British Columbia History

British Columbia Historical News 1995

Item Metadata


JSON: bch-1.0190655.json
JSON-LD: bch-1.0190655-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): bch-1.0190655-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: bch-1.0190655-rdf.json
Turtle: bch-1.0190655-turtle.txt
N-Triples: bch-1.0190655-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: bch-1.0190655-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

Volume 28, No. 2
Spring 1995
Journal of the B.C. Historical Federation
ISSN 1195-8294
Sawmills, May Days and Sheep MEMBER SOCIETIES
Member Societies and their Secretaries are responsible for seeing that the correct address for their society is up to date.
Please send any change to both the Treasurer and the Editor at the addresses inside the back cover. The Annual Return
as at October 31 should include telephone numbers for contact.
MEMBERS' DUES for the current year were paid by the following Societies:
Alberni District Historical Society
Arrow Lakes Historical Society
Atlin Historical Society
Boundary Historical Society
Burnaby Historical Society
Chemainus Valley Historical Society
Cowichan Historical Society
District 69 Historical Society
East Kootenay Historical Association
Gulf Islands Branch, BCHF
Koksilah School Historical Society
Kootenay Lake Historical Society
Kootenay Museum & Historical Society
Lantzville Historical Society
Nanaimo Historical Society
North Shore Historical Association
North Shuswap Historical Society
Princeton & District Museum & Archives
Qualicum Beach Historical & Museum Society
Salt Spring Island Historical Society
Sidney & North Saanich Historical Society
Silvery Slocan Historical Society
Surrey Historical Society
Trail Historical Society
Vancouver Historical Society
Victoria Historical Society
Fort Steele Heritage Park
Kamloops Museum Association
Gavel Historical Society
Nanaimo Centennial Museum Society
Okanagan Historical Society
Box 284, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M7
Box 584, Nakusp, B.C. VOB 1 RO
Box 111, Atlin, B.C. VOW 1A0
Box 580, Grand Forks, B.C. VOH 1H0
6501 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby, B.C. V5G 3T6
Box 172, Chemainus, B.C. VOR 1K0
P.O. Box 1014, Duncan, B.C. V9L3Y2
Box 1452, Parksville, B.C. V9P 2H4
P.O. Box 74, Cranbrook, B.C. V1C 4H6
c/o F. Dodwell, RR #1 S25-C21, Galiano Island, B.C. VON 1 PO
5203 Trans Canada Highway, Koksilah, B.C. VOR 2C0
Box 537, Kaslo, B.C. VOG 1 MO
402 Anderson Street, Nelson, B.C. V1L 3Y3
c/o Box 274, Lantzville, B.C. VOR 2H0
P.O. Box 933, Station A, Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 5N2
1541 Merlynn Crescent, North Vancouver, B.C. V7J 2X9
Box 22, Celista, B.C. VOE 1L0
Box 687, Princeton, B.C. VOX 1W0
587 Beach Road, Qualicum Beach, B.C. V9K 1K7
Box 1264, Ganges, B.C. VOS 1E0
P.O. Box 2404, Sidney, B.C. V8L3Y3
Box 301, New Denver, B.C. VOG 1S0
8811 - 152nd Street, Surrey, B.C. V3R 4E5
P.O. Box 405, Trail, B.C. V1R 4L7
P.O. Box 3071, Vancouver, B.C. V6B 3X6
P.O. Box 43035, Victoria North, Victoria, B.C. V8X 3G2
Fort Steele, B.C. VOB 1 NO
207 Seymour Street, Kamloops, B.C. V2C 2E7
4474 Rupert Street, Vancouver, B.C. V5R 2J2
100 Cameron Road, Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 2X1
Box 313, Vernon, B.C. V1T 6M3
Published winter, spring, summer and fall by British Columbia Historical Federation
P.O. Box 5254, Station B
Victoria, B.C. V8R 6N4
A Charitable Society recognized under the Income Tax Act.
Institutional subscriptions  $16 per year
Individual (non-members) $12 per year
Members of Member Societies $9 per year
For addresses outside Canada, add    $5 per year
Back issues of the British Columbia Historical News are available in microform from Micromedia Limited, 20 Victoria
Street, Toronto, Ontario M5C 2N8, phone (416) 362-5211, fax (416) 362-6161, toll free 1-800-387-2689.
This publication is indexed in the Canadian Index published by Micromedia.
Indexed in the Canadian Periodical Index.
Publications Mail Registration Number 4447.
Financially assisted by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Recreation and Culture through the British Columbia
Heritage Trust Fund and British Columbia Lotteries. Historical News
Journal of the B.C. Historical Federation
Volume 28, No. 2 Spring 1995
Whether our readers delight in uncovering
new facts about B.C.'s history, or analysing
the politics and sociology of pioneer communities, or chuckling over anecdotes, this issue
should satisfy all. We have stories about a gun-
totin' grandmother, a surveyor turned politician, Captain Vancouver, a riverboat captain,
and May Day celebrations. We are privileged
to peek into the diary of a lady who came to
visit her fiance in Hope, B.C., in 1906 and be
introduced to a scarcely known era in our
agricultural history. Each of these required
considerable research; our student contributor Julian Brooks describes the wide spectrum
of papers examined to provide material on
Joseph Hunter.
Captain Armstrong is one of the most frequently mentioned characters in East
Kootenay history. He raised funds to build the
hospital in Golden by jovially challenging all
and sundry to contribute larger amounts than
originally intended. He would sit in a bar in
Athalmere or Fort Steele and buy a mining
claim, sight unseen, from a discouraged prospector — then likely sell it on his next visit to
the same establishment. He had the foresight
to purchase (in his wife's name) half the
townsite of Wardner. He sold lots to settlers
coming in to Wardner on his steamer
Gwendolyn and made his wife a tidy sum
within a few weeks. His brother James, Government Agent in Golden, Fort Steele and
then Cranbrook, was a very correct and conservative gentleman — a dramatic contrast to
Captain Frank ... but that's another story.
Naomi Miller
The illustration on our cover is a reproduction of a wa-
tercolour titled "The Watering Place at Rowe's Stream"
and is the only known picture of the original Hudson's
Bay Company sawmill on what is now called Millstream
at the head of Esquimalt Harbour. The painting was
made by Midshipman Richard Frederick Britten of
HMS Topaze in December 1860 while waiting for a
rising tide to enable him to move barrels of water from
the stream to his ship. Historian Maureen Duffus of
Victoria recently located this watercolour. Courtesy of
B.C. Archives and Records Service PDP5448.
Grandmother and Granddaughter 2
by Pat Foster
Captain Frank Armstrong    5
by Winnifred Ariel Weir
Kamloops Children's May Festivals 11
by Wayne Norton
The Hayward Sheep Trail 17
by L. Hayward and V.C. Brink
B.C. Diary, 1906, of Beatrice Sprague    20
by J. Lindsay Thacker
First Lumber Exports from the Pacific Coast    25
by Thomas K. Fleming
Joseph Hunter: Forgotten Builder of British Columbia    27
by Julian Brooks
Blackie, The Mine Locator    31
The Camelford Controversy     32
byJ.E. Roberts
NEWS and NOTES   36
Grace Maclnnis: A Story of Love and Integrity 37
Review by Irene Howard
The Road Runs West: A Century Along the Bella Coola/Chilcotin Road     38
Review by Mary Rawson
When In Doubt Do Both: The Times of My Life        38
Review by Phyllis Reeve
Streetcars in the Kootenays: Nelson's Electric Tramways 1899-1992     39
Review by Ron Welwood
Other Books Noted       40
Manuscripts and correspondence to the editor are to be sent to P.O. Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0.
Correspondence regarding subscriptions is to be directed to the Subscription Secretary (see inside back cover).
Printed in Canada by Koolcnay Kwik Print Ltd. Grandmother and Granddaughter:
The Pioneer Spirit
Pauline Durbin began her life in the
small city of St. Louis, Missouri, on April
12, 1812, and spent her early years in
various parts of Kentucky, Illinois and
Missouri. In 1833, she met and married
Benjamin Franklin English, a young man
of eighteen, and together they moved
to Clay County, Missouri, where they
worked long and hard to clear a small
tract of land and establish their first
Clay County, on the western
border of Missouri, was at that time
the extreme frontier, with only Indian hunting grounds to the west.
It was in this hostile environment
that Ben and Pauline began to raise
their family. Here were born David
in 1834, Daniel in 1836, Sarah Ann
in 1838, Charles Henry in 1840,
Benjamin Franklin Junior (Ben) in
1841, Warren Perry in 1843, and
Thisley Jane in 1845. It is hard to
imagine the difficulties Pauline
must have faced in giving birth to
and raising seven children in this
remote area, with no relatives at
hand to give support, with Ben
away often hunting to feed their
growing family, and with the constant threat of Indian attack.
On one occasion when she and
the children were alone, she saw
a band of Indians approaching the
edge of their clearing and suspected that they were bent on
plundering her home. Quietly she
hustled the children out of the
house to the opposite side of the
property and hid them in the
woods, warning them to stay there and
make no sound. She then returned to
the house and faced the marauding natives. A good shot, she raised her rifle
and fired at the chief, shattering his jaw.
The Indians, dumbfounded by this turn
of events and certainly not expecting
such a response from a mere woman,
withdrew into the bush. However, they
by Pat Foster
Research by Helen Forster
did not leave but menaced her until
nightfall. Determined not to be driven
out and leave her home to the savages,
she stood fast until Ben returned. He
sized up the situation, rounded up a
group of other frontiersmen and, as soon
as there was enough light the next day,
drove the Indians back across the Missouri River, killing a number of them.
English, bis son Buss and part of Mrs. English.
Photo courtesy of Kamloops Museum
Ben felt the need to explore new frontiers - possibly life in Missouri was no
longer exciting or challenging enough
for him - so in 1846, after thirteen years
in Clay County, he, Pauline and the
seven children undertook the long and
hazardous trek across the plains to the
Willamette Valley of Oregon along the
famed Oregon and Applegate Trails. The
logistics of such a move - food and
clothing to last nine people for at least
six months, wagons and animals to transport people and supplies, grain and livestock to start afresh when they arrived
at their desination - is mind boggling,
but many families of that time made such
preparations, as did Pauline and Ben.
Once on the trail there were many
pleasant days when the weather
was good and the trail comparatively easy, but also many days of
intense heat and dust on the plains,
rugged terrain that sapped the
strength of man and beast, swift and
deep rivers to cross with horses,
cattle and wagons, and later, snow,
cold and incredibly difficult climbs
as they began the last stage of the
journey over the mountains. All
along the trail they were harassed
by Indians. Some tribes were
friendly but many were not and
there was always the threat of attack by the savages. When the party
was camped near Klamath Lake,
the men of the party went hunting
for game, leaving all of the women
and small children in camp. A band
of thirty to forty Indians started
shooting arrows from the surrounding bush. Many of the women,
panic stricken, began to cry and
pray, but not Pauline English. She
grabbed her rifle and ordered the
others to arm themselves with guns
or axes or whatever else was at
hand and fight off the invaders. "It's
all right to pray, but you must fight
also," she admonished them and,
inspired by this intrepid lady, fight they
did and drove off the Indians long before the men of the party returned.
Finally they arrived in Oregon and
settled near the Luckiamute River in Polk
County, where they lived until 1863- The
first winter they spent in Oregon was a
very hard one indeed. There was an
urgent need for shelter and they had to
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995 Nellie English married Dr. Baker front Quesnel
Photo courtesy of Kamloops Museum
survive on game and pemmican in order to save what grain they had for
spring planting and the cattle for starting a new herd. One day while Pauline
and the children were alone, their home
was attacked by Indians. The natives
were so close that an arrow shot into
the house broke the arm of one of the
boys but, with her rifle, Pauline held
them at bay for several hours, shooting
four Indians in the course of the afternoon.
Despite the hardship and dangers,
Pauline gave birth to Lucretia in 1848,
Harmon Hamilton in 1852, Lawrence
Buchanan in 1853, and Eugene in 1854.
Ben and Pauline lived and raised their
children in Oregon until 1863 when they
moved to California, where they lived
until Ben's death twenty years later. Little is known of their life there but it was
no doubt much less exciting than their
earlier years. After her husband's death,
her son Ben Junior urged Pauline to live
with him and his family so, early in 1884,
she moved to his home on Bonaparte
Creek, twelve miles from Ashcroft, B.C.,
where she was a well-liked and re
spected member of the community. She was eighty-four
years old when she passed
away in 1896 and, at her request, she was buried on the
ranch where she had spent her
last years in peace and contentment.
While she was living with
Ben, now known as "Doc," and
his wife, their daughter Ellen
Elizabeth (Nellie) was born in
1888. Nellie inherited her
grandmother's and her father's
courage and determination, as
well as his love of horses. She
delighted in the wagon trains
common on the Cariboo Road
and knew all the teamsters
personally, including the legendary Cataline, as well as the
expert drivers who drove the
B.X. Stage coaches.
Nellie and her brothers and
sisters - Lily, the first white
child born in the Chilcotin,
Thomas (Buss), Alice and
Benny III - attended the Cache
Creek Boarding School. This
was the first school in the area,
attended by students aged
seven to seventeen from all over the
interior of B.C. A. Irwin was
the only teacher for between
thirty and sixty students of all
grades. Nellie remembers him
as a kind, but very strict, religious man who had studied for
the ministry and had prayers
and Bible reading every night.
There were three dormitories
upstairs, the one for the boys
carefully partitioned from the
two for the girls to avoid any
unseemly behaviour. They
were "cold as the dickens at
night" with "snow drifting
through the cracks" so even the
straw mattresses and piles of
blankets and quilts didn't keep
them any too warm. The English children only boarded at
the school in the winter when
it was too cold to drive the five
miles from the ranch. The rest
of the year they loaded hay on
the buggy and drove to school.
Her only sad memory of the
school was an epidemic of
scarlet fever which took the lives of a
number of students, including her best
friend. Such diseases were often fatal
back then.
Nellie, Lily and Buss took delight in
teasing the local Indians, chasing the
children through the creek and lassooing
their tents from horseback and pulling
them down. Doc, always a strict father,
strapped them for this but it didn't stop
them from pestering the Indians every
■ chance they had - not from meanness
or dislike, it just seemed like good fun
at the time.
Nellie used to break her father's racing colts, always bareback and always
in a skirt because girls simply did not
wear trousers back then. She became a
fine horsewoman at a very early age.
When ten years old, she rode a greased
pony in a circus, bareback, three times
around the ring with no rope to hang
on to. With her fifty-dollar prize, she
bought a cow and started her own small
herd of cattle.
When the family moved to a ranch in
the Venables Valley, they found about
three hundred head of wild horses
which came around mostly in the fall
and winter, ate the cattle's food, broke
fences, stole Doc's racing mares, and
made a general nuisance of themselves.
Lily English married Jim Veaseyfrom Hat Creek.
Photo courtesy of Kamloops Museum
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995 Nellie and Buss rounded up most of
these mustangs by adding "wings" to the
corral and herding them in. For months
the children collected tin cans. They
invited their friends from Ashcroft to
come to the ranch, usually on a Sunday, tied the cans to the tails of the wild
horses, and enjoyed the show as the
animals bucked and raced around in a
Doc often hired Indians to help with
the gardening and haying. They used
to bring good-tasting roots that they
picked nearby. Nellie and Buss figured
that they would pick some for themselves but by mistake picked wild parsnips. After eating only a few, Nellie got
very tired and fell asleep, but Buss kept
digging and eating and when he couldn't
wake Nellie, he walked home. Shortly
after he had a convulsion and was unconscious for three days. Nellie eventually woke up and found her way home,
although she was very ill. Both children
recovered from the feast.
Late one fall Nellie and Buss were sent
to retrieve some of their horses that had
strayed about twelve miles from home.
It was cold but the young teenagers
decided it would be quicker to swim
the Thompson River. The river was low,
but fast and treacherous. They started
swimming upstream, rested on a gravel
bar in the middle of the river, then continued their way home. Even riding with
their knees on their saddles they got wet
and chilly, as did the poor animals which
had icicles on their tails when they
reached home. Their father couldn't
believe that they had been so foolhardy
and in later years Nellie admitted that
she "wouldn't do it for a million bucks
Nellie was always frightened of the
rattlesnakes that are common to the area,
which, contrary to popular belief, do not
always rattle before they strike, and she
remembered vividly the longest one she
ever killed: "six feet and a real fighter."
She was never bitten but remembered
Mrs. Barkley, Judge Cornwall's daughter, who was bitten and died a day and
a half later. Nellie also told of a character named Jack Wilson from Savona who
was a pretty heavy drinker. He found a
rattler and secretly sewed up its mouth
- a pretty good trick in itself - and put
it on the bar, saying he would take it off
if someone would buy a round of drinks.
He enjoyed many free drinks until threatened with police action.
Nellie went to New Westminster to
finish her education and it was here that
she met Jack Howison, her future husband. Soon after their marriage Jack
developed a serious chest condition and
the couple moved to Salt Lake City,
hopeful of finding a cure. Their daughter, Nellie Lutheria, was born there in
1908. In 1910 the family moved to
Quesnel where Jack opened the first
hardware and tinsmith shop in town. In
1915 he again became very ill and died.
Nellie's life took a new and eventful
turn when she married Dr. Gerald
Rumsey (Paddy) Baker. Dr. Baker arrived
in Quesnel in 1912. He had taken his
medical training at St. Bartholomew's
Hospital in London, England, worked
as armed guard and doctor for Wells
Fargo in Nevada, travelled to Alaska and
several islands off the B.C. coast, and
practiced at St. Joseph's Hospital in Victoria. He was an ardent hunter and fisherman and an accomplished horseman.
He and Nellie seemed to be an ideal
couple, and indeed they were. She
would drive the democrat many miles
into the country while he kept his hands
warm and ready to perform whatever
medical procedure was required to help
his patients. He was a devoted man of
medicine and no one, regardless of race,
colour, creed or ability to pay, was ever
turned away. He would even try his
hand as an animal doctor if necessaiy,
there being no veterinarians in the territory at that time.
In order to be more help to her husband, Nellie took a course in anaesthesia at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver.
Surgery was often performed on the spot
on someone's kitchen table and Nellie
would hold the lantern, administer the
ether, and generally assist Paddy. She
fainted twice at her first operation but,
"The patient lived and so did I." Her
calm and soothing manner and the stories she told them as the anaesthetic took
effect made the ordeal much less frightening for the patients.
One very dark night, Paddy and Nellie
drove far out into the bush country
where he was to perform a post-mortem
on a young girl. When he had thoroughly examined the body and found
the cause of death to have been a faulty
heart, Paddy went with some of the lo
cal men to have a drink, leaving Nellie
to finish up the procedure. All alone,
with only a coal oil lamp and "scared to
death," she put the body back together
and sewed it up. When Paddy returned,
he was surprised that Nellie was upset
- he just assumed that she could deal
with anything.
When she wasn't assisting Paddy,
Nellie was cheering up patients with
treats from her kitchen or garden or taking them for a buggy ride. She took
messages for Paddy and when there was
an urgent case and she didn't know
where he was, she would fire three shots
with a shotgun, their emergency signal.
Life was not all work. Both Nellie and
Paddy took great pride in the racehorses
they raised on their North Star Ranch
just out of Quesnel. They won many
trophies all over the province and Nellie,
dressed in the costume of the early west,
for many years led the Quesnel parade
on her big grey stallion. She competed
in race meets at Wells and Barkerville,
usually racing against the men although
there were ladies' races, and she often
won. She entered the mile derby in
Quesnel when she was fifty-two years
old and won the $500 purse, but decided that this would be her last race -
she would quit while she was ahead.
After his death, the new Quesnel hospital was named in honour of Dr. Baker,
and Nellie was given a special invitation to the opening. In 1952 her daughter came to live with her on the North
Star Ranch. Mother and daughter retained their love of horses and operated
the ranch for several years. Nellie died
in Quesnel on June 29, 1971, at the age
of eighty-four. Her headstone is aptly
inscribed: "A tender mother and a faithful friend."
Pat Poster and ber husband, recently
retired, now make tbeir borne in
Ashcroft Sbe spends many hours at tbe
Ashcroft Museum collaborating with
Museum Curator Helen Forster to prepare short stories of South Cariboo history.
Ashcroft Museum - newspaper files
Provincial Archives - taped interview with Nellie Baker
Kamloops Museum - photographs
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995 Captain Frank Armstrong
by Winnifred Ariel Weir
They called him the "Father of Navigation in the Kootenays" and they called
him "the biggest little man on the Columbia." The Indians called him "Chief
He was Captain Francis Patrick
Armstrong. He has not lacked tributes
for his exploits, either in his day or since.
Oldtimers in the Columbia Valley still
recount tales of his enterprise, enthusiasm and determination. He started the
saga of paddlewheels on the Upper Columbia and he had a hand in every noteworthy enterprise of his day in the
Pioneer Robert Randolph Bruce is
credited with saying: "He bumped a lot
of scenery along the Columbia but he
always got through."
No doubt it helped to have the blood
of St. Lawrence River men in his veins.
Born at Sorel, Quebec, in 1861, a member of a prominent United Loyalist family, he came of three generations of
harbour masters. His father was the
Honourable James Armstrong CMG,
Chief Justice of St. Lucia and Tobago.
His grandfather, Captain Charles Logie
Armstrong, a St. Lawrence River pilot in
the War of 1812, had fitted out privateers to fight the Americans. His greatgrandfather was a harbour board
commissioner a hundred years before
Frank's death.
The adventuresome blood of those
ancestors raced in his veins, urging his
indomitable spirit to achieve what he
wanted, though occasionally the law
took a somewhat dim view of some of
his exploits. He was much admired, respected and oft times loved throughout
the Kootenays.
When Frank Armstrong joined the
engineering staff of the CPR in 1881 as
a young man of twenty, he had no idea
of the adventures that lay before him in
the west.
In 1882 he was one of an exploring
party of engineers under Major Rogers
and, with the Hon. Fred Aylmer, was
blazing a trail through the Kicking Horse
Pass to the summit of the Rockies. They
Captain Frank Armstrong taken in London,
England, in 1916 prior to leaving for Egypt
Photo courtesy of E.F. Horsey
were surveying the route known as
Rogers Pass for a railway through the
He arrived at La Cache (later Golden)
little knowing how that settlement was
to colour his future. When he brought a
string of horses to pasture in the Columbia Valley, he was so impressed with
the area that on July 9, 1882, he preempted 320 acres of land on the east
side of Columbia Lake. The area is still
known today as the Armstrong Range.
Construction crews were busy out of
Golden as the Canadian Pacific Railway
crept closer to the Rockies and
Armstrong foresaw a market there for
potatoes to feed the workers. He decided to be a farmer and brought in seed
potatoes from Montana, 150 miles south,
to plant on his range.
During the winter of 1882-83 he made
a trip on snowshoes from La Cache to
Joseph's Prairie (now Cranbrook) and
return, a distance of some 300 miles, pulling a toboggan with mail and supplies.
That winter, too, he saw Galbraith's
Ferry (now Fort Steele) for the first time.
Years later he decribed that trip. "On
February 4, 1883, we had come [from
what is now Canal Flats but was then
called Canal Flat]. It was extremely cold
and though we had horses, we were
forced to walk to keep ourselves warm."
In 1884 he sold his first crop of potatoes in Golden for seven cents a pound,
$140 a ton. To transport them he built
two bateaux from lumber whip-sawed
on his own land and he hired Indian
This engrossed him for two years but
the mode of transportation was too slow
for Frank Armstrong so he conceived
the idea of a paddlewheeler on the river.
The CPR was nearing completion to
Golden and Frank, being a visionary,
foresaw miners and settlers needing
transport and supplies to the Columbia
With plans in his head, which were
never put on paper, he obtained slabs
and any rough lumber he could lay his
hands on from an abandoned sawmill
at Donald, sixteen miles west of Golden.
He bought nails and oakum and paint
and sawed and hammered and caulked
until he had fashioned a boat. And what
a boat she was ...
The hull was seventy-four feet, beam
seventeen feet, and her loaded draft
fourteen inches. The engine had seen
forty-five years' service in a catamaran
ferry on the St. Lawrence. It arrived in
Golden on the first CPR train from the
His slab-sided, flat-bottomed creation
was no beauty. Frank said himself: "She's
a pretty crude steamship." But she
floated and he named her "The Duchess." Someone said the paddlewheeler
looked like an overgrown lawnmower.
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995 Tbe second Duchess with Captain Bacon at tbe rail, deckhand A. Wixon with arms akimbo,
tbe Chinese cook on tbe utincb, and Dave Good on tbe piling.
Photo courtesy of Golden & District Museum, #P0224B
Her keel was laid March 26,1886. The
August 21, 1886, issue of The Calgary
Herald carried the following item:
"On March 15, Francis P. Armstrong
left Montreal via Canadian Pacific Railway with a gang of men and machinery
for building a steamer bound for Golden,
B.C., just across the Rockies on the Columbia River.
"He had no hull awaiting the machinery but had to go into the woods to get
timber to build one. In just fifty working days, he had accomplished the task.
Fifty days from the laying of the keel
until steam was raised and the steamer
'The Duchess' started on her maiden
voyage from Golden City to the source
of the Columbia."
No one believed that he could com
bat the sandbars and side channels of
the river to sail up the Columbia to its
source. Doubters said: "Come and have
another drink. Forget this foolishness."
The Shuswap Indians had gone to
Golden to see "the white man's folly."
They reported that she was too long and
too clumsy to be handled by oars.
People scoffed at the idea of steamboat service on the Columbia. "The river
is too narrow," they said, "too shallow,
too crooked. It runs dry in the fall and
freezes in winter."
Frank's determination proved him
right. He was not to be deterred. With
the blood of his riverboat ancestors stirring in his veins, the opposition spurred
him on.
June 8, an eventful day, with whistles
blowing and flags flying and an exultant captain at the wheel, The Duchess
steamed away from Golden and sailed
serenely up the Columbia.
Her boiler was fueled by wood cut
by setders who lived along the river. It
was piled on the bank and as The Duchess drew near, the crew and male passengers would roll up their pant legs
and clamber overboard into the shallows to load the wood. For the passengers it relieved the monotony of the trip
and hastened the passage of the steamer.
Settlers cheered the craft as she
passed, bringing a new era to the Upper Columbia River. Southward it
steamed past landings to Peterborough
(now Wilmer), then to the Salmon Beds
(now Athalmer) where Lake Windermere flows into the river. Then on to
At Sam's Landing, at the south end of
Lake Windermere, she became stuck on
a sandbar, to the delight of the Indians
who swooped down fifty strong to help
push her off. "What a great chief is
Strongarm," they shouted. "He will make
us rich." Surely the captain ofthe Queen
Mary, decades later, could not have been
prouder than Frank Armstrong.
For two years The Duchess steamed
up and down the Columbia, serving the
valley well. She carried the few settlers
and their furniture, food, cattle, chickens and goats. She carried merchandise
for the few stores and liquor for the bars.
Often the deck of The Duchess lacked
space for all the freight, but the liquor
was never left behind on the dock at
Armstrong got the mail contract and
advertisements of the service appeared
in newspapers. Arrangements were
made to feed passengers on twice-
weekly trips from Golden to Windermere and return. The steamer made five
or six miles an hour against the current
and better time downstream.
Financial setback the first year was a
disappointment but the advent of the
North West Mounted Police at Galbraith's
Ferry (now Fort Steele) boosted freight
rates and the prospects looked better
for 1887.
Then disaster fell July 7 when The
Duchess ran into snags while carrying a
cargo of oats for the NWMP. She sprang
a leak in the Canyon Creek rapids and
was heading for a sandbar, but sank
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995 before reaching it. No passengers were
lost but the cargo was a sorry mess as it
floated down river. Major Steele, in
charge of the detachment, had contracted for seventy-five cents a hundred
pounds with guaranteed schedule.
When The Duchess sank, what was left
of the cargo was transferred to the Cline,
Armstrong's opposition on the river. She
also met disaster and the river floated
the red uniforms ofthe police and many
supplies downstream.
The Duchess was refloated and in three
weeks was plying the river again, but her
appearance was more dilapidated than
ever. Finances dogged Captain
Armstrong's ambitions but he persevered
and in 1887 he raised enough money to
build two new steamers.
The first was the second Duchess, a
more traditional craft for she was built
of lumber from a sawmill and had cabins and a dining salon. The old Duchess
was put out to pasture. Her engines were
removed and placed in her successor.
The second boat built in 1887 was the
Marion. The second Duchess was used
in high-water periods and the Marion
took over when the water was low. The
Marion drew only eighteen inches with
a full load, which was a benefit when
passing over the shifting sandbars. These
two boats transported ore from the
mines, horses, cattle, chickens and people with their supplies. The passengers
paid four dollars a trip.
Help for financing these two boats had
come from Lady Adela Cochrane who,
with her husband, was interested in a
placer mine at Canal Flat. That may be
the reason that the small lake between
Columbia Lake and Lake Windermere
was named Lake Adela (now often
known as Mud Lake).
In 1888 the Donald newspaper, The
Truth, in its June 30 issue, reported: "The
staunch new sternwheeler Duchess, F.P.
Armstrong, Master, will leave her landing at Golden every Monday and Thursday at 1 p.m. for Hayes' Landing,
Spillimacheen, Windermere and the
landing at the head of lower Columbia
Lake; returning on Wednesdays and
Sundays, arriving at Golden at 4:30 p.m.
"On Thursday, The Duchess will carry
her Majesty's mail and make connection
at the upper landing with the stage for
Fort Steele, Wild Horse and Cranbrook.
"Rates of fare: to Jubilee Landing $2.00,
Windermere $4.00, Windermere and
return $6.00. Meals and berths extra. For
freight rates apply F.P. Armstrong,
Golden, B.C."
In 1890 Frank married Maria Howden
Captain Armstrong (white cap in band) is shown here talking to tbe Governor General of Canada, Earl
Grey. Tbe occasion is tbe official opening of Lady Grey School in Golden in 1912. Lady Grey wore a
dark dress and is holding tbe large bouquet of flowers.
Photo courtesy of Golden & District Museum, #P0086
Barbour in Montreal and brought her
That year he bought a bateau, the
Alert, and converted her into a shallow-
draft sidewheeler, renaming her the Pert.
She was the first steamer on Columbia
Norman Hacking, then marine editor
for The Province, told the story of the
skipper-deckhand-engineer of the Pert,
George Drake, universally known as
"Dirty Drake." As a result of many complaints, Captain F.P. Armstrong, of the
Upper Columbia Navigation and Tramway Company, took Drake to Golden
and ordered a barber to give him a bath.
The barber took one look at him, shuddered, and said, "I dare not. The shock
will kill him." But Armstrong was adamant and Drake was bathed, perhaps
for the first time in his life. It was his
last bath. In a week he was dead.
The advent of the second Duchess,
the Marion and the Pert had made a
distinct change to life along the Columbia. The settlers enjoyed the regular visits
of the boats passing their farms, stopping for cordwood on their docks.
On the earlier boats, passengers often had to sleep on deck with their own
blankets or sleep on bales of hay. The
hundred-mile trip from Golden often
took  two  days   but  Frank
Armstrong tried to make the trip
as fast and as easy for his passengers as possible. His cheery
baritone ringing from the wheel-
house, singing his favourite
French-Canadian songs, relieved
the tension of the trip.
Many settlers would put a flag
on their dock to alert the captain of some need. The shallow
draft of the steamers allowed
them to nose into the bank and
a gangplank provided a wobbly
passage from deck to shore.
In 1891 Captain Armstrong
was instrumental in incorporating the Upper Columbia Navigation and Tramway Company.
The shareholders included
Thomas and Adela Cochrane
and the Hon. Frank Lascelles,
son of the Earl of Harewood,
who were Columbia Lake residents, and Lord Norbury, also
an area resident.
The new company had a man-
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995 date to build a one-mile tramway from
the railway depot at Golden to the
steamboat landing on the Columbia and
another small tramway between Lake
Adela and the Upper Columbia Lake.
The latter was to take freight the three
and a half miles from one lake to the
other through the white water section.
The trams were cars pulled by horses.
The company was formed by an Act
of Parliament in 1891 with Thomas
Cochrane as president and Captain
Armstrong as manager. It was dissolved
by an Act of Parliament in 1927.
In 1892 another sternwheeler, the
Hyak, joined the fleet of the company.
Dominion Government Engineer EC.
Gamble of Victoria, Lt. Thomas
Cochrane, R.N., and Frank P. Armstrong
with four hired hands left Golden Friday, April 20, 1894, and arrived in
Revelstoke Sunday, April 29. They made
this ten-day trip around the Big Bend in
an open boat to ascertain whether the
Columbia River was navigable around
the Bend. They found too many barriers east of the mouth of the Canoe River
to warrant any attempt to make the river
navigable. The presence of snow made
it a hectic trip. They made portages over
ice-covered Kinbasket Lake and through
the Surprise Rapids.
One of the more famous of Captain
Armstrong's boats was the Gwendoline,
named for the daughter of the Earl of
Stradbroke. She was built at Hanson's
Landing (later Wasa) and launched there
in October 1893- Frank decided the finishing building would be better done in
Golden shipyards. In May 1894, en route,
he found that the lock gates at Canal
Flat had been dismantled to save the
community from being washed away by
a spring freshet. Frank dismanded the
vessel, set the hull on rollers, and hauled
her across the flats. He was never
daunted by the perversities of nature.
At Golden she was made seaworthy.
Tuesday, May 22, 1894, was another
proud day for Frank. With a cry of
"Shove her off, boys," the little
sternwheeler slid into the Columbia on
her maiden voyage. Two hours later she
was sailing serenely up the Columbia.
By 7:30 p.m. she had reached the landing at the Hog ranch, where a load of
wood was waiting for her boiler. During the transfer the engineer fell overboard and passengers rushed to alert the
captain. With the man safely on board
again, the boat tied up for the night and
at 5 a.m. was steaming south again. At
11 a.m. there was more excitement, another man overboard, another rescue.
Frank's trips were seldom uneventful.
When the Gwendoline reached Lake
Windermere every inhabitant was on the
bluffs above the lake, waving to welcome the first boat of the season.
Later Frank took the Gwendoline back
through the repaired locks, making her
the only steamer to go through the locks
both ways.
Frank formed an American subsidiary
of the Upper Columbia Navigation and
Tramway Company. He got a well-
known shipbuilder, Louis Paquet of
Libby, to build a fine sternwheeler and
to enlarge the Gwendoline. The new
steamer was named the Ruth for Frank's
younger daughter.
The company now had a 300-mile-
long continuous service from Golden to
Jennings, Montana, on the Kootenay.
The Ruth handled the Fort Steele to
Jennings route. Here fate decreed disaster for the Ruth and the Gwendoline.
May 7, 1887, both vessels were laden
with ore when a log caught in the wheel
ofthe Ruth. In moments the Gwendoline
had piled on top of her. Captain
Armstrong's own description of the disaster is recorded in Norman Hacking's
Steamboat Days on the Upper Columbia
(p. 28). The vessels were patched and
continued to haul ore.
Anyone but Frank Armstrong would
have been disheartened by the mishap.
The company lost some $40,000 and that
same year lost the mail contract between
Golden and Fort Steele.
The settlers along the Columbia persisted in flagging the steamers to hand
out letters to be posted in Golden. It
took time and money to offer that
friendly service so the company had to
have some remuneration. The solution
was to print stamps. They resembled
official government stamps with the letters "U.C.Co." printed in red surrounded
by a wreath of red leaves. These were
issued in perforated sheets and sold to
the settlers on riverside farms and towns
at five cents a stamp. At Golden the
government stamp would be placed
beside it.
This was popular from July 1899 to
August 1900 when the government heard
of the service and notified the U.C.Co. in
no uncertain terms that the sale of stamps
was a government monopoly and an illegal practice for others.
Two stamped envelopes were known to
exist some years ago, one dated August 22,
1899. They were valuable artifacts.
Frank, always ready to serve, continued to pick up letters while settlers still
had company stamps they had purchased from him, as long as they also
bore the government stamps.
The Fort Steele mining boom faded
in 1898 and many prospectors went to
the Klondike gold rush. Business on the
Columbia wasn't good and Frank could
smell adventure in the Yukon. He organized a party of forty men, mostly
from Golden, to go north. He took machinery for a river steamer, the Mono,
planning to build the hull for which he
cut lumber in Alaska. He installed the
machinery in the winter, then left for
his base in spring just before the Alaska
customs officers found him.
He operated on the Stikine River that
summer, then started for the Yukon with
his steamer. En route the steamer was
wrecked. He collected the insurance,
then bought the wreck back "for a song"
from the underwriters. He patched the
steamer, refloated it, and went on to the
Yukon River. Later he piloted the
steamer Gleaner on Lake Bennett and a
steamer on Tagish Lake.
Then, hearing that business had improved on the Columbia, he returned
to his first love in 1900, throwing his
energies into mining enterprises and
picking up family and community life.
Two daughters had been born, Charlotte in 1892 and Ruth in 1894, and he
was involved in many valley enterprises.
In 1902 Frank picked up a larger
steamer, the North Star at Jennings,
Montana. Someone said "picked up" was
descriptive of the transaction. He faced
the problem of getting the craft up the
Kootenay River to Canal Flat and
through the Baillie-Grohman canal into
Columbia Lake.
It took two weeks to get up the
Kootenay and at the flats he found that
the boat was too long for the canal and
nine inches too wide for the lockgate.
Undaunted, Frank tried hacking down
the gates, then in frustration burned
them. Finding too little water in the canal to float the North Star, he filled ore
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995
8 sacks with sand and dammed both ends.
Then he dynamited the forward dam and
with a small volcano of mud, rocks and
water, the North Star burst through into
the lake.
Frank's wife Minnie and the two
daughters had been on the boat but
were waiting at the Grohman hotel while
he vented his frustrations. Later they
recounted that they heard the shrill
whistle of the steamer signal a triumphant passage. Then they heard Frank's
baritone leading a chorus to the tune of
the old Christmas carol: "O come let us
be joyful, the North Star is through."
There had been a close call on the
trip when a tree crashed into the cabin
where Ruth was sleeping. Minnie, terrified, rushed in to find Ruth missing. They
found she had crawled into the lower
portion of the cabinet where drinking
water was kept. She was unharmed.
The passage of the North Starthrough
the canal was considered a feat worthy
of celebration. The Wilmer Outcrop on
June 6 reported: "Captain Armstrong is
the most enterprising man we know of
in this province. There is nothing too
big for him to undertake." The steamer
docked in Golden to an enthusiastic
In recognition, Frank was honoured
at a dinner held in the Delphine Hotel
at Wilmer on July 9, 1902. Prominent
citizens from the length of the Columbia Valley attended to honour the enterprising captain. The wine flowed as
freely as the Columbia River as guests
vied in proposing toasts. The first was
to His Majesty and the second to the
U.S.A. president. Then toasts to the guest
of honour, the provincial legislature, the
mining industry, the ladies, the lawyers
and anyone else they could think of.
The printed program mentioned Frank's
indomitable energy in achieving the
passage of the North Star.
The North Star made a couple of trips
to Golden, hauling ore. Then a curious
customs official asked to see Frank's
papers. Undismayed, he said he was in
a hurry and couldn't find them. The official was not sympathetic and impounded the boat as an American vessel
on which the duty had not been paid.
Such formalities were easily overlooked
with Frank concentrating on other issues. He said he didn't care, the boat
was too big for the river anyway.
In 1903 Frank launched the Ptarmigan,
built at Golden during the winter with
scaffolding set on the ice on the riverfront.
She had improved accommodation for the
tourists arriving in large numbers. That
year the Upper Columbia Transportation
and Tramway Company sold its assets to
the Columbia River Lumber Company.
This company became the Upper Columbia Transportation Company with Frank
Armstrong as manager.
Mining and logging were bringing
many settlers which was good business
for the river boats. There were land
booms and talk of the railway linking
the main line of the CPR at Golden with
the Crow's Nest branch line. Surveys for
the Kootenay Central started in 1905 but
got only as far as Spillimacheen so the river
boats still operated on the Columbia.
In 1905 a new boat appeared on the
river, a gasoline launch, Gian, owned
by an eccentric Scotsman, Captain
Northcote Cantlie. In 1905 the Golden
Star had an item: "Boat racing furnishes
lots of excitement on the upper Columbia River. A big race is to be pulled off
shortly between the Gian and the Ptarmigan, commanded by Captain
Northcote Cantlie and Captain F.P.
Colonel Cantlie operated a motor
launch and bet that he could beat Captain Armstrong in the Ptarmigan if he
had a half-hour start.
Cantlie had a valet, Ferguson, who
played the bagpipes. Norman Hacking
in Steamboat Days on the Upper Columbia wrote of Cantlie: "This eccentric
Scotsman was one of a long succession
of 'characters' for which the Columbia
Valley was famous. He preferred champagne for breakfast and always kept with
him as a personal attendant a piper in
full Highland regalia. In the summer of
1906 Captain Cantlie, always a sportsman, made a proposition to Captain
Armstrong, also a sportsman of the first
order. He offered to stake $100, payable to the Golden Hospital, that the
Gian could outrace the Ptarmigan between Wilmer and Golden. The race
started bright and early one Sunday
morning, although there were a few false
starts, perhaps due to Cantlie's propensity for breakfast. The Gian finally got
away and flew down the river in fine
style, the Ptarmigan thrashing and
blowing some distance behind. Captain
Armstrong knew the river much better
than his adversary and after two hours
the Ptarmigan drew alongside the Gian.
Cantlie's piper piped as he had never
piped before ... Armstrong drew ahead.
Then came the crowning indignity. As
the Ptarmigan passed the Gian's stern,
two daring young men aboard the
sternwheeler reached across, then
plucked the piper bodily from the Gian
and lifted him aboard the Ptarmigan,
which then crossed the boom at Golden
in triumph. It is said that the piper did
not miss a beat during the transfer. One
can imagine Frank Armstrong chortling
over this adventure for such a challenge
was dear to his heart."
Another Armstrong tale is of his feud
with a lumber mill which had a boom
of logs lashed to a cable across the Columbia. Frank came along in his steamer
and couldn't pass. The watchman, who
was supposed to be in charge, went off
for a drink and while he was gone Frank
ordered the cable cut. That released the
logs and they went rolling down the
Columbia with the steamer after. There
was threat of a damage suit but it was
settled amicably.
In 1911 Captain Armstrong launched
the Nowitka. Her boilers were from an
ancient sawmill, her engine from an
1840 catamaran ferry on the St. Lawrence used in the first Duchess, then in
the second Duchess and in the Ptarmigan. Her pilot house and capstan had
been "borrowed" from the North Star
while she was impounded by customs.
Frank's Scotch ancestors would have
approved his thrift and ingenuity. He
had also appropriated the steering wheel
of the North Star, saying he had a special fondness for that wheel.
Then came World War I. In 1915 Frank
had joined the Department of Public
Works of Canada. He worked with J.P.
Forde on a survey ofthe Columbia River
from Lake Windermere to the International Boundary, studying possible access to Canadian waters ofthe Columbia
by deep-sea vessels. The task involved
a canoe trip from Lake Windermere to
Astoria, Oregon.
Then in 1915 Frank moved to Nelson, B.C., to a position as Works Foreman for the federal Department of
Public Works.
World War I stirred Frank's desire to
be of service. He offered his abilities as
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995 a river man to the British government
and in 1916 was commissioned in the
Inland Water Transport branch of the
Royal Engineers. He was fifty-six years
of age.
He saw distinguished service on the
Tigris River and later on the Nile, where
he was superintendent of all military vessels on the river. He had offered to ship
to Mesopotamia materials for a light-draft
steamer suited for navigation on the Tigris
and agreed to put it together thirty days
after its arrival there. Frank liked to take
on seemingly impossible tasks. His offer
was not accepted.
Later he was sent to Egypt to improve
wartime navigation on the Nile. It was
said that he never fully recovered from
the effects of the Egyptian climate.
Once he was torpedoed in the Mediterranean and had to swim for his life,
but he and his party reached safety.
After the war Captain Armstrong rejoined the Dominion Public Works Department and was in charge of river
improvements in East and West Kootenay.
Then came a nostalgic trip for Frank
Armstrong. Thirty-four years almost to
the day that the Duchess sailed triumphantly up the river from Golden, the
Nowitka sailed from Golden, towing a
barge loaded with construction materials for a bridge at Brisco that was to
close paddlewheel navigation on the
river forever. The era of railroad traffic
had begun.
Frank wrote of his emotion as he stood
at the wheel of the last steamer on the
river. "Having been in charge of the first
boat as well as the last, memories
crowded me." He described his first
Duchess and then wrote of the Nowitka:
"[She] is a successful little freight boat,
drawing only 16 inches of water. With
the barges ahead, we made a craft 246
feet long and 23 feet abeam. The water
is as low as it has ever been so navigation may be considered to have gone
out with a flourish.
"It shows what has been done to the
river. Besides the clearing of sweepers
and snags, side channels have been
closed and the water confined. It would
have been impossible to have operated
such a craft in the early days.
"The trip was made without incident
except for the clearing of a big
cottonwood or two lying over the river
and dodging others that have been
thrown into the river by beavers.
"Oh, yes, an enterprising rancher had
put a telephone line across the river
since my day and we, of course, carried
it away, putting the whole rural telephone system on the blink for a couple of days."
Later he said of the Nowitka: "[She]
would make a splendid nucleus of a
museum of early steamboating. Her engines were built in 1840 and were originally in a catamaran ferry near Montreal.
The man I bought them from told me
that they were good for 50 pounds
steam. Poor old Man! I wish he could
have seen us the other day with 130
pounds. The old engines did all right with
considerable grunting and groaning.
"The boiler is modern and built for
some sawmill. The pilot house and capstan are from the North Star and so on.
The object of this trip is unique. To put
a stop to navigation, an object I hate to
be connected with, and incidentally to
get some ore I left on the river bank 24
years ago."
In October 1922, while inspecting the
wharf being constructed at Kaslo, Frank
Armstrong clambered atop the federal
government pile driver. A cable broke,
lashing him off the platform. He sustained a broken hip and multiple internal injuries. The Kootenay Lake steamer
Moyie'was preparing to sail later but cast
off immediately to rush Captain
Armstrong to the Kootenay Lake General Hospital.
Weeks later, in agonizing pain, he was
transferred to Vancouver General Hospital where, on January 26,1923, he died
on the operating table.
A poignant incident was the fact that
his long-time friend and associate pilot,
Captain Francis Bacon, died in the same
ward of the hospital on the same day.
A memorial service for the two was held
at Golden in St. Paul's Anglican Church.
The Golden Star issue of February 9,
1923, reported on the service: "Companions on the last long hike ... through
many years of pioneering ... were separated by death by only a few hours."
Tributes to Frank Armstrong came
from throughout the Kootenays. One
pioneer said: "He wrote his name on
the history of riverboating as a true
western pioneer."
John P. Forde, with whom he had travelled down the Columbia, said: "No man
with an equal number of acquaintances
had more friends or fewer enemies. He
was always ready with a cheerful smile
or a song and often with aid of a more
substantial nature to help a lame dog ...
No person ever appealed to him in vain."
Tributes recorded his value as a member of Mountain Masonic Lodge No. 11
and his deep interest in St. Paul's Anglican Church and the Golden hospital, of
which board he was a director. He had
been a Scout master.
Pioneer Robert Randolph Bruce said
of him: "He was the sort of man who
never got stuck whatever the obstacles."
Lewis R. Freeman, in his book Down
the Columbia, described Captain
Armstrong as "a man who has been one
of the most picturesque personalities in
the history of British Columbia."
In the Windermere Valley his name is
remembered by the Armstrong Range
on the east side of Columbia Lake and
by Armstrong Crescent in the community of Invermere.
At Radium Hot Springs a memorial pavilion was built a few years ago and dedicated by his daughter Ruth, the late Mrs.
F.G. Horsey of Victoria, in memory of
Captain Frank Armstrong and her late
husband, who had been superintendent
of Kootenay National Park in the 1930s.
Winnifred Weir of Invermere bas been a
vice-president of tbe British Columbia
Historical Federation, curator of tbe
Windermere District Museum, and author of Tales of the Windermere Sbe is a
great-niece of Captain Frank Armstrong
Affleck, E.L., Kootenay Pathfinders and chronology
Cranbrook Courier, "Come With Me to Yesterday,"
Dave Kay
Cranbrook Herald, 1905 clipping
Calgary Herald, clippings
Forde, J.P., manuscript owned by Mrs. G.F. Horsey
Golden Memories, published by Golden Historical
Golden Star, February 1923, obituary February 9
memorial service
Hacking, Norman, Steamboat Days on the Upper
Columbia and Upper Kootenay, November 1952
Imperial Oil Review, August 1958, Cronin Fergus,
"B.C.'s Beloved Old Steamers"
Kootenay Mail, Revelstoke, May 5, 1894
Nelson Daily News, January 25, 1956
Paddlewheels on the Frontier, Volume 2, Art Downs
The Prospector, Fort Steele, January 25, 1903
Weir, Winnifred Ariel, Tales ofthe Windermere
Wilson, Thomas, TraU Blazers ofthe Canadian Rockies,
published by Glenbow-Alberta Institute
Wragge, Edmund, memoirs
With special appreciation to E.L. Affleck, Norman
Hacking, and to E.F. Horsey, grandson of Captain
Francis Patrick Armstrong
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995
10 Kamloops Children's May Festivals
by Wayne Norton
You must wake and call me early,
call me early, mother dear;
Tomorrow'ill be the happiest time of all
the glad New-year;
Of all the glad New-year, mother, the maddest
merriest day;
For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be
Queen o' the May.
- Alfred Tennyson
At the turn of the century, the city of
Kamloops, like most communities in the
Canadian West, was much concerned
with enhancing its image as a dynamic
and progressive place to live.
Rivalries with Vernon and
Revelstoke were well developed, but it was the rapid
development of the coastal
cities of New Westminster
and Vancouver that
Kamloops most sought to
emulate. At the same time,
the small middle class here
shared in the emerging national consensus that the
education and nurture of
children were responsibilities to be shared by parents
and the community. These
attitudes combined to produce one of Kamloops' most
enduring traditions. The May
festivals, begun in 1903, enjoyed remarkable popularity
for thirty years.
The first community in
British Columbia to establish a May festival was New Westminster, where the
local fire department organized the event
as early as 1870.1 Members of the
Kamloops Fire Department, eager to
prove that Kamloops was a match for
any coastal city, made plans in the spring
of 1903 for a "Firemen's May Day" to be
held on the first day of May. Their intention was to create an event that the
children of the city could look upon as
their very own. Activities were to include
a programme of sports and dances, as
well as ceremonies that would appeal
to a generation of children fascinated
by tales of fairies, pixies, pirates and
Robin Hood. Expenses would be covered by charging a nominal entrance fee
to those wishing to observe the activities. The high point of the day would
be the crowning of the young girl selected by the children themselves as their
"Queen of the May." Although the
crowning of a queen and the dance
around a maypole were directly borrowed from ancient Egyptian spring festivals, there was no suggestion that
associated fertility connotations were to
form a part of the Kamloops festivities.
The royal party of 1910.
Photo courtesy of the Kamloops Museum & Archives
The organizers made it clear that the
events were to be open to all children,
regardless of school affiliation. The Sisters of St. Ann's nevertheless, perhaps
uncomfortable with the pre-Christian origins of May festivals, decided not to take
part. The public school, however, embraced the idea with enthusiasm and
trustees willingly declared Friday, May
1 to be an official school holiday. In
mid-April, the children, by secret ballot,
elected thirteen-year-old Edith Lee as
their first May Queen.2 She in turn selected her maids of honour: Trixy Vicars, Irene McCrum, "Tottie" Irwin and
Annie Phillips. Pearl Campbell, for cer
emonial purposes, was chosen to play
the role of "ex-queen." The business
community, too, endorsed the firemen's
proposal and asked Mayor J.R. Mitchell
to proclaim a full public holiday. He did
so, and all was ready for the city's first
May Day.
The sports events began at 10 a.m. at
Alexandra Park near the north end of
the old White Bridge, while the parade
participants started to gather at the
Kamloops Musical and Athletic Association Hall (KM & AA Hall) to prepare for
the procession down Main
Street and across the bridge
to the park. Rather later
than planned, the parade
finally set off just after one
o'clock. It included the six-
teen-piece Rocky Mountain
Rangers Band in its first
public appearance, a guard
of honour from the boys'
brigade, uniformed firemen, a special carriage for
the mayor and his aldermen, and numerous other
carriages and pedestrians. A
separate carriage carried
Pearl Campbell, Edith Lee
and her maids of honour
who, according to the Inland Sentinel, all "looked
dainty and sweet and made
a pretty picture in the royal
Amidst speeches and applause and the
strains of God Save the Queen, Edith Lee
was crowned and commanded the festivities to continue. The maypole dance
was performed and the dancers each
received a piece of the ribbon as a souvenir of Kamloops' first May Day. All
children in attendance were given candies and oranges and the sports events
were then resumed. The parade was reformed to accompany the "royal party"
to Queen Edith's home, where her
mother provided dinner for her royal
and civic guests.4 At eight o'clock the
dance at the KM & AA Hall began, with
adults permitted on the floor before ten
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995 o'clock only if their dance
partners were children. By
the time the last waltz was
played at 2 a.m., the firemen
and city officials were assured that the day had been
an unqualified success.
With only minor variations, the firemen repeated
their successful May Days
for nearly a decade. In 1904
it was decided to begin the
sports events after the
crowning of the new queen.
From 1905 onwards, unless
the designated day fell on a
Saturday, city council declared a half holiday rather
than a full day. Beginning
in 1907, the festivities were
held in the grove near the
new Red Bridge because the
Alexandra Park grounds
were thought to be "too dry
and dusty for comfort."5
A large part of the appeal
of May Day was the decoration that accompanied the
event. The carriage conveying the royal party to the
park was always festively
decorated with bunting and
ribbon, while other decorated carriages and bicycles
became more numerous
with each passing year. The
home of the queen was usually decorated both inside and out, often including garlands of flowers and
ribbons on or around the dinner table.6
For the queen, her maids of honour and
the female maypole dancers, the most
enchanting decorations were the dresses
made especially for them by their mothers from the finest and most expensive
fabrics. The families involved clearly
donated significant amounts of both time
and money to sustain the magic of the
May Day.
Occasionally the May Queen was expected to assume civic responsibilities.
In 1905, for example, Queen Mary
Barnhart laid the cornerstone ofthe new
fire hall, "using an elegant silver trowel,
presented for the occasion by Mayor
Stevens, and suitably inscribed with the
date, description ofthe function and the
May Queen's name."7 Buried in a time
capsule beneath the stone were copies
Laura McCall, May Queen 1917.
Photo courtesy of Kamloops Museum & Archives
of the Sentinel and the Standard newspapers, as well as photographs of the
mayor, his aldermen and the firemen.
Queen Mary was presented with the silver trowel as a keepsake. For a few years
before the Great War, the queens acted
as representatives of the city by sending telegrams of congratulation to their
counterparts in New Westminster. In
1913 Queen Olive McLean wired to the
queen of New Westminster her "cordial
greetings and sincere wishes for a bright
and joyous reign over a happy people
in a prosperous realm." She in turn received the following message, phrased
in the required regal style:
On the occasion of your accession to the throne of Kamloops
we Jean McPhail, today
crowned Queen of New Westminster, extend cordial greetings [and] express our heartiest
wishes for a successful
and prosperous era in
your kingdom during
your rule. May your
youthful subjects be as
loyal and true to Your
Majesty as our subjects
here promise to be. May
Peace and Prosperity
attend all the days of
our reign.
Queen Jean of
Throughout the pre-war
years, the May festivals
were well covered by both
the Kamloops newspapers
and consistently were frontpage news. The queens and
their entourages were invariably described as
charming, pleasing, picturesque, sweet or dainty. As
early as 1907, just four years
after it had begun, the papers began to refer to the
event as a "time-honoured"
Kamloops tradition. Estimates of the numbers of
children involved, of carriages and decorated motor
cars in the procession, and
of spectators were used to
gauge the success of the
day's activities. As many as
1,000 children evidently
took part in 1912 and 1913,
and thirty automobiles were counted,
in addition to the horse-drawn rigs, in
the May Day parades during the years
just before the First World War. The firemen received annual accolades from the
newspapers for their efforts, and the
Standard in particular took great delight
in reporting on the "Fire Laddies' Annual Day."
The May Day was not without its critics. Expressing concern about the loss
of instructional time for such a purpose
and about the emotional strain upon the
candidates for queen, the school trustees voted to deny the school holiday
in 1908. However, pupils and teachers
united with the organizers in ignoring
the trustees' wishes and the festivities
went ahead as planned. Two of the three
school trustees resigned in protest, only
to see their resignations applauded by
the local press.9 Evidently, public opin-
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995
12 ion was strongly in favour of the continuation of the annual event.
The firemen, however, were forced to
admit in 1912 that the festival had expanded to require more time and energy
than was available within the fire department alone. In 1913 a committee of interested individuals took over
responsibility for the Kamloops May Day.
The committee made no changes to the
structures it inherited from the firemen,
but did provide the
newspapers with a statement of receipts and
expenditures. The statement revealed that ticket
sales had been very
nearly sufficient to cover
expenses, which had included candies, oranges,
ribbon and flowers, the
hire of rigs, bands and
hall rental, as well as
prize money for the
sports events. When
other donations were included, the committee
was pleased to be able
to bequeath $98.46 to the
organizers of the 1914
May Day festivities.10
Despite the outbreak
of hostilities in Europe,
the Kamloops May festival was repeated annually from 1914
through 1918. Certain aspects ofthe event
- most notably the parade - were reduced
from the grandeur of the pre-war years,
but the crowning ceremonies and the
sports events still commanded the attention of children and adults alike. The city
council granted full holidays for the first
three festivals during the war, returning
to the half holiday only in 1918. The event
continued to find a space on the front
pages of the newspapers, though the reportage was often linked to the war in
Europe. One paper insisted that "men
begrimed with the ravages of war, fighting on the battlefront or suffering from
wounds in the hospital, will rejoice in the
fact that the kiddies of Kamloops ... enjoyed the day."11
The address of the May Queen to her
loyal subjects, which followed a set pattern modified only slightly to suit the
circumstances of the year in question,
was customarily delivered by the appointed Master of Ceremonies. The
preparation of the speech certainly occurred under watchful adult eyes. During the war, the addresses underwent
some predictable changes and urged
upon the youth of the community an
enhanced patriotism and a willingness
for sacrifice. The festival of 1915 raised
$62 "for the installation of a bed in an
English hospital for Canadian soldiers
wounded at the front."12 Queen Reta
McLean's address of 1918, like the
Tbe royal party of 1917
Photo courtesy of Kamloops Museum & Archives
speeches of the civic leaders and military men with whom she shared the
podium, referred to the city's fighting
men in Europe and to those at home
who worked to support them. She concluded by advising all to invest wisely
and to work for victory. Nevertheless,
her proclamation urging these virtues
upon her subjects was signed in traditional May Day fashion:
Reta, May Queen by virtue of
election of the Dominion of
Kamloops, North Kamloops,
Powers Addition and the territories adjacent thereunto, Ruler
of Entertainment and Empress
The May festival of 1915 was remarkable in that, with only one exception,
the queens of the previous thirteen years
were all present.14 Their continuing residence in Kamloops indicates that the
city, in the early years of the century,
enjoyed a notable degree of social stability. It is also worth noting that, viewed
collectively, the dozen former May
Queens represented many of the families who formed the city's pre-war Establishment. At least seven came from
well-known business or ranching families; six were daughters of mayors or
aldermen.15 Poorer families were simply not able to permit their daughters
to become May Queens. The costs involved in dressmaking and in providing the May Day banquet for as many
as eighteen people
were substantial.
The decade following the war saw the
May festivals achieve
their greatest heights.
Gathering at the public
school grounds (presently Stuart Wood
School), the processions became more
spectacular with each
passing year, reaching
a peak in 1923 and
1924 when 150 automobiles, many of them
elaborately decorated,
were used to transport
well over 1,000 children
down to Riverside
Park.16 The longest parades stretched for
nearly three kilometres
and attendance at the park was reported
at 3,500 people in 1921, at a time when
the population of the city was barely
In fact, the festival had become a
genuinely profitable event. Ticket sales
for the day's events and the evening
dance generated sufficient profit in the
early 1920s to enable the organizing
committee to donate funds to both the
Royal Inland Hospital and the Parks
Board. A sum of $100, for example, was
given to the Parks Board in 1921, and
the May Day Committee in 1925 began
its preparations for the year with a balance of nearly $400 in the bank.17
The festivities experienced a remarkable expansion after the war. The celebrations of 1920 were particularly
notable as the Hudson's Bay Company
paid all expenses involved to commemorate the company's 250th anniversary. Cash prizes were offered for the
best-decorated floats and automobiles,
and proceeds from the evening dance
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995 funior maypole dance, 1922.
Photo courtesy of Norman Stoodley of Kamloops
permitted donations of nearly $200 to
both the Royal Inland Hospital and the
new Parks Board. The company presented strings of pearls to the queens
and maids of honour of 1919 and 1920,
gave a commemorative signet ring and
an engraved pencil case to the new
queen Jessie MacKay, and estimated that
6,000 people attended the festivities.18
The manager ofthe Kamloops Hudson's
Bay Company store authorized a "six-
day selling event" and stated that its
generosity in sponsoring the May festival should "surely be a means of endearing the name of the Company in
the hearts of the people."19 In her address, read by Mr. H.R. Ireland, Queen
Jessie stated that the company had indeed won a place in the hearts of her
subjects, and commended the Hudson's
Bay Company "as an eminent example
of energy, of resourcefulness and of
unfailing loyalty."20
The 1920 May Day also witnessed
another change as boys, for the first time
since the earliest years of the festival in
Kamloops, took part in the plaiting of
the maypole. This renewed interest partially explains the increase in the number
of maypoles required, from one as late
as 1918 to five in 1924. Much excitement was generated by the news that
the Fox Film Company planned to film
the dances and ceremonies in 1924.21
Another innovation, probably dating
from the war years, was the obligation
of the queen and her maids of honour
to pay a visit to the Royal Inland Hospital. The visits were necessarily brief as
they occurred between the end of the
sports events and the banquet, but the
royal party was invariably well received.
In 1921 returned soldier-patients at RIH
insisted that the whole party should accompany them to the hospital roof to
have photographs taken by Kamloops
photographer John Scales. Sometimes
the plaiting ofthe maypole was repeated
for the entertainment of the residents of
the Tranquille Sanatorium. Also customarily visited were the Sisters of St. Ann's
Academy, who welcomed their visitors
with a short speech and a bouquet. Their
initial opposition to the event evidently
waned over the years and, in 1925, St.
Ann's student Elsie Giddens was one of
the candidates for May Queen.
So successful was the Kamloops fes
tival that a number of neighbouring communities launched their own May Day
celebrations after World War I. Both
Falkland and Chase began their annual
May festivals at this time. Just across the
river, the village of North Kamloops established its own May Day event in 1921.
In order not to conflict with the larger
Kamloops event, the organizers chose
to celebrate their festival on Victoria Day
weekend. Throughout the 1920s their
parade would form at Ellsay's store and
follow a route to the Home Farm
grounds where, courtesy of the BC
Fruidands Company, the sports events
and maypole dances occurred. Just as
the Rocky Mountain Rangers Band had
performed at Kamloops' first May Day,
so too did it lead the first parade in North
Kamloops in 1921.22
In Kamloops itself, the May festival
looked as if it would go on forever. Each
year the event was described as the best
ever as it consistendy drew large and
appreciative crowds. A ten-day election
campaign in 1925 saw a recount of ballots become necessary as Althea Lynes
defeated Kathleen New by just two
votes. (Ironically, an accident placed
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995
14 Althea in hospital and Kathleen became
queen.) Delighted parents saw their favourites plait the four maypoles in singles, doubles and "spider's web" or
watched more than 100 children perform the Danish dance of greeting, the
Shoemaker's Dance, Hickory Dickory
Dock and the Ace of Diamonds. An exuberant poem entitled "To The May
Queen" appeared in the Sentinel, and
the public school children presented
Queen Kathleen with a wristwatch.
Competition for May Queen became
particularly keen in 1926 when nearly
thirty candidates came forward. Jean
MacKay from Stuart Wood emerged as
the winner, thus following in the footsteps of her sisters Flora and Jessie who
had been May Queens in 1911 and 1920
respectively. In 1929 Jean MacKay was
again part of the royal party, this time
as a maid of honour. Though the McLean
brothers are much better known to students of Kamloops history, the achievements of the MacKay sisters should
certainly not go unnoticed.
In 1927 the first signs appeared that all
was not well with the Kamloops event.
The school board refused to give a school
holiday, stating that it was unwilling to
interfere with the students' learning for
such a purpose. Though the board did
again grant the holiday in the following
years, it was not as a result ofthe kind of
united opposition to an unpopular decision by students, teachers and the public
that had occurred in 1908. The festival of
1927 did take place on 24 May, unfortunately competing with the scheduled
North Kamloops May Day.
The festivals of 1927, 1928 and 1929
proceeded as usual, with newspaper
headlines such as "May Day Delights Its
Thousands In Smiling Weather" again
being typical page-one fare. However,
the "annual red letter day in the juvenile calendar" was finding it increasingly
difficult to attract juvenile attention.
Though many sought to be queen, fewer
children were interested in joining in the
maypole dances. By 1929 the number
of maypoles was reduced to three and
all the dancers were female, the male
pupils again having withdrawn their
participation. Even the female participants were not so numerous and enthusiastic as in earlier years. Difficulty
was also experienced in finding teachers and other adults prepared to devote
the same amount of time as they had
previously done. The Elks Club's annual
Flag Day since the early 1920s had also
become associated with May Day, and
perhaps their patriotic speeches condemning the ignorance of Kamloops
school children about the Union Jack
were not well calculated to sustain the
fragile magic of a children's festival. For
the first time since 1903, there was talk
of cancellation.
The supper held in the banquet room
of the new Plaza Hotel for the May
Queen of 1929 was an elaborate affair:
It was a very happy occasion indeed,
the band playing in the rotunda, beautiful table decorations of white tulle, apple blossom and pale pink tapers. There
were favors for all, and pearl chokers
for the queen, ex-queen and maids of
honor, the gift of the queen's mother.23
Later that evening an orchestra,
headed by 19l6's May Queen Lygia
Dorion, provided the dance music at the
fine new Elks Hall on Seymour Street.
The music they played proved to be the
swan song for the original Kamloops
May festival.
The adults of the community had lost
interest. When the usual organizational
meeting was called to make plans for
the May festival of 1930, only six people attended. The festival was immediately cancelled for lack of public interest.
Interestingly, the North Kamloops May
Day of 1930 was also able to offer only
a limited sports programme of games
and races. There would be no May
Queen on either shore of the Thompson
River in 1930 or 1931.
As might be expected after nearly
thirty years, there was considerable nostalgia for the children's festival, and the
Kamloops Athletic Association revived
the event with considerable success in
1932 and 1933- Each school nominated
its candidate for May Queen, with the
winner's name being drawn from a hat.
Half-day holidays were again declared,
royal visits were made to Tranquille and
to the children's ward at RIH, banquets
were held at the Leland Hotel, and
dances took place at the Kamloops Athletic Association Hall. The parade of
1933 was said to be the longest ever for
a May Queen celebration.
However, the energetic Kamloops Athletic Association also sponsored a 24
May celebration in 1933- There were
horse racing events at the East End Park,
a baseball game with Revelstoke, and
tickets sold for a car draw. There was
the Rocky Mountain Ranger Band, a
concert and a dance. With the crowning of a nineteen-year-old festival queen
and a parade, the day must have seemed
to some an adult parody of a familiar
children's theme. In 1934 an attempt was
made to join together the adult and children's festivities on the 24 May weekend. There was a dance around a single
maypole and 250 children performed a
flag drill. The attempt was not repeated.
Kamloops saw no more May festivals of
either variety during the 1930s.
There was renewed interest in a children's May festival just at the end of the
Second World War, perhaps symbolic of
a community seeking to return to a simpler era. As early as 1945, North
Kamloops, Brocklehurst and Westsyde
jointly organized a children's celebration
with a maypole, a banquet, sports events
and an evening dance. Queen Mary
Krehel also visited the residents at
Tranquille. Not to be outdone, the
Kamloops Lions Club announced its intention to hold a May Day festival in 1946,
but was forced to cancel when it realized
that the organizational requirements were
beyond its reach. Club members, however, did travel to New Westminster to
learn from organizers there.
Nevertheless, the revival of the
Kamloops May Day festival that occurred
so successfully in 1947 was achieved
under the auspices ofthe Kamloops Fire
Department. Their organizing committee involved interested individuals and
the parent-teacher associations of the
city schools, and set to work to revive
all the plans and procedures of the
1920s. Fire department members rescued
maypoles from beneath the grandstand
at Riverside Park; teachers at the Junior
High School, Stuart Wood, Lloyd George,
Fruitlands, St. Ann's and the Kamloops
Indian Residential School all agreed to
take part; and on 16 May 1947 thirteen-
year-old lona Hudson became the city's
first children's May Day queen since
Unlike her predecessors, Queen lona
was given the privilege of reading her
own speech, though it was much reduced in length compared to those of
the earlier years.
The very windy May Day of 1948 was
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995 notable for a number of reasons. The
Kamloops School District declared 17
May to be an official school holiday to
accommodate the children's festival.
Governor General Viscount and Lady
Alexander, who were in Kamloops on
an official tour, visited the hospital, Paul
Lake, Valleyview and Tranquille, and
took part in the May Day ceremonies.
Most importantly, however, at the special invitation of the organizing committee, six former May Queens were
present. Olive McLean (1913) and Jean
Campbell (1927) still lived in Kamloops,
but Laura McCall (1917) and Alma Horne
(1922) travelled from Victoria, and Betty
Corbould (1932) came from Winnipeg.
Also present was the only former queen
who had been unable to witness the
crowning ceremonies back in 1915: Violet Kyle (1904) travelled from Vancouver to be part ofthe festivities in 1948.24
They would all have been pleased had
they returned the following year to see
nearly 2,000 children take part in the activities ofthe festival of 1949- They would
all have been saddened to learn that,
despite its apparent success, the
Kamloops May Day ended abrupdy in
1949, leaving even fewer clues about its
demise than its predecessor had done in
1930.25 Sadly reminiscent of the organizing committee's announcement of twenty
years earlier, the only trace of a May Day
in 1950 was the report of its cancellation
due to "insufficient interest."26
The early 1950s saw the emergence
in May of the first Miss Kamloops competitions, but those cannot be said to
be descendants ofthe "Fire Laddies' May
Day" of 1903. The Kamloops May Day
festivities initially were based upon
magic and innocence. Perhaps their disappearance is explained by realizing
how difficult it is in the twentieth century to sustain magic and innocence.
Perhaps not. Somehow the city may
have simply "outgrown" the event. It is
interesting to compare the appearance
of the post-World War II queens with
their pre-World War I counterparts. The
photographs from the early part of the
century show us the faces of children;
the royal parties of the late 1940s seem
much more mature.
As difficult as it is to understand why
the children's May Day disappeared so
abrupdy, it is even more difficult to appreciate what exacdy the day meant to
its participants. Pearl Chapman, five
years after she had been crowned May
Queen of 1923, wrote: "There is no real
definition for the fete; May Day is just
May Day and a law unto herself."27 But
maybe the secret was clearly revealed,
after all, in a "retirement speech" of 1933-
Before she surrendered her crown to
Gertrude Rigby, ex-queen Betty
Corbould advised all her youthful and
loyal subjects:
[Today] forget the shadows on
the dial, and be what you are
still in heart-just laughter-loving happy children. Lay aside
dull care, for surely it has no
place amid the flowers of May.28
Wayne Norton is a resident of Kamloops
who bas teamed with Wilf Schmidt as
editor o/" Kamloops: One Hundred Years
of Community 1893-1993 and Reflections: Thomson Valley Histories (1994:
Plateau Press).
Thanks to Frank Stewart, Norman Stoodley, Iris Faulkner,
Dora Burton and John Henderson for information
provided in the preparation of this article. Thanks also to
Elisabeth Duckworth at the Kamloops Archives, Valerie
Francis at the New Westminster Museum and Ann Morton
at the Hudson's Bay Company Archives in Winnipeg.
1. T. Weideman, History of 'the May Day(New
Westminster, 1920).
2. This was not Edith Lee's first taste of local fame. In
1894 she had been chosen to present a bouquet of
flowers to the vice-regal party on the occasion of
Lord Lansdowne's visit to the city.
3. Inland Sentinel, 5 May 1903, p. 1.
4. Inland Sentinel, 30 April 1903, p. 4.
5. Inland Sentinel, 30 April 1907, p. 1.
6. See, for example, KMA photographs 6103 and 6104.
7. Inland Sentinel, 2 May 1905, p. 1.
8. Inland Sentinel, 3 May 1913, p.l.
9. Inland Sentinel, 5 May 1908, p. 4.
10. Kamloops Standard, 16 May 1913, p. 9.
11. Kamloops Standard-Sentinel, 30 April 1918, p. 1.
12. Kamloops Standard, 11 May 1915, p. 8.
13. Kamloops Standard-Sentinel, 7 May 1918, p. 1.
14. Violet Kyle, May Queen of 1904, was absent,
having moved from Kamloops in 1905.
15- The only known exceptions to the pattern were the
queens of 1913 and 1914: Olive McLean was the
child of a CPR conductor, while Hilda McCrum
was the daughter of the famous baseball player
Joe McCrum, who also worked for a time for the
CPR. Surviving records do not indicate the family
backgrounds of the queens of 1904, 1906 and
16. Officially known as Coronation Park, it was
renamed in 1930 when the city council gave the
park the name the people of Kamloops had
always preferred: Riverside. See Ruth Balf,
Kamloops: 1914-1945 (Kamloops: 1975), p. 95.
17. Kamloops Sentinel, 24 March 1925, p. 1.
18. The Beaver, November 1920, p. 14.
19. Hudson's Bay Company Archives, RG2/3/6, A.E.
Dodman, "Synopsis of Events in Connection with
the Celebration of the Company's 250th
Anniversary," 3 July 1920.
20. Kamloops Telegram, 8 May 1920, p. 1.
21. If a copy of the film still exists, it has not yet been
located. Ruth Balf, Kamloops: 1914-1945
(Kamloops: 1975), p. 97.
22. Kamloops Standard-Sentinel, 27 May 1921, p. 1.
23. Kamloops Sentinel, 14 May 1929, p. 5.
24. Kamloops Sentinel, 19 May 1948, p. 1.
25. Ominously perhaps, the May Day celebration of
1949 was the only one ever held in Kamloops on
a Friday the thirteenth.
26. Kamloops Sentinel, 28 April 1950, p. 1.
27. Kamloops Sentinel, 15 May 1928, p. 1.
28. Kamloops Sentinel, 15 May 1933, p. 1.
1903 Edith Lee
1905 Mary Barnhart
1907 Jessie McDonald
1909 Maud Kelly
1911 Flora MacKay
1913 Olive McLean
1915 Jean Harper
1917 Laura McCall
1919 Helen Blair
1921 Jean Miller
1923 Pearl Chapman
1925 Kathleen New
1927 Jean Campbell
1929 Dorothy Churchill
1932 Betty Corbould
1947 lona Hudson
1949 Donna Johnson
1904 Violet Kyle
1906 Beatrice Allen
1908 Annie Noble
1910 Irene Irwin
1912 Elizabeth Robinson
1914 Hilda McCrum
1916 Lygia Dorion
1918 Reta McLean
1920 Jessie MacKay
1922 Alma Horne
1924 Annie Lytle
1926 Jean MacKay
1928 Pearl Neill
1930/31 Cancelled
1933 Gertrude Rigby
1948 Doris Evans
1921  Lillie Farquharson
1923 Jean Wyse
1925 Louise Emmerick
1927 Alice McKnight
1929 Faith McKnight
1947 Elsie Schimpf
1922 Edna Nixon
1924 Rosemary Williams
1926 Alice Willie
1928 Rose Nicholson
1945 Mary Krehel
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995
16 The Hayward Sheep Trail
by L Hayward and V. Brink
Trailing sheep from lowland pasture
to alpine meadows for summer grazing
is an ancient art in Europe and Asia.
The art was rapidly transferred to North
America with the earliest Spanish setde-
ments, and before the end of the 16th
century Spanish sheep breeds had been
trailed to many Catholic missions in
Mexico and what
is now the American Southwest.
Other European
breeds were
raised in small
farm flocks in the
early setdements
of New England
and New France
and later on a
few fur trading
posts, but were
rarely trailed far.
However, when
gold camps
sprung up over
many parts of
Western America
following the
California rush of
1849, sheep were
trailed long distances in modest
numbers from
the Southwest to
meet the miners' needs for meat and
Then in the last decades of the 1800s
came the realization, as settlements extended into the West, that there was
abundant free grazing for both sheep
and cattle and both were trailed widely.
A virtual explosion in livestock numbers
occurred. In 1890 at least 600,000 sheep
travelling well-established trails reached
the new farms of the Middle West for
fattening. By 1910 there was a minimum
of eleven million sheep on Western
ranges. Although not usually accorded
the importance and romance of catde
trailing, sheep husbandry and trailing
were important in Western setdement.1'2
Sheep Trails in B.C.
Sheep destined to meet the needs of
miners of the Cariboo goldfields were
trailed from "Oregon Territory" by the
customs house at Osoyoos, B.C., before
I860. No doubt the small farm flocks
maintained since the early 1800s at a
few Hudson's Bay Company fur trading
posts, notably at Langley and Kamloops,
■ i? !  "*.££?♦* s
Lac du Bois range near Leasehold Lake.
also played a minor role in meeting food
needs of miners. "Setded" sheep ranching with trailing to summer pasture, following patterns in the United States,
however, came later, probably around
1880 to the valleys of the Similkameen,
Thompson, Okanagan and Fraser Rivers. The story of the B.C. sheep trails
has been partially recorded by Grant
MacEwan.3a Although it is a latecomer
(1935 to 1965), the Hayward sheep trail
from Kamloops to the South Chilcotin
Mountains was undoubtedly the longest and most tortuous and largest in
numbers of sheep trailed in B.C. As one
of the boldest ventures in our agricultural history, it deserves a special record.
The Trail: Kamloops to the
South Chilcotin Mountains
The Hayward sheep trail was planned
by William Randolph Hayward and first
employed in its entirety in 1935. The
story of "Ranny," his family and times,
but not of the trail, has been recounted
by Grant MacEwan.3b
W.R. Hayward was born in New
Brunswick in
1879, came to
the Western Territory about 1902
and settled at
Vermilion, soon
after he was raising sheep near
North Batdeford,
As the pressure
from settlements
and grain farming grew around
him, he decided
in 1926 or 1927
to bring sheep to
Ashcroft, where
he deemed there
was greater freedom for ranching. In the years
following, he
raised and trailed
sheep variously
from Gordon
Ranch (rented) in Upper Hat Creek, from
the MacGillivray Ranch (purchased) in
the Fraser Canyon country between
Lytton and Lillooet using alpine summer range on Blustry and Cairn Mountains, out of Pavilion and the Carson and
Bryson Ranches, and out of Walhachin
and Ashcroft. During the early years of
the Great Depression of the 1930s Mr.
Hayward negotiated the purchase of
arable lands for hay production and
pasture at Westsyde near Kamloops and
a lease on about 12,000 acres of spring/
fall range on the nearby Lac du Bois
open grasslands (see photo this page).
The negotiations involved the B.C.
Fruidands Company and the holdings
Photo courtesy of Donovan Clemson
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995 Figure 1: Map of tbe Hayward Sbeep TraU, 1934-1965. Four thousand or more ewes with lambs left Kamloops in May, grazing as tbey moved
eight to ten miles a day, to cross tbe Fraser River on tbe small Big Bar reaction ferry to tbe alpine meadows of tbe South Chilcotin Mountains.
Cartography by CJ. Griffiths
of oldtimers like Joe Bulman and Mickey
Lowe.4 By 1935 a home ranch was well
established at Westsyde. J.R. Copley, one
of the pioneer grazing officers with the
B.C. Forest Service, had pointed out
some years before that there was extensive unallotted alpine summer range
west of the Fraser Canyon in the South
Chilcotin Mountains; at that time catde
made little use of the high range and
permits had been issued for Poison
Mountain ranges for only a few hundred sheep by an absentee owner of a
small West Canyon ranch. After much
planning in 1935, the first droving by
Mr. Hayward started across the Fraser.
Typically, 4,000 or more ewes left
Westsyde in mid-May in three bands of
1,200 to 1,400 ewes with lambs; the
bands started two days apart and they
grazed a wide swath as they moved six
to ten miles a day. From Westsyde they
grazed to Tranquille, then up the west
side of the Tranquille Valley to Red Lake
(Threlkeld Ranch) and the Upper
Deadman River Valley, and via Back Valley to Cache Creek. From there the
bands moved along the Cariboo Road,
interfering with motorized traffic and
fences as little as possible, to Clinton,
then by way of Cut-off Valley to Kelly
Lake and the back road north to just
south of Jesmond. Now came an elevation drop of 2,000 feet to the 1,000-foot
elevation on the Fraser River. At Big Bar
ferry, the sheep, in lots of about 135,
crossed the big fast-moving river (see
photo p. 19) on the planks of the reaction ferry. After the crossing of the Fraser
there began the long slow climb of
roughly 6,000-feet elevation up French
Bar Creek to Swan Lake and Red Mountain. The bands then ranged widely in
varied patterns around the headwaters
of Churn Creek, Poison Mountain, Mud
Creek, Swartz Lake, Lone Valley (Lone
Valley trailing rights were paid to the
Gang Catde Ranch) and Prentice Lake,
the upper Tyaughton and Relay Creeks,
little Paradise and litde Graveyard Valleys and as far west on occasion as the
slopes of Cardtable and Castle Mountains (see photo p. 19). The lambs gained
weight quickly on the rich green forbs
and grasses of the alpine meadows.
China Head and Poison Mountain were
usually focal points for the return trips
over much the same route in late September and early October.
The map distance, about 125 miles
from Westsyde to Casde Mountain, gives
little indication of the real distance travelled by sheep herders, dogs and supply pack trains, or of the difficulties
encountered in meeting the needs of
animals and men. Bargaining at Indian
reservations and privately held lands to
gain crossings was often made on the
spot with dollar payments. Circumventing fencing and traffic on roads, abating occasional hostility tactfully, and
constant vigilance can be listed as items
difficult to portray; some measure may
be gained from recollections by Lloyd
Hayward.5 Although the B.C. Forest
Service had granted permission to cross
and graze what was largely Crown land,
it offered no assistance in routing.
Timetables, Supplies and
Trailing sheep over open range even
under the best of situations is attended
by many difficulties, and to avoid calamity exceptional planning and execution is required; trailing sheep is akin to
organizing an extended advance of an
army. In a day before radiophones, the
provincial police were often helpful in
relaying messages.
Lambs were dropped in March and
April at the home ranch at Westsyde.
The bands left by the 24th of May and
moved at slighdy different rates, depending on topography and forage, to average about eight miles a day. Unlike
common U.S. practice, bedgrounds were
not established and the sheep moved
every day, a tough practice but good
for the range. Three herders were regularly employed, one for each band. The
Hayward family also worked as a unit,
in later years Doug and Lloyd took over
from "Dad." Lloyd had a special role in
making sure haying went well at
Westsyde. Two packers with about six
horses each kept the herders and bands
supplied with groceries, salt and other
necessary items. The country store at
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995
18 Jesmond was a usual base for supplies
but on occasion packing was from Minto
in the Bridge River Valley and routing
them was up the Yalakom or Gun Creek
The vicissitudes of life on the pack
trail and herding sheep are many; those
who like it are usually strong individualists. Some men stayed with the
Hayward family and the trail for over
twenty years. Remarkably few animals
died on the trail from bad weather, disease, predation or poisonous plants;
losses averaged far below one per cent
and far below those usually suffered on
the sheep trails elsewhere in the West.
Herders were almost always armed and
on constant alert for forays into the
flocks by coyotes. Only on one occa-
I --
High country range on tbe slopes of Castle
Photo courtesy
sion did a grizzly stampede a band into
a gully, with the result that 200 to 250
sheep died in the pile-up.
Snow can fly at any time in the high
mountain summer and cold wet weather
can reduce pasture quality and reduce
gains in animal weight. By the last week
in September the bands were moved from
high pasture and began the return to
Westsyde; arrival taiget was mid-October.
Top lambs were selected and walked
in August to the Pacific Great Eastern
rail at Kelly Lake, shipped to Squamish
and transshipped (because at that time
PGE rail did not reach Vancouver) by
boat to, first, Swift Canadian Packers
and, later, Canada Packers in Vancouver. Another selection of lambs was
made and shipped in September. Cutting corrals were usually at Nicodemus
Creek in August and on Poison Mountain in September. Weaker lambs came
back to Westsyde and were fattened for
the winter market with forage from the
ranch and supplement (supplement was often pea
screenings from Armstrong
and freight-car lots of grain
from Alberta or corn [maize]
from the U.S. Middle West).
In later years trucking from
Jesmond was attempted but
the then-bridge crossing the
Fraser at Alexandria couldn't
manage the big trucks and a
long route through Princeton
was found.
The Home Ranch and
Closing Down
Sheep were fed in winter at Westsyde,
largely forage produced on its arable
irrigated lands, and in the fall and spring
on the adjacent Lac du Bois grassland
ranges. The basic genetic base
of the flock was Rambouillet,
prized for fine wool but, more
particularly, for its good flocking characteristics so important for trailing. (It was said
of these sheep that "if you saw
one, you saw them all.") Heterogeneity and vigour was
maintained using high quality Suffolk rams by partnering
with sheep breeder H.E.
Talbot of Westwold. Sheep
dogs, originally from Alberta
stock and bred at Westsyde,
were black and white (and
some blue) collies. In the 1930s haying
and general farm operation required a
crew of up to twenty or more but with
the advent of balers and other new harvesting machinery and techniques after
World War II, only one or two men were
By 1962 it became clear that as a result of highway expansion, alienations
of Crown land, growing use of high
pastures by cattle from Gang and Empire Valley Ranches, and difficulties in
obtaining experienced and dedicated
herders and packers that trailing sheep
to West Fraser would soon be unprofitable. In 1965 the trail operation closed
down. For a few years the Westsyde
operation was maintained but, with the
expansion of urban Kamloops, it too was
terminated. The Hayward Westsyde
lands were sold and the deeded Lac du
Bois range was bought by cattlemen
Charlie and Don Frolek.5
It is difficult today to even envision
;x^, 35jp«3tt
Loading tbe reactionferry to tmss tbe Fraser at Big Bar.
Photo courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada
of Lloyd Hayward
the thousands of Hayward sheep moving through today's settlements and altered landscapes up to the high
meadows of the South Chilcotin Mountains. What was remote high country is
now well populated by guide-outfitters
and their clients, tourists, naturalists,
hikers and skiers.
Lloyd Hayward, now retired and living in Kamloops, bad responsibility with
bis brother (deceased) for tbe droving
of sbeep in tbe later years of tbe existence of tbe trail
Dr. V.C "Bert" Brink is an authority
on tbe history of B.C agriculture. He
was recently given an honorary Doctor
of Science at UBC He was awarded tbe
Order of British Columbia and the Order of Canada for bis tremendous contributions.
1. Sheep Trails in the Americas, E.N. Westworth. Iowa
State College Press (1948).
2. This Was Sheep Ranching: Yesterday and Today, V.
Paul. Superior Publishing Co.. Seattle, WA (1973).
3. Highlights of Sheep History in the Canadian West,
Grant MacEwan. Alberta Sheep and Wool
Commission, *212-6715 Sth Street NE, Calgary,
Alta. T2E 7H7 (1991).
(a) Chapter 15 "Grazing Sky-High on British
Columbia Ranges"
(b) Chapter 16 "The William Hayward Success
4. Treasures of Lac du Bois, K. McLaren and K,
Cartwright, editors, A. McLean. Purless Printers
Ltd., Kamloops, B.C. (1981).
5. Recollections of the Hayward Trail, notes by Lloyd
Hayward filed in the Agricultural Museum,
Langley, B.C. (1994).
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995 RC. Diary of Beatrice Sprague, 1906
by J. Lindsay Thacker
In 1905 my mother, Beatrice Sprague,
was engaged to be married to Thomas
Lindsay Thacker, who had homesteaded
in British Columbia a few years previously. Since Beatrice had been raised in
fairly comfortable
circumstances in
Edinburgh, her
father felt she
should find out
firsthand what
she would be facing as a homesteader's wife in
western Canada,
so he arranged a
three-month trip
for his daughter
and her future
Gladys Thacker,
to spend the
summer in Hope,
B.C., with Gladys'
brothers, Lindsay
and Norman. On
May 17, 1906,
Beatrice and
Gladys boarded
the Ionian in Liverpool and enjoyed an event-filled Adantic crossing
(icebergs, stowaways, and a shipwreck!).
After several days in Montreal, they departed for the West by train on May 31.
Mother was a naturalist, with an especially keen interest in botany, ornithology and geology, and kept a diary of
the trip, her impressions of Canada, and
many very detailed descriptions of plant
and bird life, not all included in the following excerpts.
They reached Winnipeg on June 4,
where they stopped, for three days before resuming their journey. Picking up
her diary the next day, we find them
somewhere on the Prairies.
June 8 - Passed some men burying a
horse ... got to Crane Lake ... waited
there for hours, owing to a "washout"
ahead ... got out and strolled about,
though we didn't dare go too far from
the train. People very friendly and most
good-humoured over the delay. There
is said to be a broken bridge below the
washout. Went on about 8:30 pm, and
soon stopped again, near a farm. One
Tbe Coquihalla Bridge at tbe foot of Little Mountain, with Beatrice Sprague in tbe foreground.
All photos from the Thacker family album.
lady went up and got milk and bread
and butter. Moved on a little; rumour
had it that the farm people had requested us to do so! At 9:00 moved back
a little!
[Mother took good advantage of the
time waiting for the washouts to be repaired, taking photos and producing
some delightful sketches of the Prairie
June 9 - Started at 6 this morning from
Maple Creek, behind Wednesday's westbound, and got as far as Walsh - another washout! ... got away at 2:00. Flat
land ... low grassy hills north and south.
Tents, cowboys, a good number of burnt
skeletons - probably where the Indians
had roasted an animal, we were told.
Combined lunch and dinner at 4:00, as
they couldn't give us both today, owing
to lack of provisions! They got what they
could at Medicine Hat. Flat wild prairie,
lots of catde, lots of water and waterfowl. Reached Calgary about noon, and
Banff about 2:30 [where they stayed,
sightseeing, until boarding the train for
Hope on the
evening of June
June 14 - The
first thing that
struck us on
looking out the
window this
morning, was
the luxuriant and
interesting vegetation. There
are turncap lilies,
huge pink clover, wild roses,
rosebay willow-
herb, spiraea ...
over a great extent here the forest has been
burnt down, and
the skeleton grey
trunks are still
standing stark
above the new
growth, which
gives the whole place a desolate appearance. Further on the forests grow richer,
and there are small lakes with yellow
waterlilies. At Litde Shuswap Lake ...
tents and Indian children - they looked
rather bonny. On the South Thompson,
interesting bits of ancient strath ... numerous side gullies and valleys. Change
of scenery ... sand and mud and small
stones, bare and desolate, with hardly
any growth. Above are sloping rounded
hills covered with yellow-brown grass.
Below, the river is very broad, there are
bare bunch grass hills. Now and then
the river takes a great sudden bend and
we have magnificent views. Below die
confluence of the Fraser and the
Thompson, the scenery is really Alpine.
Fir-clad steep rocky hills rise abruptly
to a great height leading to snowy peaks
behind, and it is really grand! We saw
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995
20 here and there the old Cariboo road,
and were specially interested in a tiny
village set in a beautiful green level
place, and shut in by forest and mountain and river so completely that we
wondered if the inhabitants ever got out
of it! Reached North Bend about 5:45,
found Lindsay's letters waiting for us,
and went to meet him.
June 15 - Left North Bend on the train
at 3:00. On reaching Hope we walked a
few yards down to the ferry; our baggage and ourselves and several other
people were ferried across the Fraser in
a small boat ... it was rather exciting -
there is a strong current, and at one place
a long backetirrent and some strong
eddies. Gladys and I were both relieved
when we reached the other side safely.
Hope is a lovely place, and it's a very
beautiful walk up from Hope to the hill.
The street of Hope is beautiful grass,
with sheep pastured on it, and the trail
winds in and out among thick wood, as
if it were an avenue in an estate. After
crossing the little wooden bridge over
the Coquihalla, the trail up our hill is
only a narrow rough footpath, and fairly
steep in places. The view from the shack
is lovely: it stands close by the edge of
a steep rocky descent, mosdy covered
with fir trees, some 500 ft above the river.
Immediately below is a wide flat-bottomed valley between the mountains,
thickly covered with fir and other trees.
At the foot of our hill these flat fir woods
extend a good way west, the Fraser
going round them in a wide sweep, and
the much smaller Coquihalla cutting
through them to join the Fraser. Great
mountains close in the circular valley,
Hope Mtn to the south, Silver Mtns on
the west and southwest; all these are
thickly wooded, except one or two of
the highest peaks, which are rocky and
snowstreaked. From here, only a light
green grassy level and a house or two
shows where the village is. The 'shack'
greatly exceeded my expectation: it is
quite a good size, shipshape and comfortable, and picturesque! Oh, the sensation of taking my first meal there, with
die logs in the open fireplace glowing
on wooden floor and rafter and wall,
and the fine scent of the woodsmoke!
later, when Lindsay and Norman turned
in, in their little tent outside, and Gladys
and I were left in possession, we did
laugh at the quaintness and novelty of
■our surroundings' We were amused by
unfamiliar noises ... told to expect squirrels dancing on the roof, so when the
rain came pelting down hard on die roof,
G inquired somewhat sleepily if that was
the squirrels!
June 16 - The well provides us good
water, delightfully soft, and is very easily worked. There is a shed close to the
shack ... the stable is partly built - at
present the mare stays on a pasture
down below ... the life up here is very
simple, and I think we are going to like
it immensely.
June 19 - This has been a lovely, hot
day. After lunch and some work pulling
bracken, we went for a walk. L and I
had a paddle in the Coquihalla, but it
was too cold! It is very pleasant in the
evenings here, and the views tonight
were lovely in the lingering sunset. We
have seen some fine birds - Harris'
woodpecker, nuthatch, vireo, junco,
songsparrow, blue jay (crested) of some
-•xv-rx' ■■-.
mm* "..
■ ., ti
Tbe well at "West Slough" on Little Mountain, Beatrice in tbe foreground.
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995 HM   K^                 *
/   fifekl" *- -'                    1      Ski  ■
HI     R^PW^lll^ i - ^
5F'-!   -;,  '
BBft^i*,.":-                                               a. wi
Er^**"~                        •**?
g§*5k^? ^
Charlie Nicol and T. Lindsay Thacker with packborse.
kind, mosquito hawk, falcon.
June 20 - In afternoon went down to
Wardle's, and had tea there ... cleared
the little bit of garden next the shack.
The trees and shrubs and flowers here
are delightful: the whole of this Little
Mountain is covered with trees: firs,
pines, hemlock, spruce, Douglas fir,
maples, dogwood, syringa, spiraea,
snowberry, thimbleberry, bracken, other
flowering shrubs. We see a lot of swallowtails and other butterflies, also insects innumerable and rather weird -
we have been warned against wood-
ticks - mosquitoes have bitten us, but
not much nor badly - we have netting
over the windows. The birds and squirrels (and snakes!) are very tame compared to ours at home - the litde brown
squirrel here, with tawny breast, sits
within three feet or so and scolds us!
June 21 - Arrived at Agassiz about
six o'clock; had dinner, and then L and
I went for a walk ... saw some of the
Tamworth (piebald brown and black)
pigs. L tells me they will live where no
others will ... they are kept for streaky
bacon ... work for their living and never
get fat.
June 22 - Drove to Harrison Hot
Springs and had a jolly day. Saw several fresh birds - a scarlet headed woodpecker, eagles, The lake is 40 miles long,
several islands at this end and hills all
round. Looking up the lake one sees a
fine snowy ridge [Douglas Mountain?],
very clean cut, which must be some
miles long. The country round here is
much more highly cultivated than at
Hope. The roads are pretty good, and
there are wooden sidewalks, and cedar
fences of various kinds. There are fields
of hay, corn, potatoes, hops. We passed
some "Devil's Club" - a handsome big
plant, the stem covered with wicked poisonous prickles. Burnt trees and stumps
up to 15 feet high are all over in the
cultivated fields and there are wild
clumps of bracken and spiraea still
standing up defiantly. Went to call on
Mrs. Agassiz, about getting an introduction to a fruit farm. She and her daughters received us pleasantly ... advised
us just to go out and interview Mrs.
Whelpton of Crescent Farm.
June 23 - Walked out this morning
to Crescent Farm, it has turned very
warm, and G and I find ourselves very
limp. It is about three and a half miles
out from Agassiz, and we came partway
through an Indian reserve, and crossed
a slough several times ... saw a beautiful little hawk, also an evening grosbeak
- a very handsome bird. Found the
Whelptons very pleasant, gave us a nice
reception, and agreed to take G and me
today. In the evening I had a try at milking, but found it very difficult. The family here is Mr. and Mrs. Whelpton, a
married son and his wife and huge
bouncing boy of 9 months, an unmarried son, and a youngster working here
at a small wage. Mrs. W does some of
the baking and pretty well all the house
work. They have very plentiful supplies;
dinner consists of soup, salmon, dishes
of potatoes, meat, biscuits, bread and
hot buns; two kinds of pie, and jugs of
milk and cream. We have a fine view of
Mt. Cheam, including the Diamond
Peak, which is over the boundary in
American territory. Mt. Cheam is 9,000
feet high, and has a fair amount of snow
on it. In the evening G and I went for a
little stroll by the slough (a large backwater of the Fraser?) and saw a wild
pigeon, a slate-coloured heron in the
water, and some bonny litde waders,
something like Kentish plovers (excuse
this "blight" of birds - the bird notebook was left behind at the shack -
those uninterested please skip!)
June 24 - The rancher people round
here seem a very decent tidy set; friendly
too, and not nearly so rough as I expected. Some of the women dress quite
prettily and up to date, with a good deal
of style.
June 25 - Watched Mrs. W. churning, and had a spell or two at it; it's
hard work, as the churn is a heavy old-
fashioned one. G and I helped pick
gooseberries ... rather hot work in the
sun, and prickly, but not bad - topped
and tailed some for stewing. Took photos of the family and the hills.
June 26 - We decided to leave today,
instead of tomorrow. Watched Mrs. W
put the butter up into pounds, did our
packing, stripped some red currants after dinner. Departed about three o'clock,
carrying our bag between us on a strong
stick ... were objects of great interest to
whom we met, notably a Chinaman carrying bundles strung on a pole across
his shoulders, who stopped and made
some cheerful but unintelligible remark
to us, to which we replied with a smile,
"good afternoon"! We met a couple of
striking looking Indian women, lighter
coloured than usual; the elder had rather
a fine type of face, which reminded me
of some of the Pharaohs. They had
dusky-turquoise handkerchiefs round
their heads, and the child which one
was carrying had a gorgeous deep crimson-brown jacket - it was a fine colour
effect, with their dark brown dresses and
yellow-brown skins.
June 27 - Went over the experimental farm; Mr. Sharpe showed us over and
told us a lot of interesting things. Sampled various kinds of black, red and
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995
22 white currants. Mr. S gave me several
suggestions as to what things to grow
for profit - bulbs, seed peas for East
Canada, because they have the pea bug
there and want seed; blackberries and
black walnuts. Showed us lots of beautiful trees and flowers. After dinner wrote
to Mrs. W enclosing p.o. for our bill and
then went for a walk. Got the train and
reached our hotel (Badminton) in Vancouver about 10:30.
June 28 - Went to the bank and
changed some notes ... on to Sun Life
to see Mr. Branch ... he was very cordial and took us for a fine drive through
Stanley Park. We saw the biggest tree
there ... the park is perhaps 30 square
miles, Lindsay thinks; part kept carefully
like a town park, but most is wild and
very luxuriant ... lots of footpaths and
bridle paths. It is wonderful to see this
big city, set in the heart of wild country;
it is at the land end of the peninsula,
and Stanley Park fills up the sea end.
On the north is the beautiful bay,
wooded all round, and set about with
high wooded hills, rising to mountains.
We couldn't see the mountaintops, on
account of the heavy clouds. Opposite
lies North Vancouver, which has sprung
up only in the last two or three years. It
is very odd to see the little wooden
houses dotted about among hundreds
of big blackened tree stumps; and to
see the electric car poles standing up
clean and yellow and straight alongside
"roads" which have merely been cleared
and not made at all. They expect soon
to have a railroad there. We got some
pics today and refills for the Kodak. In
evening Lindsay went over to the nursery garden and G and 1 wrote up these
precious diaries.- if they're anything like
worth the labour we've put into them,
they ought to be greatly appreciated!
June 29 - In the afternoon we went
over to the nursery garden ... saw Mr.
Page and Mr. Turncliff; the latter showed
me the two ways in which they graft
young apple trees. We had a delightful
walk out to the nursery; and one gets
fine views of the city. 1 haven't yet given
a fair description of Vancouver: it is a
busy bright place - good shops, electric
cars and some rather fine big buildings,
the residential part is nice - wooden
houses of all sorts and shapes and colours, each in its own small garden, and
with little sloping banks of good grass,
unfenced, running down to the path.
Trees and strips of mown grass along
both sides of roads. Further out, on the
outskirts of the town, you get houses -
and whole roads of them - plunked
down in almost untouched country.
July 1 - Caught 8 o'clock train ...
breakfast on board. Had beautiful views
of Mt. Baker, good scenery all the way
to I lope, L took snapshots. Got over on
the ferry at once, got our letters at Mr.
Wardle's and came up. Mr. Nicol, son of
a friend of Mr. Thacker's, came over here
for a visit to see what the place is like,
and is going to stay and work for L for a
month. I like him. In the afternoon, L
and N, G and I went on the lake
[Kawkawa] in a borrowed canoe. G and
1 weren't very happy, as it was leaking,
and very wet and messy, and G was in
mortal terror the whole time lest we
should upset! The lake is nearly square;
two or three little streams run in on the
east, and on the south there is a most
fascinating outlet, Sucker Creek. It is
almost choked in many places with
fallen trees, and is a regular jungle, with
things trailing across, great luxuriandy
mossy trunks barring the way, tall
waterlily leaves (yellow and flame-coloured flowers) growing one and a half
feet out of the water. The light coming
through all the tangled tender greenery
was beautiful... a long part of the lower
creek is like a mill lead, narrow and
clear, and was once used to drain the
place. We left the canoe pan way along
the creek and walked up, passing a wild
garden of the large white scented pyrolas
on the way. Saw a brown orchis on the
bank. Home by the usual trail
July 4 - In afternoon L took G and
me down to the maidenhair bower, in
the glen below the waterwheel ... water has disappeared with the last week,
but the place is very pretty now; and
■the waterfall must be a little beauty,
when it's diere! We scrambled down the
glen, and up another way; and L and 1
spent the rest of the time by ourselves,
and had a long talk.
July 7 - Last night when L and I returned from the lake, we found that
Molly the mare had gone! N had tied
her up insecurely down below, and she
had departed! We didn't know where
she might be - possibly off over the
mountains to the Similkameen, where
she came from! This morning N went
down to Hope, and found that Mr.
Corrigan had come across her and put
her in the meadow, and we were relieved. Mr. Whitworth turned up ...
wanted N to help him take some horses
in the Skagit, so N has gone with him.
July 9 - L and G and I came to
Spence's Bridge by the 11:15 train, leaving Mr. Nicol in charge of the shack.
Went over on the ferry (a government
one, free to the public till 6 p.m. and
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995 worked by the current and ropes and
pulling on a rope across the river).
July 10 - Enjoyed the 22 mile drive up
the Nicola Valley, to Halfway stopping
house. Interesting scenery - big hills of
sandy clay, greyish brown, to darker
brown that looked as if it was crumbling
to pieces with heat... silvery grey-green
sage brush ... a few tiny cactus plants ...
cheerful green sumachs, poison ivy,
saskatoon berry bush, red currant,
gaillardia, pale purple lily, all grow here.
The distances are fine colours ...brown
rocks get purplish, scattered firs on the
higher hills, deep blue. In some places
were steep sandy-mud slopes, dry and
barren, and worn into many odd pinnacles called "hoodoos" (Indian kind of
idols). Further up the valley vegetation
increases, brown bunch grass covers the
hills. There are many "benches" at various heights. We saw a fine blue bird ...
lots of cicadas, an inch and a half long,
heavy climbing things with large eyes and
wings, and head like frogs! They sizzle
continuously. Reached 22 Mile about six
p.m., had tea, went for a walk down a
railroad that is under construction ... lots
of mosquitoes!
July 11 - Made an early start down
the line to Manning's ranch, where we
spent the day. Had a fine bathe in the
river ... had the good luck to see three
otters ... on our way L showed us some
Clarke's Nutcracker.
July 12 - Mrs. Marpole cannot keep
us longer, so we went back a mile to
Mrs. Farr's, and found she could keep
us. After lunch swam over to other side
of river and spent the whole afternoon
till teatime. It is quite wild and there
was litde risk of meeting anyone, so G
and I left our things this side and
marched about in bathing dresses and
hats, and found ourselves extremely
comfortable. After tea we went along to
Mr. and Mrs. M's, and L brought along
all our possessions in a wheelbarrow,
while G and I walked one on each side
and flicked him with handkerchiefs to
keep off the mosquitoes! I wish we could
have snapshots of us sometimes - we
are such tramps!
July 13 - Swam over the river ... took
clothes and lunch ... found the wild
raspberries and saskatoon berries
(ollalies) pretty good to eat. In the afternoon went down to the benches and
"surveyed" the levels, to see how much
could be irrigated by a ditch starting from
here in the river, but the fall is too slight
to be of any use to the upper benches.
G found a waxwing's nest with four
young birds; saw a tanager, ruffed
grouse, warbler. It's very hot here, can't
get up any pace in our walks - we crawl
like snails!
July 14 - Had a lazy day ... swam
over to the other side ... L paced the
piece of land and made a rough estimate of the size (23 acres). Feel quite fit
and acclimatized today, and have quite
lost the leaden-limbed feeling ofthe last
day or two. After tea L and I walked to
the Marpoles and returned the wheelbarrow ... saw a big duck, with bright
chestnut head and neck and white bars
on wings.
July 17 - Got up at 3:30, had breakfast and made an early start in Mr. Farr's
rig. The drive was lovely - I didn't realize till today the beauty of the drybelt!
It was quite cool ... colouring was soft
and delicate, blue-grey and green, and
when the sun rose the hills flushed into
soft rosy umber. Passed several Indian
huts; some of the Indians were sleeping under a kind of open tent, and we
saw them lying in bed as we passed.
There are several little Indian cemeteries, each set apart for one "clan". Saw
an osprey. Had two hours at Spences
Bridge ... pleasant train journey to Hope
... found Norman and Mr. Nicol well.
July 21 - We worked out our return
journey from here to Quebec. L and Mr.
N almost finished the hayshed ... I went
with them to the store to get supplies,
then to the Corrigans to visit while the
supplies were being packed. Norman
left here yesterday for the Nicola Valley
where he is going to look round on his
own account and also keep an eye on
"our" land.
July 26 - Up in good time ... down
to Hope ... said goodbye to Mrs.
Laurence and the Wardles. Went over
on the ferry ... said goodbye to L and
Mr. N at the station ... went to Yale to
wait for the night train so as to see the
scenery tomorrow which we missed
before. Went for a walk ... found myself by the remains of an old slaughter
house, dating no doubt from the days
of Yale's prosperity before the railway
came and caused its decline. Saw some
teepee holes, or as I was told, probably
"keegli" (?) that were used by the Indi
ans perhaps till 20 years ago. Now they
are only slight hollows with a mound
two feet or so round them, but they used
to be 20 feet deep, and the Indians lived
in them in winter.
July 27 - Took last night's 9 o'clock
train. Grand scenery today. The
Illicillewaet is a grey icestream ... low
banks thickset with conifers, cedar, hemlock, a kind of pine I don't recognize
... above are high steep slopes ... in
the gaps ... great bare mountain peaks
... sometimes the mountain side burnt
... lots of fireweed. Went over the Loops
- a wonderful piece of engineering. At
Albert Canyon they let us out for a few
minutes to see the fine view. The Columbia River reminded me a good deal
of the Fraser, but on a small scale. Kicking Horse Canyon is beautiful, narrow
and wild. Now and then we pass sheer
cleancut cliffs, not very high, shut in
above on both sides with firs, and dropping to the river below ... wonderful
turns of the river and glimpses every
minute. We reached Field at 9, and had
dinner at the hotel there; went on at
9:30 and reached Laggan at 11, where
we saw a small party of tourists with a
mother and daughter in knickerbockers
- they looked very comfortable and
quite at ease among all the more or less
'smart' people! Another half hour or
more, driving in an open carriage,
brought us to Lake Louise Hotel.
[On their way back across Canada,
Beatrice and Gladys did some further
sightseeing, including the Muskoka area
in Ontario. They arrived back in Liverpool on August 20, 1906.]
Beatrice and Lindsay were married in
1908 and settled on "Litde Mountain" in
Hope where they raised their family of
four, Yvonne, twins Sprague and
Lindsay, and Margaret - but that's another story!
/. Lindsay Thacker is retired and still
lives in Hope, RC His daughter Irene
MacDonald, now living in Fernie, transcribed ber grandmother's diary, then
assisted ber father with editing it to be
presented here. The original diary rests
safely in tbe UBC Special Collections Library.
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995
24 The First Sawn Lumber Exports
from the Pacific Coast
by Thomas K. Fleming
One does not now think of the Hudson's Bay Company as sawmillers. However, the first sawn lumber exports from
the Pacific Coast came their mill near
Fort Vancouver on the Columbia River
in 1828 and the first exports from what
is now British Columbia were from their
mill near Esquimalt in 1849.
Prior to the production of lumber,
there was a profitable export trade in
spars, hand-squared timbers, and cedar
shingles cut for the Hudson's Bay Company by Indians. But this article is about
sawn lumber.
Fort Vancouver
This Hudson's Bay Company fort was
established 110 miles up the Columbia
River in 1824 after an inspection trip
there by Governor George Simpson.
(See illustration p. 40.) It superseded Fort
George which had come into the possession of the company on its amalgamation with the North West Company
in 1821.
Simpson felt that revenue from lumber might exceed that available from the
fur trade, and he ordered a sawmill to
be built and to operate continuously.
Since the coastal fur trade was seasonal,
HBC ships could be used to carry lumber to the Sandwich Islands and California in the winter, when they were
not serving the coastal forts, thus enhancing the economics of the HBC Columbia Department. In addition, the
annual supply ship from England could
carry lumber to the Sandwich Islands,
Lima, Valparaiso, and other West Coast
Spanish ports in South America on the
voyage home, there picking up
hardwoods and saltpetre for delivery in
By 1828 a sawmill was under construction five and one-half miles from the
fort, up the Columbia on a stream which
would provide the power for the saws.
It began sawing later in the year and
operated day and night.
So optimistic about the prospects for
lumber exports was Chief Factor John
McLoughlin that by December 1829 he
had chosen an even better sawmill site
at the falls on the Willamette River. In
1832 a millrace was blasted and construction materials were assembled, but
these were burnt by unfriendly Indians
during the winter and the site was abandoned. The original mill was rebuilt and
enlarged. The complement of eight men
in the original mill seldom produced
more than 3,000 feet per day. By 1837
the mill employed twenty-eight men,
mostly Sandwich Islanders (known as
Kanakas), and ten oxen.
Although lumber was required at the
fort, exports commenced promptly with
the first shipment of lumber from the
West Coast being sent to the Sandwich
Islands on the HBC schooner Cadboro
on December 16, 1828. This shipment
was described as a small quantity of
deals. Deals is a term still used in England to describe boards of various
widths. Lieutenant Aemilius Simpson, a
young relative of George Simpson who
had retired from the Royal Navy and
joined the HBC, accompanied the shipment to assess the sales prospects.
Previously, Lieutenant Simpson had
visited Monterrey (Monterey) in the
Cadboro to assess the market prospects
there but he had not taken lumber with
him. He found that planks (i.e., deals)
were in good demand there and, as a
result, shipments commenced in 1830.
The annual supply ship, the HBC brig
William &Ann, was wrecked inbound
on the Columbia River bar in March
1829- The HBC barque Ganymede,
which sailed the same day as the
William & Ann in September 1828 from
Plymouth, arrived on the Columbia in
May 1829. It nearly met the same fate
and its cargo was damaged. The replacement ship for the William & Ann, the
HBC brig Isabella, was lost on entering
the Columbia in October 1830. These
misfortunes slowed the planned devel
opment of trade.
. The Ganymede, on her return voyage to England in August 1829, took
200,000 feet of deals to Wahoo (Oahu).
On October 11, 1830, John McLoughlin
reported that these were not yet all sold.
On November 18, 1830, the HBC sixty-
ton schooner Vancouver, built at Fort
Vancouver, sailed for Wahoo with 13,000
feet of deals, and the same day the HBC
brig Dryad sailed for Monterrey with
35,000 feet. In a letter to the governor,
dated August 14,1831, John McLoughlin
states: "The Ganymede brings accounts
that the timber she took to Wahoo in
1829 is all sold and that it is in greater
demand than last year. She will drop a
cargo there on her way home."
On the Ganymede's last voyage out
of the Columbia in April 1836, a cargo
of planks was taken to Valparaiso. This
shipment is reported on in a letter from
Rob't. F. Budge to the Governor and
Committee of the Hudson's Bay Company, dated in Valparaiso August 20,
1836. This letter, the manuscript copy
of which has recently been located, is
quoted here:
"By your ship the Ganymede
from Fort Vancouver I had on
the 2nd instant the pleasure of
a communication from Mr. John
McLoughlin who under date of
8th April instructs me to sell the
cargo of Pine Plank which he
had shipped by her and to procure a [cargo] passage home.
I have been able to comply
with his wishes having already
sold the cargo and chartered
[out] the vessel. For the Plank
and a few rafters which came
with them I have obtained 45$
forty-five dollars per 1000 feet
duty paid, which is somewhat
better than the sale by the [HBC
brig] Nereide some time back
[1834] but from their [sic] being
considerable stocks of North
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995 American and Swedish Pine in
the market I was obliged to augment the credit to effect at once
the sale of whole and obtain at
same time the price."
Vancouver Island
The first lumber exported from Vancouver Island was also from a Hudson's
Bay Company mill.
Anticipating the loss of the Oregon
Territory to the United States, the Hudson's Bay Company felt it was important to have a headquarters further north.
Sir George Simpson dispatched Chief
Trader James Douglas to the south end
of Vancouver Island in 1843 to establish
Fort Victoria.
In 1848 the Hudson's Bay Company
built a sawmill at Rowe Stream, subse-
quendy called Millstream, at the head
of Esquimalt Harbour. (See front cover
illustration.) The site was about one-
quarter mile upstream from the present
Parsons Bridge and is now on the property of the Pollock Family Farm.
Unfortunately, the site was not a good
one because Millstream has very litde
flow in the summer, thanks to the low
rainfall around Victoria. The site had
been chosen by Roderick Finlayson in
August when the stream was flowing
satisfactorily. Nevertheless, the mill manager from Fort Vancouver, Crate, and the
millwright from Nisqually Farm (near
present-day Olympia) had the mill ready
to run in September but there was not
enough water until late November 1848.
The mill did produce lumber for local
use by the company and in April 1849 a
shipment of 8,238 feet was sent to Fort
The first shipment exported was
42,270 feet sent to San Francisco in October 1849 by the Scottish barque
Collooney. The Collooney, however, was
seized in San Francisco for engaging in
the coasting trade. This shipment was
followed in January 1850 by a 100,000-
foot sale, at $80 per 1,000 feet, made by
James Douglas to the supercargo of the
American ship Cayuga who paid for it
in gold dust at $16 per ounce.
The first independent settler on Vancouver Island, Captain Walter
Colquhoun Grant, constructed a water-
powered sawmill at the northeast end
of Sooke Basin during the 1849-1850
winter to saw deals for the California
market, but, like Captain Grant's other
ventures, this was not successful until
acquired by the Fort Rupert coal-miner
John Muir in 1851. Muir conducted a
thriving lumber export business. In 1855
Muir was able to build a second mill,
this one steam driven, at Sooke, using
machinery salvaged from the steamship
Major Tomkins which was wrecked off
To augment the seasonal production
from the Millstream mill, the HBC built
a steam sawmill at their Craigflower
Farm in 1853. A flash flood at Millstream
in 1854 or 1855 wiped out the Millstream
In 1853 the HBC vessel Norman
Morrison, on its annual voyage from
England, brought a new portable
twenty-horsepower steam engine and
circular saw for an independent mill to
be set up on the north shore of the lagoon at Albert Head. Although technically independent, the Albert Head mill
was actually a venture of HBC officers
for their own account. This mill failed
because of mismanagement. Evidence
that it did produce lumber is in Martha
Ella's diary where she states on November 13, 1856, that "... dear husband
sailed today down to the steam saw mill
to take in lumber for the [Sandwich] Islands".
The Albert Head mill was bought at
auction in 1857 by James Duncan and
was in production under his management until it burnt two years later.
When the Albert Head mill was
burned to the ground on August 28,
1859, a newspaper reference was made
to a heap of sawdust. W. Kaye Lamb
stated in his Early Lumbering on Vancouver Island, published in 1938, that
this reference to a heap of sawdust is
the only evidence which has come to
light which proves that Vancouver Island's first independent mill ever produced a foot of lumber. But, in addition
to the Ella diary, further evidence has
recently come to hand in a letter from
James Duncan to Chief Factor Roderick
Finlayson at Fort Victoria which states:
"Albert Head Mill
25th July 1857
R. Finlayson Esq.
My Dear Sir
There has been shipped on
board the brig Ellmita twenty
eight thousand nine hundred
and twenty-three (28,923) feet
of the H.H.B. Co's lumber for
which Mr. James Lakes & John
Sutton alone are responsible to
I am happy to say that the
Albert Head Mill is going ahead
& we will have ready for your
kind order about 6,000 feet of
lumber should you send for the
same the greatest dispatch will
be given to your canoes.
I am in hope of having a flat
bottom vessel built in the course
of two months and shall then
be able to forward your lumber more conveniendy should
you desire same.
In mean time
I remain yours truly
James Duncan"
In 1853 the HBC erected a water-powered sawmill on the Millstone River (now
Millstream) at Nanaimo near the salt
springs and salt pans. This ran for years,
producing lumber for the local coal
mines. It is not known to have exported
any lumber.
Lumber exports continued in small
quantities from Esquimalt, Albert Head
and Sooke, but by this time numerous
mills were in production in Puget Sound
and the premium prices existing earlier
were no longer obtainable.
The first lumber exports out of the Columbia in 1828 and from Vancouver island in 1849 were the beginnings of the
great lumber export industry of today.
Mr. Fleming is a member of tbe Vancouver Historical Society. He worked for
many years in tbe forest industry in British Columbia.
B.C. Historical News
^ $5 each ^
Order from:
The Editor
Box 105
Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0
Copies will be on sale at the
BCHF Conference in Chilliwack
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995
26 Joseph Hunter:
Forgotten Builder of British Columbia
by Julian Brooks
Joseph Hunter is little known among
students of British Columbia history,
even though he had considerable influence in the development of the
province. A civil engineer by trade,
Hunter served as a member of the provincial parliament for sixteen years;
he also made his mark as
a surveyor, administrator
and miner. An able politician, he asserted himself
when called upon and
demonstrated a level of
diligence, skill and acumen
which saw him elected to
the legislative assembly
four times. As a surveyor,
Hunter blazed new trails
into many unknown regions of the province and
was instrumental in the development of the Canadian
Pacific and other railways
in the province. This article sheds light on a man
who had a notable impact
in the development of British Columbia, yet who has
sadly been overlooked by
most historians.
In researching the life and
times of Joseph Hunter one
first notices the scarcity of
secondary material. The
standard histories by Barman and Ormsby have no
mention of him, neither do the biographical collections by Kerr and
Schofield. The only mention was a paragraph in R.E. GosneU's A History of British Columbia. Unfortunately, the
newspaper index at the British Columbia provincial archives is incomplete and
many of the newspaper articles used in
this paper were furnished by careful
page-by-page searches for election coverage. Published copies of Hunter's reports were found and some twenty-five
volumes of his letters and diaries were
consulted at the provincial archives,
most of which were non-political. Sixteen years of legislative journals were
reviewed for Hunter's speeches and
fosepb Hunter, member of tbe British Columbia legislature, surveyor and
Photo courtesy of British Columbia Archives and Records Service #3109 A-1381
voting patterns.
Toscph Hunter was born in Aberdeen,
Scotland, on May 7, 1842. Of mixed
highland and lowland background, he
took his grammar schooling at Mariscall
College in Aberdeen and went on to
complete a five-year program in civil
engineeering. lt is not known what
motivated Hunter to venture to the new
world; nevertheless, he arrived in San
Francisco in 1864 via the Panama railway. Whether he intended to remain in
northern California isn't known, but he
left San Francisco in short order for Victoria after being accused of being a
member of a Confederate pirate ship.
After arriving in Victoria, he quickly
made his way to the
Cariboo goldfields where,
for the next seven years, he
mined, surveyed and
bought a share in a saloon.
In these years Hunter made
a good name for himself in
the mining communities by
settling local disputes.
With Confederation,
Hunter was nominated by
a petition of some sixty-six
signatures for election to the
new provincial legislature.1
He accepted the nomination
and entered the 1871 campaign against John Evans,
J.S. Thompson, C. Booth,
and the future premier.
George Anthony Walkem.
In an all-candidates' meeting at Barkerville in October 1871, Hunter outlined
his platform in what the
Cariboo Sentinel described
as a "very eloquent manner."2 He spoke of the advantages of Confederation,
particularly ofthe economic
benefits of a trans-continental railway. If elected, he
promised to adopt the Canadian tariff bill, repeal the civil list bill,
abolish road tolls, amend the registration and land acts, encourage education,
and amend the mining laws.3 He also
promised to appoint a district superintendent of roads to the Cariboo district
to relieve some of the burden on the
Gold Commissioner.4 The campaign, on
the whole, seemed very formal and gentlemanly. The November results in the
two-seat riding saw Hunter take 162
votes for a distant second place to
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995 Walkem, with Booth running a close
third.5 In his acceptance speech, Hunter
said he felt difficult in this time of turmoil. He referred to world events such
as the Paris Commune and the internal
politics of the British Isles, and wondered how the young province would
cope in the era of dramatic change.6 He
ended his acceptance speech by quoting Gladstone:
"I can promise nothing but my
earnest and good intention and
my desire to pursue the public
good with a single eye, knowing that the vocation that I am
engaged in is a high and notable vocation and that every act
of duty manfully done brings
with itself its own reward."7
Early in 1872, Hunter made his way
to Victoria for the first sitting of the provincial legislature.
The journals ofthe legislature between
1871-75 reveal that Hunter took a fairly
independent stance. He spoke little and
seemed concerned primarily with the
Alaska boundary issue and the concerns
of his constituents. In 1872 he was appointed to a select committee to enquire
into the causes that had delayed the
Kootenay elections. This was the first
of many committees to which he would
be appointed in his sixteen years in the
legislature. In his first speech to the
House he asked the Attorney General
whether the government intended to
assimilate the county court fees of the
districts of the province. In 1872 he also
voted against a bill to prohibit the employment of Chinese labour, which was
brought down by a margin of seventeen to five. Although John Robson, his
future father-in-law, voted for the bill,
Hunter seconded Robson on a motion
to reduce the price of the provincial statutes. On March 6, 1872, Hunter presented a petition from the miners of the
Cariboo. The Chair ruled him out of order; Hunter appealed but he was voted
down by the House. Seemingly discouraged by this humiliation, Hunter apparently did not speak again for the
remainder ofthe session! March 13,1872,
saw him vote in favour of application
of the secret ballot but the bill went
down by a narrow margin. Before the
end of the session he had been appointed to three committees: one to investigate a case of worker defraud on a
road project near Lillooet; another to
inquire into the dealings of the Queen
Charlotte coal mining company; and a
third to report on telegraph arrangements in the province.8
The next sitting of the House saw
Hunter come out with a bit more fire. He
demanded that the government release
the details of public works expenditures
in the Omineca District in 1872.9 He voted
in favour of a bill to render members of
the Canadian House of Commons ineligible to sit in Victoria,10 a bill aimed at
Premier and federal Member of Parliament Amor De Cosmos. Hunter also
chaired a select committee to look into
suitable sites to bridge James Bay.
In the 1874 session, Hunter campaigned for Canadian interests in the
Alaska boundary question. He seconded
Robson in urging the government to act
on the boundary issue, especially in
wake of a gold strike in the region, and
asked the Lieutenant-Governor to provide documents and correspondence in
reference to a charter about to be
granted for a trail from the head of the
Stikine River to Dease Lake. The 1874
term also saw Hunter appeal to Premier
Robert Beavan about a promised bridge
at Quesnelle Forks and pressure the
premier about amending the gold mining act. Hunter's voting, however,
showed no real consistency, although
he continued his opposition to De Cosmos in voting for a royal commission to
investigate the Texada Island scandal.
Again, most of the time he was silent
and sometimes absent, only rising to
address items that concerned his riding
or that he considered of utmost importance. Notwithstanding, Hunter had
much more on his mind during this period than just politics.11
The years 1873-74 saw curious developments concerning Hunter's business in
Barkerville, the brewing saloon firm of
Vallancour, Hunter and Lavery.12 For unknown reasons, Lavery left the firm, abandoning Vallancour and Hunter. In 1874 a
wholesaler mounted a lawsuit against the
two partners over their failure to pay him.
Hunter and Vaillancour were found guilty
and made to pay $132.13
In addition to being a businessman
and a member of parliament, Hunter
undertook other endeavours which
would eventually lead him out of politics. In November 1872 he was offered
the position of District Surveyor General for British Columbia by the CPR, a
position he immediately accepted. The
Cariboo Sentinel assumed that Hunter
would step down from political office,
but Hunter obviously believed he could
do both jobs, and for a time he did. In
the summer of 1873, he surveyed the
Bute Inlet region for the proposed railway route. His plans included a site for
a bridge over Seymour Narrows, between Quadra and Vancouver Islands.14
In early March of 1875 Hunter was appointed engineer in charge of the
Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway and
received instructions from the Dominion government to lead a survey party
south from Nanaimo. The Victoria Colonist expressed outrage, accusing the
Mackenzie Liberals of playing politics
by making a Liberal opponent leave the
House while it was in session.15 The
paper followed the progress of the survey crew and congratulated Hunter on
his promotion to Acting Deputy Engineer-in-Chief for the CPR in British Columbia at year's end.16
The CPR kept Hunter very busy. In
1876 he surveyed the Fraser Canyon
between Boston Bar and Kanaka Bar for
what would eventually become the CPR
route. In the same year he surveyed parts
of the Nechako region. His journal of
this expedition, at the provincial archives, contains many detailed drawings,
including an excellent ten-page topographical sketch of Francois Lake. The
year 1877 was Hunter's busiest as a surveyor. Upon receiving orders from
Sandford Fleming that spring, he surveyed the Stikine River and reported on
the Alaska boundary; later he would
maintain that the southern boundary of
the panhandle should have been at the
Stikine River. In the summer of 1874
Hunter surveyed the Blue River and
North Thompson region for railway
possibilities. Seemingly tireless, he dutifully set off that fall to find the Pine
Pass! Wisely, he consulted many of the
native people in the region whose maps
drawn for him in the dirt enabled him
to become the first non-native man to
cross the pass. Although not used immediately, Hunter's report on the pass
was consulted on the building of the
Hart highway and to show their gratitude the builders named a mountain by
the pass after Hunter.17
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995
28 In the next two years Hunter eased
his pace a little; he made his home in
New Westminster and his wife (the
daughter of John Robson) bore two sons
in 1879 and 1881. Hunter was back in
action in 1880, submitting a full report
to the CPR on the agricultural capabilities of Vancouver Island. In reading the
report, one again appreciates Hunter's
thoroughness, prudence and attention
to detail.
A series of letters in the Hunter Collection at the provincial archives remains
the best source for tracking Hunter's
activities in the 1880s. He was in the
employment of the South Fork Mining
Company for a time in 1881-82. In a
letter dated February 18, 1883, Hunter
complained to Dominion Government
Agent Joseph Trutch about $666 owed
him for past surveys.18 By mid-1883
Hunter had moved back to Victoria and
had rejoined the E&N Railway on a
full-time basis as General Superintendent, marking the commencement of a
long relationship with the Dunsmuir
family. Hunter's life was quiet at this
time; he was content to work and raise
his family, but one letter in particular
provides an item of interest. On December 17,1883, Hunter reported to William
C. Van Horne of the CPR concerning
land speculation in the Port Moody region. He advised Van Horne that it
would be in the company's better interest if the line were extended west to
either Coal Harbour or English Bay.19
Whether Hunter had any land of his own
in the region is unclear, but it is well
known that his father-in-law John
Robson owned land in the Granville area
and had a vested interest in having the
terminus extended westward.
After some loose talk about running
federally, Hunter returned to the provincial arena in 1890 to run in the riding of Comox. Coverage ofthe campaign
is lacking because there was no newspaper in the Comox Valley until 1892.
Nonetheless, the Nanaimo Daily Free
Press Comox correspondent provided
some coverage of the spring campaign.
Hunter was opposed by Comox merchant Joseph McPhee for the one seat.
The paper considered Hunter a government supporter, and reported that the
campaign was close. But as the campaign continued, Hunter appeared to
gain strength at McPhee's expense. One
report stated that: "One voter in particular who capsizes the English language
every time he speaks had nearly capsized the whole of McPhee's supporters."20 The paper, dated June 17, 1890,
proclaimed: "The Hunter tide bore down
all before it."21 Hunter took a forty-two
vote majority over McPhee and earned
his second trip to the legislature. In his
acceptance speech he said he was not
hostile to Dunsmuir's interests and that
he would ensure that all interests would
be equally cared for and protected.22
Hunter returned to the legislature in
January 1891. Called a "Ministerialist" by
the Colonist,2^ Hunter must be classified a supporter of the government now
that his father-in-law was premier. In a
move of patronage, Robson appointed
Hunter to the post of Deputy Speaker.
The member from Comox made a mark
early with some progressive legislation.
Appointed to a select committee on
public affairs,24 he voted favourably on
a bill to adopt an eight-hour work day
on provincial public works,25 and he
showed personal initiative by asking for
greater respect to be given to the rights
of native people in regards to their reserves.26 He also showed himself to be
a conservationist by tabling a bill in 1891
entitled "An Act for the protection of
certain Animals, Birds and Fishes."27
British Columbia was experiencing a
rapid rate of growth and almost daily
there were acts to incorporate new companies. With every act there was a proposed amendment to prohibit the
employment of Chinese and Japanese
in these new companies. Hunter showed
great consistency on these matters, usually voting against the Oriental labour
amendment and for the incorporation
of the company, further demonstrating
his pro-capital tendencies.
In the 1892 session Hunter, notably,
voted with the hardliners on the "outrageous presumptions" made by the
Kennedys28 and added successful
amendments to his conservation bill of
the previous year.29 The final two years
of Hunter's second term were fairly
quiet. He continued to press the native
land issue, carried on his opposition to
Robert Beavan's anti-Oriental crusade,
and voted against proposed amendments to the Election Regulation Act.30
Two changes are notable between
Hunter's first and second sessions. This
time around, Hunter showed himself far
more predictable in his voting and far
less concerned about the grievances of
his constituency, which would provide
his future electoral opponents with
grounds on which to attack him.
Letters from his collection reveal that
Hunter was also concerned with the
non-political business of his position as
General Superintendent of the E&N.
One letter of interest was written to Pre-
■ mier Davie in response to a letter Davie
had written Dunsmuir; entitled "confidential," Hunter asked for some time
before a government agent was to inspect the company's files.31 This letter
provides more evidence of the strength
of Hunter's role in the British Columbia
"insider network."
In the spring of 1894 Hunter came up
for re-election in his Comox riding, opposed by Mr. Scharchmidt. The election
was somewhat like the previous one,
close at first, but with time Hunter picked
up momentum and roared to victory.
Covered by the local Courtenay Weekly
News, Hunter outlined his platform,
which was somewhat similar to his 1871
platform. He presented himself as a representative for the miners; he preached
fiscal responsibility; and he spoke of the
great changes in the world and how
British Columbia must be ready for
them.32 Scharchmidt, who supported
Premier Davie but not the government,
based his platform on the Nanaimo Reform Club. He attacked Hunter for being a "blind servant" of Dunsmuir, whom
he accused of ignoring the grievances
of the miners.33 Hunter rebutted, denying he was a servant of Dunsmuir and
wondering how Scharchmidt could be
"pro-government" if he followed the
platform of the anti-government
Nanaimo Reform Club.34 The paper reported that Hunter, in his rebuttal. "...
took the wind out of Mr. Scharchmidt'.s
sails."35 The paper endorsed Hunter,
stating that they supported him in an
"independent way" because they felt the
district's interests would be best served
by him.36 Not surprisingly, Hunter rolled
to victory in July 1894 with a 113-vote
Once back in the legislature, Hunter
picked up where he left off, backing
the government on most issues. He supported bills for increased government
expenditures and he advocated resource
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995 development and the incorporation of
companies. In February 1895 he presented a petition of 244 miners opposed
to passage of the Coal Miners Regulation Act.38 Hunter continued his tradition of territorial concerns, seconding a
motion by Irving to have the Yukon
Territory establish its own government.39
Hunter later voted against a motion to
have the Yukon incorporated into British Columbia.40
The start of the 1897 session saw
Hunter reply to the Lieutenant-Governor's speech to open the new session.
In his lengthy response he dwelt on the
continuing importance of resource development and railroad expansion. But
his progressiveness was revealed on the
occasions he called for greater aid to
stop the current famine in India and for
legislation to regulate the seal hunt.41
Hunter was apparently absent for much
of the remainder of the 1897 session,
and in 1898 his attendance was again
sporadic; he was appointed to another
committee on railways and, with the
government, voted against extending the
franchise to women.42
Surviving letters from Hunter's third
term are again mostly non-political.
During the 1894 election campaign he
sent a letter of support to future premier Charles Semlin.43 On November 27,
1894, he wrote Premier Davie asking the
government for compensation totalling
$5,000 for work the E&N had done to
improve the Cowichan River channel.44
This and other letters indicate that
Hunter gave priority to his position with
the E&N over his public office.
Hunter's personal diary for 1897 reveals more about the weather in British
Columbia that year than it contains political insight. The diary does indicate
that during his long period of absence
from the legislature he travelled to the
Cariboo to talk to Major Dupont, one of
the two trips he made to the Cariboo
that summer. Newspaper reports and the
diary suggest that Hunter was being
courted by the Golden River Mining
Company for work on a dam project.
Evidently, Hunter accepted the position
and was at work for the company in
1898, opting not to run again for office.
What his status was with the E & N at
this point is unknown.
Hunter completed his role in the dam
project in 1899. At 770 feet in length by
sixteen feet in height, Hunter called the
nine-gate dam his "most satisfying
project."45 But Hunter's time with the
company was short and stormy. In April
of 1899, the Victoria Colonist reported
that Hunter was in London to calm stockholders after massive cost overruns on
the dam.46 A London letter from Hunter
to Major Dupont shows a falling-out of
relations between the two men. Dupont
had waited until Hunter was out of the
country and then charged him with unauthorized expenditures. In a lettei to
Dupont, Hunter expressed shock at the
allegations and told Dupont to "cool
What happened when Hunter returned to confront Dupont is unknown,
but in the 1900 provincial election campaign Hunter sought a seat back where
he started - in the Cariboo. As with the
1890 campaign, there is a lack of local
newspapers; the closest organ appears
to have been The Semi-Weekly Interior
Sentinel (Kamloops) which contained a
section of Cariboo news. In this election Hunter ran formally as a Conservative opposed by candidates from the
Provincial party, which was heavily endorsed by the Kamloops paper. Hunter
campaigned on his old line of sound
economics and support of the working
man. He was contested in the two-seat
riding by fellow Conservative Samuel
Rodgers and by two Provincial party
candidates. The Sentinel accused Hunter
of "hoodwinking" the voters and railed
against him for employing Chinese
workers at the dam.48 The paper predicted an easy victory for the Provincial
party, which would see "Wily Jo" back
the company where he "employed Chinamen."49 Despite the best efforts ofthe
newspaper, Hunter ran second to
Rodgers with 286 votes, earning him a
fourth trip to the provincial legislature.
The journals from 1900 to 1903 reveal few changes in Hunter. He usually
followed party lines, although he deviated from his leader and friend
Dunsmuir on a few occasions. Early in
the first session he was appointed to a
committee on public accounts and one
on railways. In August he appealed for
the records of the returning officers in
the Cariboo district during the past election.50 In 1901 Hunter showed his Scottish roots in calling for a private bill to
incorporate "The board of Trustees of
the Presbyterian Church in Canada"51
and he differed with Dunsmuir on two
bills, although it was Dunsmuir who was
voting with the minority.
Letters from this period show Hunter
was back with the E & N in 1901 as
General Superintendent and Vice-President. In a lengthy letter to Dunsmuir,
Hunter noted in passing that he found
politics an inconvenience above all
else.52 In the same year he responded
to the deputy minister of labour and
future prime minister of Canada, William
Lyon Mackenzie King, regarding labour
conditions in the E&N.53
Hunter's political career ended with
the closing of parliament for election in
1903. He continued his work at the E &
N until his resignation in 1905, but after
this date he stayed on with the
Dunsmuirs, working as the Chief Engineer for Canadian Collieries (Dunsmuir)
Ltd. until he resigned in July 1918.
Hunter retired to Victoria, where he lived
until his death on April 7, 1935. At age
ninety-three he was the last surviving
member of British Columbia's first post-
Confederation parliament.
In his years as a politician Joseph
Hunter went through a transformation
from an independent to a member of
the Conservative party machine. From
his association with the CPR to his days
with the Dunsmuirs he routinely put his
private responsibilities before his public duties. Indeed, he used his public
office as a means to benefit his own
interests, those of his employers, and
those of his friends. But Hunter the politician also deserves some credit. His
knowledge of the regions of British
Columbia, his understanding of the
needs of aboriginal peoples, and his
comprehension of the natural world all
resulted in some progressive legislation
for the province of British Columbia -
although his ties to the Dunsmuirs rather
than humanitarian conviction motivated
him to oppose anti-Chinese labour laws.
Perhaps his most lasting achievement
resulted from his wide-ranging work as
an engineer and surveyor. Hunter should
be remembered as a man who played
an important role in the development
of British Columbia during the late 19th
century and early 20th century, and who
participated in the transition from personal to party politics.
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995
30 fulian Brooks received bis BA in history
at tbe University of Victoria in November of 1992. This article was written as
a term essay for Dr. f.E. Hendrickson's
course, "British Columbia, 1849-1900"
(History 354B). Brooks is currently travelling overseas from bis borne base of
Black Creek on Vancouver Island.
1. Barkerville Cariboo Sentinel, 21 October 1871.
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid.
5. Barkerville Cariboo Sentinel, 25 November 1871.
6. Ibid.
7. Ibid.
8. Information in this paragraph derived from British
Columbia, fournals of tbe Legislative Assembly,
1872, pp. 15-38.
9. BC, fournals of the Legislative Assembly, 1873, p. 27.
10. Ibid, p. 30.
11. Information from this paragraph derived from
British Columbia, fournals of tbe Legislative
Assembly, 1874, pp. 13-45-
12. Barkerville Cariboo Sentinel, 6 July 1873
13. Ibid, 3 October 1874.
14. Victoria Daily Colonist, 8 April 1935.
15. Victoria Colonist, 5 March 1873, p. 3.
16. Ibid, 12 December 1875, p. 3.
17. Information in this paragraph derived from Victoria
Daily Colonist, 3 November 1957, p. 8.
18. Hunter to Dominion General Agent, Joseph Trutch,
8 February 1883, New Westminster, Joseph Hunter
Collection, British Columbia Archives and Records
19. Hunter to W.C. Van Horne, 17 December 1883,
Hunter Collection.
20. Nanaimo Daily Free Press, 6 June 1890, p. 3.
21. Ibid, 17 June 1890, p. 3.
22. Ibid.
23. Victoria Colonist, 11 January 1891, p. 5.
24. British Columbia, fournals ofthe Legislative
Assembly, 1891, p. 7.
25. Ibid, p. 10.
26. Ibid, p. 14.
27. Ibid, p. 19.
28. British Columbia, fournals of tbe Legislative
Assembly, 1892, p. 70.
29. Ibid, p. 89.
30. British Columbia, fournals of the Legislative
Assembly, 1893, p. 90.
31. Hunter to Premier Theodore Davie, 3 November
1893, Hunter Collection.
32. Courtenay Weekly News, 4 July 1894.
33. Ibid.
34. Ibid.
35. Ibid.
36. Courtenay Weekly News, 27 June 1894.
37. Ibid, 11 July 1894.
38. British Columbia, fournals of tbe Legislative
Assembly, 1895, p. 100.
39. Ibid, 1896, p. 97.
40. Ibid, 1897, p. 117.
41. Ibid, p. 4.
42. Ibid, 1898, p. 128.
43. Hunter to Charles Semlin, 7 June 1894, Hunter
44. Hunter to Premier Theodore Davie, 27 November
1894, Hunter Collection.
45. Victoria Daily Colonist, 8 April 1935.
46. Victoria Colonist, 6 April 1899.
' 47. Hunter to Major Dupont, 16 April 1899, Hunter
48. Kamloops Tbe Semi-Weekly Inland Sentinel, 29 May
1900, p. 4.
49. Ibid, 1 June 1900, p. 2.
50. British Columbia, fournals ofthe Legislative
Assembly, 1900, p. 11.
51. Ibid, 1901, p. 8.
52. Hunter to Premier James Dunsmuir, 30 June 1902,
Hunter Collection.
53. Hunter to Deputy Minister of Labour W.L.
Mackenzie King, 23 June 1902, Hunter Collection.
APRIL 23,1904
Being a buyer and shipper of raw furs, specimen heads
and Indian curios, and shipping to different parts of the world,
Mr. Roo received a letter one day through the mail. Having
killed an extra large skunk in the hen house the night before, and had him taken a mile up the mountains on account of his olfactory, he thought it would give him a good
chance to fiH the order, so he let the contract for skinning
right away. The consignment must have been satisfactory,
as, besides being well paid, he received a handsome
present and more orders.
Fred Roo, Esq.,
Roosville, Tobacco Plains, B.C.,
Dear Sir: Herewith enclosed please find a draft for five
pounds. Would you kindly favor me with samples of raw
beaver, otter, mink and marten: (and would like it if you could
get me a skunk skin killed in B.C., Indian tanned, and a few
particulars about the skunk), for amount enclosed.
Trusting you will forward the goods at your earliest convenience. I am
Yours Very Truly,
Mrs. John Bull,
(correct name withheld.)
Mrs. John Bull.,
London, England,
Dear Madam: Your order for raw beaver, otter and marten skins received; also note your request for skunk skin
killed in B.C., Indian tanned, and particulars of skunk, if any.
Herewith enclosed you will please find historical sketch of
the skunk skin I am forwarding to you from among the curios I have in stock.
The skunk skin consigned, dear Madam, is not a common skunk one sees in every fur dealer's store window, but
a skunk with a remarkable history.
It was proved by the markings caused by rifle shots and
the gold and silver nuggests that had been thrown at him to
be the skunk "Blackie" who has been prominent in several
mining excitements.
When W.S. Stratton, the gold king of Colorado, was out
prospecting on Cripple Creek, and had given up all hopes
of ever finding anything and was on the verge of suicide, he
heard a noise and on walking over saw Blackie rolling gold
nuggets the size of a Plymouth Rock hen's egg to get at a
nest of young mountain rats, and it was there that W.S.
Stratton staked the world's famous Independence mine and
Cripple Creek boomed and prospectors and miners came
in by hundreds. Blackie was shot at and gold nuggets were
thrown at him so frequently and so violently that he got disgusted and left. He was next seen in the Black Hills, where,
unfortunately for him, he was the means of the great
Homestake mine being discovered, such a rush of people
coming in that he again became a conspicuous target upon
many unexpected occasions.
Though he made millions for people, they all seemed
anxious for him to move away - no doubt, on account of
the very inferior perfume he used with his toilet.
He was next seen in Kalispell, Montana, this time in a
railroad excitement, but on account of the smallpox breaking out on the Flathead reservation he followed the locating
line of the new railway from Jennings to Roosville, B.C.
Although he kept out ol sight we all knew something
had struck the town - in fact, we all felt like moving up to
the mines and leaving the newcomer in possession. But
Broncho Bill, who used to act as pastry cook in one of the
cow camps on Tobacco Plains, and whose face suggested
a map of the bad lands and a few clover seeds in his hair,
said he would stay though he had to live on doughnuts and
pie sooner than leave the place.
On the 10th of October several noted characters drove
and rode into town and registered at the St. Louis hotel,
kept by Fred Roo. Prominent among the arrivals were Kid
Flett, Happy Frank, Wild Goose Bob, Bob-the-Methodist,
Tamarac Bill, Cactus Charlie, Big Hank and several others.
Any of them for the honor and glory of his name would strad
dle the ridge pole of the wildest Cayuse on Tobacco Plains
and ride him to a fare-you-well.
The night was dark, the air was thick and every man
swore he could smell something worse than powder, and
they grabbed their Winchesters and six-shooters. By right
and left flank movement the boys had learnt from Jimmy,
the Nibbler, since he returned from Manila, surrounded the
hen house, when Broncho Bill and Kid Flett sa* something
move and as quick as a flash took aim, and we Knew by the
smell of the powder and the other fellow that something
awful had bit the dust.
On examination it was found and proved by Cyclone Pete
Texarkana, of the Lone Star state, corroborated by Bitter
Creek Bill, that it was Blackie, the famous Cripple Creek
skunk. You can imagine how sorry we all felt when we found
we had shot Blackie, the Mine Locator.
However, I had him skinned by Old-Man-Afraid-Of-Soap-
And-Water, a noted Kootenay Indian, and then got the skin
tanned by the most lovely vision of copper-color grace and
smoke-tanned beauty of all the Kootenays, Mary Jane Sing-
Like-A-Lark, who wore a coronet of eagle feathers and a
Hudson Bay three-point, fur-trimmed corset with fantastic
bead work, while doing the work.
It was inspected and handled by all the gold, silver and
copper-plated senators and millionaire ranchers on Tobacco
Plains, and pilgrims from every state ofthe Union, and was
on exhibition at the St. Louis hotel Christmas and New Year's
week, and I trust both the skin and history will prove satisfactory.
Awaiting your further commands, I am, dear Madam,
Yours Respectfully,
Fred Roo
A new Tobacco Plains Journal Is produced In Eureka,
Montana. Editor Gary Montgomery gave us permission
to share this with our readers. Fred Roo lived In
Roosville, just north of the B. C.-Montana border, where
members of his family still reside.
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995 The Camelford Controversy:
A Vindication of George Vancouver
byJ.E. Roberts
It is not the purpose of this paper to
expose details of every negative word
penned against the character of George
Vancouver, but rather to examine some
of the origins for such comment and
how they have impinged on our understanding of this unique person. It is not
possible to determine the reasons for
the attacks made against Vancouver, for
they will be as varied as the number of
features of his personality chosen to be
insulted. Few people who made any
comment about George Vancouver actually knew the man and as a consequence we have little in the written
record of his time that gives us anything
like a reasonable picture of just what
sort of a person he was. That of course
has not prevented some modern historians from giving us word pictures of
Vancouver and all his faults, pictures that
are mere figments of active imaginations,
which regrettably have been taken, in
many cases, to be historical fact.1
James Flexner, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of George Washington: A
Biography2 made a comment in the Preface to his work that I would like to borrow, to set the stage for our examination
of the causes and sources of information for the attacks on Vancouver. Replacing the name Washington with
Vancouver in the chosen paragraph, it
will read:
"Almost every 18th-century historical figure is regarded as a
dead exemplar of a vanished
epoch ... He is a multitude of
living ghosts each shaped less
by the reality of his day than
by the structure of the individual brain in which he dwells.
An inhabitant of intimate
spaces, Vancouver is for private
reasons sought out or avoided,
loved or admired, hated or despised ... If we separate the
Vancouver who actually lived
from all the hallucinative
Vancouvers, and rescue the
man and his deeds from the
obscuring legends, we find a
human being whose effect on
our lives today is immense."
Vancouver's problems stemmed from
his conflict with young Thomas Pitt who
was discharged in disgrace from the
Discovery before the completion of the
voyage.3 The particulars are on record,
though not as part of the official proceedings of the voyage, and while no
one has disputed the chronicling of
events, the author questions the interpretation that was placed on their significance when they first became the
subjects of controversy and which has
continued to the present. Information
on the particulars of the imbroglio with
Thomas Pitt, who was to become Second Baron Camelford, is in the form of
letters4 from Archibald Menzies and
Joseph Whidbey, sent by Menzies to Sir
Joseph Banks at the request of Lady
Camelford, the young man's mother.
They are reprinted, in part and without
comment, as Appendix 6 in Dr. Lamb's
George Vancouver: A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean and
Round the World 1791-1795. It has
been on the basis of this feeble evidence
that Vancouver has been judged by
many historians as unfit to command.
Sadly, this situation has gone unchallenged to the present, possibly through
ignorance, or the indifference of modern writers of history.
Historians who have gone over every
item pertaining to Vancouver's voyage
held in the Public Record Office and the
Library of the British Museum have
noted that nowhere can there be found
any reference to anything untoward
occurring between Vancouver and
Camelford. It is as if nothing had happened; we read of no crimes or punishments in the official record involving
Midshipman Thomas Pitt. This, in part,
stems from the unofficial practice of
keeping the misdemeanours of officers
out of the ships' logs or journals. Their
crimes, and subsequent investigations,
were the preserve of an Admiralty Court
Martial and were not the concern of the
lower deck. The muster of the Discovery shows only the date of Camelford's
discharge from the ship, without comment.5 From the correspondence of
Robert Barrie, we know that he sent a
private communication to his mother,
in which he detailed the problem with
Lord Camelford, but its contents remain
a secret.6
The letters in the Banks' correspondence list four instances where punishment was inflicted on Thomas Pitt.
Firstly, there was the instance when
Pitt was flogged for purloining a piece
of bent hoop from the midshipmen's
mess to give to a girl in Tahiti.
Secondly, an instance when Pitt was
put in irons for falling asleep on his
Thirdly, an instance where punishment was not detailed, when Pitt broke
the glass of the compass in the binnacle
while romping on the quarter deck of
the Discovery.
Fourthly, an instance when Pitt was
charged with trading with the natives
with copper he had obtained from the
Armorer in return for a brace of pistols.
A review of each charge is in order.
The first of the punishments inflicted
upon Lord Camelford resulted, according to information from Joseph
Whidbey, from the young midshipman
having cut up a piece of hoop, taken
from the midshipmen's mess, to give to
a girl in Tahiti to win her favours. Vancouver, in an attempt to put a stop to
such disobedience, decided to make an
example of the young lad and had him
taken to the cabin where he was forced
to bend over a gun to receive a "flogging" from the boatswain's mate in the
presence of his fellow midshipmen and
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995
32 It must have been hard for all concerned to keep a straight face, seeing
this big lad "making love to the gunner's daughter," bent over a little short
four-pounder with the mate swinging
his lash in a cabin with just over six-
foot head room.
Camelford should have been charged
with "disobedience of orders," a far more
serious crime, but rather than proceeding with a full-fledged flogging which
would have won the sympathy of his
fellows, Vancouver tried a different tack
that involved embarassing the lad. It was
a good idea, but it didn't work. While at
Matavai Bay, Tahiti, in December of
1791, Vancouver issued his Rules and
Orders, governing the actions of all
members of the crew of the Discovery
and Chatham in their dealings with the
natives of all places they might visit.7
There were five articles, each of which
carried the penalty for disobedience of
being disrated during the continuance
of the voyage, plus "other such punishment as the crime may deserve."
Article 1 ... "strictly enjoined, that no
officer, seaman, or other person, in such
commerce with the Indians, do give such
articles of value, for any article of curiosity, as may tend thereafter to depreciate the value of iron, etc, etc." The final
article stated: "Lasdy, The same penalty
will be inflicted on every person, who
shall be found to embezzle, or be concerned in embezzling, or offering to
trade with, any part of the ships' or boats'
stores, furniture, etc etc, be these of what
nature soever."
Camelford was aware of these rules,
but in his arrogant youth decided that they
did not apply to him and he was to repeat his folly on two other occasions.
Whidbey was a little more specific on
the charge of Camelford's falling asleep
on his watch as he was on deck at the
time. His recollection was that Camelford
had the Forecastle watch and failed to
answer the call from the quarterdeck.
Vancouver accused him of being asleep
and clapped the young man in irons, a
charge that Whidbey does not refute.
Sir Joseph made some separate notes
on this incident from which we learn
that Camelford had shared the watch
with John Sykes and laid himself down
on his great coat, requesting Sykes to
rouse him when he hove the log. Ap-
parendy Sykes forgot, and while he was
heaving the log, Camelford was called
from the quarterdeck, but not answering the first call, was called again, and
when he came, was charged with sleeping on the watch, which charge he denied. For this he was put in irons and
held forward with the common seamen,
a form of punishment set to further
embarass the young nobleman.8 Inattention to duty was a serious offence
that for any other man would have resulted in a flogging or worse, as Harry
Humphrys was to find out to his sorrow
in 1798 when he had to face a court
martial for the same offence.9
Humphrys, a cousin of Robert Barrie,
had been Master ofthe Chatham on the
return voyage from the northwest coast
of America.
The third charge was also serious for
it resulted from the breaking ofthe glass
of the compass during some childish
horseplay on the quarterdeck. The compass was housed in the binnacle and
for the glass to have been broken, it
would suggest that it was knocked out
of its receptacle which also probably
suffered damage. This could have jeopardized the entire voyage. It was possibly on this occasion that Lieut. Mudge
suggested to Camelford that he would
ask Captain Vancouver to lessen the
punishment if he would promise to behave in future. Camelford would not be
begged off and took the full dose of
correction. As noted, this could hardly
be compared to a full flogging, but
Camelford was not to be denied a taste
of the full force of the lash, as subsequent events will show.
The fourth charge concerning the trading of some scraps of copper reluctandy
came to Whidbey's mind, after some
prodding, in a second letter to Menzies.
It was not mentioned by Banks in his
notes, but it fits in with comments in
Menzies' journal at the time the ships
were anchored in Resolution Cove in
the spring of 1793- In his journal for May
31, Menzies noted the trading activities
with the natives and wrote that:
"skins were eagerly bought up
by our people for Copper
Cloths Iron Ear Shells & other
articles; but Lieut. Baker who
was commanding officer [in
Vancouver's absence] observing
that some Copper had been
given away to these Natives
which appeared to be Ship's
Stores, he ordered that no further traffic whatever should be
carried on until this business
should be cleared up before the
Captain on his return, which
was complied with."
Vancouver, who had been absent on
a boat expedition exploring Dean Channel, returned to the Discovery on Saturday, June 8 (Vancouver's dating), which
would date the offence noted by
Whidbey had written:
"You have brought to my
memory a circumstance relative
to Ld Camelford, & as far as it
occurs I will relate it. -1 understood the Armorer had been
Coppering some oars & rowlocks of one of the boats, from
which there remained some
chippings of copper, which he
sold to Ld Camelford for a pair
of Pistols, with this Copper his
Lordship was seen by Capt.
Vancouver trading with some
natives along side the Ship, &
when questioned where he got
it His Lordship informed Capt.
Vancouver that he had it from
the Armorer, for which the man
was severely punished & the
Pistols thrown over board. -
that is all I at present recollect."
Whidbey, who at the time was ashore
at the observatory, must have known
that Vancouver did not witness the trading, for the incident occurred during
Vancouver's absence with Spelman
Swaine. He makes a pathetic attempt to
show His Lordship's "honour" by noting that the young man immediately
owned up to where he had obtained
the copper, but makes no comment on
the fact that what he had done was a
misdemeanour. It was perfecly acceptable that a "gendeman" inform on one
of the members of the lower deck and
force him to take the total blame.
Most persons with a knowledge of
naval command would have marvelled
at Vancouver's restraint in his handling
of this headstrong youth, for he was
dealing with more than simple disobedience. He had to set a fair example in
the running of his ship and not treat
matters as if he were the master of an
elite boys' school where the playing of
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995 favorites was the accepted norm. Vancouver must have been exasperated
beyond measure when he learned the
details of Camelford's latest escapade,
but there is no record of any further
punishment being inflicted, other than
what was meted out to the Armorer.
The notes by Sir Joseph Banks also
include details of events on board ship
that were written up to reflect poorly
on Vancouver as commander. In the first
instance, Banks noted that:
" ... a Mr. Robinson, educated
at Christ's Hospital, & recommended by Mr. Wales, had been
received on board, but was put
among the people & treated by
V. and by his Boatswain's mates
by his order quite like a servant lad: in course of time the
Midshipman who had the
charge of the timekeepers, owing to some treatment he did
not approve, relinquished the
charge, on this Robinson, who
was very capable was called to
it, & V. ordered him upon the
quarter deck, directed that he
should mess with the Midshipmen - which both the mates
refused, & gave their reasons
openly, as ordered by V. upon
the quarter deck - on this refusal V. ordered the midshipmen's berth to be pulled down,
by which they were exposed to
the men & had no harbor between decks to separate them."
Here Banks was referring to young
Edward Roberts who had joined the Discovery on the 19th of February 1791, and
given the rank of midshipman on the 1st
of February 1793-10 The unpleasantness
occurred on that date or shortly thereafter, when the ships were approaching
Hawaii and Vancouver took the care of
the chronometers away from John
Stewart, who was disrated to AB. Any
problem with Stewart must have been of
a minor nature, for he was rated as Master's Mate on the following June l.11
Camelford had been involved as the
spokesman for the midshipmen's mess
and Vancouver was beginning to get fed
up with the young man's willfulness, and
the incident with Roberts' messing arrangements provoked the outburst of
anger that caused Sir Joseph to remark
on the further horror of the young men
of the Discovery being forced, by virtue
of the canvas screen in their mess being
torn down, to berth in close proximity to
ordinary seamen, or worse, the marines.
Banks also noted that Menzies had often remonstrated severely against Vancouver's practice of permitting smoking
between decks while men in fevers were
lying in their hammocks. Modern thinking might side with Menzies on this issue, but Vancouver might have seen it in
an entirely different light. Smoking was
one of the very few indulgences enjoyed
by the common seamen and Vancouver
might well have questioned why he
should cancel the pleasures ofthe majority of his hard-working crew because of
the carelessness of a few backsliding individuals who were unable to look after
themselves and became sick. Vancouver
had no use for slackers and the idea of
special treatment for crew members who
were unable to pull their weight, regardless of the circumstances, would have
been abhorrent.
A note was also made of the incident
of Menzies' loss of some of his botanical specimens by Vancouver's putting
Menzies' servant into a watch and discharging the man from all duty towards
the plants, which were damaged when
the cover over the plant frame was left
off.12 Banks noted that Menzies had
claimed that he had wanted the man
only occasionally to cover up, etc.,
which could not have taken half an hour
in the twenty-four. This begs the question as to why Menzies didn't attend to
the matter himself if so little time was
required to complete the chore.
This then was the case prepared
against George Vancouver. It was dearly
bought by former shipmates who had
to live with their consciences, knowing
that their advancements to come were
to be achieved at the expense of one
who had in so many cases been instrumental in their own rise through the
ranks. The man who could have done
the most to save Vancouver was Joseph
Whidbey, his friend from earlier times,
who had to live with the knowledge that
he held his silence and allowed his
friend to die in disgrace.
Many historians have used these examples, without considering their true
ramifications, to prove that Vancouver
was unduly harsh in his treatment of
Camelford and others and, conse-
quendy, an unfit commander.
H.M. Orchard, Clerk of the Discovery,
recorded the punishments inflicted during the course of the voyage, but the
pages of his journal for the period May
27 to June 10 and from August 16 to
September 6, 1793, are missing. *3 it was
during these periods that Camelford's
behaviour was more than Vancouver
could take.
There is more to the story of Lord
Camelford that has lain hidden and has
come to light only through the most
fortunate of circumstances. Archibald
Menzies, again, provided a clue as to
the time and place of the event, when
he wrote in his journal for August 1793
while the Discovery'was at Port Stewart:
"... but on the 28th punishments were inflicted on board
the Discovery of a very unpleasant nature, on seeing which all
the natives left the Bay."
In those few words Menzies described
the event that snapped Vancouver's reserve and self-control. His rage against
Camelford exploded and he determined,
then and there, that at the first opportunity Thomas Pitt would be sent home,
regardless of the fact that he was the
son of Baron Camelford and related to
the powerful house of Pitt.
A possible answer to this final episode came by chance with the finding
of a portion of a letter in a second edition volume of Vancouver's voyage in
the Special Collections Department of
the University of British Columbia.14 The
letter, in an adult hand, was written by
someone well acquainted with the voyage of discovery. It appears to be a fragment of a draft, written on a piece of
paper about fourteen centimetres by
twenty-one centimetres, and reads:
"I am very credably [sic] informed that Capt. Vancouver
was never again employed because  he  flogged  Mr Pitt
afterwrds [sic] Lord Camelford.
Now the story is this the Captn
missing some sheets of copper
could not learn who had taken
them he therefore tied up the
Boatswain during the flogging
the Boatswain feeling the pain
said Oh Mr. Pitt how can you
see me thus used Capt. V perceiving that Mr Pitt had taken
the copper ordered the boat-
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995
34 swain to be released & Mr P to
take as many lashes as the boatswain had recd [received] I
think Mr Vancouver's conduct
very manly and those who
disrespected him for it very
unmanly   I wish I cd [could]
take him [by] the hand forit but
alas he is dead."
It is small wonder that no one would
admit to remembering this incident
which showed Camelford's true character. In a sense one cannot help but feel
for poor Joseph Whidbey, a man striving for advancement, who would turn
against his friend of so many years just
to say words that would please people
of power who might help him up the
ladder.15 Whidbey was no judge of character, and surely was lacking in this himself when he wrote to Menzies that:
"  ...  I ever conceived Lord
Camelford to be a well disposed
young man and I make not the
least doubt that he will prove
an ornament to his profession."
The poignant letter from the unknown
observer has a ring of truth to it, lacking
in anything that Banks,  Menzies,
Whidbey, or any of the other weak characters were able to put on paper. If only
these persons, particularly Joseph
Whidbey, had spoken up and told what
actually had occurred, the story might
have been different and our appreciation
of Vancouver's contribution to our understanding of the New World enhanced.
Those who knew the facts chose to
remain silent or, what is worse, concocted stories that were used to discredit
Vancouver and to earn favour with members of Lord Camelford's family. From
the beginning Vancouver requested that
Camelford's charges against him be presented to the judgement of a tribunal of
naval officers, but he was refused in this.
Those receiving this request knew full
well that Vancouver would have been
vindicated. Sadly, these distortions
against Vancouver have continued to the
Other writers, Canadian and American historians among them, who are
unable to accept Vancouver as one
working under the severest stress, continue to search for avenues to belittle
the man and his work and, more in the
manner of writers of fiction, inflict on
us their personal opinions presented as
historical fact.
Typical are the totally unfounded remarks of one historian who, having reviewed the ground we have covered in
this paper, went into print with:
"... Vancouver's troubles with
Thomas    Pitt,    later    Lord
Camelford, a close relative of
Prime Minister William Pitt,
demonstrated pig-headed rigidity and stupidity."16
Vancouver, the man, and his deeds,
deserves to be rescued from these obscuring legends and we must separate the
Vancouver who actually lived from all the
hallucinative Vancouvers who are merely
the products of active imaginations.
I think Mr. Vancouver's conduct in
handling the affair with Camelford very
manly and those who continue to disrespect him for it very unmanly. I wish
I could take him by the hand, but alas
he is dead.
f.K "Ted" Roberts bas lived and worked
in Victoria for most of bis life. His bobbies have been woodcarving and a study
of history. He designed and supervised
construction of tbe stern of HMS Discovery which is in tbe Modern History section of tbe Royal B.C Museum. He bas
researched Vancouver's surveys and
prepared a book, A Discovery Journal
wbicb be hopes to publish soon. He
serves as a docent at tbe Maritime Museum in Victoria.
1. The information in this paper is taken from the
Epilogue to A DiscoveryJournal, J.E. Roberts,
unpublished manuscript, detailing the first survey
season of George Vancouver's voyage of
exploration in 1792.
2. George Washington: A Biography, James T. Flexner,
Little, Brown & Co., Boston.
3. It should be noted that Pitt was not the only
midshipman to be sent home at this time. At the
same time Puget discharged Augustus Boyd Grant
from the Chatham for incorrigible conduct (A
Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean
and Round the World 1791-1795, Ed. W.K. Lamb,
The Haklyut Society, London, 1984, pp. 213, 214,
hereinafter cited as Lamb, Voyage). With them
went Midshipman Edward Harris from the
Discovery, for similar misconduct (Lamb, Voyage,
p. 1641).
4. These letters are in the British Museum (Natural
History), Banks' Correspondence 10 (1), Year
1796-97, ff 80-88.
5. See Muster Entry »110, Discovery, Adm 36/11310
page 408. Noted in Lamb, Voyage, p. 1651-
6. The existence of such a letter is alluded to in a letter
from Robert Barrie to his mother, dated October
12, 1796. Barrie MSS, Perkins Ubrary, Duke
University, Durham, North Carolina.
7. In issuing his Rules and Orders, Vancouver was
following a practice set by Cook on previous visits
to Tahiti and the new islands in the Pacific.
8. Vancouver used the same punishment on Thomas
Keld, boatswain, for "drunkenness and riotous
behavior." Noted in Mudge's journal, Adm 51/4533
Part 52, for June 3, 1791. Keld was released on
June 6.
9. Details of Humphry's troubles are given in a letter
dated May 24, 1798, from Robert Barrie to his
mother. Barrie MSS, Perkins Library, Duke
University, Durham, North Carolina.
10. See Muster Entry »100, Discovery, Adm 36/11310,
page 407. Noted in Lamb, Voyage, p. 1650.
11. See Muster Entry #94, Discovery, Adm 36/11310,
page 407. Noted in Lamb, Voyage, p. 1649.
12. The plant frame designed by Sir Joseph Banks was
not a success. The author is indebted to Clive
Justice of Vancouver for information on its failure.
He cites Dr. Ward, in his book The Growth of
Plants in Tightly Glazed Cases, first published in
the late 1830s, wherein on p. 70 he notes that"...
prior to the introduction of the glazed cases, the
large majority of plants perished from the
variations of temperature to which they were
exposed, from being too much or too little
watered, from the spray of the sea, or when
protected from this, from the exclusion of light.
My late venerable friend Mr. Menzies informed me
that, on his last voyage round the world with
Vancouver, he lost the whole of his plants from
the last cause."
13. Ref. PRO Adm 55/31.
14. A special debt is owed to Anne Yandle, then Head
of Special Collections at UBC, for drawing this
letter to the author's attention. George Godwin
also received J copy of this letter from UBC in
December of 1930, just after his work on
Vancouver, Vancouver A Life: 1757—1798, was
printed and it remained unpublished in his notes.
15. At the completion of the voyage Vancouver sent a
letter to the Navy Board recommending Whidbey
for the position of Master Attendant. Whidbey held
this position for many years at Sheerness and
Woolwich yards. He was later associated with John
Rennie in the building of the breakwater al
16. Quoted in "The Voyage of George Vancouver: A
Review Article," Christon I. Archer, B.C. Studies,
No. 73, Spring, 1987.
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995 NEWS & NOTES
Dr. G.P.V. Akrigg and Mrs. Helen Akrigg were
honoured on February 24 with
the first Minister's Heritage
Award. Hon. N.L. "Bill" Barlee,
Minister of Small Business,
Tourism and Culture (Heritage
& Culture), announced plans
for this award in 1994,
arranging to personally make
the presentation during
Heritage Week in 1995. The
guideline for nomination and
selection was: "Someone who
had made worthwhile contributions to the preservation of
British Columbia history/
heritage with commitment over
many years." The Akriggs
received a prestigious plaque
and selected the Okanagan-
Similkameen Parks Society to
receive the endowment of
$10,000 from the government
for a recognized heritage-
related non-profit organization.
The Akriggs worked as a team
to give us 1001 B.C. Place
Names (1969) followed by
British Columbia Place Names
(1986). Their British Columbia
Chronicles I and // (1975 and
1977) are definitive histories.
Then came The HMS Virago
on the Pacific Coast (1992).
They have assisted the North
Shuswap Historical Society and contributed
time and effort to many B.C. Historical
Federation projects (Helen was president in
1978-79). We commend Minister Barlee for his
choice of winner(s). We thank Philip and Helen
Akrigg for their many years of exemplary work
and leadership. We congratulate them on this
award and on their 50th wedding anniversary.
The review of Taku: The Heart of North America's
Last Great Wilderness in the Winter 1994-95 issue
has drawn a protest from the Taku River Tlingit
First Nation. Spokesman Melvin Jack writes: "You
neglected to mention that Allison Mitcham received
the Lieutenant-Governor's Medal for Historical
Writing from the B.C. Historical Federation for her
book Taku. The reviewer left his readers wondering
whether or not to read the book. Some areas which
the reviewer felt were missing had been covered in
Mitcham's previous book Atlin: The Last Utopia...
which of course the reviewer failed to mention."
The Tlingit spokesman praises Allison's contributions to the Atlin Historical Society and the Tlingit
First Nations archives and library. "Please note that
the bulk of the research material has been donated
to the TRT Archive three years ago. Half the
royalties of both of Mitcham's books have been
donated to TRT and AHS to be put towards cultural
Philip and Helen Akrigg are congratulated by Vancouver City Archivist Sue
Baptie at the presentation ceremony in B.C. Place.
Do you want to hear about the lynching of
Louis Sam? Or the story of Sumas Lake?
Guest speakers at the B.C. Historical Federation conference May 4-6 will present these,
plus 'The Rise and Fall of Harrison Mills,"
"Outrageous Stories from the History of
Mission," Claybourne, the restoration of the
gardens at Fort Langley, a slide show on fifty
geographical features named for local citizens
lost in action in World Wars I and II, and a tour
of Minter Gardens. Remember to register
before April 14,1995. This promises to be a
very good program. All interested history buffs
are welcome to attend. Members of member
societies can obtain registration forms from
their local society secretary. Others can
request details and forms from Ron Denman,
45820 Spadina Avenue, Chilliwack, B.C. V2P
1T3 or phone (604) 795-5210 (days) or (604)
794-3680 (evenings).
April 29-30,1995: Heritage Cemeteries
Symposium. A weekend cemetery gathering in
Victoria, British Columbia, to bring together
people from British Columbia, Washington,
Oregon and other Pacific Northwest areas. The
program will include round-table presentations
of current cemetery projects, research and
concerns; slide talks about regional cemetery
history and restoration projects; workshops on
tombstone recording, conservation, research,
computerization and legal issues; and tours to
some of Victoria's twenty heritage cemeteries.
Additional tours of area cemeteries for those
staying longer can be arranged. Sponsored by
the Old Cemeteries Society of Victoria. Contact
John Adams at (604) 384-2895 or write to P.O.
Box 40115, Victoria, B.C. V8W 3N3.
by Alice Glanville
On November 26-28,1994, a broad spectrum
of the historic/heritage community gathered in
Ottawa to commemorate the 75th anniversary
of the formation of the Historic Sites and
Monuments Board of Canada. This advisory
board to the government has been responsible
for the designation of 789 sites of national
significance, 72 of which are in British Columbia - Fort Alexandria, dedicated in 1925, to
Hatzic Rock in 1992 and the Vogue Theatre in
1993. The gaps now to be filled include more
recognition of women, aboriginal people and
settlement patterns. In the settings of the West
Block of Parliament, Grand Hall of the Museum
of Civilization and the National Library, the 275
participants were treated to many entertaining
and distinguished speakers, including two from
British Columbia. Mary Liz Bayer, in her usual
capable and captivating manner, spoke on the
role of the activist citizen in shaping public
policy. Charles Humphries, professor of history
at UBC, in a very forthright manner, cautioned
the special-interest groups not to lose sight of
the larger perspective of the time and place in
history. Roberty Scully, of CBC note, explained
the Charles R. Bronfman Foundation Heritage
Project which aims to give Canadians greater
awareness of their history, culture and progress
as a nation. The "40 Heritage Minutes"
program, broadcast over all networks, is a
visual presentation of dramatic moments in
history. Scully created his own dramatic
moment when he appeared at the symposium
with blood on his hands and face, just after his
car had turned upside down on the icy roads.
After his presentation he left immediately for
the hospital. This symposium was a commemoration, a reaffirmation and a regeneration. I felt that British Columbia rates fairly high
with the identified needs - our new heritage
legislation, efforts to involve the larger public,
partnerships and cooperation among interested
groups, seeking alternate funding, inventories.
We must, however, continue to take a strong
role if Canadians are to know and understand
themselves - our distinctiveness and our
diversity. To me, the slide of the Grand Forks
railway station on the last day was a symbol of
the importance of the contribution at the local
level. How lovely to remember from the window
of the Chateau Laurier the falling snow and the
Christmas lights of our capital city!
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995
Books for review and book reviews should be sent directly to the Book Review Editor:
Anne Yandle, 3450 West 20th Avenue, Vancouver, B.C. V6S 1E4
Grace Maclnnis: A Story of Love and
Ann Farrell. Markham, Ontario: Fitzhenry
& Whiteside, 1994. 337 p., illus. $19.95
In the present climate of political cynicism, it is reassuring to read about a truly
good, decent politician. Grace Maclnnis
was the daughter of J.S. Woodsworth, the
much-loved and respected leader of the
Canadian Co-operative Commonwealth
Federation or CCF, formed in 1932 and
the forerunner of the present-day New
Democratic Party. She, not her brothers,
carried on her father's work, and she did
this in partnership with another good,
decent politician, her husband Angus
Before 1932 both Woodsworth and
Maclnnis represented the Independent
Labour Party in the House of Commons.
In 1931, when Grace first met Angus, she
was working in her father's office in Ottawa as his unpaid secretary. For nearly
a year Grace and Angus wrote to one
another, as lovers, as friends, as political
comrades. Ann Farrell has had access to
this correspondence and had drawn generously on it to give us some idea of their
intimate lives and of a marriage in which
daily life was governed by the political
work of the partners.
"Sometimes the whole thing seems like
a dream. At other times I feel such a throbbing, real sense of wanting you," wrote
Grace during their courtship (p. 87). That
noble, venerable socialists could have had
anything in common with the rest of humanity as mundane as sexual feelings is
not usually acknowledged by their biographers. In their letters, Grace and Angus move easily from such expressions
of sexual longing and passionate intimacy
to discussions of CCF policy and reports
of committee meetings. Their four hundred letters are an invaluable source, not
just for the biographer but also for the
historian tracing the evolution of the CCF
Grace and Angus were not at first sight
a likely match: he a former streetcar
motorman, largely self-taught; she a
Sorbonne scholarship student from an
intellectual family. And he was twenty
years her senior. Yet after ten years of
marriage Angus wrote: "I do not think
lovers in books have anything on you and
me. We have, I think, experienced all the
ecstasies of love." (p. 140) Evidently, love
did not fly out the window, may even
have been enhanced by their shared political work. Love and devotion for one
another went hand-in-hand with love and
devotion for the movement. Both were
imbued with the same missionary purpose. Moreover, Angus had advanced
views on the equality of the sexes. He
had read Olive Schreiner, who declared
women must have their "share of honoured and socially useful human toil" and
urged Grace to read Women and Labour
too. He insisted that he wanted Grace to
have her own life, to be her own person.
But intellectual conviction did not fully
translate into real life. When they disagreed, as they sometimes did, on CCF
policy, Angus could be quite rude, even
to the point of making caustic remarks
about her dear father. Angus thought he
knew best, wrote to Grace that his position was "usually vindicated." "I used to
begin my speeches years ago, when I was
starting out, that I laboured under two
disabilities, my father and my husband,"
Grace confessed. One of his admiring
CCF colleagues had remarked that
"Maclnnis wasn't bom, he was quarried."
Yet the letters reveal him to be a man of
generous and tender feelings: "I do wish
we did not have our little quarrels. Do
believe me dear, I love you, and in my
quieter moments I know I am largely to
blame for breaches of the peace between
us." (pp. 124-125)
Devoted to one another as they were,
the unrelenting political life was doubtless a severe strain on both and may well
have induced the arthritis that interrupted
and finally ended Grace's career.
Grace was a British Columbia MLA
from 1941 to 1945. In 1965, eight years
after Angus died, she won a seat in Parliament, representing Vancouver
Kingsway, Angus' former riding, until her
retirement in 1974 at age sixty-nine. During those nine years she emerged as an
impressive and influential politician and
a powerful influence within her own
party, hammering away especially at issues that particularly affected women:
consumers' rights, a national daycare
system, removal of abortion from the
Criminal Code.
' She devoted herself to trying to improve the lot of women, whose lot
needed improving twenty-five years ago
even more than now. Consider, for example, that in Canada until the revision
of the Criminal Code in 1969, it was still
illegal to disseminate birth control information and devices. Contraceptives were
available before that in pharmacies but
as late as the 1950s, possibly even into
the sixties, they were kept out of sight in
a drawer and had to be asked for over
the counter. Indeed, an attempt in Parliament in 1961 to modify the Criminal
Code in regard to birth control had been
denounced by a Quebec Creditiste as "a
diabolical work" and "straight from hell
itself" (p. 237). On the question of abortion, many MPs wanted simply to avoid
so unpleasant and controversial an issue,
but Grace shocked them into awareness
with her loyal and spirited support of Dr.
Henry Morgentaler, who was even then
challenging the courts with his test-case
This biography was commissioned by
an NDP committee which wanted a
manuscript in a hurry and gave its writer
one year to produce a draft manuscript.
Two other Grace Maclnnis biographies
were in progress and the committee
wanted theirs to be published first. Ann
Farrell therefore limited herself to what
could be reasonably accomplished in that
time. She has produced an unpretentious
narrative packed with new information.
It's a very readable narrative which conveys the essential Grace: a shrewd and
skilful politician and a woman of profound
humanity who cared deeply for Canada
and for Canadians, and especially for
women and children.
Considering that in her political career
Grace Maclnnis entered in some way into
most of the important historical events
and movements in twentieth-century
Canada - the Great Depression, World
War II, the expulsion of Canadian Japa-
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995 BOOKSHELF
nese from the west coast, the Trudeau
years and the FLQ crisis, the youth revolution of the sixties and the women's
movement - much more time was
needed to provide significant context for
her life story.
Grace was in Parliament during the
Trudeau years. Her own efforts at amending the Criminal Code with regard to birth
control and abortion are not seen clearly
enough against the background of
Trudeau's efforts in this regard as Justice
Minister and as Prime Minister. Nor does
Farrell deal in any comprehensive way
with the general character and dynamics
of the NDP caucus in opposition. One
has the sense that Grace was the main
actor, when in fact there was always a
hard-hitting NDP caucus in opposition,
including such socialist oldtimers as
Harold Winch and Tommy Douglas. And
in 1972 the thirty-one NDP members
held the balance of power in the Trudeau
minority government, hammering away
at it to bring in legislation that would be a
step or two along the road to a just society. Then, too, we would like to know
the cause of price escalation between
1972 and 1974: beef 36%, bread 37%,
eggs 46%. The oil crisis, perhaps? Tantalizing also is the mention of "the
feminization of poverty" in the 1970s, a
concept glanced at only in passing, yet
so relevant to Grace's work in Parliament
The research and legwork, the hours
of study and reflection, the sheer labour
of writing needed to present this challenging and vital politician in the light of the
ongoing stream of national and international events, gives the reviewer pause.
And yet, with respect, one must come
back to the question of time and the impossible deadline, and the obligation of
publishers, editors, writers and researchers, designers, word processors, yes, and
wilful committees with agendas - everyone involved in the production of a book,
any book, to render due service to the
subject, to the written word, to the whole
art of the book. One can only wonder at
the unlucky or haphazard circumstances
at Fitzhenry and Whiteside that produced
endnotes containing no further direction
than simply "National Archives of
Canada." Or that permitted so many
lapses in copy-editing and proofreading.
In a letter to Angus, just before they were
married, Grace wrote: "Dear, we must always live as simply as possible so that we
always remain keenly alive to the suffering
around us." (p. 75) In the years to come,
her luminous idealism may have sometimes become a little battered, but she retained it essentially intact throughout her
career. In this modest little book, Ann
Farrell gives Grace Maclnnis the place she
deserves in Canadian history, not just as a
leading woman politician, but as one of
our foremost parliamentarians.
Irene Howard
Irene Howard, a member of the Vancouver
Historical Society, is the author of Ihe Struggle for
Social Justice in B.C.: Helena Gutteridge,
the Unknown Reformer (1992).
The Road Runs West: A Century Along
the Bella Coola/Chilcotin Road
Diana French. Madeira Park: Harbour
Publishing, 1994. 240 p., illus. $26.95
Public libraries in B.C. carry shelves full
of community histories. These histories
were often triggered by a centennial
event, supported by government grants
and pasted together from the recollections
of a motley array of citizens. This, too, is
a community history, but the community
is unlike any other we've met, and so is
the story.
Linked primarily by "three hundred
miles of backroad to nowhere much," this
community shares also the consequences
of living, often isolated, with unpredictable, powerful and persuasive natural
forces which the author, Diana French,
chooses to name "the Chilcotin drummer." (Some readers might find her references to "the drummer" too frequent,
but this is a quibble.)
As is the case with most community
histories, the author genuinely acknowledges the help of others, sprinkles family
names and anecdotes generously
throughout, and supplies a range of relevant and readable photographs. (Rocks
are a recurring topic in this story, so it is
not surprising they appear in many of the
Mrs. French writes well. In a sprightly
conversational style, she captures the flavour of Chilcotin living, using words and
phrases with a distinctive country twist.
She writes of wet gloppy snow; a road
that shinnied up a steep hill; and mountains that backed off when the summer
sun arrived. She is candid about the intimate unpleasantness of travel along her
isolated road ("P & P stops") and is
equally candid in her judgments of people. The late MLA and Minister of Highways Alex Fraser, for example, "fought
tooth and nail" against the privatization
of highways maintenance; Fraser also
"did more to improve the Chilcotin Road
than anyone ever did" whereas policeman Pyper "never did much for anyone."
French's references to the impact of
logging in the Chilcotin, both on the road
and on the community, are a small part
of an important record. She has obviously
spent hour upon hour interviewing, taping, digging through archives. What she
has done so well is to pull it all together,
with the dozens of good stories supplied
her not lost in the telling.
A final comment. As one who has travelled the road recently, I can say that
rocks — large, small and everywhere -
make a lasting impression. Tourists may
not stay long enough to hear "the drummer" but they will not forget the rocks.
Mary Rawson
Mary Rawson is a member of the
Vancouver Historical Society.
When In Doubt Do Both: The Times
of My Life
Kay Macpherson. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994. 296 p., illus. $50 cloth,
$18.95 paper.
My MLA, I learned recently, recognizes
my name but has not yet added it to his
Trouble-Makers List. I wondered if I
should be concerned. Am I not doing all
I could? Am I leaving some stone
unturned? Letting the side down somehow - whatever the side may be (liberty
and justice for all, I suppose, and especially for women)? I have been concentrating rather heavily on the environment
lately, with only an occasional nod to
non-violence and scarcely a thought of
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995
feminism. Reading Kay Macpherson's
preface to her autobiography, I began to
feel humble. Halfway through the book,
I felt utterly inadequate. But, by the concluding chapter, I had regained my balance. Thinking about the title, I concluded
that "doing both" may not be the most
valid form of activism. Perhaps, sometimes, one should wait a bit and listen to
the doubt.
Kay Macpherson has led the executives
of the Association of Women Electors of
Metropolitan Toronto (AWE, 1957-8), the
Voice of Women (VOW, 1963-7) and the
National Action Committee on the Status
of Women (NAC, 1977-9). She has been
arrested in Paris, been refused entry to the
United States, actively participated in everything from the Home and School Association to the United Nations Special
Session on Disarmament, run as NDP candidate in three federal elections, and been
honoured with the Order of Canada, the
Persons Award and an honourary doctorate from York University. In 1990, at the
age of seventy-seven, she participated in
VOW's thirtieth anniversary celebrations
and noted that the VOW board meeting
that year "started with an ultimatum from
the B.C. women that unless communication and cooperation improved, B.C.
would operate autonomously."
When this book arcived for review, there
was some question of its direct relevance
to British Columbia. However, any Canadian woman who has participated in a
women's organization or a political party,
or in any way interested herself in feminism or the peace movement, will find this
is her story as well as Kay's. Western
women will recognize Rosemary Brown,
Hilda Thomas, Pauline Jewett and
Margaret Fulton. As a Gulf Islander, I was
delighted to find an entire chapter devoted
to Hornby Island. Kay, as it turns out was
lured to Hornby by Hilary Brown, first chair
of the Islands Trust On the island she learns
"if ordinary men and women can combine
their efforts, nothing is impossible. If we
can save the environment on Hornby, we
can save the planet But only if each one
of us contributes their share." Then there
is Betty Nickerson, whom Kay knew as a
Winnipegger, whom I met on my home
island of Gabriola, and who now lives near
Nanaimo, where she leads an organization
called the Amazing Grays.
Kay's B.C. travels take her as far as
Campbell River, where she joins an antiwar demonstration occasioned by the visit
of actor John Wayne and his vintage
yacht. The Duke's fishing cruises are legendary on the west coast, but they inspired more parties than protests.
The real relevance lies not in name-
dropping, but in the description of a familiar historical process which began after
the Second World War when "there were
many middle-class women not in the paid
workforce who could take time to observe
the growing numbers of committees
where much of policy decision took
place." They observed at City Councils
and Boards of Education and learned
how to go beyond observation: "Thus
one prepares over the years for the making of speeches, the chairing of meetings,
the lobbying and political negotiating." In
the 1950s there was "Mrs. CB.
Macpherson" with hat, gloves and
Robert's Rules. Later there was "Kay"
with chairs in a circle, seeking consensus. She contrasts VOW, which "responded to events by action" with groups
which "responded by study and discussion" and she disapproves of a third type
of movement which appealed to public
sympathy through sensationalism.
Kay Macpherson bounces from one
cause to another with so little hesitation
that one suspects the process attracts her
more than the cause itself. She loves the
fellowships and friendships, the travelling,
the excitement of organizing and lobbying. She hardly waits to see the results
before she moves on to something else.
She tells us she was accused of being
dangerously radical, but she does not
explain her radicalism. We know her husband was a Marxist professor of political
science, but we cannot believe his theories were the sole basis of her own thinking. She assumes too readily that readers
will share her views. She gives us too
much of her English girlhood and what
she ate for dinner in San Francisco in
1982, and too little of the inner Kay. She
recognizes her shortcomings and remarks
that, while others confide in her, she is
not good at confiding in others. Like her
family, who longed for hugs, the reader
longs for the reasons, motives and
thoughts behind the actions.
She does give us a lively picture of the
Canadian women's movement from
1950-1990, and probably we should be
content with that.
Phyllis Reeve
Phyllis Reeve is the author of a history ofthe
University Women's Club of Vancouver and last
year co-edited Witness to Wilderness: The
Clayoquot Sound Anthology.
Streetcars in the Kootenays: Nelson's
Electric Tramways, 1899-1992
Douglas V Parker. Edmonton, Alberta:
Havelock House, 1992.196 p, illus., $22.95
By the 1890s street railways were operating in the province at Vancouver, Victoria and New Westminster. These
streetcar systems not only provided practical transportation but also were considered a measure of a community's status.
From all appearances, Nelson seemed
destined to share the prosperity and stature of its coastal neighbours. This ■* as due
to the sharp rise in silver prices (1895),
three smelters operating in the region and
the development of hydroelectric power
on the Kootenay River. These positive
economic indicators were used by a
group of promoters to convince the British Electric Traction Company to establish a street railway in Nelson. A franchise
was granted and the Nelson Electric
Tramway Company was incorporated in
1899. Thus began a proud fifty-year relationship between Nelson citizens and
the smallest electric streetcar system in
the British Empire, which operated, not
without mishap, from its inaugural run on
December 23,1899, until June 20,1949.
When the streetcar system was replaced by bus transportation, most of the
rolling stock was eventually dismantled
or destroyed. Car #23 was moved several miles outside the city limits and
served as a dog kennel and later as a craft
shop. In 1988 the Nelson Electric Tramway Society was incorporated with two
major goals: "1. To collect and disseminate information on the street railway history of Nelson, thereby preserving this
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995 BOOKSHELF
portion of our city's heritage. 2. To get
streetcar #23 back on track again." This
dream became reality when the restored
Streetcar #23 made its nostalgic inaugural run on July 1, 1992, along the new
streetcar route located on Nelson's waterfront.
Douglas Parker's knowledge and passion for streetcars is evident in this publication. He is the author of several rail
histories, including a shorter precursor
version, Nelson Street Railway (Victoria,
B.C.: Railway Historical Association,
1961). Parker currently is an active member of the Edmonton Radial Railway Society which operates a street railway in
Fort Edmonton Park.
The layout and design of this book is
superb (even the choice of colours for the
laminated cover, red and cream, are the
tramway colours). The 21.5x28 cm (8.5
x 11 in.) format is uncluttered, using only
10 cm (4 in.) for text and the remaining
white space on the gutter edges is used
for photo captions and handy explanatory notes - very professional. There are
very few facing double pages of text that
do not have historical photographs or illustrations. Much of the textual detail is
based on primary sources, although one
secondary source is frequently cited. A
thorough table of contents, appendices
(personnel and equipment roster),
endnotes, bibliography and index are also
In a few instances the author could
have provided more information for those
readers not too familiar with Nelson's topography or geography. Other than using a rather unorthodox method for citing
government statutes in the endnotes, this
reviewer can only suggest that when the
streetcar routes are described, the maps
be located on an adjacent page or "see
page" references be included in the text.
Several minor typographical and identifying errors were also noticed. These
comments are only suggestions to improve an already excellent publication.
Streetcars in the Kootenays provides
the amateur with a basic understanding
of streetcar technology and operations.
It is also the story of a unique commuter
transportation system that survived in a
small British Columbia community for
fifty years. The travails of keeping the
streetcars operating under very trying circumstances is a fascinating story and the
restoration of #23 into an operating
streetcar is a proud accomplishment. A
very important addition to the transportation history of the province and a must
read/ride for railway aficionados.
Ron Welwood
Ron Welwood, a resident of Nelson, is
vice-president of the BCHF.
Pioneer Families of Southern Alberta
1,589 short biographies of people who
came to Southern Alberta prior to December 31, 1890. Price $30 plus $4 for
handling and postage. To order, write to
Clarence A. Davis, 319 Queen Tamara
Way S.E., Calgary, Alberta, T2J 4R1.
Canadian History: A Readers Guide
Vol. 1 Beginnings to Confederation.
Vol. 2 Confederation to the Present
Toronto: University of Toronto Press,
1994. $47.50 for two volumes. Volume
two has thirty pages devoted to a biblio
graphical essay on The West and North.
The Riverview Lands: Western Canada 's First Botanical Garden
Edited by Val Adolph and Brenda Guild
Gillespie. Coquitlam, B.C.: Riverview
Horticultural Centre Society, St. John's
Postal Outlet, P.O. Box 31005, Port
Moody, B.C. V3H 4T4.186 p., $16. History of the original botanical gardens at
Historic Nelson, British Columbia,
Architectural heritage motoring tour. Revised edition, 1994. Approximate driving time fifty minutes. Describes
twenty-seven buildings with a map. Available from Ron Welwood, RR#1, S22 CI,
Nelson, B.C. V1L5P4. Pamphlet. Include
self-addressed stamped business-size envelope.
h i
This sketch of tbe first sawmill on tbe Columbia River, titled "Hudson Bay Mill," illustrates
Thomas Fleming's article on p. 25. Published in tbe "Reports of Explorations and Surveys to
Ascertain tbe Most Practicable and Economical Route for a Railroad from tbe Mississippi
River to tbe Pacific Ocean 1853-5," tbe sketch was done by an artist attached to tbe survey
party and was brought to tbe attention of author Fleming by tbe historical staff at tbe Fort
Vancouver National Historical Site.
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1995
His Honour, the Honourable David C. Lam, CM, LL.D.
Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia
J. Arthur Lower
4040 West 35th Avenue, Vancouver, B.C. V6N 2P3
First Vice President
Second Vice President
Recording Secretary
Members at Large
Past President
Alice Glanville
Ron Welwood
Marjorie Leffler
T. Don Sale
Arnold Ranneris
Doris J. May
Wayne Desrochers
Melva Dwyer
Myrtle Haslam
Box 746, Grand Forks, B.C. VOH 1H0
RR #1, S22 C1, Nelson, B.C. V1L 5P4
516 Willow St, Parksville, B.C. V9P 1A4
262 Juniper St, Nanaimo, B.C. V9S 1X4
1898 Quamichan St, Victoria, B.C. V8S 2B9
2943 Shelbourne St, Victoria, B.C. V8R 4M7
8811 - 152nd St, Surrey, B.C. V3R 4E5
2976 McBride St, Surrey, B.C. V4A 3G6
Box 10, Cowichan Bay, B.C. VOR 1N0
B.C. Historical News
Publishing Committee
Book Review Editor
Margaret Stoneberg       Box 687, Princeton, B.C. VOX 1W0
Tony Farr
Anne Yandle
Naomi Miller
Subscription Secretary     Margaret Matovich
125 Castle Cross Rd, Salt Spring Island, B.C. V8K 2G1
3450 West 20th Ave, Vancouver, B.C. V6S 1E4
Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0
6985 Canada Way, Burnaby, B.C. V5E 3R6
Historical Trails
and Markers
John Spittle
1241 Mount Crown Rd, North Vancouver, B.C. V7R 1R9 988-4565
Publications Assistance    Jill Rowland
(not involved with
#5 - 1450 Chesterfield Ave,
North Vancouver, B.C. V7M 2N4
B.C. Historical News)       Contact Jill for advice and details to apply for a loan toward the cost of publishing.
Scholarship Committee    Anne Yandle 3450 West 20th Ave, Vancouver, B.C. V6S 1E4
Writing Competition
(Lieutenant Governor's
Pamela Mar P.O. Box 933, Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 5N2
(NOTE: All phone numbers listed use the area code 604)
758-2828 The British Columbia Historical News
P.O. Box 5254, Stn. B
Victoria, B.C. V8R 6N4
Publications Mail
Registration No. 4447
BC Historical
The British Columbia Historical Federation invites submissions of books for the thirteenth annual Competition for Writers of B.C. History.
Any book presenting any facet of B.C. history, published in 1995, is eligible. This may be a community
history, biography, record of a project or an organization, or personal recollections giving a glimpse of the
past. Names, dates and places, with relevant maps or pictures, rum a story into "history."
The judges are looking for quality presentations, especially if fresh material is included, with appropriate
illustrations, careful proofreading, an adequate index, table of contents and bibliography, from first-time writers as well as established authors.
NOTE: Reprints or revisions of books are not eligible.
The Lieutenant Governor's Medal for Historical Writing will be awarded to an individual writer whose
book contributes significantly to the recorded history of British Columbia. Other awards will be made as
recommended by the judges to valuable books prepared by groups or individuals.
All entries receive considerable publicity. Winners will receive a Certificate of Merit, a monetary award
and an invitation to the BCHF annual conference to be held in Surrey in May 1996.
SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS: All books must have been published in 1995 and should be submitted as soon as possible after publication. Two copies of each book should be submitted. Please state name,
address and telephone number of sender, the selling price of all editions of the book, and the address from
which it may be purchased, if the reader has to shop by mail.
SEND TO: B.C. Historical Writing Competition
c/o P. McGeachie
7953 Rosewood Street, Burnaby, B.C. V5E 2H4
DEADLINE:      December 15,1995.
LATE ENTRIES: Three copies of each book must be submitted and must arrive before January
15,1996. Please phone (604) 758-2828 to clarify shipping arrangements for late entries.
There is also an award for the Best Article published each year in the B.C. Historical News magazine.
This is directed to amateur historians or students. Articles should be no more than 3,000 words, typed double
spaced, accompanied by photographs if available, and substantiated with footnotes where applicable. (Photographs should be accompanied with information re: the source, permission to publish, archival number if
applicable, and a brief caption. Photos will be returned to the writer.)
Please send articles directly to:
The Editor, B.C. Historical News, P.O. Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0
'   " ' "  ' "' 	


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items