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 British Columbia
Historical News
"Any country worthy of a future should be
interested in its past." W. Kaye Lamb, 1937
Journal of the British Columbia Historical Federation    |  Volume 37 No.2 Spring 2004   |    ISSN 1195-8294   |   $5.00
n this Issue:  Rangeland Research | Pender Island \ -Creating Canford
The Library Commission | Philipp Jacobsen | Tokens | Book Reviews British Columbia Historical News
Journal of the British Columbia Historical Federation
Published Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall.
BC Historical News welcomes stories, studies, and
news items dealing with any aspect of the
history of British Columbia, and British Columbians.
Please submit manuscripts for publication to the Editor,
BC Historical News,
John Atkin,
921 Princess Avenue,
Vancouver BC V6A 3E8
e-mail: johnatkin@shaw.ca
Book reviews for BC Historical News,
AnneYandle,
3450 West 20th Avenue,
Vancouver BCV6S1E4,
604.733.6484
e-mail: yandle@interchange.ubc.ca
Subscription & subscription information:
Subscription Secretary,
Joel Vinge
561 Woodland Drive
Cranbrook BC ViC 6V2
Phone/Fax: 250.489.2490
E-mail: nisse@telus.net
Subscriptions: $18.00 per year
For addresses outside Canada add $10.00
Proof Reader: Tony Farr
Single copies of recent issues are for sale at:
- Arrow Lakes Historical Society, Nakusp BC
- Book Warehouse, Granville St. Vancouver BC
- Books and Company, Prince George BC
- Gibson Coast Books, Gibsons BC
- Galiano Museum
- Gray Creek Store, Gray Creek BC
- Royal Museum Shop, Victoria BC
This publication is indexed in the Canadian
Magazine Index, published by Micromedia.
ISSN 1195-8294
Production Mail Registration Number 1245716
Publications Mail Registration No. 09835
Member of the British Columbia Association of
Magazine Publishers
While copyright in the journal as a whole is
vested in the British Columbia Historical
Federation, copyright in the individual articles
belongs to their respective authors, and
articles may be reproduced for personal use
only. For reproduction for other purposes
permission in writing of both author and
publisher is required.
British V&olumbia historical federation
A charitable society under the Income Tax Act Organized 31 October 1922
PO Box 5254, Station B., Victoria BC V8R 6N4
Under the Distinguished Patronage of Her Honour
The Honourable lona Campagnolo. PC, CM, OBC
Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia
Honourary President
Melva Dwyer
Officers
President
Jacqueline Gresko
5931 Sandpiper Court, Richmond, BC, V7E3P8
Phone 604.274.4383   j_sresko@douslas.bc.ca
First Vice President
Patricia Roy
Department of History, University of Victoria, PO Box 3045, Victoria, BC, V8W 3P4
proy@uvic.ca
Second Vice President
Roy J.V. Pallant
1541 Merlynn Crescent, North Vancouver, BC, V7J 2X9
Phone 604.986.8969   pallant@telus.net
Secretary
Ron Hyde
#20 12880 Railway Ave., Richmond, BC, V7E6G2
Phone: 604.277.2627 Fax 604.277.2657 rbhyde@shaw.ca
Recording Secretary
Gordon Miller
1126 Morrell Circle, Nanaimo, BC, V9R 6K6 miller_@island.net
Treasurer
Ron Greene
POBox 1351, Victoria, BC, V8W2W7
Phone 250. 598.1835 Fax 250.598.5539   ra_reene@telus.net
Past President
Wayne Desrochers
13346 57th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V3X2W8
Phone 604. 599.4206 Fax. 604.507.4202   wder0chers@mbs.ima3.net
Member at Large
Alice Marwood
#311 45520 Knight Road, Chilliwack, BC, V2R3I2 amarwood@imag.net
Patrick Dunae
History Department, Malaspina University College
dunae@mala.bc.ca
Committees
Historical Trails and Markers
John Spittle
1241 Mount Crown Road, North Vancouver, BC, V7R 1R9
Phone 604.988.4565 jds@vcn.bc.ca
W. Kaye Lamb Essay Scholarships Committee
Robert Griffin
107 Regina Avenue, Victoria, BC, V8Z 1J4
Phone 250.475.0418 bgriffin@royalbcmuseum.bc.ca
Writing Competition - Lieutenant-Governor's Award
PO Box 5254, Station B, Victoria, BC, V8R 6N4
www.bchistory.ca the Federation's web site is hosted by Selkirk College in Castlegar, BC British V&olumbia historical federation
an umbrella organization embracing regional societies
Question regarding membership should be sent to:
Ron Hyde, Secretary, #20 12880 Railway Ave., Richmond BCV7E 6G2
Phone 604.277.2627 Fax 604.277.2657 rbhyde@shaw.ca
MEMBER SOCIETIES
Abbotsford Genealogical Society
PO Box 672, Abbotsford, BC V2S 6R7
Alberni District Historical Society
PO Box 284, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 7M7
Anderson Lake Historical Society
PO Box 40, D'Arcy, BC VON 1L0
Arrow Lakes Historical Society
PO Box 819, Nakusp, BC VOG 1R0
Atlin Historical Society
PO Box 111, Atlin, BC VOW IA0
Bella Coola Valley Museum Society
Box 726, Bella Coola, BC VOT 1C0
Boundary Historical Society
PO Box 1687, Grand Forks, BC V0H 1H0
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PO Box 97. Bowen Island, BC VON 1G0
Bulkley Valley Historical Et Museum Society
Box 2615, Smithers, BC V0J 2N0
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6501 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby, BC V5G 3T6
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22 Dunlevy Road, Cherryville, BC VOE 2G3
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1050 Joan Crescent, Victoria, BC V8S 3L5
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4858 Delta St., Delta, BC V4K 2T8
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PO Box 183, Masset, BC VOT 1M0
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PO Box 74, Cranbrook, BC V1C 4H6
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9480 Dyke Road, Richmond BC V7A 2L5
Fort Nelson Historical Society
Box 716, Fort Nelson, BC VOC 1R0
Gabriola Historical Et Museum Society
Box 213, Gabriola, BC, VOR 1X0
Galiano Museum Society
S13 -C19 - RR1, Galiano Island, BCV0N 1P0
Gray Creek Historical Society
Box 4, Gray Creek, B.C. VOB 1S0
Gulf Islands Branch BCHF
c/o S-22, C-11, RR # 1, Galiano Island, BC VON 1P0
Hallmark Society
c/o 810 Linden Ave, Victoria, BC V8V 4G9
Hedley Heritage Society
PO Box 218, Hedley, BC VOX 1K0
Horsefly Historical Society
Box 11, Horsefly, BC VOL 1L0
Hudson's Hope Historical Society
Box 98, Hudson's Hope, BC VOC 1C0
Jewish Historical Society of British Columbia
206-950 West 41st Ave, Vancouver, BC V5Z 2N7
Kamloops Museum Association
207 Seymour Street, Kamloops, BC V2C 2E7
Kitimat Centennial Museum Association
293 City Centre, Kitimat BC   V8C 1T6
Koksilah School Historical Society
5213 Trans Canada Highway, Koksilah, BC VOR 2C0
Kootenay Doukhobor Historical Society
112 Heritage Way, Castlegar, BC V1N 4M5
Kootenay Lake Historical Society
PO Box 537, Kaslo, BC VOG 1M0
Ladysmith Et District Historical Socieity
c/o 781 Colonia Drive Ladysmith, BC V9G 1N2
Langley Heritage Society
Box 982, Fort Langley, BC V1M 2S3
Lantzville Historical Society
c/o PO Box 206, Lantzville, BC VOR 2H0
Little Prairie Heritage Society
Box 1777, Chetwynd BC   VOC 1J0
London Heritage Farm Society
6511 Dyke Road, Richmond, BC V7E 3R3
Lumby Historical Society
PO Box 55, Lumby, BC VOE 2G0
Maple Ridge Historical Society
22520 116th Avenue, Maple Ridge, BC V2X 0S4
Metchosin School Museum Society
4475 Happy Valley Road Victoria, BC V9C 3Z3
Nakusp Et District Museum Society
PO Box 584, Nakusp, BC VOG 1R0
Nanaimo Et District Museum Society
100 Cameron Road, Nanaimo, BC V9R 2X1
Nanaimo Historical Society
PO Box 933, Nanaimo, BC V9R 5N2
Nelson Museum Et Historical Society
402 Anderson Street, Nelson, BC V1L 3Y3
North Shore Historical Society
c/o 1541 Mertynn Cres., North Vancouver, BC V7J 2X9
North Shuswap Historical Society
PO Box 57, Celista, BC VOE 1L0
Okanagan Historical Society
PO Box 313, Vernon, BC V1T 6M3
Old Cemeteries Society of Victoria
Box 5004, #15-1594 Fairfield Rd, Victoria BC V8S 5L8
Parksville Et District Historical Society
PO Box 1452, Parksville, BC   V9P 2H4
Pemberton Museum Et Archives
PO Box 267, Pemberton, BC, VON 2L0
Prince Rupert City Et Regional Archives
PO Box 1093, Prince Rupert BC V8J 4H6
Princeton Et District Museum Et Archives
Box 281, Princeton, BC VOX 1W0
Qualicum Beach Historical Society
587 Beach Road, Qualicum Beach, BC V9K 1K7
Quesnelle Forks Museum Et Historical Society
Box 77 Likely, BC VOL 1 NO
Revelstoke Et District Historical Association
Box 1908, Revelstoke BC VOE 2S0
Revelstoke Heritage Railway Society
PO Box 3018, Revelstoke, BC   VOE 2S0
Richmond Heritage Railroad Society
c/o Suite 200, 8211 Ackroyd Rd., Richmond, BC V6X 3K8
Richmond Museum Society
#180 - 7700 Minoru Gate, Richmond, BC V6Y 1R8
The Riondel Et Area Historical Society
Box 201, Riondel, BC VOB 2B0
Saanich Historical Artifacts Society
7321 Lochside Dr., Saanichton, BC   V8M 1W4
Salt Spring Island Historical Society
129 McPhillips Ave, Salt Spring Island, BC V8K 2T6
Sandon Historical Society
Box 52, New Denver, BC VOG 1S0
Sea Island Heritage Society
4191 Ferguson Road, Richmond, BC V7B 1P3
Sicamous District Museum 6t Historical Society
Box 944, Sicamous, BC VOE 2V0
Silvery Slocan Historical Society
Box 301, New Denver, BC VOG 1S0
South Peace Historical Society
c/o 900 Alaska Avenue, Dawson Creek, BC V1G 4T6
Steveston Historical Society
3811 Moncton St., Richmond, BC V7E 3A0
Sullivan Mine Et Railway Historical Society
PO Box 94, Kimberley BC   V1A 2Y5
Surrey Historical Society
Box 34003, 17790 #10 Highway, Surrey, BC V3S 8C4
Terrace Regional Historical Society
PO Box 246, Terrace, BC V8G 4A6
Texada Island Heritage Society
Box 122, Van Anda, BC VON 3K0
Trail Historical Society
PO Box 405, Trail, BC V1R 4L7
Union Bay Historical Society
Box 448, Union Bay, BC VOR 3B0
Vancouver Historical Society
PO Box 3071, Vancouver, BC V6B 3X6
Victoria Historical Society
PO Box 43035, Victoria North, Victoria, BC V8X 3G2
Williams Lake Museum and Historical Society
113 - 4th Ave North, Williams Lake, BC V2G 2C8
Yale Et District historical Society
Box 74, Yale, BC VOK 2S0
Yellowhead Museum
Box 1778, RR# 1, Clearwater, BC VOE 1 NO
AFFILIATED GROUPS
Archives Association of British Columbia
PO Box 78530 University PO, Vancouver BC V6T 1Z4
Hope Museum
PO Box 26, Hope BC   V0X1L0
Langley Centennial Museum
PO Box 800, Fort Langley BC   V1M 2S2
Northern BC Archives - UNBC
3333 University Way, Pr. George BC   V2N 4Z9
North Pacific Historic Fishing Vii Mage
PO Box 1109, Port Edward BC   VOV 1G0
Women's History Network of BC
402 - 9603 Manchester Dr., Burnaby BC   V3N 4Y7 Return Undeliverable Canadian Addresses to Circulation Department.
British Columbia Historical News Subscription Secretary:
Joel Vinge, 561 Woodland Drive, Cranbrook, BC, V1C 6S2
Canadian Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement No. 40025793
Publications Mail registration No. 09835
GrnadS
We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada, through the Publications Assistance program (PAP), toward our mailing cost
Contact Us:
BC Historical News welcomes
stories, studies, and news items
dealing with any aspect of the
history of British Columbia, and
British Columbians.
Please    submit    manuscripts    for
publication to the Editor,
BC Historical News,
John Atkin,
921 Princess Avenue,
Vancouver BC V6A 3E8
e-mail: johnatkin@shaw.ca
Book reviews for BC Historical News,
AnneYandle,
3450 West 20th Avenue,
Vancouver BCV6S1E4,
604.733.6484
e-mail: yandle@interchange.ubc.ca
Subscription & subscription information:
Subscription Secretary,
Joel Vinge
561 Woodland Drive
Cranbrook BC ViC 6V2
Phone/Fax: 250.489.2490
E-mail: nisse@telus.net
Subscriptions: $18.00 per year
For addresses outside Canada add
$10.00
w*,_
The British Columbia Historical Federation invites submissions
of books for the twenty-second annual competition for writers
of BC history.
Any book presenting any facet of BC history, published in 2004, is
eligible. This may be a community history, biography, record of a
project or an organization, or personal recoUections giving a
glimpse of the past. Names, dates and places, with relevant maps
or pictures, turn a story into "history." Note that reprints or
revisions of books are not eligible.
The judges are looking for quality presentations, especiaUy if fresh
material is included, with appropriate illustrations, careful proofreading, an adequate index, table of contents and bibliography,
from first-time "writers as well as established authors.
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 individuals.
Winners will receive a Certificate of Merit, a monetary award and
an invitation to the BCHF annual conference to be held in Kelowna
in May 2005.
SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS: AU books must have been published
in 2003 and should be submitted as soon as possible after publication. Two copies of each book should be submitted. Books entered
become property of the BC Historical Federation. Please state
name, address and telephone number of sender, the selling price
of all editions of the book, and, if the reader has to shop by mail,
the address from which it may be purchased, including applicable
shipping and handling costs.
By submitting books for this competition, the author agrees that the British Columbia Historical
Federation may use their name(s) in press releasee and Federation publications regarding the
book competition.
SEND TO: BC Historical Federation Writing Competition
PO Box 5254, Station B, Victoria, BC, V8R 6N4
DEADLINE: 31 December 2004 British Columbia Historical News
Journal of the British Columbia Historical Federation      volume 37 N0.2 spring 2004
2.     "You Will Make No Mistake in Coming to Roesland"
By Liz Crocker
4.     BC's First Rangeland Research Station
By V.C. Brink
6. Summer of Historical Coincidence
By Jocelyn Noel
7. A Brief History of How it All Began
By Ron Tarves
9.     The Creators of Canford
By Frances J. Welwood
14.   The Public Library Commission: Its Finest Hour
By Howard Overend
20.   Philipp Jacobsen in British Columbia
By Richard Bland
28.   Token History
By Ron Greene
30.   Book Reviews
Edited By Anne Yandle
36. Website Forays
By Christopher Garrish
37. Archives and Archivists
Edited by Sylvia Stopforth
38.   Miscellany
From the Editor
I am very excited about the Spring issue of
British Columbia Historical News. We have
a great selection of articles from a wide
range of authors. The mail box always
seems to bring surprises and I continue to
find gems in the articles on hand.
With this issue I'd like to welcome Sylvia
Stopforth, the librarian and archivist at
Trinity Western University as the new
editor of the Archives and Archivists column
in the News. If you have news items or
an idea for a future column let her know.
Congratulations go to Ron Welwood who
was selected as the winner of the 2003
Best Article Award (see page 38).
Nanaimo is just around the corner and I
look forward to meeting many of you
there.
BCHF Awards | Prizes | Scholarships
W. KAYE LAMB Essay Scholarships
Deadline 15 May 2004
The British Columbia Historical
Federation awards two scholarships
annually for essays written by students
at BC colleges or universities on a topic
relating to British Columbia history.
One scholarship ($500) is for an essay
written by a student in a first-or
second-year course: the other ($750)
is for an essay written by a student in
a third-or fourth-year course.
To apply tor the scholarship,
candidates must submit (1)a letter of
application: (2) an essay of 1,500-3,
000 words on a topic relating to the
history of British Columbia: (3) a letter
of recommendation from the professor
for whom the essay was written.
Applications should be submitted
before 15 May 2004 to: Robert Griffin,
Chair BC: Historical Federation
Scholarship Committee, PO Box 5254,
Station B, Victoria, BC V8R 6N4.
The winning essay submitted by a
third or fourth year student will be
published in BC Historical News.
Other submissions may be published
at the editor's discretion.
BC History Web Site Prize
The British Columbia Historical
Federation and David Mattison are
join tly sponsoring a yearly cash award
of $250 to recognize Web sites that
contribute to the understanding and
appreciation of British Columbia's
past. The award honours individual
initiative in writing and presentation.
Nominations for the BC History Web
Site Prize for 2004 must be made to
the British Columbia Historical
Federation, Web Site Prize
Committee, prior to 31 December
2004. Web site creators and authors
may nominate their own sites. Prize
rules and the on-line nomination form
can be found on The British Columbia
History Web site: http: 11
www. victoria, tc. cal resources!
bchistoryl announcements.html
Best Article Award
A Certificate of Merit and fifty dollars
will be awarded annually to the
author of the article, published in BC
Historical News, that best enhances
knowledge ot British Columbia's
history and provides reading
enjoyment. Judging will be based on
subject development, writing skill,
freshness of material, and appeal to
a general readership interested in all
aspects ot BC history.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004 "You Will Make no Mistake in Coming to Roesland"
By Liz Crocker
Liz Crocker has
worked in heritage
research, program
planning and
presentation for
more than a decade.
She researched the
cultural history of
Roesland for her
internship with Gulf
Islands National Park
Reserve, for
completion of a
diploma in Cultural
Resource
Management from
the University of
Victoria.
1 Marie Elliot, Mayne Island &
the Outer Gulf Islands A History,
(Gulf Islands Press, 1984), 34.
2 Ministry of Water Land and Air
Protection, http://
wlapwww.gov.be. ca/beparks/
explore/parkpgs/
newcastl.htm#nature (July 30,
2003).
!  Peter Murray, Homesteads and
Snug Harbours The Gulf Islands,
(Horsdal & Schubart, Ganges,
1991), 68.
4 Gulf Islands Branch of the BC
Historical Federation, More Tales
from the Outer Gulf Islands,
(1993), 38.
5 Murray, Homesteads, 68.
There is conflict in the available
literature and documents about
the size of the Roe family. One
source says the Roes arrived in
Canada with four children but
doesn't name them, another
names three sons and another
only two. I was able to confirm
the names of three sons and so
included them in this text.
6 BC Historical Federation,
More Tales, 37.
Roesland Resort, a fifteen hectare (thirty-six
acres) waterfront property on south Otter
Bay on the West side of North Pender
Island in the Strait of Georgia, operated for
seventy-two years, from 1919 until 1991. For those
who could secure a reservation, it was one of the best
known and well-loved vacation destinations in the
southern Gulf Islands. Cabins were booked years in
advance by happy, repeat customers. While other
resorts catered to guests looking for pampering and
fancy accommodations, Roesland appealed to families,
looking for rustic, rural, low cost vacations. Roesland
managed to deliver this for over seven decades thanks
to two hard-working families, the Roes and the
Davidsons.
Early in the 20th century, it became a trend for
middle class families from Vancouver and the Lower
Mainland to frequent vacation destinations on the
southern Gulf Islands. The islands were just far enough
away and rural enough to feel like one had escaped
home, but not so far as to make the journey a laborious
one. Early on, Mayne Island was a particular favourite
for many. Its "accessibility, combined with such
desirable recreational facilities as salmon fishing and
sea bathing, caused it to become one of the first resort
areas on the north Pacific Coast".1 Closer to Vancouver,
Bowen Island became known as a recreation and
vacation destination too. Resorts, cabins and a dance
pavilion enticed urban dwellers for Sunday excursions
as well as longer stays. In the 1930s, Newcastle Island
near Nanaimo emerged as another favourite. The
Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) owned the island and
operated it specifically as a recreation and vacation
destination. As many as 1500 visitors from Vancouver
were brought over at a time to enjoy the dance pavilion,
teahouses, or just a Sunday picnic.2
Roesland, a key contributor to the development
of tourism on the Gulf Islands in the 20th century, came
about quite accidentally. Sometime between 1910 and
1917, Robert Roe built his first cabin for visiting friends.
It proved so popular, that he built another one. In 1919,
he put an advertisement in the Vancouver Province
offering a cottage for rent for the summer. They got
one reply from the Gordon Gray family of Vancouver
and Roesland was officially launched.3 Long-time friend,
and subsequent operator of Roesland, David Davidson
remembers: The Roes "realized families needed a low-
cost holiday in a simple, natural healthy environment,
without frills or commercialism".4 Keeping to these
values enticed guests to return year after year.
Robert Roe Senior, wife Margaret and their
children, George, William and Robert Jr. (Bert), came
to Canada from Glasgow, Scotland in 1896. Robert Roe
Sonln*
Slesl  (fliriatMtafl ^Bishfs
Sr. was an engineer on the CPR coastal steamers.5 The
family first went to Victoria and then "acquired land
and farmed in the Port Washington area on Pender
Island".6 In 1908, the Roes bought land on the south
side of Otter Bay. This property, which would become
Roesland, was about 259 hectares (640 acres). It
stretched from Otter Bay, encompassed Roe Lake and
most of Shingle Bay7 Early guests of Roesland enjoyed
"Six hundred acres of woodland with lake and sea
frontage facing west".8
Those first years had the Roes busy clearing land
and establishing a home and farm. The Roes built the
original homestead about 1908. (This same house is
currently being rebuilt by the Pender Island Museum
Society for future use as an historical house museum).
It is unknown whether the Roe farm was ever
commercially viable. Vegetables were certainly grown
and a long time island resident remembers two milk
cows and a workhorse9. Once the resort opened, the
farm supported it. An early Roesland brochure stated
that the farm supplied "fresh Jersey milk twice daily,
eggs, vegetables, fruit in season, spring lamb, mutton
and dressed poultry".10
Another early brochure, states that two room
cabins were seven dollars per week or twenty-five
dollars per month, three rooms were nine dollars per
week or thirty-five dollars per month, four rooms were
eleven dollars per week or forty dollars per month.
There was also a car available for hire, rowboats to rent
at three dollars per week, and a well stocked store. The
brochure boasted: "Our bathing beach is safe, the boating
the best, fishing good. A restful refreshing holiday is assured.
You will make no mistake in coming to Roesland".11 Another
brochure, waxes poetic: "In the evening we have the
glorious colours ofthe sunset, then the bonfires are lit, and
far into the night songs are sung and tales are told—with no
mosquitoes to mar the pleasure", and goes on to add:
"Ladies summering without their men folk need have no
worries regarding heavy luggage. Everything is made as
convenient as possible".11
Robert Roe Sr. died at age 86 on February 8,1939.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004 All three images are from the Roe Family photo album The
Christmas postcard is from 1947, the other two photographs
are undated. The image of Margaret and Robert Roe Sr. is taken in front of the
Original Roe house (the future museum). Photos courtesy of Pender Island Museum Society
However, by the late 1920s the resort was already
largely run by Bert Roe, the only one of the Roe children
to remain on the property. In 1927, Bert wed Irene
Burnes, a former guest of Roesland. The resort became
the Roe's main source of income, but characteristic of
early Gulf Islanders, the family continued to diversify
their economic pursuits. They operated a general store
and a marine fuel station to service resort guests,
islanders and commercial fisherman in the winter. They
leased the land for petroleum and natural gas
exploration and for a fish plant at nearby Shingle Bay
at which they also operated a general store.
Bert Roe opened the Roesland general store in
1927. It operated within the house he built for himself;
just northeast of the original Roe homestead. The store's
main function was to service resort guests. A brochure
explains: "A store is operated in connection with the resort,
where groceries and a complete stock of staple goods are carried
at city prices. Candies and soft drinks, souvenirs, posts cards,
etc. Victoria's best bread is always in stock".13 Business
receipts reveal a little more about the store's
merchandise. A 1958 receipt from Goodwill Bottling
Ltd., of Victoria shows Bert Roe paid for an order of
Coca-Colas, orange, grape, lime and cream sodas,
cashed in his credit of empty bottles and paid $16.92.
That same summer, he paid Sidney Bakery $30.70 for
thirty-six loaves of bread, some buns and two dozen
cupcakes.14
By 1950 there were seventeen cabins at Roesland.
They were simple and cozy, ranging from
approximately 250 to 500 square feet, with a double
bed in each bedroom, a kitchen and outhouse for each
cabin. Originally guests were asked to bring their own
bedding, dishes, cutlery cooking utensils and carry their
own water. Propane ranges were used for cooking. In
the 1950s, electric stoves were put in the cabins and
cold water was supplied to them by ground water, from
gravity fed surface wells. In later years, a pump was
put in to boost water pressure.15
Also, by the 1950s, the Roes had stopped farming,
had subdivided and sold the bulk of their property and
concentrated their efforts on the running of Roesland.
Before Bert Roe died in 1969, at the age of 75, he asked
David and Florence Davidson to take over the business
of running the resort. David Davidson, of Vancouver,
had been visiting Roesland with his family since he
was a child in 1926. Florence first visited Dave there in
1940. The couple were married in 1942, but didn't
return to Roesland until after the war in 1947. They then
became regular guests with their own family and great
friends with Bert and Irene Roe16. The Davidsons
accepted Bert Roe's proposal and ran Roesland from
1970 until its closing in the fall of 1991. When the
Davidsons took over the business, Irene Roe stayed on
in her house and lived there until she died in 1990. The
Davidsons built and moved into their own home on
the property in 1975.
By the time Roesland closed, many guests were
third and fourth generation patrons. Guests would
request their favourite cabin and come at the same time
each year. Children swam in the ocean, played on
swings, played baseball, volleyball, tetherball and
horseshoes. The adults organized theme party nights
and arranged potluck dinners. There was a Roman
night one year, complete with toga outfits.17 Many
guests kept in touch with each other all year round.
Most were from Vancouver, some from other parts of
British Columbia, a few from Alberta, and the United
States.18
When the Davidsons decided to close Roesland
in the fall of 1991, Florence Davidson remembers guests
saying, '"we would gladly pay double if you keep
going'. They always reprimanded us that we didn't
charge enough".19 In 1997, concerned the beloved
property would be heavily developed if sold to private
buyers; the Davidsons sold Roesland to the Pacific
Marine Heritage Legacy Lands program. Today the
property is an integral piece of the Gulf Islands
National Park Reserve, protected for its natural and
cultural values.
Roesland was a haven for city folk wanting to get
away from the stresses of urban life, if you could get a
reservation. There were few flourishes, just the
necessities. The quiet, natural setting of the resort,
reasonable prices and the dependable hospitality of the
Roes and Davidsons made Roesland a Gulf Islands
landmark, and ensured it a place in the history of the
islands' development as a vacation destination. •
7 The Pacific Marine Heritage
Legacy Oral History Collection,
David and Florence Davidson,
Interview by Ruth SandweU,
Western Canada Service Centre,
Internal Document, Parks Canada.
March 2,1998.
8 Undated brochure from Roe
family collection, courtesy Pender
Island Museum Society, Internal
Document, Parks Canada.
9 Oral History Collection, Florence
and David Davidson 1998.
10 Undated brochure from Roe
Family Collection, courtesy of the
Pender Island Museum Society,
Internal Document, Parks Canada.
11 Undated brochure, from Roe
Family Collection, courtesy of the
Pender Island Museum Society,
Internal Document, Parks Canada.
12 Undated brochure, from Roe
Family Collection, courtesy of the
Pender Island Museum Society,
Internal Document, Parks Canada.
1!  Undated brochure, from Roe
Family Collection, courtesy of the
Pender Island Museum Society,
Internal Document, Parks Canada.
14 Both receipts in the Roe Family
Collection, courtesy of the Pender
Island Museum Society, Internal
Document, Parks Canada.
15 BC Historical Federation, More
Tales, 37 and Oral History
Collection, Florence and David
Davidson 1998.
16 Oral History Collection,
Florence and David Davidson, 1998
17 Oral History Collection,
Florence and David Davidson, 1998
18 Oral History Collection,
Florence and David Davidson, 1998.
19 Oral History Collection, Florence
and David Davidson, 1998.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004        3 B.C.'s First Rangeland Research Station
By VC Brink
For over 50 years,
Dr. Bert Brink has
dedicated his life to
the conservation of
B.C.'s natural
legacy, particularly
the unique
grasslands of the
Southern Interior.
He has received the
Order of Canada,
'the Order of British
Columbia and many
prestigious awards
from wildlife,
nature and
conservation
groups.
The University of
Northern British
Columbia has
created the Vernon
C. Brink Endowed
Scholarship to
support its natural
resources and
environmental    /
studies program.
The natural grasslands of British Columbia
were drastically depleted by the demand for
horses, for red meat and cereals during
World War One. Overuse was followed by
dust storms, plagues of grasshoppers, by the droughts
of the late 1920s and 1930s and the Great Depression.
Land in British Columbia, marginal for cereal
production had been ploughed and then abandoned.
Recognition of the crisis in the United States came in
the form of Senate Document 199 in 1933 and in British
Columbia a rancher committee requesting the
Dominion and British Columbia governments for
assistance for grassland rehabilitation. Two of the
rancher committee, I recall, were L. Guichon of
Quilchena and B. Chance of Douglas Lake.
Soon another committee was formed chaired
by J.B. Munro, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, which
included Dominion Department of Agriculture
animal scientist L.B. Thompson and plant scientist Dr.
S.E. Clarke, University of British Columbia
agronomist Dr. J. G. Moe and ranchers L. Guichon
and B. Chance. Support for the committee was given
by the staff of the Dominion Department of
Agriculture's entomology laboratory at Kamloops
and from the British Columbia Forest Service and
British Columbia Lands Department in Victoria.
The committee recommended that a Range
Research Station administered by the Dominion
Department of Agriculture be established in
Kamloops and that the facilities of the British
Columbia government farm at Tranquille and Pass
Lake and government crown range and beef herd be
made available for the Research Station. In 1935 a
single room in the post office building in Kamloops
was made available for an office. Staff consisted of
T.P Mackenzie as superintendent, EW. Tisdale as
range scientist, two graduate students on eight month
appointments, CW. Vrooman and V.C. Brink with
funds to pay two riders, Wm. Godlinton and T.
Walker, and general help James Brown. The range unit
equipment consisted of several tents, cooking
equipment, and four horses, two of which were British
Columbia Police remounts from Savona. The
founding ofBritish Columbia's first range land station
was rancher driven almost in defiance of the great
economic depression of the 1930s. In the province,
municipalities were going bankrupt and
unemployment was the major issue facing
governments at all levels across the nation. No
permanent staff was added to the station but
temporary graduate student assistants were given
employment in 1936 and 1937 and a number of
extension and range research projects were initiated.
Ranchers were persuaded to reduce their
dependence on low elevation grasslands for spring
and fall grazing by increasing conserved forage
production (hay and silage) by more use of open forest
and alpine ranges, fencing and water development
and salting pattern by emphasizing better animal
nutrition, and somewhat less emphasis on breeds and
breeding. Range reseeding projects, ranch economic
studies and rangeland soil surveys were initiated.
An attempt was made to establish a range
station headquarters on Dewdrop Flats above the
Tranquille TB sanitarium, the costs of which caused
political resistance. T.P. MacKenzie the station
superintendent and formerly British Columbia
Grazing Commissioner, never popular with ranchers
for the intensity of his drive to change range
management in British Columbia, retired and E. W
Tisdale was transferred to the Dominion Experimental
Farm, Swift Current, Saskatchewan. The badly inbred
Tranquille farm beef herd was dispersed and R.L.
Davis the farm manager took a position in Montana.
The rather loosely defined agreement defining the
range station between the federal and provincial
governments was dissolved. As war in Europe
loomed in 1938 and 1939 British Columbia's first range
station was closed. World War Two veteran T.W. Willis
re-established the Canada Rangeland Research Station
with proper headquarters and field facilities on the
Tranquille road, Kamloops at the end of the war.
Rangeland management became a recognized
discipline in the late 1920s and 30s in British Columbia
and in the United States despite hard times. By the
late 1930s ranch economic surveys and rangeland soil
surveys were initiated. The entomological station in
Kamloops became world renowned for its studies of
grasshopper life histories and controls. Rangeland
studies were initiated at universities in Utah and
California. During its short life British Columbia's first
rangeland research station also made definitive
contributions much of it intangible because it
represented a gradual change in attitude and
technique in ranch operation. The importance of
reduction in grazing pressure on low elevation
grassland by more use of open forest and alpine
meadow, by better cultivated forage management,
better distribution of grazing by salt and water
distribution and other accepted practices of today
were slowly accepted after demonstrations on the Lac
du Bois and Nicola ranges. Enduring legacies were
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004 the introduction of crested wheatgrass and winter
hardy alfalfa and better understanding of seeding
techniques in the restoration of abused rangeland. The
introduction of crested wheatgrass to British
Columbia was a first project of the range station. With
perhaps one exception, species of grass and legume
suitable for dryland range seeding were virtually
unknown in the 1920s. Then early in the 1930s crested
wheatgrass which had been introduced from the
steppes of Russia by Dr. N.E.. Hanson of the USDA
Station in North Dakota and grown in nurseries on
the Great Plains since the 1880s was recognized as
invaluable for rangeland seedings. In 1930 among
the very first to recognize its potential were Doctors
Stevenson and Kirk of the University of
Saskatchewan. They supplied seed to the range station
in Kamloops for a very successful trial on about fifteen
acres on the Guichon Quilchena ranch. A brush
harrow of aspen trees towed by a small Ford truck
was used to cover the seed in April 1935. A crude
beginning nonetheless the techniques for rangeland
rehabilitation were initiated. Although non-winter-
hardy Spanish type alfalfa was grown in some parts
of the interior of British Columbia after the Cariboo
gold rush of 1858 it has almost been forgotten that
cold hardy alfalfas like Grimm and Ladak really came
into use in the middle West and Great Plains of North
America in the second and third decades of the 1900s
and in general use in British Columbia in the 1920s
and 1930s. On the roadside and fields of the British
Columbia interior crested wheatgrass and alfalfa are
quite obviously here to stay. •
I
Dr. S.E. Clarke, Plant scientist, Dominion Department
of Agriculture showing crested wheatgrass grown on
the dry farm on the Hamilton Commonage in the
Nicola Area, 1936 (opposite page and front cover)
Canadian government post office 1935. One room on
the second floor accommodated BC's first rangeland
research station, (above right)
Range research station camp, Dewdrop Springs,
Tranquille, 1936. (middle right)
Range research station staff, 1935.
From the left: T.P.MacKenzie, station director
CW. Vrooman, graduate assistant, animal science
E. W. Tisdale taking the photo
Bill Godlonton, head rider
J. Walker, rider
Bert Brink, graduate student, plant scientist
(bottom right)
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004        5 Summer of Historical Coincidence
A Tale of Two Men
By Jocelyn Noel
Jocelyn Noel was
born in Nelson British
Columbia, an artist
and mother of six
children. Her eldest
is Capt. Andrew Dyke
Noel of the Pacific
Pilotage Authority.
Union Steamships vessel
SS Venture
BC Archives, A-00884
Lowe Inlet, c. 1920s
BC Archives, 1-52649
Whilst visiting my oldest son, Pacific
Coastal Pilot, Capt. Andrew Dyke
Noel at Buccaneer Bay one summer, we
were invited for 'happy hour' at the
McLaughlins' cottage. I was introduced to their
friends, the Nystroms, from Issaquah near Seattle.
"Did you know," asked Fred Nystrom, "that
your son's grandfather and my grandfather knew
each other?" I was rather taken aback, and thought
of that song "My Grandfather knew Lloyd George..."
Then he asked if I knew about the Union Steamship
Venture, and yes, I knew that Capt. James Ewing Noel,
my father-in-law had commanded that ship since
1916. It was the principal vessel assigned to look after
the Skeena and Nass River canneries.
How did they meet?
It seems that Fred Nystrom's grandfather, Capt.
F.I. Nystrom left the Swedish island of Gotland, at
the age of thirteen (the oldest of eight children), and
signed aboard an English merchant sailing ship in
1891. This step signified the beginning of a love affair
with the sea that lasted for the next fifty-six years.
My son's grandfather, Capt. James Ewing Noel,
went to sea from another island, Harbour Grace,
Newfoundland at the age of fourteen. He was also
the eldest son of a family of nine. He had his master's
ticket for sail and, at age twenty-one, commanded his
own ship to Boston from Newfoundland. Captain Jim
came to British Columbia in 1905, having sailed
around the Horn of South America to Victoria. Hereby
hangs the tale.
For seven years the robust young Swede
applied himself working his way up from deck boy
to seaman to bo's'n and finally to second mate. These
early years in the "old school" provided the practical
training in seamanship that would mark his career
for the remainder of his life.
Deciding his future would
lie in the United States, he took the
direct approach to immigration
and simply stayed behind in the
forest hills of Seattle as the ship
left port. The following four years
were spent serving on vessels of
the United States Navy and Coastguard. Much of the
time in the frigid Bering Sea on ice patrol. As soon as
possible he returned to his first
interest, merchant shipping.
In June 1903, at the young
but experienced age of twenty-six,
Fred Nystrom became a fully
licensed master of sail with his
first command of the four
hundred ton Martha Tuft. For
several years Captain Nystrom traded primarily in
the Alaska waters, becoming a pilot for southeast
Alaska. In those early years the masters had to rely
greatly on their own navigational aids. Capt.
Nystrom's handwritten note book of how he safely
navigated between Puget Sound and Alaska remains
a prized keepsake of his family and attests to his
ingenuity and resourcefulness.
1906 found Captain Nystrom and his wife Eisa
anchored in San Francisco Bay as the famous
earthquake and fire ravaged the city. He promptly
made his five hundred ton schooner Vega available to
help the fleeing population get safely across the Bay.
With accurate foresight the young captain soon
realized the real future in merchant shipping
belonged to steam-powered vessels. It was a difficult
decision to leave the sailing ships as master and start
over again, but with his quiet determination, he did
leave in December of 1906. The step over to a steam
vessel was not easy, and the first job he found was as
third officer on the SS Cottage City operated by the
Pacific Coast Steamship Company. Applying the
same skills and dedication as he had in the earlier
years, he served successfully on the SS Montara, SS
AIM and SS Tampico. In September 1911, he became
the master of the SS Meteor, becoming one of the few
men to ever hold masters papers in both sail and
steam vessels. Captain Nystrom eventually served
as master of fifteen different steamships.
During all the years sailing in heavy coastal
traffic, fog and storms, the captain had just one
mishap and that was a fire in a cargo aboard the SS
Ravelli while on the British Columbia Coast on the
way to Alaska in 1918. (A seaman had left a lantern
in the hold near the coal, which was set on fire.) The
Ravelli, in distress, signalled for help. As well as the
crew, there were passengers on board.
The SS Venture was in the waters in the area and
heard the SOS. In the fog, Captain Noel was able to
set his ship to find the Ravelli. Captain Nystrom
successfully made a run in from the open ocean and
by use of his own navigational notebook was able to
find Lowe Inlet through the heavy fog. Venture came
alongside, lashed against the stricken vessel at great
risk, pumped in water before abandoning the hopeless
battle and instead, turned to ensuring the safety of the
passengers by transferring them to the Venture.
The Ravelli burned to the waterline and sank
with no loss of life. The remnants of the ship are still
in Lowe Inlet, with the exception of an anchor and
large brass fitting which the grandson regained in a
deep-sea diving expedition, which was made into a
documentary and almost won an Emmy.
And that is the story of how two mariners, two
old salts, from opposite sides of the world, left home
in their youth to sail, only to meet at the top of the
world in steamships to help each other. Now their
grandsons have met and can talk about it. •
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004 A Brief History of How it All Began
British Columbia Farm Machinery and Agricultural Museum Association
by Ron Tarves
On 23 May 1953 Bruce Coleman, on behalf
of his family, presented his father's high
cut plough to the University of British
Columbia.
The late Robert Alfred Coleman had its mould
board, share and the angle of its beam shaped on the
anvil of the late Alex Ross of Bruce County, Ontario,
in 1900. It was brought to Ladner, British Columbia
in 1905 when Mr. Coleman purchased a farm on East
Delta. Two years later he entered and won his first
ploughing match. From that year until 1939 Mr.
Coleman and his plough won nine firsts, seven
seconds, five thirds and a fourth prize. Crowning this
achievement, in 1930 he took top honours at British
Columbia's first provincial ploughing match. He was
champion ploughman at the Provincial Ploughing
Match each year until 1937. From 1937 until his death
in 1941 R.A. Colemen acted as judge at district and
provincial ploughing matches
Dr. Norman McKenzie, president of UBC
accepted the acquisition on behalf of the university.
Tom Leach, then Director of the UBC Farm and
Fisheries department attended the event. He asked
professor Lionel Coulthard what he planned to do
with the acquisition. Lionel replied that for some time
he had been contemplating putting together a
collection of early farm machinery that could be used
to demonstrate to agricultural engineering students
the rapidly changing technology that had altered the
face of farming over the past one hundred years. Tom
said, "Why not establish a Provincial Farm Machinery
Museum on the UBC Endowment land at Point Grey?
He wondered if it might make a suitable project for
members of Sigma Tau Upsilon Honourary
Agricultural Fraternity to sponsor. Tom and Lionel
tossed the idea around with a third member of the
fraternity, Mills Winram. They took their proposal to
members of Sigma Tau Upsilon who took up the
challenge by providing seed money to register a
museum association under the Register of Companies
in Victoria and to provide initial funding.
In February 1958 a meeting was held in the
hospitality room of the Fraser Valley Milk Producers
Association (FVMPA) Fifth Avenue plant with a group
of industry leaders to determine what support the
proposal might expect,
A decision was made that evening that notice
be given that a British Columbia Farm Machinery
Association was being formed with a goal of funding
and operating a museum to be located on the
Endowment Land on Point Grey.
Among those attending the meeting were Dean
Blythe Eagles, UBC Faculty of Agriculture; Harry
Bose, president of the Surrey Co-operative
Association; Alex Mercer, General Manager of
FVMPA; Alex Hope, President of the British Columbia
Coast Vegetable Marketing Board; Alan Park,
President of the FVMPA; Ken Hay Sunny Brook Dairy
and others. Ron Tarves, Canadian Broadcasting
Corporation Farm Broadcast and J.R. Armstrong,
publisher of Country Life in British Columbia
represented the farm press. Some thirty-five
supporters attended the meeting. A meeting was
called for mid-April at which time an executive board
was elected. Tom Leach was named president; Harry
Bose of Surrey, vice-president; Mills Winram of
Vancouver, secretary and Lionel Coulthard, treasurer.
Ken Hay and Alex Hope were elected board members;
Tom Leach, Lionel Coulthard and Mills Winram were
named Founding Members.
On 24, June 1958 the British Columbia Farm
Machinery Association received a Certificate of
Incorporation from the Registrar of Companies in
Victoria. It soon became apparent that UBC was not a
suitable site for such a museum due to the rapid
expansion taking place on the Endowment Lands. A
site was finally chosen at Fort  	
Langley near the Hudson Bay
farm which provided the first
export of farm produce from the
mainland of British Columbia.
The Hudson Bay formed a
subsidiary company that would
enable it to legally trade in farm
produce. They supplied flour,
butter, oat meal and dried peas
to the Russians in Alaska for the
right to trap beaver, fisher, marten, mink and musk-
rats. When the farm at Langley was fully developed
they had some two thousand acres under cultivation
and grazing. In addition there were three farms in
operation near Victoria, and some twelve thousand
acres fenced and supporting horses and beef cattle.
Initially, a thirty year renewable lease was
signed with the District of Langley on a three-acre
site north of the Langley Centennial Museum but
before we could start construction the federal
government decided to restore the historic fur trading
post. Before going ahead with their plans they aquired
the re-alignment of the road to Glen Valley north of
the fort complex and right through our recently
required lease hold. What wasn't required for the
Ron Tarves is a life
member of the
British Columbia
Farm Machinery and
Agricultural Museum
Association and has
been on the board of
directors for forty-six
years.
The Association can
be contacted at PO
Box 279 Fort Langley,
British Columbia,
VOX 1 JO
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004 relocation of the Glen Valley road became a parking
lot and picnic site.
The municipal council were sympathetic.
Mayor Bill Blair was prepared to deed a thirty-three
foot lot immediately south of the Centennial Museum
being held for future expansion of the municipal
museum, if we could see our way clear to purchase a
sixty-six foot lot immediately south and adjoining.
The lot was listed for sale and we closed the deal. It
took nearly nine years to raise sufficient capital to erect
the original building. The project came close to
aborting on several occasions but we persevered. The
Federal Government came through with fifteen
thousand, the provincial secretary's office with
twenty-five thousand dollars plus twenty-five
thousand dollars raised through a fund drive. Support
came from all corners of the province, but it was not
easy to milk a dry cow. Never-the-less, we were off
and away.
On 6 June 1966 Archie Stevenson of Cowichan,
president of the British Columbia Federation of
Agriculture turned the first sod for the eight-thousand
square foot British Columbia Farm Machinery
Museum. The museum to be completed by September
16th would have display space, an archives room. A
work shop for repair and restoration of exhibits.
Curator, Percy Weldon of north Surrey said the
museum already had 115 exhibits in storage from
small hand tools to a threshing machine.
The Museum was officially opened on 19
November 1966 by Sir Robert Billinger then Lord
Mayor of London, England. He was assisted by
Premier W.A.C. Bennett, and the Honourable G.R.
Pearkes, Lt.- Gov. of British Columbia
Within a very short time a second building had
to be erected to house a growing collection of
agricultural artifacts. Ken Hay, a director of the
association put up the required capital as a no-interest
loan to purchase adjoining property west of the first
building. Ken held the title in his name to not cause a
stir among local residents. The deed was held in Ken's
name until we were ready to build. Ron Tarves chaired
a second fund raising drive out of the office of the
British Columbia Turkey Marketing Board in
Cloverdale. Mrs. Ed Pratt donated her time as secretary
of the fund drive. The drive provided seed money and
a second round of government funding. The federal
government, thanks to the Honourable Arthur Laing.
Minister of Northern Development, provided fifty-
thousand dollars and the Provincial Government fifty-
thousand dollars over two to three years.
Phase two and three were officially opened on
23, September 1978 by the Honourable RH. McLellan,
MLA. Phase three was the steam room. Two grants
from the New Horizon program materially helped
to equip the shop in the basement of building number
two with hand tools and power equipment. In 1984,
the association through the efforts of executive
members and the support of Mayor Bill Blair
succeeded in having the museum taken off the tax
roll. To qualify for this concession under the
Municipal Act we had to include the word agriculture
in the name. Hence the change of name to the British
Columbia Farm Machinery and Agriculture Museum.
Initially we qualified for funding under a
federal government Exhibitions Act, which could
provide up to a maximum of twelve-thousand dollars
on a dollar for dollar basis annually. Under the act
exhibitions submitted an accounting of expenditures
for prize money, ribbons and expenses for
honorariums for judges. In the early days we only
qualified for some three-thousand dollars.
The act was initially established by the
Honourable James Gardner, Minister of Agriculture
to assist the Saskatchewan Farm Machinery Museum
at Pioneera. Arthur Laing advised us to get our
request in for funding under the act before it was
rescinded. If the Saskatchewan group came under the
act, it had to be made across the board. We received
some three-thousand dollars annually for three years,
and in the fourth year the act was rescinded.
We gratefully received some seven-thousand
dollars in a last kick at the cat. In British Columbia
the act was administered by Dave Owen of the
Livestock Branch. It wasn't much but it helped us
survive at a critical stage of our development. Due to
a shortfall in funding since 1990 the museum has been
managed by volunteers. This situation is not likely
to change in the near future. •
8 BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004 The Creators of Canford
by Frances J. Welwood
Canford, lying in the peace of the Lower
Nicola Valley, fifteen kilometers west of
Merritt is unique among British
Columbia's many ghost settlements. Here
the Nicola Valley abruptly narrows and the river
hurries to join the Thompson at Spence's Bridge. The
spirit of this pastoral land instantly captured the
hearts, imagination and dreams of two men who
ventured there. Ninety years separated these two
singular encounters.
In the fall of 1991, Doug Carnegie, a young North
Vancouver man with an eye for 'something different'
and 'something that would be an interesting out of
town weekend home and project'1 motor-cycled west
on Highway 8 from Merritt. For twenty years following
retirement Jim Johnston had inhabited 110 acres of
ranch and farmland in the fold of the final semi-circle
lazy sweep made by the north-west flowing Nicola
River. Carnegie arrived just as Johnston hammered a
'For Sale By Owner' sign at the junction of the Highway
and Sunshine Valley Road. Ugly traces of a long-
deceased Canford sawmill operation notwithstanding,
Carnegie's attachment to the site was determined
within six months, and he became the owner of the
entire Canford, British Columbia settlement. The
unknown history and ghosts of the former settlement
mingled with his enthusiasm and imagination, and he
resolved to create or re-create some 'thing' at this very
special place.
"From Spence's Bridge, on the Canadian Pacific
Railway, one can cycle over one of the best roads in
the Province, and taking a south-easterly course along
the valley of the Nicola, through one of the most fertile
portions of British Columbia. The meadows are an
emerald green and teem with cattle and horses of the
sleekest kind."2 This commentary was penned in
October 1900 by the first Vancouver gentleman
beguiled by the same site that was later to catch
Carnegie's fancy. It is doubtful that Mr. Theophilus
Richard Hardiman Esq., managing editor of the
Vancouver-based British Columbia Mining Exchange
and Investor's Guide and Mining Tit-Bits actually cycled
the dusty wagon track that edged the Nicola River.
However, this was the exaggerated style and effort
Mr. Hardiman regularly employed in his reporting.
The cycling image also affords a pleasant link with
Carnegie's approach, 90 years later, to the site
Hardiman was to name Canford.
In 1900 Hardiman was in the Nicola / Coldwater
area to investigate current developments in coal, iron,
copper and other mineral explorations for his recent,
Canford Village, Wimbome,
but widely-circulated trade journal. His subsequent
mining and prospecting report was most positive, but
he could not resist observing the agricultural assets
of the Lower Nicola Valley, "...Close to a good
highway, in a most fertile and well-settled district,
where cattle, horses and the necessities of nature seem,
as it were, focussed about this highly favored locality,
containing the concentrated essence of everything of
importance being comparatively unknown and
unappreciated."3
It is not surprising that the bearer of the high-
sounding name 'Theophilus' (one who loves God)
would have great expectations and estimations of his
own capabilities and opinions. Theophilus, a native
of Bournemouth, Dorset, his Leicestershire-born wife
Mary Theresa Hallam and three young children had
left England and a future with his father's coach-
building company in 1882, for the unlikely destination
of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Their time in the Western
"Gateway City" was extremely distressing. Red River
fever (typhoid), a frequent grim visitor to Winnipeg,
quickly took the lives of two year old Horace and six
year old Prisella.4 To earn a livelihood Theophilus
variably worked as artist, stationer, registrar and
collector, while Mary Theresa was a dealer in fancy
goods.5
In May 1887, the family boarded the Canadian
Pacific Railway to Port Moody British Columbia,
detraining less than two weeks prior to the arrival of
the first trans-continental train at the Vancouver
terminus. Hardiman quickly established himself in
business with confident promotional ads and entries
"Canford Village,
Wimbome, Dorset, the
rusticated Victorian
village after which
Canford, Nicola Valley was
named in 1903."
(Canford School, Dorset)
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004 HARDIMAN & MARSDEN
If&nd Mining and General Supply Asta
Mining entflnciTM. IttiuorU oa mining prop^r-
tlc*i through, tbe District,. Agflms for mining,
contractors, farm machinery, wacnDH, bu^Kl'**.
Kc. lablu liildre^t*: "Aarmiu" Codes: UroLu-
hoJJT Moreinic & Nc al, A, R. C. 4th.
Warehouse—Caji ford. Nicola- Valley, B. Q.
Theophilus Hardiman,
retained mining interests
even as he was planning
and developing his
settlement of Canford.
(source: Nicola Valley Herald
Sept. 1-5, 1905)
in newspapers and directories. The recent arrivee
endeavored to turn a measure of artistic talent (in the
Victorian painted landscape and seascape genre) into
a profitable business venture. In 1889 his Pioneer Art
Gallery at 522 Cordova Street was Vancouver's first
recorded "Art Gallery".6
The Pioneer Art Gallery and its proprietor
were: "carver, gilder and manufacturer of mouldings
and picture frames—wholesale and retail artists
requisites"7, and of course, "art dealer." As West
Cordova developed, lots were re-numbered and the
Art business, now centred at 622-624 Cordova,
generally expanded.
In 1894 Hardiman, along with members of the
City's cultural and artistic elite, became an active,
founding member of the Art, Historical and Scientific
Association8 (predecessor of the Vancouver Museum)
and a "Representative for B.C. of the Art Union of
London, England.'9
Shortly before his death in 1928, Hardiman
shared his recollections of Vancouver's early artistic
community via a Letter to the Editor. "The writer's
place [Pioneer Art Gallery] was the rendezvous for
artists, Messrs. Mower Martin, Bell-Smith, De Forest,
Ferris, Lee Rogers, ...whose pictures of British
Columbia are known throughout the Empire."10 There
was every indication TRH was experiencing a
successful, satisfying and promising career.
However, abruptly in 1897, a nearby Cordova
address (612), boasted an entirely new enterprise/s:
"B.C. Mining Prospector's Exchange Company", and
"London and B.C. Gold Venture Syndicate" of
Vancouver and London. The Secretary of the new
corporation/s was T.R.Hardiman. News of the
Klondike had hit the streets of Vancouver and melded
with reports of ventures in mining camps throughout
the province. Opportunities abounded! With no
registered credentials in mineral extraction,
prospecting, brokerage of mining stocks or properties,
or experience in publication of trade journals or
promotion, TRH launched an entirely new career.
It was time to rekindle contacts in England!
April 1898, Theophilus, Mary Theresa and their
youngest child, six year old Lionel, returned to Britain
for the first time in sixteen years. In London, the eager
Canadian established connections with the
consortium "Associated Gold Mines of British
Columbia" registered in UK in January of 1898. A
London journal devoted to the mining and
commercial interests of British Columbia and the
Dominion interviewed TRH under the banner "A
Well-Known Mining Man Speaks of the Great
Opportunities Which Exist."11 Mr. Hardiman, it was
noted, "...was able to give ...many facts concerning
the big enterprise referred to [Associated Gold Mines
of BRITISH COLUMBIA] and with which he is
associated."12
However, back in Vancouver, the editor of The
BC Mining Record, Mr. H. Mortimer Lamb was not as
convinced of the company or its representative's
credibility. "The way Mr. Hardiman talks about
$100,000 assays is really deplorable, but then Mr.
Hardiman is by trade a picture dealer, and not a
mining expert.. .."13 Undeterred, Hardiman returned
to his Cordova Street headquarters to launch in
January 1899, the monthly journal British Columbia
Mining [Prospectors'] Exchange and Investors' Guide (a
bibliographer's nightmare owing to its continually
evolving nomenclature), which complemented and
competed with the two fore-mentioned trade journals.
Not content to merely aid others in their search
for gold and other metallic treasures, our journal
editor, also facilitated the incorporation of "The Grand
Forks of Bonanza Gold Mining Company (Klondike),
Ltd."14 An enticing company prospectus was
published in the BCMPE&IG. The Company office,
with TRH's seventeen year old son Percy noted briefly
as Secretary, was located at—612 Cordova.
A trip to the Klondike was now in order! 20
August 1900 TRH, with all the enthusiasm and
bravado of earlier gold-seekers, boarded the Union
Steamship Cutch for Skagway. Four days later she was
wrecked on a jagged reef twenty-five miles from
Juneau. All on board safely reached a rocky shoreline. TRH eventually completed a two week return
journey by rail and lake boat into Dawson City, a visit
to the Grand Forks of Bonanza mining site on Bonanza
Creek, and return to Skagway. This was wonderful
stuff for a lengthy adventure story for the BCMPE&IG,
combining ship wreck drama, and the popular thrill
10 BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004 of the Klondike.15
1901 was a critical year for the Hardiman
family, yet there is little written evidence on the events
or highlights of that year. The Hardimans' comfortable
home (one of only five in the 1400 block Alberni St.)
where the family had lived since 1893 was soon
vacated. The eldest daughter Alice Maude, had
married (ultimately, unhappily) shop clerk, Henry
Horton, and lived just down the street from her
Hardiman familial home. Matters in TRH's two
mining and mineral agencies had taken an abrupt
unfortunate turn. Grand Forks of Bonanza Gold
Mining (Klondike) Company no longer received
notice in mining journals. By October 1901,
BCME&IG's new owner promptly enlarged the
journal while simultaneously reducing the
subscription rate from $2 to $1. The new Editor
pointed out that".. .persistent vilification of our rulers
is the worst possible policy for British Columbia's
interests abroad."16 (Hardiman, in his editorial
commentary had been known to question provincial
government mining and labour policy).
Coincidentally issues of the journal between February
1901 and August 1902 are unavailable in libraries or
archives in Britain and Canada.
Throughout 1897 and 1898 TRH had engaged
in an exchange of curt correspondence with the
Deputy Provincial Secretary. Based on his successful
business trip to England, TRH applied persistently
to be awarded certification as a Notary Public. 17
However, TRH did not appear willing to challenge
the set examination and subsequently withdrew his
application. There seemed to be one set-back after
another. Next, the fifty year old (age varies according
to document, certificate, Census) city-dweller took a
bold step.
"In the Spring of 1902, we, that is myself and
children daughter of twelve [sic Mabel Amelia
"Queenie" was fourteen] and young son of ten
[Lionel], all full of vigor, life and hope, migrated to
the Dry Belt of the Interior of British Columbia, after
realizing everything we had on the Coast and
investing in certain mining claims in the hills of the
Dry Belt."18
This is the opening paragraph of an idealized,
selective and somewhat sentimental account written
just months before he passed away, of the Hardimans'
removal to the Interior. Mary Theresa and children
were now to experience that fateful first glance of the
verdant Lower Nicola Valley that had struck "Theo"
less than two years previously and would grab the
motor-cycling Doug Carnegie ninety years hence.
According to their father, the children were
delighted with the excursion from Spence's Bridge,
with the mountains, dangerous road and jaunty stage
travel. "In some places the river wound like a silver
thread below us, through desert like flats of sage-brush
with here and there a patch of verdant green
evidencing cultivation and plenty of water of
irrigation."19 One wonders of the impressions and
expectations of his fifty year old wife (age 'varies'
according to document, certificate, and Census),
remembered by all her family and neighbours as
petite, quiet, gentle and over-worked.
In spite of images of winding valley bottoms,
fertile land and leafy trees, Mary Theresa knew that
Theo had come to prospect for minerals. Her husband
was more than familiar with the risks and 'prospects'
in the search for ores and was well acquainted with
principal mineralogists, recorders, assayers and agents
who frequented the office on Cordova Street. Mining
journals in addition to his own recently abandoned
BCME&IG and the very reliable and thorough Annual
Reports of the British Columbia Minister of Mines
would have been his Bible for the past five years. Both
Kamloops and Similkameen Divisions of the Yale
Mining District Reports had made cautious reference
to Hardimans' destination, the Ten-Mile or Guichon
Creek area, directly north of the community of Lower
Nicola. "The metalliferous minerals so far discovered
in the vicinity of the Nicola river are copper ores,
embracing chalcopyrite, bornite and some gray
copper. These occur in the mountains back from the
[Nicola] river...in the neighbourhood of Spences
Bridge, ...Ten-Mile creek near Lower Nicola. At
present these discoveries are only 'prospects with
possibilities'... and on none has there been performed
other development than that incidental to assessment
work."20
Accordingly, in the Spring of 1902, Hardiman
and un-named companion/s "•••got to work in the
hills, drilling and blasting in the mine, hoping to have
sufficient funds to enable us to carry out our purpose,
but alas! we found that metal mining takes a fortune
ere you can make one, so we have no alternative but
to close down.. .."21 That simple explanation masks a
story of apprehension and disappointment.
Yet, within days Theo set out with a friend in
search of promising agricultural land to settle. As in a
scene from a pleasing Victorian novel, they came upon
the very same "cool bit of verdancy and shade" by a
loop in the Nicola River which had piqued Theo's
1 Douglas R. Carnegie, Personal
correspondence, April 1999.
2 The B. C. Mining Exchange and
Investor's Guide and Mining Tit-
Bits. v.2 #10-11 (1900): 3.
!   ibid., 4
4 Winnipeg Daily Times. 5 June
1882.
5 Henderson's Directory.
Winnipeg; 1883-88.
6 Henderson's Directory.
Vancouver: 1889.
7 Daily News Advertiser.
[Vancouver], 1 Jan.1889:1.
8 Vancouver City Archives. Priv.
Rec. #Add.MSS 336, Box 546, E5
file 5
9 Vancouver City Directory.
1896: 34.
10 Vancouver Sunday Province.
[Magazine section] 29 July 1928.
11 The British Columbia Review.
v.3, 23 April 1898: 38.
12 ibid.
1! The Mining Record, v.4 # 6,
(June 1898): 18.
14 BC Gazette. 3 Aug.1899: 549-
550.
15 BCME&IG. v.2 #10-11 (1900):
8-16.
16 BCME&/G.v.4#6(June1902):
17 BC Archives. GR-0540 Prov.
Sect. Corres. Outward. Reel 2463
#882
18 Hardiman, T.H.[R]. The
Adventure and Romance of
Pioneering the Dry Belt of British
Columbia MS Canford,BC
[c. 1928]:1.
19 ibid.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004
11 Canford BC CPR Station
c. 1906 was rescued from
brambles along the Nicola
River and re-settled at
Canford by current owner
Douglas Carnegie
R.J. Welwood photo
Queenie Hardiman Bright
(2nd from left), her
children: Phyllis, Muriel
and Dick and their Hardiman
grandparents, Mary Theresa
and Theophilus, at
Canford Manor Farm c. 1918.
photo courtesy Barbara Hardiman
imagination on
his very first
sighting. This
320 acre 'oasis'
(maximum size
pre-emption
permitted
under the Land
Act, 1884), was
quickly staked
and recorded at
the Provincial
Government
office in Nicola
on 16 July 1902.
22 Meanwhile, in
this isolated, but idyllic setting Hardiman encountered
another recent arrival from Vancouver, who told a
familiar tale of misplaced business interests. "Mr. Charles
Guest....had been persuaded to join a company in
Vancouver into which he had foolishly put all his money
and was made 'president'. It had failed and he had lost
heavily. I explained to him that it was a very similar case
to my own...."23
By the time Mr. Guest rode onto the scene, Theo
and Mary Theresa had decided that their Nicola Valley
homestead would be named 'Canford' in memory of
a Medieval-Victorian eleven thousand acre estate in
the Dorset countryside, not far from Bournemouth.
'Canford Manor' was a striking edifice owned by Sir
Ivor Guest and wife Lady Cornelia Spencer-Churchill
(aunt to Winston).24 The village of Canford Magna
was created by the two recent generations of Guests,
as a model village for workers on the massive estate.
A rustic
ornamental
wooden
architectural
style was
employed in
construction of
cottages and the
village remains
of interest to
locals and
tourists in the
21st century.
T h e o ' s
memories of
summer
holidays in the
Dorset countryside would be enshrined at Manor
Farm, Canford, British Columbia and he would be
the patron of the settlement.
The Hardiman family embraced pioneer life.
Charles Guest and Theo, with no previous experience,
constructed a home near the stage road. Queenie
shingled the roof; land was cleared for a garden; fences
to fend off errant ranch cattle were erected and newcomers to the valley welcomed. In the evenings, Theo
kept up correspondence and intelligence of
developments in the Valley, the province and indeed
the British Empire, for which he possessed a
resounding patriotic fervor.
Since 1891 the Province had been the recipient
of several Petitions and counter-Petitions from
notable, responsible residents of the Nicola in support
for or against the granting of charter/s to construct a
railway through the Nicola Valley from The Forks
[Merritt] to the CPR mainline at Spence's Bridge.
Hardiman dashed off letters of encouragement and
support for the railway to CPR grandee Lord
Strathcona (Donald Smith) and "a financial friend in
London". In 1905, needing access to Nicola Valley and
Coldwater coal, the CPR leased a Charter granted
earlier to the Nicola, Kamloops and Similkameen
Railway and Coal Company. Thus laying of the long-
awaited track commenced promptly in January
1906—right through the middle of the house! Surveys
for the line revealed that a portion of the land
Hardiman had pre-empted in 1902 did, in fact, lie
within the properties described by British Columbia's
Railway Belt Act of 189525. He was essentially
'squatting' on Dominion Land. Retroactively, the
master of Manor Farm, Canford, filed the detailed
papers required by the Dominion Lands Act—
Statutory Declaration, Affidavit in Support of Claim,
Sworn Statements etc.26 Due to a further complication
precipitated because Hardiman ceded too much land
to the CPR (in keeping with the Railway Belt
designation) and a portion duly needed to be returned
to him, it was not until 13 May 1909 that final Letters
Patent for the Canford settlement were issued.
The Railway also brought romance to the
Hardiman homestead. John Benjamin Bright, a
construction engineer under contract to the CPR,
along with numerous surveyors and railway
engineers, stopped by the new Canford Station site.
Queenie played the newly-acquired piano and
charmed the prosperous kindly gentlemen, twenty-
six years her senior. Queenie and Bright were married
on the verandah of Manor Farm, in June 1907. Rev.
pf2e, i-ons&yfifsTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004 Richard Small C. of E., the revered "Archdeacon on
Horseback" officiated.27
Canford did indeed have its own identity before
the Railway Belt issue. Finally successful in receiving
recognition from the Provincial Government,
Hardiman was designated a Justice of the Peace for
Lower Nicola in Novemberl903.28 Henderson's
Directory 1904 gives Canford a separate entry, listing
8 residents including TRH as geologist and J.P May
1907 a Post Office was opened with TRH as Post
Master, a position held until 1914. Life at Canford was
generally fruitful and optimistic. Realizing railroad
expansion and 'colonization' or 'the Settlement
question' went hand in hand, Theo enthusiastically
took up a one-man plan to bring settlers of the
companionable sort to the Canford area. Through
personal contacts he attracted settlers from California,
Vancouver, Britain and abroad—not always with
positive results. In 1909 Mary Theresa's niece,
husband and infant son emigrated from
Leicestershire, but could bear only two weeks of
mosquitoes and general rural hardship before moving
on to Vancouver. One gentleman from Kenya [East
Africa] allegedly sued Hardiman for damages or misdirected funds and returned from whence he came.
By 1915 there were four churches, several lumber
mills and a general store managed by son Percy, in
addition to the post office and tiny railway station. A
basic one-room school attended by Lionel's three
children was constructed in 1918 at the Canford Mills
site about two kilometers distant. Department, of
Education specifications allowed for one outhouse and
woodshed, but"... [the] contractor will not be allowed
to plead that local custom warranted deviations..."29
In 1922 Lionel married Dorothy Howell, a
recent, but soon to be permanent immigrant from
Wales. John and Queenie Bright's three children also
attended the Canford School (on occasion) or Crofton
House School in Vancouver as they followed their
itinerant railway building father.
Financial embarassment for whatever reasons
plagued TRH's later years. He was thus less the
paterfamilias in the eyes of his 14 grand-children and
gruff and stern in the opinion of his long-time
neighbours. Relationships with native neighbours
from nearby Nooaitch (IR # 10), Nooaitch Grass(IR # 9)
and Pony Indian Reserves (IR #8) grew testy. In June
1909 (while still a Justice of the Peace) Hardiman was
writing to the Attorney General expressing outrage
and indignation over judicial treatment Lionel had
received in a dispute over the purchase of a certain
quality and quantity of hay from a native called
'Pony'. In his agitated state Lionel's father re-iterated
all he had accomplished and contributed to the
province in the past 22 years. He invoked character
references to Archdeacon Small (who had died several
months earlier), his successor Rev. Thompson and his
own son-in-law, John Bright.30
By the time his dearest Mary Theresa had passed
away (1926) and he came to transcribe his "Adventure
and Romance of Pioneering", Theo looked only with
fondness and patriotism upon his Canford homestead.
"...There is no life which is more satisfying and
healthful and in which we have so much in common
and contributes so much to Empire building and
making the country into one worth recording"31
With regret, Lionel Hardiman sold Manor Farm
and all its properties in 1955 to the aptly-named
Canford Lumber Company. The site was then owned
by a series of six pulp and paper companies and one
private owner, until Canford was fortunate enough
to find its redemption in Doug Carnegie in 1992.
Initially Carnegie did not quite know how to
redeem Canford. He only knew he wanted it to be a
community again. A self-styled heritage preservationist and film-set decorator by instinct and
profession, Carnegie began to collect and re-locate
appropriate turn-of-the-century formerly functional
buildings—such as those that resided at Hardiman's
Canford. First it was the original Sunshine Valley/
Canford Bridge (c.1903) which crossed the Nicola
River at Canford's doorstep, then the disused Merritt
CPR Train Station, then two CPR sheds, then the tiny
Canford Station was resurrected from nearby
brambles and so it goes. "Simply put, Carnegie
rescues old industrial and commercial buildings and
lets them grow old on his Merritt-area acreage." 32
Carnegie inexplicably perceived that music might
be the medium through which Canford would live again!
September 2002—100 years after the arrival of
Theo, Mary Theresa, Lionel and Queenie—Carnegie
constructed a stage on the platform of the old Merritt
CPR Station, secured a couple of pianos and lured
Michael Kaeshammer and Tom McDermott, jazz-
pianists extraordinaire, and other blues and boogie
musicians to the site. What followed was the Canford
Station Boogie. A crowd of 200 filled the hay field at
the lazy loop of the Nicola River. Piano music filled
the evening air. Queenie and tunes from the Hardiman
piano hauled by stage wagon from Spence's Bridge
lingered beneath the cottonwoods.»
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004
13 The Public Library Commission: Its Finest Hour
by Howard Overend
Howard Overand
was in charge of
the Public Library
Commission's East
Kootenay Branch in
Cranbrook from
1956-57 and its
Peace River Branch
in Dawson Creek
from 1958-72.
His book, Book        >
Guy: A Librarian in
the Peace, was
published by
TouchWood
Editions in 2001
It may be, as Shakespeare said in Julius Caesar,
that "there is a tide in the affairs of men, which,
taken at the flood, leads on to fortune" but more
than sixty years ago, a small group of men,
appointed by the Government of British Columbia,
took decisive action when their prospects were indeed
at the very ebb. This was the Public Library
Commission whose mandate it was to oversee the
welfare of public libraries in the province. Its three
members were unobtrusive unpaid citizens imbued
with a strong belief in the printed page and its power
to enlighten and educate people, a Commission bent
on bringing about substantial change in government
thinking.
They knew it would be an uphill struggle. The
boom and enthusiasm brought on by the successful
development of library districts in the Fraser Valley,
the Okanagan and on Vancouver Island had subsided.
Canada was in a severe economic depression and there
was little money for library service anywhere, neither
from government nor municipalities. Denied
sustenance, some libraries had simply dwindled to
mediocrity over the years and were in effect little more
than commercial lending libraries, if that. They needed
help. But Canada was at war. It was 1940. Ebb tide.
The chairman of the Commission was veteran
library supporter Hugh Norman Lidster, fifty-eight,
a municipal solicitor and local library trustee in New
Westminster. With him were seventy-two-year-old
John Ridington who had just retired as UBC librarian
after twenty-four years in office, and the up-and-
coming, go-getter head of the Vancouver Public
Library, Edgar Stewart Robinson, then forty-three. A
fourth man was Charles Keith Morison, forty-nine,
who had just been appointed Provincial Librarian and
Superintendent of the Commission. He served as
secretary.
From backgrounds that varied from Old
Country industrial to backwoods America to Eastern
Townships Quebec, these Commissioners and their
super drew on a virtual Aladdin's cave of knowledge,
experience and expertise in public library affairs. As
a boy of thirteen, Norman Lidster had come to Canada
in 1902 with his parents and sister from the
shipbuilding and ore-exporting town of Barrow-in-
Furness in northern Lancashire. After finishing high
school in New Westminster he had worked as an
apprentice printer and bank clerk before articling in
law and setting up his own practice in 1917. Elected
alderman in New Westminster inl925, he had chaired
the committee that brought about the incorporation
of the local library board in 1928 under the Public
Libraries Act. He was appointed to the provincial
Library Survey Council that helped produce the
formative British Columbia Library Survey of 1927-
28. By 1940 this seasoned library trustee and
municipal law expert had already been chairman of
the Public Library Commission for eleven years and
had guided it through the Carnegie-funded public
library demonstration project that produced the
Fraser Valley Union Library in 1934. He had also
served as president of the British Columbia Library
Association two years later.1 Norman Lidster was a
determined and careful person with vision who could
always be relied on to sort out the legalities and impact
of whatever stance the Commission might take in
handling its affairs. But the important thing about this
quiet-spoken library leader was his strong interest in
public libraries and the broader aspects of education.
He was the perfect man for the job.
John Ridington, born in West Ham, a suburban
dock town east of London, had come from London in
1889 as a 21-year-old, taught school in rural Manitoba
for a few years, and owned and edited a small-town
newspaper at Carberry in 1896 before landing a job
as reporter and art critic for the Winnipeg Free Press in
1901. After trying his hand at selling real estate he
had moved to Vancouver in about 1911 where he
worked as sales manager for a trust company. The
depressed economy of 1913 changed the course of his
life: he lost money in land development and was
down and nearly out, until, as luck would have it, he
was hired in 1914 as cataloguer (and acting librarian)
at the brand-new University of British Columbia
Library. To learn more about his new work he took
library summer courses at New York State University
in 1916 and was appointed UBC's first librarian that
same year. He never looked back.
John Ridington's years at the university were
marked by strong direction and tumultuous growth
in library service. Not only did he organize and run
the fledgling library of some 700 books, in seven years
he had built this up to 55,000 and supervised their
removal from the Fairview campus in downtown
Vancouver to the new building on Point Grey in 1923.
It was a busy, demanding time of reorganization and
expansion and constant activity but he was up to it.
During his term of office student enrolment soared
from nearly 400 to more than 3200 and the library's
holdings increased to 125,000 volumes.2
Ridington was a pusher, a promoter. He wanted
to make things happen. In 1930 he had energetically
14 BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004 undertaken what to him must have been a wonderful
adventure, a real challenge. As chairman of a three-
member Commission of Enquiry appointed by the
American Library Association, he had conducted a
gigantic and exhaustive rail-travel survey of libraries
of all kinds in every province in Canada in the
summer of 1930. What an enterprise! It was a giant
step for the country's libraries. His fellow
commissioners were Dr. George Herbert Locke of the
Toronto Public Library, the first Canadian to be
president of ALA (1926-27), and Mary Joanna Louise
Black of the Fort William Public Library, first woman
president of the Ontario Library Association in 1917-
18. The survey was an impressive feat of library
enquiry and advocacy on which Ridington based his
attempt in the next few years to create a national
library council. This would have been a giant stride
forward but it was, disappointingly, ahead of its time:
the Canadian Library Association was not established
until 1946.3
The other Public Library Commission
crusaders, Robinson and Morison, were different
again, although their careers bore striking similarities
to Ridington's. Robbie, as staff called him at
Vancouver Public Library, was born in Michigan's
upper peninsula not far from Sault Ste. Marie. After
working as a page at Calgary Public, he had attended
university in Toronto and then studied library science
at the University of Washington.4 This had propelled
him, incredibly, at age twenty-seven, to the top job in
the Vancouver Public Library in 1924 where, three
years later, he expanded the service by opening
Kitsilano, the first of many branches. By 1929 he had
succeeded in having the outgrown Carnegie Library
acquire the old city hall as an annex.5 His contribution
to the Commission of 1940 was the savvy that came
from being in charge of the largest public library in
the province for sixteen years and having
administered it during the hard times and slashed
budgets of the Thirties.
Morison was born in the hamlet of Ormstown,
Quebec, in 1891, the son of a Presbyterian horse-and-
buggy preacher whose family—certainly young
Charles—had grown up with a desire to help people
less fortunate than themselves, a trait Ridington, the
bespectacled, neatly goateed UBC librarian, had once
teased him about. Morison had a commitment to the
public good and saw himself as his brother's keeper.
Looking ahead to a career, he had not chosen his
father's work but had preferred politics where he
thought he could "do [his] part toward bringing up
society in the way it should go."
During the World War Morison had won the
Military Medal in the artillery and in postwar years
had knocked about the oil fields of Texas, California
and Mexico, been a chauffeur in California, and a
bond salesman, insurance manager and truck driver
in Victoria before enrolling in librarianship at McGill
in 1933. Dr. Helen Gordon Stewart gave him a job as
van driver in the Fraser Valley and when her
demonstration project was over he became the new
Fraser Valley Union Library's first librarian in 1934.
After six challenging years, though, C.K., as he was
known, had vaulted to the double position of
Provincial Librarian and Public Library Commission
Superintendent.6 This career athleticism was what he
had in common with Ridington and Robinson. And
with all of them he shared a deep sense of dedication
and a healthy dollop of do-good earnestness. These
men believed in libraries and people.
Their views may be inferred to some extent by
the tenor of the report Libraries in British Columbia
1940.7 Written by the Commission with the probable
assistance of its secretary, it was a lengthy account of
all facets of the Public Library Commission's work
since Clarence Brown Lester's groundbreaking
province-wide survey thirteen years before, the
results of which were published as the British
Columbia Library Survey, 1927-28.8 But now that
Canada was at war, the Commissioners, with their
strong social conscience, turned their thoughts to
what might lie ahead in the days of peace. They were
concerned that young people, particularly the
veterans returning from the war, might become
another "lost generation" the way they had in the
Twenties unless there were means in place for them
to continue with education to equip themselves "for
community life and social obligation." Do people ever
talk of such things now?
In order to win the peace, the Commissioners
told the Hon. George S. Pearson, Provincial Secretary,
the government ought to fund public libraries—
which were recognized generally as educational
institutions and described in the report as "social
necessities" and "essential social services"—on the
same basis as schools because, the Commission
maintained, "the library was the principal continuing
school of the average citizen... the people's
university."
Reinforcing this theme, the Commission
asserted that the library's "ministry of books" - a
reference to the wealth of reading material that is the
From Whom All Blessings
Flow: Books guidance and
grants were given to public
libraries in British
Columbia from the Public
Library Commission's
quarters in the basement
of the Parliament
Buildings, Victoria, from
1919 to 1965. (opposite)
BC Archives photo A-09237
NOTES
1- Wendy Turnbull, New
Westminster Public library. Also,
Marjorie C. Holmes, Library
Service in British Columbia; A
Brief History of Its Development.
Victoria, Public Library
Commission of British Columbia,
1959.79-81.
2' Ridington Family fonds,
Biographical Sketch, comp. by
Christopher Hives (1977, 2000)..
1 Basil Stuart-Stubbs, 1930: The
Commissioners' Trail, Canadian
Library Association, 2001.
www.cla.ca/resources/
1930.html.
4 The Province, October 25,
1957, courtesy New Westminster
Public Library.
5 Holmes, 58+.
6 As We Remember It;
Interviews with Pioneering
Librarians of British Columbia,
ed. by Marion Gilroy and Samuel
Rothstein. Vancouver, UBC School
of Librarianship with the cooperation and assistance of the
Library Development Commission
of British Columbia, 1970. 77+.
7' British Columbia. Public
Library Commission. Libraries in
British Columbia, 1940, Victoria,
King's Printer, 1941.
8 Ibid. British Columbia Library
Survey, 1927-28. Victoria, King's
Printer, 1929.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004
15 9 BC Dept. of Education. Misc.
Reports. Maxwell Cameron,
Report of the Commission of
Enquiry into Educational Finance
(f945j.BC Archives, GR 1116.
10 Libraries in BC, 1940.18,28-30.
"■ British Columbia. Public
Library Commission, Special
Study Committee, A Preliminary
Study of Adult Education in
British Columbia, 1941. A
Contribution to the Problem.
Victoria, 1942.
12' British Columbia. Public
Library Commission. The Public
Library and Its Relation to the
Provincial Government in the
Post-War Period; A BrieL.to the
Hon. the Minister of Education,
Novembers, 1943. 2,3. GR
1387, box 8, file 2, BC Archives.
° PNLA Quarterly, vol. 8 (April
1944), 87-90. see also Libraries
in BC 1940, 28.
" Libraries in BC, 1940. 26.
15' Stuart-Stubbs, Basil, William
Kaye Lamb: A Eulogy ...[delivered
August 31,1999]
16 As We Remember It, 58, 66-68.
17 Vancouver Sun, March 29,
1957, Province, October 2,1958,
March 25,1967, courtesy
F.Voorspoor, BC Archives.
1!' Joint Committee of the British
Columbia Library Association and
the Public Library Commission,
Programme for Library
Development in British Columbia,
1950, 3,1, 5. These expressions
were also used in the 1945
Programme.
"■ Holmes, 17.
20 Libraries in BC, 1940.28.
21 ■ Programme ...1945. 6
22' Holmes, 17.
21 Programme ...1950. 3.
24'Programme ...1956.10.
25' Public Libraries Statistics,
various years, courtesy Dawn
Stoppard, PLSB, Victoria.
26 PLC minutes, Nov. 2,1929. GR
1387, box 2, file 5; Black to Clay,
Nov. 12,1929, box 1, file 6. FOI
Section, BC Archives.
hallmark of good libraries—enables it to provide
continuing education to people long after their years
of formal education are over and that this element, in
effect, was "indispensable... to the realization of the
democratic ideal."
This was a good case indeed. But the Public
Library Commission went further. It said that,
following the trend towards consolidation and
centralization noted in education, (the Cameron Report9
for instance, would, in 1946, reduce some 800 rural
school districts in B.C. to seventy-four large
administrative units), there was a "strong probability,"
that every library in the province would, within ten
years before the next comprehensive review of
libraries..."find itself under as wise and liberal a
direction as is today enjoyed by our educational
system," i.e., under central supervision. In the
Commission's ideal world, the province would set
standards of operation and be responsible for the
professional training of personnel. Further, libraries
would be administered and financed locally with
supplementary grants from the province. Like public
education, there would be a single co-ordinated
system for libraries in British Columbia available to
all citizens. This would be, the Commission said, "a
really notable service."10
Indeed it would. But the Commissioners
themselves may have wondered in the following year
about the validity of bringing libraries—because of
their educative function—under government
administration. Was it too much too soon? The
Commission's own committee, chaired by Robinson
in 1941, noted that libraries tended to take a passive
attitude towards adult education and needed to show
leadership and direction to prove their worth in the
educational world. If they did not, the committee
warned, libraries would continue to be "mere
handmaidens ... the Cinderellas of their respective
communities who use them or not as they wish."11
Despite any misgivings they may have had, the
men of the Public Library Commission pressed
forward with a brief to the Minister of Education, the
Hon. H.T.G. Perry, under whose administration the
Commission found itself in November 1943.
Emphasizing their concern over the prospect of
libraries losing out in the postwar rush for
reconstruction funds, the brief asserted that the
government's obligation to the education of adults
was equal in importance to its obligation to the
education of youth. In the Commission's view "the
public library should be as accessible, as universal and
as permanent as the public school." In sweeping
fashion (to ensure a stable income for libraries and a
standard level of service across the province) the
Commission brief recommended that the government
consider "taking over the complete maintenance of all
[emphasis added] educational agencies in the
province, both juvenile and adult."12 Implicit in this,
of course, were libraries.
CK. Morison, in his article "Library Service in
Northern British Columbia," published the following
April in the PNLA Quarterly, said that the Commission
had recommended that "the provision of public
library service, as for public school education, be made
compulsory (emphasis added) with adequate
provincial support and corresponding centralized
control and co-ordination of effort." In this he was
echoing the argument advanced in Libraries in British
Columbia, 1940.13
Alas, this optimistic rhetoric was no more than
such stuff as dreams are made on. The government
was loath to accept the premise that libraries were
social necessities that deserved proportionate
treatment with schools because of their educational
role. It was one thing to support a public school
system whose use by young people was mandatory
but quite another, the government may have
reasoned, to support libraries whose use by anyone,
however desirable, was optional.
The rejection of centralization of libraries under
provincial control and the attempt to equate libraries
to schools served to emphasize and prolong the
inequality of library service available to city and rural
people in the province and made it clear, in retrospect,
just how bold and visionary the men of the Public
Library Commission were. They wanted libraries with
a secure source of local and provincial income (like
schools) operated by boards independent of
municipal government but following provincial
guidelines (like schools). Library boards would no
longer need to plead for operating funds from
municipal councils. The libraries would be housed,
stocked and staffed according to provincial standards
(like schools) and they would provide services to the
area at large in a coordinated way (like schools). Gone
would be the shacks, the backroom quarters, the
upstairs rooms, the pitiful collections of books and
the valiant but often untrained people in charge.
Libraries would be strong in their own right.
This was no pipedream to Lidster and his
colleagues. It was an earnest, if impossibly idealistic,
attempt to improve the precarious state of public
16
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004 libraries across the province by asking the government
for "a proportional measure of financial support
enabling [the library] to do for every age and class in
the community what the school does for the child and
the adolescent."14
Time brought changes. John Ridington retired
from the Commission in 1942 and Dr. William Kaye
Lamb of New Westminster, Librarian at UBC, took
his place. Lamb was thirty-nine, a sort of prolific
wunderkind, an intellectual giant and history buff who
had graduated from Arts at UBC, taken three years
of postgraduate studies at the Sorbonne and L'Ecole
Libre des Sciences Politiques, returned to UBC in 1929-
30 for an M.A. in history and then taken his doctorate
at the London School of Economics in 1931-32. He
became Provincial Librarian and Archivist at Victoria
from 1934 to 1940 and served as Superintendent of
the Public Library Commission from 1936 to '40.
Somehow, incredibly, he had time in 1936 to found
the British Columbia Historical Quarterly and edit it for
ten years.15 With such ability, knowledge, energy and
academic record, he was a valuable addition to the
Commission.
Dr. Lamb chaired the Commission in 1947 and
most of '48 until the wider world called him to Ottawa
to become Dominion Archivist and subsequently
Canada's first National Librarian. In the year he left,
membership in the Commission was increased from
three to five with the appointment of livewire
Margaret Jean Clay, born in Moose Jaw, in 1891, who
had succeeded Helen Gordon Stewart as head of the
Victoria Public Library in 1924. Clay had worked as a
clerical under Miss Stewart and attended library
school in Pittsburgh before returning to Victoria and
working as a children's librarian. She had marched
in women's suffrage protest parades in Victoria in
1916, was pro-labour in staff relations and believed
that the role of libraries was to make people think.16
Appointed with her to the Commission was John
William Winson, of Sumas, a Justice of the Peace,
police magistrate, naturalist writer and veteran board
chairman of the Fraser Valley Union Library. Clay,
along with Ridington and Robinson, had been
appointed to the select seven-member Library
Research Board that had helped bring about the
landmark British Columbia Library Survey of 1927-28.
The Commission's campaign began in earnest
in 1949 with the appointment of William Crossley
Mainwaring, a power executive, to replace Dr. Lamb.
Mainwaring, fifty-five, was a wunderkind too, a
hardworking man with almost renaissance interests
and skills such as stamp collecting, fishing,
photography, fine furniture making, fixing appliances,
delivering public lectures and the like. Born 1 April
1894 in Nanaimo, he had his own home-based
business developing and printing camera film at age
13, then jumped to meter reading, ditch-digging and
stoking furnaces for twelve hours a day for the
Nanaimo Gas and Power Company. By 1917, at only
twenty-three, he was a manager. Turning from gas to
electricity a year later he worked at the Northern
Electric plant in Vancouver for fourteen years until
making his big move to BC Electric in 1932 as
merchandise manager. By 1945 he had climbed to vice-
president of BCE operations on Vancouver Island and
in three years was named assistant to company
president A.E. (Dal) Grauer. Mainwaring, with his
corporate experience, energy and optimism, was the
fresh recruit the Commission needed.17
The government's hard-nosed position was
simple: public libraries were "primarily the financial
responsibility of local authorities [and] in the case of
municipal libraries entirely so." Lidster, Robinson,
Mainwaring, Clay et al were having none of that. In a
jointly prepared Programme for Library Development in
British Columbia 1950, the Commission and the BC
Library Association insisted that, "as major
educational institutions," libraries were in fact the joint
responsibility (emphasis added) of provincial and
local governments and thus were "entitled to
substantial and continuous support" from the
province. Chaired by Willard Ernest Ireland, BCLA
president (and Provincial Librarian and Archivist), the
committee stated without mincing words that the fact
that "not one community in British Columbia enjoys
adequate public library service" (emphasis added) was
From left to right:
Hugh Norman Lidster...
the perfect man for the job.
Columbian, December 3, 1965.
Don Trimbrell photo
Charles Keith Morison...
army vet, his brother's
keeper.
photo courtesy Joan Morison
John Ridington, UBC's
first librarian... a pusher,
a promoter.
BC Archives HP 44571
Edgar Stewart Robinson...
a savvy go-getter head of
the Vancouver Public
Library.
BC Archives HP44570
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004
17 Dr. William Kaye Lamb,
(centre right), at British
Columbia Historical
Association garden party
in Victoria, August 7,
1939. others are, left to
right, Dr. T.A. Rickard,
Mrs. Curtis Sampson and
Mrs. A.H. Cree.
BC Archives F-05699
"shocking" and
said bluntly that the
contrast in
government
support to either
public education or
public health and
welfare in relation
to public libraries
was "little short of
ludicrous."18
Those
statements pulled
no punches. Both
the Commission
and its comrade in
arms were aware of
the impoverished
state of public
libraries yet the
government —
which seemingly
had the resources to
do something
about it—appeared
not to be listening.
It was a conundrum:
how could libraries
persuade citizens
and local
authorities and the government that a first-class
library service was of real value to the community
when libraries did not have the means to show that
they could provide such service? Which comes first,
the chicken or the egg?
But the Programme was far ahead of its time.
Public libraries had always been undernourished.
Back in the Twenties and Thirties many of the small
ones had been kept alive in large measure by careful
use of fines and donations, membership dues, token
assistance from local authorities and, in some cases,
by small book-grants from the Commission's own
skimpy book budget. The Public Library Commission
had not had the means to do more because its
appropriation from the legislature for grants-in-aid
to public libraries—never substantial—had been cut
and even eliminated during the depression years.19
Yet schools had continued, at the insistence of the
government, to operate as essential services during
the tough depression period.20
In the fiscal year 1943/44, in the midst of war
when public expenditures on education in British
Columbia had amounted to more than $11.6-million,
only 2.4% ($278,000) of that amount had been, in the
caustic language of a PLC-BCLA joint committee,
"lavished" by the government on total library services
in the province including the work of the Public
Library Commission itself.21 It wasn't until 1944/45,
after several empty years, that the Commission had
received the slender sum of $3,000 for grants-in-aid
to libraries.22 It was the start of a trickle. In 1948/49,
the legislature's appropriation to the Commission for
library grants amounted to less than $25,000 at a time
when school districts alone received nearly $13.5-
million.23 The dreams of equal treatment with schools
died hard.
But somehow the trickle didn't stop. Thanks to
the persistence of the Public Library Commission,
library grants-in-aid from the province jumped to an
unheard-of $50,000 in 1950-51. From there,
government assistance took off: it doubled in four
years and tripled in five.24 It soared beyond $200,000
in 1966, $460,000 in 1970, and a decade later was up
to nearly $3.5-million. By 2001, library grants-in-aid
had skyrocketed to close to $ll-million. The
government had been listening after all. This pump-
primer, about-face generosity of the provincial
government, however laggard in coming, gave public
library service in British Columbia a tremendous
boost, for by 1970 support from municipalities had
edged close to a robust $6-million and in ten years to
$27-million. It was up to more than $120-million by
2001. In public libraries in British Columbia that year
there were well over 10-million volumes and readers
had borrowed them more than an incredible 47.8
million times.25
What is the legacy of the pioneering work done
by the stalwarts of the Public Library Commission so
long ago? These dreamers with the unshakeable
vision of what the public library could be were far
ahead of their time. Most of the improvements they
quixotically struggled for have come to pass in one
form or another. Public libraries are now generally
recognized by government and governed alike as
social necessities and as accessible and as permanent
as public schools. Public libraries do have a place in
the sun and are not centrally controlled by
government. The word "compulsory" has no part in
their operation. They continue to provide reading and
other material to all citizens before, during and after
their formal education. Public library funding, too, is
generally accepted to be a joint responsibility of
18 BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004 government and municipal sources. The government
assists with capital costs and pays per capita operating
grants linked to compliance with the Library Act. The
stuff of Commission dreams has served the province
well. The decade after 1940 was indeed the Public
Library Commission's finest hour.
Afterwards
Norman Lidster retired as New Westminster
city solicitor in 1957 and as longtime member (thirty-
six years) of the Public Library Commission in 1965.
A life member of BCLA and winner of the CL Trustees
Award of Merit inl962, he served on the board of the
New Westminster Public Library for forty-one years
until his death in 1967 at the age of 78.
When John Ridington retired from the
Commission in 1942, his colourful library career and
enthusiastic support for public libraries was behind
him. He served as secretary for a lodge of the Masonic
Order, wrote pieces for the Vancouver News Herald and
died in April 1945 at age seventy-seven.
Edgar Robinson served on the Commission
from 1938 to 1957, nearly twenty years. At Vancouver
Public Library he developed the branch system,
added a bookmobile, got construction underway for
a new Central Library, increased the staff to 200, and
built up the collection to 400,000 volumes. In Victoria,
where he'd gone to chair a PLC meeting in October
1957, this exuberant librarian suffered a heart attack
and died only a few days before his dream library of
glass and steel at Burrard & Robson streets in
Vancouver was to be opened. He was sixty.
CK. Morison retired from 16 years of
Commission service in August 1956. He worked as
children's librarian at Vancouver Island Regional
library and later at the charge desk of Victoria College
library (now part of UVic). He taught short courses
in library work "for librarians away out in the sticks"
at UBC from 1960-64, wrote his story {A Book Pedlar in
British Columbia, Victoria, Public Library Commission,
1969) and died at the age of eighty-six in 1977.
William Kaye Lamb's post-Commission career
in Ottawa, because of its complexity and extent of
achievement, may best be summarized as successful
founding and development effort. Appointed
Dominion Archivist in 1948, he chaired a national
advisory committee to establish the Canadian
Bibliographic Centre in 1950 and in three years this
became the National Library with Dr. Lamb as
Canada's first National Librarian. He strengthened
the Public Archives of Canada and introduced
systems for retention of government and archival
records. A noted history scholar and writer, he retired
to Vancouver in 1968, was appointed an Officer of the
Order of Canada in 1969 and died in August 1999 at
the age of ninety-five.
Margaret Clay, the doyenne of public
librarianship in BC, retired from twenty-six years of
service as chief librarian of the Victoria Public Library
in 1952 after having won her long struggle for larger
premises. From 1956 to 1962 she catalogued books at
the Vancouver Island Regional Library in Nanaimo and
remained active as a library leader until leaving the
Public Library Commission in 1966 after eighteen years
of service. She died in April 1982 at the age of ninety.
W C. Mainwaring retired from BC Electric in
1958, and from Commission duties in 1961 after
twelve years of active membership. In his career he
was president or chairman or director on the board
of many companies and organizations, and was
awarded an O.B.E. for services during World War
Two. He died of a heart attack while driving home
from a holiday in California in March 1967, a week
short of his seventy-third birthday.
Others: Dr. Norman Fergus Black of
Vancouver revived the quiescent Commission in 1926
and chaired it through the British Columbia Library
Survey in 1927-28 towards Carnegie funding. His was
an important role. The Commission's first
superintendent, Arthur Herbert Killam, a Nova
Scotian, was an able librarian who worked with both
the Survey Council and Research Board, and was
candidate in 1929 (with Dr. Black) for the new post
the Commission awarded to Dr. Helen Gordon
Stewart to direct the demonstration library project in
the Fraser Valley26 And there were others. But those
presented above were the ones who responded to the
challenge at a crucial time for public libraries in
British Columbia and deserve recognition here.
Public Library Commission: Established in
1919, the grand old Commission, renamed the Library
Development Commission in 1968, provided strong
leadership in the growth of library service in British
Columbia. It was dissolved in 1978 by the Public
Libraries Amendment Act and replaced by a Library
Advisory Council. The council itself wound down in
1984. The operational role of the former Commission
was taken over by the Library Services Branch in 1978,
and its name was changed to Public Library Services
Branch in 2001. •
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004
19 Philipp Jacobsen in British Columbia
Notes and Introduction by Richard L. Bland and Ann G. Simonds
Notes
1 Douglas Cole. Captured
Heritage: The Scramble for
Northwest Coast Artifacts.
Seattle: University ofWashington
Press, 1985.
2 Ronald P. Rohner. The
Ethnography of Franz Boas.
Letters and Diaries of Franz Boas
Written on the Northwest Coast
from 1886 to 1931. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press. 1969.
1 William H. Dall. Alaska and Its
Resources. Boston: Lee and
Shepard, 1870.
4 Edward W. Nelson. The Eskimo
about Bering Strait. Washington
DC: Smithsonian Institution
Press, 1983.
5 Ross Parmenter. Explorer,
Linguist and Ethnologist: A
Descriptive Bibliography of the
Published Works of Alphonse
Louis Pinart, With Notes on His
Life. Los Angeles CA: Southwest
Museum, 1966.
6 See J. D. E. Schmeltz. Trips and
Travelers, Renewals, Recently
Deceased. In Internationales
Archivfiir Ethnographie 10:132-
136. Buchhandlung und Druckerei
vormals E. J. Brill, Leiden.
7' See Erna Gunther's edition of
Johann Jacobsen's Alaskan
travels (Alaskan Voyage: 1881-
1883^ Chicago: University of
Chicago Press, 1977).
8 See Rudolph Virchow's "Die
Anthropologische Untersuchung
der Bella-Coola" [Anthropological
Investigation of the Bella Coola]
in Zeitschrift fiir Ethnologie
XVIII :206-215,1886.
'■ We will follow the spelling of
the name (Philipp Jacobsen)
found on the article given below.
However, his name can also be
found as "Filip B. Jacobsen,"
"Philipp B. Jacobsen," "B. Fillip
Jacobsen," "Fillip B. Jacobsen."
10- Philipp's articles were
published in Norwegian
newspapers, in Germany (in Das
Ausland), as well in Sweden (in
During the nineteenth century there developed a growing
awareness of the rapid disappearance of native cultures throughout
the world. Almost frantic collecting of material and non-material
cultural items of early societies began in an attempt to salvage as
much as possible before every trace of these had disappeared.'
Some of the individuals who collected information on the native
peoples were scientists such as Franz Boas2 and William H. Dall.3
Others, who were already in the field working at other jobs, for
example, Edward W. Nelson who worked for the U.S. Army Signal
Corps in Alaska, were often asked to collect artifacts and
information.4 Some used their own resources: Alphonse Louis
Pinart,5 of France, spent his fortune and that of his wife collecting
data and artifacts on early societies. And yet others collected as a
means of employment. These included people such as Karl
Hagenbeck, Johann Stanislaus Kubary,6 and Johann Adrian
Jacobsen,7 who worked on commission for the Berlin Museum.
Information, artifacts, and, occasionally, people8 were
takenback to Europe and displayed. These displays created a great
deal of attention and attracted some very well-known scholars to
the Northwest Coast, most specifically, Franz Boas. But not only
was there scholarly attraction, the reading public also became
very much interested in accounts about the Western Hemisphere.
This created a market for writers, such as Philipp Jacobsen,9 to
describe the wonders of the New World.
Not as much is known about Philipp as about his brother
Johann Adrian Jacobsen, but one may assume that Philipp, like
Johann, was born on the small island of Riso near Tromso, Norway,
ultimately coming to North America with his brother. Philipp
subsequently spent about twenty years on the Northwest Coast
pursuing many endeavors: encouraging Europeans to settle the
area, helping collect native items for the World's Columbian
Exposition, and writing and selling articles about the new land to
European newspapers and journals.'" Below we have an account of
a trip Philipp took with two Indian guides through fjords and over
mountains in British Columbia.
This translation conforms as much as possible to Jacobsen's
style, retaining formations that might be considered awkward in
English. Also, some of Jacobsen's views or attitudes will probably be
considered "politically incorrect" by some readers. However, Jacobsen
and his time are past and I think we can now focus on the first-hand
information he provides. Therefore, I have translated his text as I
found it. The grammar and syntax have been put in a more idiomatic
English style, but I have left names as he spelled them.
I would like to thank Kathrin Klotz for proofreading
the translation.
Richard L. Bland, Museum of Natural History University of Oregon, Eugene
Travel Reports from Unknown Parts of
British Columbia11 by Philipp Jacobsen
British Columbia is that part of North America
to which attention has been turned only in recent or,
better said, most recent times, which it deserves both
in ethnographic and geographic regard. Excellent
coasts and good harbors that make possible a quick
connection with Indochina and Europe by the North
Pacific route on the one hand and by the more
southern Pacific Ocean on the other, as well as
extensive fur trade and ethnologically highly
interesting Indian tribes that have kept themselves in
their aboriginal purity can only increase the
significance of the land. In my opinion then it is of
interest to take a closer look at the unknown parts of
British Columbia, and I feel I am called upon to make
this report since I am sufficiently familiar with the
languages spoken there through years of residence
in the land and have a thorough knowledge of the
internal circumstances. I undertook the following
expedition that I describe on assignment from a
railroad company for investigating the Bella Coola
valley and the Chilkotin country.
On the 19th of January 18911 arrived in Bella
Bella,12 which I had selected as the jumping off point
for the expedition. Here I rented a canoe manned by
two Indians in order to investigate a fjord that lay in
a north-northeast direction from this place. On the
same day we left Bella Bella and in the evening
reached an abandoned Indian village called Kait
Town where in earlier times a very famous chief, Kait,
had lived. Now the village lay in complete ruins,
though there were still the remains of the old houses
before which stood carved tree trunks or, as they are
called on the coast there, totem poles 30 to 60 feet
long.13 When an Indian inherits the honor of being a
chief he must have the local carver produce such a
pole according to his rank. On the pole are the
collected totem animals of the family illustrated in
hierarchical order. If the pole is to be worked on the
chief must give four to five feasts at which wool
blankets and other things are given to the guests. The
erection of such a pole often takes hundreds of people,
and on this occasion the largest feast takes place and
the carver receives his compensation. Many Indians
have their own family traditions, which are passed
down from generation to generation. They illustrate
their legends to a certain extent through mask dances
during the months of November, December, and
January14 This happens for the most part merely to
impress the women, children, and the common
people.15 The masks generally represent the heads of
various animals and monsters that the bearer alleges
to have encountered in the forest or on the sea. The
seducing spirit, the so-called Anikutsai, is always
brought forward in the form of a beautiful woman.
Totem poles were originally supposed to be erected
only for the ruling chief. In recent times, however,
Indians of lower rank have acquired this honor, with
respect to permission for the erection of a pole
through wealth. Therefore in almost every village a
larger number of these poles can now be found.
We left the named village on the following
20 BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004 »
morning and went through a long fjord called Roskue
Inlet. I had taken along a marine chart for the sake of
security. However, when I had gone about 30 English
miles up the fjord I noticed that the chart was
completely wrong and that the fjord ran in an entirely
different direction.16 In the evening we reached a small
bay surrounded by high naked cliffs. At several places
waterfalls ran off the mountain sides and emptied
almost in the middle of the fjord. In general, the fjords
of British Columbia pass from west to east.
Early the next morning we continued our trip
although it rained and, in spite of rather strong
opposing winds, with great effort we moved forward.
Toward evening we landed and set up our
canoe sail as a tent. About the middle of the next day
we reached the end of the fjord and found here,
through a large river emptying into the fjord, our first
assumption seemly confirmed [that they were at the
end of the fjord—RLB]. Upon closer examination it
turned out that the river was nothing other than a
saltwater lagoon. We paddled to the end of this lake,
which is about 3 miles long, and now saw a genuine
river which, however, was only several hundred
meters long and again led into an inland sea of 31 to
34 miles length. On the left shore of this inland sea
we found a second freshwater lake, on the shores of
which, my comrades related to me, great quantities
of rock crystal were supposed to be available. When
the water is clear, they reported, the crystal shines like
diamonds in the sunshine.
The village of Bella Bella
c. 1870
BC Archives A-06882
The river which
flows from the smaller to
the larger lake was
swollen by rain so that I
was unable to see any of
the crystals. To my
question, how large were
the largest crystals, my
people replied in true
Indian form that the
pieces might grow to 6
feet. Early on the next
morning we left this
region. On this, as on the
previous night, we had
gotten wet to the skin
since our sailcloth tents
did not offer sufficient protection. No less wet were
the fir branches which served as our beds, so that
during this entire time no mention could be made of
dry clothing.
On the third day, toward evening, we left this
fjord and arrived in another one called Kvatus
Channel where we again found ruins of an old now-
abandoned Indian village. On examining such
remains it is a continuous puzzle to me how the
Indians with their primitive equipment brought about
raising the heavy beams onto the 20 foot high posts
that they had set in the ground. I measured two of
these beams. They were about 65 feet long and 4 feet
in diameter. The Indian houses of this region often
have a greater breadth than height. In front of this
village lies a small island of about 400 feet
circumference, about which my Indians told me the
following story that happened several years before.17
At Christmas time the various secret societies of the
village performed their religious dances.18 Among the
spectators was a young Indian who in conversation
with his countrymen spoke mockingly about the
secret society of the Hametza.19 This reached the
Hametza, who decided to take revenge. On the next
day when a Hametza dance was being performed (the
Hametza dancer represents the deity Bek Bek
Kvalanit),20 during which the Hametza dancer can
only partake of human flesh and therefore tears pieces
from the arms and legs of the spectators (no one is
permitted to oppose this since it is believed that the
Ymer. Svenska sallskapet for
antropologi och geografi) (see,
for example, "The Sissauch
Dance" in Arctic Anthropology
34(2):28-44).
"■ Originally published as
"Reiseberichte aus unbekannten
Teilen Britisch-Columbiens." Das
Ausland: Wochenschrift fiir Erd-
und Volkerkunde 47:921 -928,1891.
12' Bella Bella is the site of a
native village and the Hudson's
Bay Company Fort Mcloughlin at
McLoughlin Bay on Campbell
Island. The Native here is the
Heiltsuk, known ethnographically
as the Bella Bella. They are
classified as northern Kwakiutl.
11 It is more accurate to call
these poles "crest" poles as they
represent the mythical
adventures of lineage ancestors.
They are raised on a number of
occasions. What Jacobsen is
describing here is the raising of a
memorial or commemorative
pole which a chief raises to his
predecessor.
M- These winter months are the
sacred season in which the
supernaturals enter the villages
and masked and other dances are
held by dancing societies. The
dances demonstrate the nature
of the sacred world and the
relationships of the members of
the communities to this world.
15' Jacobsen sounds like a typical
ignorant European here. The
Winter Ceremonies were not just
carried out to impress or mystify
the audience, although some of
the ritual acts performed at
these ceremonies must have
seemed mysterious and
miraculous. The rituals carried
out were designed to maintain
the correct relationships with
the spiritual world and to not
only demonstrate spiritual
powers obtained from the
supernaturals but to ensure that
coming generations were
prepared to assume the
obligations and responsibilities
the relationships entailed.
16' In the past there have been a
variety of miles ranging from the
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004
21 Ancient Roman mile of about
1,500 m to the Swedish mile of
10,000 m. The English statute
mile is 1,609.3 m.
17' With regard to this and
subsequent legends related by
Jacobsen, see the Bella Coola
section in Kennedy and
Bouchard's edition of Indianische
Sagen von der Nord-Pacifischen
Kiiste Amerikas. Vancouver:
Talonbooks, 2001.
1!' With regard to secret societies
of the Bella Coola, see D. I.D.
Kennedy and R. T. Bouchard.
"Bella Coola." In Handbook of
North American Indians, vol. 7,
Northwest Coast, pp. 332-335.
Washington DC: Smithsonian
Institution, 1990. For more on
the Bella Coola, see T. F.
Mcllwraith. The Bella Coola
Indians. 2 vols. Toronto:
University of Toronto Press, 1948.
19 The Hametza is the hamaca or
Hamat'sa, the so-called Cannibal
Dancer. An hamat'sa is sponsored
by one of the dancing societies
and he or she is kidnaped by
supernaturals and taken to live
for four months with
Baxbakualanuxsiwae. When the
initiate is recovered, he has
become this supernatural and
now craves the taste of human
flesh which is why, when he
dances, he bites pieces of flesh
from members of the audience.
He is eventually subdued and
restored to normal human life.
This particular dance originated
among the Heiltsuk (Bella Bella)
and their congeners the
Oowekeeno who are located at
Rivers Inlet.
2a Bek Bek Kvalanit is
Baxbakkualanuxsiwae, "First at
the Mouth of the River to Eat
Human Flesh." He lives in the
high mountains with a whole
retinue of servants who assist him
in finding human beings to eat.
21 Black cod = Anoplopoma
fimbris Pallas.
22 Franz Boas and George Hunt
discuss these "many preparations"
in their monograph The Ethnology
of the Kwakiutl, published in two
spirit of the god has gone into the dancer), the
Hametza dancer jumped onto the ridiculer and bit
large pieces of flesh from his arm. The other Hametza
then ripped his clothes off and dragged him from the
house, packed him in a canoe and took him, without
the remaining villagers noticing, to the above-
mentioned island. The people were simply told that
the Hametza had completely consumed the boy. As
mentioned above, it was the middle of winter. For
weeks long a strong northeaster blew so that the
Hametza presumed that the Indian set out on the
island without clothes or food must soon succumb.
But at the beginning of spring when Indians paddled
by the island they heard a noise in the brush. In the
belief it was a deer or some other wild animal they
jumped ashore with bow and arrows to kill it. Who
could describe their astonishment when before their
eyes appeared the young Indian missing since
Christmas, naked and starved to the bone, but alive.
The people took him and led him back to the village
where a feast was immediately held and the Indian
was accepted into the secret society. He had nourished
himself during the entire time on mussels and, since
the Indians bathe often summer and winter and need
few clothes, he was able to survive. Still today Indians
who divulge the secrets of the secret societies are
immediately killed.
From this spot a fjord runs in an eastern
direction. Though it is not marked on the chart the
Indians know it well. We paddled into it and on the
second day passed a high cliff that rose more than a
100 feet above the sea. Here my two Indians requested
that I not speak a word if I valued my life and theirs.
When I asked for an explanation they related the
following. Many years ago a great chief came
paddling by this cliff with his two sons. Engrossed in
lively conversation they did not notice the cliff. They
had already passed the wall when they saw a large
black bear climbing up it, which by the steepness
seemed impossible. The chief quickly took his bow
and arrow and sent the latter up at the bear, but the
arrow hurdled back and the chief fell dead. At the
same moment the bear turned its head and from its
eyes shot two rays of lightning, which likewise killed
the two sons. Therefore, when an Indian passes this
spot he does not speak a word. Moreover, the Indians
relate similar stories about nearly every fjord. The
mountain range rises up 7,000 to 8,000 feet. The fjords
are very deep (averaging approximately 200 fathoms),
but even at this great depth lives a type of fish, the
so-called black cod, called karlem in the Bella Coola
language.21 To catch this good tasting fish a fishhook
of quite special, ungainly form is used. Though as
ungainly as the hook appears, it is very useful since it
is forced into the fish like a steel spring. The fish is
very fat and a person would not be able to catch it
with ordinary hooks.
The Indians carry out unbelievably many
preparations when they set out hunting or fishing,22
but I must forgo pursuing this here due to lack of space.
Toward evening on the sixth day we reached the end
of the fjord, into which one or two river entered.
Around the mouths of these rivers the land is richly
alluvial; good land that would be suitable for any type
of agriculture.23 On the mountain slopes swarm wild
mountain goats, deer, bears, and other game. I traveled
through these two fjords in 13 days. Each of them is 40
to 50 English miles long. From the last-named fjord
we turned again toward the coast and visited a new
settlement on King Island. Here speculative Yankees
purchased land and built a community since it was
thought that the railroad planned by the Canadian
government would maintain a station in this region.
On the 12th of February I finally came, after the most
extremely exhausting trip, to the Indian village of Bella
Coola,24 from which I had decided to examine the
valley that ran to the east. Through this valley wound
a large river that can be traveled for hundreds of miles
by canoe and whose surrounding lands offer excellent
farm land. Thus, I hired a so-called "spoon canoe,"
which is about 2 feet wide and 30 to 60 feet long and is
especially constructed to travel upstream. Two Indians
who knew the area accompanied me and, one in front,
one in back with long poles, they drove the boat
forward. After a half-day's journey we reached Sinckel,
a village whose name means something like "sun" in
our language. My plan was to travel by canoe as far as
possible up the stream, then go to Chilkotin Country
and from there return to Tallio, which lies somewhat
south of Bella Coola on the coast. In order to carry out
my intentions I would have been forced to cross
through a high pass, the so-called Snuteli, but I was
unable to persuade any Indians to do this because in
this pass lived the great spirit Kosiut,25 as well as many
other spirits. They further explained to me that only
one time did two Indians dare cross this pass and only
because one of them was a great medicine man, who
appeased the spirit through continuing magic
formulas, were they able to safeguard their lives, which
otherwise would have inevitably been forfeit to the
great Kosiut. Since I did not want to deviate from my
plan, they further told me that another time 15 Indians,
22
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004 who were on the warpath and planned an attack,
came through this pass. Without paying attention to
the prohibition of the god, they walked prattling on.
So the spirit, angered by this offence, sent a powerful
avalanche down on them, burying all 15 alive.
In spite of this I succeeded in persuading my
Indians to travel farther, and so we paddled on. A
day later we reached a valley that led to the above-
mentioned pass. Another Indian canoe that
accompanied us had a fish net on board and cast it
out. Among the fish caught were no fewer than five
different kinds of salmon—evidence of how rich in
fish this region is. The Indians catch salmon all the
time year round, and all the types found on the coast
are found in these waters as well. The river flows
almost from east to west through fertile regions from
5 to 6 English miles wide. The first 45 miles would in
my opinion be suitable for excellent agriculture. The
land is now covered with spruce, fir, and red and
yellow cedar. There are also beech and cottonwood
here and there. We continued our trip up the river
and on the next day reached a valley called Assanany
which lies to the south. On this day, as on the previous,
we passed various ruins of Indian villages that were
completely abandoned, since the Indians here, as on
the coast, are in the process of dying out. Traveling
on we arrived at a valley called Nusskalet lying on
the north side of the river, where an Indian village of
the same name formerly existed, but which has
likewise died out. Above the village rises a 9,000 to
10,000 foot high mountain from which the valley and
village were named. The Indians tell the following
story about it.
Mess-mess Salanik,26 that is, the creating spirit,
had the earth attached to the moon by a rope so that
the earth would not sink into the water. But one day
people angered the god, so he cut the rope and the
world sank into the water. Everyone drowned except
one Indian who was out fishing with his wife. He
paddled to the above-mentioned mountain whose
highest peak stuck out of the water, while everything
else was submerged. When the water receded the
surviving pair settled and populated this region.
In recent times an Indians is supposed to have
climbed the mountain, and he asserts that he saw the
remains of the fishing equipment, as well as remnants
of the first people. I must note here that along the
entire coast the story of the Deluge exists, though each
village has its own particular variation.
On traveling farther we came on the following
day into a new side valley called Ikle-Kwanny which
likewise empties into the Bella Coola valley. Here my
Indians forbade me to go ashore. Surprised I asked
what the basis of this odd prohibition was and learned
to my astonishment that an evil spirit named Ikle-
Kwanny lived in this region, who, if a person took so
much as a blade of grass, would immediately call up
a frightful north wind. Since I did not want to put the
spirit, or better said, my Indians to the test now, I gave
in to them and we went on. But listen. On the next
day a frightful storm actually arose, and although we
had not landed, the Indians stubbornly maintained
that I had nevertheless done something against Ikle-
Kwanny. I let them speak, and since I knew how
deeply the roots of superstition penetrated their
minds, I had from the very beginning given up any
attempt at instruction and explanation. Across from
this valley lies a well-known mountain peak, Sets-
Kajak, where the great spirit Shnanik lives. This spirit
steals the bodies of the dead from the coffins and drags
them to his mountain to consume them there
undisturbed. In my estimation Sets-Kajak is 9,000 to
10,000 feet high. Traveling on to the east, we no longer
had a strong current in the river, which was so broad
here that it could be traveled by a steamer, especially
in summer. On the same evening we arrived at Ka-
pots, a place that lies in the Struik district. Here the
Bella Coola River receives a tributary from the south.
The mountains are low, and the hinterland can be seen
in the distance. In my opinion, this region is especially
suitable for growing hops and fruit, since the Indians
describe the climate as being dry. Unfortunately, I had
to end my journey here since because of the slow trip
our provisions were running short, and after a ten-
day absence we again reached Bella Coola. I estimate
the linear distance of the way back as about 50 miles.
After I had made a several-day rest in Bella
Coola and acquired supplies, I set out again
accompanied by the two Indians and, since there was
floating ice on the river, continued my trip on foot in
an eastern direction along the river bank. My plan
this time was to try to cross Snuteli Pass in order to
go in a southern direction into Tallio Valley. Naturally,
the three of us could not take a large amount of
provisions, and since the trip was calculated to last at
least a week, the undertaking appeared to the Indians
very risky, all the more since the fear of the above-
mentioned spirit caused this trip to seem to them not
exactly pleasant. Each one intimated to me that my
life would certainly be lost, for a European, so they
said, would surely have something to say on the way
and in the pass, and indeed nothing should be spoken
parts in 1921 by the Bureau of
American Ethnology 35th Annual
Report 1913-1914. Washington.
21 Jacobsen is said to have
induced, through his descriptions
of the excellence of the land in
the Bella Coola area, colonization
in the 1890s by Norwegian
settlers. P. 236 in Wisdom of the
Elders: Native Traditions on the
Northwest Coast: The Nuu-chah-
nulth, Southern Kwakiutl and
Nuxalk by Ruth Kirk, Vancouver:
Douglas & Mclntyre Ltd., 1986.
24' Bella Coola is a Nuxalk (Bella
Coola) Indian village on the north
shore of the mouth of Bella Coola
River, B. C. The Nuxalk speak a
Salish language and are related,
linguistically at least, to the Coast
Salish peoples south of them.
25' By Kosiut Jacobsen must mean
Kusuit which does not refer to a
supernatural but to a dancing
society which holds ceremonies
during the winter season from
November through March.
Mcllwraith points out that "The
word kusuit is connected
etymologically, according to
native belief, with suit, the term
for supernatural being, Thus the
meaning of the society"s
designation is 'The Supernatural,"
or "The Learned," for suit has
both these significations. A
member of the society is likewise
called a kusuit, plural, kukusiut"
(T. F. Mcllwraith. The Bella Coola
Indians, Volume 11:1. University
ofToronto Press, Toronto. 1948.
26 By Mess-mess-Salanik Jacobsen
means Masmasalanix , the four
brothers of Nuxalk mythology
who create the earth and
everything on it, and are,
therefore, called the Carpenters.
Each brother has a distinct
name, but they are collectively
known as Masmasalanix.
27 For a discussion of snowshoes
in this region see Daniel A.
Davidson. Snowshoes. Memoirs of
the American Philosophical
Society 6:1 -207. Philadelphia.
1937.
2!' It is difficult to say exactly
what distance Jacobsen is giving
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004
23 here. The Germans had four
different miles, including the
German short mile of about
6,275 m, the German geographic
mile of 7,420 m, the German
(new imperial) mile of 7,500 m,
and the German long mile of
9,260 m.
29' Sources which contain other
Nuxalk narratives are: Franz
Boas. 1898. The Mythology of the
Bella Coola Indians. Memoirs of
the American Museum of Natural
History 2(1):25-127. New York; T.
F. Mcllwraith. 1948. 7/ie Be/to
Coola Indians, Volume 11:385-517.
University of Toronto Press,
Toronto.
there. I had to exert all my skill of persuasion in order
to dissuade them from their superstitions. I will note
here that I had to struggle unbelievably often with
superstition and fear of ghosts among the Indians.
Now add in the mania to exaggerate into the
monstrous and one can imagine how difficult
communication with them was made, and specifically
on this trip. Also, each believed he must give me
council at this opportunity. So they further reported
that above the glacier lies a black swamp occupied
by another spirit who draws every passerby into the
mire. When all this could not frighten me back, they
said that at this time of year the snowfall up there
was so heavy that in a short time a person would be
completely snowed under. This last rested on the truth
in that occasionally on both sides avalanches were
encountered in the valley.
In spite of all these hindrances I succeeded in
winning over for the trip the two Indians I had known
for years. In the evening of the second day we reached
Snuteli Valley, and on the next morning we climbed
up the pass in a northeastern direction. The higher
up we went the more snow we encountered, so that
we had to constantly use our snowshoes. (The
snowshoes here are like those used in America. (27)
They are made of an oblong birch wood frame which
is strung with leather strips or animals sinew). It was
a very difficult march. It occasionally took us four
hours to travel a distance of 1/4 German mile.(28)
Everywhere lay uprooted trees and between were
thick, nearly impenetrable bushes, as well as deep
loose snow. These tree trunks were of such dimension
that the Indians had to chop steps in them in order to
climb over. When it became dark we had to set up
our camp in a place where an avalanche had swept
down. We could clearly distinguish the tree trunks,
boulders, and rubble the avalanche had brought.
Naturally it was impossible to climb over this tangle
in the dark. It was especially difficult for us to build a
fire since everything was damp, and only after an hour
of searching did we collect enough dry wood to kindle
the fire. During preparation of supper we covered the
ground as much as possible with dry fir branches and
now had a relatively dry camp. I don't have to
describe how wonderful the meal tasted since it was
the first we were able to eat that day. After the meal
my Indians again began their stories about the spirits,
the terrors, and battles with neighboring tribes in their
beloved exaggeration until, exhausted from the
exertion of the day, they fell asleep. The strong
prohibition of the god concerning speaking on this
spot went unheeded by them as well.
Next morning we continued upwards. The
snow was 4 to 5 feet deep everywhere and the slope
was about 60 to 100 feet per English mile. Before noon
we saw two wild mountain goats which looked at us
in wonder. I fired off three shots, although the distance
of about 1,000 m was deceptive and so there was no
prospect of me hitting one with the gun. The goats
did not move, which adequately proved that they
were not acquainted with being shot at. As evening
came we set up camp on a small hill by a stream. Again
it was a long time before we had collected enough
dry wood. When the snow is too deep and one cannot
dig to the ground, it is the custom to cover the spot
with a lot of small logs and cover this with fir branches,
which keeps one from sinking down. This later serves
as a sleeping area. The fire is built on the logs.
On the next day we reached the highest point
of Snuteli Pass. Arriving at the top we rested for a
few hours. The place swarmed with ptarmigan,
several of which we caught and which provided us a
welcome prize. The provisions we had brought
consisted of air-dried salmon, rice, flour, and tea.
Bread was baked from the flour each evening, and in
two ways. If one had a frying pan (which the gold
prospector always carries on their backs) then water
and flour was mixed together, baking powder added,
and immediately fried. However, we had no pan, so
the dough was covered with hot coals and baked for
about a half hour. An excellent bread can be produced
in this way.
The vegetation was sparse up here. Only here
and there the tops of fir trees stuck out of the 15 to 18
foot deep snow. We saw nothing of the evil spirits,
passing only a couple of caves to which stories of
spirits were connected. The mountains went up
steeply on both sides of the pass and also here the
vegetation is extremely sparse. On isolated slopes we
saw in the distance herds of wild mountain goats. The
view enjoyed from the high pass is excellent, and I at
least have until now never seen anything like it: the
high snow-covered crags, Snuteli Valley appearing
endless as it stretches to the Bella Coola River, and on
the other side, penetrating into Tallio Valley, the Kosiut
Glacier with blue light shining through.
While we were still immersed in looking at this
wonderful panorama, we saw a giant avalanche go
down over a place we had passed only a few hours
before. So on this point at least I found the assertions
of the Indians confirmed. The valley now ran in an
eastern direction and appeared to gradually end
24 BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004 between the high mountains. Traveling on in a
southern direction we were faced with the Tallio
Valley. By nightfall we encountered the first trees,
deformed to be sure. Also, I succeeded in getting a
porcupine, which provided a welcome dinner for us.
We set up our camp in the immediate vicinity of the
famous Kosiut Glacier. Again the Indians chatted
around supper about the legends that were connected
with this region. I must point out here that my Indians,
once separated from the community of Indian life,
paid no heed to the prohibition of the spirits and
chatted away entirely unconcerned on this dangerous
spot. Among others they told the following legend.
Many, many years ago a sick man lived on the coast
whose body was covered with ulcers. He had
consulted various medicine men, but no one could
help him. Finally, he was advised to seek the god
Kosiut himself. Toward this goal he sets out together
with his brother to this valley and lay down close to
the glaciers. Scarcely had he lain down than it began
to rain pieces of ice. But none hit the sick man.
Suddenly the rain ended, the mountain opened up,
and in the crevice appeared Kosiut. He approached
the Indian and asked what he wanted. The sick man,
stiff with fright, reported by whose advice he had
come there, whereon the spirit invited him and his
brother to follow him into his glacier dwelling. Here
in the almost endless ice grotto, lighted by the
shimmering of blue light, he had his home. He
presented the two with blankets and other valuable
objects, as the Indians are accustomed to do during
their visits to one another. When they were taking
leave the spirit said, "I will make you healthy, but
one thing you must promise when you return home
healed. You may not marry before the end of four
years." Then he spread his hands out over the sick
man, and look! he was healed. Very happy the two
brothers now left the god and went home. But after
some time the Indian forgot his promise and married.
Indeed the punishment followed on its heels. Shortly
thereafter he was found dead.
Early on the next morning as we wanted to
continue our trip we saw a wolf which ran back and
forth on the ice. I shot at him, but the distance was
too great and I missed. As soon as the shot was heard,
the entire woods broke into the howling of wolves. If
this intermezzo had been played on the previous
evening, we would probably have slept less
peacefully. It began to snow and the cold became
severe. We stayed as much as possible on the ice of
the river because the mountain slopes were too steep
and the many uprooted trees made the way very
difficult. But where we encountered a waterfall or
where the river was not completely frozen, we had to
make great detours and as a result moved ahead very
slowly. Toward evening we reached a place where a
short time ago a large landslide had occurred. It
appeared nearly impossible to get through. Though
the area might have measured one third of a mile it
took us two and a half hours to climb through the
rubble. We set up our camp in total darkness and dead
tired in the immediate vicinity of the rubble. Indeed
it was midnight before we found enough dry wood
to build a fire.
The next morning the old misery started again.
Frequent waterfalls made long detours necessary, and
we had to look as hard as we could for the Nolk Valley,
through which we were supposed to go back to the
Bella Coola Fjord. Evening came without finding the
valley, and since my Indians had never been in this
region our agitation was not diminished as our
provisions came to an end and we feared we must
have taken the wrong way. Our only comfort was that
the snow here was not so deep and we could go
without the snowshoes. Finally, toward nightfall we
reached a side valley that we felt must be the valley
we were looking for since it actually ran in a
southwestern direction. Here we camped and finished
our last provisions: rice, bacon, and bread. It was a
meager meal, though it strengthened us substantially.
Before daylight we set out again and continued our
march. The terrain was excellent now and we moved
on rapidly. Toward noon of the following day I could
recognize the well-known mountains around Tallio
Fjord, and I have to confess that I joined with full heart
in the Indians' song of thanks. By that evening we
entered Tallio village. The Indians, who had been
instructed on the sea route of our journey, had already
given us up for dead. Thus, because of our unhoped
for return a feast was given that evening in which the
Indian chief bestowed the name Kosiut on me, as
frequently happens when someone wants to
especially honor another. We remained in Tallio three
days. But since there was a big storm to the north and
leaving the fjord was almost impossible by boat, I
decided to go by land to Rivers Inlet where every three
weeks a steamer left for Victoria. Since I had taken
this route past Wanuk Lake in the summer of 1890,1
was familiar with it and could now do it so much
easier.
From the end of Tallio Valley a path leads
through a small valley in a southwestern direction to
Thunderbird from a
painting on a Kwakiutl
house-front. Below is a
Salish pattern for clouds
over mountains.
Designed by Georges
Beaupre, issued in 1974
Canadap\
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004        25 Wanuk Lake. This valley is good farmland for miles.
The climb of the valley is insignificant and, in my
opinion, amounts to scarcely more than 300 feet at
the highest spot. The distance from the fjord to Wanuk
is about 18 miles. Toward evening we reached the
water. Once an Indian village called Sifu had stood
here, about whose last chief the following legend tells.
Once a great Indian chief lived here who had
two sons. They were skilled hunters and industriously
applied themselves at fishing in nearby Wanuk Lake,
in which, as they knew, lived an evil spirit that always
tried to pull people into the lake. It was especially
dangerous to throw mussel shells into the water, for
a powerful storm would immediately come up and
the god of the lake would visibly hover over the
waves. One day as the brothers sat by the lake, the
elder said to the younger, "Do we want to tempt the
lake spirit once?" The younger agreed to this, and they
went along the shore to a place where a canoe lay.
They loaded it with mussels. The elder brother
climbed into the boat and went out into the lake, while
the younger sat down beneath the branches of a large
tree. When the boater was far enough out in the sea
he began to throw shells into the water. Immediately
a frightful storm arose. The waves towered house-
high, and the lake washed over the shores. The canoe
with its occupant capsized and disappeared in the
deep. But the Indian did not drown. He was overcome
by great drowsiness and fell asleep. Finally, awaking,
he came to his senses and felt his hand being held by
a beautiful young woman. Her hair reached to the
ground, and aside from her divine beauty she differed
in no way from other Indian girls. She summoned
the youth to go with her to her father and they went
along the bottom of the lake as if it were solid ground.
After they had gone a short distance they came to a
beautifully carved totem pole. By it stood a large
house. They went in. An old man sat by a flickering
fire. He took a mat, spread it before the fire, and
invited the stranger to sit down, as was the custom
among the coastal dwellers. Then he asked him to
remain as his guest for four days, which the Indian
promised to do. On the second evening the old man
said to him, "Listen, I will give you my daughter as a
wife, but you must promise to remain true to her. For
as soon as you break it she will disappear before your
eyes and be gone from you for all time." The youth
assured him of this. The girl bid her husband to return
to his parents, which gave him great pleasure. She
spread mountain goat tallow over his eyes and mouth,
put him on her back, and took him to the shore. When
they passed the tree where the younger brother had
remained, they found a human skeleton. Having bad
presentiments, the Indian asked his young wife what
it meant, and she answered that he had not been on
the bottom of the lake for four days, as he thought,
but four years. Meanwhile his brother had died.
"Indeed," she said, "if you would like to see him alive
again, I will bring him back to life." The Indian, very
happy, asked her to do it. She collected the bones, lined
them up right with one another, took a flute from her
little chest, and with the first notes the skeleton came
to life. But one knee was crooked, lacking the kneecap.
So the young woman made him die again, and both
looked for the kneecap. But in vain. Finally, a raven
came flying by and on the woman's question of
whether perhaps it had seen the kneecap, it answered,
"Four years ago other ravens and I came to this place
to eat a human and carried away a bone." The young
woman asked it to bring the piece back, which the
raven did. She put the kneecap on the skeleton and
again began to play her flute. This time everything
was in order. Now the brother who had been brought
back to life was sent home to his father to prepare
him for the arrival of the young couple. The chief,
who in the meantime had aged considerably, could
not believe the news and said, "Dear son, don't make
me sadder. The incident is already forgotten and a
return is out of the question." But shortly afterward
the couple came into the village to the greatest
happiness of the father and mother. The wedding was
celebrated in high style here as well. No one had seen
such a beautiful couple. Not long afterward the young
woman invited all the Indians to a great feast of giving
(a potlatch). Everyone wondered what she could give
since she had brought only a small wooden chest as a
dowry to the husband in the marriage. When
everyone had gathered the woman took from the little
chest, to the astonishment of the entire crowd,
numerous blankets, copper plates, earrings, and much
more of the same, so that finally two houses were
entirely filled. Now the young couple lived happily
for a long time. But the young woman, in order to
convince herself of the faithfulness of her husband,
stuck her finger into the water he brought to the house
and examined it to see if it remained clear. The young
Indian women who liked the handsome man tried
everything to get closer to him, and particularly when
he went to get water. Finally, when doing this, he
promised a young Indian woman his love. Arriving
home the wife investigated the water as usual, and
look! when she pulled her finger out the water was
26
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004 as thick as syrup. The wife sadly said, "Now you have
become untrue to me, and I must leave you." Seized
by remorse, the Indian tried every possible way to
keep her. But each time he tried to get close to her and
embrace her her image flew into the air. She ran to the
water, jumped in head first, and disappeared. When
the Indian tried to jump in after her the water always
repelled him.29
I traveled in all directions in 1890 on Wanuk
Lake and wandered repeatedly through all parts of
the surrounding area but I could not find it marked
on any of the geographic maps I had seen, indeed the
entire landscape in which the lake lay was not
sketched even approximately. I will therefore give a
short description of this lake and its surroundings
based on sketches and notes I made.
Wanuk Lake, on whose northeast end we had
arrived, is about 40 English miles long and
proportionately wide. It is composed of four parts that
are connected by narrow channels. The eastern part
stretches in a southwestern direction, while the
western and broader part proceeds directly west and
is separated from Rivers Inlet by a strip of land about
three miles wide. This stretch of land, thickly wooded
in places, is penetrated by a very large river that comes
out of Wanuk Lake and empties into Rivers Inlet. With
a paddle-wheel steamer one could reach Wanuk Lake
from Rivers Inlet in one or two hours on this river.
Three rivers empty into the northeastern part
of the lake. One, coming from the southeast, can be
traveled a great distance by canoe according to the
reports of the Natives. The second, coming from the
direction of Tallio Fjord, flows in a southwestern
direction into the lake and is used by the Indians on
their trips between Tallio and Rivers Inlet (the third
part of the stretch between Tallio and Wanuk Lake
can be made by canoe). About one and a half English
miles southwest of this river is the third, coming from
the north, which empties into the lake. Here Wanuk
Lake is about one and a half miles wide, but three
miles farther along it reduces to 15 m wide, then opens
up again to about a mile and a half. (The narrow straits
formed this way, whose sides are closed in by giant
rock outcrops, are called "narrows" by the English).
The eastern shore here is flat and appears created for
settlement. After the passage of one and a half to two
miles more to the south the lake again forms a narrows
of about a mile in length and 30 m wide where it is
the narrowest. I determined that the water here was
only eight to ten feet deep. At the exit of this narrows
or channel the Sunkoll River, coming from the east,
empties into the lake. At the mouth lies an Indian
village of the same name. According to the
information of the Natives, this river, both sides of
which are excellently suited for settlement, is
supposed to be navigable for six days by canoe. At
the mentioned Indian village of Sunkoll the lake turns
to the west and becomes two to four miles wide. On
both shores rise great mountains and occasional
valleys provide a view of enormous glaciers. A bay
on the north shore displays the mouth of another
significant river. The lake again becomes restricted
into a narrows, the northern shore of which is formed
by a high cliff, while the southern is flat. Only a single
large boulder, which has the form of a giant eagle,
can be seen here. This is justification for the Indians
to call it that and naturally to attach a host of legends.
Northeast of this giant eagle rock two rivers empty
into the lake within a distance of one mile, and a third
river one mile to the southwest, coming from the
southeast, also empties into the lake. Here, as
indicated above, the lake stretches directly to the west
for a distance of about 15 miles and is three to four
miles wide. Both shores are surrounded by high
mountains. On the north shore here two rivers and
on the south shore another river empty into the lake.
In the extreme western part of the lake is a large bay,
access to which is through a narrows and in which is
an island. Here the lake is connected by the previously
mentioned river to Rivers Inlet, which cuts deeply into
the land. Rivers Inlet received its name because of the
many rivers that empty into it.
The entire fjord and the regions around the lake
described are covered with splendid forests in which
fir and red and yellow cedar—the last being not as
plentiful—are the most notable types of wood. Large
sawmills have been constructed on the banks of the
chief rivers, as well as two canneries that annually
can 25,000 cases of salmon with 48 cans each.
I am quite convinced that in the coming years
hundreds of families will settle in this region so richly
provided by nature, with a climate similar to that of
central Germany, and establish a comfortable home
and a good existence.
When I reached the lake I found it frozen over.
Thus, crossing it in a boat was impossible. So I was
forced to return to Bella Coola, from where I reached
the Rivers Inlet station by canoe in six days, in order
to later take the steamship from there to Victoria. The
trip lasted about two months. In that time I slept only
five nights in Indian dwellings, the rest I had to spend
in the open. •
Kwakiutl Pole,
Thunderbird Park, Victoria
(opposite)
BC Archives 1-26798
Kwakiutl House Pole
(below)
BC Archives 1-26832
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004        27 Token History
McKinnon Bros., of Revelstoke
by Ronald Greene
1 Names of the children were
taken from the Family Bible in
the possession of Laverne Knapik,
Joe's youngest and only surviving
child. Interview of February 7,
2004. The birth places were not
detailed, but viHistory.ca, a
history project of Malaspina
University-College in Nanaimo,
has a searchable 1891 census
which gives the births as Nova
Scotia for all but Margaret Ann.
[http:www.history.mala.bc.ca/
content/census/1891/search].
Margaret's birth is not registered
in B.C.
2' Interview with Jimmy
McKinnon, January 27, 2004
1 Interviews with Mary
Thompson, Hector's only
surviving daughter, February 22,
and March 4, 2004
4 Neither the birth nor death of
Johanna is held in Vital Statistics
records. Nor is Agnes's death,
but it was mentioned in the
Nanaimo Free Press, of July 2nd
1891, p. 1
5 This incident was as understood
by Mary. It has not been traced
either to date or location.
6 In the words of Mary Thompson.
7 Mail Herald Dec. 12,1906, p. 6
and July 24,1907, p. 4
8 Mail Herald June 3,1908, p. 4
9 Mail Herald, Aug. 5,1908, p.4
and Aug. 19,1908, p. 4
10 Mail Herald, May 14,1910, p. 8
"■ Mail Herald, Aug. 3,1910, p. 3
12 Mail Herald, July 8,1911, p. 1
The building still stands at the
time this article is being written.
"■ Mail Herald, Feb. 7,1912, p. 1
14 Hector McKinnon was elected
the Mayor in 1914, did not run in
1915, was elected for 1916,1917,
1918, and 1919. He retired from
politics for a while, ran unsuccessfully against incumbent Mayor
Bews in 1922, but defeated the
incumbent Mayor Abrahamson in
Archibald MacKinnon and his wife, Agnes
McPhee, came from Cape Breton where
they were married at Sydney, on
27 November 1877. In Nova Scotia they
had five children, Hector, Mary Agnes, Daniel Joseph
[Joe], Anna, and Leo. Margaret Ann was born in April
1889 when they were living at Wellington, B.C.1
Archibald had brought his family out to Wellington,
near Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, where he took a
position as a shift foreman in one of the coal mines.2
Mary Thompson says that her father, Hector, told her
about the trip out to British Columbia. There was a
cook stove at the end of the car. [Settlers' Car?] The
train would stop at farms so that the men could get
out and buy milk for the children.3 The couple's seventh
child, Johanna, was born in June 1891, but died within
a few days and Agnes died July 2nd.4 The name was
originally spelled MacKinnon, but eventually evolved
to McKinnon and we will use that form hereafter.
Hector, Joe and Leo all went to work for the
Canadian Pacific Railway. Hector and Joe became
locomotive engineers and Leo became a machinist.
Hector started working on the railway by 1895 and
some time after 1901 moved to Revelstoke. Sometime
he lost an eye when a boiler blew5 On the last run
before he was to be married to Delia Morgan in
August 1906, a trip to Kamloops, Hector was involved
in a minor accident in which the back steps of a
caboose were damaged. He and his crew were
suspended for one year. In the course of the year he
sold insurance, opened the roller and ice skating rink,
and made do. When the time for his re-instatement
came he had developed "a taste for business"6 and
decided not to return to the railway.
On 24 July 1907 Hector McKinnon purchased
the Revelstoke Cigar Store which had been opened by
J.F. Roos in December 1906.7 Mr. Roos had plans to add
a pool and billiards room shortly after opening. In April
it was announced that the Revelstoke Cigar Store
would be moving into the premises being vacated by
Bourne Bros., and that there would be four billiard and
pool tables. In December 1907 McKinnon moved his
business across the street to the premises formerly
occupied by the Savoy Tea Rooms. Only seven months
later he opened a second store which was located on
First Street. The newspaper reported that Mr.
McKinnon planned to run both stores, "his enterprise
and progress in this particular business being already
demonstrated."8 However, by the time Hector
McKinnon's new cigar store opened on First Street,
with five tables, his old premises on McKenzie Avenue
was being fitted up for the Edison Parlor Theatre.9
The next couple of years were quiet, an
occasional mention of billiard tournaments, a trip with
Mrs. McKinnon to the Alaska Yukon Pacific
Exposition in Seattle in 1909, and in January 1910
Hector McKinnon became an Alderman in the City
of Revelstoke. This was his first taste of public service
and the beginning of a long career in civic politics.
In April 1910 Alderman McKinnon purchased
a pool and billiard room in Kamloops from D. Brown.
J. McKinnon, presumably Hector's brother Joe,
assumed the management there. This was the sole
mention of this enterprise in the Revelstoke
newspapers. In May 1910 Hector McKinnon
announced that the roller rink would open shortly
for the season.10 Three months later, in August 1910,
it was announced that McKinnon had purchased a
lot on First Street and was planning to build a fine
new pool room and cigar store.11 Later in 1910 it was
mentioned that Hector McKinnon was a poultry
enthusiast and that he had secured several prizes at
the Ashcroft Poultry Show.
In July 1911 plans for the new McKinnon Block
were detailed in the newspaper. It was to be a three
store concrete and pressed brick building. The
basement, measuring 40 x 90 feet would be fitted up
with bowling alleys, the main floor would have "a
handsomely appointed billiard and pool room, and a
barber shop, while the top floor would have "seven
modern suites of rooms, with bath rooms, kitchens
and every modern convenience complete. The
building throughout will be fitted up with all water
and sewer connections and will be thoroughly steam
heated..."12 When the building opened in February
1912 it was mentioned that the "the cigar store is
heavily stocked with the best brands of cigars and
tobaccos, and is equipped with specially made quarter
cut oak zinc lined Humidore cases to keep the tobacco
28
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004 moist and sanitary. The pool room is equipped with
ten big tables, eight of which are pool and two billiard
tables. The ceiling of this pool room is metallic of
artistic designs.. .."13 Laverne Knapik remembers that
there was a raised platform along the two sides of the
pool room with seats for spectators. By this time Joe
and Leo were both working with Hector.
In 1914, after several years as an alderman,
Hector decided to run for the mayor's job and was
elected as mayor. He was to be re-elected nine times
in succeeding years, although not consecutively14 On
August 3rd, Joe married Emma Morgan, a younger
sister of Hector's wife, Delia.15 Following the outbreak
of World War I, Leo signed up in November 1914. He
served overseas and was killed in action during the
Battle of Vimy, on 9 April 1917.
By 1916 Hector McKinnon started easing
himself out of the cigar store /billiard parlor. He
purchased five acres where the Little League park is
today. He moved an old livery stable building onto the
property and told his wife that he would build her "a
cabin."16 She said she wouldn't move unless she had
the same amenities as she had in their house on 6th
Street, so he brought in water and electricity. Later he
was to buy more acreage. The property was below
Downie Street, down to the junction of the Columbia
and Illecillewaet rivers. Hector started up the Standard
Dairy, and shipped out the first milk in 1918. His good
friend, A.P "Pete" Levesque had the farm next door.
Levesque ran the Union Hotel in Revelstoke and later
the Arlington Hotel in Trail. Hector and Pete would
often buy equipment together and share it.
When Hector and his family moved out to the
farm, Joe and Emma moved from one of the
apartments in the McKinnon Block to the house on
6th Street. Hector's son, Jimmy, lives in the same
house today.
In March 1927 Hector McKinnon was appointed
as the General Road Foreman for the Revelstoke
Division.17 This was a political appointment by the
Liberal Provincial Government. As his son, Jimmy,
said, when the Conservatives came into power he was
out. The Conservatives were elected on 18 July 1928.
In September 192618 Pete Levesque had moved
to Trail and Hector McKinnon was renting the
Levesque barn. On 30 July th 1929 he was ".. .stacking
hay in the barn when a
sudden flame swept over
the entrance through
which exit was usually
obtained. The mayor
managed to find another
way down into the lower
part of the barn, ..., only
to find doors barred from
the outside. He was
compelled to retrace his
steps through the blazing
inferno and jump to the
ground from an entrance
into the loft, with flames
eating at his clothing.. ."w
He was found rolling in the grass to put out the flames.
Medical help arrived almost immediately and he was
taken to the hospital, but he was severely burned and
succumbed to his burns on the 31st, at the age of fifty-
one. He was survived by his widow Delia, Archie, aged
twenty-two, Margaret eighteen, Mary fourteen, and
Jimmy twelve.
Delia, and Archie carried on the Standard
Dairy, but Archie was drowned in a swimming
accident in August 1931 in another family tragedy20
After Jimmy finished his schooling he joined his
mother in operating the dairy. Jimmy carried on in
the dairy until 1968 when BC Hydro bought the farm
because of rising waters from the High Arrow Dam.
After that he acted as a Dairyland distributor. Delia
passed away in October 1979, aged ninety-three.
In 1920 or 1921 Neil Colarch joined Joe in the
cigar store /billiard parlor business. Joe and he ran
the business as McKinnon and Colarch for many
years. The business was open six days a week from 9
a.m. until 11 p.m. Joe worked until his wife, Emma,
died in 1955. After that Neil Colarch brought his son,
Joe, into the business. Joe McKinnon passed away in
1972 at the age of ninety. Joe did not receive the same
attention in the newspapers as his brother Hector, but
he was also very civic minded and involved in many
volunteer activities, seeking election on one occasion.
Emma and Joe had six children, Bernice, Leo, Billy,
Donald, Tommy and Laverne.
The tokens are brass and measure 21 mm in
diameter. They would have been introduced to
provide small change, and maybe prizes, about 1912.
The wear on most of them indicates that they were
used for a number of years. They are one of the more
common older tokens from Revelstoke. •
Hector, on the left, and
Joe on the right. Both
were red-head, Hector an
auburn, dark red, but Joe
was a carrot-top. (above)
Interior of the store,  in
the 1911 building. Joe is
at the right behind the
counter, (opposite)
Photos courtesy of Mrs. Laverne
Knapik, Joe's youngest daughter
1925 and was re-elected for
1926,1927,1928 and 1929.
15 GR 2962 Vital Statistics,
Marriage 14-07-154616,
microfilm B11385.
16' This "cabin" was actually a fairly
substantial log home. The family
later moved it to another site
when B.C. Hydro bought the farm.
17 Revelstoke Review, March 23,
1927, p. 1, the appointment took
effect April 1,1927
1!' Revelstoke Review, Sep 1,
1926, p. 2
19' Revelstoke Review, July 31,
1929, p. 1
2a Revelstoke Review, Aug 14,
1931, p. 1 Archie and Johnnie
Crawford were both drowned.
Archie and another non-
swimmer, Charles Cottrell, had
gone beyond their depth.
Cottrell managed to get back to
shore and called Johnnie to help
Archie. Johnnie was unable to
save Archie and both drowned.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004
29 Book Reviews
When Eagles Call.
Susan Dobbie. Vancouver, Ronsdale Press, 2003. 241 p.
$19.95 paperback.
This historical novel is, in part, the
story of a love affair between Kimo, an
Hawaiian who signed a three year contract
with the Hudson's Bay Company, and Rose,
the daughter of a former servant, a French
Canadien voyageur, and his native wife.
Kimo arrived at Fort Langley just as the new
fort was being built which indicates that the
story is set between 1839 and 1842. Kimo is
determined that when his contract expires
he will return home and will not, as did so
many of his countrymen, remain in fur trade
country. But he has met Rose who has been
resisting the efforts of her step father, Chief
Neetlum, to find her a husband. Despite
their growing friendship Kimo remains
steadfast in his resolve. Then one day shortly
before his contract expired, he sat by the
Fraser River and saw an eagle swoop down,
snatch a fish and fly off. But the fish dropped
from the bird's talons and swam away. Kimo
took this as a sign that the gods had spoken
and that he had been given, as had the fish,
a new life. So he remained in a new country
and the love story had a happy ending.
But Susan Dobbie has attempted
something much larger than a love story. She
has attempted to describe two cultures and
the effects of imperialism on the indigenous
populations in Hawaii and in fur trade
territory. Because this is a novel, she attempts
to provide background through conversation
between some of the characters. There is no
doubt that there was great interest among
the clerks and officers of the Hudson's Bay
Company in affairs of state, but to have Rose
discussing the clash between the fur and the
settlement frontier with a former slave of the
Kwantlen seems rather a stretch.
In her foreword, Dobbie declares that
"every attempt has been made to remain
truthful to the facts and the spirit of the
time." She claims that this historical novel
is based on the Hudson's Bay Company
journals which she had access to at the
Langley Centennial Museum. She is
undoubtedly referring to a transcript of the
original journal which covers events
between 27 June 1827 and 30 July 1830. Some
Books for review and book reviews should be sent to:
Anne Yandle, Book Review Editor BC Historical News,
3450 West 20th Avenue, Vancouver BC V6S 1E4
of the men who were at the fort appear in
the novel. Chief Trader Yale is true to life,
but Francis Annance left Fort Langley in
1830 and abandoned the fur trade in 1835,
and Pierre Charles was sent to Fort
Nisqually well before 1839.
But this is a novel which means the
author has considerable licence. A more
serious breach is the description of Rose as
a girl who could read and write in English
and French, having been taught by her
Canadien father. The voyageurs, almost
without exception, were illiterate. Most
signed their contracts with an X. Unless they
were dismissed by the Company, few
voyageurs left the country.
An even more serious breach of the
"spirit of the time" is Rose making an
application at the fort and getting a job there.
This is as improbable as Rose being literate.
If the man in charge required help which
women could provide, he would assign
tasks to the wives of the men and
recompense them with extra provisions.
A clearly drawn map shows the places
on part of the lower Fraser named by the first
Europeans. Unfortunately what is shown as
Douglas Island did not receive that name until
much later. All the islands in the river were
named after McMllan, who led the founding
expedition, and the clerks who accompanied
him - Barnston, Manson, and Annance.
The Lekwiltok frequently terrorized
their southern neighbours and in March of
1829 some of the fort people had an encounter
with this hostile group. But an attack on the
fort itself, as described in the novel, is highly
unlikely. The source for this was probably
B.A. McKelvie's history of Fort Langley.
McKelvie did a great deal to romanticize
British Columbia history, but is not a very
reliable source if an author truly does wish
to remain true to the "spirit of the time."
In spite of these quibbles, this work is
an ambitious and interesting endeavour.
Susan Dobbie has a way with words and
there are many beautiful passages that read
like poetry. The book is strikingly handsome.
The title and author's name appear on a pale
grey cover on which an eagle feather has
drifted and lies diagonally across the page.
In a one inch strip across the top, against a
darker grey background, waving palm trees
suggest Hawaii.
Morag MacLachlan MacLachlan is the editor of The Fort
Langley Journals, 1827-30.
Trademarks and salmon art: a brand new
perspective: a collective study on British
Columbia salmon can labels, ca. 1890-1950.
Researchers! writers, Claudia Lorenz, Kathryn McKay.
Editors/writers, Anna Ikeda, Kathi Lees. Richmond, Gulf of
Georgia Cannery Society, 2002. 58 p., illus. $16 paperback.
I had great expectations of this book.
I had hoped to learn something interesting
about British Columbia business and
marketing in the first half of the twentieth
century, about how canned salmon was
marketed, about changes in the organization
of the salmon canning industry, about
advertising practices, about the history of
colour printing in British Columbia, or about
the use of Canadian icons in advertising. But
the book fails to achieve these goals.
The major part of the book is two
student essays, one a history of BC salmon
labels, the second a study of the images used
in BC salmon labels. These were preceded
by a chapter outlining the history of the Gulf
of Georgia Cannery Society and followed by
catalogue of an art exhibit held at the Gulf
of Georgia Cannery, both of which seemed
to have been included to add pages to the
volume.
The most interesting part of the entire
book are the four pages of plates providing
colour examples of the salmon labels. But
here too, there is disappointment, as many
of the labels shown are not part of the
collection of the Gulf of Georgia Cannery
Society. This book is a good idea, perhaps
next time someone will do it better.
Gordon Miller, Pacific Biological Station, Nanaimo.
A Touch of Strange; amazing tales of the coast.
Dick Hammond. Madeira Park, Harbour Publishing, 2002.
246 p., illus. $24.95paperback.
This book of tales told to Dick
Hammond by his father is what is called "a
good read", particularly if you like
30 BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004 happenings out of the normal. What an
unusual man that father must have been—
a type of real-life Paul Bunyan.
The tales should be required reading
for anyone who wishes to understand the
British Columbia Coast. A large part of the
enjoyment of the read is the insight given into
the society of the 20th century on our coast,
of a way of life that is gone. Also, there are
countless insights into fishing and logging
practices, the terrain of the coast, animals, the
attidudes of residents to their habitats, which
is surely one of the most challenging in
Canada, that are in themselves fascinating.
There is more than a touch of strange
here. Most characters are certainly unusual,
often bordering on the bizarre. It is left to the
reader how much to believe, to question, to
marvel at, perhaps to dismiss as too far out.
Part of the reading enjoyment is this challenge.
"Runaway!" tells all about the steam
donkey, and details the incredible skill,
bravery, confidence of an engineer in
relating a near-incredible feat. A couple of
stories are about over-confident Englishmen
who were convinced their previous
experiences in Africa and India, etc., would
more than compensate for their lack of
knowledge of the coast. How satisfying the
outcomes, even if one happening resulted
in Dick's father giving up guiding.
The most grisly tales are about snakes.
Imagine a well full of snakes, plus a skeleton!
Skulls feature in other stories. Hammond
apparently had a gift for discovering human
bones, skulls, etc. He found them not only
in wells, but on beaches under boulders, in
abandoned shacks. In one case he left a
skeleton under a giant tree root undisturbed,
"to be at peace". Also included are tales of
unusual creatures. Who is to deny the truth
of these, given the dense forests, deep
waters? An octopus, twenty-two feet across,
a jellyfish thirty-three feet in diameter, a
thirty-eight pound ling cod? Stories of
super-strong men, the loneliness of women
in early days, all are vividly brought to life.
This book can be said to run the entire
gamut of early coastal life. How fortunate
these stories are now in print.
Kelsey MacLeod. Kelsey MacLeod is a member of the
Vancouver Historical Society, and volunteers at the
Vancouver Maritime Museum.
Eskimo Architecture: Dwelling and Structure
in the Early Historic Period.
Molly Lee and Gregory Reinhardt. Fairbanks, University of
Alaska Press and University of Alaska Museum. 216 p.,
illus., maps. $45 US hard cover.
There is more, much more to Inuit
architecture than the famous igloo. Inthis
comprehensive, extensively illustrated
guide to Inuit architecture, the authors range
through the Arctic from Greenland to
Alaska. Drawing on a wealth of descriptions
and illustrations from the accounts of
various explorers and observers (including
a wide range of photographs) that date from
1576 to now, as well as ethnographic and
archaeological documentation, the authors
assess tents, sod and stone houses, igloos,
and the furnishings of these dwellings. The
strength of the book, beyond its extensive
descriptive sections, is a thoughtful
summary chapter that analyzes the common
characteristics and similarities of Inuit
dwellings across the Arctic with thoughts on
avenues for future research on classification
of types, the role of gender, meaning and
symbolism, energy requirements,
subsistence, settlement and mobility, spatial
analysis, and ethnographic details.
Intended for the specialist, the book
will appeal to anyone with an interest in the
Arctic and the Inuit. Scholarly, readable, this
book takes first place as the best guide to
Inuit architecture.
James P. Delgado, James fi Delgado is the Executive
Director, Vancouver Maritime Museum.
If These Walls Could Talk; Victoria's Houses
From the Past.
Valerie Green. Victoria: TouchWood Editions, 2001. 165 p.,
illus., $24.95 paperback.
In the late 1860's, John Wright, "the
grandfather of West Coast architecture",
moved to San Francisco with his business
partner, George Sanders, after a brief, but
prolific career in Victoria, B.C. For the next
three decades Wright designed commercial
buildings, churches, and elaborate houses
for post-Gold Rush merchants and railroad
barons. Unfortunately, the 1906 earthquake
destroyed almost all of his famous buildings,
and today there is very little evidence of
his brilliant contribution to California
architecture. We are fortunate indeed that
at least seven Wright structures still remain
in Victoria: four private homes and three
public buildings: Fisgard Lighthouse (1859),
the Congregation Emanuel (1863), and
Angela College (1866).
The first city on the Canadian West
Coast and its environs can boast of many
heritage structures still extant. Valerie Green
has included two of Wright's designs in
Victoria's Houses From the Past: Point Ellice
House (1863) and Fairfield House (1861).
Among the 30 others, skillfully illustrated by
Lynn Gordon-Findlay are several magnificent
houses by turn-of-the-century architect
Samuel Maclure, and the first home in Oak
Bay, built by former Hudson's Bay Company
Chief Trader, John Tod, in 1850. Whether a
humble log home in Oak Bay or a magnificent
mansion in Rockland, Green blends anecdotes
and historical facts that generously illustrate
the social times and place.
One of my favourites is Captain Victor
Jacobsen's Mansard style house, built on the
Esquimalt waterfront in 1893. It was finished
with ornate "gingerbread", decorative fish
scale shingles, and a tower from which
Jacobsen could watch the comings and
goings of his sealing fleet—a delightful
Victorian design melded with a beautiful
and practical location.
Anyone owning one of the houses
described by Green will treasure this book.
If readers want to learn more about the
architectural history of Victoria they will
find useful references in the bibliography.
Green mentioned to me recently that she has
many more stories tell, and we look forward
to another publication.
Marie Elliott. Marie Elliott is President of the Friends of
the Provincial Archives.
Sojourning Sisters; the lives and letters of
Jessie and Annie McQueen.
Jean Barman, ed.. Toronto, University of Toronto Press,
2003. 304 p., illus., maps. $50 hard cover.
In spite of herself, Jean Barman has
given us a rattling good story. She claims
repeatedly to be  demonstrating the
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004        31 domestication of Canada's western frontier,
the role of gender and personal religion in
the realization of a national dream, and the
predominance of sisterhood's bonds and
daughterhood's obligations in the lives of
women of an earlier generation. And she
does all this. But the thesis, significant
though it is, takes second place to the story.
Barman betrays her suspicion that this might
happen with her opening sentences: "Two
strong women have lived with me for a long
time. They've hung around the house,
woken me up in the middle of the night,
become real nuisances. Tell our story, they
say." So she tells it, protesting that "turning
lives into stories in no way reduces our
obligation to take the past seriously."
The two strong women, Jessie and
Annie McQueen, youngest of six girls and
one boy in a family firmly Scottish,
Presbyterian and Nova Scotian, arrived in
British Columbia during 1887-8 "in the wake
of the trans-continental railroad". Barman
explains, "They came to teach, considering
that at the end of three years they would
return home. They saw themselves as
sojourners, having gone west temporarily,
primarily for economic reasons. In the event,
the sisters continued to make their lives
between the two provinces until the second
sister's death early in the Second World
War." All that time,they wrote and received
letters, over five hundred of them, a treasure
trove which Barman has mined with rich
historical results. Their sojourning in the
western province divided into smaller
sojournings - in the Nicola Valley, Kamloops,
Campbell Creek, Salmon Arm, Rossland, the
southeastern Kootenays, Salt Spring Island,
Victoria - places which Barman shows not
just as settings, but as societies to which
"ordinary" people like Jessie and Annie
contributed and with which they interacted.
They were of course, not "ordinary" at all,
and they differed markedly from each other
in character and life story. Jessie, tiny, shy,
dutiful, would have been the archetypal
spinster were it not for her sparkle and sense
of humour, and an inner strength, partly
faith-based, which upheld her in
relationships with other people of various
ages, ethnic backgrounds, and personalities.
Her most serious romance ended when her
beau was horribly killed in a sawmill
accident near Nicola Lake; the episode
belongs in a poem by Patrick Lane - some
workplaces never become "safe". But Jessie
rebounded, and in my favourite chapter
"Jessie in Charge", she buys a house, teaches
under various trying and improvised
conditions, and skates, sleds and cycles
about Rossland with other youngish
teachers and the inevitable clergymen,
usually but not necessarily Presbyterian.
Her reason for coming to British Columbia
- the financial support of her parents and
other needy family members - proved also
the reason for leaving. Her career ended
abruptly in 1900 when she returned to Nova
Scotia to care for her mother and
coincidentally to become everyone's
favourite aunt.
Barman obviously likes Jessie better
than Annie, but she cannot avoid giving
Annie her due; this strong, energetic, self-
assured character demands attention.
Annie's marriage to James Gordon, soon
after coming west, did not bring her the
expected economic security. Their doomed
furniture business moved them from
Kamloops to Ontario and back again to a
marginal ranch. In 1896 Jim became a sub-
collector of customs, and over the next
decade they and their three children moved
from Salmon Arm to Trail, to Crow's Nest
Landing, to Tobacco Plains, to Gateway, and
finally in 1907 to Victoria. To Annie's
chagrin, Jessie stopped accompanying them
after Trail. But everywhere they went, Annie
fought and bossed everyone in sight for the
sake of what she considered best for herself
and her family. After Jim's death in 1911,
Annie broke through into a hyper-active
career of public service, and in 1919 was
appointed provincial director of the Homes
Branch of the Soldier's Settlement Board.
The men in their lives - their father, their
brother, Annie's husband and the husbands
of other sisters - were the weaker vessels.
The sisters needed physical and spiritual
strengths, and skills with such homely tools
as the sewing machine. Thanks to Barman,
we know what they read and who their
neighbours were, and what they thought of
both books and neighbours.
This book invites and rewards a
second reading. It also inspires quotation,
for instance, this from Barman's concluding
"Reflections": "More than any other factor,
it was the difficulty of making a living, for
themselves and for their families, that
caused the major transitions in Annie's and
Jessie's lives. Whether in Nova Scotia, British
Columbia, or Ontario, where Annie briefly
lived, it was extraordinarily hard, the sisters'
experiences testify, for ordinary families to
survive financially. Time and again, Jessie
and Annie uprooted themselves, and those
around them, for no other reason than basic
human survival. If the McQueens, who
possessed a reasonable education and a
strong moral ethic, had such difficulties,
then what happened to so many other
families across Canada during these years?
I don't have any answers except to suggest
that examination of more such everyday
lives might draw out larger issues that
continue to agitate us into the present day."
Phyllis Reeve Phyllis Reeve pioneers on Gabriola Island.
Fields of Fire: The Canadians in Normandy.
Terry Copp. University of Toronto Press, 2003. 344 p.,
illus. $40 hard cover.
In his admirable new book, Fields of
Fire, Professor Terry Copp, co-director of the
Laurier Centre for Military, Strategic and
Disarmament Studies, has produced a
penetrating new study of the performance,
and effectiveness, of the Canadian Army in
the months following "D-Day". The Allied
landings on the Normandy Coast which
began on 6 June 1944 are now personally
remembered by a diminishing group of
survivors, and this book uses material from
interviews and diaries with telling effect.
There is much more to it than that, however,
as the author has assembled an entirely
convincing mosaic of records, signals,
photographs, reports and other narratives
into a flawless exposition of his new
interpretation of the campaign.
Copp's formidable book challenges
32 BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004 the conventional view that the Canadian
contribution to the Battle of Normandy was
a "failure", in the sense that the battle was
won only by the brute force of the Allies and
the attrition of German forces. The old view
has been that Canadian soldiers (who were
all volunteers, a "citizens' army") were
amateurish and essentially incompetent.
Copp's research into fine details of the
campaign produces in his pages a tapestry
every bit as intriguing as that other famous
military tapestry, at Bayeux, which depicts
an invasion in the other direction. In 1944
Bayeux figured prominently in the
Canadian advance, Canadian forces there
received much more than arrows. But it took
only seventy-six days for the German forces
in France to be totally defeated. Copp's
book, which has 267 pages of text and a
remarkable seventy-seven pages of notes,
sources, indices and other reference
material, follows the action in minute detail.
At times this slows the narrative almost to a
standstill, and although the book is written
for the general reader it will appeal
especially to military enthusiasts, if not
devotees. By the very nature of the subject,
abbreviations abound, and the reader must
soon adapt to the jargon of SPs, PIATs,
FOOs, Dog Company and the Firefly which
killed two Panthers, etc. Almost the only
weakness of the book is the scanty supply
of maps, of which there are only a dozen,
most of them half-page size. The
photographs, by contrast, are excellent.
The book also contains a cogent
review of the effectiveness of air-power and
the unfortunate lack of sympathy between
those commanders in favour of the tactical,
as distinct from strategic, application of it.
Copp's concluding paragraph says:
"The Canadian citizen army that fought in the
Battle of Normandy played a role all out of
proportion to its relative strength among the
Allied Armies. This was especially true within
22 Army Group, where due to a mixture of
Canadian pride and the British desire to limit
their own casualties, Canadian divisions were
required to fight more often than their British
counterparts... Perhaps it is time to recognize
the extraordinary achievements that marked the
progress of the Canadians across Normandy's
fields of fire." His book will remain the
definitive source for evidence in favour of
that, and all Canadians should support it.
Mike Higgs Mike Higgs is a retired CP. Air pilot.
The Heavens are Changing: nineteenth-century
Protestant missions and Tsimshian Christianity.
Susan Neylan. Montreal & Kingston, McGill-Queen's
University Press, 2003. 401 p., illus. $75 hard cover.
Susan Neylan's study of Tsimshian
Christianity in the nineteenth century is an
interesting and innovative contribution to
the BC historical literature. She offers a close
survey of the missionization of BC's north
coast during the last half of the nineteenth
century, and particularly examines how the
Tsimshian received new ideas and shaped
them to their own values and goals while at
the same time re-working ideas from their
own religious practices and the material
conditions of their lives.
Neylan begins with a summary of
indigenous Tsimshian religious ideas,
emphasizing a tradition of actively seeking
spiritual experiences and openness to
accepting new religious ideas from other
groups (such as the secret societies that came
to the Tsimshian from the Heiltsuk). She has
relied heavily on a structuralist model of
Tsimshian religion that is viewed with some
scepticism by specialists, but the overview
she provides is useful nonetheless. There are
a few odd gaps — Neylan indicates (p. 151)
that "the concept of 'sin' was a revolutionary
idea, with no apparent parallels in
'traditional' Tsimshian culture" but she has
overlooked the possibility that the
Tsimshian concepts of hawa I k (taboo;
violation of sacred laws) or witchcraft might
have been worth examining in this regard.
Neylan then proceeds to interrogate
the perspective of evangelical Protestantism
that was brought to the north coast, and the
way that the the missionaries wrote about
their project to transform the Tsimshian. This
is the strongest section of the book and a
significant contribution, even though there
have been several previous books on aspects
of this encounter. There is excellent detail in
the discussion of how missionaries
promulgated ideas to contest Tsimshian uses
of time and space (both domestic and
public), and good coverage of gender and
class issues. Neylan considers themes of
resistance and points out jostling among
players in the mission scene, including
Tsimshian evangelicals. In an epilogue she
reviews the themes of power and religious
identity and how indigenized Christianity
and reliance on scriptural authority became
part of Tsimshian religious identity without
undermining commitments to the land and
aboriginal values.
Neylan has been assiduous in locating
letters and journals from early converts that
reveal details of the experiences and
perspectives of indigenous missionaries,
and has put these to good purpose in
balancing narratives from non-Tsimshian
missionaries and government documents. It
is refreshing to read the words of nineteenth
century Tsimshian people who identified the
inconsistencies between colonial land
policies and Christian ideals. "Did you ever
see a Christian take land from another
Christian and sell it, not letting him know
anything about it?" (Clah, in 1883, cited by
Neylan at page 276). Any British Columbian
historian will recognize the irony of this
straight-forward question in contrast to the
convoluted logic employed by government
agents of the era to justify land grabs.
I have some quibbles with Neylan's
under-critical use of ethnography, and also
found a number of errors in translations of
the Tsimshian language - and I found the
absolute certitude with which she writes
about the language disconcerting given the
number of errors she makes. Of course, very
few readers have the specialized knowledge
to realize that max I yets'ii does not in fact
literally mean 'out-potlatch' as Neylan
firmly asserts on page 119; in fact, this word
literally means 'to club someone over the
head,' and the 'outpotlatch' usage is
metaphoric. Similarly, on page 120 Neylan
sounds authoritative in correcting an early
source: "'Sudalth,' translated by Crosby as
'new woman' although it means something
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004        33 closer to 'dear woman.' - except that Neylan
is wrong, the translation given by Crosby a
century ago is correct (su- is a prenominal
meaning 'new,' and the root means 'lady'
Similarly, she asserts that in the term lupleet
"an entirely new label was devised for
categorizing this post-contact type of
spiritual leader," (31), when in fact this is a
borrowing (from French, la pretre, probably
via Chinook Jargon). These are admittedly
small mistakes with respect to an obscure
language, but this sort of error should have
been caught - if not by the press editors then
by external readers, or (since this is a
reworked dissertation) by examiners. Or at
least the author should learn the judicious
use of 'weasel words' like "seems, might,
and apparently'
Despite the quibbles that I've
identified, this is a fine contribution and one
that I recommend to readers. Throughout,
Neylan displays an awareness of the
political implications of the mission context,
and explores the ways that Tsimshian people
negotiated their roles in the face of
accelerating changes in their communities.
British Columbian historians will find this
volume a useful source for its
methodological and theoretical ideas as well
as for the substantive content.
Margaret Seguin Anderson. Margaret Seguin Anderson is
Professor of First Nations Studies, University of Northern
British Columbia
Undelivered Letters to Hudson's Bay Company
Men on the Northwest Coast of America, 1830-57.
Judith Hudson Beattie and Helen M. Buss, eds. Vancouver:
UBCPress, 2003. 497 pp. illus. $85 hard cover, $34.95
paperback.
All of the essence of this book comes
from a file of dead letters. But there is,
nonetheless, a great deal of historical life that
comes down to us. These are outward bound
letters, intended for servants of the
Gentlemen Adventurers of England trading
into Hudson's Bay. For one reason or
another these epistles, great and small, major
and minor, never reached their destination,
and by and large the authors of these letters
come from the more minor ranks and
occupations of such servants. All this,
however, redounds to the benefit of historical
scholarship, for we learn much of the
mentality and the culture of early Victorian
Britain through the words of those often
humble folk who wrote these letters. The
editors have done heroic and diligent service
in bringing this book into print, replete with
handsome illustrations and many learned
notations. Three maps provide aid for the
quizzical on HBC routes round Cape Horn,
the origins of men on the ships, men at the
posts and emigrant labourers, the origins of
the voyageurs and some Hudson's Bay
Company posts, and, more predictably,
Hudson's Bay Company operations on the
west coast during the dates in question. If the
letters themselves tend to be matter of fact
and of a routine nature it is pleasing that so
many photographic illustrations have been
provided—thirty-eight in number—and
many of these are segments of the letters, a
useful thing for someone studying
handwriting of the period. There are a few
items here for the philatelist, too, notably the
cancelled Penny Black, then recently
introduced as a stamp.
The student of Northwest Coast
history will find a trawl through this
collection to be of possible value, for he or
she might unearth a nugget or jewel. Then
again, it may be a lottery. But one thing is
certain we now know a lot more about the
social construct of the families connected with
those distant family members who worked
for the HBC. Many were adequately
educated, benefiting from public and church
schools of the Britain of the era. Those who
could not write trusted their kin to pass on
messages—and to keep the lines of
communication open. One of the remaining
historical areas for research for this period is
a communications history—that is, how and
in what way were messages (and mail)
passed. Given the fact that the mouth of the
Columbia River and the posts north were half
a world away by sea as by land from the
mother country the factor of time played a
remarkable role in the perceived isolation of
the area. And yet the world functioned as well
as the communications system of post would
allow. The isolation was not so much
geographical as chronological.
I found the layout of this book
confusing and disappointing. I should have
thought a good catalogue of the various
letters would have been useful right at the
beginning. Each of the letters could have been
listed by a number, too, a number
corresponding to where they appear at a later
stage. I would further have placed all
editorial and introductory remarks that
preface each of the letters in italics — to
differentiate such remarks from the text of the
letter in question. I would further have placed
any such notes that are connected to the letter
in question on the same page as the letter in
question. We need desperately to come back to
the use of footnotes, and there is no reason in the
world why they cannot be placed as such — at
the bottom of the page where we serious
researchers can readily consult them. All the
ancillary details that are consigned to appendixes
should likewise have been placed as footnotes
(and cross-referenced when necessary).
Barry Gough Wilfrid Laurier University.
Tong: The Story of Tong Louie,
Vancouver's Quiet Titan.
E.G. Perrault. Madeira Park, Harbour Publishing, 2002,
192 p., illus. $39.95 hard cover.
E.G. Perrault's handsome and
substantial commissioned biography of
Vancouver businessman Tong Louie is really
two books. The first is an interesting social
history of Vancouver's Chinese community,
focusing on Louie's father Hok Yat, who built
a substantial wholesale grocery business (the
H.Y Louie Company) despite the overt
racism of the first half of the 20th century, and
his eleven children. The second is a rather
conventional business biography of Tong
Louie himself. Although the motivational
and inspirational tone of the latter diminished
its value to me, the book has been well-
received and won the Haig-Brown Regional
Prize at the 2003 B.C. Book Prizes.
In his twenties and married in the late
1890s, Hok Yat Louie left his village near
Guangzhou and journeyed alone to Victoria.
He paid the fifty dollar head tax and went
to work, but soon moved to Vancouver
34 BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004 where, he reasoned, there was more chance
of getting ahead. Around 1900, he leased
farmland along the Fraser River near
Boundary Road and grew vegetables which
he hauled by wagon each day to Chinatown.
Passing the time along the way, he taught
himself English and soon became one of the
few young Chinese men who could act as an
intermediary with Vancouver's white
residents and businesses. About 1905, he
opened a wholesale grocery and farm supply
store near Carrall and Pender which grew
rapidly in spite of setbacks as he moved
beyond the Chinese ghetto and began to
compete with the Malkins and Kellys who
dominated the Vancouver grocery-supply
business. In 1911 he took a second wife, while
continuing to send money to China to
support his first wife and parents; his second
son, born in 1914, was named Tong.
The book engagingly describes Tong's
youth, growing up ambitious in Chinatown
and attending UBC, then gradually taking
over the business from his older brother after
their father died in 1934. After the Second
World War, Tong really came into his own as
a businessman, and the text charts his
development of the IGA grocery stores and,
later, the London Drugs empire. By the time
of his death in 1998, he was a revered
businessman and philanthropist.
The book presents a lot of general
Vancouver and Chinese-Canadian history
that has been published elsewhere, useful to
many readers but giving the book a slightly
"padded" feeling, and I wish there were notes
on sources of some of the historical material.
I found the family photographs (curiously
without any photos of Tong's wife Geraldine
and their children together) and some of the
anecdotes to be the best part of the book. My
favorite concerned the efforts of Vancouver
alderman Halford Wilson and some
Kerrisdale residents to stop Chinese families
from moving into the Dunbar-Southlands
area in 1941; I'd known this story for years,
but hadn't realized it was Tong and Geraldine
Louie's purchase of 5810 Highbury that
spawned the protest.
Michael Kluckner Michael Kluckner is the author of many
books on Vancouver.
A Man and His Century; Gerald Smedley
Andrews, 1903-.
Mary E. Andrews and Doreen J. Hunter. Victoria, BC, 2003.
56 p., illus. $12.95paperback.
"The Member from Atlin... is present!"
At the Annual General Meeting of the B.C.
Historical Federation, (wherever it is held)
the order of business commences with a roll-
call of the Federation societies in
alphabetical order - and their representatives
who might be present. Right near the top
comes the call for the member representing
the Atlin Historical Society, and for several
years in the past the response "Present" was
given by Gerald S. Andrews.
While not now representing Atlin
formally or informally - he had a summer
home there - he does have a somewhat
wider constituency - that of the past One
Hundred Years. In this delightful memoir,
his daughter Mary Andrews and her
colleague, Doreen Hunter, have presented
in capsule form a look at the life and some
of the times of the longest serving Surveyor
General of British Columbia, who was,
among many other activities, a teacher, a
forester, an engineer, artist, author and a Past
President of the B.C. Historical Federation.
Aspects of all of the above are touched on
in this memoir along with his pioneering
work in aerial photogrammetry.
For those who landed on the
Normandy beaches in 1944, their way was
mapped by Gerry Andrews and his aerial
team; for those who today traverse B.C. and
the rest of Canada using the maps of the
country, their directions too were laid out
by Gerry Andrews.
The book is fascinatingly illustrated
with photos (stretching over most of the
century) and artwork, some from Gerry's
own hand. It covers the essential aspects of
his very varied life, both in Canada and
abroad; Mary Andrews covering her father's
personal life and Doreen Hunter presenting
the technical sides, both narratives melding
in an almost seamless text.
There is much to be learned and
appreciated in this account of the life of a
pioneer of British Columbia, one who
boundlessly loves the land and all its
peoples, one who is still with us.
Leonard G. McCann, Curator Emeritus, Vancouver
Maritime Museum
NOTEWORTHY BOOKS
Books listed here may be reviewed at a later date. For further information please
consult Book Review Editor, Anne Yandle.
Bent Props and Blow Pots; a pioneer remembers Northern
bush flying. Rex Terpening. Madeira Park, Harbour Publishing,
2003. $36.95
Born to Die; a cop killer's final message. Ian Macdonald
and Betty O'Keefe. Surrrey, Heritage House, 2003. $16.95
Cassiar; a jewel in the wilderness. Suzanne LeBlanc. Prince
George, Caitlin Press, 2003. $19.95
Edenbank; the history of a Canadian pioneer farm. Oliver
N. Wells. Madeira Park, Harbour Publishing, 2003. $36.95.
A Fatherly Eye; Indian agents, government power and
aboriginal resistance in Ontario, 1918-1939. Robin Jarvis
Brownlie. Toronto, Oxford University Press, 2003. $29.95.
Frigates and Foremasts; the North American squadron in
Nova Scotia waters, 1745-1815. Julian Gwyn. Vancouver,
UBC Press, $75 hard cover; $27.95 paperback.
From the Wheelhouse; tugboaters tell their own stories.
Doreen Armitage. Madeira Park, Harbour Publishing, 2003.
$39.95
Harvesting the Fraser; a history of early Delta. Terrence
Philips. Delta Museum and Archives, 2003. 2nd ed. $20
High Boats; a century of salmon remembered. Pat Wastell
Norris. Madeira Park, Harbour Publishing, 2003. $32.95 .
Hub City, Nanaimo, 1886-1920. Jan Peterson. Surrey,
Heritage House, 2003. $19.95.
Living on the Edge; Nuu-Chah-Nulth history from an
Ahousaht Chief's perspective. Chief Earl Maquinna George.
Winlaw, BC, Sono Nis, 2003. $19.95
McGowan's War. Donald J. Hauka. Vancouver, New Star Books,
2003. $24
Old Langford; an illustrated history, 1850 to 1950.Maureen
Duffus. Victoria, The Author, $25
The Oriental Question; consolidating a white man's
province, 1914-41. Patricia E. Roy. Vancouver, UBC Press,
2003. $85 hard cover; $29.95 paperback.
The Remarkable World of Frances Barkley, 1769-1845. Beth
Hill, with Cathy Converse. Victoria, TouchWood Editions,
2003. $18.95
Spirit Dance at Meziadin; Chief Joseph Gosnell and the
Nisga'a treaty. Alex Rose. Madeira Park, Harbour Publishing,
2003. $21.95
The Story of Hudson's Hope to 1945. M.A. Kyllo. Salmon
Arm, The Author, 2003. $25
Terrace, Incorporated in 1927. 75 years of growth. Terrace
Regional Historical Society, 2003.
Vancouver's Glory Years; public transit, 1890-1915.
Heather Conn and Henry Ewert. North Vancouver, Whitecap
Books, 2003. $45
When Coal was King; Ladysmith and the Coal-mining Industry
on Vancouver Island. Vancouver, UBC Press, 2003. $85
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004        35 WebSite Forays
viHistory.ca
Christopher Garrish
For those able to attend the
Federation's upcoming Annual
Conference being held in
Nanaimo this May, a very
interesting seminar to be hosted by Dr.
Patrick Dunae of Malaspina's University-
College's History Department has been
scheduled.
The focus of Dr. Dunae's presentation
is to be on viHistory.ca, a relatively new
internet-based resource whose primary
objective has been to facilitate research into
the history of Vancouver Island (hence the
"vi" in the web address; www.viHistory.ca).
The site works by using several large
databases derived from 19th century census
records, directories, and tax assessment rolls
that researchers can easily access.
In approaching the site as simply a
curious visitor rather than dedicated Island
researcher, I have to say that I was struck by
the sheer ambition of the project. In terms
of presenting students of British Columbia
history with access to free, pure,
unadulterated statistical data, unshackled
from any secondary interpretation or
analysis is truly laudable. What is even more
impressive is that Dr Dunae's Conference
seminar will address the possibility of
creating a "digital quilt of census records for
other regions in the province."
As an example of the information that
can be accessed via the site, a dataset of the
1881 Census (the second decennial Census
of Canada, and the first to include British
Columbia) that had been preserved by the
National Archives of Canada was
transcribed from microform in 1990 and
turned into a useable database. This
database was subsequently refined over the
years and, in 2001-2002, fitted with a
searchable on-line interface consisting of a
search engine and query forms that allowed
data to be retrieved and viewed as it had
originally been recorded.
What I was unaware of was that at the
time of the 1881 Census, British Columbia
was divided into five census districts which
generally corresponded with existing
federal electoral districts. Of these five
districts, District No. 190 (Victoria) and
District No. 191 (Vancouver) covered the
geographical area ofVancouver Island (with
the exception of the north end of the Island
which was included in District No. 187 -
New Westminster).
Searching the databases of these two
Districts is a fairly straightforward process.
There is a "Basic" or "Advanced" form that
can be selected to sift through the
information based on the criteria you choose
to enter. The site is very user friendly in that
an excellent "How it works" section
accessible from via the main page by
selecting the "About" link.
Accordingly, by following the
directions provided, I attempted to view the
occupations of people in 1881 that inhabited
the same road in Victoria that I live on now;
Hillside Avenue. After a few attempts with
nothing to show for my efforts, I decided to
quickly reference the "viMaps" section of
the site only to realize that the city did not
extend much beyond Bay Street at that time.
Employing a different tack, I decided
to explore something I had come across on
a page that provided a "dynamic list of all
occupations recorded by enumerators" - a
useful tool that assists in the navigation of
the data. In 1881, a Mr Ah Sig, age thirty-
four from China is listed as an Opium
Manufacturer in the Johnson Street Ward of
Victoria. Further reading revealed how the
City Directory for
Victoria in 1882 can
be used in
conjunction with the
1881 Census data to
reveal the degree of
anti-Chinese
sentiment present in
Victoria at this time.
To quote the site;
"advertisements
placed in the
directory by Kurtz &
Co. emphasized their
cigars were
manufactured by
'white labor;' and all
cigar makers
identified   in   the
directory appear to be 'white.' But the census
indicates the presence of many Chinese cigar
makers in Victoria."
Another interesting feature of the site
is the ability of visitors to use the "Correct"
and "Send Corrections Feature," which are
accessible via the main page, to correct any
errors that might have been contained in the
original census data. According to Dr
Dunae, and as stated on the site; "inevitably,
errors were made when information was
first recorded and when it was later
transcribed," and the best "eyes" in catching
these mistakes have been genealogists
looking for family names and finding the
errors in the process. So far, several hundred
records have been corrected from
information sent by viHistory users and, as
a result, the site now has the cleanest, most
authoritative census dataset in Canada.
In terms of other future applications
that the site is seeking to provide to
researchers that I found most interesting is
an Historical GIS (Geographic Information
System) of Victoria and Vancouver Island.
Work on this aspect of the site is on-going
and definitely worth keeping your eye on.
For those of you who will be attending
the Conference and wish to participate in
Dr Dunae's session on viHistory.ca, the
seminar has been scheduled for 10:40am to
12pm on May 7. •
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36 BC HISTORICAL NEWS - VoL 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004 Archives & Archivists
The Archives Association of British Columbia
By Erwin Wodarczak, pesident of the AABC
Edited by Sylvia Stopforth
Librarian & Archivist, Norma Marion Alloway Library,
Trinity Western University
The Archives Association of British
Columbia (AABC) represents both archivists
and archival institutions across British
Columbia. At its core, the AABC is
committed to helping to preserve British
Columbia's documentary heritage. It does
this by offering both courses and advisory
services; providing a wide range of free
conservation services; and by developing
and maintaining various Internet-based
resources. The Association also distributes
grants to archival institutions. These grants,
plus our three core programmes _ the
Education and Advisory Service, the
Archival Preservation Service, and the
Archival Network Service _ are primarily
funded from sources outside the AABC.
Unfortunately for the AABC, its members,
and ultimately all those who use archives in
the course of their work, such funding
sources are no longer as reliable as they were
a few years ago.
Until 2001 the government of British
Columbia, through the provincial archives,
funded a community archives programme
which supported both the A ABC's activities
and archives around the province. The
Community Archives Assistance Program
(CAAP) made funds available to community
archives, while the Community Archives
Advisory and Training Program (CAAT)
allowed the AABC to attract matching
funding from the federal government
though the Canadian Council of Archives,
which together paid for its core programmes.
In August 2001 the provincial
government announced the immediate
cancellation of these two programmes. An
intensive campaign by the British Columbia
archival community did lead to the
reinstatement of most of CAAT's funding for
2001/02, allowing the AABC to meet its CCA
matching funding obligations for that year.
However, since then no new grant
programme has been established. The
government's response to our repeated
requests has been to insist that archives must
either find alternate sources of funding from
within their communities or rely more on
their volunteers. Many community archives
already depend on volunteer efforts to
operate—as does the AABC—and to ask
them to take on more responsibility would
not be sustainable in the long run. As for
finding alternate sources of funding, the
Association has made efforts to do so—for
example, we now solicit advertising for our
Web, and a fund-raising plan is being
considered—but we have yet to find a source
that could substantially replace either CAAT
or CAAP.
The future of our remaining federal
monetary support, administered by the
CCA, is also becoming uncertain. The
federal government is reviewing all of its
grant programmes, and the CCA's financial
assistance programmes are currently being
scrutinized as part of that process. Currently,
the AABC distributes CCA grant monies
applied for by institutional members. Also,
the Association has over the years funded
its services with money from the CCA.
Finally, both the Association and its
institutional members are eligible for
funding under the Canadian Archival
Information Network (CAIN).
By themselves, CCA funds are not
enough to support the AABC's education,
preservation, and network services. Since
2002 the Association has had to cut these
back, and dip into its financial reserves to
cover the costs of even these reduced
programmes. Even worse, CCA funding for
2004/05 was cut by 20% compared to the
previous year. This forced the AABC to
spend even more of its financial reserves
than had been planned in order to both pay
for its core programmes and have enough
grant money left over for institutional
members. As for CAIN, none of the projects
applied for by AABC or institutions in B.C.
for 2003/04 were approved. CAIN is also
being evaluated as part of the federal
government's programme review.
Users of archives-historians,
genealogists, and professional researchers-
are affected by these fiscal and political
pressures on the province's archival
community. Reduced funding will lead
inevitably to reduced access to archival
materials. B.C.'s archival community needs
the active support of users and patrons of
archives in order to survive. For more
background on the elimination of the
provincial grant programmes, see the Fall
2001 AABC Newsletter <http: / / aabc.bc.ca /
aabc / newsletter /11_4 / default.htm>. To
request their reinstatement, please write to
your local MLA and to the minister
responsible, the Honourable George Abbott,
Minister of Community, Aboriginal, and
Women's Services, PO Box 9042, STN PROV
GOVT, Victoria, BC, V8W 9E2. Our call for
public support for CAIN is on-line at <http: /
/ aabc.bc.ca / aabc / cainsupport.htmlx To
voice your support for CAIN and other CCA
programmes, please write to your local MP
and to the minister responsible, the
Honourable Helene Chalifour Scherrer,
Minister of Canadian Heritage, Room 511-S,
House of Commons, Ottawa ON, Kl A 0A6.
New Head for the City of
Vancouver Archives
On 8 January 2004 Reuben Ware was
appointed Vancouver City Archivist and
Director of the Archives and Records
Division. Since 1980 he has fostered and
built programmes in records management
and archives for provincial and municipal
governments and a variety of cultural
institutions. He began with the Provincial
Archives of British Columbia as archivist
responsible for records relating to natural
resources and the environment. Later he was
Director of Records Management and led
the early development ofBritish Columbia's
ARCS (Administrative Records Classification
System). As Deputy Provincial Archivist for
British Columbia, from 1989 to 1991, he
promoted the establishment of the
Community Archives Assistance Program,
a provincial grants programme that helped
support the development of British
Columbia's network of archives. Reuben
also worked on early drafts of the municipal
records classification system that became the
British Columbia Local Government
Manager's Association standard for British
Columbia.
From 1991 to 1995, he was Director of
Nova Scotia Records Management and
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004        37 Miscellany
developed a records management system
similar to BC's; this was Nova Scotia STAR/
STOR (Standard for Administrative Records/
Standard for Operational Records. These
integrated records retention schedule and
classification systems have served as models
for New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and
Prince Edward Island.
He served as Harvard University
Records Manager with the Harvard
University Archives from 1996 to 1999, and
he oversaw the final development of the
Harvard General Records Schedule and
successfully promoted and assisted the
establishment of Harvard Medical School's
records and archives programme. As a
volunteer and consultant, he assisted the San
Antonio Symphony and the McNay Art
Museum in San Antonio, Texas, to establish
archives and records retention schedules. He
was also Records Manager for the City of
Austin, Texas. More recently, he served as a
volunteer archivist helping the Canadian
Canoe Museum in Peterborough, Ontario to
establish an archives.
As Vancouver City Archivist, Reuben
will be directing the Corporate Records
Project. This project will inventory all City
records, develop a standard records
classification system, and implement it for
both paper and electronic records through the
City's departments. Successful completion of
this project will provide a foundation for
enhancing the City's records management
practices. It will also prepare the City for
effective use of future electronic records and
document management systems.
"The exciting thing for me, Reuben
said, "is the honour of being appointed City
Archivist for Vancouver. The City of
Vancouver Archives has had a long and rich
tradition since its establishment in 1933 and
it is one of the best municipal archives
anywhere. I am grateful for the chance to
serve this community and to have the
opportunity to make a contribution to this
tradition of excellence." •
Islands of British Columbia
2004: An Interdisciplinary
Exploration
Conference Announcement
and Call for Papers
This summer, Arts Denman will be
hosting an interdisciplinary conference on
"the Islands of B.C.", and invites all
interested researchers, scholars and
islanders to consider presenting their ideas
and explorations on the subject.
"Islands ofBritish Columbia 2004: D An
Interdisciplinary Exploration" will be held
August 20,21 & 22,2004 on Denman Island.
The conference will provide a forum in
which researchers, scholars and islanders
can explore the past, present and future of
island communities of people, plants,
animals, the interrelationships between
those communities, and the distinctive
qualities of islands. The main theme areas
are: Island Histories, Island Cultures, Social
Issues Affecting Islands, and Island
Environments.
For more information on presenting
a paper and/or attending the conference, go
to: <www.denmanisland.com/conference/
index.htm> •
Winnifred Ariel
Weir was
awarded the
Order of British
Columbia in
1999, and the
Queen's Golden
Jubilee medal in
2003
Winnifred Ariel Weir of Invermere
Winnifred Ariel Weir ofD Invermear
passed away on 3 February 2004 at age
ninety-five. Winn was born in Cranbrook,
went to Invermere as a teacher in 1929 and
married in 1932. She was a leader in her
community and district with a keen
appreciation of history. For 19 years she was
editor of the local weekly, The Valley Echo and
had bylines in the Vancouver Province and
Sun, Calgary Herald and other Kootenay
newspapers.DShe wote Tales of the
Windermere in 1980, spearheaded the
formation of the Windermere Valley
Museum, and sat on the board of the British
Columbia Historical Association for a
number of years. •
2003 Best Article Award
The decision is in. After careful deliberation of the shortlist the
jury has chosen Baille-Grohman's Diversion (Vol.36 No. 4 ) by
R.J. Welwood as the best article published in British Columbia
Historical News for the year 2003.
The jury commented that "the article was well written and
reflected considerable research. It explores one man's dogged
pursuit of his vision which, eventually, not only made history
but also changed a landscape. Baillie-Grohman certainly deserves
to be recognized as a unique pioneer who changed the course,
not only of two waterways but also British Columbia history."
Our congratulations to Ron Welwood!
38 BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004 A Chicken Oath in Prince George
Editor's Note: The Fall 2003 (Vol.36 No.4) issue
of British Columbia Historical News included a
small item by Ron Greene concerning the use of
the Chicken Oath in British Columbia's
courtrooms. A small addendum to the story
appeared last issue and now Mrs. Daphne Baldwin
of Victoria adds to the story of this odd oath.
Does anyone else have a story on this oath or
others used in British Columbia courtrooms?
My late husband, George W Baldwin
QC joined the law firm of Wilson, King and
Fretwell in October 1954, having been
recently called to the bar. His principal, Peter
Wilson, Q.C. was city prosecutor for Prince
George at that time and daily attended
Magistrate's Court. Whenever he was
unable to do so my husband took his place.
One day he returned home to tell me about
an interesting happening which had taken
place.
It would probably be 1955 or 1956 in
Magistrate Court in front of Lay Magistrate
P.J. Moran. There was some case involving
two Chinese Canadians, one of whom
refused to continue unless he could swear
by the Chicken Oath, all of this through an
interpreter. This was agreed to and
arrangements made. A chicken was
procured and the matter proceeded
satisfactorily until the chicken managed to
escape and flapped around losing feathers
as various people tried to catch it. The
Magistrate shouted "Stop them. Stop them."
and the interpreter threw up his hands
crying " everyone crazy - judge crazy,
witness crazy."
I'm sorry that I cannot be more
informative but I thought this might be
enough to show that the Chicken Oath was
actually used much later than had been
stated. •
Feedback on the name change proposal for
British Columbia Historical News
In the last issue of the News the President,
Jacqueline Gresko asked for opinions
regarding the proposed name change for
this publication. Many member societies
and individuals responded and those
opinions follow below.
The matter of a name change has been
added to the agenda of the AGM in
Nanaimo.
"British Columbia History is an appropriate
title."
"I agree a name change is desirable and
British Columbia History is fine too."
"...we agree that British Columbia History
would be much better. BC Historical News
sounds like it is only about news items that
are for those in the historical field..."
"An updating of the title in no way
adversely reflects on the founders,
contributors or accomplishments of the
News."
"We strongly support this change and are
surprised it has not been made before."
"...the name British Columbia History is an
excellent choice for the Federation's journal.
I think the current name does not really
reflect the content of the journal and the new
name sounds professional and congruent
with the content."
"I strongly support the proposed title
change of the Federation's quarterly to
British Columbia History."
"...this is my personal vote for British
Columbia History succinct and to the point
for either an academic or just someone
interested in history..."
"For what it's worth I prefer British Columbia
History. As a compromise, I guess BC
Historical Quarterly would be alright, but the
former is more pithy, than the latter."
"The new name of British Columbia History
makes sense to me. People will know what
they are purchasing at the news stand."
"...it has been a long standing tradition for
such a worthy publication and is known as
the above, it is difficult to make a transition.
Could an amendment be made to the motion
to read, to keep as such but add, "and
History!" I realize that most of the content
are articles pertaining to history."
"I like the name British Columbia Historical
News. It is a clear title. I see no need to change
it. Sure it is more than just News. It is as
stated on the cover and the front page, the
"Journal of the British Columbia Historical
Federation." It serves us well, has served us
well and will serve us well in the future."
"I do not accept the name of our journal
should be changed for the frivolous reasons
that have been offered so far. Keep it for
history and good sense."
"Let's have this under New Business at the
AGM in Nanaimo—and not decided by a
minority representational group—ie the
Board/Council"
This letter is about the Executive's
decision to change the name of this journal
to British Columbia History starting with the
winter issue and its plans to continue
publishing a "newsletter" in addition to the
journal. I am against such a name change
and not in favour of continuing the
"newsletter."
Few members of Member Societies
have actually seen a copy of the Federation's
"newsletter." Right now the "newsletter" is
no more than an information sheet for the
Boards of Member Societies. The Federation
sends one or two copies to these societies,
hoping that they will help copying and
distributing the Federation's "newsletter"
among their members. The results are not
encouraging. The alternative, mailing the
"newsletter" directly to thousands of
individual addresses of members is not
realistic. So the distribution of the
"newsletter" is doomed to remain stunted.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004        39 British Columbia Historical News on the
other hand reaches all Member Societies, all
members of the historical societies in
Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Victoria, and
Vancouver, and hundreds more inside and
outside the Federation, including
subscribers and other members of the
public, who should know about the
Federation and its objectives but are ignored
by the "newsletter."
In the past, Member Societies were
satisfied with the way Federation
information was covered in BC Historical
News, li there is a need at all, more
Federation and Member Society information
and news items could easily be
accommodated between the covers of the
journal. Furthermore, the potentials of the
Federation's attractive Web site as a means
of communication have not yet been
explored and exploited.
In the excitement about the
"newsletter" it is easy to forget that by
removing news items and Federation news
from BC Historical News, the journal loses not
only its role as voice of the Federation but
also part of its attraction to some members
and potential new subscribers of Member
Societies. That is dangerous at this time
when keeping present subscribers and
finding new ones is crucial as the journal is
no longer supported by grants from
Heritage Trust.
As the main rationale of the name
change Ron Welwood (37/1) states that
because a new "newsletter" has been
created, the word "News" in the title of the
journal could lead to confusion. I think that
if the "newsletter" is to remain, simply
giving it a different name would take care
of that imaginary problem. After all, the
flagship should not have to be renamed
because its name has been bestowed upon
a dinghy.
I sincerely hope that these matters will
be raised and discussed at the AGM in
Nanaimo.
Fred Braches, former editor of British
Columbia Historical News
"I would also be quite happy with the
alternative he [Fred] suggests and would not
be upset if we change to British Columbia
History."
"Please yourselves."
"Beaver magazine recently went through a
similar process as some wanted a more
"modern" name however, when history is
involved most people are most reluctant to
change a name. The name itself is part of
the historic record and should be
preserved."
"Libraries have a huge problem when
periodicals change title. We have to spend a
great deal of time recataloguing the title
making links to earlier and later titles, and
creating new check-in records. Please don't
change your title."
"Alternative name British Columbia History
Quarterly. To me the word historical implies
the quarterly is a very, very old publication,
the word news is not a problem."
"To change the name at all would be
confusing and pointless."
"We have a recognised marquee: I see no
reason for change. The word "news" implies
new historical information in our contents.
Let it remain—it is entirely pertinent."
"I quite like the current name, but the
alternative [British Columbia Historical
Quarterly] would be acceptable."
"Please keep the name. Our choice if a name
change is required is British Columbia
Historical Journal."
"The news has been our flagship for many
years now—through countless editions and
editors. Even though its format may change
it is the recognizable vehicle of our
Federation. It gives not only good history
about our province but also a place where
our member societies can exchange or report
their news. If we were to change to British
Columbia History who knows if it would still
serve this purpose. It sounds too "dry"."
"In my opinion to change the name of British
Columbia Historical News would be a waste
of time and energy and would result in
confusion and ultimately a decline in
membership. The magazine is "News". It is
news to those of us that were not there in
the past. You are giving "News" that we did
not necessarily know about our ancestors.
"News" draws you in to want to read more.
Just leave things the way they are. The name
"History" is BORING."
"I feel breaking the continuity with the past
by changing the name of the publication
would be inconsistent with the commitment
to heritage and therefore I would
recommend against any such change."
"Please keep the name British Columbia
Historical News."
"British Columbia Historical News is an
excellent, seamless way of reflecting the
organization's name of British Columbia
Historical Federation. It is news of our
history that is being written today."
"Journal title changes are problematic to
libraries. Our patrons get used to one name
and one place on the shelves where they find
the journal."
"...please do not muck up a good thing with
an unnecessary name change."
"I see no reason to change the name to British
Columbia History. However if you insist on
making a change, I'd rather see it back to
British Columbia Historical Quarterly—the
name of the first publication of the
Federation..."
"I am totally against it. I truly worry when
a society starts spending time about name
changes and the like. I do hope this
proposed change is reconsidered."
"...our members were unanimously in
favour of keeping the name British Columbis
Historical News. We are all opposed to the
title British Columbia History, and if there
must be a change, the name British Columbia
Historical Quarterly was preferred."
40 BC HISTORICAL NEWS - Vol. 37 No. 2 | SPRING 2004

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