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RETURN To an Order of the House for a copy of the Report of Mr. E. B. Mckay, and all correspondence regarding… British Columbia. Legislative Assembly 1889

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 52 Vict. Correspondence—Artesian Wells. 343
To an Order of the House for a copy of the Report of Mr. E. B. McKay, and all
correspondence regarding the artesian well boring experiment in Yale District.
Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Lands and Works Department,
26th February, 1889.
Mr. Ross and others to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Sir,—We the undersigned settlers of South Thompson River and vicinity, having learned
with satisfaction that the Government have determined to prospect for an artesian flow of
water, would respectfully recommend that the first experiment be made on Mr G. B. Martin's
property on this river.
Our reasons for selecting Mr. Martin's ranch are that, being centrally situated on the river,
the test would necessarily be a fair one ; that being intersected by the railway the plant can be
laid down at the least possible cost; that if successful a large area of now useless land in the
vicinity presents the most favourable features for further operations, and whilst this request is
made without Mr. Martin's knowledge, it would be a recognition of his efforts in furthering
this very important work, holding that the fact of his being an M. P. P. should not debar him
from any prospective benefits that may ensue.
(Signed)       James Ross,
„ Owen S. Batchelor,
and 55 others.
The Surveyor-General to Mr. E. B. McKay.
Victoria, B. O, June 12th, 1888.
Sir,—In compliance with the piayer of a petition from residents on the South Thompson
River, I am directed by the Honourable the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to instruct you to make arrangements to sink a trial bore for an artesian well on the ranch of G. B.
Martin, Esq., South Thompson River.
You should forward all necessary boring apparatus to Duck's Station on the Canadian
Pacific Railway, from which point they can be transported to the place you may select as most
suitable for the object in view.
You will be good enough to keep your expenditure as low as may be practicable, bearing
in mind the limited sum appropriated for the service, and having in view the probable necessity
for sinking test bores in other localities.
Please report progress and write for instructions before moving ycur tools to other sections
of the District.
I have, etc.,
(Signed)        W. S. Gose,
Mr. E. B. McKay to the Surveyor-General.
Martin's Ranch, South Thompson, July 10th, 1888.
Sir,—I enclose pay sheet and voucher for expenditure up to June 30th, re artesian well.
On my arrival at New Westminster I sent word to Sumas, and the rods and tackle were 344 Correspondence—Artesian Wells. 1889
returned here on the 18th. I had held the tackle from Victoria so as to have one car load do
for both lots. It left New Westminster on the evening of the 18th, and arrived at Duck's at
noon on Saturday 23rd. We unloaded it and Mr. G. B. Martin found us teams to haul it the
remainder of the distance. I have located the shaft near Mr. G. B. Martin's back south line,
at the mouth of the gulch above his house. This I think is the only place on his ranch where
water will be found to do him any good for irrigation purposes. I trust to be able to report a
a good supply of water before long. I was delayed some time by the non-arrival of the lumber
for lining the shaft, but we are now at work and making fair progress with the upper part of
the well.    I shall sink as deep as I can before starting tubing.
Mr. Martin has put a cabin at my disposal and, with the exception of millions of mosquitoes, we are comfortable Under existing circumstances I would rather you made me an allowance of $35 or $40 per month for board, or I will get what I want in Kamloops and forward
accounts for same to you, whichever you like.
I have, &c,
(Signed)        E. B. McKay.
The Surveyor-General to Mr. E. B. McKay.
Victoria, July 20th, 1888.
Sir,—Herewith I beg to return the voucher enclosed with your letter of the 10th inst.,
and would state that all vouchers must be signed by each person whose name appears thereon,
opposite the amount set down, before the same will be paid at the Treasury.
I am instructed to say that you will be allowed $30 per month for board while away from
Victoria. I am also desired to call your attention to the fact that some comment has been
made to the department on your alleged lack of energy in pushing the work.
I am, etc.,
(Signed)       W. S. Gore,
Mr. E. B. McKay to the Surveyor-General.
Martin's Ranch, August 1st,  1888.
Dear Sir,—Enclosed please find pay sheets for June and July, which I hope are correctly
filled in this time. I also enclose letter from James Mcintosh which will explain the delay in
our not receiving the lumber ordered. I thought to save time by having it delivered at Martin's
Crossing, and both Mr. Martin and Mr. Mcintosh pressed the matter with the C. P. R., but
after promises made to both gentlemen the lumber was neglected, which delayed the work some
time. We have, however, got the upper part of the well lined with 2-inch plank, and our large
tubing started, and we have bored to a depth of 80 feet without the further need of tubing, the
sides of the hole standing well, which will give you some idea of the hardness of the strata (blue
clay) passed through. Yesterday, July 31st, we had to drill every inch of the way as there is
now showing in the bottom of the hole a band of shaley cement and gravel, but from last night's
last augurful I think we are through it, or nearly so. With reference to your last item in
the letter I received July 28th, I may state that your informant is out. Had I come up here
and located the bore without first making a careful survey of the district in the neighbourhood
I would not have been doing my duty. I have been and am on the work every day and all
day, and when you remember that my men (although good) have never done work of this kind
before and every move has to be shown by myself. The rods sent from Sumas were in very
bad order; we have had to straighten nearly every rod we used and to alter all the head gear as
they were using power.
I remain, etc.,
(Signed)       E. B. McKay. 52 Vict. Correspondence—Artesian Wells. 345
Mr. E. B. McKay to the Surveyor-General.
Martin's Ranch, South Thompson, August 8th, 1888.
Sir,—I have the honour to report that I have now got the 6-inch tubes down to 80 feet
and am drilling below them in a hard boulder marl with quartz boulders. At 89 feet the
tubes had been tinned for soldering together, and some delay occurred in trying to get the
tinning (which the rust had broken through in places) to take the solder. I attempted to rivet
them, and then drilled and tapped three |-inch screws through the joints, drawing them well
together and making the tubes tight. They gave little or no trouble in lowering, thus showing
that our hole is plumb, and I think by the beginning of the week to have the tubes down to
one hundred feet. We had to burn our own charcoal. The Kamloops people promised me
some coal but it has not yet arrived.    I have fitted a heavy spring pole and find it works well.
I remain, etc.,
(Signed)        E.  B. McKay.
Mr. McKay to the Surveyor-General.
Martin's Ranch, South Thompson,
August 15th, 1888.
Sir,—I have the honour to inform you that on the 10th we struck the boulder drift in bore
hole, and we have had considerable trouble with it on boulder of white quartz, which protruded
part way into the hole, which crooked our boring a little. I have now got a tool made to
straighten it out with. We have got our tubes down on to the boulders. We are now boring
in hard greenish rock, which I do not think is the solid, but only a large boulder. The rounder
was rather beyond our power of blacksmithing, so I had it made in Kamloops. I went in on
the evening train and had it made next day and returned on the morning train. I send sketch
of hole and tool which will give you a much better idea than writing.
I have, (fee,
(Signed)        E. B. McKay.
Mr. McKay to the Surveyor-General.
Martin's Ranch, August 21st, 1888.
Sir,—I have the honour to inform you that I have again reduced the diameter of the bore
from 51 to 44 inches. My reason is the hardness of the rock. I am still of opinion that this
is not the solid rock, but only a large boulder. I have reduced the hands by one, the spring
pole which I fitted working well; depth at time of writing, 93 feet. The reducing to 4J leaves
the whole of the following tackle at your disposal for boring in any other part of this district.
I could start a gang and let one of the men I have here take charge in my absence, and with
the proximity of the C. P. R. 1 could look them over occasionally.
Subjoined I enclose list of tackle which could be used.
I have, &c,
(Signed)        E. B. McKay.
List of tackle not in use at present, and which will not be wanted on this bore hole: —
Eight-inch tubes, 45 feet; 5-inch tubes, 100 feet; 6-inch tubes, 200 feet; 3 5-inch augers; 4
6-inch augers; 3  5-inch pumps; 3  6-inch pumps; 6 5-inch drills; 5 6-inch drills.
Common to both—One hundred feet of rods; 1 winch; 1 set kup and wrenches; 1 turn
wrench; clamps and swivels; brace head; shear-leg, shackle, (fee
(Initialed)        E. B. M. 34'; Correspondence—Artesian  Wells. 1889
Mr. McKay to the Surveyor-General.
Martin's Ranch, South Thompson,
September 2nd, 1888.
Sir,—1 forward to-day by mail pay sheet and vouchers, which I hope you will find
I have to report with regard to the boring that the rock is still of the hardest kind.
We have passed through several fissures and veins in the rock, which I am now compelled to
think is the solid rock. Mr. McElroy, Professor Dawson's assistant, called at the bore last
week and examined the rock, and gave it as his opinion that it is the rock of this upper series;
and in a conversation which I had with Professor Dawson in Kamloops, he gave it as his
opinion if we did not find the water in the gravel and rock over the solid rock, a fissure or
water-bearing channel was our only chance, as the upper series of rocks here are so much
broken up.
We have got our tubes down on to the solid, and are now boring with a 4^-inch driir'at a
depth of ninety-seven (97) feet. In my last letter to you, re another bore, I mentioned that I
had 100 feet of rods which I could use. This length of rods will in no wise cripple the present
bore, as we have (with a day or two's work) three hundred feet of rods here.
I have, (fee,
(Signed)        E. B. McKay.
Mr. McKay to the Surveyor-General.
Martin's Ranch, September 14th, 1888.
Sir,—I have the honour to report that the boring is still in hard rock at a depth of 102
feet. The progress is much retarded by the number of seams and fissures crossing the bore
hole at a sharp angle, much time being taken up in keeping the hole straight.
The tackle is working well, and a water-bearing fissure must be struck soon.
I have, <fec,
(Signed)        E. B. McKay.
Mr. McKay to the Surveyor-General.
Martin's Ranch, October 1st, 1888.
Sir,—I enclose pay sheets on voucher forms, as I have no more pay sheet forms. I hope
it will make no difference. The work still progresses slowly, owing to the nature of the rock;
depth on 29th, 107.6 feet. If we could get steam much better progress would be made, as the
rods are getting quite a lift now. I have been looking over a number of drilling machines,
and I enclose one which seems to me to be just what we want here. It is light and portable,
and we would only want the machine, as the surface tools, rods, and top gear is the same as what
we are now using, and the boiler will want but little water, as the machine is heavily geared.
The Diamond boring machine is, without doubt, the best machine, but the quantity of
water (30 gallons per minute) required to run it virtually puts it out of our way in a dry
country where water would have to be hauled.
The American machine by Pierce is a cumbersome machine of wood framing, and requires
as much fitting, besides being heavy to move round over bad roads. I think you ought to
make enquiries re this machine, which I enclose. The Ontario Pump Co. are the agents in
I have, &e,
(Signed)        E. B. McKay. 52 Vict. Correspondence—Artesian Wells. 347
Mr. McKay to the Surveyor-General.
Martin's Ranch, South Thompson, B. C,
October 15th,  1888.
Sir,—I have the honour to report as follows:—The rock continuing hard and very much
cut up with quartz seams, which retard our progress very much.    Depth, 110 feet.
I should like to have some instructions re winter quarters for the men and boring tools,
(fee The weather is now broken up and snow on the foot-hills. If the work is to go on during
the winter months, kindly let me know, and we will prepare for it.
I remain, (fee,
(Signed)        E. B. McKay.
Mr. McKay to the Surveyor-General.
Martin's Ranch, South Thompson,
November 2nd,  1888.
Sir,—I have the honour to enclose voucher forms for wages for month of October. The
weather has been such that we lost one day, the 27th, and since then we have had good
There is little new respecting the boring. The rock, although much lighter in colour, is
still thickly seamed with quartz veins.    Depth on 31st, 114 feet.
I have, (fee,
(Signed)        E. B. McKay.
Mr. McKay to the Surveyor-General.
Martin's Ranch, November 16th, 1888.
Sir,—I have the honour to report that the boring is now at a depth of 116 feet, still in
hard seamy rock. The weather is fine up to the present, cold and clear, but it is getting time
a cabin was built, and should I not hear from you before the 18th, I will let the men put up a
log cabin, 10x12. I can get roofing from an old cabin of Mr. Martin's; and should the work
be suspended, the cabin will be useful as a storehouse for the plant we have here.
I remain, &e,
(Signed)        E. B. McKay.
The Surveyor-General to Mr. McKay.
Victoria, B. C, November 23rd, 1888.
Sir,—I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 16th inst., and in reply I am
directed by the Honourable the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works to instruct you to
discontinue further work for the season.
You will please make an inventory of all Government tools, boring plant, &e, and store
the same securely, then discharge your men and return to Victoria.
I have, &c,
(Signed)       W. S. Gore,
Surveyor General. 348 Correspondence—Artesian Wells. 1889
Mr. McKay to the Sitrveyor-General.
Martin's Ranch, December 1st, 1888.
Sir,—Enclosed I have the honour to forward vouchers for November. Your letter dated
23rd, ordering discontinuance of work for season, came to hand on the 28th. I have now
finished cabin and we are storing all plant, &e, an inventory of which I will make and forward
to you. Will you kindly forward cheques at as early a date as you can, so that I may be able
to pay off hands, &e     Direct to Duck's Station ; we get our mail sooner from there.
I have, &c,
(Signed)        E. B. McKay.
Mr. McKay to the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works.
Victoria, December 28th, 1888.
Sir,—I have the honour to submit my report on the season's operations on the South
Thompson, in sinking artesian well No. 1.
I received instructions from Mr. W. S. Gore, Surveyor-General, under date of June 12th,
to ship all boring material, &c, to Duck's Station, on the C. P. R., which I proceeded to do via
New Westminster, where the boring rods, which had been in use there, were picked up. They
arrived at Duck's June 23rd.
I proceeded to the ranch of G. B. Martin and arranged for the hauling of the material to
a point somewhere near Martin's. All tools, tubes, &e, were landed near Martin's Creek on
July 24th, 1888. The site selected in my instructions (was on the ranch of G. B. Martin, and
was in answer to a petition from the residents of that part of the district praying that the first
boring might be made on his ranch) was not, perhaps, the best for testing that part of the
valley; but on my arrival Mr. Martin insisted on my making a careful examination of the
surrounding country and to select a place without reference to his lines. I made a careful
examination and selected a place a little to the east of Martin's Creek (and not on Mr. Martin's
ranch, as it afterwards turned out), and at an elevation of 112 feet above the river. My
reasons for selecting this place were : 1st, on the lower flats Mr. Martin has water for irrigation. 2nd, the whole of the lower flats are composed of two wide fans (caused by the creek
mentioned and a creek a little further to the east meeting), and as those fans are composed of
boulder drift covered with a coating of soil, boring would have been difficult.
On the ground selected I was sure I was clear of the creek fan, and was on the original
silt deposit, and that the depth would be about 200 feet to the rock. I was partly right and
partly wrong, as it proved. We had no boulders in the silt until nearly on the solid rock, but
the depth to the rock proved to be only 87 feet.
Following is a detailed statement of our work :—I had to sink a well deep enough to
allow of turning down a 20-foot tube, as the tubing was of this length. A few days' delay
occurred in lining the well, owing to the non-arrival of our lumber for lining and platform.
On its arrival no time was lost; the hole was lined, and a 9-inch tube put in place and
On July 18th we started boring with the 6|-inch augur in stiff blue clay. To give you
some idea of the toughness of this clay, we had to put four men on long levers with a light
gripping augur, and then we frequently put a permanent twist in the one-inch rods. The
boring proceeded without any hitch except a bent rod, which we were able to repair on the
On July 31st, at a depth of 82 feet, we struck a band of sand, and below this a band of
brittle brown clay ; under this clay we struck a boulder of whitish quartz. After a few days'
chipping and moving it out of the way of our 6-inch tubing, we succeeded in boring our tubing
on to the solid rock, at a depth of 87 feet.
I now reduced the diameter of the boring to 4J inches, and rigged heavy spring pole ;
started boring in the hardest rock I think I ever encountered in my seventeen years'
experience, both in England and on this island. The rock was full of quartz veins and slips
crossing the vertical at a sharp angle, causing the drills to shirk one side and jamb in the other,
requiring patience and good temper, both on the part of the men and drills. The drills gave
us little trouble in tempering; they are of splendid steel and stood well on the face, but the 52 Vict. Correspondence—Artesian Wells. 349
nature of the rock caused them to lose gauge, causing frequent drawings of the rods. On
August 20th I reduced hands by one man, as the spring pole worked well and economy had
been enjoined on me by the Surveyor-General.
About September I recommended the starting another boring on the low-lying flats, as
we had ample tackle to start with, which was not needed in boring through rock. This second
bore would have tested the hollow of the valley, and had it proved a success the one at
Martin's might have stood over until rock-boring machinery was introduced.
The present boring proves that the bottom of this valley is exceedingly irregular, and that
nothing but actual boring will prove the depth and water-producing power of the measures.
On November 18th, at a depth of 116 feet, I stopped boring. The weather, although fine,
was much too cold to camp out in tents, so I started a cabin for the use of the men, and had
nearly finished it when, on November 28th, I received instructions to suspend operations and
return to Victoria.
The water in the well, when 116 feet was reached, rose to within nine feet from the
surface, being about 103 feet above the river. This shows that the water comes from a higher
level, and that pressure exists. I feel sure that if the present boring is pushed down another
hundred feet, an abundant supply of water will be found.
I have, &e,
(Signed)        E. B. McKay.
VICTORIA: Printed by Richard Wolfenden, Government Printer^
at the Government Printing Office, James' Bay.


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