners' "toughness of spirit, that
conviction that their rights had been
violated, was wholly admirable".
When making such comments at the
end of an informative passage the authors not only cast doubts on the ability of their readers to draw
conclusions, but also deny their own
objectivity, contradict their professed
statement that they are neither condemning nor condoning.
Nevertheless, readers can skip the
editorializing and leave this book well
satisfied. They will have learned
much that they had never known and
they might be reminded of much they
had forgotten. Through watching the
unfolding of this "time of tragedy",
through watching the ins and outs and
the complications of plot, they might
even have a purging of their emotions.
In a Greek tragedy no one on stage
wins, only the audience.
Gordon R. Elliott
Gordon Elliott is a former president of the
Vancouver Historical Society.
Canadian Pacific Railway Stations in British Columbia
by Ian Baird. Victoria, Orca Book
Publishers Ltd., 1990. 108 p.
illustrated $16.95
This is a welcome addition to the literature on the history of British
Columbia railways and has appeared
at a time when much of our railway
history is rapidly passing into oblivion, either through disinterest or
The railways and their stations had
an important role in the history of settlement in British Columbia but now,
with their rapid disappearance, our
past is gradually being eroded. Barrie
Sanford's Steel Rails and Iron Men,
also published in 1990, tells the story
of the Kettle Valley Railway which no
longer exists. Ian Baird's story tells of
a similar fate for many of the railway
stations of the province.
Baird, another B.C. railway historian,
provides us with many moments of
nostalgia as we read his text and examine the black and white
photographs which form a major portion of his volume.
The photographs, unfortunately, are
not as clear as they might be, due to
the process and paper used for reproduction.  Those in Sanford's book are
much sharper and do not have the
overall gray tones found in Baird's
book. This does not, however, detract
from their value, since they are of
good size, one to a page, with identification, description and source
accompanying each one.
A useful bibliography is included for
those who wish to pursue further a
study of railway history. There is also
a page of the sources of references
used in the text.
Some typographical errors which are
scattered throughout the text are distracting, on occasion. Wermer, on p.
18, must refer to Weimar which is associated with the Bauhaus
architectural movement. We are told
on p. 15 that Macdonald's government
resigned November 5,1983 rather than
a century earlier.
The index is not as complete as one
might wish. No page references are
given for the illustrations. Kamloops,
Golden and Fort Steele are among
those places which do not rate an index listing despite the fact that there
are good reproductions of their stations with accompanying descriptive
material. If a place name appears in
the text of the book, it appears in the
index but if there is only a photograph
and no text reference there is no index
entry which is unfortunate if one wishes to refer to the index for a specific
place name.
Despite these limitations, Baird has
provided much valuable information
about the CPR and its stations in B.C.,
which has not been available previously. It was the building of the CPR
which was largely responsible for B.C.
entering Confederation and the railway station immediately became an
important center of activity for the
many communities along the lines.
Their abandonment and neglect is to
be regretted. Baird's book will help to
preserve their memory and keep this
aspect of our history alive.
Melva J. Dwyer
Melva Dwyer is Fine Arts Librarian Emerita,
University of British Columbia
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92
Writing in the Rain
by Howard White. Madeira Park, B.C.:
Harbour Publishing, 1990.
256 pp; $12.95.
I was startled when Writing in the
Rain won the 1991 Leacock Award for
Humor. I'd read about .fifty pages of
the book by then and enjoyed every
word. But, I protested, this isn't humor; this is Real Life. Then I got to
thinking about the various literary definitions of humor' and the
relationship, philosophical if not etymological, between humor' and
human'. I decided the award was appropriate. Besides, I'd been chuckling
pretty steadily as I read.
So I finished the book and continued
to chuckle, mostly in recognition of the
west coast rhythm. If s partly the way
people speak, and partly the way
things happen, and Howard White
knows how to capture it. He's made it
the basic ingredient of his Raincoast
Chronicles series and of the books he
writes and publishes. He explains it at
the beginning of "How It was with
Trucks", his tribute to the early days of
From the time I was a big-eared boy
eavesdropping on bunkhouse BS in my father's logging camp I have been captivated
by the power of common speech. Later
when I studied formal literature I had often had pause to reflect that the memorable
lines held up as examples of timeless genius were not that different from some of the
good angers I used to hear back in the
bunkhouse. The more I explored the idea
the more convinced I became that the
speech of ordinary people concealed a
world of linguistic accomplishment parallel to that of our written literature, a
conviction which dovetailed with my belief
that genius lurks unseen within much ordinary life, like the fire opal that hides
inside a dull stone. This is the notion that
led to the writing of many articles and
three full-length books - A Hard Man to
Beat, Spilbury's Coast, and The Accidental Airline, all using the vernacular
technique which has since come to be
known as oral history.
Writing in the Rain is a collection of
prose and poetry pieces, most of which
have been previously published elsewhere. Sometimes this is a problem,
as some people turn up in different
stories with different names, and raise
questions about White's borderline between truth or fiction. Maybe this
doesn't matter. Howard White's writing is part of the process of mythology
in the making, the mythology of loggers, truckers, fishermen, and working
class poets - himself and others. A
passage in the final chapter The Yellowhead' made me sit up and cry,
"Whoa! thafs not the way it was."
But it refers to events of thirty years
ago when a lot of us were still inventing the characters we wanted to be.
Part of the same story turns up in the
poem "For the Birds", and he has it
right there - according to my
The core of the book is "Minstrel", a
two-week odyssey from Pender Harbour to Minstrel Island in search of
reassurance that the world he, "a harassed historian of the coast", portrayed as special and unique really
was special and unique. He finds
what he is looking for while engaged
in the trauma of tracking down parts
and repairman for his boaf s aged motor. The people he meets and the
stories he records are indeed special,
unique, recognizably real, and undeniably 'humorous". The coastal
historian's fact finding process itself
becomes part of the story.
I noticed a couple of the most haywire
crab traps I had ever seen lying out on the
float. They were homemade out of plastic
hose and fishnet.
"Are there crabs around here?" I asked.
We had a good trap on the Beaver and I'm
thinking how nice it would be to have a
"Oh hell yes, up Cutter Creek. Lots of
'em." He pushed one of the traps with his
toe. "You gotta pull these up fast because
the crabs can get out." He looked around
at his floating junkyard self-consciously.
"Everything I got is haywire but I can't
fix it because I'm too busy doin' nothing,"
he said.
"Doin' nothing" included talking for
hours, telling stories, filling in gaps in
other people' stories, giving White
what he had come for...
Here is White's explanation of his
book's title:
I've actually done that, write in the rain.
I could tell you a lot about it, sitting out
on a road grade on a spreading machine
waiting for the next turn, hunched over a
piece of writing paper folded down to vest-
pocket size, scratching down thoughts in
shorthand as rain drips off the end of your
nose, raising a spongy welt on the paper
and then the ballpen ink won't stick. At
the end of the job I'd have this little pile of
exceedingly dirty folded-up note papers
covered with undecipherable chicken-
scratch. I've got them from the Rainbow
Lake oilfields of Northern Alberta and the
muddy sidehills of Vancouver Island above
Port MacNeill. I've got them from Delta
dyke jobs and lots from the garbage dump
detail in Pender Harbour. This is where
writing has always been for me, wedged
uneasily between the world of gravel, logs,
ringing phone and the other, equally demanding world inside. Like all interfaces,
all borders, it's a precarious place to set up
one's shop, but it's also a place where interesting things happen, a frontier.
If s reassuring to know that Howard
White is out there with his bulldozer
and his pen, collecting our past and
contributing to our present.
Phyllis Reeve
Phyllis Reeve is a resident of
Gabriola Island
Helen Dawe's Sechelt
Helen Dawe.   Madeira Park, Harbour
Publishing, 1990.152 p., $29.95.
Harbour Publishing is to be commended for the design of this book.
The cover, highlighted by Henry J. De
Foresf s animated painting, Sechelt in
1902, is attractive and should draw the
attention of many prospective readers.
Alec Macaulay's editing of selections
of Helen's work, shaping them into a
diverse yet compact summary of the
history of this area, is quite effective,
in my opinion. The map of the Sechelt
area, which appears on the table of
contents page, should prove a valuable
tool for those readers unacquainted
with some of the details of local geography. The division of the text and
images into seven categories should
make the book more approachable to
the general reader, who can choose a
theme to review, rather than wade
through a general and unbroken text
on local history. For the interest of
readers, the book reviews the opening
of Sechelt, both on the sea and by road;
resources; resorts; commercial and re-
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92 BOOK SHELF CONTD
tail development; public utilities, institutions and buildings; and churches
and schools. The annotated photographs, as well as the highlighted
anecdotal sections, are really enjoyable
components of the book. I believe that
its design, in addition to text and illustrations, should make this an attractive
book, that will appeal to many readers.
I will not provide a detailed outline
of the contents of the book. However,
for someone who has been summering
in the area since the mid 1950s, and
whose family has been visiting the peninsula and Texada since around the
end of the first world war, it provided
some exciting perspectives of change.
I had read of the role of the Union
Steamships in opening up the coast,
and heard my parents and others recount stories about travelling by the
"Union boats" up the coast from Vancouver, pausing at various
communities such as Roberf s Creek,
Selma Park, and Sechelt. Until I read
Helen Dawe's Sechelt, however, I had
never visualized the full role played
by the Union Steamship Company in
the development of Sechelt, Selma
Park and the rest of the peninsula. By
the time I arrived on the peninsula
with my family, the coast highway
was already paved beyond Sechelt,
and was soon to be paved as far as
Earl's Cove; once again, Helen Dawe's
Sechelt provided me with the first real
picture of the earlier importance of the
"Union boats" and the big changes
that the arrival of the highway, and
connecting Black Ball ferry system,
brought to the peninsula. There are
many other themes covered in the
book that attracted my attention; they
included the pioneering role of the
Whitaker family, the history of the
ships Sechelt and Tartar, the history of
the peninsula's worst recorded storm,
local logging operations (several roads
near our summer camp had originally
been corduroy, used by loggers to
slide logs to Georgia Strait around the
turn of the century, so this part of the
book was of special interest to me),
and the story of Sechelt Inn, situated
on the Sechelt waterfront, but now
long gone. Others will find much else
that is of interest.
While the book provides some useful
insights into the lives of some of the
native people, who had occupied the
peninsula long before the arrival of the
first Europeans, and of the impact of
the white settlement, Helen Dawe's
Sechelt not surprisingly remains a traditional history, emphasizing
European settlement of the area. The
appearance of publications by other
authors relating the native perspective
os Sechelt history will be a valuable
complement to this book.
A statement in the book's conclusion
summarizes my impression of the value of Helen Dawe's Sechelt.
Though Sechelt is a small community,
its history is not irrelevant, for it reflects
the development of the province. The community's settlement by sea mirrors the
settlement cf numerous communities
along the northwest coast. And whether
reflected by the early loggers above Selma
Park or the tourists at the Union resorts,
the economic development of Sechelt is a
microcosm of how British Columbia has
developed economically. The mixing of
peoples of different race and background ..
. is reflective of the cultural makeup cf the
province and country.
When I first reviewed the book, my
only major criticisms were with its failure to provide photograph credits,
footnotes and bibliography. Such
tools, of course, prove invaluable for
anyone assessing the book, for anyone
simply wishing to read more about the
coast, or for those simply wishing to
acquire a copy of a photograph appearing in the book. While I still regret
that the publisher chose to delete these
essential and important elements,
which would have enhanced the value
of the book, time has provided me
with further insight into the book and
its publication. To dismiss this publication because of these unfortunate
deletions would be wrong and to miss
a key point about it. This book was
generated wholly from the Helen
Dawe collection, so that everything in
the book could conceivably be traced
back to the voluminous files in the collection, if a reader did want to confirm
the basis for some statement. Helen
Dawe's Sechelt is, furthermore, intended in my opinion to convey the
stimulating story of this part of the
coast primarily to the wider Sechelt
community, something it does extremely well.   I would just urge the
publisher to consider including these
tools in any future edition of the book,
to re-enforce its value to readers, and
so that this book may expedite the
work of future historians. Despite the
foregoing concern, I would stress that
I believe the book achieves a major
goal, in that it has brought the rich history of this area to a wider and
appreciative audience.
Bill McKee
Bill McKee was formerly Director of the New
Brunswick Provincial Museum.
Send ycur change cf
address tc:
Nancy Peter,
Subscription Secretary
#7 5400 Patterson Avenue
Burnaby, B.C. V5H 2M5
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B.C. Historical News - Summer 92
Honorary Patron:
Honorary President:
His Honour, the Honourable David C. Lam, CM, LL.D.,
Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia
Keith Ralston
1st Vice President:
2nd Vice President:
Recording Secretary:
Past President:
Myrtle Haslam, P.O. Box 10, Cowichan Bay, B.C. VOR 1 NO 748-8397
Alice Glanville, P.O. Box 746, Grand Forks, B.C. VOH 1 HO 442-3865
Ron Welwood, RR#1 S 22 C 1, Nelson, B.C. V1L 5P4 825-4743
T. Don Sale, 262 Juniper Street, Nanaimo, B.C. V9S 1X4 753-2067
Arnold Ranneris, 1898 Quamuchan Street, Victoria, B.C. V8S 2B9 598-3035
Francis Sleigh, Box 29, Deroche, B.C. VOM 1G0 826-0451
Mary Rawson, 1406 Woodland Drive, Vancouver, B.C. V5L 3S6 251 -2908
Wayne Desrochers, 8811 152 Street Surrey, B.C. V3R4E5 581-0286
John D. Spittle, 1241 Mount Crown Road, North Vancouver, B.C. V7R 1R9            988-4565
B.C. Historical News
Publishing Committee
Book Review Editor
Margaret Stoneberg, Box 687, Princeton, B.C. VOX 1W0
Tony Farr, RR#3 Sharp Road Comp. 21, Ganges, B.C. VOS 1E0
Anne Yandle, 3450 West 20th Avenue,
Vancouver, B.C. V6S1E4
Subscription Secretary
Naomi Miller, Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0
Nancy Peter, #7-5400 Patterson Ave., Burnaby, B.C. V5H 2M5
Historical Trails & Markers   John Spittle, 1241 Mount Crown Road, North Vancouver, B.C. V7R1R9
Membership Secretary JoAnne Whittaker, 1291 Hutchinson Road, Cobble Hill, B.C. VOR 1L0
Publications Assistance
(not involved with
B.C. Historical News)
Jill Rowland, #5-1450 Chesterfield Avenue, North Vancouver, B.C. V7M 2N4
Contact Jill for advice and details to apply for a loan
toward the cost of publishing.
Scholarship Committee       Arthur Wirick, 2301 - 4353 Halifax St., Burnaby, B.C. V5C 5Z4
Pamela Mar, P.O. Box 933, Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 5N2
Writing Competition
(Lieutenant - Governor's
B.C. Historical News - Summer 92 The British Columbia Historical News
P. O. Box 35326, Stn. E
Vancouver, B.C.
V6M 4G5
Publications Mail
Registration No. 4447
British Columbia Historical Federation
The British Columbia Historical Federation invites submissions of books for the tenth
annual Competition for Writers of B.C. History.
Any book presenting any facet of B.C. history, published in 1992, is eligible. This may be a
community history, biography, record of a project or an organization, or personal recollections
giving a glimpse of the past. Names, dates, and places with relevant maps or pictures turn a story
into "history".
The judges are looking for quality presentations, especially if fresh material is included,
with appropriate illustrations, careful proof reading, an adequate index, table of contents and
bibliography from first-time writers as well as established authors.
Note: Reprints or revisions of books are not eligible.
The Lieutenant-Governor's Medal for Historical Writing will be awarded to an individual
writer whose book contributes significantly to the recorded history of British Columbia. Other
awards will be made as recommended by the judges to valuable books prepared by groups or
All entries receive considerable publicity. Winners will receive a Certificate of Merit, a
monetary award and an invitation to the B.CH.F. annual conference to be held in Kamloops in
May 1993.
Submission Requirements: All books must have been published in 1992, and should be
submitted as soon as possible after publication. Two copies of each book should be submitted.
Please state name, address and telephone number of sender, the selling price of all editions of the
book and the address from which it may be purchased if the reader has to shop by mail.
Send to: B.C. Historical Writing Competition
P.O. Box 933
Nanaimo, B.C. V9R5N2
There is also an award for the Best Article published each year in the B. C. Historical News
magazine. This is directed to amateur historians or students. Articles should be no more than
2,500 words, typed double spaced, accompanied by photographs if available, and substantiated
with footnotes where applicable. (Photos will be returned.)
Please send articles directly to:
The Editor, B.C. Historical News
P.O. Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0


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