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British Columbia Historical News 2002

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 British Columbia
Historical News
Journal of the British Columbia Historical Federation
Volume 35, No. 2
Spring 2002
ISSN 1195-8294
Acts of Kindness
Big Bend
From Utah to Kootenay Flats
Business in the Lardeau: 1901
Bees in BC
Jane (Fisher) Huscroft, ca. 1897, with her eleventh grandchild, 'William Rodger
Huscroft Long. After a brief attempt in 1891 to settle on Baillie-Grohman's Kootenay
Flats, the Huscrofts settled near Creston. R.G. Harvey's article starting on page 2.
This issue includes a registration form for a
day of free workshops in Revelstoke in
conjunction with the annual conference of
the British Columbia Historical Federation. Our Web site, http://www.BCHF.BC.CA, is hosted by Selkirk College in Castlegar, BC
British Columbia Historical News
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ISSN 1195-8294
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While copyright in the journal as a whole is vested in the British Columbia Historical Federation, copyright in the individual articles belongs to their respective
authors, and articles may be reproduced for personal use only. For reproduction for other purposes permission in writing of both author and publisher is required. British Columbia
Historical News
Journal of the British Columbia Historical Federation
Volume 35, No. 2
Spring 2002
ISSN 1195-8294
2 The Trek of the Huscrofts in 1891
by R. G. Harvey
8 "Individual Acts of Kindness" and Political
Influence: Alice Parke's Experience with the
Vernon Women's Council
by Kimberly Boehr
18 The Big Bend Gold Rush of 1865
by Edward L. Affleck
26 Transporting Bees by Stagecoach
by Ped Kay
28        Token History by Ronald Greene
W  Cowan, Revelstoke BC
30        Book Reviews
36 Reports
— Restoration of Interurban Car on Track by Pixie McGeachie
— Celebrating Education: "A Miserable, Cold, and Draughty
School" by Fred Braches
— Situation at BC Archives by Gary A. Mitchell
38 Web Site Forays by Gwen Szychter
39 Archives and Archivists The South Peace Historical
Society Archives: A Brief History by Gerry Clare
40 News and Notes
42        Family History by Brenda P. Smith
44        Federation News
"Any country worthy of a future should be interested in its past.
W. Kaye Lamb, 1937
What Are We Doing
on the Net?
BC Historical News may be the only
magazine dedicated to the history of
British Columbia, but on the Internet
there are many sites of organizations and
individuals reaching out and promoting
interest in all facets of the history of BC.
The Internet has a large and diverse
audience, and while wanting to continue
publishing BC Historical News as a paper
journal, the British Columbia Historical
Federation recognizes the opportunities
offered by the Internet to reach out to
societies and people, and the need to
extend publicity through this medium.
Hosted by Selkirk College in Castlegar the
BCHF runs a simple Web site infoming
visitors about the BCHF and its activities.
Member societies and their mailing
addresses are shown. Member societies
with own sites or pages can now be easily
reached through "links," but Eileen Mak,
our Web site editor, would like to add
information on our Web site about
member societies who don't have a Web
site of their own. At the Revelstoke
Conference she would like to listen to what
you think should be on the BCHF site
about your organization.
Since last summer Eileen has kept working
at the BCHF site. Photographs of events
add colour to the pages.Visitors to our Web
site can now download BC Historical News
indexes for the years 1993 to 2001, and
even a sample copy of BC Historical News:
a digital version of a recent issue.
Thanks to Eileen for her work building
on the site and keeping it fresh and
exciting, to Barbara for doing that technical
stuff, and of course to Selkirk Colege, our
gracious host.
the editor
1 The Trek of the Huscrofts in 1891
by R.G. Harvey
R.G. Harvey is the
author of two volumes
on the development of
highways, railways, and
steamboat routes
though the southern
mountains,central and
northern British
Columbia: Carving the
Western Pass. For his
book The Coast Connection he received in
1995 a British Columbia Historical Federation award for historical writing.
Last sum mer, at a
convention inVictoria,
the Canadian Society
for Civil Engineering
presented R.G. Harvey
with the W. Gordon
Plewes Award for"his
many contributions to
the preservation ofthe
history of transportation in British Columbia." Bob Harvey gave a
well-received after-
dinner talk titled
"Making an Author out
of an Engineer."
R.G. Harvey married
Eva, daughter of
Charles Leroy Huscroft,
the youngest son of
William Rodger
In the 1880s William Adolph Baillie-Grohman conceived a perfectly feasible scheme whereby
some of the water of the upper Kootenay River would be diverted into the Columbia River
where the Kootenay—already about fifty miles along its course—came close to the Columbia
headwaters. He calculated that the consequent reduction in the maximum flow of the Kootenay
through the flats at the head of Kootenay Pake would enable a huge area of rich alluvial plain
in the Creston area to be reclaimed from annual flooding by a minimum of dyking. By 1887 he
had built a canal between the rivers at a place called Canal Flats near Columbia Pake. At that
time he put out a widely-circulated brochure praising the wonderful Kootenay flats.
1. Apart from those kept
for farming, the balance
of the horses was later
sold to mining
companies in the Slocan
District of British
WHEN William Rodger Huscroft married Jane Fisher in Provo, Utah Ter
ritory, in 1856, Jane was fifteen years
of age. William was twenty-six. They were both
quite recent immigrants to America, who had
arrived a few years earlier from England, Jane with
her parents, and William, an orphan, unaccompanied. Both had been recruited to the Mormon
Church, otherwise known as the Church of the
Latter-day Saints, by Brigham Young in his mission to England to increase membership in
America. Huscroft had rejected polygamy in the
years prior to his marriage, and he continued this
non-conformance, which probably led to his leaving the church. In the midst of having and raising their eleven children, he retreated with his
wife and children to Missouri.
Around 1876 they came back to Utah to be
near to Jane's parents, but William's discontent
with Mormonism resurfaced fourteen years later,
after reading the brochure distributed by Baillie-
Grohman, praising the virtues of the Kootenay
River valley some 900 miles north in British
Columbia, Canada. Despite being over sixty years
of age at that time, Huscroft decided to up stakes
and move north, to enjoy the benevolence ofthe
Kootenay flats and live under the Union Jack.
The Huscrofts planned their migration at their
home at Jensen by the Green River in Utah, and
it is there that we join them. To make the trip,
they decided first on the make-up of the party.
Emma, their eldest girl, was married to John
Arrowsmith, and in 1891 they had two daughters, eight and four years old, two sons, two and
six years of age, and a baby coming. The
Arrowsmiths travelled north with the Huscrofts,
but not all the way initially. Mary Elizabeth,
William's second daughter, born in 1864, stayed
behind in Utah and married there. She died of
cancer in 1896, and never saw her parents again
after they left. The eldest surviving son (their
firstborn son died young) George Joseph
Huscroft, aged 24 in 1891, married an Irish girl
named Mary McKinney and a year later followed
his parents to British Columbia. In 1893, on their
way north, their first child,Vera Marie, was born
in Bonners Ferry.
The Huscrofts' unmarried offspring were three
boys and four girls: James, 22; John, 13; Charles,
9; Effie, 19; Sophy, 15; Sarah, 11; and Maud, 5.To
carry this company as well as their two parents
and their worldly possessions, they decided on
two heavy wagons for the Huscrofts, and a heavy
wagon and a light one for the Arrowsmiths and
their four young children. Therefore, in May of
1891, when they left Jensen on the Green River,
there were three heavy wagons and one light
wagon.There were also twenty or more head of
cattle and forty spare horses according to the sons'
recollections. Quite a train. James must be given
the credit for this livestock coming with them.
He had earned the money to purchase them by
herding cattle in Wyoming in the months before.
His experience at this would be well used on the
William, the father, would have driven one of
the heavy wagons, James, his eldest son, another
and his son-in-law John Arrowsmith, the third.
The light wagon would have been driven either
by son John, or else by one of the older daughters Effie or Sophy. Driving the spare horses and
the herd of cattle were two young men, names
never mentioned, whom they took with them
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol.35 No.2 from Jensen. The two men might have been assisted by John from time to time, and even by
one or more ofthe daughters. Charles, nine years
old, was too young for any responsibility, but could
help out. They would have been glad that they
had the two men from Jensen accompanying
them. These two left them at Kalispell to take
work building a railway.
The travellers reportedly visited Provo en route
north, visiting Jane's mother, Emma Burrows
Fisher, who stayed there (she died in 1905), and
son George. It is also said that they went through
Wyoming, so they probably went back up the
old trail to Fort Bridger and then by the old
Oregon Trail north. Beyond Fort Hall they probably followed roads built by the Mormons and
then they would soon come upon a number of
mining roads built in the Montana mining boom
of the 1880s. They saw the lights and heard the
night-time noises of Missoula, Montana, as they
passed, but they did not call in—it was a wild
town. Beyond Missoula the family left the mining road network and struck off northwards
through the huge Flathead Indian Reserve, often, as John says, rolling along through the
sagebrush without the benefit of a road. They
then travelled along the east shore of Flathead
Lake and from there onwards north to Kalispell,
Montana, where they stopped and paused for a
while. John Arrowsmith and his family stayed to
winter in that outpost, but the Huscrofts did not.
After a reconnaissance ahead by William and
John, they hit the road again, and fifteen miles
north of Kalispell they met the Great Northern
Railway right-of-way along the Kootenay River,
with the grade complete but without tracks, and
mostly without bridges. It would be opened for
its full length two years later. Here the rains came,
and as they struggled along the muddy railway
grade and laboriously struggled down and up
again to cross the creeks for which there were no
bridges, they did some damage to the fills and
slopes. Finally, after they had covered nearly a
hundred miles on the grade the contractors
stopped them and said, "Go no further."
Relenting, the railwaymen consented to a compromise. The women and children would proceed in the light wagon, but the heavier vehicles,
with the great majority of their possessions, would
not be allowed to continue this way. James would
guide the women and girls, and Charles would
go along with them. All the horses and the cattle
would go with them as well.
V c lx
U.S. A
OF THE Htsaianz w ig?i
M-2 nr'. s t.
■v t a M i n &
John, the teenager, would remain with his dad,
to assist him moving the large wagons and their
freight. William and John got the idea of building a raft to take the larger wagons down the
Kootenay River to the Canadian border.William
had questioned the contractors, and he learned
that at that point they had progressed far enough
to be past the Kootenay Falls, the main interruption to navigation within the loop of the
Kootenay River in the United States.There were
some rapids between them and Bonners Ferry,
but they were not too bad, or so the railwaymen
said, and best of all, their destination lay in the
direction the current was flowing.
So they set to work, felling and trimming trees
Above: Map tracing the
route taken by the
Huscrofts to reach the
Kootenay Lake flats and
future Creston.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - SPRING 2002 2. It is reported that
Baillie-Grohman first
saw the Kootenay flats
from the top of Arrow
Mountain whilst hunting
with Theodore
Roosevelt. In 1883 he
signed a ten-year lease
with the BC government
for 47,000 acres to be
reclaimed on the flats.
He did not personally
retain one acre, leaving
the area for the last time
in 1891. Information on
WA. Baillie-Grohman is
found in the Columbia
River Chronicles.
3. John C. Rykert's wife
Ella was the daughter of
Henry Wells, a pioneer of
American transportation.
He was one of the
organizers of the Wells
Fargo Company, which
served the California
gold rush and ran
stagecoach lines from
Sacramento to Salt Lake
City and to Portland,
4. Baillie-Grohman
purchased the Midge
from a friend in England,
after canvassing sources
in the west for boatbuilding and finding
them too expensive. The
Midge was a pleasure boat
from Norway made of
teak. It was originally the
Midget according to some
reports, and this was a
more suitable name as it
was the smallest
steamboat on record. The
t" got missed out
somewhere between
England and Canada. En
route from Europe it ran
into customs trouble in
Montreal due to a
crackdown on out-of-
Canada steamships. A
friendly customs officer
agreed to classify it as
agricultural machinery
because Baillie-Grohman
said he would use it to
cultivate land—land
under water! It took
three weeks of hard
labour to haul it on
rollers for 40 miles from
Pend O'Reille to
Bonners Ferry, and the
by the river. Soon they had a raft built, fourteen
feet wide by forty feet long, just large enough to
carry the two wagons. John Arrowsmith had kept
one wagon in Kalispell. Working together, they
unloaded and dismantled the wagons and loaded
their contents and the wagon parts aboard the
raft. At this point, just before William and thirteen-year-old John set off on the river to Bonners
Ferry, and before the others had left to travel to
the same destination along the railway grade in
the light wagon, they had a change of plans. Along
the right-of-way came a young man with a
packsack—one of the multitudes of wanderers
through the bush of these years. Finding out
where they were bound he asked for a ride, and
William took him up immediately and promptly
demoted son John to the wagon, a safer means of
locomotion. William and his new helper pushed
off and the others also got under way.
According to John's memoirs, the raft party
were going fifteen miles an hour down the
Kootenay River when he last saw them, and he
could only wish them luck. The land party went
on its way, but then, after travelling about a mile,
they were puzzled to see a figure standing on the
cleared right-of-way ahead of them, a person who
looked very much like their dad. It was, and when
they reached him he told the story.The ride had
been rough—they hit boulders constantly, and
when the captain of the craft finally steered it to
the shore, the mate and sole crew member mutinied and left without a word. John was immediately reinstalled as mate, and all started again.
Although very likely they either sold or left
some of the cattle in Kalispell with John
Arrowsmith, they did take most of the animals
on to Bonners Ferry, and herding them would
have been a problem. James probably did it with
the girls, while the mother drove the light wagon.
John says that on the river things did not get
better. Ahead of them they saw a canyon, and a
sheer cliff with a sharp turn of the stream before
it and a whirlpool.The raft struck the rock, tilted,
and almost sank. With the stern four feet under
water, John, who was at the rear, climbed up on
the stacked wagon wheels as the raft spun, righted
itself, and resumed its trip down the river, back
to front. John was now the pilot, and somehow,
using the rough paddle they had made, they carried on to Bonners Ferry.
At Bonners Ferry the others joined the raft,
and in a much more placid current, the now more
heavily laden and populated craft gently floated
down towards Canada. That it did so in stately if
not speedy fashion is attested to by John's account that it took them seven days to cover the
thirty-five miles to a place immediately south of
the border which is now called Porthill, then
known as Okinook.They had reached their goal:
the flats of the Kootenay River in Canada were
in sight before them. Jim Huscroft says that they
crossed the border on 1 September 1891., but it
is not certain whether the Huscroft family spent
that winter in BC or Idaho. In any case, as soon
as the sloughs became frozen they could ride
cross-country to Bonners Ferry for supplies,
which they did on two occasions, and they sent
out news of their progress to mother Emma Fisher
and son George in Provo, and to John Arrowsmith
in Kalispell. On these trips they would bring their
horses and cattle from Bonners Ferry where they
would have had to leave them before rafting to
Porthill. The Arrowsmiths joined them early in
1892, and George, his wife, and new-born daughter joined them in 1894. But before describing
their first adventures in their new country, it is
necessary to describe what was going on in that
part of British Columbia.
Southern British Columbia had just entered
the most exciting period of its history, and if
William Rodger Huscroft anticipated finding
unspoiled wilderness there he was out of luck.
The opening of the Canadian Pacific Railway
main line in 1886 started up a general interest in
the western province, but the finding of lead, zinc,
and silver in substantial quantities in many places
along and close to the international boundary,
from the Okanagan Valley to the Rocky Mountains, had really put things in high gear, attracting
migration mainly from the United States. Small
numbers of these American immigrants were pioneers interested in tilling the land like the
Huscrofts, but the overwhelming majority were
prospectors and miners and of course they were
accompanied by the promoters and manipulators associated with that industry.There were also
pioneer railway builders plying their trade, and at
the start they also came from the United States.
This mining frenzy had started south of the
border when an old pick-and-pan prospector
found colour in 1883 in the Coeur d'Alene
Range about a hundred miles south of the line
in Idaho Territory, causing a gold rush. This find
was followed by larger finds of other minerals,
and those discovering them soon turned their
footsteps north. In 1887 the Hall brothers claimed
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol.35 No.2 Left: The Midge was
reportedly the first
steamboat on Kootenay
Lake. The tiny teak-hulled
vessel, originally called
Midget, was built in
Norway as a pleasure craft.
Baillie-Grohman acquired
her in England. The
Midge was operated by a
man called Charlie Davis,
perhaps the person sitting
on the shore. The photo
was taken by Baillie-
Grohman himself.
outcrops of copper and silver on Toad Mountain
some nine miles from Nelson, BC, resulting in
the Silver King Mine, and this was followed by
hugely valuable silver and lead discoveries at
Ainsworth alongside Kootenay Lake in 1889, at
Rossland near Trail in 1890, and in the Slocan
area in 1891. The Payne Mine in that district
quickly became the greatest dividend paying operation in the province.
When the Huscrofts arrived Baillie-Grohman s
grand-scale project was over, and he was gone.2
The diversion project was scuttled by the farmers ofthe Columbia valley at Golden.They were
assisted by the CPR, which was concerned about
the effect ofthe project on its track. Without this
flood prevention assistance, a reclaimed area of
much lesser acreage than originally intended was
achieved at Creston, with dyking hoped to be
The Huscroft family presented itself at the customs house just inside  Canada where the
Kootenay River flows in northbound at a place
named after the officer there, one John C. Rykert.
Rykert was a customs officer, an immigration
inspector and gold commissioner's agent. In this
place he was also the registrar of shipping. He
was obviously a man who could greatly help the
Huscrofts and he also became a friend of the fam-
Suitably admitted, the family proceeded to
build a log cabin across the river, presumably
within the purview, and the dyking, of what was
called The English Reclamation Company. The
Huscroft men were grateful to find employment
with the company. Rykert was the first white
settler in the area and the Huscrofts were the first
white family to settle in the Kootenay Valley south
of the lake. They carried out all the essentials of
pioneer living, building a cabin, cultivating vegetables, growing hay for the animals, and so on.
Some years earlier Baillie-Grohman had
brought the Midge, a steam launch, on a wagon
owner described the cost
of transport as
'' unconscionable.'
(Thanks for this
information are due to
the Creston Valley
5. It seems fitting that a
remnant from William
Adolf Baillie-Grohman's
vision, the steam launch
Midge, saved the dreams
ofWilliam Rodger
Huscroft, because it was
Baillie-Grohman s
writing which had
originally triggered
Huscroft s move. The
Huscroft family history
records that in the high-
water period of 1894
there were several violent
wind- and rain-storms.
One of these coincided
with their move from the
flats to the bench and it
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - SPRING 2002 almost achieved what the
flooding first
threatened—the loss of
their possessions. Another
such storm later on was
less forgiving to the
Midge: it sank. Both the
launch and Charlie Davis
disappeared. John
Huscroft,William's son,
eventually spotted the
Midge lying on the
bottom of the Kootenay
River near the Bonners
Ferry dock, fully covered
in silt. Davis did not
drown with her, he just
left. The silt preserved
the launch, and the
faithful craft was
resurrected some years
later, re-floated, and
rather unkindly renamed
the Mud Hen. It did not
last long as that, however,
and quite soon it met a
permanent watery grave
on the bottom of the
same river close to the
West Creston ferry
6. At this reunion a draft of
the book William Rodger
Huscroft, Jane (Fisher)
Huscroft Family History
was reviewed. It is a 494-
page volume, produced
by Dawn (Huscroft)
Sommerfeld and John
A.I.Young ( Emma's
grandson), organized by
Roots III genealogy
software, and desktop-
published by John Young.
road recently built from the Northern Pacific
railhead at Pend O'Reille to Bonners Ferry.There
it was launched to serve the dyking project on
the Kootenay River. The Midge was operated by
a man called Charlie Davis.4 The Midge also obtained mail and supplies for the Huscrofts from
Bonners Ferry because the vessel also ran a supply service to the miners at the recently opened
Bluebell Mine at Riondel, located halfway up
Kootenay Lake from Bonners Ferry. By that time
a more elegant vessel was plying the Kootenay
River and Lake.The SS Nelson, a sternwheeler of
fine lines and rather exceptional horsepower, from
time to time was towing barges loaded with galena, the heaviest of ore, (a mixture of lead, zinc,
and silver), shovelled out of the ground at the
Payne Mine and other mining properties near
Sandon in the Slocan district. The Nelson was
towing the barges upstream to Bonners Ferry,
where its load would be transferred to the Great
Northern Railway, when it started operation,
whose right-of-way the Huscrofts had traversed
in 1891.
John Arrowsmith and his family took up land
adjoining the flats further upstream close to the
site of the future township that a neighbouring
settler, a fellow American named Fred Little,
would nostalgically name Creston, after his hometown in Iowa. George Huscroft and family, who
had stayed behind in Provo, came north in 1893,
and after a stay in Bonners Ferry settled first in
Kaslo. Later they also moved to the Creston area.
All proceeded quite nicely throughout 1892
and 1893, but with more snow than normal, the
winter of 1893/1894 was a severe one. What affected our pioneering family much more was
what happened when the snow left. One morning in the spring of 1894, as they sat down to
breakfast in their roughly built log cabin beside
the river, water appeared on the floor. It flowed
in rapidly and unceasingly. Their neighbours responded. One of these was Charlie Davis, with
the sturdy steam launch Midge. He arrived at their
waterlogged doorstep towing a reclamation company barge.5 Gratefully they loaded everything
transportable in the cabin onto the barge, including the still-dismantled wagons, and they were
towed to high water mark, and then to high water mark again, and again, until the Kootenay finally stopped rising, in what was to be the worst
snow-melt flood in British Columbia's history. It
is said that at Creston that spring the river rose
to a point eight feet above any height that it had
ever reached before, and far above Baillie-
Grohman s dykes, which suffered seriously.
The Huscrofts had to find a new place to build
again, and they found it in an area southeast of
Creston that eventually became known as Lister.
Some of it was also known as Huscroft. It is on a
bench of relatively flat land three to four miles
wide and one to two hundred feet above the river.
The bench was quite heavily wooded in parts,
but once the trees were removed, almost all of it
could be very satisfactorily cultivated in orchards
in the north and alfalfa in the south, as time would
tell. The family built a road up to this bench, at
the south end, and settled there. They and the
road are still there.
Now that they were established on dry land it
remained to them to put their hands to it, and
they certainly did. In two generations they became land-clearing and stump-blasting experts,
loggers, sawyers, hay farmers, wheat growers,
orchardists, cattle ranchers, and dairy farmers.
They built houses, barns, sheds and workshops,
fences, roads, water systems, and drainage ditches
and even irrigation ditches, which John learned
about in Utah.
From horsemen and teamsters they became
truck drivers, and tractor and bulldozer and combine operators.To maintain their equipment they
became blacksmiths, welders, mechanics, woodworkers, plumbers, and electricians. They raised
horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens, geese, and turkeys. To care for and deal with their animals and
land they became part-time and non-professional
veterinarians, pest and vermin exterminators,
butchers, agriculturists, and weather forecasters,
and much more.
In the beginning they had no running water
nor indoor toilets, sometimes a very long way to
carry water, primitive lighting and heating, and
very little in laundry facilities and cooking utensils.There were many mouths to feed and clothes
to wash, and babies and young ones to care for
and cherish. They bound up their wounds and
treated their aches, colds, measles, and whooping
cough. Blessedly there was no cholera or such
like, but there were blood poisoning and pneumonia, bone fractures and head injuries—constant threats to men working with sharp tools
and primitive machines in rough and hard conditions and weather. The women knew about all
this and did their share and more and beside all
of this they sewed, knitted, taught their offspring
the golden rule, canned and bottled fruit and
<J-iTfc^-1'   "
MBHfi^                        ^>£»M
^=S^yi^   ^^^^j^!   JUB
vegetables, baked, cooked, and celebrated Christmas, Easter,Thanksgiving,
and gave their spouses love and encouragement!
Thus a pioneer family in British Columbia was established—a large one.
All the eight offspring who stayed in or around Lister had families, of an
average size of six and a half.They produced 52 grandchildren, who in turn
produced 120 great grandchildren. Between 2 and 4 August 1991, almost
exactly one hundred years from the day the family ended their floating trip
down the river from Bonners Ferry, the Huscrofts held a reunion. There
were around three hundred attendants.They had built a small-scale replica
of the raft, made of slightly smaller logs and bereft of cargo, but with handrails and an outboard motor attached.They launched it in a side slough to
the Kootenay, which had not quite got over its summer high water, and to
the amazement of American tourists on the nearby highway that day, by
emulation a succession of Huscrofts paid their respects to William Rodger
and to John Henry, his son.6
William and Jane lived out their lives quietly after their sons and daughters married and moved away from them. Most of them stayed nearby. Jane
died in 1918 when she was 77, and William in 1922, aged 92. Son John said
that if only the old man had found a substantial interest or a cause to fight
for he would have lived to be a hundred. ^^
.     ■_    ,      . ttri
Above: The Huscroft homestead was built in the mid or
late 1890s. The house is of adzed logs chinked with a
primitive mortar. The addition behind was new when this
photograph was taken in 1909. The solitary figure
standing on the right is 79-year-old William Rodger
Huscroft, and on his right is Charles Leroy Huscroft, his
youngest son. The man in the doorway is his second
youngest son, ]ohn Henry Huscroft and]ohn Henry's wife,
Monna, nee Wigen. Finally there are Maud Isabella
Huscroft, youngest daughter, with Ernest Ennerson,]r.,
aged 5 years, the son of Sarah Etta, William and Lane's
second youngest daughter. She died in childbirth. He was
looked after by his grandmother Lane, which simply meant
that she raised twelve children instead of eleven. The dog's
name is unknown.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - SPRING 2002 "Individual Acts of Kindness "and Political
Influence: Alice Parke's Experience with
the Vernon Women's Council
by Kimberly Boehr
This spring Kimberly
Boehr graduates from
Okanagan University
College with a major
in history and a minor
in English. She plans to
acquire an MA in
history at the University of Western Ontario.
Although Kimberly
Boehr consulted and
quoted from Jo Fraser
Jones's transcriptions of
Alice Parke's diaries, at
the Vernon Museum and
Archives, she had no
access to Jo Fraser Jones
recently published book:
Hobnobbing with a
Countess and Other
Okanagan A dven tures:
The Diaries of Alice
Barrett Parke 1891-
Phis winning essay in the 2001 W. Kaye Lamb
Scholarship Competition was recommended by Dr.
Duane Phompson, Okanagan University College
with the words: "an excellent interpretation of
women s roles in Vernon at the turn of the century."
In 1891 Alice Parke, the daughter of a customs officer, left her home in Port Dover,
Ontario, in order to help with domestic
chores on her uncle's ranch in the Okanagan Valley.1 She was an educated woman, an avid reader,
and an active participant in the political issues of
her day. One of the issues challenging Parke and
other women was the emergence of a new model
in social welfare practice. In 1893 Lady Aberdeen2
brought the National Council of Women of
Canada (NCWC)3 to the community ofVernon,
British Columbia.4 Parke's diary, which spans a
nine-year period from March 1891 to February
1900, reveals that Parke and many other women
in the community were not enthusiastic participants in the NCWC.The women who settled in
Vernon were a diverse group in terms of economic condition, social class, educational level,
and religious affiliation. Parke is distinguishable
from many ofthe other female pioneers ofVernon,
as she came from a wealthy upper-class family
that had secured an education for her.5 These factors would seemingly make Parke an ideal candidate to lead the NCWC locally; however, she
declined a leadership role for a variety of reasons.
Parke thought that within a highly differentiated
community, her method of bestowing "individual
acts of kindness" would be both a more practical
and appropriate way of exercising her political
influence than the approach recommended by the
NCWC. Parke's experience with the NCWC allows us to examine the interaction of class, gender, and religion in the developing town ofVernon,
a diverse community within which various visions of women's roles were discussed and promoted.
At the turn ofthe nineteenth century the views
of the time dictated that a woman was responsi
ble for the welfare of her family, including her
husband and the children, and thus, the future of
the nation. Though a woman's place was generally believed to be in the home, a widespread debate existed as to how a woman could best carry
out her responsibilities.6 Lady Aberdeen advanced
a new role for women and thought that a woman's influence should be extended beyond domestic concerns. She argued that women should
understand "how the laws of the Dominion and
the Provinces affect themselves and be able to
help others to make laws."7Therefore the responsibility laid upon women did "not rest simply with
looking after and caring for their own families
and homes," but rather, involved "mothering" the
entire community.8 Lady Aberdeen believed that:
.. .special training has been given to the women
of this country, enabling them to think of others,
to contrive for others, to live for others—a training which prepares them when the time comes
and the settlement grows bigger, to take the lead
in those works of charity and benevolence and
helpfulness which tend to build up all the higher
life of any district. Thus it must be to the women
of this country that we must look when any enterprise of charity or benevolence has to be undertaken. The men are so largely engrossed with
necessary business, with the interests of providing
for their dear ones, that they have not the time to
give to these needs.9
Lady Aberdeen argued that women should be
"in touch with the wider aspects of life" in order
to best serve their husbands and children.10
According to Lady Aberdeen, women who
were "in touch with the wider aspects of life"
had a duty to organize their community. On October 10th 1895 the Vernon News provided a detailed account of Lady Aberdeen's speech to the
women ofVernon in which she described her
efforts to generate interest in establishing a local
branch ofthe NCWC. Lady Aberdeen anticipated
resistance from the residents ofVernon as evidenced in both her speeches to the women of
the community and her own diary entries. Although the scheme of promoting community
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol.35 No.2 values through secular
institutions was relatively new, according to
Lady Aberdeen, some
people believed that
the organizations in
existence were sufficient, even excessive in
It is only within the
last 20 years that we
have seen these institutions and associations
for the good of the
community growing
up, and many of us are
no doubt inclined to
think that there are
enough of these organizations, as appeals
come in for one object
and another.11
Lady Aberdeen then
took it upon herself to
address those individuals who thought that organizations were unnecessary
or that Vernon was "still too little," arguing:
Just because this place is still in its infancy furnishes a very good reason why
the women of the place should try to help one another to fulfill their mission.
We hope for a great future for this district—nay we believe that there is to be
a great future for it, but that future will be what you make it now what you
make the tone of this place will be the heritage of your children.12
She enthusiastically claimed that the Council was an organization capable of bringing many subjects "before the consideration of the public."13
Lady Aberdeen was quite hopeful that the Vernon Council would be successful if it was able "to win the support of all sections."u
Lady Aberdeen further argued that the usefulness of the Council lay not
primarily in its ability to obtain funds for community projects, but rather in
its ability to bring women of different religious groups together in order to
overcome differences. The women began each Council meeting in silent
prayer, as this was deemed the best method because the Council represented "so many different [religious] views."15 In her speech, Lady Aberdeen argued that while the members might have known what was being
done in their own church, they might have had "many prejudices against
others" pursuing endeavors in God's name.16 She also stressed that women
could "learn from those with whom we thought we had but few points of
agreement."17 The general policy of the Council was briefly outlined stating that the NCWC was to be " organized in the interest of no one propaganda." 18 Lady Aberdeen encouraged participation in the Council by assuring that any group entering the NCWC would be "left free as far as its
internal regulations" were concerned.19 Furthermore, Lady Aberdeen contended that by not interfering with the "working of any Council or Guild,"
a variety of societies and institutions were eligible to join.20 Once the Council
was established, a pleased Lady Aberdeen addressed the fledging Vernon
Left: Alice Parke, 1895. "In Alice, a brand new Canadian
writer of great merit has been discovered.. ..Her diaries are
indeed a stunning document" (Jo FraserLones in an e-
mail to the editor.)
1 "The History of the Barrett Family" by Harry Bemister
Barrett, Greater Vernon Museum and Archives, 1997.
2 Lady Aberdeen, wife of the governor-general of Canada,
was an ardent social reformer. She established The
National Council ofWomen in Canada in 1894 and the
Victorian Order of Nurses in 1897. For more
information about her life and work see: Doris French,
Ishbel and the Empire: A Biography of Lady Aberdeen
(Toronto: Oxford Press, 1988).
3 According to Alice Parke,The National Council of
Women Canada was a secular organization designed "to
promote greater unity of feeling between women of all
sects and denominations by affording a platform of
common interests upon which they may meet and confer
together—and to awaken and strengthen patriotism by
making women in all parts of the Dominion cognizant of,
and interested in, the good works in which the different
provinces are concerned." Though Parke later changed
her mind about her willingness to participate in the
organization, she did describe quite accurately the nature
of the Council. ("The Okanagan Journals of Alice Butler
Barrett Parke," 1891-1900.Transcribed from the original
by Jo Jones 1996-1997. Greater Vernon Museum and
Archives, 6 October 1895). For a more detailed discussion
of the Women's Council see: Veronica Strong-Boag, The
Parliament ofWomen:The National Council ofWomen of
Canada 1893-1929 (Toronto: University ofToronto Press,
4 For the early history ofVernon, British Columbia see:
Edna Oram, The History ofVernon: 1867-1937 (Vernon:
Wayside Press Ltd., 1985).
5 Alice Parke was a descendant of prosperous Irish
ancestors. In 1928 her brother inherited the Quintin
Dick Estate.This estate, in addition to other assets,
included a large library, lands near Marble Arch in
London, England and Tuam, Ireland as well as investments
totaling two million dollars. Harry Bemsister Barrett.
0 Vernon News, 14 February 1895.There was concern about
whether a woman's participation in organizational work
contributed to building a healthy home environment or
took away from it. For instance, there is reference to the
Methodists ofVernon having had a debate over whether a
woman's place was in the home or on the public
7 Vernon News, 10 October 1895
s Ibid. 9 Ibid.,
10 Vernon News, 31 October 1895.
11 Ibid.
12 Vernon News, 10 October 1895.
13 Ibid.  14 Ibid.  15 Ibid. 16 Ibid. 17 Ibid. 18 Ibid.19 Ibid. 20 Ibid.
21 Vernon News, 12 November 1896.
22 R. M. Middleton, ed. The Journals of Lady Aberdeen
(Victoria: Morriss Publishing Ltd., 1986), 80-81.
23 Vernon News, 10 October 1895.
24 Frances E. Willard was leader of the Women's Christian
Temperance Union from 1879 until 1898 and was also
the first president of the Women's Council in the United
States. For more information see: Judith Papachristou,
Women Together: A History of Documents of the Women's
Movement in the United States (New York: Alfred A Knopf,
9 1976), 91.
25 Excerpt from the
Journals of Lady
Aberdeen, 3 March 1895.
JohnT. Saywell, ed., The
Canadian Journals of Lady
Aberdeen (Toronto:The
Champlain Society
1960),205. 10 Ibid., 10
October 1895.
26 Vernon News, 10 October
"Ibid. 28Ibid.
29 Vernon News, 31 October
30 Charles Mair to George
T. Denison 17 August
1895, Kelowna. Denison
Papers, Public Archives
Canada. Transcript
prepared by Duane
Thomson, Okanagan
University College.
31" Okanagan Journals.'
Reverend Wilson
approached Parke about
joining the Council on
19 September 1895 and
Reverend Outerbridge
convinced her to attend
the first meeting on 6
October 1895.
32 Vernon News, 20 January
1898. The editor praised
the Council claiming that
there was "perhaps no
local organization or
society whose efforts for
the public good [were]
more appreciated by our
townspeople than the
local branch of the
Women's National
33 Vernon News, 16 February
1893.The editor urged
the residents ofVernon to
consider the importance
of the proposed hospital
scheme arguing that:" [It
was] high time that our
citizens were [waking] up
to the importance of this
question." He was
concerned that with only
a few months remaining
in which to take
advantage of a
government grant,
"prompt measures should
be taken to bring matters
to a head.'
34 Vernon News, 24
December 1896.
35 Vernon News,3\ July
NCWC and claimed that the branch "had amply
justified its existence." She argued that the
NCWC "had been a center around which ladies
of all sections and churches had clustered "21
She was proved correct when women joined the
Council from various local associations, including the Methodist Ladies' Aid Society, the English Church Guild and the Presbyterian Ladies'
Aid Society. Lady Aberdeen then assessed the
progress achieved by the Council:
I think we may claim that the experiment of
starting a Council in this small place has been
successful. Like all little towns it is full of bickering and gossip and little cliques in opposition to
one another. The Council has been the means of
the leading ladies of the different churches meeting one another and working together at something and also has led them to take an interest in
matters going on in other parts of the country.22
Lady Aberdeen acknowledged the fact that
women might be hesitant to join an organization
such as the NCWC, for fear that they might seem
to be associated with a particular religious movement or certain political associations. For this reason Lady Aberdeen took measures to avoid establishing any link between the NCWC and the
Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU).
A perceived link between these organizations
could easily have deterred participation in the
NCWC because many women did not approve
of the excesses to which the WCTU went in its
crusade against alcohol. The editor ofthe Vernon
News was careful to assure the public that the
NCWC was "not in any sense a political organization, nor a church society, but [it] embraced
within its limits a large number of philanthropic
schemes, in which all classes could engage harmoniously."23 Regardless of these assurances, some
individuals perceived a link between the NCWC
and the female temperance movement. Lady Aberdeen herself noted that because Frances Willard24
was the first president of the NCWC, the organization was assumed to be committed to the
so-called "Temperance Cause."25 Thus, in her
speech directed at the community ofVernon, Lady
Aberdeen appealed to the interest of "all serious-
minded women," rather than women with a mission.26 The address given by Lady Aberdeen asserted that the members of the Women's Council were often "the most earnest-minded women
in the District, and therefore likely to know a
good deal about the needs ofthe people."27
Lady Aberdeen also realized that many women
were hesitant to join because they did not wish
to deviate from traditional gender roles and in
response, she advocated the inclusion of men in
the NCWC. By encouraging men to attend meetings of the Council Lady Aberdeen hoped to assure Vernon's female population that the NCWC
was not a radical movement. Lady Aberdeen
claimed that the men of the community should
know not feel as though they were "being kept
in the dark about [the NCWC]."28 She deemed
male support to be valuable and upon noticing
several men in the audience, she congratulated
the newly formed organization on securing "the
hearty cooperation ofthe gentlemen ofthe city."29
Lady Aberdeen's remarks reveal her attempts to
address male concerns. She was correct to assume
that men in the community found her influence
intrusive and threatening. An early resident of
nearby Kelowna remarked that Lady Aberdeen
ought not to "teach [the] women to prefer cackling on platforms" and instead should encourage
them to stay "at home attending to their domestic affairs."30
While some men found Lady Aberdeen's pursuits threatening, many men ofVernon took an
active role in propagating the Council—the local newspaper and political and religious leaders
in the area urged women to join the NCWC.31
The town ofVernon, in its initial stages of development, lacked significant community infrastructure and these men recognized that a woman's
organization could contribute by securing essential services such as medical care.The Vernon News,
in particular, encouraged cooperation, praised the
work of the Women's Council32 and supported
the NCWC's efforts to establish a hospital.33The
Vernon News urged community activism, referring to the proposed hospital as a "much-needed
institution" and a "commendable cause."34 The
Vernon News also promoted the project by appealing for funds,35 while frequently applauding
contributions and deploring any lack of interest
in the hospital.36 This enthusiasm is not surprising since the owner ofthe Vernon News was Price
Ellison who, besides being the MLA, was a large
landowner and property developer and thus had
an interest in expanding the services available in
Vernon. The political and religious leaders in the
community also urged cooperation from the
Vernon citizens. At the close of Lady Aberdeen's
address to the women ofVernon, her husband
the Governor-General suggested "that a few of
the leading and representative gentlemen of the
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol.35 No.2 city...give their opinions on the matter."37 Hence,
Vernon's judge, mayor, MLA and three clergymen proceeded to voice their approval of the
Council. The newspaper repeatedly commented
on those in attendance at the Women's Council
meetings and while women composed the majority, the records often mention "a sprinkling of
men also being in the audience."38Therefore the
media assisted Lady Aberdeen's initiative to legitimize the organization, through its acknowledgement of the male support for the NCWC.
The Vernon News also displayed its support for
the Council by publishing various papers written by women about the female obligation to
contribute to the community. For example, one
paper was written by a visitor to Vernon affiliated
with the WCTU, identified only as Mrs. Alcock
from Vancouver. This paper outlined the importance of God, home, and country in a Christian
woman's life. Alcock argued that the "best and
most effective Christian work may be accomplished within the limits ofthe home."39 According to her, "a cheerful room, well warmed and
lighted, bright with pleasant talk, and attractive
with games or music, [was] one of the deadliest
foes the saloon [had] to contend against."40 Also,
in a paper written for the Women's Council and
printed in the Vernon News, a Mrs. Stodders similarly asserted that mothers were "guardians ofthe
home" and were responsible that"everything pertaining to a healthy, happy life be encouraged,
and all that would mar its purity be banished."41
Stodders encouraged women to exert their influence indirectly because they had "no right at
present to exercise the franchise."42 Stodders called
upon women to ensure that the "law respecting
gambling and houses of ill-fame be enforced...
and see that all men appointed to public offices
be honest and trustworthy."43 Both Alcock and
Stodders thought that a woman's role was essentially in the home, but also believed that women
contributed indirectly to the well-being of their
community and country by ensuring that the men
in their surroundings possessed "high ideals and
noble motives."44
The Vernon News also reproduced a paper written by Sophie Ellison,Vernon's first schoolteacher
and the wife of Price Ellison. Similarly to Alcock
and Stodders, Ellison discussed a woman's obligation to contribute to the community indirectly
by providing a healthful home environment;
moreover, Ellison's argument directly promoted
participation in the Council. In her paper Ellison
outlined the issues that plagued the Council in
the form of rhetorical questions:
When the National Council ofWomen was first
organized, these questions were constantly asked:
l.-Will it be of any use? 2.-Will it not encroach
upon men's work, and assume that women can do
it better than they can? 3.- Will it not take
women out of their sphere, and rob the home and
family of their just and natural rights? When we
were asked to form a local council, the same
questions were asked; and even now, after six years
of effective work, they are still being asked.45
Ellison continued by providing answers to these
questions.The first question she responded with
a counter question," [c]an a large band of earnest,
consecrated and intelligent women put forth
united effort for the good of their homes, their
country and humanity without being of some
use?"To the second question posed, she answered
that "men have not the time...or the tenderness
of mind and heart which would induce them to
work with the unsparing efforts of women." In
answer to the third question Ellison argued that a
woman should not be too "much engrossed in
her own house to lend a helping hand."46 Thus
Ellison, similar to her husband and his male peers,
directly supported the local branch ofthe NCWC.
This enthusiasm for the NCWC, however, was
not universal in Vernon, as Alice Parke's diary reveals. In contrast to the Ellisons and others, Parke
was opposed to the formation of a Women's
Council in Vernon from the beginning. She believed that Vernon was not in need of an organization such as the NCWC: in her opinion, the
world was "organized to death."47 Parke, skeptical
of the NCWC capabilities, wrote that she was
not "very hopeful of any great results from this
Vernon Branch "48 Her skepticism stemmed
from the assumption that Vernon was too sparsely
populated to be able to raise enough money to
make a significant difference. Parke held serious
reservations about the Council's ability to solicit
money and in regards to the plan to start a hospital, she thought that" it would be worse than foolish to begin...without a good guarantee of
funds."49 She was also concerned about the
schisms apparent within the community; an enormous influx of people came to Vernon between
the years 1891 and 1907.50 Listed amongst Parke's
initial objections for participating in the NCWC
was her feeling that" it would puzzle a Napoleon
to manage this town "51 Furthermore, she stated
her doubt as to whether a "...Napoleon could
36 Vernon News, 4 December
37 Vernon News, 10 October
38 Vernon News, 10 October
39 Vernon News, 16
November 1898. Alcock s
paper: "The Home as a
Factor in Our Work'
40 Ibid.
41 Vernon News, 14 February
1901. Stodders paper.
42 Ibid. 43 Ibid.
44 Vernon News, 16
November 1898.
45 Vernon News, 14 February
1901 Sophie Ellison's
46 Ibid.
47 "Okanagan Journals," 19
September 1895.
48 "Okanagan Journals," 8
October 1895.
49 "Okanagan Journals," 23
October 1895.
50 The population ofVernon
experienced rapid growth
between 1891 and 1907
with fluctuations
occurring during the
construction of the
railways in the early
1890s. The movement of
workers in and out of
Vernon explains why the
Canada census data for
1891 affirmed the town's
population to be 739,
while a report published
in the local newspaper
just two years later
claimed the population of
Vernon to be 400 (Vernon
News, 26 November
1902). According to the
Canada Census
information for 1901
(Microfilm Okanagan
University College),
Vernon had a population
of 797. However by 1907,
the Vernon News reported
that the population had
climbed to 2,400. (Vernon
News, 24 December
51 "Okanagan Journals," 19
September 1895.
52 Ibid. 53 Ibid.
54 Ibid. Parke wrote: "My
year as secretary will be
up in October and I will
then resign.'
55 Women's Council
minutes, 22 October
11 1896. "Minutes of the
Vernon and District
Council ofWomen
Meetings," Greater
Vernon Museum and
56 "Okanagan Journals," 26
October, 1896.
57 "Okanagan Journals," 9
July 1896. Parke revealed
that the Women's Council
meeting was " not a full
meeting" and there are
repeated references in the
newspaper and the
Women's Council minute
book to there being " only
a few members present.'
58 "Okanagan Journals," 23
October 1895.
59 "Okanagan Journals," 8
September 1896. For the
article Parke referred to,
see Vernon News, 3
September 1896.
00 "Okanagan Journals," 19
February 1896.
01 "Women's Council
minutes," 8 October
1903. It was decided that
"the presidents of the
local societies would
impress upon their
members the necessity of
their attending public
meetings." In addition
abstracts would be read
from various letters
written by Lady
Aberdeen and other
members of the National
Council. Furthermore,  it
was stated that" people
should be made clearly to
understand that the term
of office for President,
Vice President, etc. is
elected yearly, expiring at
the end of twelve
months." ("Women's
Council minutes," 13
November 1903).
02 "Women's Council
minutes," 28 November
03 "Women's Council
minutes," 8 March 1907
04 "Okanagan Journals," 22
March 1891.
35 Ibid.
06 "Okanagan Journals," 9
February 1897.
07 "Okanagan Journals," 8
December 1895.
08 "Okanagan Journals," 23
February 1897.
have led the united Vernonites against a common
enemy."52 She also expressed her belief that "there
are so many clashing interests here that unity [is]
almost impossible."53
Although Parke was eventually persuaded to
join the NCWC, the efforts to keep her committed to this cause proved to be in vain and less
than a year later, Parke stated in her journal her
intention to resign her position of corresponding secretary.54 She submitted her wish to resign
from the Council on 22 October 1896.55 Four
days later Parke received an unannounced visit
from Lady Aberdeen. In her diary Parke wrote:
"Her Excellency talked Woman's [sic] Council to
me."56 Although Parke's diary entry is very brief,
it can be inferred that the extremely intimidating
Lady Aberdeen strove to persuade Parke to revoke her resignation from the Council. Furthermore, Lady Aberdeen's ploy to visit Parke's home
completely unexpectedly prevented Parke from
refusing a meeting with her and enabled Lady
Aberdeen to catch Parke with her guard down.
Despite Lady Aberdeen's attempts, Parke formally
resigned her office on 10 November 1896.
Parke was not the only member reluctant to
remain committed; numerous references to poor
attendance at meetings of the Women's Council,
both in Parke's diary and the minutes of the
Council's meetings, attest to this.57 It appears that
very few of the women in the community shared
Lady Aberdeen's ardent enthusiasm. In a description of a Council meeting, Parke wrote that the
entire day was taken up by it and she expressed
her hope that once the Council had settled down
to regularity, the meetings would not be as lengthy.
She also wrote, "of course, when Lady Aberdeen
is here no one can suggest breaking up the conference until she is ready to do so."58 Despite efforts to secure a larger turnout, many women lost
interest in the Council and as a result, the NCWC
resorted to a media advertisement in hopes of
generating enthusiasm. For example, a member
ofthe Council, referred to only as Miss Maclntyre,
placed a notice in the newspaper inviting all individuals who were willing to help, to attend a
meeting. In her journal, Parke expressed her surprise because " despite expectations for a fair sized
meeting—we had four! Mrs. Cochrane, Mrs.
Latimer, Miss Maclntyre and myself.59 In addition to the Council members, even the president
of the Council lost interest in the organization's
endeavours. Parke made a reference in her journal to Cochrane (the president ofthe Council) as
having said, "we'd better all stay in office for the
year, and just keep as quiet as possible and do as
little as possible and then we can all refuse reelection."60 Evidently, this trend continued, as several years later an entry in the Women's Council
minute book described the president's reaction
to poor attendance.
[She] addressed those present, deploring the great
want of interest shown by the women of the city
generally in the Local Council, and urged the
Presidents of the different societies present to try
and arouse some enthusiasm amongst the members.61
Conversation ensued respecting the best means
to be taken to elicit interest in the local Council.
In November 1906 the members of the Women's Council who were frustrated with disinterest and poor attendance, agreed to "cease sending
cards of notice of meeting to members who fail
to attend three meetings."62 Furthermore, despite
the early efforts of Lady Aberdeen to bring together women of all religious affiliations, the
Vernon branch of the Women's Council received
a letter from Cora O'Keefe in 1907 stating that
the Roman Catholics "would not affiliate with
the Local Council for the year."63 Although this
statement was not elaborated upon, it would seem
that religious intolerance played a role in the
Roman Catholics' decision to leave the Council.
Hence, between the efforts to elicit support, the
obvious lack of interest, and the threats and exasperation, it seems that the Women's Council was
an undesirable pursuit for the majority ofVernon s
female population.
Parke rejected the approach recommended by
the NCWC and preferred her own model of social welfare practice. This model, which entailed
her own ideas about a woman's role, community
service, and political influence, allowed her to focus her efforts in ways that she deemed practical
and appropriate. For Parke, the home was definitely a woman's first priority and her diary reveals in no uncertain terms her idea of womanhood and the responsibilities it entailed:
There is no doubt in my mind that woman's
sphere is, as a rule, in the house. Of course, genius
may force her out of it, or dire necessity drive her
forth to soar—or to struggle in higher flights or
harder paths, but the quality of a house maker is
essentially woman's, and perhaps if she did her
work better in this line, men might be stronger
and nobler.64
Thus, it was the responsibility of women to be
"strong in character, gentle in words and ways, to
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol.35 No.2 soften while they strengthen the rougher manners ofthe men."65
Parke also thought that a woman was responsible for the welfare of others and had an obligation to contribute to the community. Despite significant social pressure, Parke remained convinced
that organizational work was not the best way to
contribute one's efforts. She thought that the
Women's Council was "not strong enough to do
much" as most ofthe schemes were "too impracticable."66 Parke had concerns that the approach
recommended by the NCWC was wasteful of
her time. She did not want to spare an hour that
was not "positively needed" in order to attend a
meeting of the Women's Council.67 Parke thought
that her individual contributions were more valuable and would make a greater impact than any
of the proposed activities of the Council, as the
organization possessed an element of superficiality. She thought that people "talked too much"
without effecting any tangible change. Parke was
shocked to hear Cochrane make the comment
that in her opinion it was Alice Parke, out of all
the women, since joining the Council who had
" improved the most in appearance." In response,
a somewhat insulted Parke wrote in her diary
that she did not "suppose any thanks is due to the
Council for that—it wasn't to improve our looks
that we joined it. I wonder if the change is any
more than skin deep!!"68 Among her reasons for
not wanting to take any part in the NCWC was
her perception that she did not have the "time to
give [to] public working." Parke had her "house
to look after, a frequent neighborly kindness to
do, many little calls" on her time which she did
not "think it would be right to neglect."69
Parke's individual acts of kindness included a
variety of activities. She brought food to those
who were in need, whether due to poverty, sickness, or loneliness. She visited the elderly and gave
music and reading lessons to members ofthe community. She also devoted a significant amount of
her time and energy to educating youths and the
Chinese in the community; she frequently taught
Sunday school and volunteered at the Chinese
school. Additionally, Parke brought bread and soup
to those in mourning and even made clothes for
the neighbourhood children. Thus, Parke's
method proved to be highly beneficial to Vernon
as she reached out to numerous individuals and a
wide range of people in the community.
Often women's actions are represented as having served people not ideas.70 Parke's actions evidently served both people and ideas. She not only
aided community members, but also injected her
well-informed perspectives into the political discussions at the turn of the century in Vernon.
Though she would not have identified herself as
such, she was a political woman71 who participated in the debates of her time and undoubtedly influenced the opinions of others around
her. For instance, Parke vehemently opposed the
proposed hospital scheme and her opinions likely
had some effect on the slow progress to build the
institution. The degree to which she asserted her
beliefs is acknowledged in the Vernon News. The
editor wrote: "Mrs. Parke was decidedly in favor
of dropping the scheme at once, and she urged
that as far as the council was concerned they
should give up the responsibility of such a movement."72
While Parke contended that outside interests
were important,73 she insisted that a woman's place
was in the home. For Parke the morning's activities always consisted of various domestic duties.
Her diary contains numerous references to preserving jam, jelly and marmalade as well as baking pies, cookies and breads. Many household
chores consumed her time: washing clothes and
dishes, sweeping, weeding, sewing, and embroidering.
Left: Lady Aberdeen. Alice
Parke wrote in her journal
"It really [was] a pleasure
and a privilege to be
associated with a woman
like [Lady Aberdeen], but
oh! She is large! I felt like
a pigmy beside her. " 25
October 1895:
09 "Okanagan Journals," 19
September 1895.
70 Dorinda Outram, The
Body and the French
Revolution: Sex, Class, and
Political Culture. (Yale
University Press: New
Haven and London,
1989), 85.
71 Nancy Fraser defines
someone as political if
they are able to
participate on a par with
others in dialogue. Nancy
Fraser, Unruly Practices:
Power, Discourse, and
Gender in Contemporary
SocialTheory. (University
of Minnesota Press:
Minneapolis, 1989) 126.
72 Vernon News, 23 January
73 In her journals Parke
confessed,"I know quite
well I am not what would
be called a good
housekeeper—but Hal
says I satisfy him—and I
know if I never neglected
my house I'd have to
neglect all outside
interests." (" Okanagan
Journals," 11 April 1894).
74 Fraser, Nancy. Unruly
Practices: Power, Discourse,
and Gender in
Contemporary Social Theory.
University of Minnesota
Press, Minneapolis, 1989.
11. Fraser argues that
historians should avoid
simplistic conceptions of
"public" and "private"
spheres. She wishes to
broaden conceptions of
"public" to include
subjects usually defined as
domestic and personal.
She notes that boundaries
between the presumably
incompatible spheres of
"public" and "private" are
never fixed at any given
13 75 Elizabeth Johnson to
Sophie Ellison, 26 July
1885. Provided courtesy
of Kenneth Ellison
76 According to historian
Gertrude Himmilfarb, the
term" New Woman,"
adopted in the 1880s and
1890s, applied in "the
broadest sense to women
who wore bloomers, rode
bicycles, played golf and
tennis, smoked in public
and shocked their elders
by conversing about free
love,' before settling down
to marriage, home and
children." Unlike
feminists —who were
women with a cause, or
several causes, new
women had "no
particular cause, only the
larger, more general cause
of social and sexual
liberation." See Gertrude
Himmilfarb, The Demoralization of Society
(New York: Alfred A
Knopf, 1995), 189.
77 "Okanagan Journals," 20
June 1896.
78 "Okanagan Journals," 6
October 1895.
79 "Okanagan Journals," 10
December 1896.
80 "Okanagan Journals," 6
February 1894..
81 Ibid., Parke taught
groups of three or four
Chinese men once a
82 "Okanagan Journals," 5
December 1895.
83 "The New Woman Very
Old" Argonaut, 14
October 1895.
84 "The Genuine New
Woman," Argonaut, 28
October 1895.
85 "'NewWomen,"Club
Women' and Women,"
Argonaut, 18 November
86 "Okanagan Journals," 15
May 1896. Parke wrote
about her views
pertaining to the question
of whether or not
women should vote,
"even granted that
women are as wise and
good as men in public
matters they are certainly
not more able or far-
seeing and it will simply
be multiplying the
To assume that women identified solely with
private life and domesticity, and men with the
external public world74 is inaccurate if the situation in Vernon is examined. A fluidity existed between traditional gender roles as evidenced by
Parke's diary entries and letters between Sophie
Ellison and her sister-in-law, Elizabeth Johnson.
Parke frequently mentions that both her brother
and her husband helped with numerous "domestic" chores in the home. Furthermore, in a letter
from Johnson to Ellison a concerned sister-in-
law writes: "I don't see how you can let your
husband make [bread] that is not his sphere, and
it's yours."75 Thus, in Vernon, men took part in
"private" activities,just as Parke enjoyed "public"
Parke's ideas concerning gender roles necessitated that she avoided any association with the
"New Woman's Movement"76 of the 1890s. In
her diary, Parke commented on the arrival of a
Mrs. Craven to Vernon, a woman described by
Parke as a "radical suffragist" and "a specimen of
the New Woman." Parke further stated: "while I
recognize the honesty of her intentions I hardly
admire her methods."77 Parke evidently thought
that the New Woman's behavior was inappropriate and she did not want to be associated with
the movement. After attending Lady Aberdeen's
meeting that discussed the creation of a local
branch of the Women's Council, Parke, with a
sense of relief, remarked that the Council did not
"encourage the new woman in the very slightest."78
Parke's model of social welfare practice also
necessitated that women act within their own
interest and competency. She made a firm distinction between being a woman who contributed to her community as a business endeavor
and a woman who contributed because it was a
volunteer activity, the latter being her preference:
I really believe I was meant to be [a] 'society
woman,' for I do enjoy a gathering of human kind
- but only when it is for pleasure—a business
meeting is pain and vexation of spirit for me, and
I really cannot work well with others, though I enjoy thoroughly having companions in play time.79
Parke, acting only in areas that interested her,
was concerned about the plight of the Chinese
in her community and thus made an effort to
improve the conditions of these immigrant residents. In reference to Vernon's Chinatown, she
It seems dreadful to think there is a class of hea
then slaves in our midst and we grow utterly callous to it. I confess, while at first it was a trouble
to me, latterly I am getting used to it, and say/
[have said] like all the others, "What can we do?"
and there it ends.80
However, for Parke, it did not end there, as she
later volunteered to teach at the Chinese school.
The feelings of helplessness and uncertainty as to
how to improve the conditions of the Chinese in
Vernon were overcome and though Parke claims
to have been against organizations she was supportive of this endeavor.81 By her decision to
refuse affiliation with the Women's Council, while
participating in efforts to educate the Chinese,
Parke demonstrated her desire to participate only
in areas in which she felt interested and competent.
A woman's competence, which was regarded
as largely a reflection of her education and social
standing, was a crucial element in judging her
fitness to assume a public role. In her diary Parke
mentioned having read "some very good articles
in a California paper... [concerning] the New
Woman Question."82 Upon examination of these
articles, which were published a few weeks prior
to her entry, it becomes apparent that they strongly
coincided with her own views about a woman's
right to speak her mind publicly. Parke agreed
with the sentiments expressed in the Argonaut articles, mainly that the New Woman had no right
to assume a public role if she had nothing to offer. One such article described the New Woman
as "a subject fitter for medical treatment rather
than as a person to be admired applauded and
encouraged."83The newspaper further represented
the New Woman as an abnormal, "...repellent,
and an apocryphal being."84 In the Argonaut the
New Woman is deplored for her perceived incompetence:
It is not the woman of genius [or] the woman of
talent that the Argonaut expresses distaste for —
not the woman who accomplishes anything worthy, small or great, but the female who, with the
ability to accomplish nothing, yet pushes her barren personality noisily to the front. It is this 'New
Woman,' this uneasy, voluble, incompetent who,
dissatisfied herself because of her impotence to
achieve, is spreading unrest among other women,
who, but for her disturbing influence, would be
content to do their duty as wives and mothers
obscurely and in modesty.85
These articles articulate and exemplify some
ofthe opinions held by Parke. While she believed
that women were just as "wise and as good as
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol.35 No.2 men in public matters,"86 she did not think that
just anyone (man or woman) was in the position
to proclaim abilities that he or she did not possess. Parke knew where her contributions would
be most effective and thus readily agreed with
the Argonaut's claim that:
Every woman who is true to herself and lives in
honesty and modesty, is quite safe from the sort of
criticism which gives distress to those unhappy females who, either in ignorance or defiance of
what nature has written in their bodies and brains,
attempt to pass limitations that are impassable. It is
open to any New Woman to be a George Eliot, if
she can; but when her abilities are of an order that
suit her better for the functions of a house-maid
than for those of an author, a statesman, or a social
philosopher, she is not to be dealt with too delicately if she obtrudes on public notice.87
Parke thought that certain members of her own
community were "obtruding on public notice,"
as she believed that the aspirations of the members involved in group activities were overly ambitious. She expressed disdain for those who, while
possessing grand ideas, failed to exhibit practicality in their endeavors. The grand ideas Parke referred to included the excitement over establishing both a reading room and a hospital in Vernon.
In her diary, she expressed the opinion that the
committee members did not know" exactly what
they want, and they talk too much with no definite idea to work upon."88 Parke desired a more
cautious approach and doubted the capacity of
Vernon citizens to cooperate with one another.
In reference to the proposed hospital, Parke stated
that she did not like the idea "of the Council
attempting any work just yet. It seems... that we
need to know each other better before we can
hope to work together."89 She approached the
Council with the presumption that little could
be accomplished unless the residents ofVernon
could work together toward practical objectives.
Parke's concern that co-operation was essential in securing organizational efforts was prescient, as divisions among the Vernon population
relating to class, gender, ethnicity, and religion
made joint action difficult. Parke herself frequently
expressed her inability to get along with others,
which was undoubtedly due in large part to her
argumentative disposition and her class-consciousness.Throughout her diary, she expressed disdain
for those lacking in manners, speech, and intelligence. A few members of the Women's Council
such as Mary Ann O'Keefe and Elizabeth
Greenhow, in addition to being Roman Catholic, were the nouveaux riches and, in Parke's opinion, these women possessed "wealth and influence" but not ladies' "manners and speech."90
Parke evidently preferred the conversation of
those who were well-educated, wealthy, and upper class.91 She stated: "I think there is something
in the air out here which makes one less industrious—men and women all seem ready to waste
so much time." She also thought that the time
would not be so wasted" if the conversation were
atall [sic] edifying, but it isn't very often."92
Furthermore, she expressed the concern that her
surroundings would have a negative impact on
her character and she says: "I suppose it takes a
very adamantine character not to be influenced
by circumstances and companions."93 Parke evidently found the residents ofVernon to be less
"amusing and pleasant" than those she was accustomed to in Port Dover: "The real, the useful,
the necessary, these occupy one here, rather than
the amusing and pleasant." However she noted,
"not that the latter elements are quite lacking
here, but they are accidental, not the business of
Parke thought that by becoming a member of
the Council she would be conceding some of
the individuality and independence that separated
her from the lower classes. According to Parke,
one of her reasons for desiring not to affiliate
with the NCWC was her assertion that she did
not "whole heartedly approve of Associations and
Societies." She justified her views in this statement:
Little is done now by individual effort—no doubt
unity is strength but there is the other side too.
Supposing something does break down the union,
the scattered remnants have no individual
strength. It's hard to know what to do. I suppose
the trend of the world is towards amalgamation,
but I think enough of the old fashion is left to last
my life in spite of co-operative kitchens. I am still
able to cook my own dinner—in spite of clubs
and societies and lodges we spend our evenings in
our own home—in spite of kindergartens, if I had
any children they'd be brought up as an individual
and not by wholesale on a system.95
According to Parke, participation in an organization like the NCWC was restraining. Parke took
pride in her ability to assert her independence;
she had a tendency to argue and she refused to
be led by others. In reference to her participation
in the Council she wrote, "I can't and won't keep
number of advisors
without improving the
quality of advice."
87 "'New Women,' 'Club
Women' and Women,"
Argonaut, 18 November
8 "Okanagan Journals," 18
June 1894.
89 "Okanagan Journals," 29
October 1895.
90 "Okanagan Journals," 16
June 1894.
91 "Okanagan Journals," 25
April 1892. For example
Parke mentioned in her
diary a pleasant
conversation she had with
a Mrs. Evans in Vernon
who is described as being
intelligent and well read.
92 "Okanagan Journals," 7
August 1891.
93 "Okanagan Journals," 4
October 1891.
94 Ibid.
95 "Okanagan Journals," 19
September 1895.
96 "Okanagan Journals," 25
February 1896.
97 "Okanagan Journals," 9
February 1897.
98 "Okanagan Journals," 23
April 1898. She enjoyed
talking politics with men
including Mr. Ellison..
99 "Okanagan Journals," 10
June 1891.
100 "Okanagan Journals," 28
June 1891.
101 In his book, The Valley of
Youth, Charles W Holliday
refers to a man by the
name of Samuel Gibbs
who lived in Enderby and
it is probable that this is
the man Parke referred to
in her Journals as Mr.
Gibbs. See: Charles W
Holliday, The Valley of
Youth (Caldwell, Idaho:
The Caxton Printers, Ltd,
1948), 143.
102 "Okanagan Journals," 13
June 1891.
103 "Okanagan Journals," 19
November 1893.
According to the Collins
English Dictionary
transubstantiation is the
"doctrine that substance
of bread and wine
changes into substance of
Christ's body when
consecrated in Eucharist."
104 "Okanagan Journals," 23
February 1892.
15 105 "Okanagan Journals," 25
April 1892.
106 "Okanagan Journals," 27
August 1898.
107 "Okanagan Journals," 18
March 1898.
108 Jean Barman, "British
Columbia's Gentlemen
Farmers," History Today 3A
(April 1984) :9-15.
109 The members of the
Women's Council could
not agree whether or not
to abandon the hospital
scheme. See Vernon News
23 January 1896. For
more information
regarding the early
history of the Vernon
hospital see Daphne
Thuillier, A Case of
Caring: 1897-1997
(Vernon: Mission Hill
Printers, 1997).
110 Vernon News, 23 January
111 Sophie to her mother, 13
February 1890 Vernon.
Provided courtesy of
Kenneth Ellison.
112 A significant number of
Vernon's early residents
were of Roman Catholic
faith (In 1891 out of a
population of 739 there
were 341 Roman
Catholics in Vernon).
Canada Department of
Agriculture, Canada
Census, 1891, British
Columbia,Yale District,
Priest Valley Subdistrict
113 "Okanagan Journals," 12
September 1898.
114 Parke was shocked to
discover her brother's love
for a Catholic woman.
"Okanagan Journals," 3
November 1891. She was
also displeased to hear
that a Roman Catholic
church was to be erected
in Vernon." Okanagan
Journals," 17 February
115 "Okanagan Journals," 27
January 1894.
116 For more information
about Luc Girouard see
The History ofVernon, 54.
117 "Okanagan Journals," 28
October 1895.
118 "Okanagan Journals," 19
September 1895.
119 "Okanagan Journals," 28
July 1891.
still and let people do things I think foolish and
ill-advised without at least uttering a protest."96
She enjoyed a "wordy scrimmage," but found that
her opposing views offended others. When Parke
disapproved of most of the impractical schemes
proposed by the Women's Council she found that,
rather than being able to change the opinions of
the other members, she ended up offending her
friends.97 Her diary entries reveal her strong-will
and forthright character; not only did she speak
her mind in the presence of women but also in
front of men. She enjoyed political and controversial conversations98 and did not hesitate to voice
her opinions even when they countered those of
others. In reference to her discussions with her
brother Harry Barrett and her future husband Hal
Parke, she wrote,"I am afraid I argue too much—
there are so few things we all agree on—and
sometimes I believe they just talk to set me going."99 Although the two males who were closest
to Parke seemed to enjoy a heated discussion,
other individuals were taken aback by her frankness of spirit. She noted after one social occasion:
" I am afraid I shocked Mrs. Lawes by some of the
views I advanced." 10° While her bold manner appeared to amuse or shock people, Mr. Gibbs, the
manager of Rithet's flour mill in Enderby and
the owner ofthe largest residence there,101 thought
her to be the "only Canadian lady he had met
who he did not feel called upon to talk nonsense
Moreover, Parke refused to adopt the'
of others. For example, the local pastor, Reverend Outerbridge, failed to convince Parke on the
doctrine of transubstantiation.103 Parke showed
disdain for those who accepted the opinions of
others without questioning them and with a note
of condescension she wrote that Sophie Ellison
"seems to agree with all her husband says and
does."104 Although Parke held traditional beliefs
whereby she expressed affection for "well-beaten
paths and established conventionalities," she
"would not like to be a slave to them and never
be able to get over the fence of custom."105 She
abhorred restrictions of any sort and expressed
her opinion that at socials, people "should be allowed to arrange themselves into little circles
rather than attempt a general mixture."106 Parke
did not desire "a general mixture"' as she wished
to associate with individuals of her own choosing.
She was apparently not alone in her desire to
remain distinct from other residents ofVernon; a
local schoolteacher, Lizzie Harding, also expressed
distaste for anyone not of the upper class. According to Parke's diary, "Lizzie is not cordial to
anyone not ofthe 'upper 10' class - and as nearly
all the parents of her pupils come under that heading, she is not very popular."107 InVernon, people
were held in contempt for putting up a class distinction. According to historian Jean Barman, a
Vernon resident in the 1890s reported that:
Social life in Vernon.. .had been very free and easy
and unspoiled by any sense of'class,' but as English people from the so-called upper classes began
to come in with their families, many of them
seemed unable or unwilling to shed their prejudices; they formed a distinct 'social set' among
themselves, people who for some obscure reason
thought they were superior to mere 'colonials.'108
Tension exhibited itself within the NCWC,
the members often had difficulty reaching agreement about how to best pursue community
projects.109Arguments also surfaced because of
gender differences; for instance, an article in the
Vernon News mentioned a sexist comment and
the small quarrel that resulted from it at a council
meeting.110 Prejudices arose not only from differences in class and gender but ethnicity as well.
For example, in a letter to her mother Sophie
Ellison mentioned that "her Chinaman [sic]... was
very satisfactory for one of his kind." lnThe stereotyping employed by Ellison implied that she did
not think very highly of the Chinese residents.
In addition to these clashing interests, religious
differences exhibited the greatest challenge to
unity among the members of the NCWC in
Vernon. A competitive spirit between religious
affiliations was evident at the turn of the century
as the Roman Catholic population in Vernon was
particularly singled out as a threat to other denominations.112 After attending a Roman Catholic
sermon, Parke commented on her surprise at the
priest's claim that Catholicism received one thousand converts from other religious bodies each
year in England.113 Throughout her diary, Parke
repeatedly expressed her distaste for Roman Catholicism,114 and she was particularly upset to learn
that not one ofVernon's clergymen would attend
Luc Girouard's funeral. The events surrounding
the funeral of Girouard and the resulting displeasure expressed by Parke and her husband Hal Parke,
provide further evidence of the division between
the Roman Catholics and the other religious denominations. According to Parke, Girouard, formerly a Roman Catholic, was the first permanent settler in the area, "much loved" and "not a
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol.35 No.2 Godless man." He was further described as "a man
who had never wronged his neighbors." Hal Parke
attended the funeral and thought that "the affair
was full of prejudice on all sides."115 It was rather
surprising to Alice Parke that a man so revered
by his community should have had no clergymen present at his funeral.116Thus a considerable
amount of animosity existed between Protestants
and Catholics and for this reason Parke thought
it best to work within one's own religious group.
Certain individuals, both from within and from
outside Vernon, recognized that the Vernon community was diverse in terms of economic condition, social class, educational level, and religious
affiliation, and as a result they aimed to establish a
more egalitarian society. However, amidst this heterogeneity, the women ofVernon were not enthusiastic about pursuing Lady Aberdeen's model
of social welfare practice, in part because they
were unwilling to relinquish class and religious
affiliations. InVernon, various visions of women's
roles were discussed and promoted as the women
were encouraged directly and indirectly to contribute their efforts to the NCWC. Yet despite
the urgings of women in the area and the town's
male leadership, concerns about the NCWC's
potential to overstep gender boundaries continued to deter participation in the Council. Although Alice Parke was not concerned that the
Women's Council would "usurp any of men's
duties,"117 the NCWC was not an organization
in which she desired "any leading part, for a good
many reasons."118 She believed that the creation
of a local branch of the NCWC was unnecessary
and that its work would prove to be ineffective.
Parke also had concerns that organizational work
would encroach on her homemaking, her community work, and the personal freedom she enjoyed. She enjoyed the conversations with political influential and well-educated individuals of
Vernon, many of whom were male. These conversations, which took place in her home and
outside of it, as well as her method of bestowing
"individual acts of kindness" allowed her to exert
her political influence in Vernon without wasting time or associating with women whom she
perceived to be inferior to her. Parke, who did
not see "a companionable woman once a week,"119
chose to identify herself in terms of class, rather
than gender, and therefore refused to assume a
leadership role within the NCWC.^^
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12A.M.-1 P.M.
1 P.M.
1-5 P.M.
6-6:30 P.M.
6:30 P.M.
7 P.M.
8:30-9:30 A.M.
Revelstoke Museum and Archives: 325 First Street.
Revelstoke Community Centre: 600 Campbell Street.
Revelstoke Railway Museum: 719 Track Street West.
Revelstoke Community Centre
Workshops (see insert this issue for details)
Book fair and early registration.
BCHF council meeting
Revelstoke Museum and Archives
Opening Reception
FRIDAY, 10 MAY 2002
Revelstoke Community Centre
Book fair
Plenary session: "History & Heritage -Revelstoke as
a Heritage and Cultural Tourism Destination."
Coffee Break
Cathy English, curator of Revelstoke Museum & Archives,
will present a lively history of Revelstoke.
Bag lunch or your own choice. Snack and water
will be provided for all tours
Tours and alternatives.
Tour options are:
A: Bus Tour of Revelstoke:
B: Revelstoke Dam and B.C. Interior Forestry Museum:
C: Guided Heritage Walking Tours
D: Roger's Pass (leaves at 12:30 P.M.)
Revelstoke Museum and Archives and Revelstoke Railway
Museum are open for visits
Tour of Revelstoke Railway Museum
Revelstoke Community Centre
Continental Breakfast
Book fair
Annual general meeting ofthe British Columbia
Historical Federation
Soup-and-sandwich lunch
Tours and alternatives
Tour options are A, B, & C, as Friday
D: Mount Revelstoke Ski Jump Site-
Revelstoke Museum & Archives and Revelstoke Railway
Museum are open for visits.
Revelstoke Community Centre
No-host bar
Awards presentation
Dinner with local entertainment to follow
SUNDAY, 12 MAY 2002
Regent Inn
BCHF council meeting
Optional events and self-guided suggestions for those staying an extra day. For more
information on any of these options, please contact the Conference Coordinator.
17 The Big Bend Gold Rush of 1865
by Edward L.Affleck
Right: Because no picture
ofthe doughty little
sternwheeler Forty-nine is
extant, we are publishing a
picture of her successor, the
sternwheeler Revelstoke
bucking the Columbia
Edward Affleck, a vocal
historian, wonders if
during the Revelstoke
Conference sufficient
notice will be given to
the Big Bend gold rush
and the hard-rock
mining efforts in the
Revelstoke area.
He regrets that the
program does not
include an excursion to
the old Big Bend placer
THE Big Bend of the Columbia gold rush
of 1865 was one of the echoes of the
California Gold Rush of 1849.The California Gold Rush was a long time dying. It drew
to the west coast of North America hordes of
men from many parts of the globe, all driven by
the desire to find that one lucky strike that would
lift them from a mundane life of toil to a select
spot on easy street. As prospects in California
dimmed, men fanned over the Pacific Northwest, both north and south of the 49th parallel,
in a relentless search for that elusive prospect.The
succeeding decades were host to a number of
gold rushes. The shallow-draught steamboat was
a great ally to the prospector in that it offered
relatively cheap and rapid transit to a number of
placer fields. Prospecting activity in the Lower
Fraser River in 1858, the Stikine in 1862, Omineca
(Skeena) in 1869 owes a largely unacknowledged
debt to this almost forgotten form of economic
invasion craft. The same can be said of the gold
booms in the Snake/Clearwater area of Central
Idaho and of Baker County in Northeastern
The situation was different in the upper reaches
of the Columbia River. Boatmen from the earliest days ofthe Hudson's Bay Company in Washington Territory were well aware that the Co
lumbia River offered many hazards to navigation for all types of craft as it worried its sinuous
way downstream from the great Kettle Falls near
the 49th parallel to its confluence with the Snake.
Considerable capital outlay would be required
to open up the river to navigation, while breaching the awesome Kettle Falls themselves would
require outlay of major proportions. It would be
the 1880s before sternwheelers began to invade
the middle Columbia River above the mouth of
the Snake. Prospectors seeking out placer prospects on the Columbia River above Kettle Falls
in the early 1850s therefore had to arm themselves with a considerable grubstake to enable
them to work up the Columbia by a man-propelled vessel, or to travel on foot or on horseback over the trails that led overland from the
navigable reaches of the Columbia below the
mouth of the Snake to the Hudson's Bay Company Fort Colville near Kettle Falls.Throughout
the 1850s an agricultural hinterland was developing in the Colville Valley adjacent to the Fort,
thus easing the need ofthe traveller to bring even
greater amounts of foodstuffs with him to survive for a period in an heretofore remote area.
The transportation picture at Kettle Falls also
changed radically in the late 1850s. Skirmishes
with the Indians awakened the US Federal Gov-
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol.35 No.2 eminent to the need to construct wagon roads fanning out from
the navigable reaches of the Columbia River in the Walla Walla
area to various strategic points in Northern Washington Territory
and Idaho and to establish military installations at such points.The
point of interest to the Big Bend of the Columbia was the Colville
area, which by 1858 boasted a wagon road link with the Walla
Walla area as well as a US Military Fort Colville. Eager prospectors
possessing the wherewithal could now travel up the Lower Columbia River to Wallula on the Oregon Steam Navigation
sternwheelers, and then look to the horse drawn stagecoach or
freight wagon to take them north to Colville. When members of
the British Boundary Commission survey party reached the HBC
Fort Colville in 1860, they found the Columbia River upstream
from the Fort peopled with placer miners, with a particular concentration around the mouth ofthe Pend d'Oreille River, an area
that the Boundary Commission surveys were to determine lay just
above the 49th parallel in British territory.
In placer gold mining, high grade beds near the surface enable
men to make their pay with minimum equipment, but eventually
more elusive deeper deposits have to be scoured out with heavy-
duty hydraulic equipment. It was such heavy-duty equipment that
greatly extended the life of the Klondike beds. Lacking the capital
for hydraulic equipment and a feasible means to transport it, prospectors, as the high grade beds around the mouth of the Pend
d'Oreille River began to play out, started to work their way east
up the Pend d'Oreille and north up the Columbia.The Lakes Indians, who had enjoyed a friendly, neighbourly relationship with
the HBC Fort Colville staff, did not welcome this Yankee incursion of miners into these upper reaches, but the lure of gold could
not be withstood. In 1862, prospectors began working up to the
Big Bend of the Columbia area in boats and canoes. The main
body of the Columbia River above the Arrow Lakes, however, was
a vast turbulent body of water, not particularly suited for placer
diggings. It was not until prospectors got into the side streams in
1863-1864 that really promising prospects opened up. Working
upstream from the Arrow Lakes to Carnes Creek, Downie Creek,
and the Goldstream River basin, prospectors began to encounter
particularly promising results. Two side streams ofthe Goldstream,
McCulloch Creek and French Creek, proved most enticing, although it was recognized early on that hydraulic equipment would
be required to get down to bedrock.The mouths of Carnes Creek
and Downie Creek lay below the head of steamboat navigation at
Death Rapids, while that ofthe Goldstream lay about twelve miles
upstream. All these waters had their source in the mighty glaciers
ofthe Selkirk Mountains to the east What became known as Gaffney
(Kirbyville) Creek, flowing from the west, joined the Columbia
near the mouth ofthe Goldstream. A pass in the Monashee Mountains linked the headwaters of the Gaffney with those of the Seymour
River system flowing into Shuswap Lake, but unfortunately this
route, which would have brought the traveller from the west to the
Columbia River near the Goldstream, was not the route used for
the pack trail built at the instigation of BC merchants on the coast
from the head of Seymour Arm on Shuswap Lake.The route cho-
19 Right: Revelstoke
Canyon, now drowned
under the waters of Lake
Revelstoke, behind the
Revelstoke Dam.
sen branched from the Seymour River east up
Ratchford Creek, then over a lower pass to
Pettipiece (Seymour) Creek and emerged on the
Columbia seven miles downstream from La Porte.
A long hike on this route left travellers and livery
less close to the Goldstream fields than if they
had worked by boat up the Columbia from the
Colville area.
It was reported at Colville in the spring of
1865 that the Columbia River looked like the
Lower Fraser did in 1858, so many boats, canoes,
and even raft scows were being launched to work
up to the Big Bend diggings. When the news
seeped down to the coast, merchants in the British colonies were aroused.Aggressive Yankee traders had snagged the Wild Horse Creek trade in
East Kootenay a year earlier, but surely the Big
Bend trade must fall into the hands of the British? A customs establishment which had languished at Fort Shepherd on the Columbia, opposite the mouth of the Pend d'Oreille River
was reactivated, as much, one conjectures, to discourage traffic working north up the Columbia
River from the Colville area, as to swell the British Columbia coffers. With commendable celerity the BC government commissioned a wagon
road spur to be built from Cache Creek on the
Cariboo Wagon Road to the ferry at Savona's at
the foot of Kamloops Lake. The Hudson's Bay
Company was persuaded, presumably by the
promise of an operating subsidy, to commission
the building of a small sternwheeler, the Marten,
to work east from Savona's to its Ogden City
post (later Seymour City) at the head of Seymour
Arm on Shuswap Lake. The rough trail previously mentioned was extended from Seymour
City over the Monashee Mountains to La Porte
below Death Rapids on the Columbia.
Alas, the efforts initiated at New Westminster
were too little, too late. After the British Boundary Commission had abandoned its barracks
above Fort Colville on the Columbia River in
1862, they had been purchased by an astute Yankee merchant, Marcus Oppenheimer, who had
come west with two brothers over the Oregon
Trail. Nearby was a sawmill. It was on this site,
now named Marcus, that not only a flotilla of
man-propelled boats was constructed throughout 1865, but also a sternwheeler, to be christened Forty-nine. Machinery for the steamboat,
stripped from John C. Ainsworth's pioneer Portland sternwheeler Jennie Clark, was shipped up
together with a boiler in ox-carts over the military wagon road from the Lower Columbia River.
Publication ofthe correspondence of Ainsworth,
president ofthe Oregon Steam Navigation Company of Portland, many years later confirmed that
the OSN was a silent partner in the enterprise.
The hero ofthe day was Captain Leonard White,
who superintended the construction of the boat
and piloted her on her maiden voyage in very
cold December weather up the Columbia, only
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol.35 No.2 to be stopped by ice in the narrows above
the head of Lower Arrow Lake. She began regular service upstream from Little
Dalles, the new terminus ofthe Colville
wagon road, on 10 April 1866, anticipating the maiden voyage of the HBC
sternwheeler Marten on Shuswap Lake
by six weeks. The short trail upstream
from La Porte below Death Rapids to
the confluence of the Goldstream and
the Columbia proved infinitely more inviting to traffic disembarking from the
Forty-nine than it did to those who had
already toiled on the pack trail over the
Monashee Mountains from Seymour
City. Furthermore, good freight forwarding services were already well in place
in the Colville area. The BC coast merchants lost out again to the pesky Yankees? Nothing but a prohibitive tariff
could have conquered steam on the open
Columbia River. What transportation
policy the Marten followed is not known,
but Captain Leonard White ofthe Forty-
nine from the outset resolutely refused
to carry upstream any man who could
not lay his fare and had no grubstake,
but took downstream, gratis, every man
going out "broke" from the camp. At the
peak of activity in the summer of 1866,
it is unlikely that the numbers of miners
matched those found in the Wild Horse
Creek camp in East Kootenay. About
three-fourths of those leaving Big Bend
in November 1866 could not pay their
fares to Little Dalles. This situation tells
the story of the Big Bend Camp; there
were indeed some very rich placers, but
in most cases hydraulic equipment was
required to get down to the richer ore
near bedrock. The chief centres of the
Big Bend in the 1860s were La Porte at
the head of steam navigation on the Columbia below Death Rapids, Kirbyville
near the mouth of the Goldstream, and
French Creek at the mouth of French
Creek. This latter held on to a post office from 1866 to 1871, but it was
Kirbyville that had a sawmill and saloons
etc., while La Porte had the warehouses
and other forwarding services. How
many big winners were there in the Big
Bend gold rush? At least four ofthe boat
loads of prospectors leaving Marcus for
the Big Bend in the spring of 1865 struck
it rich. Among the lucky ones were
William Downie, Hy Carnes, and Nets
Demars.They first struck gold on Carnes
Creek, but later in the season Dan McCulloch discovered gold on McCulloch
Creek where he mined successfully for
one or two seasons. The rival Clemens
Company, however, had better luck on
this stream and extracted from twelve to
thirty-five ounces of gold per day before the winter freeze-up.
After 1866, mining activity in the Big
Bend continued at a reduced pace, but
one hundred men were said to have spent
the winter of 1866-1867 on French and
McCulloch Creeks. After the fall of 1867
a few persistent operators continued in
the field. Among them was Capt. AT.
Pingstone, the original mate on the
Forty-nine, and successor to Capt White.
The '"49 Company," Pingstone s syndicate of steamboat employees, not only
worked properties on Fortynine Creek
opposite Carnes Creek, but financed the
development in 1867 of the Fortnine
Creek workings several miles west of
Nelson. By 1871, however, men working in the Big Bend area were chiefly
It was the great financial panic of 1873
that brought mining in the Big Bend to
a virtual standstill.The Northern Pacific
Railroad, which had commenced building west from Duluth, Minnesota, to the
Montana mines and the Inland Empire
of the Columbia, failed in this panic and
construction came to a stop. The Oregon Steam Navigation Co. put expansion of its routes on hold.The Hudson's
Bay Company also faded from the
Kootenay District picture. In 1870, Hudson's Bay Factor Finlayson recommended that Fort Shepherd be closed
for lack of trade. All supplies were removed and the fort was abandoned. In
1872 the HBC buildings on the site
burned to the ground, leaving only the
small customs house standing on the site.
In 1871 the HBC Fort Colville, which
had operated continuously since 1825,
was closed. In 1911 the old Fort Colville
bastion burned down and in 1941 the
area was flooded by the reservoir behind
the Grand Coulee Dam. Captain
Pingstone continued to work the Forty-
nine between Little Dalles and his
Fortynine Creek camp until she was dismantled in 1874, the boiler and fittings
being sent back down the military wagon
road to the Lower Columbia. Well before 1874, one deduces, the white man
had stopped wintering in the Big Bend
or in fact anywhere in West Kootenay.
Some persistent diggers in the Big Bend
area might choose to winter down at
Pete Ellison's hotel at Little Dalles, others might winter at Colville, while those
with a bit more ready cash might strike
out for Spokane.
Mining activity in the Big Bend never
died out completely, but it took the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885 to provide some real impetus. As men in the Revelstoke area were
laid off from construction they began to
work the Columbia River side streams
for gold.Winter employment shovelling
snow in Rogers Pass provided the necessary grubstake for such men.The Provincial Government began in 1887 to
expend small amounts on developing a
rudimentary trail north from Revelstoke
to the Big Bend diggings, but no heavy
duty hauling could be undertaken on this
trail. A major step forward occurred in
1897, when hydraulic equipment began
to be brought in to the Big Bend, utilizing a sternwheeler upstream from the
railway hub at Revelstoke to La Porte,
and a wagon road for the remainder of
the journey to the Goldstream Basin. In
the post-Revelstoke-Dam era, while
some of the former diggings are now
"drowned," it is still possible to reach
many of the old Goldstream Basin camps
by means of an unimproved road, which
branches east off Highway 23 south of
the mouth of the Goldstream River. At
the present time mining in the Big Bend
is not a brisk industry, but it never pays
to write a mining area off completely.
The Big Bend may yet in the future yield
up further rewards to persistent members of the mining community. ^^
21 The Lardeau
A Country Bustling with Towns, Ranches, and Mines
Following is the text of an article (without
its numerous paragraph headings) published
over several issues of the Kootenay Mail
of Revelstoke. Phe unsigned article presumably is the work of P.A. Haggan who took
over the newspaper early in 1901. It gives
an excellent glimpse of the country as it
was a century ago.
Ronald Greene
[Kootenay Mail, 2 August 1901]
Revelstoke is naturally the main business
point for commercial transactions with the
Lardeau, and with a fair railway tariff, this
city should today have been the main
wholesale supply for the Kootenays. The
C.P.R. with their usual speculative vagaries, however chose Nelson for their favors,
and the want of wisdom shown in that selection hasjust been evidenced by the action of the Turner-Beeton Company in closing their Nelson warehouse. Had Revelstoke
been chosen for tariff favors bestowed on
Nelson we should have seen Revelstoke
today a city with as large a population as
Nelson. As it is, however, Revelstoke is banking point for the Lardeau, and merchants
and manufacturers in this city do a considerable business with Lardeau points.
Leaving Revelstoke, the railway follows
the Columbia River to Arrowhead—one
ofthe beauty spots ofthe province.The business portion of Arrowhead consists of two
hotels and a store. The hotels are the
Lakeview and the Arrowhead. The former
is conducted by J.J. Foley and is one of the
best appointed hotels to be found on the
road.The Arrowhead is owned by EJ. Kerr,
and though not such a pretentious hostelry
as the Lakeview it is a well-conducted house.
The store and post office are in the hands
of G.T. Newman. Arrowhead is essentially
a railway centre, being the point of transfer
from the A. & K. railway to the C.P.R. boats
which carry traffic into the heart of
Kootenay. Slips are laid to suit the various
stages of high and low water. The Fred
Robinson Lumber Company's steamers also
connect Arrowhead with points on the
north-east arm of the lake, the Archer this
season being under command of Capt.
Comaplix is the site of the Fred
Robinson Lumber Company's mill,
Kootenay Lumber Company's store, and the
mining recorder's office for this section of
the Lardeau. Mr. Sumner is mining recorder
and provincial constable. He has had a busy
time of late owing to the rush in the Fish
Creek camp.There are two good hotels, the
Queen's, conducted by D. Cameron, and the
Lardeau, conducted by R. McLeod. A public school has also been provided here, Miss
Gibbons being the present mistress.
Comaplix is also a point of arrival from and
departure to Fish Creek.
J.W. Thomson, after whom this important point on the Arm was named, was the
pioneer store and hotel-keeper in
[Thomson's Landing], but [he] retired from
business some years ago and has a pretty
home on the shore ofthe lake. Thomson's
Landing is the point of transfer of passengers and freight for Trout Lake and Ferguson.
Considering the size of the place, a large
amount of business is done here. Messrs.
Craig & Hillman have splendidly equipped
stables which supply pack and saddle horses
for miners, prospectors, experts and all sorts
and conditions of men for thirty miles
around. Forty pack and saddle horses of
good stamp are kept, and Mr. Craig hasjust
gone out to purchase another lot, specially
with a view to packing out ore from some
ofthe outlying camps.The firm also runs a
stage thrice weekly each way between
Thomson's Landing and Ferguson and have
[sic] four teams continuously on the road
hauling freight fromThomson's Landing to
Trout Lake and Ferguson. There are two
hotels here—the Prospector's Exchange, a
large building conducted by T.W. Graham,
and the Pioneer, of which Isaac Bate is the
landlord. Excellent accommodation is afforded by both houses. The post office is
conducted by Andy Craig, and A.G. Fraser
has a well-stocked store which he opened
about a year ago. Mr. Fraser is agent for the
telephone exchange.
Thomson's Landing is a celebrated place
for fruit at this season of the year, and trav
ellers have a good time picking berries. Mr.
Needham's garden is a favorite spot, and one
of the best and most prolific in the district
in the way of small fruits. J.Tobin conducts
a blacksmith and horseshoeing business here.
A good wagon road connects Thomson's
Landing with Trout Lake, twelve miles distant. The road follows Thomson Creek
through a deep canyon, affording magnificent scenery. Four and a half miles out
Fulmer's ranch, which is a favorite stopping
place with travellers, is reached, and at this
season of the year the ranch is celebrated
for its strawberries and cream.
The road skirts two pretty lakes, one
known as Armstrong Lake, four miles out,
and forming the headwaters of Thomson
Creek. The other is Stauber Lake, a much
larger sheet of water, and Fulmer's ranch is
between the two. From Stauber Lake to
Trout Lake City several ranches dot the
valley, and appear to be doing well, dairying
and hay being the principal resources.
It is along this valley, close to the road,
that the railway to connect Revelstoke with
the Lardeau railway will be built, via Arrowhead, Comaplix and Thomson's Landing.
The next stopping place is the Park Hotel, situated at the junction of the roads to
Ferguson and Trout Lake, and within a mile
ofTrout Lake City.This hotel is conducted
by W Baty, who is sanguine as to the future
of the district and firmly believes that the
old-timers who have stayed with it are about
to have their reward. He is interested in the
Copper King, on the North Fork, near Circle City, and the Justin and North Star in
the Johnston Basin.The Copper King is one
of the few copper prospects in the district
and Mr. Baty informs us assays have run
$85 in copper values. Quite a bit of work
has been done on it and the trail runs
through the property. Mr. Baty has a nice
garden, with good crops of potatoes, etc.,
and has one of the best poultry yards in the
A charming site for a town, nestling in
the valley, and between the mouth of the
Lardo river and Trout Lake, is the characteristic of Trout Lake City. The town has
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol.35 No.2 LARDLAU refers to the mountainous
country northeast of upper Arrow Lake in the
West Kootenay, encompassing Trout Lake
and the Lardeau, Duncan and Incomappleux
rivers. It was the site of a silver mining boom
in the 1890s, when several small mining
towns appeared:Thomson's Landing (later
Beaton),Trout Lake City and Ferguson.
Camborne flourished briefly as a gold mining
centre. At the height of the boom in 1902
there were about 100 silver mines, the Nettie-
L being the most productive. Logging was
also important; large sawmills at Comaplix
and Arrowhead exported lumber to the
prairies. By WW I most of the mines and mills
had closed. There wasa brief mining revival
in the 1930s, but most of the pioneer
communities have become ghost towns. The
town of Lardeau, pop 59 (formerly spelled
Lardo), once a terminus for the Arrowhead &
Kootenay Rwy, is a tiny logging community
on the shores of Kootenay Lake.
Encyclopedia ofBritish Columbia
Harbour Publishing, 2000
grown considerably of late and gives every
promise of becoming an important business centre and railway point. Four good
hotels afford accommodation for travellers,
and the stores are well stocked with all the
requirements of a mining camp. There are
also a mining recorder's office, assay office,
schoolhouse, and Trout Lake City is headquarters of Capt. Davey and other well-
known mining men. Mrs. Jowett runs the
Trout Lake City Hotel, the pioneer house
of the town; D.R. McLennan owns the
Windsor; Messrs. Abrahamson Bros, the
Queens; and Messrs Madden and Leveque
are conducting the Lakeview N. Lay, the
former landlord, devoting most of his time
to his mining properties. CB. Hume & Co.
have here a finer store than their Revelstoke
premises, and overhead is a public hall which
is used for dances, socials, meetings, and answers the purposes of a local church. Messrs.
Hume & Co. opened here in 1896, and H.L.
Godsoe is in charge of this branch of the
firm's business. Masterson & Griffith opened
two years ago in the general store business
and have a well-stocked establishment, and
J.H. Currie, formerly manager for Hume &
Co., conducts the post office,general store,
and the telephone agency.
J.O. Piper, who is one of the owners of
the townsite, conducts a gents furnishing
and general house furniture warehouse as
well. The city boasts a weekly newspaper,
"the Topic," very creditably conducted by
J.J. Langstall.
D.L. Clink's sawmill keeps the city folks
up to time, the mill whistle blowing with
punctuality of those well known timekeepers in Revelstoke, and the C.P.R. shop and
the Fred Robinson Lumber Company's mill
whistles. The mill is of the Waterous make
and has a capacity of 15,000 feet a day.The
motive power is supplied by a boiler of 35
h.p. and an engine of 30 h.p.The plant includes planing and moulding machinery, and
is well arranged for economical working.
As building is slack just now the mill is not
worked to anything like its capacity. The
logs are cut on the Lardo river and floated
down to the boom.
There are three traffic boats on Trout
Lake—the Victoria, a large transfer boat
owned by Menhinick Bros, and Capt. Roman, and the Idler, which the same firm purchased from Capt. Troup, and which was
that gentleman's private launch at Nelson;
also a gasoline boat owned by W Schmock.
The Idler makes a daily trip to and from
Selkirk and is a smart little launch.
A government school is provided, but a
teacher has not yet been appointed to succeed Dr. Wilson.
Constable Snell looks after the good behaviour ofthe people of Ferguson andTrout
Lake alike.
A new trail has been opened direct from
the city to the Silver Cup mountain and
effects a great saving of time in reaching a
number of claims.
F.C. Campbell is mining recorder, clerk
of the county court, and deputy recorder
for the Duncan section of the Kaslo district. He is at present loaded up with enough
office work for two men, owing to the great
activity in the Trout Lake division. Mr.
Campbell is the owner of the Badshot, in
partnership with J. Black and W Johnston,
of Thompson's Landing. He is also interested in the Mollymac, two miles above Pen
Mile and which is said to be a large body of
low grade ore, and in the Noon-day, a galena
property on the Little Duncan.
FT. Abey, formerly of Revelstoke, carries
on business as chemist and druggist, and
since the departure of Dr. Wilson he is
also responsible for the good health of the
neighborhood. Mr. Abey has a well-
23 stock[ed] drug store and takes an active
interest in matters pertaining to the welfare ofTrout Lake.The enterprising firm
of Craig & Hillman have a branch of their
livery stables here.The owners ofthe
townsite are F.B.Wells,Abrahamson Bros.,
J.F. Hume, J.O. Piper,T. Kilpatrick and
Ole Sundberg.
[Kootenay Mail, 30 August 1901]
W. Abrahamson has cut into lots and
placed on the market 30 acres between
Broad Street and the river.The land is high
and dry and should make good residential
sites. A goodly number of lots have already
been sold by the energetic agent, H.N.
Coursier. This land is part of Mr.
Abrahamson's block of 100 acres, and Park,
Hume and Broad streets have been projected
through the extension.
Trout Lake City is an ideal spot for a
townsite and reflects great credit on the
judgment of the locator, G.B. Nagle, who
also located the townsites of Duchesnay and
Lardeau. If the government would cut out
the jam in the Lardeau river, and so lower
the level of the lake, it would be a great
improvement to the present lower lying portions of the townsite fronting on the lake,
and not only so would but make available
quite an area of ranching lands which are
now so wet as to be comparatively valueless. Trout Lake has some valuable mineral
properties at hand, abundance of timber and
the completion ofthe railway should make
it an important point of transportation.
Returning to the Park Junction, a run of
four miles over a good road takes the visitor into Ferguson whose interests are
guarded by the Eagle in its watches and
screeches as Editor Pettipiece grinds out his
complaints of some neglected interest, or
announces the discovery of some of those
rich mineral strikes which have made the
Lardeau famous. As the traveller wends his
way along he passes the canyon through
which pours the Lardeau river, and an occasional reminiscence is seen of the busy
days of placer mining when quite a lot of
gold was taken out of the bed of this rushing torrent which drains such a large area
of country.
Ferguson occupies a position at the junction of the north and south forks of the
Lardeau river.The site is on a river terrace,
high above the river, thus affording first-
class drainage, while water is supplied from
the mountain rising above the terrace.The
townsite is a good selection of the Messrs.
Ferguson, but is large, comprising 640 acres.
The owners have now sold a good many
lots, and the main street is well kept, and
many fine buildings now adorn the townsite
- hotels, stores and private residences. Business premises are so far confined to the main
street. The mine-owners around purchase
practically all their supplies from the
Ferguson merchants, and this has made
Ferguson a good supply point, the manager
of the Silver Cup, Mr. Didisheim, informing us that he can be as well supplied at
Ferguson both in quality of goods and prices
as in any neighbouring town.This is a high
tribute to the business abilities of Ferguson
merchants, who have hitherto had to contend with such exceptional difficulties in
the way of freighting in supplies.
Ferguson has four good hotels, the Windsor, kept by Mrs. O'Connor, and which is
the first hotel entering the town; the Hotel
Ferguson, kept by D. Ferguson; the Balmoral,
kept by Andy Cummings, and the Kings,
built this season by Jas. Cummings. The
Hotel Ferguson hasjust been enlarged and
the former portion thoroughly renovated.
The bar room is one of the best to be seen
in the province, and is attractively fitted up
with show cases containing birds and animals tastefully mounted by Doc.Young on
whose skill and patience the work reflects
the highest credit. Andy Cummings, the
landlord ofthe Balmoral, built the first hotel in the town and opened it in 1897. He
left for a time, however, for the Crows Nest
to take advantage of the railway construction there, and returned to Ferguson last
fall doubling the accommodation ofthe Balmoral, which is supplied with a luncheon
counter as well as good hotel accommodation for about 80 guests.The house is most
creditably fitted up.The Kings Hotel, built
and opened this season, by Jas. Cummings
is provided with 24 bedrooms. It will thus
be seen that the hotel accommodation of
Ferguson is well in advance of the town
and capable of supplying all requirements
of the travelling public for some time to
[Kootenay Mail, A October 1901]
The Lardeau Hotel, kept by J. Laughton,
formerly of Revelstoke, is another good
house of 17 rooms, and completes the list
of Ferguson hotels—a list which would do
credit to a much larger town.
Business Firms:Alec Cummins is one of
the most enterprising merchants of the
Lardeau. He started business in Ferguson in
1896, and has also a branch store at Ten Mile.
Owing to increasing requirements, he extended the accommodation of his Ferguson
store this season by an addition of 24 x 34
feet. Mr. Cummins is also agent for the telephone company. G. Batho conducts a general store, and also has charge of the post
office which he conducts with much satisfaction to the public. Messrs. McKinnon &
Sutherland have a well-stock[ed] general
store. P.L. Cummings, C.E., P.L.S., formerly
gold commissioner for East Kootenay, has
made Ferguson his headquarters. Craig &
Hillman have good livery stables here. W
Schnell, ofTrout Lake, has a barbers shop in
the town. The Great Western and Double
Eagle Company have built imposing offices,
portion of which is occupied by A.H.
Holdich, the well-known assayer, who is also
secretary to the Great Western.
S. Shannon also conducts an assay office
and represents quite a number of eastern
investors in the camp. Among others he has
been managing the White Warrior and the
Comstock, above Circle City. D. Ferguson has
established a sawmill which has been run
for some months by R. Davis, now of the
Revelstoke Lumber Company. R.P.
Pettipiece and the Eagle are an integral part
of the town and district.
Ferguson is surrounded by rich mineral
discoveries. On the Horne Payne creek, in
the townsite, J.C. Kirkpatrick got a specimen which went $276 gold with small silver values.
There is [placer] gold in the Lardeau river
and tributaries but of course the difficulty
is to extract it. Still, occasionally rich strikes
are made. J. Cague made a good strike this
season on Pen Mile, at a point six miles above
the junction with the south fork, and took
out quite a bit of gold, in coarse nuggets,
running up to as high as $30 each in value.
The strike paid him about $12 a day while
it lasted.The gold was taken out by ground
sluicing. Cague is an old-timer, having been
here since 1892. He thinks there is much
good ground for placer mining in the district though it is not a Klondike by any
means, but considers that parties providing
ample capital in careful hands could reap
good returns. It is stated that $3000 of placer
gold was taken out of the Lardeau some
years ago, and Walter Jennings and Alex.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol.35 No.2 Biggar are known to have taken out $600
two years ago.
Few towns have such promising mines
in close proximity. The Nettie L., the Silver
Cup, the Priune, are properties which have
made considerable shipments of high grade
ore, and there are many neighboring properties which look as if they were within
reach of adding to the shipping list.The ores
of the country surrounding Ferguson have
the advantage that they are very high grade,
and while the ore-bodies may not be very
large, their exceptionally high average value
make them possible producers of great
wealth. A remarkable feature of the silver-
lead ores of this section is their persistent
gold values, while the development work
done on the Nettie L. and Silver Cup have
proved their ore-bodies to increase in volume and value with depth. What has been
proved in these properties may reasonably
be expected to prove the rule of the camp.
Another promising property is the
Cromwell,locally known as the "sky-scraper."
This is the property of E. Morgan and J.
Grant. A peculiarity of the ore here is that
carbonates predominate, with high silver
values—about $200 a ton. Another property that is well spoken of is the Kootenays,
owned by Carter, Thompson, Kirkpatrick
and Shannon.This property is only two and
a half miles from Ferguson, north-east of
the south fork wagon road. A tunnel has
been run for 70 feet, and there is a nice
showing of ore, resembling in character that
of the Nettie L.
The Comstock is reported to have been
showing up well under development. The
ore is different from that usually found in
the district, consisting of copper pyrites, with
values of about $10 to $12 in gold, and 30
to 40 ozs. silver per ton. Messrs. Welch and
Westlake, of London, Ont., and Mr.
Richards, of Cleveland, president of the
company, visited the property and were
much pleased with the prospects.
Another company which started operations in the Lardeau this season was the White
Warrior Mining Company. The capital was
fixed at $150,000The promoters were Prof.
P.A. Cowgirl, superintendent of public instruction, of Michigan City, D.G. Holland,
jeweller, of Lapeer, Mich., and L.A.
Lockwood ofthe same place.They took up
the WhiteWarriorproperty on Gainer creek.
The work this season was carried on under
direction of S. Shannon, who shut it down
as the results were not satisfactory.The company had also two prospectors out but we
have not heard with what results.
A property that has attracted a good deal
of attention is the Mountain Lion.This property consists of three claims, the Mountain
Lion, the Black Scott and Black Scott No. 2. It
is situated on McDonald creek, a tributary
ofthe Duncan, and was recently taken over
by M.C. Miller, of Minneapolis, on behalf
of a company which he had formed in that
city known as the Mountain Lion Mining
Company. The company is registered under the laws of this province, and has a capitalisation of $1,500,000 ofwhich $500,000
is in the treasury.The company has a strong
directorate, consisting of Dr. Eugene May,
of Washington, president; L.C. Flournoy,
treasurer of the Flour City Logging and
Lumber Company, vice-president; George
E. Maxwell, formerly cashier ofthe Flower
City National and Union National Banks,
treasurer; J. Grier, principal of the central
high school of Minneapolis, Dr. E.W
Gifford, manager ofthe Great Republic mine,
and EJ. Lee, ofValley City, and one of the
directors of the Cheyenne National Bank.
Capt. Davey is engineer for the company.
Entering Ferguson, the pretty home of
J.C. Kirkpatrick, one of the best-known
prospectors in the Lardeau, is the first private residence met with. Mrs. Kirkpatrick
can talk mining as well as her husband, and
Above: Trout Lake City, 1904: "G.B. Hume
& Co. have here a finer store than their
Revelstoke premises, and overhead is a public
hall which is used for dances, socials, meetings,
and answers the purposes of a local church.
Messrs. Hume & Co. opened here in 1896. "
knows what it is to scale the mountain in
search of hidden treasure. Among other
properties in which Mr. Kirkpatrick is interested is the Little Robert group at the head
of the north fork, and adjoining the Horn
property.The width ofthe vein on this property is two feet and it carries a paystreak of
six inches. Several open cuts and a tunnel
have been run. A ton and a half of ore has
been taken out.The ore is ofthe class which
has made the Lardeau famous carrying high
silver values with lead, gold and copper.The
values have run about $200 a ton, ofwhich
the gold runs about $11 and the copper is
low—about 2 per cent. The formation is
graphitic schist and lime dykes. The Black
Diamond was another of Mr. Kirkpatrick's
properties but has been disposed of to the
Silver Tip Mining Company, of Spokane.
200 feet of tunnel has been run in this property, but Mr. Kirkpatrick estimates the work
has not gone far enough to cut the lead.
Eight assays gave an average of $264.<^^
25 Transporting Bees by Stagecoach
The Beginnings of the Honeybee Industry in BC
by Ted Kay
ALPHONSE Gautier was the driver of the
stage when it tipped over. Bees were
in the freight, one stung a horse, and
over went the stagecoach.This happened opposite the Globe Hotel on the main street of
Lytton where Alphonse had grown up. He
must still have been a young, inexperienced
man, since usually the BX drivers soon learned
a trick or two about handling delicate cargo.
This event is not dated in my source but it is
likely that it happened in the later 1880s.
It is not clear when Wing Kee and his fellow beekeepers started to ship bees to the interior but it cannot have been long after completion of the railway. Alphonse must have
taken the bees off the train and his coach was
on its way to Lillooet. The bees were to be
dropped at the Botanie Valley junction for Mr.
Loring, but there lay the stage, across the main
street of Lytton. Mr. Loring was sent for but
nothing could be done in daylight. Everyone
sheltered in the Globe bar until darkness
caused the loose bees to cluster in their hive.
Then Mr. Loring was able to take them to
their new home, and business cautiously resumed in Lytton.
Honeybees did not occur in the New World
until European setders brought them.The bees
adapted well to their new home and often
travelled ahead of settlement across the eastern part ofthe continent. When the Hudson's
Bay Company reorganized its Western headquarters to Vancouver Island a fur trader called
J.B.D. Ogilvie bought land on the Gorge for
his retirement. In May 1858 the Victoria Gazette told its readers that a shipment of two
hives of bees from WH. Hoy of San Jose to
Mr. Ogilvie was in the care of Mr. Thain of
Yates Street.The paper urged its readers to see
the first bees in the colony before the owner
took them to his farm.The town was seething with prospectors, speculators, and hangers-on of every kind, and this unlikely mix
lined up to see the bees. Ogilvie imported
two more hives in 1860 from Oregon and on
June 14 the British Colonist reported that he
had gathered ten pounds of honey. The craft
of beekeeping was launched in British Columbia.
In 1865 John Buchanan Drummond
Ogilvie died while trading near Bella Bella.
Wilhelm Schwartz bought the bees from his
estate. A strip of sand and gravel along the
shore of Crescent Beach is still called" Blackie
Spit," not after the regrettable habit of the early
days, but, according to the beekeeping fraternity, because Schwartz translates as "black" to
English.1 There the scows and other various
craft arrived on the mainland after crossing
Georgia Strait.Wilhelm Schwartz built a lodging house there known as " Blackie s" and
helped the optimists on their way, over to Fort
Langley and the interior gold. To lodging,
guiding, freighting, and logging "Blackie"
added beekeeping, and he is the first recorded
successful beekeeper on the mainland. Father
Pandosy had brought bees to his Mission earlier but they died from lack of nectar sources.
Blackie's bees found themselves in paradise.
As the loggers moved up the inlets, falling and
burning the dense forest, nectar and pollen
producing plants grew in profusion behind
them. The new beekeeper was usually busy
with other things so his bees swarmed abundantly and followed these food sources up the
valley. There they found fireweed, cascara,
maples, various prunus, rubus, and vaccinium species, and apparently a small climatic optimum.
Over the next twenty years, logging and
clearing spread, leaving hollow and decaying
trees which the bees soon occupied. Some of
these trees were found—there is a report of
800 pounds of honey harvested from a tree
on Point Grey, but not until completion of
the railway was exploitation organized. One
of the few jobs allowed the released Chinese
railway labourers was shingle-bolt cutting.
Shingle bolts are most easily made from hollow cedar shells.The cutters soon came across
the bees, hived them in tea chests and stumping powder boxes, and took them back to their
camps.This was necessary as bears had adapted
to honey as readily as the bees had adapted to
BC. This was the beginning of honey production on a commercial scale. Among many,
the only Chinese beekeeper we have a record
of is Wing Kee, who produced honey and bees
on Westham Island until his retirement in
Chinese miners in the interior soon heard
of this other golden bonanza, and Long Shue's
store in Ashcroft became the transfer point
for bees from the train to the BX and on to
the Cariboo. The railway from Vancouver to
Ashcroft seems to have handled this item successfully but, as we have seen, the stagecoach
was not so kindly.The tea chest was preferred
as a portable beehive. It was light, the right
size, and readily available, but a little frail for
all those miles of rocky roads. Steve Tingley
and other senior drivers soon delegated loads
containing bees to junior drivers. The drivers
learned to put the hives on the trunk shelf at
the back with a quick release rope leading to
the driver's seat.When the warning cry arose
from the outside passengers the driver pulled
the rope, releasing the bees, and the coach
surged ahead.This method, developed to deal
with leaks, spread bees along the road and soon
stopping houses were serving honey. However, enough bees survived the journey and
arrived at their destination that a Chinese cabin
in the camps and gullies could be identified
by the tea chest full of bees on the roof.
Some years later another aspect of the industry was developing in the lower valleys
inland. By the turn of the century bright young
middle-class families in England were answering advertisements by developers selling orchard-growing land.They came to Walachin,
Seymour Arm, Salmon Arm, and, most successfully, the Okanagan. After Lord and Lady
Aberdeen bought the Coldstream Ranch at
Vernon, plantations became extensive and
outstripped the ability of native pollinators to
set good fruit. A group of men between Vernon
and Mara began to supply the need of honeybees and the pollination industry began.
James Emeny took bees to his homestead
at Spring Bend north of Enderby in the 1890s.
He was joined by Charles Little and A.E.
Moore. In 1909 Leonard Harris arrived in
Enderby. Customs agents and various travel
officials along the way must have been cooler
people then and the problems with agricultural imports had not been recognized. Harris,
a furniture maker in London before he emigrated, had kept bees at High Wycombe and
decided to take them with him. Many beekeepers have since said that they would like
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol.35 No.2 to have seen the portable hives a high-class
furniture maker designed. He carried two
colonies with him as hand baggage, on the
ship from England to Quebec, the train from
Quebec to Sicamous, then to Enderby. He
joined the group of bee producers and eventually became a provincial bee inspector.
Beekeeping is a craft that attracts interesting adherents. One of these was Joseph Murray,
originally from Louisiana, whom a varied career took to the end of a foot trail nine miles
into the bush off the road betweenVanderhoof
and Fort St. James. In winter he trapped and
in summer was a meticulous beekeeper, supplying farmers along the Bulkley Valley with
replacement stock. A photographer found him
in the early 1950s at his cabin. Joe was slighdy
nettled that the photo had to be taken with
him in his old pants beside a" log gum," when
there was a row of perfect white beehives
nearby. A "log gum" or "bee gum" is a term
from the American southeast for a section of
hollow log serving as a beehive. At the time
the picture was taken he had stopped selling
bees. On turning ninety he found it tiring to
carry a beehive the nine miles to the
Vanderhoof road.
George Turner arrived at Bella Coola in
1903, found it too crowded, and moved on to
a meadow on the Kliniklini River a day's walk
down from the Kleena Kleene Ranch.There
he found bees that may have moved up from
tidewater. They were sometimes carried on
the rafts that Scandinavian loggers used as
mobile living quarters. George also trapped,
made hives from sections of hollow cedar, and
planted apple trees, which are still there. The
present owner of the land says the bees are
still there as well. In the 1930s George moved
to a cabin on the Kleena Kleene Ranch but
floated between there, Nimpo, and Anahim.
He was used as a threat to recalcitrant children by mothers of the area:" If you ... George
will get you!" Having been a beekeeper, he
could not have been all that bad. It is likely he
was one of the Dalton Gang, the Missouri
train robbers.
Those are some of the highlights of beekeeping history in the province. It is likely
other importations were made, particularly by
American settlers, at various times. Perhaps
some HBC posts had bees even before 1858.
There is a report of bees in the Revelstoke
area when the railway was being built. Even
my dramatic opening may be misdated, as it
is possible that Alphonse had carried the bees
from Yale before the railway was started and
they were not from the shingle bolt cutters. I
admit to favouring the idea that the Chinese
initiated the honey industry. I would be pleased
to hear from anyone who can bring more precise knowledge to light.
The material in this article was originally
assembled as an amusement to relieve beekeepers' business meetings. The main source
is One Hundred Years of Beekeeping in British
Columbia-1858 to 1958 by WH. Turnbull.
Confirmation and expansion was gathered an-
ecdotally during my 29 years as a provincial
bee inspector from ranchers of the Cariboo
and Chilcotin, Okanagan and Kootenay
orchardists, a descendant of James Emeny (also
called James Emeny and still at Spring Bend),
Above: Stagecoach on Cariboo Road, 1890s.
former Provincial Apiarist John Corner, and
former Provincial Police Constable Robert
Turnbull, son ofWH. But mostly the antique,
some now long gone, beekeepers all over the
province who were always willing, in fragrant
honey house or humming bee yard, to talk
your ear off.<J=:^-'
The origin of the name follows WH.Turnbull's book
One Hundred Years of Beekeeping in British Columbia.
We may one day be reluctantly persuaded by the
excellent work of the Akriggs and agree that Blackie
Spit owes its name to Walter Blackie who bought
the spit in 1875, and not to Wilhelm Schwartz who
settled there ten years earlier.
27 Token History: W. Cowan, Revelstoke, BC
by Ronald Greene
1 Ruby M. Nobbs,
Revelstoke History &
Heritage, 1998, pp. 24-25,
p 112.This is one of the
best local histories I have
encountered, and
certainly the most useful
as it mentions several
token issuers.
2 Edward Mallandaine,
publisher, The British
Columbia Directory...
1887,Victoria, BC p. xiii
3 Revelstoke Review, 2 April
1924, the article about
the fire said the hotel had
opened 5 August 1885.
4 Revelstoke Review, 14
April 1926.
5 Statutes ofBritish
Columbia, Chapter 69,
0 John Abrahamson was
one of the owners of the
Central Hotel, issuers of
Breton 936 and 937.
1 Statutes ofBritish
Columbia, Chapter 70,
1897. The act specified
the creeks where the
company could take
s Kootenay Mail, 14 April
3 Kootenay Mail, 5
December 1896. This
was the first ad for the
10 Kootenay Mail, 8 May
11 Kootenay Mail, 15
January 1898 and 12
February 1898.
12 But we haven't found
when the hotel was sold
to him. There are
conflicting reports.
The token is Brass:
Round: 24V2 mm
WHEN RN. Breton wrote his Illustrated
History of Coins and Tokens relating to
Canada, which appeared in 1894, he
listed the Government of British Columbia $ 10 and
$20 patterns and four merchant tokens—three trade
and one advertising. I don't believe that it is any
coincidence that the three trade tokens were from
Revelstoke. Sitting on the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), the town would have
been about the first town in British Columbia to
be visited by travelling salesmen from the east after
the railway was completed in 1885 and passenger
service started the following June. Furthermore
these pioneer Revelstoke tokens were issued by
hotels: two of the tokens carry the name of the
Central Hotel, and the third reads W Cowan, who
ran the Victoria Hotel. Mr. Breton did not provide
much information about the Cowan piece: an illustration and the following text, "Issue 200. still in
The name of Revelstoke was bestowed by the
CPR on its station, named after Edward Baring,
first Lord Revelstoke, a prominent London banker
who had been one of the financiers backing the
railway, but the establishment of the town was a
little more complicated. A government surveyor,
Arthur Stanhope Farwell had surveyed the Eagle
Pass and had worked for the CPR.When he heard
that the CPR would follow the Rogers Pass route
he proceeded to Second Crossing and pre-empted
175 acres where he thought the railway would cross
the Columbia. On 20 October 1883, he applied
for a provincial grant of an extra 1,000 acres. Just
over a year later, on 13 January 1885, the provincial
government issued him a crown grant for the requested 1,175 acres. This grant, however, contravened the terms of the agreement to build the railway, under which the CPR was entitled to a belt of
land twenty miles (32 kilometres) either side ofthe
right-of-way. The government of British Columbia refused to rescind the grant. Meanwhile the federal government had given grants to others, believing that the site was within the railway belt. It was
not until 1894 when the case was decided in the
Supreme Court of Canada that people could obtain tide to their property. Earlier Farwell had wanted
a high price for his townsite, which the CPR refused to pay. They had no choice when it came to
buying the right-of-way; but that was all they bought
from him. Farwell had hoped that the CPR would
build its shops, etc., on his land, but they refused to
have further dealings with him.' Of course, Farwell's
townsite was named Farwell. The CPR arranged
for a townsite on some higher ground a little to the
east of Farwell's where they laid out the railway
yards, station, hotel, streets, and lots.They then asked
the federal government to change the name from
Farwell to Revelstoke which was done in June 1886.
For many years the Farwell townsite was known as
Lower Town and the station townsite was known
as Upper Town. Revelstoke was first listed in the
British Columbia Directory for 1887 and Mr.
Cowan's name was one of only four to appear on
that occasion.
William Cowan was born in 1855 in County
Huron, Ontario, the second of nine children. He
came to Revelstoke in 18852 and in June of that
year built the Victoria Hotel, sometimes referred to
as the Hotel Victoria, which was the first of his many
ventures in Revelstoke. The hotel was situated at
the corner of Front Street and Wright Avenue,
which was located in LowerTown. It survived until
April 1924 when it was destroyed by fire.3
Mr. Cowan seems to have been a man of great
energy and became Revelstoke's premier entrepreneur. In 1888, in partnership with J. Fred Hume
and Robert Sanderson he formed the Columbia
Transportation Company. The company launched
the steamers Despatch in 1888 and Lytton in 1890.
Later three more men, all prominent, became partners: John Mara, Frank Barnard, and John Irving,
and the company was incorporated as the Columbia and Kootenay Steam Navigation Company on
21 December 1889. Mr. Cowan sold out of this
enterprise fairly early on.4 The company was sold
to the CPR in 1897 and formed the basis of their
inland steamer service. In November 1890 Cowan
opened the first public telephone system in
Revelstoke, which later, in 1897, was incorporated
as the Revelstoke, Trout Lake and Big Bend Telephone Company, Limited by Act ofthe Provincial
Legislature.5 His partners at the time of the incorporation were Charles Hoiten and Thomas Downs
with whom he had other dealings. At the same time
as the telephone company incorporation, with partners John Abrahamson,6 William M. Brown, and
Thomas Downs, Cowan obtained an incorporation
of the Revelstoke Water, Light and Power Com-
SV.Cj.u, TraiT^ Hubert.tlart
IliViiti Till ululiJ; ual ■ nnili
twILii. Uiiei ftid I'l un i;iiMi-
lnJ ur i bljn qluiL/, '.rr in
Mhn|lfr ruin. TJm^b'ii niDBn.1
rji™ -iLt (i P. H. 'Iivi' Fin
^■^■1 ■■ij'l  Eif   ilii   ananiliDH  ■!
fUMl       HiH Dilli  ■■!   LfMI.
HITKLftTOElD,      ».0.
pany, Limited to supply electrical light and power
to the town of Revelstoke and within a ten-mile
radius.7 Revelstoke enjoyed its first electric light in
February 1898. Cowan also started the first horse-
drawn street car service between the Upper and
Lower towns.
Mr. Cowan doesn't seem to have relished the
thought of being a hotel proprietor for long, as he
leased out the hotel as early as April 1894 when
Capt. C. Edwards took over the management of
the hotel.8 At this time Cowan opened the first licensed bonded liquor warehouse, an enterprise in
which he was joined, in 1896, by Messrs. Hoiten
and Dc
5 The three men also were involved in
the formation of the Enterprise Brewery, which
opened in 1897 although Mr. Cowan seems to have
been less involved in that project and more of an
investor. Capt. Edwards died suddenly in mid 1897.10
Cowan subsequently leased the hotel to Charles
Hoiten in January 1898, and the liquor licence was
transferred to Hoiten shortly afterwards.11 Charles
Hoiten engaged his brother-in-law, J. Edwards, to
manage the hotel. R. Laughton, the last owner of
the hotel, started advertising the hotel as "under
new management" in January 1906.n By then,
Cowan seems to have settled into running his telephone company, which he ran until his death.
William Cowan married Bertha Beatrice King
of Revelstoke in 1903.They had one son, Patrick.
Unfortunately Mrs. Cowan died from appendicitis
in 1906. For all his public spirit, Cowan disliked
politics and only served as an alderman for 1910
and 1911. In 1926 he went to the Mayo Clinic in
Rochester, Minnesota for treatment, but died there
in April 1926.<^
•,  a s
Top: TheVictoria Hotel, Revelstoke, ca. 1904. Bottom: William Cowan.
29 Book Reviews
Books for review and book reviews should be sent to:
AnneYandle, Book Review Editor BC Historical News,3450 West 20th Avenue,Vancouver BC V6S1E4
Ruby M. Nobbs
Revelstoke: Heritage and History,
reviewed by Edward L. Affleck.
Ruby Nobbs
Rail Tales from Revelstoke,
reviewed by Edward L. Affleck.
Fred Thirkell and Bob Scullion
Vancouver and Beyond:
Pictures and Stories from the Postcard
Era 1900-1914,
reviewed by Sheryl Salloum.
Mildred Valley Thornton
Buffalo People:
Portraits of a Vanishing People
reviewed by Shirley Sutherland.
Joy Parr
Domestic Goods: The Material, the
Moral, and the Economic in Postwar
reviewed by Laurenda Daniells.
T.W. Paterson
Capital Characters:
A Celebration of Victorian Eccentrics,
reviewed by Arnold Ranneris.
Edward L.Affleck
High Grade & Hot Springs:
A History ofthe Ainsworth Camp,
reviewed by RJ (Ron) Welwood.
Quest Library of XYZ Press
Five Canadian historical biographies
reviewed by Jaqueline Gresko
Lisa Christensen
A Hiker's Guide to the Rocky Mountain
Art of Lawren Harris,
reviewed by Melva Dwyer
Mark Leier
The Life and Times of Robert Gosden
Revolutionary, Mystic. Labour Spy,
reviewed by Duff Sutherland.
Revelstoke: History and Heritage
Ruby M. Nobbs. Revelstoke: Revelstoke
Museum and Archives, 1998. 303 pp. Illus.
$30 hardcover. Available from Revelstoke
Museum, Box 1908, Revelstoke, BC VOE
Reviewed by Edward L. Affleck.
Ruby (Rutherford) Nobbs was born in
Revelstoke on 20 March 1907 and died there
on 4 April 2001. Save for the years spent at
Victoria Normal School and in teaching at a
one-room school down the Columbia River,
she lived her entire life in Revelstoke, where
she and her husband operated a trucking
business and a bowling alley. In retirement
she became a zealous worker in the cause of
Revelstoke's heritage and began to publish
historical articles in the local weekly
newspaper. By the time she began the
compilation of Revelstoke: History and Heritage
her eyesight was failing.The final portions of
the work had to be dictated to an amanuensis,
as a blind Ruby did not take kindly to a
dictating machine. The Revelstoke Credit
Union provided some financial support for
publication, so Mrs. Nobbs was able to spend
her final months secure in the knowledge
that her research labours were not in vain.
Revelstoke: History and Heritage is printed
in substantial Friesen Corporation format.
Mrs. Nobbs has worked diligently on the
major and minor themes in Revelstoke's past.
The major themes include placer mining up
in the Big Bend ofthe Columbia River, lode
mining in the surrounding Selkirk
Mountains, skiing and hiking on those
awesome peaks, and railroading. This last
theme rightfully dominates the book, as
Revelstoke since 1885 has been a CPR town.
The browser will find a copious supply of
pictures, mini-biographies of early residents,
and railroading anecdotes while the serious
historian will find much of substance as well.
A few rough edges reveal the lack of a
deft editing hand. An absence of maps of early
and modern Revelstoke City and of the
surrounding mining areas, railway routes, and
parklands constitutes a major flaw in this
work. One wishes also that Mrs. Nobbs had
dealt in more detail with the classic case of
The Queen v. Farwell. The CPR, having
dithered in the early 1880s over the route it
would follow east of Kamloops, finally settled
on the Eagle Pass, Rogers Pass, and Kicking
Horse Pass route east. It arrived at the "second
crossing" ofthe Columbia River to find that
an astute land surveyor, Arthur S. Farwell, had
already secured provincial title to over a
thousand acres at a key point on the east side
of the crossing.The railway promptly located
its station well east of the town site that
Farwell had surveyed on his property and
lobbied the federal government to challenge
his right to title, on the basis that the land lay
within the "Railway Belt" over which the
Feds held jurisdiction. Sensing a challenge
to its powers, the provincial government
backed the dogged Farwell in the ensuing
legal fray, which raged on for almost a decade
and during which no purchaser of land in
the disputed area could be sure of securing
title.This situation was not conducive to the
rapid development of the settlement. Farwell
scored higher than the CPR in the end, but
he never became a local hero, as it was felt
that in fighting for his rights he had created
a cloud over the progress of the settlement.
All things considered, Mrs. Nobbs is
entitled to rest in peace in the knowledge
that she has conveyed a valuable legacy to
Revelstoke residents and the reading public
at large.
Reviewer Ted Affleck is an authority on
sternwheelers in the Kootenays.
Rail Tales from the Revelstoke
Ruby Nobbs.  Revelstoke:  Revelstoke
Railway Museum, 2000. 96 pp. Illus. $13.95
Available from Revelstoke Railway Museum,
719 Track Street West, P.O. Box 3018,
Revelstoke BCVOE 2SQ
Reviewed by Edward L. Affleck.
Having completed her monumental
Revelstoke History and Heritage in 1998,
Revelstoke's doughty historian, Ruby Nobbs,
found herself with much that was" left over,"
including a wealth of detailed anecdotal
narrative, biographical material, and old
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 35 No. 2 newspaper write-ups pertaining chiefly to
railroading, the industry which has
dominated the Revelstoke scene since 1886.
Much of this material has been deftly woven
into Rail Tales. Railroading has never been a
risk-free enterprise, so one need not be
surprised that accounts of railway accidents
and near accidents, the gruesome details
delivered in Nobbs's forthright style, hold a
conspicuous place between the covers of this
work. Railway buffs will be mesmerized by
the contents of this book, while other readers
with a historical bent will also find it
rewarding to browse through this potpourri.
Vancouver & Beyond: Pictures and
Stories from the Postcard Era, 1900-
Fred Thirkell and Bob Scullion.
Surrey: Heritage House Publishing Company,
2000. 192 pp. Illus. $24.95 paperback
Reviewed by Sheryl Salloum.
The 160 black-and-white illustrations which
fill Vancouver & Beyond provide a striking
chronicle ofVancouver, the Lower Mainland,
the Fraser Canyon, and the Coast.Taken from
a collection of picture postcards, 124 of the
images have been reproduced from "real
photograph" cards taken during the "golden
age" of postcards. From 1900 to 1914,
collecting and mailing postcards was a
popular pastime. The authors estimate that
by 1910,when"BC's population had reached
350,000, over 1.8 million cards passed
through the mail." Most were the work of
professional photographers and are now rare
as they were "printed only in very limited
numbers."The remaining 36 images are from
non-postcard paintings, drawings, sketches,
and photographs.
Thirkell and Scullion have complemented
the book's graphics with 50 thoroughly
researched, well-written, and fascinating
stories. Attention to small details, ironies,
intriguing statistics, connections and
interconnections, and stories-within-stories
make for intriguing and delightful reading.
Those wishing to locate this book should
be aware that the title on the cover
(Vancouver and Beyond: During the Golden
Age of Postcards 1900-1914) differs from that
on the title page. That aside, readers should
also be forewarned that this captivating book
is one they will peruse again and again.
Sheryl Salloum is a Vancouver-based freelance
Buffalo People: Portraits of a
Vanishing People
Mildred Valley Thornton. Surrey, BC:
Hancock House, 2000. 207 pp. Illus. $24.95
Reviewed by Shirley Sutherland.
Mildred Valley Thornton (1890-1967),
Canadian painter and author, produced many
landscape paintings documenting the beauty
of the West, but her fame is rooted in her
lifelong passion for preserving and recording,
in her journals and paintings, Canada's Native
cultures. Mildred Valley Thornton's first
publication, Indian Lives and Legends, printed
in 1966, emphasized personal accounts of her
travels and experiences with the Native
people of the west coast of Canada. It is
illustrated by twelve colour plates of her
paintings. A companion manuscript of her
work and experiences with the people of the
Plains, remained unpublished until the recent
release of Buffalo People: Portraits of a Vanishing
In this publication, the colour reproductions
of Thornton's bold Plains sketches and
paintings are impressive. There are nearly
seventy included, most of which date from
the 1930s and 1940s. In addition to a detailed
index, the reference alongside each
reproduction allows the reader to easily link
the image to text. A biography of the author
precedes eight chapters describing Thornton's
travels to the homes of the Cree, Saulteaux,
Stoney, Sarcee, Sioux, Blackfoot, Blood, and
Piegan peoples. Each chapter focuses on the
circumstances surrounding the production of
the paintings.The book concludes with a small
selection of legends and listing of "colourful"
Native names.
In his introductory comments, John M.
Thornton, the author's son, reminds us that
since the 1960s, when the manuscript was
first written, society's attitudes and views of
Native people and their experiences have
changed dramatically. When preparing the
manuscript for publication, John Thornton
endeavoured to keep the writings true to his
mother's original intent and edited only "to
clarify and modify the text in keeping with
contemporary usage." Despite this, the
language, at times, is difficult and distracting.
Thornton's primary mission was to use
her portraits of Native people to link to the
Prairies'past. Her subjects include those who
she had been told had interesting stories.
Prominent Native leaders, medicine men,
those who had witnessed history in the
making, those whose ancestors had
participated in significant events, and those
who recalled the old traditions were
portrayed. She recorded oral histories of the
Riel Rebellion, the signing of treaties, of
buffalo hunts and of the old ways.Throughout
her writings, she is constantly aware of the
magnitude of change that her subjects had
seen and were still experiencing. Repeatedly,
we are reminded that these people represent
a vanishing culture.Thornton's workplace was
the Plains, a teepee, a cabin, or the grounds
of a gathering place such as the Calgary
Stampede. She often travelled alone, using
any means available—car, foot, horse, or train
to reach remote locations. Language barriers
and cultural differences added to the
Buffalo People puts personal stories, as well
as faces, to the dates, names, events and places
of the Prairies. The explanation of a detail
within a portrait, of the significance of a pipe,
a necklace, or a medal adds to our appreciation
of the paintings. However, as with the paintings
of Emily Carr and the photographs of
Edward Curtis, one is aware that many of
these images were created by someone of
another culture, and often were meant to
illustrate a time that already had passed.While
one wonders how Natives today will view
this interpretation, it is important to
remember that Buffalo People is a record of
an individual's journey. These are the
impressions, portrayed through pen and
paintbrush, of a twentieth century Canadian
woman who used her creative abilities to
chronicle her experiences with the people
of the Prairies.
Reviewer Shirley Sutherland is Curator of
Education, North Vancouver Museum & Archives.
Domestic Goods: The Material, the
Moral, and the Economic in the
Postwar Years
Joy Parr, 1999.Toronto: University ofToronto
Press, 368 pp. Illus. $21.95 paperback
Reviewed by Laurenda Daniells.
Did you, or your mother or your
grandmother, labour over a wringer washing
machine in the basement years after your
American cousins were using the convenient
automatic washers that were on the market
in the forties? Did you ever wonder why?
Joy Parr, professor of history at Simon Fraser
University, in her introduction to Domestic
31 Goods describes her book as" about Canadian
homemakers, designers, and manufacturers
in the first two decades after the Second
World War and the public policy makers who
regulated the relationships between them."
Her careful research on the
interrelationships between these groups
reveals a surprising number of answers to the
above questions. Canadian homemakers were
long accustomed from the Depression days
followed by the Second World War, to
"making do" and not discarding the
serviceable in favour of the fashionable.
Moreover, Canadian government policy
makers (chiefly male) were determined
during the reconstruction period after the
war to re-establish industry in order to
produce materials for sale in an international
market, which they hoped would be
governed by multilateral free trade. Because
of limited resources, this meant temporarily
at least ignoring the needs of homemakers
for domestic goods.The Liberal government,
intent on establishing a social safety net by
introducing in the 1940s and 1950s
unemployment insurance, family allowances,
old age security, and hospital insurance, did
not encourage the entrepreneurial
manufacturing spirit and consumer
consumption which Americans perceived as
their way to prosperity. Canadian
manufacturers had successfully sold wringer
washers for many years and were content to
continue manufacturing them, with upgrades
to make them more stylish. They were
reluctant to retool and produce the fancy new
automatics which they knew would appeal
only to a limited number of new
homeowners because of their higher price
and the added costs of upgrading water and
electrical connections before they could be
installed. A severe financial crisis had hit
Canada in the late forties as a consequence
of lending Great Britain $1.25 billion in the
confident expectation that it would be offset
by an increased trade in commodities. This
did not happen as Britain chose to trade
elsewhere and Canada was thrown into an
international exchange crisis that left its
citizens with less money in their pockets to
buy new domestic goods. Credit was very
hard to get and very expensive. And so the
ultimate trickle-down effect of these many
factors was to find Canadian women slaving
over washing in the basement long after their
American counterparts had been liberated
from that particular chore.
The washing machine is but a single
example of the "domestic goods" explored
by Parr but it is really only one of the many
goods, reaching from diverse forms of
furniture, especially maple furniture, to stoves
and dryers and other electric utensils,
examined by her.The scope of Parr's work is
extensive. In her introduction she explains
that previous studies of consumption of
modern and post-modern periods, which,
Parr claims, frequently had gender-based
assumptions have often missed the more
useful opportunity to encounter and
assimilate past differences because they have
paid" most attention to the past that is more
like the present."
She has set out therefore, in her book, to
investigate consumption in a particular time
and place, the two decades immediately
following the Second World War in Canada.
Parr's methodology is intriguing. Not only
did she examine the literature and a
prodigious number of the records in the
various fields she has covered, she also sought
out and interviewed 18 Canadian and
Swedish industrial designers and industry
experts of the 1940s and 1950s. In addition
she and an assistant conducted 23 interviews
with homemakers of the forties and fifties
who came forward in response to requests
made in newspaper columns by Frances Bula
and Deborah Pearce in the Vancouver Sun,
which resulted in many extremely interesting
and quite charming (Parr might reject the
adjective) recollections ofthe period. Also in
response to the two columns she received a
number of useful letters from homemakers
of the period. She therefore had a very large
body of information on which she was able
to base her analysis of the interrelationships
between female homemakers and male
designers and manufacturers and the
reasoning that governed Canadians'
relationships to the domestic world of goods.
The task Parr has undertaken is rather
daunting and frequently the density of her
prose style is a challenge to the non-academic
reader. She has had to integrate a wide variety
of material and her approach has been to
divide the book, which consists of a series of
essays,into three sections. Section one focuses
chiefly on the Canadian government's
political and economic policies. There is an
exploration of two rival consumer
organizations, the Canadian Association of
Consumers and the Housewives' Consumer
Association and their influence on
government, followed by a chapter showing
the philosophical differences between two
major exhibitions of modern design that were
held in the mid-forties at the Royal Ontario
Museum and the Toronto Art Gallery. A
chapter entitled "Borrowing to Buy" has a
detailed discussion of government controls
on consumer credit and its relation to
consumption. Section two focuses on
industrial design and consumption, and
especially on why "in postwar Canada, it
makes more sense to say that women remade
their furnishings, than that their furnishings
remade them."
Canadian designers were strongly
encouraged to think in terms of the
international style of high modernism with
the inference that this would make
international exports more attractive. They
were influenced by British designers and
Swedish models, which did not always appeal
to the homemakers who were looking for
comfort rather than the new spare forms.
Section three, which is, in my opinion,
the most interesting section of the book,
contains a number of case studies of the
purchase choices of women from the late
forties to the early sixties. In using the
following excerpt from an interview Parr
points out that varieties of Mary Kippen's
New Westminster dilemma were common:
I used to hang my clothes out on a line at
the back of the house and we lived up the
hill from the river and down on the river
there were pulp mills, with burners. And the
beehive burners would deposit all their little
bits of sooty grit all over my baby's diapers.
And in those days, you used flannelette diapers, right? And so you would have to bring
diapers in that were almost as dirty as when
you put them out. So having a dryer made a
lot of sense...for two reasons, the weather
plus the fallout that we were
experiencing...I had no say in the matter.
This was a gift that my husband gave me
and it was an excellent choice that he made.
In this era of increasing anxiety about
Canadian companies being swallowed up by
the global economy and fear of corporate
industrial domination of democratic
governments, this is a book which encourages
us to think about our own habits as
consumers and our relationship with the
market economy. In her introduction Parr
asks," What can and do citizens do when, by
gender, class, or nationality, they have little
influence over the shape of the material world
in which they live?"
And in her conclusion she partly answers
this question,saying,"If we choose to exercise
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 35 No. 2 prudence and responsibility as users of things,
it will be in a material world made for us,
and not much of our own making. For all
our sakes, and for those who follow let us
hope that, in space the state and the market
cannot readily claim as their own, we too
will make grounds for reasoned and resisting
Reviewer Laurenda Daniells is University Archivist Emerita, University ofBritish Columbia.
High Grade & Hot Springs: a
History of the Ainsworth Camp
Edward L.Affleck.
Ainsworth Hot Springs, BC: Ainsworth Hot
Springs Historical Society, 2001.
128pp. Illus., maps. $21.95 paperback.
Available from the Society, PO Box 1339,
Ainsworth Hot Springs, BC   VOG  1A0
($25.00, includes shipping)
Reviewed by RJ. (Ron) Welwood.
The official book launch at Ainsworth on
Sunday, June 21, was this reviewer's first
experience to hear an author literally sing
about his book (in a mature, tenor voice) .As
an accomplished vocalist and writer, E.L.
(Ted) Affleck had a lot to sing about that day.
Over the past three decades he has written
many articles and monographs, which have
earned him a reputation as a thorough,
meticulous researcher and an excellent writer.
(His article "Steamboating on the Peace
River" was chosen as BC Historical News' best
article for 2000).
Affleck grew up in Nelson, BC and the
majority of his writing is either about the
Kootenay region or paddlewheelers e.g. A
Century of Paddlewheelers in the Pacific
Northwest, the Yukon and Alaska, reviewed in
British Columbia Historical News, Spring 2001.
High Grade & Hot Springs can now be added
to that growing list of Kootenay publications.
This is a brief history of the Ainsworth
mining camp, the townsite, and Ainsworth s
hot springs (the main text is 98 pages).The
mining camp, one of the oldest in the West
Kootenay district, embraces a 6-mile (11 -km)
hillside section of Kootenay Lake's western
shoreline. Unlike many other mining
communities, this unincorporated townsite
has survived ghost town status primarily
because of its lakeshore location, the natural
hot springs and the various recreational
activities available because of these natural
The book's first chapter covering the
mining history of the camp, is followed by
seven chapters arranged into eras:" Ainsworth
Before the 1888 Townsite Development:
1888-1896The Heyday of Ainsworth; 1896-
1914: From the Fire to the War; 1914-1929
From the War to the Depression; 1929-1949
The Burns Era; 1949-1959:Yale Lead & Zinc
After 1959".These chapters are followed by
six appendices containing useful information
on teachers; "People of Our Past" (an
incomplete but alphabetical necrology which
includes useful biographical information); a
curious "Summary of Accidental and Other
Unnatural Deaths in Ainsworth Mining
Camp;" and a handy "Ainsworth Mining
Camp.Table of Production, 1889 to 1964."
The book ends with four pages of captioned
photographs including " Fish Stories."
Ainsworth, first known as Warm Springs
Camp or Hot Springs Camp, was solely
dependent on water-borne traffic until a road
was constructed north to Kaslo in 1919-1920.
By 1926 a wicked stretch of road just south
of Ainsworth was completed to link the
community with Nelson. But even before
this road connection, Ainsworth had started
to attract attention as a hot springs resort
when sternwheeler excursions began in the
summer months of 1909. When an outdoor
plunge pool was constructed in 1911,
Ainsworth s prospects as a spa began to take
shape, although it was not until after 1929
("The Burns Era") that it began to be
seriously developed into a successful
commercial enterprise.
By the author's own admission," Ainsworth
is a difficult place to write about in terms of
the people who settled there.The vast number
of mines in the camp, many of them short
lived, resulted in a great many people moving
in and out of the settlement as mining
opportunities waxed and waned." However,
in spite of this drawback, many people
connected to Ainsworth are woven into the
fabric of this history. As with all of Friesens's
printing ventures, this book is an aesthetically
pleasing publication that demonstrates how
the printed word and the photograph can
complement each other—either a map, or one
or more photos appear on every page except
for the pages of a comprehensive index.
Although this reviewer would prefer to
see a separate list (bibliography) of the
materials consulted, the in-text references are
sufficient to satisfy the curious researcher.
High Grade & Hot Springs is an aptly titled,
well crafted publication that should prove to
be of interest to those with past or present
connections to Ainsworth (genealogy) as well
as to those curious about mineral exploration
and mining in the Kootenays.
Reviewer Ron Welwood is Past President of the
British Columbia Historical Federation
Capital Characters: A Celebration of
Victorian Eccentrics
T.W. Paterson.
Duncan: Fir Grove Publishing, 1998.
162 pp. $16.95 paperback
Reviewed by Arnold Ranneris.
The subtitle really explains the content of
this book of 56 people from Victoria's past.
In the preface, the author notes that "most
Capital Characters chose to march to their
own drummers." In so doing, some of them
achieved greatness, such as Amor de Cosmos
and Emily Carr; others like Boon Helm and
John Laurence Sullivan, would be largely
unknown except for this author's research and
brief biographies.
A few had aVictorian connection, such as
Robert Falcon Scott (of Antarctic exploration
fame) through his courtship of Kathleen
O'Reilly at Point Ellice House. And there
were women eccentrics too, like Madame
Bendixen, who operated a sophisticated
house in downtown Victoria, and Anna
Bishop, whose beautiful singing voice packed
the Theatre Royal for ten glittering nights in
Grouped broadly into categories such as
"Sad Endings," "Name Dropping," "Visitors
from Other Worlds," "Mysteries," and "Wild
Days in Court," this book offers a glimpse
into our province's shadowy side, and the
people who inhabited it in unique ways. It
will be enjoyed by readers who appreciate
learning history through biographical
Reviewer Arnold Ranneris is secretary ofthe
British Columbia Historical Federation.
33 Quest Library, XYZ Press
Bowen, Lynne: Robert Dunsmuir: Laird ofthe
Mines', Margoshes, Dave: Tommy Douglas:
Building the New Society: Wyatt, Rachel:
Agnes Macphail: Champion of the Underdog:
Keller, Betty: Pauline Johnson: First
Aboriginal Voice of Canada: Braid, Kate:
Emily Carr: Rebel Artist.
Montreal: XYZ Publishing, $16.95 each.
Reviewed by Jacqueline Gresko.
Last year AnneYandle and I had one of those
conversations about how in the British
Columbia of the 2000s, historians need to
write books for the public, not just for each
other. Old Canadians familiar with English
tell me they are put off by academic jargon.
College students, many of whom are new
Canadians, tell me they enjoy histories that
move beyond narrating "the standard stuff,"
i.e. theses on race and colonialism, into
explaining the intriguing" realities" of British
Columbia history. For the students that means
topics such as premarital sex and pregnancy,
alcohol abuse, generational tensions, picket
line violence, career failure, continuity of
Aboriginal cultures, and spiritual influences.
So AnneYandle assigned me to review five
Canadian historical biographies in the Quest
Library of XYZ Press. All will be of interest
to my students. All benefit from archival
research and lively writing. Series editor
Lynne Bowen adds a chronological table on
the person's life history and Canadian and
World History to each volume. She did not
require end notes from the authors but did
have them provide source lists. These will
assist students and help mitigate the Anglo-
Canadian, Protestant and Atlantic perspective
of all the books.
Three ofthe Quest books have litde direct
discussion of British Columbia history, e.g.
Macphail's biography. However, Pauline
Johnson the artist and Tommy Douglas the
politician both spent the last years of their
lives in this province. Their biographies are
also linked in a minor way by discussion of
Aboriginal issues in British Columbia,
particularly the land question.
The two biographies most directly related
to this province, Lynne Bowen's Robert
Dunsmuir and Kate Braid's Emily Carr, share
this linkage. Although Bowen's Dunsmuir has
less discussion of the Aboriginal context of
his times, she carefully explains the particular
time and place of the "laird of the mines."
Robert Dunsmuir was a Scots emigrant man
in colonial and early provincial society. He
saw the world narrowlyTotal abstinence for
his coal mine workers, rum for himself; police
brutality for strikers, newspaper columns to
hammer political enemies; poor pay and
conditions for Chinese immigrants brought
in as strikebreakers, a castle for his own wife.
Academic historians have discussed the stern,
selfish, capitalist-made-good aspects of
Dunsmuirs life. Bowen narrates its raw
beginnings and Joan's contributions to his
life achievements. Robert and Joan Dunsmuir
married when she was nine months pregnant.
As young parents they emigrated from
Scotland to Vancouver Island. Robert's
survival there beyond business failures owed
much to Joan's strength of character. And so
perhaps did the alcoholism and generation
tensions experienced by their numerous
Kate Braid's Emily Carr: Rebel Artist
explores the life of the Victoria-born artist
who remained a spinster. Patriarchal and
hierarchical family patterns repressed her
personal development and fed her perception
that her career as an artist was a failure. Braid
carefully explains for modern readers the
economic and social challenges life in England
in the 1900s presented for Carr as a young art
student from" the colonies." She narrates how
Carr returned to British Columbia and
struggled for the rest of her life in her quests
for art, publication and recognition. Carr was
aided by her rebellious spirit but also mentors
and friends. Emily Carr's own missionary sister
invited her up coast to sketch, and the
Aboriginal people led her to their sacred
spaces in the forest. There she met the wild
woman of the woods spirit who became one
of the major spiritual influences in her life.
I hope this review encourages Lynne
Bowen and XYZ Press to continue the
publications on the "realities" rather than the
"standard stuff" of British Columbia history.
Reviewer Jacqueline Gresko teaches history at
Douglas College.
A Hiker's Guide to the Rocky
Mountain Art of Lawren Harris
Lisa Christensen.
Calgary: Fifth House, 2000.
135 pp. Illus. $29.95 paperback.
Reviewed by Melva Dwyer.
The title of this book immediately alerts the
reader to the fact that the author, Lisa
Christensen, has written about two subjects
that are not usually considered to be very
compatible.This is, however, the second book
on hiking and the arts that Christensen has
written. In the first: A Hiker's Guide to the Art
of the Canadian Rockies, she described the
inspiration that the Canadian Rocky
Mountains have given many of our painters
of this century. This second publication,
however, links the same milieu to the art of a
specific artist, Lawren E. Harris. Harris was a
founding member of the "Group of Seven,"
Canada's first major art movement. Like so
many of Canada's artists he sought inspiration
for his painting in nature and the world
around him. Many of his early paintings were
set in the landscape of northern Ontario with
its multitude of lakes, rugged landscape and
ever changing colours. Harris began to visit
the Canadian Rockies from 1924. Here he
found that the mountain scenery from Jasper
south to Lake Louise and Banff furnished him
with subjects that were more majestic and
inspirational than those of northern Ontario.
It is many of these works that the author has
described so successfully through quotations
and text.To link the art to her second subject,
hiking, she has carefully researched where the
artist was located when he painted or
sketched. Complete information is given so
that anyone who wishes to do so can enjoy
the same vista that was painted years before.
All the hiker must do is to follow the clear
directions in the text located in a panel
adjacent to the reproduction ofthe work.The
author has also included the difficulty of the
expedition and the approximate time
required to complete it.
Lawren Harris did not travel alone on his
journeys to the Rockies but was frequently
accompanied by another member ofthe same
group of painters, A.Y. Jackson, who had
visited the Jasper area earlier. Christensen has
included much information about Jackson
along with some of his sketches and paintings
made at the same time as Harris was working
on his own subjects. The reader, therefore,
gains an insight into the lives and work of
two artists. The book has many coloured
reproductions, sketches and photographs of
the work of both artists. Chronologies of their
lives are included together with a list of the
works illustrated. A bibliography and index
add to the value of the book for anyone who
wishes to do further research on either the
art or the sites. Christensen is obviously an
avid lover of both art and the outdoors. She
has written this second book that explores
the relationship of nature and art focusing
on the life and work of one of Canada's most
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 35 No. 2 famous painters. As an art historian and
researcher her work is to be admired. In the
literature of both art and hiking this book
and the earlier one are unique. She allows us
to see not only the beauty of the art but also
the majestic beauty of the landscape from
which the art has been derived.
Reviewer Melva Dwyer is Librarian Emerita,
Fine Arts Division, UBC Library.
Rebel Life: The Life and Times of
Robert Gosden Revolutionary
Mystic, Labour Spy
Mark Leier.
Vancouver: New Star, 1999
238 pp. Illus. $19 paperback.
Reviewed by Duff Sutherland.
In Rebel Life, Mark Leier traces the life and
times of Robert Raglan Gosden, a Wobbly
revolutionary who became a labour spy in
1919 during the workers' revolt. As the Royal
Canadian Mounted Police's "Agent 10,"
Gosden not only reported on the labour
movement in the Canadian west, he also
recommended that the police "disappear"
socialist labour leaders to put down the revolt.
In a fascinating narrative, Leier painstakingly
documents Gosden's life and spying while
also trying to explain this despicable
behaviour. In the end, Leier finds no easy
explanation for Gosden's actions but sees him
as the product ofthe complicated interaction
of personality and experience.
Bob Gosden emigrated in 1904 from
England to Canada where he entered the
brutal world of the young, transient, male
worker. By 1910, he was a revolutionary
active in the Industrial Workers of the World
in Prince Rupert. IWW activities took him
to San Diego in 1912 where he spent time
in jail for involvement in a free speech fight.
Deported back to Vancouver, Gosden actively
supported striking Vancouver Island coal
miners and made a famous speech at the
Vancouver fairgrounds in which he warned
Premier McBride and Attorney-General
Bowser to guard against poisoning if they
did not release jailed strikers. Considered too
radical and provocative by BC labour leaders,
Gosden's speech effectively ended his career
as a labour agitator. By the outbreak of war,
Gosden faced the decline of the IWW and
was alienated from the labour and radical
political movements in BC. Many of his
political views "shattered", unemployed and
impoverished, Gosden acted for the Liberal
"machine" during the 1916 Vancouver City
by-election, and then began his career as an
RCMP spy after the war. According to Leier,
Gosden spied on the labour movement until
the early 1920s—about the end of the labour
revolt—and then was dumped by the
Mounties. For the rest of his life, he appears
to have worked at labouring jobs while often
keeping house with a series of women of
independent means. Always on the margins
of BC society," Gosden kept to a an odd credo
that blended right-wing conspiracy theory,
mysticism, and left-wing politics."
In Rebel Life, Leier tells a credible and
compelling story about the nature and cost
of being a radical in BC in the early 20th
century. The transient Gosden was a bright
and vain man. He was also a "wage-slave"
who lived a tough life and faced rough
treatment when he tried to achieve radical
change. As Leier suggests, Gosden, both
principled and shady, found a natural home
in the Wobblies, a union known to attract
"the most unselfish and courageous, together
with the self-seeking and the semi-criminal."
Gosden lost a lot personally when the
Wobblies declined before the war. Political
and personal failure, alienation, and
frustration all appear to have led him to
disreputable and "unmanly" behaviour
including spying on former friends and
Leier presents Gosden's life in an
interesting and thought-provoking manner.
In a broad sense, Rebel Life deals with the
question of "what man does with what 'one'
has done to him." What Gosden "did" will
not be very inspiring to those interested in
the history of BC's working people. At the
same time, Rebel Life points to the tremendous
personal risk involved in challenging "the
system." Leier does not provide comparisons,
but it would be useful to learn how similar
experiences affected the life courses of other
early radicals as a way to understand the
province's early social development. Rebel Life
shows that we should know as much about
the Bob Gosdens as we know about the
Robert Dunsmuirs of BC history.
For those interested in pursuing BC labour
history, Rebel Life includes an excellent
section on" doing history" and a bibliography
of BC labour history at the end.
Reviewer Duff Sutherland teaches history at
Selkirk College in Castlegar
Regular readers will remember labour
historian Mark Leier's article on Gosden in
BC Historical News 33:3, Summer 2000.
Books listed here may be reviewed at a
later date.   For further information on any
title, please consult Book Review Editor
Anne Yandle.
Abandoned: the Story of the Greely Arctic Expedition, 1881-1884. Alden
Todd. Fairbanks, University of Alaska
Press, 2001. $22.95 US paperback.
Beginnings: Stories of Canada's Past.
Ann Walsh, ed. Vancouver, Ronsdale
Press, 2001. $12.95 paperback.
Flying Under Fire: Canadian Fliers Recall
the Second World War. Wi 11 i a m J.
Wheeler, ed. Calgary, Fifth House,
2001. $21.95 paperback.
Frank Gowen's Vancouver, 1914-1931.
Fred Thirkell and Bob Scullion. Surrey, Heritage House, 2001. $39.95
Heavy Horses: An Illustrated History of
the Draft Horse. Grant MacEwan.
Calgary, Fifth House, 2001. $21.95
Historical Portraits ofTrail. Published
by the Trail City Archives, 1394 Pine
Ave.,Trail, BC V1R 4E6. $20.00 paperback.
If These Walls Could Talk: Victoria's
Houses from the Past. Valerie Green.
Victoria, TouchWood, 2001. $24.95
Merchant Prince: The Story of Alexander
Duncan McRae. Betty O'Keefe and
Ian Macdonald. Surrey, Heritage
House, 2001. $18.95 paperback.
Off the Map: Western Travels on Roads
Less Taken. Stephen Hume. Madeira
Park, Harbour, 2001. $32.95 hardcover
Old Square Toes and His Lady: The Life
of James and Amelia Douglas. John
Adams. Victoria, Horsdal and
Schubart, 2001. $18.95 paperback.
On the Street Where You Live. Vol. 3:
Sailors, Solicitors and Stargazers of
early Victoria. Danda Humphreys.
Surrey, Heritage House, 2001.
$34.95 hardcover.
Scandal: 130 Years of Damnable Deeds
in Canada's Lotus /.and William
Rayner. Surrey, Heritage House,
2001. $19.95 paperback.
The Tenth Pupil. Constance Home. Vancouver, Ronsdale Press, 2001. $8.95
35 Reports
Restoration of
Interurban Car on Track
1 HANKS to the B.C. Electric Railway
Company, the City of Burnaby and the
Burnaby Historical Society, interurban car
number 1223, built by the St. Louis Car
Company in 1912, is on the way to being
restored as a valuable artifact and symbol of
Burnaby's history.
For over 60 years, car number 1223 ran
on the interurban lines through Burnaby.
When the interurban services on BC's Lower
Mainland were phased out in 1957, many of
the old tram cars that traveled the lines were
systematically destroyed by burning. Only a
few remained intact, symbols of a
transportation system that, at one time,
revolutionized means of travel by harnessing
the power of electricity.
The first interurban line to be operational
in western Canada was initiated by The
Westminster & Vancouver Tramway
Company, incorporated in 1890. Developed
to travel between Vancouver and New
Westminster, the line was opened with an
inaugural run in 1891 from New Westminster
through the heavily forested area of South
Burnaby. Subsequently known as Central
Park line, it was the means by which many
of Burnaby's early setders came to homestead
in the southern area of the Municipality, now
City of Burnaby. The Burnaby Lake line,
inaugurated in 1911, was built mainly to
service Central Burnaby but the First World
War put a halt to anticipated real estate
development which never got off the ground.
When the Burnaby Historical Society was
formed in 1957, one of the first projects
planned was the acquisition of an interurban
car for display in the community. Application
to the BC Electric resulted in car number
1223, one ofthe few remaining intact, being
donated to the Society in 1958. Installed at
Kingsway and Edmonds in southeast
Burnaby, the tram became not only a
landmark but also a target for vandals and
inclement weather. Unable to keep up with
constant repairs and deterioration, the Society
turned over the tram to the Municipality for
one dollar in 1971 so that it could be moved
to the recently opened Heritage Village (now
Burnaby Village Museum).
Safe from vandals but not the weather, the
tram stood as a display but, since funds were
scarce, only minimal maintenance was
possible. In 1999, a group of BHS members,
recognizing the importance of preserving the
historical tram, formed "Friends of
Interurban 1223." The group proposed
finding volunteers and funds to carry out
restoration.The initial idea was to have a car
barn built in the Burnaby Village Museum
so that the public could witness the
restoration progress. When that idea proved
unfeasible, the City of Burnaby offered a large
City-owned warehouse free of charge for five
years with utilities supplied. This venue is
proving to be ideal for the restoration work.
The City also paid the $18,000 cost of
moving the tram from the Village to the
On 14 September 2001, car 1223, separated
into three pieces (body and two trucks), was
craned onto three large flatbeds and moved,
at 4 in the morning, by Nickel Bros., to the
restoration site.To date over 70 volunteers, of
various trades and interests, have signed up
and the first work crew of five spent two days
cleaning up the tram ready for hands-on work
to begin.
The restoration is being directed by
Village Curator, Colin Stevens, Conservator,
Elizabeth Cerwinski.and consultant Andrew
Todd. A detailed documentation system—a
vital element in restoration work—is being
compiled by Village staff. "Friends of
Above: The body of Interurban 1225 loaded on
a flatbed, ready to be taken to a site where it
will be restored to its 1925 appearance before
returning the car to Burnaby Village. Museum.
14 September 2001.
Interurban 1223" are in charge of the
volunteers and their activities. A fund-raising
committee, looking for cash and gifts-in-
kind, is developing strategies and making
contacts. Several firms and individuals have
shown interest in assisting with services and
expertise. Local TV and community
newspapers are providing ongoing exposure
of the restoration process. The first of a
proposed series of newsletters went out to
members and volunteers in November 2001.
The tram will be restored to 1925
appearance to fit in with the era depicted in
the Village. When restoration is complete, it
will be moved to its own car barn which will
be constructed by the City on the Burnaby
Village Museum site where it will be a major
exhibit and teaching resource for school tour
"Friends of Interurban 1223" are looking
for sources of funds, gifts-in-kind, anecdotal
data, and information leading to the
acquisition of needed parts. Contacts through:
fax 604.293.6525; mail: 6501 Deer Lake Ave,
Burnaby BC V5G 3T6, or phone Pixie
McGeachie, President, at 604.522.2062.
—Pixie McGeachie
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 35 No. 2 Celebrating Education:
"A Miserable, Cold, and
Draughty School"
Inspired by the writings of Patrick Dunae ("Archives
and Archivist" 35:1) and the adventures of Lean
Barman ("Sex and Violence in the BC Archives"
34:1), I recently took a few days leave from the
editor's chores for an expedition to Victoria looking
for information on the early days of Whonnock s
school. I concentrated on the thousands of letters
written between 1882 and 1897 to Dr. S.D. Pope,
Superintendent of Education, available on 14 reels
of microfilm (B 2017-B 2030). Even scanning
quickly through the letters one catches fascinating
and tantalizing glimpses of human life and human
nature during the settler years everywhere in the
young province—invaluable information for local
historians and, yes, genealogists. Together with my
rich harvest of letters telling unknown stories about
the Whonnock and neighbouring schools, I took
home copies of a handful of letters from the first
years of schooling in Savona. I have presented the
copies to Edward Villiers, honoured recorder of
Savona s history, but also want to share the contents
with you, hoping that it may inspire you to go on
a similar quest for the unknown in the BC Archives
In 1889 Messrs. Leighton, Thomas, and Mc
Vicker, "being the parents and guardians of
eight children of school age," petition the
Lieutenant Governor to establish a school at
Savona, "undertaking to aid in every way to
carry on the work successfully in providing
education for our children." James Leighton
offers the use of a suitable building for a
schoolhouse free of charge for five years but it
needs some fixing up: "It will require about
eighty dollars to put it in thorough good
condition." He also promises to haul any
firewood required to the schoolhouse. "The
wood is generally bought from Indians and
delivered along lake shore at high water mark."
With the petition goes a list showing eight
children between 6 and 13 years old and four
children under school age.
It seems that this first attempt to have a
school in Savona fails, probably because there
were not enough potential pupils. In January
1894 A.B. Ferguson, proprietor of the Lake
View Hotel in Savona ("Good Fishing,
Hunting, Bathing and Boating"), sends
another list to Victoria, now showing the
names and ages of 11 children of school age.
" There are several [other children] which are
close on school age. So I think if we can only
get [the school] commenced we will have no
trouble in keeping up the number."
That fall of 1894 formal school education
reaches Savona. In October teacher H.Young
prepares another listing of the children of
school age (19) and under school age (16).
Obviously Miss Young throws her net wider
than Mr. Ferguson. She writes in her letter to
Superintendent Pope inVictoria:"I know that
there are other children—whites—of school
age here, but I have not been able to ascertain
their ages or names." Among the children
under school age the list shows a two-year-
old toddler without a given name with the
note" not baptized."
In spite of this good number of children
Miss Young and the parents agree that it would
be better to postpone the establishment of a
regular school for a year or two "till the
younger children are of school age." A regular
school requires a larger attendance. Miss Young
has her doubts, "Here some of the children
are young & live a distance, in cold weather
they cannot attend every day. Others are half-
breeds who are not distinguished for their
devotion to education." Miss Young's list shows
four children, three girls and a boy, aged 15
years—much needed for chores at home and
with perhaps not more than one school year
But there are more immediate concerns.
" [T]he most serious difficulty is the supply of
stove & fuel.The people are poor.There is no
business going on here by which they could
make a little money. For so far the cost of
providing & furnishing the school room has
fallen on Mr. Ferguson & myself & so far as I
can judge at present, unless the Dept. helps
the chief cost of the fuel will fall to me." James
Leighton, secretary of the school board, applies
for "a special grant for a stove for our school
here.The cold weather is coming on & can't
manage without one."The school receives the
grant and a box stove and pipe are supplied
by Mr. John Jane's store in Savona. Leighton
informs Victoria, "Our school is going ahead
in fine shape."
Shordy before Christmas 1894, Miss Young
writes a note to Superintendent Pope, warning
him that a stormy winter could seriously affect
the attendance. Six of her pupils live on the
opposite side of the lake and have to "cross
the foot of Kamloops Lake by boat as the
bridge was swept away by the high water last
spring." She adds, "It is very windy here, so
much so that it is not safe for the little ones to
venture across every day. For so far the children
have attended quite regularly."
But not only severe winter weather affects
the attendance. At the end of summer 1895,
Miss Young, who lives "in the same house in
which the school room is," has prepared for
the beginning of a new school year and is ready
to open school on 12 August, "as prescribed
by statute." However, none of the children
appear.The trustees agree to defer the opening
till the following week but even then not all
the children are attending. "The heat was
excessive at the time...," writes a suffering Miss
Young, but that is not the only reason why
the children stay away. "Mosdy all the families
here have small ranches a few miles out from
this place. At the time school should have
opened the parents had not completed their
haying & harvesting, and as they are poor, &
unable to pay for necessary help, they kept
the children with them, to render any assistance
they could with the work."
Another letter from Miss Young, written a
year and a half later, early in December 1896,
caught my eye. She is now recovering " from
an attack of inflammation of the lungs, the
result of teaching in a miserable, cold, draughty
school." —"I like my pupils here" she writes
but she would be thankful for a change to
"more comfortable circumstances." She goes
on teaching in Savona for another half year,
but weakened by the illness Miss Young resigns
early in the summer of 1897. A doctor has
advised her to take a rest and she asks Dr. Pope,
" Now Sir, will you kindly interest yourself in
my behalf to secure a school for me next
January...I may be strong enough to return
to work with wanted vigour."
"I am sorry to leave my school," Miss Young
writes, and "I can honestly say that I have
spared either enthusiasm, labour, or pain to
make my work here successful.. .my relations
with the parents have been pleasant." She goes
on explaining that during her years of teaching
at Savona, the financial burden of running the
school continued to fall on her and Mr.
Ferguson. Miss Young herself " expended in
cash more than one hundred dollars for
furnishings & incidental expenses for two
years, etc., etc." Mr. Ferguson" gave the house,
desks, seats & one blackboard—a cash value
of a little more than ($80) eighty dollars." He
also made repairs to the building at no cost to
the department, while Mr. Leighton
contributed part of the wood for two years.
The third trustee at that time is John Jane,
the shopkeeper who sold the stove for the
school three years before. He writes to
Superintendent Pope:" Miss Young.. .was very
successful with young children—got them on
rapidly—but her health is bad, & she would
not service another winter here." He informs
37 the superintendent at the same time that he
resigns as trustee and "would rather not have
anything to do with the appointing of a new
teacher," claiming that he has no time to spare.
He also reports that Mr. Leighton has been
appointed Indian Agent and can not act as
school trustee any longer.
So this story, gleaned from a few letters,
ends in the summer of 1897 leaving Mr.
Ferguson as the only trustee of that
inhospitable school without a teacher in
Savona.What happens next is still out there in
the BC Archives to find out!
—Fred Braches
Situation at BC Archives
1 HE BC ARCHIVES, as all departments and
agencies of the BC Government, is affected
by general downsizing of the Public Service.
The BC Archives is required to yield up
three positions next fiscal year in order to
meet our ministry's targets. Fortunately for
the Archives we have been able to reduce by
three positions without having to lay off any
regular staff members. Potential retirements
and the use of transfers and temporary
assignments to other government offices
enabled us to accomplish our target. In fact,
the BC Archives has been able to fill three
vacancies from the staff of the two ministry
libraries that are closing.Two other vacancies
will be filled through the collective agreement
placement processes. I note that all auxiliaries
and personal services contracts will terminate
on 29 March and there is little prospect for
their return next year.
However, with the large number of
displaced public servants, there will be
impacts upon the BC Archives' less-than-
three-year employees. Under the provisions
of the collective agreement, these individuals
can be "bumped" by more senior public
servants outside of our branch and ministry.
Currently, we have five "under-threes" who
will probably be replaced.
With the replacement of five positions,
four of which are in support services, and
three new arrivals, there will be impacts in
our services as we train our new staff in our
public service delivery systems.
I will endeavour to keep you informed
as we continue to deal with the general and
specific impacts of the government's new
direction for public service.
— GaryA. Mitchell
Web Site Forays
by Gwen Szychter
I'VE BEEN giving a lot of thought to
archives in the early part of this year, not
the least ofwhich is wondering how many
will survive as government funding disappears.
One of my absolute favourite sites, about
which I've written in a previous review, is
that of the BC Archives. It can be reached
at <
index.htm>. There are many features to
explore and the site is well worth the time
spent doing some poking and following
links. A drawback of the site, which I discovered recendy, is that old books and unpublished manuscripts are not included in
the database and can only be accessed at
the Archives inVictoria. Luckily, I had done
some research in these materials in my pre-
Internet days and was aware of their existence and value.
My next favourite site relating to archives is Canadian Archival Resources on
the Internet. Consisting of pages of links,
the site is maintained through the University of Saskatchewan Archives. The
URL for the page of links for British Columbia is <
chives/car/bcmenu.html>. On this menu
there are a lot of very useful links, and all
ofthe following can be found on that list.
The British Columbia Archival Union List is an essential site to explore,
but again, only a jumping-off point for
other fascinating Web sites: <http://>. One ofthe
sites on the Archival Union List that I
have used and can recommend is the
City ofVictoria Archives at <http://
index.htm> which has some searchable
databases on-line, a big plus, in my opinion. Just recently I discovered there the
Victoria Women's Movement Archives.
City ofVancouver Archives is located
at <
chives/index.htm>. Lots to explore here,
but so far I've mostly looked under "Maps
and Plans," none of which are available
on-line, of course.You might be surprised
at what you can find at this repository:
Vancouver Maps ("over 4,000 maps"),Architectural Plans ("thousands"), Fire Insurance Plans (including a few that "depict other areas of the lower mainland,"
and Ships Plans ("over 1000 plans of commercial and private vessels...from the late
1700s to 1980") The photographs, by the
way, are searchable on-line.
I must include here UBC Library, Special Collections and University Archives
at <>
where I was delighted to find that the
Guide to the Fire Insurance Plans ofBritish Columbia cities (a wonderful source
of information) was updated in 2001. Unfortunately the site map is not especially
helpful as to how to find the Insurance
Plan information, but this link will get
you there(<http: //
spcoll/fireins/titlepg.htm>). There are
other resources here, including photographs.
An archival site with a droll approach
to the subject is that ofthe United Church
BC Conference Archives <http://
index.html>. This is archives with attitude! If only it had some information
available on-line!
The Archives of the City of Richmond
is the last to include in this list of Archives to explore at <http://www.
default.htm>. This is the only one ofthe
community archives that I've checked out
on-line recently that has a" Friends of the
Archives" society, something worth thinking about. I know the BC Archives has
had such an organization for some time—
and it is no doubt needed more than ever
These are the major ones—perhaps I'll
take another column to reveal some of
the smaller community archives. If you
have a favourite that deserves attention
in this column, please contact me at
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 35 No. 2 Archives and Archivists
Editor Frances Gundry
The South Peace Historical Society Archives: A Brief History
It was sometime in the early summer of
1996. My friend Walter and I were led
along narrow hallways, deep inside
Dawson Creek's City Hall, wondering
what was awaiting us up ahead. Our escort stopped outside a dimly lit jail cell
and pointed through the bars."In there,"
he said quietly, "that's the Archives."
A single, bare light bulb hung from
the ceiling and I was sure I could hear
water dripping into the stained, cracked
sink in one corner of the cell. Jammed
into every square inch of the cell—no
longer used by the RCMP—were cardboard boxes, filing cabinets, and wooden
cupboards. It was just barely possible to
squeeze into the area but there was no
room to do any work. Besides, who
would want to work in there? Not me.
Two moves later, a lot of patience, several adventures, some serious renovations,
a couple of great workshops with Bill
Purver and Patti O'Byrne, a Community Archives Assistance Program grant,
equipment donations from the City—
and we were finally able to begin opening boxes and cupboards. It was now
March 2000, more than three years after
I first offered to help develop the Historical Society's archives.
Between Patti O'Byrne s workshop in
mid-March and the end of 2000 we were
able to accession, briefly describe, and
catalogue more than ninety collections,
as many as possible to the item level. During 2001 another 105 collections were
added to our holdings—all accessible in
a simple but searchable database.
While our collections cover a large
number of topics and time periods, the
most significant focus is on the Alaska
Highway, constructed in 1942-1943 by
civilian contractors and US Army Engineers. Dawson Creek is, of course, Mile
Zero on the Alaska Highway. We have
thousands of photos of life along the
highway, many donated by men who
worked on the project and who came
back to Dawson Creek for the 50th Anniversary celebrations in 1992. School
District 59 (Peace River South) gave us
two large collections of early school history materials, one from the period
1927-1937 and the other from 1946-
1960. Other collections include memorabilia and administrative records from
such diverse sources as the Peace River
Old Timers' Association (1933), the
George Dawson Centennial Committee (1979), and the Year 2000 Homecoming Committee (2000). A large donation of photographs from the Peace
River Block Daily News added pictures
of many prominent people from the past.
We also have bound volumes of the local newspapers, primarily the Peace
River Block News, dating from 1930 to
Funding is, of course, a never-ending
problem for a community archives. Our
Archives Committee quickly became
adept at begging for cash and scrounging idle office furniture and equipment.
Our members spent many hours cleaning, repairing, and painting. A small annual grant from the Historical Society is
welcome but it does not provide enough
funds to buy all the archival storage materials we need. The CAAP grant was
absolutely critical to our being able to
move ahead quickly and confidently in
the first years. The advice and support
that came with the grant kept us on track
and focused, too.
The Lake View Credit Union, a
homegrown financial powerhouse in the
South Peace, donated the money to buy
four dozen proper newspaper storage
boxes for our local newspaper collection.
Carpentry students at Northern Lights
College donated the labour to build customized storage units for the boxes.
One fund-raiser, which has also gained
publicity for the Archives, is a weekly
column in the local newspaper. Titled
From the Archives, the column usually
consists of two photos from our collection and a 600-word article relating to
the images. To date more than 75 articles have appeared in the paper since the
first one was published in April of 2000.
Both the City and the Chamber of
Commerce have come to the Archives
for historical photos to illustrate promotional materials and to produce plaques
showing where historical buildings once
stood.Two mural projects have used the
Archives as a starting point for picture
selection. On the textual side of things,
a couple of environmental investigators
have used the Archives to determine land
use on particular sites during the wartime period. A local history group made
extensive use of land ownership records
in preparing their book, Borderline History.
Soon we will have finished the
accessioning and describing of all the
materials we started with—at least to the
collection and series levels. Next on the
list is probably going to be a new computer system so we can make digital
records of our photographs. After that,
who knows?
A listing of all our archival holdings
can be found on this local history Internet
site: <http://www.calverley.dawson->.
Look for the link to the South Peace
Historical Society on the opening page.
The major holdings of our Archives
appear in the BCAUL records. Our e-
mail address is or
we can be contacted by phone at
Gerry Clare is chairman of South Peace Historical Society Archives.
39 News and Notes
Please send information to be published in News and Notes to the editor in Whonnock before 15 August, 15 November, 15  February, and 15 May.
1.X-"f' fc nm
Above: Anne Holt of the Alberni District Historical Society wondered how many pioneers arriving prior to 1871 would have still been around in 1924
to respond to the call made by the British Columbia Historical Association for a reunion. (35:1). The answer to this question also surprised the organizers
ofthe reunion. "About 600 names.... From this number, about 300 from all over the Province and outside points attended the Reunion. " On 9 May
1924, 250 of those living in the province for fifty-three years and more gathered for a banquet. The oldest lady pioneer attending was Mrs. Lyall, having
arrived in Victoria in 1853. The group photograph shown here was later printed "with a key to the names of the people represented," and distributed as a
souvenir. It seems that the pioneers present filled up personal records forms "indexed and bound in book form by the Archives Department. " (British Columbia Historical Association: Second Annual Report and Proceedings of the Association. For the Year ended October 11th 1924).
Marjean Shelby 1910-2002
The East Kootenay Historical Association
lost one of its founding members with the
passing of Margaret Jean (Marjean) McClure
Noble Shelby on 20 January 2002. Marjean
and her husband vowed to follow some of
David Thompson's travel routes in our area,
doing major hikes such as following Howse
Pass from near Golden to the Banff-Jasper
Highway in Alberta. In her teens Marjean
organized a trip on horseback for eight Kimberley girls to the Lake of the Hanging Gla-
cier.Two of her companions on that trip were
the Dakin sisters described in the Eppard
story (35:1 "Looking for Grass"). Male observers declared it couldn't be done, but congratulated Marjean when it was successful
and happily completed. A photo album of
that all-girls expedition is in the archives at
Fort Steele Heritage Town.
—Naomi Miller
Fort Langley: Outpost of Empire
Note that a conference celebrating the 175th
anniversary of the founding of Fort Langley
is planned to be held 22-24 August 2002 in
and around Fort Langley.
The "Dort Bible" for Sale?
An English clergyman named Giles, banished
as a" non-conformist" in Cromwell's days, set
up a Presbyterian congregation in the Dutch
town of Dort (Dordrecht). His Bible, a second-edition King James Bible probably published in 1613, was discovered there when
the church was torn down in 1743The word
"Dort" was embossed on the cover of the
book. In the mid-1800s a man named
Galbraith brought the Dort Bible to Hamilton, ON. Around 1900 the Bible was willed
with some other rare books to Harold Foster
who lived in Wilmer, north of Invermere. In
1923, a few years before his house and his
possessions went up in flames, Foster gave the
book to the Anglican Church in Invermere.
The Dort Bible was kept on display in the
church until 1960, when "a UBC professor"
saw it, and worrying about its preservation,
arranged to have it stored in theVancouver
Public Library. The book came back to
Invermere in 1991 and is kept in a sealed box
in a climate-controlled vault at the Windermere Valley Museum.The congregation thinks
that it should not stay there much longer.They
are facing the question whether to put the
Bible on display again or sell it for what is
thought to be a sizeable sum of money.
Extract from: The DailyTownsman/The Daily
Bulletin, 7 January 2002      —Naomi Miller
Seeking Stories of Pioneer Nurses
Is there a heroine in your community's history? Was she a nurse?
The History of Nursing Group is collecting
information about nurses in our province.
The group is prepared to honour individuals who made outstanding contributions in
their district. Perhaps it was a matron who
kept a hospital operational when there was
no physician available. Or one who rode miles
on horseback to tend a new baby or a burn
victim? Or?
The group is seeking information on nurses'
lives and services.Whether you have just one
highlight or a biography of someone who
nursed in BC, please share it with the History of Nursing Archives. Mail your information to Naomi Miller, Box 105,Wasa, BC
VOB 2K0 or Fax: 250.422.3244 or e-mail Should you wish to consult by phone contact Glennis Zilm (inWhite
Rock) at 604-535-3238.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 35 No. 2 Education Anniversaries
Amidst all the controversy and rancour over
the teachers' contract, school district budgets, etc. 2002 is still the 150th anniversary of
our public school system. The minister of
education has proclaimed "Innovation and
Imagination" to be the theme of Education
Week in March and the ministry has put
some "Innovation and Imagination" links on
its Web site: <
We now have two Web sites aimed at schools.
One site—Make History on the Web! -
encourages students to write the history of
their schools and communities: <http://>.
At the other—LESSONS FROM THE PAST—students and teachers can engage with a curriculum from the 1890s: <http://
sons/index. htm>.
Our History of Education" Homeroom "Web
site <> is
also being revamped and is now chock-full
of all kinds of interesting items, including
sound recordings of 1942 school
radiobroadcasts. Patrick A. Dunae
Power House
BC Hydro's Power House at Stave Falls, on
the north shore of the Fraser Valley, is due to
open its door to the public late this spring.
The carefully restored plant, with its historic
gallery and a science centre, promises to be a
popular attraction for visitors of all ages. BC
Hydro's attractive book Station Ready—well-
crafted by Meg Stanley and Hugh Wilson—
tells the story of this interesting site. Enquiries at 604.462.1222, Sharon Vallance, Senior
Tour Guide.
Hedley Happy Fundraiser
Hedley held a Heritage Fashion Show on 9
December 2001, coinciding with Christmas
Light-up Day. Seventeen volunteers from
Hedley, Princeton, and Keremeos modelled
costumes and hairstyles of yesteryear. Costumes were from thirty to one hundred years
old, set off with costume jewellery loaned
for the event. Harry Alton, co-owner of the
Wild Goat gift shop, looked handsome in an
antique tuxedo as he escorted ladies to the
stage. Every chair was filled in the hall and
many people watched standing. The Heritage Society hopes to do it again next Christmas. Everyone is invited to Hedley Days in
the last week of August. —Naomi Miller
Hedley Heritage & Museum Society Newsletter
Scots Heritage Conference
From 12 to 14 September 2002 the Centre for Scottish Studies at Simon Fraser
University will beholding its third annual conference, this time featuring an in-
depth look at the Scots Heritage in British Columbia and the Canadian West.
While the Scots were one of the largest settler groups in British Columbia and
were prominent in the fur trade, government, banking.agriculture,fishing, the
military, the labour movement, education, and many other areas, their central role
in the history of BC and the Canadian West has not been fully explored.
Speakers at the conference will address these issues in a number of talks. Following is a provisional list of speakers and topics they will present.
Jean Barman:
Keith Bell:
Alan Bevan:
Sharron Gunn:
Marjory Harper:
James Hunter:
Clive Justice:
Pat Koratchek:
Paul Koroscil:
Richard Mackie:
David Marshall:
Harry McGrath:
Ruth Underhill:
Michael Vance:
Bruce Watson:
Scots Ethnicity as Canadian Identity: Nova Scotia's McQueen
Sisters in British Columbia.
The Photographic Representation of Scots on the Prairies.
Highland Bagpipe Composers in Western Canada.
Gaelic Speakers in Hudson's Bay Co.
From the Prairies to the Pacific: The Scots in Western Canada.
A Scottish Highlander in the Camp of Sitting Bull.
From the Hudson Bay Company's William Fraser Tolmie to UBC's
John Davidson: Scots Dominance of Botanical Discoveries and
Horticultural Development in the Canadian Pacific Northwest,
Chasing the Comet: David Caldo's Scottish-Canadian Adven
Scottish Heritage Restoration in Fintry, BC.
Eric Duncan: Vancouver Island Bard.
Ralph Connor in the West.
The Scottish Community in Vancouver and the Janet Smith
Murder Case.
Scots Miners in Fort Rupert and Nanaimo.
Crofters and Canneries: The Interwar Attempt to Introduce Scots
into the BC Fishing Industry.
Scots on the Coast before Alexander Mackenzie.
Along with these presentations, librarians,archivists,and museum curators from
BC and Scotland will review the kinds of source materials that are available to
those who wish to study the role of Scots in BC and the West.
The event will also provide an opportunity for people to have experts assess the
historical value of any letters, books, papers, art works, or other documents that
they may have in their possession relating to the role of Scots in Canada. It is not
the intention ofthe Centre to "acquire" the materials, but rather to enable the
owners to assess the historical value ofthe material and, if agreeable, to include
them in an archival data base for use of people interested in the history of British
Columbia, family histories, or other topics related to Scots in BC.
For further information about bringing archival materials to the conference or for
general information on the Scottish Centre contact Ron Sutherland at or 604.988.0479.
It is the Scottish Centre's hope that the materials that individuals.associations
and other groups bring to the conference for assessment and valuation will be a
significant addition to the archival sources concerning the role of Scots.
To be added to the Scottish Centre mailing list and receive information about the
2002 Conference, contact Wendy Sjolin at or 604.291.3689.
41 Above: An older William Bambury, Phoenix's
last resident.
Young Bambury's Travels
In HER ARTICLE "William Bambury: Phoenix's Last Resident" [BC Historical News
33:3),Alice Glanville mentioned that Harry
M. Bright of Metaline Falls, Wash, intended
to publish some letters he owned, written
by Bambury, giving details of a 1894 prospecting trip through southern BC. These
letters were written by Bambury to his sister Bertha in England over a five-year period ending in 1899. At Bambury s request,
a typewritten transcript, including notes and
questions from Bertha, found its way to
Phoenix in the 1940s. William Bambury
originally planned to publish the content of
his letters but never did so.
After his death in 1951, Bambury s home at
Phoenix was demolished and it was not clear
if the transcript of the letters had survived.
Optimists in Boundary Country believed
that the letters would eventually turn up
again, as had some of Bambury s other writings, and they were proven right. Harry
Bright came across the document in the
United States, in a tavern owner's desk
drawer, some forty years after they disappeared. Fascinated by the charm and candour of Bambury s insightful letters to his
sister, his lavish descriptions of British Columbia's natural beauty, and the lively description of his exciting and sometimes ludicrous experiences, Bright started preparing the letters for publication, a work of love
that is now completed. True copies of
Bambury s letters (including Bertha's notes),
fill more than half of the 120 pages of the
book. The remaining pages are filled with
an introduction, maps, editor's notes, a calendar, and a 17-page index.
Harry Bright is doing his best to ensure that
his self-published book William H. Bambury's
Travels-1894 will be available this summer
at visitor-centres and community museums
along the route Bambury took a century ago.
For enquiries please write to Harry M.
Bright, PO Box 433, Metaline Falls, WA
99153, USA, or e-mail
Family History
by Brenda L.Smith
Hearsay—A Guide to the Past
The first generation of my Campbell line
arrived from Scotland in August 1844.
Family folklore tells that Donald and Jane
eloped because her family disapproved of
her liaison with the gardener's son, and
that their first child was born aboard ship
on the way to Canada.
For family history researchers, hearsay
is where it all begins. Family stories,
rumours, the memories of relatives and
neighbours, are the colour and texture of
human lives. In law, "hearsay" is strictly
defined as evidence given by a witness
based on information received from others,
rather than personal knowledge. In family
history research, it may be all we will ever
have, but it can be just the beginning of
the story. By removing the pejorative legal
overtone, we are free to use it as a beacon
for our travels through the past.
Hearsay evidence is collected from
memories, and from all other sources of
secondary proofs. Suppositions, based on
the memoirs of an elderly uncle or a
caption inked on the back of a fading
photograph, can stimulate the questioning
process that leads the search for such
primary proofs as a birth certificate or log
For my Campbells, the evidence
suggests a more prosaic story than that
recorded in the family reunion book.
According to the marriage index for their
home parish, Donald and Jane were
married in Scotland in June 1843. Clearly,
the tale grew with the telling.
As historians, we all bring our personal
viewpoints, our emotions, and our belief
systems to our work. But in order to treat
our research subjects fairly, we must set
our biases aside, approaching unproven
information with skepticism. No matter
how much we want to believe the
romantic version, we owe it to our own
descendants to counterpoint the myths
with our research findings. In reporting
unexamined hearsay to our families and
other researchers, we risk increasing its
power to mislead, and we risk engaging
in unethical research practice.
As Elizabeth Shown Mills writes in
Evidence! Citation and Analysis for the Family
Historian, "Are we cynical? No, just
cautious. As researchers, we do not
speculate, we test.We critically observe and
carefully record."
We rely on hearsay at the risk of
devoting resources of time, money and
emotion to fruitless wandering. But treated
as a springboard, the folklore can lead us
to rich sources of more solid information.
For example, the obituary of a Campbell
descendant contained six errors. Even so,
the item yielded enough shreds of
information for me to find his sister and
his wife's siblings.
The research process is circular. Using
hearsay to discover the supported evidence,
we reach back to the next layer of family
legend. There we find the genesis of the
next search.
Suggested further reading:
Mills, Elizabeth Shown. Evidence! Citation and
Analysis for the Family Historian. Baltimore:
Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997
Tudor, Dean. Finding Answers: The Essential
Guide to Gathering Information in Canada.
Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1993
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 35 No. 2 Candidates for the 19th Competition for Writers of BC History
Adams, John: Old Square-Toes and His
Lady: The Life of Lames and Amelia Douglas, Horsdal & Shubart Publishers.
Agassiz-Harrison Historical Society: Memories, Agassiz-Harrison Historical Socie-
Armitage Doreen: Burrard Inlet:A History,
Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd..
Blacklaws, Rick, and Diana French:
Ranchland: British Columbia s Cattle
Country, Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd.
Blackstock, Michael D.: Faces in the Forest:
First Nations Art Created on Living Trees,
McGill-Queen's University Press
Boundary Historical Society: Boundary
History'.The Fourteenth Report ofthe
Boundary Historical Society, Boundary
Historical Society (2)
Braches, Helmi, Ed.: Brick by Brick:The
Story of Clayburn, Clayburn Village
Community Society (3)
Brown, Wayne E: Steele's Scouts:Samuel
Benfield Steele and the North-West Rebellion, Heritage House Publishing Co.
Campbell, Robert A.: Sit Down and Drink
Your Beer: Regulating Vancouver's Beer Parlours, 1925-1954, University ofToronto
Carlson, KeithThor, et al, Eds.: A Stolo-
Coast Salish Historical Atlas, Douglas &
Mclntyre Publishing Group
Choate, Chilco: The Fire Still Burns:A Life
ofTrailTalk and Contrary Opinions, Heritage House Publishing Co. Ltd.
Cole, Jean Murray ed.: This Blessed Wilderness: Archibald McDonald's Letters from the
Columbia, 1822-44, UBCPress
Gallaher, Bill: The Promise: Love, Loyalty and
the Lure of Gold, The Story of 'Cariboo'
Cameron, Heritage House Publishing
Co. Ltd.
Gilker, Gerry, Jack Lowe, and Geraldine
(Dody) Wray: Whispers From The
Shedrows:A History ofThoroughbred Racing in Richmond, City of Richmond Archives. (4)
Green.Valerie: IfThese Walls CouldTalk:
Victoria s Houses From the Past, Heritage
House Publishing Co. Ltd.
Hammond, Dick: A Touch of Strange: Amazing Tales of the Coast, Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd.
Harris Douglas C.: Fish, Law, and Colonial-
ism:The Legal Capture of Salmon in British Columbia, University ofToronto
Hayes, Derek: First Crossing:Alexander Mackenzie, His Expedition Across North America, and the Opening of the Continent,
Douglas & Mclntyre Publishing Group
Hayes, Derek: Historical Atlas ofthe North
Pacific Ocean: Maps of Discovery and Scientific Exploration, 1500-2000, Douglas
& Mclntyre Publishing Group
Helm, Charles: Tumbler Ridge: Enjoying its
History, Trails and Wilderness, MCA Publishing (5)
Henry,Tom: Inside Fighter:Dave Brown's
Remarkable Stories of Canadian Boxing,
Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd.
Hume, Stephen: Off The Map'.Western Travels on Roads Less Taken, Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd.
Humphreys, Danda: On The Street Where
You Live, Volume Three: Sailors, Solicitors
and Stargazers of Early Victoria, Heritage
House Publishing Co. Ltd.
Jones, Jo Fraser ed: Hobnobbing With A
Countess and Other Okanagan Adventures
The Diaries of Alice Barrett Parke 1891 —
1900, UBCPress
Knickerbocker, Nancy: No Plaster Saint:
The Life of Mildred Osterhout Fahrni,
1900-1992, Talonbooks
McCardell, Mike: Chasing the Story God,
Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd.
McKay, John: The Hudson s Bay Company's
1835 Steamship Beaver, Vanwell Publishing Ltd. (6)
Milne, Courtney: Emily Carr Country,
McClelland & Stewart Inc.
O'Keefe, Betty and Ian Macdonald: Merchant Prince'.The Story of Alexander
Duncan McRae, Heritage House Publishing Co. Ltd.
Overend, Howard: Book Guy: A Librarian
in the Peace, Heritage House Publishing
Co. Ltd.
Parent, Milton: Circle of Silver, Centennial
Series, Arrow Lakes Historical Society
Perry, Adele: On The Edge of Empire: Gender, Race, and the Making of British Columbia, 1849-1871, University ofToronto Press,
Piddington, Helen: The Inlet: Memoir of a
Modern Pioneer, Harbour Publishing Co.
Rayner, William: Scandal: 130Years of Damnable Deeds in Canada s Lotus Land,
Heritage House Publishing Co. Ltd.
Reksten, Terry: The Illustrated History of
British Columbia, Douglas & Mclntyre
Publishing Group
Rose, Alex: Spirit Dance at Meziadin:Loseph
Gosnell and the Nisga a Treaty, Harbour
Publishing Co. Ltd.
Smith, Lisa: Travels With St. Roch:A Book for
Kids, Time Talk Press. (8)
Snyders.Tom and Jennifer O'Rourke
Namely Vancouver: A Hidden History of
Vancouver Place Names, Arsenal Pulp
Stanley, Meg and Hugh Wilson: Station
Normal '.The Power ofthe Stave River,
Douglas & Mclntyre, Ltd. (9)
Thirkell, Fred and Bob Scullion: Frank
Gowen s Vancouver, 1914-1931, Heritage
House Publishing Co. Ltd.
Turner, Robert D.: Those Beautiful Coastal
Liners '.The Canadian Pacific Princesses,
Sono Nis Press
(1) Agassiz-Harrison Historical Society, Box 313.
Agassiz, BCVOM IAO Phone 604.796.3545
(2) Boundary Historical Society, PO Box 1687.
Grand Forks, BCVOH 1HO
(3) Clayburn Village Community Society c/o
Cyril Holbrow, 4176 Seldon Road, Abbotsford
BCV2S 7X4 Phone 604.859.4677
(4) City of Richmond Archives, 7700 Minoru
Gate, Richmond BCV6Y 1R9 Phone:
604.231.6430. Fax 604.231,6464
(5) MCA Publishing, Box 1981, Tumbler Ridge,
BCVOC 2W0. Phone: 1.888.942.9922. E-
mail:  http://www.pris.bcxa/wnms/
(6) Vanwell Publishing Limited. PO Box 2131,1
Northrup Crescent, St. Catherines, ON L2R
7S2. Phone: 905.937.3100. Fax 905.937.1760
or 1-800-661-6136. E-mail:
(7) Arrow Lakes Historical Society, Box 819,
Nakusp, BC VOG IRO
(8) Times Talk Press, 3645 14th Avenue,Vancouver
BC V6R 2W2
Phone: 604.733.9749.
Mail ordersVancouver Maritime Museum,
1905 Ogden Avenue.Vancouver BCV6J 1A3.
(9) BC Hydro, 6911 South Point Drive, Burnaby
Phone: 604.528.3468
43 Federation News
Open Positions
Are you ready to take a position as a member of
the council of the British Columbia Historical
Federation? If you are interested to be involved
in the affairs of the Federation in an excutive
positions, or if you would like to manage or take
part in one of our committees please contact Ron
Welwood, Past President, in charge of
R. Welwood, 1805 Ridgewood Road,
Nelson BC V1L 619. Phone 250.825.4743.
Revelstoke Conference
Ready for Revelstoke? Yes, we are ready!
An insert in the previous (Winter) issue included
conference information and a registration form
for you to complete and mail to Revelstoke.
The insert in this issue contains information for
registration for two free BCHF workshops on 9
May arranged by Melva Dwyer with a grant from
Canada's National History Society
On page 17 of this issue is a brief summary of the
attractive program arranged by the conference's
hosts, the Revelstoke & District Historical Association.
If you have questions please call Cathy English at
the Revelstoke Museum and Archives. 250.837.3067
or ask executive members mentioned on the inside
cover of this issue.
See you in Revelstoke!
\our Web site editor wants your input
Do you have any news that should get out to
other societies? Do you know something that
members of other societies might like to
know? Is your society doing anything unusual? Has your society accomplished something noteworthy? Does your society have a
program or schedule you'd like to share? E-
mail your information to the Web site editor,
Eileen Mak, at or
call her at 604.875.8023. Let's make the Web
site even more interesting, current, and useful.
At a recent luncheon at Government House, The Honourable lona Campagnolo, PC, CM, OBC,
Lieutenant-Governor ofBritish Columbia, Honorary Patron ofthe British Columbia Historical
Federation, shared her commitment to fostering a better public understanding ofBritish Columbia s
history with her guests. Shown on this photograph taken by Stephanie Desrochers are from left to
right: Stephen Hume, Robin Fisher, Jacqueline Eaton, Her Honour, Paul Tenant, Wayne Desrochers,
Yvette Guigueno, Susan Mayse, andTerry Glavin.
MANUSCRIPTS submitted for publication Should be sent to the editor of BC Historical News in
Whonnock. Submissions should preferably not exceed 3,500 words. Submission by e-mail of the
manuscript   and illustrations is welcome. Otherwise please send a hard copy and if possible a disk
copy of the manuscript by ordinary mail.  All illustrations should have a caption and source information.   It is understood that manuscripts published in BC Historical News will also appear in any
electronic version of the journal.
W. Kaye Lamb
Essay Scholarships
Deadline 15 May 2003
The British Columbia Historical Federation
awards two scholarships annually for essays
written by students at BC colleges or
universities on a topic relating to British
Columbia history. One scholarship ($500)
is for an essay written by a student in a first -
or second-year course; the other ($750) is
for an essay written by a student in a third-
or fourth-year course.
To apply for the scholarship, candidates
must submit (1) a letter of application; (2)
an essay of 1,500-3,000 words on a topic
relating to the history of British Columbia;
(3) a letter of recommendation from the
professor for whom the essay was written.
Applications should be submitted before
15 May 2003 to: Robert Griffin, Chair BC
Historical Federation Scholarship Committee, PO Box 5254, Station B.Victoria, BC
V8R 6N4.
The winning essay submitted by a third-
or fourth-year student will be published in
BC Historical News. Other submissions may
be published at the editor's discretion.
BC History
Web Site Prize
The British Columbia Historical Federation and David Mattison are jointly sponsoring a yearly cash award of $250 to recognize Web sites that contribute to the understanding and appreciation ofBritish Columbia's past. The award honours individual
initiative in writing and presentation.
Nominations for the BC History Web
Site Prize for 2002 must be made to the
British Columbia Historical Federation,
Web Site Prize Committee, prior to 31 December 2002.Web site creators and authors
may nominate their own sites.
Prize rules and the on-line nomination
form can be found on The British Columbia History Web site:  <http://
Best Article Award
A Certificate of Merit and fifty dollars
will be awarded annually to the author of
the article, published in BC Historical News,
that best enhances knowledge of British Columbia's history and provides reading enjoyment, ludging will be based on subject
development, writing skill, freshness of material, and appeal to a general readership interested in all aspects of BC history
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 35 No. 2 British Columbia Historical Federation
Organized 31 October 1922
Affiliated Groups
Archives Association of British Columbia
British Columbia Genealogical Society
Member Societies
Alberni District Historical Society
PO Box 284, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 7M7
Anderson Lake Historical Society
PO Box 40, D'Arcy BC VON 1L0
Arrow Lakes Historical Society
PO Box 819, Nakusp BC VOG 1R0
Atlin Historical Society
PO Box 111, Atlin BC V0W1A0
Boundary Historical Society
PO Box 1687, Grand Forks BC  VOH 1H0
Bowen Island Historians
PO Box 97. Bowen Island, BC VON 1G0
Bulkley Valley Historical & Museum Society
Box 2615, Smithers BC  VOJ 2N0
Burnaby Historical Society
6501 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby BC V5G 3T6
Chemainus Valley Historical Society
PO Box 172, Chemainus BC VOR 1K0
Cowichan Historical Society
PO Box 1014, Duncan BC V9L 3Y2
District 69 Historical Society
PO Box 1452, Parksville BC V9P 2H4
East Kootenay Historical Association
PO Box 74, Cranbrook BC  VIC 4H6
Finn Slough Heritage & Wetland Society
9480 Dyke Road, Richmond BC V7A 2L5
Fraser Heritage Society
Box 84, Harrison Mills, BC   VOM 1L0
Galiano Museum Society
20625 Porlier Pass Drive
Galiano Island BC VON 1P0
Gulf Islands Branch BCHF
c/o A. Loveridge S22, CI 1, RR # 1
Galiano Island BC VON 1P0
Hedley Heritage Society
PO Box 218, Hedley BC   VOX 1K0
Jewish Historical Society of BC
206-950 West 41st Avenue,
Vancouver BC  V5Z 2N7
Kamloops Museum Association
207 Seymour Street, Kamloops BC V2C 2E7
Koksilah School Historical Society
5213 Trans Canada Highway
Koksilah, BC VOR 2C0
Kootenay Lake Historical Society
PO Box 1262, Kaslo BC VOG 1M0
Langley Centennial Museum
PO Box 800, Fort Langley BC VIM 2S2
Lantzville Historical Society
c/o Box 274, Lantzville BC  VOR 2H0
Lions Bay Historical Society
Box 571, Lions Bay BC VON 2E0
London Heritage Farm Society
6511 Dyke Road, Richmond BC V7E 3R3
Maple Ridge Historical Society
22520 116thAve.,Maple Ridge,BCV2X0S4
Nanaimo & District Museum Society
100 Cameron Road, Nanaimo BC V9R 2X1
Nanaimo Historical Society
PO Box 933, Nanaimo BC V9R 5N2
Nelson Museum
402 Anderson Street, Nelson BC V1L 3Y3
Nicola Valley Museum Archives Association
PO Box 1262, Merritt BC V1K 1B8
North Shore Historical Society
c/o 1541 Merlynn Crescent,
NorthVancouver BC V7J 2X9
North Shuswap Historical Society
Box 317, Celista BC VOE 1L0
Okanagan Historical Society
PO Box 313,Vernon BC V1T 6M3
Princeton & District Museum & Archives
Box 281, Princeton BC VOX 1W0
Qualicum Beach Historical Society
587 Beach Road,
Qualicum Beach BC V9K 1K7
Revelstoke & District Historical Association
Box 1908, Revelstoke BC VOE 2S0
Richmond Museum Society
Minoru Park Plaza, 7700 Minoru Gate,
Richmond BC V6Y 7M7
Salt Spring Island Historical Society
129 McPhillips Avenue,
Salt Spring Island BC V8K 2T6
Silvery Slocan Historical Society
Box 301, New Denver BCV0G ISO
Surrey Historical Society
Box 34003 17790 #10 Hwy Surrey BC   V3S 8C4
Terrace Regional Historical Society
PO Box 246,Terrace BC V8G 4A6
Texada Island Heritage Society
Box 129,  Blubber Bay BC VON 1E0
Trail Historical Society
PO Box 405,Trail BC V1R 4L7
Union Bay Historical Society
Box 448, Union Bay, BC VOR 3B0
Vancouver Historical Society
PO Box 3071,Vancouver BC V6B 3X6
Victoria Historical Society
PO Box 43035, Victoria North
Victoria BC   V8X 3G2
Yellowhead Museum
Box 1778, RR# 1, Clearwater BC VOE 1N0
The British Columbia
Historical Federation is
an umbrella organization
embracing regional
Local historical societies
are entitled to become
Member Societies of the
BC Historical Federation.
All members of these
local historical societies
shall by that very fact be
members ofthe Federation.
Affiliated Groups are
organizations with
specialized interests or
objects of a historical
Membership fees for
both classes of membership are one dollar per
member of a Member
Society or Affiliated
Group with a minimum
membership fee of $25
and a maximum of $75.
Questions about
membership should be
directed to:
Terry Simpson,
Membership Secretary,
BC Historical Federation,
193 Bird Sanctuary,
Nanaimo BC V9R6G8
Phone: 250.754.5697
Please  keep the  editor  of BC Historical News informed about corrections to be made to this list. Return Address:
British Columbia Historical News
JoelVinge, Subscription Secretary
561 Woodland Drive
Cranbrook,   BC    VIC 6V2
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We acknowledge the financial support of the   Government of Canada, through the Publications Assistance Program (PAP), toward our mailing costs.
Contact us:
BC Historical News welcomes your
letters and manuscripts on subjects
dealing with the history of British
Columbia and British Columbians.
Please send stories or essays on any
aspect of the rich past of our province to the Editor, BC Historical
News, Fred Braches, PO Box 130,
Whonnock BC, V2W 1V9.
Phone: 604.462.8942
Send books for review and book
reviews directly to the Book Review Editor, BC Historical News,
AnneYandle, 3450 West 20th
Avenue, Vancouver BC V6S 1E4,
Phone: 604.733.6484
News items for publication in BC
Historical News should be sent to the
editor in Whonnock.
Please send correspondence about
subscriptions to the subscription
Secretary, Joel Vinge
561 Woodland Drive
Cranbrook BC VIC 6V2
Phone/Fax: 250.489.2490
Individual $15.00 per year
Institutional $20.00 per year
For addresses outside Canada add $6.00
The British Columbia Historical Federation
invites submissions of books for the 20™ annual
Competition for Writers of BC History.
Any book presenting any facet of BC history, published in
2002, is eligible. This may be a community history, biography, record of a project or an organization, or personal recollections giving a glimpse of the past. Names, dates and
places, with relevant maps or pictures, turn a story into "history." Note that reprints or revisions of books are not eligible.
The judges are looking for quality presentations, especially if fresh material is
included, with appropriate illustrations, careful proofreading, an adequate
index, table of contents and bibliography, from first-time writers as well as
established authors.
The Lieutenant-Governor's Medal for Historical Writing will be awarded to an
individual writer whose book contributes significantly to the recorded history of British Columbia. Other awards will be made as recommended by
the judges to valuable books prepared by groups or individuals.
Winners will receive a Certificate of Merit, a monetary award and an invitation
to the BCHF annual conference to be held in Prince George, May 2003.
SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS: All books must have been published in 2001 and
should be submitted as soon as possible after publication. Two copies of each book
should be submitted. Books entered become property of the BC Historical Federation. Please state name, address and telephone number of sender, the selling price of
all editions of the book, and, if the reader has to shop by mail, the address from which
it may be purchased, including applicable shipping and handling costs.
SEND TO:     BC Historical Federation Writing Competition
PO Box 5254, Station B.Victoria BCV8R 6N4
DEADLINE: 31 December 2002
VACANCY: We are looking for a person interested to assume the management and coordination of the Annual Competition for Writers starting
this year. Please call Shirley Cuthbertson at 250.382.0288 if you want to
know more about this rewarding, and interesting assignment.


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