British Columbia History

British Columbia Historical Quarterly British Columbia Historical Association Jul 31, 1949

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Published by the Archives of British Columbia
in co-operation with the
British Columbia Historical Association.
Willard E. Ireland.
Provincial Archives, Victoria.
Madge Wolfenden.
Provincial Archives, Victoria.
J. C. Goodfellow, Princeton. T. A. Rickard, Victoria.
W. N. Sage, Vancouver.
Editorial communications should be addressed to the Editor.
Subscriptions should be sent to the Provincial Archives, Parliament
Buildings, Victoria, B.C. Price, 50c. the copy, or $2 the year. Members
of the British Columbia Historical Association in good standing receive the
Quarterly without further charge.
Neither the Provincial Archives nor the British Columbia Historical
Association assumes any responsibility for statements made by contributors
to the magazine.
The Quarterly is indexed in Faxon's Annual Magazine Subject-Index
and the Canadian Index. We
" Any country worthy of a future
should be interested in its past."
Vol. XIII Victoria, B.C., July-October, 1949. Nos. 3 & 4.
The "B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.                               Page.
By Willis J. West  129
Russia's Approach to America.    Part II.    From Spanish
Sources, 1761-1775.
By Stuart R. Tompkins and Max L. Moorhead  231
The Diary of Martha Cheney Ella, 1858-1856.    Part II.
January 1, 1855, to November 25, 1856.
Edited with an introduction by James K. Nesbitt  257
Notes and Comments:
British Columbia Historical Association    271
Okanagan Hi storical Society   273
The Westbank Cairn    275
Brief presented by the British Columbia Historical Association to
the Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts,
Letters, and Sciences    276
Blanshard Centenary Essay Competition  280
Contributors to this Issue  281
The Northwest Bookshelf:
Warren: Farthest Frontier.
By A. F. Flucke  283
Papers read before the Historical and Scientific Society of Manitoba.
By Willard E. Ireland  286
Garfield and Forrest: The Wolf and the Raven.
By A. E. Pickford  287
Morgan: The Columbia: Powerhouse of the West
By Willard E. Ireland   289
The Diary of Simeon Perkins, 1766-1780.
By Walter N. Sage    290
Shorter Notices:
Richards: Arctic Mood.
Prize  Winning Essays.      Armitage  Competition in  Oregon
Pioneer History.    Reed College.
Cryer: The Flying Canoe: Legends of the Cowichans.
By Willard E. Ireland  292 The Charlotte at Quesnel, 1897.
The B.C. Express and B.X. at South Fort George, 1912. THE " B.X." AND THE RUSH TO
On the 30th day of July, 1903, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the head
of a strongly established Liberal Government, presented to the
House of Commons a bill to incorporate the Grand Trunk Pacific
Railway Company. This bill provided for the construction of
a railway westward from Winnipeg through central British
Columbia to the Pacific Ocean.1 The proposed railway would
undoubtedly utilize the Yellowhead Pass to Fort George, at which
point the river turns in a southerly direction. The natural route
for the railway westward from Fort George would follow the
Nechako and Endako Rivers up-stream; thence over the divide
to the headwaters of the Bulkley River, and down that river and
the Skeena to the Pacific Coast. This was the route that over
a quarter of a century before Sandford Fleming, in his reconnaissance journey, had selected as the natural route for a railway
across central British Columbia.
When news of the proposed railway reached British Columbia,
a great deal of enthusiasm was kindled, particularly in the
Cariboo, where the people would be directly affected and therefore, possibly, had a better appreciation of the spectacular
changes that would be accomplished by the construction of a
transcontinental railway through this then little-known part of
the Province. It is astonishing how few people had been north
of Quesnel and up the Fraser to its source prior to the announcement of the coming of the railway. Apart from a few Hudson's
Bay Company employees and the Indians, the country was
unoccupied. It was wholly undeveloped, so one could visualize
the very great changes that would be brought about by the
construction of a modern railway. Thousands of construction
workers would come pouring into the country and millions of
(1) For further details see J. A. Lower, " The Construction of the Grand
Trunk Pacific Railway in British Columbia," British Columbia Historical
Quarterly, IV (1940), pp. 163-181.
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. XIII, Nos. 8 and 4.
129 130 Willis J. West. July-October
dollars would be paid out for labour, supplies, and transportation.
The country was known to contain immense natural resources.
Its lakes were teeming with fish; large herds of moose and other
big game, and also fur-bearing animals, were roaming the
country; extensive stands of fine spruce timber were within
a short haul of the treeless prairies, and millions of acres of
agricultural land would be made available for settlement. The
route of the proposed railway would be within a few miles of
the famous Cariboo goldfields, one of the world's major gold
discoveries, and it was not unlikely that further important
deposits of precious metals might be found in the country
through which the railway would be built.
For nearly half a century the British Columbia Express
Company's horse-stages had been carrying Her Majesty's mails,
passengers, express matter, and miners' gold over the famous
Cariboo Road. The company was commonly known as the
" B.X." (Barnard's Express),, and the service was started in the
days of the gold-rush, in the early sixties.2 In the beginning
the company's stages connected with the river-steamers at Yale,
the head of navigation on the Lower Fraser, but after the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the middle eighties
the company's head office was moved to Ashcroft, which had
then become the point of departure from the railway and the
gateway, via the Cariboo Road, to the Northern Interior of
British Columbia.
Francis Jones Barnard was a man of vision, who secured
from Governor Douglas the first contracts to carry mail into the
interior of the colony and who started the " B.X." stage service.
Associated with Barnard in the performance of the service were
some rugged and forceful pioneers. The most outstanding of
these was Stephen Tingley, who for nearly twenty years drove
the stage between Yale and Cache Creek, over what was perhaps
the most hazardous road on the North American Continent. He
was a great horseman and should be given credit, in large
measure, for organizing and operating the stage service during
the difficult early days in the development of the enterprise.
(2) Details regarding the early history of staging into Cariboo are to be
found in Willis J. West, " Staging and Stage Hold-ups in the Cariboo,"
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, XII (1948), pp. 185-192. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        131
Tingley had been a shareholder in the company since its incorporation, and on the 1st day of September, 1888, he became the
sole owner, having acquired from the Barnards, father and son,
and his other associates, all of the outstanding shares in the
From the beginning of the mail service in 1862 F. J. Barnard
& Company had continued as mail contractors in the Cariboo,
with the exception of a short period from October, 1870, to
May, 1872, when the contract was awarded to others by reason
of, in the opinion of the Postmaster-General, the high contract
price demanded by the company. The Barnards and their associates in the mail service were strong supporters of the Conservative Government at Ottawa; their mail contracts for the Cariboo
service were renewed from term to term without calling for
competitive tenders. Tingley, after he became sole owner of the
British Columbia Express Company, continued to secure renewals
of the contracts for as long as a Conservative Government
remained in power.
It can be easily understood why the mail contracts were
renewed when the political records of the Barnards, father and
son, and also of F. J. Barnard's son-in-law, J. A. Mara, are taken
under review. Barnard, senior, was first elected to the Legislative Council of the Colony of British Columbia for the session
of 1867 and continued in this capacity for several sessions. On
April 10, 1878, the British Columbia Express Company was
incorporated, and on December 2 of that year the first directors'
meeting was held, when a resolution was passed authorizing the
taking-over of the assets, liabilities, and good-will of the firm of
F. J. Barnard & Company, effective on the 1st day of January,
1879, when the business of the new company would come into
operation. Among the assets transferred to the newly incorporated company were the Cariboo mail contracts. In consequence,
the Barnards, no longer being mail contractors for the Federal
Government, became eligible to serve as members of the House
of Commons at Ottawa.
In 1879 F. J. Barnard was elected to the Federal seat of Yale
and sat until 1882. He was later elected in 1886 for the Sixth
Parliament as member for Cariboo.    In  1888 he declined a 132 Willis J. West. July-October
senatorship and died at Victoria on July 10, 1889.3 His son,
F. S. Barnard, was first elected to the House of Commons as
member for Cariboo at a by-election in 1888 and was subsequently re-elected and served until the termination of the Seventh
Canadian Parliament in 1896. In 1902 he contested unsuccessfully the Victoria, B.C., riding for the Conservative Party; however, later, from December 5, 1914, until December 9, 1919, he
served as Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia. Francis J.
Barnard's son-in-law, J. A. Mara, was first elected as Federal
member for Yale for the Sixth Parliament in 1886, and he was
re-elected for the Seventh Parliament in 1891. In the general
election of 1896 he ran in the Cariboo riding against Hewitt
Bostock but was defeated in the Liberal landslide that swept
Laurier into power by a large majority.
Owing to the Barnards' control of political patronage in the
district, they had no difficulty in securing from time to time
renewals of the mail contracts during the years the Conservative
Party was in power in Ottawa. Advantage was not taken of this
political influence, however, to extort from the Post Office Department an unreasonable price for the service. The contracts were
performed in an efficient and satisfactory manner, and the
records of the company show that the mail subsidy paid about
one-half of the cost of performing the service. The balance of
their costs had to be earned by carrying express matter, passengers, and by other services to the public. In years when
mining was active, the company made a fair profit on the capital
investment, but in years when the Cariboo mines were in a
depressed condition, the total revenue of the company was barely
sufficient to pay the cost of performing the service.
In the Federal election of 1896, when Laurier made his energetic and successful bid for power, the Liberal candidate for the
Cariboo riding was Hewitt Bostock. When he started his active
election campaign in the Cariboo country, he found the great
question in the minds of a majority of the voters was what would
be a Liberal Government's attitude towards the Cariboo mail
contracts. It can well be understood that throughout the years
a considerable antagonism had developed against what was called
the Tory political machine, which controlled not only all mail
(3) Victoria Daily Colonist, July 11, 1889. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        133
contracts, but also all other patronage in the district. It was
stated by the Liberal supporters during the campaign that no
man could get a job in the Cariboo District without the approval
of Stephen Tingley, whom it was claimed not only owned the
mail-stage service, but also controlled any patronage connected
with the Post Office Department or the Government Telegraph
Service. The cry that Bostock heard at every point visited was
" Get rid of the Cariboo Octopus." He made a promise to the
voters that if they would elect him as their representative and if
the Liberal Party came into power, the Cariboo mail contracts
would be taken away from Stephen Tingley at their expiration
and thrown open to competitive tenders.
Laurier won the elections by a large majority, and the voters
of Cariboo elected Bostock. It was now his responsibility to see
that his promise to the voters regarding the mail contracts in
Cariboo was fulfilled. In due course the Postmaster-General
advertised for tenders for the service, but no one in British
Columbia, where conditions were known, was willing to risk the
capital for so dubious an undertaking in competition with Tingley, who, with a lifetime of experience in the business and possessing all the necessary special equipment, made it known that
he intended to oppose any rival who might invade what he considered his exclusive territory.
When the Post Office authorities found that no one in British
Columbia apart from Tingley was willing to undertake the service, an effort was made to get some one in Eastern Canada to
accept the contracts. After a considerable delay, and negotiations with different prospective contractors, a small group of
Toronto citizens headed by Charles V. Millar agreed with the
Postmaster-General to contract for the service for a period of
four years on the understanding that the contract price for those
four years would be somewhat less than the amount Tingley had
tendered for the service. It was understood that at the termination of the four-year term the contractors would submit a financial statement showing the results for the period. If their returns
were not satisfactory, the contract price for the next four-year
period would be increased sufficiently to give them a reasonable
profit on their undertaking, when the risk, depreciation, and
other factors were taken into consideration.    It was also agreed 134 Willis J. West. July-October
that the contracts would be renewed without the calling of competitive tenders for so long as a Liberal Government remained in
power. But governments cannot always be relied upon to carry
out their political promises, for, at the end of the first four-year
period, when the Post Office Department was requested to renew
the contracts for a further term at an increased price owing to
inadequate earnings, the contractors were bluntly told they could
either accept a renewal at the old figure or the service would be
thrown open to public tender. This situation was very discouraging to the Toronto group, which had made a considerable
investment in stage-coaches, harness, horses, and other equipment necessary for operating hundreds of miles of stage service
in the mountainous Cariboo District of British Columbia. The
investment was no longer attractive to some of the group, so
eventually Millar acquired a large majority of the shares of the
Charles Vance Millar was a wealthy Toronto lawyer with a
national reputation in his profession. He was born near Aylmer,
Ont., the only child of a farmer who was considered a rich man
according to the standards of the time. His mother was insis-
tant that her son be given the benefits of a university education,
and he was duly enrolled as a student at the University of
Toronto. In those early days very few farmers' sons attended
university, and young Millar, an awkward, roughly clad youth
from the country, was left very much to himself by the city-bred
rich men's sons who possibly did not observe nor appreciate the
brilliant qualities possessed by this shy country lad. Millar's
father, though a rich man, was not in favour of spending more
than he could avoid, and only allowed his son $5 a week to pay
his board and lodgings and to cover such other expenses as
laundry and text-books. As a result of this meagre allowance,
Millar explained that he had had no money to spend on student
activities and so had been compelled to remain in his room and
study while his fellow students were relaxing and enjoying themselves. As a result of this forced study, he graduated as a gold
medalist, with average marks of 98 per cent, in all subjects.
He selected law as a profession, and within a few years after
having been called to the Bar had attained distinction as a brilliant but eccentric lawyer who seemed to derive great satisfaction 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        135
from fighting the battles of the underprivileged against the rich.
He hated all forms of deceit and hypocrisy, and acquired an
unpopular reputation with a certain class of citizens who did not
appreciate his advanced ideas of human rights and privileges.
Millar died suddenly on October 31, 1926, and when his will
was made public, it created a furore of amazement and ridicule
that swept over the world and evoked adverse criticism from all
classes. In the preamble to this remarkable document Millar
declared: " This will is necessarily uncommon and capricious
because I have no dependents or near relations and no duty rests
upon me to leave any property at my death and what I do leave
is proof of my folly in gathering and retaining more than
I required in my lifetime." The will then set out not only
bequests to employees and friends, but also a number of eccentric
bequests to clergymen and others. It then directed that the residue of the property—about three-quarters of a million dollars—
be sold and converted into money and, at the expiration of ten
years from his death, given with its accumulations " to the
mother who has since my death given birth in Toronto to the
greatest number of children as shown by registrations under the
Vital Statistics Act. If one or more mothers have equal highest
number of registrations under the said Act, to divide the said
moneys and accumulations equally between them." The press
and the public missed the point of the will altogether. The newspapers were filled with articles in which Millar was described as
a sportsman and joker who was promoting a contest for the
indiscriminate breeding of babies for a rich stake. Neither the
press nor the public suspected that he might be a great but
eccentric humanitarian who in his own way was endeavouring
to effect a great reform. A very few of his intimate friends,
however, understood what he was trying to accomplish.
Charles Vance Millar had a very high regard for women and
believed that they were unfairly treated, especially the underprivileged classes, whose women were compelled to bear unwanted
children, notwithstanding the condition of their health or of their
lack of financial resources to feed, clothe, and educate their offspring. During his lifetime he was often heard to express his
abhorrence of a social system in which birth control was held to
be a criminal offence and the dissemination of birth-control inf or- 136 Willis J. West. July-October
mation strictly suppressed. He believed that promoting a baby
contest with a reward of well on to a million dollars would so
outrage the moral sense of the good people of Toronto and of the
rest of the country that reforms would quickly follow. Millar
died and his will was made public a little over twenty years ago.
What reforms have been accomplished in that time ? To-day the
practice of birth control is accepted by the State and a large
proportion of the people of Canada. We have the most advanced
social legislation in respect to mothers and their children of any
country of the world. Who can affirm that the remarkable will
made by Millar did not contribute in a large degree towards
bringing about these great reforms in our social legislation ?
When Millar, with the Cariboo mail contracts in his pocket,
first visited Ashcroft in 1897, he had no difficulty in negotiating
with Stephen Tingley, who soon realized that he had to deal with
a man whom he could not intimidate. Tingley sold the British
Columbia Express Company,4 with certain equipment needed in
performing the mail service, at a fair price, and the new owners,
led by Millar, took over the performance of the mail contracts
and were still carrying on the service when the Laurier Government announced the proposed construction of the Grand Trunk
Pacific Railway.
From the time he bought the Express Company from Stephen
Tingley, Millar took a personal interest in its operation. He
would steal away during the vacation period from his busy legal
practice in Toronto to visit Cariboo, and he seemed to enjoy
immensely travelling over the stage routes and meeting the
people. He was a great lover of horses and encouraged the company management in their efforts to secure for the Cariboo service the finest stage-horses obtainable in Western Canada. From
the time when he had first taken charge of the mail service and
had found that it was not profitable, he had looked forward to a
period of development in British Columbia that would enable him
to realize on his investment.   The coming of railway-construction
(4) Ashcroft B.C. Mining Journal, June 26, 1897. " Messrs. Shields,
Bond and Miller [sic], the successful tenderers for the Cariboo Mail contract
and who have purchased all the stage equipments of the British Columbia
Express Company went to the coast Saturday to complete the deal. The
new management took charge on the first of the month, and all of the old
hands will be retained with probably a few changes."   Ibid., July 3, 1897. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        137
to Cariboo presaged great changes and the eventual ending of
the operations of the company. The railway, however, in opening up the country for settlement would provide an opportunity
for great expansion of the company's services and for earning
large profits during the period that the railway was under construction. During this period large additional capital expenditures for the construction of river-steamers and for other equipment would be required, and Millar was prepared to finance the
company in view of the prospects of large earnings.
The reader can appreciate the many advantages the Express
Company would enjoy over all its rivals in competing for the
prospective business, especially if the company provided an efficient steamer service on the Upper Fraser River. A great rush
of traffic was anticipated over the Cariboo Road, which was the
only practical route to Central British Columbia, as well as the
scene of the proposed building of a section of a transcontinental
railway. The company, with its organization and years of experience in the country, and its virtual monopoly of passenger
traffic over the Cariboo Road by its mail-subsidized horse-stages,
was bound to secure a very large proportion of this traffic.
This article is primarily an attempt to relate and to record
the activities of the British Columbia Express Company during
the " Rush to Fort George," occasioned by the opening-up of the
country for settlement by the construction of the Grand Trunk
Pacific Railway. An account is also given of the pioneer steamers on the Upper Fraser and of the many stern-wheelers that
were built during the railway-construction, particularly the
Express Company's two boats, the Royal Mail Steamers B.X.
and B.C. Express. The writer participated in the company's
activities and can, therefore, write with first-hand knowledge
of those stirring days.
The Cariboo Road extends for a distance of 167 miles in a
northerly direction from Ashcroft to the town of Soda Creek,
situated on the banks of the Fraser River. The steamboat
experts had discovered in the early days of the gold-rush that it
was not practicable to navigate the Fraser between Yale and
Soda Creek, owing to the many canyons, rapids, and other
obstructions and handicaps that would be encountered on the 138 Willis J. West. July-October
route. Just down-river from Soda Creek there is a hazardous
canyon through which steamers cannot safely pass; consequently, in locating the Cariboo Road, it was planned that it
should meet the river just above Soda Creek Canyon. Advantage
could then be taken of unobstructed navigation from Soda Creek
to Quesnel, on the route to the rich newly discovered gold-bearing
creeks in the Barkerville area.
In the 56 miles between Quesnel and Soda Creek the Fraser
River drops approximately 240 feet, and the average speed of
the current is about 8 miles an hour. This stretch of the river
has been navigated by various stern-wheelers since the early days
of the gold-rush and presented no navigating difficulties apart
from the strong current. The steamers in this service were carriers connecting at Soda Creek with the stages of F. J. Barnard
& Company and with the freighters hauling supplies up the
Cariboo Road for the mines at Barkerville. The mail, passengers, and express were carried to Quesnel by boat, and at that
point were again transferred to the express company's horse-
stages for furtherance to Barkerville and way points. Freight
delivered for the mines by steamer to Quesnel was also forwarded by freight teams to its destination. At this period in
the gold-rush the placer mines in the Barkerville area were
booming and there were large quantities of freight to be transported by steamer from Soda Creek to Quesnel. This was a
very profitable business, as the freight rate was $40 a ton—four
times the charge made in later years for the 56-mile haul. The
navigating season on the Upper Fraser lasts about six months
in the year, or from the time the ice breaks up in the spring,
around the first days of May, until the freeze-up of the river in
the fall, about the end of October.
The first steamboat built on the Upper Fraser was named
Enterprise. This pioneer stern-wheeler was built at Four Mile
Creek, near Fort Alexandria, and was completed in the spring of
1863, her builder being the well-known Victoria shipwright
James Trahey. She was a small boat, approximately 110 feet
long by 20 feet beam, with very little power compared with a
modern stern-wheeler. The Enterprise was operated by Captain
Thomas Wright and G. B. Wright between Soda Creek and 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        139
Quesnel.5 In 1871, the year of the Omineca gold excitement, she
was taken by her owners up through the Cottonwood and Fort
George Canyons to Fort George. She was then navigated up the
Nechako and Stuart Rivers and along the lakes and rivers leading to Tatla Landing. This was the last voyage made by this
pioneer steamer, as she was abandoned by her owners at Tatla
Landing and never returned to the Fraser. It is likely that she
was considered not to be of much value owing to deterioration,
the result of her years of service.6
The owners of the Enterprise built a new steamer at Quesnel
in 1868, which they used to augment the service between that
point and Soda Creek. Named Victoria, she also was constructed
by James Trahey and was completed and put into service in the
spring of 1869. She was a somewhat superior boat to the Enterprise, being 116 feet long and 23 feet beam, with about 50 per
cent, greater power.7 She served on the Soda Creek-Quesnel run
for many years, until she was finally hauled out of the river in
the fall of 1886 and berthed at Steamboat Landing, near Alexandria, her days of service at an end.
The Upper Fraser was to be without steamer service for ten
years. In the spring of 1896 the North British Columbia Navigation Company, Limited, was organized by Senator James Reid
of Quesnel, Stephen Tingley of Ashcroft (who at that time had
been owner of the British Columbia Express Company for eight
years), and Captain John Irving of Victoria, and plans were
made for the construction of a boat to run between Soda Creek
and Quesnel and possibly farther up-river.8 The keel of this
new steamer was laid at Quesnel in June, Alexander Watson
having come from Victoria to superintend the construction.9 On
August 3, 1896, the Charlotte was launched with due ceremony
(5) For further details see Norman Hacking, " Steamboating on the
Fraser in the 'Sixties," British Columbia Historical Quarterly, X (1946),
pp. 22-24.
(6) See also Norman Hacking, " British Columbia Steamship Days,
1870-1883," British Columbia Historical Quarterly, XI (1947), pp. 73, 74.
(7) Norman Hacking, " Steamboating on the Fraser in the 'Sixties,"
loc. cit, p. 37.
(8) Ashcroft B.C. Mining Journal, April 18, 1896.
(9) Ibid., June 20, 1896. For the arrival of Watson, see ibid., June 6,
1896. 140 Willis J. West. July-October
by Mrs. James Reid, after whom the steamer was named.10 The
initial run to Soda Creek was not made until late in October, at
which time it was claimed: " The Charlotte is a perfect model
and moves gracefully through the water as she steams against
the rapid current of the Fraser."11 She was under the command
of Captain Frank Odin, a veteran of river navigation, and James
McArthur was her engineer. Compared with her predecessors,
the Charlotte was a much improved type of river-boat. She was
111.4 feet in length and 20.6 feet in beam. She had plentiful
power—the cylinders of her engines were 11 by 60 inches and
the working steam-pressure of her boiler 160 pounds—and could
make excellent time from Soda Creek to Quesnel against the
strong current that prevails in that stretch of the river.
In the fall of 1896 the owners of the Charlotte were forced to
purchase the old Victoria, laid up at Steamboat Landing for so
many years. In her first year of service the Charlotte had a
busy, though very short, season. In mid-November her captain
was instructed to take a chance on making one more trip to Soda
Creek, where there was an accumulation of freight, although at
the time there was a slight running of ice in the river at Quesnel.
On her return journey the Charlotte got as far as Steamboat
Landing, but the ice by then was running so heavily that no
further progress up-stream could be made, and the captain was
compelled to tie up his boat.12 The weather became steadily
colder, and the steamer was frozen in the river squarely in front
of the location occupied by the Victoria, which would have to be
moved before the Charlotte could be safely berthed above the
(10) This event occasioned the following lyrical outburst in the Ashcroft newspaper:—
Quesnelle is booming so folks say
And faith it must be true,
For enterprising men each day
Are planning something new.
A steamer also—launched last week—
Will soon be setting sail
To ply 'twixt here and Soda Creek
With passengers and mail.
Ashcroft B.C. Mining Journal, August 15, 1896.
(11) Ibid., October 31, 1896.
(12) Ibid., November 21 and 28, 1896. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        141
heavy run of ice which each spring swept down the river destroying everything in its path. The Victoria, at this time, was owned
by Robert McLeese, of Soda Creek; after some negotiating she
was acquired by the owners of the Charlotte, who proceeded to
demolish and move the old steamer so that the new one could be
safely laid up, free from the dangerous spring floods.18 The last
activity in connection with the Victoria was during the First
World War, when there was an urgent demand for copper and
other metals. Some copper piping was salvaged from the old
hull and was used to help in the war effort.
It is approximately 95 miles from Quesnel to Fort George by
the river. There are two serious difficulties to navigation in this
stretch of the Fraser—the Cottonwood Canyon, about 18 miles
Up-stream from Quesnel, and the Fort George Canyon, approximately 15 miles down-stream from Fort George. Although G. B.
Wright had taken the steamer Enterprise through both of these
canyons in 1871, this single trip was no proof that a regular
scheduled service through the canyons could be maintained during the six months' season of navigation. The Enterprise was
a comparatively small boat, and it is recorded that she was slowly
lined up through the two canyons, using her manually operated
capstan, with the passengers as well as her crew assisting, and,
of course, the full power of her engines. For a steamer on this
run to provide an adequate service and to be a financial success,
she would have to be able to navigate these canyons at all stages
of water in the river and to maintain a definite schedule.
The British Columbia Express Company was prepared to
build a steamer for this service, provided they had some assurance that a powerful light-draught stern-wheeler could be
designed and constructed that would be able to give a semi-
weekly service between Soda Creek and Fort George and thus fit
in with the semi-weekly mail schedule along the main stage route
between Ashcroft and Barkerville that was in effect at that time
under the terms of the mail contracts with the Postmaster-
General. In the meantime the construction of the new railway
was being pushed expeditiously westward.    During the years
(13) Details of this incident were provided the author in a letter from
John A. Fraser, dated at Quesnel, October 11, 1947. At the time of these
events Fraser was agent for the Reid Estate. 142 Willis J. West. July-October
that followed its announcement, many survey parties had entered
the country, travelling through Ashcroft and up the Cariboo
Road on their way northward. The railway had now been definitely located and would pass through Fort George, as had been
anticipated by all those familiar with the topography of Central
British Columbia. Owing to the greatly increased activity on
the Cariboo Road, particularly between Ashcroft and Quesnel,
on the direct route to Fort George, the Express Company had
experienced a very satisfactory and increasing annual gain in the
volume of its earnings. The company had found it necessary,
in order to take care of the rush of horse-stage traffic, to increase
greatly its facilities by building additional stages and sleighs.
Its shops were also engaged in manufacturing harness and other
equipment in anticipation of a still larger volume of business as
construction of the railway progressed westward from Edmonton. This increased traffic demanded many more horses to permit the establishment of additional stage stations, and the company's horse-buyers were active in combing the horse-ranches,
not only of British Columbia, but also of Alberta and Saskatchewan, and selecting the finest stock for the service.
Each year during the most favourable stage of water in the
river the Fort George Indians would make many trips to Quesnel
in their large dugout canoes to bring down the year's catch of
furs and to take back supplies for the Hudson's Bay Company's
trading-posts. During the years many lives had been lost in
navigating the Cottonwood and Fort George Canyons, and the
Indians therefore considered these canyons very dangerous.
Neither the owners of the steamer Victoria nor, a decade later,
the owners of the Charlotte had seen any advantage in risking
their boats in these canyons when there was no probability at
that time of earning revenue by providing a service on the upper
reaches of the river. However, the approaching construction
of a railway down the Upper Fraser, with the opportunities for
steamboats to earn large profits, changed the outlook, and in the
spring of 1908 the Charlotte was given a special overhauling,
since her owners had decided to test their powerful little vessel
in these dangerous Upper Fraser waters. The cylinders of the
Charlotte's engines were sent down to Victoria to be rebored in
order to increase their efficiency, and a powerful steam capstan 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        143
was installed on her forward deck so that she could be lined up
through the strong currents.14
It was arranged that Captain John Irving, one of the owners,
would visit Quesnel and be aboard the Charlotte when she made
her attempt to steam up the canyons. Captain Irving was not
only an important figure as a steamboat operator, but was famous
as a great river pilot, and his advice would be of inestimable
value during the trial voyage. To the casual traveller it might
appear a simple undertaking to step into the pilot-house of a
river-steamer and to steer her safely through a fairly smooth-
looking stretch of mountain stream, such as the Fraser appeared
to be between Soda Creek and Cottonwood Canyon. The traveller would know nothing about the rocks and gravel-bars that
were concealed beneath the placid surface of the river. He would
not realize that there was a definite channel in the river that
must be followed, that this deep-water channel was ever changing as the height and volume of water in the river varied, and he
would have no knowledge of the mighty swirls and undercurrents concealed in the river that would throw the ship on the
rocks if their effect were not anticipated and guarded against by
constant vigilance and quick action in the pilot-house. He would
also have no understanding of how easily the thin wooden hull
of a light-draught stern-wheeler could be pierced if she struck
a rock or a gravel-bar when travelling at the comparatively slow
speed of 8 miles an hour against the strong current. All good
swift-water pilots could pick the channel and tell the approximate
depth of water over any gravel-bar or rock by reading the surface indications of the river. This ability to read water could
only be acquired by years of study and practical experience in
steamboating on swift mountain streams where these conditions
Such a pilot was Captain 0. F. Browne, who had been master
of the Charlotte since the spring of 1906. He was a native son
of British Columbia, having been born at New Westminster.
(14) References to the repairs to the Charlotte are to be found in the
Ashcroft B.C. Mining Journal, January 4, February 29, March 14, 1908.
She was relaunched on May 2, and it was then announced that she would
soon go to Soda Creek and upon her return would go as far as the Fort
George canyon.   Ibid., May 19 and 26, 1908. 144 Willis J. West. July-October
From his early boyhood he had worked on river-boats plying the
Lower Fraser and also the Yukon River. He was very highly
recommended to the management of the North British Columbia
Navigation Company as a first-class swift-water man and, while
in command of the Charlotte, proved himself an exceptionally
accomplished river pilot who was also well liked by the travelling
public, the business-men of the Cariboo, and his employers. Captain Browne was quite familiar with Cottonwood Canyon, as he
had recently made a number of trips with his steamer to the
lower end of the canyon with scow-loads of supplies for traders
attracted to the country by the coming of the railway. He had
talked to the Fort George Indians on their visits to Quesnel, and
from information he had gathered he felt confident that his
steamer, with the aid of her powerful newly installed steam
capstan, would succeed in navigating the canyons and the river
to Fort George.
In the summer of 1908, high water in the Fraser being over
and Captain Irving having arrived from Victoria, Captain
Browne thought that the stage of water in the river and the
other obtaining conditions were satisfactory for the proposed
attempt to steam through the canyons. Taking aboard a large
supply of dry cordwood, Captain Browne piloted the Charlotte
up the river and steamed to the foot of Cottonwood Canyon. As
part of the preparations for the attempt, a heavy ring-bolt had
been fixed in the canyon-wall at a point most favourable for
attaching the cable for the planned attempt to pull the steamer
up through the very strong current at the foot of the canyon.
The cable was now strung along the wall of the canyon and
attached to the ring-bolt. The capstan was then set in motion
and a start was made to pull the steamer through the rapids.
Everything seemed to be going well and the vessel had almost
reached the head of the canyon when the ring-bolt gave way and
the Charlotte, suddenly released from the straining cable, came
crashing down-stream and avoided the misfortune of piling up
on the rocks only through the brilliant manner in which Captain
Browne manoeuvred his ship. An experienced observer who was
on the boat at the time stated that when the cable broke loose the
steamer did not clear the rocks by more than a foot or so, and
that if she had struck at the foot of the rapids she would have
instantly capsized and sunk in the depths of the canyon. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        145
After consultations with Captain Irving, Captain Browne
decided that no further attempt would be made at this time to
navigate the canyon and, deeply chagrined and disappointed with
their ill luck, the two captains returned down-stream to Quesnel.*
From the experience gained in this first trial, they were of the
opinion that the channel at the upper end of the canyon could be
greatly improved by the removal by blasting of a large rock
which, located in the middle of the river, confined the current
and made it very difficult to line up even a small steamer such
as the Charlotte through the narrow rapids. It was decided to
petition the Federal Government to provide the necessary appropriation for the cost of the removal of this menace to navigation
and to ask that the work be undertaken and completed during
the period of low water in the approaching winter, so that the
improved channel would be ready by the opening of the river in
the spring.
The British Columbia Express Company was not alone in
thinking that providing river transportation on the Upper
Fraser by the building of stern-wheelers would be a profitable
venture. Construction of steamers by other companies was
already under way. Between the projection of the railway in
July, 1903, and its completion in 1914, no less than nine sternwheelers were built to navigate the upper reaches of the Fraser
between Soda Creek and Tete Jaune Cache.
The steamer Charlotte continued to be the only boat on the
river until May 25, 1909, when the Fort George Lumber and
Navigation Company launched the Nechaco,1B later to be regis-
(*) [Editorial note.] From the local newspapers it is apparent that
the Charlotte did successfully negotiate the Cottonwood Canyon. Ashcroft
B.C. Mining Journal, May 23, 1908, et seq. Late in September a trip was
made through to Fort George Canyon, and it was also announced that plans
had been laid to raise the cable used for lining through the Cottonwood
Canyon that had been lost. Ibid., October 3, 1908. The last trip to the
Fort George Canyon was announced for October 21.   Ibid., October 24, 1908.
(15) N. S. Clark, of the Fort George Lumber and Navigation Company,
had announced his intention of building a river-steamer as early as November, 1908. Quesnel Cariboo Observer, November 7, 1908. Donald McPhee
was engaged as the builder, and the keel was laid on March 13. Ibid.,
March 20, 1909; see also Ashcroft B.C. Mining Journal, March 13 and 27,
1909. " The steamer presents an ideal type of river boat, and some very
favorable comments have been made about her.    Owing to her light draught, 146 Willis J. West. July-October
tered as the Chilco. She was a comparatively small sternwheeler, 80 feet long by 16.4 feet beam, and was built at Quesnel.
Her first master was Captain J. H. Bonser, a first-class swift-
water man from the Skeena and Yukon Rivers.16 This boat did
some very useful work in pioneering the Upper Fraser, her
maiden voyage taking her to Fort George on May 30 and later
that week on up the Nechako River to Stoney Creek.17 Later in
the year she became the first boat to navigate the Grand Canyon
of the Fraser River, a fearsome place about 104 miles above
Fort George and the principal menace in navigation to the headwaters of the river.18
The second steamer to be built was the Quesnel, which followed the Nechaco into the water in the spring of 1909. She
was constructed at Quesnel and owned by Telesphore Marion, a
pioneer merchant and fur-trader of that town. The Quesnel,
70 by 16.2 feet, was 10 feet shorter than the Nechaco but
approximately the same beam, and was licensed to carry nineteen
about thirteen inches, she will be able to go in places in the Fraser and
Nechaco Rivers which have been impassible hitherto for the larger and
heavier steamers to navigate." Ibid., April 24, 1909. The Nechaco was
launched on May 25, the christening ceremony being performed by " Miss
Blanche the first white girl to enter the Nechaco Valley." Quesnel Cariboo
Observer, May 29, 1909. When navigation opened in 1910 it was announced
that owing to registry requirements the name of the Nechaco would be
changed to Chilco.    Ibid., March 12, 1910.
(16) Ashcroft B.C. Mining Journal, April 3, 1909. William McAllum
was her first engineer.
(17) Actually she had left Quesnel on May 27 but did not reach Fort
George until May 30 " having been delayed at the Fort George Canyon
owing to the blowing out of packing in the steam capstan." Quesnel Cariboo
Observer, June 5, 1909.
(18) Ibid., October 30, 1909. On this trip she reached the Goat River
(19) The Quesnel was built by John Strand, a Quesnel carpenter, and
powered with 75-horsepower engines from the Doty Engine Works, of
Goderich, Ont. Quesnel Cariboo Observer, January 23, 1909. Originally
named City of Quesnel she made her trial trip on May 10 in charge of
Captain D. A. Foster. Ibid., May 15, 1909. However, it was found that
she drew too much water and as a result Donald McPhee, having completed
the Nechaco, was engaged to lengthen her. Ibid., May 29 and July 10, 1909.
The rebuilt Quesnel was launched September 2 [ibid., September 4, 1909]
and shortly thereafter successfuly negotiated the canyons to Fort George.
Ibid., September 18, 1909. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        147
During the winter season of 1908-9 Dominion Government
engineers had supervised the removal of the large rock in the
channel of Cottonwood Canyon,20 and in the spring of 1909 the
Nechaco experienced no great difficulty in lining up through the
two canyons with freight and passengers for the new townsites
which were being planned in the Fort George area at the confluence of the Fraser and Nechako Rivers. After high water was
over, Captain Browne took the Charlotte through the canyons to
Fort George early in September and reported that a modern
stern-wheeler of good power might be able to steam up both
canyons at a fair stage of water in the river.21 Shortly thereafter the B.C. Mining Journal was able to record:—
All three steamers now operating on the Fraser River North of Soda Creek,
have made successful trips to Fort George. The Str Quesnel being the last
to venture on this trip, made equally as good a trip as both the steamer
Charlotte and Nechaco.22
When the British Columbia Express Company received the
favourable report from Captain Browne, the directors made an
immediate decision to build a boat for service between Soda
Creek and Fort George and, if possible, to have her finished and
ready for the opening of navigation in the spring of 1910.23
(20) As early as the summer of 1907 it was announced that the clearing
of the canyons was in the hands of the Dominion Government, which had
had examinations made several years earlier. Ashcroft B.C. Mining Journal, July 13, 1907. An Order in Council authorized the spending of $15,000
on the Cottonwood Canyon, and work was commenced in September under
Captain D. A. Foster. Ibid., September 21, 1907. He was succeeded in
November by G. E. Hedstrom, and the work continued until April, 1908;
in all, nearly $13,000 was expended. Auditor-General's Report, 1907-08,
p. V 263, and ibid., 1908-09, p. V 277. In September, 1908, it was announced
that work would be undertaken on the Fort George Canyon [Quesnel Cariboo
Observer, September 26, 1908], but evidently no action was taken until
October, 1909, when F. Heden began work. Ibid., October 16, 1909. That
year over $2,500 was expended, and the following year nearly $6,700 was
spent in clearing the canyon of obstructions.
(21) Ibid., September 11, 1909.
(22) Ashcroft B.C. Mining Journal, September 18,1909.
(23) Quesnel Cariboo Observer, January 1, 1910. " The new boat will
cost $40,000.00 and will be equipped with the latest electric light plant, and
search-light, steam stearing gear, powerful steam capstan, and compound
condensing engines, which will develop about 40 per cent more power than
those of any other boat on the river at the present time in proportion to
size." 148 Willis J. West. July-October
They appropriated the sum of $75,000 for this purpose and stipulated that the new stern-wheeler should be of light draught and
good power and in every respect the most up-to-date river-boat
that the engineers and builders could provide. Now that the
company for the first time in its long history had decided to
operate a steamer service, their first act was to sign with Captain
Browne a contract as master of the new steamer. He was
selected because, owing to his length of service as master of the
Charlotte, he was the most experienced Upper Fraser River
captain. The Express Company also planned, provided the first
steamer was a success and a profitable investment, to build a
second steamer for service between Fort George and Tete Jaune
Cache, the head of navigation on the river.
The outstanding designer and builder of stern-wheel river-
boats in British Columbia at this time was Alexander Watson,
Jr., of Victoria. He was the son of the designer and builder of
the Charlotte, who in the early days had constructed many successful river-boats which plied the Lower Fraser between New
Westminster and Yale, as well as the rivers of the Interior of the
Province and the Yukon. Alexander Watson, Jr., had therefore
learned his trade from a master craftsman, and all of his boats
were successful models which gave great satisfaction to their
owners. The British Columbia Express Company told Watson
of their plans and asked him to consult with Captain Browne
regarding the difficulties to be overcome in navigating the Cottonwood and Fort George Canyons on the proposed route from
Soda Creek to Fort George. In due course Watson was engaged
to design and build a stern-wheeler which the company named
B.X.2i She was so named because it was anticipated that she
would be known as the " B.X." boat in any event, and they felt
that they might as well give her that short but appropriate
Watson proceeded with the designing and planning of the
new steamer. When it came to consideration of the size and
type of engines, the boiler and other necessary parts and equipment, he strongly recommended that the Chicago Marine Iron
Works be consulted. This company had a world-wide reputation
for designing machinery for all types of stern-wheel steamers.
(24) Ibid., January 8, 1910. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        149
They had built machinery for stern-wheelers operating not only
on the Mississippi and its tributaries, but on the rivers of South
America, Africa, and on other navigable streams throughout the
world. Watson went to Chicago to consult with them, and when
plans were completed, they contracted with the Express Company for not only the engines and boiler, but for the complete
equipment for the proposed stern-wheeler.
It was pointed out to the Chicago company that the steamer
would be constructed 167 miles from a railway and that the
engines, boiler, and other equipment would have to be conveyed
that distance by horse over very bad mountain roads in the
spring of the year when hauling conditions would be at their
worst. It was most advisable to take all these factors under
view in planning the type of boiler and other equipment. When
the Charlotte had been built in 1896, great difficulty had been
experienced in transporting her boiler from the railway at Ashcroft to where she was being constructed at Quesnel. She had
been only a small boat, lightly powered in comparison with the
proposed new steamer B.X., yet her locomotive type of boiler,
stripped and without tubes, had weighed 14,777 pounds. The
Cariboo Road freighter who had been given the task of delivering
her boiler had finally located an old iron-axle bull-wagon which
he thought would carry the load, and, with a team of sixteen
mules, he had succeeded, after many grievous breakdowns and
delays, in delivering the boiler to Quesnel.
William Lyne, of Nine Mile Creek, near Soda Creek, a very
expert portable-sawmill operator, was asked by the Express
Company to locate a stand of good fir out of which it would be
possible to cut the large timbers and long clear planking needed
in the construction of the hull of the new steamer. When Lyne
later reported that he had found a stand of suitable timber on a
mountainside not far from Soda Creek, he was given a contract
to log and cut the required timbers and planking and to deliver
them to the site on the bank of the Fraser at Soda Creek which
Watson had selected for his shipyard.
Watson was a past master in the building of light-draught
stern-wheelers of strong construction. He took advantage of
every opportunity to cut down weight, so that whereas the hull
of the steamer was built of local fir, all the lumber that went into 150 Willis J. West. July-October
the building of the housework above the main deck, as well as
all the sash, doors, and mouldings, were of first-grade cedar,
shipped from Victoria and freighted by horse up the Cariboo
Road. The use of this dry cedar from the Coast in the superstructure of the new steamer would not only provide much better
construction than freshly cut local spruce, but would greatly aid
Watson, the craftsman, in his efforts to produce an especially
light-draught boat.
Final preparations for the building of the steamer were completed in the latter part of February, 1910, after Watson's arrival
at Soda Creek from Victoria with about fifty ship-carpenters,
joiners, and other workmen, and shortly afterwards the ship's
keel was laid and she began to take shape.25 The company had
an advantage over its rivals, as it not only had its own freighting
outfits for the hauling of construction supplies and machinery,
but it could rush badly needed materials by its fast horse-stages,
which took only two days to travel the 167 miles between the
railway at Ashcroft and the Soda Creek construction-site. Then
towards the end of March a catastrophe occurred that might
have been much more serious than it eventually turned out to
be.26 The ice suddenly started to break and run in the Fraser,
and without any warning piled up and blocked Soda Creek
Canyon, which was only about a quarter of a mile down-river
from the construction-site. The river rose almost instantaneously, swept the new ship off her blocks, washed a warehouse full
of supplies down the river, and deposited huge blocks of ice all
over the building site. The workmen heard a great noise from
the crashing and grinding of the ice in the canyon and barely had
time to pick up a few tools and run to a higher level of the beach
where they would be safe from the rushing waters. Fortunately,
the jammed ice in the canyon soon broke, the flood-waters
receded, and ship-builder Watson had an opportunity to survey
(25) Ashcroft B.C. Mining Journal, February 26, 1910. " The steamer's
stem was set up and keel laid last Thursday [February 17] and by the end
of this week the planking of the hull will be completed. The cedar lumber
for cabin work has been forwarded to Soda Creek and the engine and
machinery left Chicago nearly a fortnight ago. The shipyard at Soda Creek
is a hive of industry, some thirty men being employed in the construction
(26) Ibid., March 26, 1910. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        151
the damage to the new ship. The damage was not serious—a
few broken frames and other timbers twisted out of position.
These were soon repaired, or new ones installed, the ship properly straightened out and blocked up, so that in a week's time
work was resumed and an effort was made to compensate for the
time lost as a result of the near-disaster. The supplies that had
been swept down the river were soon replaced by the company's
fast transport, and the full loss was paid by Lloyd's of London
under the terms of a construction policy which the company had
bought to provide for just such a contingency.
The greatest potential rival to the British Columbia Express
Company for the freight and passenger traffic on the Upper
Fraser was the Fort George Lumber and Navigation Company.
This company had already launched the small steamer Nechaco,
or Chilco, as she was later to be called, and now proposed to build
two more stern-wheelers at Soda Creek.27 They proceeded to
set up a shipyard on the beach at a site just down-stream from
where the steamer B.X. was under construction. The rival company commenced work on a small stern-wheel prospecting boat
named Fort Fraser and on a large passenger and freight sternwheel steamer which they named Chilcotin. The Fort Fraser
was 56 feet long and 10.8 feet broad and was licensed to carry
fifteen passengers, and she began her career on the river in
July.28 This boat pioneered the first voyage to the head of navigation on the Fraser at Tete Jaune Cache,29 as well as trial trips
up the Nechako River and its tributaries. Owing to her small
size, she was never much of a factor in the transportation activities on the river.
(27) Quesnel Cariboo Observer, October 30,1909. Later it was announced
that the Chilco would make the run from Fort George to Tete Jaune Cache,
that one of the new steamers, to be called the Stewart, would run up to
Stuart Lake, and the other, to be called the Fort George, would run from
Quesnel to Fort George. Ibid., March 12,1910. These plans were ultimately
altered, and later the company also chartered and eventually purchased the
Quesnel.    Ibid., April 2 and 16, 1910.
(28) The Fort Fraser was evidently launched late in June. She arrived
at Quesnel on July 3 and Captain Bonser became her captain, having been
transferred from the Chilco, which was placed in charge of Captain George
Ritchie. On July 6 she left Quesnel on her first trip to Fort George.
Ibid., July 9, 1910.
(29) Ibid., July 30, 1910. 152 Willis J. West. July-October
The hull of the Chilcotin was 134.5 feet in length by 23.5 feet
beam, whereas the B.X. was 127.5 feet in length by 28.8 feet
beam. The former was hence somewhat longer than her competitor though not nearly as broad. The Chilcotin was launched
at Soda Creek on July 20 and made her first trip to Fort George
in mid-August.30 She was built to operate between Soda Creek
and Fort George as an opposition steamer to the B.X., and there
was naturally a great deal of friendly rivalry between their
respective construction gangs, each contending that their boat
was the better model. The Chilcotin camp spread a rumour that
the B.X. was so wide that she would not be able to pass through
the narrow low-water channel in Fort George Canyon. This
report travelled throughout the whole country, and many of the
Express Company's friends, believing the story, would condole
with employees of the company. These friends actually appeared
to think that a mistake had been made in the ship's design, and
naturally felt that she would not be of much service on the river
if she could not navigate the canyon. The steamer B.X. was
called the " White Elephant" from that time on, until after she
had had an opportunity of demonstrating that she was a great
success, and in due course she came to be known on the river as
the " Queen of the North " owing to her great speed, comfortable
accommodations, and the reliability of her scheduled service.
Rapid strides had been made in the building of the B.X.,S1 and
on Friday, May 13th, 1910, she was quietly slipped into the water
(30) The Chilcotin was built by Donald McPhee and launched at Soda
Creek on July 20, the christening ceremonies being performed by Mrs. Douglas Applegate, wife of the company's agent in that town. Ibid., July 23,
1910. She arrived at Quesnel on her first trip on August 17 in command of
Captain A. F. Doherty, with C. A. Dean as first engineer. She had main,
promenade, and texas decks, and was reputed to have cost about $50,000.
Provision was made for about fifty passengers, and she boasted running hot
and cold water in the staterooms. She was powered with a Doty compound-
condensing engine with 315 I.H.P. and her boiler was a Hollander high-
pressure type with a maximum of 225 pounds of steam-pressure. It was
claimed that she had capacity for 110 tons of freight. Ibid., August 20,
1910. She left for Fort George on her first trip through the canyons on
August 18. Unfortunately, on her return trip she had an accident in the
canyon which put her out of commission.    76m?., August 27, 1910.
(31) The Quesnel Cariboo Observer, April 16, 1910, announced that her
boilers were being installed and two weeks later that she was almost ready
for launching.   Ibid., April 30, 1910. 1949 THE " B.X." AND THE RUSH TO FORT GEORGE. 153
without ceremony of any kind.32 The shipyard workers were
very much opposed to her being launched on a Friday, especially
as that Friday fell on the thirteenth day of the month. Watson
had a difficult decision to make. The river was falling rapidly,
and if the steamer's launching were delayed, it might be some
considerable time before the water would again be at a safe
height for launching the ship from the precarious position she
occupied just above deep water. He decided to launch her, but
before he could get his ways set up in position, the water had
fallen to such an extent that he had to resort to the expedient of
cutting the end ways partly through. When the weight of the
ship reached these end ways they broke gradually and thereby
eased the ship into the river. All of these stern-wheel steamers
were launched broadside to the river. The superstitious shipyard workers were somewhat pacified when it was explained to
them that Friday the Thirteenth was the Express Company's
lucky day. In this case it certainly proved to be so, for there
was never a luckier or more successful ship than the Royal Mail
steamer B.X. proved herself to be during her many years of
Watson was very enthusiastic about the manner in which the
B.X. rode the river and was particularly pleased with her light
draught of 16 inches at the bow and 20 inches aft at the deepest
point. It was found later that when loaded with 100 tons dead
weight of regular commercial freight she drew only 30 inches of
water. Now that the ship was launched, work could be speeded
up, and on May 23, 1910, she was ready to leave the river-bank
on her first trip. She started at the break of day for Quesnel
and arrived there at about 11 a.m.33
The following detailed description of the B.X. may be of
interest. She was designed to carry loads up-stream. As
already stated, her hull was 127.5 feet long by 28.8 feet beam,
but her over-all length was 150 feet.    Her stern-wheel was 18
(32) " The fine steamer ' Princess B.X.,' the B.C. Express Coy. have
been busy constructing at Soda Creek, during the past two months, was
launched last week.   ..."   Ashcroft Journal, May 21, 1910.
(33) Quesnel Cariboo Observer, May 28, 1910. Her crew, under the
command of Captain Browne, was as follows: Mate, Captain Reed; quartermaster, Captain Baker; chief engineer, George Gilbert; assistant engineer,
James Hays;  purser, Stewart Adamson;  and chief steward, W. Cowley. 154 Willis J. West. July-October
feet in diameter, with buckets 21 feet 6 inches long by 18 inches
wide. Her gross tonnage was 513.7 tons. Her hull was divided
into nine water-tight compartments equipped with a system of
steam siphons for removing bilge water. She had three decks,
with a pilot-house above the third or texas deck. There was
stateroom accommodation for 70 saloon passengers. Her officers' staterooms were on the texas deck, and the quarters for her
firemen and crew were located on the main deck aft of the
engine-room. She was licensed to carry 60 deck passengers, or
a total of 130 passengers in all. On her saloon deck aft, there
was an attractive ladies' cabin, which provided an excellent room
reserved for women. Off this cabin were special staterooms
reserved for women travelling alone. Her stern-wheel was covered so as to shut off its splash, and it was this that made possible
the fine view astern that could be enjoyed from the ladies' cabin.
Forward on her saloon deck there was an observation and smoking room. Her dining saloon amidships could seat fifty persons
at a time. Her steam-heated staterooms were supplied with comfortable mattresses and springs, and her blankets and linen were
of excellent quality. The ship's dishes and crockery in her staterooms were monogrammed in the " B.X." colours and had been
specially made in England. The staterooms and the ladies'
cabin were carpeted in red velvet carpet; this carpeting, as well
as the stateroom curtains and hangings and cushions in the
ladies' cabin, was supplied by the Hudson's Bay Company at
Vancouver, who provided an upholsterer to cut and lay the carpets, hang the curtains, and to ensure that the ship presented as
pleasing and tasteful an appearance as possible. Off the ladies'
cabin there was a large stateroom called the bridal chamber.
This was furnished in an especially luxurious manner. It had
a large double brass bed with fine springs and mattress, large
down pillows, and specially fine linen and blankets, with a silk
eiderdown costing $150. Captain Browne and his officers were
delighted to be able to provide Premier McBride and other prominent passengers with this comfortable accommodation when they
were travelling in this rough and primitive country during the
boom days of railroad-construction.
The B.X. was powered by a pair of horizontal tandem compound-condensing engines; each engine had a 9-inch high-pres- 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        155
sure and an 18-inch low-pressure cylinder, with a stroke of 60
inches. She had an inboard surface condenser with combined
air and circulating pump. In order to save weight, the cylinders
of her engines were made of mild steel, instead of the usual
material, cast iron. Her steel wheel-shaft was 26 feet long by
8 inches in diameter and was hollow; indeed, in every respect in
the building of her engines and other equipment, efforts were
made to reduce weight and yet at the same time to provide an
adequate factor of safety. She had a generating-set of ample
capacity, with a turbine engine directly connected to the generator. Unlike some of the river-boats competing with her, she was
equipped with an electric search-light on top of her pilot-house.
She had a powerful steam capstan located forward on her main
deck, and she always carried three or four thousand feet of
flexible galvanized cable to enable her to line up against the
strongest currents to be encountered in any canyon. She was
provided with steam steering-gear so that she could be manoeuvred quickly in the canyons and other swift water.
Her boiler was built by the Taylor Water Tube Boiler Company, of Detroit, Mich., under Canadian Government inspection.
This water tube boiler had great capacity and carried a working-
pressure of 250 pounds of steam. She burned cordwood, as that
was the only type of fuel obtainable on the Upper Fraser at that
time. The boiler was designed and built in sections and was
assembled on the steamer at Soda Creek. The heaviest part, the
steam drum, weighed less than 10,000 pounds, so no difficulty was
experienced in hauling it over the Cariboo Road from the railway
at Ashcroft to the building site.
The compound-condensing engines provided for the new vessel utilized the steam first in the 9-inch high-pressure cylinders.
The steam then passed into the 18-inch low-pressure cylinders
and was then exhausted into the condenser. The hot water provided by the condensed steam was used to heat the boiler feed-
water, which resulted in greater boiler efficiency and economy in
fuel. As a result of the use of this type of engine, the new
steamer consumed less than one-half of the amount of fuel
required for the usual type of simple engine of comparable power.
It was not only the saving in the actual cost of the fuel and the
saving in the labour of loading and handling this smaller amount 156 Willis J. West. July-October
of cordwood, but the additional cargo space made available that
caused this type of engine to be so economical. One explanation
of the splendid time made by the B.X. was the fact that she would
be steadily steaming to her destination while the other boats
would be tied up at a wood-pile laboriously taking on extra cordwood. It was later estimated by her owners that during her
years of service on the river she saved in labour, extra cargo
space, and cost of fuel, a sum about equal to her original cost of
construction—an amount of $54,531.33.
At first the B.X. was restricted to making semi-weekly trips
between Soda Creek and Quesnel, as she was not completely
ready for testing in the canyons, and her captain did not want to
try her in them until she was in her best operating condition.
Finally, on June 23, 1910, she left Quesnel at 1 p.m. with about
forty passengers and a fair load of freight, and reached Fort
George at about 4.30 the next afternoon.34
Cottonwood Canyon is fairly straight, about a mile long and
approximately 100 feet wide at the narrowest point. The river-
channel, running between high rocky walls, has a very strong
current, particularly at the upper end, where there is quite a
perceptible " hill" or fall, and where, of course, the strongest
current, estimated to flow at about 14 miles an hour, is to be
encountered. On this maiden trip the B.X. steamed some distance up the canyon and disembarked her passengers, as her
licence to operate at that time did not permit her to carry passengers all the way through the Cottonwood or Fort George
Canyons. A trail had been built up from the river and around
the bluffs to end at a point above the canyon where steamers
could land and take the passengers back on board. When the
B.X. had steamed up the canyon to where the very strong current
was running, she put out a cable and had no difficulty in lining
up through the head of the canyon to wait at the landing for the
passengers to arrive after their climb of about half a mile over
the rough trail. Captain Browne made no attempt to steam the
Cottonwood unaided by his capstan on this first trip. He was
content to line up his new steamer through the swiftly running
rapids while he gained further experience and knowledge of her
(34)  Quesnel Cariboo Observer, June 25, 1910. A near-accident to the B.X. when under construction
at Soda Creek.
The B.X. at South Fort George, 1910. i    lift
iHT# jmuu^ iin
JFp'^STj   «\>: =: '\J^ -
pP i                         >■
The Chilcotin, B.C. Express, B.X., and Charlotte (left to right) hauled
out of the river for the winter at the sawmill, Quesnel.
ProL/'5»ons   ^bussing    tt»rou<j/i   '
Grand Cajyupn. oil ./is (ua<t£ 5  ^^
A typical scowing scene on the Upper Fraser. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        157
capabilities, and he was delighted to observe how well she handled on this untried stretch of the river.
The B.X. arrived at Fort George Canyon about 10 a.m. and
again disembarked her passengers, who immediately sought vantage points along the quarter-mile trail around the canyon so
that they could watch the steamer's progress in her first attempt
to navigate this perilous stretch of the Fraser. Whereas Cottonwood Canyon has but one narrow and fairly straight channel,
Fort George Canyon is divided into what appear to be three
separate channels. As you approach up-stream from the south,
the channel on the right or east side of the river appears, on
account of its width and the volume of water which it seems to
carry, to be the main channel. However, in 1910, this channel
was not considered safely navigable, owing to a large reef protruding in its midst. During the fall and winter of 1910-11
this reef was partly removed under the supervision of Dominion
Government engineers, and thereafter stern-wheelers with sufficient power to steam the canyon could use this east channel when
the river was at its highest stage of water. The centre channel
is so narrow and full of reefs that at no stage of water in the river
would it have been safe to attempt to navigate it. The channel
on the west side of the canyon was called the low-water channel
and was used by all the steamers at every stage of water until
the obstruction in the east channel was removed. The low-water
channel was less than 50 feet wide, even at a fairly high stage
of water. It led towards a part of the canyon full of reefs and
numerous small islands, but right through to the head of the
canyon there was a definite channel which, however, only a sternwheeler with great power could steam at all stages of water in
the river.
Captain Browne, as soon as he had unloaded his passengers
at the foot of the low-water channel, proceeded to put out about
a thousand feet of cable. This was attached to a large fir-tree,
and a. start was made to line the steamer through the canyon.
After she had passed through the narrow gap at the foot of the
channel and was approaching the middle of the canyon, the
captain signalled for full speed ahead. The steamer quickly
picked up speed, and as soon as it was realized that she was
making good progress against the strong current, he called to 158 Willis J. West. July-October
his first officer to stop the capstan and let go the line. The
deck-hand who was ashore, " standing by " to release the cable,
had difficulty in getting it free, for it had cut into the bark of
the fir, preventing him from quickly releasing it. The steamer
was now in a rather precarious position; she was straining on
the cable and had started turning and drifting towards the reef-
studded centre channel. The captain called an order to cut the
line, and a deck-hand with a mighty swing of an axe cut the
cable clean with one stroke. The B.X. had now drifted so perilously near the reefs that the cable was cut barely in time to
prevent serious damage to the new ship. Captain Browne
mancevred her for some time in hopes of turning her round so
that she could head up-stream out of the canyon, but finding it
impossible to turn her, he wisely piloted her down-stream through
the narrow gap up which he had started so confidently about an
hour before.
When the ship was tied up, the passengers were taken back
on board and lunch was served. Captain Browne announced
that immediately after lunch he would attempt the canyon again
and that he was confident that he would have no difficulty steaming it without the aid of the capstan. However, one of the ship's
officers who apparently had had no previous experience navigating in such dangerous canyons was not so confident and, with
tears in his eyes, implored the captain to abandon any further
attempt. Browne sought to assure him that his fears were
groundless, adding that he was surprised and gratified by the
power displayed by the new stern-wheeler. As soon as lunch
was finished the passengers were again disembarked and the
steamer started up through the canyon, while from the shore
they anxiously watched her progress as she approached the point
where she had been in difficulties on the preceding trial. The
passengers were greatly relieved when they saw her proudly
advance at good speed up through the swift-swirling current to
steam out through the head of the canyon, and they were indeed
a happy lot as they scrambled aboard the waiting ship, the last
obstacle to their safe and speedy arrival at Fort George overcome.
The first voyage of the B.X. was the only occasion on which
the capstan was used in navigating either Cottonwood or Fort
George Canyons during the eight years the steamer was in ser- 1949        THE " B.X." AND THE RUSH TO FORT GEORGE. 159
vice on the route. Captain Browne found that his ship was able
to steam both canyons during the highest stages of water, and
no delay was experienced at either canyon during all of these
years. This capacity to steam through the canyons gave the B.X.
a great advantage over her rival steamers, which were compelled
by their lack of power to line up with cables where she could go
unaided. At extreme high water these other stern-wheelers
would often have to wait several days for both the height of
water and the power of the current to subside before it was
considered safe for them to attempt the canyons.
On the trips down-stream it was found that a steamer had
to possess great power to run Fort George Canyon in safety at
all stages of water. The B.X. would enter the head of the canyon
at a speed of about 20 miles an hour. She would maintain this
speed until she had passed a point in the channel where the crosscurrents would threaten to throw her on the reefs in the centre of
the canyon. As soon as she had passed this dangerous point,
Captain Browne would signal to the engine-room for full-speed
astern and would start drifting his ship, and manoeuvring her
so that she would enter and pass through the narrow low-water
channel at the canyon's southern end. Cottonwood Canyon presented no difficulties for any of the boats on voyages downstream. It was a straight run throughout its entire length, and
at a good stage of water the B.X. would pass down through it
at a speed of approximately 30 miles an hour. Before the 1910
navigation season had ended, she was permitted to keep her passengers on board through both canyons, as the Federal steamboat inspectors had decided that there was less risk in her steaming straight through than in the stopping and manoeuvring at the
foot and again at the head of the two canyons.
The writer had been a passenger on the steamer Charlotte
when Captain Browne made his first trip to Fort George in the
summer of 1909. No one could visit Fort George even at that
early stage in its development without being impressed by its
possibilities as a location for a prosperous future city. Situated
in the centre of a large undeveloped country extending from the
Alberta border 250-odd miles to the east, with the supply centre 160 Willis J. West. July-October
of Hazelton on the Skeena River 300 miles to the west, and the
town of Quesnel 100 miles to the south, and with the vast unknown
country to the north, Fort George was the natural supply centre
for a great area of Central British Columbia.
The transcontinental railway was rapidly being built from
the east, and it had been definitely decided that it would cross
the Fraser at Fort George and ascend the Nechako River on its
way to the Pacific. The Indian reservation of some 1,366 acres
at the confluence of these two rivers had seemed to be the most
logical location for a city which the railway engineers had
announced would not only be a divisional point for the railway,
but would also provide the most suitable point from which to
build a branch railway to Vancouver, a project which at that
time was already under consideration. Yet, notwithstanding
these great expectations, there was no evidence of activity in
the district, except for the small log building erected in the bush
on the bank of the Fraser where William Kennedy operated a
small store for A. G. Hamilton, a pioneer independent trader.
The few curious passengers on the Charlotte were told that there
were only three white men in the district: James Cowie, the
Hudson's Bay Company's post manager; Kennedy and Hamilton,
the latter then being at his fur-trading post at Stuart Lake. No
surveys or clearings for prospective townsites had been undertaken at that time.
During the early spring of 1910 quite a few hardy pioneers
travelled to Fort George over the trail from Quesnel via Black-
water Crossing, and with the opening of navigation in the latter
part of April the steamers Chilco, Quesnel, and Charlotte carried
passengers and capacity loads of freight to the new townsites
being promoted on the route of the coming railway. The first
townsite promoters in the district were officials of the Natural
Resources Security Company which, in the fall of 1909, had
subdivided a tract of land which they named Central Fort George
and which was situated just to the west of the Indian reservation
and about one-half mile south of the Nechako River. This company was organized and controlled by the brothers George J. and
William Hammond. Central Fort George lots had been offered
for sale in Vancouver at a price of $100 for inside lots and $200
for choice locations.    In the spring of 1910 the Hammonds sub- 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        161
divided an additional 400 acres situated to the north of Central
Fort George and fronting on the Nechako River. They were the
first to apply to the Government of British Columbia for the
privilege of using the name " Fort George " and were accorded
that name for their new townsite. In a short time Fort George
lots were being advertised throughout the continent. The Hammonds took the precaution of securing a large additional acreage
in order to be assured of a plentiful supply of lots for selling to
a gullible public for as long as it was willing to buy them.
The next townsite promotion was organized by the Northern
Development Company, consisting of a group of South Fort
George pioneers headed by N. S. Clark, of the Fort George Lumber and Navigation Company. This group bought A. G. Hamilton's pre-emption of 60 acres situated on the Fraser about a mile
down-stream from the mouth of the Nechako. After securing
additional adjoining acreage, they promoted the townsite of
South Fort George. Their lots were advertised and offered to
the public in the spring of 1910 at an average price of $500
When the Royal Mail steamer B.X. reached South Fort George
on June 24, 1910, on her maiden voyage, she received a very
enthusiastic welcome from the large number of residents who
were waiting on the river-bank to greet her. They had heard
her whistle as she had passed through Fort George Canyon
several hours before and had been watching for her to appear
around the bend in the river just below the town. Every inhabitant of the district seemed to be present, and they could hardly
wait until the ship was tied up and a gang-plank put ashore so
that they might hurry aboard to greet their friends and to inspect
the new ship, about which they had heard so many rumours and
The Express Company had made no arrangements for a
steamer landing nor for a site for the warehouses, office building,
and other facilities that they would require. This situation
arose from the fact that the syndicate promoting the townsite of
South Fort George had written to the Express Company stating
(35) For details on the development of Fort George, see F. E. Runnals,
" Boom Days in Prince George, 1906-1913," British Columbia Historical
Quarterly, VIII (1944), pp. 281-306. 162 Willis J. West. July-October
that they had a proposal to make for such a site and requested
that no definite action should be taken regarding the location
until the ship had arrived. Then once the site had been inspected
and the proposal discussed, a decision might be reached without
delay. Captain Browne, consequently, merely steamed his ship
up the river until he saw the crowd of people on the bank, and as
the point where they had gathered was ideal for making a landing, he ran the ship's nose into the bank and got out a line. This
landing was at the foot of Fourth Street in the new subdivision
of South Fort George and was the exact location that had been
selected by the townsite syndicate to offer as a steamer landing
and headquarters for the " B.X."
Albert Johnson, an experienced hotelman and an old-timer in
the Cariboo country, was amongst those waiting anxiously for
the steamer's arrival. He was planning to build the first hotel
in this new territory, and the British Columbia Government had
promised him a licence to sell liquor if he would erect a proper
hotel building to provide badly needed accommodation for the
public. The townsite syndicate naturally wanted the hotel built
on their townsite, and as Johnson was determined to build his
hotel quite close to the " B.X." landing, it was of first importance
to the townsite promoters to have the landing definitely located
and the question settled immediately. The promoters realized
the great advantage they would possess over rival townsites in
selling lots if the incoming public were landed right on their
doorstep, since it was generally taken for granted that the
Express Company, with its faster and more comfortable steamer,
would capture most of the passenger traffic on the river. Although
the Express Company had not previously taken any definite
action regarding a landing, the matter had not been neglected,
and the company had reached the conclusion that it must be on the
Fraser. The rival townsite at Fort George, some 2 miles up the
Nechako, was keen to have the company make its headquarters
at that townsite. This, however, would have been quite impractical on account of the difficulty in navigating from the Fraser
River into the Nechako, except at the time of high water. Sandbars would form at the mouth of the Nechako after the spring
run-off, so that it was uncertain when even a light-draught boat
such as the B.X. could pass from the Fraser into its tributary. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        163
So much depended upon the South Fort George townsite promoters getting the Express Company's steamer landing and
northern headquarters established on their townsite that the day
following the arrival of the B.X. they offered the Express Company, free of charge, a deed to whatever number of lots at the
foot of Fourth Street it might require. This proposal was
accepted by the company, the required lots selected, and plans
made to bring from the sawmill at Quesnel the lumber needed
for rushing the construction of a warehouse and a small office
Now that their steamer B.X. had been so successfully tested in
the canyons, the Express Company immediately inaugurated a
semi-weekly service between Soda Creek and South Fort George.
They further arranged with the Post Office Department for a
semi-weekly mail service, to be effective during the season of
navigation. The B.X. connected at Soda Creek with the company's horse-stages for the transfer of its passengers, mail, and
express matter. These regular mail-scheduled stages left the
railway at Ashcroft at 4 in the morning on Mondays and Fridays,
and made the 167 miles to Soda Creek by Tuesday and Saturday
nights at about 10 o'clock. It was regarded as much too risky
to attempt to navigate the Upper Fraser except during daylight,
so the steamer would not leave for up-river points until the break
of day, at about 3 a.m. She would reach Quesnel at about noon
and, after unloading her cargo for that town, would continue on
up the river. Her schedule was so arranged that when it became
too dark for her to navigate safely, she would tie up at a woodpile and take fuel aboard. She would start again at dawn and
reach South Fort George about 11 o'clock in the forenoon. On
the return trip down-river the B.X. would leave her landing at
7 a.m. on Tuesdays and Saturdays and arrive at Soda Creek at
4.30 in the afternoon. The stage fare from Ashcroft to Soda
Creek was $27.50 and the steamer fare from there to South Fort
George was $17.50; berths and meals were extra. Berths on
the steamer were $1.50 for a lower and $1 for an upper; meals
were 75 cents each. The Cariboo Road freighters charged $60
a ton for the 167-mile haul from Ashcroft to Soda Creek, and
the steamer charge from there to South Fort George was $40 164 Willis J. West. July-October
a ton. The charge on express matter from Ashcroft to the
northern terminus was $12.50 per hundredweight.
The B.X. soon gained a reputation for a highly dependable
service. Captain Browne had been instructed to spare no effort
to be helpful and accommodating. At any point along the river
if a settler or prospector wanted the steamer to call, he would
only have to put out a white flag, and the captain would turn his
ship into the bank and make a landing. It might be some settler's wife who had a few eggs she wished marketed in South
Fort George, or again it might be some sick or injured adult or
child to be rushed to hospital.   A white flag was never ignored.
The navigating season of 1910 was a busy one for the sternwheelers on the Upper Fraser. The freighters on the Cariboo
Road were strenuously engaged in hauling large quantities of all
classes of freight from the railway at Ashcroft to be loaded at
Soda Creek on the steamers for delivery to the new townsites.
Many buildings were undertaken, or were projected, and there
was an urgent need to bring in building supplies from the outside. The many merchants in the new townsites realized the
urgency of providing, before the close of navigation, sufficient
food and other necessities to last until spring. In consequence,
all of the freight space of the river-steamers was needed, and all
of the available boats were operating to capacity.
Navigation on the Upper Fraser was at all times a very
hazardous undertaking, and the river captain who could finish a
full season without punching a hole in his ship or meeting with
a misadventure of some kind was indeed lucky. Some weeks
after the steamer B.X. had been completed and had made her
first voyage to South Fort George, the rival steamer Chilcotin
was launched and made the same trip. She was found to be
greatly underpowered, and her performance must have been
a great disappointment both to her builders and to her owners.
On her first south-bound run through the Fort George Canyon
she was badly damaged and was taken back to South Fort George,
where she was laid up for the remainder of the season.36 Hence,
during her first summer, she gave no competition at all to the
B.X., while the latter successfully kept up her semi-weekly
(36)  Quesnel Cariboo Observer, August 20 and 27, 1910. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        165
The pioneer ship of the river fleet, the steamer Charlotte, met
with a series of accidents early in the season.37 These were
climaxed when, on July 15, she struck a reef in running Fort
George Canyon and was sunk at the foot of the low-water channel.38 Salvage operations were undertaken during the summer,
but it was not until early October that she was brought down to
Quesnel and hauled up on the ways for examination.39 She had
been operating for all of fifteen navigating seasons. Her frames
and planking of local fir had deteriorated badly since her launching in 1896, and it would have cost a considerable sum of money
to put the old ship in first-class operating condition. Under no
circumstances would she have been able to compete successfully
with the Express Company's faster and more modern boat, so
her owners sensibly decided to leave her permanently on the
river-bank. From the time of her building until the end of the
navigating season of 1909 the Charlotte had operated as a connecting carrier with the Express Company's stages at Soda Creek
and had carried all their passengers, as well as mail and express,
between that point and Quesnel. It was this service that the
B.X. took over after her launching in 1910.
The fall of 1910 was exceptionally dry, lacking the usual
heavy rains, and there was a continuing low stage of water in
the river. Early in October the B.X. struck a rock at a point
about 5 miles above Fort George Canyon when travelling downstream at a speed of about 20 miles an hour. A hole about
60 feet long and 3 feet wide was torn in her hull, but the ship's
water-tight compartments enabled the captain to beach her
before her stern settled in deep water.40 In about two weeks'
time the hole had been patched and the ship taken to Quesnel,
where she was hauled out of the river for repairs. By October 20
she was back in service again,41 as good as new, carrying heavy
loads in an effort to make up for lost time by delivering to South
Fort George all the freight that had accumulated and that would
continue to pile up until the close of navigation.
(37) Ibid., July 2, 1910.
(38) Ibid., July 23, 1910.
(39) Ibid., August 20 and October 8, 1910.
(40) Ibid., October 1, 1910.
(41) Ibid., October 22, 1910. 166 Willis J. West. July-October
Late in November the steamer Chilco was on her last trip up
from Soda Creek with a full load of freight, principally food-
supplies. At a point in the Fraser about 6 miles above the mouth
of the Blackwater River she struck a rock and was beached,
partly submerged.42 Her cargo was removed and a watchman
left in charge, since nothing could be done towards salvaging her
that year on account of the freezing-up of the river. Early next
March Captain George Ritchie was placed in command of the
Chilco, and with his officers and crew, consisting in all of fourteen men, proceeded to the semi-submerged boat to begin salvage
operations.43 He succeeded in making temporary repairs and,
after raising the ship, planned to take her down to Quesnel,
where there was every facility for hauling her up on the ways
and where needed supplies of all kinds were available. Late in
April the ice started to break and run, and Captain Ritchie,
deciding that all of the river, including Cottonwood Canyon was
clear, believed that he could get his ship through to Quesnel.
He started down-stream but, on reaching the canyon, found to
his dismay that it was blocked solid with ice at the foot. It was
too late to turn back; Captain Ritchie and his crew were able
to take to the ship's boats in time to escape, so that there was,
fortunately, no loss of life. Almost immediately after they had
abandoned the vessel, she struck the ice, capsized, and disappeared in the angry currents and swirls of the canyon. Her
destruction was complete.44 No trace of her was ever again
seen on the river.
In the spring of 1910 quite a " rush " had developed on the
Cariboo Road, largely as a result of the advertising campaigns
that were being so vigorously carried on in the newspapers
throughout the continent by the Fort George and South Fort
George townsite promoters. Some of the people who were
travelling to the new townsites were speculators in lots, but the
majority of these early arrivals were individuals possessed of a
roving and pioneering spirit who, without having much money,
(42) Ibid., November 26, 1910.
(43) Ibid., March 18, 1911.
(44) Ibid., April 29, 1911.    See also South Fort George Fort George
Herald, January 28 and April 15 and 29, 1911. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        167
were looking forward to employment and to opportunities to
better themselves during this railway-construction era, when
huge sums of money were to be expended on labour, transportation, and supplies. The stopping-houses along the Cariboo Road
were exceptionally busy. They were filled every night with stage-
drivers, freighters, and the travelling public that was arriving
early in order to get accommodation on the first boats sailing for
Fort George after the opening of the navigation season.
The freighters were very active. Their numbers had been
increased by the arrival from the Spokane country of many
experienced freighters with their own outfits of horses and
wagons, who had learned of the boom conditions and of the
opportunity to make large earnings. This arrival of newcomers
on the Cariboo Road demanded certain changes in traditions that
had prevailed from the early days. Previously, when the
freighters had been obliged at times to leave their loaded wagons
unguarded at some lonely place along the road, the valuable supplies carried in these wagons were never molested by the old-
timers of the country, who realized the necessity to respect the
property rights of others under the pioneer conditions that prevailed. The regular mail stage, containing the gold-safe as well
as the registered mail, would stand unguarded all night long in
front of the overnight stopping-house while the drivers and their
passengers were sleeping. Naturally, the influx of city-raised
travellers to Fort George included some unscrupulous individuals
who would not hesitate to steal anything of value if they thought
they could do so undetected. The freighters had to take precautions against losses, and the Express Company issued instructions to its drivers and other employees that the registered-mail
sacks and all treasure be unloaded from the stages at night and
locked in a secure place. The driver usually took the gold-safe
and his treasure-bag to his bedroom as an extra precaution
against loss. To prevent the theft of feed, harness, and other
loose property, padlocks were supplied to all the hostlers along
the company's routes so that the stables could be locked when the
hostlers were not on duty.
During this period, too, the Express Company was called
upon to deliver the immensely increased volume of mail matter
that was entering the country.   This increase became especially 168 Willis J. West. July-October
great after the semi-weekly service to Fort George by steamer
was inaugurated. With extra stages leaving the railway at Ashcroft daily, the company found its facilities taxed to the limits
of their capacity. However, the most serious problem the company had to solve was the menace which the coming of the automobile to the Cariboo provided to its monopoly of all passenger
traffic. From the beginning of travel in the country, the Express
Company, by virtue of its mail-subsidized stages and its relays
of fresh horses stationed every few miles, provided a fast service
which no competitor could afford to equal. But if automobiles
could be operated efficiently during the summer months, especially between the railway at Ashcroft and the starting-point of
navigation at Soda Creek, passengers would no longer patronize
the comparatively slow mail-carrying horse-stages, and the company would suffer a very serious loss of revenue.
The first automobile ever to arrive in the Cariboo country was
shipped by rail to Ashcroft in the middle of June, 1907.45 It was
the property of 0. S. Perry, an official in charge of the Guggenheim interests, then operating gold-dredges in the Yukon and a
big placer mine at Bullion, in North-east Cariboo. This mine had
been developed under the direction of J. B. Hobson, in his day
considered by his profession to be the world's most experienced
and best qualified hydraulic mining engineer. Originally owned
by a group of Canadian Pacific Railway Company directors, they
had grown reluctant to contribute further capital towards development, and Hobson had arranged the sale of the mine to the
Guggenheims, by whom he was retained to build a great 20-mile
ditch, which it was expected would provide sufficient water to
prolong the hydraulicking season and thus make the mine's
operations very profitable. Perry was on his first visit to the
Cariboo, and his experienced mechanic-driver had no difficulty
in taking his four-cylinder Peerless automobile the approximate
distance of 200 miles between Ashcroft and the mine at Bullion,
as the roads were dry and in their best condition for travel. On
the return trip it was recorded that Perry left Bullion about
8 a.m. on June 23 and reached 100-Mile House that same night,
a distance of a little over 100 miles.    He arrived at Ashcroft,
(45)  Ashcroft Journal, June 15, 1907. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        169
a further distance of 87 miles, the next afternoon about 5 o'clock.46
When it is recalled that the Express Company's horse-stages,
which averaged about 6 miles an hour over the mountainous
roads, were the fastest transport in Cariboo up to this time, the
amazement with which the people beheld this demonstration of
speed can be well understood.
The successful automobile trip made by Perry was an
encouragement to others. In the spring of 1908 a group of
enterprising citizens, calling themselves the Cariboo Automobile
Company, brought a 40-horsepower Rambler automobile to the
Cariboo Road and advertised that, starting June 8, this car would
make semi-weekly trips, leaving Ashcroft on Mondays and Fridays and connecting with the steamer Charlotte at Soda Creek,47
on a running-time of fourteen hours. This venture was not a
success, for on its second trip the car broke down near 141-Mile
House and remained there for many weeks, first waiting for
parts to arrive and then for repairs. This discouraged its owners
and convinced them that their automobile could not provide a
profitable passenger service under the difficult conditions that
were characteristic of the Cariboo Road at that time.
For some years the British Columbia Express Company had
been watching the development of the automobile and had recognized that the time was approaching when competition would
force them to adopt it, at least during the summer season, since
passengers to Cariboo could not be expected to ride in a slow-
moving horse-stage if a comfortable and speedy car were available. The stage service would have to be continued the year
round, however, since a reliable mail schedule could not be maintained with the trucks and cars of that time, which would have
been helpless against the snow conditions in winter and the
almost impassable state of the roads in summer after periods of
heavy rains. The company had not been able to see any advantage in trying out the automobile, as that would only have demonstrated to its potential opposition the practicability of using cars
on the Cariboo Road. But by the early spring of 1910 the company realized that in view of the improved design and greater
efficiency of the latest automobile models, and the invasion of the
(46) Ibid., June 29, 1907.
(47) Ibid., June 13, 1908. 170 Willis J. West. July-October
Cariboo Road by a large number of these cars, the time had come
for prompt action to offset the rivalry of the owners of these
cars, as they were determined to compete with the long-
established horse-stages in transporting the rush of travellers
to the new towns building in the north.
Among the cars brought in by the Express Company's rivals
there was nearly every make of American and Canadian automobile—from a White Steamer to a Winton Six. In addition, a
syndicate formed in Victoria introduced an English Simplex,
which they had specially imported for that purpose. The Simplex,
however, owing to its low road clearance and its consequent
inability to travel through the deep and rocky mud-holes encountered along the road, was not a success. The make of car that
promised the most success in maintaining a service was the
Winton, the first six-cylinder car to appear on the market. Two
48-horsepower models of this car had been shipped in by rail
from Vancouver to Ashcroft and had been operated efficiently
by expert mechanics during the full season.
When the British Columbia Express Company decided to buy
automobiles to augment their horse-stage service, they dispatched
a representative immediately to Vancouver and Seattle to study
the merits of the different makes of cars and to select the most
suitable for the company's operations. A firm in Vancouver had
secured the agency for a Canadian car made near Toronto and
had written to the Express Company urging them to investigate
its claim that it was an ideal car for service under Cariboo Road
conditions. It was a large vehicle, strongly built and of high
horse-power. The first call the company's representative made
after reaching Vancouver was upon this firm. When he introduced himself and stated that he had come to buy a number of
automobiles, the agency manager was delighted and promptly
took him into the showroom where the much-heralded car was
on exhibition. It was a fine-looking car, and the representative
was quite impressed by its possibilities until the manager casually remarked that he was sorry that he could not offer him a
demonstration ride as it was raining and he did not want to get
the car wet. The representative could not help thinking that a
car that would be damaged by exposure to a few rain-drops
would be of little value among the ice, boulders, mud-holes, and 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        171
mountainous grades and other hazards of Cariboo. He at once
lost all interest in the Canadian car and left by the night boat for
Seattle, accompanied by his wife.
The next morning he had just registered at the New Washington Hotel in Seattle and had been in his room only a few
minutes when there was a ring on the telephone. Being a
stranger to the city, he could not help wondering as he picked up
the receiver who it might be that was calling. He had left
Ashcroft unexpectedly and had not written to anyone in Seattle
about his proposed journey. The speaker on the telephone
announced that he was George Millar, manager of the Winton
Motor Company in Seattle. He stated that he had expected a
visit from a representative of the British Columbia Express
Company, and that when the hotel clerk had telephoned and told
him of the representative's arrival, accompanied by his wife, he
immediately sent a chauffeur to the hotel with a Winton Six
limousine which his company was placing at the disposal of the
Express Company's official's wife during her visit to Seattle, as
he thought that she might wish to do some shopping while her
husband was engaged with his business affairs. He had also
sent a chauffeur to the hotel with a Winton Six touring car which
his company was placing at the disposal of the representative,
who, it was felt, would likely have many business appointments,
and to whom a car driven by a local chauffeur with knowledge of
the city would therefore be very helpful. The visitors from
Canada were quite embarrassed by this expression of hospitality,
and after they had together discussed the generous offer, the
husband told Mr. Millar that they hoped he would not be offended,
but they were sending back the cars; they would not hesitate to
call on him, however, if at any time they should have occasion
to use a car. The two new Wintons were found parked in front
of the main entrance of the hotel, their drivers patiently waiting.
They were advised that Mr. Millar wished them to return to
their garage. The representative from the Cariboo company
could not refrain from comparing the respective sales techniques
of the Canadian and American automobile salesmen and concluded that the Vancouver agent might well have been more
successful had he only been willing to let his shiny new car get
covered with mud in demonstrating its capabilities to potential
customers. 172 Willis J. West. July-October
The Express Company official did not immediately call on the
Winton Company but spent his first day in Seattle examining
the merits of other makes of cars that were meeting with public
acceptance at that early period in their development. The Packard had an excellent record as an efficient and economical car
but must have been meeting with keen competition from the
Winton Six, as the Packard Seattle agent was quite voluble in
explaining that the ideal car had only four cylinders and that
the two extra cylinders on the Winton did not result in greater
efficiency but merely entailed a waste of oil and gasoline. The
next day the official called on the Winton people, who had a very
imposing establishment for servicing and repairing their make
of car—their facilities were much ahead of those possessed by
any of their competitors. Their stock of spare parts in Seattle
was valued at $80,000, so there was no doubt but that supplies
could be ordered by telegraph and delivered by express to Ashcroft within twenty-four hours whenever needed. The Winton
agents were anxious to demonstrate the efficiency of their car
to the extent of taking it to some very steep hills around Seattle,
and the representative purchaser, after being driven many miles
under all road conditions, decided to buy two Winton Sixes and
to have them shipped at once to Ashcroft.
The Winton Company had on hand two of their latest models
which they had been using as demonstrators in Seattle. These
cars looked just as if they were in new condition and the manager
stated that he was prepared to sell them at a special price of
$1,500 each. This seemed to be a great bargain until he added
that glass fronts for the cars would be required at a cost of $75
each, large brass head-lights with carbide generator at $150,
tops at $150, large brass coach-type kerosene-burning parking
lamps at $75 per car, Klaxon horns at $50, trunk-racks at $50,
brass robe-rails at $25, and seat-covers $100 per car. The cost
of these parts was additional to the price quoted for each
car—the $1,500 paid only for the chassis and the bare body of
the car; these " extras " had to be bought to secure a fully
equipped and efficient automobile. The Express Company's
representative agreed to purchase the two fully equipped cars,
but stipulated that the Winton Company was to provide two
experienced driver-mechanics who would be willing to take the
cars to Ashcroft and to drive them in the Cariboo Road service 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        173
for the balance of the season. This stipulation was most necessary, for few people in British Columbia knew at that time how
to drive a car, and still fewer would know how to repair a complicated machine such as the Winton Six.
The two cars were shipped the following day by boat to Vancouver and by rail from there to Ashcroft, where they were
immediately put to work carrying passengers between the railway and the steamers at Soda Creek.48 The Express Company
now began the construction of a garage with a fully equipped
machine-shop to provide adequate facilities for servicing and
repairing the fleet of cars which they planned to put into service.
The company's shops for building and repairing its stage equipment were already located at Ashcroft, so that with the new
garage it was able to undertake every kind of repair.
After the busy operating season each car would be taken into
the shops, stripped to the frame, and rebuilt. The bodies of all
cars at that period were of wood, and the company's coachmakers
turned out several new bodies that were equal in workmanship
and finish to those produced in the large factories in the East.
All of the company's cars were painted the company colours—
the bodies a bright red and the wheels yellow. In those days
there were no service-stations for cars nor storage facilities for
gasoline in the Interior of the Province. Gasoline was marketed
largely in 4-gallon cans.   The company arranged, however, with
(48) The first indication of the intention of the B.C. Express Company
to operate automobiles appeared in the Ashcroft Journal, July 30, 1910,
when, after reporting the return of Messrs. Charles Millar and Willis J.
West from a trip to Fort George, a conversation with Millar was reported
in which he said, " he is determined to put on an up-to-date fast, comfortable
service between Ashcroft and Fort George and as a means to this desirable
end he will purchase several touring automobiles and run a thrice-a-week
schedule to Soda Creek returning the following day." The following week
it was announced: " Supt. West of the B.C. Express Co., and Mrs. West,
returned from their trip to Seattle on Monday [August 1], whither Mr. West
had gone to purchase a couple of autos for the company's use on the Cariboo
road. These cars arrived on Wednesday [August 3], two splendid specimens of the 'Winton Six' make. More cars will be added from time to
time as traffic warrants and the services of two expert drivers have been
engaged." Ibid., August 6, 1910. The Quesnel Cariboo Observer, August 6,
1910, reported that the first trip to Soda Creek of these new automobiles
had been completed on August 5. 174 Willis J. West. July-October
the Imperial Oil Company to ship gasoline from Vancouver in
large returnable iron drums. This meant a considerable reduction in cost. The drums were hauled up the Cariboo Road by
horse and distributed at various points along the road where the
company installed underground tanks and Bowser pumps in
order to control and record the gasoline consumption of its cars.
The representative of the Imperial Oil Company in the Interior
of British Columbia at this time was a handsome young man
named J. S. Matthews, who was very helpful in making the
necessary arrangements to supply motor gasoline, oils, and grease
for the new transportation equipment on the Cariboo Road.
The British Columbia Express Company did not find its
automobile service a very profitable venture owing to the high
cost of operation under the conditions that prevailed during the
great rush of traffic to Fort George. More freight was moving
over the road than at any previous time in its history, and the
heavy freight-wagons, some of them loaded with 8,000 pounds of
supplies, would cut down to the hubs of their wheels, so that
after heavy rains the road was a sea of mud and rocks. The
narrow high-pressure automobile tires of that time would sink
so far that the running-boards of the car would at times be
6 inches or more under the soft mud, with the chauffeurs compelled to drive the cars in low gear. The independent car-owners
could withdraw their vehicles from service when the road was
in too bad a condition, but the Express Company had to maintain
its regularly advertised service under all road and weather conditions and, at great expense, maintained a large crew of expert
mechanics to service and repair its cars. Business reached its
peak in the season of 1913; in that year it cost the company a
total of $67,233 to maintain eight Winton Sixes on the Cariboo
Road during their six months' operating season. The total
revenue earned by these eight cars in that period was $70,570.23,
leaving a net profit of $3,337.23, not a large sum when the amount
of the investment, the risk, and other factors are taken into
consideration. One item of expense was $15,835.53 for tires and
tubes. A 36- by 6-inch high-pressure casing, which cost about
$80 landed at Ashcroft, averaged a mileage of less than 2,000
miles.   The largest item of expense was $20,250.07 for repairs. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        175
The Grand Trunk Pacific Development Company was a subsidiary of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. One of the chief
objects of incorporating the subsidiary was to locate and promote
townsites at strategic points along the route of the railway
between Winnipeg and the Pacific Coast. The Fort George area
was among the most promising of these locations, although the
railway people did not take advantage of their opportunity to
locate, subdivide into lots, and quickly offer for sale land for a
railway townsite that would meet the demands of the clamouring
public and that would have thus offset to a large extent the
activities of the Fort George as well as the South Fort George
townsite promoters. On the contrary, from the beginning of
development in the district the railway officials told the impatient
public that the proper time to go to Fort George and to buy lots
would be after the railway was built and could carry them into
the country. These officials appeared to be ignorant of the local
conditions and their problems, and were outmanoeuvred by the
Hammond brothers (already mentioned as promoters of the Fort
George townsites) almost every time its interests and theirs came
into conflict.
It is on record that the railway had planned to locate its
townsite on the land immediately west of the Indian reservation
and facing on the Nechako River, but the Hammonds were
ahead of the Grand Trunk and secured this acreage for their own
townsite, which they named " Fort George." Nearly every person that visited the district was able to appreciate the virtues
of the Indian reservation itself as the ideal townsite, consisting,
as it did, of some 1,366 acres situated at the confluence of the
Fraser and the Nechako Rivers. This was realized by all except
the railway officials, who at this time made no intelligent or
serious efforts to purchase the land from the Indians. It is
likely that there was a large element of truth in the item published in the Fort George Herald in 1911 complaining that " the
Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company's townsite and development outfit are too busy cleaning up on their prairie townsites
to push the promotion of their B.C. townsites."49    The reserva-
(49)  South Fort George Fort George Herald, July 29, 1911. 176 Willis J. West. July-October
tion was no longer suitable as a home for the Indians, and they
would have to be moved, as eventually they were, to a more
secluded location. It would have demoralized them and been
disastrous to their future welfare to permit them to remain on
the reservation, which was adjacent to the new wide-open town
of South Fort George, where whisky, gambling, and other forms
of dissipation and vice were openly flaunted.
Charles Millar, head of the British Columbia Express Company, was familiar with the townsite situation at Fort George,
having visited the district on one of the early trips of the
steamer B.X. He, like a great many other people who were
interested in the development of the country, expected that the
officials of the government-sponsored railway would make a
successful arrangement for possession of the reservation, but
the summer of 1911 having arrived without any apparent effort
on their part to obtain the Indian lands, Millar decided to attempt
to buy the acreage, have it subdivided as quickly as possible, and
to offer it for sale in the form of lots to the large number of
prospective investors who believed that the reservation would
eventually become the real townsite and the centre of all development and business activity in the area. Associated with Millar
in the speculation was James Carruthers,60 a capitalist and
promoter of Montreal, who was favourably known in political
circles in Ottawa and who would be of help in negotiating with
the Department of Indian Affairs.
Some time later F. G. D. Durnford, a stranger to the community, arrived in South Fort George and, quietly and without
any great difficulty, succeeded in buying the reservation for
a price of $100,000.51 He negotiated directly with the Indians,
who were helped and guided by their spiritual adviser, Father
Nicolas Coccola, who saw the necessity of quickly moving the
Indians away from the contaminating influence of the white man.
Durnford was acting on behalf of and under the direction of
Millar and Carruthers, who had the approval of the Department
of Indian Affairs at Ottawa to open negotiations with the Fort
(50) Carruthers had been a client of Millar's for many years but was
in no way connected with the British Columbia Express Company, which
was a closed corporation with only four shareholders.
(51) South Fort George Fort George Herald, September 2, 1911. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        177
George Indians and to buy the reserve, subject to confirmation
by the Department of the price and conditions of the sale. The
railway officials quickly learned of the sale and immediately
lodged a vigorous protest at Ottawa, asking the Indian Department not to ratify the purchase, claiming that the construction
of the railway had made the Indian lands of great value and that
the railway-townsite company should benefit rather than any
private interest. Millar and Carruthers' claim to the reserve,
based on the purchase negotiated by Durnford, could not be
ignored, and eventually a settlement was effected whereby they
were alloted a total of 1,015 lots in the residential section of the
new townsite. The Grand Trunk Pacific Development Company
afterwards sent their solicitor to Fort George to negotiate a new
purchase agreement with the Indians, and it was reported that
they paid the sum of $125,000 for a deed to the property.52
The Grand Trunk still persisted in their policy of waiting
for the railway to arrive before offering the lots for sale to the
public,53 and although the Millar and Carruthers interests
strongly urged them to hasten and get the lots on the market, it
was not until May, 1913, that the clearing and surveying of the
land was under way and not until the following September64 that
any of the lots were offered for sale. Millar visited Fort George
in November, when the Grand Trunk Pacific Development Company released the Millar and Carruthers lots for sale to the
public.66    He sold the first of their 1,015 lots for $3,500 cash.
The lot-selling boom, however, was soon to end, and hard
times were on their way for the new settlements at the junction
of the Fraser and Nechako. In the fall of 1913 large numbers
of construction workers were being released, as the railway was
rapidly being completed and the end of steel was approaching
Fort George from the east. Many of the released workers drifted.
down the Fraser from the camps along the river to South Fort
George, where they dissipated their pay-cheques and became a
(52) Ibid., November 18, 1911.
(53) The general plan for the development of the railway company's
townsite was published for the first time as late as April, 1913. Ibid.,
April 12, 1913.
(54) The Vancouver auction sale of the townsite lots began on September 17.   Ibid., September 20, 1913.
(55) Ibid., November 8, 1913. 178 Willis J. West. July-October
charge on the Government and the community. The outpouring
of millions of dollars in railway construction was swiftly coming
to an end.
In reviewing the history of the townsite activities in the Fort
George area, it seems regrettable that the railway company was
not more alive to the situation and had not put its townsite on
the market early in 1910 to compete in the lot-selling with the
" wildcat" townsites of Fort George on the Nechako and of
South Fort George on the Fraser. The local merchants and the
investing public throughout Canada and the United States would
have been saved several million dollars and the city of Prince
George would have had a much more favourable start in growing
into the splendid and prosperous city that it is to-day. The
Millar and Carruthers speculation in Prince George suburban
real estate turned out to be unprofitable, and in the end these
men were glad to be relieved of the venture without suffering
a loss.
On the other hand, the do-nothing policy of the railway-
townsite company was highly approved of by the promoters of
the Fort George townsite as well as of the South Fort George
townsite, since it left them a clear field for continuing to unload
their lots on the public, who, from the beginning of the promotion
campaign, had been advised in sensational newspaper advertisements to buy early, since values would increase materially upon
the arrival of the railway. The Hammonds, it was reported,
spent in excess of half a million dollars in advertising their lots
in the press throughout Canada and the United States. It was
also claimed that they had sold 12,316 lots out of the total 20,145
that had been plotted.66 The South Fort George promoters spent
very little for advertising in comparison with the Hammonds
.but had sold lots in numbers and at prices far beyond their
There was naturally a great deal of rivalry between the two
towns, and the salesman of the rival promoters would go to any
extreme in condemning the offerings of their competitors. Practically all of the lot-seekers arriving by the river-steamers were
landed at South Fort George, and of these approximately 90 per
cent, were destined for the Nechako River townsite, where they
(56) Ibid., June 1, 1912. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        179
had been attracted by the Hammonds' sensational advertising.
The South Fort George agents would pounce on the prospective
buyers as they came ashore and endeavour to induce them to
abandon any idea of buying in the Nechako River town. The
Hammonds in retaliation had a respresentative travelling on the
steamer B.X., and since this steamer carried fully nine-tenths of
all passengers coming into the country, the Hammond representative would have an opportunity to offset to a large extent
the propagandizing of the rival organization. Newcomers were
bewildered by this bitter feud. Many of them would visit both
towns and would then decide that the Indian reserve would
eventually be the centre of all business activity and that, therefore, they would postpone making any purchases until the railway
town was plotted and its lots made available.
The first merchants and tradesmen coming into the district
acquired property and set up their businesses in South Fort
George for the same reason as Albert Johnson insisted on building the town's first hotel near the steamboat landing. They
wished to be the first to contact and capture the trade of the
large number of newcomers to the area. The Fraser River town
thus took the lead in building and business development and
probably conducted 75 per cent, of the trade of the whole district
during the railway-construction period. The Fort George town
on the Nechako was at a great disadvantage in this competition
for trade, and although the Hammonds spent money lavishly in
building a pretentious town in order to try to justify their
exaggerated newspaper publicity, they were unable to overcome
the early start and the many other advantages possessed by the
rival town on the Fraser, where all development was undertaken
by individual enterprise. The promoters of the townsite of
South Fort George did not find it necessary in selling town lots
to pay for services and improvements in their boom town, about
which they had no illusions. From the beginning South Fort
George was a " wide open " town, with every lure for tempting
and exploiting the construction workers, who would drift down
the river with pay-cheques in their pockets looking for excitement and entertainment. Albert Johnson was granted a licence
to sell liquor and opened his famous bar for business late in 180 Willis J. West. July-October
November, 1910.57 It was nearly two years before he had any
competition, which came with the granting of a licence to the
hotel in the rival town on the Nechako. The first rooming-houses,
restaurants, pool-halls, and moving-picture theatres were built
in South Fort George. The only houses of prostitution which
the police would allow in the whole area were segregated in the
southern suburb of this Fraser River town.
When the railway-townsite lots were first offered to the public
in the fall of 1913, there was a rush of eager buyers, who paid
ridiculously high prices for some of the choice business locations.
However, this was the last splurge in lot-gambling, since world
affairs were approaching a climax, and the declaration of war
on August 4, 1914, put an end to all speculation in real estate.
The merchants and others who had invested in Fort George and
South Fort George property began to have misgivings regarding
its future worth, and although business activity held up for a
while during the first half of 1914, there was a general drift
over to the new railway townsite, which later was to become
known as the city of Prince George. In a few years the boom
towns of Fort George and South Fort George became ghost
towns, after all business as well as the bulk of the population
had moved to Prince George.
The Express Company used its steamer landing and headquarters at South Fort George until the end of steamboating in
the fall of 1920. It then put the property up for sale but could
not get an offer at any price. The headquarters consisted of five
river lots, two large warehouses, a large stable, and a small office
building. The lots had been stumped and graded and the property surrounded by a high board fence. The total investment
represented about $10,000. After holding it for several years,
the company was glad to accept $150 for its title to the property
and thus be relieved of its liability for payment of Provincial
taxes, fire insurance, and for the services of a part-time watchman. The sale of this property was an example of the deterioration in values that took place in these boom towns after
the passing of the exciting and prosperous days of railway-
(57) Ibid., December 3, 1910. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        181
From the beginning of settlement in the Fort George country
in 1909 the pioneer settlers had been vigorously urging the
Postmaster-General to provide them with an adequate mail
service in the winter months as well as during the navigation
season.68 As soon as the Royal Mail Steamer B.X. started
operating through the canyons to Fort George in June, 1910, the
Postmaster-General concluded a contract with the Express Company for a semi-weekly service between Quesnel and South Fort
George during the summer months. The distance over the trail
on the west side of the Fraser from Quesnel to South Fort
George via Blackwater Crossing was 110 miles. A road had
been in existence for some years between Quesnel and Black-
water, a distance of 50 miles.69 This road followed the Yukon
telegraph-line, and although it was very little better than a rough
trail, it was passable the year round for the few early settlers
who went into the Fraser Lake country. There was no road,
however, between Blackwater and Fort George until the summer
of 1910, when the Government of British Columbia undertook
to build a wagon-road so that mail and supplies could be delivered
during the winter months to the many pioneers who were being
attracted to the district by the projected construction of the
During the winter season of 1910-11 a semi-monthly mail
service was negotiated by the Postmaster-General with a local
contractor who, however, had great difficulty in maintaining the
scheduled service under the poor road conditions that prevailed
and with the limited stage equipment at his disposal. This
semi-monthly winter service was not satisfactory to the new
settlement, and strong representations were made to Ottawa for
an improved service. The Fort George residents claimed that
they were entitled to the same standards of service that the
Postmaster-General had provided for many years for the people
of the Cariboo through the British Columbia Express Company,
which not only carried all classes of mail matter in any volume
tendered to them at the railway at Ashcroft, but also supplied
(58) Ibid., October 15, 1910.
(59) Ibid., September 17, 1910.
(60) Ibid., October 29, 1910. 182 Willis J. West. July-October
an express service throughout the country in their capacity as
connecting carriers with the railway express service at Ashcroft.
The Express Company also conducted a passenger service to all
points along its mail routes and, as a part of this service,
arranged for meals and beds at stopping-places along the routes.
In the summer of 1911 the Postmaster-General, having agreed
to provide an improved service between Quesnel and South Fort
George, contracted with the Express Company for a weekly
winter delivery, and the company began preparing for this overland service which was to start at the close of navigation.61 In
planning this new service, it was necessary to build a stable and
an office building on the west side of the river at Quesnel. There
was no bridge over the Fraser at that point, and since, in some
years, an ice bridge did not form after the ferry was unable to
operate, the company was compelled to stable on the west side of
the river the horses used in the upper run. In years when the
ice bridge failed to form, the stage passengers and the mail,
express matter, and baggage were conveyed across the river in
a small boat operated by ferry-men in the service of the Provincial Government. These men at times had great difficulty in
poling the boat across among the large blocks of ice that were
running in the swift current. Crossing the river in a small boat
was a hazardous task, especially during the bitterly cold winter
weather when the temperature would sometimes be as low as
50 degrees below zero. Large quantities of hay and oats had to
be delivered to the stables along the new stage route, and as this
feed was shipped to Ashcroft from Alberta and then freighted
up the Cariboo Road by horses, it can be appreciated why the cost
of operating horse-stages in the Cariboo under boom conditions
was an expensive undertaking.
The stage leaving Ashcroft Monday morning at 4 o'clock
would arrive at Quesnel on Wednesday night.   Passengers for
(61) " For the first time in history the stages of the British Columbia
Express Company rolled into South Fort George on Thursday last [October
19]. The big red coaches drawn by four splendid horses showed signs of
the hard trip they had made over the rough and uncompleted road between
here and Quesnel. . . . The stage brought in twenty-five bags of mail and
seven passengers. The service will not be so difficult to run with the smaller
sleighs the company will use in their winter service. . . . Ibid., October
21,1911. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        183
Fort George would leave Quesnel Thursday at 4 a.m., have lunch
at Goose Lake, and then stop overnight at Blackwater. Then on
Friday after an early start they would have a second breakfast
at Round Meadow, and a late lunch at 21-Mile House, before
reaching Fort George about 6 p.m. This Monday to Friday
journey from Ashcroft to Fort George covered a distance of
330 miles. In 1912 the winter service between Quesnel and
South Fort George was increased to a semi-weekly service, and
the Express Company was obliged to build at Blackwater a large
stopping-house as well as a large stable to provide for the rush
of traffic over this route in the winter of 1912-13. The volume
of mail matter had expanded greatly, and the company put a
large number of its finest horses on this run in order to handle
the extra stages necessary in providing an adequate service to
the fast-growing communities building along the route of the
new railway.
In the spring of 1911 the stern-wheelers on the Upper Fraser
had been overhauled and prepared for examination by the
Dominion Government steamboat inspectors, who visited each
steamer and checked carefully its life-saving and fire-prevention
equipment as well as its machinery and boilers. Every steamer
was compelled to undergo this examination yearly before being
granted a licence to operate. The boiler test was particularly
severe; the inspector would subject each steamer's boiler to a
cold-water pressure test of double the steam working-pressure
allowed. The boiler of the steamer B.X. was built for a working-
pressure of 250 pounds and thus had to withstand a test of 500
pounds pressure of ice-cold water from the Upper Fraser in the
spring of the year. The boilers of the pioneer stern-wheelers
on the Lower Fraser were liable to explode at any time—some
of them did with a considerable loss of life—but all risk of this
occurring to any of the more modern steamers on the Upper
Fraser was prevented by the rigid inspection regulations which
were strictly enforced by the officials of the Government.
The steamers Chilcotin, Quesnel, and B.X. were the only boats
left to provide a freight and passenger service on the Upper
Fraser after the Charlotte had been withdrawn from service and
the Chilco lost in Cottonwood Canyon. The small stern-wheeler
Fort Fraser had such a limited capacity that there was no profit 184 Willis J. West. July-October
in operating her in the regular freight and passenger service.
The Chilcotin had been improved since her unfortunate maiden
voyage in 1910. She had been efficiently repaired and had been
equipped with a steam steering-gear so that her captain could
have better control of her when navigating the canyons and other
strong water. In addition, her appointments had been made
considerably more attractive.62 Captain D. A. Foster, who had
been master of the Charlotte for some years, became master of
the Chilcotin and did splendid work while in charge of this big
stern-wheeler.63 When navigation opened in the spring of 1911,
she made several useful trips from Fort George up the river to
Giscome and the Grand Canyon. Later she was put on the run
between Soda Creek and South Fort George, but owing to her
lack of power she was only able to make weekly trips, whereas
the B.X. continued to provide a scheduled semi-weekly service
even during the period of extreme high water in the canyons.
Construction of the railway was making good progress from
the east; steel was nearing the British Columbia boundary and
was expected to reach the head of navigation sometime in the
spring of 1913. The British Columbia Express Company had
definitely decided to build a sister ship to the steamer B.X. in
order to provide a river service between Fort George and Mile 53
B.C. immediately upon the arrival of the railway at the latter
point, the head of navigation on the Fraser. Alexander Watson,
Jr., the builder of the B.X., was already engaged in designing the
new stern-wheeler and otherwise planning for its construction
at Soda Creek early the next year.64
By the surveyed railway route it was a distance of 183 miles
between Mile 53 B.C. and Fort George, but by river it was 315
miles, and on this route there were three obstructions to be overcome before the river could be safely navigated. These obstructions were at Giscome rapids, 23 miles up-stream from Fort
George;   in the Grand Canyon, 104 miles up-stream;   and at
(62) Ibid., April 22, 1911.
(63) Ibid., June 10, 1911. The Chilcotin was launched on May 11, and
plans were made for a trial run through the canyons within a few days'
time. It was then announced that her master would be Captain Arthur F.
Doherty, with E. Deveaux as mate, W. Daly as chief engineer, and J. Adamson as purser.   Ibid., May 13, 1911.
(64) Ibid., June 3, 1911. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        185
Goat River rapids, 208 miles up the river from Fort George.
This long stretch of the Fraser had never been navigated by
steamer, except when Captain Bonser, in the fall of 1909, had
taken the small stern-wheeler Chilco through the dreaded Grand
Canyon and on up the river as far as the Goat River rapids at
a low stage of water, and when in July, 1910, he had navigated
the smaller steamer Fort Fraser to the head of navigation at
Tete Jaune Cache (Mile 53 B.C.). Foley, Welch & Stewart, the
general contractors for the railway, were planning to use sternwheelers along the line of construction down the Fraser and
were, therefore, very much interested in improving navigation
by blasting boulders in the Goat River rapids and the Giscome
rapids, as well as in efforts to improve the navigability of the
Grand Canyon by the removal of certain reefs and rocks. Several
gangs of experienced rockmen were at different times engaged
in this work, of which the cost was afterwards borne by the
Dominion Government.66
Among the fleet of river-boats operated by Foley, Welch &
Stewart on the Skeena during railway-construction eastward
from Prince Rupert were three sister ships named Distributor,
Operator, and Conveyor. Alexander Watson, Jr., had designed
and supervised the construction of these large vessels in Victoria
in 1909, and the contractors now planned to dismantle the
Operator and Conveyor in order to rebuild them at the headwaters of the Fraser for use in the construction of the railway
down from Tete Jaune Cache.66 During the fall and winter of
1911-12 the two boats were taken to Victoria for dismantling,
and their machinery and equipment were shipped to the end of
steel west of Edmonton.67 From there it was freighted to Mile
49 B.C., where it was planned to set up a shipyard for reconstructing the two boats.    Everything that could be utilized in
(65) There was also considerable public agitation for improvement to
navigation of the river.   Ibid., November 11, 1911.
(66) In the fall of 1907 it was rumoured that the Grand Trunk Pacific
Railway was going to build a stern-wheeler for operation on the Soda Creek-
Fort George run. Ashcroft Journal, October 5, 1907. Nothing came of this
rumour, and early in 1910 it was reported that the Skeena River boats would
be dismantled and brought to Soda Creek for the Fraser River run. Quesnel
Cariboo Observer, January 29, 1910.
(67) South Fort George Fort George Herald, January 16, 1912. 186 Willis J. West. July-October
their reconstruction was saved, and the machinery and equipment, when assembled, consisted in all of ten car-loads. The
locomotive type of boiler in these steamers was built to withstand
a working-pressure of 225 pounds of steam, and each weighed
approximately 25 tons. The freighters had great difficulty in
hauling the boilers from the end of steel to the construction site
over what were very bad roads, and for part of the distance they
had to be skidded over the right-of-way by a cable attached to
a donkey-engine.68
Rebuilding of the two steamers was started early in 1912,69
and they were launched on May 12 of that year under their old
names of Operator and Conveyor. They were large, strongly
constructed stern-wheelers designed to load and carry the heavy
equipment used in railway-construction. Their hulls were each
141.7 feet long by 34.8 feet beam. There was a slight difference
in their gross tonnage, the Conveyor being 725 tons and the
Operator 698 tons. They were powered by high-pressure engines
whose cylinders were 14 inches in diameter with a stroke- of 72
inches. Both of them were fully equipped stern-wheelers with
large stateroom capacity, and were each granted a licence to
carry 200 passengers. Their boilers and engines had been made
by the Poison Iron Works, of Toronto. As all freight was to be
carried down-stream, each steamer, in addition to carrying 200
tons of freight, was able to handle a barge carrying approximately 100 tons. Thus, when the stage of water in the river was
at a favourable height, well on to 300 tons of supplies or equipment could be forwarded on each trip. Captain " Con " Myers
and Captain Jack Shannon had been masters of the Operator
and Conveyor respectively on the Skeena, and these expert river
pilots now took charge of their rebuilt ships for the three seasons
that they were to operate on the Upper Fraser.70 They were
first-class men, experienced in handling heavy railway-construction equipment, and were so proficient in operating their boats
as to be able to take advantage of every opportunity for delivering the maximum quantity of cargo during the short navigation
(68) Ibid., March 16, 1912.
(69) Ibid., February 24, 1912.
(70) Ibid., April 20, 1912. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        187
The summer of 1912 was a season of low water, and great
difficulty was experienced in navigating the river between Mile
53 B.C. as far as the Grand Canyon.71 In July the Operator ran
on the rocks in Goat River rapids and Captain Myers had to
jettison over 100 tons of cargo to lighten his ship sufficiently for
her to be pulled free of the boulders that had pierced her hull.72
She was then taken up to the shipyard at Mile 49 B.C. for repairs
and was back in commission again within ten days.78 Owing to
the low water the two boats were laid up for the season on
September 6 at Mile 142 B.C.
While the general contractors for the railway had provided
these two big stern-wheelers which were so necessary for the
delivery of construction equipment, such as steam-shovels, locomotives, etc., it was generally understood that the great bulk of
the supplies required in the building of the railway would have
to be floated down the river in scows. The steamers could navigate and carry good loads only when the Fraser was at a fairly
high stage of water. Consequently, arrangements were made
at Mile 53 B.C. to construct and to load the great number of
scows needed in supplying the construction camps down-stream.
These scows were approximately 40 by 16 feet and were quickly
constructed, with but one thread of oakum in their seams. As
they could not be taken back up the river after being unloaded
at their destination, they were demolished to salvage the lumber
used in building them. Each scow carried a load of from 20 to
30 tons. Owing to the many log-jams, rapids, and other hazards
to be overcome in the 300-mile journey down the river, probably
10 per cent, of the scows loaded at the headwaters of the Fraser
were wrecked and their loads lost. The Grand Canyon took
a very heavy toll in lives as well as in scow-loads of supplies, and
even the most experienced river scowmen felt relieved and happy
after safely passing through this dangerous stretch of water.
As not only the railway contractors but also the Fort George and
other independent merchants and traders were scowing merchandise, it is difficult to ascertain the total tonnage of freight
floated down the Fraser during this period.    It has been esti-
(71) Ibid., September 14 and 21, 1912.
(72) Ibid., July 13,1912.
(73) Ibid., July 20, 1912. 188 Willis J. West. July-October
mated that during the summer of 1913 there were fully 1,500
men engaged in scowing on the river between Mile 53 B.C. and
Fort George.
The Express Company had decided to name their new steamer
the B.C. Express and had engaged Captain J. P. Bucey, from the
Skeena River, to be her master.74 Captain Bucey had started
as a young lad working on the stern-wheelers on the Mississippi,
and he had also worked on the Columbia, Yukon, and other
western rivers. He had operated boats on the Skeena for fourteen years and was recognized as one of the most intrepid and
competent swift-water pilots in the profession.
In a distance of approximately 120 miles the Skeena drops
1,000 feet and thus is one of the swiftest navigable rivers in the
West. Kitselas Canyon on the Skeena was considered by steamboat pilots to be the most difficult and dangerous of regularly
navigated canyons, and Captain Bucey held the record for taking
a loaded stern-wheeler up through this canyon at the highest
stage of water encountered during any trip in the Skeena's entire
history of navigation. There was, hence, good reason for the
Express Company to consider Captain Bucey as the pilot best
qualified to take charge of their new steamer that was to be
specially built for operating through the Grand Canyon of the
Fraser. Alexander Watson, Jr., who had been engaged as shipbuilder, was instructed to consult with Bucey regarding the size
and design of the new ship and to discuss with him the type of
engines and other equipment to be provided for her. The tandem
compound-condensing engines installed in the steamer B.X. were
great fuel-savers and had given splendid satisfaction on the run
between Soda Creek and Fort George, but Captain Bucey preferred simple high-pressure engines for the B.C. Express. He
claimed that for close work in the Grand Canyon he would get
faster response to his signals to the engine-room with the high-
pressure engines than he could expect from the condensing
engines, which had to make two complete revolutions before
attaining their full power. The question of saving fuel was
unimportant, since the Express Company planned to operate the
new steamer for only two seasons, after which it was expected
that navigation on the Upper Fraser would be ended by compe-
(74)  Quesnel Cariboo Observer, March 9, 1912. 1949        THE " B.X." AND THE RUSH TO FORT GEORGE. 189
tition from the railways then building or projected along the
river routes.
A contract was entered into with the Marine Iron Works, of
Chicago, for the engines and for all the other equipment required
for the new stern-wheeler, with the exception of her boiler. The
engines incorporated a new design of valve gear, superseding
the use of eccentrics on the wheel-shaft. This new type of valve
gear had two advantages: it permitted a wider stern-wheel and
did away with the danger of the wheel picking up driftwood and
breaking an eccentric rod—an occurrence that could be disastrous
if it happened in a canyon and could well result in the loss of the
ship. The boiler for the new vessel, built by the John Inglis
Company, of Toronto, was a Yarrow water tube boiler. Built
under Canadian Government inspection for a working-pressure
of 250 pounds, it was shipped in parts for assembling on the
steamer during her construction at Soda Creek.
The hull of the B.C. Express was 6 feet shorter than that of
the B.X. and was also about 1 foot less in beam. The over-all
length of the new vessel was approximately 140 feet.76 Captain
Bucey considered this was the largest boat that it was advisable
to build for navigating through the narrow and crooked Grand
Canyon. Except for her uncovered stern-wheel, the B.C. Express
was virtually identical in appearance with the B.X. and, apart
from having two less staterooms, was of the same construction
and finish and had the same furnishings. Captain Bucey had
Watson install on her fantail, aft of her stern-wheel, a special
rudder known as a " monkey rudder." This extra rudder added
considerably to the power of the three large rudders on the
transom or stern of the hull and would be particularly effective
and helpful in manoeuvring his ship when passing through the
canyon. The hulls of the two ships were different in design, the
B.X. having been designed to carry loads up-stream from Soda
Creek, whereas the B.C. Express was modelled to carry loads
down-stream from Tete Jaune Cache to Fort George.
Watson arrived at Soda Creek early in March, 1912,76 with
a large crew of ship-builders, and a new shipyard was soon
(75) For a description of the B.C. Express, see ibid., March 9, 1912, and
also South Fort George Fort George Herald, March 16, 1912.
(76) Quesnel Cariboo Observer, March 9, 1912. 190 Willis J. West. July-October
organized on the site where the B.X. had been built. This shipyard was equipped with a steam plant to supply power for the
operation of planers, a band-saw, and other machinery necessary
in the rapid and economical building of the new stern-wheeler.
Swift progress was made in construction, and she was launched
in June, 1912.77 She proved to be highly satisfactory, especially
in respect to her draught, which was somewhat less than that of
the B.X., as a result of the lesser weight of her high-pressure
engines compared with that of the compound-condensing engines
and surface condenser installed in her sister ship. Owing to the
increase in wages and in the prices of construction materials in
the two years since the B.X. had been built, the new ship cost
$65,025.66, an advance of approximately 20 per cent, over the
cost of the earlier vessel.
When the B.C. Express was completed and had been given
a licence to operate by the steamboat inspectors, Captain Bucey
took her to Fort George.78 He was delighted with the manner
in which she steamed the canyons and stated that his new ship
performed better than any stern-wheeler he had ever handled
and that he felt confident she would be a success in navigating
the Grand Canyon. Within a week of her arrival at Fort George
the B.C. Express made her first voyage up the river to the Grand
Canyon, where she experienced no difficulty in steaming through
the whirlpool and lower canyon to pick up a load of contractor's
steel rails for delivery up the Nechako to the White rapids. She
continued to make trips above Fort George as far as the Grand
Canyon until early September, when the stage of the water in
the river suddenly fell so low that Captain Bucey, on a voyage
down from the canyon, considered it unsafe to navigate down
(77) Ibid., June 29, 1912. Evidently the trial run was made on June 24.
It is of passing interest to note that the pioneer boat-builder, Alexander
Watson, Sr., died while his son was building the B.C. Express, but even this
personal tragedy did not delay the ship's construction. Ibid., March 30,
1912. In addition to Captain Bucey, the following served on her: F. A.
Waller, first mate; R. Denniston, chief engineer; and S. Murett, purser.
Ibid., June 15, 1912.
(78) The B.C. Express first arrived at Quesnel on July 1; a few days
later she took on board Charles Millar, then visiting the area, for her first
run to Fort George. Ibid., July 6, 1912. She arrived at Fort George on
July 4.   South Fort George Fort George Herald, July 6,1912. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        191
over the Giscome rapids.79 The water in the Fraser kept falling,
and it seemed as though the steamer would have to be hauled out
of the river above the rapids and laid up for the winter. The
idle crew was given the task of clearing and grading a suitable
site, when suddenly, in the first week of October, the weather
changed and a heavy warm rain started to fall at the headwaters
of the Fraser. The river rose 2V2 feet overnight, and the B.C.
Express was brought safely through the rapids.80 She made
several trips between Soda Creek and Fort George before low
water compelled all of the stern-wheelers to discontinue their
operations for the 1912 season.81
The ninth and last stern-wheeler to be built on the Upper
Fraser after the projection of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway
in 1903 was launched on May 22, 1913, at Fort George, the
Nechako townsite, and was named the Robert C. Hammond.82
She was 101 feet long by 21.5 feet beam. Her cylinders were
10 by 48 inches, and the working-pressure of her boiler was
185 pounds. She had a gross tonnage of 250 tons. The Fort
George Lake and River Transportation Company were her
registered owners. The Hammonds had been willing to invest
in this small steamer at a considerable cost in an attempt to
justify the claims made in their sensational publicity maintaining that their townsite, located though it was on the Nechako
River, was the headquarters of the Upper Fraser fleet. Actually
very few of the boats ever called there. As an inducement to the
steamer B.X. to continue on to Fort George from South Fort
George, the Hammonds had for several years offered to pay the
steamer $50 a trip for steaming the three extra miles to their
town. This bonus was very seldom collected, for sand-bars
would form where the two rivers joined, making navigation up
(79) Ibid., September 7, 1912.
(80) Ibid., October 5, 1912.
(81) The steamer Quesnel made the last run of the season 1912 in to
Fort George, arriving there November 7.   Ibid., November 9, 1912.
(82) Ibid., May 24, 1913. She was named after the son and heir of
George John Hammond. Her machinery was brought up on the first trip
made to Fort George by the B.C. Express in the 1913 season. Ibid., May
3,1913. 192 Willis J. West. July-October
the Nechako impractical, except after a period of heavy rain.
During 1913 the Robert C. Hammond made trips down the
Fraser to Soda Creek and also up the Nechako River. In 1914
she was chartered by Foley, Welch & Stewart to carry construction-supplies down the river during the building of the Pacific
Great Eastern Railway.
Everyone in the Cariboo country was looking forward to
1913 as a year of intense activity and opportunity, which they
anticipated would be brought about by the arrival of steel at
the head of navigation on the Upper Fraser and the entry into
the country of the thousands of workers needed for extending
railway-construction down the river to Fort George. Many
hundreds of men and women were converging on the Upper
Cariboo, hoping to share in the prosperity attendant upon the
construction of a great public work such as a transcontinental
railway, when millions of dollars were distributed for labour
and other building expenditures. There was a great surge of
traffic over the Cariboo Road, and although the Express Company
had 300 head of stage-horses engaged in hauling mail and
express matter, it had considerable difficulty in coping with its
hugely increased volume of business, especially after the opening
of navigation between Soda Creek and Fort George early in May.
The company's fleet of automobiles was operating day and night,
and the many independent car-owners in Cariboo were also active
in carrying a greatly multiplied number of travellers destined
for Fort George.
In the first week of April, 1913, Captain Bucey journeyed
by the Canadian Pacific Railway to Edmonton and then over the
newly built Grand Trunk Pacific Railway to Tete Jaune Cache.
Then as soon as the Fraser was clear of ice, he canoed with a
companion down-stream to Fort George. His purpose in making
this journey was to learn something about the upper reaches of
the river over which he would pilot the B.C. Express as soon as
navigation opened and a cargo of freight was available. The
Express Company acquired a riverside site with trackage at
Mile 53 B.C., where it built a large temporary warehouse and
provided other facilities needed for the storage of the cargoes
from the railway that were to be transferred to the steamer for
delivery some 315 miles down the river at Fort George. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        193
Late in May Captain Bucey took the B.C. Express on her
first round trip between Fort George and Mile 53 B.C. On the
return part of this trip he carried only about twenty passengers
and a small load of cargo, as he did not think it wise to carry
a full load until after he had run the Grand Canyon and had
ascertained how his ship would behave in this untried and
dangerous part of the river. This was the first voyage ever
made by a loaded stern-wheeler down the Upper Fraser from
the head of navigation through the canyons to Fort George.88
The trip was successful, and a weekly round-trip service was
initiated between the two points. The B.C. Express carried
capacity loads of both cargo and passengers down-stream and
full loads of passengers, though comparatively little freight, upstream. The passenger fare was $35, with meals and berth
extra, and although the fare was, like the freight rate of $80
a ton, considered excessive by some of the steamer's customers,
the charges were altogether fair when the navigating risks and
the brevity of the railway-construction period were taken into
consideration. The B.C. Express was the only stern-wheeler
that provided a freight and passenger service for the public
between Mile 53 B.C. and Fort George during the hectic navigating season of 1913.84
In the middle of June of that year the writer of this article
was on one of the round trips made by the B.C. Express between
South Fort George and the head of navigation. Some details
of this journey are descriptive of conditions on the Upper Fraser
at that time. The steamer left her landing at South Fort George
early in the morning and dropped down-stream some 2 or 3 miles
to the P. Burns & Co., Ltd., abattoir to load many tons of dressed
beef. This company had a contract with Foley, Welch & Stewart
to supply meat and other foods to the railway-construction camps.
Cattle were driven north from the ranches in the Chilcotin
country along the trail to Fort George, where they were slaugh-
(83) Ibid., May 31, 1913. The B.C. Express reached Fort George on her
first return journey on May 30, and the next day both the Operator and the
Conveyor came down to Fort George for the first time.   Ibid., June 7, 1913.
(84) In so far as Fort George was concerned, the 1913 season opened
with the arrival of the Chilcotin on the morning of May 2, followed that
same evening by the B.C. Express. Ibid., May 3, 1913. The Quesnel was
the first ship to go on to the Grand Canyon.   Ibid., May 10, 1913. 194 Willis J. West. July-October
tered as needed. The B.C. Express would deliver these supplies
to camps as far up-stream as the Grand Canyon. The quarters
of beef were carefully wrapped in cheesecloth to protect them
against flies and other contaminating influences, and they were
usually stowed out on the bow of the ship—the coolest place on
the steamer. After taking aboard the beef, the vessel returned
to South Fort George to finish loading and to take aboard a
capacity number of passengers, nearly all of whom were billed
through to the head of navigation at Mile 53 B.C.
It was interesting to watch the passengers coming up the
gang-plank, particularly the fifty or sixty scowmen who, after
piloting their scows down the river, were returning up-stream
for additional scow-loads of supplies. These men lived perilously
and recklessly, and it was apparent that they had been celebrating their safe arrival by taking advantage of the opportunities at South Fort George and also at Fort George to buy
whisky in the only two licensed premises in the vast territory
extending from the Skeena River to the Alberta boundary. Not
only had they been drinking freely, but each man had two or
three bottles of liquor in his pockets for consumption on the
journey up-stream. These scowmen were a fine looking lot, with
some magnificent specimens of manhood among them. Quite
a number of them had come from as far away as Texas and other
southern States. They seemed happy and good natured, but it
would not have taken much to start a fight as they moved
restlessly around the lower deck of the crowded stern-wheeler.
There was a well-known professional gambler from the
Skeena aboard the steamer. As soon as breakfast was finished,
he visited Captain Bucey in the pilot-house and asked permission
to organize a poker game on the lower or freight deck. He
claimed that some poker would occupy not only the players, but
many spectators, and would therefore be helpful in keeping the
restless lower-deck passengers engaged and less likely to make
trouble. The gambler, who would get a " rake-off " from the
game, was well known to Captain Bucey and had a reputation
of being fair and honest. The captain gave his consent and soon
a game of draw poker was under way. At the beginning the
sums wagered were quite modest, although the scowmen participating appeared to have their pockets crammed full of money 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        195
which they passed out recklessly. However, as the game progressed, the size of the stakes increased and some large jackpots
were won by lucky players. There was a special Provincial
Police man aboard who was a stranger and newcomer to the
north country. He was travelling up the Fraser to a post
assigned to him by the chief constable at Fort George. From
the beginning of the poker game he had been a very interested
spectator. Suddenly he astounded the players and other passengers by seizing the money in a large jackpot as it lay on the
deck of the ship. He announced his identity in a loud voice and
declared he was confiscating the stakes since gambling was
illegal on shipboard. The relaxed and preoccupied poker players
and spectators were instantly transformed into an indignant
and threatening mob, and it seemed for a moment as if the
policeman would be attacked and roughly handled. However,
the gambler sprang to protect him and announced that he would
guarantee the players against any loss and asked for time to
obtain the advice and assistance of Captain Bucey. The captain,
after hearing of the policeman's action, advised the gambler to
speak to the policeman and to suggest to him that he could keep
one half of the money in the jackpot if he would return the other
half and permit the game to be resumed. He also asked that the
policeman's answer to this proposal should be reported to him
immediately. Meanwhile, the policeman had fled to the upper
deck with the money in his pocket. There the gambler contacted
him and was soon back to Captain Bucey with the word that the
offer had been accepted and that the money, amounting to a little
over $200, had been divided and that no further interference
with the game had been promised.
When Captain Bucey heard that the policeman had accepted
the bribe, he instructed the gambler to start up the game again,
then by means of a blast on the steamer's whistle he signalled
to his mate to come to the pilot-house. When the mate appeared,
the captain turned over the navigation of the ship to him and
proceeded to the lower deck, where he ordered two husky deckhands to accompany him in search of the policeman. When he
was located, Captain Bucey required him to go with him to the
lower deck where the poker game was in progress. There the
captain apologized to his passengers for the policeman's attempt 196 Willis J. West. July-October
to break up the game and to steal their money. He wished them
to know that he was in absolute command of his ship and that
no dishonest law-enforcement officer or anyone could come aboard
and assume any of his authority. He then compelled the policeman to surrender the bribe and proceeded to tell the poker
players and the assembled crowd of passengers what he thought
of the culprit. As Captain Bucey had been acquiring a vocabulary of picturesque profanity ever since his early days as a
deck-hand on the Mississippi, his language on this occasion was
truly an amazing demonstration of what could be accomplished
by a lifetime of effort and application. The captain ended his
speech by stating that he proposed to report the incident to the
Magistrate and to the chief constable at Fort George, and in the
interval he intended to put the policeman in irons. The erring
constable was a very distressed and chagrined specimen of
humanity as he was led from the scene by two deck-hands.
Actually the captain did not have him put in irons, for the
reason that no irons were available, but he did report the incident
at Fort George, where his conduct was given official approval.
The special officer was recalled from his post and sent south out
of the district on the first available vessel.
The B.C. Express, having left her landing at South Fort
George at 7 a.m., was making excellent time up the river. She
safely navigated the 7 miles of boulder-strewn Giscome rapids.
It was a most delightful experience to sit out on her forward
decks and enjoy the cool breezes and watch the many interesting
sights as she made her way along the many bends of the Upper
Fraser. Many loaded scows were met, and when the scowmen
sighted the steamer, they would start swinging their long sweeps
energetically in order to pass safely in the narrow, swiftly
flowing river. The extent and size of the spruce timber was a
surprising sight. At places where the railway grade passed
along the river, men could be seen working feverishly. Word had
come that the railway had to be finished by the end of the year,
and the harder the station men and the sub-contractors worked,
the more more money they would earn. Collingwood Schreiber,
the Government engineer, made an inspection tour through the
country in August, 1913, and stated that there were 3,500 men
at work in constructing the grade between Mile 53 B.C. and Fort 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        197
George and that the contractors had thirty-two construction
locomotives, many dump-cars, and twenty-three large shovels
building the grade along this portion of the right-of-way.
Late in the afternoon the B.C. Express arrived at the Grand
Canyon and steamed up the lower canyon to a point not far
below the whirlpool. Captain Bucey thought it a wise precaution, before attempting to navigate farther up the canyon, to go
on foot to the whirlpool in order to ascertain the amount of
driftwood that was coming downstream with the current. What
is generally called the Grand Canyon is in reality two canyons
with a basin or lake between them. This basin is a placid body
of water about one-quarter of a mile long and 300 or 400 yards
wide. The upper canyon, for about a distance of a quarter of
a mile, has the strongest current of any part of the Upper Fraser,
and no stern-wheeler ever built could have steamed up through it
without lining when the river was at a high stage of water. This
upper canyon is narrow and has some very sharp turns that make
navigating it extremely hazardous. Only a stern-wheeler of good
design and great power, in charge of an expert pilot, could hope
to travel safely either downstream or up at any stage of water.
The most dangerous part of the lower canyon was the infamous
whirlpool, where so many scowmen and strangers to the country
had lost their lives in attempting to run loaded scows, small craft,
or rafts down-stream to Fort George during the two seasons the
railway was building. The writer accompanied Captain Bucey
on his hike to inspect the whirlpool. The trail along the high
rock wall of the canyon was rough, and in places it was necessary
to climb ladders made of poles to get to the higher levels of the
trail. A point on the high ramparts of rock was soon reached
from which the whirlpool could be viewed directly below, and it
was an awesome sight to watch the full volume of water in the
Fraser pour through a narrow gap from the basin into the raging
maelstrom which seemed to be created by the peculiar rock formation of the river-bed. The whirlpool extended about 200 feet
from shore to shore and was continually emptying and filling.
There did not seem to be a great deal of driftwood coming down
from the basin, and Captain Bucey, after studying the scene for
a while, decided it would be safe to proceed. 198 Willis J. West. July-October
After making sure that the passengers were all aboard, the
captain turned his ship into the stream. Soon the whirlpool was
reached, and with a full head of steam the B.C. Express was
steered into it. When the steamer had reached the strong current running into the narrow channel leading up into the basin,
she appeared to hesitate and then started to drift back into the
whirlpool. Although Captain Bucey tried several times to steam
up through the gap, the ship was unable to make progress against
the strong current. The captain then decided it would be necessary to line her through, and he started, therefore, to manoeuvre
his ship over to the left side of the canyon. Suddenly a spruce-
tree about 70 feet in length with a large root appeared on the
surface of the whirlpool, and before the steamer could avoid it,
it had swept underneath her and lodged against her three main
rudders. Held there by the strong current, the spruce-tree put
the steering-gear out of commission and the captain lost control
of his ship. The tree was so lodged against the ship's rudders
that when she went ahead she turned sharply towards the left
of the canyon and when she steamed astern her stern would likewise swing to the left. Fortunately, the stern-wheel was not
obstructed nor damaged in any way, so the captain began to
manoeuvre the ship by means of the wheel. His plan in these
manoeuvres was to drop the ship down-stream to a point where
the canyon-wall was low enough for him to put a deck-hand
ashore with a line so that the boat could be tied up and the ship's
carpenter and deck crew put to work detaching the rudders in
order to dislodge the spruce from under the ship.
Most of the passengers did not appear to be excited or worried by the plight of the stern-wheeler. They were confident
that Captain Bucey was capable of meeting the emergency and
were curious spectators of his efforts to reach a suitable landing-
place down the river where the rudders could be freed. The
captain would signal to the engine-room for slow speed ahead,
then, when the nose of the ship would reach the wall of the
canyon, he would signal for the engines to be stopped so that the
ship could drift down-stream with the current. She was still
in the whirlpool and had just touched the canyon-wall with her
bow when suddenly a heavy-set male passenger less nonchalant
than his travelling companions raced across the forward deck 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        199
and leaped on to a narrow ledge of rock. He had barely landed
on the ledge when the steamer drifted away and he was left
clinging to the rock barely 6 feet above the surface of the turbulent whirlpool. There was nothing the captain could do to rescue
this frightened passenger at the time, for with the rudders out
of order it was impossible to return up-stream. As the steamer
drifted down the river and round a turn out of sight of the self-
marooned man on the ledge, there were few on board that ever
expected to see him again. In about half an hour the captain
had succeeded in working the B.C. Express down-stream to a
position where he was able to land a deck-hand with a line, as
planned, and eventually the steamer was safely tied up and the
crew busied themselves with freeing the rudders.
Meanwhile Captain Bucey turned his thoughts to the rescue
of the passenger who had leaped in panic from the ship. He
consulted with A. K. Bouchier, the agent of the Express Company at Mile 53 B.C., and asked him to see whether he could
locate and possibly rescue the frightened castaway. Bouchier
was a tall, powerfully built young man, and as soon as he and the
three companions he had selected to assist him could get ashore,
they started to work their way up along the side of the canyon
to a point overlooking the whirlpool. When they reached the
edge of the cliff, to their surprise and delight they saw the passenger still on the rock ledge about 70 feet below. They had
taken with them about 200 feet of line from the steamer, and
with some of this they lowered the lightest member of their
rescue party down the face of the cliff to the ledge, where he
secured the rope around the passenger, who was then hauled up
to the top of the canyon-wall to safety. The occupation of this
passenger was peddling diamond rings to the prostitutes and
others in the towns and camps along the line of railway-construction. For carrying the rings he had two leather jeweller's cases
fitted into two large pockets inside his coat. When he reached
the top of the cliff, his first move was to clutch at his pockets to
assure himself that his rings were safe, then he collapsed on the
rocks, and it was some little time before he had recovered sufficiently to be assisted down to the ship, where he was put in his
berth and given a stiff drink of Scotch. 200 Willis J. West. July-October
Captain Bucey announced that, as it would take some hours
to free the steering-gear, the ship would be tied up for the night,
but that he planned to resume the voyage at daylight the next
morning. Some of the passengers then took the opportunity of
going along the trail up-stream to where the upper canyon
emptied into the basin. Here the railway contractors maintained a large boat manned by four men. This boat served as
a ferry for crossing the river, but was also used as a life-boat for
rescuing, when possible, any scowmen who had the misfortune
to be wrecked in their attempt to run the upper canyon. Before
each scow would start down the canyon, the head pilot would
signal to the life-boat and it would move at once out into the
stream, prepared, if necessary, for emergency action. Just the
previous week five men had been thrown into the rushing current when their scow had struck a rock, and only the leader of
the crew had been rescued by the life-boat. The other four men
were never seen again, but the rescued leader had immediately
walked to the upper end of the canyon and without a trace of
reluctance had brought another scow down-stream and was still
imperturbably working as a pilot. Many lives were lost in bringing down the scows. Early in June, 1913, it was reported that
twenty men had already lost their lives in the upper canyon since
the river had opened in the spring. The Fort George newspapers called on the police to take action to prevent this reckless
slaughter, and, in consequence, a large number of warning-signs
were erected at the approaches to dangerous places and a constable stationed at the canyon to enforce safety measures and to
interview newcomers among those scowing down the river.86 No
definite record of the number killed on the Upper Fraser during
railway-construction is available. The B.X. would occasionally
discover a body in the river on her route between South Fort
George and Soda Creek, but most of the drowned were buried in
the log-jams and sand-bars of the upper river.
The crew of the B.C. Express did not finish their difficult task
of disengaging the ship's rudders until well after midnight. As
announced, Captain Bucey got under way shortly after daybreak
and again steamed up into the whirlpool, where he picked up the
cable the railway contractors had provided for the use of all
(85) Ibid., June 7 and 21, 1913. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        201
steamers lining up the lower canyon. To the surprise of the
passengers who had risen early to watch the second contest with
the whirlpool, the ship had no difficulty in steaming up the narrow gap into the basin without making use of the cable. The
explanation was that now the whirlpool happened to be full and
overflowing, whereas on the previous afternoon it had been
emptying when the steamer had made her unsuccessful effort
to steam up the gap.
At the upper end of the basin the passengers were put ashore
to walk along the trail to the head of the canyon, and the steamer
started up through the turbulent current of the narrow and
crooked upper canyon. It was necessary to put out a line three
times in succession before arriving at a point where the force of
the current had moderated sufficiently for the steamer to proceed
for the remainder of the distance to the head of the canyon under
her own power. Upon arriving at the landing above the canyon,
beef was unloaded for the construction camp and the passengers
quickly taken on board, for Captain Bucey was anxious to make
up some of the time lost by the fouling of the ship's rudders. As
the crowded stern-wheeler steamed up beyond the canyon, it was
noticeable that the current was quite slack as compared with
that below the canyon and that it was possible to make excellent
time. At 10.30 p.m. the stern-wheeler arrived at Mile 121 B.C.
and the captain announced that the ship would tie up for the
night. Most of the passengers, after being warned that the ship
would sail at dawn, went ashore to see the sights of this lively
end-of-steel town which appeared to be well prepared to serve
the construction worker no matter what form of excitement or
entertainment he might seek. There were restaurants, poolrooms, barber-shops, a shooting gallery, and other establishments
catering to the workers. Everything seemed orderly and under
control in this amazing movable town that kept shifting down
the river as the end of steel progressed westward.
At 9 o'clock the next morning the B.C. Express arrived at her
landing at Mile 53 B.C. and unloaded her passengers. They
were, with the exception of the scowmen, connecting with the
train for Edmonton. Captain Bucey announced that his ship
would return down-stream at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. The
ship's steward began swiftly cleaning the ship in preparation for 202 Willis J. West. July-October
the capacity load of passengers that were booked for the return
voyage to Fort George. Simultaneously, the deck crew started
to take aboard a full load of freight. Even although the B.C.
Express charged a freight rate of $80 a ton for the 315-mile
haul to Fort George as compared with the scow rate of $70 a ton,
she was offered many times her cargo capacity during the short
season of navigation. When a merchant shipped supplies by the
Express Company's boat, he was assured of their safe delivery
in good condition, whereas cargo forwarded by scow was at the
shipper's risk and there were not many scow-loads that did not
suffer some damage from weather, leaky scows, pilfering, or
other hazards on their down-stream journey. The Express
Company's large warehouse was always filled with down-river
freight of all kinds and was guarded day and night by armed
watchmen. Virtually the whole cargo being loaded on board the
steamer for this trip consisted of liquor consigned to the two
licensed hotels in the Fort George area. There were several
hundred barrels of bottled beer as well as many cases of fine
whiskys and wines. A goodly number of cases of Mumm's champagne were also observed being trucked on board. Liquor was
a class of cargo that the owners dared not risk sending down the
river by scow; if they had done so, it would most surely have
disappeared somewhere along the route.
About a mile up-stream from Foley's headquarters and the
Express Company's landing at Mile 53 B.C. there was a settlement that was generally known in that summer of 1913 as Tete
Jaune Cache. This was the point where the railway delivered
its passengers and commercial freight from the east. The Fort
George merchants and others had their river warehouses there,
from which they forwarded their scow-loads of merchandise.
The temporary town itself was composed of a jumble of crudely
constructed shacks, and it was the filthiest looking place imaginable. Most of the town had been flooded by the river at high
water. The water had now receded, leaving driftwood and other
litter throughout the town. There was little justification, however, for the lurid crime conditions depicted by visiting journalists who made hasty journeys along the line of construction.
These journalists had by implication accused the police of failing
to enforce any law and order worth speaking of in the construe- 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        203
tion area between the Alberta border and Fort George. Although
bootlegging and prostitution were rampant, there were remarkably few serious crimes committed by the five or six thousand
men of all nationalities engaged in scowing supplies and building
the grade. Less than a dozen British Columbia police were present to maintain order in all of this large territory, including the
Fort George area, and these officers did everything possible to
prevent crime. Whisky could be bought for $1 a quart in
Edmonton or Quesnel and could easily be sold at Tete Jaune
Cache and along the line of construction westward for at least
$5 a quart or more to the hard-working men who were building
the grade or engaged in some other form of strenuous manual
labour. Bootlegging was a great temptation to hundreds of men
who did not scruple to acquire easy money by the extortionate
charges they demanded to slake the thirst of the construction
workers. Although the Magistrate stationed at Tete Jaune
Cache convicted and sent a steady stream of bootleggers to jail
at Kamloops, his efforts had little effect upon the illegal traffic.
The police also vigorously prosecuted a class of criminal
whom they called " cheque scalpers." The railway contractors
paid their workers by cheque, and as there were hardly any
banks in the entire area, these scalpers were able to take advantage of the workers by charging usurious rates in paying them
for their cheques. A rate of as high as 25 per cent, was sometimes obtained from foreign-born workers not acquainted with
Canadian banking methods and anxious to convert as quickly as
possible their cheques into cash. The experience of a member
of the legal profession on a visit to Tete Jaune Cache late in 1912
is illustrative of conditions at the time. This gentleman lived
in a city in the Interior of the Province and had an excellent
reputation as a criminal lawyer. He had received a telegram
asking him to go immediately to Tete Jaune Cache to defend a
man that had been arrested and charged with murder. The
lawyer arrived at his destination early in the morning after an
extremely uncomfortable journey on the crowded construction
train and, hungry and unwashed, was walking around the sleeping settlement waiting for it to waken for the day when he came
upon a shop with its door open and with a sign across its front
reading " Lady Barbers."    As he had not shaved that morning, 204 Willis J. West. July-October
he decided to take a chance and to give the lady barber a trial.
When he entered the shop, he was surprised to note its well
scrubbed appearance. He was greeted by a bosomy auburn-
haired young woman endowed with a beautiful complexion and
looking so clean and attractive in her white uniform that he had
no further qualms regarding the sanitary condition of the establishment. In answer to his inquiries, he was told that the shop
was open for business and was invited to be seated in the barber's
chair, where he would be attended to immediately. However,
the young lady who had been so favoured in her appearance by
nature did not seem to be happy. Her eyes were red and swollen
from weeping, and as she proceeded to shave him, it appeared to
the lawyer that she must be suffering from some great sorrow.
She had finished one side of his face when he solicitously
remarked that she seemed to be disturbed and under some mental
strain. He said that, as a lawyer, he was accustomed to giving
advice and would be glad to be of help to her. This expression
of sympathy produced a flood of tears from the young woman.
Between spasms of weeping she explained that she had been most
unhappy and lonely since the evening before, when the medical
health officer and police had called and arrested her sick partner.
When asked why her partner had been taken into custody, the
unhappy young woman explained that, although she could not
believe it was true, the police said that her partner had contracted smallpox. The lawyer, upon hearing this explanation of
the young lady's grief, did not hesitate; he hurled himself out
of the barber's chair, seized a towel and wiped the lather off his
face, flung a dollar bill on the table, and rushed out of the shop
as fast as his legs would carry him. Nor did he stop in his flight
until he had reached the other end of the settlement.
When the B.C. Express left on her return voyage to Fort
George, every stateroom was occupied. Women were given the
preference, and thus numbers of husbands were separated from
their wives and obliged to improvise beds wherever they could—
on the tables in the dining saloon, under the tables, on the decks,
and amidst the cargo—while some passengers even had to take
their blankets and sleep on the river-bank while the ship tied up
for the night. It was the biggest load of freight and passengers
the ship had carried.    Her gross earnings on this day and a half 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        205
trip to Fort George exceeded $12,000. At Mile 53 B.C. the
Fraser was so narrow that Captain Bucey found it necessary to
take his ship down-stream stern first for 2 or 3 miles before he
could find a place wide enough to turn around and head downstream. When he did turn, the ship's monkey rudder seemed to
be up in the bush on the one bank of the river while her stem-
band barely cleared the opposite shore. There was a good stage
of water for safe navigation, and the ship made excellent time,
passing safely through the Goat River rapids while it was still
daylight. When the approaching darkness made it dangerous to
continue, she tied up at a wood-pile to refuel and to be ready to
start again at daylight.
The ship arrived at the Grand Canyon the next forenoon, and
the passengers, as usual, were disembarked while she ran the
upper canyon. This was a necessary precaution, dictated by the
danger that the passengers, if left aboard, might become excited
and start rushing irresponsibly from side to side, thereby making
the ship more difficult to handle. Navigating through the canyon
with a capacity load of cargo was a sufficient responsibility for
the captain; it would have been pointless to burden him with the
additional hazard of a full load of passengers, who, in any case,
undoubtedly enjoyed their half-mile walk around the upper
canyon after the confinement of the crowded steamer. From the
moment the steamer left the landing to head down the canyon,
there was a continuous ringing of bells as the captain sent the
engine-room the necessary signals for his intricate manoeuvring.
The current at times was so strong that although the big sternwheel was reversing at full speed, the ship was driven downstream at a speed of 10 or 15 miles an hour. The most dangerous point of all was a sharp left turn in the canyon, where the
full volume of water in the Upper Fraser was hurled against
the perpendicular wall of the abyss. It was here that many of
the railway scows were smashed in attempts to run the canyon.
To an inexperienced observer watching as the tumultuous
waters carried the ship towards this dangerous turn, it would
have seemed hardly possible that Captain Bucey would be able to
pilot his heavily laden steamer safely past this terrifying spot.
When the ship reached the abrupt turn, the captain suddenly
spun his steering-wheel as though he were going to fling the side 206 Willis J. West. July-October
of his ship against the canyon-wall. He knew, however, that
when the current carried the ship to within 6 or 8 feet of the
canyon-side, the cushion of water would prevent her from crashing into the wall and she would be headed around the sharp
curve. He swiftly signalled for full speed ahead at the turn and
shortly afterwards brought the ship out into the calm waters of
the basin, to the immense relief of the few observers who, with
his permission, had stayed on board with him and his crew.
Later, he pointed out that he could not possibly have swung the
side of the ship into the wall of the canyon even had he been bent
on such a suicidal endeavour, for so great was the cushion of
water created by the current pouring against the side of the
chasm that it held the ship away from the wall enabling her to
make the turn safely.
The passengers were taken on board at the basin, and the
ship was then safely navigated through the whirlpool and the
lower canyon and proceeded briskly down the river in order to
reach South Fort George while it was still daylight. Before she
arrived there, an incident occurred that might have had very
serious consequences for Captain Bucey. A few miles below the
Grand Canyon he noticed a white flag on the bank, and consequently he turned his ship in and made a landing. Twenty men
were waiting to be picked up; they were quickly taken on board
and the ship backed out into the river and again headed downstream. The men were railway workers, who, with their pay-
cheques in their pockets, were on their way to Fort George for
whisky and other ways of parting themselves from their money.
As soon as they came aboard, the purser proceeded to solicit
their fares, and the first man to whom he spoke refused to pay,
even although the purser offered to cash his cheque. The purser
realized that if this man succeeded in evading payment, there
would be no hope of collecting fares from the other men who
had been picked up at the same landing for the 90-mile journey
down the river. From the forward deck he called up to Captain
Bucey in his pilot-house and explained the situation. Without
hesitation the captain turned his ship about and made an upstream landing. As soon as the ship was moored, he descended
to the forward deck where the purser indicated to him the man
who had obstinately refused to pay his fare.     The captain 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        207
repeated the purser's request, and when the man answered
emphatically that he had no intention of tendering his fare,
Bucey stated that he would permit no one to travel on his ship
without paying his way. Summoning two deck-hands, he
pointed to the man and ordered them to throw him in the river.
The deck-hands seized the stubborn passenger, rushed him to the
edge of the forward deck, and tossed him overboard. It all
happened so quickly that the onlookers were astounded, and they
rushed to the railside to see what had become of the man who
had insisted on a free trip. Meanwhile Captain Bucey returned
to the pilot-house, called to the crew to let go the line, signalled
to the engine-room, and backed his ship into the stream and
headed down river. He appeared to be completely uninterested
in the fate of the man whom he had ordered to be thrown off the
ship into the swift and treacherous water. This act had been a
very dangerous proceeding, even although the man saved his life
by turning out to be a powerful swimmer, for, favoured by a
strong current setting towards the shore at that particular point
along the river, he had floated down with the current past the
ship and was able to grasp some bushes growing along the bank
and pull himself ashore. The purser had no further trouble
collecting the fares from the other railway employees, who were
quite subdued by the treatment meted out to their companion.
Later in the day the B.C. Express passed without mishap
through the Giscome rapids and steamed, as planned, into
South Fort George before dark.86 There she tied up beside the
steamer B.X., which had arrived up-stream from Soda Creek a
few hours earlier. The B.X. was also carrying a full cargo of
barrelled beer, wines in great variety, and whisky and other
liquors. Obviously, the owners of the only two licensed premises
in the Fort George area were stocking up early while cargo space
was still available and the height of water in the river favourable for safe navigation. The steamer B.C. Express continued
to provide a weekly service between South Fort George and Mile
53 B.C. until the end of August, 1913, earning in excess of $5,000
a week net profit, or a total of more than her entire cost of con-
(86) " The steamer B.C. Express completed a record trip from Tete
Jaune this week, making the 315 mile run from the Cache to this point in
an elapsed time of forty-two hours, bringing down a full load of freight and
eighty passengers."   Ibid., June 28, 1913. 208 Willis J. West. July-October
struction in the twelve weeks she was engaged in this upper-
river service.
The B.C. Express had been especially built to navigate the
Upper Fraser, and it came as a great surprise and shock to the
Express Company when the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company, without giving any notice whatever of their intentions,
suddenly blocked the Fraser at the site of their proposed bridge
at Mile 141 B.C., thus preventing the stern-wheeler from proceeding up-stream to the terminus of her run at Mile 53 B.C.
The bridge contractors strung a cable across the river and
threatened to use force to prevent its removal. Captain Bucey,
on encountering the cable, wanted to use a shotgun on the men
guarding it, but wiser counsel prevailed and he was dissuaded
from blasting his way through to the head of navigation and
reluctantly returned down-stream with his ship, wiring from
South Fort George to the head office at Ashcroft to inform them
of the obstruction.
The plans which the Grand Trunk had submitted to the Board
of Railway Commissioners for the construction of its railway
down the Fraser had provided for a low-level bridge across the
Fraser at Mile 141 B.C., as well as a second low-level bridge
near Bear River, about 90 miles up-stream from Fort George.
Though provision had been made for a lift-span in its bridge to
be built at the third crossing of the river at Fort George, the
construction of low-level bridges without lift-spans at the first
two crossings of the Fraser would definitely block steamer navigation above Bear River. When the Grand Trunk's plans were
published and the navigation companies and other local interests
learned what was proposed, they sent a strong protest to Ottawa.
The Board of Railway Commissioners immediately made an
investigation and, upon ascertaining the facts, ordered the railway company to alter their plans in order to provide navigable
bridges. But the railway company was anxious to hasten the
completion of its line, and as any change in its bridge plans
would also involve changing the railway grade and thus mean
considerable delay, the company decided to defy the Railway
Commissioners and override the navigation rights of the steamboat companies and to proceed with its original plan for the two
low-level bridges. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        209
On learning of this decision, the British Columbia Express
Company caused a writ to be issued against the railway for large
damages for loss of revenue and also applied to the Courts for
an injunction to restrain the railway from blocking the Fraser.
The suit came up for trial in Vancouver before Mr. Justice W.
H. P. Clement, but ill luck seemed to follow the plaintiff all
through its litigation. On the morning of the trial the eminent counsel who had been engaged to take the plaintiff's case
announced that he would be unable to appear and handed the
brief and the conduct of the case over to a junior partner who
had had very little experience before the Bench. The result was
that the plaintiff's evidence was neither properly nor fully presented, the whole trial was bungled, and the action dismissed
with costs against the plaintiff. The Express Company immediately changed solicitors and counsel and lodged an appeal with
the British Columbia Court of Appeal, and after hearing arguments this Court gave an unanimous judgment in favour of the
plaintiff. The railway company then appealed to the Supreme
Court of Canada. When this Court handed down its judgment,
it was found that three Judges supported the railway's defence,
with two dissenting in favour of the plaintiff. The Express
Company decided to apply to the Judicial Committee of the Privy
Council in London for leave to appeal. When the case was
finally argued, the plaintiff's ill luck was still in evidence. The
railway company sent the eminent Canadian counsel and diplomat, Leighton McCarthy, K.C, to London to plead its case. Sir
John Simon, the distinguished British counsel, had been acting
for the Express Company. The hearing came on during the
First World War and just while Sir John was engaged in vital
war work, with the result that he was unable to appear, and the
brief was given to a junior counsel who was no match for the
brilliant McCarthy. Once more the plaintiff's claim was dismissed with costs. One of the Grand Trunk's solicitors stated,
after the trial, that when this case first appeared in his office in
Winnipeg, he and his associates had wondered what possible
defence they could offer on behalf of the railway. As it is, the
two low-level bridges are still in place on the Upper Fraser
River, effectively preventing it from being navigated. 210 Willis J. West. July-October
During the 1912 Session of the Legislature of British Columbia, Foley, Welch & Stewart obtained a charter for the construction of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway.87 This railway was
to run from Vancouver to Fort George and serve as a short and
direct connection between the Grand Trunk and the Vancouver
area. It was planned eventually to extend the Pacific Great
Eastern into the Peace River country. In the summer of 1913
the contracting company moved their headquarters from Mile 53
B.C. to a site on the Nechako at Fort George, about half a mile
up-stream from the Fraser. There they built large warehouses
along the river-front, with a wharf and trackage so that steamers could be readily loaded from the warehouses or from railway-
cars. They had accumulated large quantities of supplies and
equipment left over from the construction of the Grand Trunk
Pacific and planned to use this material in building the Pacific
Great Eastern southward from Fort George. Surveys had been
completed, and the grade would follow as closely as possible the
navigable Fraser as far as Soda Creek.
Foley, Welch & Stewart were determined to build the railway
between Fort George and Vancouver as quickly as could be
arranged, and at the opening of navigation early in May, 1914,
a start was made to rush the distribution of supplies and
sub-contractors' equipment down the river. The large sternwheelers Conveyor and Operator had been brought through the
Grand Canyon the previous summer and laid up for the winter
at the Foley headquarters on the Nechako River so as to be
available for construction of the new line. These two steamers
and the light-draught stern-wheeler Robert C. Hammond, which
the company chartered, began delivering capacity loads,88 and
active construction of the grade was speedily under way.
(87) "An Act to incorporate the Pacific Great Eastern Railway Company," c. 36, Statutes of the Province of British Columbia . . . 1912.
Leaders in this company were Timothy Foley, St. Paul, Minn.; John W.
Stewart, Vancouver; Patrick Welch, Spokane, Wash.; D'Arcy Tate, Winnipeg, Man.;  Donald McLeod, Vancouver;  and Vernon W. Smith, Hazelton.
(88) South Fort George Fort George Herald, April 4, 1914. It is interesting to note that in order to move their vessels from the Nechako River
winter headquarters to the Fraser, it was necessary to remove a span from
the temporary railroad bridge across the river.   Ibid., April 11, 1914. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        211
Now that a freight and passenger service was in operation
by the Grand Trunk Pacific from the East to Fort George, the
merchants of that community, as well as those down the river as
far south as Soda Creek, found it cheaper to have their supplies
routed via the Grand Trunk Pacific rather than over the earlier
route from the Canadian Pacific at Ashcroft. The steamboat
rate down-stream from Fort George to Quesnel was $30 a ton,
whereas the rate up from Ashcroft to Quesnel by freight teams
and steamer was $70 a ton. All supplies arriving at Fort George
for down-river merchants were hauled by horses from the Fort
George railway sheds to the steamer landing in South Fort
George for delivery to the boats. Supplies for the miners and
merchants of Northern Cariboo had been for over half a century
hauled over the Cariboo Road, first from Lillooet and Yale and
later from Ashcroft. The completion of the railway into Fort
George89 now greatly reduced the cost of mining in Cariboo,
since the necessary supplies could be delivered at a considerably
lower cost.
The Express Company once again launched its two fast sternwheelers, the B.X. and the B.C. Express?* and began delivering
the freight that had accumulated for the down-river merchants,
who were ordering large quantities of supplies in anticipation of
a great surge in their business during the construction of the
Pacific Great Eastern.    Although she had been active during the
1913 season, the steamer Chilcotin was not relaunched for the
1914 season, as her owners, the Fort George Lumber and Navigation Company, felt that her lack of power would prevent her
from safely carrying freight down through the Fort George
Canyon. This same company, on the other hand, went to some
considerable effort to rebuild their other small stern-wheeler,
Fort Fraser, in an effort to make her of some value. A new
shovel-nosed hull was built for her, her machinery transferred
to it, and the new boat named the Doctor.91    Despite efforts she
(89) The first train from the East came in to Fort George over the
temporary bridge on January 27. Ibid., January 28, 1914. The last spike
was driven at a point about 2 miles east of Fort Fraser on April 6. Ibid.,
April 11, 1914.
(90) Ibid., April 11, 1914.
(91) Ibid., September 13, 1913. She was named after Dr. J. K. McLennan, an active partner in the Fort George Lumber and Trading Company. 212 Willis J. West. July-October
was none too successful and was really never a factor in steamboat activities on these northern rivers. The Quesnel had been
acquired in 1912 by the Northern Trading Company92 and was
used by her new owners in delivering their supplies as well as
in trading along the river.
While the movement of freight by land, northward over the
Cariboo Road to Soda Creek, had practically ceased, there was
still a considerable volume of passenger travel along the road,
since it was the shortest and quickest route between the Fort
George area and the Coast cities. The journey first by steamer
and automobile from Fort George to Ashcroft and then by the
Canadian Pacific Railway to Vancouver usually took two days,
but a passenger leaving Fort George at 7 a.m. on Tuesday or
Saturday could be driven by special automobile from Soda Creek
to connect with the train which, passing through Ashcroft at
midnight, would deliver him to Vancouver early the next morning, approximately twenty-four hours after his departure from
the northern town.
In July, 1914, the steamer B.X. was carrying on her usual
semi-weekly service between Soda Creek and South Fort George.
The two big Foley boats were also passing up and down the
river, and the officers and crew of the B.X. were naturally curious about the speed of their ship as compared with that of the
larger and more powerful construction steamers. Captain Jack
Shannon of the Conveyor had already demonstrated that his ship
was speedier than her sister ship the Operator. These two boats
had hulls of the same size, their engines were exactly alike, yet
Captain Shannon's boat had no difficulty in drawing away from
the Operator in the many contests in speed undertaken by the
two ships while they had been operating on the Upper Fraser.
The B.X. had, on several occasions, shown that she was faster
than her sister ship, the B.C. Express, so the big question among
the steamboat crews on the river was what chance the steamer
B.X. had of out-steaming the Conveyor. Amongst the officers of
the B.X. only Captain Browne would express an opinion; he
claimed that if the two boats were engaged in a race, the B.X.
As rebuilt, she was 65 feet in length, 16-foot beam, and designed for very
shallow water.   Ibid., August 9, 1913.
(92) Ibid., August 12, 1913. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        213
would swiftly outdistance her much larger and more powerful
rival. Captain Shannon, on the other hand, had no doubts as to
the outcome of a race between his ship and the B.X. and was
waiting for an opportunity to demonstrate the superior speed of
the Conveyor. He had made several trips to Soda Creek and
had become familiar with the river. High water was over and
the river was now at a very favourable height for safe navigation. One day the Conveyor arrived about noon at Soda Creek
with a large load of construction supplies, and after unloading
them she steamed up in the late afternoon to an Express Company wood-pile located about 4 miles up the river from Soda
Creek. That same day the B.X. arrived from South Fort George
on her regular scheduled service and took on about 40 tons of
freight for delivery to Quesnel and way points. About 9 o'clock
in the evening a messenger arrived from Captain Shannon to
inform Captain Browne that the Conveyor was " wooding up "
and would wait until the B.X. was passing early in the morning.
Captain Shannon proposed that the two ships should race for an
hour and that the one in the lead at the end of that time be
declared the winner and the speed queen of the Upper Fraser.
Captain Browne could hardly reject the proposal, but he certainly would not have emptied the warehouse of freight had the
messenger come to him earlier in the day. The race would be
between a stern-wheeler with a fair load of cargo and a much
larger and more powerful opponent without any cargo at all and
carrying only a supply of fine, dry Express Company cordwood
which the Conveyor had taken aboard in preference to their own
fresh-cut green fuel. Obviously Captain Shannon was seeking
every advantage in the approaching contest. He would be handicapped in the race to some extent in view of Captain Browne's
superior knowledge of the river, gained during his nine years of
experience piloting stern-wheelers on the Soda Creek run, but
Shannon was one of the best river pilots in the profession, and
Browne's greater experience would not be of great importance
under the high-water conditions prevailing on the day of the
The B.X. left her landing at Soda Creek while it was still
dark, an hour before her usual time of departure. Captain
Browne had thought that by starting early he might surprise the 214 Willis J. West. July-October
crew of the Conveyor and thereby possibly gain some advantage.
In about half an hour the B.X. steamed around a bend and there,
brilliantly lighted, was the Conveyor. As the B.X. drew near,
Browne, hearing the safety-valve of the Conveyor blowing, realized that her boiler had a full head of steam and that she was
ready for the start of the contest. When the B.X. was still some
distance away, the other ship's engine-room gong and jingle
could be heard ringing as Captain Shannon signalled for the big
steamer to begin moving out into the stream. The compound-
condensing engines of the B.X. exhausted noiselessly into her
condenser so that the only sound made by her was that of her
stern-wheel buckets striking the water. The Conveyor's high-
pressure engines exhausted into her smoke-stack with a roar
that could be heard for a mile. As she steamed out into the
channel of the Fraser, the top of her stack appeared to be ablaze,
and she resembled some great fiery monster about to annihilate
a much smaller and defenceless rival.
Captain Shannon started running his steamer " wide open "
in furious pursuit of the B.X. His deck crew could be seen
feverishly splitting cordwood into kindling to be fed into her
fire-box to maintain the maximum steam-pressure. On board
the B.X. Captain Browne was taking every advantage of his
greater knowledge of the river, and at times his ship's light
draught enabled him to take a shorter route. The B.X. was
drawing a little over 2 feet, as compared with the more heavily
constructed construction boat, with a draught of probably 3^2
feet. Moreover her firemen had no difficulty in maintaining
maximum pressure in their big water tube boiler. Her engineers, quietly attending her machinery, did not even find it necessary to utilize her full power in order to draw away from her
big and noisy competitor. This extra power, incidentally, had
been kept a secret by the engineers and the other officers of the
ship. A by-pass valve had been installed on each engine so that
a small quantity of steam at full boiler pressure could be fed in
emergencies directly into each 18-inch low-pressure cylinder.
This extra power increased the speed of the stern-wheel by about
three revolutions a minute, and it was this that enabled her to
develop the extra burst of speed often badly needed in climbing
the canyons at high stages of water and that had given the ship 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        215
a reputation for steaming the canyons that she would not otherwise have possessed.
There were quite a number of passengers on the B.X., and
they had not been informed of the proposed race because of the
officers' uncertainty as to its outcome. They were soon awakened by the alarming sound of the Conveyor's exhaust and came
out on deck to investigate, and before long they became enthusiastic over the prospect of their ship winning the contest. At the
end of about the first half-hour of the race the big construction
steamer had not passed nor even gained on her smaller rival.
She was actually falling astern, and Captain Browne's prediction
that his vessel could outsteam her rival appeared as though it
were shortly to be realized. The B.X. continued to gain on the
Conveyor and soon arrived at a point where it was necessary to
make a landing to deliver a sack of mail. The landing was made
as quickly as possible, and when she moved out into the channel
again, she was still ahead of her opponent by a considerable
margin. In the run to Twan's Landing, a distance of about 20
miles, she made four calls and was still half a mile in the lead
when she docked at Twan's to deliver a large quantity of general
merchandise consigned to the store located at that small settlement and to the traders in that Vicinity. Although the freight
clerk and the deck crew had the shipments sorted and ready to
be unloaded swiftly, considerable delay was caused by the checking and signing of the freight bills. This enabled the Conveyor
to overtake the B.X. and to pass on up the river.
In about half an hour after leaving Twan's Landing the B.X.
had caught up with the Conveyor, but when Captain Browne
started to pass in the narrow channel, he was prevented from
doing so by the manner in which Captain Shannon crowded his
steamer over in the channel. Browne made several attempts to
get by, but Shannon evidently had forgotten the conditions which
he had suggested and which Browne had accepted. The former's
Irish temper was gaining the ascendancy over his usual affable
and level-headed disposition, and he was determined not to let
the B.X. make her way past. Captain Browne, meanwhile, was
planning to take advantage of a final opportunity that would
soon present itself to him to pass the Conveyor at a point farther
up the Fraser where the formation of the river-bed would, for a 216 Willis J. West. July-October
short space, prevent Shannon from continuing the manoeuvres by
which he was keeping the B.X. to the rear. At a turn in the
river a few miles ahead there was a large gravel-bar dividing the
stream into what, at the high stage of water during the race,
were two navigable channels. Captain Shannon would undoubtedly choose the shorter and deeper channel. As the ships reached
the bar, the bow of the B.X. was not far behind the stern of her
rival. Then Captain Shannon took, as expected, the shorter of
the two channels, while Browne, taking the other channel, succeeded in putting his ship in the lead, and when the B.X. emerged
beyond the gravel-bar, her bow was 6 feet ahead of the Conveyor.
For a moment there was no reason to suppose that she would not
continue to gain on her adversary, but rather than let that happen, Shannon, his desire to be the victor now entirely beyond
control, decided to ram her. Suddenly throwing over his rudders, he brought his great ship crashing into her side. It was
only through great good fortune that the Conveyor struck the
B.X. where the shear of their guards met. Had she not been in
that fortunate position, the much wider guard on the Foley boat
would have smashed through the side of her engine-room, damaging her port engine and probably putting her out of commission for the remainder of the season.
When the ships crashed, Captain Browne immediately signalled for the engines of the B.X. to be stopped. He had great
responsibility as master of the vessel, and while it was quite
permissible to engage in a friendly race, it was quite a different
matter when an attempt was made to wreck his steamer. The
B.X., consequently, after the collision let the Conveyor pull away
and then started up-stream again, making her scheduled landings and carrying out her usual routine. Notwithstanding this
decision, the bow of the B.X. was within 20 feet of the stern of
the Conveyor when the latter, having made not a single landing
throughout the entire race, arrived at the eddy at Quesnel.
Quite a crowd of the curious had gathered on the river-bank by
the time the two stern-wheelers arrived, for they had received
word by telephone from down-river that a race was on. Needless to say, it was assumed that the Conveyor, since she was in
the lead, was the winner, but this assumption was rapidly dispelled when the men on the B.X. reported what had occurred to 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        217
the crowd. Captain Shannon, on his part, had now become
obsessed with the idea of reaching Fort George ahead of Browne,
and rather than go off his course to stop at the Foley landing
about half a mile up the Quesnel River, he limited himself to
making a quick landing at Quesnel itself, where he had to pick
up a few construction officials and some mail. While he was
taking on this mail, the purser of the B.X. met the purser of the
Conveyor to inform him that the officers and crew of the B.X.,
as well as some of her passengers, were prepared to wager $1,000
that if their ship were given an hour's start from Quesnel, she
would be at Fort George five hours ahead of the Conveyor.
Captain Shannon, however, headed up-stream without giving
any answer to this challenge. The B.X. had a good deal of cargo
to unload at Quesnel and, when she left about two hours later,
made no attempt to overtake her rival, making her customary
landings and tied up overnight as usual. When she arrived at
South Fort George the next forenoon, the deck crew had tied a
broom to the top of her jackstaff to symbolize their ship's claim
to the speed championship of the Upper Fraser River.
The principal owner of the British Columbia Express Com=-
pany, Charles Millar, was a man above party politics. He had
never felt that any special consideration or support should be
given to any party in connection with the Cariboo mail contracts
and, from the beginning, had told the management of the company that he did not wish them to let any party bias come into
their operations. While the Liberals were in power, he had
pointed out that some day the company would probably have to
deal with a Conservative Government at Ottawa. He had not
forgotten how badly the politicians had treated him when he had
been inveigled into undertaking the service back in 1897. When
Laurier's Administration was defeated in the Federal elections
of 1911 and the Borden Conservative Government came into
power, this change did not seem to alter the Express Company's
relations with the Post Office Department officials at Ottawa.
The mail contracts were to expire on September 30, 1913.
Under the terms of the contracts there was no limit upon the
weight of mail which the company was obliged to accept for 218 Willis J. West. July-October
distribution throughout the Cariboo country. With the great
increase in population, including the thousands of temporary
construction workers, the amount of mail of all classes had
grown to many times the volume obtaining when the contracts
had been last renewed. Then to aggravate the situation the
Department of Agriculture at Ottawa had advertised in the
newspapers throughout Canada an offer of free samples of oats
for seeding purposes, as well as of other varieties of seeds, to be
shipped by mail to any post-office in Canada, the recipient being
required only to pay the postage. Each sample of oats weighed
5 pounds and the postage on each came to only 21 cents, or a
delivered cost of slightly over 4 cents a pound. It so happened
that in the Fort George area oats was selling for 12 cents a pound
when any could be obtained locally. It can readily be imagined
how eagerly freighters throughout the district, as well as ranchers and the public generally, took advantage of the Department's
generosity. Five pounds of oats was a good feed for a horse,
and at the landed cost from Ottawa a great bargain. The quantity of seed-grain thus tendered to the Express Company for
delivery was enormous. At one time there had accumulated at
Ashcroft over 50 tons of oats samples that it had been impossible
to forward immediately as they arrived. In the end they were
loaded on the company's fast freight teams and rushed through
to the steamer at Soda Creek.
As can be imagined, the Express Company was taking a very
substantial loss on its mail contract, not only owing to the extra
weight carried, but also to the greatly increased cost of operating
the service. The ranchers in the Cariboo no longer could grow
sufficient hay and oats to meet the requirements of the greatly
increased number of stage-horses now needed in the service.
Thus the company had found it necessary to ship into Ashcroft
from Alberta many hundreds of cars of baled hay and sacked
oats to feed its own horses and to supply the freight-teams. The
expense of hauling oats and hay up the Cariboo Road as far as
Fort George was very great, and the company's losses in providing the mail service were increasing steadily. In 1913 this loss
amounted to approximately $26,000 during the nine months of
service rendered by the company in that year. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        219
Early in 1913 negotiations were started with officials of the
Post Office Department to establish a contract price for a two-
year extension of the service. It was thought that after that
time the service would no longer be needed, as the Grand Trunk
Pacific Railway would be in operation and the projected Pacific
Great Eastern Railway would have been completed from Fort
George down the route of the Cariboo Road to Clinton and thence
on to Vancouver. As a part of the negotiation, the Express Company submitted a statement to Ottawa, prepared by its auditors,
showing the cost of the service and the loss the company had
suffered under the terms of the existing contracts. Then in July
the Deputy Postmaster-General dispatched to Ashcroft the financial superintendent of the Department and the head of its contract branch. After arriving at Ashcroft, these men made a trip
up the Cariboo Road to Quesnel to study conditions in the country
and to verify the company's statements regarding the cost of feed
and labour.93 After their return from this inspection tour, they
made a careful audit of the company's affairs and prepared a
report, dated July 15, 1913, to the Deputy Postmaster-General.
In this report they confirmed the figures set out in the statement
of the Express Company and agreed with the recommendation
made by the Post Office Inspector for British Columbia that the
company's terms for the proposed extension of their contract be
accepted. The company had asked $120,000 a year for the two-
year period, with a provision to be made in the new contracts
that the maximum amount of mail to be carried at the contract
price be limited to 1,000 pounds a day, with any amount in excess
of that to be carried on a pro rata basis.94 A short time after
this report reached Ottawa, the Express Company was advised
to prepare to continue the service. In accordance with these
assurances the company purchased from a number of ranchers
throughout the Cariboo during the harvest of 1913 about $50,000
worth of hay and oats for the coming winter and made various
other commitments in anticipation of the extension of the mail
Not much later—on the afternoon of September 28, 1913, to
be exact—the superintendent of the- company was in its head
(93) Quesnel Cariboo Observer, July 12, 1913.
(94) A copy of this report is deposited with the Archives of B.C. 220 Willis J. West. July-October
office in Ashcroft when a former resident of the town called and
asked to see him. When shown into the office, this visitor
announced with some ostentation that not the B.C. Express Company but he and an associate had been granted the Cariboo mail
contracts. This disclosure was supposed to be a great surprise
and, after making it, the superintendent was asked what he proposed to do about the matter. However, the information was no
surprise, for the evening before Charles Millar had telegraphed
from Toronto the news that the company had lost the contracts
and named the new contractors.96 To the visitor's amazement he
was informed that the Express Company would continue to operate its services until midnight on September 30, when its contract
terminated and when all mail matter on its stages, steamers, or
otherwise in its custody would be delivered to the nearest post-
offices. Courteously, yet firmly, he was told that if he and his
associates were the new contractors, it would be their responsibility to take charge of all the mail matter and to make the
deliveries in conformity with the schedules for the service.
Neither of the two men holding the new mail contracts had
had any experience as mail contractors—the one, a resident of
Vancouver, was a lumber broker by profession and the other a
real-estate and insurance agent. The most extraordinary fact
about their venture was that they did not possess a single boat,
stage, set of harness, or a horse, yet they had offered to carry the
mails over nearly a thousand miles of road, trail, and river routes
in the Cariboo country.96 The officials of the Post Office Department that had visited Ashcroft stated in their report that no
(95) The new contractors were Mayor J. T. Robinson, of Kamloops, and
J. C. Shields, of Vancouver. They operated under the name of the Imperial
Express Company. R. Leighton, son of J. B. Leighton, a former manager
of the B.C. Express Company, became their superintendent. Original plans
called for the use of the steamer Robert C. Hammond on the run from Soda
Creek to Fort George. Ibid., October 4, 1913; see also South Fort George
Fort George Herald, October 4 and 18, 1913.
(96) Some time later one of the associates was asked by the B.C. Express
Company's superintendent how they had dared to contract to undertake the
difficult service on a few days' notice without having available even a small
part of the necessary equipment. He replied that they had not anticipated
having to operate the service, for they had believed that the Express
Company would be willing to pay them each $10,000 annually in consideration of their surrender of the contracts for the two-year period. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        221
one in the country save the British Columbia Express Company
had the necessary equipment for providing an adequate mail service. Obviously, it could not have been with the approval of
these officials that the contracts had been given to party supporters who were so ill-equipped, or rather not equipped at all,
to serve the people of the Cariboo. The Express Company continued all its other services until late in the year, when the new
contractors offered to purchase all of its stages and sleighs, and
some of its horses, harness, and other equipment of which they
were so desperately in need. They agreed to pay inventory
prices, and the Express Company was well content to discontinue
its horse-stage operations, which were no longer profitable. The
company, it should be added, took pity on the new mail contractors by agreeing to carry the mail on its steamers between Soda
Creek and Fort George for $500 a week.
The year 1914 turned into a very disappointing season for the
steamboat operators and for business interests generally throughout the Cariboo country. When Foley, Welch & Stewart built
the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in British Columbia, they did
the work on a cost-plus basis, and money was spent lavishly in
order to get construction finished and the railway operating as
quickly as possible. The Pacific Great Eastern, on the other
hand, was constructed by the Spokane contractors, P. Welch &
Company, in so economical a manner that no one was able to
make any great profit out of activities incidental to its construction. In the Fort George area a large part of the inhabitants
realized that their occupation was gone, and, consequently, they
found it necessary to leave the north country in search of more
promising fields. Freighting conditions grew stagnant, and the
roadhouse-keepers' very profitable business vanished to a large
extent. Some of the stage-drivers and the younger freighters
turned to driving cars and, with trucks and automobiles of their
own, took over more and more of the services earlier performed
by the stage and the horse-drawn freighting outfits. No longer
was the horse " king " in Cariboo.
The depressed conditions in the Cariboo country reached
their nadir with the outbreak of the First World War.    Mr. 222 Willis J. West. July-October
J. Stewart, of the Foley firm, hurried to Fort George and gave
instructions to cease work immediately on the construction of
the Pacific Great Eastern. This came as a most severe blow to
business throughout the country and to the people generally.
The exodus already under way from Fort George district was
greatly accelerated. With most of the men of military age in
the Cariboo joining the armed forces, the summer of 1915 found
the population of the entire area drastically reduced and all business prospects, to say the least, extremely uncertain.
Most of the stern-wheelers ceased operations on the Fraser
early in 1914 and were hauled out of the river.97 The B.C.
Express Company's boats, however, had to maintain the mail
service until the end of October, and they had little trouble in
handling the small volume of business available.98 The end of
navigation that year wrote finis to the careers of most of the
eight stern-wheelers then in the district, for most of them never
again were launched. Early in April, 1915, it was announced
that the B.X. would operate the regular semi-weekly schedule
between Soda Creek and Fort George, with the B.C. Express
making special runs and being used for relief.99 The B.X. made
her first trip on April 30100 and continued in service until late
October when it was announced:—
This is her last trip this year, and probably her last trip on the Fraser
River. It is the intention of the B.C. Express Company to ship the machinery of their boats to the north country, where business will be conducted on
the Peace.ioi
To all intents and purpose the B.X. had been the only sternwheeler on the river that year, for the B.C. Express had been
(97) The Operator and Conveyor, having completed delivery of supplies
to the P.G.E. construction camps, were hauled out of the river at the Cache
early in September, overhauled in anticipation of the coming season. Ibid.,
September 5, 1914. The Robert C. Hammond appeared to be the only other
boat continuing in service in addition to the B.X. and B.C. Express. Ibid.,
September 19, 1914.
(98) The B.X. was pulled out on October 22, at which time it was noted
that the previous year her last trip had been made on November 7. Quesnel
Cariboo Observer, October 24, 1914.
(99) South Fort George Fort George Herald, April 2, 1915.
(100) Ibid., April 30, 1915.
(101) Ibid., October 23, 1915. This rumour had been circulated for some
time.   Cf. ibid., November 1, 1913. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        223
used only rarely and the Quesnel was evidently in service only
for a short period at the opening of navigation.102 Although she
was run as economically as possible, it was found that, in spite
of her monopoly of the river trade, at the end of the season she
had lost $7,000. During 1916 and 1917 none of the sternwheelers were in service on the Upper Fraser.
Early in 1918 the Quesnel Board of Trade, encouraged by
members of the Provincial Legislature representing the area,
appealed to the newly elected Brewster Administration at Victoria to grant to the British Columbia Express Company a subsidy that would enable it to restore its river service between
Soda Creek and Fort George. In its appeal it was pointed out
that the settlers along the Fraser, particularly those between
Fort George and Quesnel, had been promised a railway, whose
failure to materialize had caused them great suffering, since they
had no way of marketing their crops. It should also be pointed
out that mining in the Cariboo had become stagnant owing,
partially, to the greatly increased delivery cost of equipment now
that the low steamer rate from the railway at Fort George was
not available. As the Express Company was willing to re-establish the river service, provided it was guaranteed against operating losses, an arrangement was eventually consummated whereby
the Provincial Government paid an annual subsidy of $10,000.103
In consequence, service was resumed at the opening of navigation
in May, 1918,104 and continued until the end of the navigating
season in the fall of 1920.106
(102) Ibid., April 30 and May 7, 1915. Cf. Quesnel Cariboo Observer,
May 1 and 15, 1915. The Quesnel was operated by Captain D. A. Foster
on charter from the Northern Lumber and Navigation Company.
(103) Ibid., January 19 and 26, February 9, and March 2, 1918. A letter
to the Board of Trade from J. M. Yorston, M.L.A., dated February 23,
1918, made public the arrangements. Tenders were to be called, and it was
rumoured that Prince George interests were considering using the Robert C.
Hammond and making a tender, but the B.C. Express Company was
(104) Ibid., May 4, 1918.
(105) Evidence of the payment of the subsidy can be found for only two
years, each in the amount of $9,999.96. jSee British Columbia, Public
Accounts for the Fiscal Year ended Slst March, 1919, Victoria, 1920,
p. C 221; and Public Accounts for the Fiscal Year ended Slst March, 1920,
Victoria, 1921, p. B 244. 224 Willis J. West. July-October
The steamer B.X. was operating once more on her semi-
weekly schedule,106 which continued until late in August, 1919,
when she met with her most serious accident in her eight years
of service. This accident occurred after she had loaded 100 tons
of sacked cement for delivery to Soda Creek in the building of
the high-level bridge across Deep Creek by the Pacific Great
Eastern Railway. About 5 miles below Fort George Canyon she
struck a reef, smashing a hole in her bottom. Captain Browne
immediately sought a place to beach her, and near by was what
appeared to be an ideal spot, as it seemed, with timber close at
hand. There was no time to study it more closely, but when the
ship was run aground, the beach turned out to be only a narrow
ledge, so the B.X. filled and sank, her forepart 20 feet under
water.107 The Express Company, realizing that salvaging her
would be a long and difficult operation, made arrangements to
launch the B.C. Express immediately.108 Although she was virtually new, she had been out of water since the fall of 1914. Her
seams had opened badly and would have to be thoroughly caulked
and her machinery overhauled before she would be ready for
service. Caulkers and ship-builders were rushed in from Victoria, and in less than three weeks she was in operation.109
Undertaking to raise the B.X. was an extremely difficult operation. The sacked cement had solidified and had to be separated
under many feet of water before it could be hauled to the surface.
Salvage work was not completed when the freeze-up came and
was resumed early in the spring under Donald McPhee,110 but it
was not until October that the damaged stern-wheeler was raised
and patched sufficiently to be brought to the shipyard at South
Fort George.    Since her boiler and machinery were not put back
(106) The B.X. was hauled out for the winter late in October, 1918
[Prince George Citizen, October 29, 1918], and launched again on April 28,
1919. Ibid., April 30, 1919. Alexander Watson came up to overhaul the
ship that spring. It was announced that in the 1918 season she had carried
2,329,262 pounds of rails, 552,000 pounds of farm produce, and 785,500
pounds of general merchandise and produce.   Ibid., April 2, 1919.
(107) Ibid., September 3, 1919.   The wreck occurred on August 30.
(108) Ibid., September 10, 1919. Once again Alexander Watson was
pressed into service for the refit.
(109) Ibid., September 24, 1919. She was launched on September 20,
and that same day left on her first trip to Soda Creek.
(110) Ibid., October 8, 1919;   March 12 and April 23, 1920. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        225
in condition, it was impossible for her to steam up the river
under her own power, so she was secured to the bow of the B.C.
Express, which had no great difficulty in pushing her sister ship
through the Fort George Canyon and along the river to the shipyard.111    The cost of salvaging the B.X. was about $40,000.
Meanwhile the B.C. Express continued to operate until early
in November, 1920,112 when she was hauled out of the water on
the company's ways, located on the Hudson's Bay Company's
property on the Fraser River adjoining South Fort George.
During the winter of 1920-21 the B.X. and the B.C. Express
were both dismantled113 and their machinery, boilers, as well as
all their ironwork and their entire furnishings and equipment,
were loaded on cars for shipment to Waterways in Northern
Alberta to become the property of the Alberta and Arctic Transportation Company, Limited.114 The hulls and superstructures
of the two sister ships were abandoned on the river-bank, where
they gradually deteriorated until they were at last carried away
during a period of high water.
One by one the other six stern-wheelers disappeared.115
Captain D. A. Foster, a veteran of Upper Fraser River navigation, made one vain attempt to prove steamboating was still
practicable on the river. Late in April, 1921, in partnership
with W. H. Matheson, he launched the Quesnel,116 but her career
was short-lived, for three weeks later she was wrecked beyond
(111) Ibid., October 8, 1920. In reporting this remarkable event—" the
first time in the history of sternwheel boats that one of these craft towed
another through a canyon "—the newspaper stated: " The feat is a singularly able demonstration of river craft on the part of Captain Browne, his
officers and crew and it marks a new departure in the work of sternVheel
(112) Ibid., November 9, 1920.
(113) Ibid., November 30 and December 17, 1920.
(114) This company was controlled, financed, and managed by the
British Columbia Express Company and, following the Fort Norman oil
discovery in 1920, operated over 2,500 miles of river and lake transportation
throughout Northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories as far north
as Aklavik, near the mouth of the Mackenzie River.
(115) The Chilcotin already lay dismantled at South Fort George.
Ibid., March 12, 1920.
(116) Ibid., April 22, 1921. 226 Willis J. West. July-October
repair on the rocks of Fort George Canyon.117 Gasoline-launches
might continue to navigate the river, but never again did the
canyons of the Upper Fraser River echo to the shrill whistle of
the stern-wheelers. An era in river navigation had come to
an end.
Willis J. West.
Vancouver, B.C.
(117) Ibid., May 13, 1921. "The wrecked boat has always been a
' hoodood' craft. She was first badly designed, and was not operated
successfully, and later was sold, rebuilt and run in a desultory fashion.
Her greatest success was as a ferry boat when the temporary bridge was
being constructed across the Fraser here." Later it was reported that her
machinery was being taken out and the hull of the Doctor made ready to
receive it [ibid., May 17, 1921], but no further information is available
concerning this venture. A B.C. Express Company " Winton Six " at Soda Creek.
B.C. Express Company automobiles at Ashcroft. .;■ ^SpVfrV.
The B.C. Express passing through the Grand Canyon. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        227
. Dimensions, etc., as given by even the best authorities frequently vary by
a few inches (or, in some instances, a few feet).   The principal sources upon
which the following table is based are indicated as follows:—
[N] Contemporary newspaper records.
[S] Report of the Steamboat Inspector for British Columbia as published annually in Canada Sessional Papers.
[W] Note-book of Thomas Westgarth, Steamboat Inspector (containing entries covering the period 1865 to 1874).
1. B.C. Express.
Stern-wheeler:  Launched at Soda Creek, June, 1912;  built by Alexander Watson, Jr., for the British Columbia Express Company.
Dimension:  121.3 x 27.9 x 4.8 [S].
Tonnage:   Gross, 449;  registered, 283 [S].
Engines:  9 h.p. [S].
Official No.:   130883 [S].
2. B.X.
Stern-wheeler:   Launched at Soda Creek, May 13, 1910;   built by
Alexander Watson, Jr., for the British Columbia Express Company.
Dimensions:  127.5 x 28.8 x 5.1 [S].
Tonnage:  Gross, 513;  registered, 323 [S].
Engines:   Pair of horizontal tandem compound condensing engines;
9" (high pressure), 18" (low pressure) x 60" [N].   27 h.p. [S].
Diameter of stern-wheel:   18' [N].
Official No.: 126516 [S].
3. Charlotte.
Stern-wheeler:  Launched at Quesnel, August 3, 1896;  built by Alexander Watson for the North British Columbia Navigation Company.
Dimensions: 111.4 x 20.6 x 4.6 [S].
Tonnage:  Gross, 217;  registered, 79 [S].
Engines:  11" x 60" [N] ;  10 h.p. [S].
Official No.:  103909 [S].
4. Chilcotin.
Stern-wheeler: Launched at Soda Creek, July 20, 1910; built by
Donald McPhee for the Fort George Lumber and Navigation
Dimensions:  134.5 x 23.5 x 4.5 [S].
Tonnage:   Gross, 435;  registered, 274 [S].
Engines:  21 h.p [S].
Official No.:  126945 [S]. 228 Willis J. West. July-October
5. Conveyor.
Stern-wheeler: Originally built at Victoria in 1909 by Foley, Welch
& Stewart for use on the Skeena River in connection with the
building of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, she was dismantled
and the machinery shipped to Tete Jaune Cache, where the vessel
was rebuilt and launched May 12, 1912.
Dimensions:  141.7 x 34.8 x 5.2 [S].
Tonnage:   Gross, 725;  registered, 457 [S].
Engines:   15 h.p. [S].
Official No.:   130885 [S].
6. Enterprise.
Stern-wheeler:   Built at Four Mile Creek in 1863 by James Trahey
for G. B. Wright and Tom Wright.
Dimensions:   110 x 20 [W].
Engines:   12" x 30";  60 h.p. [W].   Two boilers 36" in diameter and
10' long [W].
Diameter of stern-wheel:   15'6" [W].
7. Fort Fraser, renamed Doctor.
Stern-wheeler:  Launched at Soda Creek, late June, 1910, for the Fort
George Lumber and Navigation Company.
Dimensions:  56 x 11.8 x 2.9 [S].   When relaunched September, 1913,
as Doctor, 65 x 16 [N].
Tonnage:  Gross, 33;  registered, 21 [S].
Engines:  2 h.p. [S].
Official No.:  126944 [S].
8. Nechaco, renamed Chilco.
Stern-wheeler:  Launched at Quesnel, May 25, 1909; built by Donald
McPhee for the Fort George Lumber and Navigation Company.
Dimensions:  80 x 16.4 x 3.2 [S].
Tonnage:   Gross, 129;  registered, 76 [S].
Engines:   13 h.p. [S].
Official No.:  126512 [S].
9. Operator.
Stern-wheeler: Originally built at Victoria in 1909 by Foley, Welch
& Stewart for use on the Skeena River in connection with the
building of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, she was dismantled
and the machinery shipped to Tete Jaune Cache, where the vessel
was rebuilt and launched May 12, 1912.
Dimensions:  141.7 x 34.8 x 5.2 [S].
Tonnage:   Gross, 698;  registered, 439 [S].
Engines:  15 h.p. [S].
Official No.:   130,886 [S]. 1949      The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.        229
10. Quesnel.
Stern-wheeler: Launched at Quesnel in May, 1909; built by John
Strand for Telesphore Marion; she was rebuilt by Donald McPhee
and relaunched September 2,1909.
Dimensions:  70 x 16.2 x 3.7 [S].
Tonnage:  Gross, 130; registered, 77 [S].
Engines:  3 h.p. [S].
Official No.:   126245 [S].
11. Robert C. Hammond.
Stern-wheeler:   Launched on May 22, 1913, at Fort George for the
Fort George Lake and River Transportation Company.
Dimensions:  101 x 21.5 x 4.2 [S].
Tonnage:  Gross, 250, registered, 158 [S].
Engines:  10" x 48" [N] ;  5 h.p. [S].
Official No.:  133979 [S].
12. Victoria.
Stern-wheeler:   Built at Quesnel in 1868 by James Trahey for G. B.
Dimensions:  116 x 23 x 4 [W].
Engines:  14" x 54";  90 h.p. [W].
Diameter of stern-wheel:  17'8" [W]. RUSSIA'S APPROACH TO AMERICA
In 1761 the Government of Spain revived the Family Compact
with France and dispatched to St. Petersburg its first diplomatic
representative at that court since the mission of the Duke de
Liria, 1727-1730. The new ambassador, the Marques de Almo-
dovar, was warned of Russian advances in the Pacific, of which
it is reasonable to suppose that the Government in Madrid had
recently learned. Thus, while Almod6var was endeavouring to
cement Russo-Spanish collaboration in the Seven Years' War, he
was also striving to pierce the veil of secrecy with which Russian
discoveries were hidden. His successors likewise probed the
matter, and, from the scraps of information so gleaned, a
plausible picture of Russian exploration and expansion was
pieced together. While the evidence so accumulated by Spain
was inconclusive, it put the Spanish Government on guard in the
New World and, ultimately, inspired a series of expeditions
under trained mariners to search for Russian posts and to forestall any threat to Spain's American possessions.
The account which we derive from the Russian documents
concerning this expansion into North America is, of necessity,
incomplete and confused. The fur-trading companies were
groping their way eastward along the Aleutian Islands in considerable uncertainty. The landsmen, who made up the crews,
were unable to record their observations accurately. Such
information as they obtained was often garbled and therefore of
little use to their successors, especially as it was transmitted, for
the most part, orally. Even Government intervention in the
work of exploration did not altogether alter this. Half-measures,
such as the detailing of Lieutenant Sind to accompany a commercial expedition as pilot, could only aggravate the situation.
Sind, even had he been in command of the expedition, was not
a properly qualified navigator. The only result, therefore, was
to lend official sanction to the badly confused maps which he
prepared. The errors Sind made on this voyage (1765-1766)
were perpetuated by the account of Staehlin and did much to
spread confusion in the cartography before they were corrected
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. XIII, Nos. 3 and 4.
231 232 Tompkins and Moorhead. July-October
by Krenitsyn and Levashev on their voyage of 1768-1769.1
These mistakes were, of course, repeated in the reports of the
Spanish ambassadors. The strength and permanence of Russian
lodgements on the islands were also misjudged by the Spaniards.
They were prone to accept the word of merchants or voyagers
who reached the capital and, in their own interests, exaggerated.
Thus, a temporary building thrown together at some point as a
shelter became a fort, and a landing-site, such as Bering Island,
which was regularly visited on the voyage out and back, became
a depot of supplies for the whole Aleutian chain. A few deft
touches sufficed to make Russian expansion look impressive on
a map when no contradictory evidence was at hand. However,
later reports corrected these distortions, and the Spaniards
themselves soon scaled these claims down to life-size.
In the course of time much material has been accumulated
from the Russian side, but even to-day it does little more than
fill out the original outlines of Russian expansion without giving
us many additional details. It is astonishing how this fresh light
merely serves to confirm what the Spanish ambassadors were
able to learn in skeletal form some 200 years ago. An examination of their correspondence with the home Government reveals
how closely, in spite of official secrecy, they were able to follow
Russian movements in the North Pacific. Spain in this connection was well served by her representatives at St. Petersburg.
Transcriptions of many of these Spanish documents are to be
found in Bancroft Library, having been secured by Charles E.
Chapman from the Archives of the Indies at Seville. No such
copies are available for two of these reports, however, and we
have had to resort to paraphrases which appear in Chapman's
Founding of Spanish California. While we should have preferred to use the original text, there did not seem to be any valid
reason to doubt the substantial correctness of this version,
especially since it checks closely with information derived from
Russian sources. To obviate the inevitable delays that would
attend the effort to procure a transcript of the original, we have
preferred to accept a second-best in the belief that, for our
purpose, it is adequate.
(1) jSee below, Document IV.   Complete accuracy in this regard was not
established, of course, until the last voyage of Captain Cook. 1949 Russia's Approach to America. 233
The first pertinent Spanish dispatch was in response to the
royal instructions of March 9, 1761, directing the minister at
St. Petersburg to gather all possible information on Russian
discoveries in the North Pacific.2 Replying in October of that
year, the Marques de Almodovar traced the background of
Russian expansion and the two Bering expeditions (1728 and
1741), and then offered some conclusions of his own:—3
Up to the present the Russians cannot be said to have done more
than sight the coasts of America. . . . [However] even though they
have not taken possession of it, they are in a position to do so at any
time. The point nearest to our establishments [reached by the Russians] is that which Captain Tschirikow discovered at 56° north
latitude4—thirteen degrees distant from Cape Blanco, which is the
northern extremity of California. . . . These voyages may better
serve to further the advancement of Geography than to expand the
[Russian] Empire. . . . Neither the English nor the Dutch have
had, or can have, any part in the expeditions into the Pacific from
Kamtschatka. All of their attempts to enter the Pacific north-eastward
through the Arctic Ocean have failed up to now, and the last voyages
of the Russians have demonstrated that even if this voyage were
possible, it would be entirely impracticable commercially. In addition
to surmounting a million dangers, the expedition would find its
progress interrupted by winter three or four times before reaching the
Almod6var enclosed with his dispatch a " Geographical Chart"
from the Academy of Sciences at St. Petersburg, in which the
expeditions mentioned were indicated.5
By 1764 Almod6var had been succeeded as ambassador by the
Visconde de la Herreria, who took up the task of finding out all
of the facts of Russian expansion in the Pacific.   Under date of
(2) Instructions to Marques de Almodovar, Buen Retiro, March 9, 1761,
in Archivo General de Simancas, Legajo 6618 (Antiguo).
(3) Almodovar to Ricardo Wall, St. Petersburg, October 7, 1761, in
Archivo General de Indias (hereinafter cited as A.G.I.), America en General,
Legajo 1.
(4) Chirikov's discovery was actually at 55° 21' north latitude, according to best authority. See Frank A. Golder, Bering's Voyages, New York,
1922-1925, Vol. I, p. 291.
(5) This was probably G. F. Muller's map published in 1758 at St.
Petersburg in connection with his Nachrichten von Seereisen. See also Part
I of this article, pp. 59, 60. 234 Tompkins and Moorhead. July-October
March 30,1764, Herreria resumed the story and gave his Government its first official news of post-Bering discoveries:—6
There has just arrived from Kamtschatka a Russian merchant who
has had an audience with the Empress.7 In this interview he declared
that, having undertaken a voyage to America with three of his companions, they had embarked in a small boat at Avatscha. Pursuing
their course to 65° north latitude, they discovered sixteen islands.
On two of these they landed and traded with the inhabitants (whom
they call Esquimaux), taking among other pelts many beautiful black
Fox Skins . . . which were valued in Tobolsky at 100 rubles each.8
They have brought some of them here for the Empress, who found
them extremely beautiful.
According to the report of this man and his companions, it appears
that the direction of their voyage was to the Northeast, and they claim
(6) Visconde de la Herreria to Marques de Grimaldi, St. Petersburg,
March 30, 1764, in A.G.I., Estado, Amer. Gen., Leg. 1.
(7) This account so closely resembles that given by Berkh in connection
with the voyage of Glotov that it is reasonable to suppose that they both
refer to the same incident. " When the travellers returned in 1761 on the
ship Julian with black foxes, dark brown foxes, and red foxes, the nachaV-
nik of Okhotsk took the first two and sent them off to the ' Cabinet' of her
Majesty the Empress. Some of these were selected and the rest returned."
Vasilii N. Berkh, Khronologicheskaya Istoriya Otkrytiya Aleutskikh
Ostrovov Hi Podvigi Rossiiskago Kupechestva, St. Petersburg, 1823, p. 88 ff.
(8) This story presents at first sight a number of difficulties. The
meaning intended is: The expedition set out from Petropavlovsk (in Avacha
Bay on the east coast of Kamchatka); heading toward the north-east, they
discovered sixteen islands, with whose inhabitants—called Esquimaux—they
traded, securing (it is implied for the first time) the skins of the black fox,
which brought an unusually high price at Tobolsk.
If this is the same voyage as that mentioned by Berkh, it is credited
with having discovered the Alaska Peninsula, which means that it touched
the mainland at about latitude 54°, and not 65° north. Since none of the
early fur-traders used the word " Esquimaux " to describe the natives they
encountered, one is inclined to believe that the merchant had picked it up
from some member of the Academy with whom he conversed. It was a word
current in learned circles rather than among actual traders.
The crews were obviously impressed with encountering black foxes (not
hitherto seen in the Aleutians). It is implied apparently that their presence
indicates a northerly latitude. This is hardly true, since black foxes occur
on the Fox Islands. Ivan Petrof discusses the range of the various species
in his " Report on the Population, Industries and Resources of Alaska," in
Report of the Tenth Census of the United States, 1880, VIII (47th Cong.,
2nd Sess., Misc. Doc. 42, Part 8), p. 58. 1949 Russia's Approach to America. 235
to have sighted the mainland of America, not far from their position
on one of the islands.9
They have sketched a Map of their discoveries, which the Academy
of St. Petersburg is now examining in great secrecy, and although
I have attempted to acquire it by various means, I have been unable to
do so. But whenever I shall have done so, I will send it to Your
(9) The account of this voyage given to the St. Petersburg authorities
puzzled the members of the Academy of Sciences. Lomonosov, who had been
named in 1757 a member of the Chancellery of the Academy, was at this
time very active in introducing more scientific accuracy in the cartography
of Russia by training young men in astronomy and surveying (geodesy).
He had attacked the work of Muller in geography for his want of grounding
in the basic mathematics. Some penetrating comments on this expedition
were made by Lomonosov in a letter to Count I. G. Chernyshev, vice-
president of the Academy, on September 15, 1765: "According to the
explanation of the above mariners, they reached the island of Umnak from
Komandor [Bering] Island in 31 days. ... On their course, they kept to
the northeast. However, the declination [variation] of the compass shown
on Bering's map as 1% to 2% rhumbs, which the above seamen did not
know, proves that their direction was east-north-east. Hence it is not to be
wondered at that the climate there is warmer than it would have been had
they gone directly to the northeast. . . ." Quoted in [A. P. Sokolov],
Proekt Lomonosova i ekspeditsiya Chichagova 1765 goda, St. Petersburg,
1854, p. 142 ff.
The " rhumb " so used is a point of the mariner's compass. One and
three-quarters to two and a half rumbs would be a variation of somewhere
between 19° and 34° east. If Lomonosov's conjecture is correct, we get
a very natural explanation of the mistake in the direction of the voyage
and the latitude reached, an error that was repeated on later expeditions.
For an account of the voyage of the Julian under Glotov, see A. I. Andreyev,
Russkie Otkrytiya v Tikhom Okeanye i Syevernoi Amerikye v XVIII i XIX
vyekakh, Moscow and Leningrad, 1944.
(10) According to Berkh, the map prepared by Ponomarev and Shishkin,
who accompanied this expedition, was submitted to the Admiralty College,
which was most directly interested. But there is no reason why it may not
also have been submitted to the Academy of Sciences. In further confirmation of the incident, Berkh cites an entry from the Journal of the Admiralty
" The Ustyug merchant Shilov laid before the college [Le., the Admiralty], to illustrate his voyages to the Kamchatka islands, a chart on which
their location as far as is known is laid down. He also gave satisfactory
oral explanations concerning their inhabitants and resources. The college
having at the wish and will of her Imperial Majesty inspected and examined
their chart and compared it with the one compiled by Captain Chirikov, and
upon careful consideration, presents most respectfully the following report:
' The college deems the report of Shilov concerning navigation and trade 236 Tompkins and Moorhead. July-October
Another Company of Merchants, who sailed from the Kolima river,
doubled the Cape of Tschutsky and entered the strait which separates
America from Siberia.11 Having encountered many Islands at 70°
north latitude, they landed on several of them and had very good luck
in obtaining skins, and among these some very valuable black Foxes.
They disembarked with their cargo at Avatscha, and returned to
The merchants have stated that since the year 1759 they have
already made several voyages equal to this one. But the Russian
officials of these Siberian outposts . . . have concealed such information, because most of the peltries which they have brought from
those islands . . . have been taken to China and sold there at very
high prices.13
insufficient for official consideration, and, in many respects, contradictory;
especially the chart, which does not agree in many important points with
other charts in the hands of the college; and, moreover, it could not be
expected to be correct, being compiled by a person knowing nothing of the
science and rules of navigation. On the other hand, as far as this document
is concerned, we must commend the spirit which instigated its conception
and induced the author to undergo hardships and dangers in extending the
navigation and trade of Russia, as we find in it the basis upon which to
build further investigation and discoveries of unknown countries, which well
deserves the approbation of our most Gracious Imperial Majesty.'" Quoted
in Berkh, op. cit, pp. 70-72.
(11) The voyage referred to is unquestionably that of Shalaurov, who
made an unsuccessful attempt in 1762 to reach Bering Strait from the
mouth of the Kolyma; he repeated his attempt later, in 1764, and was
apparently successful, but the expedition was lost in the Gulf of Anadyr,
and Shalaurov himself perished. News of these expeditions was picked up
by Billings three decades later. For a fairly full account of these events,
see Martin Sauer, An Account of a Geographical and Astronomical Expedition to the Northern Parts of Russia . . . Performed . . . by Commodore Joseph Billings, in the Years 1784-1794, London, 1802, pp. 95-97.
(12) It is to be noted that the travellers did not land at Avacha, since
the expedition came to grief in the North.
(13) All authorities agree on the existence of an extensive contraband
trade in furs between Siberia and China which resulted from the Government's attempt in the early eighteenth century to establish a monopoly over
this commerce. It was abandoned in 1762, largely because it was a farce.
But besides removing what must have contributed to corruption among the
officials in Siberia, this served as a stimulus to enterprise on the part of the
private traders and hunters. It also lifted the veil of secrecy from the
activities of the promyshlenniki, since there was now no motive to continue
to suppress news of the voyages. jSee Moriz August, graf von Beniowsky,
Memoirs and travels of Mauritius Augustus count de Benyowsky, tr. by
William Nicholson, Dublin, 1790, Vol. I, p. 72; and Waldemar Jochelson,
Archeological Investigations in Kamchatka, Washington, 1928, pp. 12, 13. 1949 Russia's Approach to America. 237
They also said that the north [west] em extremity of America
projects very much farther out into the sea than the Cape of Tschutsky,
and that at 65° north latitude the channel has a width of approximately
200 versts [about 132 miles].14
They endeavored to take possession of the islands on which they
landed and, according to Russian custom, to force the inhabitants to
pay tribute [yassak], which they refused to do.16
At present they are having some ships built in Kamtschatka that
are larger than those hitherto employed in these Expeditions. The
government is encouraging these voyages in the expectation of a profit.
The first fruits of the awakened interest of the Government
under Catherine was the authorization passed down through
official channels and finally reaching Lieutenant-Colonel Plenis-
ner, commandant of Okhotsk, to undertake exploration in the
general area of the Chukchi Peninsula. Plenisner at this time
had been urging the Government to abandon Anadyrskii Ostrog
as being too inaccessible from the sea and too exposed to Chukchi
attack. In addition to carrying out two expeditions by land to
Chukchi Peninsula, Plenisner apparently made use of this
authority to direct Lieutenant Sind, one of his military subordinates, to accompany a commercial vessel, presumably of the
Shilov-Lapin Company, on a voyage into Bering Sea. The
following document apparently relates to this voyage, from which
it was hoped that accurate knowledge would be forthcoming.
But the advance notice of the expedition obviously gave an
exaggerated idea of the qualifications of those taking part. Sind,
like Plenisner, had accompanied Bering on the expedition of
(14) The meaning apparently is that, since the Pacific Ocean narrows
from a width of between three and four thousand miles in the latitudes
where Bering and Chirikov crossed it to a mere 132 miles, then America
must project westward in a great promontory or peninsula. While the
geographers had not yet formed a clear picture of the configuration of
Alaska, this conjecture indicates that it was taking shape. Of course,
Miiller's map of 1758 gives some idea of it.   See Map No. Ill in Part I.
(15) The collection of yassak from the native population in the form of
furs had long been practised and was extended naturally to the Aleutians.
It occasioned disturbances and violence, owing to the barbarous methods of
its collection, but it was not discontinued until after the expedition of Billings, 1784-1794. It seems to have been replaced by the imposition of forced
labour in hunting, though without any statutory sanction until the third
charter of the Russian American Company in 1844, 238 Tompkins and Moorhead. July-October
1741 but probably had no mathematical training beyond what
an army officer would have. We are not surprised, therefore,
that the Russian agent Ismailov told Captain Cook at Unalaska
in 1778 that little of note was achieved on this expedition.16 In
September, 1764, the Spanish ambassador at St. Petersburg
dispatched a new report to Madrid.17 Fresh information at hand
confirmed his conjecture of March 30 that the Russian traders
had penetrated regions not previously reached. That they had
gone north of the 60th parallel was certain (to him) because:—
It has long been observed that Foxes do not have black fur except
beyond 60° north latitude, while those brought from the islands mentioned (which they have named the Islands of Aleyut) are decidedly
black.18 This has aroused in this Government a lively desire to further
the discoveries, and thus it has determined to send an expedition to
cross the strait which separates America and Siberia, with a view also
to corroborating the said discoveries.19
(16) Capt. James Cook, A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean . . . in the
years 1776, 1777, 1778, 1779, 1780, London, 1785, Vol. II, p. 498.
(17) Herreria to Grimaldi, St. Petersburg, September 18, 1764, in
A.G.I., Estado, Amer. Gen. 1, Doc. 83.
(18) See above, foot-note (8). The use of the term "Aleyut" as applied
to the chain of islands is added confirmation of Lomonosov's conjecture that
previous expeditions, through an error in taking their bearings, had placed
these islands ten or more degrees too far to the north.
(19) This is probably the voyage associated with the name of Sind.
A Soviet scholar working in the archives of the Geographical Department
of the Academy of Sciences recently uncovered what seems to be documentary material on this voyage. It is in the form of a map entitled " Map of
Northeastern Asia and North America " and is dated 1770. It shows the
coast of Siberia and the adjacent American coast, together with the rivers.
A Russian fort is shown on the American mainland on the River Khevruven
[Kuzitrin?] with a notation that the inhabitants there closely resemble the
Chukchi in speech and customs, clothing themselves in skins similar to those
worn by the latter; and that there is a lively exchange of goods between
the peoples on either side of the strait. Further notes on the margin, in the
handwriting of S. Y. Rumovskii (a well-known member of the Academy),
indicate that the map was received from Lieutenant-Colonel Plenisner, that
originally it was accompanied by two other maps, some information about
the coast-line of both continents, a geographical description of the River
Anadyr, a short account of Kamchatka, and a journal kept by some secret
expedition. It is a reasonable inference that this latter was the original
journal of Sind, which in the course of time has become misplaced or has'
disappeared. See V. F. Gnucheva, Geograficheskii Department Akademii
Nauk XVIII Vyeka, Moscow and Leningrad, 1946, Prilozhenie, II, 292,
No. 123.    Historians have had to rely on two secondary accounts of this 1949 Russia's Approach to America. 239
This new expedition has been placed in charge of a Lieutenant-
Colonel (of German nationality) called Blensner [obviously Friederich
Plenisner, the commandant of Okhotsk], and preparations for it are
being made at this time at Anadirsky-Ostrog, which is a Port which
takes its name from the Anadir River, which flows into the strait
between America and Siberia at 65° north latitude. Blensner is taking
with him Mathematicians and Geographers. ... I am sending to
Your Excellency the enclosed Map of the Russian discoveries made by
the Academy of St. Petersburg.   .   .   .20
voyage. The first of these appeared in the Mesyatsoslov Istoricheskii i
Geograficheskii for 1774 and was reproduced in Sobranie Sochinenii iz
mesyatsoslovov for 1789 (pp. 342-345).   It offers the following:—
" To promote this design [navigation and trade among the newly discovered islands] still further, an imperial ukaz was directed to the admiralty
office in Okhotsk on the shores of the sea of Penzhina [Sea of Okhotsk] to
lend assistance to this Kamchatka trading company in its undertaking and
to endeavor to furnish information on the islands and coast lying to the
north and northeast of Kamchatka. And so in 1764 they sailed in galliots
and Siberian ships called doshchenki under command of Lieut. Sind of the
above Admiralty Office, from the harbor of Okhotsk, across the sea of
Okhotsk around the southern tip of Kamchatka into the Sea of Kamchatka,
or the so-called Pacific ocean, towards the north, and afterwards they put
into the harbor of Petropavlovsk, wintering at this post. Next year they
sailed farther to the north and, as on the first, so in the following years,
1765 and 1766, they gradually discovered between the 56th and 67th degree
of north latitude many large and small islands, and in 1767 they returned
safely home. As a result of the report sent by them to the provincial
chancellery of Irkutsk and thence to the Administrative Senate, and of the
maps drawn, the map engraved in 1758 underwent many alterations and
assumed a different appearance with reference to the countries on the Sea
of Anadyrsk and in the position of the coasts of America, opposite. But
still greater is the difference observed in the newly discovered northern
archipelago on the map attached herewith, which is more accurately drawn
according to the latest information. On this is shown the journeys of
Bering and Chirikov and, particularly, the last sea expedition of our
Kamchatka fur traders and of Lieutenant Sind, also all the islands newly
discovered by them in their observed positions and according to their size;
some of them named, others still unnamed."
The second account is that of William Coxe, who visited Russia about
1778. It was published in his Account of Russian Discoveries between Asia
and America, London, 1780. Coxe gives a very inadequate description of the
voyage, but it is accompanied by a map which, though inaccurate, clearly
indicates that Sind sailed north along the Asiatic coast and into Bering Sea
before returning.
(20) The reference to mathematicians and geographers is obviously a
gross exaggeration, since Lomonosov was complaining of the lack of trained
mathematicians   and   geodesists   in   the   Geographic   Department   of   the 240 Tompkins and Moorhead. July-October
The next Spanish report of any significance was received in
Madrid nine years later; i.e., in 1773. Herreria had been succeeded by a new ambassador, the Conde de Lacy. The nine years
which had elapsed represents the period of Catherine's most
intense activity in fostering explorations in the East. Her
energies were now being absorbed in the great foreign and
domestic crises of her reign: the first Turkish War, the partitions of Poland, the Pugachev revolt. The Empress was not
to pick up the threads in the East again until after the American
Revolution and the annexation of the Crimea, in 1783.
In following up the Sind expedition, Catherine had authorized
one exclusively under Government control, commanded by Captain Krenitsyn with Lieutenant Levashev second in command.
It was to explore the Aleutian Islands more thoroughly and make
accurate astronomical observations. The Krenitsyn-Levashev
voyage fixed for the first time the exact location of the easternmost group of the Aleutians, the Fox Islands. Lacy's report in
1773 is of special interest, in that it indicates that Spain had
notice of this expedition years before any account of it was
... I have managed to obtain a detailed report through the
medium of a subject who has read and handled papers relative to this
matter which are sealed up in the Archives at this court. Until I have
an opportunity to send Your Excellency this report, I am referring
Your Excellency to its most essential points.   .   .   .
On the voyage of Captains Bering and Tschiricow ... it says
nothing that is not known. . . . But in the year 1764 the Empress
sent out three ships, two under Captains Estehacow and Panowbajew,
which sailed from Archangel, and a third under Captain Krenitzin,
which sailed from Kamtschatka with instructions to join the first two.
The junction was effected, and they reportedly found the lands between
forty-odd and 75 degrees [north latitude] to be part of the mainland,
but almost everywhere shrouded in very dense fog. And that from
235° longitude to Kamtschatka, the sea is full of Islands inhabited by
people who have been trading for many years with those of Kamt-
Academy at St. Petersburg. The map forwarded by Herreria was probably
the Nouvelle Carte des Decouvertes faites par des vaissaux Russiens aux
cotes inconnues de VAmerique Septentrionale avec les Pais adjacents, put
out by Muller in 1758.
(21) Lacy to Grimaldi, St. Petersburg, March 19,1773, in A.G.I., Estado,
Audiencia de Mexico, Legajo 1, Doc. 5. 1949 Russia's Approach to America. 241
schatka, all of which has been unknown, until now, to the Russian
governors.22 In the most remote of the said Islands, which they call
the Tschuktschi, the inhabitants have the same clothes, language, and
customs as the American natives. They [the voyagers] reiterate what
the Russian Professor Stelar said on his return from the Bering expedition, that if America was not joined to the Tschutsky promontory, the
separation could not be [as much as a voyage of] two hours.23 The
mainland, according to what they say and believe here, is California,
in which case it extends to 75 degrees, and the employees of the first
voyage, as well as those of the second, thus give it a very favorable
report. They say that the Coasts are formed by high mountains
covered with Trees which the Russians call " liwnaza " and Cedars,
(22) The expedition from Archangel under the command of " Este-
hacow" and " Panowbajew" was unquestionably the one inspired by
Lomonosov, whose objective was to find the north-east passage and join up
with Krenitsyn. The expedition actually consisted of three ships, commanded respectively by Chichagov, Panov, and Babayev, the originals of the
" Estehacow " and " Panowbajew " of the Spanish dispatch. It succeeded
only in reaching the north-west coast of Spitzbergen and returned finally to
Archangel in 1766. The junction with Krenitsyn did not take place. jSee
Lev S. Berg, Ocherki po Istorii Russkikh Geograficheskikh Otkrytii, Moscow
and Leningrad, 1946, pp. 34—40.
This expedition of Chichagov is known to have been surrounded with the
utmost secrecy, and the wonder is that the Spanish minister was able to
pierce the iron curtain at all. The errors are thus understandable. Information about it is of the scantiest. An article by G. F. Muller, " Herrn v
Tschitschagow Russisch-Kayserlichen Admirals Reise nach dem Eismeere,"
was published after the author's death by P. S. Pallas, in Neue Nordische
Beytrdge zur Physikalischen und geographischen Erd-und Vblkerbeschreib-
ung, Naturgeschichte und Oekonomie, St. Petersburg and Leipzig, 1781-
1796. Muller's own title was " Nachrichten von den neuesten Schiffahrten
im Eismeere und in der Kamtschatkischen See seit dem Jahr 1742." [Soko-
lov], Proekt Lomonosova, passim.
(23) Again the reports apparently confuse the Chukchi with the natives
of America, either the Aleuts or the Eskimos.
The reference here is to Georg Wilhelm Steller, who accompanied the
second expedition of Bering in the capacity of naturalist. This information must have been obtained from someone in the Academy of Sciences who
had had access to Steller's journal, since the journal itself was not published
until 1793. We know from Pallas, however, that " this noteworthy journal
. . . was communicated to me in the original by the later professor of
history, Fischer."   jSee Golder, op cit, Vol. II, p. 9, foot-note (2).
Steller knew that Bering's secret instructions from the Admiralty were
to proceed northward along the coast of America until he reached a point
opposite the Chukchi Peninsula, where he was convinced that only a short
distance separated the two continents. Indeed, he severely criticized Bering
for failure to conform to this plan.    Golder, op. cit, Vol. II, p. 19. 242 Tompkins and Moorhead. July-October
well-suited for ship-timber.24 The region is agreeable and moist,
abundant in copper mines and indications of other, more precious,
metals. I have at hand a piece of copper from that region. The Land
abounds in Foxes, Sables, and Otters with skins of the finest and best
quality. When informed of this, the Empress in 1765 and 1766
authorized a company of Merchants of Kamtschatka to form an establishment, which they have done in what they here call the mainland of
America, at 64° north latitude.26 This company is composed of twenty-
four individuals [share-holders] and two hundred Cossacks who are
(24) At this point Lacy appears to have drawn his information from
the report of the Krenitsyn voyage to the mainland of America, but he has
obviously confused the latitude reached (75°) with that of the Chichagov
voyage across the Arctic Ocean from Archangel.
The " first voyage " to which Lacy refers is obviously the Bering expedition of 1741, the reports of which were entrusted to Krenitsyn to guide him
in his explorations. The " second " refers to that of Krenitsyn himself.
Although this latter voyage was authorized in 1764, various mishaps prevented its sailing to America until 1768.
The term " Liwnaza " (livnaza) does not appear in any of the standard
Russian dictionaries. The word lyva is given as " a dense forest growing
in a marsh." Livnaza is probably a local Siberian term. As for the cedar,
there is some disagreement among authorities as to whether it occurs on
the Alaska Peninsula, though the yellow cedar is common on the Alexander
Archipelago. jSee Petrof's " Report on Alaska," loc cit, map facing page
75; and Bernard E. Fernow's discussion in Harriman Alaska Expedition,
1899, New York, 1903, Vol. II, p. 185.
We do not have the journal of the Krenitsyn expedition, but an extract
of the same appears in Appendix I to William Coxe's Account of Russian
Discoveries. This was given to Coxe by Dr. Robertson, who had obtained
it from the Russian archives by submitting a request to the Empress
through her physician, Dr. Rogerson. .See William Robertson, The History
of America, London, 1777, Vol. I, pp. xi, xii. No other account of the
voyage is known to have been published. However, in addition to the
extract of the journal, Coxe must have obtained additional material from
the archives, for related documents appear in the appendices to his work.
This latter information bears so striking a resemblance to what is contained
in the Spanish dispatch that one is tempted to conjecture that Lacy's
informant had access to these same documents.
(25) Since the Krenitsyn voyage did not return until 1769, this information submitted to Catherine must have been obtained from earlier expeditions, material on which was probably seen by Lacy's informant at the
same time as the Krenitsyn journal, just as it was by Dr. Robertson. See
above, foot-note (24).
A Russian map of Alaska of 1801 confirms the prevalence of a widespread belief, at least among Russian geographers, that there was a permanent post on what is now Seward Peninsula. This may have arisen from
the Sind expedition.   See above, foot-note (19). 1949 Russia's Approach to America. 243
employed in hunting, exploring the Country, garrisoning the establishment, and seeing that the Americans are subjected to tribute. Besides
this, there are in that region forty seamen and two shipwrights
attached to the Company. The individual share-holders have gold
medals emblazoned with the bust of the Empress, who has given the
Company the privilege of trading in anything that it might see fit to
in that region.   .   .   .26
The following dispatch was sent to Madrid by Lacy prior to
the one just quoted, but since it deals with later Russian operations in the Pacific, we have reserved it to follow the events
related above. Curiously enough it describes a voyage about
which there appears to be no other information. Perhaps it is a
garbled version of the Krenitsyn-Levashev expedition; perhaps
it is the figment of someone's imagination. It is offered here for
what it might be worth.27
I have recently learned with tolerable certainty that in the year
1769 a Russian Naval officer called Tscherikow [Chirikov?] was
engaged in the exploration which this Nation is promoting between
Kamtschatka and America.    This officer returned in 1771 to one of the
(26) The company whose activities are here described was obviously
the Shilov-Lapin Company mentioned in the Mesyatsoslov Istoricheskii i
Geografischeskii for 1774. " She [the Empress] confirmed the establishment
of a company of Russian merchants and conferred [on them] special privileges for carrying on shipbuilding and trade with the newly-discovered
islands, and the first twelve of the company she rewarded with medals,
specially cast for this purpose, which they wear with a blue ribbon on the
breast as a mark [of the condescension] of the empress. ... In the
beginning it [the company] consisted of twenty merchants, many of whom
traded in Russian goods and those of the European countries, in Siberia and
on the Chinese frontier. Each invested in this new trading company 500
rubles, and they established two principal trading branches—one at Okhotsk,
the other at Kamchatka. The first was managed by a merchant from
Velikii Ustyug, Vasillii Ivanovich Shilov; the other by Ivan Timofeyevich
Krasil'nikov, from Soligamsk, who sailed in his own ship on the first
expedition and after this settled in Kamchatka. Of the other members of
this trading company the principal ones were: Fedor Nikif orovich Rybinskii,
a merchant of Moscow, Fedor Afanaseyevich Kul'kov, Ivan Lapin and
Fedor Burenin, the last three all from Vologda." A similar report is given
by Berkh in his Khronologicheskaya Istoriya Otkrytiya, p. 88, the slight discrepancies being accounted for by the fact that Berkh got his information
directly from Lapin himself many years afterwards in Siberia.
(27) Lacy to Grimaldi, St. Petersburg, February 7, 1773, in A.G.I.,
Estado, Aud. de Mex. 1, Doc. 1. 244 Tompkins and Moorhead. July-October
Ports of Kamtschatka with his ship in good condition and without
having lost a single member of his crew. He returned to this Court
at the beginning of last year with his secretary only, having left the
other Persons who had accompanied him on his expedition, in Siberia.
He delivered all of his papers to the Minister, who deposited them
under triple-seal in the Archive. This officer and his secretary were
made to swear to maintain the discoveries a complete secret, and he
was at once given command of the last Squadron which left here for
the [Greek] Archipelago.
Informed of this, I have exercised the greatest diligence to learn
what success this voyage has had, but I have heard only that on his
return, Mr. Tscherikow said that he had been in America, from whence
he brought some coins which he had known only in Europe. ... Of
all this I can vouch only for the voyage having been made by Mr.
Tscherikow, of which there appears to be no doubt. The other circumstances of the matter I give as conjecture.28
Information of a more definite nature than the foregoing was
relayed to Spain by Lacy in April of the same year.29 As a result
of persistent inquiries, a clearer picture of Russian activities in
the East now begins to emerge out of the fog.    Thus we become
(28) None of the extant records identify a voyage made by anyone
named Chirikov at this time. Moreover, it is unthinkable that such a
voyage might have escaped the notice of such contemporary scholars as
Coxe, Robertson, or Pallas; or that it could have been ignored by the other
explorers in their reports. It is most significant that no later writer, even
those of the present day in the Soviet Union, has ever hinted at it. Official
secrecy would have had to be of the most comprehensive and thorough-going
kind to hide it for all time.
On the other hand, the account of the expedition here referred to seems
to contain echoes of that of Krenitsyn. Krenitsyn himself was drowned
shortly after his return to Kamchatka, so that it was Levashev who returned
to St. Petersburg with the official report. This may have thrown off both
Lacy and his informant, so that, not knowing Levashev, they might have
jumped to the conclusion that it was a different expedition. The date of
the return to Kamchatka (1771), as well as that of the arrival of the
officer in the capital (1772), does not agree with those given for the
Krenitsyn expedition (1769 and 1771).
The document does give an indication of the difficulty encountered by a
foreigner in getting information on these secret voyages and the ease with
which mistakes might be reported as fact. Significantly enough, no further
mention of this mysterious voyage occurs in later Spanish documents.
(29) Lacy to Grimaldi, St. Petersburg, April 23, 1773,  (extract)  in
A.G.I., Estado, Aud. de Mex. 1, Doc. 10. 1949 Russia's Approach to America. 245
conscious of a rapidly changing situation. In the first place, the
eager zest displayed by the Empress in the first years of her
reign had begun to flag. Perhaps her energies were being drawn
into other channels. After the voyage of Krenitsyn in 1768 and
1769, no other expedition under Government auspices left the
mainland of Eastern Asia until that of Billings in 1790. There
are apparently no further decrees or other official documents of
any importance and no evidence of anything but the most casual
interest of the Government in the fur trade. Yet it is precisely
at this time that the fur trade was being drastically reorganized.
The exhaustion of the Aleutian Islands fur resources was driving
the traders farther and farther afield, into the waters of the
Gulf of Alaska. Operations were becoming extended in scope
and were consuming longer periods of time. The need for capital
was forcing the promyshlenniki into larger and more permanent
groups. More than this, their heavy expense would not allow
the slow and painful collection of pelts through their own comparatively unskilful efforts, and they were driven to force whole
settlements of natives into this service for widely organized
drives on the sea-otter. It is on the changes of this period that
contemporary Russian documents seem to be most silent. Indeed,
it is only from later records that we have been able to piece the
story together. The following document is of special interest
because it gives us a contemporary account of these happenings.
There had arrived at St. Petersburg an inhabitant of Kamchatka (probably a Russian) whom Lacy considered intelligent
enough to be questioned about the extent of Russian penetration
into America. Through an interpreter he learned from the
traveller of six Russian settlements between 64° and 65° north
latitude in the newly discovered region.80
According to this individual, they have, in addition to the great
establishment of the Russians on the Mainland, another on the Island
called Semidock, peopled with four thousand hunters, comprising Cossacks and some Americans taken from their homes by force; another
(30)  This bit of information Lacy afterwards found to be wrong.   See
below, Document VIII and foot-note (39). 246 TOMPKINS AND Moorhead. July-October
on one called Midnoistrovs, or Copper Island; and another on Behring
Island, or Comandador.31
(31) While possibly exaggerated, this information must be essentially
true. It lifts the curtain on the barbarous practice coming into use of commandeering the services of the Aleutian Islanders to carry out wide sweeps
of the coastal and island waters. Hundreds of baidars manned by Aleuts
were used in hunting down the sea-otter.
The island " Semidock" may be the Semidi (possibly the Semichi)
group lying in the Gulf of Alaska to the south of the Alaska Peninsula.
By the end of the 1760's game had pretty well been cleared out of the
Aleutians. But the coast of Alaska Peninsula, near-by Unga, and the
Semidi group offered even richer fields. By this time the organization of
large well-financed companies allowed the dispatch of strong expeditions
which were able to overpower the savages, not yet possessed of firearms
and thus helpless to resist the Russians. The carnage recorded for the
years 1762 to 1764 was not mere wanton cruelty; it was a decisive step in
terrorizing the Aleuts into complete submission. Henceforth they perforce
yielded to the demands of each successive expedition and provided from
their yet numerous population the hunters whose incessant labours piled up
huge profits for the Russian promyshlenniki. Catherine had heard of this
practice and had warned the Governor of Siberia that it would not be
tolerated. Krenitsyn had denounced the custom on his return. But it was
still followed thirty years later, at the time of the Billings expedition.
Indeed, it was continued by the Russian American Company, though it never
received legal sanction until the third charter of the Company in 1844.
Writing in 1840, Veniaminov (better known as the Metropolitan Inno-
kentii of Moscow), who served for many years as a missionary in the
Aleutian Islands, has this to say about the excesses of the Russians:—
" Of course, the treatment of the Aleuts by the first Russians was
horrible, though in part excusable, and it may be it was even inevitable.
But that of the Russians who followed was hardly excusable. The Russians
arriving later [those who came] from 1770 to 1790, with the example of
their predecessors before their eyes, also committed the worst excesses,
especially the promyshlenniki of the Ocheredin and Polutov companies. Of
the following, unhappily, their horrible conduct has left bitter memories in
the minds of the Aleuts—Il'ya Lazarev, Molotilov, Petr Katyshevtsov, Sha-
bayev, Kukanov, Sitnikov, Bryukanov and Malakov. The first two visited
Akun, the others the eastern region. These people set no great store by
the lives of the Aleuts. Thus it is known that the first hurled people from
cliffs, slashed them with knives (which they always carried on their persons), and beat some unfortunate Aleuts with the back of the axe for the
simple reason that one of them had dared to look on his mistress (the latter
died as late as 1838). And one of these brutal fellows ripped open the
belly of his Aleut mistress because, without his consent, she had eaten his
favorite portion of the whale.
" Totalling up such massacres (I will not mention those that are not
trustworthy), and taking into account their consequences, I do not consider 1949 Russia's Approach to America. 247
Further Russian designs on the lands of the North Pacific
were reported by Lacy within a month after the preceding
The Sovereign [Catherine] having informed the famous Haller,88
professor of the Academy here, of the discoveries in America, the
latter has presented a detailed Memorial recommending that when
peace [with the Ottoman empire] is made, a part of the Russian
Squadron from the [Greek] Archipelago be sent around the Cape of
Good Hope to Kamtschatka, in the ports of which it could refit after
its long voyage and afterwards continue conquests advantageous to
this Empire.34 According to him, this Empire has more right than any
other Power to America because it formerly had been colonized by
inhabitants of Siberia, where was carried on all the trade in Drugs
the number of Aleuts exaggerated by Davydov in his account of his voyage
as having been sent to the other world by Solov'ev [in 1764]; i.e., 3,000.
Even the number of Aleuts estimated by Sarychev as having been done in
may be accepted as probable.   And it seems to me to be too low.
" But at last the year 1790 and the arrival of Billings put an end to all
these murders and excesses and ushered in an era of tranquility." I. Veniaminov, Zapiski ob Ostrovakh Unalashkinskago Otdyela, St. Petersburg,
1840, Vol. II, p. 195.
(32) Lacy to Grimaldi, St. Petersburg, May 11, 1773, deciphered copy
in A.G.I., Estado, Aud. de Mex. 1, Doc. 5.
(33) The name " Haller" does not appear in any accounts of the
Academy of Sciences of the time. There was, of course, the famous Swiss
scientist Victor Albrecht von Haller, well known to the members of the
Academy and with whom we know that Gmelin corresponded. But since he
is spoken of here as a member of the Academy, may the name " Haller "
not be merely a Spanish phonetical rendition of " Euler"? The name
Leonhard Euler is familiar enough to all who know the history of the
Academy of Sciences in Russia. The latter was a native of Basel, Switzerland, and apparently was trained in the field of mathematics. He found
his way to Russia in the early days of the Academy of Sciences, and in
1735, at the age of 28, was named assistant to Joseph Nicolas Delisle.
After sixteen years of service, he left St. Petersburg for Berlin, where he
became a member of the Berlin Academy. He was induced to return to
Russia in 1766, when he was appointed by Catherine to the Geographical
Department of the Academy. He seems to have been chiefly responsible
for the brilliant cartographical work of the department that distinguished
the years 1768-1774. See Gnucheva, Geograficheskii Department, pp. 37-90,
(34) This is the first known proposal to support Russian claims in the
Pacific with a naval force drawn from the fleet in European waters. It was
revived in 1786, but did not actually materialize until the voyage of Kru-
senstern and Lisianskii in 1803. 248 Tompkins and Moorhead. July-October
which were sold in the Fair of Novogorod, a trade interrupted by the
incursions of the Tartars and the occupation of the Molucca Islands
by the Dutch.35
By the spring of 1775 Lacy had prepared for his Government
a rather detailed summary of Russian commercial activity in the
North Pacific. This document apparently comprises a recapitulation of the operations of the Shilov-Lapin Company during the
past decade. Since we have been obliged to rely on a paraphrase
rather than the original wording for this account, the language
is not necessarily Lacy's own.86
In 1763 a company of twenty Russian merchants was formed for
trade with Kamchatka and the islands already discovered and those to
be discovered. This company had two settlements in Kamchatka and
had come upon many populous islands in 1764 and 1766 on the western
coast of America.37 The company's capital had increased from 10,000
rubles in 1763 to 60,000 in 1772, and the furs and other products
obtained by this company in 1773 were valued at 300,000 rubles.
Between 1768 and 1773 they sent seven frigates to the west coast of
North America, one in 1768, two in 1770, one in 1772, and three in
1773; the boats of 1772 and 1773 had not yet returned.38 This company had no fixed settlements in America,89 but landed Cossacks there
(35) Perhaps this is a reference to the legendary belief prevalent in
Russia that merchants of Novgorod had reached America in the Middle
Ages, though Novgorod itself is here confused with Nizhnii Novgorod, the
site of the great fair. iSee Theodore S. Farrelly, "A Lost Colony of Novgorod in Alaska," in the Slavonic and East European Review (American
Series), III (1944), pp. 33-38.
(36) Lacy, Continuacion de Algunas Noticias Adquiridas Sobre el
Comercio de los Rusos en las Costas del Nor-Oeste de la America Septentrional (A.G.I., Estado, Aud. de Mex. 19, Doc. 10), paraphrased in Charles
Edward Chapman, Founding of Spanish California, Berkeley, 1916, p. 245.
(37) For the personnel of the Shilov-Lapin Company, see foot-note (26),
(38) The number of ships sent out by this company as given here
.exceeds that recorded by Berkh, who gives only four. This seems strange,
since Berkh got much of his information from Ivan Lapin, one of the former
members of the company. The above figures give some idea of the fortunes
amassed by the luckiest of the promyshlenniki. Berkh, Khronologicheskaya
Istoriya Otkrytiya, p. 6.
(39) If this statement applies to the Shilov-Lapin Company, it is at
variance with information contained in Document VI (see above, foot-note
(30)). In point of fact, the earliest date for which we have conclusive
evidence of the existence of anything like a permanent post is 1778. When
Cook called at Unalaska, he found, according to his own statement, that the 1949 Russia's Approach to America. 249
to hunt. The commerce of Kamchatka bore a considerable relation to
that of America and neighboring islands, and was therefore worthy of
mention. In 1755 the Russian trade in Kamchatka did not exceed
10,000 rubles and it had already increased 300 per cent. They got
cloth and other manufactured goods from Russia and Siberia. There
were more than 3,000 people in Kamchatka and the dependent islands
(exclusive of the newly discovered ones on the coast of North America),
who paid tribute to the crown in furs of a total value of more than
20,000 rubles.
What appears to have been the fullest account of Russian
explorations to fall into Spanish hands was that transmitted to
Madrid by Lacy in June, 1775, together with Muller's map of the
latest discoveries. It was a memoir entitled Notte [sic Note?]
relative aux decouvertes que les Russes ont fait en 1764, 1765,
1766 et 1767.A0 It was a translation made by Muller himself
from an original which the dispatch does not identify. The very
anonymity of the document invites speculation as to the authorship. There is no suggestion that it was written originally
by Muller, an assumption confirmed by reference to a list of
Muller's own published works. But a list of his manuscripts,
now in various Soviet archives, which was prepared by N. A.
Baklanova and A. I. Andreyev, is found in the first volume of
Muller's Istoriya Sibiri (pp. 541-569). Listed there we find
two documents, one of which might have been the original. The
first, " Notes of Captains T. and V. Shmalev on the sea voyages
carried out by the promyshlenniki of various companies from
1744 to 1775," consists of fifty-nine pages and was apparently
completed in 1775.    The second is called "A list of promysh-
Russians were quartered in buildings, implying that this was a post. Cook,
A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean, Vol. II, p. 498.
The long voyages that now removed the traders from their base at
Okhotsk made it impossible for the hunting to be done by the crews on the
outward voyage. This had now to be done by persons detailed, while the
crews henceforth spent their whole time plying back and forth to keep the
post and the hunters supplied.
(40) Lacy's dispatch, dated June 26, 1775, and the translated memoir,
Notte relative aux decouvertes que les Russes ont fait en 1764, 1765, 1766,
et 1767, tant au sud du Kamchatka, qu'a Vest et au Nord est de cette
presque isle traduite litterallement du Russe en frangais en juin 1775
(A.GJ., Estado, Aud. de Mex. 19, Doc. 10) are not available to us in the
original text.    The paraphrase is in Chapman, op. cit, pp. 245, 246. 250 Tompkins and Moorhead. July-October
lenniki and their voyages from Kamchatka and Okhotsk to the
American islands, compiled by T. Shmalev in 1775." It consists
of eight pages and is accompanied by the draft of a translation
into German in the handwriting of Miiller.41
He [the author] commented upon the general awakening of European
interest in the Pacific at that time, this being an important period for
French and English discoveries farther south, while Russia was discovering new lands and inhabitants in the north. The Russian discoveries began with Ivan IV (1533-1584), who conquered Siberia and
sent an expedition to explore its northern and eastern frontiers, which
returned in the next reign, having found the sea at both points.42
Muller had found documents in the Siberian archives showing that in
a subsequent exploration along the Siberian coasts, one man reached
Kamchatka. He must therefore have passed through Bering Strait.48
Discoveries stopped during the troublous times of the usurpers, Boris
and Demetrius, but were resumed in the reign of Peter I (1672-
1725).44   He sent one body of explorers along the northern coast of
(41) This list of manuscripts gives some idea of the vast amount of
material on Russian discoveries that had been assembled by Muller and
the extraordinarily wide range of his contacts that facilitated this work.
T. Shmalev (and his brother) contributed not less than twenty-five of these
manuscripts, so it is easy to see why he enjoyed the confidence of Miiller
(see below, foot-note (52)). The full tale of the explorations of the Russian
trading companies will not be unravelled until all of this material has been
subjected to thorough scrutiny.
(42) If this sentence means what it appears to, that the Arctic and
Pacific Oceans were reached by explorers during the reign of Fedor Ivano-
vich (1584-1598), some violence is done to history. The Arctic Ocean at
the mouth of the Lena was reached in 1632 for the first time by Russians,
and the Pacific Ocean at the mouth of the Ud in 1639—both nearly a half-
century later. The Arctic Ocean, it is true, was reached farther to the west
by traversing the Yenesei to its mouth in 1607, but this hardly appears to
be his meaning. iSee R. J. Kerner, The Urge to the Sea, Berkeley, 1942,
pp. 75-80 (and especially the maps on pp. 75 and 80); also E. A. Samoilov,
Semen Dezhnev i ego vremya, Moscow, 1945, p. 20, and map facing p. 104.
(43) This refers probably to the Dezhnev expedition, 1648-1650. On
the basis of material he alleged to have found in the archives of Yakutsk,
Muller claimed that in the seventeenth century a Cossack named Dezhnev
had in one year (1649) made the journey from the mouth of the Kolyma
River around the north-east corner of Asia to the mouth of the Anadyr.
Sammlung Russischer Geschichte, III, App. 5-20. Golder and others have
cast doubts on this story. See Golder, Russian Expansion on the Pacific',
1641-1850, Cleveland, 1914.
(44) The statement that there were no discoveries from the Time of
Troubles (1598-1613) to the reign of Peter I (1689-1725) is demonstrably
untrue.   See foot-note (42), above. ..* ft » g ^- §« <L_!L.S_^ ^ *> £ £ 3 5 * 5  " «* 1949 Russia's Approach to America. 251
Siberia, and others up the eastern coast of Kamchatka to see if they
would meet, and to discover new lands and islands.46 It was not until
1728, however, that Danadisiki Bay in 66° was reached, this being
accomplished by Captain Bering.46 Later, Chirikof reached the coast
of America and Spanberg discovered the Kurile Islands, a great archipelago north of Japan.47 It was reserved for Catherine II (1762-
1796) to charter a company of Russian merchants to engage in commerce with the new islands and discover others. There were twelve
in this company, to each of whom the Empress had given a gold medal,
while orders were given to her officers in Okhotsk to assist them in
every way. Thus far they had discovered a number of islands, from
which came their principal profits in furs.48 In 1764 the company sent
out ships from Okhotsk under Lieutenant Lynd [Sind], who discovered
a number of islands between 56° and 57°, returning late in 1767.49
As a result, a new map was published in 1768, which appeared again
(45) This may refer to the activity of Atlasov in Kamchatka (1697-
1706) and the sea expedition of Ivan Yevreinov and Fedor Luzhin (1719-
1720).   The discoveries of these men, however, were negligible.
(46) The first Bering expedition, 1728. Danadisiki Bay in latitude 66°
is puzzling. If he means the Gulf of Anadyr, which is somewhere near
that latitude, it was not the farthest point reached by Bering, which was
67° 18' north, in the Arctic Ocean.
(47) This is obviously a deliberate attempt to belittle the achievements
of Bering on his second expedition (1741). Not only had the latter directed
the far-flung expeditions that mapped the northern coast of Siberia, as well
as the expedition of Spanberg and Walton toward Japan, but he also personally commanded the voyage across the Pacific toward America. He himself succeeded in reaching the mainland, a fact which is studiously suppressed. The mystery is why Muller, himself a German who had suffered
from the antipathy to foreigners in the Academy of Sciences, should have
lent himself to such a manoeuvre to lower Bering's prestige and exalt that
of the native Russians. While it is not implied that Muller himself was
the author of this memoir, it seems strange nevertheless that he had translated the document as it was, without a comment. On the other hand, there
is some evidence that Muller attached himself to the Russian nationalist
group to advance his own interest. See James R. Masterson and Helen
Brower, " Bering's Successors, 1745-1780," in Pacific Northwest Quarterly,
XXXVIII (1947), p. 49; also A. M. Skabichevskii, Ocherki istorii russkoi
tsenzury, St. Petersburg, 1892, p. 16.
(48) This is the Shilov-Lapin Company referred to in Document II.
(49) See Document III for the voyage of Lieutenant Sind, and especially
foot-notes (19) and (20). All available information indicates that Sind
proceeded through Bering Sea into Bering Strait and that he may have
touched Seward Peninsula, which would be about 66° north latitude. The
latitudes 56° and 57° are obviously some degrees off. This may be a
copyist's error. Or it may be Muller's conscious effort to correct the obvious
mistakes in latitude made by Glotov's expedition of 1764 and others. 252 Tompkins and Moorhead. July-October
in the publications of the Academy of Sciences of St. Petersburg in
1773 bo Miiller himself made an even more striking map, showing all
the voyages and discoveries since the time of Bering and the size,
position, and, in part, the names of the islands.81 As regards products,
dress, and speech, the islands and their inhabitants between 50° and
55° resembled those of the Kurile Islands; between 55° and 60° the
people almost exactly resembled the natives of Kamchatka; between
60° and 70° they differed a little from the other sections. In all of
these islands the people were very much like those discovered by the
English and French in the middle of the Pacific. Beyond the islands
discovered were others not yet occupied by the Russian argonauts, but
a number of ships sent out in recent years had not returned. The
present commander in Kamchatka, Timafey Tschemalow [Shmalev],
had 1,120 men under his orders, as follows: 300 soldiers; 706 natives
of Kamchatka; and 114 men in some of the Kuriles.62 A certain
major, of Polish origin, in the Government mining service of Siberia,
had informed Muller that the Russians had no settlements on the
(50) The natural inference to be drawn from this statement, that this
was an official map of the Academy, is hardly true. It is more probable
that it was the map used to illustrate the voyage of Sind and which may
have been the work of Staehlin. It seems to have been the original of that
which appeared in Coxe's Account of Russian Discoveries in connection with
Sind's voyage. It may also have been used in the Mesyatsoslov Istoricheskii
i Geograficheskii for 1774, which is apparently the publication of the
Academy mentioned.
(51) Muller's map was based on recent information and was intended
to correct the earlier map of 1758 (published in 1771). It was prepared by
him in collaboration with Truscott.
This map had been completed in 1776 and was published in Berlin by
Busching for the Berlin Academy, under the title " Totius Imperii Russici,
tabula generalis optimis quibus vis Acad. Petropolit, mappis quarum CI. Dn.
Fried. Busching Consist. Supr. Consil Usui dedit copiam collectam." Muller,
Istoriya Sibiri, Vol. I, p. 106, foot-note (4).
(52) Timofei Shmalev was one of the most competent Russian officers
in the Far East for many years. He had already won golden opinions of
the officials in St. Petersburg. In a letter of August 30, 1770, Muller, on
instructions from the Empress Catherine, complained of the inadequacy of
information of discovery that had been assembled. He recommended that
Shmalev, after the return of Krenitsyn (see above, Document V), be sent
to explore regions off the mouth of the Anadyr, Le., the coast of America,
along which he should cruise until he reached Russian settlements or
Russian trading-posts. Shmalev at this time had just returned from an
expedition. See letter of Muller to Sergei Matveyevich Kuzmin, August 30,
1770, Russia: Archives Department, Papers Relating to the Russians in
Alaska, 1732-1796 (21 v., photostat copies of originals in Russian Archives,
in the University of Washington Library, Seattle), XI. 1949 Russia's Approach to America. 253
American coasts, although they were sending some vessels there every
year, as well as to the new archipelago.58
In order to gauge the true significance of events in the North
Pacific, we must remember the incomplete and, in many cases,
the false concepts of the geography of the north-west coast of
America that prevailed at the beginning of the eighteenth century—concepts that had to be tested and corrected by experience.
That this was of necessity a slow and painful process was due in
the first place to the want of trained navigators in the crew
and the necessarily meagre and often inaccurate information
obtained on the voyage. The general atmosphere of secrecy
with which these expeditions were surrounded resulted in even
this reaching later voyagers often in garbled form.
The Spanish account reflects, of course, the confusion in the
minds of the Russians. From the voyages of Bering and Chirikov in 1741 the cartography of the north-west coast emerged in
the vaguest outlines. The subsequent voyages of the fur-traders,
ill equipped as they were for accurate observations, in some cases
added to the chaos. For instance, the expedition of Glotov (completed in 1764), in the course of which he reached the Alaska
Peninsula, threw the maps into complete confusion by locating
it some 9° too far to the north. When, following this, Sind, in
the years 1765 to 1768, identified the islands he discovered in
Bering Sea and Bering Strait as the same islands of the Aleutian
chain, it confirmed the belief that that group trended north-east
toward the American Continent. These errors entirely vitiated
the account published by Staehlin in 1774 and were not corrected
till Krenitsyn and Levashev made their voyage to the mainland
in 1768 and 1769 and fixed the correct latitude of the Fox Islands
at the eastern end of the Aleutian chain.
The correct information thus rendered available was used by
Muller in his map published in 1771. It thus gave the Spanish
their first really accurate information as to the exact locale of the
activity of Russian fur-traders. While one of these documents
(Document IX) reassured the Spanish on the temporary nature
of Russian occupation, even official secrecy could not obscure the
fact that the Russians were on the point of a rapid extension of
their hold south and east.
(53) See above, foot-note (39). 254 Tompkins and Moorhead. July-October
The turning-point had come in Russian expansion with the
subjugation of the Aleutian Islands and the partial exhaustion
of their fur resources, entailing a venture into the more distant
waters of the Gulf of Alaska. Ultimately, this new area would
itself provide an approach to Cook Inlet, Prince William Sound,
and Alexander Archipelago. The loosely knit stock companies,
formed for one trading venture and then dissolved, would be
superseded by others of a more lasting character, capable of
more extended operations and promising greater financial
When Cook in 1778 found Gerasim Ismailov installed at
Unalaska in the role of the factor of a Hudson's Bay post, it
meant that the Lebedev-Lastochkin Company had established a
permanent advanced base. This would serve not only as a
means of exploiting the neighbouring Fox Islands but also the
Alaska Peninsula and the islands lying to the east in the Gulf
of Alaska. At this point there appears to be a hiatus in the
Russian sources. With one exception—viz., the voyage of Potap
Zaikov in 1783 into Prince William Sound — we have almost
nothing to indicate the stages by which the Russians proceeded
from their foothold at Unalaska to that established by Shelekhov
on Kodiak in 1784. The Spanish documents do something to fill
this gap.
The embassy reports from St. Petersburg over the years 1761
to 1775 were not without effect on Spanish policy in America.
That Spain was so long in realizing that the Russian outposts in
the north constituted a counterclaim to her own dominions was
due not so much to the failure of her intelligence service at the
Russian capital as to Russia's own confusion regarding its new
discoveries. Ultimately, when the flow of information failed to
clarify the situation, Spain was forced to act. In order to ascertain the extent of the challenge, she moved northward up the
Pacific coast. Her gradual occupation of Upper California,
beginning in 1769, was due only in part to the Russian menace.64
(54) Having examined most of the Spanish correspondence on the subject which shuttled back and forth between the ambassador, the ministries,
and the viceroy in Mexico, we arrive, along with Chapman, at the conclusion
that the occupation of the bays of San Diego (1769), Monterey (1770), and
San Francisco (1776) were motivated also in part by Spain's concern over
French, Dutch, and British operations in the Pacific, by her need for sta- 1949 Russia's Approach to America. 255
But her series of reconnaissance expeditions to the North Pacific
between 1774 and 1790 were inspired directly by the alarmist
reports from her embassy at St. Petersburg. The first of the
Spanish voyages, undertaken by Perez in 1774, reached 55° north
latitude in its search for the Russians; the second, under Hezeta
and Bodega, reached 58° in 1775-1776; and the third, under
Arteaga and Bodega, reached 60° in 1779; all without having
found evidence of Russian activity. As a matter of fact, it was
not until the fourth voyage, under Martinez in 1788, that the
Russians were encountered. In the following year, when Martinez in 1789 sailed north to fortify Nootka Sound, a show-down
occurred. The clash, however, was not with the Russians, as
expected, but with the British, and it was the British who forced
Spain to abandon her exclusive claim to the north-western coast
of America.65 Thus, after 1790, that region was open to colonization and exploitation by all nations.
Stuart R. Tompkins.
Max L. Moorhead.
University of Oklahoma,
Norman, Oklahoma.
tions to break the long east-bound voyage of the Manila Galleon, and by the
pressure exerted on her Ministry of the Indies by the Franciscan Friars,
who were eager to open new fields for missionary activity. See Chapman,
op. cit, pp. 419—421.
(55) The Spanish voyages of 1774 to 1790 are best summarized in Henry
Raup Wagner's The Cartography of the Northwest Coast of America to
1800, Berkeley, 1937, Vol. I, pp. 172-180, 191-196, 202-205, 214-219. The
international incident of 1789-1790 is fully dealt with in William Ray Manning, The Nootka Sound Controversy, Washington, 1905. THE DIARY OF MARTHA CHENEY ELLA.
Part II.   January 1, 1855-November 25, 1856.
January 1st, [As the manuscript is badly torn this entry is illegible.]
3, 4 & 5   Snowing [manuscript torn] weather.
7th,   Doctor Helmkin1 came down walking, to see Aunt, stayed aH
night.   Mrs. Staines was taken very poorly, obliged to go to bed.
The Doctor went back in the morning   Aunt much about the
We heard of a Mail Steamer2 being lost by Cape Flattery, about
50 Mail Bags lost. The Major Tompkins8 that brings the mail to
Victoria [h]as gone down to rescue the passengers.
Mr. Ella came down with a Boat to fetch Mrs Staines, and
Horace4 up to the Fort who are going to England in the H.B.
Coy Ship Princess Royal.5   Mrs. Staines leaves here to morrow
9th,   Uncle and I went down to the Beach to see Mrs Staines off
A fine calm morning   Aunt still in bed, and I am with my arm
(1) Dr. John Sebastian Helmcken, a pioneer of 1850, who came out in
the service of the Hudson's Bay Company in the Norman Morison.
(2) Presumably the steamer Southerner, Captain Sampson, formerly the
old Panama liner Isthmus, but in 1855 owned by Captain J. T. Wright, of
San Francisco. She sailed from San Francisco, December 20, 1854, bound
for the Columbia River, stopping en route at Port Orford and Umpqua,
which latter port was cleared on December 31. " On attempting to enter
Columbia river, the Southerner struck on the bar, and sprang a leak. Not
being able to cross the bar, Capt. Sampson put out to sea and stood for
Puget Sound, but the leak increasing, he was compelled to run his vessel
ashore in order to save the lives of his passengers and crew. All were safely
landed about sixty miles south of Cape Flattery; the vessel and cargo will
be a total loss." San Francisco Daily Alta California, January 17, 1855.
See also Lewis & Dryden, Marine History of the Pacific Northwest, Portland, 1895, p. 53.
(3) Built in Philadelphia in 1847, the Major Tompkins was the first
regular mail steamer on Puget Sound, beginning the service in September,
1854. Unfortunately the vessel was wrecked on Macaulay Point, February
10, 1855.   Lewis & Dryden, op cit, pp. 52, 59.
(4) Horace Foster Tahourdin, nephew of Mrs. R. J. Staines, who
accompanied her and her husband to Vancouver Island.
(5) The barque Princess Royal, 583 tons, was built at Blackwall for the
Hudson's Bay Company. On her maiden voyage to this coast she brought
out the party of Staffordshire miners that became the pioneers of Nanaimo.
She arrived at Esquimalt, November 23, 1854. See Barrie H. E. Goult,
" First and Last Days of the Princess Royal," British Columbia Historical
Quarterly, III (1939), pp. 15-24.
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. XIII, Nos. 3 and 4.
257 258 James K. Nesbitt. July-October
in a sling   A nice house to leave   Uncle had to do everything,
Cook and all [there] was to do in the house.
[As the manuscript is torn a few entries are illegible.]
16,       ...   Princess Royal sailed to day for England, a beautiful
day and a fine fair wind.
20th    The Steamer Otter, sailed for San Francisco this morning,   Mr.
Ella Chief Mate   Mr Pemberton and Capt Howard6 passengers,
the former on his way to England.
24,      Mr and Miss Langford came over on horseback   stayed all night
when [sic] back the next afternoon.
Feby 1st,   Capt. and Mrs. Cooper, Tom,7 and the 2 children came down,
Fanny Mary the baby to be weaned,   they stayed all night went
home the next day, left baby with us
Now comes a Blank for a short time.
July 19th    I was married to Mr. Ella by the Rev. Mr. Cridge8   we
were married at home by Special Licence   It was a beautiful
day but very warm, we had a large dinner Party, had a tent
made out doors, it being too warm in the house, for so many
The Governor and his family honored us with their company,
and beside them were Mr and Mrs Langford and family, Capt
and Mrs Cooper, Mr & Mrs Barr,9 the two Miss Reids,10 Mrs
(6) Presumably Captain Edward Howard, a pioneer shipmaster in the
Pacific Northwest and resident of Vancouver Island for many years in the
colonial period. Lewis & Dryden, op. cit, pp. 112, 113. Born in England in
1812, Captain Howard died in Oakland, Calif., February 2, 1910. Victoria
Colonist, February 3, 1910.
(7) Thomas Cooper, brother of Captain James Cooper.
(8) Rev. Edward Cridge, born December 17, 1817, at Bratton Fleming,
Devonshire, came to Vancouver Island in the Marquis of Bute on April 1,
1855, as chaplain to the Hudson's Bay Company. He remained in Victoria
until his death on May 6, 1913.
(9) Robert Barr and his wife, Harriett, arrived in the Norman Morison
on January 16, 1853. Previous to their marriage both of them had been
teachers in Leeds, England. Originally it was intended that Barr should
become the school-teacher at Craigflower, but instead he assumed charge of
the Victoria District school, which position he held until he resigned in
August, 1856. [See D. L. McLaurin, " Education before the Gold Rush,"
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, II (1938), pp. 252, 253, 260'.] On
August 12, 1856, he was appointed " Clerk pro tern " of the first Legislative
Assembly of the Colony of Vancouver Island. Evidently he resigned from
this position in December, and presumably shortly thereafter he returned to
England. E. O. S. Scholefield, (ed.), Minutes of the House of Assembly of
Vancouver Island, August 12th, 1856, to September 27th, 1858 [B.C.
Archives Memoir III], Victoria, 1918, pp. 16, 30.
(10) Presumably Catherine Balfour Reid and Mary Anne Reid, daughters of Captain James Murray Reid who came to this coast in 1852 in 1949 The Diary of Martha Cheney Ella. 259
Muir and family, Mr Newton, Mr Pierce [sic] Mr Mackay, and
one or two others. Miss Mary Langford was Bridesmaid and
Mr Thomas Cooper, Bridesman. The British man of war
Brisk11 came into the harbour the same day, Mr. Tyne one of
the Midshipman [sic] called here to report to the Governor.
August Mr Ella, Tom Cooper and myself went up to the Fort to
a Party, given by the Governor to the oficers [sic] of the Brisk
and Dido,12 we stayed at the Fort that night, came home the
next day on horseback very tired, the next day, my husband
went to Victoria again to join the Otter came back did not go
in her. On Monday, we all went to the Fort Uncle, Aunt.
Mr Ella and myself all on horseback, Uncle and Aunt came
back as far as Mrs. Cooper's the same night. I was staying
with a friend of ours,—Mrs. Barr for a few days, we came home
on Saturday. My husband and self brought Mrs Barr, and the
little Girl13 home with us, for a visit, they not being very well
thought a change would do them good. My husband was taken
very ill with dysentry, after we got home, we sent for the
Doctor, he came next morning, bled him and gave him medicine
kept in bed until the next Thursday, which made him very weak
indeed. I was taken very ill myself with the same complaint
was in bed for two days   was very weak.
Sept. Mr. Swanston the Austrailian [sic] Gentleman came to pay
another visit to Vancouver Island, he is going to the Sandwich
Islands, with Capt Cooper.
Oct. Capt Cr sailed with his Schooner Alice, for the Sandwich Islands,
he was away a fornight [sic], then returned such dreadful
weather nearly lost the the [sic] Schooner.   Mr. Swanston came
command of the Hudson's Bay Company's brigantine Vancouver which was
lost on Rose Spit in August, 1854. Thereafter he engaged in mercantile
pursuits in Victoria until his death on April 24, 1868.
(11) H.M.S. Brisk, a screw steam sloop, 1,087 tons, was launched at
Woolwich in 1851 and mounted fourteen guns. At this time she was returning under Commander Alfred J. Curtis from participation in the joint
British and French attack on Russian positions at Petropaulovski in May,
1855. See Donald C. Davidson, "The War Scare of 1854: The Pacific Coast
and the Crimean War," British Columbia Historical Quarterly, V (1941),
pp. 243-253.
(12) The Brisk was joined by H.M.S. Dido at Esquimalt on July 24,
1855. [W. K. Lamb (ed.), "The Diary of Robert Melrose," British Columbia
Historical Quarterly, VII (1943), p. 214.] This eighteen-gun corvette, built
in 1836, was commanded by Captain William H. A. Morshead and also
participated in the Petropaulovski assault. The Dido sailed for San Francisco on August 6 and the Brisk the following day.   Ibid.
(13) Mary Elizabeth Barr, born May 21, 1853 [Melrose Diary, p. 127],
was baptized by Rev. R. J. Staines, July 3, 1853. 260 James K. Nesbitt. July-October
and stayed at our house ten days, untill [sic] the Otter goes to
San Francisco.
Dec. 22    The Otter Sailed for California,   Passengers Mr Swanston,
Mr Ford, Capt & Mrs Hunt14 and Miss Liddle15
Xmas, very dull   no company at all
31st    Uncle Aunt and self went over to Colwood to see the Old Year
out, and the new one in,   the next day we all went to see Mrs.
Cooper and Mrs. Cameron.16
3d. On Thursday we came home, Miss Phillips and Miss Langford
with us, to spend a few days.
January 10th We received a Letter from Mrs. Staines and 1 Newspaper.
12, The Otter returned from California—my husband came down
in the evening in a canoe, from Victoria. Tom Cooper came
down in a Boat from Colwood, to take Miss Langford and Miss
Phillips home tomorrow.
14,       My Husband returned to Victoria
19, Saturday Mr Lewis, and Mr Ford came down with Henry, to
spend Sunday with us they returned in the evening, walked
to the Saw Mill, and from there by canoe.
26, My husband, with Mr Gale17 chief mate of the H.B. Co's Ship
Princess Royal, came down. I went up to Victoria with them
on Monday Morning, walked as far as the Sawmill, then by
(14) Captain James Hunt was the former part owner and commander
of the Major Tompkins.   Lewis & Dryden, op. cit, pp. 52, 59.
(15) The Otter reached San Francisco, December 28, 1855, and at that
time the passenger list records, along with Swanston and Ford, a " M. Liddell." San Francisco Daily Alta California, December 29, 1855. A James
Liddle, wife and infant, came to Vancouver in the Norman Morison in 1853;
whether this is intended for Mrs. Liddle, or whether a sister of James Liddle
had come to the island, is not clear.
(16) Mrs. David Cameron, nee Cecilia Douglas, a sister of Governor
James Douglas, came to Vancouver Island in July, 1853, with her husband
who, subsequently, on December 2, 1853, became .the first Chief Justice of
the island colony. Their home on Esquimalt Harbour was called " Belmont."
Mrs. Cameron died November 26, 1859. Victoria Colonist, November 29,
(17) Charles Gale first came to this coast on the maiden voyage of the
Princess Royal in 1854, and it is his log of this voyage that provides us with
our only detailed information concerning this important voyage. According
to the Melrose Diary, the Princess Royal arrived on her second trip on
December 17, 1855. 1949 The Diary of Martha Cheney Ella. 261
30,      I returned from the Fort.   The Otter sailed this morning for
the North.   Capt Swanson18 Pilot and Mr Weyghton19 passenger.
Feb. 9 Tom Cooper came over, to stay a day or two, for the benefit of
his health.
12       Tom went back to Colwood,    The Princess Royal, sailed for
England this morning 40 passengers on board, from the Colony
Mr & Mrs Muir & Michael called and stayed all night with us,
going from the Fort to Soke.
14       Valentine day,   Uncle and I went over to Colwood, on horseback,
back at night   found the roads shocking bad.
16,       Capt and Mrs Cooper and children came down, to spend a few
days,   came on Saturd^   went back the following Wednesday,
left Lizzy with us for a short time
23, Saturday My husband returned from the North, brought us
two North Indian Boys with him
24, Tom Cooper came over from Colwood stayed all night with us,
and back the next morning. My husband returned to Victoria
the same day, in a canoe raining in torrents, Andrew & Robert
Muir came to see for Michael, who has gone to the Fort and
not yet returned
26,      My husband came down late at night in a canoe, returned next
morning to Victoria   went away to Nenimo [sic], on Thursday.
March, 3d,   I went up to the Fort in a canoe,   a fine calm day   got up
about Noon.
4th,   The Otter came in from Nenimo in the afternoon.
8th,   The Otter sailed for San Francisco, Mrs Muir [?] passenger.
I came down as far as Metchosin in the Otter, and then crossed
in a canoe.   Mr Barr and his daughter with me.   Capt Cooper
came to fetch Lizzy.
9th,   A lovely day.   Mr Ford and Mr. Moffit20 [sic] came down to see
us in the afternoon   returned in the evening to Victoria.
10th,   Monday,   A lovely day, very calm.
Tuesday   the same, & Wednesday a lovely day
(18) Captain John Swanson was born in Rupert's Land in 1827 and
joined the service of the Hudson's Bay Company at the age of 14. He came
to the Northwest Coast in the schooner Cadboro, and rose in the service,
becoming a master mariner in 1855.    He commanded various of the com-
• pany's ships and died in Victoria, October 21, 1872.    Victoria Colonist,
October 22, 1872.
(19) Stephenson Weynton.   V. supra, p. 110, foot-note 37.
(20) Hamilton Moffat came out to this coast in the service of the
Hudson's Bay Company in the barque Cowlitz in 1850. For a time he served
in Victoria and subsequently at Fort Rupert, Fort Simpson, and other posts.
He retired from the company in 1872 and the following year joined the
Indian Affairs Branch of the Federal Government. He died in Victoria,
August 13, 1894.   Victoria Colonist, August 14, 1894. 262 James K. Nesbitt. July-October
Thursday   a Strong Breeze from the N E.   Mrs Langford, two
Miss L's. and Master George came down yesterday,   they go
back to day except Mary,   she is going to stay a few days with
us.   I go with Mrs L to Colwood, with Uncle, to stay the night,
come back the next day
15th,   A wedding at Victoria to day, Mr Moffit one of the H.B. Co's.
Clerks, to Miss McNeill21 Daughter of one of the Chief factors,
Fort Simpson.
16        Sunday    Mr Barr, and Mr Ford came down    went back to
Victoria in the evening
21st,    Good Friday, a very wet day, we expecting a party but cannot
come for the wet    Saturday,    Squally in the forenoon,    a fine
23,      Easter Sunday,   nothing particular.
Monday a fine day &c   I received an invitation for an evening
Party, Capt McNeill's on Wednesday
26,      Wednesday evening came on to rain and Blow from the S.W.
Thursday fine, with a Breeze, S.W.   I have been Sowing Flower
seeds, and Nuts.    The Otter returned from  San  Francisco,
a quick passage of 19 days.
29th,   My husband came down, also Mr Barr and Capt Cooper, with
his two daughters, the younger to stay with us for a short time.
31st,    My husband returned to Victoria on horseback.
April 1st,   A very Blustering day, wind from the Westward   The 1st
Lieutenant with 8 Soldiers came down to inquire after our
welfare, and to afford us protection in case of any disturbance
with the Indians.22
(21) Hamilton Moffat married Lucy McNeill, daughter of Captain W. H.
McNeill. Of this wedding, Augustus F. Pemberton in his Diary wrote
" General holiday at the Fort in honor of the marriage of Miss McNeil to
Mr. Moffatt. I accepted an invitation to the breakfast." MS., Archives
of B.C.
(22) In 1854 and 1855 large numbers of northern Indians came to
Victoria during the summer. In the latter year Governor Douglas, besides
warning the settlers to be on their guard, raised a small police force of four
men " to detach on emergencies to the aid of any settlers who might apply
for assistance." [Douglas to Lord John Russell, August 21, 1855, MS.,
Archives of B.C.] This small force became known as the Victoria Volti-'
geurs, a term that Douglas had used as early as 1853 in connection with the
Peter Brown murder at Cowichan when he referred to the employment of
" our little corps of colonial voltigeurs " in the expedition sent out to capture
the murderers. [Douglas to John Tod, January 7, 1853.] At the February
27, 1856, meeting of the Legislative Council, Douglas directed attention to
the defenceless state of the colony and the possibility of the presence of
large numbers of Indians during the summer. In consequence, it was
resolved " That a Company of thirty, to consist of 1 Lieutenant, 1 Sergeant, 1949 The Diary of Martha Cheney Ella. 263
3d, Thursday My husband sailed with Capt Mitchell in the Recovery,23 to San Francisco and back.
5th, Received an English letter from Aunt Hannah.
6th, Sunday A very stormy day. We had a slight fall of snow in
the afternoon Blowing a gale from the S.W. Tom Cooper came
over in the [evening] stayed all night. The Cos. Steamer
[Otter sailed] yesterday for the North. Capt McNeil and
family, passengers.
10, Uncle and I rode over to Colwood, met with Miss Cameron
Mr McDonald and Mr Mackay and Mr Margery24 there. Uncle
went to Esquimalt Mill to see our Flour ground, he returned
home the same evening.   The Boat with the Flour next morning.
15, The following week very stormy weather S.E. winds and rain.
The Voltizeurs [sic] payed [sic] us their usual visit last Tuesday, they come once a fornight [sic]
25, We had a party of young Ladies to pay us a visit Miss Phillips,
Miss Langford, and Oty [?] and two of Capt McNeil's daughters,   they return next Wednesday.
28, Mr and Mrs Langford came over on horseback to spend the
evening and go back the next day. Just as they were going to
leave, Mr Skinner and Mr Jones,25 an American officer, came
in they stayed a short time, then Capt Cooper and his eldest
daughter came in, our house was pretty well full with company
Capt C. got wind bound, was obliged to stay all night and walk
home the next morning,   left Elizabeth with us.
30,      Our party of Ladies, left to day, rather a stormy day for them.
and 2 Corporals and 26 Privates, be immediately raised and maintained at
the publick expense until the Northern Indians leave the settlements. . . ."
[E. 0. S. Scholefield (ed.), Minutes of the Council of Vancouver Island
. . . August 80th, 1851, to February 6th, 1861 [B.C. Archives Memoir II],
Victoria, 1918, p. 28.] Later that year Douglas wrote: " Mr. McNeill with
a guard of eight Voltigeurs has orders to visit the several settlements in
Esquimalt District, to enquire about your welfare, and to afford you protection." [Douglas to the inhabitants of Esquimalt District, March 29, 1856,
MS., Archives of B.C.]
(23) Originally brought out to Tumwater, Washington Territory, in
January, 1850, as the brig Orbit, some time prior to March, 1852, she was
sold  to the  Hudson's  Bay  Company for $1,000 and renamed Recovery.
(24) Mr. Margery was sent out in the Marquis of Bute to be accountant
for the Craigflower Farm of the Puget Sound Agricultural Company. His
services proved unsatisfactory and he was dismissed from the company's
service in the spring of 1857. H. H. Berens to Kenneth McKenzie, January
16, 1857, MS., Archives of B.C.
(25) J. J. Jones was purser on the U.S.S. sloop of war Decatur. This
vessel played a prominent part in the wars against the Indians in the United
States, assisting in the defence of Seattle in February, 1856. [Lewis &
Dryden, op. cit, p. 61.] According to the Diary of Robert Melrose, she was
in Esquimalt from April 21 to May 4, 1856. 264 James K. Nesbitt. July-October
[Lewis & Dryden, op. cit, p. 28.]    She was of 154 tons burden and commanded by Captain W. H. McNeill and used generally on the coast.
May 3d,    Saturday,    Uncle's birthday, a lovely day.    Mr Ford, Mr
Golledge,26 & Mr Laughton,27 came in the evening   returned to
Victoria next day   Mrs Cooper, sent for her two daughters   we
are quite alone now.
13, My Birthday,   Mr Skinner, Dr Johnson28 [sic] and Mr Yates,
came down   returned to the Fort in the evening.
14, Uncle and I rode over to Colwood,   Miss Langfords Birthday,
we returned home in the evening.
16 The Recovery returned from Frisco, she passed our house about
9 in the morn.   My husband, came down in the evening.
17 Rather a dull stormy day.   Miss Phillip's Birthday.
18,       Sunday,   Tom Cooper came over in the afternoon   Mrs Cooper,
confined of another daughter this morning.29
Mr Pemberton the surveyor general called to see us this evening.
19       I went up to Victoria with my husband in a canoe, a nice calm
morning.   I remain at Mrs Barr's untill [sic] Mr Ella Sails.
24       The Queen's birthday, a very wet miserable day,   had racing
as usual at Victoria   My husband sailed this morning, in the
Brig Recovery, for the Sandwich Islands.
26       I returned to Metchosen   called at Mrs Coopers on my way to
see her and the Baby.    I got home about 9 oclock at night—
canoe traveling   [sic]     Thomas  Cooper came with me from
Thetis Cottage,   Mr Ford was at our house when we got home.
(26) Richard Golledge was a fellow passenger with Martha Cheney in
the Tory. He came out as a clerk in the service of the Hudson's Bay
Company, originally intended for service at Fort Victoria, but shortly after
his arrival he became private secretary to Governor Douglas. He was born
at West Ham, Essex, and died at Victoria, September 5, 1887, aged 55 years.
Victoria Colonist, September 7, 1887.
(27) Thomas Laughton was a partner of William Eddy Banfield and
Peter Francis, private traders in the Clayoquot Sound district, residing in
1855 at Port San Juan. [W. E. Banfield and P. Francis to Douglas, July 17,
1855, MS., Archives of B.C.] No details are available as to when he arrived
in the colony. As late as 1865 he was serving as Indian interpreter to the
Vancouver Island Exploring Expedition.
(28) Dr. George Johnston was another fellow passenger in the Tory,
having come out as surgeon to the Hudson's Bay Company. For a time he
served at Nanaimo, where he fell into disfavour because of private trading
transactions. [Douglas to Tolmie, August 25, 1855, MS., Archives of B.C.]
Evidently he continued on in the colony in private practice, for in 1858 he
was advertising as " George Johnston, M.R.C.S., S.A.C. of London " with an
office at the corner of Yates and Government Streets. [Victoria Vancouver
Island Gazette, August 4, 1858.] He left the colony in the Princess Royal
on March 25, 1859.   [Victoria Colonist, March 26, 1859.]
(29) V. infra, entry for September 14. 1949 The Diary of Martha Cheney Ella. 265
27 Mr Ford, and Tom looking for Gold, washing out sand, they
succeeded in getting the colour, they got some beautifull [sic]
black sand with several specks of Gold in it. Weather rather
unsettled this last week.
June 1st, Mr Pemberton, with his Uncle Augustus Pemberton30 came
down to see us.
13th, Aunt, and Uncle, are gone over to Mrs Cooper on horseback,
and also to Colwood. I am all alone, no one near nor by,
excepting the dogs which keep watch for me Aunt & Uncle
returned in the evening, brought news of a poor young man
being killed with a horse, was smashed to atoms, he was
riding one and leading another and tied the Rope round his
body, the horse shied and started off, which pulled him of [sic]
his horse, and his foot caught in the stirrup, and the two horses
dragged him along the ground some distance, he was picked
up on the Bridge—the poor fellow died the same evening—his
name was Mr. Armstrong.31
23d, Tom Cooper came over to see us, and to bid us Good bye, he is
going away in the Schooner Alice, to the Sandwich Islands, with
his Brother
24th, Capt and Mrs Cooper, and little Henrietta & Mr Clark32 came
down to pay us a visit returned in the evening Capt Cooper
sails this week for the Islands.   Beautiful weather.
27,       The Schooner Alice, sailed to day, for the Sandwich Islands.
31, Mr Langford, Emma, & Oty came over on horseback Emma
to stay with us a short time for the benefit of her health, Mr L
and Oty returned in the evening.
July4, Lieutenant McNeil and 8 men came down to enquire after our
welfare, &c.
8,       Aunt sprained her ancle [sic] very bad.
9th,   The house full of company,   Mr Langford  Miss L and Mary,
and Miss Tod, came on horseback   also Mr Skinner, Dr. John-
(30) Augustus Pemberton, a native of Dublin, Ireland, came out to the
colony as an independent settler in December, 1855, presumably in the
Princess Royal. In July, 1858, he was appointed Commissioner of Police by
Governor Douglas. [Victoria Gazette, July 17, 1858.] He died in Victoria
on October 18, 1891.   Victoria Colonist, October 20, 1891.
(31) Robert Melrose, in his Diary, gives his name as Joseph Armstrong.
He was buried June 7 by Rev. Edward Cridge, and the Burial Register gives
his age as 22.
(32) Charles Clarke, accompanied by his wife, came out to the colony
in the Princess Royal in the fall of 1854, assigned for duty as school-teacher
at Craigflower. The school was completed and opened in March, 1855, and
there he remained until May, 1859, when he was succeeded by Henry
Claypole. 266 James K. Nesbitt. July-October
son, Mr Yates, and Capt Sangster,33 all returned in the evening.
Emma Langford went back with her Papa too. Aunt is still
laid up with her ancle. I have a great deal to do, 9 cows to
milk night and morning, for a treat.
22d, The Recovery returned from the Islands to day she had a very
good passage. My husband came down in the evening, returned
to the Fort early next morning.
26, Saturday, he came down again I went up to the Fort with him
on Monday morning, Mr Ford acompanied [sic] us, I returned
from the Fort as far as Mrs Coopers the next day. Uncle went
to the Fort on Tuesday, and called at Mrs. Cs for me on
Wednesday, and we came home in the evening. Miss Mary
Langford and her youngest sister with another little girl, are
staying with us for a visit and change of air.
August 1st, Mr and Miss Elizabeth Cridge34 came this evening from
Victoria on horseback, whom we were very happy to see, they
stay over Sunday with us.
2d, Saturday we had a ride round the Plains. Mrs Cooper came
down to dine, brought little Henrietta with her, they got
weatherbound could not get home untill [sic] Sunday morning
3d, Sunday Mr Cridge read prayers this morning we were quite
a family circle we spend a very pleasant day, indeed, in the
afternoon we had a small walk, to the mountain at the back
of the house.
4th, Monday, Mr Ella went away early in the morning Mr and
Miss Cridge and myself started for the Fort about 11 oclock,
we got up there about 2 P.M. I was visiting at the Parsonage,
stayed there from Monday untill [sic] Saturday, came down
with my husband in the evening to Metchosen.
11th, Monday, I went back with my husband to Victoria to stay the
week with Mrs Barr another friend of ours,
15th, I came home last evening, with Mr Cridge and Miss Mary
Cridge,35 who came down with the intention of going to Sooke,
but were disapointed [sic], and did not get there.
(33) Captain James Sangster, a native of Scotland, first came to the
Northwest Coast in 1832 as a seaman in the service of the Hudson's Bay
Company. In 1837 he commanded the brig Llama and the brigantine
Cadboro, 1848-54. Subsequently he became pilot, harbourmaster, collector
of customs, and postmaster for Victoria. He relinquished all of these offices
in the summer of 1858, partially because of ill health, but also on account
of the increased detail of work as a result of the in-rush of gold-seekers.
He committed suicide, October 18, 1858.   Victoria Gazette, October 19, 1858.
(34) Miss Elizabeth Cridge, a sister of Rev. Edward Cridge, came out
to the colony in the Princess Royal in December, 1855.
(35) Miss Mary Cridge accompanied her sister Elizabeth to the colony
in December, 1855. 1949 The Diary of Martha Cheney Ella. 267
17th, Sunday, Mr Cridge read prayers in the morning. Monday they
returned to the Fort I went with them stayed untill [sic]
Friday 2 Men of War came in last week the Line of Battle
Ship Monarch and the Trincomalie.36
29th, Uncle and [Aunt] gone to the Fort to the opening of the
Colonial church.37   I am all alone
30th,   My husband sailed to day for the Sandwich Islands
Sept 5,   Aunt & Uncle returned from the Fort   Uncle is not at all well.
6th,   I went to Mrs Skinners to go on Board the Monarch, to hear the
service to morrow
8th,   I returned home,   rather a wet day
11th, Mr Alexander38 the flag lieutenant and Mrs Alexander his wife
the daughter of Admiral Bruce came down to spend a night
with us.
12, Mr & Mrs Alexander returned, Mr Langford and Dr Beaumont39 came over to see us,   returned in the evening to Colwood.
13 Capt Cooper came down I returned to Thetis Cottage with
him in the evening
14 Sunday went on Board the Monarch to hear the service, Capt
Cooper had his child christened by the Chaplain,40 named Jane
Bruce   Mrs Alexander Godmama, and Mrs Langford.
16, Went to the Governor's Ball at the Fort a very pleasant party,
kept up untill [sic] 4 oclock in the morning we had the
Admiral's Band from the Ship.
18, Went for a row in the Trincomalee's Boat with with [sic] Mrs
Langford and some of the Miss Ls had a very pleasant Picnic
round the Dockyard Island,41 3 officers with us, Mr Somerville,
Mr Bray & Mr Richardson,42 after dinner we went on Board
the Trincomalee for a short time, after that we roed [sic]
home again.
(36) H.M.S. Monarch, eighty-four guns, was launched at Chatham in
1832. When Rear-Admiral William Henry Bruce was appointed to the
command of the Pacific Station, November 25, 1854, this vessel became his
flag-ship. She participated in the Petropaulovski assault in 1855 and at
this time was on a routine visit to the Northwest Coast. According to
Robert Melrose in his Diary, she arrived on August 11, and the following
day H.M.S. Trincomalee, Captain Wallace Houstoun, dropped anchor in
(37) The Victoria District Church, the predecessor of Christ Church
Cathedral, was consecrated Sunday, August 31, 1855. The original building
was destroyed by fire in 1869.
(38) John R. Alexander.
(39) Robert W. Beaumont was assistant surgeon in H.M.S. Trincomalee.
(40) The chaplain in the Monarch was Rev. William G. Green.
(41) Presumably Cole Island in Esquimalt Harbour.
(42) The only one of these three that it has been possible to identify is
Horatio Somerville, a clerk to the admiral's secretary, George P. Martin. 268 James K. Nesbitt. July-October
19, I went on Board the Monarch to dine with Mrs Alexander, at
5 oclock, in the evening went to a small dancing party given
by Capt Patey43 of the Monarch, I returned to the Ship with
Mrs Alexander to sleep, went on shore the next morning after
breakfast in the Capts Gig.
22, I went to Mr Skinners this morning, to fetch Constance there
[sic] youngest child but one to go home with me, we came by
canoe had rather a rough passage down, found Uncle very ill
when I got home
23, The Monarch sails for San Francisco to morrow morning early
25, Thursday we had a party came down on horseback Mr. Langford, Mary and Oty, & Mr Martin44 & Sir Santim Loraine,45
from the Trincomalee, they all returned in the evening, Uncle
much about the same.
26, Dr Beaumont came down in the evening to see Uncle he stayed
all night with us.
27, Dr. Beaumont returned to the Trincomalee the same day Mr
Douglas Miss Cameron Miss Agnes Douglas and Alice came
down on horseback to see Uncle.
28, Capt Cooper came over to see Uncle found him much about the
29, We had a large riding Party down here there was Mr Langford
and 3 of his daughters, & Miss Agnes Douglas—and Mr Skinner
then there was Dr Beaumont Mr Martin Mr Millar46 Mr Somerville, Sir Santim Loraine Mr Price from the Trincomalee, 11
of them altogether I returned to Colwood with them in the
30, went to a dancing Party on Board the Trincomalee kept up
untill [sic] 4 oclock in the morning. A wedding took place
to day Mr Newton one of the Companys Clerks, to Miss Tod,
they go down to Metchosen to spend the honey week, they were
the first couple to be married in the Colonial Church.
October 1st,   Ambros [sic] Skinner came over to Colwood to escort me
home, riding.
3d,       Dr Beaumont rode over in the evening to see Uncle,   stayed all
night,   Uncle about the same
4 the Dr   returned   a very wet morning indeed.
5 Sunday,   a very wet day.
6, Mr & Mrs Newton, and myself rode over to Colwood. Dined
there and returned in the evening we had a very pleasant ride,
(43) George E. Patey.
(44) George P. Martin, the admiral's secretary.
(45) Sir Lambton Loraine: v. supra, p. 106, foot-note 22.
(46) Henry M. Miller, a lieutenant in the Trincomalee. 1949 The Diary of Martha Cheney Ella. 269
The Trincomalee Sailed to day for Masset land47 [sic],   we are
left without a Man of War again for a short time.
7, A very stormy day,   Blowing a gale of wind from S. E.
8, I went to the Fort with Mr & Mrs Newton by canoe Blowing
a gale of wind we had rather a rough Passage, I returned
from the Fort next day was 4 hours coming down nothing but
Indians in in [sic] the canoe, could not make them Paddle
found Uncle much about the same.
October 13th, Mr Cridge came down to see Uncle and read to him the
VI Chapter of Matthew, and concluded with prayer and I am
grieved to say it was the last time that Mr Cridge saw him,
though that visit was blest to him I am happy to say he knew
that his strength was failing him. But we did not for a moment
think his end was so near he died that same night at 12 oclock
he went to bed at his usual time no worse, and he had a good
sleep, and awoke coughing and it Broke a Blood vessel and was
suffocated he never spoke again, I never witnessed a more
happy [word missing in manuscript] than his, I trust he has
gone to rest, Poor Uncle he was Buried in Victoria churchyard, by the Revd Edward Cridge Vancouver's Island, Oct. 16th,
Nov 1st, My dear Husband returned from the Sandwich Islands, and
was very much shocked when he heard of the death of Poor
dear Uncle, he came down in the evening Saturday, Mr Lewis,
came down with him
Sunday, Mr Langford & Miss L came down & Mr Margery,
returned in the evening   Mr Lewis with them.
3d,      My dear Husband's birthday   rather a cold day
4th, A Sale by Auction was held at our place A dreadful wet day,
the Stock sold remarkably well, althogether it was a very good
Sale. Mr Langford & Mr Skinner stayed all night went home
the next day, Mr L took Mary home with him, the rest of the
week it took us to pack our things, to come to the Fort, we
came up to the Fort on Saturday evening in a canoe, we went
to the Parsonage, Aunt was very weary she did not go out
the next day, Henry and I went to church in the afternoon,
and up to Mrs Barr's in the evening, where I am now residing
untill [sic] the English Ship comes out.
13th, My dear Husband sailed to day down to the Steam Saw Mills,48
to take in lumber for the Islands.
(47) Mazatlan, a rendezvous and provisioning point on the Mexican
(48) This was the mill owned by the Vancouver's Island Steam Saw Mill
Company, then operated by Giles Ford and located on the north shore of the
lagoon at Albert Head. For additional information concerning this mill, see
W. Kaye Lamb, " Early Lumbering on Vancouver Island," British Columbia
Historical Quarterly, II (1938), pp. 42-46. 270 James K. Nesbitt.
14 Mrs Barr rode down with me to the Mill to see Mr Ella before
he leaves,
15 they sail to morrow for the Sandwich Islands, I trust they will
have a prosperus [sic] passage, and a quick and safe return.
Very blustering weather   for the next week
25th, My dear Aunt went down to Colwood to stay a little time also
Miss Mary Cridge who is very poorly just now. We went down
as far as Belmont in the Gove[r]nors Boat Mr Cridge and
myself went with them as far as Belmont returned in the
evening   it was a lovely day,   rather cold in the evening. NOTES AND COMMENTS.
Victoria Section.
A meeting of the Victoria Section was held in the Provincial Library
on Friday evening, May 30, with some fifty members in attendance. In
the absence of the Chairman, Mr. Willard E. Ireland presided. Tribute
was paid to the memory of Mrs. W. Curtis Sampson, a faithful and much
respected member in whose passing the Section has suffered a great loss.
The speaker of the evening was Miss Corday McKay, of the staff of the
Lord Byng High School, Vancouver, B.C. Choosing as her subject Wires
in the Wilderness, Miss McKay gave a graphic account of the circumstances
surrounding the Collins Overland Telegraph project of the mid-1860's.
Many entertaining anecdotes relating to social life in New Westminster at
the time were used to embellish a carefully summarized account of a most
fascinating incident in the history of communications in this Province.
On Monday evening, June 20, the last meeting of the spring season of
the Victoria Section was held in the Provincial Library with Professor
Sydney G. Pettit, Vice-Chairman, presiding. The Honourable Mr. Justice
A. D. Macfarlane, of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, was the
guest speaker, and he had selected as his subject Looking Backward at the
Administration of Justice in Victoria. In an informal manner Mr. Justice
Macfarlane centred his remarks around the Victoria Court-house, giving
details of architectural design and plans of the building itself, with explanations concerning the uses of the various rooms and their contents. After
dealing with the building, the speaker turned his attention to some of the
early colonial Judges and historic cases, mentioning particularly Judge
Matthew Baillie Begbie and the Thrasher case. The vote of thanks was
proposed by Mr. R. A. Wootton. The Chairman referred to the presence
of Miss Evaline Pemberton at the meeting, who was a daughter of the late
Augustus F. Pemberton, under whose supervision the first Court-house and
jail was built in Victoria in colonial days.
The Annual Field Day of the Section was held on Saturday, August 13,
when over sixty members and friends motored to the Sooke River Flats for
a basket picnic. Mr. Willard E. Ireland, Provincial Librarian and Archivist,
gave a popular talk on the early exploration of Sooke by naval ships of
Spain and Great Britain in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, leading up to the first settlement of the district in 1849 by Captain
Walter Colquhoun Grant. Reference was also made to other pioneers,
notably the Muir family, and to the origins of industries in the district.
The first meeting of the fall season of the Victoria Section was held in
the Provincial Library on Tuesday evening, September 27. The meeting
was arranged especially to commemorate the centenary of the California
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. XIII. Nos. 3 and 4.
271 272 Notes and Comments. July-October
gold-rush, and the Section was honoured by the presence of the patron of
the British Columbia Historical Association, His Honour the Lieutenant-
Governor, and Mrs. Banks. The speaker of the evening was Dr. T. A.
Rickard, who had chosen as his topic The California Gold-rush of 1849.
Dr. Rickard tolfl the story of the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in 1848
and the subsequent events which led eventually to the rush of 1849. After
dealing with California, the speaker passed on to Australia, the Queen
Charlotte Islands, British Columbia, and the Transvaal, pointing out the
significance of gold-rushes and their economic effects and enlarging upon
the stimulus and assistance they afforded emigration. The vote of thanks
was proposed by His Honour and seconded by Mr. H. H. Claudet, both of
whom recounted enjoyable reminiscences of early associations with the
Vancouver Section.
Mr. Herbert Hughes, M.A., a member of the staff of the Department of
English at the University of British Columbia, was the speaker at a meeting of the Vancouver Section held in the Hotel Grosvenor on Tuesday
evening, May 10. Mr. Hughes discussed the Cariboo from a point of view
quite refreshing to members who have figuratively plodded over every mile
in search of gold. He had searched for songs, and while he did not find
the " mother lode," there were some bright spots in his travels. Many of
the songs sung in the Cariboo were parodies of American folk-lore—" Oh
Susannah " became " I'm on my way to Cariboo with a gold-pan on my
knee " or " I'm on my way to Similkameen." At one time Barkerville was
one of the largest centres on the Pacific Coast, but the change from placer
to hydraulic mining marked the end of both individual effort and of the
days of romance. Mr. Hughes found that his contacts with " old-timers "
were very friendly but not entirely satisfying to a researcher. The usual
answer to his inquiry regarding songs was that " there were none," but
gradually men like Clarence Stephenson, of Barkerville, a stage-coach
driver, and Jack Gairdner, of Quesnel, pieced together old melodies. Mrs.
Boyd, of Cottonwood, and Mrs. Lottie MacKinnon added to his collection.
All those interviewed were generous in their attitude toward the attempt
to reconstruct the old days of " sing-downs" in the gathering-places of
golden Cariboo.
The first meeting of the fall season of the Vancouver Section was held
in the Hotel Grosvenor on Tuesday evening, October 11. Dr. Gilbert E.
Tucker, formerly connected with the records branch of the Royal Canadian
Navy and now on the staff of the Department of History at the University
of British Columbia, had chosen as his subject The Royal Navy at Esquimalt. In his introduction Dr. Tucker outlined the development of the
British Navy from the pre-Elizabethan days, when it sailed the " narrow
seas," until the nineteenth century, when, to preserve the Pax Britannica,
it patrolled the " seven seas," supported by its many far-flung bases, among
them Esquimalt. The first of Her Majesty's ships to make Esquimalt its
base was H.M.S. Constance in 1848.    Previously, since 1837, Britain had 1949 Notes and Comments. 273
used three South American ports for her Pacific bases, but following the
Oregon Treaty of 1846, it became increasingly necessary for her to guard
her interests on the Pacific Coast. Esquimalt was a good choice for many
reasons—strategic position, ease of defence, good harbourage, a friendly
population, and a favourable climate. Its one drawback, but a very annoying one, was its proximity to the United States with its high wages, proving a constant temptation for ratings to desert. On one occasion in the
space of two days there were fourteen desertions. Six years after the
establishment of the Esquimalt base came the Crimean War. At the
request of the Pacific Command, Governor Douglas prepared hospital huts
at the new base, the last of which buildings was demolished in 1939 to
make way for war-time construction.
The speaker stressed four main episodes in the history of the base:
the participation of men from the squadron in 1854 and succeeding years in
the San Juan boundary dispute; the building of the Dockyard in 1887 to
obviate the necessity of having the ships go to San Francisco for repairs;
the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railroad in 1885, giving added
strategic importance to Esquimalt as an alternative route to the Orient
and the Antipodes; the assignment of the ships in 1893 as a patrol to
ensure that the terms of the Sealing Fisheries Agreement with the United
States were observed. In 1905, in line with the policy of concentrating
the fleet near home waters, the squadron left Esquimalt for the last time,
and on May 4, 1911, after leisurely negotiations, the base was transferred
to the Dominion Government by Imperial Order in Council. For almost
sixty years the Royal Navy had played an interesting role in the social life
of Victoria. Its departure was regretted by the citizens of the whole Province. Its officers and ships have left a memorial of themselves in many of
the place-names of the Province.
Okanagan Historical Society.
The three branches of the Okanagan Historical Society were represented at the annual meeting held in the United Church hall, Kelowna,
B.C., on Wednesday afternoon, May 4. Captain J. B. Weeks, of Penticton,
was in the chair, and twenty-three members were present. Reports were
received from officers on the year's activities, and particular appreciation
was tendered to Dr. Margaret A. Ormsby for her work as editor of the
Twelfth Report. The work of the various branches was presented by R. J.
McDougall for Penticton, J. B. Knowles and H. C. S. Collett for Kelowna,
and Major H. R. Denison for Vernon. A committee was appointed to work
in conjunction with Dr. W. N. Sage, of the Historic Sites and Monuments
Board of Canada, in preparing a programme for the unveiling of the cairn
at Westbank on August 24. One of the more encouraging items of business was the report that plans were in progress for the organization of
a fourth branch in the Oliver-Osoyoos district. The officers of the Society
for the coming year are as follows:— 274 Notes and Comments. July-October
Honorary Patron   -    - Col. the Hon. Charles Arthur Banks, C.M.G.
Honorary President -     Hon. Grote Stirling, Kelowna, B.C.
President    -    -    -    - J. B. Knowles, Kelowna, B.C.
First Vice-President-     Dr. F. W. Andrew, Summerland, B.C.
Second Vice-President - Mrs. R. B. White, Penticton, B.C.
. Secretary      ...     Rev. J. C. Goodfellow, Princeton, B.C.
Treasurer   - Maj. H. R. Denison, Vernon, B.C.
Auditor    -    -    -    -     A. E. Berry, Vernon, B.C.
Editor   ----- Dr. Margaret A. Ormsby, Vancouver, B.C.
* North—
J. G. Simms, Vernon, B.C. (three-year term).
Burt R. Campbell, Kamloops, B.C. (two-year term).
G. C. Tassie, Vernon, B.C. (one-year term).
James Goldie, Okanagan Centre, B.C. (three-year term).
F. M. Buckland, Kelowna, B.C. (two-year term).
Mrs. D. Gellatly, Westbank, B.C. (one-year term).
H. D. Barnes, Hedley, B.C. (three-year term).
Capt. J. B. Weeks, Penticton, B.C. (two-year term).
A. J. Rowland, Penticton, B.C. (one-year term).
Officers of the three branches for the ensuing year are as follows:—
Penticton Branch.
President  Mrs. R. B. White.
Secretary   ---------- R. J. McDougall.
W. T. Leslie. R. G. Duncan. H. Cochrane.
Kelowna Branch.
President F. M. Buckland.
Vice-President --------- J. B. Knowles.
Secretary-Treasurer       ------     L. L. Kerry.
Mrs. D. Gellatly. E. M. Carruthers.
W. R. Powley. H. C. S. Collett.
Vernon Branch.
President --...       j. g. Simms.
Vice-President -    -    -     G. C. Tassie.
Secretary   ----------       H. R. Denison.
James Goldie. A. E. Sage.
J. G. Heighway. G. E. McMahon.
Burt R. Campbell. 1949 Notes and Comments. 275
Subsequently on Wednesday evening, June 22, a meeting was held in the
dining-room of the Lakeview Cafe, Osoyoos, B.C., to organize a branch of
the Okanagan Historical Society. Mr. J. B. Knowles, President of the
parent society, took the chair, and Rev. J. C. Goodfellow, of Princeton, was
named Secretary pro tern. In all, twenty-four persons were in attendance,
and it was unanimously agreed that a new branch—to be called the South
Okanagan Branch—should be organized. The following officers were
President      -----     F. L. Goodman, Osoyoos, B.C.
Vice-President      - George J. Fraser, Osoyoos, B.C.
Secretary-Treasurer      -     -     A. Kalten, Osoyoos, B. C.
Directors (all of Oliver, B.C.) —
N. V. Simpson. Dr. N. J. Ball.
Albert Millar. L. J. Ball.
Mrs. Albert Millar.
The cairn erected by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
to mark the Hudson's Bay Company's brigade trail through the Okanagan-
Valley was unveiled by Mrs. David Gellatly, of Westbank, on August 24,
1949, in the presence of a large company of valley residents. Mr. M. L.
Riley, President of the Westbank Board of Trade, acted as chairman, and
the speakers were Dr. W. N. Sage, western representative of the Historic
Sites and Monuments Board of Canada; Dr. Margaret A. Ormsby, President of the British Columbia Historical Association; J. B. Knowles, President of the Okanagan Historical Society; F. M. Buckland, Kelowna, B.C.;
W. A. C. Bennett, M.L.A. for South Okanagan; Mrs. David Gellatly, West-
bank, B.C.; and Mickey Derrickson, a descendant of Louis Pion who acted
as packer and interpreter for the North West and Hudson's Bay Companies.
The cairn is located on the edge of No. 9 Indian Reserve at the east end
of Westbank's business street. This spot, at the foot of Boucherie Mountain
and in the centre of what was once known as McDonald Plains, is on the
trail which the fur-traders followed on their way to the head of Okanagan
Lake. The site is marked on A. C. Anderson's manuscript map in the Provincial Archives.   The plaque on the cairn bears the following inscription:—
Okanagan Brigade Trail.
A link in the fur-trading route from New Caledonia (North
Central British Columbia) to the Columbia River.
First explored by the Astorians in 1811, the Trail was used by
the North West Company and from 1821 by the Hudson's Bay
Company. The fur brigades from Caledonia journeyed overland by this route from Kamloops to Fort Okanagan until
The gold-seekers of 1858, coming through the Okanagan, followed the old trail, which also in the early 1860's became a
second route to Cariboo. 276 Notes and Comments. July-October
The main address was given by Dr. Margaret A. Ormsby. She declared
that if the Fraser River had been navigable, the Okanagan Valley would
hardly have been used as a supply route for the northern fur-trading posts.
Both the North West Company and the Hudson's Bay Company, however,
found it expedient to use the valley, which served as a natural link between
the Fraser and the Columbia watersheds, after the practice was established
of bringing out supplies to the Pacific Coast to avoid the long overland trip
from the east. As late as 1825, Governor Simpson hoped to discover a route
to the Interior from Fort Vancouver by way of the Fraser River, but he
was induced by the failure of the McMillan expedition to open up a feasible
route and, by John Stuart's advice, to adopt the overland route from Fort
Okanagan to New Caledonia. From 1826 until 1847 the trail through the
valley was used regularly and constantly, and the horse brigades travelled
each spring from Fort Alexandria on the Fraser River to Fort Okanogan.
Through the Okanagan Valley they carried the furs collected at Fort St.
James from the other New Caledonia posts, as well as the fish shipped from
Kamloops to supply southern posts. The furs were taken from Fort
Okanogan by water to Fort Vancouver, the source of supply for the Interior
posts. The Okanagan Valley itself was a poor fur-trading country, and for
this reason no posts were established in it. In the 1840's the Catholic priests
began to accompany the brigades to New Caledonia, and they had considerable success in converting the Indians before the trail was abandoned,
following the drawing of the Oregon boundary-line in 1846. The last
brigade passed through the valley in 1847, and in 1848 the difficult trail
from Fort Hope through the Coquihalla Valley to Fort Kamloops was
opened. The old Okanagan Valley route came back into use when miners
followed it to reach the Fraser River and when cattlemen travelled over it
to reach the Cariboo. In spite of its utility the Okanagan brigade trail
never seems to have been regarded by the officers of the Hudson's Bay
Company as indispensable for the transportation of supplies in the Pacific
Northwest. Simpson, conscious of the need of protecting the maritime fur
trade against American inroads, always hoped the Fraser River route would
be opened. Had posts been built along the Interior route, the Okanagan
Valley might have been settled before it was, and it is remotely possible that
a different division of the territory might have taken place in 1846.
The British Columbia Historical Association availed itself of the opportunity afforded by the appointment of the Royal Commission on National
Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences to present a brief outlining
its opinions on the various matters under review. The President of the
Association, Dr. Margaret A. Ormsby, Miss Helen R. Boutilier, Dr. W. N.
Sage, and Mr. John E. Gibbard, appeared before the Royal Commission
during its sittings in Vancouver in October and were given a very sympa- 1949 Notes and Comments. 277
thetic hearing.    The brief, drawn up by Dr. Margaret A. Ormsby, Miss
Helen R. Boutilier, and Mr. Willard E. Ireland, is reproduced herewith.
To the Royal Commission on National Development in
the Arts, Letters and Sciences.
Dear Sirs and Madam:
The British Columbia Historical Association, representing over five hundred laymen and professional historians who are interested in the study of
local history, desires to lay before the Royal Commission on National
Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences its views in connection with
the collection and preservation of records and other material that constitute
the heritage of our country, and with the promotion of historical research
in Canada in such a manner as will ensure a sound and intelligent use of
these resources.
The British Columbia Historical Association came into existence in 1922
and subsequently published four Annual Reports. It was reorganized in
1936, and in co-operation with the Provincial Archives commenced the
publication of The British Columbia Historical Quarterly in 1937. The
Quarterly provides an outlet for research conducted by laymen as well as
by recognized professional historians, both Canadian and foreign, postgraduate and honours students of the University of British Columbia and
elsewhere. Its present circulation is in excess of six hundred, and it is to
be noted that over fifty Canadian and foreign universities are regular
subscribers. At the present time, when, with one exception, all the provincial histories of British Columbia are out of print, it is the most accessible
source of information on British Columbia history, and it is the chief current bibliographical guide to material on the history of the province and its
relation to the Pacific Northwest area.
The Association presently functions through branches in Victoria and in
Vancouver at which papers are presented at monthly meetings. In addition,
the Okanagan Historical Society, which has some three hundred and fifty
members and which has published twelve Reports, and the Kamloops
Museum Association are affiliated with this organization.
In a direct attempt to encourage an interest in local history, the Association has sponsored essay competitions at the University level.
The Association endorses all the recommendations made by its senior,
The Canadian Historial Association, in the brief presented by that Association to the Commissioners. It, too, believes that the welfare of such federal
agencies as the Public Archives of Canada and the National Film Board
bears a direct relationship to the fostering and promotion of national feeling
and common understanding. At the same time, the British Columbia Historical Association believes that provincial and local bodies can likewise
make a contribution, particularly in the field of historical studies. Provincial and local history is the basis for national history. Research in both
fields contributes to an understanding of Canadian problems as well as to
an appreciation of our national heritage. The Association also believes that
the fostering of historical studies is a step toward the promotion of international good-will. It therefore begs to lay before the Commissioners the
following recommendations: 278 Notes and Comments. July-October
1. Support for Federal Agencies.
1. The Public Archives of Canada.
The Association urges greater financial support for the National
Archives so that it may increase its facilities as a repository of national
records. Like the Canadian Historical Association, we hold that it is highly
desirable that provision be made for systematic and regular transfer to the
Public Archives of the papers of various government departments, and that,
in addition, the Archives should acquire the papers of Ministers of the
Crown and the private papers of figures of national importance. It is also
urged that by means of micro-photography relevant historical records from
British and foreign sources should be acquired.
The Association is interested not only in the accumulation but also in
the mobilization of these resources in order that they may become readily
accessible to all sections of the country. The early history of several of the
Canadian provinces is contained in the papers of various departments of the
federal government, and it is highly desirable that copies of this material be
made available to students working in provincial centres. The Association
is, consequently, interested in the expansion of micro-photography projects
by the National Archives so that material bearing on the development of
particular areas may be made available either by purchase or by loan to
provincial archives or other responsible local bodies.
This Association would urge upon the Commission the responsibility of
the National Archives in the matter of publications. It is felt that valuable
as are the Annual Reports, Calendars of State Papers, and collections of
documents, that have been published, these should be supplemented by a
broader scheme for the publication of source material, relating to the social
and economic, and not only to the political and constitutional development
of Canada. In particular, a general guide to the resources of the National
Archives is urgently required.
2. The National Library of Canada.
The British Columbia Historical Association heartily approves the foundation of the National Library for Canada. We endorse the recommendations of the Canadian Library Association on the nature and scope of the
National Library. Specifically, we would urge the amalgamation, at least
for purposes of administration, of the National Archives and the National
Library. This recommendation is based upon local experience in British
Columbia wherein over a period of many years the Provincial Archives and
the Provincial Library have functioned as a unit.
3. The Historic Sites and Monuments Board.
The Association feels that there should be greater financial support for
the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, so that it may expand
its work of marking historic sites and so that it may have the funds to
maintain the monuments it erects. It would be desirable that this Board be
empowered and given sufficient financial support to make possible its holding
in trust for the citizens of Canada, historic buildings, and that, wherever
practicable, it should establish local museums associated with events of 1949 Notes and Comments. 279
national importance, as it did in the case of Fort Beausejour in New Brunswick and Annapolis Royal in Nova Scotia.
4. The National Film Board.
The Association feels that the National Film Board could assist in
developing a greater pride in Canada's past by expanding its work in the
production of historical films and film-strips, such projects being undertaken
in close co-operation with the National Archives and the National Museum
to ensure their historical validity.
5. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
The Association approves the production of such programs by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as " Documents of Canadian History." We
would most strongly urge that such programs be related to the development
of more than one area and that, wherever possible, parallelisms in the history of Canada be stressed. In other words, the emphasis should be put
upon the highest common factors of Canadian national developments and
not upon the least common multiples.
II. Provincial Agencies.
Since Provincial Archives do not exist in all of the provinces of Canada,
this Association hopes that the Commissioners will be able to urge upon
provincial authorities their responsibility in setting up Provincial Archives
not only as repositories of much historical material that might otherwise be
lost, but as centers in which students may have access to, and be trained in
the handling of, source material.
III. Financial Support for the Social Sciences in Canada.
The Association wishes to point out that there is urgent need for greater
financial support in the field of the social sciences. Mature and able scholars
are in need of, and must receive, financial aid in the form of scholarships or
bursaries, in order that research in this field may be raised to the same level
as that achieved in the field of pure science under a system similar to that
presently afforded by the National Research Council. A corollary need
exists also in the matter of the publication of the findings of serious
research. In the province of British Columbia under the sgis of the British
Columbia Historical Quarterly and the Memoirs series published by the
Provincial Archives, an important contribution is being made in the publication of monographs and shorter articles, but exigencies of space and
expense prevent the publication of works of any great length. It is not
always possible for the Social Science Research Council, which is almost
entirely dependent upon the munificence of foreign foundations, to give aid
to the publication of worthy studies which relate specifically to one area.
The result is that much important work in the field of local history is lost
and its loss reflects itself in the writing of national history. Research in
Canada in the field of the social sciences is almost entirely dependent upon
assistance from foundations outside of Canada, and our Association cannot
too strongly recommend that the time has now come for the provision of
adequate national support. 280 Notes and Comments. July-October
IV. General Recommendations.
1. This Association feels that official histories such as those dealing with
the participation of the Canadian armed forces in two world wars should be
completed and made available to the public.
2. If it is within its terms of reference to do so, the Association would
be pleased if the Commission would recommend to provincial authorities the
setting up of commissions to carry on similar work to its own, with a view
to the correlation of the work of national and provincial bodies. If such a
correlation could be achieved, the Association believes it would constitute a
most important step toward development in the fields of the arts, letters
and sciences, and that the culture of the whole country would thereby be
3. The Association believes that the study of history is most embracing,
and it is interested in the cultivation of historical studies not only in the
provincial and national fields, but also in the international sphere. For this
reason, it approves the suggestion that there be set up in Canada a National
Commission to assist UNESCO in its work of promoting intellectual cooperation.
Respectfully submitted,
Margaret A. Ormsby (President).
Helen R. Boutilier (Secretary).
As part of its programme for the celebration of the centenary of the
establishment of colonial government on the Pacific Coast of the Dominion
of Canada as symbolized by the investiture of Richard Blanshard as first
Governor of the Colony of Vancouver Island at Fort Victoria on March 11,
1850, the British Columbia Historical Association is sponsoring an essay
competition. Students of the University of British Columbia, Victoria College, and Royal Roads Service College are eligible. Prizes of $50, $30, and
$20 are being offered for essays submitted on any one of the following
(1) The Formation of the Crown Colony of Vancouver Island.
(2) The Crown Colony of Vancouver Island:   a Bulwark against
American Advance.
(3) The Hudson's Bay Company and the Royal Grant of Vancouver
(4) The Colonial Policy of Lord Grey:   with special reference to
Vancouver Island.
(5) The Influence of British Humanitarian Movements upon the
Establishment of the Colony of Vancouver Island.
(6) Vancouver Island as compared with other Colonies founded and
operated by Chartered Companies.
(7) Chartered Companies as Factors in British Colonization.
(8) The Role of the Royal Navy in the Foundation of the Colony of
Vancouver Island.
(9) The Governorship of Richard Blanshard. 1949 Notes and Comments. 281
contributors to this issue.
Stuart R. Tompkins, author of Alaska: Promyshlennik and Sourdough,
is a member of the Department of History of the University of Oklahoma
and an authority on Alaskan history.
Max L. Moorhead is a colleague of Professor Tompkins at the University
of Oklahoma.
Willis J. West, of Vancouver, B.C., was for many years associated with
the B.C. Express Company and with other businesses in the Interior of this
James K. Nesbitt is press correspondent in the Parliament Buildings for
the Vancouver News-Herald and also second vice-president of the British
Columbia Historical Association.
A. F. Flucke is a special research assistant at the Provincial Archives,
Victoria, B.C.
A. E. Pickford, formerly with the Provincial Museum, Victoria, B.C., as
anthropologist, continues his keen interest in Indian matters although in
W. N. Sage is head of the Department of History at the University of
Farthest Frontier.   By Sidney Warren.     New York:  Macmillan Company,
1949.    Pp. ix, 375.    $4.50.
Farthest Frontier is a type of historical work long needed in the Pacific
Northwest. While the memoirs of pioneers record many valuable and authentic items of historical interest, because usually they are limited in outlook,
subject-matter, and locale, any one of them fails to present adequately all
aspects of a budding society. In this book Sidney Warren has not only
brought together the threads of the whole social fabric, but, through his
research into many such reminiscences, diaries, news reports, magazine
articles, and the excellent sources provided by unpublished theses, has produced a stimulating and exciting picture of a century of cultural growth.
Dr. Warren states in his preface that " this study is concerned with the
beginnings of American settlement and the development of American society
in the Northwest," and for this reason has refrained from extending the
scope of his book to include territory north of the forty-ninth parallel, even'
although, to use his own words, " British Columbia is also sometimes included
in the general territorial designation." British Columbians may be pardoned
some slight feeling of pique at this rather casual brushing aside of their own
share in the title of this book. The fact remains that, largely because of
the dearth of suitable harbours and inlets south of Cape Flattery, the early
history of the Pacific Northwest is the history of British Columbia's coast.
However, such growling over old bones is perhaps not permissible in this
case, since it must be admitted that prior to the 1840's there was little that
could be called " society" in the whole of that vast area known as the
" Oregon country."
While it seems unfortunate to circumscribe the stage on which so many
dramas of hardship, courage, and resourcefulness were played, it is undoubtedly advisable, in a study of this nature, to note well the line of demarcation between the two cultural heritages—the more so, perhaps, because of
the development in the Empire colony of a peculiarly " British " outlook.
With the boundary treaty of 1846, American society south of the line and
British society north of the line could develop along their separate paths.
Nevertheless, the number of American citizens that floated in and out of
British territory and that, particularly during the days of the Fraser
River gold fever, contributed to the growth of settlement north of the
forty-ninth parallel was by no means inconsiderable.
The author of Farthest Frontier received both his master's degree and
his doctorate from Columbia University and is now associate professor of
history and political science at the University of Florida. He has one
other book to his credit, American Free-thought, and has lectured widely
on national and international affairs.    The present study was done under
British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. XIII, Nos. 3 and 4.
283 284 The Northwest Bookshelf.      July-October
a grant from the Library of Congress Studies in the History of American
Although Dr. Warren is not a native of the area about which he has
written, he has lived and travelled there a good deal. His own belief that
" a relatively short residence and the lack of intimate ties should not be deterrents, if these could be balanced by other factors and qualifications," has
certainly been sustained. His picture of the development of American
society in the Northwest, in all of its many phases, is not only vivid, but
also bears the evidence of extensive, if not always sufficiently painstaking,
After a brief recounting of the early history of the area, covering
exploration, fur-trading, and the pioneer missions, Dr. Warren begins his
study of social development with the surge of " Oregon fever" and the
first lurching wagon trains of the 1840's. From here he probes every major
aspect of Northwest society as it grew from squawling childhood to young
maturity, from the early bellicose pride in the raw wilderness and rude
pioneer settlements to the smug, stiff-necked aping of eastern ways that
wealth and budding metropolitan life brought to the fore. The development of a territorial consciousness, the establishment and decay of various
utopian-socialist communities, the constant interest in politics displayed
by the settlers that eventually made itself felt in the affairs of the nation,
and the flood of fearless assertive newspaper editors, each of whom felt he
knew best what the country needed and said so in bold black print, are
dealt with in a lively and interesting manner.
Through the entertaining method of describing the efforts of personalities in their respective fields, Dr. Warren has traced the development of
medicine, education, literature, entertainment, and aesthetics, each from its
crude and inadequate beginnings to the full flower of dignified status,
accepted and respected by the inhabitants. While this style of treatment
is worth while in that it has produced a very readable book, its disadvantages appear in a lack of definitiveness and historical interpretation. Nor
does it always conduce to placing the characters and subject-matter in their
proper historical perspective. Thus one finds a tendency to fit together
personalities and topics without due regard for the proper importance of
each. Although Dr. Warren has done much to draw together the threads
of the fabric, much work remains to be done on social history of the Pacific
Northwest in order to produce a complete pattern of historical significance.
One criticism the average reader may find with this history is the
rather vague dating of many specific incidents. Historians are apt to
forget that, in works of this order where topical development brings in
a bulk of frequently unrelated detail, it may be a point of frustration to
the reader not to be able to place at least the most interesting items in
their proper time sequence. Thus when we read (p. 87) that "[the Americans] . . . began ... to agitate . . . for the creation of some form
of government . . . [but] Nothing happened until one of the settlers . . .
died leaving some valuable property   .   .   .   and no heirs" and that the 1949 The Northwest Bookshelf. 285
meeting held to settle this estate decided to carry on business and elect officers
for a provisional government but " no further action resulted until three
years later," we are at a loss to know just when all this occurred.
This is again a cause for complaint when the author refers to the
shortage of womenfolk in the pioneer communities and to some of the
methods devised to remedy the situation. Dr. Warren's statement (p. 77)
that " The following year a group of bachelors leaped to arms when word
spread throughout Puget Sound that a shipment of women had been sent
from London for the single men of British Columbia. A few desperate
souls called a hasty conference and without much further ado made a mad
•dash into Canada, swept the women off their feet, and returned home with
their brides " leaves the reader completely in the dark as to what year this
took place, or to which shipment this escapade referred. From the date
of the previous quotation, we take it that the incident occurred in the
year 1859, but apart from the fact that there were no organized shipments
of women into the British colony prior to 1862, there is also no reference
in the colonial newspapers of that period or even later to any such overly
ambitious action on the part of American bachelorhood. There was an
occasion upon which American youth prevailed upon certain damsels destined for British Columbia to desert to their more available arms, but this
involved the ship Seaman's Bride from Melbourne, Australia, not London,
and the incident took place at San Francisco, where the ship had put in
for water and provisions, in August, 1862. Another minor discrepancy in
the account of this American " foray " is the fact that the name " Canada "
is hardly applicable to British possessions in the Pacific Northwest prior
to 1871.
The author's reference to " the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort George "
(p. 18) and his further reference to " Alexander Henry, then head of the
Company's fort," can only be regarded as a slip of the pen, since Henry
had already been identified on an earlier page as an ardent " Nor'Wester."
Nevertheless, even if we allow the ownership of Fort George (the former
Astoria) to be an error in writing, we may still take exception to the placing
of Alexander Henry as head of it. We have the word of Lawrence J.
Burpee that Henry never became head of the North West Company's post,
the confusion arising over the fact that the position was held by William
Henry, a cousin of the more noted Alexander.
There are some rather wide generalizations made in the brief description of Indian culture. Certainly there is room for much disagreement
in such broad statements as " Their [the Indians'] most important article
of trade to the trappers was their women " (p. 13), and " sexual mores
permitted Indian women to be promiscuous " (p. 17).
These criticisms, however, do not detract from the value of the work as
a history of pioneer endeavour. Dr. Warren's bibliography is, to say the
least, excellent, but one is faced with the possibility that much more use
could have been made of sources so extensive and detailed than has been
done in this book.    Without doubt, Farthest Frontier makes a definite con- 286 The Northwest Bookshelf.      July-October
tribution to American frontier history. Breaking open a wilderness and
using its contents to build a new segment of civilization based on the ideas
of older communities required not only courage but also a steadfast faith
in those ideas. Nature, at many unyielding points, forced her attackers
to modify, or delay, their designs. But the pioneer, though sensing, and in
a measure resenting, his inadequacy, kept up the struggle, ever ready to
defend his hard-won portion from the slurs of the older culture centres.
That was the essential spirit of pioneering. Here, each by its own
story, the facets of society outline that struggle and trace the changing
outlook from that of backwoods " poor relations " to the justly proud self-
consciousness of men and women who wrought and furnished, by brawn
and brain, a new living space from mountain, plain, and forest.
A. F. Flucke.
Victoria, B.C.
Papers read before the Historical and Scientific Society of Manitoba.
Series III. No. 4. Edited by W. L. Morton and J. A. Jackson. Winnipeg [1949].    Pp. 62.    $1.
This volume contains the five papers read before the Historical and
Scientific Society of Manitoba during the season of 1947-48. The new
editors have maintained the high standard set by previous issues. All of
the papers are of a high order and contain much interesting and valuable
information on a variety of subjects.
Mrs. Margaret Arnett MacLeod, well known for her able introduction
to The Letters of Letitia Hargrave published by the Champlain Society in
1947, contributed " Life in the Early West." This is a synthesis of pioneer
life—when people " worked hard, played hard, lived hard "—and has many
apt and amusing anecdotes from the lives of such early settlers as Dr.
John Bunn, Colin Fraser, Chief Factor John Harriott, Willie Brass, Peter
d'Eschambault, and the like. The title of the second article, " Some Manitoba Women Who Did First Things," is self-explanatory. Mrs. Lillian
Beynon Thomas, herself a leader in the movement for political rights for
women, has given brief sketches of a considerable number of pioneer women
of early days in Manitoba—Mrs. A. G. H. Bannatyne, Mrs. John Sutherland, Mrs. William Kennedy, Mrs. Lara Bjarnason—and many others who
were the home-makers in a new land. Particular mention is made of
Charlotte Whitehead Ross'and Amelia Yeomans, pioneer medical doctors,
and Margaret Scott in the profession of nursing. The galaxy of names
is impressive and makes fascinating reading.
A more detailed account of a phase of the history of education is provided in " School Inspectors of the Early Days in Manitoba," by A. A.
Herriot. The inspection service of the Education Branch in Manitoba dates
from 1888, when five Inspectors were appointed, and Mr. Herriot has dealt
most adequately with the pioneers in this work. It is of more than passing
interest to British Columbians to know that there lives in retirement in
Victoria, S. E. Lang, who joined the service sixty years ago.   Dr. Ross 1949 The Northwest Bookshelf. 287
Mitchell has performed a similar service for the medical profession in
" Early Doctors of Red River and Manitoba." The first medical man in
the Northwest was probably Charles Doullon Desmarets, employed by
Chevalier de la Corne in the Lake of the Woods country, 1753-1756. In
a very succinct manner, details are provided concerning early surgeons sent
out by the fur-trade companies, the Selkirk settlers, and the military companies. It is interesting to note that, relatively early, the medical profession drew its membership from within the colony, for Dr. John Bunn, who
graduated from Edinburgh University in 1832, had been born in the Red
River settlement, and many years later he was succeeded by Dr. Curtis
James Bird, also born in the settlement. In the early 1860's medical men
from the eastern British North American colonies began to reach the
region, prominent amongst whom was Dr. J. C. Schultz, who before his
death in 1896 had become Sir John and had served as Lieutenant-Governor
of the Province. In addition to their professional duties, many of these
doctors took an active interest in political affairs, as, for example, Dr. John
Harrison O'Donnell and Dr. David Howard Harrison, the sole medical
Premier of the Province.
The Honourable Chief Justice E. K. Williams of the Court of King's
Bench contributed "Aspects of the Legal History of Manitoba." In a carefully documented article he has traced the legal history of Manitoba from
the appointment of the first judicial officer trained in the law in 1839, in the
person of Adam Thorn, to the appointment of the first of Her Majesty's
Judges in Manitoba, in the person of Chief Justice Alexander Morris, in
1872. Much interesting light is shed on the career of the first Recorder,
who served until 1851. In addition, details regarding the establishment
of a police force during the period 1822 to 1869 are provided. The account
of the establishment of the Queen's Courts in Manitoba contains a great
amount of valuable detail regarding early Judges and their work in the
While this volume is, perhaps, on the whole, slightly more restricted in
its general appeal than previous issues, nevertheless the five papers comprised within it are packed with historical data that it would be next to
impossible to locate readily in other existing sources.
_ _ Willard E. Ireland.
Victoria, B.C.
The Wolf and the Raven. By Viola E. Garfield and Linn A. Forrest.
Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1948. Pp. ix, 151. 111. $3.
This work tells of an activity whereby the native Indian totem-poles
found in a limited area of South-eastern Alaska have been salvaged,
restored, and erected near their original sites, at points convenient to
established routes of travel, where they can be readily seen by the tourist.
The book is a final touch to this activity; it gives photographs and verbal
descriptions of the poles, with some historical and legendary accounts
connected with them. It is, as it were, a guide-book to the poles in their
newly established sites. 288 The Northwest Bookshelf.      July-October
The project was originally started by enthusiastic citizens of the
district and was later taken over in a very practical way by the United
States Forest Service. But it has suffered somewhat, in that, until late
in the progress of the work, it did not come under the direction of a
trained ethnologist. However, the essential work has been done, and very
well done in view of the existing handicaps.
The student will appreciate the book, but he must realize that it is
not a text-book on the totems of Alaska, and that it is limited within the
scope of the above-named project. It would seem, rather, that the work
is planned principally for the tourist and the general reader, who will
appreciate its glamour and romance. But the modern man of travel, and
especially the arm-chair traveller, is lost without a map. It is a grave
error not to have included one—so much information could have been
conveyed even on the inside cover and fly-leaf by this means.
Such detail as is given is very well told, and the general reader will
be absorbed by it. It will whet his appetite, but as his interest increases,
he will wake up to the fact that the story is lacking in background.
He will have many questions to ask for which he cannot find the answers.
Who were these people, the Tlingits, of whom we read in the introduction,
whence did they come, and where did they settle? What relationship had
they with the Haida, of whom we find casual mention in a later part of
the book? What territory did they each occupy? (How badly we need
a map here.) Where can I read more about these people? How did their
art arise; if from outside, from what tribe and from which of the cardinal
points of the compass did its inspiration come, and what are the geographical limits of its range? These and other questions the tourist and
general reader will ask because he feels that the picture is lacking in
essential life without the answers. The student will, moreover, feel the
need of an index.
Of actual errors, there are few outside of the initial mistakes in the
planning of the work, with which we are not concerned here. Among the
stone tools used by the primitive people of the American Northwest, jadeite
should not be named, as on page 2, for it is not found here; the mineral
intended is nephrite, very similar to jadeite for all practical purposes, and
it was in general use among the natives. This error is twice repeated
elsewhere in the book. Again, the story of the boy who fed the eagles,
occupying the whole of page 42 and part of page 43, is told over again
at length on page 85 with no essential information added. This space
could have been better used in answering other questions; for instance,
from which animal is the wolf crest derived—is it the timber-wolf (" tired
wolf" pp. 18, 19, and 20), the sea-wolf (p. 136), or the sea monster "which
is not Gonaqadate" (p. 137) ? Why is the eagle crest interchangeable
with that of the wolf? And what are the respective sub-crests of the
wolf and the raven phratries?
The totem on the jacket, with its badly drawn wings, lacks the graceful
curves of the aboriginal design, and the bird upon it is not a raven (as the
title would lead one to expect), but a thunderbird.    One feels that the 1949 The Northwest Bookshelf. 289
artist of this jacket was lacking in appreciation of his subject. The book
is not so bad as these caustic comments lead one to believe; it has vivid
interest. It is in fact a notable addition to the recorded history of the
Northwest and, as Americana, is very well worth the price.
A. E. Pickford.
Victoria, B.C.
The Columbia: Powerhouse of the West By Murray Morgan. Seattle:
Superior Publishing Company, 1949.   Pp. ix, 295.   Maps.   $3.50.
The Columbia River has always loomed large in the history of the
Pacific Northwest, in fact it symbolizes both the past and the future of
a vast geographic area. To describe this river basin and to evaluate its
significance is an immense undertaking. Mr. Morgan quite properly looked
upon it as a " challenge," and, if to a degree, he seems not to achieve his
full aim, nevertheless he has written an interesting and readable book.
His plan of attack is admirable. History is not relegated to an introductory chapter, but is interwoven into every section of the book. The geology
and geography of the Columbia basin, with the accompanying story of its
original Indian inhabitants and the first of the pioneer bands that were to
intrude therein, receives the author's first attention. Then he proceeds to
discuss the Columbia in three main divisions: " The Untamed River,"
comprising mainly that portion of it that lies within British Columbia;
" The Working River," comprising the greater portion of the river that
has been harnessed by man at various points in its wild plunge to the
sea; " The Tidal River," wherein are described the activities in its lower
reaches. A concluding section, " River of the Future," discusses the
potential development of the river basin. This, presumably, is the most
controversial portion of the book, for herein are discussed the arguments
put forward by the proponents and opponents of a Columbia Valley
Administration. There is a tremendous variety in the topics about which
one can read in this book—the building and operation of Grand Coulee
Dam, the Bonneville Power Administration, the Atomic Energy Commission's work at Richland and Hanford are described along with Indian
warfare in " Old Oregon," steamboat days on the river, and the coming of
the railroads. A modest index makes the usefulness of this book from a
topical point of view much greater.
This reviewer has little to complain of in so far as the planning of the
book is concerned, but he is considerably perturbed by the many inaccuracies that mar its presentation. It is, for example, a little disturbing to
find John Meares still credited with the discovery and naming of the Straits
of Juan de Fuca, when the honour really belongs to Captain C. W. Barkley
(p. 35). Moreover, Meares is given his proper Christian name, John
(p. 35), but later (p. 38) it has become James. Similarly, Canadian
readers will, or least should be, amazed to read that "Alexander Mackenzie
. . . crossed the northern Rockies, found the Fraser—which he mistook
for the Columbia, and followed it to the sea " (p. 48).    This obviously does 290 The Northwest Bookshelf.       July-October
justice to neither the gallant first crossing of the main North American
Continent by Mackenzie nor to the subsequent efforts of Simon Fraser.
Nor will British Columbians be any happier about the references (p. 97)
to the work of W. A. Waillie-Grohman, and since this occurs more than
once, it can hardly be passed as a typographical error for Baillie-Grohman.
And for that matter in the fascinating story of the Columbia-Kootenay
canal, evidently the author was not aware of Captain F. P. Armstrong's
activity in the steamer Gwendolen. Presumably the use of the date 1884
for the arrival of David Thompson in Canada (p. 101) is a typographical
mistake, but one wonders whether or not the author means " Keithley"
rather than " Keithay " (p. 125). More serious, however, is such a reference
as ". . . When the Canadian National was running the Grand Trunk
through the mountains . . ." (p. Ill), which indicates poor research on at
least railroad-construction in British Columbia. In addition, one wonders
where Mr. Morgan acquired his population statistics for British Columbia
towns. Revelstoke is credited (p. 132) with a population of 2,736, which perhaps is close enough in view of the fact that the 1941 Census figures are 2,106,
but the estimate offered by the Provincial Department of Trade and
Industry for 1948 is 3,200. However, Nakusp (p. 136) is stated to have
a population of only 394, whereas this same Provincial estimate for 1948
gives it as 1,300. Inhabitants of Castlegar will be astonished to discover
(p. 137) that their " town " has only 54 inhabitants, when the last Federal
Census (1941) credited it with 956, and the latest estimate exceeds 1,300.
Admittedly these errors refer mainly to the story of the Columbia River
in Canadian territory, but even moderately careful research would have
eliminated them. Unhappily, they leave the impression that perhaps
similar errors mar that portion of the text dealing with the river in American territory, on which the reviewer does not presume a competency to.
judge. From the frequency with which extracts are taken from original
sources, and usually to good effect, it can easily be appreciated that a great
deal of research has gone into the preparation of the text, but had there
been more care in the final preparation, the result would, from a historian's
point of view, been much happier, nor would it have made the book in any
way less readable. One cannot put this book down without mixed feelings—
admiration for the planning, but regret that the definitive book on the
Columbia River still remains to be written.
Willard E. Ireland.
Victoria, B.C.
The Diary of Simeon Perkins, 1766-1780. Edited with introduction and
notes by Harold A. Innis. Toronto: The Champlain Society, 1948.
Pp. xxxiv, 298.
Simeon Perkins, 1735-1812, was a Connecticut Yankee who settled in
Liverpool, Nova Scotia, and played an important part in the building-up of
that community. He kept a diary, rather intermittently at first, but more
regularly after January 1, 1773. From 1774 to 1780 it sheds much light
on the position of Nova Scotia during the American Revolutionary War. 1949 The Northwest Bookshelf. 291
Dean Harold A. Innis of the University of Toronto has, as usual, contributed a most valuable introduction and notes. He traces Perkins' career
in Nova Scotia from his first arrival in Liverpool on May 4, 1762, to
March 31, 1780, when the diary, as printed in this volume, abruptly ends.
From the introduction and the notes, and especially from the diary itself,
it is possible to reconstruct the career of this interesting pre-Loyalist
American settler.
One of the most interesting features of the diary is the day-by-day
account of life in Liverpool, N.S.; Perkins carefully notes births, marriages, and deaths, the construction of the local jail and the meetinghouse, and the erection of sawmills. Church affairs receive considerable
attention, especially the vagaries of the Reverend Israel Cheever. Perkins
records his second marriage on September 10, 1775, to Mrs. Elizabeth
Headley, a widow, and also the births of their children in 1776 and 1778.
Simeon Perkins rapidly became a man of substance, who engaged in
ship-building, lumber and fish trading, and real estate. He steadily improved his position in the community and on May 19, 1772, received his
commission as lieutenant-colonel of the militia. Two years before he had
been elected, along with William Smith, to represent Queen's County in
the Legislative Assembly. In the same year, 1770, he had been chosen
Proprietor's Clerk and one of the Committee of the Township. Two years
later he records that the General Sessions and Inferior Court of Common
Pleas sat on April 14, 1772, and that he was " continued County treasurer,
overseer of the Poor, and town clerk." Unfortunately, there are no entries
in the diary from September 3, 1770, to March 16, 1772, so it is impossible
to ascertain when he was first appointed to fill these positions. He soon
afterwards became a Magistrate and held office for many years.
Before the outbreak of the American Revolution, Perkins' trade was
mostly with New England, with occasional cargoes sent to the West Indies
and a relatively small coasting trade with Halifax. After the outbreak of
hostilities, and especially after the appearance of American privateers on
the Nova Scotia coast, the trade with New England declined, but it did not
altogether cease. On October 23, 1776, Perkins noted in his diary the
fifth loss which he had " met by the privateers." At first his sympathies
had inclined toward the American colonists, but as time went on he
definitely took the King's side. The local militia was embodied for defence,
but as it did not prove very effective, a detachment of the King's Orange
Rangers under Captain Howard was stationed at Liverpool in December,
1778. Before this, on two occasions, there had been gun-fire in Liverpool
Bay, and the local militia had captured the officers and crew of a French
privateer, and had later given two American privateers a warm reception.
In 1779 the Nova Scotians began to fight back. The schooner Lucy was
outfitted in Liverpool as a privateer and in January, 1780, sailed to make
war on the Americans. On February 5 she returned with two prizes, a sloop
and a schooner. The Lucy successfully captured a couple more enemy
vessels, but was sold on March 21, 1780, and sent to Halifax. Ten days
later Simeon Perkins made his last entry in his diary.    The Liverpool 292 The Northwest Bookshelf.      July-October
privateers were later to give a good account of themselves in the Napoleonic
War and the War of 1812.
Above all the diary shows how, as a result of the American Revolution,
" business interests shifted from Boston and New England ports to Halifax."
The Nova Scotia Yankees, although connected by ties of blood and business
affiliations with New England, elected to remain within the British Empire
and did their part in building up a large overseas trade based upon Nova
Scotian ports. Dean Innis has well termed the diary of Simeon Perkins
" a report from a listening post in the Atlantic struggle."
To British Columbians, this diary has interest as an authentic record
of the happenings in a Nova Scotian port during the momentous years from
1776 to 1780. It illustrates clearly the vast difference between conditions
then existing on the Atlantic and the Pacific coasts. At a time when Captain
James Cook, R.N., was refitting the Resolution and the Discovery at Nootka
Sound, Simeon Perkins, as lieutenant-colonel of the Nova Scotia militia,
was attempting to deal with American privateers.
Walter N. Sage.
Vancouver, B.C.
Arctic Mood. By Eva Alvey Richards. Caldwell, Idaho: The Caxton
Printers, Ltd., 1949. Pp. 282. 111. $4.
This is a delightfully written and beautifully produced book on a
twentieth-century phase of pioneering. Mrs. Richards was from 1924 to
1926 school-teacher under the Alaska Division of the Native School and
Medical Service of the United States Department of Interior at Wainwright,
a tiny settlement some 100 miles south-west of Point Barrow. She writes
with an eager pen and an understanding heart of her experiences and
arouses in her reader an enthusiasm that does not lag from the summer
day in 1924 when she boarded the steamer Boxer in Seattle northward
bound until her return two years later. Life in Wainwright was evidently
far from humdrum, particularly as a teacher's duties involved also many
of the functions of medical man, nurse, clergyman, and civic adviser. Mrs.
Richards gives vivid pen pictures of Eskimo life, for, despite her relatively
short stay in the North, she came to know them well and to share in all
their activities—their joys and sorrows and their journeyings. The book is
beautifully illustrated, not only with well-selected photographs, but also
with reproductions of her own paintings of many of the Eskimos whose
lives are woven into this story. Arctic Mood is well written, and the reader
will put it aside with a much keener appreciation of our Eskimo people.
Prize Winning Essays.   Armitage Competition in Oregon Pioneer History.
Reed College.   [Reprinted from Reed College Bulletin, Portland, Oregon,
This item includes the two prize-winning essays in the undergraduate
division of the Armitage Competition at Reed College for the year 1948. 1949 The Northwest Bookshelf. 293
Over the years Reed College has established an unusually high standard of
historical research, and the two essays here published are no exception.
It will, perhaps, be a surprise to many to discover that the first prize went
to a student whose major was in physics and not in one of the social sciences.
That, however, is indicative of the rather amazing philosophy of education
that permeates Reed College.
Clarence R. Allen knows a great deal of history as well as physics, as is
evidenced by his essay " The Myth of the Multnomah: the history of a
geographical misconception." The " myth " began to take form when, in
1806, Clark turned back to examine a river flowing into the Columbia from
the south. This is the Willamette, but Clark gave it the name " Multnomah " and produced a sketch-map which, based on Indian information,
grossly overestimated distances. In the course of the essay Mr. Allen tells
the " story of the growth and decline " of a hardy myth. Eastern cartographers, such as John Mellish, who, in 1818, extended the river to give it rise
in the Great Salt Lake of Utah, added to the confusion, as did the publication
of a report of a journey on this river in 1821 by Samuel Adams Ruddock.
Locally, at least, the " myth " was disproved by the Snake Country expeditions undertaken by Peter Skene Ogden of the Hudson's Bay Company, but
accurate information spread slowly and it was not until 1839 that a
relatively accurate map was produced.
The second essay by Morton T. Rosenblum is entitled " Simeon Gannett
Reed, Gentleman Farmer." This is a study of the Ladd and Reed farming
enterprises during the period 1871-1895. " Broadmeads " was the largest
and most important unit of this farming venture, and here specialization
in live stock was undertaken with the introduction of blooded stock. Before
long, experimentation with crops and grass mixtures was also under way.
Many details concerning these operations are to be found in the essay.
Unfortunately, the live-stock operations did not prove as remunerative
financially as had been anticipated, and gradually the whole enterprise was
abandoned. It was, however, an important phase in the agricultural
development of Oregon, and the analysis of its effects are interesting.
The Flying Canoe: Legends of the Cowichans. By B. M. Cryer. Victoria:
J. Parker Buckle Co., Ltd. [1949]. Pp. 48. 111. $1.
Mrs. B. M. Cryer has for years been a student of the legends of the
Cowichan Indians, as the Coast Salish tribes are known locally within
British Columbia. Now she has written down'five of their legends primarily
for the benefit of children, but adults will find them equally entertaining.
Children will be fascinated by the story of the flying canoe, or of " Esq, the
Seal, and her two little boys," or " Tcheeah, the first Blue Jay." The
legends are true to the native tradition and are retold with sympathy and
understanding. Miss Betty Newton, of the staff of the Provincial Museum,
has done the illustrations and Mr. B. A. McKelvie has contributed a foreword.   Parents and teachers, alike, will find this a most useful book.
W. E. I. THE
Published by the Archives of British Columbia in co-operation with the
British Columbia Historical Association EDITOR.
Willard E. Ireland.
Provincial Archives, Victoria, B.C.
Madge Wolfenden.
Provincial Archives, Victoria, B.C.
J. C. Goodfellow, Princeton, B. C.     T. A. Rickard, Victoria, B.C.
W. N. Sage, Vancouver, B.C.
Editorial communications should be addressed to the Provincial Archives,
Parliament Buildings, Victoria, B.C. CONTENTS OF VOLUME XIII.
Articles :                                                                                               Page.
Letters from James Edward Fitzgerald to W. E. Gladstone concerning Vancouver Island and the Hudson's Bay Company,
By Paul Knaplund  —         1
Sir John H. Pelly, Bart, Governor, Hudson's Bay Company, 1822-
By Reginald Saw        23
Russia's Approach to America.    Part I.    From Russian Sources,
By Stuart R. Tompkins and Max L. Moorhead __«.     55
The French in British Columbia.
By Willard E. Ireland      67
The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George.
By Willis J. West....    129
Russia's Approach to America.    Part II.   From Spanish Sources,
By Stuart R. Tompkins and Max L. Moorhead     231
Documents :
An Official speaks out:  Letter of the Hon. Philip J. Hankin to the
Duke of Buckingham, March 11, 1870.'
With an introduction by Willard E. Ireland    33
The Diary of Martha Cheney Ella, 1858-1856.
Edited with an introduction by James K. Nesbitt.
Part I.   September 17th, 1853, to March 31, 1854...    91
Part II.   January 1, 1855, to November 25, 1856 ...    257
Notes and Comments..  39, 113, 271
The Northwest Bookshelf:
Simpson's 1828 Journey to the Columbia.
By Burt Brown Barker        43
Historic Backgrounds of British Columbia.
By Willard E. Ireland       46
Bering's Successors, 1745-1780.
By Walter N. Sage....    47
The Unknown Mountain.
By Ferris Neave        48
Au Berceau de la Colombie-Britannique.
By Walter N. Sage       50
My Captain Oliver.
By John Goodfellow     _        52
The Bella Coola Indians.
By H. B. Hawthorn    117 The Valley of Youth. PAGE.
By Margaret A. Ormsby . •.  122
The Letters of Dr. John McLoughlin.
By Willard E. Ireland  126
Twelfth Report, Okanagan Historical Society.
By Walter N. Sage  127
Farthest Frontier.
By A. F. Flucke  283
Papers read before the Historical and Scientific Society of Manitoba.
By Willard E. Ireland  286
The Wolf and the Raven.
By A. E. Pickford   287
The Columbia: Powerhouse of the West.
By Willard E. Ireland.   289
The Diary of Simeon Perkins, 1766-1780.
By Walter N. Sage    290
Shorter Notices  292
Index.  .  295
Page 46, line 13:  For tendecy read tendency.
Frontispiece to face page 55:   Date in caption of Map II should read
Page 66, line 30: For A. 0. Andreyev read A. I. Andreyev.
Illustration following page 66:  Caption for Map IV should read, " Jef-
fery's map, taken from The Great Probability of a Northwest Passage,
London, 1768, and based on the map of the Russian Academy, 1758."
Page 68, line 18:   For Phillipe read Philippe.   This same error occurs
on page 75, line 27;  page 78, line 33;  and page 79, line 7.
Page 69, line 16: For them read those.
line 28: For endeavoured read endeavored.
line 33: For Mexicain read Mexicains.
line 35: For apportenaient read appartenaient.
line 38: For sentiment read sentiments.
line 40: For ourvriers read ouvriers.
line 44: For element read elements.
Page 72, line 25: For de read des; reprandre read repandre.
line 33: For tour read tout.
Page 73, line   8: For Bretagne read Bretagne.
Page 78, line 27: For Francais read Frangaise.
Page 81, line   2: For accomodation read accommodation.
line 33: For Maison read Maisons.
Page 91, line 30: For J. W. Pelly read J. H. Pelly.
Page 92, line 13: For Armdale read Armadale.
Page 105, line 44: For Houston read Houstoun.
Page 110, line 37: For Gannymede read Ganymede.
Page 128, line   9: For Kenloch read Kinloch. INDEX.
Academy for Young Ladies. 105
Academy, St. Petersburg, 59-61, 63, 288, 285.
289, 247, 251, 252
Adams, D. F., 81
Adamson, J., 184
Adamson, Stewart, 153
Adderley, Charles, see Norton, Lord
Aglionby, 14
Akun, 246
Alaska, 234, 242, 246, 268, 254
Alaska, Gulf of, 246, 254
Albert Head, 269
Alberta and Arctic Transportation Company,
Limited. 225
Aleutian Islands, 231, 232, 287, 288, 240, 246,
246, 253, 254
Aleuts, 241, 246, 247
Alexander, John R., 267
Alexander, Mrs. John R., 267, 268
Alexander, Cape, 27
Alexander Archipelago, 242, 254
Allard, Ovid, 111
Almod6var, Marque s de, 231, 288
Alta California, 69
Anadyr, Gulf of, 236, 251
Anadyr River, 288, 239, 250, 252
Anadyrskii Ostrog, 287, 239
Andreanof Islands, 64
Andreyev, A. I., 66, 249
Applegate, Mrs. Douglas, 152
Arctic Mood, review of, 292
Arctic Ocean, 250, 261
Armitage Competition in Oregon Pioneer History, Prize Winning Essays, review of, 292,
Armstrong, Joseph, 266
Arteaga, Ignacio, 256
Ash, Dr. John, 80
Ashcroft, 180, 186, 137, 141, 142, 149, 150, 168,
164, 168-174, 181, 182, 208, 211, 212, 218-220
Atlas Rossiiskoi, 59, 61
Atlasov, 261
Au Berceau de la Colombie-Britannique, review of, 60-62
Automobiles, Cariboo, 168-174
Avacha, 234, 236
The " B.X." and the Rush to Fort George,
Babayev, 241
Back, George, 27
Baker, Capt., 163
Baklanova, N. A., 249
Bane], H., 79
Banfleld, W. E., 264
Bank of England, 29-82
Banks, Sir Joseph, The Papers of, 114
Baring, Sir Francis ThornhiU, 9-11
Barker, Burt Brown, ed.. Letters of Dr. John
McLoughlin written at Fort Vancouver,
1829-lS3g, review of, 126, 127; Simpson's
1828 Journey to the Columbia, review by
Barkerville, 138, 141
Barnard, F. S., 181, 182
Barnard, Francis Jones, 130-132
Barnard, F. J., & Company, 131, 188
Barnard's Express, 130
Barr, Mary Elizabeth, 259, 261
Barr. Robert, 258, 261, 262
Barr, Mrs. Robert, 268, 259, 264, 266, 269, 270
Barrow, Point, 27
Beaumont, Dr. Robert W., 267, 268
Beeton, Anne, see Blinkhorn, Mrs. Thomas
Beinston, A., 91
Bella Coola Indians, The, review of, 117-122
Belmont, 260
Beniowsky, M. A., 66, 236
Benson, Dr. Alfred R., 104
Bering, Vitus, 55-68, 66, 66, 233, 235, 237,
239-242, 251-268
Bering Island, 232, 286, 246
Bering Sea, 239, 251
Bering Strait, 62, 236, 250, 251
Bering's Successors, 1745-1780, review of, 47,
Berkh, V. N., 62, 66, 234-236, 243, 248
Bigne, J., 79
Billings, Joseph, 236, 245-247
Blackwater Crossing, 160, 166, 181, 188
Blake, Admiral Robert, 24
Blanche, Miss, 146
Blanco, Cape, 233
Blanshard, Richard, 91, 92, 94
Blanshard Centenary Essay Competition, 280
Blinkhorn, Thomas, 93-97, 106, 107-112, 267-
265, 267-269
Blinkhorn, Mrs. Thomas, 94, 97-99, 106-109,
111, 112, 267, 269, 260, 265-267, 269, 270
Bodega y Quadra Mollinada, .J. F. de la, 255
Bonser, Capt. J. J., 146, 151, 185
Bostock, Hewitt, 132, 133
Bouchier, A. K., 199
Boulton, Emma, see Pelly, Lady
Boundary, Russian America, 28
Bowker, John, 107
Bray, 267
Bridges, Fraser River, 208-210
Brief presented by the British Columbia Historical Association to the Royal Commission
on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences, 276-280
Briggs, H. P., 28
British Columbia and Confederation, 83, 35-88
British Columbia Express Company, 180-182,
136, 137, 139, 141, 142, 146, 147-149, 161-
163, 161-163, 166, 167-174, 176, 180-184,
188, 192, 199, 202, 208, 209, 211, 218, 217-
226, 227
British Columbia Historical Association, 39-
42, 118, 114, 271-273
British Columbia Historical Association, Brief
presented by the, to the Royal Commission
on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences, 276-280
Brown, Peter, 262
295 296
Browne, Capt. O. F., 143-145, 14T, 148, 163,
154, 156-159, 162, 164, 212-217, 224, 225
Bruce, Admiral W. H., 267
Bryukanov, 246
Buache, Philippe, 61
Bucey, Capt. J. P., 188-190, 192-201, 205-208
Buckingham, Duke of, 33, 36 ; letter to, 86-88
Bulkley River, 129
Buller, Charles, 6
Bullion,  168
Burenin, Fedor, 243
Burns, P., & Co., Ltd., 193
Cabot, Sebastian, 27
Cache Creek, 130, 222
Cairn, The Westbank, 275, 276
Caldwell, William, 8
Cameron, Cecilia, 92, 263, 268
Cameron, David, 101, 102, 260
Cameron, Mrs. David, 260
Campbell, John, 60
Campbell, Robert, 31
Canadian Pacific Railway, 130, 168, 211
Canterbury Association, 1
Cariboo, Telegraph, 37, 38
Cariboo Automobile Company, 169
Cariboo Road, 180, 187, 138, 142, 166, 167,
169-172, 174, 182, 188, 192, 211, 212, 218, 219
Carruthers, James, 176-178
Casamayou, A., 79, 80
Central Fort George, 160, 161
Chapman, Charles E., 232, 254
Cheney, Martha, see Ella, Martha Cheney.
Chicago Marine Iron Works, 148, 149, 189
Chichagov, 241, 242
Chirikov, 58, 238, 285, 287, 289, 248, 244, 251,
Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria, 267, 268
Christy, S., 8, 12
Chukchi, 238, 241
Chukchi Peninsula, 57, 58, 237
Church and colonization, 17-19
Clark, N.S., 146, 161
Clarke, Charles, 265
Clayoquot Sound, 264
Claypole, Henry, 265
Clement, H. P., 209
Clerjon, Dr. N. M., 80
Cloverdale, 110-112
Coal-mining, Vancouver Island, 101
Coccola, Nicolas, 176
Cole Island, 267
Colonial Hotel, Victoria, 78, 83
Colonist, 74
Colonization of Vancouver Island, 7-9, 11, 12,
Columbia: Powerhouse of the West, The,
review of, 289, 290
Colwood, 109
Comandador Island, 246
Compagnie Lafayette des Echelles et Crochets, La, 75
Connell, John, 86
Cook, James, 58, 288, 248, 249, 254
Cooper, Elizabeth Emma, 106, 107, 261-264
Cooper, Fanny Mary, 109, 258, 262, 264
Cooper, Henrietta, 265, 266
Cooper, James, 93-95, 101, 108-107, 109, 110,
258, 259, 261-263, 265, 267, 268
Cooper, Mrs. James, 105, 106, 258-261, 264-
Cooper, Jane Bruce
Cooper, Thomas, 268-261, 263-265
Copper Island, 246
Coppermine River, 27
Corbiniere, P., 79
Cottonwood  Canyon,  139,   141-145,  147,  148,
156-159, 166, 183
Courrier de la Nouvelle CaiUdonie, Le, 71 74
Court, Vancouver Island, 15, 102
Cowie, James, 160
Cowley, W., 158
Coxe, William, 64, 66, 239, 242, 244
Craigflower School, 258, 265
Cridge, Bishop, 78, 97, 258, 265-267, 269, 270
Cridge, Elizabeth, 266
Cridge, Mary, 266, 270
Cryer, B. M., The Flying Canoe, review of,
Curtis, Commander A. J., 269
Daly, W., 184
Danadisiki Bay, 251
Davie, A. E. B., 112
Davydov, 247
Day, A. Grove, and Kuykendall, R. S., Hawaii:
A History, review of, 124-126
Dean, Aubrey, 92
Dean, C. A., 152
Dease, Peter Warren, 26, 27
de Cosmos, Amor, 37
Deep Creek, 224
Deffls, B., 75, 76
de Garro, Paul, 71-74, 85
Delisle, J. N., 59-61, 247
Demers, Bishop, 72, 77
Denman, Joseph, 34
Denniston, R„ 190
Deveaux, E., 184
Dezhnev, 250
Diary of Martha Cheney Ella, 1853-1858, The,
91-112, 257-270
Diary   of   Simeon   Perkins,   1788-1780,   The,
review of, 290-292
Dodds, Robert E., 99
Doherty, Capt. A. F., 152, 184
Douglas, Agnes, 268
Douglas, Alice, 268
Douglas, Sir James, 92, 94, 101, 106, 109-111,
130, 258, 259, 262-265, 268
Douglas, Sir James, and French, 70, 71
Douglas, Sir James, and Rev. Staines, 108
Driard, Sosthenes, 78, 80, 83, 84, 89
Driard House, 78, 83, 85
Du Halde, J. B., 59
Duncan, Capt. Edward, 91, 92
Duncan, Mrs. Edward, 92
Dundas, Adam Alexander, 12
Dundas, George, 12
Dunn, John, 4
Durnford, F. G. D., 176, 177 Index.
Earthquake, Victoria, 108
Elections, Federal, 131-133, 217
Ella, Elizabeth Ann, 98, 99
Ella, Frederick William, 98
Ella, Henry Bailey, 96-99, 257-264, 266, 267,
269, 270
Ella, Henry Reece, 95, 98
Ella, Louisa Martha Blinkhorn, 98
Ella, Marion, 98, 99
Ella, Martha Cheney, 92, 94-100;  diary, 101-
112, 257-270
Ella,   Martha  Cheney,   The  Diary  of,   1853-
1856, 91-112, 257-270
Ella, Mary, 98
Ella, Thomas Richards, 98
Elson, 27
Enderby,. Charles, 13
Eskimos, 234, 241
Essay Competition, Blanshard Centenary, 280
Estehacow, Capt., 240, 241
Euler, Johann Albrecht, 65
Euler, Leonhard, 60, 65, 247
Express rate, 164
Farthest Frontier, review of, 288-286
Finlayson, Roderick, 109
Fisher, William, 71
Fisset, Pierre, 89
Fitzgerald, James Edward, 1-4, 6, 7, 15, 20,
21;  letters, 7-19
Fitzgerald, James Edward, Letters from,  to
W.   E.   Gladstone   concerning   Vancouver
Island   and   the   Hudson's   Bay   Company,
1848-1850,  1-21
Fitzwilliam, Charles William Wentworth, 94
Fleming, Sandford, 129
Flucke, A. W., Farthest Frontier, review by,
283-286;   Hawaii:   A History,  review by,
Flying Canoe, The, review of, 293
" Flying Squadron," 37, 38
Foley, Timothy, 210
Foley, Welch & Stewart,  186, 192, 193, 202,
210, 221, 222, 228
Ford, Giles,  103,  104, 108, 260-262, 264-266,
Forrest,  Linn  A.,  and Garfield,  V. E.,  The
Wolf and the Raven, review of, 287-289
Fort George, 129, 189, 141, 142, 146-148, 161,
162,   166,   158-162,   166-168,   174-181,   183-
185,   187-194,   196,   197,   200,   202-208,   210-
212, 217, 218, 220-223, 229
Fort George Canyon,   189,  141-148,  145-148,
152, 156-169, 161, 164, 165, 211, 224-226
Fort George Lake and River Transportation
Company, 191, 229
Fort  George Lumber  and  Navigation  Company, 146, 151, 161, 211, 227, 228
Fort George Lumber and Trading Company,
Fort George,  The " B.X." and the Rush to,
Fortier, J. B., 67
Forts and trading-posts, Alexandria, 138, 139 ;
Chipewyan,    26;    Cumberland   House,    5;
Langley, 111; McLoughlin,  110; Nisqually,
110; Pelly,  81; Rupert,  83,  84,   101, 261;
Simpson, 112, 261, 262 ; Vancouver, 110
Foster, Capt. D. A., 146, 147, 184, 223, 226
Four Mile Creek, 138, 228
Fox Islands, 64, 284, 240, 253, 254
Foxes, 234, 286, 238
Francis, Peter, 264
Franklin, Sir John, 94
Fraser, John A., 141
Fraser, Simon, 67
Fraser River, 129, 180, 187-162, 165, 167, 160-
164,   166,   175,   177-198,   195-201,   205-211,
215-217, 222, 223, 225, 226
Fraser River Mines Vindicated, The, 78
Freight, Cariboo, 138, 168, 174, 198, 202, 211
French   Benevolent   Society,   San   Francisco,
French  Benevolent Society,  Victoria,  78-85;
Constitution, 86-89
French Hospital, Victoria, 79-84, 86-89
French in British Columbia, The, 67-89
French in California, 68-70, 75-80
Fur Trade, Maritime, 64, 234, 236, 242, 245,
Gale, Charles, 260
Gambling, Fraser River, 194, 195
Garfield, Violet E., and Forrest, L. A.,  The
Wolf and the Raven, review of, 287-289
Gasoline, Cariboo, 178, 174
Gilbert, George, 163
Giscome rapids, 184, 185, 191, 196, 207
Gladstone,  W.  E.,  8,   15,   19-21;   letters to,
3-5, 7-19
Gladstone, W. E., Letters from James Edward
Fitzgerald to, concerning Vancouver Island
and the Hudson's Bay Company, 1848-1850,
Glotov, 234, 235, 251
Gmelin, 247
Goat River, 146, 185, 187, 206
Godley, John Robert, 1, 3, 11, 18, 16, 17
Gold-mining,   British   Columbia,   67,   71,   76;
California,   IS,  14,  16, 68,  71;   Vancouver
-   Island, 266
Golder, Frank, 55, 61, 62, 250
Golledge, Richard, 264
Goodfellow, John, My Captain Oliver, review
by, 52-64
Goose Lake, 183
Grand  Canyon,   146,   184,   185,   187-190,   193,
194, 197, 205, 206, 210
Grand Trunk Pacific Development Company,
175, 177
Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company, 129,
130, 186, 137, 141,  142, 175, 177, 178, 184,
185, 187, 191, 192, 196, 197, 200, 202, 208-
211, 219, 221, 228
Grant, Capt. W. O, 11, 101-107
Green, Frederick William, 91
Green, Rev. William G., 267
Grey, Lord, 6, 12, 16, 18, 30
Gvozdev, Michael, 55, 58, 62, 63
Hall, 106
Hall, John, 103
Haller, Victor Albrecht von, 247
Hamilton, A. G., 160, 161 298
Hammond, George J., 160, 161, 176, 178, 179,
Hammond, William,  160,  161,  176,  178,  179,
Hankin,   Philip   James,  83-86;    letter from,
Hankin, Mrs. Philip James, 34, 37
Harris, John, 60
Hawaii: A History, review of, 124-126
Hawes, Benjamin, 8, 12, 15
Hawthorn,  H.  B.,  The Bella Coola Indians,
review by, 117-122
Hays, James, 153
Hazelton, 160
Heden, F., 147
Hedstrom, G. E., 147
Helmcken, Dr. J. S., 108, 257
Henselin, L. A., 79
Herreria, Visconde de la, 283, 234, 238-240
Hezeta, Bruno de, 255
Historic   Backgrounds   of   British   Columbia,
■ review of, 46, 47
Historical and Scientific Society of Manitoba,
Papers read before the, Series III, review
of, 286, 287
Hobson, J. B., 168
Holliday,  Charles W.,  The Volley of  Youth,
review of, 122-124
Hope, 71
Hospitals, Victoria, 79-84, 86-89, 97
Houstoun, Capt. Wallace, 105, 267
Howard, Capt. Edward, 258
Howard, P., 6
Hudson's Bay Company, 257
Hudson's Bay Company, and Indians, 5
Hudson's Bay Company, and J. H. Pelly, 26
Hudson's Bay Company, and Oregon, 4, 6, 7
Hudson's   Bay   Company,   and   Union   with
North West Company, 26
Hudson's    Bay    Company,    and    Vancouver
Island, 1-3, 6-16, 18, 20
Hudson's Bay  Company,   1848-1850,   Letters
from James Edward Fitzgerald to  W. E.
Gladstone concerning, 1-21
Hume, Joseph, 6-8, 14
Hunt, Capt. James, 260
Imperial Express Company, 220
Indians, and Hudson's Bay Company, 5
Indians, in Fort Victoria, 103, 104, 262, 268
Indians, Reservation, Fort George, 160, 176-
Innis, Harold A., ed.. The Diary of Simeon
Perkins, 1768-1780, review of, 290-292
Ireland, W. E., Arctic Mood, review by, 292;
The Columbia: Powerhouse of the West,
review by, 289, 290; The Flying Canoe,
review by, 298; The French in British
Columbia, 67-89 ; Historic Backgrounds of
British Columbia, review by, 46, 47; Letters of Dr. John McLoughlin written at
Fort Vancouver, 1829-1832, review by, 126,
127 ; ed.. An Official speaks out. Letter of
the Hon. Philip J. Hankin . . . to the
Duke of Buckingham, March 11, 1870, 83-
38;  Papers read before the Historical and
Scientific Society of Manitoba,  review by,
286, 287 ; Prize Winning Essays.   Armitage
Competition   in   Oregon   Pioneer   History.
Reed College, review by, 292, 293
Irving, Capt. John, 139, 148-145
Isbister, Alexander Kennedy, 5, 11, 16
Ismailov, Gerasim, 238, 254
Jackson, J. A., and Morton, W. L., ed.,
Papers read before the Historical and Scientific Society of Manitoba, Series in, review
of, 286, 287
Johnson, Albert, 162, 179, 180
Johnston, Dr. George, 264-266
Jones, J. J., 263
Jones, Phyllis Mander, 114
Kamchatka, 233-245, 247-252
Kamloops Museum Association, 42
Katyshevtsov, Petr, 246
Kennedy, Sir Arthur Edward, 34-36
Kennedy, William, 160
Keyserling, Count, 61
Khevruven, River, 238
King William Land, 27
Kirk, Capt. James, 103, 104, 106
Kitselas Canyon, 188
Knaplund, Paul, ed., Letters from James Edward Fitzgerald to W. E. Gladstone concerning Vancouver Island and the Hudson's
Bay Company, 1848-1850, 1-21
Kodiak Island, 64
Kolima River, 236
Krasil'nikov, I. T., 243
Krenitsyn, 58, 66, 232, 240-246, 252, 253
Kriemler, J., 89
Krusenstern, 247
Kukanov, 246
Kul'kow, F. A., 243
Kurile Islands, 261, 252
Kuykendall, Ralph S., and Day, A. Grove,
Hawaii:  A History, review of, 124-126
Labine, Leon, 67
Lacy, Conde de, 240, 242-245, 247-249
Laing, Robert, 112
Langford,   Edward   Edwards,   108-112,   258,
263, 265-269
Langford,   Mrs.   Edward   Edwards,   104-107,
111, 112, 268, 262, 263, 267
Langford, Emma, 266, 266
Langford, George, 262
Langford,  Louise Ellen,   104,   105,   107,   111,
268, 260, 262-265
Langford, Mary, 104, 105, 259, 262, 265, 266,
268, 269
Langford, Oty, 265, 268
Lapin, Ivan, 243, 248
Laughton, Thomas, 264
Laurier, Sir Wilfrid, 129, 132, 138, 186
Lazarev, Il'ya, 246
Lebedev-Lastochkin Company, 254
LeClerc, Noel, 74
Ledrier, A., 79
Leigh, William Thomas Lee, 111
Leighton, R., 220 Index.
LeLouis, Felix, 89
Lena River, 250
Letters  from  James  Edward  Fitzgerald   to
W.   E.   Gladstone   concerning   Vancouver
Island   and   the   Hudson's   Bay   Company,
1848-1850, 1-21
Letters of Dr. John McLoughlin written at
Fort Vancouver, 1829-1832, review of, 126,
Levashev, Lieut.,  58, 66,  232, 240,  243, 244,
Levy, Daniel, 68, 69
Lewis,   Capt.  Herbert  George,  91,  102,   105,
108, 110, 260, 269
Licences, gold-mining, 70, 71
Liddle, James, 260
Liddle, Miss, 260
Lillooet, 211
Lincoln, Lord, 4, 8-11, 14, 16
Lisianskii, 247
Lomonosov, 235, 288, 239, 241
Loraine, Sir Lambton, 106, 268
Lucas, Samuel, 10
Luzhin, Fedor, 251
Lyne, William, 149
McAllum, William, 146
McArthur, James, 140
Macaulay Point, 257
McBride, Sir Richard, 154
McCarthy, Leighton, 209
Macdonald,   William   John,   91-94,    109-111,
MacGillivray, John, 11
Mcllwraith, T. F.,  The Bella Coola Indians,
review of, 117-122
Mcintosh, Capt. John, 103
Mackay, 259, 263
McKenzie,  Kenneth,  105
McKenzie River, 27
McLeese, Robert, 141
McLennan, Dr. J. K., 211
McLeod, Donald, 210
McLoughlin, Dr. John, 4
McLoughlin, Letters of Dr. John, written at
Fort Vancouver, 1829-1832, review of, 126,
McNeil, Lieut., 265
McNeill, Lucy, 262
McNeill, Capt. W. H., 262, 263
McPhee, Donald, 145, 146, 152, 224, 227, 228,
Magistrates, Vancouver Island, 106
Mail   contracts,    Cariboo,    130-184,   136-188,
141, 163, 181-183, 217-222
Maison d'Asile, San Francisco, 78
Malakov, 246
Mallandaine, Edward, 75
Manetta, P., 80
Mansfield, 15
Mara, J. A., 131, 132
Margery, 263
Marion, Telesphore, 146, 229
Marriott, Frederick, 72, 74
Martin, George P., 267
Martin, Robert Montgomery, 10-13
Martinez, 256
Masterson, James R., and Brower, Helen,
Bering's Successors, 1745-1780, review of,
47, 48
Matheson, W. H., 226
Matthews, J. S., 174
Maurault, Olivier, Au Berceau de la Colombie-
Britannique, review of, 50-52
Mazatlan, 269
Midnoistrovs Island, 246
Mile 49 B.C., 187
Mile 63 B.C., 184, 185, 187, 188, 192-194, 196,
199, 201, 202, 205, 207, 208, 210
Mile 121 B.C., 201
Mile 141 B.C., 208
Mile 142 B.C., 187
Millar, Charles V., 188-187, 173, 176-178, 190,
217, 220
Millar, George, 171
Miller, Capt, 102
Miller, Henry M., 268
MBls, Capt. John Powell, 111
Mitchell, Capt. William, 103, 263
Moffat, Hamilton, 261, 262
Molotilov, 246
Monteagle, Baron, 5, 6
Monsell, William, 9
Montreal Island, 27
Moorhead, Max L., and Tompkins, Stuart R.,
Russia's Approach to America, 55-66, 231-
Morgan, Murray, The Columbia: Powerhouse
of the West, review of, 289, 290
Mormons, 6
Morshead, Capt. William H. A., 259
Morton, W. L., and Jackson, J. A., ed.,
Papers read before the Historical and Scientific Society of Manitoba, Series III, review
of, 286, 287
Muir, Andrew, 101, 105, 109, 112, 261
Muir, Archibald, 101-104, 106-108, 110, 111,
Muir, John, Sr., 101
Muir, Mrs. John, 101, 258, 259
Muir, John, Jr., 101, 102, 112
Muir, Marion, see Turner, Mrs. Marion
Muir, Michael, 101, 103, 104, 108, 111, 112,
Muir, Robert, 101, 261
Miiller, G. F., 61, 65, 283, 235, 237, 241, 249-
Munday, Don, The Unknown Mountain, review of, 48-50
Murett, S., 190
Musgrave, Anthony, 35-87
My Captain Oliver, review of, 52-54
Myers, Capt.  "Con," 186,  187
Nagle, Isabella Gertrude, 34
Natural Resources Security Company, 160
Neave, Ferris, The Unknown Mountain, review by, 48-50
Nechako River, 129, 189, 146, 147, 151, 160-
162, 175, 177, 178, 190-192, 210
Needham, Chief Justice, 87
Nesbitt, James K., ed.. The Diary of Martha
Cheney Ella, 1858-1856, 91-112, 257-270 300
Nesbitt, Samuel, 99
Newton, W. H., 92, 111, 259, 268, 269
Nine Mile Creek, 149
North British Columbia Navigation Company,
Limited, 189, 144, 227
Northern Development Company, 161
Northern Lumber and Navigation Company,
Northern Trading Company, 212
Northwest Passage, 26, 27
Norton, Lord, 19
Novgorod, 248
Oats, Cariboo, 218
Odin, Frank, 140
Official speaks out, An, 38-88
Ogle, Point, 27
Okanagan Brigade Trail, 275, 276
Okanagan Historical Society, 273-275
Okanagan   Historical   Society,   The   Twelfth
Report of the, review of, 127, 128
Okhotsk, 239, 243, 249-251
100-Mile House, 168
141-Mile House, 169
Oregon, and the Hudson's Bay Company, 4,
6, 7
Ormsby, Margaret A., The Valley of Youth,
review by, 122-124
Owen, Capt. Edward, 112
Pacific Great Eastern Railway, 192, 210, 211,
219, 221, 222, 224
Pacific Ocean, 250
Pallas, Peter Simon, 65, 241, 244
Panowbajew, Capt., 240, 241
Papers read before the Historical and Scientific Society of Manitoba, Series III, review
of, 286, 287
Parker, Capt. James, 107
Passenger rates, Fraser River, 168, 193
Passerard, H„ 89
Patey, George E., 268
Peace River District, 210
Pearse, Benjamin William, 102
Pelly, Charles, 28
Pelly, H. A., 23
Pelly, Henry Hinde, 24
Pelly, Sir John Henry, 10, 11, 28-82, 92
Pelly, Lady, 25, 26, 81
Pelly, Sir John H., Bart., 28-82
Pelly family, 23, 24
Pelly, 31
Pelly Bay, 81
Pelly Island, 31
Pelly Islet, 31
Pelly Lake, 81
Pelly Lakes, 31
Pelly Mountain, 31
Pelly Point, 81
Pelly River, 81
Pemberton, Augustus F., 262, 266
Pemberton, J. D., 102, 109, 110, 258, 264, 266
Perez,  255
Perkins, Simeon, The Diary of, 1766-1780,
review of, 290-292
Perrodin, T., 79
Perry, O. S., 168, 169
Petrof, Ivan, 234
Petropavlovsk, 234, 239, 259
Pettibeau, Mme. V. A., 77, 78
Philharmonic Society, Victoria, 76, 77
Phillips, Ellen, 104, 106, 107, 111, 260, 268,
Pickford, A. E., The Wolf and the Raven,
review by, 287-289
Pierce, 259
Pitt, William, 6
Plenisner, Friederich, 287 239
Police, Fraser River, 196, 196
Police, Victoria, 34, 35, 262, 266
Ponomarev, 235
Powell, Dr. I. W., 80, 89
Price, 268
Prince George, 178, 180
Prince William Sound, 254
Prize Winning Essays. Armitage Competition in Oregon Pioneer History. Reed College, review of, 292, 298
Puget Sound Agricultural Company, 92, 101,
Quesnel, Jules Maurice, 67 .
Quesnel, 138-148, 145, 146, 149, 153, 156, 160,
163,  166, 166,  181-183, 213, 216, 217, 219,
223, 227-229
Quesnel Board of Trade, 223
Razumovskii, Count, 61
Red River Settlement, 6, 8, 11-13
Reed, Capt., 153
Reid, Catherine Balfour, 258
Reid, James, 139
Reid, Mrs. James, 140
Reid, Capt. James Murray, 258
Reid, Mary Ann, 258
Return Reef, 27
Reynolds, Robert Foster, 26
Rhumb, 235
Rich, E. E., ed., Simpson's 1828 Journey to
the Columbia, review of, 43-46
Richards, Eva Alvey, Arctic Mood, review of,
Richards, Capt G. H., 34, 96
Richardson, 267
Richardson, John, 27
Rickard, T. A., Historic Backgrounds of British Columbia, review of, 46, 47
Ritchie, Capt. George, 151, 166
Robertson, William, 242, 244
Robinson, J. T., 220
Rose Spit, 259
Round Meadow, 183
Royal Commission on National Development
in the Arts, Letters and Sciences. Brief
presented by the British Columbia Historical Association, 276-280
Royal Geographical Society, 80
Royal Jubilee Hospital, Victoria, 84
Rueff, Jules, 78, 80, 83, 84, 89
Russell, Lord John, 6, 16, 27
Russian American Fur Company, 28, 237, 246
Russia's Approach to America, 55-66, 281-255
Rybinskii, F. N., 248 Index.
Sage, W. N., Au berceau de la Colombie-
Britannique, review by, 50-52; Bering's
Successors, 1745-1780, review by, 47, 48;
The Diary of Simeon Perkins, 1766-1780,
review by, 290-292; The Twelfth Report
of the Okanagan Historical Society, review
by, 127, 128
Saint-Amant, P. C. F. de, 68, 70
Sampson, Capt., 257
San Juan, Port, 264
Sandrie, George, 76, 77
Sangster, Capt. James, 266
Sarychev, 247
Saw, Reginald, Sir John H. Pelly, Bart., 28-
Say, Frederick Richard, 29
Schools, Victoria, 77, 268, 266
Schreiber, Collingwood, 196
Schumacher, I., 60
Scott, Robert C, My Captain Oliver, review
of, 52-54
Scows, Fraser River, 187, 188, 194, 195, 200
Sea-otter, 63, 245, 246
Selwyn, George Augustus, 16
Semidock Island, 245, 246
Seward Peninsula, 242, 251
Seymour, Frederick, 35
Shabayev, 246
Shalaurov, 286
Shannon, Capt. Jack, 186, 212-217
Shelekhov, 254
Shestakov, Afanasii, 55
Shields, J. C, 220
Shields, Bond and Miller, Messrs., 186
Shilov, V. I., 235, 286, 248
Shilov-Lapin Company, 237, 243, 248, 251
Ships, Alice, 110, 259, 265; B.C. Express,
137, 188-202, 204-208, 211, 212, 222, 224,
225, 227; B.X., 187, 147-159, 161-166, 176,
179, 181, 183, 184, 188-191, 200, 207, 211-
217, 222, 224, 225, 227 ; Beaver, 26; H.M.S.
Brisk, 259 ; Cadboro, 261, 266; Cariboo Fly,
74; Charlotte, 139-145, 147-151, 169, 160,
165, 169, 188, 184, 227; Chilco, 146-147,
161, 160, 166, 188, 186, 228; Chilcotin, 161,
152, 164, 183, 184, 193, 211, 226, 227; City
of Quesnel, see Quesnel; Colinda, 111, 112;
Columbia, 98 ; Commodore, 70; Conveyor,
185, 186, 198, 210, 212-217, 222, 228; Coutts,
25; Cowlitz, 102, 110, 261; U.S.S. Decatur,
268; H.M.S. Dido, 259; Distributor, 185 ;
Doctor, 151, 183, 186, 211, 226, 228 ; Duchess
of San Lorenzo, 108; H.M.S. Endymion,
88; Enterprise, 188, 189, 141, 228; Fort
Fraser, see Doctor; Fort George, 161; Gan-
nymede, 110; Harpooner, 101; H.M.S.
Hecate, 33, 96 ; Hillsborough, 25 ; Isthmus,
257 ; Julian, 234, 285 ; Kingfisher, 34; La
Neuse, 68; H.M.S. Liffey, 88; H.M.S. Liverpool, 38; Llama, 266; Lord Western,
107; Major Tompkins, 267, 260; Manila
Galleon, 255 ; Marquis of Bute, 258; H.M.S.
Monarch, 267, 268; Nechaco, see Chilco;
Norman Morison, 96, 101, 108, 267, 258,
260; Operator, 185-187, 198, 210, 212, 222,
228;   Orbit, see Recovery;   Otter, 102, 107,
111,112,258-263; H.M.S. Peari, 88 ; H.M.S.
Phoebe, 88; H.M.S. Plumper, 88, 96 ; Princess Royal, 257, 258, 260, 261, 264, 266;
Quesnel, 146, 147, 151, 160, 188, 191, 198,
212, 228, 225, 226, 229; Recovery, 96, 268,
264, 266; Robert C. Hammond, 191, 192,
210, 220, 222, 228, 229; St. Paul, 58; St.
Peter, 58; H.M.S. Scylla, 88; Sir James
Douglas, 111; Southerner, 257; Stewart,
151; Susan Sturgess, 112; H.M.S. Sutlej,
34 ; Thomasine, 112 ; Tory, 91-98, 100, 102,
108, 106, 110, 111, 264; H.M.S. Trincomalee, 96, 105, 106, 267-269; Una, 108; United
Kingdom, 25; Vancouver, 269; Victoria,
139-142, 229 ; Wexford, 25 ; WiHiam, 101,
108, 104, 106
Shishkin, 285
Shmalev, Timofei, 249, 250, 252
Shmalev, Capt. V., 249
Simon, Sir John, 209
Simpson, Sir George, 27, 28
Simpson, George W., 28
Simpson, Thomas, 26, 27
Simpson's 1828 Journey to the Columbia, review of, 48-46
Sind, Lieut, 66, 231, 287-240, 242, 261-263
Sir John H. Petty, Bart., 23-82
Sitnokov, 246
Skeena River, 129, 188, 194, 228
Skinner, Ambrose, 268
Skinner, Constance Langford, 112, 268
Skinner, Thomas James, 101, 105, 263-265,
268, 269
Skinner, Mrs. Thomas James, 112, 267
Smith, Vernon W., 210
Societe des Enfans de Paris, La, 76
SociSt6 Francaise de Bienfaisance et Seeours
Mutuels de Victoria, La, 78
Society for the Reform of Colonial Government, 17
Soda Creek, 137, 141, 143, 145, 147-152, 156,
163-166, 168, 169, 178, 184, 185, 188, 189,
191, 192, 200, 207, 210-218, 220-224, 227,
Solov'ev, 247
Somers, Joseph, 91
Somerville, Horatio, 267, 268
Sooke, 101
South Fort George, 161-166, 175-184, 191, 193,
194, 196, 200, 206-208, 211-218, 224, 225
Spanberg, 251
Staehlin von Storcksburg, Jacob, 65, 231, 252,
Stage-coaches, Cariboo, 182, 183, 192
Staines, Rev. R. J., 101, 106, 108, 110, 259
Staines, Mrs. R. J., 257, 260
Steamboat Landing, 139, 140
Steller, G. W., 67, 241
Stephen, James, 2
Stern-wheelers, inspection, 188
Stewart, John W., 210, 221, 222
Stoney Creek, 146
Strand, John, 146, 229
Stuart Lake, 151, 160
Stuart River, 189
Swanson, Capt. John, 261 302
Swanston, Robert S., 101, 108-112, 269, 260
Sydenham, Lord, 29
Tahourdin, Horace Foster, 267
Tate, D'Arcy, 210
Tatla Landing, 139
Telegraph, Cariboo, 37, 38
Tete Jaune Cache, 145, 148, 151, 185, 189, 192,
202-204, 207, 228
Thornton, W., 72
Timmerman, J. B., 80
Tingley, Stephen, 180, 181, 138, 136, 139
Tod, Emmeline, 92, 111, 265, 268
Tod, John, 107
Tod, Mary, 107
Tolmie, Dr. W. F., 110, 111
Tompkins, Stuart R., and Moorhead, Max L.,
Russia's Approach to America, 55-66, 231-
Trahey, James, 188, 139, 228, 229
Travaillot, O. J., 71
Treaty of Kiakhta, 64
Treaty of Nerchirsk, 64
Trinity House, 28, 29
Trutch, Joseph W., 35
Tschemalow, Timafey, 252
Tschirikow, Oapt., 233, 240, 243, 244
Tschutsky, Cape, 236, 237, 241
Turnagain, Point, 27
Turner, Mrs. Marion, 101
Twan's Landing, 215
Twelfth Report of the Okanagan Historical
Society, The, review of, 127, 128
Tyne, 259
Ud River, 250
Unalaska, 288, 248, 249, 254
Umnak Island, 285
Umpqua, 257
Unknown Mountain, The, review of, 48-50
Vaillant, J., 78
Valley of Youth, The, review of, 122-124
Vancouver, 210, 212
Vancouver Island, exploration, 33, 84; first
settler, 102; Hudson's Bay Company, 1-4,
6-16, 18, 20
Vancouver Island and the Hudson's Bay Company, 1848—1850, Letters from James Edward Fitzgerald to W. E. Gladstone concerning, 1—21
Vancouver Island Exploring Expedition, 264
Vancouver Island Gazette, 72
Vancouver's Island Steam Saw Mill Company,
Veniaminov, 246, 247
Victoria District Church, see Christ Church
Victoria Island, 27
Victoria Voltigeurs, 262, 263
Vogel, John, 89
Waddington, Alfred, 73, 79
Waller, F. A., 190
Walton, 251
Warren, Sidney, Farthest Frontier, review of,
Watson, Alexander, 139, 190, 227
Watson,   Alexander,   Jr.,   148-160,   168,   184,
185, 188-190, 224, 227
Webster, 102
Weir, Adam, 108
Weir, Hugh, 108
Weir, Isabella, 105, 108, 109
Weir, John, 108
Weir, Robert, 108, 109, 111, 112
Weir, Robina, 109
Weir, William, 108
Welbank, Capt., 12
Welch, P., & Company, 221
Welch, Patrick, 210
Wellington, Duke of, 28-80
'* Wentworth Villa," 97-99
West Willis J., 170-178, 198
West, Willis J., The " B.X." and the Rush to
Fort George, 129-229
Westbank Cairn, The, 275, 276
Weyton, A. J., 110
Weyton, Stephenson, 110, 261
Wilcocke, S. H., 12
Wilkes, Charles, 4, 6
Wolf and the Raven, The, review of, 287-289
Wollaston Land, 27
Wood, Dr. C. B., 33
Wright, G. B., 138, 141, 228, 229
Wright, Capt. J. T., 257
Wright, Thomas, 138, 228
Wyld, J., 6
Yale, 130, 211
Yassak, 237
Yates, James, 107, 264, 266
Yellowhead Pass, 129
Yenesei River, 250
Yevreinov, Ivan, 251
Yorston, J. M., 223
Young, W. A. G., 35
Zaikov, Potap, 264
Printed by Don McDiabmid, Printer to the King's Most Excellent Majesty.


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