British Columbia History

British Columbia Historical News 1990

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Volume 23, No. 1
Winter 1990
ISSN 0045-2963
British Columbia
Historical News
Journal of the B.C. Historical Federation MEMBER SOCIETIES
Member Societies and their secretaries are responsible for seeing that the correct address for their society is up-to-date.
Please send any change to both the Treasurer and the Editor at the addresses inside the back cover. The Annual Return
as at October 31st should include telephone numbers for contact.
Members' dues for the year 1988/89 were paid by the following Members Societies:
Alberni District Historical Society, Box 284, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M7
Atlin Historical Society, P.O. Box 111, Atlin, B.C. VOW 1A0
BCHF - Gulf Island Branch, c/o Marian Worrall, Mayne Island, VON 2J0
BCHF - Victoria Section, c/o Charlene Rees, 2 - 224 Superior Street, Victoria, B.C. V8V1T3
Burnaby Historical Society, 4521 Watling Street, Burnaby, B.C. V5J 1V7
Chemainus Valley Historical Society, P.O. Box 172, Chemainus, B.C. VOR 1K0
Cowichan Historical Society, P.O. Box 1014, Duncan, B.C. V9L 3Y2
Creston & District Historical & Museum Society, Box 1123, Creston, B.C. VOB 1G0
District 69 Historical Society, P.O. Box 3014, Parksville, B.C. VOR 2S0
East Kootenay Historical Association, RO. Box 74, Cranbrook, B.C. V1C 4H6
Fraser Nechako Historical Society, 2854 Alexander Cresent, Prince George, B.C. V2N 1J7
Golden & District Historical Society, Box 992, Golden, B.C. VOA 1H0
Ladysmith Historical Society, Box 11, Ladysmith, B.C. VOR 2E0
Lantzville Historical Society, Box 501, Lantzville, B.C. VOR 2H0
Nanaimo Historical Society, P.O. Box 933, Station 'A', Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 5N2
North Shore Historical Society, 623 East 10th Street, North Vancouver, B.C. V7L 2E9
North Shuswap Historical Society, P.O. Box 22, Celista, B.C. VOE 1L0
Princeton & District Pioneer Museum and Archives, Box 687, Princeton, B.C. VOX 1W0
Qualicum Beach Historical & Museum Society, c/o Mrs. Cora Skipsey, RO. Box 352, Qualicum Beach, B.C. VOR 2T0
Saltspring Island Historical Society, RO. Box 705, Ganges, B.C. VOS 1E0
Sidney and North Saanich Historical Society, P.O. Box 2404, Sidney, B.C. V8L 3Y3
Silvery Slocan Historical Society, P.O. Box 301, New Denver, B.C. VOG 1S0
Trail Historical Society, P.O. Box 405, Trail, B.C. V1R 4L7
Vancouver Historical Society, P.O. Box 3071, Vancouver, B.C. V6B 3X6
Affiliated Groups
B.C. Museum of Mining, P.O. Box 155, Britannia Beach, B.C. VON 1J0
City of White Rock Museum Archives Society, 1030 Martin Street, White Rock, B.C. V4B 5E3
Fort Steele Heritage Park, Fort Steele, B.C. VOB 1N0
The Hallmark Society, 207 Government Street, Victoria, B.C. V8V 2K8
Nanaimo Centennial Museum Society, 100 Cameron Road, Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 2X1
Second Class registration number 4447
Published fall, winter, spring, and summer by the British Columbia Historical Federation, P.O. Box 35326, Station E,
Vancouver, B.C. V6M 4G5. A Charitable Society recognized under the Income Tax Act.
Subscriptions: Institutional, $16.00 per year; Individual (non-members), $8.00.
Financially assisted by the Government of British Columbia through the British Columbia Heritage Trust.
Back issues of the British Columbia Historical News are available in microform from Micromedia Ltd., 158 Pearl St., Toronto,
Ontario M5H1L3-Micromedia also publishes the Canadian Magazine Index and the Canadian Business Index.
Indexed in the Canadian Periodical Index. British Columbia Historical News
Volume 23, No. 1 • Winter, 1990
Journal of the RC. Historical Federation
Looking back at 1989, my first full
year as editor, I extend a big
"Thank You" to all who have contributed articles; to Colleen, our
typesetter and her fellow staff members at Kootenay Kwik Print in
Cranbrook; to my spouse for diligent
proofreading; and Ann Johnston,
Nancy Peter and Anne Yandle who
make it possible for this magazine
to appear every three months.
1990 will be good year for the
B.C. Historical Federation. Grand
Forks is hosting our annual conference in May, and we make optimistic predictions for the News.
Material has been assembled for the
"Okanagan Special" by Winston
Shilvock of Kelowna with the help of
a few members of the Okanagan
Historical Society. Several fascinating articles are on hand for the
Summer 1990 issue.
Now we are looking for articles
which will fill out the Fall theme
"Because of the War" (any war). Do
you have special memories of the
blackout / brownout ? or community
clubs which prepared parcels for
overseas ? rationing? What of communities that suddenly became garrisons? What was it like to arrive as
a war bride ? to be on staff at a
Veterans Hospital? Agricultural
practices were changed in some places "because of the war". Tuum Est!
Deadline July 1, 1990.
Naomi Miller
Cover Credit
The Canadian Bank of Commerce
Building at the corner of
Government and Fort Streets in
Victoria as it was in Service's day.
Photo courtesy of the CIBC Archives
Features Page
Table of Contents & Editorial 1
The First Bank of British Columbia
by Kenneth M. Pattison 2
Was Vancouver Named by Americans?
by Leonard Meyers 3
British Columbia's Pioneer Inventor
by Valerie Green 5
The Beholder
by Russell C. Shelton 8
Buddhism in British Columbia
by Douglas Henderson 11
The Wilby Hoax
by Ron Welwood 15
The Florence Nightingale of Vancouver
by Helen Borrell 16
Peter Skene Ogden - A Great Explorer
by Winston A. Shilvock 18
Something Out of Nothing: Mission's Memorial Hospital
by Catherine Marcellus 20
The Hunter Family of Thetis Island
by Grace Dickie 24
Photographer of Nootka Sound
by Eleanor W Hancock 26
News & Notes 28
BookShelf: Book Reviews
Crofton House School
Review by JoAnne Naslund 30
Continental Dash
Review by Geny Andrews 30
Robert Brown and the Vancouver Island Exploring Expedition
Review by John Spittle 31
Widow Smith of Spence's Bridge
Review by Naomi Miller 32
Manuscripts and correspondence for the editor are to be sent to PO. Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0
Correspondence regarding subscriptions are to be directed to the subscription secretary (see inside back cover)
RC Historical News The First Bank of British Columbia
by Kenneth M. Pattison
With the closing of the Canadian
Imperial Bank of Commerce branch
at Government and Fort streets in
Victoria in 1987 we should be reminded of the part this handsome
building played in the history of
British Columbia.
In 1860-61 by letters to the
Colonial Office in London, Governor
Douglas pleaded for the establishment of stable banking facilities for
the Colonies. Apparently, existing
banking services were not faring too
well for he complained that miners
were walking around Victoria with
no place to deposit their gold and no
cash to acquire their daily needs.
In a dispatch from the Governor to
the Duke of Newcastle, Secretary of
State for the Colonies, he wrote:
"Much anxiety has been expressed
by the miners generally upon the
subject of banks which are greatly
needed in every district of British
Columbia. The miner's only alternative at present being to bury his gold
dust for security, which is known to
be the general practice on Fraser's
River; but were banks of deposit established, they would willingly pay
a monthly percentage on any sums
they might deposit. I have long
been convinced of the value and importance of such institutions, but
without men of tried integrity and
business habits, no such scheme
could be carried out with advantage
to individuals or to the public."
The London Times reported,
"According to our correspondent
Donald Fraser, resident in Victoria,
the gold digging of British Columbia
is a lottery in which there are no
blanks; and the prizes are indeed
splendid. The Law is strong, and
public opinion is sound under British
Rule. Thus, we are told, that
British Columbia offers a good investment both for labour and capital."
Many factors encouraged the
founding of the bank, primarily gold
on the Fraser and in the Cariboo
and the presence of much capital in
England needing opportunities for
Finally, Queen Victoria's Privy
Council acted. In April 1862 a
group of London bankers received a
Royal Charter and issued a
Prospectus under the name "The
Chartered Bank of British Columbia
and Vancouver's Island." This was
subsequently changed to "Bank of
British Columbia" with Head Office
in London.
The prospectus indicated that the
bank was to provide facilities essential to the colonies of British
Columbia and Vancouver's Island.
The Prospectus also stated: "Great
complaints were made by the miners
that they could not sell their gold."
(and) "The salubrity of the climate
and its suitability to the European
constitution; the fitness of the soil
for agricultural purposes; the immense mineral wealth of both colonies, and the existence of English
laws, are strong inducements to rapid and extensive emigration, and are
also powerful reasons for at once establishing a bank with large capital,
especially as the only existing banking accommodation is so inadequate
to meet the exigencies of the colonies. "
With all negotiations completed it
was time to appoint staff and send
them to the Colony. There were
three ways to make the trip from
England to Victoria, none of them
Around the Horn by sailing vessel
was the cheapest and longest, taking 4-6 months at a cost of 60
pounds. The shorter route was by
steamer to Colon, Panama. Then by
railway across the isthmus to the
Pacific, with the final leg by steamer
to Victoria. The total trip took a little less than two months and cost
nearly 200 pounds.
Then there were the hardy few
who ventured overland from New
York to San Francisco, then took a
steamer to Victoria.
James D. Walker was appointed
resident manager and with three assistants chose the Panama route.
Arriving from England in July 1862
they set up quarters for the new
bank in the former home of Victoria's
first Mayor, Thomas Harris.
Many branches were opened in the
next few years; New Westminster in
October 1862, Richfield 1863,
Quesnel, Yale and San Francisco
1864, Portland 1865, Vancouver
1886 and in 1889 Seattle and
Tacoma. The Richfield branch
moved to Camerontown in 1865
then to Barkerville in 1867.
Further expansion was made in
the late '80s and early '90s with
branches opening in Nanaimo,
Kamloops, Nelson, Sandon, Kaslo,
and Rossland.
The Bank was also an outstanding example of an International
Bank, with the branches in the
United States often surpassing the
Canadian business in size and profits.
Twenty-four years after James
Walker arrived, the magnificent
building we now see on the southwest corner of Fort and Government
opened for business as the new
headquarters of the ever-widening
influence the Bank was exercising on
the Pacific Coast.
Victoria's Daily Colonist of April
20, 1886, in reporting on the new
bank stated: "Business was transacted for the first time yesterday in
the new Bank of British Columbia offices. They are spacious and elegant, and attracted the admiration
of everybody.  Every possible conven-
BJC Historical News ience is afforded for customers and
employees and business can now be
carried on with comfort to all concerned. There is probably no handsomer or better arranged banking office on the coast."
Prior to the bank there were three
occupants on the property that are
worth noting. It was the site of the
first Legislative Assembly, later the
first school house in the Colony and
finally, before the bank, the location
of Parker Brothers butcher shop.
When it united with the Bank of
Commerce in 1901, the Bank of
British Columbia brought to the merger the results of a successful 40
year career with many prosperous
branches flourishing in most major
centres of the Province.
Robert Service the poet worked for
this new Bank of Commerce for a
good part of 1903-04, but that is
part of another story.
Ken Pattison is the author ofMilestones On
Vancouver Island.
He worked in the Kootenays and in the
Okanagan Valley prior to moving to Victoria
in 1965.
Interior of the Canadian Bank ofCommerce- Victoria, B.C - August 1910.
The building was constructed in 1885 and occupied by the bank of British Columbia in 1886.
It was purchased in 1901 as part of the amalgamation with the Canadian Bank of Commerce.
In its day, it was reputed to be the largest and best bank building in the province. In
November, 1975, the building was designated as a heritage building and is protected from demolition or exterior alteration unless approved by City Council. Branch closed October 25, 1987,
and the business transferred to Douglas & View.
The building, a 3-storey brick structure on a stone foundation, contains approximately 22,000
square feet.
London financiers and merchants established the Bank of British Columbia in 1862, opening
the Victoria branch on the present day Government Street site of the Bank of Montreal. The
Bank played an important role in the development of the province. It refused to extend further
credit to the colonial government, thereby encouraging B.C. to enter Confederation.
In 1903, Robert Service was an employee, at a salary of $50 per month!
Was Vancouver Named by Americans?
by Leonard Meyers
Vancouver was conceived in controversy. Vancouverites can never
agree on anything. In the early
days they debated whether to call
this isolated outpost on the Pacific
Hastings, Granville, City of
Liverpool, Vancouver, New Brighton,
Gastown, etc.
In recent years certain Vancouver
historians seriously questioned
whether, indeed, Sir William Van
Horne, the CPR's builder, was re
sponsible for choosing the name
Vancouver for this fledgling young
city as is generally believed. One local historian, several years ago,
argued that the name Vancouver
even appeared in early American
west coast newspapers when referring to the new western terminus of
the Canadian Pacific Railway in
British Columbia months before railroad builder Van Horne set foot, in
1884, on the tall-timbered environs
of Granville, or Gastown as the little
mill settlement was unofficially
In fact, long before the appearance
of the latter-day doubters, a bronze
plaque was erected on a stone
drinking fountain at the corner of
Carrall and Water Streets by the
"Pioneers of Vancouver" and unveiled on June 13, 1925. (It was
also on June 13th, 1792, that
Captain George 'Vancouver explored
RC. Historical News Burrard Inlet, and also on June 13,
1886, that the newly incorporated
City of Vancouver went up in
flames). The original plaque has
since been set in the pavement on
the site of Captain John "Gassy
Jack" Deighton's famous maple tree
after the restoration of old Gastown.
Its inscription reads: HERE STOOD
No mention here of the historic role
played by William Cornelius Van
Horne in proposing an appropriate
name for his new transcontinental
railway's western terminus. Even in
those days the CPR had its detractors.
Compare that to another bronze
plaque attached to a wall in Pioneer
Place, at Hastings and Carrall
Streets, a mere two blocks away.
Which quite emphatically proclaims
the following:    PIONEER PLACE.
THAT      IT      HAS      A      NAME
Needless to say the two plaques
appear at variance with each other.
A sin of omission regarding the former?
As for Van Horne, not a citizen of
Granville, nor a local property owner, he obviously possessed no legal
means to personally petition the
Legislative assembly in Victoria not
only to incorporate but to officially
name the emerging young city.
That remained for a citizens' delegation, in all probability the one that
congregated under the famous old
maple tree alongside Gassy Jack
Deighton's Hotel in Gastown to dis
cuss the vital and historic issue.
Obviously the provincial government would be receptive to the
Gastown petition. Consequently in
January of 1886, 432 residents of
Granville duly inscribed their signatures to and presented the document
to the Legislature in Victoria asking
for incorporation of the City of
Vancouver. A subsequent act incorporating the new city received third
and final reading on April 2nd of the
same year, with royal assent granted by Lieutenant-Governor CF
Cornwall on April 6, 1886, creating
a new city with a brand-new name -
But you can be sure that the same
citizens' committee had Van Home's
personal blessing from the start.
After all, without the "brass pounder
from Illinois" there would be no
great city of Vancouver, no flourishing port on the mainland of British
Columbia. And certainly no significance for themselves as nation builders. And no Confederation. They
would have died in obscurity as nonentities of a rag-tag community
called Granville, isolated and forlorn
in a perpetual forest setting of a distant West Coast of North America.
And so, in a sense, it would appear that an expatriate American
had a major hand in the naming of
Vancouver, even if not the ones certain historians had in mind. But
what do other historians say? The
record seems to be quite clear. It bespeaks a certain unanimity. One favoring Van Horne.
An extract from the City's own
publication, 60 Years!, commemorating Vancouver's diamond jubilee in
1946, reads as follows "Mr. Van
Horne inspected the little town of
Granville . . . and stated he would
change the name of the railway terminal from Granville to Vancouver, a
proposal which received endorsation
in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and
London. . . "
And again in the Encyclopedia
Canadiana there appears a brief entry relative to Captain George
Vancouver encountering Spanish
Vessels, the Sutil and the Mexicana
off Point Grey on June 22nd, 1792,
"He (Captain Vancouver) had already passed by the site of the city
that Sir William Van Horne of the
CPR was to name after him. . . "
Historian Alan Morley in his book
Vancouver: From Milltown to
Metropolis, covers both bases. He
wrote: "It is probable the name had
been under general consideration for
some time previously, since as early
as August, 1884, it had been used
in Portland, Oregon, newspapers for
the western terminus of the CPR."
While under a portrait of Van Horne
appearing in the same book, a caption that rather categorically states:
"As general manager of the new
Canadian Pacific Railway, Van
Horne named Vancouver to commemorate, through the great city he
then foresaw, the British navigator,
Captain George Vancouver."
Lastly but not least, John Murray
Gibbon in his book Steel of Empire,
perhaps the most definitive history
of the building of the CPR ever written, and published in 1935 when the
building of the great railway was
still relatively fresh in mind, had
this to say: "(quoting the Montreal
Star), "The name of Vancouver has
been chosen by Mr. Van Horne for
the terminus at Coal Harbour, On
Burrard Inlet ..."
Mr. ^n Home's favorite books, he
further went on to say, dealt with
explorers and adventurers, and it
was therefore natural, he assumed,
that Van Horne should select for the
Pacific terminus of a transcontinental railway conceived and carried out
with such bold enterprise, the name
of this great adventurer. Added to
this, a certain kinship, as both
George Vancouver and William Van
Horne were of Dutch ancestry. And
nothing like keeping it in the
Leonard Meyers is a freelance writer who
has had articles pubUshed in numerous newspapers and magazines. After five years in the
Royal Canadian Navy he became a cartoonist
then a student at Banff School of Fine Art He
has published a book of social history plus a
volume of poetry and a book of humorous essays.
RC. Historical News British Columbia's Pioneer Inventor
by Valerie Green
Bagster Roads Seabrook was born
in New Westminster in 1865 when
it was still the colony's capital. His
family moved to Victoria in 1869
where his father, Roads Seabrook
was Vice-President of the R.PRithet
& Co. Ltd. Shipping Company as
well as being an incorporator of the
Victoria Sealing Company. His
somewhat unusual name "Roads"
was the anglicized version of a
Dutch name. Louisa Annette
Seabrook, Bagster's mother, was
born in England in 1842, granddaughter of London publisher,
Samuel Bagster.
The family lived in an elegant
Swiss chalet-style home on an acre
of land on the outskirts of Victoria.
The elaborate stables adjacent to the
property enabled young Bagster to
indulge his love of horses inherited
from his paternal grandfather back
in Ontario.
When the Seabrook family moved
from New Westminster to Victoria,
Bagster was only four, but already
his inquiring mind was anxious to
learn and create. He was sent to all
the finest schools to obtain the best
possible education, the first being a
private school run by a Mr. Vicussex
boasting among its pupils, future
premier Simon Tolmie. Bagster later attended the Collegiate School in
Victoria, a well-known Anglican
By 18, Bagster was ready for the
business world. He began his career
as an engineer-businessman with
the Albion Iron Works Ltd., the largest engineering plant north of San
Francisco. Albion had branches in
both Victoria and Vancouver and it
took Bagster a mere 12 years with
the company in Victoria before he
rose to the position of general manager. He was still only 30 years
The Albion Iron Works had a considerable reputation which Bagster
Seabrook greatly helped to enhance
during his time with them. Among
the many hundreds of vessels they
built or repaired were the sternwheelers, "Ora", "Nora" and
"Flora", the first to reach Dawson
during the 1898 gold rush.
Two of the more famous contracts
Albion had under Bagster's management were the William Head
Quarantine Station in 1893, and the
complete iron and steel works for the
Parliament Buildings in Victoria. It
was whilst working as supervisory
head of this second project that
Bagster was said to have delighted
in personally climbing to the top of
the Dome to drill the last rivet into
During his time with Albion,
Bagster had also been working on
numerous inventions of his own, his
active mind never idle. His first invention was the bicycle rear brake
which sold, in application form, for
$2,000 in Vancouver. His typewriter backspacer was never patented.
His rock crusher invention was featured in the British Columbia
MiningRecord for April of 1897.
In 1888, Bagster married Elvira A.
Crosby of Markham, Ontario. At the
time of their meeting, Elvira was
visiting her uncle, financier Alfred C.
Flumerfelt. Flumerfelt had come to
British Columbia in the early 1880's
and was prominent in many business operations, mining developments and civic affairs. One of his
daughters later became a doctor, a
most unusual accomplishment for a
woman at that time. The
Flumerfelts' house on Pemberton
Avenue in Victoria was a showpiece
of old Victoria for many years, and it
was there that young Bagster
Seabrook met and fell in love with
BagsterRoads Seabrook (Taken 13th July,
1941, at age 76 • 9 years before he died)
the pretty Miss Crosby.
Not long after their marriage, they
themselves built a large home on the
Gorge Road in Victoria at the considerable cost of $18,000. The house
stood on two acres (0.8 hectares) of
land which also accommodated a
house for their Chinese houseboys
and an impressive set of stables for
Bagster's six horses.
Bagster had always retained his
love for horses. One particular team
of fast horses he imported from San
Francisco at a cost of $3,500 enabled him to ride around Beacon Hill
in Victoria (a distance of approximately one mile (1.61 km) in a light
rig in three minutes flat, a considerable feat in those days.
Bagster and Elvira had two children, a son Norman, and a daughter
Ada, named for her godmother, Ada
After 20 years with Albion and
still only 38 years old, Bagster decided to go into business on his own.
It was now April of 1903, the turn
of a brand new century, and
Bagster's energetic brain was busy
generating new ideas and innovations.
One of the first contracts he se-
aC Historical News cured for his own business was a
spiral stairway for the Carnegie
Library in Vancouver, the total
weight of which, in steel and cast
iron, was 9,888 pounds (4,500 kilos). Priced at $2,279, the
stairway had a full tread adjoining the rail said to be the
first of that kind in Canada.
By the year 1903, Bagster's
interests had also gone in another direction. That was the
year he shipped the first steam
car into Victoria from San
Francisco. He himself took the
automobile for a trial run out to
Wright's Hotel in Saanich on
the outskirts of town, in company with a Mr. H.D. Ryus who
was timing and making notes
of the whole operation.
Obviously satisfied with the
car's performance, Bagster then
sold it for the sum of $1,800 to
his first customer, a Mr. Bert
Todd, and thus became
Victoria's first recorded car salesman.
Bert Todd later became Bagster's
son-in-law when in 1910 he married
Bagster's young daughter, Ada.
Their honeymoon trip became famous in the history books as the pioneer travel of the Pacific coast road
from Los Angeles to Vancouver.
Later when Bagster decided to
move to Los Angeles, the Seabrook
plant in Victoria was bought out by
James Dunsmuir, and Bagster was
then able to pursue his career as an
inventor extraordinaire.
Together with a business associate, Thomas Allen Box, he worked
on and produced his invention, the
Seabrook-Box railway differential
axle. The test of the railway axle
was made in August of 1909 in Los
Angeles on Oil Tank Car #96307 on
the Santa Fe Railway. It had been
proved that after five months of service the wheels remained in perfect
condition. In 1913, the two men
sold this invention to the French
government for $2,000,000.
Bagster later became involved in
consulting engineering in the
Toronto area where he lived until
the outbreak of WWI.   During the
war years he went into the paper
business and later headed for New
York where he worked on one of his
most famous inventions, the
Seabrook Phonograph.
BM. Seabrook home on Gorge Road, Victoria - About 1898.
Seabrook children by steps (left) Ada (right) Norman.
The phonograph came to be known
as "the first new and fundamental
improvement in talking machines in
thirty years." The machine received
wide publicity throughout the
United States and was described as
"revolutionary in character." The
horn was particularly revolutionary
because the melody could now be
heard close up without the previous
unpleasant crackling sound effects.
By moving away from the machine,
the sound waves became amplified.
This, it was stated, "upset some recognized principles of science."
Another interesting feature of the
Seabrook Phonograph (a brochure
about which can be found in the
Provincial Archives in Victoria) was
that the speed could now be regulated which was not previously possible. Reproduction of the human
voice was also particularly good.
However, it was in 1926, that
Bagster Roads Seabrook who was
then living in Mishawaka, Indiana,
finalized what he considered to be
his greatest achievement. It was
the culmination of 40 years of patient dedication, but finally in
September 1926, he was able to
bring out his Business Manual on
Handling Computations.   The origi
nal idea had been conceived back in
1886 whilst living in Victoria, and
Bagster had worked at it on and off
for the next 40 years.
The entire work, which was written in long hand and re-
checked numerous times, required 780,000 calculations,
involving more than
63,000,000 figures.
The principles contained in
the Manual were applicable to
any line of business, and by
application of the tables which
were based on 'reciprocal', all
math problems could be solved
faster than, or at least as fast
as, a calculating machine.
Bagster had originally intended that these principles
should be in the form of a machine but, when he returned to
Mishawaka in February of
1924, he decided that there
would be more advantage to
having his work applied in
book form.   For the next two years,
therefore, he set about converting his
machine plans into a book.
He had previously been on a five-
month tour of such business institutions as General Motors, Pierce
Arrow and Cadillac, to investigate
the various methods used in these
companies in order to adapt his system to those methods. His Manual
was acclaimed by engineers, mathematicians and actuaries alike, and
it was a proud day for the Seabrook
family when the first copies of the
book were rolling off the presses of
publisher, WB. Conkey Company of
Hammond, Indiana.
On that September day in 1926,
various distributors from other
states had gathered at the Seabrook
home at 410 Lincoln Way East, to
form a procession of some 40 cars
containing nearly 100 people. They
then headed off towards South
Bend, LaPorte, Valparaiso and other small towns along the Lincoln
Highway to Hammond to inspect
the first copies of the Manual coming
off the press at the Conkey
Publishing plant.
Many of the cars in the procession
were decorated  with  banners,
RC. Historical News Bagster's reading "Seabrook's
Business Manual - Official Car -
Home Office, Hammond, Indiana."
The Seabrook sales organization
was to be known as B.R. and E.A.
Seabrook but later was incorporated
under the name of the Seabrook-
Todd Sales Corporation.
The appointment of 29 State distributors had been made and contracts already signed for over
22,000 books monthly to be sold at
$30 a copy. The sales territory
stretched from the Atlantic to the
Pacific, a remarkable feat considering there had been no advance advertising.
It was indeed a proud day for
Bagster Seabrook. His dream had
become reality. British Columbia's
native born son, who had travelled
the North American continent extensively and, at various times, maintained laboratories in Toronto,
Victoria, Vancouver, Los Angeles
and Mishawaka, had achieved
world-wide acclaim. He was a legend in his own time.
When well into his 80's, Bagster's
alert inventor's mind was still very
active. By then, the Seabrooks were
living in a suburb of Seattle. At age
81, Bagster was busy working on
his third book and was still able to
recall all his past business dealings
in British Columbia with amazing
A photograph taken of him in later
years shows that one eye appears to
be pointed off to the right due to a
complete loss of vision, no doubt the
result of long hours spent at close
At that time, his doctor had
warned him that he must stay quiet
and avoid working. He had previously been spending a great deal of
time down in his basement making,
among other things, furniture.
Being the man that he was, he could
not bear to just sit quietly and remain idle. Even if his body must
rest, his mind certainly could not.
He therefore decided to take up
playing solitaire and for the next
few years kept a written record of
every game he played as he established a trend based on the number
of shuffles to the cards and the number of cuts made each time. His
written records were kept in the
family for many years.
In 1950, at the age of 85, Bagster
Roads Seabrook died peacefully in
his Seattle home. His incredibly active brain was still at last and one of
Western Canada's greatest pioneer
inventors was gone. It would be
many years before the world would
see his like again.
The author is a freelance writer living in
Victoria with her husband and two teenaged
children. She writes regularly for The
Islander and has published articles and
poems in English and Canadian magazines.
She is currently preparing a book on the Todd
Correspondence with Richard Hunter Todd, grandson of
Bagster Roads Seabrook, between February 1987, and
November 1987.
Provincial Archives, Victoria, B.C.
Who's Who in Canada, 1922.
Daily Colonist, 29th April 1920. Victoria Inventor Achieves
Daily Colonist, June 80th, 1967 (Centennial Edition). First
DrtortatoShawtpui - Bert Todd Led Tburist Parade.
The South Bend Tribune, October 10th, 1926 • New Sales
Concern Is Betas Oiynhed Here- Seabrook State
Distributors Go To Hammond For First Copies of Book.
By Ralph Hutchinson.
TimesColonist (Islander Section), October 18th, 1987.
VlilisliinimliMisniiiiii waMasta Immifni   By\blerie
The Vancouver Daily Province, March 2nd, 1946. Energy and
Ability Are Harnessed By 7M» Inventive Son afBXl
By L. Bell-Clemmens.
Pamphlet "The Seabrook" in Provincial Archives, Victoria, B.C.
Interview in Victoria with Richard Hunter Todd, on September
11th, 1987.
Interview in Victoria with Joe Fretwell, grandson of Bagster
Roads Seabrook, on September 11th, 1987.
Copy "fn-»W"J°"Hi"«»T»»«<»nt editorial dated September
20th, 1877, supplied by Mrs. Joy Godson Ray, niece of Bagster
Roads Seabrook, age 82.
Albion Iron Works-Victoria Plant (About 1900).
B.C. Historical News "The Beholder"
by Russell C Shelton
(ex Royal Australian Air Force)
After more than forty years the
visual impact of beautiful British
Columbia on the senses of observant
impressionable young
Commonwealth airmen who passed
this way, remains fixed in the memories of the living, regardless of
present residence.
Canada, the aerodrome of democracy during the terrible years from
1940 to 1945, welcomed some
15,000 Royal Australian Air Force
personnel, all eager to master their
distinctly separate categories of pilot, navigator, bomb aimer, wireless
air gunner, or "straight A/G" (air
gunner.) To be selected for the
"Canadian draft" was a special bonus, even if it meant that we were
destined to become reinforcements
for Britain's Royal Air Force, to do
battle in European skies. A larger
benefit was all I could see, - one
year's "Cook's tour" by sea and rail,
of a sister Dominion, Canada, that
vast country of such contrast to
Australia's tropical and sub-tropical
climes. In school days of the 1930's
I had needed no encouragement to
absorb the curriculum regarding
things Canadian. Long before
March 1944, all Australians had
been made aware of the warm welcome and hospitality their boys received from the Canadian people,
not omitting the allure of their girls
who spoke in such "accents fair,"
many of whom had yet to meet
mothers-in-law in Australia.
Invariably the 16 to 21 days voyage across the Pacific Ocean itself
not without a degree of danger after
Japan's entry into the war, would
end with Australian's disembarking
at either Los Angeles, or San
Francisco from whence Southern
Pacific Railroad carried us to the
still beautiful but now defunct
Canadian Pacific Railway station in
Vancouver.    From there that great
RC Historical News
railway carried us through the magnificence of British Columbia's mountains and valleys to the schools and
flying fields of the prairies.
Exactly forty-six years after, as a
member of the older generation, I
sense a historical value to the twenty photographs for which I gave almost one day's pay at the CPR
Station when I place them with the
stored memories of grim but nonetheless happy times. British
Columbians may find the diary recollections of a twenty year old serviceman of interest not only from the
standpoint of how a young "foreigner" reacted to totally unfamiliar
sights and sensations, but also to
recall for themselves the soon-to-be
forgotten days of the steam locomotives, and the open air "rock-jumper"
observation cars of the 1920's and
1930's, depicted in the aging photographs.
Wartime Diary, March 19th 1944
I awakened at 7 a.m. to find ourselves in Seattle, Washington, on a
very dull but not too cold morning.
While we slept, a CPR dining car,
far superior in appearance and service to Southern Pacific's had been
coupled to our train. Such luxury!
We slept in made-up bunks with
sheets and pillows, after months in
Australian camps that provided us
with only straw-filled paliasses
(sacking) and two blankets. Now
the Canadians have added the comfort of chinaware and silver cutlery
in a mobile restaurant; truly "something to write home about."
We should be in \ancouver at 12
noon and a few hours leave to help
get rid of our sea legs would be appreciated, even if it is Sunday. I
still can't believe I'm in North
America after all my dreams of a
few months ago. This is the first
train trip which has not bored me
within twenty four hours of that
ULIC. Shelton, R.C.RAAF. Taken at City
Park, Winnipeg, Manitoba. May 28th, 1944.
mode of travel - and we've still 3
more welcome days of it ahead. We
came through New Westminster -
quite a large town reminding me of
my birth place, - Gympie
(Queensland) It's "coat-hanger"
bridge is reminiscent of Sydney's celebrated likeness, about which we
kidded the Sydney - ites among us.
We pulled into Vancouver about 1
p.m. and it was too cold for this
Queenslander just out from summer
and some equatorial sun-baking on
the troopship. Looking across the
harbour I believe Vancouver to be one
of the most beautiful places I have
seen. If Sydney had such mountains, rising right from the shore
line or so it seems, then it would indeed be the best. A portion of this
city nestles along the water's edge
for some distance, and then the
steep sided mountains, cloaked in
tall timber show their tops as
though icing sugar had been sprinkled on them, the overflow trickling
down into the many crevasses.
We were to depart for the east at
4:30 p.m. No leave. We had our
meagre money supply changed into Canadian. I sent mother a cable for
her birthday and bought a souvenir
embroidered cushion cover -
""Vancouver". I splurged a dollar on
CPR postcards to illustrate the route
we were to travel in the mountains.
Some Canadian children appreciated
receiving my kangaroo clad enormous pennies; theirs are so small.
A French-Canadian chap appeared
grateful for my comforts fund gift of
"log cabin" cigarette tobacco.
The sergeant marched us to the
CPR coaches, all noticeably better
looking than their U.S. counterparts
with strange names on the sides, -
Lillooet, Shannon Falls, Squamish,
and fine upholstery and heating
system which had us a little too
warm though; still, no complaints
heard from our boys. How much
longer will the luxuries last? As I
write darkness has set in. I have
the impression that the further we
travel the more beautiful B.C. becomes. Australia cannot compare its
beauty with this. Here it is more
spectacular even in late winter than
reports claim it to be. The hills have
not yet lost their snow cap although
it has thawed long ago in the coastal regions. (Note "Aussies" didn't
understand that B.C.'s lower mainland was not subject to the kind of
freezing we found on the prairies).
We are always at the bases of
mountains, running along streams
and lake shores, and in places we
paralled the C.N.R. often just across
a rocky, mountain stream rushing
with melting snow.    Scenery is so
changable and awesome that I just
keep looking.
Supper time - as they say here -
(not tea-time) provided chicken,
peach pie (not tart) and tea more fla-
voursome than Australia's best. I
turn in so contented, sorry that so
much unseen scenery is going by
while we sleep.
Monday 20th March
I awaken to find the train at rest,
and a fairyland of snow outside the
window. Light snow was falling
when I went to the back platform of
our car. I have never in my life seen
snow or touched it. It feels so soft,
but too cold, and our thoughtless
high command gave us no gloves,
scarfs or galoshes, which the
Canadians call "rubbers". We
stayed on board so I have yet to "go
out" in the snow. Last night we
stopped at a little settlement called
North Bend and we conversed with
an old railwayman. I told him of
Australia's so called cough remedy -
"Buckley's Canadiol mixture,- in
blizzardly cold Canada - ". We got a
kick out of his claim that his tried
and tested remedy was rum, - and
he'd never heard of ours.
We had our first real contact with
snow at a one-shack whistle stop
called Glasgow. Don Willis and I,
with a couple of the lads got out and
promptly engaged in our first brisk
snow fight - grown men (?) acting
like kids. The cold got to us quickly
and we scrambled aboard, ready for
a free C.ER. breakfast from which
we emerged with prestigious souve-
.V ■: ~^'X;3lX,
/••xx    ,§m'..
■;•■   -~\:t  XT      _     ■»
.■-"■ ':hiiMf XX
^Ww^r ~  -   ■'   .
Wm- ■ -'
... X'.f-*
!,...^',?^ ** ~*"
f-'." ■■".. "
.<■ ■
-iv' i 1   X
The Great Divide. Between the Provinces of Alberta and British Columbia.
nir menus. I was learning the difference between "a la carte," and "table d'hote." At Beavermouth,
McCarthy and Peterson snapped
some of us with a mountain background, and snow and ice underfoot.
I got my first lesson in the dangers
of leather soles on ice, by falling "on
my neck" boarding the steps of the
We are still in British Columbia
now in the heart of the Selkirk
Ranges, partially iced up mountain
streams show that the thaw is on.
Tiny foot-prints in the snow reveal a
fox's (?) passing. Here are mountain
tunnels, one five miles long, the
longest in the British Empire! The
Connaught tunnel shows Australia
to have lesser problems but necessarily different beauties. We are in
the last car and I looked at two tandem steam engines running up a
gorge between two mountains, and
another mountain filling the picture
at the end. Snow must be C.PR.'s
greatest enemy, and I would guess
it can build up destructive forces.
Yes, it's "Springtime in the
Rockies", but always the evergreens
surround us. How beautiful are the
green rivers, fast-flowing in places,
jagged lumps of ice protruding in
Before dinner we stopped at Field,
a little town sheltered beneath a
mighty mountain. Ever hungry,
many of us scampered across the
street to buy bags of cakes and a
bottle of milk. From here we witnessed another railroad wonder - the
Spiral Tunnels. I could look out and
find where we entered the mountain
head-on and gained 104 feet, by the
time we exited above it. Still we
climb, and soon we'll be in Alberta.
While we fledgling airmen enjoyed
the officer class service of the C.ER.
diner, I saw the wooden letters,
GREAT DIVIDE slip by, the provincial border and an end to the ever-so
beautiful British Columbia, not withstanding further feasts for the eyesight at Banff. We can feel the
downhill roll to our train now, and
like the droplets of water which will
flow either to the Pacific Ocean or to
Hudson Bay from the Great Divide
RC. Historical News of the Rocky mountains, we head
for what we now know to be No. 3
Wireless School, Winnipeg and the
beginning of many new and exciting
adventures in places and people. In
Calgary we farewell our bomb aimer
friends who are bound for their
training school in Lethbridge, pilots
and navigators for Edmonton and
Calgary. We are now coupled to
the regular C.P.R. train. Sleep
comes easily to those at peace with
themselves and the world. When I
awake tomorrow, Tuesday March
21st 1944 I shall be twenty years
of age.
Russell Shelton is the author of a new book
BAT", - The lost frigates ofLaperouse. He
came to Canada to live on the prairies in
1949. He returned to Australia in 1967, but
in 1978 decided to fulfill a long-standing
desire, farmed outside of a CJiR. Station
Vancouver in March 1944, to live in
Vancouver, with his Canadian wife and
Australian Airforce members experience their first snow.
This photo taken at Beavermouth, near Rogers Pass -Russ Shelton on left.
The British Columbia Heritage Trust has generously
funded, through the British Columbia Library
Association, a project to search out all local histories written about communities in British Columbia. The end result will be an annotated bibliography indexed by geographical location, subject, author and title. It will be
available both in published form and on computer
through the University of British Columbia Library. The
project has been organized and is being supervised by
Jean Barman, Assistant Professor, and Linda Hale,
Canadian Childhood History Project Bibliographer, at
the Department of Social and Educational Studies,
University of British Columbia.
The Bibliography will greatly assist research and scholarship on British Columbia. Up to the present time no
systematic means exists to locate local histories, some
of which have been privately printed in small numbers in
the geographical area which they are about. Many are
long out of print. Local histories, while uneven in coverage and quality, contain a wealth of information other
wise unavailable concerning the many hundreds of small
settlements that have existed over time, often in geographical isolation, across British Columbia. The bibliography will make it possible to examine a variety of subjects about which we still know far too little, including the
distribution of non-Native settlement across B.C., actual
means of livelihood and emergence of social institutions
beyond the province's urbanized southwestern tip and
the everyday lives of women and children.
For the bibliography to be as complete as possible, assistance is sought from everyone - researchers, librarians, lovers of local history, authors, genealogists and all
others-aware of the existence of local histories about
their community or some other area of B.C. Can you
help? The project organizers are particularly concerned
to learn about smaller, older and more obscure publications that may be tucked away on a back book shelf.
Basic bibliographic information (author, title, publisher,
place and date of publication, actual location of a copy)
should be sent to Jean Barman or Linda Hale,
Department of Social and Educational Studies, Faculty
of Education, University of British Columbia, Vancouver,
B.C. V6T 1Z5. All assistance will be acknowledged in
the completed bibliography, to be available by the fall of
For further information, Please contact Jean Barman -
228-5331. September 1989
RC Historical News
10 Buddhism in British Columbia
by Douglas Henderson
British Columbia, the westernmost
province of Canada has a long, possibly ancient connection with
Buddhism. The purpose of this
paper is to examine sources and give
a brief description of the history of
the contact of this great world religion with the peoples of British
Pre-Modem times
One of the most tantalizing theories to surface again and again is
that of Chinese Buddhist monks
having contact with British
Columbians in pre-499 A.D. times.1
In the Imperial Annals we are told
of one Ma Twan Lin composing history based on reports of a returned
explorer, the monk Huei Shan. This
monk had returned from lands far to
the east.
..."He  told  of a  land  named
Fusang, and of two lands before it,
tants, houses were made of planks,
people wrote on tree bark, bartered
for goods, and had a very clear system of rank, being led by a king
treated with much pomp and ceremony. Of Wan Shan, it was said
that the inhabitants marked their
bodies to indicate tribal rank and
lived in houses surrounded by moats
filled with "yin shui", a term difficult to translate but suggesting silver-water, now considered to have
been eulachan (a fish) in process of
having their oil extracted." 2
The placement of these various
countries was computed mechanically by the 19th century scholar
Edward E Vining8 as follows; Ta
Han in the Aleutian Chain, Wan
Shan on the north Pacific Coast and
Fusang in Mexico.
Obscure written records are one
thing, what of artifacts, hard physi-
named Wan Shan (the country of
marked bodies) and Ta Han (Great
China). In Fusand, which derived
its name from a tree which produced
food and clothing for the inhabi-
Douglas Henderson,
priest of Iron Mountain
Buddhist Group,
Victoria, B.C, Canada
Photo credit: Victoria Star.
cal evidence? The October 25th,
1882 issue of the Weekly Colonist in
Victoria, B.C. ran a story of a cache
of bronze coins bound by wire which
were alleged to be 3000 years old.
These coins were found by miners
near Telegraph Creek."4
And further,
..."some years later, while prospecting in the same area, the Chinese
court interpreter from Victoria met
Indians who showed him several ancient Buddhist silver ceremonial
dishes and a number of brass
charms. Though they were reluctant to part with any of it, the
Indians did give him one of the
charms, which was estimated to be
at least 1,500 years old. It had
been found, along with the other objects, buried in the roots of a large
tree." 5 A small statue of the
Buddha was found also in the roots
of a large tree, when the townsite of
Powell River, B.C. was being
cleared. 6 In Nanaimo, B.C. remains
of a Japanese sword of ancient manufacture were found at a depth of
eleven feet.7 We cannot lose sight of
the suggestion, however, that these
physical items were diffused by
trade through the Aleutians and
down to B.C. by middlemen cultural
Lawrance, previously cited, also
avers that Canada's foremost ethno-
musicologist the late Marius
Barbeau "entertained theories that
the Northwest Coast tribal music
was strongly flavoured by Buddhist
temple chanting." 8
One does not have to read much
19th century and early 20th century
anthropology and ethnology to find
bias about third world culture.
"These chaps must have learned
this from the Chinese (or the Greeks
or whatever)" is a common view.
Certainly we live on a small planet.
The oceans though huge, are passable in pre-historic fragile craft. Pace,
St. Brendan.    But one must maintain a detached view and not wax
rhapsodic over every excavated
cross-legged figure as that of the
Buddha.   Meditative figurines (and,
RC Historical News indeed the art of meditation) thrives
everywhere, in every culture.fl
Howarth, previously cited, states
that "...another Japanese junk was
wrecked on the north-west coast of
America near Queen Charlotte's
Island (sic) in the winter of 1833-4,
and the numerous crew were murdered by the natives, with the exception of two survivors. They were
sent to England by the agents of the
Hudson Bay Company and thence to
the East, but were not allowed to
land in Japan by the authorities",
the latter circumstance dictated by
the long-standing flat of the
Shogunate prohibiting the return of
off-shore adventurers.
We must also mention here the reliable accounts of the great Chief of
the Nootka, Maquinna having
Japanese slaves in the late 1700's,
very likely the hapless survivors of
similar shipwrecks.
Even to-day it is common beachcombers' jetsam- - - glass and plastic
floats of the Japanese fishing fleets
following the currents to the shores
of British Columbia.
Our premise is that barring the
mists of antiquity we may assume
quite reasonably that amongst the
slaves of Maquinna and the survivors of the 1833-4 wreck were followers of the Buddhist faith.
The first firm date of Chinese occupation in British Columbia is May
13, 1788 when Capt. John Meares
brought fifty Chinese craftsmen to
Friendly Cove, Vancouver Island,
B.C. for the construction of a trading
post and stockade. n The following
year a further twenty-nine craftsmen joined their fellows from China.
In May of 1789 Spanish frigates
seized the Chinese workmen as part
of the Nootka Incident which came
close to creating war between the
Spanish and the British. Of the seventy or so, the Spanish only accounted for twenty-nine~so allowing for
scurvy and injuries we can assume
some were killed, some enslaved by
Indians and some absorbed into
Indian population through marriage.
Again our premise is that amongst
that seventy or so band of Chinese
craftsmen many would be Buddhist.
A few Chinese craftsmen were
about the various Hudson Bay
Company posts that dotted British
Columbia, but massive immigration
didn't start until the gold rushes.
During those hectic times Chinese
from California and China itself
worked the claims and established
many a 'Chinatown'. 'Joss-houses'
established in most of these
Chinatowns by miners offered religious worship centres for the 'Three
Religions' - Buddhism, Taoism and
Confucianism. From this time period we have yet to secure an exclusively Buddhist house of worship. 13
Until well into the twentieth century we have no evidence of European-
descent residents of British
Columbia having Buddhist affiliations. u
From the 1880's onward the
Japanese presence was felt in
British Columbia. Working as fishermen, in forestry and farming
young Japanese men came to this
province to seek their fortunes. By
far the overwhelming majority of
these young Japanese men were of
the Pure Land, Jodoshinshu
Buddhist faith. 15 By 1901 "dharma
talks" were being held in a private
home of a layman, Hatsutaru
Nishimura in Sapperton, B.C. This
man had been given a "Buddhist
name" Shin-ei- by a high abbot at
sect headquarters in Kyoto as well
as an image of Amida Buddha on a
scroll. Devotees gathered regularly.
16 By November 1905 a regular
Jodoshinshu priest Rev. Senju
Sasaki and his wife were in
Vancouver. Several temporary locations were used over the years for
Buddhist services. 17 Sister organizations were established in New
Westminster, Sapperton, Barnet
and Port Moody, B.C. The total active membership was about 650. In
1909 the government of British
Columbia officially recognized the incorporation of this endeavor as
Nihon Bukkyo-Kai. 18 Buddhist
Women's League (Bukkyo Fujin-kai)
was formed in 1913.19
The very first official formal conversion of Westerners to Buddhism in
British Columbia is recorded in
church documents as occurring in
1917. Bukkyo-kai received into its
membership a Mr. and Mrs. Greep
who were given Buddhist names. 20
By 1921 out of a total of 21,000
Japanese living in Canada, most of
whom lived in British Columbia,
more than 4,000 were Canadian
born. 21 Sunday school services and
young people's groups abounded.
Missionary work, chiefly on
Vancouver Island and in the
Vancouver area was extensive. 22
From 1927 to the start of WWII
eleven Bukkyo-kai centres were established in British Columbia, viz:
New Westminster (1927); Marpole
(1928); Steveston (1928); Royston
(1930); Maple Ridge (1932);
Chemainus (1932); Okanagan
Buddhist Mission at Kelowna
(1933); Victoria (1934); Skeena
(1934); Ocean Falls (1935) and
Whonnock (1939). 23 Seven
Buddhist clergy from Kyoto administered to a flock of about 1,500 at
this time.
Then disaster struck. With the
outbreak of WWII all Japanese
gatherings except funerals were outlawed. Soon, all Japanese males,
then whole families were relocated
to camps in the British Columbia interior and further east to Alberta
and Manitoba. During all this turmoil clergy still held services carrying images and altar items with
them from camp to camp. Two
years after the War's end the
Japanese population was 7,200 a
drop from a pre-war estimate of
22,000. Many of the Bukkyo-kai
had been sold under war-time draco-
nian legislation.
Contemporary Times
After the return of the Japanese and
Japanese-Canadians to British
Columbia a total of six Jodoshinshu
churches were re-established. They
are at Ladner, Kamloops, Kelowna,
Richmond, Vancouver and Vernon. 24
Other Japanese denominations established including a small Shingon
group of laypersons in Steveston,
B.C., Rinzai Zen style groups meeting at the Zen Center of Vancouver
and the Victoria Zen Center; Soto
RC Historical News
12 Zen style in Vancouver at Lion's
Gate Priory; and a small Shingon-
Shugendo group, Iron Mountain
Buddhist Group in Victoria. There
are also several Nichiren Shoshu
(Sokka Hakkai) groups throughout
the lower mainland of British
Columbia and Vancouver Island.2S
In 1971 Most Ven. Kalu Rimpoche,
an esteemed meditation master of
the Tibetan Kargugpa School established a centre, Kagyu Kunkhyab
Choling in Vancouver. This group
under the leadership of Ven Tzenjur
Rimpoche maintains their centre in
^ncouver as well as a 160 acre retreat facility on nearby Saltspring
Island. 26 Several years ago retrea-
tants completed a three year three
month three day traditional total retreat to study and practice traditional Tibetan ascetics. At the time of
writing sixteen people are in retreat
for the same traditional period.
Other Tibetan centres include that of
Ven. Sakya Lama Tashi Namgyal,
who has established the Victoria
Buddhist Dharma Society-Sakya
Thubten Kunga Choling in Victoria;
28 the Sakya Bodhi Dharma Society
established in Vancouver by Ven.
Chime Luding (Jetsun Kusho) sister
of H.H. Sakya Trizen, Head of the
Sakya School of Tibetan Buddhism;
26 the centres known as respectively
Gaden Rime Zong Ling in Vancouver
and Tashi Choling in Nelson established by Ven. Zasep Tulku and the
Vajradhatu / Dhamadhatu centres
established by the late Ven.
Chogyam Trungpa Rimpoche at
Victoria, Vancouver and Nelson. 2e
All these lamas have been instrumental in bringing high lamas to
British Columbia to give teaching
since 1972; some of the visitants including such illustrious personages
as the H.H. the Dalai Lama, H.H.
Sakya Sakya Trizin, H.H. the
Gyalwa Karmapa, the late great
Zong Rimpoche, Luding Ken
Rimpoche, the late great Dezhung
Rimpoche, Dakchen Rimpoche, etc.
etc. In keeping with Tibetan traditions many of these visitant lamas
as well as resident lamas have given ordinations, refuge in the Three
Jewels and initiations into tantric
His Holiness the
Dalai Lama has
visited British
Columbia several
times to give
Photo credit:
Brian Beresford.
i j-iSFWFWfc jr
Two Buddhist monumental stupas
or Chortens each about 10m in
height have been erected in British
Columbia. The first in Tibetan Style
of brick and mortar was erected in
the 1960's near Nelson, B.C. by
Karma Kuzhang, a disciple of
Namgyal Rimpoche, both
The second was erected in the
1970's on Galiano Island in the
Strait of Georgia by another associate of Namgyal Rimpoche, a
Burmese monk. It is in the southern
Buddhist style using mortar and impervious new polymer epoxy bonds
for longevity. Both are symbolic representations of the body of the Lord
Buddha comprised of earth, water,
air, fire and space.
In modern times the Chinese community has established several centres of worship devoted exclusively
to Buddhism. The Universal
Chinese Church "a lay Chinese
Buddhist temple" 24 has been established for several years in
Vancouver. Recent arrivals in
Vancouver are Gold Buddha
Monastery under the aegis of
Tripataka Master Hsuan Hua of
San Francisco and supervised by
two Westerner monk of his; and in
nearby Richmond the International
Buddhist Society has built a sump-
tous temple and Gracious Hall,
quite the most impressive in all the
province. It is constructed in traditional Chinese style with peaked
roofs, etc.
The Hua Ts'ang Buddhist Society ,
a modern Chinese mahayana society meets regularly in Vancouver and
publishes monthly 'Lotus Treasury'
under the editorship of Mr. Harvey
The Theravadin (Teachings of the
Elders) Tradition is a small but active force in the province. The Ariya
Theravada Society operates in
Vancouver. The    Anagarika
Dhamma Society 26 is active in
Halfmoon Bay, B.C.. A new but dynamic aspect of Theravadin practice
is that of the Vipassana x societies
under the aegis of Mr. Goenka of
Burma. This pragmatic austere approach to meditation is regularly
taught in Victoria and Vancouver.
No doubt small groups of Laos and
Cambodian refugees are meeting in
British Columbia privately but as
yet these pious and devout people
have had no part in public Buddhist
The Vietnamese people who have
settled in British Columbia have established two Centres in Vancouver,
Copgun Tai Vancouver B.C. and
Chua Phoc Long 26. Another centre
in Victoria, the Victoria Vietnamese
RC Historical News Buddhist Association is currently being incorporated.
The Buddhist Council of Canada,
an outgrowth of the Toronto
Buddhist Federation, is currently exploring ways of extending communication amongst various Canadian
Buddhist groups. A representative
met with some Victoria groups in
1987 with that end in view. The
Buddhist Co-op of Vancouver 26 is a
loose federation of groups that meet
to exchange views and increase public awareness about Buddhism.
Several learned pandits teach
Buddhism at the University of
British Columbia at Vancouver including Dr. Leon Hurvitz renowned
translator of a new edition of the
Lotus Sutra and Dr. Daniel
Overmyer, an expert on Chinese folk
Buddhist culture. Through their
and others efforts a massive library
(the Asian Studies Library) has been
assembled with many texts of interest to scholars. Buddhism is regularly taught in several undergraduate/graduate studies level courses at
the University of British Columbia
and the University of Victoria.
A Buddhist archive (#87-10) has
been established by the writer at the
British Columbia Archives in Victoria
The establishment of a Buddhist
archive in the Provincial Archives
will hopefully aid the historian of religion in the future. This brief history is but an outline of the events
that lead up to the successful transplanting of this profound and gentle
World Religion in British Columbia.
In the writer's capacity of president
and priest of Iron Mountain
Buddhist Group he has often been
called upon to assemble with his co-
religionists-sometimes in a joyful oc-
casion-the celebration of H.H. the
Dalai Lama's birthday culminating
in the release of one hundred and
eight helium balloons bearing selections of sutras; or the exposition of
various forms of Buddhism by various Buddhist clergy at the Victoria
International Folkfest-sometimes
the occasion is melancholy; a memo-
RC Historical News
rial service for a deceased lama-but
always the sense of the moment is
endowed with the feeling that whatever sect is represented all clergy
and layfolk are united and unanimous in the view of tolerance and respect for each other's belief.
When a Buddhist bows or does
prostrations to the Triple Gem - the
Buddha, the Kharma and the
Sangha - in British Columbia he
should bear in mind that the
Sangha quite possibly goes back to
the mists of antiquity to the closing
of the fifth century A.D. and to those
early co-religionists, the early
Japanese and Chinese lost and enslaved on these coasts two hundred
years ago; and those doughty
Japanese clergy of the turn of this
century who laboured in fish camp
and saw mill and the selfless other
Asians - - the Tibetans, Vietnamese
who laboured to bring this faith to
British Columbia. The story has
just begun.
The writer would like to thank Virginia
E. Appell, M.A. of the University of
British Columbia's Graduate
(Anthropology Department) Programme
for securing the Howarth material; and
Maryse Dumas, B. Ed. of the University
of Victoria's Graduate (Musicology)
Programme for inquiries re: the Marius
Barbeau material and also for deciphering my handwriting and typing the mss.
1. article, "Buddhist Columbia" by Scott
Lawrance, 'Raincoast Chronicles First
Harbour Publishing, Box 119, Madeira
Park, B.C. 1971, pp. 67-68.
2. ibid.
3. Edward Payson Vining (1847-1920) "An
Inglorious Columbus, or Evidence that
Hwui Shan and a party of Buddhist monks
from Afghanistan discovered America in the
Fifth Century A.D."
New York, Appleton 1885.
4. Lawrance, ibid.
6.      ibid.
6. ibid.
7. ibid. In 1979 in my capacity of Registrar of
the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria I was
asked by Mr. David Pepper of the Royal
Ontario Museum, Toronto about the whereabouts of this Japanese sword. Material
was then being assembled for the celebration of the centennial of the arrival of "the
first Japanese" to British Columbia and
Canada. My enquiries proved fruitless. I
am, at the time of the compilation of this
paper attempting through the British
Columbia Museums Association's newsletter
to locate this sword and any other Buddhist
related artifacts mentioned herein.
Lawrance, ibid.
for some of the more far-fetched theories the
reader is referred to: article, "Buddhism in
the Pacific" by Sir Henry H. Howarth,
K.C.I.E., D.C.L., F.R.S., Journal of the
Royal Anthropological Institute, vol. LI,
1921 pp. 279-287 in which Howarth postulates Tibetan lamas coming to the Hawaiian
Islands due to a perceived similarity in
capes and helmets of rank. Howarth is
more credible in his reporting of wrecked
Japanese fishermen in historical times.
(see later).
Howarth, ibid., Pg. 284.
article, "First Chinese Get Their Due" by
Jacque Mar, Victoria B.C. Times-Colonist
newspaper, 'Islander' supplement Pg. M2,
29 May, 1988.
An eminent geographer, Dr. David Lai,
Associate Professor at the University of
Victoria, and expert on British Columbia's
'Chinatowns' offered the following views,
"the joss-houses were syncretic which is to
say, Buddhist-Taoist-Confucian...they were
primarily concerned with worldly prosperity
and could not in any way be considered
'Buddhist temples' or exclusively Buddhist
places of worship."
Conversation with the author, 20 May,
The author solicited information from the
Theosophical Society, a society with some
Buddhists-inspired roots. I asked specifically about contact between the TS. and any
Buddhist in British Columbia. This society
has been active in British Columbia for
many years. Except for a relatively recent
contact (1986?-86?) between the Victoria
Lodge and a local Victoria Tibetan-lineage
nun, no other contacts have as yet been reported, (letter to author, 27 April, 1988 from
Mrs. Dorothy Armstrong, vice-president,
Victoria T.S.Lodge.)
article, "Buddhists in British Columbia" by
Yasuo Izumi in'Circle of Voices -A History
of the Religious Communities of British
Columbia' edited by Charles P Anderson,
Tirthankar Bose and Joseph I. Richardson,
Oolichan Books, Lantzville, British
Columbia 1988 pp. 27-3S. Izumi's title is a
bit of a misnomer for his survey covers only
his particular denomination (and except for
a few Caucasian converts to that denomination) is devoted to reports exclusively about
ethnic Japanese. It is hoped that the writer's current article will provide a more expansive view. Nevertheless the writer is
grateful for the extensive material published by Rev. Izumi — it aided a tremendous amount in the writer's researches,
ibid., Pg. 28
ibid., Pg. 80
article, "Buddhism in Canada" in Spring
Wind - Buddhist Cultural Forum' Spring/
Summer 1986, vol. 6 no. 1&2, pp. 167-195.
ibid., names and addresses of most of the
groups cited appear in this issue, see also
addenda in the succeeding issue of Spring
ibid. The Wilby Hoax
by Ron Welwood
Since the publication of my article,
"Wilby in the Kootenays", several
significant sources of additional information have been uncovered.
Although, at the time of researching
and writing the article I suspected
Thomas William Wilby was not the
great automobiling hero he pretended to be, I did not have the resources
to prove it. This short addendum
records additional facts that have
come to light since the writing of
that article.
Readers will recall that in 1912,
under the auspices of the fledgling
Canadian Highway Association and
the sponsorship of the Reo Motor
Car Company, Wilby proposed an
epic journey to support the Good
Roads Movement and to promote a
Trans-Canadian Highway from
Atlantic to Pacific via the All Red
Wilby was accompanied by test
driver Fonce 'Val (Jack) Haney, 23,
who was considered a mechanical
wizard by his employer, the Reo
Motor Car Company of St.
Catharines, Ont. Although Wilby
basked in the glory, it was Haney
who did all the work -- driving all
day and repairing the Reo at night.
Wilby unashamedly took full credit
as the triumphant automobilist but,
in fact, he was chauffeured all but
60 miles (100 km.) of the entire trip
across Canada! According to local
newspaper accounts Wilby was at
the wheel when the automobilists
entered some of the larger Canadian
cities. So it seems he only drove the
Reo from the outskirts of those communities where he would receive
wide press coverage. In this way he
maintained the pretense that he
was the great automobiling hero
that he imagined himself to be.
It is obvious from Haney's travel
diary that there was great enmity
between British Wilby and
Colonialist Haney.    His entry for
September 5th reads:
Left Ottawa at 7:30 a.m. I was ready at
6:30 but the Captain of the schooner
slept in so we could not get away ...Had a
warm argument with the Captain to-day.
He says it makes him sick to run over a
chicken, also he is afraid to go more than
25 m.p.h. (40 km.p.h.) — Rather a soft
outfit for the Captain of a transcontinental automobile trip. One poor devil does
all the work "that's me". I am hooked up
with about the worst companion that possibly could be. The work is going to be
hard after leaving Toronto , and not having a MAN with me, I don't know how I'll
make out.
This tension between the two travellers is subtlely documented in A
Motor Tour Through Canada where
Wilby deliberately omitted any mention of Haney's name! This colorful
but exaggerated account of the trip
only refers to him as the "driver" or
the "chauffeur". In fact, the vindictive and deceitful Wilby went so far
as to either obscure or airbrush
Haney's image from the book's photographs! (Nicol 23, 50)
In order to have his own mementos of the trip, Haney had purchased
a simple box camera in New
Brunswick. Naturally he had Wilby
take photographs of himself at various locations along the way; but
when he got to Ontario and had the
film developed every photo that
Wilby took of him was out-of-focus.
Photo after photo,...blurred, blurred,
blurred. The scenery photos Wilby took
using his own camera were fine, so why
were only the pictures he took of Haney
spoiled? Jack thought Wilby intentionally ruined them. This realization was the
final straw: Jack Haney was determined
to quit the trip. (Nicol 29)
However, out of a strong sense of
loyalty to the Reo Motor Car
Company he was convinced by company representatives to continue.
After a second Reo employee, Earl
Wise, joined them in Regina, Sask.,
Haney no longer mentioned his frustration with Wilby.
Although the trip was touted as
the All Red Route, there was one mi-
nor deviation which could easily be
overlooked when reading Wilby's account, "Above the rush and roar of
the Columbia, as we followed the devious paths of its green waters from
Canada into America and back
again...." (250) Unfortunately, the
rough, mountainous terrain had
forced the Reoists to cross the border
just south of Rossland at Patterson
and to return north at Cascade, B.C.
This was the only detour from an
otherwise all-Canadian route.
Until recently Wilby's book presented the only public, but distorted,
record of this epic journey. Wilby
had, indeed, succeeded in keeping
Haney's name obscure and anonymous. However, new evidence has
finally revealed the true hero of this
amazing saga. Ironically after such
a prolonged silence, 1989 has seen
the publication of John Nicol's short
book and broadcasting of a C.B.C.
radio play, "A Motor Tour Through
Canada", by Charles Tidier on
Morningside (May 1989). A special
display in the St. Catharines
Historical Museum commemorating
Haney and the trusty Reo Special
Touring Car will also help
Canadians to remember the quiet
but tenacious Haney. These are just
a few deserving testimonials to the
true hero of the All Red Route, Jack
The author is a librarian at Selkirk college
in Castlegar. He is a real history buff who
has done a great deal of research about the
'Book Chronicles Pioneer's 1912 Cross-Canada Drive."
VnoonverSin, 4 March 1989: A18.
Haney, F.V. IHarvofF.YHanepi Halifax to Vancouver) 1912.
(unpublished) August 27 - October 14,1912.
Nicol, John D. Jade Han^. Markham, Ont.: Fitzhenry &
Whiteside, 1989
"No Glory for Drive." Province 5 March 1989:19.
Welwood, Ron. "Wilby in the Kootenays." BrttahCotambia
Historical News. 20 (Fall 1987): 8-11
Wilby, Thomas W AMotcrlburTlirooghOanada London:
John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1914
RC Historical News The Florence Nightingale ofVaneouver
by Helen Borrell
Vancouver had a Florence
Nightingale. She was called to her
life's service when the little mill
town and C.P.R. terminus fringed
Burrard Inlet in the area of
Hastings and the present Main
Street. It was then some scattered
pioneer cabins with two lumber
mills, pioneer community halls and
churches. Father Henry Fiennes-
Clinton, rector of St. James', the
founding Anglican Church, invited
Frances Dalrymple Redmond to
come as nurse and deaconess. The
two partners built Vancouver's first
general hospital, which had seven
Sister Frances (she earned that
name) was born in England in 1854,
of a family with a tradition of
British Navy service. She married
William Charles Redmond, a Naval
officer, and they had two sons; one
died an infant. They moved to
Winnipeg, where Frances became
the lifelong friend of Archdeacon and
Mrs. Pentreath. Early in their marriage, the Redmonds separated amicably; (private lives were just that,
in those days.) William Charles Jr.,
was sent to school in England, and
Mrs. Redmond, as she still was in
name, trained as a nurse and midwife at Laval University, Montreal.
In 1854 Henry Fiennes-Clinton
was born in Nottinghamshire, the
first son of an Anglo-Catholic minister, cousin of the Duke of Newcastle.
As a theology student and active
sportsman at Oxford, young Henry
met "restless missionary-minded
young churchmen who were to mean
much to Canada". l One was Acton
Sillitoe, who became the first Bishop
of British Columbia's Diocese of New
Westminster in 1879. Frontier trading posts and bush settlements
sparsely dotted its 160,000 square
miles. The villages of Hastings Mill
and Granville received their first
Anglican church, St. James', in
RC Historical News
1881, a tiny wooden building near
Burrard Inlet.
The young English priest, Father
Clinton, became its rector in late
1885; undaunted by Vancouver's
Great Fire, he held worship services
in community halls and built the
second St. James' for his growing
congregation on two CPR. - donated lots at Gore Avenue and Cordova
(then Oppenheimer) Street. Its massive white stone successor towers
protectively today, on the same site.
Undefeated by what seems to have
been low level tuberculosis, Rev.
Clinton was the "Anglican father of
Vancouver" for 25 years.
When his parish family first worshipped in the new, 210-seat church,
on the anniversary of the Fire,
Cordova Street was lined with tents;
the city had no piped water, and typhoid and other diseases were endemic; the only hospital was the
C.P.R.'s three-bed infirmary. Rev.
Clinton knew Frances Redmond's
administrative gifts, and asked her
to be Vancouver's first public health
She was soon indispensable to the
city's few doctors. One of her first
services was to give up her bed to a
destitute patient; she did so for
many others, for no one in need was
turned away from her St. Luke's
Father Clinton and she purchased
three CPR. lots next to St. James'
Church and borrowed money to build
the seven bedroom, frame hospital;
later they added two wards and an
operating room. Planned as primarily a maternity hospital, St. Luke's
sheltered many sick and homeless
children; being the city's first hospital, it received patients from all
parts of B.C. On Opening Day the
first one was rushed in, delirious
with typhoid. Sister Frances' outreach took her, in all hours and
weather, to any of the sick and
Sister Frances
needy in Vancouver. At St. Luke's
she directed the Province's first
training school for nurses. An early
photo shows her first class, eight serious students in floor-length white
uniforms. Doctors and surgeons
gave the lectures; Sister Frances instructed in practical work.
Frontier British Columbia had no
preventive medicine. In the 1890's
small-pox epidemics broke out.
Sister Frances was best qualified to
organize the required isolation hospital. She volunteered to direct it.
With her small, much-sought-after
group of nurses, she combatted typhoid in Howe Sound outposts, and
small-pox in Mission; she organized
a Church hospital for Indians at
Lytton Mission, with her Nurse
Hester Crickmay as matron. This
graduate later married the archdeacon, Rev. E. W Pugh. Frances
Redmond had a motherly interest in
all her former students, and gave
news of them in her report for the
Church Record, Diocese of New
Westminster, August, 1899. One of
her girls, probationing in an English
hospital, wrote to Sister Frances
that, besides the arduous care of
helpless patients, she had to polish
every ward article "from scissors to
door-handles" and sweep. Sister
Frances observed that, if British Columbia nurses were so trained,
"we would not so often hear the complaint regarding household matters,
nowadays spoken of as housemaid's
work. I myself have? several times
received the answer from a new probationer, 'Oh, I did not know that
was for a nurse to do, I call that
housework and not fit for a lady'
Needless to say, she does not suit."
Vancouver's founding nurse was another Florence Nightingale.
Sister Frances, who mothered
many waifs, later adopted a girl
and two boys. She gained a devoted, permanent helper - admitted as
a seriously ill young mother, unable
to manage her own home. Her services to Sister Frances made St.
Luke's Home hers for the rest of her
When the City Hospital and St.
Paul's were built in growing
Vancouver, they had more facilities
for more nursing students than St.
Luke's; its school was gradually
phased out. But from its opening
St. Luke's Home was Vancouver's
first social service centre. Sister
Frances, Father Clinton's administrative partner, raised funds for his
many "firsts" in early Vancouver.
One cold winter, she opened a soup
kitchen in the basement of Market
Hall. She was President of the first
Anglican Women's group, the Guild
of St. Agatha, for girls and young
women. The little girls in her church
school learned to sew, to serve tea
and entertain graciously, and to
help the unfortunate. Their models
were Sister Frances' team of parish
mothers; notably, Mrs. Margaret
Thain and Violet Sillitoe, widow of
the first Bishop of New
Westminster, who gave lifelong service to the extended family of St.
James' Church.
In the parish paper, The Church
Record, Sister Frances always gave
warm thanks to every donor for gifts
to St. Luke's Home. For two hundred children, Easter Monday, 1901,
was a holiday in fairyland; in
grown-up words, an Easter egg party in St. Luke's garden. After
Christmas, Sister Frances wrote joyously of the "Dickensian feast which
rewarded the men and boys of the
choir," 2 the Sunday School party,
the visits, and generous friends of
her Home. On Bowen Island, in
1902, Father Clinton opened the
Choir Boys' Camp; nearby, Sister
Frances built a summer cottage,
where her nurses, and the business
girls who later resided at St. Luke's
Home, enjoyed seaside holidays beneath Howe Sound's majestic mountains. Also, this was a God-given
setting for St. James' Church
Typical of Sister Frances was her
"busman's holiday" in Victoria in
1902; she helped some of her former
nurses set up a small maternity
hospital. 3 Charles Redmond presented his mother with a residence
in the California diocese of Paso
Robles, a sunshine blessed haven
which became her Home for
Convalescents. It was also a haven
for Father Clinton, when the illness
he had valiantly battled during his
25 years' leadership of the mother
Anglican church finally ended his
life. Sister Frances put her assistant in charge of St. Luke's, and she
and another of her graduates, Mrs.
E.W. Pugh, nursed him until his
death on January 29, 1912. His
many services to his adopted home
city were her legacy, and she continued them under his successors. She
was honoured with a life membership in the Women's Auxiliary to
Canada's Anglican Missionary
Society, Diocese of New
Westminster, shortly before the
Great War. In that mass slaughter,
one of the millions killed was Sister
Frances' son. In his memory, she
placed a sanctuary lamp in the
church for which she lived. By the
1920's, this grand old pioneer and
its Parish Hall had to be replaced by
up-to-date buildings; so did St.
Luke's Home, by then a creaky fire-
trap, unable to meet civic standards.
The new, larger St. Luke's Home,
with its dignified, Old English style
exterior - a contrast to the austerely
plain, New Era design of today's St.
James' Church - was a home in
which the aged were given devoted
care,    its ground floor contained a
sitting hall, dining room, library,
and bedroom for Sister Frances. In
the spirit which always guided her,
she made sure that Mrs. Crooks, her
faithful assistant for 27 years,
should have a permanent home in
St. Luke's. Among the many friends
who showered donations for the new
building was an English lady who
had never forgotten that Sister
Frances had sheltered her, a needy
child - thirty years before.
But the new St. Luke's was, financially, the gift of the wealthy philanthropist, Joseph Greaves - the pioneer immigrant of romance; he came
to British Columbia as a butcher and
retired as the owner of B.C.'s largest
cattle ranch. Besides his legacies to
other hospitals, he bequeathed to
the Directors of St. Luke's an
amount generous enough to build
the new home and to pay off the
mortgage and tax arrears which had
burdened the first home.
His inspiration? The single visit
he had made to St. Luke'os in its
early days; he was helping one of
the five non-paying patients cared
for there. He observed Sister
Frances' sound business management, and asked her assistant
about their care of the needy; and realized that this haven in the city's
poorest district was worth the fortune he could give to it.
"The kindness to me has been
marvelous," Vancouver's first nurse
said simply, as, with a veteran's
nostalgia, she told St. Luke's story
to a ^fencouver Province reporter.
She and her nurses had once taken
charge of the Vancouver General
Hospital for six weeks, while a new
matron was sought. On March 15,
1925, the Province gave a deserved
full-page spread to the completion of
the present St. Luke's Home, including photos and Sister Frances'
thanks for each gift toward its furnishings. Perhaps the two givers
who had so briefly known her - the
former homeless child, and the millionaire - were the best witnesses to
her full life.
In 1929, "the little mother of the
sick and needy of Vancouver" was
chosen by the community for the
RC Historical News "Good Citizen" award, bestowed by
the Native Sons of British Columbia.
Frances Redmond died on April
15, 1932 and was buried in
Mountain View Cemetery, like her
leader and friend, Henry Clinton.
All through her career another friend
linked her with the founding of the
New Westminster Diocese - the first
Bishop's widow, Mrs. Violet Sillitoe,
who died in 1933.
Sister Frances' church family gave
her and Father Clinton a memorial
chapel in the present St. James'
Anglican Church built in 1935. But
she lived on in what she founded.
St. Luke's continued as a women's
residence and guest house, managed by the Anglican Sisters of the
Society of the Love of Jesus.    "A
quiet, well-kept home, combined
with religious surroundings and a
chapel" it was called. In recent
years, it has been remodelled into
seven suites where residents live independently.
The unseen life of Sister Frances
is, of course, the Christlike ideal and
the practical administrative skills
which she bequeathed to St. James'
clergy and community servants who,
today, are indispensable to
Vancouver's Downtown.
Miss Helen Borrell was born and raised in
Vancouver but worked in Toronto and Halifax
as a stenographer. She then worked at the
United Church Hospital in Bella Bella. She
has recently retired in Vancouver with time to
do research & writing.
PhyllisReeve: Eray Good Gift A Hisi<»yo* St. James
; Mitchell Press Ltd., \femouver, B.C. 1980.
Every Good Gift, Page 45.
Bvixy Good Gift, Page 47.
Peter Skene Ogden - A Great Explorer
by Winston A. Shilvock
Peter Skene Ogden was the last of
Canada's great fur-trading explorers, following closely in the steps of
those other great adventurers of the
North West Company - Alexander
Mackenzie, Simon Fraser and David
The tough, intrepid Nor'Westers
were ideally suited to Ogden's, devil-
may-care nature. Against the wishes of his father, an admiralty court
judge in Lower Canada, the young,
16-year-old gave up the study of law
and entered the fur business in
1810. Not long after, one of his associates described him as the "humorous, honest, eccentric, law-
defying Peter Ogden." His own personal motto, indicative of his later
actions was, "Necessity has no
For the next few years Ogden
served an apprenticeship in the
harsh Saskatchewan River country
where, in the Indian way, he married a Cree woman. After giving
him two sons she died, and since her
name was never recorded, disappeared into history without a trace.
So well did he perform with the
Nor'Westers that in 1820 he as
made a partner and a year later,
when the North West Company and
the Hudson's Bay Company joined
forces, he became a chief trader with
the new organization. This necessitated a move to the strategically located Spokane House which David
Thompson had built a decade before
in what is now Washington State.
It was from here that Peter Ogden,
at the age of 27, would begin the
work that would enshrine his name
in history as one of our great explorers.
Here, too, he met and married
Julia Rivet, a full-blooded Flathead
Indian from the Spokane area for
Peter Skene Ogden
whom he paid 50 horses.   Like her
husband, Julia was intelligent, aggressive and had a mind of her own.
Two recorded stories exemplify this.
Once, when a raft load of furs broke
RC. Historical News
18 loose on a swift-flowing, ice-cold river, she quickly dove in after it and
several hundred yards downstream
steered it to shore.
On another occasion Julia was
travelling with an Ogden expedition
when American mountain men raided the group and stampeded many
of the fur-laden horses. When Julia
realized that one of the stolen animals was carrying her first-born son
tied to the saddle, she leaped onto
another horse and started after the
raiding party. Galloping into the
middle of the enemy camp she
quickly switched to the horse bearing her son, grabbed the reins of another one loaded with furs, and before the astonished Americans
realized what was happening, disappeared into the surrounding forest.
The marriage of Peter and Julia
was idyllic and lasted for 34 years
until Peter's death. Julia then
moved to Lac la Hache in the
Cariboo country of British Columbia
where their descendants live today.
After the amalgamation of the
Nor'Westers and the HB Co, complete control of the fur trade in the
north was secure and attention was
turned to the south and east of the
Columbia River for new fields to take
over. As a commissioned gentleman
and the ablest one around, Ogden
was a natural choice to lead the attack.
The first assault on this virgin territory began in the Snake River
country, an area that now takes in
the States of Washington, Idaho
and Oregon. The next step was to
move into what is now Utah,
Nevada and California.
The odds against operating in this
terrain were formidable. The country was a vast sea of mountains
broken by violent rivers; the Indians
were hostile; winters brought enormous snowfalls and the American
mountain-men trappers, unhappy
over the intrusion, put up a stiff resistance.    Of this period Ogden
wrote, "Only the fit survive and not
all of those."
Nevertheless he pressed on. From
December, 1824, when he left Fort
Nez Perce (Walla Walla,
Washington) until 1829, he and his
58-man troupes completed six fur-
gathering expeditions. The travels,
mainly on horseback because horses
could carry furs and they and the accompanying dogs were frequently
needed for food, took him east to
Idaho Falls and south to the Great
Salt Lake. On the way he rode past
the site of today's Ogden, Utah,
which is named in his honor.
On the fifth expedition he went
south through Klamath Indian country (Klamath Falls, Oregon) and
discovered "a fine large stream"
which he called the Unknown River.
Today this is the Humbolt River in
northern Nevada. On the last trip
he went through to the Gulf of
Ogden was meticulous in recounting these explorations and it has
been said by historians that the expeditions constituted one of the most
magnificent chapters in the history
of exploration in western North
America and that Peter Skene
Ogden was one of the greatest pathfinders, traders and diplomats the
West ever knew.
His agility and endurance were
the more amazing when one considers that his short, stocky frame carried a tremendous amount of fat.
He was so obese that he was a continual source of amusement to the
Indians who were themselves slim
and wiry.
Over the next few years Ogden
performed various other duties for
the Hudson's Bay Company. In
1831 he assisted in founding Fort
Simpson on the British Columbia
coast and inaugurated a coastal
trade for the company. He went
north to the southern tip of Alaska
and diplomatically warned off the
Russians who were encroaching on
New Caledonia (north central British
Columbia) along the Stikine River.
In 1835 he led an expedition south
and established a trading post at
the junction of the Sacramento and
Jesus Maria Rivers in California.
That same year he was appointed
Chief Factor at Fort St. James
which had been built by Simon
Fraser in 1806. This was the centre
of all activity in the New Caledonia
district and the position of Factor
carried tremendous power and prestige. From here, as a member of
management, he led several fur
bridges over the famous Brigade
Trail through the Okanagan Valley
to attend meetings at the company
headquarters at Fort Vancouver at
the mouth of the Columbia River.
With the establishment of the
International Boundary in 1846, the
headquarters of the company were
moved to Victoria and for the next
eight years Peter Ogden and James
Douglas jointly administered the
enormous expanse of the Columbia
Department. Ogden Point, the site
of the Outer Wharves in Victoria, is
named for him.
Then, at age 60, Peter Skene
Ogden suffered a bout with "the fever" and died on September 27,
Winston Shilvock is a retired businessman
living in Kelowna, He took up writing and
has had 154 articles published since 1969 -
most of these with historical content
RC Historical News Something Out of Nothing
Mission's Memorial Hospitals
In 1919, when the soldiers who
had survived the "Great War" were
returning to their homes, and the
ravages of the "flu" were subsiding,
the women of Mission turned their
energies towards improving their
community by creating a memorial
for the men who died. They developed an original idea, a hospital,
which they said would forever be a
"living memorial". They had no
money, nothing but their energy and
enthusiasm, but in less than two
years they had a small, makeshift
building in full operation and in five
years they had a beautiful new brick
building, debt free. They had truly
created "Something Out of
Mrs. Beryl Lambarde was an energetic Englishwoman who was dedicated to improving health care. In
January, 1919, she organized "The
Mothers of the Empire League"
whose aim, she said, was no less
than to unify all women. However,
in August of the same year, she and
the other "Mothers" decided to
transfer their loyalties to the new
Gallipoli Branch of the I.O.D.E. By
January 1920, they had found a
project; they raised money by putting on a dance and opened a soup
kitchen in the local school.
The soup kitchen did not seem to
be demanding enough of Mrs.
Lambarde's considerable energy,
and in March she and the other
members of the Gallipoli Branch
"who had been discussing the subject of having a hospital". . . . turned
the matter over to a provisional
Board of Directors.x Mrs. Lambarde
was elected secretary. A month later, on April 9, the ladies met again
and formed a Hospital Auxiliary.2
The president of this organization
was Mrs. Emma Houlder, another
determined Englishwoman, and it
by Catherine Marcellus
was not long before she was also on
the Hospital Board and Mrs.
Lambarde was working for the
Two other women were members of
both groups, Mrs. A.J. Stuart and
Mrs. A.L. McQuarrie, the wives of
the town's two doctors. They were
usually given the double title, "Mrs.
Dr." Their husbands, too, were
members of the board, for they knew
the need better than anyone. They
were joined by WH. Mathewson, the
bank manager and John
Catherwood who would soon become
M.L.A. for Dewdney. J.B. Millar,
who had retired from his position at
Clayburn Brickworks in 1917, was
elected president, and it was he who
influenced the physical appearance
of the new facility.
The double mission of this group
first appeared in print in 1919. An
article in the Fraser ^folley Record
(almost certainly in Mrs.
Lambarde's breathless style) said,
"Now times have become more normal again, so "Lest we Forget" -
and nothing in life is easier than to
forget - and before what our men
have done becomes but a faint memory, let us turn our attention to
what we can do to keep the memory
of their sacrifice green in the minds,
not only of the present generation,
but of those to follow, when the
"Great War" itself has become but a
matter of history. And how can we
do that better than by erecting a
hospital." 3
In British Columbia, public hospitals were appearing in a number of
centers, but there was, as yet, no
legislation or body of regulations to
determine how much tax money
should be given for their support.
An editorial in the Fraser Valley
Record of March 1, 1923 explained
the philosophy.
"There is a lack of understanding
of the proper relation of the hospital
to the community. .... The practice
of requiring those who are sick and
who use the hospital to pay for the
hospital building and equipment is
wrong    The trend of present
day thought is towards the concentration of hospitals, wherever practicable, and their full and complete
ownership by the community which
they seek to serve."
Not everyone agreed with the principle.
Mission's new Hospital Board
faced a monumental task. The
"Stokes House" was the only available building in the community. It
was an old two-storey dwelling and
quite unsuitable for a hospital, but it
would have to do. The Board must
find a way to pay for the daily operating expenses of a hospital while
trying to save enough money for a
new building. Two forces contributed to the successful outcome.
Of primary importance were the
volunteer women who formed the
Hospital Auxiliary and sparked the
enthusiasm    of    the    Women's
Miss MulhaU-Matron 1924
RC Historical News
20 Institutes in the surrounding areas.
They contributed determination, persistence, and seemingly unlimited
amounts of physical labour. The
second force comprised the members
of the Board who borrowed, mortgaged and juggled finances while
consistently pressuring local councils
and the provincial government for
funds which they considered to be
rightfully theirs. Some of these
Board members were women who
were providing volunteer labour at
the hospital and were also baking
as many as ten pies each for various
fund raising events. At the Board
level, they were innovative administrators and politically astute fund
raisers. Before their task was completed they learned to manipulate
the larger world of liquor profits and
shaky provincial politics. How they
did it is part of the story.
The first stage was to become incorporated as "Mission Memorial
Hospital" and then to consider how
to buy Stokes house on the corner of
Third Avenue and Birch Street, convert it into a hospital, buy furniture,
and hire staff. This was an ambitious plan for a group with no funds.
Mr. Stokes wished to sell his property outright but nevertheless
agreed to rent for one year for $350.
"The first transaction was a loan of
$365 from a private source to pay
our rent in advance. This was not a
good beginning", said W.H.
Mathewson, writing the storey in
1925. 4 The Auxiliary minutes reveal that the loan came from Mrs.
Marryat, Mrs. Lambarde's mother.
The house needed "considerable renovations", and the twenty-three
members of the newly formed
Hospital Auxiliary undertook the
task. "They cleaned and calcimined
the walls, stained the floors, put
down the linoleum, put up curtains,
etc." 5 According to Mrs. Joan Gutch
her father, Barrie Lambarde, did all
the carpentry. Within two months it
was ready to open.
The next task was to raise the
money for equipment, and the ladies
promptly held a bazaar which made
$150, spent on "bedding, table linen, nightshirts, towels, baby clothes,
etc." * Their heroic efforts through
1920 raised $1,222.26 from teas, a
whist drive, tag days, catering, raffles, and donations. In the spring of
1921, they produced the first May
Day which made an astonishing
$1,233.38 and became a Mission institution. By February 1925, they
had contributed $6,557.56, of which
$1,150 went to the building fund,
$668 to a Nurse's Home, and
$13.25 to a flagpole! The remainder, $3,294.38, "was spent entirely
on supplies for the hospital." 6
Once the hospital was open, it
could earn money, but it also cost
money to run. The Board's sources
of earned income were the patients,
who were charged a fee; the
Provincial Government, which paid a
grant of $1 for each hospital day;
and Workmen's Compensation
Indigent patients posed a special
problem which was often mentioned
by the Board minutes. Like Boards
at other small B.C. hospitals, the
Mission Memorial Board considered
itself morally bound to accept "indigents" who were often transient labourers or "those developing land". 7
In March 1923, the Board secretary
noted that Village commissioners
were responsible for indigents, but
this was understandably not a popular burden for local taxpayers. In
1924 the Board signed a resolution
(initiated by the Vernon Jubilee
Hospital) asking for Provincial
Government assistance with the
problem. As late as 1948 indigents
were still written off the Board's financial statement. 8
In February 1925, the Board reported that the total amount of patients' fees received since the operation began was $22,497.83 and that
there had been 917 patients with
12,309 hospital days. This meant
that the average patient's bill was
$24.53. The Provincial Government
grant received for hospital days was
$9,779.20, or just under 80 cents a
day. As the per capita grant was
supposed to be $1, it seemed clear
that some Provincial money was
still owing.
The total amount paid out for op
erating the hospital was
$35,471.10. There was, therefore a
shortfall of $3,194 07, an amount
which was met by the contributions
of the Auxiliary. In addition, members of the community donated their
own produce, and the Fraser Valley
Record published the names of donors each week. A typical list included flowers, eggs, vegetables, and
fruit. On November 8, 1923, the secretary of the Board recorded a decision "to cost out the gifts to get a
true maintenance cost". The results
were never recorded.
Salaries were an important item.
"At first we started with two nurses
and a cook", the Report of 1925 explains, "but it was not long before a
third nurse was needed and a helper
in the kitchen." The nurses were
paid $70 a month, but there were so
many resignations that in March
1924, the Board raised the amount
to $75.
At the end of the first year, Mr.
Stokes refused to renew the lease,
and the Board had to buy the property. W.H. Mathewson said, "So in
1921 we bought the property for
$5,000 and subsequently paid
everything but $1,400 which is the
present debt on the old building. 9
Mrs. Stokes was paid in full on
January 12, 1922, and this meant
that a mortgage had been arranged.
On the same date, according to the
Record some lots had been sold for
$600. On September 14, 1922, the
Board invested $4,000 in Canada
Victory Bonds, a sum which must
have been an aggregate of the sale
of the lots, the contributions of the
Hospital Auxiliary to the building
fund, and donations by other community groups. In addition, the
Municipal Council had sent
$1,148.68, only half of the collected
Poll Tax and Liquor Pofits.
It was a wise move for the Board
to lock up $4,000 in bonds that
could not be used for operating expenses.
The Stokes house, now the Mission
Memorial Hospital, continued to cost
money. In May 1922, the secretary
was instructed to "find out the cost
of shingling the roof and get it
RC Historical News done", and in July of the same year
a summer kitchen was added and a
room for the baby nursery ($300).
Towards the end of 1920, before it
leased the Stokes house, the Board
had negotiated the purchase of "half
of the Bowyer block for $2,000. The
sum of $500 was paid and the balance by raising a mortgage of
$1,500 which is still running". 10
This transaction occurred before
Board minutes were retained, but it
is clear that, by the beginning of
1922, the Board had two mortgages
on its books. The Bowyer property
was a magnificent site on 5th
Avenue, overlooking the valley, and
by 1921, the Board was drawing
plans. It was estimated that at
least $20,000 would be needed for
the new building. n
Even the most committed volunteers could not hope to raise such a
large sum; consequently, the Board
looked to other governments for possible funding. The Municipality of
Mission had managed the rural area
since 1892, and had taxed the town-
site for schools and street lighting.
The town was also taxed by Victoria
for roads and services, but on
December 30, 1922, it became incorporated as the Village of Mission
City with the right to levy its own
property tax.
As population increased throughout the early post-war years, demands for services escalated. The
resulting struggle for the tax dollar
sharpened conflict between local and
provincial governments. The province had a poll tax and an amusement tax, both of which were unpopular and hard to collect. In April
1920, Premier John Oliver, announced a plan to relinquish to the
municipalities the poll tax and to increase the amusement tax to 20%.
One half of the money was to be earmarked for schools and hospitals.
The Opposition was scathing 12,
claiming that the municipalities
would "pay the shot" for collecting
what was almost uncollectable in
widely scattered areas.
An entertaining chapter of social
history unfolded when politicians began to look at the drinking habits of
British Columbians as a possible
source of government income. Under
"Prohibition" or the "Dry Act", there
were only two ways to get liquor; to
import it from outside the province,
or to consult a physician. The physician could prescribe 8oz., or "up to
2 quarts - if it is really necessary".13
The government made an immense
profit of 45%, or an aggregate of
$1,700,000 14 on the sale of such
liquor, for, according to WJ. Bowser,
the Leader of the Opposition,
315,000 prescriptions had been issued under "Prohibition" and 516
Import permits had been given to industrial concerns.    He said that
many had gone to the underworld.
The government was forced into a
referendum on "Moderation", which
really meant control of the excesses
of "Prohibition", and on October 20,
1920, when women voted for the
first time in B.C. "Moderation"
passed by 25,000 votes. Cagey
Premier Oliver did not make any
clear statement on the details as his
own political position was increasingly insecure. However, it is clear
that the municipality of Mission and
the Hospital Board both thought
they would benefit from liquor profits.
Oliver called an election for
December 1920. He was the member for Dewdney, but the local roads
were so bad that voters "turfed" him
out and elected John Catherwood,
the Conservative, who was also a
member of the Hospital Board.
Oliver won a seat in Victoria, but left
Mission with no voice in the Cabinet.
The debate over liquor raged
through 1921, still without clarification. In Mission, the members of the
Hospital Board waited each month
for news that would allow them to
plan their building. There were two
problems, first to find out whether
the liquor profits were coming to the
municipalities, and second, to find
out how much would be turned over
to the hospital if the money did arrive.
The trip to Victoria was long and
expensive, but by September 1921,
the Board decided it had waited
long enough and formed a committee to make the journey. Three men
set out in December (paying their
own way of course) and reported
back to the January 1922 meeting
that they had been promised 20% of
the cost of the hospital and that
they would get "$3,000 this year
and $1,000 next year". These sums
were never received.
Another committee had gone to the
Municipal Council and reported to
the same meeting that they would
be sent $1,148.64, half of the collected Poll Tax and Liquor Profits, 16
and in June, Mr. Catherwood went
to the Council and reported back
that they would get 75% of the "liquor money". At the end of December
1922, delegations went to Victoria
on behalf of hospitals from all over
the province. J.B. Millar went from
Mission and reported that they were
all in favor of "eliminating division
of liquor profits at present" 17. The
confusion was clearly province wide.
During January 1923, Mr.
Catherwood was reported to be investigating "Liquor Control money"
in Victoria, and by March the Board
had still not received its current payment from the municipality. The
Board wrote the Council once more
and at the May meeting, Mr.
Catherwood reported that the government had sent the money in July
and December of 1922. In July,
75% had been sent to the Hospital
Board, but in December, nothing at
Dr. Underhill & Dr. Stuart (with hat)
Dr. Stuart was resident doctor-1920-26.
RC Historical News
22 all had been sent. In a fury, the
Board moved to send a bill to the
Council with interest, but "after discussion the motion was withdrawn".
18 Doubtless, it was thought to be
more diplomatic to write another letter of complaint.
And so it continued; every month
the Board sent a delegation to council, and every few months it wrote
Victoria. In January 1924, the
Councils (for now there were two)
said they would give 25% of 5/7th of
the liquor money! Again angry, the
Board wrote Victoria.
In spite of its frustration, its persistence paid off, and by March of
1924, the Board could announce
that it had $12,000 "from liquor
profits and the Auxiliary" 19. The
Auxiliary had donated $1,150 to the
building fund, so that meant that
the Board had received $10,850
from the liquor profits. The hospital
would have received little money
from either council without this unrelenting pressure from the Board.
However, there was still not
enough money for a new building.
"You will recall" said Mr.
Mathewson, "that during 1923,
plans of the new building were finally approved but owing to lack of
money no decision as to the building
was arrived at. However, in 1924
the matter became a lively topic and
arrangements were advanced to a
point in May where it was decided
to press our application to the
Government for aid." 2°
Mr. Mathewson did not mention
that the delegation that had gone to
Victoria in 1922 had been promised
assistance which it never received.
He also did not say that provincial
politics had reached a crisis in 1924,
when "Honest John" Oliver and Bill
Bowser found themselves under attack from a third party. Premier
Oliver called an election for June,
In Mission, the Hospital Board
met on May 8, and immediately decided to send a letter to Mr. Maxwell
Smith, the Liberal candidate for
Dewdney, telling him to ask for "6
or 7 thousand" for the hospital. 21
At the same meeting Mr. J.B. Millar
announced that he had arranged
with his old company, the Clayburn
Brickworks, a special price of "$15
per m." for the bricks, a vote of
thanks was passed for Mr. Millar
and he and E.J. Abbott, Chairman of
the Village Commissioners, were
sent to choose and purchase the
By the meeting of June 10, just 14
days before the election, the Board
had received a letter from the
Provincial Secretary promising that
the government would pay 40% of
the cost of the new hospital." The
Board called for tenders the same
The decision to call on Maxwell
Smith was brilliant, and it was obviously done with John Catherwood's
approval. It was no coincidence that
the election on June 20 was so close
that the results had to be established by judicial recount, but the
two men were close friends and had
the interests of the community at
heart. When the building was
opened on February 19, 1925, they
both made speeches in which they
congratulated Dr. MacLean, the
Minister of Health, "who had so nobly stepped forward and helped the
establishment of a hospital in our
midst." 22 These were Catherwood's
words and Maxwell Smith "also said
that he gave the Honorable gentleman good advice, and that was that
he should give 40% to the new hospital." There was, says the Record,
"Laughter" and "Applause".
The Board had read the political
situation correctly, had used its
friends to gain an election promise,
and had come out with support from
both parties.
They built their beautiful brick memorial quickly, for by January 1925,
it was finished, and by the middle of
the next month it was equipped
with the help of many community
donations, especially from people
who lost sons in the war.
On that gala occasion, Mrs.
Lambarde said "that she was happy to say that the hospital was all
paid for, an announcement that
brought forth loud applause". 23
She was exaggerating a trifle, it is
true, for the last government cheque
did not arrive until July, but "the
large gathering of the residents of
the whole countryside gave her three
cheers and a tiger". She deserved it,
and so did they all, the volunteers of
Mission who with their extraordinary commitment had truly made
something out of nothing.
Mission Manorial HaepttalArmual Report,
February 25,1925.
Mission Manorial Hospital Auxiliary Annual Report,
February 19,1925
Fraser Valley Record. February 20, 1919.
Mission Memorial Hospital Annual Report.
February 25,1925
Mission Memorial Hospital Auxiliary Annual Report.
February 25,1925
Misdon Memorial Hospital Board Minutes,
August 14,1924
Mission Memorial Hospital Annual Report,
February 25,1925
Mission Memorial Hospital Board Minutes,
November 11,1921.
Fraser VWley Record, April 8,1920.
Fraser \felky Record, April 22,1920
Fraser \falky Record, April 1,1920
Fraser Valley Record, April 15,1920
Mission Memorial Hospital Board Minutes,
January 12,1922.
Minion Memorial Hospital Board Minutes,
December 14,1922.
Mission Memorial Hospital Board Minutes,
May 11, 1923
Fraser VUky Record, May 25,1924.
Mission Memorial Hospital Annual Report,
February 25,1925.
Mb**! Memorial Hospital Board Minutes,
May 8.1924.
Fraser Vidley Record, February 26,1925.
Have You Enjoyed
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B.G Historical News The Hunter Family of Thetis Island, B.C.
Six kilometers off shore from
Chemainus mid way up the east-
coast of Vancouver Island, is a
small, picturesque and most interesting body of land - Thetis Island.
This island was one of a nameless
group visited in the early 1850's by
the British frigate HMS Thetis on
patrol from Victoria's naval base at
Esquimalt. The twin islands of
Thetis and Kuper were named for
Captain Augustus Kuper and Thetis
for his ship by Admiral Sir George
Henry Richards exploring the
Trincomoli and Stuart Channels in
HMS Plumper in 1858 and 1859.
The Hunter family were one of the
first which have settled and remain
today on Thetis Island.
Peter Donald Hunter was born in
1864 in the Shetland Islands and,
with his brother Joseph, he came to
North America in 1887. The two
brothers came to Thetis Island in
1891 and bought land at North Cove
and later Peter purchased land on
the west side where he built a home
about 1895. The Hunter family still
have a sailing skiff called the Sea
Saucer which was built by Peter in
1893. The Hunter brothers would
row or sail this 171/2 foot skiff to the
Fraser River every summer to fish
for salmon.
Peter's mother, Janet Hunter,
came to Thetis Island about 1897 as
well as three of Peter's brothers,
James, William and Thomas and
one sister, Jessie. All joined Joseph
and lived at North Cove. Peter
made his home on the west side
where Don and Gwen Hunter now
reside with their three children,
Heather, David and Darlene.
It is hard to realize the work that
went into clearing land. They had a
team of oxen which they raised and
they were used for plowing. Even in
those very early days the Hunters
were noted for their tomatoes which
were sold on Vancouver Island and
one year they planted over twelve
RC. Historical News
by Grace Dickie
hundred tomato plants - just think
of the weeding, staking and picking!
(Adam Hunter has carried on raising tomatoes and has planted up to
three hundred plants at a time. I
think everyone on the island has
tasted these delicious tomatoes at
one time or another especially on local Sportsnik Day.) In addition to
the tomatoes, the Hunters raised
goats, sheep, cows, chickens and
In 1896 Peter Hunter received a
letter from the Government Agent in
Nanaimo (which Adam still has in
his possession) authorizing the
Hunter brothers to build a road from
North Cove to Preedy Harbour. This
entailed cutting and hauling trees to
clear the right-of-way and digging
ditches, surfacing the road with
sand and gravel. For the whole project, they received the total contract
price of one hundred and fifty dollars. That is the road that is known
today as North Cove Road.
In 1907 Peter Hunter went to New
Brunswick where he met and married Ethel Fawcett and returned to
Thetis Island in 1908 with his bride.
Ethel and Peter had two children,
Ena and Adam. When Ena grew up
she married Roland Savage of
Victoria and they had one son,
Russell, who is now Dr. Russell
Savage. Ph.D in Calgary, Alberta.
In 1942 Adam Hunter married
Margaret Weber of Youngstown,
Alberta and they raised six sons
here on Thetis Island. Adam has
been involved in logging for years
now but he also finds time to have a
large crop of tomatoes every year.
When the ferry service started between Chemainus and Thetis Island
in 1959, Ethel Hunter was then 80
years of age and the oldest resident
on the island and the ferry was
named after her.
In June of that same year power
came to Thetis Island and B.C.
Hydro honoured Ethel Hunter by
having her turn on the switch. Ethel
Hunter lived to the age of 92 and I
am pleased that I had the privilege
of knowing that gracious lady. The
Hunter family have contributed so
much to the development of this island that it is hoped that some
member of the family will one day
write "the Hunter story".
Adam Hunter donated the land for
Pioneer Pacific Camp to become a reality and he also started the road
from Clam Bay to Pilkey Point
which opened up the whole east side
and arranged to have two wells
drilled to show that there was water
available. At one time Adam Hunter
was road foreman on the island.
The Hunters have a large home
facing on North Cove and it has been
The skiff built by Peter Hunter about 1892. (Canvas shelter was added later.)
Taken in 1946 -Adam Hunter in boat. This boat is still in use, The "Sea Saucer"
24 the scene of many, many gatherings
on the island. Over the years the
young people of the island have
spent a great deal of time at the
Hunter home with the six sons of
Adam and Marge- David, Donald,
Ernie, Kenneth, Arden (Arthur) and
One of Marge Hunter's talents is
baking and decorating cakes and I
don't think Marge herself has any
idea of how many cakes she has
beautifully decorated for birthdays,
christenings, weddings, showers
and other such receptions.
Adam and Ena Hunter were pupils
in the first school on Thetis Island
for the school year 1920-21. When
the present school was opened in
1951, Adam's oldest son, David,
was one of the students. Ernie
Hunter and his wife Lynn with their
three children, Teddy, Bradley and
Tricia live at North Cove. Don's and
Ernie's children are fifth generation
Hunters to live on this small island.
David's son, Arthur, lives in Victoria
with his mother and spends his
summers on Thetis Island. There
are more boys than girls among the
Hunter grandchildren so it would
seem that the Hunter name will continue indefinitely.
Grace Dickie has been very active with the
Chemainus Valley Historical Society, and is
the Past-President.
The information in this article comes from knowing
the Hunter family for over thirty years. The family
picture was provided by Marge Hunter.
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Hunter letter from Tour obedient servent, 1896."
The vacant lots in Fort
Steele Heritage Town are
being filled in. Some buildings are originals moved onto proper
footings. Others are replications of buildings that existed during
the boom years of Fort Steele. There is Mrs. Underhill's Bakery -
a large building which will have a wood fired brick oven producing
up to 400 loaves of bread per day in the summer of 1990. Coming
up close by is the International Hotel 30 x 90 feet. The ground
floor will become a turn-of-the-century restaurant while the upper
floor will house meeting rooms and reception areas. Next to the
Kershaw Store stands Mrs. Sprague's Confectionery which sells
old fashioned candy in a pleasant little shop with old time wallpaper and display cabinets.
The McBride Hardware Store, across the street from Kershaws's
was erected during to tourist season 1989 as a demonstration
construction project using hand tools only. This was a major
crowd pleaser. It is hoped that their will be a demonstration build-
ing project each summer.
On the next avenue there is a small milliners shop and the
Kootenay Men's Club. The men's club was formed in 1897 and after three years of meeting upstairs in the Opera House they had
their own clubhouse built. This building, now in the centre of Fort
Steele, was opened in April 1900 "with no formal ceremony but informal opening of many small bottles."
During July and August many buildings are manned by volunteers
or interpreters. You may find a telegrapher operating his keys in
the Telegraph office, a schoolteacher giving lessons to visitors, a
knowledgeable druggist demonstrating preparation of pills or ointments, the newspaper office humming with press activity, or a
seamstress covering her parasol. The Living History Troop performs street scenes which incorporate people and events of the
1890s. A bright red passenger wagon pulled by a team of horses,
gives free rides around town. Make Fort Steele one of your preferred destinations in 1990
RC. Historical News Photographer of Nootka Sound
by Eleanor Witton Hancock
John Perry, 95, of Oliver in March
1989 turned over to the British
Columbia Archives some 500 photographs which will become the John
Perry Collection. Mr. Perry, a
Latvian, arrived at Nootka on the
west coast of Vancouver Island in
1922, undertook the study of photography and turned it into a small
business. Nootka Sound was on the
verge of development when he arrived and few people owned cameras, therefore his photos of the twenties and thirties are regarded as a
bonanza. Contacted by the Visual
Records Division of the Archives,
Perry agreed to donate his collection
and spent weeks busy with the task
of annotating.
He photographed the fishermen
and cannery workers, the reduction
plants which sprang up in 1926 after the arrival of the pilchard; loggers and gyppo logging outfits;
prospectors, miners and mines;
Indian villages, fledgling towns;
weddings, sports days and other celebrations; and always the scenery.
Photography was not his sole pursuit nor did it make him wealthy,
John Perry- taken in the 1930s. This photo
from the John Perry collection PABC
BC Historical News
and his work was enhanced artistically by the other endeavours he and
his brother undertook to earn a living during their 38 years in Nootka
John Perry is remembered today
in combination with his brother,
Peter. Together, the bachelor brothers made a contribution to the development of the area which has resulted in the naming of landmarks for
them: Perry Lake and Perry River
on Tahsis Inlet in the 1940's and,
last March, a bridge at Tahsis.
Peter Perry's remarkable skill in
woodworking led to their cottage industry in skiff building and boat repair which, with John's photography, made a lasting impression on
those who knew them. Paralleling
other activities in the area, they
trapped, tried fox farming, Peter
fished commercially and John took
short term jobs at fish plants. When
gold fever struck in the thirties they
prospected and did a stint of mining
on their claims on Muchalat Inlet.
Being involved, recording with the
camera, John Perry achieved that
elusive quality known as a feel for
his subjects which hallmarks
his work.
He got his start in a log cabin
at the homestead he and his
brother occupied for three years
near the Indian Village of
Youquot at picturesque
Friendly Cove. Peter's friend,
Julius Kalnin, the former owner of the homestead, sold them
a Kodak camera and gave
John some tips. Kalnin, another Latvian, had owned a
photo studio in California.
While John had once built for
himself a glass plate camera,
he had never used roll film.
With John in charge of the
household and busy with a
hobby, Peter resumed commercial fishing, an occupation he
had followed since 1906 at Los
Angeles, and he began to consider
business opportunities. In Latvia he
had been a professional furniture
In 1922 Nootka Sound was almost
as untouched as when Captain
James Cook arrived in 1778, the
first recorded European to set foot on
present day B.C. The villages of
Tahsis and Zeballos did not exist;
the Nootka cannery built in 1917 by
the Everett Packing Company of
Everett, Wash, was the only fish
plant and was serviced three times
per month by the CPS Princess
Maquinna from Victoria. John Perry
spoke no English, had no money,
and he was depressed by the climate and isolation. In Latvia his
plans for university and a career
had been ruined when he was drafted in 1915, the beginning of six
years in the army for him. The
study of photography provided a
much needed outlet.
The homestead, it turned out, had
a reputation for photographers, a
unique tidbit of history not far removed. The property and at least
one other pre-emption had been occupied in 1910 and 1911 by Russian
counterfeiters disguised as settlers
who ran a big-time operation in the
U.S.A. in an attempt to raise money
to help overthrow Czar Nicholas II.
The operation had originated in
Beaumont, Calif. Only the leader,
Albert Leon, and two pushers had
been captured.
Intrigued, John Perry paid a visit
to the once handsomely furnished
two-storey cabin of the cultured,
master counterfeiter. Although the
police had taken over 1000 items as
evidence and 11 years had passed,
there were still odds and ends. In
the darkroom upstairs John found a
developing tray which he took home
with him.
(Today the story of the counterfeit- ers is entrenched in the lore of
Nootka Sound, and some people feel
that Peter Perry and Julius Kalnin
were part of the group, Peter perhaps as a fisherman delivering bundles of bills to Washington coastal
points. The storey can be read in
Tales of the British Columbia
Provincial Police by Cecil Clark.)
John Perry's second camera was a
secondhand telephoto double extension bellows plate camera for 5x7's
which he purchased in Victoria in
1924. (He spent three months in
Victoria that summer studying
English at the Sprott-Shaw
Business Institute.) The telephoto
camera proved to be excellent for
group portraits and for making copies of double size. In 1925 the
Perrys moved to a homestead at the
head of Tahsis Inlet and after building a house with a darkroom John
was able to start developing, tinting
and making enlargements with a
homemade printing box, a six-volt
storage battery for printing and a
six-volt charger for continuous power.   Eventually he was doing a lot of
developing for local people.
Among the many cameras he
would acquire, including a Super
Ricohflex 120, a Voightlander Bessie
II, and a Baldaflex 120 which could
take 8, 12 or 16 pictures on a roll,
the best investment he would make
was a Graflex, a camera with a
magazine for 12 cut-films for postcards. Postcards of the scenery and
industries of Nootka Sound were in
demand by tourists aboard the
Princess Maquinna; in summer John
would meet the steamer when it
called at Ceepeecee, a cannery and
reduction plant six miles away.
The homestead at the head of
Tahsis Inlet was home for 27 years.
Here the Perrys built a simple sawmill and began a skiff building and
boat repair business to serve the developing area.
In 1945 an export lumber mill was
built one mile away by the now-
legendary Gibson brothers. It was
Gordon Gibson who named Perry
Lake and Perry River. The new
town, Tahsis, was too close for comfort, however and in 1952 the Penys
sold the homestead to the Tahsis
Company and bought four acres of
land near Ceepeecee. John was 58
now and Peter, 74. They reassembled the sawmill, built a two-
storey house and continued working
until 1960 when they retired to
Oliver. For westcoasters, their departure marked the passing of an
Today John Perry is married, and
despite the complaints of old age he
keeps active. He has returned to the
coast only once, in March 1988, for
the opening of the Perry Bridge at
Tahsis, where he was an honoured
guest along with Municipal Affairs
Minister Rita Johnson.
In May 1987 a long overdue project got under way, the Nootka
Sound History Project. The project
was initiated by the West Coast
Committee of the Comox-Strathcona
Regional District as a two-year endeavour to compile the history of the
region in written, audio and visual
formats. John Perry has contributed
a number of photographs to the project and has been interviewed about
his experiences. A videotape,
Nootka Sound Explored, has already
been produced, in which he appears.
After being contacted by the Visual
Records Division of the Provincial
Archives he decided to donate his
photo collection to the Archives, a fitting spot, westcoasters will agree,
for the work of the Photographer of
Nootka Sound.
Eleanor Witton Hancock, currently the editor of the Kamloops Museum Association
newsletter, grew up at Zeballos. She writes
articles about the west coast. She is a friend
and admirer of John Perry.
A Tele-Graflex
Voigtlander Perkeo
of the 1930's
&C. Historical News NEWS & NOTES
University of B.C. - Focus 1915
U.B.C.'s Open House in March 1990
will take the year 1915 as its focus for
programs. Mrs. Christine Parkin of
U.B.C.'s English Department invites
anyone who has special memories of, or
information about that year (or era) to
contact her at 224-5486 or 263-5160
JoAnn Whittaker, now a graduate
student at the University of Victoria, is
researching the history of nursing in
British Columbia. She seeks input from
nurses who trained between 1920 and
1950, even those who did not complete
the course. She especially wishes input
from those who graduated from the
small schools of nursing in the interior.
If you or someone you know, are willing
to participate in this survey please contact Mrs. Whittaker and let her know 1)
the outline of your nursing / personal
history, 2) whether you hold any memorabilia of training or work experience
(pictures, diaries, notes, uniforms or
textbooks) and 3) whether you would be
prepared to write or tape your memories.
Write to: Mrs. J Whittaker
R.R. #2 Hutchinson Road
Cobble Hill, B.C. VOR 1L0
or Phone: (604) 743-9443
Self Help For Writers
While short courses on writing are
available in many communities around
the province, few, if any, offer guidance
on how to approach a publisher. There
are books on the market and in libraries
which offer hints on what to strive for in
your presentation, and how to arrange
for publishing. Some B.CH.F. members
have compiled a list of books which could
answer your questions. Those wishing to
obtain this list may do so by sending a
stamped self addressed envelope to:
N. Miller, Box 105
Wasa, B.C.  VOB 2K0
RS. to Published Writers. Do you have
a favorite handbook which has helped
you over the hurdles? Please send us the
title, author, and description of the book
so that we may add it to our list of suggested self-help references.
Alberni District Historical Society
The Archives of the Alberni Valley are
expanding constantly and much work
has been done restoring maps and other
RC. Historical News
paper artifacts. The Archives, manned
by 15 volunteers, is open Mondays and
Thursdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Facilities
have been used by 105 researchers and
volunteers have responded to 20 inquiries by mail. A major research project on
Robertson Creek done for the
Department of Fisheries earned some
money for the developing resource centre.
Alberni District Historical Society
prints a "Did You Know" brochure to give
historical highlights to tourists and citizens. The book Place Names of the
Alberni Valley is into its second printing.
The first fall meeting saw 100 people
attending a talk on the West Coast Trail.
Sue M. Watson - President
Cowichan Historical Society
Our museum in the renovated Duncan
Train Station opened on 23rd June and
in the ten remaining weeks of the tourist
season received 4,400 visitors. The main
exhibit room is still incomplete but application has been made to obtain a professional planner to prepare a lay-out.
Storage rooms have been set up with
shelving, cupboards and drawers, and an
archival records and research section is
in place. The "General Store" display includes a gift shop. The exterior of the
building, repaired and painted, with concrete walks and garden beds supplied by
the city of Duncan, make the station a
very different place to the building of not
so long ago. Nine totem poles and a railway caboose add interest to the grounds.
The only contribution to station maintenance made by the railways in recent,
and not so recent years has been three
benches supplied by Via Rail. The
Historical Society alone spent over
$140,000 on renovations, and with the
programs completed by other Duncan organizations and the City of Duncan well
over $200,000 has been invested in the
building. Our lease, otherwise providing
occupancy until the year 2005, expires
with the termination of VIA Rail service
15 January, 1990. Our only hope is that
CP Rail will see fit to lease the property
direct to us, or to us through some alternative to VIA Rail. Strong representations against the closure of VIA Rail
have been submitted by many organizations to no avail.
The Society provided much volunteer
work on the building, and is now providing docents and other workers to maintain the museum, gift shop and archives.
With regular meetings being held, usually with speakers, which are well attended, it can be considered an active society .
Substantial support has been received
from the Cowichan-Chemainus Valley
J.A. Green, President
Nanaimo Historical Society
In January of 198S the Nanaimo
Historical Society initiated a search for a
professional archivist to serve Nanaimo
and area. Many groups have responded
positively and cooperated in the formation of an Archivist Advisory Committee.
The Retired Teachers Association sponsored a School History Project, with collected tapes and materials stored at the
Centennial Museum awaiting a future
home in Archives.
A burst water pipe on the third floor of
the Bastion created havoc with papers,
paintings and photographs stored on lower levels. All wet paper items had to be
placed in a deep freeze (which the Coast
Bastion Hotel promptly supplied).
Paintings and photographs had to be
dried slowly, in a cool place, turned frequently, and stored in such a way to keep
them from warping. Advice came from
Shirley Cuthbertson and Dr. Mary Lou
Florian of the Royal British Columbia
Museum, and space and supervision of
the collected treasures was given by president Daphne Patterson in the basement
of her home. Several people have contributed their time and expertise; gradually there has been reclamation of the
salvaged documents and pictures.
Daphne Paterson
Boundary Historical Society held a
tea in Grand Forks in October to honour
Lois Haggen on her 90th Birthday. Mrs
Haggen was President of the B.C.
Historical Association in 1959 - 60, and
M.L.A. for Boundary area for many
The Nanooa Historical Society is no
more. Its members voted to dissolve the
organization and to become members of
District 69 Historical Society
************** West Coast Railway Association
The West Coast Railway Association
has leased a 20 acre site near Squamish
to create a Railway Museum. The
Museum project is keeping volunteers
very busy. When the C.N.R. made a donation of 180 tons of rail, plus ties, turnouts and miscellaneous materials (most
of which came from the Point Ellice yard
in downtown Victoria) many members
put in weekends "working on the railroads" taking up track. Paid employees
were hired to complete the clean-up and
meet the deadline for removal of track
materials which were shipped to
Squamish by Sidney Freightways. The
Museum complex expects to have 4 miles
of railway track operational within the
next three years.
The W.C.R.A. have worked closely
with the Historic Transportation Centre
in Cloverdale and have had the C.ER.
business car "The British Columbia' and
Colonist Car #2514 on display there.
Since 1961 the West Coast Railway
Association has operated tours on lines
in the Pacific Northwest. There have
been trips to Lillooet which included attending the annual Judge Begbie Days,
and longer trips to Fort Nelson. These
trips are great fun because the tour
guides are so enthused about railroads.
Anyone interested may obtain brochures
about tours or meetings by writing to:
West Coast Railway Association,
BO. Box 2790, Vancouver, B.C.
V6B 3X2.
- Grand Forks -
May 10, 11 & 12, 1990
Members of the Boundary Historical
Society are busy preparing to host the
1990 B.C. Historical Federation Annual
Convention on May 10,11 & 12.
As well as a tour of Doukhobor sites in
the Boundary and a talk by Eli Popoff
about Doukhobor heritage, convention
guests will be treated to a trip to the
Cascade Powerhouse by Cascade Power
Restoration Society president, Eric
Featured speakers at the convention will
be Bill Barlee, on prospecting and mining, and Anne Yandle, on "Helpful Hints
for Researching History".
These talks, tours, ethnic food and the
Annual General Meeting will be sure to
keep conference-goers busy.
Registration forms will be available from
local secretaries about March 1, and other interested readers are very welcome
to attend.   Write to:
Mrs. & Mrs. J. Glanville, Box 746,
Grand Forks, B.C. V0H 1H0
For information and registration.
P.S. Cowichan Historical Society has
booked the conference headquarters for
the 1991 Conference, and Burnaby is already planning our 1992 gathering.
Dates chosen are the second weekend in
May for both years.
Provincial Historical
Societies Meeting
On October 25, 1989, Myrtle Haslam
chaired a meeting in the Hotel
Vancouver with representatives from six
provincial historical societies and the
Canadian Historical Association. An interesting discussion took place on 1) the
involvement of Historical Societies with
Heritage Canada, and 2) whether this
group of historical societies should formalize. It was agreed that more frequent meetings were not necessary.
There was consideration given to establishing a closer relationship with the
Canadian Historical Association. Efforts
will be made to include societies from the
Atlantic provinces. In conclusion Colin
Read (Ontario) moved and Ann Wood
(Saskatchewan) seconded "That we convey to the Board of Governors of
Heritage Canada that the provincial societies would like to continue to meet annually in conjunction with the Heritage
Canada Conference, and that they would
also like to meet in joint sessions with
provincial representatives of Heritage
Next meeting:   Wednesday, September
12, 1990 in St. Johns, Newfoundland.
Look for a more detailed report of the
whole Heritage Canada Conference in
the next issue.
Help Save the Harrison-Lillooet Gold
Rush Trail
Burnaby students began using this
trail in 1976 to have an introduction to
B.C. history, semi-wilderness hiking,
meet native people and a chance to explore a very beautiful valley. These 1000
students are in the forefront to appeal to
the government to permanently protect
the trail by creating a recreational corridor park along the trail from Port
Douglas to 29 Mile House. You can add
your voice by writing to Lyall Hanson,
Minister of Municipal Affairs,
Recreation and Culture. Or you can
treat yourself to a calendar depicting the
trail by sending $6 (plus $1 postage) to:
Burnaby North Secondary School, Hike
Calendar 1990, 751 Hammarskjold
Drive, Burnaby, B.C. V5B 4A1
lima Dunn and her friends in the
Cariboo in "Enterprise in the 1930s"
sang a song which may have many
verses or versions.
Readers have written to supply
these options to;
One evening in September
As far as I remember
I walked along in alcoholic glee,
Without a murmur or a mutter
I fell into the gutter
And a little pig came and sat by me.
Without a murmur or a mutter
As I sat there in the gutter
A lady passing by was heard to say,
"It is easy known who boozes
By the company he chooses."
And with that the pig got up and
walked away.
The above was from Victoria,
and the following from a
Vancouver reader
One evening in October when I was
far from sober,
To keep my feet from wandering I
My poor legs were all a flutter so I lay
down in the gutter,
And a pig came up and lay down by
my side.
We sang, "Never mind the weather
as long as we're together,"
Till a lady passing by was heard to
"All his self respect he loses when
such company he chooses,"
And the pig got up and slowly walked
Slowly walked away, slowly walked
Yes, the pig got up, then smiled and
winked at me
As he slowly walked away.
RC. Historical News Bookshelf
Books for review and book reviews should be sent directly to the book review editor;
Anne Yandle, 3450 West 20th Ave., Vancouver, B.C.  V6S 1E4.
Crofton House School; the First
Ninety Years, 1898-1988.
Elizabeth Bell-Irving. Vancouver,
Crofton House School, 1988. 273 pp.
Without a doubt, Jessie Gordon "was in
the vanguard of the proud tradition of
higher education for women, and saw far
ahead of most that women would become
successful doctors, lawyers and scientists. Moreover, she did all in her power
to open doors for them." (p. 229) In 1898
Jessie Gordon with her sisters, Mary and
Edith, started a school in the spacious
billiard room of the Gordon home on
West Georgia Street. By September
1901, fifty relocated to the corner of
Jervis and Nelson Streets overlooking
English Bay and Stanley Park.
The name Crofton House was suggested by Jessie Gordon's memories of the
Crofton cottages outside of Newnham
College at Cambridge, which were used
as overflow houses for women students
pending the building of a new wing at
Newnham College. Jessie Gordon's
English education at Bradford Girls'
Grammar School and Newnham College,
combined with her B.C. Teacher's
Certificate and two years' teaching experience at Granville School served as the
initial academic and professional base
for beginning what has endured and become a most prestigious private school
for girls in Vancouver. A recounting of
the history of Crofton House School celebrates the growth and development of a
private school, and sheds some light
upon the social changes that have occurred over the past ninety years with
respect to education, women and society.
By 1904, Crofton House School had
six classrooms, over eighty pupils, and a
resident staff, all of whom were from
England. At the time Vancouver society
was absurdly snobbish and the British
visitors and settlers arriving in the new
and prosperous city were determined to
fashion Vancouver as closely as possible
into their ideal picture of home, complete with class distinctions. Private
schools were simply a natural part of
this ideal picture.
Ivy leaf became the symbol of Crofton
House School; and Servabo Fidem the
Latin motto. Green and white became
the school colours; and basketball became the first official sport. Learning in
the school was mainly achieved by rote.
For many years, St. Paul's Anglican
Church played an important role in the
life of the school.
The history of Crofton House School
has been organized into two major parts.
Part 1 begins with the Gordon sisters,
the school at Jervis and Nelson Streets
and ends with the retirement of Mary
and Jessie Gordon, at which time a decision as to the continued existence of the
school was made. This ended the first
era in the Crofton House School history.
Part 2 begins with Miss Sara E.G.
Macdonald as headmistress (1937-1958),
formation of a board and relocation of
the school to 41st and Blenheim.
Subsequent headmistresses included:
Miss Ellen K. Bryan, Miss Muriel
Bedford-Jones, and Miss Rosalind W
Addison. This section ends with an outline of those proud traditions that have
linked Crofton House School in the
present to the past. As Miss Addison
commented: "/ think the school has kept
the best of our traditions and standards,
while moving with the times and adjusting to those times." (p.227)
Individual chapters document things
such as school activities, fashion (evolution of the school uniform), discipline, etiquette, physical facility, purchase of
property, location and programme.
Items included in the appendix list the
Board of Governors, Crofton House
School Foundation, Alumnae Presidents,
Parents' Committee Chairmen,
Headmistresses, members of staf£ etc.
Also included in the appendix are the
school song, school hymns, school prayer,
coat of arms and history of the property.
A detailed name and subject index is provided to aid the reader. Unfortunately,
there is not a bibliography citing the references for the quotations or for reference materials consulted. Such an omission reduces the value of the book as a
research aid.
The extensive Crofton House School
Archives and issues of the Croftonian
dating from 1913 served as excellent
source material. Excerpts from the
Croftonian and comments from alumnae and teachers have been carefully selected and skillfully pieced together.
The writing style is dear and easy to
read. The lively narrative is based upon
taped interviews, simple chats, diary entries, teachers' notes, photographs, letters and other memorabilia. Comments
about individuals and events have been
reported as objectively as possible and
where differences of opinion have existed
both sides have been presented in an attempt to provide a balanced viewpoint.
The author, Elizabeth Bell-Irving, de
scends from the large Bell-Irving clan, a
prominent family in Vancouver's business life since the early 1900's. She
spent nearly all her school years at
Crofton House School as did her mother,
Mary 'Pye' Bell-Irving, and her daughter
Lishe, who graduated in 1975. It is apparent that much time, energy and care
have been devoted to the recollections included in this handsome publication.
Unlike Jean Barman's Growing Up
British in British Columbia; Boys in
Private Schools (1984) this book does
not attempt to critically examine the role
of Crofton House School as a private
school within the emerging social and political fabric of Canadian society.
Rather, it is more akin to publications
that celebrate the history of a company,
sporting club or local community. By focussing upon the history of one school, a
much more complete picture of the
school, its personnel, programme and
students is provided. Independent
Schools of British Columbia (1989) by
Frank Keane, includes only brief historical material, and the information about
Crofton House School is so condensed
that it conveys little about the real character of the school.
Crofton House School; the First
Ninety Years 1898-1988 succeeds in informing us about the growth and development of the school. It celebrates the
achievements of its founders, teachers,
students and alumnae. It stands out as a
beautiful publication - well formatted,
attractive green cover, good quality
paper, clear print, well sewn binding,
and well presented photographs.
Overall, it is a high quality production.
It will be a prized possession among
Croftonians - alumnae, parents, teachers
and students. As well, it will be a useful
addition to archival and education collections in university, college and public libraries in British Columbia.
JoAnne Naslund,
Curriculum Laboratory,
University of British Columbia Library.
Continental Dash - The Russian
American Telegraph:
Rosemary Neering; Victoria, B.C.
Horsdal & Schubart, Ganges, B.C. 1989.
Pp. xii, 231; maps, footnotes, bibliography, illustrations, index. $22.95.
For over forty years the best reference
for the Collins Overland Telegraph has
been Corday MacKay's 30-page article
RC. Historical News
30 under that title in the B.C. Historical
Quarterly Vol. X No. 3, July 1946, pp.
187-215. MacKay stressed the B.C.
scope of that enterprise which covered
primary exploration, 1865-67, before
that for the CPR. under Sir Sanford
Fleming 1871-cl884.
Rosemary Neering, in 240 pages, covers the whole Collins enterprise which
spanned a global arc of over 5,000 miles,
between New Westminster, B.C. and
European Russia, mostly through unmapped wilderness. She starts with
man's discovery of Electricity for communication by wire, traveling with the
speed of light in contrast to months for
colonial mail between B.C. and Britain.
Wireless (radio) superseded transmission
by wire some sixty years later, about
The catalyst for Continental Dash
was Perry McDonough Collins (1813-
1900) who travelled to Siberia in 1856 to
explore for trade extension from the US
west coast. He conceived the Russian
American Telegraph before Cyrus Field's
delayed success with the Trans Atlantic
cable 1866, and won support from the
USA, Britain, Russia and the Western
Union Telegraph Co. In 1864 he got approval to start construction north from
New Westminster but then relinquished
his interests to the Western Union
Telegraph Co. which espoused the project with vigour. The American Civil
War, 1861-1865, had emphasized the
value of telegraphic communication.
Hiram Sibley for the Western Union
organized the Overland Telegraph
Project on quasi military lines based at
San Francisco. Colonel Charles S.
Bulkley from the U.S. Army "Signals"
proved a good choice for "Chief of
Operations". Among many others, his
remarkable staff included:
Major Serge Abasa, Russian
aristocrat: Siberia.
Capt. Edward Conway (7-1878):
New Westminster to Quesnel,
Wm. H. Dall (1845-1927):
Naturalist, Russian America
George Kennan (1845-1924): Siberia
Robt Kennicott (1835-1866):
Naturalist, "Russian America"
Jas Adams Mahood (?-1901):
Surveyor, Siberia 1865-67.
J.W Pitfield: WUT agent at New
Miyor Franklin L. Pope (1840-?): N of
Quesnel 1865, Cassiar, Stikine 1866.
Frederick Whymper (cl840-cl910):
Artist, North Pacific 1865, Alaska
Indigenous   people   in   the   vast
wilderness of two continents were recruited for labor, guides, interpreters,
provisions and accommodation. A fleet
of ships fanned out from San Francisco
to remote harbors in the North Pacific
moving supplies and personnel, subject to
hazards of primitive navigation. On 2
September 1866 the Atlantic cable succeeded but the Western Union Extension
Telegraph Co. did not formally abandon
its overland project till 9 March 1867.
Their remote detachments in Alaska and
Siberia finally boarded the ship
"Nightingale" 6 September 1867 to be
paid off in San Francisco. A loss of $3
million was absorbed by the parent company. The sale of Alaska by Russia to
the USA was ratified 20 June that year.
Several of the dramatis personae in
Continental Dash recorded their experiences as noted in Neering's comprehensive Bibliography which includes 27
books and 19 articles (ms and /or published). Sixteen have been published
since MacKay's effort of 1946.
Illustrations are well chosen: 14 from RJ
Bush "Reindeer, Dogs & Snowshoes'
1872; 9 from WH Dall "Alaska and Its
Resources" 1870; 3 from F Pope ms, nd;
and 8 from F Whymper
"" 1868. Several
vintage photos are from the PABC. Four
good maps are conveniently placed inside
the front cover. Footnotes and Index are
In modern book design, the practice of
relegating footnotes, by chapters, after
the narrative text, is unnecessarily inconvenient for the serious reader who
must thumb through the pages to determine which chapter is pertinent. One
remedy would be to insert the chapter
number on each page. Another would be
to number the footnotes in one series, in
this case an aggregate of 205 for 22
chapters. Can we remember a three-
digit number long enough for this purpose? I think so.
For books on geography or exploration,
good maps are a must. Ideally every feature or location mentioned in the text
should be shown, plus any well known
features to clarify relationships. When
special maps are drawn, as for
Continental Dash, they should show
the geographic grid of Latitude and
Longitude. The official Gazetteer of
British Columbia, Ottawa 1985, shows
all locations to the nearest minute of Lat
and Long, eg. Mount Whymper 48° 57'
124° 08'. This locates the feature to
within a mile on any map showing
Parallels of Latitude and Meridians of
Longitude. (Does this remark reflect
professional bias?).
We should be grateful to Rosemary
Neering and her Publishers for refurbishing and expanding a primary and
colorful phase in the history of British
Columbia, the Yukon, Alaska and
Eastern Siberia. She takes the wraps off
a fascinating body of sources with specifics for access to them. Her style is meticulous yet easy, with an eye for humor
and personalities.
A sequel to Continental Dash could
well be a like treatment of the Yukon
Telegraph so vital in the Klondike frenzy
a generation later. It followed very
closely the same route as far as Dawson
City. For this too, there is a wealth of accessible source material waiting the skill
and dedication of Rosemary Neering.
Gerry Andrews, 'Victoria, B.C.
Gerry Andrew's is a Past President
of the B.C. Historical Federation.
Robert Brown and the Vancouver
Island Exploring Expedition:
"Recollection of the Pioneers of British
Columbia", Vol. 8.
Edited by John Hayman. UBC Press,
1989, pp. 211, footnotes, illustrated.
When in the spring of 1864 Victoria's
leading citizens formed a committee to
organize an expedition to examine the
resources of southern Vancouver Island,
Robert Brown, an affable and persuasive
twenty-two-year-old Scot had little difficulty in convincing them that he was the
man to lead it. Although his only recognized qualifications were in the fields of
botany, zoology and geology (he was at
the time being sponsored by the
Botanical Society of Edinburgh to collect
seeds), his interests and his ambitions
went much further; he agreed to furnish
a complete report on the topography, soil,
timber and other resources. Despite the
flattering tributes paid by Governor
Kennedy and the citizens of Victoria
upon its completion, the Vancouver
Island Exploring Expedition has been almost totally ignored by historians. At
best, it is dismissed as having been unimpressive in its accomplishments.
For this latest addition to the
"Recollections of Pioneers of British
Columbia" series professor Hayman has
meticulously transcribed and copiously
footnoted Brown's hitherto unpublished
journal. It not only discloses many details of the expedition omitted from the
Committee's published report but provides an interesting record of life in the
early settlements on Vancouver Island.
Brown was a prolific writer and a careful
observer. The inclusion of the account of
his attendance as "A Guest at a Potlatch"
given by a member of the Opetchesaht
tribe and "A Collection of Indian Myths
and Legends" will delight many readers.
Brown never missed an opportunity to
take advantage of the power of the press
as illustrated by his article "The land we
RC Historical News live in" written for the Victoria Daily
Chronicle. It appeared, to quote Hyman,
" a strategic moment - when the
VTEE was being organized and a leader
was about to be chosen". Thirty-three
sketches (or engravings made therefrom)
by Frederick Whymper, the artist who
accompanied the VIEE, have been reproduced throughout the book. Two appendices provide a partial list of Brown's
writing relating to the northwest coast
and a check list of Whymper's sketches.
The index is adequate though a number
of omissions were noted. Barclay Sound
should have been cross-referenced to its
correct spelling Barkley Sound. John
Buttle seems to have become William
Professor Hayman in his twenty-two
page introduction gives the reader a biographical sketch of Brown himself, describes the events leading to the formation of the VIEE and summarizes its
routes and accomplishments to provide a
concise introduction for anyone unfamiliar with Brown and the VIEE.
But it is for the maps included in this
book that I have saved my main criticism. On pages 38-39 an attempt has
been made to reproduce "Originalkarte
von Vancouver Insel" from the German
edition of Brown's "Memoir of the
Geography of Vancouver Island" published in 1869. UBC Press should know
that one cannot take a map drawn at a
scale of 1:1,300,000, reduce it by some
40%, reproduce it in halftone and expect
it to remain legible. Why not a map in
English? The Royal Geographical
Society engraved an excellent map of
Vancouver Island to accompany one of
Brown's papers.
The second disaster is found on page
45 - "Map 2a - Vancouver Island", "2b -
South Vancouver Islandd" (sic) and "2c -
Route from Cowichan Bay to Chowichan
Lake". I assume these are intended to
refer to the maps lettered "A", "B" and
"C" respectively. Map "A" defines the
"Location of Fig. 1-B; I assume this to
mean map "B". Map "B" in turn defines
the "Location of Fig. 1-C" and the
"Approx. Location of Fig. 2"; I assume
"Fig. 1-C to mean map "C" at the foot of
the page but where is Fig. 2"? A diligent
search found that "Map 3 - Route from
Comox Harbour to Sproat Lake" on page
127 fits the description. These maps are
a little short on detail and show little
more than the location of some of the
campsites, none of which (unfortunately)
is dated. Neither Leechtown nor Leech
river are identified. If it is any consolation, the quality of reproduction is excellent.
The final map, on page 138, "Map 4 -
Country between Barkley Sound and
Nanaimo" shows many of the topographical features named by the VIEE.
Neither the routes taken nor the location
of the campsites are shown. Its style
suggests that it is based upon one of the
expedition's maps, with changes in the
spelling of placenames. The source is not
disclosed. Its location could of course
have been defined on map "B" on page
45. Barkley (Barclay) Sound itself is not
identified on the map.
I prefer not to comment upon the
choice of Whymper's "Rampant Raft" for
the paper jacket. The saving which
would have resulted from the elimination of this along with the horrors to
which I have already referred would easily have offset the cost of producing one
large-scale fold-out map of southern
Vancouver Island embodying all of the
routes taken, all of the campsites with
dates and all of the topographical features named. Brown's failure to compile
and publish such a map was, I believe, a
major reason for the lack of recognition
afforded the VTEE once the gold rush on
Leech river was over.
As the "Recollection of a Pioneer of
British Columbia" this book fulfills the
stated intent of the editor and the selection of material has been well chosen.
Nevertheless, it does focus on the VTEE
and Brown as an explorer; there is no excuse for those maps.
John D. Spittle
John Spittle is President of the
BCHF. He likes expeditions and
Widow Smith of Spence's Bridge:
Jessie Ann Smith as told to J. Meryl
Campbell & Audrey Ward, edited by
Murphy Shewchuk. Sonotek Publishing,
Merritt, B.C. 1989 pp. 128. $9.95
This is the biography of Jessie Ann
Smith, 1853-1946. It was written in the
1930s by Jessie Ann and her granddaughters, and recently edited and published by Murphy Shewchuk.
The story starts in Scotland where
Jessie Ann was born, schooled and became a teacher. Her childhood sweetheart, John Smith, came to North
America where he worked for several
years before returning to Aberdeen to
marry Jessie Ann. In February 1884 the
newlyweds sailed from Liverpool to New
York, travelled by train to Tacoma,
Washington then by boat to Victoria.
Mr. & Mrs. Smith rode a work train from
Port Moody to the end of track at Cisco,
crossed the Fraser River on a cable bucket, and travelled the rest of the way to
Spence's Bridge by horse and buggy.
John Smith worked for a Mr. John
Murray in Spence's Bridge, establishing
a large orchard. When John Murray attempted to break up the marriage the
Smiths moved to Voght Valley where
they homesteaded for ten years, raising
cattle and six children. In 1897 John
Smith was able to purchase the Murray
estate and move his family back to
Spence's Bridge. Jessie Ann had
watched the CPR being built; years later the C.N.R. laid track through her
property, and obliged with a spur into
the orchard of 3000 trees. After the
death of her husband in 1905 Jessie Ann
and her children continued to improve
the orchard. Her apples won top honors
at Horticultural Fairs in Canada, U.S.A.
and England. The story tells of
Walhachin, the Depression, and pioneer
Widow Smith of Spence's Bridge is
a neat little book which begins with a
map and ends with an index. It deserves
a place in both the home and the school
designated as easy to read B.C. History.
Naomi Miller
Please send a change of address to:
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RC Historical News
Honorary Patron:
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Past President
His Honour, the Honourable David C. Lam, CM, LLC, Lieutenant-Governor
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Mrs. Clare McAllister
John D. Spittle, 1241 Mount Crown Road, North Vancouver, B.C. V7R 1R9
Myrtle Haslam, P.O. Box 10, Cowichan Bay, B.C. VOR 1N0
Dorothy Crosby, 33662 Northcote Crescent, Mission, B.C. V2V 5V2
T. Don Sale, 262 Juniper Street, Nanaimo, B.C. V9S 1X4
Shirley Cuthbertson, 306 - 225 Belleville Street, Victoria, B.C. V8V 4T9
387-2486 (business), 382-0288 (residence)
Francis Sleigh, Box 29, Deroche, B.C. V0M 1G0
Margaret Stoneberg, RO. Box 687, Princeton, B.C. VOX 1W0
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Naomi Miller
Naomi Miller, Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0
Chairmen of Committees
Archivist Margaret Stoneburg
Publications Assistance
(not involved with
B.C. Historical News)
B.C. Historical News
Publishing Committee
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Award Committee
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and Markers
Helen Akrigg, 8-2575 Tolmie Street, Vancouver, B.C. V6R 4M1
Loans are available for publications, Please contact
Helen Akrigg prior to submitting manuscript.
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228-4879 (business) 733-6484 (residence)
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V8V1E5     342-2895
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John D. Spittle The British Columbia Historical News
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Registration No. 4447
British Columbia Historical Federation
The British Columbia Historical Federation invites submissions of books or articles for the
eighth annual Competition for Writers of B.C. History.
Any book dealing with any facet of British Columbia history, published in 1990, is eligible.
The work may be a community history, a biography, a record of a project or an organization, or
personal recollections giving glimpses of the past. Name, dates, and places with relevant maps
or pictures turn a story into "history".
The judges are looking for fresh presentations of historical information (especially if preparted
by amateur historians) with appropriate illustrations, careful proof reading, an adequate in^
dex, table of contents and bibliography. Winners will be chosen in the following categories:
1) Best History Book by an individual writer (Lieutenant - Governor's
Medal for Historical Writing).
2) Best History as prepared by a group (Eg. Bunch Grass to Barbed
Wire was published by Rose Hill Farmers Institute)
3) Best History for Junior Readers.
Awards are given where entries warrant, (i.e. a lone entry in group 2 or 3 will not
automatically be given a prize.)
Winners will receive a monetary award, a Certificate of Merit, considerable publicity, and an
invitation to the Annual B.C. Historical Federation Conference in Cowichan in May 1991. •
Deadline for 1990 books is January 31,1991, BUT submissions are requested as soon as possible after publication. Those submitting books should include name, address, telephone number, selling price of the book, and an address from which the book may be ordered if a reader
has to shop by mail.  Send to:       B.C. Historical Writing Competition
EO. Box 933, Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 5N2
There will also be an award for Best article published in the British Columbia Historical
News. This prize is reserved for amateur historians and/or undergraduate or graduate students.
Articles should be no more than 2,500 words, substantiated with footnotes if possible, accompanied by photographs if available, and typed double spaced.    (Photos will be returned.)
Deadlines for quarterly issues are February 15, May 15, August 15, and November 15. Please
send articles directly to:
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