British Columbia History

British Columbia History 2007

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Journal of the British Columbia Historical Federation  |  Vol.40 No. 2  |   $5.00
This Issue: Hotels      Comox      Brass Bands      Home Economics      and more British Columbia History
Journal of the British Columbia Historical
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The Journal of the British Columbia Historical Federation | Volume 40 Number 2 2007
The Vancouver Race Riot of 1907
Janet Mary Nicol 2
A Celestial Love Story, or was it?
Ronald Greene 6
Sounds of Brass Ladner 1889 - 1902
Jim Love and Brant Mitchell 8
Red Book Revealed
Mary Leah de Zwart  11
The Leland Hotel, Nakusp
Rosemarie Parent 14
Kingsmill Bridge in Italy
Ken McLeod 16
The Royal Navy and the Comox Settlement
Allan Pritchard 20
The Hotel Phair
Patrica Rogers 28
Archives and Archivists 32
Book Reviews 35
Miscellany 40
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 40 No. 2        1 The Vancouver Race Riot of 1907 and
the Death of Ng Ah Sim
By Janet Mary Nicol
Janet Mary Nicol is
a Vancouver based
writer who wrote A
Working Man's Dream
for issue 36.2 of BC
Historical News
[ riday, September 13,1907
The corpse ofNg Ah Sim was laid out on a
cart and pulled by one ofthe six men. They passed
through roped barricades patrolled by police and
Chinatown residents and climbed Cambie Street, scattering
tiny pieces of paper along the way. Evil spirits became
trapped in the holes cut into the paper, they believed,
leaving the dead man's soul unharmed. Each man wore a
skull cap, a long braid falling down his back. The cautious
among them hid a gun inside the wide sleeve of his dress-
length tunic or suspended a knife from a cord tied around
his waist. At 33rd Avenue, the procession turned toward
the segregated section of Mountainview cemetery. Below
and in the distance, low rise buildings of Vancouver fanned
Burrard Inlet. On the opposite shoreline, a great wall of
mountains appeared dark blue against a pale sky. At the
burial site, the group banged drums, clapped cymbals and
set off firecrackers as they placed the corpse in the moist
earth and then covered it. Their duty complete, the men
retreated home to the city's heart. So ended the bad luck
journey ofNg Ah Sim.
Six Days Earlier
It was an intensely warm Saturday evening
when Olaf Lauritzen arrived in downtown Vancouver
after visiting his brother's farm in the nearby
farming community of Cloverdale. He registered
at the Glasgow Hotel at 505 Westminster Street and
planned to have a leisurely beer with a friend when
the commotion down the block caught his eye.
A streetcar was stopped at Westminster and
Hastings Streets in front of a two-storey red-brick
building with twin turrets and traffic was unable to
move past the people crowding the road. Drawing
nearer, Olaf saw smoke rising from an effigy made of
straw and old clothes. It was in flames and a sign at
its feet read: "Lieutenant Governor Dunsmuir—to be
burned at City Hall." A Christian minister standing
on the building steps shouted "The Asians are taking
the bread from our table! he roared. It's time to do
"You bet it is" came a reply from somewhere
in the crowd. People cheered until they were hoarse
as flames rose and fell. Many held a small white
flag with the slogan "A White Canada For Us". Olaf
edged closer. A man holding a drum told Olaf about a
'monster parade' held a few hours earlier. Thousands
of spectators on Granville and Hastings Street joined
the marchers along the route. "Half of Vancouver is
here tonight," he said with pride. Olaf looked out at
the sea of white faces and thought it could be true.
The late summer sun was nearly gone, casting
a veil of darkness. The speaker went back inside
the building where more shouting and cheers were
heard. Another man in a dark suit holding a panama
hat came out and stood before his excited audience.
"Drive away the aliens," he advised. Americans up
and down the coast have taken matters into their own
hands, he told them, running foreigners out in places
like the border town of Bellingham. "There are no
Sentaro Uchida, General
Merchant, Powell Street,
Vancouver, B.C
Library and Archives Canada
Photo C-023SS6
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 40 No. 2 hindoos inBellingham tonight!" he yelled, the crowd
responded with wild applause, finally subsiding to
quiet, only to be disrupted moments later by a distant
sound of breaking glass.
Olaf held his breathe. Someone yelled, 'On
to Chinatown'. The crowd was unchained. They
streamed downDupont Street only half ablock away.
A man holding a liquor flask led the charge of men
and boys. He snatched a long cloth banner out of
the hands of a stranger, the slogan "Stop the Yellow
Peril!" as he dragged it along for two blocks. Stopping
suddenly, he threw his flask at a store window,
shattering the glass. Olaf ran behind him and with
the crowd, cheered encouragement, as he stuffed the
banner inside the gaping hole. Another man took his
boot to a window and kicked it. Then he took a rock
from his pocket and sent it hurling at the jagged edges
of glass. When a terrified Chinese shopkeeper peered
from the balcony above, the rock thrower shouted
abuses and threats. Others in the crowd began taking
aim at the windows too, using bricks and chunks of
wood. They continued to whoop and holler as they
moved down the street.
Not a sound came from inside the shops and
apartments above. Fewer than a dozen police, their
clubs drawn, moved among the people attempting
to bring order. One police officer grabbed a boy but
another man shoved the officer, causing him to lose
his grasp. The boy disappeared into the crowd.
Olaf joined a group turning into Shanghai
Alley. Any other night the alley was brightly lit and
full of people going to and from its gambling dens,
restaurants and theatre. Prostitutes, evicted a year ago
from waterfront brothels, also lived and worked in
the alley's tenements. On this
night, they also hid indoors.
Behind one locked
door lived 12 year old Lillian
Ho Wong. When she heard
the loud voices she ran
to her mother. Her father
commanded them to stay
in the centre of the room,
ready to run out the front or
back door. He told them to
turn out all the lights. "And
don't sit near the windows."
As the mob ran through the
lane, she could hear swearing
and yelling. Across the alley,
someone had left their store
lights on and all the glass there was shattered. Finally,
Lillian heard the footsteps fade away.
Olaf saw a gang turning into Canton Alley and
joined them. It was a short lane ending in a courtyard.
Tenement buildings lined both sides, one as high as
seven stories. As residents hid within, the destruction
continued. Back on Dupont Street Olaf gazed at the
heaps of window glass on the ground. Some of the
rioters reached their arms into the store windows
and grabbed merchandise. Gunshots rang out. People
moved helter skelter up and down the street gathering
stones and seeking unbroken glass to smash.
One man spotted an unbroken window and
kicked it out. An officer who had been watching
chased him. The man sped off across the railway
tracks and into the arms of another officer. Someone
chanted, 'rescue, rescue' as the rioter was led away
in handcuffs to the police's motorized van Officers
barked at the crowd to move along. Another rioter
began throwing stones at the police, and shouted,
"Don't listen to him. We don't have to move for them."
He was grabbed and handcuffed. By now, all the city's
available police were at the scene, including Chief
Constable Chamberlin
The sound of gongs rang out as fire trucks came.
Men with cans of coal oil had been spotted moving
around the backs of the buildings. Fire chief Carlisle
positioned himself and other firemen at Pender and
Carrall by a hose wagon. Carlisle considered turning
the water hose on the crowd but Chamberlin advised
him not to, believing it would incite more violence. So
far, no one had been seriously hurt. Strangely, a few
Sikhs, Chinese and Japanese men moved unharmed
among the spectators.
Olaf joined the mass movement toward the
Adachi, Ken, "The Enemy
That Never Was: A History of the
Japanese-Canadians." Toronto:
McClelland and Stewart, 1976.
Chan, Anthony, "Gold
Mountain: The Chinese in the
Mew World." Vancouver: New
Star Books, 1983.
Roy, Patricia, "A White
Man's Province: BC Politiicans
and Chinese and Japanese
immigrants, 1858 -1914."
Vancouver, UBCPress, 1989.
Sugimoto, Howard Hiroshi,
"Japanese Immigration, the
Vancouver riots and Canadian
diplomacy." New York: Arno
Press, 1978.
Yee, Paul. "Saltwater City: an
Illustrated history of the Chinese
in Vancouver." Vancouver:
Douglas and Mclntyre, 1988.
Other Publications
W.L. Mackenzie King,
Deputy Minister of Labour,
Commissioner: "Losses sustained
by the Chinese and Japanese
population in Vancouver, 1907."
Ottawa, 1908.
Vancouver Daily World
Vancouver News-Advertiser
Vancouver Province (1907)
Death Certificate (Ng Ah Sim)
Reg. #1907-09124780, Microfilm tt
B13095, GSUM#1927123BCA
Vancouver Mountainview
Cemetery Records (Ng Ah Sim)
Original burial site: Range 4,
Block 4, Plot 11, Lot 14
Chinatown Heritage
Alley website - http://www.
Henderson's Directory,
1907 VCA
Vancouver Court Records,
1907 VCA
On Powell Street at Gore
in Vancouver this mosaic
recalls the ugly events of
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 40 No. 2  from the crowd holding a knife. He stepped up to the
barricade and sliced the rope, followed by a roar of
approval from the crowd. He looked defiantly into the
face of an officer. "What can you do to me for cutting
the rope?" As the officer moved to grab him, the boy
threw his knife into the crowd. He was handcuffed
and pulled to a van.
Just then, two officers seized and handcuffed
Olaf. "Mob the police!" Olaf shouted as the police
pulled him to the van. The crowd chanted 'rescue,
rescue'. Five officers hastily assembled and standing
shoulder to shoulder dragged Olaf along. Their
formation forced the mob to back against the curb but
didn't stop them from cursing and shouting. People
surged back and forth under the glare of the street
lights and threw bricks and stones over the heads of
police as Olaf, still calling out, was thrown in the van,
joining more than a dozen others. The police driver
sped to the jail house as some of the crowd followed
on foot while others stayed behind to see what would
happen next.
By midnight the police had gained control of
the streets though outsiders continued prowling the
roped-off areas all night and throughout Sunday
and Monday in the relentless heat wave. As another
cloudless dawn broke Tuesday, it was to be a 50 year
old gardener's last. Ng Ah Sim worked and lived on
a South Vancouver farm and studied English from a
neighbor in the evenings. That morning he was found
hanging from a tree branch, his corpse still warm. A
rope had been taken from a nearby well. The razor
used to cut it was in Ah Sim's pocket. The Vancouver
coroner ruled his death a suicide but many in the
Asian community believed otherwise.
Later that same day, the rain finally arrived,
washing the streets and cooling some of the tensions
of a city caught up in a fever of hatred.
There were no fatalities from the riot but in
its aftermath, marital law was declared for 10 days.
The city was compelled to shut down gun shops
after Asians purchased hundreds of dollars worth of
weapons. Residents of Chinatown and j apantown set
up their own security patrols and Chinese workers
went on a three day city-wide strike, demanding full
police protection.
The Asiatic Exclusion League, established
earlier that summer was modelled after other leagues
in American cities. With an active membership of
2,000 people including Mayor Bethune, the league
had sponsored the rally. When they applied to
conduct yet another "monster parade" on October 8,
1907, the council surprisingly voted 8-3 against their
request. The federal government pad the Chinese and
Japanese community for property damages incurred
by the riot but federal authorities continued to restrict
Asian immigration for decades to come.
In 1919, Ng AhSim's body was disinterred from
Mountamview cemetery, as was customary among ex-
patriot Chinese and sent back to his home province in
China for burial among his ancestors. •
The events of the not have been recounted
through the eyes of Olaf but based on a composite
of eyewitness accounts. Olaf Lauritzen was one of
only five rioters convicted. He served a three month
sentence and likely left town as his name does not
appear in the city directory of 1907 or thereafter.
The eyewitness account of Lillian Ho Wong
of Shanghai Alley was originally told in Paul Yee's
Saltwater City. Lillian was among the 150 Chinese
and Japanese children attending Vancouver public
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 40 No. 2 A Celestial1 Love Story, or was it?
by Ronald Greene
Ron Greene writes
the Token History
column which
appears in BC
History and he is
the BC Historical
Federation's 1st vice
ome time ago the following ad in the Nelson
Miner2 caught my eye:
"To Wah Chung
Revelstoke, B.C.
Some one took my girl away, dress in
English clothes. Looks like a Jap girl.
Has three Chinamen with her.
$200 reward for returning her to
Lun Foo
One of the problems with researching
Chinese items from the late 19th century is that the
Chinese were viewed unfavourably by most British
Columbians. White workmen viewed the Chinese
as cheap labour who undercut their wages and the
lack of communication between the Chinese and the
whites led to a lack of understanding and hence a
dislike of the Chinese by the whites. The province
was entering a period of strong anti-Asian feeling.
Many restaurants advertised "All white help" and
some Kootenay communities declared themselves
Chinese-free and "encouraged" the Chinese either
not to come, or to leave if they had come. Giving a
few typical comments, we note The Slocan Drill, of
April 14,1900 had a headline "Asiatics not wanted
at Salmo...." and on June 8,1900 said "The Chinese
cook imported into the camp last week has been
given his walking ticket." The Moyie Leader in 1900
noted, "Moyie Laundry Opened. Messrs Bremner &
Hickey opened their new laundry this week and are
now ready for their share of the public patronage.
With two white laundries in town there is no further
necessity of patronizing the Chinese. Give the white
men a show to make a living." Again on Jan 12,1901
the Moyie Leader roared "To fight the Chinese The
citizens of Moyie have taken a firm stand to rid the
town of the Chinese population...." The following
advertisement in the Kootenay Mail, July 10, 1900
"Revelstoke Restaurant, First street near Molsons
Bank.   Board by the week, $4.50 , meals 25 cents,
Home made Bread, Cakes and Pies for sale. Open
day and night. No Chinese employed. A. Cowey,
In the social climate of the day, the following
story was handled surprisingly sympathetically.
It appears that Lun Foo's "girl" was brought to
Kuskonook by Wah Chung, the Revelstoke merchant.
If we believe the Nelson Miner then Wah Chung sold
the girl, named Tai, to Lun Foo for $400. However,
this is just one of the alternative versions of the story
that are available and lacking any means to determine
which is accurate and which is journalistic licence or
conjecture we will leave it up to the reader to decide.
The Miner indicated that when Wah Chung brought
the girl to Kuskonook he was accompanied by two
other Chinese, young men, one of whom was called
Loo, a fan-tan player, a professional gambler who
wandered from camp to camp. Lun Foo established
his girl nearby to his restaurant. Lun Foo was a happy
man. The source is vague on how long Lun Foo was
in such a state, we don't know whether it was a day,
a week, or longer. The Miner claimed, "from inquiries
made in Nelson,..." that Lun Foo's heart was not the
first gladdened by the young lady, before going to
Revelstoke she had been the object of the affections
of a Nelson resident, Hip Chang. The cause of Lun
Foo's advertisement was that two young Chinese
men, Loo and Joe Wing, brought a boy's suit for Tai
and the three of them slipped onto a lake steamer
heading across the border to Bonner's Ferry.
With Tai gone, Lun Foo became unhappy,
irritable and bedraggled. He was said to have taken
a potato-masher to someone who had suggested that
Tai was "no good." The question asked was whether
Wah Chung had deliberately taken advantage of Lun
Foo, intending all along to resell the girl elsewhere.
The Anaconda Standard, a Montana
newspaper, reported3 that Koo Wong, the Tai of the
Nelson Miner, was languishing in the Great Falls city
jail, with her "lover," Wong Lee alias Wong Sing, the
"Loo" of the Nelson Miner and a second Chinese male,
Joe Wing. Wong Lee and his colleague, Joe Wing,
were said to have left San Francisco in the spring
looking for a suitable place to establish a laundry.
The story describes Koo Wong [Tai] as a dainty maid
of 17 years, whom Wong had spied when he came
through Revelstoke, which they called Rose Lake.
It was not known whether she was the wife of Wah
Chung, his concubine, or a mere chattel, but after she
was deposited with Lun Foo she was stolen away by
Wong Lee and Joe Wing, dressed in boy's clothing.
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 40 No. 2 The trio were apprehended in Great Falls, Montana,
or maybe as stated, Bonner's Ferry, although those
two communities are far enough apart that one
wonders why if arrested in Bonner's Ferry the three
companions ended up in a Great Falls jail. At first
the authorities there thought they had a kidnapping
case on hand, but later believed that Koo Wong was
a willing companion to Wong Lee. When their case
came up in court almost a week later it was decided
that Koo Wong was to be returned to her lord and
master, presumably Wah Chung. Wrong Lee, the
lover, gambler and prospective laundryman, had
permission to be in the U.S., but not to leave it, which
he had violated when he went to Revelstoke and his
situation was to be determined. Joe Wing turned out
not to have any status in the U.S. so he was to be
deported to China.4 The final decision was that Wrong
Lee was also to be deported, so he and Joe Wing were
taken to Tacoma for deportation. Koo Wong was
given the choice of returning to British Columbia, or
also being deported. She chose the former.5
A report in the Nelson Miner, following
the arrest of the three offered several stories, one of
which was that Koo Wong was born in San Francisco
of rich parents who sailed for China about two years
before, leaving her in the custody of Wrah Chung,
who claimed that she was his wife. She said that he
proved to be a drunken brute who frequently beat
her and that she wrote Wong Lee and Joe Wing to
come up from San Francisco and take her back to
San Francisco.6 However, the Nelson Miner states
this story doesn't agree with what they discovered
in Kuskonook, which was that the girl had been sold
to Lun Foo for $400, and was afterwards stolen from
him. Wah Chung's story is different once again. He
claimed that he brought the girl down to Nelson
to visit a dressmaker and that after finishing that
business he remembered that his cousin, Lun Foo,
owed him $400 and so sent the girl over to Kuskonook,
in the company of Wong Lee, to collect the debt. This
money was given to the girl, but she and Wong Lee
slipped away over night.
The next week the Nelson Miner reported
another story, this one given by Mr. CP. Hill, the
Uni ted States deputy coll ector of customs for Montana
and Idaho. He stated that the girl's name was Oie
Gam. That she was born in China, but emigrated
to Victoria with her parents at the age of two years.
Her parents decided to return to China and the girl
married Wah Chung, a merchant of Revelstoke [at
least this one point seems consistent through the
stories]. This version of the story was that Wong Lee
was from a different tong than Wah Chung and that he
could doubly benefit from an abduction by harming
a member of an opposing tong, i.e. Wah Chung, and
selling the girl in San Francisco where she would have
had a value for immoral purposes of several thousand
What happened to the girl after she was
returned to Wah Chung? Wah Chung died July 2,
1932.8 Mrs. Wah Chung had predeceased her husband
by almost three years, dying on August 17, 1929.
However, Mrs. Wah Chung was shown as having been
born in 1861, and only in Revelstoke for 16 years, so
she is unlikely to have been the fair Oie Gam [or Tai, or
Koo Wong].9 However, a Mrs. Wing Chung delivered
a fine boy in early Aug ust 1908.10 It hasn't beenshown
that this woman was Wah Chung's wife. She died at
sea on a trip to Hong Kong in 1921 and was buried
in China, so any proof that she might have been Oie
Gam will be hard to find.11 When Wah Chung died
his son, Eng Bing, was shown as the informant. •
Supposedly derived from a Ktunaxa word meaning
edge or end of the lake. The town by this name,
formerly known as Kalama, flourished briefly in 1898.
It was originally spelled Kuskonook, but when the CPR
built a steamship by the same name, they changed it
to Kuskanook, which became widely accepted. There
is also a Kuskanax Creek (spelled Koos-Ka-Nax on some
maps) near Nakusp, although this was traditionally
Sinixt territory.
Informtion from:
1 A term used for Chinese,
deriving from an old name for
the Chinese Empire, i.e. the
Celestial Empire
2 Nelson Miner, October 11,
1898, p. 3
3 Anaconda Standard, Oct. 9,
1898, p. 15
4 Anaconda Standard, Oct. 15,
1898, p. 15, and Great Falls
Tribune, Oct. 15,1898, p. 4
5 Great Falls Tribune, Oct. 20,
1898, p. 3
b Nelson Miner, Oct. 17,1898,
7 Nelson Miner, Oct. 25,1898,
8 GR2951, Death Registrations,
1932-09-466084, microfilm
9 GR2951, Death Registrations,
1929-09-429030, microfilm
B13137, her own name was not
given, just Mrs. Wah Chung
10 Kootenay Mail, August 8,
1908, "The first Chinese baby
born in Revelstoke arrived on
Wednesday at the home of
Mr. and Mrs. Wing Chung. The
new comer is a fine boy." If
traditional Chinese name
patterns were followed by Wah
Chung then his family name was
Wah and not Chung, so that Wing
Chung could be unrelated.
11 Kootenay Mail, July 20,
1921, p.
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 40 No. 2 Sounds of Brass Ladner 1889-1902
Jim Love and Brant Mitchell
Jim Love and Brant
Mitchell are members
of the Delta Concert
They would like to
thank the staff of the
Delta Museum and
Archives for their
help, particularly
Kathy Bossort and
Kate McPherson.
We would also
like to thank Mr.
Edgar Dunning, a
founder and long
time supporter of
the Delta Concert
Band for setting us
on our historical
quest.  Our thanks
are also due Gwen
Szychter for her
help with newspaper
In January 2007 we rediscovered a hard-covered
ledger, "Treasurer's Book Ladner Cornet Band"2
in the Delta Museum and Archives. It shed some
light on Brass Bands in the Delta, particularly at
Ladner's Landing. After considerable detective work,
we were able to reconstitute some of the musical
history of the area. Although the ledger only covers
1900-1902, the volume included a brief history of a
predecessor, the Delta Brass Band that functioned
between December 1889 and November 1891. Indeed,
we deduced that the Brass Band started the book
that was turned over along with its instruments and
treasury when the Ladner Cornet Band was formed
in December 1900.
F.W. Harris, an English-born cannery
bookkeeper who arrived at Ladner's Landing in
18883, probably led the formation of Delta's first brass
band at Ladner's Landing mDecember 1888. He was
supported by prominent local residents: a physician
from Germany, a lumberman from Sweden, a clerk
in the general store from Ontario, four cannery men
and three farmers. All eleven band members signed
the Constitution and By Laws. Among the interesting
clauses in the Constitution were a capping of the
membership at eleven, and a somewhat draconian
schedule of .fines for missing practices (50 cents) or
being late (25 cents).
The band raised money through public
subscriptions, membership fees, assessments on
members, and concerts. It also received a grant
from Delta municipality. In turn, the band did not
own the instruments bought with its general fund;
the municipality held them in trust and could give
them to the leader of any regularly organized band.
With the help of local amateur performers4, the band
held a fund-raising concert in January 1890. Despite
inclement weather, the attendance was large. Later
that month, when the instruments arrived from
Charles Stark of Toronto, Mr. Harris distributed
them and arranged the .first practice on the following
Wednesday. Some members, in their eagerness, began
to blow their instruments right away and sounds
could be heard over a long distance.5
The weekly practices soon became twice
weekly as the band members struggled to master
their instruments in time for the Queen's Birthday
celebrations at the end of May.6 Many members
were quite young. While they may have been able to
read music, almost certainly most had no previous
experience with a brass instrument. Nevertheless, the
band had a second fund-raising concert inDecember
with many of the same performers including the
Minstrel Band that had been such a hit at the January
concert.7 Practices continued and contemporary
reports suggest rapid progress was being made. By
1891, the band gave several concerts, including an
open air series, and was able to pay its way.
The band seems to have been most active in the
winter. This may reflect the seasonal occupations ofthe
majority of the players, namely in farming and salmon
canning. From December 1889 to November 1891,
some members left the band and the total Membership
Roll reached fifteen. But late in 1891 or early 1892,
the Delta Brass Band was dissolved. The reason is
not clear since most of the band members, including
Bandmaster Harris, still lived in or around Ladner's
Landing. There was money in the treasury and the
band had instruments, music and stands. Possibly,
as in other small communities, the less skilled players
may have lost interest and the number of experienced
players may not have sufficed to carry on.8
Almost ten years later, in December 1900, Paul
Ladner, a farmer and founder of the Delta Brass Band,
John Watson, a cannery man and brother of a Delta
Brass Band founding member, Ed Bown, a saddler
from Nova Scotia and W.H. Smith, a baker from
Ontario, organized the Ladner Cornet Band with an
initial com.plem.ent of sixteen players, including Leslie
McNeely, a member of the old Brass Band. Of the
initial sixteen pi avers, ten came from Eastern Canada,
particularly Ontario, where bands were plentiful, even
in small communities. The players in the new band
had more varied occupations than those in the Delta
Brass Band and so the seasonal effect on activities
was less evident.
The Ladner Cornet Band inherited the
instruments - their number and variety unknown
— of the Delta Brass Band and its treasury. Under the
leadership of Arthur Leslie, a professional musician,
who traveled from New Westminster, weekly practices
began. Since there is no mention of the purchase of
instruments and there were more bandsmen than in
the Brass Band some of the new players probably
had their own instruments and were experienced.
The account books reveal that between them, the two
bands owned five cornets, two trombones, a baritone
horn and a snare drum, a bass drum, and a B flat bass.
Tom Foster, the butcher and cornet player in the Brass
band bought himself a helicon (a tuba).
While the first year was primarily devoted to
melding the band, it made a few public appearances,
including open-air concerts. To raise money for
1 Delta Museum and Archives
Terry Brennan Fonds
2 Vancouver Daily World,
10 December 1889
3 Vancouver Daily World,
22 January 1890
4 Vancouver Daily World,
29 January 1890
5 Vancouver Daily World, 5 A/lay
6 Vancouver Daily World,
23 December 1890
7 Dale Mcintosh, History of Music
in British Columbia 1850-1950
(Victoria: Sono Nis Press, 1989),
8 Vancouver Daily World, 29
9 Delta News, 22 March 1902,
July 1901
10 Delta News, 31 May 1902
11 Delta News, 31 May 1902
12 Delta News, 23 August 1902
13 Delta News, 4 October 1902
14 Delta News, 27 December 1902
15 Delta News, 18 October 1902
16 Delta Times, 23 March 1909
uniforms, it organized a successful garden party for
July 24, 1901 with assistance from the Westminster
City Band. The Westminster Band chartered the SS
Ramona, filled it with people from New Westminster
for a moonlight cruise to Ladner's Landing where
they partook of raspberries and cream, cooling
drinks and ice cream. Then, by the light of Chinese
lanterns strung throughout the grounds, the visiting
band played for a dance on a specially laid wooden
platform. An estimated one thousand people attended
the party.9
By 1902, the band was a force in the community.
On St. Patrick's Day, it was a major act in a concert in
which local amateurs presented vocal solos and duets,
and piano solos. Among the featured performers were
Rev. I. W Williamson, who played a solo on a recently
arrived silver-plated Besson cornet valued at about
$80, and Arthur Leslie, the first band instructor, who
played a piccolo solo.10 The band also co-operated
with the Ladner Dramatic Society to present two
plays, "The Rough Diamond" and "Ici on Parle
Francais." For the 24 May celebrations, the Dramatic
Society and the band crossed the river to Steveston,
the "Sockeye Town," to repeat the performance at the
Steveston Opera House. The two groups split the box
office receipts that must have been considerable since
the Delta News reported that on the occasion Ladner
was almost emptied of people.11 The first boat, the
SS Transfer, left Ladner's Landing at 7:00 a.m.; the
excursionists returned on the SS Ramona after the
last curtain fell.
In addition, the band played at community
events. Some of its eleven public appearances in 1902
appear to have been spontaneous. For example, on a
Wednesday evening, the night of its practices, the band
serenaded Mr. and Mrs. Fawcett outside their house
and the "boys were royally treated".12 Mr. Fawcett was
retiring and moving to Victoria after selling his drug
store to F.J. MacKenzie. His son, Arthur, played in the
Band. Other outings, not recorded in the ledger, were
of a community nature. For example, the band led the
children in a parade to the sports ground for the May
Day celebrations in 1902. It also played at concerts in
aid of churches or benevolent societies with its only
charge being the conductor's fee.
The Band had fraternal feelings for other
bandsmen. When the visiting Nanaimo lodge of
Woodmen of the World unexpectedly brought the
Ladysmith Band with them,13 the Ladner Band paid
$3.00 to W.H. Smith, the baker and restaurant owner,
to serve lunch to the Ladysmith band.
Over the period covered by the Treasurer's
Book, the Ladner Cornet Band had three instructors.
Leslie was probably a military musician and his
The Ladner Cornet Band
c. 1903'
Delta Museum and Archives photo
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 40 No. 2 military commitments probably took precedence
over the Ladner Cornet Band in the summer. In July
1901, Frank Dorland, who had joined the band as
a player in May 1901, took over the band. Little is
known of his musical background but he improved
the caliber of the band's playing over the next fifteen
months. In October 1902, John Cronshaw, a military
musician, a clarinetist in the Sixth Regiment Band
(Duke of Connaught's Own Rifles), was appointed
director of music.14
Newspaper reports of concerts often listed
the music played. The bandmaster purchased blank
music books and probably arranged piano music,
religious and secular, for the band. Otherwise, the
band bought music from VVhaley Royce and Co., J. W
Pepper and A.A. Lombard. The programme for the
St. Patrick's Day 1902 concert included:
Wien Bliebt Wien, Schrammel
Sons of Erin, Beyer
Danube Waves, Ivanovici
Songs of the Sea, Walston
Sounds from the Sunny South, Isenman
Distant Greeting, Doling
Both the Delta Brass Band and the Ladner Cornet
Band struggled with some of the same problems still
encountered by community bands. There was a
constant need for money to pay instructors and buy
new music, instruments and uniforms. There was
always a need for more players. The Delta Brass Band
was capped at eleven players. Although a total of
forty-two names appear in the Cornet Band's roster,
it usually only had about twenty active members and
a core of about twelve. Many players dropped out
because they left the area. For example, Reverend
Williamson, the Baptist minister and briefly the
band master, left to accept a call to Kamloops early
in 1903.15 Thus, the Cornet Band publicly appealed
for new players.16
The Treasurer's Book ends with an indication
that the accounts were being transferred to a new
book. We know that the Ladner Cornet Band carried
on for quite a few years and maintained its tradition
of joint ventures with other groups such as a concert
with the Delta Glee Club in 1909.17 Perhaps the later
record will yet turn up. Nevertheless, the Treasurer's
Book gives a glimpse at brass bands in Delta between
1889 and 1902 and some insight into the cultural life
of the community. •
W. Kaye Lamb
Scolarship Winners
First or second year essay:
"Agricultural Societies
and Farmers' Institutes in
Nineteenth-Century British
submitted by Shannon Lucy, Victoria.  She
received a cheque for $750.00.
Third or fourth year essay:
two essays tied for this award.
"Representing Space as
Place:  Property Dialogues in
the McKenna/McBride Royal
Commission, 1913-1915"
by Tessa Stiven, Victoria,
"Field Correspondence Sheds
Light: Mcllwraith's Letters on
His Own Monograph",
by Susan Ritchie, Campbell River.
Each student received $500.00.
Marie Elliott, Chair of W. Kaye
Lamb Scholarship Committee.
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 40 No. 2 The Red Book Revealed:
British Columbia's Home Economics Secret 1930-1975
By Mary Leah de Zwart
On bookshelves of used bookstores and
school storage rooms across British
Columbia, you will find an unassuming
recipe book that falls open naturally at
food-spattered pages. It's the reference to which
great-aunts and grandmothers turn when faced
with a household problem. Between the covers of
Food, Nutrition and Home Management Manual, an
entire world of bygone British-Canadian household
management is described. The mere mention of this
school textbook, commonly known as the Red Book,
is a guaranteed conversation starter
among women (and a very few
men) who used it in their home
economics classes in B.C. between
1930 and 1975. People comment on
the uniform on page 41; the orange
tea biscuit recipe; the one-egg cake
recipe versus the two-egg recipe.1
What is it about this book that has
enabled it to carve its little niche
in history?
The Red Book appears to
have been intended to remain
in households long after school
days were done. Sturdy and well
bound, it emphasizes recipes for a
family of six. The original version
was green, then blue and finally in
1944, the first red cover appeared,
remaining until the book was
completely revised in 1975. In the
foreword, Jessie McLenaghen, Provincial Director of
Home Economics in B.C. from 1926 to 1946, stated
her hopes for the book; first that it would eliminate
the necessity of copying notes and recipes, and
secondly that it would prove that home economics
was not an "unprepared subject" by including
questions that could be the basis of homework
assignments. McLenaghen proclaimed her intention
that the manual should be put in the hands of the
student in order to promote home interest. "Power
to do", she wrote, "is gained only by doing". Even
after McLenaghen retired, her foreword continued
unchanged until 1975.
The book begins with a plea to spend one's
self, strength, time, and money wisely. Housekeeping
procedures are painstakingly elaborated, from efficient
kitchen arrangement to reasons for not slamming the
refrigerator door.2 Care of the garbage can, gas, electric
and coal stoves, the detection of draughts, and care
of milk bottles - no housekeeping detail is too minor
to be omitted. Laundering is described as one of
the oldest arts in existence. Speaking from personal
experience, I would like to say that the stain removal
method advocated for rust still works (salt, lemon
juice and sunlight). With the overwhelming amount
of detail, it appears that nothing was going to be left
to chance, home teaching or trial-and-error.
"The good housekeeper does her marketing
with intelligent care", declares the manual, and follows
up the claim with sixteen rules for marketing. The
questions at the end of the unit
include the following question
"If you were hungry and had
only 10 cents, would you buy a
loaf of bread or candy? Why?".
This question is more complex
than it appears. Teachers
were obviously supposed to
convince pupils to answer
"bread", as if they were adult
women who were responsible
for family welfare, instead of
being young students. On the
other hand, the very asking
of the question implies that
some adults, those who were
not intelligent or wise, would
choose to buy candy instead
of bread. Therefore children
had to be warned about shortsighted, possibly delinquent
people who might be their own parents.
Once the kitchen is clean, the pupils can
concentrate on twelve rules for healthy, happy B.C.
schoolchildren. Children are admonished to eat
very little candy (only after meals) and to exercise
two hours each day. Ten hours of sleep each night
is recommended for the 14 - 16 year old age group.
The questions at the end of this unit include the
following: "Explain why a very expensive meal may
not contain the right food to meet the body needs"
and "If dinner is served in the evening, should it be
a light or substantial meal? Give reasons for having
dinner at noon."
The section on Meal-planning and Table Service
is filled with ways to improve living standards. Fifteen
suggestions are given to aid in meal planning. Some
of these recommendations would not be out of place
today, such as including some of each food group
in each meal and choosing whole grain over refined
tHHtmrntttfr tm p* nwviw.Tr LIT BMTBB CM UM»U
ikvhi   '
■ -tmmi**mm* *»—pt»i*»M»f wM«<n«.a«+1—,■<-*"/*-
Mary Leah de Zwart
has taught Home
Economics, Planning
and Career Prep in
various locations
around the province
and is currently at
Queen Elizabeth
Secondary School in
Surrey. She is also
a sessional lecturer
at UBC and has a
special interest in
educational history
11 Notes
1 The Manual did change with
the times. The 1951 edition did
not include a picture of a maid
but included "Rules for Serving
without a Maid."
2 Even in the 1951 edition
the care of the "refrigerator"
referred to an icebox not to an
electric refrigerator.
3 This photograph did not appear
in the 1951 edition but like Mary
Butler many former students
remember making an apron to
wear in class.
Mary Butler, Behind the Kitchen
Door, Victoria, British Columbia
archives, 1983 (Cassette
Recording No. 4088:21)
Bessie Dickinson, (1983). Behind
the Kitchen Door, Victoria,
British Columbia archives, 1983
(Cassette Recording No. 4162:23)
Foods, Nutrition and Home
Management Manual. Home
Economics Circular No. 1
(revised). (1931). Victoria, BC:
British Columbia Department of
Education. King's Printer
Centre photo: Jessie
Mclenaghen set the tone
of home economics for
almost 50 years by putting
together the first edition
of Foods, Nutrition, and
home Management.
cereals. Other suggestions are more prescriptive. Foods
should be selected "because they contribute most to
the health of the family," rather than because they
are cheap, are liked by the family, or require the least
amount of preparation" Food courses should be set up
so that they contrast in flavour, "a mild course being
followed by one more pronounced. Strong seasonings
which destroy natural food flavours are harmful".
This recommendation eliminates any number of foods
such as goulash, borscht, or garlic, or anything that
might be vaguely ethnic other than British. Two foods
of pronounced flavour should never be served in the
same meal. "The combination of
salmon, onions and prunes is an
unpardonable error."
The Red Book emphasizes
practicality, simplicity, and if
possible, elegance. "No amount
of lavishness and perfection
in the preparation of the food
will compensate for poor
arrangement and service in the
dining-room.... Paper flowers are
not in good taste". Two murky
photographs of a dinner table
setting are provided from
the Canadian Cook Book, first
published in 1923 and written
by Nellie Lyle Pattinson, an
early home economist. The ,
white damask tablecloths,
flower centerpieces, and elegant   I "
china suggest a sophisticated way of life beyond most
people's means. Bessie Dickinson, a home economics
teacher at Templeton Junior High School (Vancouver)
in the 1920s remarked in an interview conducted in
1983 that the china in the home economics room, to
her astonishment, was real Limoges.
Questions follow the information on table
settings and service: "Which is preferable, coarse
table-linen which is well laundered, or fine table-linen
poorly laundered?" This question draws obvious
class lines; is it intended to discriminate between the
supposed pretentiousness of newcomers and the poor
but honest Canadian? The etiquette section concludes
with a picture of a dour young student trapped in her
cookery uniform, consisting of an apron with French
seams, pocket and buttonholes, buttoned-on towel
and potholder, and a hair-band. The accompanying
curriculum suggests that the uniform be compared to
the professional appearance of a nurse.3
Food preparation takes up the bulk of the book,
over one hundred pages. Recipes and preparation
tips are included for beverages, fruits, cereals,
soups, vegetables, salads, eggs, flour mixtures, stiff
doughs, desserts, candy, meat, fish, poultry, canning,
jelly-making, sandwiches, lunch-box requirements,
invalid cookery and infant-feeding. The recipes are
traditionally British: Matrimonial cake, bread and
butter pudding, blanc mange, Welshrarebit, shepherd's
pie and kippered herring. No foods considered
indigenous to British Columbia are included; no
huckleberries, no salmonberries, no raspberries, no
Saskatoon berries, no deer,
moose, clams, oysters, or small
game such as rabbit or grouse.
Salmon, a staple food to large
numbers of British Columbians,
is mentioned in passing as one
of a number of available types
of fish. The strongly urban
tone ignores the food realities
of rural and resource-based
British Columbians who at that
time were living on farms and
in logging camps. The manual
advises serving meat only once
a day: "Too much meat is apt to
cause digestive disturbances,
causing a 'dark-brown taste'
in the mouth". White sauce,
a staple of the British diet,
receives a fair amount of press
with three pages devoted to its variations as well
as a whole series of procedural questions. Perhaps
we should not be surprised at the inclusion of such
typically British recipes. In 1931, people of British
ethnic origin accounted for 71% of the B,C. population
(490,000 out of a population of 694,000), and in 1971,
those of British extraction accounted for 58% (1.26
million out of 2.18 million). The British majority had
a clear cultural agenda invested in the many editions
of the Red Book.
A young student named Irene Brown, whose
name is written in the flyleaf of my 1931 copy, penciled
in an evaluation of every recipe she tried in home
economics class; the ratings ranged from "terrible"
(cream of pea soup), "poor" (junket), "fair" (blanc
mange), "not so hot" (brownbetty), "quite rich" (carrot
pudding), "O.K." (blushing apples, cream of tomato
soup, muffins, fruit rolls, two-egg cake) to "good"
(Welshrarebit). In this way, the instructional rhetoric
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 40 No. 2 was circumvented. The dry text of Foods, Nutrition
and Home Management was transformed
into an object of meaning for the owner.
Rea Willoughby of 2580 Petallack Street,
Regina, took more liberties with her 1941
copy. In addition to writing her name and
the names of several friends in fat letters
on the inside front cover, she wrote first
names beside each letter of the recipe
index: A was for Arliss, B for Bunny, C for
Charmian, right up to Q for Queenie and
Y for Yvonne.
A sample recipe from the Red
Book exemplifies how Canada began
to grapple with its increasingly multiethnic population. The Chinese Chews
recipe is one of two recipes that concede
the possibility of ethnicity other than
white British in the entire manual, the
other one being Swiss Steak. Nothing is
Chinese about the recipe, but perhaps the
complicated baking procedure makes it
seem foreign and possibly exotic.
Chinese Chews
% cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
'A tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 c. white sugar
1 c. walnuts
1 c. dates
1. Sift flour and measure. Add baking powder
and salt and sift again.
2. Beat eggs until light.
3. Add sugar and dry ingredients
4. Add walnuts and dates, chopped.
5. Press into a greased pan (8 by 8 inches)
6. Cook in a slow oven (300'F - 325'F.) for
20-25 min.
7. When a crust forms (after about 15 min.)
it is advisable to mix the crust into the softer
centre portion with a fork.
8. Replace in oven and cook 10-15 min. longer;
then repeat No. 7
9. When cooked, lift out in spoonfuls and roll
in the palm of the hand.
10. Roll in powdered sugar and store in a
covered tin box.
Voices of the past regarding the effects of the
Red Book can be heard in a series of interviews done
in 1983 with B.C. women who took home economics
from 1920 to 1960. Mary Butler, born in 1915, recalled
with clarity the "hideous" uniform she and her fellow
students had to construct and wear, and the thrill of
watching the effects of heat upon starch:
"In cooking the first thing we learned to make
was white sauce. And it was astonishing for
me to watch the teacher make white sauce
because she dissolved the fat over heat at
a low temperature, stirred the flour in, and
then added the heated milk and the salt
and pepper, and of course you stirred this
slowly until the whole thing thickened."
The Red Book is still in use. Rene
Schindel of Richmond says her mother,
a Red Book veteran, still makes rarebit
and it's "quite enjoyable". Nina Ho of
Vancouver had only been in Canada a
couple of years when she was introduced
to the Red Book in the 1970s. She recalls
finding it most confusing to discover
that matrimonial cake was not intended
for weddings. Sharon Marshall, a home
economics teacher in Surrey, comments that
the Red Book recipes did not seem foreign
to her mother who was an immigrant
from the former Yugoslavia in the 1950s.
I "My mom said in those days you were
I encouraged to forget your heritage and
I embrace everything Canadian, so she
I did." Lynne Wright of Quesnel recalls the
I teacher who thought the students were
I far too noisy in the Orange Tea Biscuit
I lab and "made us throw them out when
I they were done and sit with our hands
I behind our backs for the rest of the period.
I When we complained at home, we got no
I sympathy."
What to make of this influential
I recipe book? It recalls a time in British
I Columbia when life could be understood
I in precise measurements and step-by-step
I procedure, and expectations were clear
I (if not kind). It's tempting but trite to end
I by saying that times have changed, and
I the Red Book is a hopeless relic. The Red
1 Book is important for what it leaves out
as well as what it includes and in that
respect it's a valuable historical artifact. In addition to
perpetuating colonialism it gave credibility to home
economics as a legitimate subject area. Be sure you
safeguard your mother or grandmother's copy well!
You never know when you might need a recipe for
hermits or marshmallows. •
The "hideous" uniform
changed very slightly
from 1911 (top) to
1942 (bottom) but the
temperament of the
model improved. While
Miss 1911 seems dour,
Miss 1942 is a cheerful
embodiment of what
every home economics
girl should aspire to
be, in her nurse like
head scarf, full apron,
button-on potholder ,and
towel draped over her
arm. Both girls clutch
their indispensable
Foods. Nutrition and Home
Management manuals.
13   Kingsmill Bridge in Italy
A Tribute to a Vancouver Man
By Ken MacLeod
Ken MacLeod is a
historian and retired
teacher who now
makes his home in
Courtenay, BC
On May 12,2007 on the Can River near the
town of Sanf Angelo, 5 kilometres southwest
of Cassmo, Italy, a commemorative plaque
was unveiled which officially renamed a
bridge vital to the breaking of the Gustav Line south
of Rome after Captain (retired) Tony Kingsmill, MC,
of Vancouver. The bridge, codenamed Plymouth
Bridge, was officially renamed the Kingsmill Bridge in
honor of Kingsmill for his actions during World War
II during the Italian Campaign. Captain Kingsmill,
who was serving with the 61 st Light Aid Detachment,
Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
(RCME), attached to the 14th Canadian Armoured
Regiment (Calgary Regiment), 1st CanadianArmoured
Brigade, British Sth Army. Kingsmill devised a means
of transporting an 80 foot Bailey bridge on the top of a
turret-less Sherman tank and then moving the bridge
into position across the Gari River. A second Sherman
tank was used as a pusher tank to help support and
steer the bridge into position. The bridge enabled tanks
of the Calgary Regiment to make the initial crossing of
the Gari River by armoured vehicles in order to support
infantry of the 8th Indian Division whose ranks had
been badly decimated and were attempting to hold the
important bridgehead. The result was that the success
of the operation undertaken by Kingsmill was vital
to the breaking of the Gustav Line which enabled the
Allies to push north through the Liri Valley towards
Tony Kingsmill, age 87, has been a Vancouver
resident for the past several years. He and his wife
Tee attended the ceremony on May 12 that was part
of a veterans' tour by Special Travel International of
Kingsmill, whose responsibility was to oversee
a unit of approximately 30 men to repair and maintain
tanks of the Calgary Regiment of the 1st Canadian
Armoured Brigade, an armoured unit that was
regarded by General Sir Oliver Leese, Commanding
Officer of the British Eighth Army, as "the finest Allied
armoured brigade mltaly." The 1st CanadianArmoured
Brigade had landed in Sicily in July, 1943 and had often
supported the 1st Canadian Infantry Division until
following the Battle of Ortona in December, 1943 when
there was a falling out between Major-General Chris
Vokes, the commanding officer of the 1st Canadian
Division and Brigadier Bob Wyman who commanded
the 1st CanadianArmoured Brigade. From that point
on the 1st Armoured Brigade supported mainly British
and other units in the Sth Army, mostly the Sth Indian
Division which they had also supported since the
Sangro River in early December, 1943.
By early May, 1944, the Allied forces had been
held up by a four month struggle at the Gustav Line
that extended from Gaeta on the Tyrrhenian Sea to
the Arieli River on the Adriatic Sea, just north of the
port of Ortona. Monte Cassino was the anchor of the
Gustav Line in the west. German paratroopers held
Monte Cassino which overlooked and guarded the
approaches to the Liri Valley.
A large Benedictine monastery atop Monte
Cassino was thought to be used by the Germans. After
the first attempt to take the monastery and the town
of Cassino had failed, the Allied command made the
decision to bomb the monastery in mid-February,
1944. Rather than dislodging the enemy from Monte
Cassino, the bom bing turned the ruins of the abbey into
a German fortress, making it more difficult for the the
American, New Zealand, British, and Indian troops to
take Monte Cassino.
By early May, 1944, General Harold Alexander,
Commanding Officer of Allied Operations mltaly, and
his staff decided that there would have to be an all-out
attack on the Gustav Line between Monte Cassino and
Gaeta involving both the US Sth Army and the British
Sth Army, which now included the 2nd Polish Corps
under the command of General Wladyslaw Anders.
American and British forces had also been
pinned down by the Germans since January 22 at
the seaside resort town of Anzio, south of Rome but
north of the Gustav Line, where the Allies had hoped
to establish a beachhead and outflank the Germans in
order to relieve the pressure on Allied troops trying
to take Monte Cassino and break into the Liri Valley.
Although the beachhead was established, delays by the
American commander allowed the Germans to move
in reinforcements and prevent an inland advance by
the Allied forces at Anzio.
The plan called for the Poles to take Monte
Cassino, while the British Sth Army attacked the
Gustav Line in the Lin Valley and the American Sth
Army, commanded by General Mark Clark, and which
included the Free French Expeditionary Force made
up of French Moroccan and Algerian colonials, would
attack the Germans in the Arunci Mountains and along
the Tyrrhenian Sea. The Allied forces at Anzio would
then attempt a breakout.
On May 11-12, the Poles failed in their first
attempt to take the monastery on Monte Cassino, but
in a fiercely-fought battle with Germ an paratroopers on
May 17 succeeded in taking the rums of the Benedictine
abbey and forcing a German withdrawal. The Free
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 40 No. 2 French colonial forces, known as the Goumiers or
Gourms, under the command of General Alphonse
Juin, drove the Germans back in the Aurunci
Mountains to the west ofthe Liri Valley while American
forces pushed north along the coast.
The major problem facing the British Eighth
Army was to construct a crossing across the Gari
River (also known as the Garigliano and the Rapido
in other sectors). The plan called for the construction
of at least tenbridges with the hope that at least one of
these bridges would succeed despite heavy fire from
the Germans.
A few weeks prior to the attack on the Gustav
Line, an officer of the Royal Engineers approached
Captain Kingsmill about the possibility of using
tanks to transport a Bailey bridge into position across
the river. At first Kingsmill doubted the idea, but
eventually came up with a plan to remove the turret of a
Sherman tank and to assemble the
span on top of four rollers mounted
on a twelve foot wide "I" beam
bolted to the turret ring of the tank.
A second tank was used as a pusher
tank to help support and steer the
80 foot span into position with a
second carrier and reserve tanks in
reserve in case the first tanks were
knocked out.
Soon Captain Kingsmill
and his "kids," as he still refers to
his men, even though Kingsmill
himself was only 24 at the time
of the action, removed the turret
from a tank and equipped it with
rollers to enable the bridge to be
pushed forward into position. The
last five days prior to the attack
were used to search for a suitable
location on the river which could
be bridged by the 80 foot section
of Bailey bridge. The 1st Canadian
Armoured Brigade were at this
time in support of the 8th Indian
Once a location for the bridge
was found, the bridge was to be put
into position following the heaviest
Allied artillery barrage to date
during the Italian Campaign which
was to begin at 11 pm, May 11.
Under the direction of Kingsmill
the Bailey bridge was to be assembled on the carrier
tank by an Indian Engineering Bridge-Building Platoon
300 yards south of the Gari River and then bolted to
the pusher tank. Transporting the bridge was tricky.
A pothole would be enough to cause the bridge to fall
off the lead tank. Some time was lost when the tanks
veered off course because of the early fog, complicated
by the smoke from the German guns and the smoke laid
down by the Germans to confuse the Allied advance.
Afurther delay occurred when the tanks againbecame
bogged down in mud 100 yards from the river.
With the advent of dawn the bridge had still not
arrived. Finally about 7:45 am the carrier and pusher
tanks arrived with the bridge. There was open daylight
now. The original plan called for the operation to be
carried out in the dark. Because of the heavy German
fire, smoke canisters were utilized to hide the activity
from the enemy. Kingsmill noticed that the Indian
In addition to interviews with
Captain (retired) Tony Kingsmill
and Al Judson, Historian, Calgary
Regiment, the following sources
were used:
The Calgary Regiment (An
Informal History of the Calgary
Regiment), originally printed
in Hilversum, Holland in
June, 1945, Second Printing,
Vancouver, April, 1990.
The following interviews
were used from the above
A Bridge Too Soon - For the
Germans, That Is by Trooper Ian
Seymour, MID
Background to the Kingsmill
Bridge by Lieutenant-Colonel
Cyril H Neroutsos, DSO
The Gari River and Beyond by
Lieutenant RA (Al) Cawsey
The Seldom Told Story of
Canadians in the Gustave Line
Battle in Italy by Ed Page,
Calgary Regiment.
Right: Captain (retired)
Tony Kingsmill, MC, in Italy
May 2007
17 Canadian and Italian
dignitaries at the
unveiling of the plaque
commemorating the
naming of the Kingsmill
engineers who were to assist him had stopped for tea
and were sitting around a table. Kingsmill kicked over
the table with the tea on it and told the Indian engineers
to get back to work. "It was the only time in my life that
I ever got mad," Kingsmill later admitted.
Kingsmill walked backward to guide the bridge
into position, but soon the fire became too heavy, and he
climbed into the carrier tank. The pusher tank pushed
the bridge forward until it was 20 feet over the opposite
bank of the river. The carrier tank was again in danger
of becoming bogged down in the mud when Kingsmill
told the driver to "step onit." The tank lunged forward
into the river, and the bridge dropped into position.
Kingsmill and Trooper McLean, the driver,
were just above waist deep in the water, but Trooper
Ian Seymour, wireless operator, was still submerged.
Eventually all three of the crew clambered out of the
tank and onto the Bailey bridge. Kingsmill and his crew
took refuge from the German mortars and machine-
guns in the second carrier tank to further direct
the operation until Kingsmill received several shell
fragments in his back and had to be evacuated by jeep
ambulance when he was satisfied that the operation
was a success. The bridge, at the time codenamed
"Plymouth Bridge," had to be disengaged from the
pusher tank. According to Kingsmill, the bridge was
still resting on the carrier tank and was like a "teeter
totter." Six Germans who had been hiding on the south
side of the Gari River were the first to scramble across
the bridge, before the first of the Calgary Tanks, each
weighing 30 tons, managed the crossing.
After about an hour a Calgary tank under the
command Corporal Bill Cawthey of C Squadron
crossed the bridge, followed by Lt RA Cawsey's tank.
Because of the "teeter totter" motion of the bridge,
only one tank at a time could cross. Two other Calgary
tanks managed to cross before the bridge was damaged
by enemy fire. The arrival of the Calgary tanks saved
the bridgehead established by a company of Indian
footsoldiers, 3rd Brigade, 8thlndianDivision, who had
crossed during the night in rubber boats, but whose
numbers had dwindled to only 10 men. Eventually a
number of German gun positions and self-propelled
armoured vehicles were knocked out by the first
Calgary tanks. The machine guns on the tanks also
were utilized to mow down the enemy soldiers.
A half hour earlier tanks of the Ontario Regiment
began crossing the Oxford Bridge, but became bogged
down in mud and 17 of these had to be towed out
by RCEME, the repair unit. Eventually about half
the squadron of Ontario tanks were able to continue
the battle. C Squadron of the Calgary Tanks became
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 40 No. 2 "mucked down" at the Oxford Bridge. By noon,
Plymouth (Kingsmill Bridge) had been repaired
and Major Fred Ritchie and B Squadron of Calgary
tanks crossed the Gari River on the Kingsmill Bridge,
followed by Headquarters and A Squadron.
To the people of Sant'Angelo, the first tank
to cross the Gari River was a tank of the Calgary
Regiment, and the men of the Calgary Tanks are heros
to the people of Sanf Angelo for the role they played
in smashing through the Gustav. Tony Kingsmill who
oversaw and directed the operation, was a key figure
in this victory. Fourteen decorations for bravery were
handed out to soldiers of the British Eighth Army for
their actions in the crossing of the Gari-Rapido River.
Captain Kingsmill and Major Fred Ritchie of the
Calgary Regiment were awarded the Military Cross
(MC). Trooper George MacLean received the Military
Medal (MM), and Trooper Ian Seym our was mentioned
in dispatches (MID).
Major (retired) Fred Ritchie of the Calgary
Tanks, who also attended the ceremony on May 12,
2007 was also awarded the Military Cross for leading
two squadrons of tanks across the Gari River on the
Plymouth/ Kingsmill Bridge during the afternoon of
May 12,1944. Ritchie, age 88, is a retired orchardist
who presently lives in Naramata, BC and is in good
health John Whitton, age 87, who in May, 1944, was
a lieutenant in charge of the reconnaissance troop for
the Calgary Tanks, also made the trip along with his
wife Sheila.
Fredenco Lamberti, a historian and world-
reknown authority on the fighting in the Cassino
area, was the instigator of the commemoration at
Sanf Angelo. In a 2006 telephone conversation with
Ken MacLeod, historian and co-organizer of the trip,
Lamberti told MacLeod, "There should be a plaque at
Sanf Angelo where the Calgary Tanks were the first to
break the Gustav Line." MacLeod had been informing
Lamberti of another commemoration which took place
in May, 2006, where a plaque was unveiled at the Melfa
River north of Cassino to commemorate an important
crossing by the Westminster and Lord Strathcona Horse
Regiments on May 24,1944. Major Jack Mahony ofthe
Westminster Regiment was awarded the Victoria Cross
for this action.
MacLeod discussed the idea of the Sanf Angelo/
Gari River crossing with Karen Koonar of Calgary
following the 2006 trip. Koonar, who was on the 2006
trip, was involved with the Museum of the Regiments
(renamed the Military Museums), Calgary. MacLeod
asked Koonar, a mother of three elementary school-
aged children, to discuss the matter with veterans of
the Calgary Tank Regiment.
Koonar had just finished raising more thanS250,000
through a military art mosaic project for the Museum
of the Regiments in Calgary. Koonar, a real go-getter
and incredible organizer, took the idea from, there. She
contacted veterans of the Calgary Regiment Association
through the museum, and received the okay and funding
for the project. The commemoration was long overdue.
According to veterans of the Calgary Tanks, reference to
this i mportant action was omitted by most major historical
books on the Italian Campaign. Working with Al Judson,
histonan, 14th Armoured (Calgary) Regiment, Koonar
lined up a company in Edmonton to design a bronze
plaque and secured the services of the Canadian military
to fly the plaque to Rome.
Roberto Mollc, President, Battle of
Historical Association, and DrAlessandroCampagna,
Vice-President of the Association, did a lot of the leg
work in Italy to make the commemoration a reality. The
Canadian Embassy in Rome and the mayor and council
of Sanf Angetlo were also involvef.
At last the day arrived for the commemoration
arrived. May 12,2007 was a beautiful day, basking in
the Italian sun. The 40 travellers from Canada wiblessed
the commemoration of an event that took place 63 years
ago. Kingsmill, age 87, recalled the event almost as
clearly as the day that it happened. Major (retired) Fred
Ritchie, age 88, and Lt (retired), age 87, also addressed
the crowd.
The ceremony was also attended by two
representatives of the Royal Engineers' Museum at
Chelsea, England, as well as Tony Woj cik, the Canadian
military attache in Rome, Various Italian dignitaries,
including the mayor and councilors from Sanf Angelo
also attended the event. That evening Al Judson
presented a pamti ng of the May, 1944 acti on at the Gari.
River to Roberto Molle for the Museum..
Kingsmill, a modest and unassuming hero with a
kind smile and friendly disposition, had his day in the
Italian sun. It was a proud moment for the Canadians
who had done so much to liberate the people of the Liri
Valley during the war.
The commemoration was only the start of a
wonderful trip which took the Canadian contingent to
Ortona, the Gothic Line battlefields near Rimini, and
to a large reception by school children and the people
of Villanova near Ravenna on the Adriatic Coast. In
addi tion to reception and mill tary tours, the Canadian
contigent toured Rome, Pompeii., San, and
Venice. •
19 The Royal Navy and the Comox Settlement
By Allan Pritchard
Allan Pritchard is a
Victoria-based writer
who last wrote for
the magazine in issue
[he varied, sometimes unexpected and
surprising roles the Victorian Royal Navy
played in establishing and fostering
European settlement on Vancouver Island
are revealed nowhere more fully than in the history
of Comox. The agricultural settlement at Comox,
together with another at Cowichan, was founded
in 1862 by the colonial government of Vancouver
Island in order to expand European settlement of
the island, which then extended little beyond the
Victoria area and the small coal mining village of
Nanaimo, and to provide livelihood for unemployed
miners in the aftermath of the Cariboo gold rush The
extensive naval involvement at Comox arose from
the facts that the tiny governmental establishment of
Vancouver Island, which was still a separate colony
from mainland British Columbia, had few resources
of its own to draw upon, and that Comox, even
more than Cowichan, was isolated, nearly 150 miles
north of Victoria, separated even from Nanaimo
by seventy-five miles of impenetrable forest. It is
characteristic of the history of this settlement that the
earliest record of its beginning is to be found in the
logbook of a naval ship, and that the first accounts of
its early development are provided by the letters of
a naval officer.
The navy initially prepared the way for the
Comox settlement by coastal exploration three years
before its foundation. The first very brief European
inspections of the area had been made by j. VV. McKay
of the Hudson's Bay Company post at Nanaimo in
October 1852 and James Douglas in August 1853, in
order to investigate reports of a deposit of coal. They
noted the agricultural potential of the area but no
further exploration was made until the Comox district
was included in the navy's coastal survey conducted
by Captain George Richards in the autumn of 1859
and the spring of 1860. This not only provided for
the first time an accurate chart of Comox Bay and
the adjacent coastline but resulted in Lieutenant R.C.
Mayne's report of his exploration of the Comox Valley
in April 1860, when he went up the Courtenay River
in a canoe with Natives. In this first at all detailed
description of the area, Mayne drew special attention
to the open "prairies" of rich soil, "perfectly clear land
ready for the plough", and concluded that the district
was "a most desirable place for a settlement".]
Mayne reported that the Comox Natives
recognized that white settlers would soon be arriving
in their area, which because of its remoteness and
lack of attraction for fur traders and gold diggers
had previously escaped European colonial intrusion.
The scarcity of good agricultural land on Vancouver
Island, especially of land clear of the heavy timber
that covered most of the coastal area, ensured that
settlement by Europeans would not be much longer
delayed. Although Mayne learned that the N atives
valued the land highly at Comox for the abundance
of berries as well as game and other resources, in
the eyes of Europeans it was open for settlement
because it was not being cultivated in any way they
could recognize. The first prospective settlers, a small
group from the Nanaimo coal mines, pre-empted
land at Comox in June 1862, but then withdrew,
with one exception, George Mitchell, because of
lack of access to markets. During this summer the
colonial government, prompted by Attorney-General
G.H. Cary, publicized plans for officially sponsored
settlements at Comox and Cowichan in newspapers
and meetings in Victoria. A series of new Comox
pre-emptions were registered at the beginning of
September, and at the beginning of the next month
the navy transported the first group of permanent
European settlers to Comox.
The direct naval involvement in the Comox
settlement began with Governor Douglas' letter of
July 31 to the navy's commander-in-chief for the
Pacific Station, Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Maitland,
requesting that a gunboat might accompany
some settlers "about to form a settlement near the
Courtenay River in the Comax Country". Maitland
responded favourably, and the gunboat HMS Grappler
under the command of Lieutenant Edmund Hope
Verney carried the first group of some thirty-five
settlers to Comox on October 1-2. The voyage, which
brought such great and sudden change to the Comox
district, is recorded in the ship's logbook preserved
among the Admiralty records in the British National
Archives. According to the log, the Grappler in Victoria
harbour received the settlers for Comox with others
for Cowichan early in the morning of October 1, and
sailed at 9. After discharging settlers at Cowichan at
2:15 in the afternoon, it anchored for the night at 5:50
near Dodds Narrows south of Nanaimo. It sailed at
6 the next morning, passed Nanaimo at 7, and at 3:50:
"Anchored at Mouth of Courtney [sic] River", and
then "Disembarked Settlers".2
Both the seamen and the commander of the
Grappler were well aware that in the foundation of
the Comox settlement they were being called upon
to undertake tasks outside normal naval duties. The
Victoria Colonist reported that the seamen complained
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 40 No. 2 that they had not been given extra pay for their labour
in transporting and landing the settlers and their
possessions. Lieutenant Verney undertook the work
of establishing the settlement more enthusiastically,
but in letters he termed the Vancouver Island colony
"a very curious place" and described the peculiar
mixture of responsibilities and tasks he had been
given there in a way that made his politically
experienced father, a long-serving British Member of
Parliament, caution his relatively youthful son about
the need for discretion "because many of your duties
appear to be more connected with the Colony than
with the Navy". On one occasion Lieutenant Verney
appears to have been reproved by a superior officer
for making an improper naval intervention in colonial
affairs by criticizing the Vancouver Island government
for failing to keep promises to pay Cowichan Natives
for the land it took from them, but such cautions and
reprimands did not discourage him from interesting
and involving himself in the Comox settlement.3
As well as commanding the ship that
brought the settlers, Verney performed the historically
valuable service of providing the earliest reports of
the first days of the Comox settlement, in letters to
his father and stepmother in England, Sir Harry
Verney and Parthenope, Lady Verney. On October
11 he wrote to his stepmother about the voyage that
brought the settlers, and stated that when he returned
a few days later he found them "in ecstacies with the
country". On November 1 he wrote his father a fuller
report as a result of another trip to Comox on October
28-30. He described canoeing up the river and visiting
about twenty settlers busy building their log houses.
He predicted a fine future for the settlement, stating
that although he had often heard of the fertility of
the "Komux country" it exceeded his expectations,
and writing enthusiastically about the beauty of the
scenery, the large stretches of open land, the great
trees of the forest, and the abundance of game.4
On this last visit Verney brought with him
1. I have given a fuller account
of early naval exploration of
the Comox area in the article,
"What is in a Name? Captain
Courtenay and Vancouver
Island Exploration", British
Columbia Historical News, vol.
37 (2004), no. 4, 3-7, continued
in the renamed journal, British
Columbia History, vol. 38 (2005),
no. 1, 35. My transcript of much
of R.C. Mayne's report, 19 April,
1860, from the British Columbia
Archives (hereafter BCA), F1217,
is printed in D.E. Isenor, W.N.
Mclnnis, E.G. Stephens and
D.E. Watson, Land of Plenty, A
History of the Comox District
(Campbell River: Ptarmigan
press, 1987), 57.
2. Correspondence between
Douglas and Maitland, 31 July-4
Aug., 1862, Maitland's Pacific
Station Journal, Public Record
Office (hereafter PRO), National
Archives, Kew, England, ADM
50/311. Log of HAAS Grappler,
PRO, ADM 53/8158.
3. Complaint of Grappler's
seamen, Colonist, 25 Oct., 1862.
Letters of Sir Harry Verney to
Edmund, 13 Feb., 1863, and
Edmund to Sir Harry, 22 Sept.,
1862, Vancouver Island Letters of
Edmund Hope Verney, 1862-65,
ed. A. Pritchard (Vancouver:
UBCPress, 1996) (cited below
as Verney, Letters), 31, 91. See
also the Introduction, 42.
4. Verney, Letters, 93-94,
5. Hills, Diary, 29-30 Oct.,
1862, Provincial Synod of the
Anglican Church of Canada, BCA,
microfilm A796. Hills to Sir Harry
Verney, 30 Oct., 1862, Claydon
House Trust, Claydon House,
Buckinghamshire, England.
HMS Grappler 1862.
Photograph of an
otherwise unknown
painting in one of Lieut.
E.H. Verney's albums.
Claydon House Trust.
21 6. Verney, Letters, 133-34,137.
7. Verney, Letters, 56-57n., 154.
8. Spencer to Douglas, 13
April, 1863, BCA, Colonial
Correspondence, F1226. Log
of HAAS Forward, PRO, ADM
53/8028. Produce at Comox at
such an early date as April 1863
was probably provided by George
Mitchell, the only one of the
prospective settlers of June 1862
to remain at Comox.
9. In 1864 Robert Brown
estimated that there were
about 76 Natives at Comox,
including 50 'Comoncs' and 10
'Puntledge', in his "Journal of
the Vancouver Island Exploring
Expedition", BCA, Add MS 794,
vol. 4,159 (omitted in John
Hayman's 1989 edition of this
journal). For complaints from
settlers about the government's
failure to pay Natives for land
taken from them, and about the
inactivity of the gunboats, see
the letters signed C.R.B. and
Beta in the Colonist, 18 Feb.,
1864. Morton Jones to Governor
Arthur Kennedy, 5 April, 1865,
BCA, Colonial Correspondence,
F1208.14, and Franklyn to
Colonial Secretary, 1 May, 1865,
10. For a contemporary estimate
of the devastating impact of
the 'whisky traders' on the
Native population, see David
Higgins, "The Passing of a Race",
reprinted in Tales of a Pioneer
Journalist (Surrey, B.C.: Heritage
House, 1996), 124. Cf. Pidcock,
"Adventures in Vancouver
Island", BCA, Add MS 728, vol.
4a, 82.
11. Pike to J.W.S. Spencer, 4
April, 1863, enclosing F.O. Simpson
to Pike, 3 April, BCA, Colonial
Correspondence, F1210.5a.
Lieutenant Edmund Hope
Verney, about 1860.
BC Archives photo 22-95061
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 40 No. 2 to Comox on the Grappler George Hills, the Anglican
Bishop of Columbia, and so while we owe directly
to Verney the first account of the new settlement,
we owe indirectly to him and the navy also the
record of its beginning that appears in Hills' diary.
Probably the fact that Hills was related to Verney, as
the cousin of Verney's father, enabled him to reach
the Comox settlement as quickly as he did, and thus
provide descriptions of his visits to settlers working
on their houses and Natives engaged in fishing, and
to corroborate Verney's view of the excellence of
the land and the promising future of the settlement.
Before departing on October 30 Hills held divine
service for the settlers, and in a letter to Sir Harry
Verney written the same day at Deep Bay on the return
voyage to Victoria he commended Lieutenant Verney
for addressing the settlers at the end of his service to
offer them all the assistance in his power.5
Verney's continued interest in the Comox
settlement appears in letters to his father in the
spring of 1863. He returned to Comox in late April
and reported that during an afternoon spent visiting
settlers he found the settlement much advanced: land
was being ploughed, and gardens cultivated, "and
I had a glass of rich and delicious new milk". He
came back on May 15, bringing as his guests Mr. and
Mrs. Nicol from the Nanaimo coal mines, and went
up the river in a canoe and again visited settlers in
their houses. He carried with him "juvenile works in
verse and prose for distribution among the youthful
population", and conducted divine service for the
Other letters and a diary he kept in shorthand
show that from time to time Verney gave passage on
the Grappler both to the families of settlers and to
clergy going to perform services at Comox. According
to his diary on September 15, 1863 he brought to
Comox two daughters ofthe Robb family, which had
pre-empted land that is now the centre of the Comox
townsite, and on October 2 he brought an Anglican
clergyman from Victoria, Rev. RJ. Dundas, whom he
j omed with a congregation of ten at the Robbs' house.
His helpfulness was not confined to the Anglican
clergy, for he mentions in a letter on July 25, 1863
giving passage to Comox some time previously to
Rev. Ebenezer Robson, the Methodist minister from
Other services performed by the navy for
the Comox settlement in its first spring included
bringing seed for the crops and providing a market
for the produce. OnApril 13,1863 the senior officer at
Esquimalt, Captain J.W.S. Spencer, wrote in response
to a request from Governor Douglas that the navy
would gladly accord any accommodation it could
for carrying the settlers' seeds, "but it must always
be borne in mind that Gun Boats are not the most
convenient vessels for carrying either passengers, or
articles liable to injury from wet or damp, having no
further storage than their upper deck, exposed both
to rain and sea" - reservations that may suggest some
surprise at the peculiar demands being made upon the
navy by the Comox settlement. In Victoria the Colonist
on June 9 described the growth of the settlers' crops,
but the log of the gunboat HMS Forward, sister ship
of the Grappler, reveals that a sale of farm produce
had already been made, probably the first record of
any sale from the new agricultural settlement. An
entry in the ship's log at Comox on April 29 reads:
"RecJ on board 84 lbs of Fresh Beef and 42 lbs of
Vegetables purchased of one of the settlers". This
initiates a pattern of sales important for the future
of Comox, where the navy later became a valuable
market for farmers, especially after the establishment
of a naval rifle range on Comox Spit in the 1890s.
Meanwhile during the earlier period before regular
coastal shipping was established the navy sometimes
helped Comox farmers convey their produce to the
larger markets. The Colonist reported on February 22,
1867 that when the gunboat Sparrowhawk overtook a
Comox farmer en route by canoe to Victoria with a
half ton of ham and bacon it gave him passage as far
as Nanaimo.8
While the navy was called upon to undertake
various roles outside normal naval duties it seems
never to have been seriously required to protect
the settlers against the Natives of the Comox area,
although settlers occasionally complained that the
gunboats did not come as often as had initially been
promised or do much to ensure their security. The
settlers, arriving in the aftermath of the devastating
smallpox epidemic, found only a small remnant of
the original Natives of the area, the Pentlatch, whose
numbers had earlier been much reduced by intertribal
warfare, after which they were partly replaced by
the tribe named Comox (K'omoks), who had been
driven south during the 1840s by the more powerful
Lekwiltok from their old territory around Campbell
River and Cape Mudge. The settlers seem to have
regarded both these groups at Comox as friendly
rather than feeling threatened by them, even though
Natives, left with small reserves, often complained
they had not been paid for the land taken from them
12. Verney's two commissions
as justice of the peace are
preserved in his family's
archive at Claydon House,
Buckinghamshire. Extensive
documents relating to the
seizing of the Shark and Hart's
conviction and temporary
imprisonment are in BCA,
Colonial Correspondence,
F593.44, F594.10, and F597.3.
See Hills, Diary, 21 Nov., 1865.
Richard Mackie has shown that
Hart's liquor trade became linked
with violence and death among
white settlers, in The Wilderness
Profound: Victorian Life on the
Gulf of Georgia (Victoria: Sono
Nis, 1995), 78-79.
13. Mayne, Four years in British
Columbia and Vancouver Island
(London: John Murray, 1862),
246. Pidcock, "Adventures",
14. Verney to Commander
E. Hardinge, 28 Nov., 1863,
BCA, Colonial Correspondence,
F1208.5. Douglas to Hardinge, 22
Dec, 1863, BCA, D/A/10G79,
vol. 3. Lascelles to Hardinge and
Morton Jones, 13 Jan., 28 Feb.,
and 26 March, 1864, F1208.6-7,
F1208.10, F1208.13. Morton
Jones to Kennedy, 5-10 April,
1865, F1208.14. Franklyn to
Colonial Secretary, 1 May, 1865,
15. Franklyn to Colonial
Secretary, 18 Oct., 1865,
with depositions by Cave and
Native constable and Kennedy's
response, BCA, Colonial
Correspondence, F600.6.
16. Franklyn to Colonial
Secretary, 4 Nov., 1865, BCA,
17. Denman, report to Kennedy,
14 Nov., 1865, BCA, F600.6,
and Report of Proceedings to
Secretary of Admiralty, 27 Nov.,
1865, PRO, ADM 1/5924. Logs of
Sutlej, Sparrowhawk, Clio, and
Forward, PRO, ADM 53/8838,
9255, 9147, 9449.
18. Denman to Kennedy, 14
Nov., 1865, BCA, F600.6.
19. Ibid.
23 20. "Alleged Disturbances at
Comox", Colonist, 18 Dec, 1865,
21. Porcher, A Tour of Duty
in the Pacific Northwest.
E.A. Porcher and H.M.S.
Sparrowhawk, 1865-68, ed.
Dwight L. Smith (Fairbanks:
University of Alaska Press, 2000),
22. Kennedy's memo approving
Denman's recommendation
is dated 15 Nov., 1865, BCA,
Colonial Correspondence,
F867.13. In the aftermath, the
missionary some settlers blamed
for precipitating the crisis,
Cave Brown Cave, soon went
elsewhere when Bishop Hills
accepted his decision that he
was not the right man for Comox
(Hills, Diary, 21 Nov., 1865).
"A chief of the Eucletaw
Tribe.  V.I." A photograph
with this inscription
in Lieut. E.H. Verney's
hand enclosed by him in
a letter of March 1865.
Claydon House Trust
- complaints that settlers (who viewed this as the
responsibility ofthe colonial government) recognized
to be entirely justified. In late April 1863 when alarm
had been caused on the coast by murders in the Gulf
Islands, at Governor Douglas' request the gunboats
Forward and Grappler made a brief visit to Comox
to reassure the settlers but there was no sign of any
threat. In April 1865 when Commander Theodore
Morton Jones visited Comox in HMS Cameleon he
optimistically reported that the Natives welcomed the
presence of the settlers. A month later the Nanaimo
magistrate, W.H. Franklyn, reported after one of
his periodic visits to the settlement that the Comox
chief, Wacas, had "a very good character among the
settlers". There were two causes, however, which
involved the navy in policing duties from time to
time at Comox: first, to protect the Natives from
illegal 'whisky traders', and second to deal with
problems arising from large-scale seasonal incursions
of Lekwiltok from Cape Mudge.9
The navy's attempt to suppress the illegal
liquor traffic at Comox as elsewhere on the coast
proved frustrating because of the difficulty of
obtaining evidence and convictions. The prohibition
of the sale of liquor to Natives was both paternalistic
and discriminatory but was intended to protect from
unscrupulous traders a people in whose culture
alcohol had been unknown. Some contemporary
estimates suggest the liquor traffic was second only
to the smallpox epidemic as cause of the decline of
the Native population on the coast. At Comox in the
1860s there are reports of large amounts of liquor,
which included deadly concoctions, being brought
to the Native villages by schooner and canoe from
Victoria and elsewhere, and early settlers like R.H.
Pidcock described the harm to the Natives that
The whisky sellers naturally took good care
to conceal their illicit activities from the authorities,
but in 1863 the accident of a shipwreck brought some
of these activities to light. In late March the schooner
Explorer ran aground on the north coast of Hornby
Island. Commander John Pike of HMS Devastation,
which happened then to be at Nanaimo, sent some of
his men to investigate. They reported that the Explorer
had carried a large cargo of liquor, for which it lacked
the proper papers. The captain, Moses Phillips, stated
he planned to establish a store at Comox with his
partner, John Hart, before continuing further north
Witnesses testified that they heard Phillips and
Hart discussing plans to trade liquor for furs with
Hart's store was subsequently established
adjacent to the reserve at Comox, and became the
source of many problems, sometimes prompting
naval investigation and action. In connection with
such activities Lieutenant Verney held commissions
as justice of the peace, signed by James Douglas,
for both colonies of Vancouver Island and British
Columbia. In November 1863 Verney returning from
a northern voyage in the Grappler, during which he
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 40 No. 2 took action against liquor sellers at Metlakatla and
Kitimat, seized the schooner Shark, which had recently
landed liquor at Halt's. InDecember of the next year
Hart was sentenced in a Nanaimo court to a year
in prison, in lieu of a fine, for having liquor landed
within a prohibited distance from a reserve. After he
had been in prison a few weeks in Victoria, however,
Arthur Kennedy, who had replaced Douglas as
Governor of Vancouver island, ordered him released
upon payment of costs, following the presentation of
a petition, as advised by the attorney-general. Hart
with a partner then resumed business for several
years at Comox, where Bishop Hills in his diary in
November 1865 described their establishment as
"productive of vast evil" among settlers, but the
agricultural settlers do not appear to have been
implicated in the illicit traffic that was the concern of
the navy.12
The illegal liquor trade at Comox received
attention from authorities in high quarters, as is
shown in various naval and colonial documents, the
latter in some cases annotated in the handwriting
of Governor Kennedy himself. The records leave a
strong sense of the futility of attempts at suppression,
in view of the facts that willing victims, justly resentful
of a highly discriminatory law, usually refused to
provide evidence, and that the traders in a lucrative
occupation often could easily afford to pay fines and
obtain the assistance of some of the colony's best
More frequently than the liquor traffic,
however, it was the incursions of the Lekwiltok,
Kwakwaka'wakw from Cape Mudge, generally
known to the settlers and others at the time as
'Euclataws' or 'Yacultas' that brought the navy to
Comox. This tribe was accustomed to make extended
visits to Comox during certain fishing seasons on the
rivers, coming down the coast in great numbers in a
large armada of canoes, bringing the planks of their
houses with them. They were a vigorous and bold
tribe, who in the past had a reputation for aggressive
and 'piratical' behaviour. Mayne in 1862 observed
that they were the only tribe on the coast to resist the
gunboats. At Comox, while some settlers admired
them - Pidcock described them as "a fine lot of
fellows", others alleged they came to steal the farmers'
potatoes. The complaint about theft of potatoes was
a serious matter since this was a specially important
crop for many of the farmers. It resulted in a number
of visits by gunboats to Comox in the years 1863-65,
and at the end of the last year brought to Comox the
largest naval force that ever appeared there in the early
years ofthe settlement.13
The problems began in the autumn of
1863 following the settlers' first potato harvest. On
November 25 when Verney in the Grappler visited
Comox en route back from Metlakatla, he reported
that the farmers complained of Euclataws stealing
potatoes, and that their presence was desired neither
by the Comox Natives nor by the settlers. In late
December and early January 1863-64 at Governor
Douglas' request Lieutenant Horace Lascelles in HMS
Fonvard spent two weeks at Comox. He reported that
the settlers wanted the Euclataws ordered back to
Cape Mudge, but that they had been better behaved
since the recent visit of the Grappler, and he did not
feel justified in doing this. In response to a petition
of settlers to the colonial government, however, he
made two further visits in February and March, and
then ordered the Euclataws to return to their own
country. He reported that they took down their
houses without any trouble. The next year in early
April 1865 the senior officer at Esquimalt, Commander
Theodore Morton Jones, came to Comox in the larger,
more heavily armed vessel, HMS Cameleon, and once
more ordered the Euclataws back to Cape Mudge; he
reported that they promised to obey. Later that month,
Lascelles called at Comox in the Fonvard, with W.H.
Franklyn, the magistrate from Nanaimo, to confirm
that they had departed. In the autumn of that year,
however, an apparent crisis developed, which proved
to be exaggerated but sheds interesting light on the
early history of the agricultural settlement, and the
relations between Natives and settlers.14
The crisis of October-November 1865 began
with the arrival in Nanaimo of the Anglican lay
missionary catechist from Comox, jordayne Cave
Brown Cave, accompanied by one of the Native
constables recently appointed at Comox by Franklyn.
On October 18 they made depositions to Franklyn that
about 150 Euclataws had recently arrived at Comox
and camped two miles up the river, beyond reach of
the gunboats. The constable deposed that they had
come to steal the white men's potatoes, and to take
revenge upon the Comox Natives for the deaths of
five of their tribe from drinking whisky at Comox on
a previous occasion. Cave stated that when he went
to the Euclataws at their camp on the river the chief,
Claylik, said that the Forward had already driven
them away two or three times, and that they would
kill any man who now tried to put them off the land.
In a scene the missionary seems to have viewed with
25 HMS Sutlej.
BC Archives photo F-06988.
special indignation, "He then held open his blanket
& danced on the beach in a defiant manner".15
Upon receiving these depositions from
Franklyn, Governor Kennedy instructed him to
proceed to Comox in the Forward and order the
Euclataws to depart. When he arrived atComox in the
gunboat on October 31 Franklyn sent Police Sergeant
Blake up the river to summon the Euclataws down
to the ship. Claylik and others then came down in
a large canoe; Franklyn addressed them through an
interpreter, reproving them for repeatedly disobeying
the governor's instruction, and ordering them away
from Comox. They said they had come only to fish for
salmon that did not come to their own area so soon,
and that they needed more time to dry the fish they
had caught. At first they promised to comply with
the order, but Franklyn learned they did not actually
intend to leave, and that they said they despised the
'tennas' (little) gunboat. He reported on November
4 that he remained at Comox awaiting the arrival of
a larger force.16
The navy responded with all available
force. The commander-in-chief of the Pacific Station,
Rear-Admiral Joseph Denman, decided, as he later
stated, that he should visit in person "a place where
so many ineffectual remonstrances had been made".
He arrived in Comox Bay on November 7 in his
flagship, HMS Sutlej, accompanied by the Clio and
the Sparrowhawk. The Sutlej was a big ship with a
crew of over five hundred and more than thirty heavy
guns as well as much other armament, and the Clio
and the Sparrowhawkwere also much larger and more
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 40 No. 2 heavily armed than the little Fonvard. According to
their logbooks, the three ships immediately on the
afternoon of November 7 put on a display of power,
firing shells and rockets, and carrying out various
exercises. Denman reported that in response the
Euclataws hastily began to pull down their houses,
and send them, down the river in canoes with their
women. Denman detained the canoes until the chiefs
came to him.. He put Claylik in irons for forty-eight
hours as punishment for pointing a musket at Cave
the previous summer. Then after Denman addressed
them on November 13 the Euclataws left for Cape
Meanwhile Denman held a meeting with
the settlers on November 10 at Cave's mission house,
which he and the others reached with difficulty
because of heavy rains and flooding. He found
that two-thirds of the thirty settlers who attended
favoured leaving the Euclataws undisturbed, as their
labour was important to the farmers, and no danger
was apprehended. He promised to tell the governor
of the settlers' wish that the Euclataws should be
allowed to continue coming for the .fishing season in
the autumn. Subsequently Denman, as he stated in his
report to Governor Kennedy, visited several settlers.
He found that a party led by James Robb was very
critical of Cave for his activity in the navy
to drive away the Euclataws, and that the settlers were
afraid Denman might attack the Euclataws as he had
the Natives at Clayoquot Sound, where in October
1864 in retaliation for the plundering of a trading
schooner and killing of its crew he had carried out a
punitive attack on the Ahousats, causing much, death,
and destruction.18
As a result of what he learned in his meetings
with the settlers, in his address to the Euclataws on
November 13 Denman told Claylik and the other
chiefs that they must not come again to Comox
without the governor's permission but that he would
attempt to obtain thi s. In the conclusi on of hi s report
he stated he thought it right to mention that the
Euclataws had recently behaved well to the settlers,
and that he believed they did not deserve such a bad
reputation as previously. He found that the settlers,
though scattered and without the ability to combine
for defense, were "certainly without apprehension of
An interesting comment on these events
appeared in the Victoria Colonist in a letter dated
December 6 by a Comox settler who used the signature
'Beta'.   Like some of the settlers interviewed bv
Denman, he was very critical of Cave for attempting
to have the Euclataws expelled from. Comox. He
declared that they had been accustomed to come there
for salmon fishing "from time immemorial" and that
Denman had no right to force them, to leave:
We consider that the Euclataws have the privileges of
British subjects, and as such have as good a right to
visit Comox as any other men, so long as they behave
themselves, and it is unfair to punish them thus before
they have done wrong.
He alleged that in the past they had wrongly
been blamed for the theft of potatoes actually taken
by the Comox Natives. He emphasized the value of
the Euclataws in providing both labour for digging
potatoes and a market for their sale, as well as selling
salmon and venison to the settlers.20
When Admiral Denman returned to
Esquimalt with the Sutlej and the Clio, he temporarily
left behind HMS Sparrowhawk with Commander
Edwin Porcher to monitor the situation at Comox
and Cape Mudge. Porcher had just arrived from
England with, the Sparrowhawk to replace the two
smaller old gunboats, and so he observed events at
Comox with special interest as his first experience
of the west coast colonies. In a journal he kept he
seems to have viewed the bloodless Comox potato
war as, like the bloodless San Juan 'pig war' a few
years earlier, finally more comic than serious. He
recorded that the events concluded with Denman
presenting gifts and a certificate of good behaviour
to Claylik, and undertaking to support the chief's
request to be appointed a constable. Porcher reflected
a little ironically on what he considered to be crisis
that never was: "Thus ended our warlike expedition
against the Euclataws who were supposed to be the
most troublesome tribe in the whole island".21
Governor Kennedy immediately accepted
Admiral Denman's recommendation that in the future
the Euclataws should be allowed to come to Comox
annually in the fishing season, as the majority of the
settlers desired. The yearly arrival of the flotilla of
Euclataw canoes from Cape Mudge at Com.ox Bay,
described by Pidcock as a remarkable sight in the
1860s, continued to be a notable local event of the
autumn until at least the 1880s. There were no further
crises, real or apparent, that caused any large naval
force to be sent to the Comox settlement.22"
27 The Hotel Phair:
and the Extraordinary Family Who Created Her
By Patricia Rogers
Pat Rogers' last
article for BC History
was in issue 39.4.
This is another
story written and
presented at the
annual story telling
festival in Proctor,
BC on July 7 & 8,
Susan leFebour was
the storyteller.
In the audience were
three generations of
the Phair Family.
The time is September 1928, a meeting of the
Ladies Literary Society, hosted by Mrs. Alexander
Carrie. The Guest of Honour is Gretchcn Hatt Gibson,
the daughter of Edwin Ernest Phair, the Proprietor
of the luxurious Hotel Phair. Please welcome Mrs.
"Wrhen my Father first set foot in this shantytown
on the side of a mountain lake little did the residents
know that he brought with him a family ancestry
steeped in loyalist pursuits, intrigue and Witchcraft.
Oh yes, you heard me right. Witchcraft. I see I have
your attention now.
Let me see a show of hands-how many here
have heard of Mary Estey? Rebecca Nurse? Benedict
Arnold? Well, I am glad to see your education has not
been a total romp!
Now, get comfortable, sit back and listen as I
tell you the tale of the luxurious Hotel Phair and the
extraordinary family who created her.
My Father entered the world in 1851 in
Fredencton, New Brunswick, a child of privilege. His
Father was a prosperous Barrister, his Mother from a
family of means.
Little Eddie grew up as most boys did with, one
eye on the door and the other on the cookie jar. He
was just a tad spoiled. When his parents separated Eddie and his Mother moved to the home
of her parents. Little Eddie was soon packed off to
Boarding School. However, after many letters home
to his Grandfather, he was soon home again. It was at
that time that my Father knew he had the gift, the gift
of the gab. At 11 years of age he had turned the whole
school upside down in quite short order. He had the
gift and if it worked as well as he thought it could, it
could be the Midas Touch.
Now, I can see you are wondering how
Fredencton and Benedict Arnold could ever possibly
be linked. When we think of Benedict Arnold on this
side of the 49th we think of a Hero. It is the Americans
who have forever tarnished his name.
During the time of the American Revolution
Benedict Arnold became di senchanted wi th Congress.
He felt slighted and passed over for promotions. He
had incurred so many debts that Congress wanted
to court-martial him.. Can you imagine that, Debtors
Prison. It seems the high life and a young wife were
his undoing. In 1780 he schemed to hand over the
Fort at West Point, New York, to the British for 20,000
pounds. Well, the plan failed dismally so he abruptly
changed sides, saving hisown skin. He collected 6,000
pounds from the British and was promoted to Brigadier
General! He was on a roll. He created the American
Legion, a group of soldiers fighting under the King's
Colours and appointed Great Grandfather Andrew
Phair as the Adjutant. Adjutant is a fancy name for
secretary. Andrew Phair was responsible for all the
General's paperwork. He was the first to know the
General's thoughts - a position of some confidence.
As you will have guessed the family remained
loyal to the Crown and fought with distinction helping
to secure the North. America we know today. A sense
of civic responsibility was well ingrained in my family
and has withstood the test of time.
Andrew, as a loyal defender, was granted land
as a United Empire Loyalist in 1793. The designation
of United Empire Loyalist brought with it a certain
cachet that is evident to this day.
Can you imagine the bedtime stories passed
from Father to son to son? The battles, the Indians, the
victories. Enough to turn sleepy time eyes into saucers
and eventually lull them into a dreamland filled with
vast battlefields and glorious victories. The stuff little
boys are made of.
In 1874 my Father cast his eyes upon the petite
beauty known as Junietta Estey. Flashing dark eyes
and the wit and intelligence to match his own. Oh talk
about pitching woo, he was smitten. After a whirlwind
courtship they were ma.rri.ed that fall.
Mother's family had a bit of a dark past, although
by no fault of her or her family, as history has shown.
Oh, my, where to begin...
Mary Estey was my Great Grandmother and she
and her sisters, Rebecca Nurse and Sarah Cloyce lived
in Salem Village, Massachusetts, in 1692. The village
name alone is enough to conjure up the ghosts of a time
gone terribly wrong.
My Great Grandmother was 58 years old and the
Mother of 7 when she was accused of being a Witch.
In the winter of 1692 young Betty Parris became ill-she
dashed about, dove under furniture, threw .fits and
contorted in pain. Soon others followed suit; the local
doctor, one William Griggs, diagnosed Witchcraft and
outright bedlam ensued. Soon the villagers were seeing
Witches flying through the winter's mist off and on
their broomsticks!
The girls sai d my Great Grandmother's spectral
image was strangling them and causing them, all sorts of
afflictions. As soon as she was shackled the afflictions
stopped. Her fate was sealed and on September 22,1692
my Great Grandmother was hanged.
Rebecca suffered the same fate being hanged on
July 19,1692. She was 71 years old and had a reputation
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 40 No. 2 of piety and simplicity of heart.
The only member of the trio to escape the
gallows was Sarah. She, instead, was shackled and
If hanging was not enough a Witch was not
allowed to be buried in consecrated ground. The
families silently buried their own in unmarked graves
and sadly, over the years, the locations have been lost
to time.
In 1711 the families were compensated with 20
pounds for wrongful execution Too little too late, I
fear. The hysteria died as quickly as it started, yet the
very hint of anything demonic will send shivers down
the spine of my family. You can rest assured that these
trumped up charges bear no familial links. Of that time
we carry within our souls the knowledge that good
champions evil, no matter the time elapsed.
Yes, long shadows weave through the very fabric
of my family.
My parents welcomed their first child in 1876,
but a long life was not meant to be. Infant death was not
uncommon, however no matter how often it occurred
it struck the heart with the force of ten blades.
Jasper arrived in 1879 and I was, well suffice it
to say, I am the youngest - as old as my tongue and a
bit older than my teeth.
Father was busy managing the Beaches Hotel
and the Kent Northern Railway while Mother
tended to us young ones. Their lives seemed full and
One morning Mother caught a glimpse of a
familiar spark in Father's eye and she knew exactly
what he saw-opportunity. Railroads carry passengers
and passengers need accommodation. The CPR was
already beating this drum and Father wanted to join
the parade.
It was not long before Father and a group of
like-minded individuals heard opportunity knocking
in the Interior of British Columbia. As Father packed
his bag Mother gave him her blessing and a promise
to follow.
Father arrived in what was to become Nelson
in 1890 and with the investment money started the
proceedings to erect a hotel the likes of which the
Interior had never seen
Mother tied up loose ends and with Jasper and
I in tow closed up the house and boarded the train
West in 1891. Little did she know that her love for her
children and their Father would soon be tested.
Now we must remember Canada was only 24
years old and the most civilized part of the country
was the part we were leaving. There were towns with
houses and white picket fences, cities with modern
transportation, telegraph and telephone systems, libraries,
churches, universities and direct lines to the markets of
Europe. Canada East was booming.
Bearing that in mind can you imagine what went
through my Mother's mind when she first set foot in
Shantytown West?
I still have the picture etched into my memory of
that wild and woolly town There were wooden shanties
and tents, and scruffy, unshaven men The air was blue
with smoke and the smell was overpowering. Mother
told me to quit scrunching up my nose, as it just may stick.
There were muddy ruts for streets and not one sidewalk. I
didn't know where to step as I had the distinct impression
my patent leather shoes would soon be swallowed up
and me with them!
Jasper's eyes were like saucers and Mother was
forever pulling him from one disreputable sight or
another. He was intrigued by the painted ladies, the
gunfire, the hullabaloo from the saloons and the horses
forever racing about-it was magical for him.
All the colour drained from Mother's face. This
was no place for a proper woman and a young lady.
After considerable discussions and many tears
Mother and I waved goodbye to Father and Jasper. I heard
Mother thank our Lord she had not sold the house!
Hotel Phair July 1898
Nelson and District Museum,
Archives and Art Gallery photo
29   Archives and Archivists
Submitted by Sylvia Stopworth
Edited by Sylvia Stopforth,
Librarian and Archivist, Norma Marian Alloway Library
Trinity Western University
The Simon Fraser letters at SFU
Based on a July 6, 2007, interview
with Frances Fournier, SFU
In 1965, when Simon Fraser University
officially opened at its mountain-top
campus overlooking the Fraser River,
there was no University Archives. So
when Donald Fraser, descendant of famed
explorer Simon Fraser, donated a collection
of historic letters and other documents to
the new University, they were locked away
in a desk for safe-keeping.
When the drawer of the desk was
unlocked just over two decades later, it was
like stumbling upon a lost treasure.
Experts were consulted, and the
authenticity of the documents, most dating
back to 1846, was verified.
The "find" consisted of twenty-eight
pages of fragile documents. Most were
letters written by Fraser to family and
friends around 1846, discussing his family's
history. There were also a few pages from
the account books of the first Fort Liard on
the Peace River. These date back to 1803,
when Fraser was serving as a clerk for the
North West Company.
Simon Fraser is sometimes referred to
as the founding father of British Columbia.1
Between 1805 and 1807 he established the
first four colonial trading posts west of the
Rockies. A few years later, in 1808, he set
off to explore the river that would later bear
his name. In spite of his pivotal role in the
history of our province, original documents
pertaining to Fraser are rare.
When the Simon Fraser letters - as
they came to be called - came to light
again at SFU in the late 1980s, they were
authenticated, enclosed in acid-free file
folders, and placed in storage, this time
in the University Archives. But these
documents were not in pristine shape, and
with the passing of time, their physical
condition continued to deteriorate.
Enter professional Conservator,
Rosaleen Hill.
Hill conducted a detailed assessment
of these invaluable documents, identified
the work that needed to be done, and
- thanks to a generous grant from the
National Archival Development Program
(Library and Archives Canada), embarked
on a project in January, 2007, to clean and
repair the papers, ensuring their long-term
Looking back on the project a few
months later, Archivist Frances Fournier
says, "we all learned a lot." At one point,
having carefully tested the papers and inks,
Hill washed the letters - first in pH neutral
water, then in alkaline water. She invited
archives staff to watch. No one doubted
for an instant that Hill knew what she
was doing, but there was still a moment of
apprehension as the precious documents
slipped beneath the water.
The accompanying images clearly
demonstrate the fruits of Hill's labour.
Thanks to the far-sighted efforts of
the SFU Archives, researchers will be able
to access the information contained in these
unique and significant documents for years
to come.
For more information, visit the SFU
Archives online at:
A few of the cleaned letters appear on the
following pages
1 Barbara Rogers, "Simon Fraser-Explorer." The Greater
Vancouver Book. Discover Vancouver. <http://www.>
Accessed July 10, 2007.
CP     Apple (117)t    Amazon     eBay     Yahoo!     News(1106)T
Burnaby    Surrey    Vancouver
SFU Online    A-Z Links
SFU Search
About Us
Archives Program
Records Management
Freedom of Information
Protection of Privacy
Copyright Program
History of Simon Frasei
Reports, Publications a
32 BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 40 No. 2 aw.£x_
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34 BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 40 No. 2 Book Reviews
Clam Gardens; Aboriginal Markulture on
Canada's West Coast.
Judith Williams. Vancouver, New Star Books
(Transmontanus 15), 2006. 128 pp. Photos, notes, index.
$19.00 paperback.
An artist who is also a determined
and thorough researcher and an experienced
beachcomber, Judith Williams pokes about
BritishColumbia's shore and islands, digging
clams, encountering and questioning coast-
dwellers (Native and new-comers), and
following her evidence to unsanctioned
conclusions.. As a consequence of her
digging and questioning, she has come to
challenge the received view of indigenous
people as hunter-gatherers. In an earlier
book in this same series, Two Wolves at the
Dawn of Time, she questioned the notion
that "inhabitants of the most complex
Native culture in North Am erica" wandered
"aimlessly around in the rain hoping to trip
over food." She looked then at cranberry
orchards and clover gardens. The seed of
the present book germinated in 1993 when
Klahoose elder Elizabeth Harry (Keekus)
directed her to the clam garden structures
on Quadra Island.
From there her quest took her by boat
to Cortes Island, around Desolation Sound,
and north to the Broughton Archipelago.
She borrowed her definition from Billy
Proctor, upcoast personality and clam
garden cultivator, who learned from Native
people that a clam garden "was a clam beach
that was tended with great care and a lot
of work. Rocks were gathered up from the
sandy beach area and piled in a ring along
the low-tide perimeter. The removal of the
rocks made more room for the clams, and
the wall of stones prevented the sandy beach
from eroding." Accessible only at extreme
low tide, these elaborate structures were
designed to foster butter clam production
and became one of the foundation blocks
of a coastal economy, likely preceding
modern shellfish mariculture installations
by hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years.
She meshed her exploration and
documentation with those of marine
geomorphologist John Harper, who spotted
the human-made rock walls, while mapping
Books for review and book reviews should be sent to:
Frances Gundry, Book Review Editor,
BC Historical News,
P.O. Box 5254, Station B., Victoria, BC V8R 6N4
coastal areas from a helicopter. When
presenting their findings to what should
have been the appropriate provincial and
academic agencies, both Williams and
Harper had met with icy indifference and
even resistance. Clam gardens were not
mentioned in the "literature"; there was
no place for them in the archaeological,
historical or ethnological scheme of things.
Editor and investigative historian Terry
Glavin suggested what proved to be a fruitful
sharing of resources and "discoveries."
Williams points out that the clam gardens
were not "discovered", because they were
never lost.
This little book gathers several
threads, the first the story of the clam gardens
with the implications for understanding
Native economy. But then there is the
question of the suspected suppression, by
the anthropology father figure, Franz Boas,
and his successors to the present, of evidence
which threatens preconceived hypotheses.
Evolving from the first thread and alleviating
the second is the ongoing story of people
like Williams, Harper, Keekus, Proctor and
Glavin, who care about the West Coast and
its history and legacy, and who keep poking
about the islands, meeting on beaches, and
asking hard questions.
Phyllis Reeve is a resident of Gabriola Island
The Comox Valley
Paula Wild with Rick James, photography by Boomer
Jerritt. Madeira Park, B.C., Harbour Publishing, 2006.
143 p. illus., bibliog.., $34.95 hardcover.
The Comox Valley, by Paula
Wild with Rick James and Boomer Jerritt
(photographer) is a colourful introduction
to one of BC's most popular regions, which
extends along the east coast of central
Vancouver Island from Oyster River south
to Fanny Bay.
Wild explores the Valley's
three centres of Courtenay, Comox and
Cumberland, and the smaller communities
of Merville and Black Creek to the north and
Royston, Union Bay, Fanny Bay, Denman
and Hornby Islands to the south. Mt
Washington and Strathcona Park are also
included. A sampling of human history is
given for each community, and aspects of
natural history, geography, arts, culture,
recreation and industry are interwoven into
the text.
Boomer Jerritt's superb photographs
capture the beauty and flavour of the area
and its people. Printed on flattering glossy
paper, there are several full-page photos,
and a two-page spread heads each chapter.
Other photographers include Rick James.
Wild successfully brings the history of
the Valley to life by describing the characters
that have shaped its communities. The
history of the First Peoples of the Valley is
illustrated by chief Nim-Nim, the last of the
full-blooded Pentlatch who recalled many
wars prior to the arrival of white settlers.
The life of a pioneer farmer is told
through Eric Duncan, a tenacious and frugal
man who moved to the valley in 1877 from
the Shetland Islands. Farming played a
critical role in the history of the Comox
Valley, which Wild emphasizes.
Logging was another important
industry. Comox lumber baron Robert
Filberg encouraged the hiring of local
employees, and let them use his cabins at
William's beach. Filberg's 9-acre estate is
now used for public functions.
Wild recounts the history of Courtenay
and Comox, and includes a section on the
past and present military presence at Goose
Spit and CFB Comox. South of Courtenay,
the seaside community of Royston was a
former log dump and booming ground, and
UnionBay was abusy shipping port for coal.
Fanny Bay, at the southern boundary of the
Comox Valley, has long been a major site for
shellfish harvesting.
The Valley has produced many
activists. One of the most notorious is Ginger
Goodwin, who stood up for the rights of
miners and workers through strike action,
and was killed when his name became
associated with the Cumberland miner's
strike of 1912-1914. Environmental, as well
as political activists continue to have a
strong presence in the Valley. Best known
are Melda Buchanan (1924-2004), who was
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 40 No. 2        35 instrumental in protecting the 650-hectare
Seal Bay Nature Park and Ruth Masters,
who recently donated part of her property to
become the Masters Greenway and Wildlife
Wild highlights the unique natural
history of the Comox Valley, noting that
it is a significant area for birds, is home to
rare species such as the Morrison Creek
Lamprey, and encompasses a rare Garry
Oak ecosystem. The natural beauty draws
tourists to the mountains, beaches, and
parks. Skiing, hiking, mountain biking, and
golfing are popular recreational activities
in the area.
The Comox Valley is a thriving place
for the arts. Wild pays homage to artists
Brian Scott and Jack Shadbolt, and writers
Jack Hodgins and Des Kennedy. The Valley
also has a strong tradition in theatre, which
stems back to Sid Williams, a hiker, skier
and boxer who served on Courtenay city
council for 20 years, and was an avid actor in
theatrical productions. Today, Courtenay's
main theatre is named after him.
Part history, coffee table book and
tourist guide, The Comox Valley is a joy to
read and provides a good introduction to the
area. Readers seeking a more comprehensive
history may wish to check out the "Sources
and Further Reading" section at the back of
the book.
Though the book celebrates the
area's indisputable beauty, it sometimes
reads rather like a tourist promotion
brochure. Wild does, however, hint that the
Valley is changing, due to unprecedented
growth in recent years. Many residents are
concerned about large-scale developments.
A burgeoning population may threaten the
very "paradise" that drew them here.
Even long-term residents will pick
up new information from this book. The
photography of Boomer Jerri ttis outstanding,
and the layout is very attractive. It is a book
worth having for anyone wishing to know
more about this special part of B.C.
Jocie Ingram lives in the Comox Valley
Lantzville: the First Hundred Years.
Lynne Reeve. Lantzville, B.C., Lantzville Historical
Society, 2007. 96 p., illus. paperback.
This letter sized book outlines in
text and photographs the settlement,
changing economics and growth of the
small community of Lantzville, B.C. from
its first settlement in 1868 to mid twentieth
century. The village is situated between
Nanaimo and Parksville on the east coast
of Vancouver Island.
Author Lynne Reeve begins her
history with Lantzville pioneer George
Copley's heartfelt 1905 poem:
Oh Nanoose Bay though beautiful spot
Where first I found my freedom.
T'was on thy shore I took up my lot
And thought I had found my freedom
But soon I found to my regret
That scenery is quite unsubstantial
For a mortgage on it I could not get
When I wanted something financial.
And for many of Lantzville's settlers
during the first hundred years, it was the
financial swings of extraction economics
that shaped their community's character.
Lynne Reeve details in four chapters the
changes from stump ranches and fishing
that dominated up to the turn of the century
to coal mining that eclipsed everything from
1905 until the Depression years. As the coal
seams ran low, Lantzville entered another
era whereby its life became one of a hard
scrabble economy with a number of local
residents involved in subsistence farming,
logging and fishing. At the same time, the
waterfront, unloved by the farmers, began to
blossom as a summer cottage area for some
Nanaimo and Victoria residents. Ms. Reeve's
final chapter provides brief biographies of
pioneer and leading families.
In 1947, the Island Highway was
deliberately routed around the village to
by-pass the unsightly abandoned colliery
shacks and other "blighted areas". To many
of the Lantzville merchants this seemed like
disaster but as Lynne Reeve suggests, in the
long run, it preserved a village that might
have become another northern suburb of
Nanaimo. Since the span of the book ends
in the 1960s, the author doesn't document
the 2003 successful community initiative
to incorporate as the District of Lantzville.
Achieving municipal status after a century
and half may indicate residents with a
well-developed sense of themselves and,
perhaps, a strong feeling for their history
and future.
The book could have used more
careful copy-editing and attention to the
tweaking and reproduction of the many
well-chosen photographs. Lantzville: the First
Hundred Years is a classic local history. It has
all the strengths that flow from the author's
love of her community and its people and all
the weaknesses that may emerge from the
narrow focus of local narratives. The writing
is lively and engaging but largely ignores
the contexts in which Lantzville ebbed and
waned. Nevertheless, it will give pleasure
and serve as a useful compilation for future
generations of mid-Island residents and
history buffs.
Ross Carter is the editor of Historiana the newsletter of
the Bowen Island Historians.
Leaving Paradise; Indigenous Hawaiians in the
Pacific Northwest, 1787-1898.
Jean Barman and Bruce Mclntyre Watson. Honolulu,
University of Hawai'i Press, 2006. 512 p. illus. $42.50
(U.S.) hard cover.
In June of 1787, Winee, the first
Hawaiian known to visit the Northwest
Coast of America, arrived at Nootka aboard
Captain Charles Barkley's trading vessel,
Imperial Eagle. Save for the matter of her
gender, Winee was typical of the vast
majority of indigenous Hawaiians to come
to this coast. Her true name has either not
been recorded - "Winee" may actually
be Frances Barkley's corruption of the
Hawaiian word wahine, meaning woman
and her employment was that of a servant
in the fur trade.
The first section of the book recounts
the history of Hawaiian settlement in what
would become the Columbia District of
36 BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 40 No. 2 Hudson's Bay Company, comprising the
area which today is British Columbia,
Oregon and Washington. Permanent
Hawaiian settlement on this coast began in
February of 1811 when John Jacob Astor's
Pacific Fur Company hired 12 men at Oahu
to work at Astoria. The practice of hiring
Hawaiian contract labourers was continued
by the North West Company and ultimately
the Hudson's Bay Company. They were
regarded by the fur traders as good and
faithful workers, and it is quite likely that
the Columbia Department could not have
functioned without them. The vast majority
were maka'ainana, the common people in
a society which had been feudal but was
rapidly changing to a cash economy, the
ali'i, the nobility, no longer felt a traditional
obligation for the lower orders - in the words
of the mid-nineteenth century Hawaiian
historian, S. M. Kamakau "The working man
labours like a cart-hauling ox that gets a kick
in the buttocks. He shivers in the cold and
dew laden wind, or broils in the sun with no
rest from his toil. Whether he lives or dies
it is all alike." It is no wonder that many
Hawaiian contract labourers, almost all of
whom were men, entered in relationships
with First Nations women, either in the
custom of the country or sanctioned by law,
and determined to remain here.
The period from the Gold Rush
to the ending of the Hawaiian Islands
independence in 1898 by their annexation
as a colony of the United States, saw
the establishment of a Hawaiian Metis
community in British Columbia, where they
had the same civil rights as the European
and African settler community. In contrast
was the situation in the neighbouring
republic, where the Hawaiians and their
descendents had the status of the Chinese,
which facilitated their assimilation with the
aboriginal population in that country. This
is not to suggest that racism, or pressure for
assimilation with the aboriginal population,
were absent inBritishColumbia. Indeed, the
very existence of a Hawaiian community
was oblivious or irrelevant to the bulk of
the majority society, but the Hawaiians
were able to make political and social
contributions here which would have been
impossible below the line.
The second section of the book
consists of an alphabetical series of short
biographical essays on approximately 800
Hawaiians who either visited or settled on
the North West Coast. The various forms
of each individual's name used in primary
sources are given as well as the actual
Hawaiian name of that person, in those cases
where it canbe ascertained. This feature will
be of great use to genealogists.
This book will probably remain a
standard and essential reference for persons
interested in the fur trade era, immigration to
British Columbia, newcomer- First Nations
relations and the Hawaiian diaspora. It is
well written, based on extensive research
in Hudson's Bay Company and Hawaiian
government records as well as those in
various British Columbian, Californian
and Oregon archives. Few of the emigrants
were literate in English, if they were literate
at all. Thus, if the voices of the emigrants
themselves or unofficial accounts of their
stories exist, they will have to be found at
some future date in the nineteenth century
Hawaiian language popular press or family
papers which are yet to be discovered, but
the basic story is unlikely to change.
Michael Halleran lives in Victoria
Harbour Cit]/: Nanaimo in Transition, 1920-1967.
Jan Peterson. Victoria, Heritage House, 2006.  176 p.
$19.95 paperback.
Jan Peterson's final volume in her
Nanaimo trilogy is a fitting conclusion
to her vibrant local history, packed with
detail, colourful stories, and lively energetic
writing.  It is filled with evocative images
that capture the mood of the changing times,
and the attention of the reader, beginning in
the very first haunting line that foreshadows
the looming changes: "The rhythm of the
day in Nanaimo was set by mine whistles
and by the chimes of 'Big Frank,' the
Dominion Post Office clock" (p. 11). With
quick brush strokes, Peterson portrays
Nanaimo as a thriving community that
was flexible, vibrant and inter-connected,
a microcosm of the dynamic national and
international forces ofthe times that affected
industry, politics, education, culture and
social relations. As the "coal mining industry
slowly and painfully became a footnote in
Nanaimo's history," (p. 110), the people of
Nanaimo met the challenges and adversity
of the collapse of the mining industry by
adapting to the possibilities offered by its
harbour and forest resources. The transition
is evocatively captured on the cover of the
book in Michael Dean's painting, Princess
Marguerite, at the CPR wharf, Cameron
Island, Nanaimo — the belching smoke
stack a harbinger of a later 21st century
intransigent environmental challenge.
In the midst ofthe social and economic
progress clearly delineated in the book, there
are occasional hints of an alternate world
of devastation that call for further study.
These include: a 1937 ad for Hotel Malaspina
which read, "expert white help only" (p.
53); the story of the 1942 arrest, registration
and evacuation of Japanese members of the
community (pp. 133-5); and George Pearke's
speech in 1948 lamenting the state of the
Indian reserve filled with hovels with no
lights, water or sewers , and children who
had received no education for the previous
five to six years (p. 143).
The book is divided into 20 thematic
and colorfully titled chapters that develop
chronologically, starting with the "Roaring
Twenties" and ending with the "Fabulous
Fifties" and sixties. It touches on many
themes, including law, mining, education,
fire, religion, politics, doctors, harbours,
forestry and mayors, ending with a
celebration of the community efforts that
built the Nanaimo Community Museum
to preserve, in the words of William
Barraclough, the history of "those thoughtful
persons who preceded us" (p. 202). Peterson
honours the names of individuals in list after
list of those who contributed their amazing
energy, insight and time to the public sphere
of life. Reflecting the inter-connectedness
of Nanaimo's vocal, argumentative and
committed civic life, it is not uncommon
to see one person listed in many spheres
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 40 No. 2        37 of community life, including City Council,
School Board, Hospital Board, Church,
Music Festival, Rotary Club and sports.
Besides the great story-telling, another
strength of the book is Pederson's use of well
documented and clearly footnoted primary
sources, including Nanaimo newspapers
articles, archival records, oral histories and
photographs, which enrich the vibrant
sense of immediacy created by the writing
style. It is enhanced by a comprehensive
bibliography of primarily local history
studies and newspapers, and includes
an impressive list of archival documents
created and preserved in Nanaimo, which
is a personal delight. There is also a good
index, and several appendices, including
a comprehensive list of all mayors and
council-members from 1920-1967.
The book is a great read for anyone
interested in the history of Nanaimo.
Previous books in the trilogy:
Black Diamond City: Nanaimo the
Victorian Era, Victoria: Heritage House, 2002.
Hub City: Nanaimo, 1886-1920. Victoria:
Heritage House, 2003.
Jane Turner is a retired archivist and former resident of
Old Indian Trails of the Canadian Rockies
Mary T. S. Schaffer. Vancouver, BC, Rocky Mountain Books,
2007. xi'+ 179 p. $19.95 oftcover.
It is a sad fact that Canadians have
allowed books written by those intrepid
persons who explored and made the first
ascents in our Canadian Rockies to lapse
into out-of-print status since they make
important contributions to our knowledge
of the region and, in addition, are great
adventure stories that should be available
on an ongoing basis. The publisher, Rocky
Mountain Books, is to be commended for
initiating a series of reprints of these classics
with A. P. Coleman's The Canadian Rockies-
New and Old Trails and has followed with
the one under review. It is hoped that this
initiative will be successful and that many
more titles will soon follow.
Mary Schaffer's book is of particular
importance since she was the first women
to organize a trip of exploration in an era
when women were expected to leave such
foolish endeavours to men. She was born
into an upper class Quaker household in
Philadelphia and became interested in the
outdoors only because she married Dr.
George Shaffer who was a medical doctor
and an amateur botanist. Together, they
first visited the Rockies in 1889 shortly
after the CPR connected the west coast to
the remainder of Canada. Mary slowly
developed a love for the wild places and
her skills as an amateur artist were refined
to include detailed and scaled water colour
paintings of the flora that her husband
discovered. She also developed significant
skills as a photographer. Sadly her husband
died suddenly in 1903. She memorialized
her grief by enlisting the assistance of
Stewardson Brown, the Herbarium Curator
at the Academy of Natural Sciences in
Philadelphia to complete the pioneering
work started by her late husband since she
lacked the necessary botanical knowledge.
The book - Alpine Flora of the Canadian
Mountains - was published inl907. Mary,
by this time 45 years of age, had visited
most of the areas already explored in Banff
National Park and was eager for more
challenging adventures. She had shared
these travels while working on her book
with her friend, Mollie Adams. She decided
to enlist the services of a Banff outfitter,
Bill Warren and his assistant, Sid Unwin,
to spend the summers of 1907 and 1908
exploring the region in Jasper National Park
east of the valley through which the North
Saskatchewan River flowed. There were
rumours of the existence of a large lake, now
known as Maligne Lake. This became their
objective and they succeeded in reaching
and exploring it during these two trips.
Old Indian Trails ofthe Canadian Rockies
describes these travels in a very careful
fashion for it was not considered ladylike
for women to travel alone in the wilderness
without husbands or family. Mary was a
pioneer feminist of a radical brand but still
she was extremely circumspect and careful
to avoid personal scandal. Nevertheless, her
perspective as a woman is always present in
her story and differs from the unemotional
style used by the male explorers and
climbers of this area. It is for this good
reason, amongst many others, that this
book deserves to be available to succeeding
generations who have learned to love the
outdoor wilderness and seek the peace
and tranquility that Mary loved. Readers
should know that a fine biography of her life
written by the author of the foreword, Janice
Sanford Beck, is in print to complement
this reprint. Unfortunately, cost constraints
prevented including Mary's photographs
published in the original edition. The out-
of-print A Hunter Of Peace by E. J. Hart also
included her story as well as copies of the
hand coloured versions of Mary's original
photographs that she had used for slide
shows about her trips. Mary married Bill
Warren in 1915 and they lived the remainder
of their lives in a house in Banff that is now
part of the Whyte Museum and Archives.
Harvey A. Buckmaster has hiked extensively in Banff
and Jasper National Parks and is a collector of archival
material about this area.
Unsettling Encounters: First Nations Imagery
in the Art of Emily Carr
Gerta Moray. Vancouver, UBC Press, 2006.  400 p., illus.,
bibliog.., $75.00 hardcover.
Wild Flowers
Emily Carr, illustrations by Emily Henrietta Woods.
Victoria, B.C., Royal British Columbia Museum, 2006
(distributed by UBC Press), 96 p., illus. $19.95 paperback.
Aspate of recentbooks and exhibitions,
not to mention plays and even music,
indicates that the Emily Carr Industry is
still in a growth phase. The Vancouver
Art Gallery exhibition in the autumn of
2006 received a tremendous amount of
publicity and attracted large crowds; its
accompanying coffee-table book, Emily Carr
by Ian M. Thorn, Charles C. Hill and Johanne
Lamoureux (Douglas & Mclntyre), provides
essays and interpretations of Carr's life and
exhibitions, adding new information to
38 BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 40 No. 2 that of the late Doris Shadbolt, whose Art of
Emily Carr, first published in 1979, was the
standard work for a generation
Published in the same year as the book
by Thorn et al, Gerta Moray's Unsettling
Encounters is like a fresh breeze blowing
away the dust and cobwebs that have
accumulated on the artist's story in the six
decades since her death Moray, a professor
of art history at the University of Guelph,
reassesses Carr's body of work, rebalancing
all of her influences to give a superb portrait
of "her life and times." The book is divided
into three sections: Contexts for a Colonial
Artist; A Pictorial Record of Native Villages
and Totem Poles, 1899-1913; and Homesick
for Indian. The lavishly illustrated middle
part of the book reproduces the life-changing
work she created on her trips to the north;
later, text and reproductions of classic oils
like Vanquished, Indian Church, Big Raven
and Guyasdoms D'Sonoqua show how she
adapted to the dictates of Modernism under
the guidance of Lawren Harris, finding
therein national recognition and an opened
doorway into the pantheon. Hundreds of
period black and white photographs show
gallery interiors, friends and travel scenes,
bringing to life the world in which Carr
struggled for acceptance.
Throughout the book, Carr comes
across as a storyteller in paint, words and
actions - an activist artist in the modern
sense - an intermediary in the relations
between the settler and indigenous cultures.
But was she the artistic equivalent of Grey
Owl, just a romantic and picturesque figure,
or was she to be judged as a serious artist?
And, as a woman, was she dismissed by
critics and handicapped in the competitive,
masculine arena of the eastern Canadian art
I had not realized how early and
quickly the Emily Carr legend developed,
how it was said that she "understood the
Indians," and how she walked a fine line
between producing commercial knock-offs
of Native art themes while instilling her
own fine art with the power and spirit she
had witnessed in the totems and carvings in
the northern villages. What is clear is that,
as an artist, she was not blessed with great
technical skill in drawing and conveying
pictorial space but, as she matured, her use
of colour and form developed enormous
emotional power.
The most satisfying aspect of
the book is the reinstatement of Carr's
early documentary work in the Native
villages of northern BC to the pinnacle
where Carr herself believed it belonged.
Other books have tended to dismiss it as
overly representational and uninteresting
artistically, but to Carr it remained a critical
part of the story she spent her life telling.
To me, this book was as much a
revelation for my understanding of her as
Robert L. Herbert'slmpressionism: Art, Leisure,
and Parisian Society (1988, Yale University
Press) was for understanding 19th century
French art. Moray writes clearly with little
"art-speak" jargon and paints a convincing
picture of the complex, contradictory worlds
of the dominant settler culture, the declining
Native one, and the aspirations of the tiny
elite of anthropologists, museum curators
and artists who strove to define a Canadian
identity in the 1920s and 1930s.
Emily Carr's famous oils of the 1930s
grew out of her reinterpretation of her
1912-era documentary work. Moray writes
in great detail about Carr rediscovering
her Fauvist past from her European art
education and how the "Indian pictures" of
A.Y. Jackson and the Svengali-like influence
of Lawren Harris came to direct her art
towards a more iconic, semi-abstract style
of painting with less of the "history and
cold fact" she felt was in her early paintings.
She dabbled in Harris's theosophy and
found some sympathies between it and
her own nature-loving, animist beliefs, but
kept to her own path. Moray almost, but
not quite, answers the great riddle for Carr
junkies: did Harris imply, "paint like me and
you'll get into the National Gallery," or did
Carr think, "if I paint like him I'll get the
commercial breakthrough I've been waiting
for since I first put a brush in my hand"?
It's a tantalizing question, but the answer
remains uncertain. Regardless, her formal
experimentation allowed "contemporary
Canadian critics to claim a place for her in
the context of the European and American
pioneers of modern art."
As her health began to fail in the
late 1930s and she could no longer face the
challenges of painting large-scale oils, even
in her studio, Carr turned increasingly to
writing and developed an extraordinary gift
for whimsy and lyricism. If her late paintings
could be almost oppressively dark and solid,
her prose was transparent and deft. Klee
Wyck is a classic journal of her adventures
as a travelling artist, the perfect flip side of
the coin of her "Indian paintings" from the
1912 voyages. The Book of Small could well
be the perfect memoir of childhood, and
The House of All Sorts shows her at her most
eccentric, a weird boardinghouse operator
in provincial, uptight Victoria during the
1920s - her years in her other wilderness,
when she was a fish out of water artistically
and socially, couldn't sell a painting and
abandoned her career.
Wild Flowers is Emily Carr struggling
to find her voice; reading it is perhaps like
listening to the early compositions of Mozart.
The book is a series of word portraits, some
better and more finished than others, which
Carr wrote as she was feeling her way
into new expressive forms. Archivist and
historian Kathryn Bridge provides some
context to this writing and introduces the
book's illustrator, Emily Henrietta Woods,
who was Carr's childhood drawing teacher.
It is an interesting juxtaposition, as Woods's
flower watercolours are traditional, stiff and
rather opaque, not unlike the Victoria culture
that Carr spent her life rebelling against. It's
a slim volume, in every sense of the word.
Does it represent the final plumbing of the
Carr oeuvre, as the Anthologies were to the
Beatles? I doubt it.
Michael Kluckner is a writer and artist now living in
BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 40 No. 2        39 Miscellany
Anne and Philip Yandle Best
Article Award
Each year, the British Columbia Historical
Federation offers a certificate and cash
prize to the author of an article published in
British Columbia History that best enhances
knowledge ofthe history of BritishColumbia
and provides enjoyable reading. Judging is
based upon subject development, writing
skill, freshness of material, and its appeal to
a general readership interested in all aspects
of the history of the province.
In 2007, the Federation renamed
its Best Article Award in honor of Anne
and Philip Yandle dedicated members
of the Federation and the cofounders of
British Columbia Historical News (1968), the
predecessor to British Columbia History
(2005). During the journal's first ten years,
the Yandles edited, typed, mimeographed,
collated and mailed the publication. For
many years Anne served as the journal's
Book Review Editor.
The winner for 2006 is Greg Nesteroff
for, "Boris Karloff inBritishColumbia," which
appeared in British Columbia History, 39.1.
Greg's article received considerable
attention from the media with articles in
local newspapers and interest from the
Genealogy Guide Available
We're pleased to announce the
publication of the 15th edition of the
Cloverdale Library's genealogy guide. The
best news is that it will be available free
on-line at:
http:/ /
Programs+and+Services/ Genealogy/ Cana
It's searchable by using Ctrl+F & the
Table of Contents is also hyper-linked.
Print copies will be showing up in
the collection soon. We will also be making
copies available for sale for the public and
all the ordering information is available on
our website.
Laurie J. Cooke Information Services Librarian Cloverdale
Branch, Surrey Public Library
Ron Welwood (left) presents Greg Nesteroff with Ihe Anne and Phillip
Yandle Best Article Award for 2006 that was recently awarded by the BC
Historical Federation to the local writer for his piece on Boris Karloff's
ties to Nelion. Welwood accepted the award on Ne&terorfs behalf In
Victoria. Welwood was also honoured by the federation for his service.
Appearing in
the Nelson
Daily News
Fishing Industry History Online
The City of Richmond Archives
is pleased to announce a new online
resource on its website. < http://www. cityhall/ archives/ exhibits/
barkerletterbooks.htm >
The first fifteen years of letters from
the Barker Letter Books, donated to the
City of Richmond Archives by British
Columbia Packers Limited in 2001, have
been transcribed and are now available
online. This will be of interest to researchers
of the historical development of the fishing
industry in British Columbia.
The Barker Letter Books were compiled
between 1905 and 1926. They consist of the
outgoing correspondence of William Henry
Barker, an early General Manager of the
company. Mr. Barker, born in Manchester,
England in 1853, j oined the British Columbia
Packers' Association in October, 1904 as
General Manager. It was the beginning of a
22-year career with the company of which
he later became President.
The letters chronicle revolutionary
changes in the fishing industry in British
Columbia: machines replaced hand-labour;
new technology in the manufacturing of
cans improved safety and reduced labour
costs; engines replaced oars in fishing
boats; and the regulation of the fishery by
the Canadian government became more
restrictive and comprehensive.
Volunteers have been responsible
for the painstaking transcription and
proofreading process. They continue to
work on Volume 2,1920 to 1926, which will
be available later in the winter.
Lynne Waller, Archivist, City of Richmond Archives
7700 Minoru Gate,Richmond, BC V6Y 1R9 604-247-8305
www. richmond. cal archives
Archives Temporary Closure
Please be advised that the Archives of
the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster/
Provincial Synod ofBC and Yukon as well as
the United Church BC Conference Archives
will be closed while they move into their
newly built archives. They will officially
re-open January 24,2008.
40 BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORY - Vol. 40 No. 2„.„i   gf      Ka   4—J «'
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