Sunday, September 26, 2010

Brigade Trails through the South Okanagan

The map above shows both the upper and lower brigade trails south of Dog Lake, with the upper trail entering the map on the top, left, as it passes under Highway 3A, and the lower trail to the right hand side of the map.
You can see that the two trails merge at White Lake for a while, and then separate again as they travel through modern-day Oliver.
However, the accompanying photographs will not follow the brigade trail south, but the lowlands of the Okanagan River valley to the east.
The early fur traders might have followed the Okanagan River (and maybe in 1840 the outgoing brigade went out by the Okanagan River route), but the later traders used Native trails that travelled the hilltops or valleys to the west of the river.
As I have said in my last posting, you can actually follow the brigade trails through the country, by finding the backroads which more or less follow their routes through the valleys and lakes that make travel easy in this country.
But in the south Okanagan, the backroads do not follow the brigade trails as closely as those in the north.
According to my 1999 Penticton Forest District Map, a backroad leaves Kaleden (on the west side of Skaha Lake) and heads toward White Lake, where the two trails divide -- this road more or less follows the Lower Trail but branches off before it reaches White Lake.
It turns west to become the White Lake Road leading in from Twin Lakes Road, which follows Park Rill and the Upper Trail northward for some distance and connects with the Twin Lake Road which goes north to Trout Lake and Highway 3A.
If you are following the Twin Lakes/White Lake road from the west (and Highway 3A), it makes a sharp right turn to the south to reach White Lake -- if you are travelling from the east and Kaleden you will turn left down the White Lake Road to reach White Lake itself.
South of White Lake, the Fairview/White Lake Road joins the above mentioned roads at White Lake, and leads the driver a little north of the brigade trail all the way to Meyers Flat and Oliver to the southeast.
So again, it is possible to more or less follow the brigade trails through this country, by following the backroads.
But the trails are probably on private land, and you must respect that -- ask permission to look for the brigade trails, if that is what you want to do.

These two photographs, one at the top of the page, and one lower, are of Skaha, or Dog Lake.
The top photo looks toward Okanagan Lake, and those are the hills the fur traders would have ridden.
The bottom photo below and to the left looks south toward Okanagan River and Vaseaux Lake.

Skaha Lake is a resort town today.
To the east of the lake is Skaha Bluffs Rock Climbing Zone, and as you can see from the photos, this is a boaters' paradise.
The road runs down the west side of the lake, so the brigade trail is behind the photographer and in the hills of the photo that looks to the north.

These two photographs show the dry country south of modern day Skaha Lake.
We are following the Okanagan River south from Dog Lake, but I can't tell you which side of the river we are on at this point.
The road runs down the west side of the lake and crosses the River to run down the east side of Vaseaux Lake.
Its hot and dry; semi-desert with dry grass and scattered pines.
Though the brigaders were in the hills and may have enjoyed more shade than if they followed the valleys, I doubt they were much cooler.
They always travelled through this country in early or mid-summer, and their return was in the extreme heat of late summer.

These two photographs are of Vaseaux Lake; the road runs down the east side of the lake and so we look across the lake at the ridge of hills that the brigaders followed.
At this point, their trail was well back from the shores of Vaseaux Lake; they were in fact at White Lake, northwest of Vaseaux Lake.
These two photographs are of Vaseaux Lake -- one looks westward toward the trail, and one northward toward Dog Lake.
Notice the canoers.

We are looking south down Vaseaux Lake, and you can see the bump of McIntyre Bluff in the centre/right of the photograph.
Vaseaux Lake was often called Oak Lake in the fur traders' journals.
There are no oak here, so you may wonder how it got that name.
Biologists will tell you that a plant called Poison Oak grows along the shoreline of the lake.
Poison oak resembles poison ivy in that it is a stinging plant, and memorable once you have touched it.

This photograph is of McIntyre Bluff, as seen from Vaseaux Lake.
It lies south of Vaseaux Lake, and the city of Oliver is south of McIntyre Bluff.
The bluff is an impressive piece of rock and is mentioned in some fur traders journals, I understand.
However, the brigade trail did not follow the river along the base of the bluff, but rode along the ridge of hills to the west of the bluff.
They brigaders would have followed their trail over the back of the bluff, on the right hand side of the photograph.

These last two photographs are of Osoyoos Lake, taken from the side of Anarchist Mountain to the east of the lake.
The first photo, to the right, looks up the Okanagan valley to the north, toward the city of Oliver, McIntyre Bluff, and Vaseaux Lake beyond.
The second photograph looks across the lake at the hills that separated the Osoyoos Lake from the Similkameen River valley to the west.
The Similkameen valley is home to another brigade trail -- one that connected Fort Colvile, in American territory after 1846, to the Coquihalla brigade trail to Fort Langley.
We aren't going to follow this brigade trail yet, but it is in our future.
We will follow this trail southward to Fort Okanogan, and then eastward to Fort Colvile, where Anderson spent a few years.
As I have said before now, I have some interesting stories to tell you about Fort Colvile.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Okanagan brigade trails at Dog Lake

The first brigade trail ran through the Okanagan in the 1820's, and followed the shorelines of the lakes that lay along the Okanagan River south of Lake Okanagan.
But there were later brigade trails that took alternate routes that must have been easier to ride.
In this map, modern-day Summerland lies at the top of the page, west of Okanagan Lake.
You can see that there were two trails, separated by a narrow ridge of land, in the Summerland area north of Trout Creek.
The two trails merged or crossed at Summerland, and the upper trail mounted the hills to the west and crossed Trout Creek above its canyons, crossing two tributaries to the river they called Serpent Creek.
The modern name for Serpent Creek is Shingle Creek, which is also the name for the northern-most section of the creek.
If you leave Summerland and drive west along Prairie Valley Road, crossing the Kettle Valley Railway and the Canadian Pacific Railway (and maybe passing Summerland's dump), you will more or less be following the route of the Upper brigade trail.
From Trout Creek Flat (where the railways run), the Shingle Creek/Summerland Road follows the route of the brigade trail almost exactly -- the road seems to run a little west of the trail all the way to Shingle Creek bridge.
The brigade trail even crossed Shingle Creek slightly east of modern-day Shingle Creek bridge.
A waiver here -- this information comes from The Okanagan Brigade Trail book I have already spoken of. It was published some years ago and it is, I suppose, possible that the backroads have been re-routed.

Shingle Creek flows eastward all the way to modern-day Penticton and the Okanagan River; modern-day Shatford Creek flows into Shingle Creek from the south.
The upper brigade trail followed the west bank of Shingle Creek and crossed Shatford Creek to the Marron River.
The furtraders called Shatford Creek Sheep Creek or Snake River.
Marron River is still named Marron River; the northernmost lake on the river is Aeneas Lake, and the one to the south Marron Lake.
To the furtraders, a Marron or maron was an unbroken horse.
If you follow the Marron Valley Road northward from Highway 3A, you will be more or less following the brigade trail north all the way to the Shingle Creek bridge.
These backroads follow the brigade trails all over the valley.

In his book "Lifeline of the Oregon Country," James Gibson gives us another batch of names for the various creeks and rivers the brigade trail crossed as it passed west of Dog Lake.
On page 93 he writes: "South of here [Summerland] the track split into an upper (inland) trail and a lower (lakeside) trail.
"The upper variant crossed the Riviere de la Fruite (Trout Creek), the Riviere du Poulin, or Beaver River (Shingle Creek above its junction with Shatford Creek?), the Riviere la Cendri (Shatford Creek?), the Riviere aux Serpens (Marron River?), and the middle course of Park Rill....."
(Park Rill is on the map in next posting).
As you see, the names are moving around and Riviere aux Serpens has moved south to become Marron River.
No wonder these brigade trails are so hard to locate when your only source is the fur traders' journals.
I do happen to know, however, that Riviere la Cendri would have translated as Cinder River.
At Fort Alexandria, Anderson's son James rode a horse he called Petite Cendre -- Little Cinder.

The trail we have followed in this posting was the Upper Trail, a later trail than the one that followed the Okanagan River north along the boggy shorelines.
I don't know whether this upper trail was used when Anderson left New Caledonia in 1840, or whether the lower trail was still in use.
The Lower Trail followed the shoreline, crossing Trout Creek below its two canyons, and travelling east of Mt. Nkwala (named for the Okanagan chief Nicola), followed the western shores of Dog Lake to Marron River.
Because of massive population growth in this area, we can only guess where the lower trail ran.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

James R. Beattie

From the Hudson's Bay Archives Biographical sheets, we have James R. Beattie's records:
James R. Beattie was born in Montrose, County Forfar, North Britain, and entered the service on the 16th September 1858. Most of the references apply to the Fort Victoria records, and so he must have been at this place.
1858-1859 Apprentice Clerk, Columbia District
1859-1860 Clerk, Fort Victoria, Columbia District
1860-1861 Sundries, Nisqually and Victoria, Columbia District. He was not receiving wages and it appears that he was ill during this period.
1861-1863 Clerk, Nisqually, Columbia District
15 October 1863, Retired
While at Fort Nisqually James Beattie drew a pencil drawing of the fort, which is available at HBC Archives, P-165.

The Anderson family Bible tells us that James Beattie was born at Montrose, 25th January, 1836.

From James R. Anderson's Memoirs we obtain much more personal information:
"In 1859 several additions to the staff of the Hudson's Bay Company were made in the persons of James Beattie, Robert Jesse, and others who came to Victoria by the steamer Labourchere from London.
"These young gentlemen added to those already on the ground formed quite a little society and many were the larks we organised and carried out.
"A favourite amusement was to get old Willie Mitchell to recite Shakespeare.
"One, Ronaldson, who had settled at Metchosin, was one of the elect and we occasionally proceeded by water to spend the weekend with him.
"Once we got storm bound so we had to land and spend the night on the beach, but what was my amazement when the newcomers proposed we should take turn about to keep watch.
"Having slept in the open many hundreds of times, I was naturally curious to know why; the idea of being attacked by savages being the reason given, I made no further demur but promptly went to sleep during my watch...."

"James Beattie of this parish and Eliza Charlotte Anderson of this parish were married in this Church of licence with consent this twenty first day of May in the year One Thousand and Eight Hundred and Sixty,
By Me:
Edward Cridge
This marriage was solemnized between us:
Jas. Beattie
Eliza Charlotte Anderson
In the presence:
Robert Jesse
Catherine Work
I hereby certify that the above is a true extract of the marriage register of Christ Church, Victoria, Vancouver Island.
E. Cridge, Rector of Christ Church, March 23rd 1864."

From James Anderson's Memoirs:
"James Beattie on his retirement returned to England when he became manager of a branch of the British Linen Company's Bank and subsequently accepted the position of Manager of the Bank of New Zealand where he died, leaving a numerous family by his wife, my sister, of whom I have made frequent mention in the earlier portion of these memoirs."

James Beattie's obituary reads: "The Late James Beattie -- the funeral of the late James Beattie took place yesterday.
"The cortage which left the residence of the family shortly after two o'clock in the afternoon, consisted of the hearse containing the remains, which was immediately followed by the carriages containing the chief mourners, who were the four sons, Mr. Revington-Jones (son in law), Dr. D. H. MacArthur, MHB (agents of the Colonists' Land Corporation), and Mr. Oldershaw. ...
"There were in all twenty carriages and forty horsemen, besides a large number of persons who had ridden or driven on to the cemetery.
"The procession was halted at the Church of England, where after the casket containing the remains had been carried into the chancel, the beautiful and impressive service for the dead was read by the Rev. Innes-Jones.
"At the conclusion of the service in the church, the cortege proceeded to the cemetery, where the mournful ceremony was concluded.
"The coffin was covered with wreaths and crosses as it was lowered into the grave.
"Among those present were many of the old settlers, who had come from long distances to render a last tribute of respect to one who had gained the goodwill and esteem of all classes of the community, and to tender by their presence on the mournful occasion, their heartfelt sympathy with Mrs. Beattie and family in their loss of an affectionate husband and a loving and kind father."

The obituary continues: "The late Mr. Beattie was born at Montrose, Scotland, in 1836, and was educated at Montrose Academy.
"He held a Lieutenancy in the Forfarshire and Kincardine Artillery Militia for several years.
"In 1858 he went to America, where he held an appointment for five years in the Hudson's Bay Company.
"He then returned to London, residing there for about ten years, during which time he was Secretary of the National Bank of New Zealand at its formation.
"He was appointed to the management of the Nelson (N.Z.) branch of the same bank, which position he held for some years.
"The E. and C. Land Corporation starting here, he accepted the position of accountant to that corporation, which post he held until the day of his death.
"His illness was of long standing, but he bore up against it with all the courage of his nature, and he may be said to have died in harness."

Eliza Charlotte Anderson and James R. Beattie founded a dynasty in New Zealand and have many descendents who still celebrate their ancestors.
Their descendents carry the names Nossiter, Revington-Jones, Dunn, and Beattie; they still live in Feilding and in nearby communities such as North Palmerston, New Zealand.
Some have moved on to Australia.
Above is a photograph of a Beattie Descendents Family reunion taken in 1980, and I can safely say that Alexander Caulfield Anderson has many more living descendents in New Zealand and Australia, than in Canada and the United States!
There are not many of us left here.

The "Eliza Anderson"

The keel of the Eliza Anderson was laid in Portland, Oregon, in 1857, and she was finished eighteen months later.
This was the largest low-pressure steam-boat built in Oregon at that time, and she was launched on November 17, 1858.
The Eliza Anderson was a sidewheeler with a vertical-beam engine, 26 x 72 inches.
She was 140 feet long, 24 feet 6 inches wide, and had 8 feet 10 inches in her hold.
Soon after her maiden voyage she was sold, and sailed north to Puget Sound where she began a long career steaming between Seattle and Victoria.
She became an immediate success on the Olympia-Victoria mail run by way of Steilacoom, Seattle and Port Townsend, and no boat in Puget Sound history ran slower and made money faster than the Eliza Anderson.
She was not palatial but she was popular with passengers who appreciated her reliability in an age when maritime safety standards were non-existant.
She was the first vessel inspected in Victoria district after the appointment of an inspector, and with the exception of a few intervals when she was laid up for minor repairs she ran continuously for ten years, enjoying a monopoly most of the time.

I thought that Anderson and his partners, Thomas and John Lowe, owned this ship, but I have not found anything to definitely support that.
These men were owners of the Victoria Steam Navigation Company, which also ran under other names such as the British Columbia and Victoria Steam Navigation Company Ltd.
If they did own the Eliza Anderson, they lost the ship when their shipping business failed in the winter of 1861.

For the last years of her Puget Sound service the Eliza Anderson sailed under the flag of the Northwestern Steamship Co.
She was mothballed twice, and on her second retirement she was stripped of all her instruments and left to rot in the mud of the Duwamish River.
The ship was 40 years old when she retired, but in 1897 the Klondike gold rush made her useful again.
Under the command of Captain Tom Powers, the Eliza Anderson sailed for St. Michael, Alaska, in August of that year, part of a small convoy of similarly decrepit steamers.
The ship was overbooked and cabins and berths had been sold two or three times over.
There was fisticuffs and duelling, card-playing and gambling.
The ship had no compass, and the voyage almost ended at Comox when the Eliza Anderson collided with the sailing ship Glory of the Seas (with most of the damage happening to the Glory).
Off Kodiak Island during a storm, the Eliza Anderson ran out of coal, and the captain ordered the passengers to loot the ship of everything that was flammable.
The men smashed the furniture for the boilers and with axes attacked the ship; the gamblers even tossed their cards and dice into the boilers.
The ancient firestack fell to the deck with a crash, and the rudder chains were so rusted they kept breaking.
The running battle with the elements went on for two days and nights, with no sign of the storm abating.
Everyone was ready to give up the fight; they could not survive much longer.

The man who rescued the ship came out of nowhere!
The story says a little sailboat sped across the waters from the coastline, and a stranger boarded the ship.
He was a giant of a man, strong, muscular and rawboned.
He took his position beside the helmsman and with terse instructions guided the ship through the storm to safe anchorage in a cove next to an abandoned cannery.
Then the bearded man returned to his sailboat and sailed away, without saying a word to identify himself.

The crew of the Eliza Anderson stocked up with coal from the cannery and continued her voyage north.
At Unalaska the passengers and crew abandoned her, and she lay at anchor for more than a year.
She was finally driven ashore during a storm and wrecked.
But the stories of the phantom pilot continued, and some said he was the ghost of Captain Tom Wright, owner and master of the sidewheeler at the height of her career on Puget Sound.
(We have a little conflict here; my information says that Captain Tom Wright was the commander on this voyage).
Eventually it was discovered that one of two brothers who owned the abandoned cannery had boarded the ship as a stowaway for Unalaska, remaining hidden until it was obvious the ship must fail.
It was he who guided the Eliza Anderson to safety, and his brother who had taken him off by rowboat.

Information on the Eliza Anderson comes from:
Lewis & Dryden's Marine History of the Pacific Northwest,
The H.W. McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest,
and article in the Islander Magazine, Times Colonist, Nov. 23, 1986.

Eliza Charlotte Anderson

When Alexander Caulfield Anderson rode out of New Caledonia over the old brigade trail in 1840, he also travelled with his wife and one child.
Eliza Charlotte had been born at Fort St. James, Stuart's Lake, on March 10, 1839.
She would be baptized at Fort Vancouver by the Rev'd Daniel Lee, in July 1840.
We have pictures of her childhood from her younger brother's memoirs -- the following took place at Fort Alexandria after his father returned to New Caledonia in 1842.
"Once my sister, two years my senior, and I accompanied our father a short distance on foot, he then directed us to the return to the fort, entrusting me with his huge hunting knife," James wrote.
He may have been about six years old, his sister eight.
"All went well for a time, but in going through a wood of poplars we somehow missed the trail and thereupon my sister set up a howl of despair saying we were lost and should be killed by the Indians.
"I felt that being the man and having been entrusted with the knife it was my place, scared as I mayself was, to take the lead and to ensure my sister that I knew perfectly well where we were, albeit not feeling at all sure of my position.
"However, I found the trail all right and got home safely, must to my self-satisfaction and my sister's joy."

From the same Memoirs, James tells of the journey from Fort Alexandria to Kamloops in spring 1848, when his father was being transferred to the charge of Fort Colvile:
"My sister and I rode our own horses besides Mr. [Donald] Manson's eldest daughter; my brother Harry, two years younger, also rode alone, but firmly strapped to the saddle, he being but five years old and personally attended by Tout Laid, the native of ugly countenance previously referred to.
"Now Tout Laid in his imperfect French jargon would every now and then, when he thought occasion demanded it, caution Harry in the following terms, "Tiens bien toujours mon Harry," pronounced in his patois "Cha ban toujours mon Hallie" and Harry, always short of temper, would turn upon Tout Laid and say "Tais toi donc Tout Laid."
I think the last phrase means, "shut your mouth."
Tout Laid [All Ugly] was a Ta-Cully Native who worked at Fort Alexandria and often babysat Anderson's children.

On his return from taking out the brigade, Anderson led his family to Fort Colvile, on the Columbia River to the southeast of Okanagan Lake.
In 1850, when a school was established inside Fort Victoria, Anderson sent his two eldest children -- Eliza and James -- by the brigade trail to Fort Hope and Fort Victoria.
At Fort Langley, James Douglas took charge of the children and they travelled by canoe to Fort Victoria.
He wrote to Anderson about the trip, in a letter dated 28th October, 1850:
"I have no doubt you are anxious about your dear little ones whom you resigned to my care with so much reluctance last summer, and I regret that there has been no opportunity of communicating with you before now.
"I am happy to say that they are both well and decided favourites with the Staines [the schoolteachers].
"They were a good deal affected on leaving you but strove to hide their grief from me by conversation and the novelty of travelling over a country they had never before seen, their attention was attracted to other objects and their thoughts diverted from scenes of home...
"They remained with me until accommodations were provided for them in school and I believe it was not until they were finally separated from my family that they felt the bitterness of parting.
"The next time I saw Eliza was in school and she could not refrain from shedding tears."

"What funny looking guys we must have been in our odd make-shift of costumes," James wrote of their arrival at Fort Victoria.
"When my sister appeared on the scene, she was costumed in a print gown which, as nearly as I can remember, was made like a bag with holes for the head and arms and tied round the waist; moccasins and a poke bonnet like a coal scuttle.
"These were all pronounced by the [James] Douglas girls as being quite out of fashion and a gown, or as we were told to call it, a dress, was made with a point in front and small straw bonnet obtained from the Sale shop.

From: Lugrin's "Pioneer Women of Vancouver Island":
"Shortly after Mrs. Staines had taken up her residence and started to teach the small children of the colony, a little girl came all the way to Victoria by the newly-opened trail via Hope on the Mainland to go to Mrs. Staines' school.
"This child was Eliza Anderson, the daughter of Alexander C. Anderson, who was then in charge of [Fort Colvile].
"She and her brother James made the long trip from the Mainland to the island together..It took them many days, and they had most alarming experiences, though thrilling and romantic to look back upon."
Unfortunately neither of these children wrote down those thrilling experiences; we can only guess what happened.
At Fort Langley, "they were met by Mr. Douglas, who took the young girl and her brother in charge.
"They were placed in separate canoes with a half a dozen Indians to paddle each smallcraft.
"In this way they were to travel all the long miles of waterway down the turbulent Fraser, out into the open waters of the Gulf, and across the sweep of sea which feels the rough swell of the straits...
"We can well imagine the emotions of those two children during this dangerous journey, huddled in the centre of the canoes, not understanding a word of the language of the Natives.
"A storm broke and the rain beat down into the canoes, wetting them to the skin.
"The wind blew, and the west loomed up black and terrifying all through the night.
"But the steady chanting song of the Indian paddlers served to reassure the children somewhat, and early in the morning they reached Plumper's Pass to dry themselves and breakfast.
"This last day of the long journey was a pleasant one, and the children slept soundly that night, their fears allayed."

When their father retired from the fur trade in 1853, to build a home in Cathlamet, the two children returned to their family.
They came back to Victoria with their father in late 1858.
Lugrin says that Eliza's father built a new home and "it was at this place that Eliza was married years later to Mr. James Beattie, one of the Hudson's Bay Company.
"Her wedding was one of the most brilliant which had taken place in the colony.
"The bride had become a charming girl; she was known as one of the belles of those early times."

One of her father's steamships was named for her, and there is a story in James Anderson's memoirs that showed how that might have irritated Eliza:
"Some peculiar quasi-public character[s] there were in those days: John Butt, the public bell ringer; the makings of a clever man with a fine voice and certainly with some little education, was without question a hard case," James wrote.
"The population of Victoria was limited and everybody knew everybody -- John Butt therefore availed himself of politely saluting not only the men but the ladies.
"One of his favourite amusements was to take the opportunity of my sister's presence in the streets to announce in a very loud voice the movements of the steamer 'Eliza Anderson' which was named after her.
"He did not get drunk nor grossly misbehave himself, was scrupulously polite and even went so far as to ingratiate himself with the Rev. Mr. Cridge, but his old instincts had been too thoroughly ingrained and he fell from grace and was put in the chain gang for stealing...."

Reverend Edward Cridge married Eliza Charlotte Anderson and James Beattie on the 21st day of May, 1860.
I have a cutting from a newspaper, and I have no idea who the small unbidden guest was!
"I remember another wedding too, a very gorgeous one.
"This was the wedding of Miss Eliza Anderson, Mr. J. R. Anderson's sister.
"She married Mr. James Beattie who was at one time connected with the Hudson's Bay and later a manager of a bank...
"The reception was given at the beautiful Anderson home; they had a large place with a garden and a splendid orchard on Rockland Avenue...."

James Beattie carried Eliza off to London and then to Feilding, New Zealand.
Theirs was the first dwelling house in Feilding, New Zealand.
In 1884 she had eight children; by the time she died she had twenty one children and left a family of 5 daughters, three sons, 17 grand-children, and two great grandchildren.
Most of the descendents of Alexander Caulfield Anderson live in New Zealand and Australia, and now you understand why!

L'Anse au Sable

I erred in an earlier posting when I said that Jesuit missionary Pere Nobili's station was located at Talle d'Epinette, at the north end of Okanagan Lake.
In a later posting I said that it was at L'anse au Sable, and I was again wrong!
Father Pandosy, leader of a group of missionaries called Oblates, came to the Okanagan valley in 1859 and settled on a small lake to the east of Okanagan lake -- Duck Lake.
Their first winter was so difficult they moved their station twelve miles south, to L'anse au Sable.
L'anse au Sable was on the east side of Okanagan Lake, exactly where Anderson's map showed it to be, and where the city of Kelowna now stands.
My French dictionary translates L'Anse au Sable as "Cove of Sand," and there is a sandy beach at Kelowna.
If you browse through the website belonging to Kelowna, you will see that Father Pandosy's Mission in Kelowna is now a Provincial Historical site.

So, now that we have cleared up which missionary was located at L'anse au Sable, we are left to wonder where Pere Nobili set up his mission.
Though its location is not known for sure, Nobili left a number of clues.
Firstly, he said that the station was at "the foot of the Great Lake Okanagan."
The station was located on land that belonged to Chief Nicola, who was an Okanagan Native whose probable home was just west of the great lake -- on Douglas Lake, in fact.
In my earlier posting on the brigade trails around Lake Okanagan, I theorized that Tsilaxitsa, nephew of the powerful Chief Nicola, had built his home near the new brigade trail.
After mulling this for a week or so, I now believe that the trail ran past the long time home of Chief Nicola, and that Tsilaxitsa maintained Nicola's old residence.
The trail that the fur traders later used as a brigade trail after 1843 had probably always existed as a well used Native trail between Douglas Lake and Okanagan Lake, through Okanagan territory.

Pere Nobili has left us more clues to the location of his mission.
Nicola desired to have the mission on his land, away from the Shuswap or Secwepemc people who visited the north end of the lake.
Nobili stated that the mission was on Nicola's land.
The station was two days' journey from the Thompson River post, and three days from the banks of the Columbia River via the Okanogan River.
Ths mission is shown on other missionaries maps: for example, DeSmet's map of 1846, 1848, and 1849.
All these maps show a southern location for Nobili's mission.
Maps from 1850-1860 show "Priest" as the only settlement in the Okanagan, and it is shown on the south end of the lake, with no settlements on the north.
Nobili said that by 1847 there were several buildings at his station.
Finally, a Jesuit crucifix similar to the crucifix carried by Nobili was uncovered at a location near the southern end of the lake.

David Gregory, who is a Summerland resident with a long interest in Pere Nobili, indicates that he believes that Pere Nobili's station was at Nicola Prairie, where Summerland now stands.
He wrote an article for the 2006 Okanagan Historical Society journal, which argues for that location.
But the location of Nobili's mission is not indicated on A.C. Anderson's 1867 map of British Columbia -- or so I thought.
In his 1858 "Map showing the different Routes of Communication with the Gold Region on Fraser's River," Anderson drew in the location of "Priests Encampment."
It appears to be at a place that I have always called "Campement du Prele."
In his book on the Okanagan Brigade trils, historian Harley Hatfield called that place "Campement du Pretre" -- or Priest's Camp.
Harley Hatfield must have been able to look at Anderson's original map, which has been hidden away in the archives for many years.
I have done most of my work with an 1960 photocopy of Anderson's 1867 map; it is only recently that the original map has been digitized and made available to historians.
I have looked at my new digitized copy and discovered that, yes, it could read Campement du Pretre after all.
I have erred again -- after all these years I have learned that Campement du Prele is probably Campement du Pretre!

David Gregory believes that Nobili's camp was at Nicolas Prairie, where the town of Summerland now stands.
Harley R. Hatfield says that Campement du Pretre, or Priest's Camp, was at modern-day Garnet Lake, northwest of Nicolas Prairie at the end of Eneas Creek.
I have talked of the upper and lower brigade trails many times.
The lower brigade trail ran through Nicolas Prairie and appears to be on the east side of a ridge of land that separates Eneas Creek and the Garnet valley from Nicolas Prairie.
The upper trail ran through the Garnet valley following Eneas Creek to Campement du Pretre, then joined the lower trail at Trepaniers River or modern-day Peachland Creek.
Where the trail ran -- and where Pere Nobili's mission was located -- are arguments that might never be settled, as civilization has destroyed almost every sign of these places.
Now is the time to discuss saving whatever remnants of our historical trails and missions remain, before they are totally buried under roads and housing.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Lolo, or Leolo, of Thompson's River post

I have begun research for my next book, and am reading the Fort Victoria Letters from the Hudson's Bay Company Archives.
As a result I have found more about the men named Jean Baptiste Lolo, and his son Edouard, both of whom I have mentioned in an earlier posting.
Almost certainly, one or both of these Lolo men rode out with the brigades to Fort Hope and Langley every summer.

Letter, James Douglas to Donald Manson [Fort St. James], 12th April 1854 -- "In reference to your letter of the 12th August I have to inform you that we paid the sum of 12 pounds as wages to Jean B. Leolo, according to your request, and the same has been charged against New Caledonia district O[utfi]t 1853."
When I get to the Fort St. James letters, I might find out what J.B. Leolo did for Manson.

Letter, James Douglas to Paul Fraser [Thompson's River post], 19th Sept. 1854 -- "Lolo has just arrived here with the packet from Thompson's River by which I have been put in possession of your esteemed letters....
"Lolo has just been talking with me on the subject of the new route, which leaving the present route from Thompson's River at the Similammen [Similkameen] followed a depression in the mountains leading direct to Fraser's River a little below the junctions of Harrisons River where there is an extensive range of alluvial plains capable of maintaining the brigade horses for any desirable length of time.
"Should that route prove to be accessible it combines so many advantages over the terminus of the present Fort Hope route that I conceive it of the utmost importance to have it throughly explored and reported on. With that view I have desired Lolo to take that route on his return to Thompson's River, and to report on it to you. As an encouragement for so doing I will make him a small present before he leaves this place."

Letter, James Douglas to Donald Manson, 19th September 1854 -- "I have noted your remarks in reference to the plain discovered last summer by Lolo, on the north side of Fraser's River, and which you propose to take advantage of for pasturing the Brigade Horses during the boat trip to and from Fort Langley, instead of sending them as usual to the Horse Guard beyond the mountains.
"Another object probably of greater importance, as respects our inland transport, has just been announced by Lolo, who states that a new route from the Simalameen valley, leading through a continuous valley direct to Fraser's River, where there are extensive alluvial plains capable of supporting all the Brigade Horses for any .. length of time, has been discovered by Indians of his acquaintance, who report most favourably of the route and country through which it passes.
"I have employed Lolo to examine that route, and to report upon it to Mr. Fraser on his return to Thompson's River, should that route prove accessible. I am of opinion it will be found to combine, all the advantages in regard to the pasture and its proximity to Fort Langley which we have in vain sought for in the Fort Hope route..."

Letter, James Douglas to James Murray Yale [Fort Langley], 19th Sept. 1854 -- "He [Lolo] has informed me of the probability of a new route from the Shimolcomeen to Fraser's River, opposite its confluence with Harrison's River, being soon discovered, a great part of it had already been traversed by Indians of his acquaintance. Should that route prove accessible, it will combine so many advantages, as respects our Inland transport over the [terminus] of the present route by Fort Hope that I conceive it of the utmost importance, to have it throughly explored. With that in view I have desired Lolo, to take that route on his way to Thompson's River, for the purpose of examining it carefully, and as an encouragement for so doing, I intend to make him a small present before he leaves this place. He will require some assistance from you, in the shape of provisions and guides, and I hope you will supply him with every necessary aid for carrying out that very desirable exploration."

Letter, James Douglas to Donald McLean [Thompson's River], 24th Sept. 1856 -- "I have much pleasure of receipt of your much valued letter, of the 9th inst., which I received yesterday from John Bapt. Lolo. I was very glad to hear of your welfare, and of the safe arrival of the ingoing Brigade, and of your return to Fort Hope with the party intended for the improvement of that trying road, between Manson's Mountain, and Mount Colvile...
"I am glad to hear that your opinion of the Chilwayah route is more favorable than it was when we parted last summer, but I must say that my confidence in it is much impaired, by the reports I have received and Lolo's description has not tended to restore the good opinion I formerly entertained of it. He in fact, so far as I can understand his meaning, decidedly condemns it as a horse route, in consequence of its length and the natural difficilties of the country...In a matter of so much importance no pains should be spared, to ascertain the best route through that difficult country, in order to diminish the heavy outlay, now caused by the annual loss of horses, resulting principally, from the fatigue and privations of that part of the journey....."

Letter, James Douglas to Donald Manson, 24th September 1856 -- "I have just received your much esteemed letter of the 28th August, announcing your arrival at Alexandria with the brigade and outfit in good order....
"St Paul is now here, and we have paid all the orders given to him and other Indians, in payment of transport expenses."

Lolo is not mentioned past this point, but the trail is.

Letter, James Douglas to Secretary, HBCHouse, London, 10th July 1855 -- "...we have commenced exploration of the country by the valley of the Chilwayook River, by which the Indians report there is a practicable passage through the mountains into the level plains of Thompson's River."

Letter, James Douglas to Secretary, HBCHouse, 1st August 1855 -- "Mr. Gavin Hamilton who was employed with a party of two men and Indians, in exploring the route to the interior, by the Chilwayook valley, has completed that service, and reports very favourably of that line of road, the country being generally level, rising to the dividing ridge, which is there scarcely perceptible, by a gradual route; pasture for the horses is every where abundant, and there are extensive grassy meadows...It therefore possesses great advantages over the Fort Hope road, and entirely avoids the mountain barrier, which forms the principal difficulty of that route, with which it unites on the Banks of the Shimilcomen River. We propose to employ a few man and Indians in opening this road, in course of the present summer, but we will not go to any extensive clearings, until it has been further examined."

The "scarcely perceptible" height of land of which they speak is the Coquihalla mountain range!

Letter, James Douglas to Secty, HBCHouse, April 1 1856 -- "..I have to inform you, that we did not succeed in completing the New Road from Fort Langley to Thompson's River, by the Chilwhayook valley last summer, and we have made arrangements to recommence operations from both extremities of the line, as soon as the weather permits, and hope to have it thoroughly opened for the passage of the brigades in course of the ensuing summer."

Letter, James Douglas to Donald Manson, 4th March 1857 -- "Your remarks in respect to the difficulties of the Fort Hope route are I admit well grounded & I think the other route by the Chilwaywook valley is rendered passable the better for all accounts agree in representing it as free from most of the defects of the other road. We did not succeed in opening it throughout its whole extent last autumn but I have writen to Mr. McLean to push forward a party as soon as possible with the view of rendering it passable for the Brigade next summer and I trust that you will cooperate with all your means in accomplishing that important object."

Letter, James Douglas to James Murray Yale, 19th March 1856 -- "Pray commence operations on the new road as soon as circumstances permit as it is highly important that it should be rendered available for this season in consequence of the discovery of Gold about Colvile..."

Letter, James Douglas to Secretary, HBCHouse, London, July 8, 1856 -- "...We have for the present abandoned the proposed new route to the Interior by the Chilwayook valley in consequence of unexpected obstacles, which the explorers of the route had overlooked, near the Chilwayook Lake, which is enclosed by precipitous rocky hills, apparently inaccessible to horses either in a direct line across their summit or by following the margin of the lake. We are therefore now about to direct all our strength to improve the existing road by Fort Hope." Lolo was right!