British Columbia History

British Columbia Historical News 1984

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 Published by the British Columbia Historical Federation
/OLUME 17, No.
1984 On the cover ..
Part of Port AlbernPs waterfront, circa 1930. In the foreground is a cannery; the government
assembly wharf is beyond.
... story starts on page eight
Member societies and their secretaries are responsible for seeing that the correct addresses
for their society and for its member subscribers are up-to-date. Please send changes to both
the treasurer and the editor whose addresses are at the bottom of the next page. The Annual
Report as at October 31 should show a telephone number for contact.
Member dues for the year 1982-83 (Volume 16) were paid by the following member
Alberni District Historical Society, Box 284, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M7
Atlin Historical Society, P.O. Box 111, Atlin, B.C. VOW 1A0
BCHA — Gulf Islands Branch, c/o P.O. Box 35, Saturna Island, B.C. VON 2Y0
BCHA — Victoria Branch, c/o Margaret Bell, 1187 Hampshire, Victoria, B.C. V8S 4T1
Burnaby Historical Society, c/o 3755 Triumph St., Burnaby, B.C. V5G 1B7
Chemainus Valley Historical Association, P.O. Box 172, Chemainus, B.C. VOR 1K0
Cowichan Historical Society, P.O. Box 1014, Duncan, B.C. V9L 3Y2
Creston & District Historical & Museum Society, P.O. Box 1123, Creston, B.C. VOB 1G0
District 69 Historical Society, c/o Mildred Kurtz, P.O. Box 74, Parksville, B.C. VOR 2S0
East Kootenay Historical Association, c/o H. Mayberry, 216 6th Avenue S.,
Cranbrook, B.C. VIC 2H6
Golden & District Historical Society, Box 992, Golden, B.C. VOA 1H0
Ladysmith New Horizons Historical Society, c/o Mrs. V. Cull, R.R. #2,
Ladysmith, B.C. VOR 2E0
Lantzville Historical Society, c/o Susan Turnbull, Box 76, Lantzville, B.C. VOR 2H0
Nanaimo Historical Society, P.O. Box 933, Station "A", Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 5N2
Nanooa Historical & Museum Society, R.R. #2, Texaco, Box 5, Nanoose Bay, B.C. VOR 2R0
Nootka Sound Historical Society, Box 748, Gold River, B.C. VOP 1G0
North Shore Historical Society, c/o Robert W. Brown, 2327 Kilmarnock Crescent,
North Vancouver, B.C. V7J 2Z3
Princeton & District Pioneer Museum and Archives, Box 21, Princeton, B.C. VOX 1W0
Sidney & North Saanich Historical Society, c/o Mrs. Ray Joy, 10719 Bayfield Road, R.R. #3,
Sidney, B.C. V8L 3P6
Trail Historical Society, P.O. Box 405, Trail, B.C. V1R 4L7
Vancouver Historical Society, P.O. Box 3071, Vancouver, B.C. V6B 3X6
West Vancouver Historical Society, P.O. Box 91785, West Vancouver, B.C. V7V 4S1
Windermere District Historical Society, Box 784, Invermere, B.C. VOA 1K0 BRITISH COLUMBIA
Letters to the Editor   4
Writing Competition    6
Honorary President Col. Gerald S. Andrews     7
Re-Discovering Port Alberni's Vanished Waterfront     8
by David Leigh Stone
Learning Our Legends Through the Hudson's Hope Museum      10
by Shirlee Smith Matheson
A Royal Tour 1860: How Princeton Got Its Name   14
by Margaret Stoneberg
An 1897 Sea Serpent Sighting   15
by David Mattison
The Role of St. Mary's Mission School in Settlement   16
by Gigi Huxley
The Old Yale Road 1875    18
by R.C. Harris
New and Notes
Reports from the Branches     23
Archives    24
Historic Trails Update     26
News from the British Columbia Heritage Trust     27
Bookshelf    28
Contest   30
Second-class mail registration number 4447.
Published fall, winter, spring, and summer by the British Columbia Historical Federation, P.O. Box 35326, Station E,
Vancouver, B.C. V6M4G5. Our Charitable Donations number is 0404681-52-27. Printed by Fotoprint, Victoria, B.C.
Manuscripts and correspondence for the editor are to be addressed to 1745 Taylor St., Victoria, B.C. V8R3E8. Send all
other correspondence, including changes of address, to the Vancouver address given above.
Subscriptions: Institutional $16.00 per year; Individual (non-members) $8.00 per year.
The B.C. Historical Federation gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of the British Columbia Heritage
Trust. To the Editor
The Editor:
Have noted your advertisement in the
November Elder Statesman and would like to
know if:
A. 1. The article must deal with a first-hand
knowledge of event?
2. "As told to the author?"
3. Or rewrite of any known event with a
new angle or material?
B.Who is reading and assessing the articles
and awarding the credit?
C. How many do you expect to get?
D. Is there a separate prize for each issue?
E. Would you like me to refer your notice to
the Northwest College Creative Writing
(they write facts, too) or to our local Writers'
Mary M. Langille,
Prince Rupert, B.C.
Historical articles for our contest may be written
by the three methods outlined. The information
should be accurate, and substantiated with
footnotes, if at all possible. A committee under
the leadership of Naomi Miller will assess the
articles and award the prizes. We are hoping that
our extensive advertising will result in a large
volume of entries, but prizes will be awarded
according to the response. We appreciate your
offer to notify the Writers' Club and Creative
Writing class of our contest. The contest is open
to everyone, and will continue throughout 1984.
Deadline for submissions for the next issue of
the NEWS is March 1,1984. Please type double
spaced if possible. Mail to the Editor, B.C.
Historical News, 1745 Taylor, Victoria, B.C.
I wish to subscribe to B.C. Historical News. I enclose a cheque or money order payable to the
B.C. Historical Federation, P.O. Box 35326, Station E, Vancouver, B.C. V6M 4G5.
Individual   Four issues for $8.00 (.
Institutional     Four issues for $16.00 (.
St reel
Postal Code
Page 4
British Columbia Historical News From the Editor
This issue features a number of shorter articles
because of the enthusiastic response to our
writing contest. We are particularly pleased with
the response from members of local museums,
and hope that many more articles will be
submitted from these dedicated people
throughout the province who help to preserve
and interpret local history.
A Research column has been introduced to assist
you with personal and local historical research.
This issue concentrates on genealogical sources,
but we would welcome your queries about
future topics. Is there a difficult area that we may
be able to help you with?
— Marie Elliott
From the Treasurer
This note is addressed particularly to all those
members who are unable to attend the Annual
General Meetings and Conventions of The
British Columbia Historical Federation. It
concerns the financing of The British Columbia
Historical News.
A major reason for the effort of the last two and
a half years to re-write, and have approved, the
Constitution, Bylaws and Regulations of the
Federation was to try to up-grade the status of
our magazine. (The documents are included as a
removable insert in this issue.) The following
figures reveal the urgency of this effort. The total
cost of the last nine issues of The British
Columbia Historical News (Volume 15, Nos. 1 to
4; Volume 16, Nos. 1 to 4; and Volume 17, No. 1)
was $23,780. This breaks down into an average for
each issue: Editor's and related expenses $70;
Typesetting $748; Printing $1,606; Address labels
etc. $76; and Postage $142; for an issue total of
$2,642, or a yearly total of $10,568.
During the same period the main sources of
income were: (1) for 1981-82: dues through
Member Societies $2,176; subscribers-
individuals $423 and institutions $1,451; sales
(stores & back issues) $42; Total $4,092. (2) for
1982-83: dues—arrears $1,421, current $3,542;
subscribers—individuals $559 and institutions
$1,451; sales $624; Total $7,597. (3) for 1983-Nov.
16: dues $657; subscribers—members $415,
individuals $116, institutions $425; sales $209;
Total $1,822. (4) Bank Interest and Exchange were
not allocated to the cost of the magazine. The
total allocated receipts came to $13,511.
The difference between total costs of $23,780
and total receipts of $13,511 is $10,269. For this
period we received a very much appreciated
grant of $9,999 from the British Columbia
Heritage Trust.
Our grant from the Heritage Trust has expired.
An application for a renewed grant has been
submitted in order to give us more time to
improve the financial foundation. But we cannot
continue to rely on government help. We should
not; we must not.
In 1986 the Federation Convention is to be
held at the University of British Columbia in
Vancouver. At that time many visitors from other
parts of Canada, from the United States, and even
from other parts of the world will be in
Vancouver for Expo '86. This presents the
Federation with a great opportuity to generate
interest in the varied history of British Columbia.
A soundly financed British Columbia Historical
News will be an important aid in the generation
of this interest.
It is hoped that all members will do their
utmost to support our periodical and to expand
its sales in local stores, museums, and other
outlets, as well as to widen the list of both
individual and institutional subscribers. It would
be a great help if some member of the Federation
who has had experience in publicity and
marketing would be willing to undertake such
activity on behalf of the News. If anyone feels
that he/she can undertake this position please
get in touch with the President, Secretary or
Treasurer, as listed on the inside back cover.
— J. Rhys Richardson
Volume 17, No. 2
Page5 Writing Competition
The British Columbia Historical Federation
invites submissions for their first annual
competition for writers of British Columbia
history. Entries are welcomed from any person
or group who has published a book on local or
provincial history within the 1983 calendar
Any book, whether written as a thesis, or a
community project, or just for the pleasure of
recording old timers' memories, is eligible if it
is based on some facet of history within British
Columbia, and bears the copyright date of
British Columbia Historical Federation,
c/o N. Miller,
Box 105,
Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0
Deadline is January 31, 1964.
There will also be a prize for the writer
submitting the best historical article published
in the British Columbia Historical News
quarterly magazine. Articles are to be
submitted directly to:
The Editor,
British Columbia Historical News,
1745 Taylor Street,
Victoria, B.C. V8R 3E8
Deadlines for the quarterly issues are
September 1, December 1, March 1, and June
1. Winners will be invited to the British
Columbia Historical Federation convention in
Vernon, in May 1984.
The University of British Columbia is pleased to
host the Third B.C. Studies Conference, to be
held on February 16-18,1984. A bi-annual event
sponsored by the province's three universities,
the conference is multi-disciplinary with an
historical focus. We welcome all who are
interested in the region's history, political
science, geography, sociology, anthropology,
archeology, education economics, and literature.
The conference will feature a display and sale
of regional books by the Vancouver Historical
Society and the University of British Columbia
For more information please contact B.C.
Studies Conference c/o History Department,
The University of British Columbia, #1297 - 1873
East Mall, Vancouver, B.C. V6T1W5.
Page 6
British Columbia Historical News Honorary President
Col. Gerald Smedley Andrews
If being a pioneer means facing adversity with
courage and ingenuity, then Gerald Smedley
Andrews qualifies in spades. Gerry is a beloved
member of the Victoria Branch of the British
Columbia Historical Federation. He served as
president of the Branch from 1967-1968, and as
president of the Federation from 1972-1974. This
long involvement with the Federation, combined with his record as a teacher, forester,
soldier, and Surveyor-General of British
Columbia, makes him richly deserving of the
position as Honorary President of the BCHF for
After completing high school in Alberta, Gerry
enrolled in pre-engineering at the University of
British Columbia in 1920. The following year,
because he was short of funds, he obtained a
teacher's certificate and later taught in the small
rural districts of Big Bar, northwest of Clinton,
and at Kelly Lake (near Tumbler Ridge) in
northeastern British Columbia. Gerry subsequently obtained a degree in forestry from the
University of Toronto in 1930, and returned to
work for Surveys Division of the B.C. Forest
Service. He pioneered the use of aerial
photography to map and inventory the
province's forested areas efficiently and
accurately, and became chief of the Forest
Service's Air Survey Section in the late 1930s.
During World War II he served with the Royal
Engineers stationed in Great Britain. In 1944, as a
major, he was made a Member of the Order of
the British Empire for his achievements in
improving the optics of aerial cameras.
Photogrammetry was a very important asset
when mapping strategic landing areas on the
Normandy coast of France in preparation for the
Allied invasion of Europe on June 6,1944.
When Gerry was discharged in 1946 he had
attained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He
returned to British Columbia and was soon
appointed Surveyor-General and Director of
Surveys and Mapping Branch, Department of
Lands, Forests, and Water Resources. He retired
from this position in 1968, then travelled to South
America and southeast Asia in a professional
When Gerry began his career with the
provincial government there were few accurate
maps of the hinterlands. The province is now
completely charted—the last small area to be
done was in the Coast Range west of Atlin.
Gerry's pioneering spirit calls him back to Atlin
every summer, where he has a cabin.
At the present time Gerry's toughest challenge
is to set down his memories of his teaching
experiences at Kelly Lake, which was a Metis
outpost. We have been promised a book before
too long, and, knowing Gerry, he will accomplish
this task with the same perserverance that has
won him so many awards and admirers
throughout his lifetime.
Volume 17, No. 2
Page 7 David Leigh Stone
Re-Discovering Port AlbernPs
Vanished Waterfront
Industry came to Port Alberni in 1860—with
guns primed and decks cleared for action. Two
armed merchant ships forced the Tseshaht
people out of its village so that workmen could
build a sawmill on the spot. The seaside today is
completely transformed, edged by two huge
sawmills, a plywood plant, the pulp and paper
mill, and vast lumber wharves.
The change caused the harbour to be dredged
up and filled in, buildings to be erected and
demolished and new ones raised in their stead.
Modernization obliterated not only the ancient
shoreline but also all signs of the early industrial
The Alberni Valley Museum is working to save
the city's industrial heritage. No area is more
crucial to that effort than the waterfront. Last
summer the B.C. Heritage Trust Summer Student
Employment Program funded a Museum project
to survey the structures which have stood on the
waterfront from 1860 to the present. The aim was
to catalogue what buildings stood where and
when, their types, uses, machinery, and histories:
in essence, to re-discover the "look" of the
waterfront over decades.
Port Alberni's first sawmill was also the first
large export mill in B.C. The Anderson Mill—
built by Captain Edward Stamp, who later
founded Vancouver's Hastings Mill—began
cutting in May, 1861. A busy little village
clustered around the plant, which shipped
lumber as far away as England, Australia, South
America, Hawaii, and the Far East.
Just three years later the once and future
sawmiUing town ran out of trees! In those days,
logs were dragged by oxen to streams and then
floated to the mill. Since the animals could not
pull such huge trunks more than about three
miles, most of the Alberni Valley's vast timber
stands were beyond reach. The town was
abandoned and the derelict mill burned down a
few years later.
Twenty years later, settlers returned to the
district. They were farmers, not loggers, and they
just burned off the forest to get at the soil. They
worked inland, leaving the harbour empty. B.C.'s
first paper mill was set up on the Somass River in
1892. It machinery could not pulp wood so it tried
to use rags and even ferns as raw materials before
going bankrupt.
In 1896 the harbour was finally re-occupied.
This time the cause was neither farming nor
forestry. There was a brief gold rush a few miles
down the Inlet, at China Creek. "New Alberni"—
a wharf, a few stores, and some hotels—sprang
up near the old mill site to service the mines. It
was an import economy: it trans-shipped goods
and passengers from the Victoria steamer to the
gold fields. Even the lumber for the wharf was
brought in by ship!
The mining boom quickly faded but the town
did not, partly because new techniques made
logging a paying proposition. At the turn of the
century a tiny sawmill, really just a shed over
some old equipment, was built on the seashore.
It sold only to local buyers but in 1905 a much
bigger mill started up, aimed at the overseas
market. Port Alberni was returning to its destiny,
the export forestry trade.
From the arrival of the railway in 1912 to the
Great Depression the harbourside changed
continually. This was the era of small enterprises.
There were usually two or three mills making
lumber or shingles: typically each was an open-
sided affair of rough beams, was powered by a
single steam engine, and employed twenty or
thirty men. Canneries, herring plants, shipyards,
a railway dock, assembly wharves, houseboats,
small floats, and even blacksmiths' shops, also
dotted the waterside.
The companies were small and failed regularly.
Their structures were almost as transient. Practically everything was made of wood and nearly all
of the buildings eventually burned down. This
Page 8
British Columbia Historical News CtWt* Pa£*&timber &>'$ MiU,
Port AibemL B. C,
The Canadian Pacific Lumber Co. Sawmill in 1912. Built in 1905, it operated until 1980.
pioneer industrial landscape was finally buried
by the changing nature of our economy. In the
forest industry in particular, big firms got bigger
while small outfits went under. From the mrd-
1930s onward the harbourside was gobbled up
by a very few plants of unprecedented size and
permanence. The last of the old buildings, a
sawmill structure dating to 1905, was demolished
in 1981 to make room for a computerized
replacement, one of the most advanced mills in
the world.
The "look" of the early industrial waterfront
can now be re-captured only on paper. The
Museum's own fine collection of historic photographs is an important resource. The Alberni
District Historical Society, municipal and corporate archives, and interested individuals are
contributing valuable aid to help explore our
industrial heritage.
It is not an easy task. Photographs are difficult
to interpret since different camera lenses
compress distance or distort shapes in different
ways. And, of course, pictures teU nothing about
what goes on inside a building. Maps and
blueprints are just plain treacherous. Maps rarely
agree with each other. Blueprints almost always
show what the structure was meant to be, not
how it was actually constructed or what it later
became. The biggest problem is the sheer size of
the job. Industries constantly change machinery
and buildings; to trace them all requires an
exhaustive, and exhausting, search through
decades of old newspapers.
The work done last summer is a significant
start. We now have data files for future researchers to work from. More importantly, the material
has been collated into a working catalogue ol
structures, including company histories and
other documentation. This research is of more
than academic interest. The harbour, for so long
a workplace, is becoming a community place,
too. The city is developing the public foreshore
into a recreational and tourist-generating site, to
be called Heritage Harbour Park. The Alberni
Valley Museum's on-going research program is
the crucial link chaining the park to its historic
David Stone is presently completing an M.A. in
History at the University of British Columbia.
Volume 17, No. 2
Page 9 Shirlee Smith Matheson
Learning Our Legends
Through the Hudson's Hope
All the history books which contain no lies are
extremely tedious.
Anatole France (1844-1924)
The history of Hudson's Hope needs no lies to
make it interesting. Where else can one tread in
the paths—even in the very footsteps—of three-
storey high dinosaurs? Follow the raging river
that transported Alexander Mackenzie to his
destination of the Pacific Ocean? Even paddle a
canoe over the now placid Dinosaur Lake hiding
the treacherous Rocky Mountain Canyon where
Mackenzie had to haul his canoe over steep cliffs
to avoid the river's wrath?
And then come the legends, of mysteries so
complex many have never been solved: the
mysterious slaying of the Danes in 1918—one
body found in the cabin shot ten times with a 303
British rifle, the other found much later on the
flat west of Hudson's Hope, burned almost
beyond recognition; the death of the astronomer whose body was found in the spring by
tracing his footsteps that eerily resurfaced as the
snow melted; the mysterious disappearance of
Bob Porter, fur buyer, in the Black Canyon.
When his body was found months later his
money belt containing $2,000 fur buying money
was gone, although he was still wearing the
trousers the belt had been attached to. Then
there's the tale of George Clark who defied
death by water one fine October day, the 22nd to
be exact, at ten o'clock in the morning—only to
have death claim her due exactly three years
later, on October 22nd. Time of death? Ten
o'clock in the morning.
These and other legends are preserved in the
museum in Hudson's Hope. Housed in the old
Hudson's Bay Company store, the same walls that
once supported supplies for trappers, guides and
outfitters, the store that once sold the bright
ribbons to Indians whose decorated horses then
raced up and down the flat in front of the old
store, now displays our legends for all visitors to
Early History
The first white explorer through the area was
Alexander Mackenzie in 1793 on his journey up
the Peace River, the only watercourse that
completely traverses the Rocky Mountains. By
the early 1800s the Peace had become established by the Nor'Westers as a major trade route
through the Rockies to their posts at Fort
McLeod and Fort St. James in New Caledonia.
The economy of the area was based on the
lucrative fur trade.
Alexander Mackenzie found only a few Indian
teepees dotting the banks of the river when he
made his epic trip in 1793; even then, though, the
area amazed him for its beauty, its ruggedness,
and, with an eye to commerce, its vast quantities
of excellent coal. The Aylard Mine, once located
part way between Hudson's Hope and the
Bennett Dam, worked on a coal seam eight feet
thick, composed of top quality semi-anthricite,
which left only 3% ash. The old donkey boiler
from this mine can be seen in the Museum's
display yard. Mackenzie, and others who
followed, saw these coal seams in the rock cliffs;
Page 10
British Columbia Historical News they saw the available lumber, the agreeable
climate, and the great river for transportation
and power. Mackenzie's diary also commented
on another of our singular features: in the area of
the Gething and Aylard Creeks, it was noted that
one could burn a shoe while standing on certain
cracks in the earth, from which emitted heat,
smoke and a stench of sulphur. These rose-
colored sandstone areas are the result of slow
burning underground fires, and can still be seen
below the W.A.C. Bennett Dam. Where else can
one's eyes view Heaven, while one's feet smoke
from the fires of Hell?
Fort Hudson's Hope was originally known as
Rocky Mountain Portage Fort, built by Simon
Fraser in the autumn of 1805 at the foot of the
Rocky Mountain Canyon on the north bank of
the Peace River. Operated for a time by the
Hudson's Bay Company after its coalition with
the North West Company in 1821, it was
abandoned for a time in 1825 to punish the
Indians for a massacre at Fort St. John in 1823.
New Hudson's Hope was built about 1875 on
the south bank about twelve miles further
upstream near the east end of the canyon, at its
foot. Some time after 1880 this post was again
moved to its present location on the north side,
on a seven-acre site surveyed out and still
remaining in the name of the Hudson's Bay
Company, except for portions sold to the
Anglican Church and the Hudson's Hope
Historical Society. The town of Hudson's Hope is
situated on an unbroken flat of land running
parallel to the Peace River for five miles, with an
average width of two miles.
The name "Hudson's Hope" has been
recorded as early as 1869. Although the origin of
the name is another of our unsolved mysteries,
there are several conjectures as to how the name
was given: it was named after an old prospector
named Hudson (or Hodgson) who "hoped" to
make a strike here. It was named for the
Hudson's Bay Company in their establishment of
a post here, the farthest point of navigation
before the portage.
The word "hope" has been traced to an old
meaning, that of a "small, enclosed valley,
especially a smaller opening branching out from
the main dale and running up to the mountain
ranges; the upland part of a mountain valley; a
blind valley." These meanings were used to the
end of the 19th century and place names ending
in "hope" were quite common in Scotland and
north-eastern England. Whatever its origin,
people here like the name and don't worry too
much about from whence it came. Hudson's
Hope is not a town that seeks out pedigrees.
The losing of our "apostrophe s" is another
matter, however. All throughout our historical
documents, the name has been recorded as
"Hudson's Hope". Somehow (again subject to
legend), around 1915 the postal authorities
omitted the '"s" on their rubber stamp and
continue to omit it, although the postmaster,
mining recorders and Hudson's Bay Company
continued to use it for many years thereafter. We
are now legally "The Municipal District of
Hudson's Hope, Hudson Hope, B.C.". A queer
lot, to be sure.
Hudson's Hope continued to be an important
navigational point because of the impassable
rapids above the town. Settlers and supplies were
freighted in from Lake Athabasca at first, then
later from Peace River Crossing when the railway
reached that point. The sternwheelers,
beginning with Bishop Grouard's St. Charles in
1903, broke the eternal silence of the North with
their sharp whistles and easier ingress of settlers.
These boats operated the 525 miles from the
rapids called Vermilion Chutes in Alberta,
upstream to Hudson's Hope. In 1905 the
Hudson's Bay Company put their sternwheeler,
SS Peace River, into operation; it was a 110' long
vessel that could carry forty tons of freight. The
book, North With Peace River Jim written in 1910
and recently published by the Glenbow
Foundation of Calgary, gives us a flavor of those
Lying up against the far bank, when we
arrived, was the little white Hudson's Bay
steamer, Peace River, 'coaling up' with
cordwood slid down a 200' chute to the
river bank and packed on board by the half-
breed hands.
...As the boat pulled out, the citizens, and
entire population of Peace River Crossing,
gathered on the bank and gave us godspeed and good wishes. We responded with
three cheers and a tiger. Three half-breeds
with loaded rifles knelt on the bank and
fired the royal salute with rifle muzzles
pointed skyward and the butts on the
ground. Again we cheered and again the
salute crackled out, then the steamer swung
Volume 17, No. 2
Page 11 wide and took the big turn, and the current
and the sternwheeler paddles soon took us
from the sight of the beautiful Peace River
The SS Peace River (a model of which may be
seen at the Peace Canyon Dam Visitors Centre in
Hudson's Hope), was replaced by the Athabasca
River in 1915, which could carry 110 tons, and
again by the famous D.A. Thomas which ran the
river from 1919-1929. Built at a cost of $119,000,
she could carry 100 passengers and more than
200 tons of freight. Optimism about the Hudson's
Hope coalfields convinced her owner, Baron
Rhondda, a Welsh coal millionaire, of future
resource supplies, so he had oil tanks installed in
the boat. However, in its entire career, the D.A.
Thomas burned only cordwood cut in four-foot
lengths, and lots of it.
Several smaller boats navigated the Peace,
most belonging to sawmill companies such as the
Diamond P's Grenfall and Peterson's Pine Pass.
From 1920 to 1952 the Hudson's Bay Company
operated a fleet of motorships on the Peace. The
first was the Weenusk which operated from 1920
to 1940 on diesel engines. In 1940 it was replaced
by the Weenusk II which operated until 1951.
Another unique enterprise in Hudson's Hope
was Jack Pollon's lime kiln situated on the lime
bed beneath the spring that gushes out, summer
and winter, on the riverbank below the present
town waterpump. The first batch of lime was
burned in 1932, and by the 1940s it was being
shipped by the Hudson's Bay boats to all points in
the Peace and north to the Bering Sea. One can
still see the base of the old rock kiln, although
local residents will never again smell the pungent
carbon burn-off smoke from the kilns, nor will
the Hudson's Bay Company house ever again
feel the rattle of falling pebbles from the blast of
black powder.
The boats no longer come, although many
people still living in Hudson's Hope remember
clearly the excitement of the shrill call of the
boats, for it indeed represented not only
transportation and freight shipments, but a
reassurance that Hudson's Hope was part of the
ever-quickening pace of the outside world.
Sometimes we still need that assurance, but the
whistle will no longer come from the river, but
from the great silent black caves of coal that have
waited for other aspects of development to catch
up, or slow down, so its tremendous potential
can once again be realized.
In 1901, Neil Gething and W.J. "Steel" Johnson
discovered this coal in the Peace River Canyon
but had to wait until 1908 before the "Peace River
Block" was opened by the federal government
to mineral staking. By 1911 and 1912 the Peace
region was gradually being settled by homesteaders, who recognized the resources of the
country. The problem ... transportation.
As early as 1878 a rail line was proposed
through the Peace River Pass to the Skeena area.
In the early 1900s it was again proposed and a
Federal Charter was taken out to construct a
railway from the Peace River Block west through
the Peace-Finlay area to Stewart (approximately
120 miles north of Prince Rupert). D.A. Thomas
had taken out leases on the coal deposits of
Carbon Creek and also had a rail charter from
Edmonton to the Pacific via either the Nass or
Skeena Rivers. In 1915 the Dominion Telegraph
reached Hudson's Hope from Fort St. John, and a
wagon road was extended from Hudson's Hope
to East Pine. World War I put a stop to local
In 1923 the first load of coal was barged
downstream to Peace River Crossing, the head of
the Edmonton-Dunvegan and B.C. Railway. But
it wasn't until the construction of the Alaska
Highway in 1942 that Hudson's Hope coal was in
Dawson Creek was allocated as the railhead of
the Northern Alberta Railway. In 1952 the Hart
Highway was extended north through the Pine
Pass to link the Peace area with the southern
portion of the province, leaving Hudson's Hope
somewhere in the middle. It was Axel
Wennergren's resource development plans that
centered Hudson's Hope in the picture of
progress by his plan to harness the power of the
Peace. The rest is modern history.
The Future?
The future of Hudson's Hope? Whether it lies
in our hydro-electric power production, our
coalfields, our hidden gold deposits, our
dwindling timber stands or, as in the past, in the
sheer determination of the people, is hard to say.
In his report to the Surveyor General in Ottawa in
1922, Dominion Land Surveyor, L. Brenot, writes:
With untold mineral wealth, untold water-
powers, large tracts of agricultural land and
being the head of navigation, Hudson's
Hope should be one of the foremost towns
of the North.
Page 12
British Columbia Historical News Our fertile valleys and flats were uncaringly
tramped over by the feet of prospectors trudging
over the ill-fated route from Edmonton by way of
Athabasca, Peace and Mackenzie Rivers,
through the Laurier Pass to the Yukon. Glittering
coolly from the sanctuary of our river bars, our
placer gold yielded itself in bits and pieces to
prospectors who, in the depression of the 1930s,
set up their home-made sluice boxes on Two-
Mile Bar at the head of the Canyon, on Brenham
Flats, and on almost every bar scattered along the
Peace, into the Finlay, the Parsnip, and up to the
Omineca, Osilinka, Osipika and the Nation
Rivers. The gold still must be there, buried even
more securely by the waters of Williston Lake
reservoir. It will be there for eons.
In 1954 the population of Hudson's Hope was
under 100. In 1965 it was 2,700.True to its erratic
nature, Hudson's Hope in 1965 became an
"Instant Municipality", the third in British
Columbia, matching its status of being also the
third oldest community in the Province of British
Columbia. Its 400 square miles held the largest
territory of any municipality in the province.
During the Bennett Dam hey-day, activities in the
town included no less than thirty-seven
recreation and service clubs, ranging from music
appreciation to fly-tying to sky diving. They've
come and they've gone, and the Hudson's Hope
Museum has their passage recorded.
Come and sense our mystery, our unique
heritage! There are artifacts on display ranging
from dinosaur fossils to part of the phenomenal
conveyor belt that once carried the gravel from
the glacial moraine on its three-mile trip at
twelve miles per hour, to fill the Bennett Dam.
The moraine is still an excellent area in which to
seek fossils. For sale in the Museum are items
such as local woodcarvings, inscribed plates,
goldpanning equipment, and books ... books
that tell you of our legends. We don't need to
invent any lies.
Don't let your subscription expire.
Check your address label for date of renewal.
Annual Convention
The 1984 Convention will be held at
the Village Green Inn, Vernon, May 4-
5. Guest speaker: Dr. Margaret
Ormsby. Registration details will be
contained in the next issue of the
Volume 17, No. 2
Page 13 Margaret Stoneberg
A Royal Tour 1860
How Princeton Got Its Name
In the summer of 1860, a year before the start
of the American Civil War, there arrived at St.
John's, Newfoundland, a young prince, Albert
Edward of Britain, called "Bertie". At 18 years of
age he was experiencing his first trial as a public
figure, representing his formidable mother
Queen Victoria and his rather severe father,
Albert, Prince Consort.
His reception was tremendous, setting off a
succession of festivities of every kind—parades,
welcoming committees and social events
culminating in every city with a grand ball. All this
took place in the evenings, at least, under the
latest thing in illumination—gaslight. Railways at
that time were a prideful novelty and a special
train was prepared for the future King Edward
VII. He travelled across Upper Canada and Lower
Canada in a blaze of felicitous warmth.
His duties were not too onerous. He laid the
cornerstone for the Victoria Bridge in Montreal,
and also the cornerstone for the new Parliament
Buildings in Ottawa, and a dozen or so other
such projects.
When the prince paid his visit the early
pioneering days were largely over, and in this
period of steam, of canals, of railroads being built,
and manufacturing growing in importance,
fortunes were being made and social life was
becoming ever more sophisticated. Travel was
becoming more general for the average person
and newspapers, springing up all over, told about
the celebrations. So almost everyone was able to
see and acclaim the royal party.
In the western part ot the country, events were
stirring. John Palliser's expedition had reached
the West Coast; travel to the Red River was
increasing by way of St. Paul, Minnesota, Dawson
and Hind had surveyed the western lands as far as
the Rockies, and beyond, and it became evident
that the four federated provinces were soon to
expand to include what was then Canada West.
Beyond the Rockies gold had been discovered
in the lower Fraser River and throughout the'
Similkameen and Grand Forks regions. Townsites
were springing up everywhere. The new colony
of British Columbia had been formed in 1858, just
two years before, and its Governor James
Douglas was struggling with an influx of miners,
many from California. In September of that year
of 1860 Douglas journeyed into the interior
visiting Keremeos, Similkameen and Kamloops.
Sergeant McColl of the Royal Engineers reported
that he had completed his assignment and had
laid out a townsite at or near the forks of the
Similkameen River. James Douglas patriotically
named the small townsite Prince's Town or
Princetown in honour of the royal visitor then in
Upper and Lower Canada.
The Prince himself sailed home shortly
afterwards unaware of the honour that Douglas
had paid him. It was rather an anti-climax that
Bertie got a cool reception from his parents when
he arrived home, being admonished "not to I "'
his head be turned".
His father, ever watchful to see that his wife
and her family did not repeat the dissolute
behaviour of her grandfather and her unlament-
ed uncles, and his mother fiercely jealous of her
royal prerogatives—both preferred to think that
their son's success was exaggerated and only
reflected the esteem in which she was held.
Margaret Stoneberg is our hardworking Recording
Secretary, and helps to supervise the Princeton and
District Museum and Archives.
Page 14
*lZ&Ar M £J
British Columbia Historical News David Mattison
An 1897 Sea Serpent Sighting In the Queen
Charlotte Islands
Sea serpents have been with us in British
Columbia for longer than most people realize.
One late 19th century example is a classic
sighting that may have gone unnoticed up to
now. The eyewitness account is worth repeating
in any event because of the accuracy of the
observer and his foresight in providing a written
account. Osmond Fergusson, a prospector, and
his partner, identified only as Walker, were the
sole witnesses and only Fergusson's written
testimony has survived. Dated January 12, 1897
(probably an error for 1898), and recounting an
occurrence on June 26, 1897, his statement is
straightforward and believable. The fact that he
made a drawing at the time and later resketched
it reflects his prospecting background, that of
observation towards detail and the unusual. The
account itself is found in the CF. Newcombe
(1851-1924) collection in the Provincial Archives
of B.C. (PABC Add. Mss. 1077, v. 20). It is handwritten in black ink on lined paper folded in half
and bearing a blind stamp reading "Congress"
along with a rendition of the U.S. Congress
/About 4.30 this morning we left Caedoo
[Kaidju?]. I was steering the boat and
pushing an oar at the same time. There was
no wind. The boat was about 100 yards from
shore, going south, with a fair tide. I saw
ahead of us what I thought was a piece of
drift wood. On getting closer I noticed it was
moving towards us. When within 50 yards I
said to Walker (my partner), What is that? It
seems to be moving this way (against the
tide). What we could see was an object like
sketch (A) sticking out of the water about
two feet. When within a few feet of it the
end uncoiled & raised a long neck about
five feet out of the water with a head like a
snake[']s on it. The arched portion making a
broad flat chest like I have seen on the
cob[r]a / think.
When the serpent or whatever it was saw
us it turned slightly towards land to avoid
the boat. The head and neck were almost
immediat[e]ly put under water again. As it
passed the boat, at a distance, that with an
effort, I could have thrown a[n] oar on it we
could see a body about 25 feet long tapering
with a fishlike tail and I think a continuous
fin running the length of the body.
A slow undulating motion went along the
body, while the tail part had a steady sweep
from side to side of about six feet. A curious
thing was the broad neck or chest part that
formed the arch (or hurricane dick, as
Walker [sic] called it). The only part out of
water when the head was down was not
exposed broadways in the direction the fish
was going, but had a decided twist to the left
allowing the water to flow through it.
David Mattison is an archivist with the Sound and
Moving Image Division, Provincial Archives of
British Columbia, Victoria, and a regular contributor
to the B. C. Historical News.
Volume 17, No. 2
Page 15 Gigi Huxley
The Role of St. Mary's
Mission School in
According to the records of the Oblate
missionaries, their British Columbia efforts began
in 1860, with the establishment of a mission in
New Westminster by Father Fouquet. A year
later, Father Fouquet travelled forty miles upriver
from New Westminster to establish, on the north
bank of the Fraser River, the Oblates' first Indian
residential school, St. Mary's Mission. For over
twenty years, this school served Indian and
mixed-blood children. Indeed, it was the only
school in the area until the early 1880s, when
public schools were built at nearby Burton Prairie
and Nicomen Island. Due to the residential
nature of the school, and its industrial-agricultural curriculum, the mission at St. Mary's
provided not only a religious focus to the area
but an invaluable educational role for the
children of early settlers, nearly all of whom had
Indian wives.
When the Sisters of St. Ann arrived to take
charge of a separate girls' dormitory and course
of studies in 1868, both male and female students
were accommodated by St. Mary's Mission.
Indeed, by 1875 there were more girls than boys
at the school. The Indian Affairs Commissioner's
report for that year notes attendance of 32 girls
and 22 boys, "all of whom passed a very creditable examination in reading, writing, grammar,
geography, arithmetic, etc." The Commissioner
also remarked upon the excellence of sewing
and knitting displayed by the girls, and the
sweetness of their singing. Of the boys' musical
ability, he remarked that they had a brass band
numbering sixteen instruments, "and perform a
number of pieces with ability."1
Obviously, the Mission took pains with both
the basic education of its students as well as the
civilizing art of music. But the Mission's primary
educational emphasis was on the industrial
curriculum. Father Alphonse Carion, a Belgian
who was rector of St. Mary's from 1872 to 1883
(and who, according to Oblate historian Rev.
George Forbes, was the outstanding Indian
school principal of his day), outlined the purpose
of St. Mary's in his annual Vicariate Report: "The
purpose of this establishment is to train the
Indians and half-breed children to lead an
industrious and Christian life."2 In the same
report Carion states, "Outside of class they all do
a certain amount of manual work, some in the
kitchen, others in the bakery, others at the flour
mill, the sawmill or the carding mill, and the
majority on the farm." An Indian Affairs report of
1879 described St. Mary's as "an industrial and
boarding school—boys taught trades and
farming, girls sewing, spinning and knitting."3 In
1879, the Mission school farm also included a
herd of forty "horned animals" (presumably
cattle) and two draft horses. The school was
evidently an eminently practical arrangement for
the sons and daughters of struggling settlers, as
the children were taught useful skills that would
stand them in good stead in farming either their
own or their parents' lands.
The Mission school played a highly important
role in the settlement and development of the
area. First, it formed the nucleus of the town of
Mission, which supplanted New Westminster by
the 1890s as the urban focus for the region.
Page 16
British Columbia Historical News Secondly, and equally important, it served as the
only school for an entire generation of early
settlers' children. Without the stabilizing
influence of the school upon the area, families
might have sent their children away from home
to be educated. They would not have been as
likely, in that case, to return to farm the family
homestead. St. Mary's had a flexible boarding
situation, with some students in residence only
for the week, returning home on weekends and
holidays on foot, or on horseback; there were
even a few day students.
The school's availability consolidated the
position of the early settlers, geographically and
socially. The fathers remained and improved
their homesteads while the sons and daughters
learned farming and domestic skills. The
daughters often married locally after leaving
school, as one can observe by tracing names
from the 1881 Manuscript Census school list
through subsequent Oblate marriage records.
There seems to be ample evidence that during
the crucial years after 1860, when British
Columbia changed from colony to province, and
the land around St. Mary's Mission became part
of the Federal Railway Reserve, the Mission
served as an anchor in an otherwise turbulent
1 Canada, Sessional Papers, 1876, Vol. 9, p. 29.
2 Oblate Correspondence, Microfilm, U.B.C, reel 706,
p. 2249.
3 Canada, Sessional Papers 1879, Vol. 12, p. 7.'
Gigi Huxley teaches French and Spanish at Delta
Secondary School, Ladner. She is interested in
the role that Indian women played in the early
settlement of the Fraser Valley.
This article compliments several others that have
recently appeared in the News about St. Mary's
Mission. See "On the March: Indian Brass Bands,
1866-1915", Vol. 15, No. 1, and "Roman Catholic
Indian Brass Bands", Vol. 16, No. 2.
Volume 17, No. 2
ROAD 1863
%! 184-9
\\\ AND VALE P.OAD 1875
Also   known as:
new Westminister and hope (waggon) road
new westminister and yale (trunk) road
the trunk road from ladners to hope
yale and new westminster road
OLD YALE ROAD, 1874, ]5    ^
Contract" Seotlons  shown alternating
freeway (Trans Canada Hu/y) l%4-""     ^ —-
30 kilomeTres
20 miles
>>—-^       fl-U
Page 18
British Columbia Historical News R.C. Harris
Following Confederation with Canada in 1871,
the province showed renewed interest in Public
Works, particularly roads and bridges, to open
the country for settlement and commerce. Such
works were the responsibility of Robert Beaven,
British Columbia's seventh Chief Commissioner
of Lands and Works, who held office from 1872 to
His report for 1874 begins:
The Legislative Assembly, during the Session
of 1873-74, understanding the necessity for
opening up for settlement the vacant lands of
the Province by survey, and by construction of
Roads, Trails, Bridges, etc., wisely appropriate
larger sums of money than usual for these
purposes; and it has been the special aim of
this Department, during the past season, to
carry into effect the wishes of the Legislature
with vigor and economy.
Despite the heavy demands on his department
for supervision, Beaven favoured working by
contract. Road work was divided into sections of
ten to twenty miles, a distance which could be
completed in one season by an average contractor.
The 1865 Telegraph Trail, or Sleigh Road, from
New Westminster to Yale (B.C. Historical News,
Winter 1983) ran fairly near the south bank of the
Fraser River. It was never completed as a sleigh
road all the way to Yale, and in any case, it was not
intended, or suited to, wagon traffic. A new
Trunk Road location from New Westminster was
adopted, running midway between the Fraser
River and the international boundary, thus
opening a vast new area to settlement.
Another component of the Trunk Road system
was to run from Victoria to Nanaimo, resuming
on the mainland at Ladner's Landing and running
east to join the New Westminster Road at what
became Langley, after Fort Langley was bypassed.
This is basically the location of the present Route
The Trunk Road
The Trunk Road from New Westminster to
Yale started from Brownsville, or Brown's
Landing, opposite New Westminster, and climbed to the high ground via a big loop in the
Semiahmoo Road. Built 1872-73, Section 1 of the
new construction began V/2 miles from Brownsville and headed southeast from the Semiahmoo
The alignment stayed south of Telegraph
Trail as far as Sumas Lake, where the topography
confined both routes along the base of Vedder
Mountain. From Vedder Mountain to Cheam,
the new road again kept south of the Telegraph
Trail, traversing the Chilliwack Prairie.
The routes coincided from Popkum to Hope. A
ferry crossed the Fraser just above the present
double deck road/rail bridge, built in 1915bythe
CPR for the Kettle Valley Railway to serve
southern British Columbia.
Across from Hope, the Trunk Road ran north
to Yale, at the head of steamship navigation, and
at the start of the 1863 Cariboo Wagon Road. The
road started from the ferry landing a half mile (1
km) above the present bridge. The CPR main line
station — later named Haig — was built adjacent
Volume 17, No. 2
Page 19 to the ferry landing, so that tor some years, Hope
had steamship, rail and road connections to the
outside. The rail connections improved further
when the Kettle Valley and Canadian Northern
Pacific lines were built through Hope in 1915.
The route to Yale generally followed the 1865
Telegraph Trail, and was mostly the same as the
present Trans Canada Highway. The contract for
this section was tendered a year after the other
work, and awarded to low bidders Tierney and
Hick for just under $20,000.
The seven road contracts were as follows, using
the nearest modern names where there were
none before:
miles chains
1 Langley            7 72 1874
2 Matsqui         13 0 1874
3 Sumas R        10 52 1874
4 Yarrow           12 60 1875
4A      Popkum         22 0 1874
5 Hope             20 40 1875
—      Yale                14 35 1875
Total new
construction:                101 19
[There are 80 chains to a mile]
Sections 1, 2 and 3 were 18 feet wide; the
remainder were generally 12 feet wide.
The government's general superintendent for
construction of the Trunk Road was Lewis F.
Bonson, a former sergeant of Colonel Moody's
Columbia Detachment of the Royal Engineers,
1858 to 1863. Bonson was still active in 1907, when
he struck a jaunty pose in a photograph at a
reunion of the 12 survivors from the detachment.
Having been located over the best ground, the
Yale Road was vulnerable to subsequent railway
building; the CPR in the 1880s, the BCER and the
CNR in the 1910s. Between Hope and Yale, the
CPR crossed the Yale Road ten times. Citizens
complained that the CPR had fenced off the
perfectly good road at the crossings. The CNR,
then the Canadian Northern Pacific Railway,
crossed the Yale Road eight times between Hope
and Chilliwack. Many years were required to
eliminate these crossings.
As the Yale Road was superseded and
dismembered, it became the "Old Yale Road".
Some good sections still go by that name, others
have been renamed. It was well enough
established to resist the encroachments of the
procrustean Township grid.
Calls on the provincial treasury did not end
when the Road was completed. Endless
maintenance was required. Thirty-five years after
the Road was built, the first motor car was driven
from Chilliwack to Hope. The second "benzine
buggy" arrived in 1911, when the Hope News
and Gold Trail reported: "From New Westminster to Hope, the Cariboo Trail is to be marked
with direction signs furnished by the Vancouver
Auto Club. But ... signs may not inveigle
motorists over the execrable road between
Chilliwack and Hope...."
Exploring old Yale Road
An exploration on or near the Old Yale Road
from New Westminster to, say, Rosedale may be
made whenever the ground is clear of snow. A
street map such as Dominion Map Ltd.'s
"Sectional Map and Street Directory of the Fraser
Valley, Vancouver to Hope" will be found
invaluable, particularly if time is taken
beforehand to emphasize the route with
coloured pencil.
About half a mile (1 km) south of the Pattullo
Bridge, the Old Yale Road leaves the Fraser River,
opposite New Westminster. Nowadays, this area
is South Westminster, but in the 1870s it was
Brown's Landing, or Brownsville. Here, Sessional
Papers for 1881 record that "James Turnbull [ex
corporal, Royal Engineers] build an excellent
wharf and approach". The site of the wharf can
still be discerned as a gravel jetty, now closed to
traffic by a pair of large concrete pipes, upended.
From the site of the "excellent wharf", the Old
Yale Road heads southeast over the floodplain,
then ascends to the plateau by one large
switchback, crossing the B.C. Hydro Railway en
route. There is a short interruption near the top
of the hill where the Old Yale Road is closed to
vehicles in favour of more recent roads on the
township grid. Two miles (3 km) from the wharf,
on the crest of the hill, historic Semiahmoo Road
branches to the right.
In another mile (IV2 km), Old Yale Road, now
4-lane, crosses route 99A (King George Highway)
and becomes the Fraser Highway. For some
years, this was the Trans Canada Highway. With
minor diversions on the slopes of Serpentine
Flats, the road continues through Langley,
heading directly for the snowy peak of Mount
Page 20
British Columbia Historical News On the east side of Langley, the Old Yale Road
forks right, passing through Murrayville, and
rejoining the Fraser Highway four miles (6.5 km)
to the east. There are minor excursions at
Aldergrove, and again on approaching the
Mount Lehman interchange at the freeway.
Leaving this interchange as McClure, the old
road soon forks right, and passes through
Clearbrook and Abbotsford. Beyond Abbotsford, it rounds the southwest tip of Sumas
Mountain, and crosses the freeway again at Starr
The old road is now lost in the farmlands south
of the freeway, but it crossed the upper Sumas
River at Whatcom Road, continuing southeast
almost to the international border to avoid the
seasonal floodings and soft margin of Sumas
Lake. En route, the old road recrossed the B.C.
Hydro Railway (formerly the B.C. Electric
Railway). It is likely that the road here followed a
line of dunes, which have since been excavated
and incorporated in the extensive railway
embankment. Until it was drained in 1926, Sumas
Lake was seasonal; dry in winter, with its silts and
sands driven into dunes at the west and by cold,
dry interior gales; and flooded ten feet (3 m)
deep in summer by the Fraser River freshets. Old
maps show two deltas in Sumas Lake; one on the
east, where Vedder Creek entered; the other an
interesting reverse delta built by the summer
inflows from the Fraser River.
The old road reappears east of Maher Road as a
sinuous stretch named "Old Yale Road". It
continues, with interruptions from the B.C.
Hydro Railway, along the foot of Vedder
Mountain past the village of Yarrow. The next
two miles (3 km) of the old road have long been
known as Vedder Mountain Road. At Ford Road,
the old road diverged north, to cross the head of
Vedder's Creek, in those days an occasional
minor distributary on the great alluvial fan of the
Chilliwack River. The main channel of Chilliwack
River then ran due north, about two miles (3 km)
to the east. The old road also ran north, part is
now "Unsworth Road", its course guided by
Atchelitz Creek, another distributary on the
Chilliwack River fan.
The Yale Road would have been damaged in
the late 1870s, when the Chilliwack River made a
major shift in course from north to west, and
Vedder's Creek became Vedder River,
aggravating the annual floods of Sumas Lake.
In 1866, Volkert Vedder moved to protect a
public road nearby, writing in his usual direct
style to Joseph W. Trutch, the third Chief
Commissioner of Lands and Works:
Sumas May the 21866... a few lines relative to
the obstruction of what I consider to be a
government road ... laid out in 1859 by the
boundary commission ... in August  1862 I
opened it wide enough for a waggon road ...
Thomas Lewis pre-empted 160 acres ... and
has plowed up the road fenced it up and
drawed logs acrost it I have removed the
obstructions am threatened with prosecution
it is the only waggon road [we] have to the
steamboat [M/7/er's] landing...." 1
Immediately north of the freeway, the Yale
Road turned east. It is now named "Yale Road
West". This leads right through the City of
Chilliwack, becoming Yale Road East, and
winding along the south bank of Hope Slough to
Rosedale. Beyond Rosedale, Yale Road East
diverges to the right, and "Old Yale Road"
continues straight ahead towards the Rosedale-
Agassiz Bridge.
East of the bridge the old road becomes harder
to follow, passing through Cheam IR No. 1 near
the river bank, as "McGregor Road". This
becomes Popkum Road, then Julseth Road.
Other sections will be found north of the
present Trans Canada Highway and the Canadian
National Railway, just beyond Laidlaw, where it is
signed: "St. Elmo Road (Old Yale Road)". The last
remnants before Hope cross Hope Airport,
resuming east of Silverhope Creek as Tom Berry
A trip along the road shows how the once great
traffic artery has faded in the last 50 years. The
biggest relocation came when the Vedder River
was diverted by the Vedder Canal, and Sumas
Lake was dyked and drained, to become Sumas
Prairie, in the 1920s. This allowed about 16 miles
(26 km) of the old road to be straightened,
between Abbotsford and Chilliwack.
The following sources were used for most of the article:
Sessional Papers, British Columbia, starting 1873. These
include the annual "Reports of Public Works", and are
extremely detailed in the early years. The writers are,
however, not clear whether the Trunk Road starts from
Ladner's or from New Westminster, or whether it ends at
Hope or Yale. Hope was the port for the southern interior
of British Columbia.
Volume 17, No. 2
Page 21 Map of New Westminster District, 1876. Hon. Forbes C.
Vernon; CC. Lands and Works. The district extends
eastwards to Popkum. The map shows Townships but not
Municipalities. The main roads are shown and named.
In 1886, the map was revised and reissued by Rand
Brothers, Realtors. Municipalities, and the Canadian
Pacific Railway, were added.
Township Plans, based on the Coast Meridian. These are
detailed plans of the six mile square Townships in the
lower Fraser Valley, prepared first by the Department of
Lands and Works, and later by the Dominion Department
of Interior, when the land was in the Railway Belt. Scales
used were two, four and six inches to a mile. Townships
crossed by the Yale Trunk Road are:
West of Coast Meridian: Twps 38, 2
East of Coast Meridian: Twps 8,10,13,16,19,22,23,26,30
Township Plans, west of the Sixth Prime Meridian. These
surveys by the Department of Interior cover the railway
belt east of Popkum. The Trunk Road crosses the following
Range 29, Twp 2
Range 28, Twp 3, 4
Range 27, Twp 4, 5
Range 26, Twp 5, 6, 7
Official Plans of Indian Reserves. Indian Reserves are
numerous along the Yale Road and afford a useful second
line of enquiry when authenticating some disused sections
above Chilliwack.
1 PABC Colonial Correspondence. File 1797a Volkert
Editor's Note: In Vol. 17, No. 1, we mistakenly
described R.C. Harris as retired. Bob Harris works
full-time as a consulting engineer in Vancouver.
Back Issues of the News
Back issues of the News can be ordered at $3.50
each plus postage from the Editor.
In these rather unsettled times, researching
the family tree is a reassuring hobby, which
often turns up stories of hardship and
fortitude that make present conditions pale by
comparison. Here are two excellent sources to
get you started.
• Membership in the British Columbia
Genealogical Society includes use of their
library (over 2,000 books and periodicals),
receipt of six issues of their newsletter, four
issues of the quarterly magazine, and
participation in meetings and special classes.
Contact Box 94371, Richmond, British
Columbia, V6Y2A8.
• A newly revised edition of Tracing Your
Ancestors in Canada should now be available
from Public Archives Canada, 395 Wellington
Street, Ottawa, K1A0N3. This booklet
describes the major genealogical sources in
the Public Archives and also lists sources in
other Canadian repositories.
• Branch Libraries of the Church of Jesus Christ
of the Latter Day Saints in Burnaby and Victoria,
British Columbia (and elsewhere in large cities
across Canada and the United States) have
excellent facilities for genealogical research that
are available to the public. I he Victoria library
offers orientation classes once a month at 701
Mann Street. Phone 479-5544.
Historians interested in the conservation
and protection of heritage property should
contact the Resource Information Center of
the Heritage Conservation Branch, Ministry of
the Provincial Secretary and Government
Services, 1016 Langley Street, Victoria, B.C.,
V8V1X4. Their resources include an excellent
library, which contains periodicals and
magazines relating to heritage conservation,
detailed reports on archaeological surveys
and excavations carried out in B.C., a registry
of designated sites and objects in B.C.;
slide/tape kits on restoration and preservation; and 16 mm films.
Page 22
British Columbia Historical News News and Notes
Reports from the Branches
Gulf Islands
victoria Branch
While members of some historical societies
must battle traffic jams to attend their meetings,
members of the Gulf Islands Branch, BCHF, must
cope with complicated ferry schedules.
Travelling from Saturna and Galiano to Mayne
Island, on August 29,1983, the members met for
luncheon and a tour of this historic island.
Included in the group pictured outside the local
museum (a restored 1896 police lockup) are,
front row, (I. to r.) Mrs, Nan New, Donald New,
Miss New. President Marjorie Ratzlaff is
immediately behind Mrs. New.
In 1983 the Branch reprinted the Gulf Island
anthology, A Gulf Islands' Patchwork, and
sponsored an essay contest for the Mayne Island
School Centennial in October.
At our Christmas Banquet, December 13, 1983,
Victoria City Archivist Ainslie J. Helmcken
received a lifetime membership in recognition of
his immense contribution to preserving the
history of Victoria.
Ainslie is the grandson of Dr.John Sebastian
Helmcken, and great grandson of Sir James
Volume 17, No. 2
Page 23 James Murdoch McCook 1907-1983
James McCook, who was President of the
Victoria Branch, British Columbia Historical
Federation, 1976-78, and later Chairman of the
B.C. Historic Trails Committee, B.C.H.F.
provincial council, died in Victoria on September
20,1983, in his 77th year, after long illness. Jim's
dry Scotch humour from the podium and the
floor were enjoyed by all. His delight in the
colour and life of western Canadian history
flavoured his talks to the Victoria Branch: "High
Spirits on Western Trails" 1974, and "Old
Christmasses Were Best" December 1975. Lacking
an up-to-date Index, his contributions to The
B.C. Historical News have been noted, viz:
"McCook on the Cook Conference" Vol. 11
Nos. 3-4, 1978, p. 26
Book review: "Colombo's Book of Canada"
Vol. 12 No. 3, 1979, p. 27
Numerous articles on western history by Jim have
appeared, also, in the Victoria Times, the Ottawa
Journal, the London Times, the Canadian
Geographical Journal, the Beaver and Blackwood's Magazine. He especially featured
Canada's less vaunted heroes such as the Metis
guide Jerry Potts; Inspector Francis Dickens,
NWMP; Matonabbee (Hearne's Indian guide);
and Peter Skene Ogden.
James Murdock McCook was born in or near
Grantown-on-Spey, Morayshire, Scotland, June
2,1907, and received his formal education there.
In his youth, part-time work for the Strathspey
Herald inspired his choice of a career in
journalism. In 1924, with a sister Rachel, he
emigrated to Vancouver, B.C., where work
opportunities were considered better than at
home. After odd jobs on a chicken farm, as a
butler, and in a bank, he worked for the old
Vancouver Star. Meanwhile, his legends of
Scottish life were accepted by a Bristol paper and
by The Albertan in Calgary. For the latter, he
became City Editor at the age of 23. After eight
years in Calgary and brief connection with the
Regina Star and the Alberta Wheat Pool, Jim
accepted a position with the Canadian Press in
Ottawa where he spent the war years. This
agency then sent him to London, 1945-49, as its
Political Correspondent. Later, he joined the
Ottawa Journal as Parliamentary Press Gallery
Correspondent. Jim became a reputed authority
on parliamentary procedure and constitutional
history for Members of Parliament and others.
History, especially ot western Canada,
continued to be one of Jim's primary interests
and he did several radio programs featuring
lesser known stalwarts in this field. He was an
ardent collector of relevant books, art and songs.
Incipient health problems motivated Jim's
retirement to Victoria, B.C. in 1970, where he and
Edith soon joined the Victoria Branch of the
(then) British Columbia Historical Association. In
this association, Jim found gratifying scope for his
interests and talents, giving generously of them.
He also enjoyed these attributes in his fellow
James McCook is survived by his wife Edith in
Victoria, daughters Katherine in Toronto, Sheila,
Mrs. Brian Blomme, in Winnipeg, and by sons
James and Robert in Ottawa. There are six
Archival/Museum Notes
The Anglican Provincial Synod of
British Columbia
The Life of George Hills, First Bishop of British
This is the story of a manuscript—a manuscript
that was completed in England about 1912,
involved in a dispute which prevented its
publication, placed in a London strongbox in
1914, and which finally reappeared in the B.C.
Provincial Synod Archives of the Anglican
Church of Canada in 1981.
The manuscript, entitled "The Life of George
Hills, First Bishop of British Columbia", was
written by a London journalist, H.J.K. Skipton,
who had been commissioned to do so by the B.C.
Church Aid Society (later the B.C. & Yukon
Church Aid Society). It was never published and
to understand the reason it is necessary to go
back more than 100 years to the early 1870s.
When George Hills arrived in Victoria in 1860
to become the first Anglican Bishop of British
Columbia, one of the clergy already there was
Page 24
British Columbia Historical News the Rev. Edward Cridge. In 1865 Bishop Hills
appointed Cridge as Dean of Christ Church
Cathedral in Victoria, and for some years the men
got along well despite a considerable difference
in their churchmanship. However, in the early
1870s a serious breach occurred between them
which resulted in cases in both an Ecclesiastical
Court and the B.C. Supreme Court. The verdicts
were both in favour of the Bishop, but the result
was that Cridge and a large following left the
Church of England and formed a new congregation under the Reformed Episcopal Church, of
which Cridge in due course became a bishop.
The controversy over this dispute was long and
bitter, but by 1913 the wounds were beginning to
heal. The then Bishop, Dr. J.C. Roper, felt that the
publication of the book about Hills, which must
include the story of the affair, would only reopen
the wounds and start trouble all over again. As a
result it was finally decided that the Society
should purchase the manuscript from the author
for twenty guineas, put it in the Society's
strongbox, and leave the whole matter in
abeyance for five years.
World War I intervened and the matter was
never referred to again in the minutes of the
Executive of the Society, which are still in
Sixty-seven years later in 1981 Archbishop G.P.
Gower, a retired Metropolitan of the Church in
British Columbia, brought the manuscript and
some accompanying correspondence into the
B.C. Provincial Synod Archives of the Anglican
Church. As far as can now be determined the
manuscript came into the possession of
Archbishop Harold Sexton of Victoria, probably
about 1959 when the Society was dissolved. He
worked on it for a number of years, and in 1971
started to make arrangement to have it retyped.
Unfortunately he died the following year before
this was done. The manuscript stayed with his
papers until his wife died some years later, after
which the executor of their estates sent it to
Archbishop Gower.
Now in the B.C Provincial Synod Archives, it is
a valuable addition to the story of the early days
of the Anglican Church in British Columbia and
its first Bishop.
Garth Walker, Archivist
B.C. Provincial Synod
Diocese of British Columbia Archives,
With the support of British Columbia Heritage
Trust, in 1980 the Anglican Diocese of British
Columbia opened an archival repository in
Victoria. Located in the Bishop's Chapel adjacent
to Christ Church Cathedral, the Archives now
houses a valuable collection of documents
relating to the religious and social history of the
province. Included are early mission reports,
official parish and diocesan records, the private
papers of several church officials, and collections
of paintings, photographs, maps and architectural records.
The documents held in the Archives are
available both to the Anglican Church and to the
public for legal, genealogical and scholarly use.
Through the funding of the British Columbia
Heritage Trust Student Employment Program,
material relating to Vancouver Island parishes
has recently been made more accessible. A
student from the Archival Studies Program at the
University of British Columbia has identified and
described eighty-five record collections, which
include: correspondence, parish committee
minutes, baptismal, marriage and burial registers,
and the records of such organizations as the
Women's Auxiliary. These collections have been
accessioned and listed in an inventory of
Accession notices containing basic information about parish material have been prepared
for the Union List of Manuscripts, available from
the Public Archives of Canada, 395 Wellington
Street, Ottawa, Ontario. Further information
about the holdings of the Diocesan Archives can
be obtained by contacting: Diocesan Archives,
Anglican Synod Office, 912 Vancouver Street,
Victoria, B.C. V8V3V7.
Volume 17, No. 2
Page 25 Historic Trails Update
A short report to our members outlining the
functions of the Outdoor Recreation Council of
British Columbia is perhaps long overdue. The
BCHF has for many years been affiliated with the
ORC as a 'Participating Group Member' and the
question occasionally arises as to what we have in
common with recreationalists. The most obvious
area is that of preserving and maintaining historic
trails together with the natural environment
through which they pass. Additionally, and often
overlooked, is that of ensuring that access to such
trails is not denied by surrounding private
property. Recent changes in grazing lease policy
are also cause for some concern. But beyond
these small areas where man has left his imprint
in the past, the environment is continually being
threatened by irreversible damage from
resource extraction industries. The wildlife,
wilderness, and natural beauty of our province
are part of our heritage and this threat should be
viewed with as much concern by historians as
recreationalists. Without the co-ordinated
support of other interested groups our voice
alone would have little impact. ORC provides
such co-ordinated representation.
The Outdoor Recreation Council of British
Columbia is a non-profit umbrella organization
looking after the interests of nearly 40 province-
wide outdoor recreation organizations,
representing several hundred clubs operating at
the local level. Since its inception in 1976, ORC
has strived to ensure that land-use policies
encompass a broad range of diverse values,
making optimum utilization of available
resources. Now, more than ever before, the
values of wildlife, recreation and natural beauty
are given due consideration when land-use
decisions are made.
Other objectives of the Council include
providing a public participation mechanism for
outdoor recreation; advising government in the
development and implementation of comprehensive outdoor recreation plans; holding
conferences, seminars, workshops and meetings
(one such seminar was Historic Routes '82) and
providing a central resource and information
ORC's publications include:
• Outdoor Reports: A quarterly newsletter of
some twenty pages focusing on current
happenings throughout the province. The
current issue focuses on the impact of
restraint and also includes an up-date on the
Mackenzie Trail and a short article — "Who
Are We?" — on the BCHF. Sent free to all
member associations but available to
individuals by subscription at $2.00 per year.
• Maps: Eight 1:100,000 scale topographical
maps of the following regions have so far
been published:
100 Mile House
Windermere Lake
Greater Kamloops
Central Okanagan
Campbell River
Shuswap Lake
Overprinted on each map are geological
features, hiking trails and points of interest,
etc. as well as a brief history of the area. They
are available at $3.95 from many sports and
bookshops or directly from ORC.
• Pamphlets: The Safety Series covers all
outdoor activities from scuba diving to hang
gliding. Two, which include a map, describe
the Baden Powell Centennial Trail and the
Cowichan River Footpath. Single copies are
available free from ORC.
• The ORC Report: The first edition of what is
anticipated will become a regular (single
page) bulletin was published in October and
contains highlights on happenings around
the province, up-coming seminars, new
publications etc. A copy of the ORC Report
has, and will continue to be, mailed to all
member societies of the BCHF.
• Historic Routes '82 - A Seminar Summary: A
transcript of the papers presented at the 1982
seminar on historic routes and aboriginal
trails throughout British Columbia. It is
available at $5.00 per copy from ORC and
includes maps.
Anyone or any society requiring further
information on ORC should write to The
Outdoor Recreation Council of B.C., 1200
Hornby Street, Vancouver, B.C. V6Z2E2.
Page 26
British Columbia Historical News Other news:
The Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail: In
May of last year the Government of Canada and
the Province of British Columbia entered into a
four-year Agreement for Recreation and
Conservation to protect part of this historic route
across the continent—principally that section
from the mouth of the Blackwater River near
Quesnel to Bella Coola. The co-ordinating
committee has begun publishing a newsletter—
the first in September, 1983. Copies may be
obtained from Director, Parks Canada, Western
Region, 520, 220 - 4th Avenue S.E., Calgary,
Alberta T2P3H8.
Cascade Wilderness: The Cascade Advisory
Committee will be presenting their final report
to the managers of the Vancouver and Kamloops
Forest Regions early next year. The Committee is
made up of members drawn from ORC,
Okanagan Historical Society, Heritage Conservation Branch and a number of outdoor clubs.
—John Spittle
The Midden is published five times a year by the
Archaeological Society of British Columbia. It
contains articles related to various aspects of B.C.
archaeology, news items regarding both historic
and prehistoric heritage issues, book reviews,
notices of new publications, conferences, etc.
Midden Subscriptions, Box 520, Station A,
Vancouver, B.C. V6C2N3; $8.00/year in Canada
and U.S.
News from the
British Columbia
Heritage Trust
The British Columbia Heritage Trust Student
Employment Program was developed to assist
heritage groups, public or private organizations
and university students throughout the province.
Projects which conform to the Trust's objective
to encourage and facilitate the conservation,
maintenance and restoration of heritage
property in the Province and increase public
awareness of conservation in general will be
During 1983 the Trust provided funds to hire
fifty students in a wide variety of projects
including historical research, archaeological
excavation and "As Found" drawings of heritage
Under the direction of John Mitchell, Museum
Director, David Leigh Stone documented the
industrial waterfront's functional areas in Port
Alberni with a view to surveying the changing
historic image of the waterfront.
J.P. Rafferty
Thinking of Publishing?
A seminar on publishing local history, given by
Helen Akrigg, may be arranged for your
historical society. Please contact Leonard G.
McCann, #2, 1430 Maple Street, Vancouver,
Volume 17, No. 2
Page 27 Bookshelf
Skeena: A River Remembered. Joan Skogan.
Vancouver: British Columbia Packers Limited, 1983.
Pp. 100, illus., $12.95 (paper) (Distributed by Raincoast
Book Distribution Ltd., 15 West 6th Avenue,
Vancouver, B.C. V5Y 1K2)
Local history in British Columbia has certainly
matured in the past few years. It is a long way from
Gladys Blythe's History of Port Edward, 1907-1970 to
Skeena: A River Remembered, although both cover
events in Port Edward. The Skeena book is at once
more specific and more general. Its goal is to take a
topic of a limited nature, the catching and canning of
salmon at the mouth of the Skeena River in
northwestern British Columbia, and to transform it
into a visual and reading delight which will appeal to
anyone, not just those with an interest in canning
history, the Skeena River country, or Port Edward.
Research for the book was funded by British
Columbia Packers. Interviews and text were done by
Joan Skogan. The proximate cause of the collaboration apparently was the closing of the Port Edward
plant of B.C. Packers as part of the consolidation into
and expansion of their remaining plant at Oceanside
in Prince Rupert. Interviews were conducted in 1981
and 1982 with thirty-five people who had worked or
were still working in the Skeena fishing industry.
Transcripts of these interviews constitute the
backbone of the book. Skogan expertly weaves
excerpts, usually lengthy, together into a narrative,
offering to-the-point comments and interpretations
when appropriate.
Patricia Roy is the Book Review Editor. Copies of
books for review should be sent to her at 602-139
Clarence St., Victoria, B.C. V8V2J1.
Amplifying the text are fifty photographs, most in
black and white, of the persons interviewed and of
current and historic shots of the processes themselves.
The reproduction of these photographs, the design of
the book, and the evocative quality of the pictures'
content are excellent. It is enjoyable that for once a
self-published book printed by Friesen Printers
emerges not looking like a high school yearbook.
Although B.C. Packers paid some of the bills, this is
not a typical company history. With some of the
interviews, the reader is reminded more of
nineteenth century sweatshop conditions or
feudalistic paternalism than enlightened labour
codes. Long hours, piece work, dangerous working
conditions, all show up time and again in the
interviews. What is also related, however, is the
excitement, the love of the river and the craft, the
generosity of the company, and, above all, the fun of it
The book's title is, of course, an unfortunate one. A
good title is supposed to convey the flavour of a book
and indicate something of its contents. This book in
the last analysis is about people and an industry. Its joy
is the celebration of those who have worked in the
fishing industry. The Skeena is a mighty and powerful
river; it has more things about it to be remembered
than just a canning industry at its mouth.
Skogan also does not discuss in enough detail what
she gently calls "increasing pressure on fish stocks" (p.
5) and what others not allied with the fishing industry
call "overfishing". There is no mention, for example,
of changes in fishing regulations which moved salmon
fishermen further and further out into open water
away from the mouth of the Skeena to make it harder
for them to catch the returning fish. These regulations
closed many canneries on the river and favored those
on the coast. She talks of numbers of salmon packed
and cannery bankruptcies, but does not relate this to
decreasing fish stock in the years until the advent of
salmonoid enhancement.
There are other smaller errors. Work on the Collins'
Overland Telegraph did not stop "abruptly" but
continued on to the end of the season in expectation
that the Atlantic cable would break once again (p. 12).
"Git'K'Shian" is spelled "Gitksan" in current usage
and the Carrier people are Athapaskans, not the dated
"Dene" used by Father Morice. And, while it may well
be that enough books on the salmon fishing industry
have been printed which include glossaries so that
everyone is familiar with the usages of the industry, it
may have been convenient to define many of the
terms used in the book, such as the difference
between a seiner and a gillnetter.
Maureen Cassidy is well known to readers of the News
as its former editor.
Page 28
British Columbia Historical News Local History in British Columbia. A Guide to
Researching, Writing and Publishing for the Nonprofessional. Maureen Cassidy. British Columbia
Heritage Trust Technical Paper Series 6,1983.
Maureen Cassidy's Local History in British
Columbia is a welcome addition to my bookshelves.
Cassidy, former editor of the British Columbia
Historical News, knows what advice prospective
writers of local history need. She gives instructions on
background work, the use of archives, and the
writing and publishing processes. The manual is easy
to read and well-illustrated. Examples of finding aids
and original sources enhance the text.
This technical manual for the British Columbia
Heritage Trust does have a few flaws. It may be used
and should be used by professional historians doing
local studies. The term 'non-professional' in the
subtitle may put academics off. Some comments in
the text may offend members of local historical
societies who have done professional level writing
and are justifiably proud of it.
Cassidy emphasizes Victoria as the necessary place
in which to research provincial history. Is it? British
Columbia communities are rooted in a variety of
cultures and in the American Pacific Northwest.
Researchers should be directed to sources on them.
The B.C. Geneological Society library and cemetery
files held in Vancouver are of value on any
community. Religious and ethnic associations often
keep their records at their mainland headquarters;
e.g. the Roman Catholic Oblate missionaries.
Washington State institutions, such as those in
Spokane, may be closer, better sources of
information on many aspects of some British
Columbia districts' histories than the Provincial
Archives in Victoria.
The conclusion of Cassidy's local history manual
deserves comment too. After good advice on the
whole process of doing a history book, she
recommends that writers conserve their research.
Then "that's it". Pardon me. It's not. Take for example
Vanderhoof, the Town that Couldn't Wait. This
history was done and shelved in the local library.
Everyone said "that's it". Then, more sources on this
relatively young community turned up and local
people became interested in preserving historic
buildings, a topic not discussed much at the time the
book was written. The point here is that community
historians need to be encouraged not just to research
and write and preserve their notes, but also to go on
collecting information and making it available for
future researchers.
Jacqueline Gresko teaches History at Douglas
College in New Westminster.
Raindrops from Prince Rupert
Klondike of the Skeena. Phylis Bowman. Prince
Rupert: the author, 1982, pp. 176, illus., $6.00 paper.
Klondike of the Skeena, the most recent book in
Phylis Bowman's Raindrop Series, is a history of the
once important cannery town of Port Essington at the
mouth of the Skeena River on the southern bank.
Contrary to the implication of the title, Port Essington
never held the promise of the boom-and-bust cycle
of all the gold rush towns, including Dawson City.
Rather, its pioneers believed that it could grow
steadily to become the transportation and
commercial centre of British Columbia's northwest.
The town's analogy is Port Moody, not the Klondike.
The town began in 1870 or 1871 (both are given as
founding dates) as the trading post of Robert
Cunningham who traded with Tsimshian Indians for
furs, and sold supplies to prospectors ascending the
Skeena. Later, when Cunningham entered the
Skeena steamboat and cannery businesses, Port
Essington became a ship-to-boat transfer point.
Soon other entrepreneurs arrived and built
canneries, stores and sawmills. By 1897 there were
"seven cannery buildings on the river, with clustering
huts around them." Fishing and forestry attracted
workers of many ancestries, many of whom brought
their families. Churches, a public school, a school on
the nearby Indian reserve, and a hospital followed
the settlement of families. However, the pioneers'
dream that Port Essington would become the major
centre of the north coast never materialized because
the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway routed its tracks
along the north side of the Skeena and terminated
them on Kaien Island in 1914. Not only did the railway
by-pass Port Essington, but railway transportation
soon superseded that of the river boats. As Prince
Rupert, on Kaien Island, grew, Port Essington
declined. Two destructive fires, in 1961 and 1965, left
the place a ghost town.
Phylis Bowman has employed an unusual format
for this history. Photographs, generally fully-
captioned, comprise the second and major half of the
book. The rest is text, most of which is published
accounts, chiefly taken from newspapers, of anything
relating to Port Essington from 1897 to 1979. The
author introduces the section of quotations with a
short history of the town.
This format appears to suit the history of Port
Essington, yet the result is not completely satisfactory
because it obviously lacks an editor's criticism and
advice. An editor would have eliminated the numerous pictures that are superfluous to the history,
relegated a chapter listing pupils' names to an
appendix, reorganized the historic sketch, required a
Volume 17, No. 2
Page 29 more appropriate and larger scale map ot the Skeena
mouth, and included important details like the dates
the trading post was built and the last cannery closed.
An editor might have advised Phylis Bowman to
devote some pages to personal memoirs of former
residents to shed light on a town society that, having a
"Jap town", a "Finn town" and an Indian reserve
nearby, must have had a degree of segregation. Most
certainly, a competent editor would have advised the
author to give more biographical information, in
footnotes or in an appendix, about individuals who
are given brief references in the text.
Not only would the information add to the reader's
knowledge but it would correct errors in these
accounts. For example, a sentence on page 27 states
that CF. Morrison [sic] was in charge of Hankin's and
Cunningham's store at Hazelton in 1866. In 1866,
Charles Frederic Morison was working for the Collins
Overland Telegraph in Wrangell, Alaska, and on the
Stikine River. According to Morison's journal, not
until 1871 did Cunningham and Hankin hire him to
run their trading post at Hazelton.
Despite its shortcomings, the text held my interest
from beginning to end. I attribute my absorption to
the sense of currency that newspaper reports emit and
to the fact that many pages dealt with a puzzling
murder case which ended years later with a surprise
twist, something like an Edgar Allan Poe mystery.
Because it is interesting and fills a gap in the history of
northwestern British Columbia, this book deserves a
place on the shelves of readers of local history.
Road, Rail and River. Phylis Bowman. Prince Rupert:
the author, 1981. Pp. vii, 144, illus., $6.00 paper
(Available from 1700 Kootenay Ave., Prince Rupert,
B.C. V8J3S7)
This volume of Phylis Bowman's Rainbow Series
combines anecdotal history and a travel guide. Its
series of short accounts take the reader along
Highway 16 from Prince Rupert east to Hazelton with
side trips to such places as the Naas lava beds, the
Lakelse Hotsprings and to Kitimat. This volume would
be of interest chiefly to the residents of the Skeena
Valley and perhaps, to tourists.
We Skirted the War. Phylis Bowman. Prince Rupert:
the author, 1975. Pp. vi, 133, illus., $4.00 paper.
(Available from 1700 Kootenay Ave., Prince Rupert,
B.C. V8J3S7)
We Skirted the War is Phylis Bowman's memoirs of
her service with the Canadian Women's Army Corps
during the Second World War. The book's main
appeal will be to the author's friends and relatives, and
possibly, to those who served with her.
Georgiana Ball is a researcher, writer, and consultant
with a special interest in British Columbia history.
We have a handsome prize for the answer to a
simple question. The prize is the superbly
illustrated photographic essay, The Klondike
Quest by Pierre Berton (McClelland and Stewart,
1983). Not only is the volume enlivened by
Berton's vivid prose, but many of the two hundred
or so photographs included will be fresh even to
Klondike buffs.
The question is: What do two British Columbia
premiers and an important Klondike water route
have in common?
Please send contest entries to the Editor, 1745 Taylor St, Victoria,
B.C. V8R3E8.
Page 30
Honorary President:      Col. G.S. Andrews, 116 Wellington, Victoria, B.C. V8V 4H7
382-7202 (res.)
Barbara Stannard, #211-450 Stewart Ave., Nanaimo, V9S 5E9
754-6195 (res.)
Leonard G. McCann, #2-1430 Maple St., Vancouver, V6J 3R9
736-4431 (bus.)
Naomi Miller, Box 105, Wasa, VOB 2K0
422-3594 (res.)
T. Don Sale, 262 Juniper St., Nanaimo, V9S 1X4
753-2067 (res.)
Recording Secretary:     Margaret Stoneberg, P.O. Box 687, Princeton, VOX 1W0
295-3362 (res.)
J. Rhys Richardson, 2875 W. 29th, Vancouver, V6L 1Y2
733-1897 (res.)
Tom Carrington, 125 Linden Ave., Victoria, V8V 4E2
383-3446 (res.)
Myrtle Haslam, 1875 Wessex Road, Cowichan Bay, VOR 1N0
748-8397 (res.)
Ruth Barnett, 680 Pinecrest Rd., Campbell River, V9W 3P3
287-8097 (res.)
Marie Elliott, Editor, B.C. Historical News, 1745 Taylor St., Victoria, V8R 3E8
1st Vice President:
2nd Vice President:
Chairmen of Committees:
Historic Trails: John D. Spittle, 1241 Mount Crown Rd., North Vancouver, V7R 1R9
988-4565 (res.)
B.C. Historical News       Ruth Barnett, 680 Pinecrest Rd., Campbell River, V9W 3P3
Policy Committee: 287-8097 (res.)
Publications Assistance: Committee (not involved with B.C. Historical News)
Helen Akrigg, 4633 W. 8th Ave., Vancouver, V6R 2A6
228-8606 (res.)
Loans are available for publication. Please submit manuscripts to Helen Akrigg. ENTER
The British Columbia
Historical News
See page    6


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