Wednesday, November 30, 2011

If you want to order a book from me...

...and some of you (one or two) have said that they would like to do that:
The book costs $21.00 in Canadian money, including HST (which is only 5% on books).
Postage rates vary, of course, and I have discovered that books shipped to the following places have these postage rates:
England by air mail -- $17.06
North Carolina -- $8.35
Winnipeg -- $11.44 plus HST
Washington and Oregon states -- $9.90
Lillooet -- $9.70 plus HST
Kamloops -- $8.21 plus HST
If you want to purchase a book directly from me, I will of course sign it before I ship it off.
Contact me by email and I will give you my address so that you can send cheque or mail order (mail order will be faster).
Enclose enough money to cover what we think might be the postage and I will include change -- in Canadian money, probably.
The difference between American prices and Canadian is merely because the Americans have a small package rate which we Canadians do not have, and one book fits nicely into that small package rate.
Thanks a lot -- my email, if not visible anywhere, is

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Book Launch!!

Come if you can! I think this will be a smaller, more intimate affair -- at least, I hope so.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

First speech

I gave my first long speech in front of the Victoria Historical Society on Thursday night, and survived the experience.
I wrote the entire speech out and read it off and it was fairly successful, and I never omitted anything or made any mistakes -- The power point worked for the most part, and so everything was okay.
But looking back on the speech, I think I would change a few things.
I am told that the maps did not show well at the back of the room, though they looked great from where my sister and I were.
Maps are hard to deal with in a power point presentation, and so I will have to do it differently.
I think I would show the map, as I did, and then prepare and show black and white maps that show the exact area we are speaking of, so that people can follow along a little better.

I also felt that the speech could have been improved if I had added a few sections where I could just talk freely -- perhaps introducing the characters to the audience. I will plan that for the future.
I found that I had to rush a little to finish, even though the speech was perfectly timed for 40 minutes, as instructed -- power point takes time and other little things will cause a delay, too.
Next time I will write a shorter speech and have little periods of time when I can just talk to the audience.
It's all a learning experience....

In my head, I start off my revised speech with the book cover and the following words:

Good evening, everyone. My name is Nancy Anderson and I am the author of The Pathfinder: A.C. Anderson's Journeys in the West, published this fall by Heritage House.
(I am not sure that's necessary as I have already been introduced).
Alexander Caulfield Anderson is best known as the Hudson's Bay Company fur trader who, in the mid-1840's, threaded his way through mountain passes and down rapid filled rivers in search of a horse-friendly trail through the rugged country that separated the Kamloops fort from Fort Langley, on the lower Fraser River.
This is the story of those four cross-country expeditions and the difficult years that followed, when the fur traders were forced to make their way over the new trails to the coast -- horses fell from clifftops carrying valuable trade goods with them, and frustrated fur traders had fist fights while their French Canadian employees deserted at Fort Langley for an easier life in the California gold fields.....
The information presented in this talk is taken from Anderson's records, and the reports and letters of the other fur traders such as Henry Newsham Peers, Donald Manson, and Peter Skene Ogden.

[Maybe here I would insert a little paragraph telling people what I am going to tell them, to prevent confusion, ie.:]
I will tell you where the brigade trails ran before 1846, when Anderson was granted permission to explore for a new trail between Kamloops and the coast;
I will explain why the fur traders had to find a new trail, and what forced them to use the new trail before it was ready;
I will describe what happened on the difficult 1848 brigade, and how they found a new trail in 1849; and I will tell you a little about some of the people who were involved in opening up these trails.

Image: Simple map of old brigade trail, Fort St. James to Kamloops:

Before 1843, the outgoing New Caledonia brigades started their journey in Fort St. James, carrying their furs downriver by boat to Fort Alexandria, south of modern day Prince George.
There they loaded their packs onto horses and followed their brigade trail east across the Thompson plateau to the North Thompson River. They swam their horses across the river and rode down its rugged east bank into the Kamloops fort.

The trail that led south from Kamloops was first used two hundred years ago, and was in regular use all the way up to 1847, when everything changed.
The trail led them past Monte Lake and followed the hills that lined the west shore of Okanagan Lake. It passed through Summerland and Oliver, along the west shore of Osoyoos Lake and reached the Columbia River at Fort Okanogan.

At Fort Okanogan the fur traders loaded their furs into boats and headed downriver toward Fort Vancouver.
At Fort Nez Perce they stopped again. Just east of Fort Nez Perce was an American mission -- called the Waiilatpu Mission -- that in 1848 will play an important role in Anderson's story.
The boats reached Fort Vancouver in early June, and departed in July for the Okanogan post.
In August they approached Fort Alexandria and everyone rushed out of the fort to help them the last miles home.
By September they had returned to Fort St. James, where they had begun their journey five months earlier.

In the early 1840's the fur traders looked for a new trail to cut off the difficult trail via the North Thompson River and Kamloops.
The suggested trail led north from Kamloops Lake, around the south end of Loon Lake and the north end of Green Lake.
In the area around Lac la Hache it joined the old brigade trail that led west to Fort Alexandria.
When Anderson re-entered the territory in 1842, on his way to Fort Alexandria, he rode over the trail; the following spring he brought the brigade out by this new route and this was the first time the trail was used as the brigade trail.

Image: 4 Explorations Map (See book for this map), with a talk on where Fort Langley is on the map, and where Kamloops is, and how Anderson drew the map.

Now that we have covered the background, I will tell you of Anderson's four expeditions across country in 1846 and 1847, and the international forces that caused the fur traders such anxiety over these next few years:
The boundary line between the the United States and British territories had already been established to the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains.
In the early 1840's, the fur traders were aware that the British and American governments were now negotiating the placement of the boundary line west of the Rocky Mountains -- between Oregon Territory and so-called British territories.
Only Natives, HBC fur traders, and the first rush of American settlers who had come over the Oregon Trail, jointly occupied Oregon Territory (what would later become Oregon, Washington, and North Idaho.)
Anderson thought the fur traders might eventually require a trail to Fort Langley, on the lower Fraser River, from whence they could transfer their furs to Fort Victoria and London.
He offered to explore for that new route, and the governor of the Company immediately accepted his offer.

Image: Photograph, Hell's Gate Canyon

It was 1846. The fur traders already knew they could not reach Fort Langley by boat through the two rapid-filled canyons (Hell's Gate and Black Canyon) that blocked the Fraser River between Kamloops and Fort Langley.
But the fur traders also knew that Natives from above Hell's Gate and Black Canyons traded at Fort Langley, and that the Sto:lo on the lower Fraser travelled north past those canyons.
There must be a trail around the two canyons, and Anderson was expected to find it!

Image: Photograph, Brigade Trail behind Alexandra Lodge, Fraser Canyon Highway

The trail had to be horse friendly. The country must provide good grass and water for the horses, and the trail bed must be solid enough underfoot that two hundred heavily laden packhorses could pass in safety both ways.
Switchbacks were needed on steep hillsides to allow the horses to clamber safely up or down, and safe fords or bridges must be provided if the horses crossed deep creeks in the season of high water.

Image: Map of route from Kamloops to Anderson and Seton Lakes, and down Lilloet River to Fort Langley

In summer 1846, Anderson's party of six men started off from the Kamloops fort, and rode down the south shore of Kamloops Lake to cross the Thompson River at the lake's west end.
His party rode westward through turbulent Deadman River and the Bonaparte; they followed Hat Creek to Marble Canyon and joined the Fraser River at Pavilion, and followed the river's east shore south to the place where the Natives gathered at their fishery.
There Anderson looked at the end of massive Fountain Ridge, and realized he could not take horses there. Leaving the animals behind, he crossed the Fraser in borrowed canoes and led his men down the west bank of the Fraser, as far as the mouth of Seton River.
They walked along the north shores of Seton and Anderson lakes, and hiked over various heights of land until they stumbled on the Lillooet River.
At a village they borrowed canoes, and their Lil'wat paddlers brought them quickly and efficiently down that rapid filled river to Fort Langley.

An archeologist/anthropologist who does research among the Lil'wat people who live on today's Lillooet River, collected a story from one woman, who said her many-times-great-grandmother, as a child, had been hidden away by her parents because 'strangers were coming downriver.'
He figured out the generations and thought the story had taken place about 1850 -- close enough to 1846 for it to have possibly been Anderson's descent of the Lillooet River.

(Isn't it amazing that the story came down to this woman through the many generations of women who came before her?)

Image: Photograph, The Coquihalla from Fort Langley

This is the Coquihalla mountain range behind Hope, as seen from Fort Langley. Imagine Anderson and James Murray Yale standing on the bank of the Fraser and looking at these hills, while Yale tells Anderson of a trail that ran through or around these mountains.
Yale had arranged that a Sto:lo chief named Pahallak would guide Anderson by one of his trails through this mountain range.
Anderson's party travelled upriver from Fort Langley, and after a short diversion to explore the Silverhope River (which Anderson eliminated because of rocks on the route) they began to walk up the banks of the Coquihalla River.

Image: Map of B.C., Coquihalla Detail (see book for this map)

They followed the Nicolum River east, crossing over the ridge of land that separated that river from the Sumallo -- where the Hope Slide blocks the valley today.
At Rhododendron Flats (Manning Park), they climbed up the south side of the Coquihalla to the top of the mountain, where they found the entire plateau covered in snow, deep enough that horses could not traverse it.
They crossed the plateau in a south to north direction, and followed the rocky canyon of the Tulameen River down the Coquihalla's north side to open country, where they met two Similkameen Natives -- Blackeye and his son-in-law.
Blackeye told Anderson of a Native trail to the to of the mountain: "It is of course very short as compared with the long and painful circuit made by us," Anderson said. "The road mentioned by Blackeye is that by which all, or most, of the Indians of the neighbourhood proceed every summer, in July, to the height of land with their horses to hunt Siffleurs (marmots) and gather roots; a journey of two days with their loaded horses. He expressed his willingness to guide us through it at the proper season, but like the rest of the country in that vicinity, it is impassable at present owing to the snow."

Anderson returned to Fort Alexandria (where he was posted) -- One year later, in 1847, Peter Skene Ogden instructed Anderson to make another exploration, this time down the banks of the Fraser River to Fort Langley -- to see if a snow free route could be discovered.
When Anderson set off from Kamloops, he was already aware that the Similkameen people, who lived on the Similkameen and Tulameen Rivers south of the Nicola Valley, had recently opened a trail that led from the banks of the Fraser River all the way up the hills to the Nicola Valley.
The fur traders had arranged that Blackeye show Anderson the trail, but the Similkameen man was not at the meeting place when Anderson made his journal entries that night.
Sometime later -- perhaps days later -- Blackeye's son joined Anderson's party.

Image: Photograph, Thompson's River

From the Nicola Valley, Anderson rode to the mouth of the Nicola River and, leaving the horses behind, crossed the river in borrowed canoes.
He and his men walked down the south bank of the Thompson River toward modern day Lytton, and next day met their Sto:lo guide, Pahallak, where the Thompson flowed into the Fraser.
Pahallak travelled with "..a large concourse of Indians of every age and sex," Anderson recorded. "They are on their good behaviour and show every external desire to conciliate, but they are a scampish looking set of vagabonds; nor does their ordinary conduct, I believe, at all belie their looks; and though there is little to be apprehended from them under present circumstances, we are of course, as usual, on our guard."
They camped for the night at the meeting place and began their walk downriver the next day.
One day later they reached the Native settlement Anderson called Squa-zowm, at the west end of the newly opened Similkameen trail.
If Blackeye's son hadn't arrived before this time, he and his close relative, Chief Nkwala's nephew, met Anderson near modern-day Boston Bar, where Squa-zowm village stood.

Image: Lake Mountain from North Bend, with a word on Boston Bar, Anderson River, and the location of Hell's Gate and Black Canyons just around the corner of the river.

Blackeye's son led the fur traders up his newly opened Similkameen trail, and at a place that two of Anderson's men recognized, they paused. The men assured Anderson that, from this place there already existed a reasonably good horse road that would take them all the way to the Nicola Valley and Kamloops.
Now Anderson had only to find the trail to Fort Langley, past Hell's Gate and Black Canyons and the miles of rapid-filled river north of modern day Yale.
From the mainstream of the river, the Natives led Anderson's party up a cliff climbing trail that took them to the top of Lake Mountain, where another long sloping trail led them southward to a Native village called Kequeloose, on the Fraser River south of the two canyons.

Image: Fraser River at one of its narrow points (just so everyone gets the idea the journey wasn't that easy....)

From there they crossed the Fraser and made their way downriver -- with some difficulties -- until they were able to borrow canoes to bring them to Fort Langley.
Anderson's party immediately returned up the canyons bringing two unloaded boats to Kequeloose -- again, with some difficulties -- and followed his Native guides up the trail to the Nicola Valley, on foot.

Image: Tsilaxitsa portrait in colour (it's in black and white, in the book)

When the party reached open country, Anderson wrote a note to his clerk, giving him instructions: "The chief part of our survey being now completed, I propose entrusting to your care the further charge of the party...therefore you will proceed to Okanagan with the horses, accompanied by the men herein named -- Fallardeau, Lacourse, and Desautel remain with you. Also Nicholas' nephew, Blackeye's son, and Laronetumleun -- the last as interpreter."
In later years Anderson wrote that he rode many miles with Nkwala's nephew Tsilaxitsa, who was to become the most prominent Okanagan chief of his time.
I suspect that Tsilaxitsa and Blackeye's son, and other Native men who remain forever unnamed, regularly worked for the fur traders, helping them take out their furs and bring in the trade goods.

(At this point we are 15 minutes into the 45 minute talk!)

Image: Map of lower Columbia with Fort Nez Perce showing, and Waiilatpu Mission

About the time Anderson was making his 1847 exploration, measles, which had come north with Natives who traded for horses in California, spread slowly through the Columbia district south of Fort Okanogan.
Measles is an illness that spreads in crowded conditions, and Natives gathered in large numbers around the Waiilatpu mission, east of Fort Nez Perce.
Many died -- so many that the Cayuse chiefs became convinced the missionary was intentionally killing them with poison.
When he failed a test they set for him, the Cayuse swarmed into the mission-house, slaughtering fourteen residents and taking many hostages.

Image: Peter Skene Ogden

When news of the massacre reached Fort Vancouver, Peter Skene Ogden travelled east up the Columbia river to purchase the hostages and settle the tribes.
However, the result of the massacre was the Cayuse war that erupted amongst many of the Native tribes along the Columbia River.
The river was no longer safe for travel, and Peter Skene Ogden and James Douglas immediately instructed the fur traders of Fort St. James, Kamloops and Fort Colvile (on the Columbia River near Spokane) to bring their furs out to Fort Langley by one of Anderson's unimproved trails.

The two men chose the Squa-zowm River trail over Lake Mountain, and Douglas travelled to the Fraser River to assess how easy it would be to travel downriver to the new Fort Yale.
He was horrified by the river rapids and, discovering a rough passage that led through a rift in the rocks on the west side of the river, he ordered that a good road be built through it. This was the Douglas portage, north of modern day Yale.

Before 1848, a typical brigade generally consisted of about 200 horses. The gentlemen rode at the head of the column, and behind them came the provisioning brigade.
Next came the bell mare, that trotted in front of the many individual brigades of heavily laden pack horses. In a normal year, each string (or brigade) of seven to nine horses was in the care of two men responsible both for the horses and the loads they carried.
But in 1848, close to four hundred horses -- including many unbroken animals -- came out in the hands of fifty men, many of whom would not be returning with the brigades.
The outgoing brigade left Kamloops in late May, and travelled over the hills south of the fort before following the Coldwater River west.
They crossed the plateau and rounded the range of hills before dropping down the west side of the ridge, to the Squa-zowm river, which they now called Anderson's River.
Then up the cliffs to the plateau atop Lake Mountain where they passed Hell's Gate and Black Canyons -- down the long sloping hills to the village at Kequeloose and downriver to Spuzzum Creek, where they crossed their loads in "barges" that were difficult to handle and drowned some of their horses as they swam them across the river.
They arrived at Fort Yale in early June, and Anderson wrote: "It is needless to enumerate the difficulties which we had to encounter and surmount; suffice it to say that we continued to reach Fort Yale, which had meanwhile been established, and thence ran down speedily to Langley."

The outgoing brigades had carried out their packs of furs and castoreum -- the incoming brigades would now carry in trade goods -- packs of iron goods and axe heads, balls and black powder and flints for trade guns, salt, tobacco in 90 pound rolls or in carrots, awls for sewing leather, needles and fabric, ledgers for use as post journals and ink cakes to use with goose feather pens they made themselves.
The brigade would also return with fewer men -- nine men sent out with the Fort Colvile crew returned to Fort Vancouver and three men deserted at Fort Langley.

But a young gentleman named Henry Newsham Peers joined the brigade, and he kept a journal of the trip in.
They started off from Fort Langley, and Anderson travelled in the first cluster of four boats, with five more to come under Donald Manson's command.

Image: Donald Manson, with a description of this colourful and historic man

Anderson later described the upriver journal to Yale: "Hitherto, bateaux of about three burthern have been employed by the Hudson's Bay Company, for transport below the Falls (at Yale) -- a slow method when the water is high, as the ascent can then be effected only by warping along shore, with the aid of Indian canoes to pass the lines. By this tedious process, an ascent was made during the freshet of 1848, to the foot of the Falls (at Yale), in eight days; under ordinary circumstances, it would occupy five."
This was also the season of the Native fisheries, and Donald Manson reported: "The multitude of Indians who congregate on the banks of Frasers River at that season and who gave us a good deal of annoyance in passing...would render this route if not dangerous, at least a very precarious one, for our heavily encumbered and weakly [manned] brigade...."

From Peers' journal, on passing over the Douglas portage north of Fort Yale: "I and Mr. Manson left Ft. Yale on the 2nd August with the last trip 30 horses to rejoin Mr. Anderson at the other end; We got on very well on the portage with the exception of a couple of horses falling in the ascent of the big hill & some little confusion in a swampy part of the road rendered worst than its original state by the frequent passing & re-passing of horses. There is a pretty gradual ascent (one stiff hill intervening) as far as Douglas' River where there is a steep descent of about 700 feet to a bridge & a somewhat steeper though shorter ascent on the opposite side of this ravine, thence a level road till within a mile of Spuzzum River or Simon's House where the road descends pretty gradually to that place -- we were about three hours coming across & encamped on the south side of the Fraser River."

Simon's House was a little building constructed at the north end of Douglas portage, on the west side of the Fraser. Peers continues: "Remained at this encampment three days crossing Baggage & horses, etc., found all the goods correct & started on the 6th at 3pm. with some 500 & upwards pieces of goods in 15 brigades each brigade having 18 & some a greater number of horses to 2 men."

They travelled about six miles up the east bank of the Fraser to the place where the Alexandra brigade now crosses the river, and Peers said: "We encamped at the foot of Big Hill where the road leaves Fraser River, many of Brigades only arriving when pitch dark and consequently great confusion from horses straying with their loads and so forth; several fell down a steep hill on nearing the encampment...from weakness, threw their loads & a bale was swept off in the river before it could be seized & one animal killed."

Image: Jacob Ballenden's grave, with a short explanation

Peers's journal continues the next day: "Rainy weather -- this morning Jacob Ballenden was found dead near the encampment with his gun discharged by his side, shot through the heart. It is supposed he committed suicide. The day was spent in collecting strayed horses with their loads and all found but 6 pieces and another horse killed. A war party of the Chute Indians against those of Anderson's River passed the camp and created some little alarm...Nothing I may say here for the horses to feed on."

The brigades climbed Lake Mountain and descended the cliffs on the other side, to Anderson's River, and Peers records: "Some of the rear brigades got on very badly and 80 pieces were found deficient...Remained here today till the lost pieces should be brought in all of which were rendered but 2 bales...very little for the horses to eat."
Then they began the climb from Anderson's River to the top of the hills via Utzlius Creek, eventually reaching "a small patch of thinly wooded ground in which had been constructed a miserable horse-park. Two or three of the rear brigades arrived when quite dark and many horses necessarily strayed away before they could be freed from their loads, passing the night with the rest in the woods under a heavy thunder storm with little or nothing to eat."
Peers recorded that the horses were "much reduced from this constant want of food and the hard labour they had already undergone in the ups & downs of such a rugged & mountainous tract of country -- the pieces all but two or three were recovered after much searching and order was again restored. The Indians who had been employed for the last four days in searching for and bringing lost goods to the camp were paid off and seemed satisfied although there is some doubt as to their honesty."
The next day they camped five miles from the top of the hill; and men in the latter brigades went without supper (if you remember, the provisioning brigade was at the head of the column). On the following day Anderson rode ahead to the top of the hill, while Manson sent Natives out to search for more packs. At the end of the day the fur traders found they were still missing: "six bags of salt, two bags of ball and two rolls of Tobacco." [I mentioned at this point that each of these bags and rolls weighed ninety pounds.]

Anderson sent fresh horses back to Manson and Peers -- and Peers reported that "the early part of today was devoted to catching and loading young horses, about which some time was wasted." [this always happened in the brigades.]
The next afternoon Manson and Peers caught up to Anderson's brigades on the Coldwater River. The brigade reached Kamloops on August 22nd, and the gentlemen held a meeting to discuss the trail.
Manson reported that: "The new route to Fort Langley was found by possess so many impediments, dangers and difficulties that I considered it my duty to condemn it as utterly [useless] for a large brigade such as ours, and Mr. Anderson, who discovered and recommended it as a questionable for our brigades is now convinced of his error. Such a rugged and mountainous country I never before traversed with horses...."

(At this point we are a half hour into the 3/4 hour talk)

About 70 valuable horses had been lost or killed, 27 on the return journey alone. This route was far too difficult, and the gentlemen agreed that the snow-covered trail over the Coquihalla must be tried.
They sent Henry Peers with Edouard Montigny, one of Anderson's men, to Blackeye's camp to ask that he show them his trail to the top of the Coquihalla.
Their actual guide was Blackeye's son, who took them up his father's trail to the top of the plateau, and then guided them due west, across the mountaintop, to a stream he called Sowaqua.
He pointed out his trail down the west side of the mountain, by streams that later came to be called Peers Creek and the Coquihalla River. Peers and Montigny followed the streams to the Fraser, where they borrowed canoes and made their way to Fort Langley.
At Fort Victoria, Peers told James Douglas of his successful journey over the mountains, and Douglas immediately ordered the construction of a new fort near the mouth of the Coquihalla River. He put Peers in charge of building Fort Hope, and also of opening the new trail to the top of the Coquihalla plateau.
Problems occurred almost immediately. Snow began to fall early in the season and it kept falling and the trail up the Coquihalla River valley was buried under deep drifts of snow and remained that way all winter.
In the interior forts the heavy snowfall killed so many horses the fur traders thought they couldn't have enough animals left alive to carry out their furs in the spring.

Image: Anderson's drawing of Kamloops, 1849, (in the book, in colour) and an explanation:

In early 1849, Peter Skene Ogden and James Douglas thought long and hard about the depth of snow on the Coquihalla plateau, and instructed the fur traders to bring out the furs by the Anderson River trail used in 1848.
Anderson, now in charge at Fort Colvile, led his men northward to Kamloops, arriving in May 1849. No improvement had been made on the almost impassible Anderson River trail, and the brigades took ten days to reach Fort Langley from Kamloops.
All the fur traders knew it was too dangerous to travel upriver through the Native fisheries a second time. As they came downriver through Yale, Manson instructed Anderson to go to the new Fort Hope and open up the trail up the Coquihalla River.
However, Anderson was now a chief trader and Manson's equal, and he refused, and came down to Fort Langley where James Douglas awaited them and ensured that everything ran smoothly.
Anderson supervised the unloading and re-loading of his boats, and as soon as possible he pushed his men and boats upriver to the new Fort Hope, where they began work on the trail.
When the pack horses that had been sent over the mountain from Kamloops finally arrived at Fort Hope, Anderson packed what Fort Colvile goods he could take on the horses assigned to him, and advised Manson of his decision to leave. The two gentlemen "exchanged high words."
The Fort Colvile men found the passage over the mountain quick and easy even though the trail was unfinished. Once over the mountain, Anderson avoided the long detour north to Kamloops, and led his men through the Similkameen River valley to Osoyoos Lake. They crossed the lake on one of its eskers, and riding over Anarchist Mountain, reached the Kettle River and followed it south to the Columbia River a few miles south of Fort Colvile.

Back at Fort Hope, Donald Manson worried about the unknown-to-him brigade trail across the Coquihalla. He travelled upriver to Fort Yale and Simon's House to see if it was possible to take his brigades out by that more familiar route, but at Simon's House he found many of his horses starved from lack of grass, or killed by Native fishermen.
But while he was checking out the possibilities there, the Nicola Valley Natives who had ridden over the Coquihalla to Fort Hope (on his instructions), followed him upriver to Fort Yale and told him the trail over the mountain was clear and easy to cross.
Manson left Fort Hope with whatever horses he could scrape together, but he could not carry out all his supplies, and the shortage of trade goods plagued him for the entire year that followed.

For Anderson, at Fort Colvile, it was a different matter. He probably left Fort Hope with the idea of returning to pick up the remainder of his goods.
He sent men and fresh horses back to Fort Hope to bring in his remaining supplies, and the Fort Colvile men made the second journey in short order.
A few weeks later, reports of Anderson's and Manson's argument at Fort Hope reached the ears of the gentlemen at Fort Vancouver, and Ogden and Douglas arranged that the Kamloops and Fort Colvile brigades travel over the mountain separately.
For the next few summers, James Douglas travelled to Fort Langley to meet the brigades -- because, as Peter Skene Ogden wrote, "without a conductor the gentlemen are not competent to conduct their own affairs, trifling as they are, and a separation is absolutely necessary as Pugilistic affairs between the two leaders is not exactly the proper mode of conduct in Brigades in the presence of the Company's servants."

Neither Manson nor Anderson would have called their affairs "trifling."
Their journeys over the mountains were, at times, difficult to impossible. Stress levels were high and remained high, the work was hard and there were sometimes heavy losses, and pay was low.
They worried about having enough men to do the work the fur trade demanded -- fewer men were joining the fur trade and the quality of the men that reached the Columbia district and New Caledonia was in a constant decline.
Moreover, many of their voyageurs attempted to desert the fur trade and make their way to the California gold fields.
Even Ogden sympathized with the deserters when he wrote: "What inducement does the fur trade hold out. None. They look around them on all sides and behold nothing but old men covered with grey hairs, having given forty years servitude and still steeped in poverty."

When the brigades came out in the summer of 1850 they found the trails much improved. From Campement du Femmes at the base of the mountain (on its north side), the Fort Colvile brigades followed Blackeye's trail twelve miles up to Lodestone Lake.
Another twelve miles brought them to a camp on the Tulameen River at Podunk Creek -- where Anderson's exploration of 1846 crossed the brigade trail that resulted from that exploration.
The next day they camped at Deer Camp, and nineteen miles further reached Manson's Camp, at the head of Peers Creek. Fifteen more miles brought them down Peers Creek and the Coquihalla River into Fort Hope, where they loaded their goods into boats and drifted downriver to Fort Langley.
By 1850 the new brigade trail was established and successful, though there were still hiccups. The shortage of horses in the interior remained a problem, and one portion of the trail still caused difficulties for the brigades.
The fur traders spent anxious years trying to find an alternative piece of trail for the part that descended Manson's Mountain, but never succeeded.
By 1852 Anderson was no longer riding over the trail, and could not suggest an alternative route -- his pathway down the wide valley that led up the south side of the mountain from the Sumallo River and Rhododendron Flats.
He had moved on and was happily or unhappily retired near Fort Vancouver.
He would pop up again in 1858, when he came to Fort Victoria and took responsibility for opening the first highway into the interior over the route of his first exploration via the Lillooet River to the Fraser River above the canyons.
By this trail, thousands of eager gold miners accessed the Fraser River gold fields north of the same canyons that had confounded the fur traders in 1848.

Historians often call the Harrison-Lillooet trail British Columbia's first highway, but I think the Coquihalla brigade trail -- or Blackeye's son's trail -- deserves that designation.
But whichever trail you feel opened up the province, Anderson played a part in finding it.
In 1860 the soldiers and engineers of the Columbia Detachment of the Royal Engineers substantially widened the Harrison Lillooet trail that Anderson had first explored in 1846, turning it into a good wagon road.
Then the Royal Engineers carved a good road out of the cliff faces between Yale and Boston Bar above the rapids and falls that had so troubled the brigades in 1848 and 1849. By Autumn 1862 their road reached Lytton, and in 1863 the first Alexandra Bridge crossed the Fraser River north of Spuzzum, its eastern end resting near the place where Anderson's men had buried Jacob Ballenden in 1848.
All these important roads are, one way or another, Anderson's trails -- and all of them helped to create the colony.
However the most important of these trails was the one that finally brought the fur traders over the Coquihalla range to Fort Langley; without it the history and importance of Fort Langley and Fort Victoria would have been severely impacted.
If Anderson had not been able to open up the brigade trail, what would have happened? How would the fur traders have brought their furs to the coast?

In 1975, historian Derek Pethick wrote that Anderson's "discovery of a practical, all British artery for the fur trade was to have a profound effect on the history of not only British Columbia, but also of Canada itself." Without Anderson's explorations, he said, British Columbia could hardly have come into being, and would never have become a part of Canada as it is today.

That was a three-quarter of an hour speech! and it appeared to be well received and everyone heard me -- which is the most important thing.
I'll work on making better maps for future presentations, and maybe I'll write shorter speeches so I can relax a little in between sections of the talk -- that would be nice for everyone including me.
People asked questions after the talk, and most of them were about Anderson's 1867 map of British Columbia.
I am quite disappointed that no one asked me what 'castoreum' was -- I had the perfect answer (which I got from a vegan site):
It is described as a "bitter, orange-brown, odoriferous, oily secretion, found in two sacs between the anus and the external genitals of the beavers."
Natives used it to attract beaver to their traps; Europeans used it in perfumes for its refined, leathery nuances.
It is still used today in perfumes, but also as a natural flavouring added to cigarettes and candies.

Thanks, everyone. I am still cleaning up all the papers, etc., that hit the floor when I am writing a speech or doing the last editing in the book.
We'll talk in a week or so, as I will have some free time -- until I speak in the middle of January in Hope.
Well, that's not quite correct -- the book launch is being held on December 1st -- one week away, but I am feeling quite relaxed by that.
It will I think be a smaller and more personal talk -- a little more relaxed.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Geneaology of the Okanagan people

For those of you who are looking for ways to research how you might have descended from Okanagan chiefs such as Nkwala, his nephew Tsilaxitsa, his son Selixt-asposem, or his close relative amongst the Similkameens, "Blackeye," then I have a new resource for you.
I will be using this resource when I try to discover what Blackeye's Native name might have been, and what name his son might have carried.
I just haven't got there yet -- I have a whole bunch of other stuff I have to do first (and as you can see, I am delaying).
This resource is online, and available to everyone....
Here it is:
"Genealogy of the Okanagon Chiefs" in Teit's The Okanagan.
Bureau of American Ethnology.
Annual Report to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1930?
Online at
See Pages 263-278.

There you go -- start your search, and I hope you find what you are looking for.
I have more information to pass on to the two or three people I already talk to -- be patient and start with this.
By the way, I noticed that Jean Baptiste Leolo (Lolo) is mentioned as belonging to Tsilaxitsa's family tree, so if you are descended from him or from Jean Baptiste Vautrin (Fort Alexandria employee) maybe you also should take a peak.

Heritage House Author's Celebration

As all of you know, the Heritage House Author's Celebration was held on Thursday, November 17, at The Maritime Museum of British Columbia, Bastion Square.
There were six speakers in the first part of the evening, and then we enjoyed a half hour break when we "nibbled, sipped and mingled."
Most of the people who were coming to see me arrived at that time, so I was busy meeting and greeting my own friends.

I was the last speaker in the second section of the program, and it was after nine o'clock when I got up onto the spectacular podium they have -- the raised platform on which Judge Matthew Begbie Bailey sat in judgement.
You will remember, I hope, that I told you this was an old courtroom -- one of the first in the country (was this where Alexander Caulfield Anderson stood when he told the prosecuting attorney that he lied, I wonder?)
Have I got your curiosity? Read the book.

Bob Griffin spoke just before me -- he is the Royal British Columbia Museum curator who is in charge of the Latin Bible and various other Alexander Caulfield Anderson items stored in the Museum.
He wrote a book on some of the Museum's artifacts, which should be interesting feeding. The book's title is "Feeding the Family."

Here is my speech, for those of you unable to make it to the Celebration:

"Good evening, everyone. My name is Nancy Marguerite Anderson, and I am the author of The Pathfinder: A.C. Anderson's Journeys in the West.

"His full name (and one he almost always used) was Alexander Caulfield Anderson.

"He was the Hudson's Bay Company fur trader who, in the mid-1800's, threaded his way through mountain passes and down rapid-filled rivers in search of a horse-friendly trail through the rugged country that separated the Kamloops fort from Fort Langley, on the lower Fraser River.

"Over the summers of 1846 and 1847, Anderson made four expeditions to and from Fort Langley and discovered two possible routes -- both of which passed the canyons and rapids that, years before, had foiled both Alexander Mackenzie (in 1793) and Simon Fraser (in 1808).

"His work should have been done at this point -- but in 1848, Native uprisings on the Columbia River -- the fur traders' traditional route to Fort Vancouver, in modern day Washington state -- forced them to bring their furs out to Fort Langley by one of Anderson's unfinished horse trails.

"The journey out to Fort Langley was a chaotic disaster -- the return journey to Kamloops no better. Horses fell from cliff tops carrying valuable trade goods with them, and frustrated fur traders had fist fights while voyageurs deserted Fort Langley for an easier life in the California gold fields, and one man took his own life rather than tackle the return journey home!

"The following year proved equally difficult, and three or fours years passed before the fur traders had a reasonable, if not entirely satisfactory, trail into the interior forts from Fort Langley.

"Anderson was there. He lived and worked through these turbulent years and he left a written record of those difficult times in his various post journals and in the private letters he wrote to the Governor of the company.

"He was a writer and historian; even as a young man in the fur trade he wrote manuscripts for publication that recorded historical details not written elsewhere...

"He was an artist who painted images of the Kamloops fort and of the Fraser River; he drew maps on which he marked all the old trails the Hudson's Bay Company men travelled.

"Because Anderson left behind such a comprehensive record of the turbulent years he lived through, he is considered by historians to be a significant figure in early British Columbia history.

"Derek Pethick noted that, without Anderson's explorations, British Columbia could hardly have come into being. "His discovery of an all-British artery for the fur trade was to have a profound effect on the history of not only British Columbia, but also of Canada itself."

[Pause] "Alexander Caulfield Anderson was my great-grandfather, and I wanted to know who he was. It took me ten years to research his story; I accessed archives in Australia, in Scotland, and across the North American continent (and of course the Hudson's Bay Company archives in Winnipeg.)

"As I wrote the book, I learned things that threatened to destroy the historic and heroic fur trade figure that lived inside my head.

"There were many occasions when I flinched -- but I think those "flinches" transformed Anderson into a man, with quirks and flaws and character and kindness and a "poetic courtesy" -- an extraordinary human being.

"I loved the long journey of uncovering Alexander Caulfield Anderson, the man -- I hope that you, too, will discover this complex, intelligent, and talented man for yourself -- that you, too, will take pleasure in plumbing the depths of this man's story, which is also British Columbia's history."

My speech took five minutes, and I think it sold the book rather than the opposite.
My sister said she cried; the woman next to her touched her arm and told her "she's wonderful!"
I was -- except for a little muffle at the beginning I was word perfect!
I was word perfect because I wrote a speech, and followed it -- I was calm because I wolfed down a big pasta meal beforehand.
Two tricks that reeeeaaally work...

I also wrote a good speech because I spent at least two weeks writing it.
Good speeches take work.

When I finished the talk I looked at my speech and thought -- yes, that really is why I wrote the book.
I wanted to discover the man behind the history.
I have had so much trouble in writing a strong "statement of story and theme" for interviewers.
The first line was fine -- but how to end it?
Now I know.

Thanks everyone for your support. It was too bad that the foul weather -- miserable cold, hard rain and threat of snow -- kept so many people away from the event.
But when I left the hall I noticed that no more of my books were left on the Heritage House table, and I presume they sold all they brought.
I know I signed quite a few.
I signed one book (before it was paid for) to the man who told me that Anderson was the most significant figure in British Columbia history, and I saw his eyes light up when he saw the coloured illustrations in the middle of the book.
If he liked what he saw, I think you will, too.

Now I have to get to work and finish writing the speech I am giving in front of the Victoria Historical Society in five days!
I have only the closing to write, and the rest of the speech to perfect.
Then the power point images to prepare.
Almost done.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

More on George Simpson, the Governor's son

"Always great to read your posts," a regular reader wrote, "Ohhh, but where is the romance in you?
"You did not mention the wedding of young (or not so young) George Simpson to Isabella was shared with John D. Manson, who married another Yale daughter, Aurelia.
"It was a pageant on the Fraser attended by Governor Douglas."
And she (or he, but if some one is scolding me for not being romantic, I think its the she part of the couple) sent me the story from the book, Pioneer Women of Vancouver Island, which reads:
"The Brigade, their one hundred horses left at Hope, used to come to Langley with their chief Traders, Ogden, McLean, and their clerks.
"They brought rich loads of furs and stopped with us for a few days selecting their outfits for the year.
"My younger sister and I were married at the same time. She married Mr. G. Simpson, son of Sir George Simpson.
"He was much older than my husband [John D. Manson]...

"Our wedding ceremonies were performed by the Governor, Sir James Douglas, in the presence of his daughter, Miss Agnes, his niece, Miss Cameron, Mr. Dallas, Mr. Pemberton, and Mr. Golledge and Mr. Ogden of Stuart Lake.
"Captain Mouat gave the signal to the men who were waiting, and seven guns were fired from the fort to salute the weddings of the Chief Traders daughters.

"Mr. Ogden suggested a canoe ride after the ceremonies. So the boats were brought out, manned by the voyageurs.
"The Governor, the Chief Trader and bridal party took the first canoe.
"The remainder of the party followed in the other one.
"I can see it all still. We paddled up the Fraser River, the Canadiens singing their Boat Song.

"Those days are gone forever."

The person who mourned the loss of those days is, of course, Chief Trader James Murray Yale's daughter, Aurelia, who married Donald Manson's son, John D. Manson.
And I agree, it was a very romantic story.
I wonder if I can add anything to it, from young James R. Anderson's memoirs.
James knew everyone!

"It was in 1850 that I first saw Mr. Yale," James writes.
"He was then a man of about 50 years of age, of medium height, somewhat dark complexion, and of a rather taciturn demeanour, well-fitted for the post he was then in charge of as the Indians at that time were occasionally apt to be troublesome...

"I am not informed as to whom Mr.. Yale married, but at the time alluded to he had three daughters -- Eliza, who became the wife of Mr. Henry N.Peers, Aurelia, and Isabella.
"The two latter children were, at that time, pupils at the only school in the country, in the Hudson's Bay Company fort at Victoria, under the Rev. Robert John Staines, M.A. of Cambridge, and Mrs. Staines.
"The union of Miss Eliza Yale and Mr. Peers was productive of five children, the only ones that I ever knew being Minna and Brenda...
"The Misses Aurelia and Isabella Yale married respectively Mr. J. D. Manson, and Mr. George Simpson.
"Isabella died some years ago but Aurelia is still living, a widow, near Royal Oak, being about 90 years old."

Well, that explains it all -- James Robert Anderson is my great uncle.
He was clearly not a romantic man if he did not write about that marriage.
And I guess I didn't inherit the romantic gene either....
Too bad.

But James does go on to describe Henry Newsham Peers as a man of "quite a gay temperament, handsome and debonair."
Bruce Watson says that Peers was "hard drinking but worked competently in the dying days of the fur trade."
He was also "a fine violinist and good oil painter," and had some map-making skills even before he entered the fur trade.
Now the mystery -- According to Watson: "Upon his return [from London] he appeared to fall under the influence of friends and would do anything they told him.
"It was suspected he was being drugged by them.
"Henry Newsham Peers died there on the Colquitz farm on March 27, 1864 no doubt from the effects of a lifetime of drinking.
"When Peers died, his father in law, J. M. Yale, felt that he had been poisoned and got a local lawyer to threaten to charge Peers' friends with murder unless they immediately left the country, which they did."

I don't think this can have been a happy marriage for Eliza Yale; lets see if the other two daughters fared better.

I have already told you about Governor Simpson's son, George Stewart Simpson, in an earlier posting.
Let me see what Bruce Watson has to say about the marriage between Donald Manson's son, John Duncan, and Aurelia Yale.

John Duncan Manson was born to Donald Manson, probably at Fort Vancouver, in about 1836.
Watson writes: "He had a close call with death as a young man.
"A young John Manson was at the Whitman mission in Waiilatpu during the time of the measles outbreak, a pestilence which the local natives believed had been deliberately brought by the whites to wipe them out.
"Seeking revenge for what they thought was deliberate killing by the whites, the local natives on November 29, 1847, killed off the main principles of the mission, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman and twelve others, but, somehow in the confusion, young John was smuggled upstairs and a trap door closed behind him.
"When he was found a few hours later, he threatened the power of revenge of the HBC should anyone lay a hand on him. No one did and he was saved."
Tough kid -- like his father.
"This sparing of a Company man (in this case, boy) prompted some Americans to believe that the HBC had had a hand in the massacre.
"Later in 1854, Manson began his service with the HBC.
"He was not exactly the model of meekness and in some ways emulated the somewhat tough actions of his father both verbally and physically...
"John Duncan Manson married Aurelia, the daughter of James Murray Yale.."

So I think the two younger daughters, who married on the same day at Fort Langley, had better marriages than their older sister.
I know of another story of John D. Manson barely escaping with his life, when on the brigade trail he shared a tent with Paul Fraser.
Fraser, as a young man had been a laughing, cheerful lad who acted as witness for Alexander Caulfield Anderson's marriage to Betsy Birnie.
But, like Peers, he was sometimes under a cloud of suspicion because of his drinking habits.
And he was a violent man -- As an enforcer for the fur trade he was somewhat excessive -- Bruce Watson says, "it was around 1855 that Fraser's disciplinary excess appear to have led to the death of Michel Fallardeau [one of Anderson's men at Fort Alexandria], although records supporting this are difficult to track.
"On July 28, 1855, while he was reading correspondence in his tent on Manson's Mountain (on the HBC trail between Fort Hope and Campement des Femmes), a tree fell on him killing him.
"He was buried on the trail the next day.
"Because he died soon after Fallardeau, an air of suspicion has hung over the circumstances of his own death but it appears to have been an accident."
I hope so -- I have been told, by a descendant, that John Duncan Manson was seated in the same tent, beside Fraser, when the tree fell.

Well, I am not sure the stories I have told you today are romantic stories....
But enjoy them anyway.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Governor George Simpson's son, George Stewart Simpson

As I told you I have been in the midst of writing speeches for the author's celebration and for the Victoria Historical Society talk, both of them in November.
In order to write the speech for VHS, I re-read and quoted from "the Private Journal of Henry Peers from Fort Langley to thompson's River, Summer 1848," found in the British Columbia Archives under [its old number] E/A/P34A.
I had never particularly noticed before, but Alexander Caulfield Anderson travelled into Kamloops with a new clerk, named "Simpson."
Of course when I was consulting this journal years ago when I wrote the chapter, I had no way to check who this Simpson fellow was.
In fact I barely noticed him.
Now I have Bruce Watson's Lives Lived West of the Divide, and in volume 3 I find this biography:

Simpson, George Stewart (1827-1894) (probably Canadian: Scottish and probably Native)
Birth: possibly Red River Settlement -- 1827 (born to Sir George Simpson and Margaret Taylor)
Death: Victoria, March 13, 1894
HBC Apprentice, Fort Vancouver general charges (1841-1842); Apprentice and clerk, Honolulu (1842-1847); Clerk, Fort Colvile (1847-1848); Clerk, Thompson River (1848-1850); Clerk, Fort Victoria sales shop (1850-1857); Clerk disposable, Western department (1857-1858); Chief Trader, Western Department (1858-1860)

George Stewart Simpson came to Fort Victoria as a boy of eight with the 1836 brigade. In 1838, according to Reverend Herbert Beaver, young Simpson had arrived decently clothed but two years later, he was running about "in appearance like a beggar's child, and at one time suffered so much from sores, brought on entirely by the neglect of Chief Factor McLoughlin's woman, under whose charge he was placed" (Beaver, p. 84). Young Simpson had probably got his sores from flea bites from his beating furs in the large fur house at the fort, a job that young children often did. In 1841, he joined the HBC, likely at Fort Vancouver, and joined his father, Sir George Simpson, for a voyage to Honolulu where he spent the next four years in apprenticeship. He rose through the ranks and around 1858 became Chief Trader. He spent the last two years of his working career as chief Trader at Fort Dunvegan in the Athabasca Department but returned to the coast in 1864 when he pre-empted 320 acres in the Fraser Valley. George Stewart Simpson died on March 13, 1894, at his residence on Cook Street in Victoria, B. C.
On June 12, 1857, at Fort Langley, Simpson married Isabella Yale (c.1840-), daughter of James Murray Yale and together they had four children....

So there you go, if you are a descendant of this Simpson, then you will find more about him in Peers' journal in BC Archives.

Let's see what James Raffen says about this young man, in "Emperor of the North: Sir George Simpson and the Remarkable story of the Hudson's Bay Company:"

p. 233-34 -- While Simpson tended to these labours in Lachine, "the commodity" [Margaret Taylor] gave birth at York Factory in February 1827 to a bouncing baby boy, whom she named George Stewart Simpson. Simpson met the child for the first time that summer, during the Northern Council at the Depot, just before he hurried back south to make his way via Osnaburgh House, Martin Falls and Fort Albany to Moose Factory....On his way back upriver in September, to return to Lachine, he jotted off another quick private note to McTavish, in which his paternal responsibilities were given their usual shrug: "Pray keep a sharp look out upon Madam, if she behaves well let her be treated accordingly but on the contrary [be] sent about her business and the child taken from her. Should any accident happen to me and that the youngster lives until 4 or 5 years old he will in all probability be claimed by some of my friends in England or Scotland."

p. 264 -- [he arrived at Fort Alexander where Margaret Taylor was; he was travelling with his new wife] Not surprisingly, there was not time for a proper inspection stop at Fort Alexander at the mouth of the Winnipeg River. Their accounts say very little about this portion of the journey, but there cousin Thomas gives the impression of a very quick hello: "We arrived at Bas de la riviere [Fort Alexander] on the 5th of June. The Governor and Lady started the same evening for Red River. There was no time to stop -- they camped on the shore below Fort Alexander. ...In the rush to move on to Fort Garry there was no time at Fort Alexander to meet for the first time his new son James Mackenzie Simpson, or to pick up in his arms George Stewart Simpson, or to introduce his unsuspecting English wife to his half-Chipewyan wife, who had been counting the days until his return..."

Poor Margaret Taylor! But at least it looks as though George Simpson did not entirely abandon his son.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Update on dates of events

My sister needs updated information so that she can print this out and distribute to her friends, some of whom she finds have followed my blog for some time!
I have never felt as if I am talking to people in Victoria, and it is a bit of surprise to find that a few locals at least are reading my pages.
Thank you.

So here we are:

The Heritage House Author's Celebration on Thursday November 17 is being held at the Maritime Museum of British Columbia, at 28 Bastion Square, in downtown Victoria. The evening begins at 5:30 pm. and goes on to 9:00, and I am the last speaker -- there will be twelve authors in all presenting their short five minute talk. But it will be fun (I've attended their author's celebration before), and there are breaks for "nibble, sip and mingle." In addition, the venue is stunning. My long distance cousin, who was a lawyer, tells me this is the old courthouse where the man who operated the elevator (the oldest elevator in Victoria, I understand) used to greet everyone by their first name.
But, for this event, you must RSVP to or phone 250-360-0829, to get in the door. This is not a drop-in event; and its quite a dressy event, too. Leave your ragged blue jeans at home and dress up a bit. They will be selling everyone's book at this event, so you can do lots of Christmas shopping here! We also hope to have A.C. Anderson's 1867 map of British Columbia displayed at this event -- not the original of course, but a copy.

I will be speaking in front of the Victoria Historical Society on November 24th at 7pm. The meeting is held at the James Bay New Horizons Centre. There will be a short meeting and a tea break before the talk begins, and I will be speaking for about 3/4 hour afterward. As the historical society pays rent on the room, it might be nice if a few of you volunteer to pay a $5.00 fee to go toward the group's expenses (non-members are allowed one free meeting before they pay, but..). I will also have books to sell there, and will sign any books that you have already purchased and bring in to the meeting -- if you want to go to that extreme.

The Pathfinder Book Launch will be held at Crown Bookstore on Thursday December 1, 6:30 pm. to 8 pm. The bookstore's address is 514 Government Street, and the Heritage House it is in stands immediately behind the Parliament Buildings and just around the corner from Crown Publishers. You can do some of your Christmas shopping there, too. I think this is quite a casual event and you can talk to me rather than sit and listen to me talk all the time.

Pick up the January edition of Senior Living; I have done an interview for that magazine.

In January I will be speaking at the Blue Moose Cafe in Hope, on January 19th at 7pm. Books will be available at the event, but I want residents to remember that if they want a book immediately they can purchase it at the Hope Visitor Centre and Museum Complex (Destination Hope) at 919 Water Avenue.
The above event is being put on by the Hope Mountain Group, at These people, who come from Burnaby, Hope, Princeton, Tulameen and elsewhere, have been restoring the brigade trails over the Coquihalla for years and now have a great deal of information to share. If you're a hiker, Hope is a great place to start a good hike!!

In February I am booked to speak in front of the Historical Maps Society of British Columbia in Vancouver. It is a private group and so I do not think you can attend unless you are a member. I think they will enjoy pouring over A.C.'s maps and hopefully will be able to give me leads on the possible location of maps I have been unable to find -- and there are some of those.

That's it so far. I think I am going to be a little busy for a while.
Copies of The Pathfinder will be shipped out in a week or so, so get excited.
I certainly am eager to see my new book!!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Good morning, everyone

I am taking a bit of a holiday, and spent a few days in Vancouver -- what an exciting city.
Now I am writing the first of several speeches I have to make in the near future.
The first, a five minute talk, is for the Author's Celebration on Thursday, November 17th, to be held at the Maritime Museum of British Columbia in Bastion Square, Victoria.
The evening begins at 5:30 and runs all the way to 9pm., and I am the last speaker.
Anyone can attend this event,, but it is necessary that you let the publisher know that you plan to attend, by RSVP'ing to or phone (250) 360-0829.
Obviously most of the people I speak to on this blog are from places other than Victoria, and some reside on the other side of the world.
But just in case there is a Victoria resident who would like to attend, please RSVP before you attend.
I think we are putting a copy of Alexander Caulfield Anderson's 1867 Map of British Columbia on display, so those of you who know a little bit about the brigade trails and the fur trade can study this map pretty closely.

So you won't hear much from me for a little while.
However I am told that the book should be out by the 10th of the month, so that you who have ordered it should get copies pretty quickly.
Tomorrow I will order my own boxes of books, and when they come will send out the books I owe to people who asked for them in exchange for use of photographs.
If you haven't ordered your copies of the book yet, now is the time to do it.
I have always asked you to support your local bookstores, and I continue to do so -- but many of the residents of the interior of British Columbia don't have a local bookstore!
In which case you go to the publisher's website at and order the book through the Fall 2011 catalogue.
(I think that's how it still works).
Some of you want e-books, and you will have to wait for them -- remember that Christmas is going to interfere a little with the manufacturing of the e-book and delay it -- probably -- longer than the month that we originally said it would take.

See you soon -- and hope to see some of you at the Author's Celebration!
The next event that will be coming up is my talk in front of the Victoria Historical Society.
After that, the book launch.
In January I will be speaking in Hope, B.C., at the Blue Moose Cafe.
When will I have time to write all these speeches?