British Columbia History

British Columbia Historical News 1991

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Volume 24, No. 3
Summer 1991
ISSN 0045-2963
Briftth Gotamilila
Journal of tne B.C. Historical Federation
Coastal Steamer DANUBE — 1890 - 1905
B.C.'s Coast anil Islands
Member Societies and their secretaries are responsible for seeing that the correct address for their society is
up-to-date. Please send any change to both the Treasurer and Editor at the addresses inside the back cover.
The Annual Return as at October 31st should include telephone numbers for contact.
Members1 dues for the year 1990 - 91 were paid by the following Societies:
Alberni District Historical Society -    Box 284, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M7
Arrow Lakes Historical Society -    Box 584, Nakusp, B.C. VOG 1 RO
Atlin Historical Society -    Box 111, Atlin, B.C. VOW 1A0
Burnaby Historical Society -    6501 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby, B.C. V5G 3T6
Chemainus Valley Historical Society -    Box 172, Chemainus, B.C. VOR 1K0
Cowichan Historical Society -    P.O. Box 1014, Duncan, B.C. V9L 3Y2
District 69 Historical Society -    P.O. Box 3014, Parksville, B.C. VOR 2S0
East Kootenay Historical Association -     P.O. Box 74, Cranbrook, B.C. V1C 4H6
Golden and District Historical Society -    Box 992, Golden, B.C. VOA 1 HO
Gulf Islands Branch -BCHF -    c/o Wilma J. Cross, RR#1, Pender Island, B.C. VON 2M0
Koksilah School Historical Society - 5203 Trans Canada Highway, Koksilah, B.C. VOR 2C0
Kootenay Lake Historical Society -    Box 537, Kaslo, B.C. VOG 1M0
Kootenay Museum & Historical Society -    402 Anderson Street, Nelson, B.C. V1L 3Y3
Lantzville Historical Society -    c/o Box 274, Lantzville, B.C. VOR 2H0
Lasqueti Island Historical Society -    Lasqueti Island, B.C., VOR 2J0
Nanaimo Historical Society -    P.O. Box 933, Station A, Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 5N2
North Shore Historical Society -    633 East 10th St., North Vancouver, B.C. V7L 2E9
North Shuswap Historical Society -    Box 22, Celista, B.C. VOE 1L0
Princeton & District Pioneer Museum & Archives -    Box 687, Princeton, B.C. VOX 1W0
Qualicum Beach Historical & Museum Society - c/o Box 352, Qualicum Beach, B.C. VOR 2T0
Saltspring Island Historical Society - Box 705, Ganges, B.C. VOS 1E0
Sidney & North Saanich Historical Society - P.O. Box 2404, Sidney, B.C. V8L 3Y3
Silvery Slocan Historical Society - Box 301, New Denver, B.C. VOG 1 SO
Trail Historical Society - P.O. Box 405, Trail, B.C. V1R 4L7
Vancouver Historical Society - P.O. Box 3071, Vancouver, B.C. V6B 3X6
Victoria Historical Society - c/o G. Castle, 3145 Norfolk Ave., Victoria, B.C. V8R 6H5
Fort Steele Heritage Park - Fort Steele, B.C. VOB 1N0
The Hallmark Society - 207 Government Street, Victoria, B.C. V8V 2K8
Nanaimo Centennial Museum Society - 100 Cameron Road, Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 2X1
Second Class registration number 4447
Published fall, winter, spring, and summer by the British Columbia Historical Federation, P.O. Box 35326,
Station E, Vancouver, B.C. V6M 4G5. A Charitable Society recognized under the Income Tax Act.
SUBSCRIPTIONS: Institutional, $16.00 per year; Invividual (non-members), $10.00 (to addresses outside
Canada) $14.00.
Financially assisted by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Recreation and Culture, through the British
Columbia Heritage Trust and British Columbia Lotteries.
Back issues of the British Columbia Historical News are available in microform from Micromedia Ltd., 158
Pearl St., Toronto, Ontario M5H 1L3 - Micromedia also publishes the Canadian Magazine Index and the
Canadian Business Index.
Indexed in the Canadian Periodical Index. BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORICAL NEWS
Volume 24, No. 3      Journal of the B.C. Historical Federation      Summer -1991
^.'1    A^i    ' ~**—»
aUMI ns.
Speeders Carry Guests to Company
Dinner at Rounds
Captain John S. Swanson: Historical Unknown
by Lloyd James Bailey
Fire at Lang Bay
by Kelsey McLeod
The New England Company on Kuper Island
by Audrey M. Ginn
Kamano - A Kanaka
by Margaret Nicholls
Order of British Columbia
The Ring of the Axe, The Song of the Saw
by W.J.H. (Jack) Fleetwood
Bill Brown: Naval Veteran
by Frank Wade
The Boy Scout's Camp Byng
by Winston Shilvock
The Bike, The Boat and the Plane
by Edythe Hartley McClure
Summers on Savary
by Robert E. Burns
100 Years of Peter Flannigan
by Joyce Thierry
Conference 1991
Notices from the B.CH.F.
News & Notes
Letters to the Editor
Writing Competition Report
An Enterprising Life: Leonard Frank,
Photographs, 1895-1944
Review by David Mattison
Spilsbury's Album: Photographs and
Reminiscences of the B.C. Coast
Review by Ann Carroll
Coquihalla Country: An Outdoor Recreation Guide
Review by Werner Kaschel
Robin Ward's Vancouver
Review by Peggy McBride
The Cannery Book; Salmon Stories & Seafood Recipes
Dictionary of Canadian Biography.
Raincoast Chronicles Twelve
We Have Written; A True Story of Triumph Over Tragedy
Manuscripts and correspondence for the editor are to be sent to P.O. Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0
Correspondence regarding subscriptions are to be directed to the subscription secretary (see inside back cover)
Printed in Canada by Kootenay Kwik Print
Cranbrook, B.C.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 91 Speeders Carry Guests to
Company Dinner at Rounds
(This headline appeared above a story in
the Cowichan Leader, Duncan's
newspaper, on December 21, 1939. We
quote the story verbatim).
The Lake Logging Company played
Santa Claus on Thursday night by
serving up 350 pounds of prime turkey,
complete with all the trimmings at its
annual Christmas banquet in the
spacious dining room of its camp at
Rounds. First on the invitation list were
the employees and their families. The
company has 260 men and nineteen
families in the logging camp at Rounds,
six men in its boom camp at
Honeymoon Bay and thirteen at its
loading plant at the foot of Lake
Officials of the Head Office,
Vancouver, were represented, including
Mr. H.W. Hunter, one of the partners
(Round and Hunter) who control the
company, and Mr. Carl Scott, personal
representative of Mr. Round, both had
their wives with them. Invitations also
went out to a variety of firms and
individuals who have business or other
connections with the company. These
included railway crews and officials of
the police, the Catholic priest and many
others from Duncan, Crofton, Victoria,
Nanaimo and Vancouver.
Go Up In Speeder
They were conveyed the fourteen
miles from Lake Cowichan in two
speeders and trailers, one belonging to
Lake Logging Co. and the other loaned
by the Victoria Lumber and
Manufacturing Co. whose logging
superintendent Mr. Christiansen and
Camp Eight foreman Mr. Bruce David
were among the guests.
Scheduled to leave the crossing at the
Lake at 5:30, the speeders, packed tight
with men, women and children of all
ages, were more than half an hour late
getting away and with stops to pick up
additional passengers  at Mr.  Round's
ranch at Honeymoon Bay and Camp
Eight, didn't reach camp until halve
(sic) seven o'clock
The first sitting accommodating the
camp residents and a few early arrivals,
240 in all, was just over when the
speeders came to a stop outside the
office and passengers poured through
the side doors, received noisy greetings
from friends and were festively crowned
with paper hats. Most of them were
whisked away to houses or bunkhouses
for a little refreshment before the serious
eating began and it seemed like no time
at all before word was passed that the
tables were set and all was ready.
Casey at the Throtde
But it was hard to comfort oneself
with reflections like this when one could
not see a thing to judge ones' speed by
and was forced to rely upon the
impressions of sound and feeling - the
rasping scream of the metal wheels, the
comment of a hard bitten logger: "It's
Casey at the throttle tonight and no
mistake," and the tale of a girl at one's
back about how "One time we went off
the track and almost into a gully".
The trailer swung back and forth so
violently as they jolted over the rough
track. The passengers swayed in unison
like well trained rowers but with a more
staccato and less comfortable rhythm,
particularly when some of those on the
narrow side benches would hit the walls
with a resounding thwack. Yet all was
good humour instead of complaint and
the stops for passengers on the way up,
proving there is no limit to the tightness
with which human sardines may be
packed, gave many opportunities for
impromptu witticisms, the best of
which was probably the frank remark by
one of the ladies outside in the darkness
when told that perhaps room could be
found for one. "Fine," she said, "but
I'm as big as three."
We thank B. Volkert, archivist fir Kaatza
Historical Society fir sending this item from the
archives. Rounds Camp was closed in 1947, and
moved to Gordon River, which in turn closed in
1981. Rounds, B.C. has gone back to forest and
the Gordon River office and yard facilities are
being used today by Fletcher Challenge, although
the Gordon River townsite has been dismantled
For more than a century after the arrival of
the S.S. Beaver in 1836 steamships, of
various shapes and sizes, provided a
life-line for the scattered settlements along
the British Columbia coast. A historic trio
of steamers, named after far-away rivers,
were the Amur, Danube, and Tees. These
ships, built in Britain, transported
numerous passengers and many tons of
freight up and down the west coast during
the decades at the end of the 19th and
beginning of the 20th centuries. The
sketch shows S.S. Danube pulling away
from an upcoast cannery wharf.
The Danube was an iron ship of 900 tons
built in Scotland in 1869. She was
purchased for service in B.C. waters in
1890 and operated as a
passenger/freighter until 1905. Then
bought by B.C. Salvage Co. she was
renamed Salvor. In 1918 the Salvor (ex
Danube) was finally sold to a Spanish
company and operated as a freighter out
of the port of Bilbao until scrapped in
1936 — after 67 years of service.
Drawn by EA. Harris of Vancouver, author
of Spokeshute; Skeena River Memory.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 91 Captain John S. Swanson: Historical Unknown
by Lloyd James Bailey
In 1854 Governor James Douglas
called him "the best pilot on the coast."
Captain John Simpson Swanson
navigated British Columbia waters for
thirty years. His experiences as a
Hudson's Bay Company mariner
portray our early coast as a rugged and
controversial frontier. From 1842 until
his premature death in 1872, John
Swanson participated in virtually every
major event of British Columbia's
founding history. He was instinctively a
man of his times. From the building of
Fort Victoria to the settlement of the
San Juan boundary dispute, John
Swanson was there. And yet, curiously,
until my recent research, his
extraordinary life has gone unreported.
It is symbolic that Captain Swanson
died on October 21, 1872. Stricken by
his fourth and fatal heart attack the
previous Thursday night, the
commander of the steamship Enterprise
succumbed in Victoria the following
Monday morning. On the same
morning many thousands of miles to the
east, Kaiser Wilhelm I of the German
Empire awarded the arbitrated San Juan
Islands to the United States.
As with the Oregon Territory in 1846
and the Alaska Purchase of 1867, the
United States had truncated further
Hudson's Bay Company domain.
Along with other Maritime Service
captains, Swanson's argument for a
Rosario Strait line before the Boundary
Commission of 1871 could not save the
Gulf Islands for British Columbia. His
death also coincided with the
implementation of the Deed of
Surrender of 1869, the demise of
company monopoly power in Canada.
The life of John Swanson is replete
with the aura of coincidence. The lure
of his story could begin with the
geographical place-names beckoning
curiosity from latitudes 48°N to 58°N
on our Pacific coast. Swanson Channel
off Georgia Strait separates  Moresby,
Saltspring and Prevost Islands on the
west from Pender Island on the east,
and is the entrance-way to Active Pass
for the British Columbia Ferry System.
It was named in 1859.
Slightly to the north in Queen
Charlotte Strait is situated Swanson
Island, a two and three-quarter mile
long by one mile wide islet on the south
side of the entrance to Knight Inlet,
separated by Swanson Passage. They
were named in 1867.
At latitude 53°N, opposite Princess
Royal Island, Swanson Bay on the east
side of Graham Reach neighbours
Swanson Point. They were named as
early as 1844. Swanson Harbour on
Cownenden Island in Alaskan waters
lies on latitude 58°N. The latitudes and
their Swanson place-names epitomize
the northern career of this Hudson's
Bay Company ship's master.
But the lure of geography gives way to
uncanny coincidence. Swanson was
born in 1827 at James Bay on Hudson
Bay. He died in 1872 at James Bay on
Victoria harbour. Swanson's first ship,
the Cadboro, was built the very year of
his birth, 1827.
The greatest political disappointment
of Swanson's life, the aforementioned
San Juan boundary award, occurred on
the exact day of his death.
Swanson's land purchases in Victoria
proved coincidental too. He first
bought section 4l in Gordon Head.
He next purchased Victoria city block
number 4l in 1862. When Swanson
was finally reinterred at Ross Bay
Cemetery in 1888, he came to rest with
his family in plot 41.
The story doesn't end there. Forty
years after the death of his newly-born
infant son in 1867, Captain J.S.
Swanson's personal tragedy was
replicated almost exactly. The burial
documents of the City of Nanaimo,
where Swanson on the Steamship Otter
coaled so often, record the 1907 death
of a two month old baby boy, son of a
J.S. Swanson.
John Swanson apprenticed with the
Hudson's Bay Company at the early age
of fourteen. Young employees signed a
five year contract; thereafter they were
sent west with a canoe party to be
assigned to various posts. Leaving his
father William, a longtime company
sloopmaster and a Cree mother with
two younger brothers, George and
Richard, at Moose Factory, young John
travelled a perilous 2,500 miles over the
virgin Great Plains, first to Fort
Edmonton and then to the
mountainous Columbia Department of
his father's firm.
Headquartered at Fort Vancouver on
the lower Columbia River, the Hudson's
Bay Company operated a small fleet of
trading vessels from Mexican California
to Russian Alaska.
It was there on January 16, 1843 that
Swanson signed onboard the schooner
Cadboro, Captain James Allen
Scarborough in command.
There can be no doubt that John had
previous experience as a seaman with
father William on the Bay. He was not
logged as an apprentice seaman, which
was his official status, but rather as the
steward, with higher pay and advanced
duties in charting waters and tallying
traded skins. Swanson joined a crew
greatly overworked but generous in
spirit. He made friendships that were to
last a lifetime. One friend who signed
onboard the same day did not last long.
Cook Frank Patrie became sick after
eight months of coastal sailing and
signed off at Fort Nisqually.
Meager rations and seaboard
conditions had reduced the Cadboro's
crew from nineteen to only nine the
previous season. Crews were difficult to
secure with the hazardous nature of the
coastal trade. The Indians murdered a
Cadboro sailor a few years before and it
was only with the transfer of seamen
B.C. Historical News - Summer 91 from the annual supply ships that a full
crew could be mustered.
It was only much later in his career
that John Swanson opted for the
civilized environs of Victoria when he
succeeded to the daily ferry operation of
the steamship Enterprise to New
Westminster. Long trading voyages
north to Alaska with his first command,
the steamship Otter, in 1855, or the
much grander Labouchere, from 1859,
lacked lustre by 1866.
Previously, the country-bred Swanson
could not have pined for an urban
civilization which he had never known.
His early background at the Bay proved
ideal for a lengthy career in the isolated
fjords of frontier British Columbia.
From learning the rudiments of his
marine trade onboard the Cadboro from
1843 to 1845, Swanson transferred for
Outfit Year 1845 to 1846 (company
season) to the barque Vancouver.
Captain Andrew Cook Mott had
brought the annual supply ship out
from England during the 1844-1845
season. He was to instruct apprentice
Swanson in the skills of sailing a larger
vessel as the Vancouver served her
coastwise year on the northwest trade.
Young John continued his
apprenticeship aboard the other supply
barques, Columbia and Cowlitz, from
1846 to 1850. By 1849, he had earned
promotion to second officer of the
When the Cowlitz embarked for
England in 1848, Swanson experienced
his first voyage overseas, reaching
Gravesend in mid-1848. The return
trip witnessed Second Officer Swanson
bravely defending his captain, A.J.
Weynton, and the loyal officers against a
mutinous crew. The California gold
rush encouraged desertions and
dissatisfaction with seamen's wages
when the Cowlitz anchored in
Honolulu on January 7, 1850. After
much harassment, the entire crew except
four loyalists were packed off to jail.
Swanson and his fellow officers endured
a terrifying voyage home to Victoria
with an untrained crew of Sandwich
John Swanson ranked first officer of
the steamship Beaver in 1851 and his
captain, Charles Stuart, could not resist
tweaking the nose of the United States
customs authorities. The seizure of the
Beaver, all cargo and the arrest of
twenty-four crewmen and three
passengers caused a furore in Puget
Sound waters. Captain Stuart fell guilty
to four counts of customs violations on
November 18, 1851. With Fort
Nisqually being the legal port of entry
to Washington Territory, Stuart
disembarked passengers and cargo prior
to arriving at that port. Once arrived at
Nisqually, the captain of the Beaver
delayed fifteen hours before making a
customs declaration. Once declared,
American officials charged that the
whole lists had not been divulged.
With $3,000 in fines awaiting payment,
the crew of the impounded Beaver
made their way back to Victoria,
Swanson going aboard the new
brigantine Vancouver as first officer or
Under the command of the
recently-arrived Captain James Murray
Reid, the third Hudson's Bay Company
vessel to bear the name ironically
suffered the identical fate of the first in
March 1834. On August 14, 1853,
while in Hecate Strait, Captain Reid
altered Swanson's set course and with
strong winds and an unexpected adverse
current, the Vancouver ground ashore
twenty miles off position. The low
isthmus of Rose Point at the extreme
northeast of Graham Island in the
Queen Charlottes had claimed several of
the company vessels.
Pilot Swanson and seaman Charles
John Griffin braved fifteen miles of
stormy waters to reach Fort Simpson.
Captain Charles Dodd aboard the
Beaver returned with them to Rose
Point. Numerous attempts were made
to pull the wrecked ship off its reef but
to no avail. Several hundred local
Indians had appeared on August 16,
and began looting the remaining cargo
after Reid had transshipped to the
Beaver. Fearful of large stores of rum
and wine falling into the hands of the
Haidas, Captain Reid consulted with
Swanson and they decided to burn the
Vancouver. Although Swanson was
promoted to first officer of the
brigantine Mary Dare in 1854, Captain
Reid never regained a ship and
eventually opened a clothing store in
Victoria. He died a saloon-keeper.
iy      2co      ay      <qc
The Pacific Coast, based on maps of the 1830s
and 1850s, with the Mexican border as it was
before the treaty of 1848.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 91 When John Swanson briefly resumed
command of the steamship Otter on
January 15, 1870, he was rejoining the
old vessel for the third time. Captain
Herbert Lewis, his oldest friend from
Cowlitz days, took leave of the ship in
order to pursue his heartfelt love in
England, to return with Mary Langford,
daughter of Colwood Farm bailiff
Captain Edward Edwards Langford, as
his new bride.
Captain Thomas Pamphlet tended the
Enterprise so that Swanson, more
familiar with northern waters and the
northern Indian trade, could sail the
Otter to Alaska. The Otter gave John
Swanson his first opportunity to
command a ship in 1855. He virtually
captained the vessel under a drunken
skipper, James Millar, in 1854,
enduring a rebellious crew and several
chronically drunken officers. The
company rewarded the steadfast first
officer after a chaotic trading voyage to
San Francisco, with Millar's position.
Swanson earned his master mariner's
charter that same year and after a four
months' tenure went on to four seasons
as captain of the illustrious Beaver.
The Beaver guarded the Fraser River
entrance to the British Columbia
goldfields in 1858, collecting customs
duties and enforcing the mining laws.
Swanson protected Governor James
Douglas when he sailed to the mainland
later that year to proclaim the Colony of
British Columbia.
With the eruption of gold fever and an
accompanying decline in the coastal fur
returns, the Hudson's Bay Company
invested more in transportation and less
in trade by 1859. A very large new
steamer, the Labouchere, arrived for the
increased traffic and the company's best
captain gained her command. The
Labouchere performed shipping,
trading and military activities on the
Pacific coast under Swanson's leadership
from 1859 to 1863. In 1860 John
Swanson was promoted to Chief Trader
for the Northwest Coast District upon
the death of Captain Charles Dodd, his
Swanson's abilities and reputation
were widely known in the colonies by
1865- That year he received his first
annual appointment to the British
Columbia Pilotage Commission  from
Colonial Secretary Arthur Nonus Birch.
He continued with the board,
contributing experienced leadership to a
somewhat contentious group, including
his close friend Captain William Irving
of New Westminster, until
Confederation with Canada in 1871
usurped the coast guard function as
federal responsibility.
Although John Swanson participated
in the Politics of British Columbia, he
wouldn't accept public office until
1865. Elected as Member of the
Legislative Assembly for Nanaimo in
1859 while absent aboard the
Labouchere in Alaskan waters, Swanson
refused the position on the grounds that
the electoral process in the colony was
not democratic enough. He supported
office-seekers of a liberal colour in the
1860s, fighting against confederation
with Canada. Swanson was one of a
very few Hudson's Bay Company
servants to join the Annexationist
Movement for union with the United
States, (a more natural economic
linkage, he maintained.) After 1871,
Swanson refused to endorse any
political candidates and left politics.
As a man of his times, Captain
Swanson invested heavily in land
purchases and mining speculation.
Although not as extensive as holdings of
other Hudson's Bay Company officials
like Roderick Finlayson and Captain
A.C. Mouatt, Swanson's Victoria
properties numbered fifteen city lots by
1871.   He built his first home in 1864
on Quebec Street, where Laurel Point
Apartments now stands. In 1867 he
moved to his much larger house on
Dallas Road, which at that time fronted
James Bay. Contemporary buildings
now occupy his properties at the corner
of Fisgard and Wharf streets, Johnson
and Cook streets. Large acreage in excess
of 690 acres were held in Gordon Head
where the University of Victoria now
resides and on the coastal mainland.
Economic depression and the hostility
of the mainland government thwarted
Swanson's mining efforts. He organized
a consortium to develop a harbour and
townsite at North Bentinck Arm in
1861. Touted as an alternative route to
the Barkerville gold field, it met
resistance and was disallowed by the
New Westminster government fearing
Victoria ascendancy in transportation to
the Interior. A similar fate awaited
Swanson's small company which
planned to exploit the coal resources of
Millbank    Sound     in     1864. A
pre-emption grant was refused by New
Westminster. With the eventual decline
of the mining staple in British
Columbia, such properties were
worthless in any event.
As with his shares in the Puget Sound
Agricultural Company, Swanson's real
estate investments never paid off. Rapid
drops in land prices occurred in the
mid-1860s and they never regained
value during his lifetime. It was only in
rental housing and as land agent for
friends and their estates that Swanson
Clipper-model barque-rifted paddle-wheel steamer Labouchere built at Sunderland in 1858 fir the
Company's Pacific coast trade.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 91 kept his finances in some degree of
order. Upon his death, the family home
was rented, all six remaining lots and the
family furniture sold to pay off his
John Swanson earned great public
adulation during his latter years as
captain of the Enterprise. His funeral
on October 23, 1872 witnessed a warm
sunny break in otherwise tempestuous
rainy weather which resumed the
following day. His ways were sunny,
the people of Victoria felt and they
turned out en masse for the Masonic
funeral at the Wesleyan Methodist
Church on Pandora Street. Out of
respect for the captain, the Daily British
Colonist did not publish that
Wednesday, allowing all staff to attend
his funeral and burial at the Quadra
Street Cemetery.
At Victoria's Ross Bay Cemetery there
are four decaying headstones resting on
a gentle grassy slope. They are shaded
by a  grove  of venerable shrubs  and
swaying trees. The Swanson family
plot, consolidated by the sole surviving
daughter, Emily, in 1888, records
Captain John Swanson on a massive
Masonic column. He is surrounded by
the tragic deaths of his other children.
Very close by in reddish granite are
inscribed infant daughters Elizabeth
Catherine and Frances Sarah. Bold, yet
largely destroyed, with only a circular
base of grey sandstone remaining, stands
a memorial to son Charles Logan, killed
in a train accident at age twenty-six.
Yet nudged in its shadow sits a small
white rectangular stone, unmarked but
for a symbolic ship's anchor. The
ravages of time have not eroded a baby's
name from its pristine monument. It
was never recorded.
Missing   from   the   family   plot   is
Swanson's   young   wife,   Catherine,   a
Tlingit Indian princess whom he met
and married at Fort Simpson in 1860.
He was thirty-three and she thirteen.
The   marriage   did   not   endear   the
Swansons to polite Victorian society
and, despite prolific offspring, proved a
tempestuous relationship. The tragedy
of Swanson's personal life was
compounded by avaricious native
relatives who distracted him financially,
the upshot of which was a breakdown in
his health as early as 1868. Highly
regarded by his employer as a very
industrious servant, Swanson
wore himself out by 1872.
Catherine eventually returned
Indian people where she died in 1937 at
the Kincolith Reserve near Prince
Rupert. Swanson's British Columbia
descendants bear further research but
they number fishermen, soldiers,
lawyers, pilots and the wife of a premier.
The author is a Teacher-Librarian, M.Ed,
who taught in Nanaimo fir five years and is
currently in Comox, B.C. He is an enthusiastic
supporter of the Maritime Museum of British
Canadian Historical Association Regional History
Certificates of Merit for British Columbia and Yukon, 1990
The Canadian Historical Association annually recognizes
outstanding contributions to the field of regional history.
Two Certificates of Merit are awarded for each region,
one for a book, imaginatively conceived and executed,
that enhances our understanding of all or part of the
region, and the other for an individual, organization, or
periodical that has accomplished the same over an
extended period of time. For the year 1990 Certificates
of Merit for British Columbia and the Yukon, announced
on 3 June 1990 at the C.H.A.'s annual meeting in
Kingston, were awarded to:
A- Cyril E. Leonoff. An Enterprising Life: Leonard
Frank Photopranhs. 1895 -1944
(Vancouver: Talonbooks, 1990).
Leonard Frank created more than 50,000 images of
British Columbia during a fifty-year career on the west
coast and was the "premier photographer" of B.C. in his
time. As a pioneer of the photographic trade "he had no
equal, and the images he recorded of romantic fjords,
mountains, and lakes were unique." Frank's images of
industrial activity are, however, his most noteworthy,
and his logging pictures are among "the best in the
Adding to the historical significance of Leonard Frank's
photographs is the superb reproduction of his work by
Talonbooks of Vancouver, who have successfully
enhanced the sharpness and clarity of the already
excellent material. A Regional History Award will
recognize the photography of Leonard Frank, the
heritage role of Otto Landauer (Frank's partner) and of
the Jewish Historical Society of British Columbia in
saving and preserving the collection, the high
publication standards of Talonbooks, and the
multi-faceted contribution to the project of Cyril Leonoff.
An Enterprising Life is first-rate popular history that
promises to shape the perceptions of a great many
British Columbians about their province's past.
B - The Yukon Historical and Museums Association
Formed in 1977 to address the need to give structure
to the growing interest and activity in Yukon heritage,
the YHMA serves as an umbrella organization for
individuals, groups and institutions both inside and
outside the territory. With a membership of about 200
people and institutions from across the continent, the
YHMA is active in the preservation and interpretation of
all facets of Yukon's Heritage.
Robert A.J. McDonald
Department of History
University of British Columbia
B.C. Historical News • Summer 91 Fire at Lang Bay
by Kelsey McLeod
9       TEXADA  IStANI)
During the Twenties forest fires were a
way of life up the British Columbia
Coast. Days     of    caution     and
conservation, shut-downs, early shifts
for greater safety in the woods, were far
in the future. The creed was: "Hi-ball
the logs to the salt chuck and market;
devil take the hindmost!"
Up to the late thirties, summers that
did not see endless days when smoke
was thick as fog, and ashes lay heavy
inside homes, were unusual. On the
Malaspina Peninsula it was quite a sight
to look across the water to Texada
Island, and see a large part of the Island
afire. It was unsettling to face
northward at a mountain not far distant,
turned into a gigantic funeral pyre.
So the fire that destroyed Land Bay in
twenty minutes was not that unusual.
-Unusual only in that it wiped out a
It struck without real warning. True,
a slash fire had been smouldering at the
Bloedel, Stewart and Welch logging
operation at Myrtle Point, 2 some ten
miles north-west. But it had been
contained by fire watch. Most residents,
though conscious of the threat, went
about their business.
That morning seemed as all others. If
we had lived at the beach we would
have known there was a roistering
westerly gale. But few lived there, and
this day in July, 1922, inland air at
ground level hung motionless and
stifling, though a hundred feet and
more above our clearing the tree tops
must have been moving.
Dad, (George Barrett) 3 was home,
but whether he had stayed because of
the fire danger I do not know. Mother
surely was not worrying, because she
decided to go blackberry picking. She
got out the berry pails, donned her
sunhat, and we started down the trail. I
was wearing my black laced boots,
stockings held up by a type of shoulder
harness, necessary armour when berry
picking, which brought one into contact
with all the Coast's thorned shrubs.
The wall of underbrush on either side
of the trail was wilted with the heat; the
moss was dried out; a carpet of conifer
needles lay everywhere. The forest was
a powder keg.
We had just come out of our trail and
onto the logging road when we met
Mrs. Kennedy, who rarely went from
home. She had Ernie and Gordon,
both about my age, by the hands.   She
hurried toward us, calling: "The fire is
coming. I'm going to the beach, where
we'll be picked up!"
"Fire?" repeated Mother. "Picked up?
-Who by?"
"Arthur," Mrs. Kennedy continued,
(her husband) "and Murray and Mel,"
(her grown sons) "are staying to try and
save our house.4"
Listening, one was reminded of talk
paid vague attention to. We had a
clearing around our house, surrounded
by a cedar-picket fence. Dad had many
times said that a clearing was a necessary
safety factor. No forest giants dropped
pitch and needles onto our roof.... It
made sense. I thought of neighbours'
homes literally tucked into pockets
between the trees....
I do not recall the rest of the
conversation, but Mother and I went on
to the berry-picking, and then down to
visit Granny and Grandpa Young at the
"Point", the headland where they lived,
in spite of the thickening smoke.
The Youngs' home 5 was high on a
rocky headland that jutted into the
Strait, so was surrounded on three sides
by ocean. Access was by a narrow neck
of land between a small bay on one side,
and  the  curving,  pebbled  beach that
B.C. Historical News - Summer 91 faced south-east.
There were large trees in the
declivities, where soil could collect, but
a lot of the land was but moss-covered
rock where scrub trees huddled against
the storms.
Fifty yards to the west of the house
was the logging dump, a cliff with a
straight drop into the bay. From here a
logging truck rolled logs into the ocean
for booming. The area was a mass of
forest waste, bark and twigs piled feet
thick and packed down, dry as dust. - A
potential fire bomb, waiting for the first
spark. The headland had no well; water
was carried up from a quarter of a mile
The wooden house had no basement,
and was not sitting firmly on the rock,
being cabled to the granite for safety
when the gales blew. The house was
filled with all the possessions the Youngs
had brought with them from Scotland
not many years before: the furniture,
precious books, cherished keepsakes.
As we neared the beach, we became
aware of the gale. Ordinary summer
westerlies were boisterous, but this one
was bolstered by the onrushing fire, and
was appalling.
What could be seen of the ocean was a
towering, writhing mass of waves and
driftwood. The acrid smell of the
burning forest had become familiar the
past weeks, but the present odour was a
tangible presence. Ashes and cinders
started to fall. The fire's voice was
distant, but there was menace in sharp
bursts of sound, like rifle shots, as
branches snapped, pitch exploded,
needles flared into torches.
Mrs. Kennedy was sitting up amongst
the driftwood on the small beach that
rimmed the booming ground. Pushed
by the gale, the tide was higher than
normal; the logging waste from the
booms created an added hazard. Still,
she could see the dock from which she
hoped to be rescued by a gasboat from
either the Stillwater or the Myrtle Point
logging operations.
Ernie and Gordon huddled beside her
- no racing about, no pebbles thrown
today. At this point I did not properly
understand why they did not want to
However, the urgency of the situation
thrust    forward    once    we    reached
Union Steamship Chilco. going into Lang Bay dock. Note devastation in the background and
booming ground in foreground
Grandma and Grandpa Youngs'.   Both
were    outside,    in    itself   strange.
Ordinarily Grandpa was  busy in his
shed   workshop,   and   Grandma   was
bustling about indoors.
Now they stood, looking westward.
The chickens, usually clucking about in
typical senseless fashion in their endless
search for bugs, were darting hither and
yon, making discordant squawks. The
Youngs faced a dreadful test, for both
were in their sixties, and Grandpa had
only one leg. They had emigrated to
Vancouver from Scotland in 1910,
following grown sons to the city, and
finally Up-Coast. Nothing in previous
experience was a help in dealing with
this situation.
Mother at last accepted the danger.
The fire was coming. Her first idea was
to hurry home.
Sparks, horrifying additions to ash and
cinder, began to fall as her parents
argued, finally convinced her it could be
suicide. And, presumably, Dad was
better able to cope than were her
Scattered spot fires began to break out
in the dump, then in the moss. She
grabbed buckets and rushed downhill to
fill them with salt water, returning to
start the hopeless task of dousing flames.
She put me in the house for
safe-keeping, but my calm was gone,
and I screamed so loudly she brought
me out, and left me with Mrs. Kennedy.
It was lucky she did so, for as she
climbed   the   hill   again   the   house
exploded    into    flames. Windows
shattered, spears of flame yards long
shot skyward, seaward; the roof
collapsed in moments. Sparks blown by
the wind had lodged underneath the
house, smouldered unseen, finally
reached the combustion point.
Fires were now breaking out in patches
all over the headland, and on the neck
of land leading to it these small fires
soon joined together to reach across
from the small bay to the south-east
beach. A fiery barrier separated Mrs.
Kennedy, the boys and I, from the
We huddled beside Mrs. Kennedy. A
wall of flame hundreds-of-feet high
rushed toward us. 6
The smoke around us started to show
streaks of coloured light that flared and
died, and flared again in another spot
ever closer. Small fires kept breaking
out in the dried grass, twigs and bark
around. Most died as quickly as they
flared, blown out by the wind, but some
caught and held. The roar of the blaze
filled the ears, and grew in volume. As
it fed on its own momentum, the trees
exploded like tall, bushy, green
firecrackers set off in a chain reaction,
and the flames raced across the top of
the forest.
In logging parlance, the fire was
"crowning"., skipping form tree-top to
The pounding of the waves added to
the din. Bits of burning wood showered
around us, and into the ocean where
B.C. Historical News - Summer 91
8 they sent up geysers of steam.
Mrs. Kennedy rose and dropped her
sweater around our heads, led us along
the edge of the beach, heading for the
wharf. At last the rough planks of the
dock showed underfoot, though there
was added apprehension, for the sea was
making the dock creak and sway, and
spray from the larger waves spurted up.
Somehow, the smoke, the fire, the grey,
boiling sea, became one and the same
When we reached the wharfshed's
shelter, flames were showing on the
dock's landward end. And, beside us,
were many gasoline drums, waiting to
be hauled to the logging camp. Now,
the world consisted of grey smoke, grey
sea, the red, leaping tongues of fire, and
the roar of Nature out of control.
I was too young to think of death. It
was merely fear of hurt, of intense
discomfort, bewilderment that the adult
world was unhappy and confused. For
till now, the adult world had always
been in control. This was different.
The fire was a gigantic orange-and-grey
howling monster. And its hold on the
wharfs planking did not go away. The
flames stayed and grew, and came ever
closer. The air was hot and hard to
Muffled by the sounds and the heavy
smoke-veil sounded a boat whistle. In
memory it went on for a long time,
sometimes, fading, as the men tried to
locate the wharf. But it could not have
been too long. Mrs. Kennedy kept
calling, and at last the men's voices
answered, then, dimly, through the
murk, showed the shape of the Babo,
the Stillwater 7 boom-boat.
Pitching and rearing like a rodeo
stallion, it came close, then was carried
out of sight. Again it appeared, bow-on,
the men on board, in their
suspender-hung work pants, their cork
boots, shouting instructions. At last a
rope thudded onto the wharf, and Mrs.
Kennedy managed to slip it around a
A man managed to get from the
pitching boat onto the dock, and he
secured the craft. Several men swarmed
onto the dock, I was scooped up by one,
and he leaped down onto the narrow,
pitching deck beneath with me under
one arm like a blanket roll.    All was
shouting and confusion.
By the time we were all in the tiny
cabin things felt better. Somewhere
along the way order had to be brought
back, and who better to do it than these
strong-armed men in their
sharp-toothed boots?
The Babo stood alternately on its bow
and then its stern; it rolled as far as a
boat can. None of us children cried at
any point; apparently there is a point
where even children do not cry.
We were taken to Myrtle Point,
though Stillwater was closer, likely
because it was felt at that time the fire
would wipe out Stillwater.
At Myrtle Point we were taken in by
different logging families living at the
beach camp. My family had a father
who was dark-haired and
dark-moustached, like my own father,
which helped, but it was surely a
measure of the trauma gone through
that I was so content amongst strangers.
Shortly after the next Union
Steamship boat arrived at Myrtle Point,
while I was perched high on my host's
shoulder, through the open door came
She and her parents had saved
themselves by groping their way out
onto the bare, rocky mound of the
headland's extremity. The Kennedys
had saved their home. Dad had saved
ours. He had had a lively time: An
English neighbour, Mr. Lane, whose
wife was visiting from Vancouver, had
left his wife with Dad. A further guest
was a milk cow brought and left by
another neighbour.
I was taken home to Dad through a
changed and desolate, other-side-of-the-
moon     world. Fallen     timbers
smouldered amongst blackened, upright
snags some of which still held wavering
tongues of flame. The earth was burnt
brown, and powdery; the corrosive
smell of fire was as overpowering now as
that of the smoke earlier. No bird sang,
for all were dead; no animal moved; the
only colour was the feathery green head
of a single tall fir that had been spared
by some weird freak of Nature, and
which still stood, two-hundred yards
from our clearing. The only green for
miles around.
In the midst of this changed,
black-and-grey, monotoned world, our
home stood, calm, inviting, its shake
roof half-hidden with masses of damp
gunny sacks.
The Barret homestead that was saved from fire.
Barret daughter and her husband, taken in early
Kelsey McLeod grew up on the Malaspina
Peninsula, where her parents and grandparents
were among the first settlers at Lang Bay. She
has published many articles on coastal logging,
and aspects of B. C. history. This is her third
article in the BRITISH COLUMBIA
1. As much as possible, the "old" names are given,
ie.: Gordon Pasha Lakes for the now Lois and
Khartoum Lakes; Wolfson Cr. for the now Lang
2. Myrtle Point. (At this time the Peninsula and
Texada Is. amounted to a vast and prosperous
logging empire, its lodestone the green gold of the
timber. Brooks, Scanlon, O'Brien was centered at
Stillwater, Brooks Bidlake had a shingle-bolt camp
at Wolfson Creek. Bloedel, Stewart and Welch
were at Myrtle Point; other smaller companies
were also in operation. The trees were felled far
inland, in some cases had first to be boomed and
towed down lakes to railhead. Railways were the
usual mode of transport.)
3. Location of Barrett home. George Barrett
pre-empted this land in 1914. "When I got off
the boat at the Wolfson Bay float, I had to hire an
Indian in a dugout to paddle me over to where I
wanted to go." (Float was in bay at mouth of
Wolfson Cr.)
4. Kennedy home.
5. Young home. The log dump and the wharf are to
left. Road leads inland from bay.
6. Arrows give general direction of fire.
7. Stillwater.
8. Wolfson Bay was the original name for Lang Bay.
The now Kelly Point in that area was originally
known as Black point.
9. Brooks Bidlake had been wiped out by the fire,
but the Stillwater logging operation continued, as
its timber stands had been spared. But the glory
days of the Malaspina's logging empire were gone.
B.C. Historical News • Summer 91 The New England Company on Kuper Island
by Audrey M. Ginn
Village Bay - Kuper Island now known as Lamalchi Bay.
William Conn pre-empted Section 1
at Lamalchi Bay on Kuper Island
recording his claim in the Lands Office
in Victoria on June 13, 1870. He held
the 100 acres until his death in 1877.
Conn cleared land, built a small house
and a good sized barn, planted fruit
trees and worked hard to develop the
The New England Company
(correctly titled "The Company for
Propagation of the Gospel in New
England and Parts Adjacent in
America") purchased Conn's claim in
1880. Under the guidance of Reverend
Robert James Roberts much research
was done before this property was
chosen. Henry Slye Manson had
formally acquired Section 1 on the 22nd
of June, 1880 for the payment of $100.
The Certificate of Title was transferred
to the New England Company on July
5, 1880.
Reverend Roberts had served since
1862 at Bayfield, Huron County,
Ontario as a missionary to the Six
Nations people. When he accepted a
position with the New England
Company he undertook the challenges
of serving Indians and Whites in the
Chemainus district.    The original log
house was enlarged, and more rooms
added on to accommodate a growing
family or the many overnight visitors
from Victoria or surrounding parts.
The Mission was built with lumber
milled in the Askew Waterwheel Mill in
Chemainus, then towed over to
Lamalchi Bay. The floor boards, 38 feet
long had no knot holes and no joins in
the wood. (The building has had a new
roof, and the foundation has been
replaced, but those floor boards are still
in use.) This Anglican Mission served
as a school, meeting hall and church. It
was used for weddings, baptisms,
funerals and church services. Residents
on Thetis Island could come to service
by boat or on foot or in horse and
buggy as a bridge connected Thetis with
Kuper Island until 1946. Citizens from
Chemainus came to service when
weather permitted.
The Roberts spent a great deal of their
time tending the ills of Whites and
Indians alike. Whenever necessary they
travelled by boat. One very ill lady
dying of cancer was visited regularly
though it entailed rowing almost 8
miles. The lady and her small son both
died and were buried in the "Little
Cemetery". When Mrs. Roberts was at
term, Reverend Roberts and his son
Percy went by boat to fetch a doctor
from Ladysmith. Mrs. Roberts was left
in the care of an elderly native woman
who could not speak or understand
English. Robert's diary tells us that the
native lady prepared a tea of leaves and
rosehips for the patient, who drank it
much against her will. By the time the
doctor arrived the baby had been
delivered. The doctor assured Mrs.
Roberts and her family that the tea had
saved the life of both the mother and
the new daughter, Mary, born
November 15, 1883.
I have read the diary compiled by
Reverend Roberts in 1891 and will share
a few of the day to day entries.
Jan. 25. 1891-
Sunday Divine Service well attended
by Whites, Half breeds and Indians.
Jan. 26 -
Percy brought us the sad news of our
friend Mr. Severne of Thetis Island,
and Mr. Grey, proprietor of the
Chemainus Hotel, drowning. Late last
night Severne's body was found on the
beach near his home.
Jan. 27 -
Percy went to Thetis Island to assist
in bringing Severne's body for burial
here in our little cemetery.
Feb.12 -
A snow storm nearly all day. (Most
of February Snow. More people came
and due to a storm stayed all night. It
reads like a hotel register . . .and this
before electric light and running water.)
March -
Reverend Roberts was tending the
ills of those on adjacent islands,
travelling by boat from his isolated
April 3 -
The body of Mr. Grey, drowned
January 22, was found yesterday
evening. Mr. Grey's body was interred
B.C. Historical News • Summer 91
10 in our little cemetery. After burial the
inquest was held in our home. A
sudden storm, almost a hurricane,
came while I was reading the burial
service. We had to provide
refreshments for 40 or 50 people.
April 18-
We had a little "Bee" to clean the
cemetery and cut down dead trees.
May 13-
Went to Chemainus to give
instructions to half breeds preparing
for confirmation.
May 23 -
We finished work on cemetery
grounds and hung two gates.
Indian Agent called.
Mav 28 -
The Bishop (Hills) dedicated the
cemetery. In the evening he baptized
two Indian children, one adult
Englishman and confirmed four
persons. We had the chancel
completed and new matting laid down
the aisle. More than twenty people
had Divine Service with us and some
remained for the night. Our sleeping
accommodation being taxed to the
Dec, 7 -
Last night and all forenoon the wind
blew from the south right into our Bay
with great force and there was a very
high tide. Huge logs were hurled by
the waves against the picket fence,
destroying about fifty yards of it,
breaking boards and uprooting posts.
The pickets were floating about in the
debris. My sons and I managed to pull
most of them out of the water.
Dec. -
Spent the next few days repairing
Missionary work entailed far more
than Bible teaching. Reverent Roberts
was called upon to write letters, draw up
wills, tend the sick, and act as
peacemaker on occasion. The good
gentleman passed away in 1905, leaving
his mark on the history of our area.
The New England Company operated
this Mission on the coast as well as a dry
land Mission at Lytton. (The inland
mission was described in "Intrepid in
the Name of God" by Pixie McGeachie
in Vol. 23 No. 3)
Roy Wilfred Ginn, a Vancouver
marine lawyer, purchased the Mission
building in 1933, and in 1937 became
the proud owner of Section 1, the
original Conn Claim. The Mission
building had been neglected and was in
need of much repair. When windows
had been replaced, repairs done and
clean-up completed, the Mission
became the Ginn sumer home.
Reverend John Antle of the Columbia
Coast Mission sailed The Reverie from
Vancouver to Lamalchi Bay (no mean
feat for one in his mid 80s) to conduct a
wedding on July 16, 1949. He joined
in marriage Roy Wilfred Ginn and
Audrey Mavis Saunders. The original
Mission register was signed on this date,
and the book then returned to the
Anglican Church Archives.
The farm, known as "Folded Hills",
was operated continuously from Conn's
time, first by the Roberts family then by
caretakers and various farmers. In 1952
Roy Ginn took a Swiss farmer, Rene
Moeri, with his Swiss diplomas, into a
farm partnership. He raised a herd of
Brown Swiss pedigreed cattle, which
were in demand for sale in South
America. The fruit trees continue to
bear excellent fruit as they did during
my years on Kuper Island.
One summer day I heard a faint
knock on the door of the farmhouse. A
frail very elderly lady stood there. She
asked, "May I come into my old home?"
She was Mary Roberts, the baby born
there in 1883. We talked for a while,
and she told me she was the only white
child to be given a native name by the
Lamalchi tribe. As I readied the tea tray
I heard a familiar call at the gate. Basil
Charlie and two of his grandsons had
walked over from the village for a cup of
tea. I asked him if he could recognize
my guest. The two looked at each other
for a long moment then greeted each
other by their Indian name. That
delightful reunion of old friends leaves
me with a very pleasant memory.
Section 1 is the only white property
on Kuper Island. It was registered long
before the Indian Reserve was
established. The Indian Reserve is 2300
acres; Section 1, 100 acres. The
cemetery was initially in the hands of
the   Anglican    Synod,    then   it   was
included in the Ginn property. In 1964
I gave the little cemetery to the
Chemainus Valley Historical Society.
Ill health forced me to move from
Lamalchi Bay in 1971 but my heart is
warmed with memories of the William
Conn pre-emption.
The writer is a charter member of the
Chemainus Valley Historical Society. Prior to
1953 she lived in Vancouver.
The Provincial Archives of B.C.
The late Mr. Bruce McKelvie
The late Mr. Roy W. Ginn
This Photograph shows a Sunday gathering of
Thetis and Kuper Island residents and was taken
at the Mission residence in Lamalchi Bay on
Kuper Island, c. 1904.
Helping out with the Ceremonial Sod-Turning at
the site of the future Chemainus Museum are
(from left) founding Chemainus Historical
Society member Audrey Ginn, society president
Corrie Veistrup and MLA Graham Bruce.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 91 Kamano - A Kanaka
by Margaret Nicholls
The first contacts between the
Hawaiian Islands and the Northwest
were made with the voyages of Captain
Cook. However, the Hawaiians already
knew of another land "out there" for
King Kamehameha, the Conqueror,
built his largest and best canoes from fir
trees that washed up on his coast. The
islands soon became a supply depot for
fresh food and a wintering place for fur
traders travelling between Canton and
the Northwest. Hawaiians (Kanakas),
with the permission of their king, soon
began to sign on as sailors of the ships
going between Nootka, Oregon and
In Meares' "Voyages Made in the
Years 1788 - 89", he relates, how, sailing
from Canton on his second voyage he
had several Kanakas on board. They
had been to China and were going to
return home with him via the
Northwest   coast. When   Captain
William Barkley and his seventeen year
old bride came to Nootka in 1787 she
had a young Hawaiian girl as her maid.
One would be the first European
woman and the other the first Hawaiian
woman to reach the shores of
Vancouver Island (not yet named.)
During John Jacob Astor's stay at the
mouth of the Columbia he too
employed Hawaiians. When the
Northwest Company took over Astor's
post they kept the Hawaiians in their
employ and increased their number.
From this time on there was a small but
steady stream of permanent
When the Northwest Company and
the Hudson's Bay merged in March
1821 they continued to expand relations
with Hawaii. In 1827 they sent
McMillan to explore the mouth of the
Fraser and establish a fort. Kanakas
were with his expedition. In the late
1840s Kanakas were at Fort Rupert
working at the newly established coal
fields. William McNeil, Captain of the
Beaver said of Fort Rupert . . . landing
at  Beaver  Harbour,   with forty   men,
whites, halfbreeds and Kanakas during the
summer of 1849 work was vigorously
prosecuted, which resulted in a
quadrangular stockade, with interior
gallery, two bastions mounting four nine
pounders and the usual store houses,
workshops, officer's quarters and laborer's
cottages. In 1852 Kanakas also came to
Nanaimo with the first coal miners sent
from Fort Rupert to the superior
mining area. Pioneer writers mention
Kanakas as boatmen, laborers, miners,
gardeners, millmen, cooks and at least
one preacher, Kanaka William.
Our story is about Kanaka George
Kamano and his descendants. He was
born in 1822 in Tahiti and was sent to
England to be educated. There are
conflicting stories as to where he joined
the Hudson's Bay Company. Family
records say in England but Hudson's
Bay records have him sailing from
Woahoo (Oahu) in 1854 for the
western department at Fort Rupert. His
name in the records is spelt, Kaumana,
Kumana, Kamano and Kemana - all
proved to be the same man.
Kamano remained at Fort Rupert for
sixteen years employed in various
capacities. At one time he was in charge
when the chief trader was at Fort
Simpson. With Kamano at the fort was
Robert Hunt, a Dorset man who had
joined the Hudson's Bay Company in
1849 and arrived on the immigrant ship
Norman Morison in 1850. He became
chief Indian trader and married a
Tlingit Chiefs daughter, Mary Ebbets,
and so became the patriarch of the
Hunt family and ancestor of many
celebrated artists and carvers. (In 1958
Kwakiutl Henry Hunt and his
father-in-law, Mungo Martin, carved a
pole for H.RH. Queen Elizabeth.
Today it stands in Windsor Park,
In May 1862, the Royal Mail Steamer
Packet Shannon set sail from
Southampton. On board were a
number of young men coming to settle
on Vancouver Island.   Twelve of them
who had become good friends were
known as "The Twelve Apostles" by
their fellow passengers. (Two of them
were sons of clergymen.) On their
arrival in Victoria Attorney General
Carey advised the twelve to take up land
at Comox. One of these was George
Ford who pre-empted on the Puntledge
River. Still restless, he leased his land
and went to Fort Rupert where he acted
as a trader. Hunt, Ford and Kamano all
married Indian girls that were daughters
of local chiefs. All three have
confirmation of their fathers-in-law
chief status.
In the summer of 1863 Oblate Father
Pandosy, Father Grandidier and Brother
Blanchet were sent to establish the
mission of Assumption close to Fort
Rupert. In spite of the fact that the
Hudson's Bay men were uncooperative
with the Fathers a cabin was built and
they moved in on the 18th of December
of that year. Kamano became friendly
with the Fathers and his children were
given early instruction by them.
However, the Fort Rupert mission was
never a successful one and the Fathers
moved to remote Harbledown Island
(50 degrees 34 Lat - 126 degrees 35
Long) and established St. Michael's
Mission. In his 1860 survey Captain
Richards had noted the island's location
but had not named it. He noted that it
was wooded and hilly but uninhabited
by Europeans. Commander Pender,
aboard the Beaver, named the island
Harbledown and it appears as such on
the British Admiralty Chart in 1867.
Harbledown is a village in east Kent,
just west of Canterbury, and was
probably the birthplace of one of the
men on the Beaver at the time of the
survey. Another possibility of the origin
of the island's name is that Pender was
reading Canterbury Tales, for
Harbledown is the "Little Town" of
Chaucer's Tales.
On Harbledown the Oblates with
Kamano's help began building. In 1870
the H.M.S.  Sparrowhawk visited the
B.C. Historical News • Summer 91
12 island and reported the following to the
Victoria Colonist, "The day we arrived
we visited the Mission and found Father
Fouquet holding service to about 40
Indians...the missionaries have built a
school house and a dwelling house with
a chapel attached, a barn, a workshop,
cowhouse, and several outhouses besides
clearing about an acre and a half of
ground in which a variety of vegetables,
fruit trees and medicinal herbs are
growing. They also grew a small
quantity of oats last year. They have a
cow and a few fowls. Hitherto the
results have not been great as regards the
Indians, as the language is a very
difficult one....they have given them
seeds to plant, fowls, pigs, etc. in order
to attach them to the post as their
nomadic habits having hitherto proved a
great    drawback." The     Oblates
complained that the Indians were the
"most depraved" they had encountered
and those who could be "reformed"
were already under the influence of the
Protestant William Duncan, founder of
the model Indian village at Metlakatla
near Fort Simpson on the mainland.
In 1847 after eleven years missionary
work, the Fathers withdrew as they were
needed at more successful missions.
Commenting on the failure of the
mission, Father Le Jacq said, "We
taught them how to cultivate potatoes,
we baptized many dying children, we
brought a few to a better life and finally
- we left them to their fate."
The Kamano family stayed on
Harbledown after the Oblates left. It
wasn't until 1910 that a school was
built. This     served     Kamano's
grandchildren but his own children had
to be sent away to school. Mary Ann,
the eldest came to Nanaimo to St. Ann's
Convent. Here she became well known
for her beautiful singing voice and her
dressmaking skills, being especially
adept at "whaleboning" much in
demand by Nanaimo ladies. Mary Ann
was also fluent in a number of Northern
Indian dialects and acted as court
interpreter when Indians were brought
south for trial.
It was her beautiful voice that attracted
Henry Oscar Merenz of Dunkier,
Norway, a son of a shipbuilder in Oslo
(then Kristiania). Henry being a
foreigner was not able to own land in
the company town of Nanaimo. His
mother in Norway wrote and suggested
that he legally have his named changed
to her maiden name "Thames". "No
one would doubt that Thames was
English although the word's origin is
Norwegian," she wrote. So Henry
became Henry Oscar Thames, often
called Harry. He and Mary Ann
Kamano were married about 1879.
Henry was a fine oarsman and sailor.
Racing was popular in Nanaimo and
Henry's team comprised men who have
played a significant part in Nanaimo's
history, Fiddick, Magisrate Franklyn,
John Biggs and Coxswain John Sabiston
Jr. Harry also skippered for Robert
Dunsmuir's son-in-law, John Bryden.
He won prizes for Bryden in 24th of
May celebrations competing against
men of his rowing team.
Henry's other abilities included
contracting, building and undertaking.
In 1882 he was the shipwright when
Chauncey Carpenter had the barque
Nanaimo built. It was the largest sea
going vessel built on the coast to that
date. He and Mary Ann delighted in
the launching ceremony which featured
the Nanaimo Brass Band playing string
music. The gala event described by the
press was held on the 31st of October,
November 20th  1878.
& Thames
Contractors, Builders, and
All Descriptioa of Carpentering and
Joiner work executed.
made to any model or diiuentions.
made to order on the shortest notice, and
Funerals carefully conducted.
Orders left with W.  E.  Webb   Victoria
Crescent will be attended to.
Shop,   Winfield   Crescent,   Residences,
Wentworth and Selby Streets Nanaimn.
Parties requiring Flans and SpecL6cat-
ions can have them prepared by  apply-
In 1893 Oscar and Mary Ann moved
their family to Big Qualicum to an area
later named Bowser, honoring Premier
Bowser. Qualicum Tom, well known
guide and hostelier influenced Henry's
decision to move. Their wives knew
each other and there is some possibility
that they were related. Tom's wife,
Anna James, came from Fort Rupert
and was a sister to George Ford's wife
Mary James, daughters of Fort Rupert
Chief, Kla Kwa Keela. The chief was
nick-named Captain James because he
piloted British gun boats through the
treacherous waters of the strait. His
brother, Chief Heenagalla, helped
Captain Richards with his survey in
Henry thought the Qualicum area an
excellent place to bring up his family of
five. Three more children were born in
their new home. He was not a farmer
but did clear a small garden plot and
orchard which Mary Ann tended. He
earned his living fishing for the plentiful
dog fish whose oil was extracted for
lamps of the pit miners at Nanaimo,
Wellington and Union (later
Henry had several properties in
Nanaimo. The first four years he rowed
his dory there to collect rents and bring
back supplies. Sometimes all the family
travelled with him. Hilda Elizabeth, the
eldest daughter, often accompanied
him, bivouacking on the beach coming
and going. He claimed all his girls were
good cooks and could make bannock
over the campfire. In 1897 a road was
put through and Thames Creek was
bridged so the family was able to travel
by wagon.
Henry, a Lutheran, died on his
holdings at Qualicum and was buried
on his property about 1902. Mary Ann
died in 1905, still in her early 40's, and
she was buried in St. Peter's churchyard
in Nanaimo. The young family
scattered for a time but three members
came back to Bowser. Their daughter
Agnes, married to Jack Holt, ran the
store and post office, a son Oswald
fished and Oscar Jr., a twin who had
been born in Nanaimo on the 10th of
July 1887 was a boat builder. He had
been sent to school in Alert Bay where
grandfather Kamano now lived. From
there he went to New Westminster's St.
Joseph's College where Kamano still
knew the Fathers. During his early life,
family outings to Denman Island to visit
Mary and George Ford were looked
forward to as an adventure.   From their
B.C. Historical News - Summer 91 home on the cliff by Thames Creek, the
only light they could see was that of
Ford's home - it made them feel like
At age 14, under grandfather
Kamano's supervision, Oscar built his
first boat, an Indian dugout in which he
caught a 78 pound salmon on his first
trip out. He claimed it was a boat his
grandfather Merenz would have been
proud of. Many years later he went to
Norway and taught his shipbuilding
family how to build an Indian style
dugout. He used a tool like a small
mattock for he claimed he had better
control than with a hatchet. In his
lifetime he built over one hundred boats
of edge-grained split cedar from trees
that he felled in an open space after
noting which side of the tree was clearer
of limbs. His boats were built with a
wide concave bow to knock down the
spray and to withstand the choppy local
In 1914 Oscar went overseas with the
54th Battalion. He saw action at Vimy
Ridge and in 1916 was seriously
wounded. He was the first Canadian
soldier to recuperate at Glamis Castle,
the home of Queen Mother Elizabeth
Bowes    Lyons. Oscar    had    fond
memories of Elizabeth who was often on
the wards. For the rest of his life he
carried a tattered, yellowed paper from
the Legion that proved he was the first
Canadian at Glamis Castle.
However, Oscar had another Elizabeth
on his mind at the time for he had met a
nurse, Elizabeth Elliott, and had fallen
in love. She was born in 1892 and was
from Cudsworth near Birmingham. In
April 1917 Oscar had recovered enough
to be sent back to Canada for further
recuperation. Before he set sail he
married Elizabeth so that she could
return with him. Ever since their
marriage, Elizabeth referred to her
husband as "Osmon". He disliked his
given name Oscar and asked her to call
him Osmond. She always did in spite
of the confusion it often caused.
In October they arrived in Bowser, a
village of three houses - a real culture
shock for Elizabeth. The station she
arrived at was an old boxcar beside the
tracks. The ranch that she thought she
was coming to she described as "a sort of
hole   in   the   big   trees   with   enough
clearing for a horse and a cow". Oscar
teased her the rest of her life about the
speed at which she raced to the house
from the creek after sighting a bear. A
bear and carrying water had never been
part of her previous life. She later
claimed that she cried herself to sleep
for the first six months. Her only close
neighbour was her sister-in-law Agnes
Holt. Little did Elizabeth know that
she would spend another seventy years
in the community.
Things did not go well for them at
first. They lost their few months old
baby in the 'flu epidemic of 1918.
Oscar was in and out of hospital due to
his war injuries and Elizabeth was
hospitalized with a serious illness.
Another son was born to them in
Cumberland in 1920. They named him
1  4-
Parksville to Nile Creek and Bowser.
Oscar had several hours to spend in
Parksville between mail trains so spent
this time building boats for Parksville
Their son Cyril, now graduated from
High School, took carpenter's training
but didn't like house building so started
building boats. He had been whittling
toy boats since a child. With the
outbreak of World War II Cyril joined
the Fisherman's Reserve branch of the
Royal Canadian Naval Reserve. Because
of his knowledge of West Coast waters
he spent thirty-eight months patrolling
in the Pacific in converted fish boats.
This branch was absorbed into the
Royal Naval Volunteer Reserves and he
served here as a shipwright like his
Norwegian ancestors. Cyril married
Anne Magee, a great niece of George
4-j.   *
Bowser, B.C. -Dec. 11, 1917. Left-Mrs. Fred Madderson, centre - Elizabeth Thames, Right-Mrs.
Jack Holt, Kemano's grandaughter.
Life improved and they became active
in the growing community. Mr.
Thames continued building boats of his
own design and for extra income they
fished for salmon from a rowboat.
Oscar became the soccer coach and
manager for the Bowser United team
which defeated Parksville, Alberni and
Cumberland for the upper island
trophy. They organized whist drives,
held dances in the old school house that
the Thames family built. In July 1932,
Oscar and Elizabeth took over the rural
mail route, operating from Parksville.
They did this for fifteen years travelling
from     Craig's    Crossing    south    of
Ford the first pre-emptor on Denman
After further training in ship building
he returned to Bowser in 1946 and
opened the Thames Boat Works which
soon became well known for exceptional
craftsmanship from Seattle north. He
built cruisers, pleasure craft and big
deep-sea commercial fishing boats. One
42-footer, the Ariana, was featured in
Safeway advertising, others have been on
calendars and covers of fishing and
boating magazines. More than one of
his boats has been chosen "Boat of the
Year". His biggest was a 53 foot
pleasure cruiser, the Hinemoa (Maori
B.C. Historical News - Summer 91
14 for beautiful princess).
George Kamano lived to be 97, dying
at Alert Bay in 1919. The descendants
of Kamano and "Twelve Apostles" still
live in many communities of Northern
Vancouver Island.
In 1947 the Canadian Hydrographic
Service renamed a small island, formerly
Coffin Island, as Kamano Island. (In
former years Kwakiutl Indians had
placed their dead relatives high in the
trees of this small island, hence Coffin
Island.) The fishermen in the area also
unofficially call a section of their fishing
grounds Kamano Sound. The Kitlope
Indian village is named Kamano and is
situated on Kamano Bay. There is also
a Kamano River, navigable inland by
canoe for about ten miles.    All these
names are a fiting memorial to Kanaka
George Kamano who came to
Vancouver Island 136 years ago.
Margaret "Peggy" Nicholls is a charter member
of the Nanaimo Historical Society. She has been
researching the history of Kamano and his family
fir several years.
Bancroft -
The Works of Hubert Bancroft. Volume
XXXII, pages 327-771
Blue, George Verne -
"Early Relations between Hawaii and the
Northwest Coast"
Hawaiian Historical Society Annual Report
1925, p. 16-22
Blue, G.V -
The Hudson's Bay Contract for Hawaiian
Labour 1840 ( a translation ) Oregon
Quarterly 1924, p. 72-75
Cronin, Kay -
Cross in the Wilderness - Mitchell Press,
Vancouver, Canada 1959
Holman, P. -
1933 essay Up the Kidope with John Paul.
Paul was an Indian Cheif whose home was
Kamano village.
Hudson's Bay Co. Archives, Winnipeg - file
B 226/g/17
Newspapers -
Nanaimo Free Press - 24 April, 1874
Nanaimo Free Press - 27 May, 1874
Nanaimo Free Press - 20 Nov., 1878
Nanaimo Free Press - Aug., 1882 (many
The Victoria Colonist - 28 April, 1870
The Late Trip of H.M.S. Sparrowhawk
The Daily Colonist - 20 April, 1972. p.
The Daily Colonist - 14 Feb., 1971, p. 16
Parksville Progress - 29 April, 1980
Marqaret A. ORiwsby, Vernon
Two recipients of the newly created Order of British Columbia
are valuable members of the B.C. Historical Federation. We
congratulate Dr. Margaret Ormsby and Col. Gerry Andrews.
Dr. Ormsby is described as the dean of British Columbia's
historians" and one who "interprets eloquently B.C. as a
province within the Canadian nation and as part of a larger
international community."
The Royal B.C. Museum has established The Margaret Ormsby
Lectureship in B.C. History." The first lecture was given
February 22, 1991 by Ormsby herself, telling the history of
Coldstream in the Okanagan based on research for her recent
book, Nulli Secundus.
GeraIcJ SMEdlEy AncIrews, Vjctorja
Gerry Andrews was a teacher, a land surveyor, a forester,
an engineer and a writer. He initiated the use of aerial
photography in B.C. in 1931 and adapted this method of
surveying for wartime reconnaissance in Europe during
World War II, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He
became Surveyor General of British Columbia, directing
many projects here and abroad. Since retiring in 1968
Gerry has done considerable research and writing,
travelling within his home city of Victoria on a bicycle and
throughout the province in his well equipped van. Colonel
Andrews served as President of the B.C. Historical
Federation from 1972-74 and as Honorary President
1983-86. He continues to participate in many B.C.
Historical meetings and projects.
The presentation of the Order of British Columbia took
place in Government House in Victoria in June 1990. Since
then Gerald Andrews travelled to Ottawa where he was
invested with the Order of Canada in April 1991.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 91 The Ring of the Axe,  The Song of the Saw
by W.J.H. (Jack) Fleetwood
Since ancient times the axe and the saw have played an integral part in the building of empires. Mention is
made of both tools in the Bible's First Book of Kings, in the description of the buildings of King Solomon's
Temple, in which saws were even used to cut stone.
In our country, poetess Isabella Valancy Crawford, in her famous poem, The Song of the Axe, written in
1857, implored:
Joite aeefi cmdtmde, 0 <s&xe, the foee/
yvhatcfoth thu 6o(d'twice fiMmi&e me?
3n evebu bMwei unama Mow
Indeed, more than any other tool the
axe was the most valuable that the
pioneer possessed, assisting him in
creating his clearing in the forest for his
field, and for the fashioning of his
The first axes to appear in Canada's
most western province were
single-bladed, such as were used in the
eastern provinces and states. Trees were
chopped down with this item, proven
adequate for eastern timber, but when
lumbering operations commenced in
coastal British Columbia, chopping
down the huge Douglas fir, red cedar,
and spruce, with single-bladed axes was
a slow and backbreaking job. This
situation was remedied by the coming of
the double-bitted axe, with its long
narrow blade that bit deeply into the
boles of the forest monsters of ten and
twelve feet in diameter.
About 1868, the first of what was
called the Puget Sound type, weighing
three and three-quarter to five and
one-half pounds, produced in Maine,
appeared on the coast, with a much
heavier double-bitted swamping axe,
used for general woods work, at the
same time.
In 1925 I interviewed an old retired
faller, who told me that the popular axe
in coastal camps in the 1880's was the
Crown Jewel, manufactured in Dundas,
Ontario. When I started falling in
1933, the favored brands were Smart's
Sager, Walter, and Plumb. This last,
which I still use, is shown in the picture.
As mentioned, the first timber logged
on the coast was chopped down, then
the tree was sawed into whatever log
lengths the sawmill desired. Saws were
not used for falling, as the first saws on
the coast were slow cutting heavy
ribbons of steel, called "salmon-bellies"
because of their shape. As they had only
cutting teeth, and no raking teeth, they
only threw out dust. Also, the first six
to eight feet of the old-growth fir was
usually very hard, and contained seams
of pitch, which not only gummed up
the saw in it's operation, but was not
wanted by the mill, as it made inferior
To exclude this undesirable section of
tree, the fallers would go up four to ten
feet before chopping or sawing. This
was achieved by chopping notches into
the trunk of the tree and inserting
spring-boards, one on each side of the
tree, on which the faller would stand.
The boards, about four feet long, with a
six inch face, were rounded at the insert
end, and tipped with a horseshoe-like
piece of steel, with a cleat, which held
the board in the notch. A pair of fallers
could manoeuvre the boards by
bouncing, into any position they chose
without moving off the boards.
Large red cedar were usually very
swelled at ground level. This the
sawmill couldn't handle, so fallers
chopped, or sawed, well above the
swellings. On a piece of my property I
have a cedar stump fifteen feet in height,
with three sets of springboard notches. I
well remember the day in 1924 when
this particular cedar tree was felled by
two Chinese fallers and the material cut
into shinglebolts.
Introduction of the saw as a tool for
falling trees speeded production of logs
considerably. Two brothers from the
Shetland Islands, Robert and Thomas
Colvin, pioneer settlers of the Cowichan
Station area south of Duncan, on
Vancouver Island, are credited with
falling the first tree downed with a saw,
in Cowichan Country, in the spring of
1884. Seeing the brothers using a saw
for falling -something that hadn't been
done here- John McPherson, a Scottish
farmer and logging contractor, was so
B.C. Historical News - Summer 91
16 astounded that he rushed up to the
couple, waving his hands and shouting
in his brogue "Gentlemen, gentlemen,
stoppitit now. Ye'll spoilit the saw."
Exhibit No. 1, in the photo, is the
actual heavy two-tooth to the raker saw
used by the Colvin brothers.
a Japanese crew (with the idea of
learning that language, an idea quickly
discouraged by my co-workers, who
knew a war with the west would
eventually come) the most desired
falling and bucking saws were the
Pacific Coast pattern Royal Chinook,
which they were to the uninitiated.
A set of fallers consisted of two fallers
and a bucker. In the larger camps, the
Scandinavians predominated, and were
very hard workers. They earned big
money and spent it freely when they hit
town.    The fallers'  tools consisted of
Left to right: Crosscut pole saw, stump, with springboard inserted and falling axe. No. 1 — Crosscut saw used to fall first tree felled in
Chowichan district, Vancouver Island, with a saw.   1884.   Nos. 2 & 3 — Seven foot bucking and seven foot falling saws used by the
author when a logging operator.  No. 4 — Whip (or pit) saw, used by Colvin brothers to handcut lumber fir author's house and sheds.
Author holding springboard  Below Saws — Sledgehammer and falling wedges and swamping axe. Photo by Shirley Green 11991.
As sawing became the accepted way of
falling timber, saws with two cutting
teeth and one raker, in groups along
their six to nine foot lengths gradually
improved. This    and    the    early
bridge-tooth type, gave way to the
lance-toothed falling saw, with groups of
four cutting teeth and one raker, and it's
heavier companion, used to buck the
tree into lengths. The teeth did the
cutting, while the raker caught and
pushed the long string of cut material
from the cut.
At the turn of the century, the
Crescent was a popular make. When I
entered the woods in 1933 as a faller on
while some fallers preferred the Spear
and Jackson or Atkins. Speaking of this
latter make, I once viewed, with awe, a
falling saw twenty-two feet in length, on
display at Crescent City California, used
to fall the mighty redwoods of that
Falling saws varied in weight, from
seven and one-half lbs., with the
bucking saws a pound or so heavier.
"Swedish fiddle" was the nickname
given to the saw by woodsworkers,
probably because many of those in the
falling fraternity were Scandinavians. I
also heard them called "misery sticks",
their saw and axes, a set of springboards,
an eight-pound sledge hammer, two or
three long thin steel wedges, and an oil
bottle for each man. One man was
called the headfaller, who decided in
which direction the tree should fall.
The undercut was sawed into the tree,
approximately one-third, then chopped
out. The headfaller would put his axe in
the cut, sight along the handle, and line
up exactly where the tree was to fall. If
the tree leaned the wrong way wedges
were inserted into the back cut,
pounded into the cut, raising the tree.
Once on the ground, the bucker would
B.C. Historical News - Summer 91 take over, cutting the tree into logs. His
tools were the same as the fallers, except
no springboards, but his oil bottle, with
dogfish oil in early days, and later coal
oil, was always with him. I still
remember falling crews -this when I was
quite small- catching the pitch from the
large Douglas firs in empty four-gallon
coal oil tins, which when full would be
sold to local paint manufacturing
companies for use in the making of
Falling sets generally contracted with
the logging operator, or company, to fall
and buck timber at so much per
thousand board feet. Their daily cut
was computed by the scaler and they
were paid by his scale. In the bigger
operations the fallers would make "a
face" on their settings. This meant
working back and forth along the stand
of timber, laying each tree the same way,
like match sticks. In heavy stands of old
growth timber, they rarely had to
contend with much undergrowth. The
west coast of Vancouver Island was
however, an area of heavy jungle -the
rainforest- which had to be cleared
around each tree before falling could
Falling was a dangerous occupation.
Until it became mandatory in the early
1940's hard hats were not worn. Many
workers fell victim to "widow makers"
-limbs or chunks hanging in trees, that
came down as the tree fell, and
"sidewinders", which were smaller trees
hit by the falling tree, that shattered,
hitting the faller or bucker. There were
also defective trees that "barberchaired"
-trees that split and flew backwards,
injuring or killing the worker.
Sometimes dead snags, disturbed by the
removal of timber, would take the life of
the woodsman, or a bucker would be
crushed to death by a runaway log on a
mountain side.
The person determining the fortunes
of a falling set was the saw filer. His
delicate touch with his file on the steel
ribbon's teeth could add considerably to
the day's cut. If the saw didn't respond
to the expected results, the faller would
complain bitterly to the filer, telling him
"No macaroni comes out. You gotta do
better, boy." That meant improved
performance, or a change of camps for
both fallers and filer.
The fallers were recognized as the
forest workers that could make or break
a timber company, by falling the timber
-setting in a pattern, free of breakage,
and cutting the trees into the best grade
of logs. They were the elite of the
woods, sat by themselves, aloof, in the
camp cookhouse, and generally received
preferential treatment.
In the early days of logging, when the
"green gold" was pulled from the woods
on skidroads to the booming grounds or
sawmill, by oxen or horses, timber was
cut selectively. Only the desired trees
were taken, leaving the smaller trees to
grow and be cropped a couple of
decades or so later. When crawler
tractors were used in later years to yard
the yield of the forest, it was possible to
continue this early practice of
conservation. However, when the
highlead system, with it's powerful
steam donkey-engines, was introduced,
and mountainsides were stripped bare,
the picture changed radically.   Nothing
Author, showing inserted springboard, falling
axe, and crosscut pole
was left after logging was completed.
Even   the   sparse   mountain   soil  was
destroyed.    Then natural regeneration
took decades to once again clothe those
hillsides in greenery.
Then, as Canada was just beginning to
pull out of the Great Depression, and
B.C. sawmills began once more to sell
their products on world markets,
something happened that would
eventually still the song of the long steel
ribbon     forever. That    was    the
introduction   of the   gasoline-powered
chainsaw about 1936.
An inventor named Wulff is credited
with building the first chainsaw, at his
home in Germany in 1920, followed by
his countryman, Andreas Stihl, who in
1926 brought out an electrical powered
bucking machine, and in 1930, a
gasoline-powered model.
However, two years before Wulff
created his invention, a Manitoban,
James Shand, patented a chainsaw
powered by a lightweight, small gasoline
B.C. Historical News - Summer 91
18 motor, which drove a twenty-four inch
cutting chain. Shand tried to interest
principals of B.C. forest companies in
his invention without success, so in
1930 Shand dropped his patent.
By 1937, Stihl's firm in Germany were
manufacturing chainsaws and exporting
them worldwide. They slowly trickled
into the coastal woods, but many
companies were wary to accept them, as
they required the experienced attention
of both mechanics and filers. By 1939
the chainsaw had increased logging
production so much that it had wrested
the crown from the handfalling saw.
That year Canada went to war and
enemy products were outlawed, so Stihl
found a company in Massachusetts,
U.S.A, to manufacture and distribute
his saw in the North American market,
under the name "Timberhog". In 1940,
I worked on the Whittaker brothers
crew of fallers with such a machine,
which had proved very efficient and
relatively trouble-free.
With a war raging, imports became
hard to obtain, and loggers were being
called up for military service, so lumber
operators, swamped with orders, were
hard-put to fulfill the demands. Indeed,
the chainsaw had come along at the
right time. Fortunately for the timber
industry a company called I.E.L. started
manufacturing a chainsaw very similar
to the Stihl, in Vancouver. Their first
product was called a "Model K". Fully
equipped,   with   a  four-foot   bar   and
chain, and gasoline and oil, this monster
weighed about 145 lbs. This was the
machine I had when I started on my
own in the falling and bucking
contracting business, supplying the
needs of quite a number of local small
sawmills and 'gyppo" logging operators.
I often look with utter disbelief at some
of the mountainsides we scrambled up
with this, and similar, heavy saws, and
marvel how we did it.
As was usual, there was a four-man
crew. I hired a machineman, who ran
the saw, while I was the headfaller,
guiding the light end of the chainsaw
and determining where the tree was to
fall, after which the two buckets, with
crosscut saws, would cut the trees into
lengths. Two horizontal cuts were
made into the tree, for an undercut,
which was about eight to eighteen
inches in thickness, and was chipped
out with a special pickaxe. Sometimes
in rough, steep ground springboards
had to be used. I recall one particularly
scary occasion, when an eight foot
diameter fir tree was being felled on a
canyonside. The machine operator was
squashed up against a rock, with just
enough space to run the saw, while I
was on a springboard, with a forty foot
drop below me, operating the headend.
There I had to stay while the tree fell,
shattering chunks of maple and alder all
around me. After it was over, the
machineman put out a stout limb for
me to walk back onto solid ground.
Such        episodes        made        falling
interesting-and hazardous!
In the 1940s, quite a number of
makes of chainsaws appeared on the
scene, some manufactured in
Vancouver, some in eastern Canada and
the U.S.A, all using the "scratch-tooth"
chain, then improved to the
"chisel-chain", and finally to the
"gouge" - type in use now. Stihl's
creation is till a popular make
throughout the world.
Chainsaws were not always popular
with those who wanted to preserve the
forest. I remember in 1952 in the state
of Maine hearing the screaming of a
chainsaw on a hillside, and mentioning
it to a bystander, who remarked
heatedly, "They call this here state the
Pine Tree State, but if they let many
more of these dang powersaws in, there
ain't going to be no pine trees left!"
But, as with most labor saving
inventions, the chainsaw of today, so
light and efficient, is here to stay, and
has banished the crosscut saw -that
ribbon of steel that helped to build our
country- to the history books and their
stories of past years.
Jack Fleetwood is recognized as THE historian
of the Cowichan Valley. He has been writing
articles fir the local weekly newspaper, die
fifteen years old This is the first time he has
written fir the B.C. HISTORICAL NEWS
magazine; we hope it won't be the last
Coherence 1991
xx y
■ 'i *
* * * i 1
. fli
Delegates admire one of the logging engines at the Forest Museum, Duncan.    Don Sale, Daphne Paterson (Nanaimo), Mary Rawson (Vancouver),
May 11, 1991. Yvonne McDonald (Salmon Arm), Grace Dickie (Thetis Island).
B.C. Historical News - Summer 91 Bill Brown: Naval Veteran
by Frank Wade
-*■» ~c3fl** '
Bill Brown - 1990
For many years I have had the pleasure
of knowing one of Canada's oldest naval
veterans, if not the oldest. Bill Brown,
from Chemainus, will be ninety-three
years old this year, being born on 4th
April, 1889 in Cumberland, Vancouver
Island. His parents came up to Canada
by sea from San Francisco and settled in
Cumberland where his father worked in
the mines. Bill still has a steel trap
memory and is a great raconteur with a
sailor's quick wit and sense of humour.
He says that his mother never liked
Cumberland because it had nineteen
saloons. His father had an independent
frame of mind for those days. He was
on the miners' committee and
complained about gas in the mine and
was blacklisted by the owner.
Bill started work when he was fourteen
in the mine at South Wellington near
Nanaimo. He was a driver's helper
assisting with the underground horse
drawn coal carts. He was involved with
an accident when a horse was killed by a
loaded cart falling back on it. The
manager told those near the accident
that they would have to share the
seventy dollar cost of the horse. When
one of them complained that they might
have been hit by the cart, he was told
that there were plenty looking for work
above ground. So Bill decided that
mining wasn't for him and went down
to Victoria looking for work in Yarrows
shipyard. He had heard that the British
Cruiser Newcasde was being refitted
Through a friend he was told to stay at
the Coach and Horses pub in
Esquimalt. When he went down to
breakfast the first morning the landlady
a ked him why he was wearing his best
clothes. He replied that he thought he
should dress up to apply for a job. She
told him to change into his work
clothes because he would be working
that morning. So he went down to
Yarrows hiring office and asked for a
man that the landlady had told him
about. He was ordered to step around
the corner out of sight whilst the
foreman dealt with others and then was
immediately hired. He found out that
the landlady was paying off the foreman
so that she could get men to stay at her
The refit of the Newcasde was on a
cost plus basis and control by the navy
was non-existent. Many of the
dockyard maties had nothing to do.
Bill was one of them, so when he
became eighteen in 1917, he decided to
join the navy. There was no
conscription then, although it was
introduced later in the year after a
parliamentary crisis.
The Royal Canadian Navy was
established on 4th May, 1910 after the
Royal Navy had provided naval
protection for Canada since the early
nineteenth century.
The way was cleared for Great Britain
to assume control of the west coast in
1790 when Pitt forced Spain to
relinquish all rights for the area. A
British Pacific squadron was established
in 1837 with its headquarters in
Valparaiso, Chile, and R.N. ships came
north from time to time.    Esquimalt
Inlet was picked as the best anchorage
for warships and a road to Victoria was
laid by naval ratings in 1852. The first
building constructed ashore was the
naval hospital built in 1855. During
the Crimean War (1854 to 1856) a
small permanent base was established
where ships were based to counter the
influence of the Russians. After this the
base was permanently manned to
counter U.S. pressure.
The Pacific squadron was transferred
to the China station in 1905 and
Canada took over responsibility for its
own naval defence in 1910 when the
RN. dockyards in Halifax and
Esquimalt were turned over and the
RC.N. was set up. Three ships were
transferred by the R.N - Niobe, which
sailed from England to Halifax and
Rainbow, which went to Esquimalt;
later Shearwater, which was in
Esquimalt, was placed on loan.
Niobe was a powerful cruiser, nine
years old with a tonnage of 11,000 and
sixteen 6-inch guns plus other lighter
armanent. Rainbow was much smaller
and older with a tonnage of 3,600 with
only two 6-inch guns. Shearwater was a
square-rigged sailing sloop with auxiliary
engines with four 4-inch guns. The two
cruisers were training ships. They were
undermanned with a British crew and a
few Canadians who would gradually
take over as they became trained.
When the First World War broke out
in 1914, Niobe joined the Royal Navy
4th Cruiser Squadron and took part in
the blockade of German merchant ships
in New York. Later she distinguished
herself by chasing a German armed
raider into Newport News. She was
turned into a depot ship in 1915 and
later damaged in the Halifax explosion
in December 1917, when a merchant
ship carrying explosives was rammed
and blew up causing great damage
Shearwater did some patrolling at the
beginning of the war but was turned
B.C. Historical News - Summer 91
20 into a submarine depot ship to look
after the two submarines C.C.1 and
C.C.2, which were purchased by the
B.C. government from a Seattle
shipyard at the start of the war in
August 1914.
Rainbow was thrust into the war
immediately, to seek out the German
cruiser Leipzig, which was thought to be
cruising off California, with
exhortations to remember Nelson and
the British Navy. Unfortunately she
missed the German, which was indeed
in west coast waters. Later she
intercepted two German merchant ships
off Baja California and brought them to
Esquimalt. She too later became a
depot ship.
When Bill entered the navy, both the
Rainbow and Shearwater were in
Esquimalt. After some square bashing
(parade drill) in the shore training
establishment in the dockyard, he was
sent to Shearwater. He was now an
ordinary seaman with duties of cleaning
the upper deck, scrubbing and "holy
stoning" the wooden deck planks,
polishing the brass rails and emery
papering the steel stanchions to a high
sheen. His life settled into a routine of
working on the upper deck, eating his
meals and sleeping in his hammock.
When the ship went to sea the sails were
not used, so he didn't have to climb the
rigging and learn how to handle sails.
A navy hammock can be comfortable
after one gets used to it. It was basically
a rectangular piece of canvas with
sixteen grommets at each end to take the
"netdes" (cords), which were attached to
lanyards to sling it on hammock hooks.
In the morning it was lashed up with
the lashing rope hitched seven times
around it, equi-distant from one end to
the other. Bill said that they were
stowed on the upper deck, to be used as
life jackets in case of abandoning ship.
He also had learned to look after his
uniform. Some have said that the old
sailors' uniform was not designed for
utility but for upholding the traditions
of the British navy. Sailors' bell bottom
pants can be easily rolled up to swab the
deck and taken off in the water in an
emergency. The jumper has no pockets
to catch in the rigging and the collar,
which falls over the shoulder, is a
separate item and is tied under it. These
collars were said to go back to the days
when sailors had greasy pigtails and
needed them to prevent the jumper
being soiled. The three white tapes
decorating them were supposed to
represent Nelson's three great naval
victories -the Nile, Copenhagen and
Trafalgar. He also had his black silk
kerchief which was one and a half
inches wide and threaded under his
collar and tied in a bow on his chest,
and God help the seaman who did not
have them even at their ends when he
was inspected by the captain at Sunday
divisions. It was said that they were in
remembrance of the death of Nelson
but they probably went back to the
sweatband worn by gun crews in battle.
Bill talks about the victualling of those
days when sailors were allowed a
standard ration of 10 ounces of bread,
half a pound of beef or mutton, one
pound of vegetables, usually potatoes,
plus sugar and condensed milk each
day. Each mess table appointed its own
messman who was responsible for
drawing the rations, which were not
always of the best quality, and making
any prepared dishes such as pies and
stews and giving them to the galley to
be cooked. Pickled meats, dried haricot
beans and marrowfat peas, greasy cocoa
and "hard tack" (biscuits), which could
break your teeth, were staples when the
ship had been at sea for several days.
Shearwater would accompany the
submarines to sea and be used as a
target ship for them. Apparently the
ship had an iron hull covered with oak
planking which in turn was sheathed in
copper sheeting. Electrolysis set in
when the submarines were alongside
and pitted their hulls and the copper
was removed.
In May 1917, Bill volunteered to
become a stoker in Rainbow and
worked in the boiler room removing the
clinkers, loading the fires, transporting
the coal from the bunkers and levelling
them afterwards. It was hard work but
he enjoyed it: not so much spit and
polish as on the upper deck. Rainbow
carried 1000 tons of coal and had to be
coaled regularly if she was steaming a
lot. All the ship's company including
the officers, except the captain and
medical officer, were required to coal
In May 1917 the ship, when on patrol
off the west coast of Vancouver Island,
was forced into Barkley Sound with a
hot main propeller bearing. She limped
back to Esquimalt and, after further
inspection, it was decided to pay her off
and she was used as depot ship. By the
time the fear of German naval activity in
the Pacific Northwest was just about nil.
Bill was transferred to Halifax in the
spring of 1918 and served in Niobe for
He says that there was still much
evidence of the Halifax explosion when
he arrived there. He remembers vividly
seeing many freight cars lying in pieces
beside the railway lines as his train
pulled into the station. He saw a beer
barrel lying outside Dartmouth, across
the inlet from Halifax, which had been
blown from a brewery a mile away.
Many houses on the waterfront were
still in ruins.
In May 1918, Bill was sent to Quebec
city, along with a large draft of men to
commission six new RC.N. drifters. 36
trawlers, 100 drifters and 550 motor
launches were built in Montreal and
Quebec for the Royal Navy during the
war, and some were turned over to the
Canadian Navy.
Since the cruisers had been turned into
depot ships, Canada's main naval
wartime activity, at that time, was to
provide inshore anti-submarine patrols.
By the end of the war, 29 Canadian
trawlers and drifters plus many
converted deep-sea yachts were used for
this purpose. Their job was to look out
for mines and sweep them up; seek out
and attack enemy submarines and escort
slow convoys for a couple of days out to
the ocean.
Bill's ship was the CD. (Canadian
Drifter) 33. Bill said that the sailors
called them "Canada's Disgrace" or
"Clam Diggers". These tiny ships were
eighty feet long, about half the size of
the W.W.2 corvette. They carried a
12-pounder gun on the forecastle plus
the latest in naval technology and
weaponry for those days -depth charges,
wireless (radio), minesweeping
paravanes and under-water
hydrophones. Bill said that his ship was
the only one that carried wireless. They
had a crew of fifteen including two
officers,  two Engine Room Artificers,
B.C. Historical News - Summer 91 two stokers, a Wireless Telegraphist, six
seamen, a cook and a steward. The
ships were a modification of British
deep-sea fishing vessels. They had a
high rakish bow and were very
seaworthy in rough weather. When
they were using the hydrophones, the
ship would be stopped dead in the water
and the receiving head lowered from an
arm swung out from the ship's side, and
the first lieutenant would listen on
earphones for the sound of a submerged
moving submarine. Bill said that they
practiced with the two Canadian
submarines from Esquimalt, which were
now based in Halifax.
CD. 33 was based at Halifax carrying
out fourteen-day patrols off the port.
Sometimes she would work with
convoys leaving Halifax. These convoys
were always escorted by a cruiser or two
to protect them against German armed
raiders as well as destroyers, if available,
for anti-submarine work. After the
United States came into the war in April
1917, there were more naval vessels
available to counter the heavy German
submarine campaign started in 1917
and which continued well into 1918.
Bill says he remembers seeing as many as
68 merchant ships leaving port in one
such convoy.
When I asked Bill what conditions
were like on these little ships, his eyes lit
up and, without hesitation, said that
they were excellent. There was no
saluting or sirring as in the cruisers.
The first lieutenant was a warrant officer
named Prothero who was a Vancouver
tugboat skipper and his sister had
trained in the Nanaimo hospital with
Bill's sister. The food was good because
the captain used to stop the ship
sometimes and the Newfoundland
seamen on board would jig for cod.
There was always plenty of fish to eat
and the extra was pickled in barrels and
sold ashore for extra money for the
messing account.
The only excitement that the ship
encountered was when a U.S. tanker
was sunk off Halifax by a German
submarine and CD. 33 sailed out to try
and locate survivors. None were found
but other ships sighted them and picked
them up. Later he was drafted to the
patrol craft machine shop in the
dockyard and was there when the war
ended on 11th November 1918.
He remembers that the city had
arranged for the street lights to be
turned off three times when word was
received by radio when the armistice
had been signed. It occurred at three in
the morning and everyone tumbled out
of their hammocks. Next day there
were celebrations downtown, not like
the riots that happened after W.W.2.
The U.S.N, personnel from the naval
air station at Dartmouth started a snake
dance on Barrington Street, which was
the first time he had ever seen it.
He  wasn't  demobbed   until  March
1919, returning to Vancouver Island
and taking up mining again. Later he
went to work at the mill at Chemainus,
eventually becoming safety officer before
he retired. Not a man to dwell on the
past; however he still loves to talk about
the old days in the RC.N. if anyone is
The author makes his home in West
Vancouver, where he is chairman of a local
Writers Association.
HMC Drifter - CD. 33—Avery rare photo of this W. W.I class of ship.
HMCS Niobe Cruiser — Commissioned 1910. Paid off 1915. Displacement.
11,000 tons. Length, 466'. Speed 15knots.  Crew, 677. Armaments, 16-6",
12-12pdrs, 5-3pdrs, 2-8" ft.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 91
22 The Boy Scout's Camp Byng
The Boy Scouts Association
IncarptraicJ by AdL <j/ Parliament 1914
HKAOQUARTERS     .     -     OTTAWA"
this ii to certify that upon the recom-
by Winston Shilvock
-     .-. -._        -   -. ...   . .  1 ^,^»^y	
JF i   ''"'"^i«VXX.-iVifi'Tlr ii  -Wt-li   i .in.   i.i.iili.'r»^~
Camp Byng on the Sunshine Coast of
British Columbia, close to Roberts
Creek, is one of the most ideally situated
Boy Scouts camps in Canada.
The Sunshine Coast stretches for 150
km (90 miles) along the north eastern
shore of the Strait of Georgia between
Howe Sound on the south and
Desolation Sound on the north. Until
about 100 years ago the area was
inhabited solely by the Coast Salish
Indians who, for many centuries, had
thrived with the mild climate which
provides 2,400 hours of sunshine per
year and has an average precipitation of
94 centimeters. In the late 1880s the
larger trees in the area were logged off
and the semi-cleared land became an
enticement for settlers.
In 1889 Will Roberts and his family
pre-empted 160 acres of land
encompassing a pristine, fast-flowing
creek. By 1892 the surrounding area
which ran from Wilson Creek to
Chester Creek with about four miles of
shoreline, became known as Roberts
Over the years property in this area
changed hands off and on and in the
Spring of 1922, what was known as the
Doherty's place, three miles east of the
store at Roberts Creek, was leased for
three years by the Vancouver District
Boy Scouts Council, it consisted of 201
acres of beautifully wooded land with
two streams running through it and
1,000 feet of fine-gravelled beach.
The land had just been leased when it
was officially announced that Lord
Byng of Vimy, Governor-General of
Canada and Chief Scout for Canada
would visit British Columbia sometime
that summer. Although the camp was
yet to be named, the opportunity was
taken to have him visit the site and
officially dedicate it to Scouting.
On July 21, 1922, 60 Scouts sailed
from Vancouver on the U.S.S. Chilco,
disembarked at the wharf at Roberts
Creek and hiked the three miles to the
camp. They had just begun preparing
for a two-week stint of camping when
the news came that Lord Byng would
visit them in about a week.    Frantic
efforts ensued to make everything as
shipshape as possible and by the eventful
day, July 26th the site was quite
The Powell River Pulp & Paper
Company had loaned its yacht Norsal to
bring Lord Byng from Vancouver. It
was a large yacht and had to anchor
some distance off-shore. So, to
transport the Chief Scout to the beach,
the 1st B.C. Sea Scouts had rowed over
in a gig from their camp on Howe
Sound and were at the ready for the
distinguished guest.
The day was a great success. A tour of
the camp was made in fair weather and
dinner was served in the combined
cookhouse and dining mess which had
been converted from an old barn on the
property. The food cooked by "Witty"
Hamilton impressed everyone. The visit
came to an end when the Chief Scout
sat with the boys around a Council Fire
and gave a spirited talk on scouting.
This took place on "Sunset Rock" which
overlooked the whole area.
A description of the rock is ably given
B.C. Historical News - Summer 91 by CJ. (Charlie) Merrick in his story
appearing in "Remembering Roberts
Creek", published by the Roberts Creek
Historical Committee.
(Incidentally, Charlie was my first
"Sunset Rock", a large promontory of
solid, smooth rock near the beach head
is the official campfire site. With the
elevation above the sea and its wide,
sweeping view of the Gulf, it is a very
appropriate spot in which to spend the
closing evening hours of a camper's day.
"The sound of the waves, the setting of
the sun in the west, the fragrant smell of
the forests wafted seaward by the
offshore breeze makes for a feeling of
comradeship and brotherhood as the
day is closed with the evening chant, all
singing together, as hands are slowly
raised, 'All is well, safely rest, God in
nigh,' and the fire slowly dies to red-hot
When the lease ran out on Doherty's
place in 1925 the Vancouver Rotary
Club bought the land and gifted it
outright to the Boy Scouts. Later the
club financed the building of the main
Now, with ownership of the property
permanently in the name of the Boy
Scouts Council, it was time to name the
camp. The decision was made to
change from the loose title of the "Scout
Camp at Roberts Creek" to "Camp
Byng" in honor of the Chief Scout who
had dedicated the site three years before.
Untold thousands of Boy Scouts have
passed through the camp since 1922,
enjoying   the   benefits   of a   healthy
outdoor life. In 1989, exactly 100 years
after the arrival of Will Roberts, 3,600
camped there.
And that's the story of how Camp
Byng on the Sunshine Coast of British
Columbia came to be.
This writer is a retired businessman living in
Kelowna. He enjoys researching and writing
tidbits of B.C. history. We have appreciated
several of his stories that have appeared in the
B.C. HISTORICAL NEWS and look forward to
presenting more in the future.
Oars Up! Sea Scouts.   Coasting onto the beach —
Norsal moored offshore.  Camp Byng 1922.
Lord Byng walking across die beach from the jig. ♦
(Depicted by HIas Enulr Cart.)
Verse and drawing by Emily Carr, published in The Week, February 25,
1905. This commentary was on the closing of the graving dock at
Esquimalt. The Royal Navy closed it in 1905: It was reopened when the
Canadian Navy was formed in 1910.
There's o silver Sockeye Salmon
Swimming round Esquimalt 3oy
And his tail is curled in anguish
Tears are in his eyes they say
There's a melancholy Middle
Uniformed in blue and gold.
Woeful wailing by the water -
Very downcast.  I am told.
Why Oh Salmon Why Oh Middle?
Mourn you, sigh you, fret and weep.
Is some shadow o'er Esquimalt
"Brooding o'er its waters deep?
Aye 'tis sounds of coming, going.
Sad farewells for fish and man.
For the middie different waters
For the fish: - Alas! a can.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 91
24 The Bike, The Boat and the Plane
by Edythe Hartley McClure
Queen Charlotte City was the first
posting for the newly ordained reverend
Basil Hartley. Basil and I met while we
were studying at Union College in
Vancouver. He was ordained May 19,
1939 at Queen's Avenue United
Church, New Westminster, and we
were married next day at that church. A
month later we were on our way to the
Queen Charlottes.
An English motorcycle served as our
mode of transportation on the rutted
roads on Graham Island. Our most
frequent destination was the Skidegate
Mission. One pitch black evening we
rounded a curve, going uphill, and
narrowly avoided a black cow lying in
the middle of the road. Basil muttered,
"Why can't cows have tail lights?" Early
in September we had a day off so packed
a lunch and pointed our Neracar north
for a tour up island towards Masset. We
reached the plank road over the muskeg
(two pairs of planks laid end to end
positioned to accommodate car wheels).
We chose a turnoff (bypass) to have our
picnic, and turned on our small battery
radio. That is when we heard that
World War II had been declared.
The airbase at Alliford Bay had its
beginnings shortly after this and Basil
became part-time Padre to the airforce.
To visit this camp and other outlying
parishioners we ran the Mission Boat
called the Udal. During the summer we
went up and down the coast visiting
logging camps, canneries, fisheries
guardians and native fishermen. On
one occasion Basil took the Mission
Boat over to the airbase at Alliford Bay
to visit and conduct services. He was
surprised and delighted to see quite a
few airmen come running down the
wharf to help tie up the vessel. Later it
was discovered that the A' in the name
Udal was hidden by part of the piling,
so the men had mistaken the boat for
the United Distiller's boat, UDL.
The Udal had not been used for many
months prior to our arrival. The engine
Our transportation — 1939 & 40 in the Queen Charlottes. English Neracar.
had been dismantled, so Basil spent
many happy hours rebuilding it,
thankful for his early training as a
mechanic. We cleaned and checked the
vessel from bow to stern, stocking it
preparatory to living aboard between
stopovers on the mission route. The
first night that we slept aboard the Udal
it rained. The deck was far from
waterproof as the caulking between
planks had dried out. The rain leaked
through to the galley, where our bunk
was made by setting the table at the
level of the seats. We spent most of the
night hanging any bucket we could find
to catch the drips!
After two years on the Charlottes, we
were transferred to Kitamaat Mission
where we worked with native people.
Basil became a member of the Aircraft
Detection Corps which meant that we
had to log all the aircraft that came our
way. This item from the AD.C.'s
March 1944 The Observer tells of one
incident that started while morning
service was underway. We could hear a
plane going up and down the channel
so we closed the service in order to
Kitimat, B.C.
Recently the crew of an R.C.A.F. flying
boat was confronted with the familiar
murky coastal weather. The aircraft got
off its course and was soon in unfamiliar
surroundings. Circling the village of
Kitimat the pilot came in for a landing.
With the aid of Official Observer Rev.
Basil Hartley who had ventured out to
meet the crew in a rowboat, the craft was
safely moored.
A most welcome meal was provided by
Rev. (and Mrs.) Hartley, and the crew
was very pleased to find themselves among
A.D.C. friends sympathetic to their
predicament. The visitors were supplied
with the proper directions and the aircraft
took off for its destination.
A point of particular interest in
connection with this incident is that Rev.
Hartley is one of the scattering of Official
Observers on the west coast who do not
have communication facilities. It is of
course reasonable to assume that Rev.
Hartley, had he not been an Observer, or
any other non-Observer, would "give a
hand" in any such incident as this.
However, the very fact that Rev. Hartley is
an Observer, and has been since the early
B.C. Historical News - Summer 91 days of the Corps, puts him in a better
position to render the necessary assistance
in such emergencies. Incidentally, our
aircraft know that A. D.C. is part of the
R.C.A.F., and this is a psychological factor
of no small importance.
An important member of the Aircraft
Detection team was Biscuits, our
Lhasa-Apso terrier. Many times we
would hear him barking outside. On
going out to quieten him we would find
that he heard a plane going over and he
knew we had to do something about it.
Quite often it was too high up for us to
see - but he had done his duty.
While we were at Kitamaat Mission
we were adopted into the Kwakiutl
Band (now known as the Haislas.) Basil
became a member of the Beaver clan
with the name, Chief Legaikh, while I
was welcomed as Princess Anise
Wekhah (or We-Khah) of the Eagle
Normally there were two teachers and
a nurse at Kitamaat Mission, all
appointed by the United Church of
Canada's Mission Board. At times we
had no nurse so Basil and I also looked
after the dispensary, as well as Basil
being the Post Master there. The Post
Office was located in theMission House,
Rev. Basil Hartley & "Biscuits" at Kitamaat.
so when the mail came in either by
steamer or whoever was coming up
from Butedale we were busy. The
steamer was taken off the run our last
year there as a wartime economy. As
the Observer article notes we did not
have communication facilities.
Ironically, just as we were preparing for
our next move to the interior town of
Invermere, word came via the Police
Motor Launch that we were scheduled
to receive a two-way radio on their next
trip. No missionaries went in to replace
us so no one carried on Aircraft
Detection Services at Kitamaat after our
departure in 1944.
The writer now lives in Kimberley where she is
an active member of the East Kootenay Historical
Winner o^tfie, 1990 Aiu&id' jm
"Btit -Anti/de, PubtieJied in, the,
B.C. e^iAfoucal Ntu/A." Mm--
2/oiwiy, id, abwdancx, uvu&A,
6c/iool lifaa/uan,, mot/i&A, ol&ue,,
and longtime, te/ucfont ol tyont
NeAon. B.C.
k-sU lyvUmouam
tefaf ewia me
'ion, todi one
naumti UMrt/tMbOr memoes on, Sawul 2/, '/S^f tvAen
(ove/un, Cfauwubu acea afwfr a, long, utneM.   <_sAe4
aooa taav uxm a teaeuwa> feaute in, me etria&uiiAfnemt
o£ the ^Ajtvmaow (/teufaae S&&w6otM  loomi/iiffiee, me
iav*na ofAevetalnt/dowc vuiuunm, and -many
commawi£u> facatamA.   c/Let, community tecoanixea Ae&
amfaoaJiond- vw nomina net, vx&xen, of me J/eat, in,
S&ftMc 1930.   <Jne served Cum> JetonA oa faeAuv&ntof
t-Aiubmcwv C/Ctiddtoccod C/ooiety, ana a<> cAaebman of
me tJcAolatoAeft, tyamwicffiee /ot> me ^%Kv3. /yCetrfbucal
'ion, ana me
B.C. Historical News • Summer 91
26 Summers on Savary
by Robert E. Burns
About a hundred miles north of
Vancouver lies a magical island, Savary.
If you can find it on your map, you will
see that its long axis lies roughly in an
east-west direction, in contrast to other
islands to its south in the Strait of
Georgia. Strangely there are a number
of islands north of Savary which also lie
in the east — west axis — no one has
come up with an explanation of this
This little island is about four miles in
length and no more than half a mile
wide at any one place. It was named, I
believe, by Captain George Vancouver
after one of his officers.
In the early 1920's when I was a kid
we lived in Vancouver, then a brawling
port of some 150 to 200 thousand souls.
Its economy depended, to a large degree,
upon coastal logging and fishing and on
mining, the latter largely done inland.
The Oriental trade had just got into full
swing and a little rum-running into the
confines of our amiable neighbour to
the south helped the economy along.
Loggers and fishermen who came to
Vancouver on business and pleasure (I
was too young to know much about the
latter) had but one mode of
transportation to rely upon - the Union
Steamship Line. It provided a major
portion of the ships fulfilling the needs
of the coastal community.
The venerable collection of small
steamers (a goodly percentage of which
were acquired second-hand), ran
between Vancouver and the small
seasonal and permanent communities as
well as the logging camps and fishing
ports of the coast. Their master-seamen
could pull into any sort of jetty in any
kind of weather at any time of the day
or night to deliver or pick up freight and
passengers. In the summer months
vacationers added to their problems and
their revenues.
These coastal seamen were the ones
who developed the technique of
assessing their distance from shore or
any object of much size by sounding the
ship's whistle and measuring the time it
took for the echo to return to them.
The method, though simple and basic,
led to the development of radar.
Each summer, for over ten years,
Mother and her three children would
take off for Savary as soon as school
closed. We would be there until Labour
Day — about two months in all. Dad
would come up for a weekend every few
weeks if business permitted. Sometimes
he would stay for a week and very
rarely, two, a treat for us all. Grandpa,
who lived with us in Vancouver, was
there for most of the summer — and he
had every right to be — for he had
made the cottage a gift to Mother.
As I remember, the Union boat would
leave Vancouver at about 6 p.m. and I,
being the youngest, would be bedded
down soon after it passed out of the
harbour. This procedure took the
combined efforts of Mother and my
older sister and brother. We would
arrive at Savary, finally, after touching a
number of ports-of call, around two or
three A.M. Aroused, I was pushed,
pulled or carried ashore along with our
luggage. We then made our way in the
dark to the cottage, with the help of Mr.
Keefer, the major domo of Savary's only
store. Our cottage was about half a mile
from the wharf, and, since there were
no cars on Savary, wheelbarrows and
carts were used.
Of course, as I grew older, I was given
more privileges and was allowed to carry
some bags.
The major portion of our luggage — a
trunk and some boxes — were
consigned to the freight shed and left on
the wharf until later in the day. Finally,
with the aid of a flashlight, we were able
to detect the sign "Thallassi", which
Grandpa assured us meant "The Sea" in
Greek that only he knew. We had
arrived at last.
Hastily fed something, I was bundled
off to bed and told to sleep again. The
excitement mitigated against such an
idea but eventually I would succumb.
So much had happened in such a short
time — school out, no more lessons, the
boat ride, Savary.   How could I sleep?
But I did.
To all but me morning came late. I
would invariably be awake long before
the rest and become a nuisance to
everyone. The only one safe was
Grandpa who had a room in the attic
well away from the noise — his
foresight likely emanated from his years
of experience as a teacher of the young.
But I was enchanted with the idea that
here was Savary, clean white sand,
water, fun and food. Food: That was
the most important thing right then.
But even before food, I realized that I
must attend to my duties —The Pump
— It stood there in all its green glory,
unattended, on the back porch. A
household god. At once I seize its long
black iron handle and, with its attendant
shrieks and groans, managed to awaken
all but Grandpa.
Soon my elder brother would appear
muttering to himself and cursing me
quietly enough so that only we could
know he knew such words. I would be
rudely shoved aside while he found a
can of rainwater and primed The Pump
correctly. Summer had officially begun
when the Pump produced a steady
stream of clear sweet water. Happy, I
raced off to the beach but only to be
recalled in short order to "eat a proper
Meanwhile, Mother with my sister's
help, had been bringing the Kitchen
Stove back to life. It had weathered the
winter without damage — to the
family's delight and amazement.
Obviously someone had cared for it,
since it was clean and shiny and there
was dry firewood beside it. It didn't
take much deduction to realize Dad
must have arranged for this nicety.
The "First Morning" breakfast was
always a wonderful sort of a meal — we
were allowed to eat whatever we wanted
to. Table manners were suspended to
the   delight   of all   —   even   Mother
B.C. Historical News - Summer 91 enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere.
Then, off to explore. What old pals
had arrived before us? Was the beach
still intact or had pebbles from Green's
Point further invaded the sandy area?
How was the water? Who cared? The
most wonderful thing on the First Day
was to run through the clean white sand
to the completely transparent ripples
that broke on the shore. We almost
feared that we would cut our feet if we
stepped into the clear glassy water.
Within a week most of the kids we
knew had assembled. Each year we
would briefly mourn the absence of one
or two, whose families (strangely, we
thought) had elected to take their
holidays elsewhere. Replacements, like
Army recruits, soon filled the gap and,
once indoctrinated into the mystic
cabals of "Cut the Pie", "Peggie", "Pig
In The Middle", "Andy, Andy, Eye
Over", "I Spy" and so forth — became
one of us. All these games ended in a
mass riot of screaming children hurling
themselves at one another in no order
and under no rules.
After this workout we would generally
progress to swimming. Few of us had
been swimming since the previous
summer for, in those days, swimming
pools were few and far between. No
one we knew had one and few clubs or
schools did either. Our talents,
therefore, were few, and our fun
consisted largely of mayhem in the shore
water similar to what we enjoyed on the
beach. If we ventured into deeper water
we would be apprehensive of the
seaweed and the likely presence of sea
monsters lurking in its shadows.
Particularly Spider Crabs.
And the sun — it was bright — the air
so clear and clean. I doubt if any of us
put it into words — but we all felt the
difference from the city, nonetheless.
The sun's reflection on the water and
the heat on our shoulders was enticing
— and soon we'd be lying in the sand
luxuriating (as much as a kid in his right
mind will stay still for anything). No
one, then, knew or even seemed
concerned about the effects of too much
sun. I rather imagine a number of us
paid richly for our ignorance. No one
seemed concerned about over-exposure
to sun then. A "good sunburn" was
painful and perhaps might lay a person
up for a few days, but the possible
consequences were not appreciated. I
was jealous of my best friend Pete
because he burned so well, try as I
might I never succeeded in even
approaching his achievement.
Kids had to make their own
amusements, by and large at Savary.
There were no organized sports except a
field day each August. There was a
tennis court but that was for older
people except at a few rare times. No
baseball diamond, no basketball, no
equipment of any kind except the raft.
In a sense I think this was the best way
to go.
There were, however, water, sand,
woodland trails, rowboats, fishing, and
above all no fixed rules or schedules.
No fond parents standing at the
sidelines pushing the kid to excel. Each
child was his or her own person.
If a kid got bored with games and
wanted to spend a little time doing
other things — there was always fishing.
This was generally done off the end of
the wharf — and one could be certain
that within a space of an hour, if one
kid went fishing, half a dozen others
would show up to do the same thing.
But first you had to locate your old
fishing line (that may take time but a
new one cost fifteen cents and that was
a week's allowance). The old line could
be cleaned and the hook scraped off —
but time was cheap.
You had to dig up some worms — not
difficult but time-consuming. Then
you would find a part of the wharf with
a little shade and you fished through
one of the cracks on the deck. If you
were lucky you'd get several perch and
then you might want to jerk for cod.
To do so meant you had another line
with a larger hook. You would impale
your live perch on this hook and, with
the line suitably weighted, lower it off
the end of the wharf (cod are too big to
be brought up through a crack) and
wait the rest of the afternoon out. For
cod were few and to catch one was a
triumph. These were rock cod and, we
were told, they were smarter than most
It was said  that if you were really
interested in catching cod the place to
go was off the rocks at Green's Point.
(Since   renamed   in   honour   of Jim
Spilsbury of B.C. aviation fame — who
knew Savary well.) I was never that
enamoured of cod. In fact I don't
remember anyone eating a rock cod. I
think they were generally fed to the dogs
— or buried.
Usually, in the afternoon we would go
swimming off "The Raft". In this case
Mother would frustrate me by her
insistence that I rest for an hour after
lunch. She insisted that I might get
cramps and drown if my meal were not
digested. It was an argument I never
won. I had to obey orders and listen to
the shouts and happy screams coming
up from my confreres on the beach and
the raft.
There on the raft was the centre of life
for our afternoons. It was anchored off
shore far enough to be in deep water
and near enough for most kids to swim
to it. It had a large and small
springboard, a tower for high dive and a
chute for fun. Unobtrusive adult
supervision kept us from any hi-jinks.
The first Saturday in August was
Sports Day. It was the half-way point of
our Heavenly Existence. All manner of
races on land and water were the order
of the day. Great enthusiasm was
generated — each kid oudoing him (or
her) self. That evening at the pavilion at
Keefer's store amidst Chinese lanterns
and Salal decorations, the older kids and
the younger adults danced to a
gramaphone while the younger sprouts
got in the way, racing about and
consuming whatever they could get their
hands on. But a "good time was had by
An annual rite among kids of my age
was the "Hike Around The Island".
How long this had been going on I
don't know, but it was a "must" in our
day. We would cross to the south shore,
at Green's Point and then head west
past the great banks, sometimes playing
on them for a while. Then along the
flat tidal beach where there were many
large rocks and pools with varieties of
sea-life therein. If dogs were with us as
they usually were, they would yelp in
frustration at these uncooperative life
forms who wouldn't permit themselves
to be caught.
Having passed this part of the venture
we settled down to hard slogging. The
Island tapered down both as to width
B.C. Historical News - Summer 91
28 and elevation and after several hours we
would finally reach Indian Point where,
— praise be — we would find ourselves
heading back along the north coast. By
this time all our food and usually all our
fluids had been consumed. In retrospect
I have never been able to figure out why,
knowing this would happen, we didn't
have enough brains to conserve our
rations. But we never did.
Even so, we would make side trips up
abandoned logging chutes and go on
little side expeditions. When we would
finally reach home, completely "done
in", we swore softly to ourselves that we
would never do that trip again. Only
our mothers felt any sympathy for us.
They gave us sustenance and packed us
off to bed.
One year's expeditions stands out
vividly. As we drew near Indian Point
we discovered a dugout canoe high on
the beach. It seemed to us that it had
drifted there on a full tide. Yet we
didn't note that the contents were
stashed away neatly. We were so excited
at our find that we launched the canoe
and pulled and pushed it all the way
home, knee deep in water, too excited at
our find to feel fatigue.
Exhausted, we were dismayed at the
scepticism that greeted us. But we soon
forgot that until several days later a
middle-aged Indian reported the theft of
his canoe to Mr. Keefer. It took no
time to find the culprits and no little
diplomacy plus some dollars to assuage
his rightful indignation. The affair blew
over and we got off with stern lectures
by parents and much heckling from our
peers and siblings.
The incident had one major benefit —
it provided each of us with a better base
of understanding when the time came
for us to deal with the peccadillos of our
own young.
Not all our adventures ended so well.
One year a boy gave Pete or Drex an old
bottle he had found, with a paper
therein, which, he said, he would like to
follow up but he could not for relatives
were coming and he had to meet them.
He had picked it up when he was
picking blackberries from behind
Green's cabin — a derelict cabin which
was said to be owned by an early settler
on the island who, rumor had it, had
been murdered for his money.
The map told of Hidden Treasure.
StJ^" '
A happy holiday scene.  The author sitting on a sandpile on Savary, with the fishing wharf in the
Background.   Taken in 1918.
We swore ourselves to secrecy and, the
next day, very early, after a ghost-ridden
night of sometime sleep, headed off in
search of it.
Following an unrewarding search of
the ancient cabin itself, we concluded
we should carefully check the area
where the bottles had been found. As
we entered the tangled maze of prickly
vines and bushes we walked squarely
into a nest of enraged hornets.
Screaming with pain, we tore through
the needled bushes down to the nearby
beach, setting up enough noise to raise
Green's ghost.
There were no heroes that day.
Fortunately Pete's older sister happened
to be nearby and heard us. She
plastered us with cool wet sand —
which relieved the pain considerably.
Equally fortunate was the fact that none
of us was allergic to wasp stings.
Our fine friend who had 'discovered'
the map didn't appear for several days
and thus escaped the slow demise we
had planned for him. By the time we
saw him again we had begun to see a
trace of humour in it, and so forgot the
whole thing — with some reservations,
of course.
By this time it was 1928. Grandfather
had died earlier in the year. I felt I had
lost my closest friend. Dad's business, it
became apparent, had been increasingly
under pressure for the past several years
and was close to collapse. The
Depression, which was yet to come, had
already sent out warning signals long
before the stock market crash. In the fall
of 1928 Dad sold what remnants of the
business were left, and along with what
he could get for our home had enough
— or nearly enough — to set up a new
enterprise in the interior of the
province. Mother undertook to sell
"Thallassi" at that time. So that fall she
and I went up to Savary to close the
I had just turned fourteen and, as I
look back, a very young fourteen. I tried
very hard to be helpful and brave.
Mother was distressed beyond words,
though she tried very hard to conceal
her feelings. We packed the things that
had to go and, once we saw them loaded
on the ship, we went aboard and walked
about the deck. Once the ship was
under way, we stood and watched a part
of our life pass by. Others had far worse
experiences than we, I was to learn later,
but at the time I felt isolated — possibly
because I had not yet heard of any
others having such a situation arise. I
knew then that my Savary that I had
grown up with was to be no more.
As we closed in on Green's Point we
stood at the rail. Passing Thallassi was
especially traumatic to us both but
nothing was said. When we reached
Green's Point I found myself wiping a
few tears from my eyes — but the more
I tried to conceal them, the worse it
became. I turned away from Mother,
hoping she would not notice, for I was
ashamed of my weakness. At my age you
aren't supposed to cry. Poor Mother!
Struggling to contain her own bruised
emotions, she had to contend with
mine. She said nothing and continued
to look steadfastly at the shore, but she
rested her hand softly on my shoulder.
The ship rounded the point and
headed south.
The author is a  retired dermatologist now
living in Victoria.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 91 100 Years of Peter Flannigan:
by Joyce Thierry
Sitting in a throne-like wicker chair,
with a black and white picture of a
pouting Winston Churchill glaring over
his left shoulder, Peter Flannigan
celebrated his 100th birthday at the
Pender Island Legion Hall on Sept. 4,
1990. Peter and his 77 year old wife
Lois have been residents of this Gulf
Island for almost four decades, having
moved from Vancouver shortly after
their marriage.
It has been a hard 100 years; poverty
as a child, two world wars, a depression,
and socialist beliefs that have not always
been popular. Peter was born in
Conception Bay, Nfld, almost 50 years
before Newfoundland became a
Canadian province, into a poor family
who used "large fish for money and
small fish for change." He was
commercial fishing with his father by
the time he was 11 years old, doing his
share to feed the family of eight. At 18,
he found work as a deckhand on a ship
going to Lisbon, Portugal. Through the
years, he has worked in agriculture,
shipping, logging and construction.
From 1909-14, he was employed by the
Grand Trunk Pacific Railroad, helping
to build the transcontinental road
through from Quebec to Prince Rupert,
B.C. During WWI he served with the
7th Battalion in France and was
awarded the Victory and Service medals.
After the war, he returned to B.C. and
worked on farms and in lumber camps.
Peter and Lois met and married in the
1950s. They decided soon after their
marriage to move to Pender Island
where her brother had a guinea fowl
farm. They have lived there ever since.
When asked how long they had been
married and how long they had lived on
Pender Island, Lois replied, 'T don't
remember. Maybe 35-40 years. I know
we were here in the '60s when all the
young people came." She says they
never remember to celebrate their
anniversary. Today, they live at Hope
Bay on North Pender where Flannigan
is a familiar sight on his two-,
sometimes three-times daily walks for
the mail.
Later, in the relaxed setting of his front
room, Peter was at ease explaining his
ideas of Socialism. His Newfoundland
accent added a twist to some of his
works as he talked about the political
histories of Russia, China and the United States, saying: "No one country governs anymore. It's universal. It
wouldn't surprise me if we had a conflict tomorrow." He keeps up on world
events by watching television. He still
believes that "You've got to do away
with capitalism entirely to have a really
clean system." He knows firsthand how
hard it can be when your daily struggle
includes finding enough food to eat. "I
was raised in a very poor family. Everything they got, they got out of the
ocean." He thinks too many people
overeat today and believes one of the
reasons he has lived so long is that he
eats small meals, walks every day and
starts his morning off with a hot lemon
and honey drink.
His interest and commitment to the
welfare of others had led to Peter's
involvement in the "Wobblies," the
nickname given to members of the
"International Workers of the World"
(rWW), active from 1905 to the early
'20s. Poor wages and long hours went
hand in hand with unsafe and
unhealthy working conditions during
those times. Blacklisted as a result of
his IWW involvement, Peter was forced
to work under different names. Once
he forgot which name he had used for
the day. Always resourceful, he had a
friend go up to the crew boss, point to
him and casually ask, "What is that
fella's name?" He was
then able to collect his
Reminiscing about that
time in his life, he said of
the IWW: "I learned a
great deal from that
bunch. An international
bunch. Many of them
got thrown in jail."
Along came the First
World War and Peter
fought in the trenches in
France. His fondest
memories   are   of  Paris
cafes. One day he was eating fish in a
cafe and when he asked the waitress
where it came from, she told him he
would never have heard of it, some place
called Newfoundland. Best codfish he
ever tasted, he said. The Scottish soldiers also made an impression on him.
"The Scots wore kilts, you know. Those
kilts blew in the wind and the Germans
could see them. Had a hard time getting them to wear regular uniforms.
When he came back from France, he
found what work he could; in lumber,
shipping, agriculture. "We used to
gather in the harvest fields. You learned
a lot, gathered a lot of information from
the other workers." He also drove a
team of horses for a freight company in
Vancouver and for different lumber
companies in both Canada and the
United States. "But all that stuff is gone
One eye-catching thing about Peter is
his below-shoulder-length white hair
which covers his head like a tangled
turban. "Average men of my age don't
have hair. Hair keeps your head warm,"
he stated. It is at Lois' request that he
keeps it long but he won't let her comb
it for him. "One of our bones of
contention," she said with a smile.
"I'm 100 years old, aren't I?" He
looked to Lois for confirmation. "I'm
older than the average," he said, looking
again at Lois and then with a grin he
quoted Robert Burns:   "A man's a man
for all that."
Thierry is a freelance writer living on Pender
Peter Flannigan with his wife Lois, sister-in-law Kay, and
niece Billie -1990.
B.C Historical News - Summer 91
30 //////.
Duncan residents and Cowichan
Historical Society members were
genial, thoughtful hosts for the many
delegates attending the 1991
Conference. The Thursday evening
reception was a happy time when
friends from previous conferences
greeted one another, then made
freshman delegates welcome. Daniel
Marshall of Cobble Hill, winner of the
first BCHF Scholarship, told the crowd
that our scholarship had spurred him
on to a Master's degree at University
of Victoria, and the challenge of a
Ph.D. at UBC financed by the Willard
Ireland Scholarship and a Social
Sciences and Humanities Research
Council of Canada Award (SSRCC).
Friday morning the greetings from
Mayor Mike Coleman included
references to several fascinating bits of
history from northern B.C. and the
lower mainland. Jack Fleetwood then
presented a summary of Cowichan
Valley history in his inimitable style.
Wilma Wood explained the
Ecomuseum now established in the
Cowichan and Chemainus Valleys;
this is the first in Canada, but will be
emulated elsewhere. The after-coffee
speaker was Helen Akrigg, who had
carefully researched the recruiting and
placement of a group of 100 families
transported from Victoria to Cowichan
Bay by HMS Hecate.
The Group visited the Native
Heritage Centre, where lunch was
served in a replica of a longhouse.
Next they were shown a dramatic slide
show, on three screens, with Canadian
scenes backed by thundering sound
effects and a Los Angeles Choir,
depicting the history of the Cowichan
Friday afternoon's programme
included a tour of downtown Duncan,
viewing the Museum, meeting Peter
Murray launching his new book
Homesteads and Snug Harbours in The
Gulf Islands, and partaking of a
delicious tea served by Cowichan
Historical Society hostesses. In the
evening Daryl Muralt gave an
illustrated lecture on mines, a smelter
and the rail lines built to service them
on Mt. Sicker, 6 miles north of
Saturday morning the sun shone
brilliantly as the visitors viewed the
Forest Museum, or the Maritime
Museum and Shawinigan Museum, or
the Kinsol Trestle. The afternoon was
taken up with the Annual General
Meeting. (Report given separately.)
Pamela Mar conducted the
presentation of awards to winners of
the 1990 Competition for Writers of
B.C. History. Each author received a
Certificate of Merit and a cheque.
Honorary President Mrs. Clare
McAllister presented the1
Lieutenant-Governor's Medal to Paul
Tennant for his book Aboriginal People
and Politics. Colonel Gerry Andrews
(recent winner of the Order of
Canada) praised Cyril Leonoff for his
book An Enterprising Life: Leonard
Frank. Don Sale gave a summary of
The Sinking of the Princess Sophia,
including memories of his family's
association with the event. Authors
Ken Coates and Bill Morrison were
honoured in absentia. Commendation
for the Best Community History of
1990 went to Janette Glover-Geidt for
her history of Union Bay, The Friendly
Port. Her husband Douglas Geidt
received the first Certificate of Honour
for his role as Publisher of this book.
The Certificate for Best Article printed
in the B.C. Historical News in 1990 was
awarded to Gerri Young of Fort
Nelson, and accepted on her behalf by
Alvin Parker, formerly of Fort Nelson,
now of Vancouver.
The banquet was the scene of much
gaiety where the host society
honoured the new BCHF President,
their own Myrtie Haslam, and
thanked Jack Green for spearheading
the conference preparations. Nora
Maxwell titillated the audience with
her recitations of "The Cremation of
Sam McGee" and two other poems by
Robert W. Service. The last speaker,
Dr. Patrick Dunae, told of the unusual
settiement for underprivileged British
children, the Prince of Wales
Fairbridge Farm School.
Noticed fnbtv^phe;
B.eiiF. AimnuAL
The meeting, chaired by retiring
president John Spittle, featured brief
reports by committee heads and branch
representatives. Emphasis on financial
status was threaded through all
considerations. Federation business is
conducted entirely by unpaid volunteers
who strive to keep operations as
economical as possible. Despite all
caution, inflation has been merciless,
and reserve monies designated for
funding the Scholarship and Writing
Competition are yielding lower interest.
It was decided to maintain our
commitment for the annual scholarship
at $500 but to award more if
circumstances permit. Rising costs of
postage, printing costs and all supplies,
aggravated by the omnipresent GST,
tax our resources to the utmost.
Therefore the price of members'
subscription to the magazine,
commencing in January 1992, will rise
to $9 per year. Fees for branch
societies will change from the present
"$1 a member to 60 members with 100
per head thereafter" to $1 per member
across the board.
Helen Akrigg reported that, after two
years of inactivity, the Publications
Assistance Committee had received
three enquiries requesting a loan to
help with publishing costs.
The Heritage Cemeteries Committee is
suspended until further notice.
Elections saw the introduction of some
new faces to office. Myrtle Haslam is
President: Alice Glanville - 1st Vice
President; Ron Welwood - 2nd Vice
President; Recording Secretary - Arnold
Ranneris; Corresponding Secretary -
Don Sale; Treasurer - Francis Sleigh;
Members-at-Large -Mary Rawson and
Daphne Paterson; Past President - John
B.C. Historical News - Summer 91 SET BACK BY FIRE
This issue is unavoidably late because of afire
at our print shop. Fire started in an upholstery
shop and spread to adjacent businesses
including Kootenay Kwik Print. The blaze, which
took place during Cranbrook's annual Sam
Steele Parade, gutted the whole business block.
Mercifully we were able to reclaim manuscripts
and photographs from the soggy, smokey
stacks of files.
The new word processors provide the type
styles somewhat different to that used in
previous issues. Garamond Type is replacing
Century School Book Type — If you have any
comments please notify the editor, Naomi Miller.
The Victoria Historical Society continues to be
active in a number of ways. Our membership of
approximately 225 have a number of ongoing
opportunities to participate in meetings, outings
and events. Recent meetings have included a
visit, meal and talk at the Sikh Temple (a
wonderful occasion for us and the local Sikhs), a
Christmas banquet at which Terry Reksten
spoke on the history of the Royal Victoria Yacht
Club; talks by Dr. John Hayman on John Keast
Lord, Dr. Patricia Roy on Attitudes of British
Columbians to Asians in B.C. — Through
Cartoonists's"; J.E. Roberts on Captain George
Vancouver (whose bicentennial will be observed
in 1992.) Outings have been arranged in the
autumn to up — Island points—the historic
(100 year old) church at Mill Bay, the Museum
and Auld Kirk Gallery at Shawnigan Lake, and
the Native Heritage Centre in Duncan.
In other areas, VHS Council is making representation to the City of Victoria for observing the
150th anniversary of the founding of Fort Victoria in 1993. The Society was represented at the
week-long exhibition at Hillside Mall for B.C.
Heritage Week (Feb. 16 - 23). We also have petitioned the Government to retain the operation
of the Emily Carr Gallery, which it has proposed
to close on March 16.
Our Society is one of many active in the Capital
Regional District for the preservation and
enhancement of our historical heritage. We are
reaching many residents and visitors. One
upcoming project will be the designing of a
Points of Interest Map for people to do their own
discovery journeys.
At Burnaby North Secondary School on March
1,1991 The Hon. Lyall Hanson, Minister of
Municipal Affairs, Recreation & Culture
anounced that the Harrison-Lillooet Gold Rush
Trail has been declared a provincial heritage site.
As you all know, Burnaby school teacher
Charles Hou has taken his students on yearly
field trips along the trail as part of their Canadian
Studies programme. It is, to quote Hanson,
"thanks to (their) persistence... the Province
has accelerated the designation process". Hanson presented the school with a first edition set
B.C Historical News - Summer 91
of the two volume Birds of British Columbia,
published by the Royal B.C. Museum.
Charles, a long standing member of the Vancouver Historical Society will be presented
withthe Society's Award of Merit at their Incorporation Day meeting on April 6.
The province now has three designated historic
trails—the other two being the Alexander
Mackenzie trail and the Hudson's Bay Brigade
Since I have been asked to present this award
on behalf of the V.H.S. I would like also to take
the opportunity of affording the congratulations
and appreciation of the B.CH.F.
I continue to follow closely the B.C.F.S. Kispiox
Resource Management Plan. However, the remoteness from Vancouver prevents any active
participation at this time. I must confess that at
the time of their last report I felt that the native
lands claim issue would solve all our problems.
Maybe they are just now beginning!
This group has compiled and mapped several
historic sites at the north end of Kootenay Lake.
They are seeking heritage designation for the
Earl Grey Pass Trail leading to Toby Creek near
Invermere. The Kootenay Lake Forest District
has accorded this trail protection as a Recreational Corridor so they have passed one hurdle
towards official recognition of this hiking route.
Puppet Theatre at the Campbell River Museum
enters its sixth successful season, delighting
children and adults from all over the world with
the adventures of Campbell River pioneers.
Campbell River, located on the east coast of
North Vancouver Island, is home to lush
scenery, fun-loving people and a rich and
distinctive pioneer history. The hilarious
mishaps and anecdotes of many colourful
characters from the past are recreated through
the museum's Puppet Theatre Program.
Public performances and activities are offered
in the museum every Saturday at 11:00 and
1:00, from June 1st to August 24. The shows
are free with admission to the museum or
museum memberships. Come join veteran
puppeteers Jean Blackburn and Alison Liebel at
the Campbell River Museum, and experience
that magic of Puppet theatre!
Campbell River Museum Puppet Theatre is
partially funded by a federal Challenge '91 grant
and the Simon Fraser University Cooperative
Education Program.
For special events bookings and more
information, please call Alison and Jean at
A package of detailed information about the
program, the district, sites to be visited, accommodation available and registration was prepared by the planning comittee of the Cowichan
Historical Society. Unfortunately some of the
delegates arrived in Duncan without having seen
anything more than their Registration Application Form.
It has always been the practice to send each
branch society two copies of all Conference
information, with the accompanying
recommendation, "Please duplicate this material
for as many of your members as require it."
Pre-conference information, then, should be
available from early March to the registration
deadline at the home of your Society's secretary.
Check with local people first; you may save
yourself a long distance phone call!
In the review of my book. The People of the
Harrison, in the Spring 1991 issue of the B.C.
Historical News, the wording of the title
contained a mistake which, though small,
unfortunately distorted the whole theme of the
book. People of Harrison, the version given in
the review, is not only uneuphonious, but also
suggests a popular-style collection of family
histories of the residents of Harrison Hot
Springs. The true title is actually The People of
the Harrison, implying the history of the whole
Harrison waterway — river and lake — and the
movements of the peoples within its watershed
— native people, settlers, miners, loggers. Two
small words can make quite a difference!
Daphne Sleigh
Deroche, B.C.
I commend Mary Andrews for her descriptions
of Alpine Club members and activities in
"Passport to Paradise", Spring 1991. I eargerly
read the reference tc "School teacher, Kate
McQueen" (page 21). Miss McQueen taught me
Latin and English when I was in high school,
eons ago.
Audrey Ward
Kamloops, B.C.
A total of 32 books were entered for the
Writing Competition of 1990, and after long
deliberation the judges selected four
winners. The Lieutenant Governor's Medal
goes to Paul Tennant, for his Book
Aboriginal Peoples And Politics, an
historic review of the Indian land question
since 1849. The others chosen as
prizewinners were Cyril E. Leonoff for An
Enterprising Life, a biographical tribute to
pioneer photographer Leonard Frank;
Janette Glover-Geidt, for a history of Union
Bay The Friendly Port, and Ken Coates and
Bill Morrison, joint authors of The Sinking
Of The Princess Sophia, one of British
Columbia's 1918 marine tragedies.
The judges have a hard, but probably
reasonably enjoyable, job to cope with all
the books. Our present judges have agreed
to stay on this year, but a vacancy on the
selection panel will likely occur for 1992. If
you are interested in putting your name
forward, please contact Pamela Mar.
LisTEci is orcIer receivecJ.
Gold 1862-1904
by Audrey L'Hereaux
(Northern B.C. Book Publishing)
$9.95 — 104 pp.
ISBN 0-921758-03-0
EXCELSIORI The story of The
Todd f AMily  by Valerie Green
(Orca Books) $12.95 —-144 pp — soft cover.
ISBN 090501-44-3
by E.A. Harris (Orca Books)
$24.95 hard cover — $12.95 soft cover. 237 pp
ISBN 92051-41-9 (hdb), 92051-40-0 (ppb)
by Brian Kelly & Daniel Francis (Harbour)
$39.95 — 160 pp — hard cover.  ISBN
GINGER: The life & dtATh of
AlbeRT GoodwiN by Susan Mayse
(Harbour Publ.)
$24.95 — 250 pp — hard cover.
ISBN 1-66017-018-X
THE BROTHER XII by Ron Maclsaac, Don
Clark & Charles Lillard
(Porcepic Books)
$12.95 —192 pp —- soft cover.
ISBN 0-88878-268-1
by Bridget Moran
(Arsenal Pulp Press Ltd.)
$12.95 — 192 pp — soft cover.
ISBN 0-88978-222-9
by Ken Coates & Bill Morrison (Oxford U.P.)
$16.95 — 216 pp — soft cover.
ISBN 0-19-540784-9
by Terry Julian (Signature Publishing)
$14.95 — 159 pp — soft cover.
ISBN 0-9694316-0-0
by Lee Stewart (U.B.C. Press)
$19.95 — 176 pp — soft cover.
ISBN 0-7748-0356-8 (ppb),
0-7748-0353-3 (hdb)
by Paul Tennant (U.B.C. Press)
$19.95/$39.95 —305 pp.
ISBN 0-7748-0369-X (ppb),
0-7748-0347-9 (hdb)
by Margaret A. Ormsby (Sandhill Book)
$14.95 —145 pp —hard cover.
ISBN 0-55056-005-0
by Michael Kluckner (Whitecap Books)
$39.95 — 207 pp — hard cover.
ISBN 1-895099-24-2
by Barrie Sanford (Whitecap Books)
$34.95 — 166 pp — hard cover.
ISBN 1-895099-27-7
by Mark Leier (New Star Books Ltd.)
$14.95 —138 pp — soft cover.
ISBN 0-921586-01-9
by Edward Nuffield (Hancock House Publ.)
$16.95 — 288 pp — soft cover.
ISBN 0-88839-236-2
by Murphy Shewchuk (Sonotek Publishing)
$14.95 — 176 pp — soft cover.
ISBN 0-929069-02-1
edited by Maureen Duffus (Desktop Publishing)
$12.95 —189 pp — soft cover.
ISBN 895332-00-1
Leonard Frank by Cyril Leonoff
(Talon Books) $39.95 —-176 pp — hard cover.
ISBN 0-88922-283-5
by Robert D.Turner (Sono Nis Press)
$39.95 — 326 pp — hard cover.
ISBN 1-55039-018-X
by Jim Spilsbury (Harbour Publishing)
$29.95 —176 pp —- hard cover.
ISBN 1-55017-034-1
by Helen Dawe (Harbour Publishing)
$29.95 — 152 pp —- hard cover.
ISBN 1-55017-027-9
by Robin Ward (Harbur Publishing)
$29.95 — 144 pp — hard cover.
ISBN 1-55017-030-9
by Howard White (Harbour Publishing)
$1 2.95 - 256 pp — soft cover.
ISBN  1-55017-010-4
Editor Howard White (Harbour Publishing)
$9.95 — 76 pp — soft cover.
ISBN 1-55017-028-7
by Janette Glover-Geidt (Douglas Geidt,
publisher) #39.95—332 pp — hard cover.
ISBN 0-9694760-0-0
by Jack Crosson (Whistle Punk Books)
$12.95 — 200 pp — soft cover.
ISBN 0-9694807-0-9
COLLEGE 1940-1990
by Peter J. S. Dunnett (Royal Roads)
$7.95 —159 pp — soft cover.
ISBN 0-660-13462-4
by Garnet Basque (Sunfire Publications)
$14.95 —168 pp — soft cover.
ISBN 0-919531-30-X
DEAR NAN: Letters of EMtLy Carr
edited by Doreen Walker (U.B.C. Press)
$35.95 — 436 pp — hard cover.
ISBN 0-7748-0348-7
by Jean M. Robinson (Shirley W.I.)
$7.00 —54 pp
PameIa Mar or ThE News EcHtor. (acIcIress iiNsidE bAck cover.)
B.C. Historical News - Summer 91 Books for review and book reviews should be sent directly to the book review editor:
Anne Yandle, 3450 West 20th Ave., Vancouver B.C. V6S1E4 	
An Enterprising Life: Leonard
Frank, Photographs, 1895-1944.
Cyril E. Leonoff, Vancouver,
Talonbooks, 1990.176 p., illustrations.
Leonard Frank, a German immigrant
of boundless energy and enthusiasm
for mineral, wilderness and
photographic wealth, spent 50 years in
British Columbia. He lived the first 18
of those years in Alberni, Vancouver
Island, and then moved to Vancouver
during World War One, possibly as a
result of anti-German sentiments.
Leonoff writes, "Leonard Frank,
Alberni's other 'favourite son,' slipped
away unheralded, almost unnoticed."
He was not forgotten, for following a
talk by Leonoff on Frank in 1988, elder
Alberni residents presented Leonoff
with Frank portraits taken of them as
children: "It was obvious that, 70 years
after his departure from Alberni,
Frank had persisted as something of a
local legend."
Originally employed by a German
merchant on Vancouver Island, Frank
settled in Alberni where he opened a
general store. While his heart and energy were directed towards the lure of
mineral prospecting, he also began
photographing the scenery and events
of the Alberni Valley and beyond.
Frank initially combined "photography with his other interests: prospecting and guiding exploration, hunting,
and tourist parries." The mystery of
how Frank came to photography is
partially explained by his father Louis
Frank, who had a photographic studio
in Berne, Germany. Beyond that,
writes Leonoff, "Folklore attributes the
beginning of Frank's photographic career to chance — the winning of a
crude camera as a raffle prize at the
Alberni mining camp."
By 1907 he was established enough
as photographer with a home and
studio above the Alberni Pioneer
News. One writer described his
quarters as a "bachhall in a house that
is a cross between a kitchen, a parlor, a
studio and a scientific laboratory. His
appliances, chemicals and results of
his work litter the shelves and walls,
yes, and the floors, of every room in
the house." Frank remained a bachelor and later shared an apartment with
his brother Bernard in Vancouver.
Leonard Frank prospered in Alberni
during the 1900s and early 1910s. He
achieved international recognition in
1910 when his work was chosen by the
provincial government for exhibition
at a hunting show in Vienna.
Receiving special praise was his
photograph of ptarmigans walking
4hrough snow at 5,500 feet above sea
level. Frank also published his
photographs in newspapers,
magazines and his own publications,
beginning in 1907 with the publishing
of a charming portrait of a girl holding
a grape harvest. In 1910 he published
Beautiful Scenes of Alberni District,
Vancouver Island, B.C., a common
practice among his contemporaries
who used the popular Albertype
(collotype) photomechanical
reproduction process.
Logging photographs were Frank's
forte and in 1910 he boasted that "My
timber negatives are acknowledged to
be the best in this province." Among
his important logging photographs are
those documenting several firsts in the
industry, such as the "First train load
of logs hauled from the west coast of
Vancouver Island . . .1912", the "First
truck logging, 'Gotfredson' logging
truck . . . 1929", and "Earliest chain
saw action.. .1941."
Frank's move to Vancouver in 1916
or 1917 may have been caused by ill
feelings against German-born persons,
but another possibility exists, that he
had all but exhausted photographic
opportunities on Vancouver Island
and needed fresh challenges for
himself and his camera. The
competition was fierce and might have
been the reason for Frank's only
photographic partnership with Orville
J. Rognon. The association lasted a
year or so and the Commercial Photo
Company was later renamed Leonard
Frank Photos. The business rented a
suite on the fourth floor of the
(present) Imperial Optical Building,
553 Granville St., from 1919 to 1953.
Amazingly  enough,  Leonard  Frank
Photos took few, if any, studio portraits, nor did Frank ever take colour
photographs. The majority of Frank's
portrait photographs are of industrial
or commercial scenes, with workers
carefully posed amidst their work
space. Frank's industrial photographs
offer to the labour historian a glimpse
into diverse primary and secondary industries. Among his photographic experimental efforts were telephoto lenses and infrared film.
Frank won many honours and
photographic titles for his work, the
most important of which was his
elected membership in the British
Royal Photographic Society in 1937.
The next year he was granted the
Associateship title which allowed him
to append the initials A.R.P.S. after his
name. He held several "official
photographer" titles during his career.
One honour accorded few
photographers in his day was the
choice of a Vancouver harbour scene
for a 1938 Canadian postage stamp.
Leonard Frank Photos continued in
business after his death in 1944 under
the management and later ownership
of Otto Fernand Landauer. Frank's
competent successor continued 'an
enterprise in the line of commercial
and industrial photography, without
ever engaging in portrait work."
The two largest public collections of
Frank's photographs are at the
Vancouver Public Library and the
Jewish Historical Society (Otto F.
Landauer — Leonard Frank
Photograph     Collection). This
handsome book was preceded by a
touring exhibition beginning in 1986 of
80 photographs. Most of the two
hundred images published here are
from the Jewish Historical Society.
The portfolio of full-page images are
largely arranged in chronological
order. Leonoff s text is very readable
and well documented (more than 400
notes). A history of the archiving and
exhibition of Frank's photographs
round out this superb production.
David Mattison
a librarian with the B.C. Archives & Records
Service, is a photographic historian, the author
of two books and many articles.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 91
34 Spilsbury's Album: Photographs
and Reminiscences of the B.C.
Jim Spilsbury, Harbour Publishing,
1990,176p., illustrated. $29.95
B.C. adventurer, entrepreneur, artist
and photographer Jim Spilsbury has
recently published a book which will
surely delight readers of his previous
two books, Spilsbury's Coast:
Pioneer Years in the Wet West and
The Accidental Airline: Spilsbury's
QCA. Justice is finally done to his
photographs and there are many new
tales and stories throughout to capture
the reader's attention. Spilsbury's
Album will have equal appeal to
first-time Spilsbury readers as it is full
of his humorous, sometimes irreverent
tales, often told at his own expense, as
well as descriptions of people and
pioneering life on B.C's coast in the
early twentieth century.
The main focus of Spilsbury's
Album, as its name implies, is
photographic. There are over 200
photographs reproduced on its pages.
The images, some of which appear in
his earlier books, depict friends, family
and life on Savary Island in the 1910s
and 1920s, coastal villages on the
Inside Passage, many of them now
deserted, including a number of
Indian villages, 1930s to 1980s,
Spilsbury and Tindall operations and
Queen Charlotte Airlines planes and
personnel, 1930s to 1950s and lastly,
coastal life from 1930 to 1980.
Particularly captivating are the Savary
Island images. All are as clear and
crisp as the original photographs,
thanks to an excellent printing job and
the fresh, clean, white paper stock on
which they are printed.
The layout of the book is imaginative. The photographs are reproduced
in a variety of sizes. Photographs of
particular artistic or informational
significance are reproduced in large
size and often bled to the edges of the
pages increasing their visual impact.
The images are neatly balanced by
text. The photographs are clearly captioned. The captions either explain the
significance of the images to Spilsbury,
the reason for their having been
photographed or the content of the
Although the main emphasis of the
book is on the photographs, Spilsbury
did allow for some storytelling. As he
relates in the introduction, "While I
was looking over all these old photos
trying to come up with concise, pithy
captions, I accidentally wrote 35,000
words of new stories. Some of it grew
out of the pictures but some of it had a
life distinctly its own." There are
many anecdotes about people, places
and events many of which may have
been sobering at the time but which he
recounts with great wit and humour.
His stories of two unusual and highly
eventful uses of dynamite are a case in
point equaling his unforgettable
account or attempting to land a plane
at Masset wearing sunglasses, as told
in The Accidental Airline.
Although there is much new material in the book, some of the narrative,
in order to set the photographs in context, covers the same ground as in his
earlier books. Major events, such as
the first time he heard the human
voice on radio are retold. Usually
these accounts are abbreviated. As in
his other books the style of the writing
is informal, often colloquial, and
Spilsbury has included maps, as in
his other books, of the Inside Passage
from Prince Rupert to Mission on the
inside covers or Spilsbury's Album.
The book jacket features two evocative
pastels by Spilsbury of coastal scenes
painted in 1989 and 1990. A one-page
index points the reader to people,
places and subjects of interest.
Ann Carroll
Ann Carroll is Project Archivist in the Special
Collections and University Archives Division at
U.B.C. Library.
Coquihalla Country: An Outdoor
Recreation Guide.
Murphy Shewchuck, Sonotek
Publishing, Merritt, B.C. pp. 176,
Murphy Shewchuk has enlightened
hikers, nature lovers, fishermen, and
background explorers for years with
his intriguing and well informed
books of southwestern B.C's outdoors.
Another fine example of his work is
the Coquihalla Country: An Outdoor
Recreation Guide. The author
provides a variety of adventurous
exploring opportunities that are now
available to outdoors people as a result
of the Coquihalla highway and its
connectors. This new highway has
opened the ways for numerous hiking
and backroad explorations that were
not available to all, prior to the
completion of this magnificent
This book describes several
backroads, trails, and leisure activities
people can participate in in this
territory. Murphy provides a legend
with accompanying symbols for each
backroad route described in his book.
In the legends he provides travel time
to complete the route, seasonal and
road conditions, nearest communities,
and titles of topographical maps for
the area. As well, his legends provide
symbols of all the activities, such as
snowmobiling, cross country skiing
hiking, fishing, and camping, that are
available to the people. Pictures
interspersed throughout the book
gives the reader some idea of the
scenery and activities one can expect
to find in this beautiful country. The
recreational guide is divided into five
geographical sub-regions of the
Coquihalla country. Some of these
backroad areas include Hope to
Merritt, Princeton to Merritt, and
Merritt to Kamloops. The book
suggests the best time when to visit
most locations and provides the do's
and don'ts of backroad exploring in
this territory.
The author provides a historical
tinge to numerous routes, if available,
which brought so much more meaning
to the area besides describing the
beauty and other enjoyments people
can experience in these areas. The last
twenty pages of the book summarize:
the history, physical features, climate
and vegetation, wildlife, and fish and
fishing available in the Coquihalla
country. This summary provides an
exceptional overview of the area
which was very informative.
The only criticism of the book is
simple typing errors. Found on page
49 "hreeze" should be breeze; page 73
"Vermilion" should be Vermillion and
B.C. Historical News - Summer 91 page 92 "employmement" should be
Murphy Shewchuk's book,
Coquihalla Country: An Outdoor
Recreation Guide, provides the
outdoor enthusiast with a well
informed book of this territory of B.C.
This book is a must if you are an
outdoors person who enjoys finding
something new and challenging, while
at the same time beautiful and
entertaining. The Coquihalla country
has something to offer all.
Werner Kaschel
Werner Kaschel is currently enrolled in the
twelve month intermediate teaching programme
at U.B.C. He has a B.A. and the Public History
Certificate from Simon Fraser University.
Robin Ward's Vancouver
Robin Ward. Madeira Park, B.C.,
Harbour Publishing Co., 1990.
pp. 144, illustrated.  $29.95
This pictorial tribute to Vancouver's
architectural history includes more
than 70 pen and ink drawings, many
of which have appeared in the
Vancouver Sun. The author hails
from Glasgow but has recently chosen
to make Vancouver his home. In 1990,
Ward earned a City of Vancouver
Heritage Award in recognition of his
part in preserving the city's cultural
Ward's enchantment with Vancouver
is revealed in his faithful and lively
renderings of Vancouver landmarks.
The delicate drawings were all
sketched outdoors in freehand with
careful attention to the ornamental
detail of each structure. Portrayed
with inspiration and a sense of
humour (even graffiti are included)
the character of each landmark comes
alive under Ward's pen.
Most buildings selected for this
volume are located in or near the
central business district, the area
currently most threatened by
demolition. Churches,     railway
stations, banks, government buildings,
hotels and apartments are some of the
buildings chosen for representation.
The drawings are not limited to
buildings. Also selected are districts, a
pier, a grain elevator and an engine, to
name a few.
The carefully researched commentaries accompanying each landmark are
informative as well as interesting,
blending past and the present and
flavoured with quotations. Factual
information given includes the type of
architectural style, the names of
architects, the date of completion and
the building materials used. As a
bonus for the novice, there is a
Through these pages, the reader can
take a delightful heritage walk
through Vancouver, glimpsing
vignettes of the past and stopping to
examine the decoration of each
building. Some of the landmarks are
lost forever (the Georgia
Medical-Dental Building) and some
are examples of adaptive reuse (the
Old Courthouse, the CPR Station, the
Sinclair Centre and the Kelly
This capsule of Vancouver's
architectural history contains a
treasure box of memories and will
serve as a keepsake for anyone
interested in preservation or as a
reference tool for the researcher of
Vancouver's heritage.
We look forward to future volumes
from this artist depicting more
Vancouver relics.
Peggy McBride
Peggy McBride is the Planning Librarian in the
Fine Arts Library at U.B.C.
The Cannery Book; Salmon Stories
& Seafood Recipes
Vancouver, Dobson Communications,
1990. 96 p., illustrated $12.95
Not your usual cook-book, this
handsome well illustrated paperback,
published by the Cannery Restaurant,
is a good read on the salmon industry
of British Columbia, in addition to
being a useful and attractive
Dictionary of Canadian
Biography. Index, Volumes 1-X11,
1000 to 1900.
Toronto, University of Toronto Press,
1991. 557 p. $85.00
This index volume provides a
cumulative   index   to    the   twelve
published volumes of the Dictionary
of Canadian Biography, of over 6000
persons who died or flourished before
1900. The whole series covers many
British Columbia personalities, from
Amor de Cosmos to James Murray
Raincoast Chronicles Twelve.
Edited by Howard White. Madeira
Park, Harbour Publishing, 1900. 80 p.,
illustrated $9.95
Another good issue of this excellent
magazine including articles by A.J.
Spilsbury, A.M. Feast, Edith Iglauer,
Peter Trower, Helen Dawe, Lillian
Lamont Bateman, John Watson, Alan
Haig-Brown, Howard White, Gordon
Ballentine and Paul Stoddart.
We Have Written; A True Story of
Triumph Over Tragedy
Mary Elizabeth Raina. Nepean,
Ontario, Private Publishing, 1990.
213 p., illustrated.
Available from Mary Elizabeth Raina,
City View Postal Outlet, P.O. Box
78041,1547 Merivale Rd., Nepean,
Ont. K2G 3J0. $14.95 & $3.00 postage.
Story of the Raina family, who
emigrated from Alberta to Quebec
during the thirties, looking for a
Catholic bilingual education for their
children. Depicts rural Quebec and
the domination of the Catholic clergy.
to build up the B.C. Historical
Federation Scholarship or
Writing Competition Fund.
Please send youi donation to
the B.CH.F. Treasurer, Francis
Sleigh, Box 29, Deroche, B.C.
You will receive a tax
deductible receipt.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 91
Honorary Patron:
Honorary President:
His Honour, the Honourable David C. Lam, CM, LL.D.,
Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia
Ken Leeming
1st Vice President:
2nd Vice President:
Recording Secretary:
Past President:
Myrtle Haslam, P.O. Box 10, Cowichan Bay, B.C. VOR 1 NO 748-8397
Alice Glanville, P.O. Box 746, Grand Forks, B.C. VOH 1 HO 442-3865
Ron Welwood, 1806 Ridgewood Road, RR#, Nelson, B.C. V1L 5P4 825-4743
T. Don Sale, 262 Juniper Street, Nanaimo, B.C. V9S 1X4 753-2067
Arnold Ranneris, 1898 Quamuchan Street, Victoria, B.C. V8S2B9 598-3035
Francis Sleigh, Box 29, Deroche, B.C. VOM 1G0 826-0451
Mary Rawson, 1406 Woodland Drive, Vancouver, B.C. V5L 3S6 251-2908
Daphne Paterson, 2650 Randle Road, Nanaimo, B.C. V9S 3X2 758-5757
John D. Spittle, 1241 Mount Crown Road, North Vancouver, B.C. V7R 1R9 998-4565
B.C. Historical News
Publishing Committee
Book Review Editor
Margaret Stoneberg, Box 687, Princeton, B.C. VOX 1W0
Tony Farr, RR#3 Sharp Road Comp. 21, Ganges, B.C. VOS 1E0
Ann Yandle, 3450 West 20th Avenue,
Vancouver, B.C. V6S 1E4
(Bus:) 228-4879 (Res:) 733-6484
Naomi Miller, Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0 422-3594
Nancy Peter, #7-5400 Patterson Ave., Burnaby, B.C. V5H 2M5 437-6115
Historical Trails & Markers    John Spittle, 1241 Mount Crown Road, North Vancouver, B.C. V7R 1R9 988-4565
228-8606 or 955-2963
Subscription Secretary
Publications Assistance
(not involved with
B.C. Historical News)
Helen Akrigg, 8-2575 Tolmie Street, Vancouver, B.C. V6R 4M1
Contact Helen Akrigg for advice and details to apply for a loan
toward the cost of publishing.
Scholarship Committee Arthur Wirick, 2301 - 4353 Halifax St., Burnaby, B.C. V5C 5Z4
Pamela Mar, P.O. Box 933, Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 5N2
Writing Competition
(Lieutenant - Governor's
758-2828 The British Columbia Historical News
P. O. Box 35326, Stn. E
Vancouver, B.C.
V6M 4G5
Second Class Mail
Registration No. 4447
British Columbia Historical Federation
The British Columbia Historical Federation invites submissions of books for the ninth
annual Competion for Writers of B.C. History.
Any book presenting any facet of B.C. history, published in 1991, 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".
The judges are looking for quality presentations, especially if fresh material is included,
with appropriate illustrations, careful proof reading, an adequate index, table of contents and
bibliography from first-time writers as well as established authors.
Note: Reprints or revisions of books are not eligible.
The Lieutenant-Governor's Medal for Historical Writing will be awarded to an individual
writer whose book contributes significantly to the recorded history of British Columbia. Other
awards will be made as recommended by the judges to valuable books prepared by groups or
All entries receive considerable publicity. Winners will receive a Certificate of Merit, a
monetary award and an invitation to the B.CH.F. annual conference to be held in Burnaby in May
Submission Requirements: All books must have been published in 1991, and should be
submitted as soon as possible after publication. Two copies of each book should be submitted.
Please state name, address and telephone number of sender, the selling price of all editions of the
book and the address from which it may be purchased if the reader has to shop by mail.
Send to: B.C. Historical Writing Competition
P.O. Box 933
Nanaimo, B.C. V9R5N2
There is also an award for the Best Article published each year in the B. C. Historical News
magazine. This is directed to amateur historians or students. Articles should be no more than
2,500 words, typed double spaced, accompanied by photographs if available, and substantiated
with footnotes where applicable. (Photos will be returned.)
Please send articles directly to:
The Editor, B.C. Historical News
P.O. Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0


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