As I dug through my files this morning, I stumbled on a piece of writing that I had forgotten I now owned.
This article was written by my uncle, Elton Alexander Anderson, sometime before his death in 1975; it is his vision of Alexander Caulfield Anderson's exploration from Kamloops to Fort Langley in 1847 -- the Tqua-youm Portage.
It was Elton's explorations up and down the Fraser canyon that identified, for me, the many streams and landmarks that Alexander Caulfield Anderson crossed; the installation of the new and modern highway up the Fraser Canyon would almost certainly have prevented me from getting off the road and hiking up the creek beds, as he did.
And because of Elton's contributions to Alexander Caulfield Anderson's story -- which I inherited after his death -- I dedicated my book to him. If you want to know who he is, you can read his story on this blog, which I posted in early days.
Its date is Saturday, July 18, 2009, and titled "Elton Alexander Anderson, 1907-1975."
Elton's Tqua-youm is my Squa-zoum -- Anderson's writing is hard to read and one has to translate it as best as we can.
So, here is my uncle Elton's version of his grandfather's 1847 expedition up and down the Fraser River, as he put it together more than thirty years ago. Remember that he researched and wrote this article long before James Gibson's book about the brigades was published, and before other British Columbia historians did any research at all on the fur trade.
It is also written before Barbara Huck researched and wrote about the Salish Wool Dogs, found all the way along the Thompson River and up and down the Fraser well above Yale; little or no information was available to Elton on the massacre at Waiilatpu; nor did he have access to the Hudson's Bay Company Archives as at that time they were still in London, England.
Elton also had no access to much of the new research on the Natives of British Columbia, done since 1975. If he had known who N'Kwala, Tsilaxitsa, and Blackeye's son were, his story would have been quite different.
But he did not.
New research will change the old stories; and that is how historians help each other, in researching and sharing new information with other historians or writers.
So, say thank you to your researchers, your local historians, your writers.
This will be fun to read -- I wonder if he uncovered some little piece of information that I failed to find.....
"The Tqua-youm Portage -- 1847," by Elton Alexander Anderson
"A.C. Anderson covered a lot of ground in the summer of 1847. Some of us have read of his 1846 explorations from Fort Kamloops to Fort Langley coastwards by way of what later became Seton and Anderson Lakes, and back to the Interior by way of what is now the westerly portion of the Hope-Princeton Highway: but few have heard much about his much more demanding 1847 reconnaissance expedition to find a shorter and more direct route.
"As far back as 1813, the North West Company had taken to the use of horses for the transport of furs and trading goods in the regions west of the Rocky Mountains. The furs from New Caledonia, for the most part, came down to the mouth of the Columbia River laden alternately on the backs of horses and in the bottoms of roughly-built wooden bateaux. The furs from the Columbia and New Caledonia came this direction because it was not economic to take them to Montreal over the time-honoured birch bark canoe route, and because a market for the furs had been found in China.
"The winters in the Interior Fur Posts were spent in the gathering and preparation [of] the pelts for shipment, but the late Springs and summers were travel time. The Horse Brigades would gather and head south from Fort Alexandria on the Upper Fraser River in April. At Fort Kamloops, the Brigade would round up fresh horses, take on the furs from Kamloops, and head off for the Okanagan. At Fort Okanogan, situated where the Okanagan River joins the Columbia River, the loads would be transferred to the bateaux, and the Brigade would charge off down-stream to the mouth of the Columbia. In the early period, particularly, there were variations in this procedure; but, by and large, this was the annual event. The return "voyage" was made by the end of the month of August.
"The Hudson's Bay Company, which came into the region west of the Rocky Mountains in 1821, upon amalgamation with the North West Company, carried on the Horse Brigades, closed down Spokane House as a head-quarters, and established Fort Vancouver as a central depot into which all the furs were brought from the Interior. In the years that followed, the coastal fur trade was expanded by the establishment of forts such as Fort Langley. When Fort Langley was built, it was not thought that it would ever serve the role of a central depot for the Interior furs. Fort Vancouver was serving that role well, and besides, the route into the Interior by way of the Fraser River Canyons, as a result of the explorations of Simon Fraser in 1808 and Governor Simpson in 1828, was considered to be impassable for horses and unnavigable for boats; and no other route was known. But in 1846, with the 49th Parallel being set as the Boundary by Treaty, the Hudson's Bay Company could not look forward to a continuation of the brigades to and from Fort Vancouver. Fort Victoria, supplemented by Fort Langley as a gathering point, would take over, to a large extent, the role that Fort Vancouver had played; but men out in the field would have to blaze a trail -- a horse trail -- into the Interior to make it all possible.
"Chief Trader A.C. Anderson was the man who found the path. He had been in Oregon and New Caledonia since 1832. He was then 33 years old and was then in charge of Fort Alexandria, and a rising young officer in the Company. He had, in fact, written to Governor Simpson suggesting that the reconnaissance be undertaken, and that he, Anderson, be the person to do it.
"In the Spring of 1847 he left on horseback from Fort Alexandria. His wife, the former Betsey Birnie, of the Oregon Birnie Family, and their young children, the oldest being 6, were with him. He left them with friends at Fort Kamloops for a summer holiday, as it were; and on May 19th he rode out of the Fort with his men, Montrose McGillivray, Edouard Montigny, Theodore LaCourse, Michel Fallardeau, and Joseph desAutels. Ascending the hills south of Kamloops, the party headed for Lac de Nicholas (now Nicola Lake), which was so called after an old fur trapper who lived there.
"Upon reaching the far end of the lake, Anderson and his men turned and rode down what was then called the Similkameen Branch of the Thompson's River, or sometimes "Nicholas' River (now Nicola River). The first night's camp was at the western end of the lake, and the second was at a place called Thlikumcheena, which is now Spence's Bridge. The route thus far travelled was well-known, because small trading parties from Kamloops came out this far every year, but it was new country to Anderson. In his Journal he wrote:-
"Along this stream (Nicola River) are sparse camps of Indians, the inhabitants of which were occupied plying their scoop nets from stages erected near the waters edge. The produce of this fishery is a fine kind of trout, from 10 to 12 lbs. weight. Of these we procured a sufficiency for supper. The country rugged with volcanic rock. Wormwood, cactus known as crapaud, and rattlesnakes characterise the lower land."
"The march from Thlikumcheena to Thlickumcheen (Lytton) wa mde in a day and a half. Anderson and his men were now on foot, having sent the horses back. The overnight encampment was made at "Nick-a-o-meen," which was where Nicoamen River now crosses the highway and runs into the Thompson River. Setting out the next morning at 3:30, Anderson and his men arrived at the "Forks" of the Thompson and the Fraser at 10:45 am., and there were greeted by a large throng of Indians, apparently in good spirits at the prospect of active extension of the Company's trade [in] their country; but Anderson kept on the alert. In later years, he was to write to George Gibbs of New York about this particular incident, as follows:
"I was received among these people with the kindest demonstrations.... Man, woman and child at every village brought presents of welcome, whether of fish, wild-fruits or other local production. It was of course impossible to convey away the enormous piles thus accumulated... everything was couleur de rose on these occasions; but then one felt constantly as if seated on a powder-magazine, which a spark might at any moment ignite...."
"Anderson's Journal gives a description of the river junction at Lytton that enables us to recognize the place. He wrote: "...(Thompson's River) restricted with rocky shores to a width of 50-60 yards, flowing smoothly, evidently to a great depth. Its shores above this place consist chiefly of limestone and granite rocks, and are very rugged."
"At 3.15 the next morning, May 24th 1847, Anderson and his men began their march down the east bank of the Fraser River. In a day and a half they reached the Indian village of Tqua-youm, which was situated about a mile south of what is now Boston Bar. The "Tuckkwiowhum" Indian Reserve and the outfall of the Anderson River are there today.
"At the end of the first day's march towards Tqua-youm, Anderson wrote in his Journal about their crossing, earlier in the day, of an "impetuous stream" on the back of a fallen tree; and he referred to the scaling of a precipice in the vicinity of what is now called Jackass Mountain; and he went on to say:-
"We are now encamped near a populous village, one and all, I believe, fairly wearied out. A day's march among the arid hills of the Fraser's River with the thermometer between 80 and 90 degrees in the shade is a trying matter, however willing the spirit."
"Anderson and his men were off at 2.50 am the next morning. they arrived at Tqua-youm at 11.00 am. In his Journal entry that night Anderson wrote:-
"Tqua-youm is a populous village of Indians. The immediate banks of the river are clearly wooded with cedar, pines and the plane tree; behind, the hills rise somewhat abruptly and are free in parts from timber, affording good and abundant pasture."
"But he rejected the route thus far from the Forks as a horse road, the ground being too rough and there being little or no forage for the horses. In that now very rare publication, A.C. Anderson's "Handbook to the Gold Regions," which was published in San Francisco in 1858, the following description is given of the country between Tqua-youm and Thlikumcheen:-
"From Tqua-youm upwards a marked change in the character of the scenery takes place; though rugged, it is less densely timbered than the lower country, and shows every evidence of a drier climate. The vicinity of Tqua-youm itslef is rather picturesque; but, what is of more importance, it enjoys a prolific salmon fishery during the season."
"Tqua-youm lay at the mouth of what came to be known as the Anderson river, which fell in to the Fraser River from the east. The ground from which the river falls is fairly high, so the descent is quite rapid. The declivity leading down to the Fraser can easily be seen today from the highway at the Anderson River bridge. Once the heights are gained, one gains entrance to a valley leading to the south and east. By thus heading off from the Fraser and into the mountains, Anderson and his men were able to by-pass the Upper Fraser Canyon, in the Hell's Gate area; and, in so doing, they were able to begin to think that their march thus far had not been a failure, because the Anderson River Valley not only provided a by-pass to the Fraser River further down, but also led to a linking up with a horse trail from Lac de Nicholas to the fringe of this region. Plans were beginning to form in Anderson's mind for a recommendation to his superior officers that the Interior furs be brought out directly from Fort Kamloops to Fort Langley, by way of Lac de Nicholas and this mountain crossing to the Fraser River though the Anderson River Valley, a crossing that he called the "Tqua-youm Portage."
"Anderson was in high spirits as he wrote in his Journal that night: -- "Ascending the hills, the herbage is very luxuriant, and the surface of the ground bedecked with the larkspur, the red flowering vetch and flaunting glories of the dwarf sunflower, presents an agreeable contrast to the arid declivities which our way has hitherto lain in these parts."
And at the end of the next day, he wrote:- "We (turned and followed the Anderson River or Tqua-youm River southwards) for a couple of miles, then ascended the mountain, and struck directly for Fraser's River. The ascent is tedious, but by making the road deviously, the inconvenience of the hill may be easily overcome. Upon the top of the mountain is an even surface free from underwood extending a couple of miles, when by diverging a couple of miles to the right, Fraser's River is seen again winding below... I struck off to take a bird's eye view of the rapid that obstructs navigation according near this spot (ie., Black Canyon and Hell's Gate)... judging from the agitated appearance of the stream as seen from our elevated position, this rapid is a succession of dangerous whirlpools, apparently unnavigable, and I am informed unavoidable by portage."
"The mountain from which Anderson looked down on the Fraser River has no name. It ought to be called "A.C. Anderson Mountain." It has an elevation of approx. 4,000 feet.
"On May 27th, 1847, Anderson and his men clambered down the mountain to an Indian village called Kequeloose or Teequeloose, on the banks of the Fraser just a little upstream of the place where the Alexandra Suspension Bridge was built about fifteen years later. They then made their way through the woods on the east bank of the Fraser for two hours. They came to a halt opposite another Indian village at the mouth of the Spuzzum Creek. There was a parley with the Indians, which resulted in the hiring of a canoe. Anderson and his men then set off down the Fraser, reaching the head of the Lower Fraser Canyon in 35 minutes.
"The Lower Fraser Canyon is that tortuous few miles of river upstream from what is now the Village of Yale. Anderson and his men went ashore at the head of the canyon, and made the passage on foot. The night's encampment was made on "a rocky eminence" on the right bank (descending), at a point two-thirds the way through the canyon, just below the little treed island in the river. Anderson wrote in his Journal that night:-
"These rapids extend... with intervals of navigable space for a distance of three miles, confined in some parts by lofty walls of rock. This is the case at the first stage of the rapid where the width of the stream is contracted 100 yards or less. In other parts, the shores are shelving with broken rocks, or smooth rocky surfaces... There is every facility on the right bank for carrying both boats and cargo by the portage, 630 paces in length... It is unobjectionable in all respects, passing through a small valley behind the confining rampart of rock."
"This "small valley" is clearly visible today on the west bank of the Fraser, at the head of the Lower Canyon where the gorge walls are the highest and the river the most narrow. Through this miniature "valley" were later built the Old Fraser Canyon Highway and the road bed of the C.P.R.
"The Journal continued:- "A couple of hundred yards lower down is the second stage, and to effect this there likewise is great facility. The third stage is formed by the rocky island in the middle of the river, where a portage over a rocky point upon the right shore (descending) is again quite practicable."
"The rapids of the Lower Canyon werre then known as Simpson's Falls, in commemoration of Governor Simpson's passage of them in 1828; but there was no abrupt drop in level as the name would imply. The whole stretch of the river in this area may be seen today from the highway; but a better and closer view may be had by making off to the Old Highway. One is induced, however, to get out and walk, and not to drive across and along the rotting, wooden sections of roadway that still exist in unused state.
"The Journal continues:- "May 28; Resumed our journey as soon as daylight enabled us to thread our way among the broken rocks. A few hundred yards below our encampment is another rapid where a portage upon the left side (descending) [would be] necessary...." This is now occupied by the road-bed of the C.N.R. "After passing the rapids, the pathway led along a dangerous causeway of cedar boards connecting the several projecting points of the precipice."
"In his letter to George Gibbs in 1855, Anderson described the geography of this part of the Lower Fraser Canyon as "a few miles of debateable land," and he went on to describe the Indian village that stood on the present site of Yale, as follows:-
"... we reach the first village of the Tachinco or Teets -- a palisaded fort. During the Salmon Season, trusting in the strength of numbers, the inhabitants of the upper villages of the Teets congregate and occupy the whole extent of the Falls and Rapids, in length about three miles; (withdrawing) to their palisaded dwellings below as soon as the fishery is over.... These Indians are ingenious and more industrious (than those of the Shushwap and Upper Fraser): hence comparatively rich. Their canoes are formed like those of the Chinooks... of cedar; and, as all their travelling is done by water every one has a canoe for daily use and convenience. From point to point as we descended the river the palisaded villages appear. Around gambol whole hosts of white (dogs), some shorn like sheep. others sweltering under a crop of growing fleece... The dogs in question are of a breed peculiar to the lower parts of Fraser's River, and the southern portion of Vancouver's Island and the Gulf of Georgia. White, with woolly long hair, and bushy tail, they differ materially in aspect from the common Indian cur; possession however the same vulpine countenance. Shorn regularly as the crop of hair matures, these creatures are of real value to their owners; yielding them the material from whence blankets... are manufactured."
"At the Tachino village, Anderson hired canoes. At 9.50 am. the next morning, May 29th, 1847, they set out down the Fraser bound for Fort Langley. The canoes passed "Kequehalla" River at 11.am, the Lillooet Fork, which was the name then given to the Harrison River, at 2.25 pm., and they landed at Fort Langley at 7.00 pm. No time was lost in the turn-around; at 7.50 am. June 1st, Anderson and his men began their return voyage. In two days they were back to what later became known as Yale. In his 1858 "Handbook to the Gold Regions," Anderson wrote that there was then no practical way of reaching Yale from Fort Langley except by water, and that the country was "thickly wooded, mountainous, and impassable."
"June 4th 1847 was taken up in the upwards traverse of the rapids of the Lower Canyon. It was raining. Before breakfast, Anderson and his men first crossed over to the eastern shore of the Fraser opposite the Indian village of the Tachino; then they portaged or carried their canoes along the right bank ascending in the vicinity of Lady Franklin Island, which is in plain view today at the upstream entrance of the first highway tunnel north of Yale. The Journal continued:-
"A series of eddies conducts to a second portage on the same side (right ascending). It is 700 paces in length and very favourable in its nature. Carried our canoe here, or rather dragged it, for the overhanging branches prevented our carrying... Cross and breakfasted at the foot of the rapids formed by (the rocky treed island below which they had camped overnight on the downstream passage). Took the lightened canoe up by line through the smaller channel. Then dragged over 2 rocky points with an interval of smooth water between. Neither of these points would offer a serious obstacle to our boats, light or at half cargo."
Anderson continued in his 1847 Journal:- "The Indians, who had undertaken to navigate our canoe up the rapids, now proposed to cross (back to the right bank ascending) in order to ascend with the line on the opposite side... All went very well, when after almost every obstacle, except the last rapid, had been surmounted, an untoward accident occurred. The line, which was composed of several lengths of half worn cod line (none other being procurable at Fort Langley) notwithstanding that we had doubled it as a precaution, suddenly broke, owing to the canoe taking a sheer out while the steersman was disembarked. An Indian, the bowman, was alone in the canoe. It was swept downwards with rapidity, in spite of the lad's exertions to propel it to shore. fortunately, after running some of the worst of the rpaids, he succeeded in getting in an eddy, the canoe half full of water.
"This untimely mishap greatly disheartened the Indians, and at first some of the near relations became a good deal excited, taking their arms apparently disposed for evil... By prudent management, we contrived shortly to dissipate the momentary chagrin, and after some parley and a smoke the Indians consented to assist us as before. But they were no longer willing to trust to the rotten line, so we transported the canoe, by land, the greater part of the distance to the head of the Falls..."
"Anderson and his men then made their way up-river to Spuzzum, thence across the Fraser to the opposite shore, thence up the east bank through the woods to the Indian village of Kequeloose. At 1.40pm. on June 5th 1847, the party set off up the mountainside, putting the finishing touches to a horse road for future use as they went. Camped at the summit of the hill at 6.00 pm., Anderson wrote in his Journal:- "An old (Indian), with his followers, to whom I lent an axe for the purpose on my way down, has, during our absence, rendered good service in tracing and clearing the road from Kequeloose up to this spot."
"June 6th, 7th, and 8th were taken up in the clearing and marking out of the road through the Anderson River Valley and up and over the ridges lying to the north-east in the direction of Lac de Nicholas. On June 9th, the horses from Kamloops arrived, and Anderson rode off to Fort Kamloops and then home to Fort Alexandria. Before departing, he left orders for his men to ride in the charge of Montrose McGillivray to the Columbia River by way of the Similkameen River and the Okanagan, to meet and to assist the upward bound Brigade from Fort Vancouver to New Caledonia. Although they did not know it then, they rode to bring in to New Caledonia the last Brigade from Oregon. Indian unrest on the American side, coupled with U.S. imposition of customs duties, forced the Hudson's Bay Company to use the Tqua-youm Portage in 1848 and 1849. It was a second best route, chosen at the insistence of Chief Factor Douglas in preference to Anderson's first choice, which was essentially the route explored by him the previous year, 1846, via Hope to the Similkameen. In 1850-2, the Brigades came over a variation of the more southerly route; and Chief Trader Anderson was there then commanding his Brigades from Fort Colvile.
"Anderson's efforts in 1847 won him the approval of his superiors. On September 20th, 1847, Chief Factors Ogden and Douglas wrote from Fort Vancouver to the Governor and Committee of the Hudson's Bay Company, in the following terms:- "Mr. Chief Trader Anderson and party accomplished the survey of two other routes from the Interior via Fraser's River to Fort Langley, one of these represented as free from any extraordinary difficulties beyond what exist in a chain of rapids about three miles in length commonly known as the Falls of the Fraser River.... We refrain from giving a decided opinion on this route until the rapids have been further examined by good water-men, and reported practicable... In this arduous and fatiguing journey, Mr. Anderson has accomplished everything that we could expect, with a degree of zeal and intelligence that has elicited our warmest approbation...."
"In the Spring of 1848, the Brigades of the Hudson's Bay Company from Fort Alexandria and Fort Colvile, 400 horses laden with furs led by 50 men under the command of Chief Trader Donald Manson, the senior officer present, united at Fort Kamloops, and travelled over the Tqua-youm Portage to Fort Langley. A. C. Anderson was second-in-command. In some of its aspects, the passage of the Brigade in 1848 approached that of a fiasco. The men and horses were stretched out over an extensive area, and control became almost impossible with the limited supervisory personnel available. It was too much of a temptation for some of the Indians to resist stealing from the pack-horses; and this resulted in considerable loss to the Company. The confusion and strain result in the loss of 70 horses and the apparent suicide of one of the men.
"The memory of the event was painful to Anderson, and, undoubtedly, to all the officers of the Company. It is therefore perhaps not surprising that so little has been written about this episode in 1848. Anderson told George Gibbs of New York a little about it: he closed off his treatment of the geography of the area by correcting his own mistake with reference which Indian village was which: Kequeloose or Spuzzum. In making the correction, he wrote: "If you will refer to my map, you will find that Kequeloose is some 5 or 6 miles higher up... Writing from memory -- withal there are many very painful recollections connected with both -- especially (Spuzzum)." In 1878, however, he told the historian Bancroft all about the events of 1848.
"The trouble began in November of 1847 when Chief Factor Douglas travelled up from Fort Victoria to the Lower Canyon. He was appalled by what he saw. He wrote to the Governor and Committee as follows:- "we are of the opinion that (the rapids) will be found exceedingly dangerous at every season and absolutely impassable in the summer freshets.... It is impossible to conceive anything more formidable or imposing than is to be found in that dangerous defile, which cannot for one moment be thought of as a practicable water communication for transport of valuable property. We propose to avoid that part of the river entirely by extending the horse road," from Spuzzum to Fort Yale, which was then being established.
"Douglas' decision immediately raised the necessity of swimming the horses from Kamloops across the Fraser at Spuzzum, and the problem of feeding the horses at Fort Yale during the period when the Brigade would be travelling to Fort Langley to deliver their furs and to bring back the trading goods for trade the next season. This proved to be no small problem. In hindsight, Anderson must have dearly wished that he had recommended against the Tqua-youm portage and to have plumped for his first choice, the 1846 route to the east of Hope to the headwaters of the Skagit River, and thence north to Lac de Nicholas and Kamloops. But this was not to be until 1850. His recommendation of Tqua-youm Portage was accepted and it was too late to change. The great misfortune was that the Brigade's passage was put in the charge of that irritable man chief Trader Manson, with whom no one got along. One gets the impression that there was almost no communication between Manson and Anderson.
"The outcoming Brigade of 1849 to the Coast was the last to use Tqua-youm Portage. Going back to the Interior in from Fort Langley in 1849, the Brigades, using the newly established Fort Hope as a basee, built a horse road to the east into the headquarters of the Similkameen as they went, which was used by the Brigades in subsequent years -- but I am getting ahead of the story.
"In 1848, the Brigades came through together -- 400 horses and 50 men. On the way down, some of the horses carrying the furs lost their footing and plunged down mountainsides; others fell into the river and were drowned; and others were swept away in the river during the swim across the Fraser at Spuzzum. In all of this, one must remember the kinetic movement that characterized the march of a Hudson's Bay Company brigade. A brigade movement was no stroll through the woods: speed of movement was the watchword. This was partly the whim of Governor Simpson; it was also dictated by the physical features of the march (some rivers, such as the Upper Columbia, could only be traversed at certain stages of the level of the water) and the exigencies of the Company's business... the men were needed elsewhere. The Brigade at Spuzzum could not wait until the River seemed to be flowing a little less strongly!
"No small difficulty attended the gathering together of the Brigade at Fort Langley for the return journey. Some of the men were appalled at the thought of returning, but return they did, laden with the trading goods [for] the next season in the Interior. Anderson left no Journal this time; but fortunately a junior officer of the Company, Henry Peers, did. The upward bound Brigade laboured up the river from Fort Langley to Fort Yale, then unloading the boats, the men loaded the starving horses which were "parked" there, and set off for Spuzzum. But the freighting was going so slowly that Anderson was allowed to augment the movement of the freight by moving men up and along the steep and rugged western banks of the Lower Canyon. The men, assisted by the Indians, made several passages from Yale to Spuzzum in nine days. One can imagine these men, Anderson in the line with them, clinging to sides of the cliffs, with loads on their backs, inching along narrow causeways of boards lashed together with cedar bark rope, and wondering how on earth they ever got to be where they were. In his 1853 Handbook to the Gold Regions, Anderson referred to the "painful inequalities" (of the ground) along this route.
"The Journal of Henry Peers goes on to tell of the crossing of the River at Spuzzum and the passage of the Tqua-yowm Portage. The references, in the quotations from the Journal following, to "bateaux" are to the type of boat that had been in use for many years on the Columbia River. These boats looked like huge flat-bottomed dories. They were about 24 feet long, and were capable of carrying three tons of goods and men. They were, of course, propelled by oars whenever it was possible to do so. On other occasions, and this would have been so during the upward journey from Fort Langley in 1848, these bateaux were warped upstream by men pulling along the shore with ropes secured aft of the bows, with a steersman in the stern with an oar rudder to keep the boat in the stream and off the shore. Whenever the force of the current made it impossible to continue making headway, or whenever the shoreline changed so that men could not clamber upstream along the banks, the towing rope, or "line," was taken across to the opposite bank of the river by way of Indian canoe, usually: the only other solution to the inability of the boat to make further headway was to unload the 3 tons of freight and portage it and the boat by land farther upstream. In his 1858 Handbook to the Gold Regions, Anderson referred to the fact that "by this tedious process," the 1848 brigade took 8 days in the passage up-river from Fort Langley to Fort Yale.
Henry Peers wrote in his Journal: - "Started from Fort Langley on 17th July with 5 bateaux and two river boats manned by Indians, all deeply laden (4 bateau loads having been taken up before in charge of Mr. Anderson); the water was low for the season, but still we had much trouble in warping up along steep and bushy banks, precluding the possibility of poling, and the current too swift to use the oar.... We reached Fort Yale on the 24th. We remained there until 2nd August (9 days) during which time half the goods were being carried over (up the Lower Canyon of the Fraser River) by 80 Indians under the superintendence of Messrs Anderson and [George] Simpson, and the remainder sent across Douglas Portage (to Spuzzum) on horseback in 4 trips of some 35 horses -- these horses were fed upon green grass supplied by the Indians; and were, having eaten down the grass from the length of time they had been at the place, reduced to a very feeble state. I and Mr. Manson left Fort Yale on the 2nd August with the last trip of 30 horses to rejoin Mr. Anderson at the other end... remained at (Spuzzum) encampment three days crossing Baggage & horses, etc. Found all the goods correct and started on the 6th at 3pm. with some 500 and upwards pieces of goods in 15 brigades, each brigade having 18 & some a greater number of horses to 2 men.
"We encamped at the foot of Big Hill where the road leaves the Fraser River, many of the brigades only arriving when pitch dark & consequently great confusion from horses straying with their loads and so forth; several fell down a steep hill on nearing the encampment (the only bad one on the road), from weakness, threw the loads and a bale was swept off in the river before it could be seized & one animal killed....
7th August -- rainy weather.... the day 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 & created some little alarm... Nothing I may say here for the horses to feed on.
8th. Started about 12 o'clock and encamped at camp [?]... Some of the rear brigades got on very badly & 88 pieces were found deficient.
9th.... very little for the horses to eat.
10th August.... The Brigade being again ready we set off at 2.00 pm following the bed of Anderson's River a few hundred yards and thence ascended a steep hill which brought us to a sort of prairie where most of the horses (had) passed the summer, here again followed another stiff hill & we pursued our route in a gradual ascent.... Two or three of the rear brigades arrived when quite dark and many horses necessarily strayed away before they could be freed of their loads, passing the night with the rest in the woods under a heavy thunderstorm with little or nothing to eat....
11th August. The horses were collected... for an early start tomorrow morning; the poor animals, of course, much reduced from this constant want of food and the hard labour they have already undergone in the ups and downs of such a rugged and mountainous tract of country. the pieces (loads), all but 2 or 3, were recovered after much searching and order was again restored....
12th August. Fine morning; started at mid-day and continued our journey along the source of Anderson's River; the road winding along the side of steep rugged hills and thick woods, the horses' feet suffering very much from the former. It was our intention to have reached the height of land today, but from the jaded state of our animals and the general confusion among the rear Brigades, we were obliged to camp in the woods about 5 miles from the above-mentioned point; here again was a sad account of the good many pieces left on the road and 3 parties obliged to halt, separated from one another, night having overtaken them before they could reach the camp.
13th August. There being no fodder such horses as were here and strong enough were loaded and proceeded in charge of Mr. Anderson and Mr. Simpson to the height of land. Mr. Manson and myself remained here for the day to await the brigades and pieces (that) had been left behind...
14th August. Mr. Manson and myself made a start with the remaining brigades, having been recruited with a band of fresh horses (many of the other having given out) which by previous arrangement we were to meet....
15th August. The early part of today was devoted to catching and loading young horses, about which some time was wasted and we started at midday: pursued our route over stony barren hills....
16th August. Good feeding. Fine weather. Here we may consider ourselves out of difficulty the country being more open....
"A. C. Anderson, his brigade duties done, then proceeded to take up his new posting, the charge of Fort Colvile on the Columbia River, just south of the 49th Parallel. But he first rode to Kamloops to pick up his wife and children, who had come down with him to Kamloops from Fort Alexandria in the Spring. The way to Fort Colvile was by horse; and the route was likely a sentimental return along the Kettle Valley-Lake Okanagan Trail taken by the Andersons on the occasion of their journey in the Fall of 1842 to take up their posting at Fort Alexandria.
"The memories of the Brigade rankling, Anderson wrote to Chief Factor Douglas, "as regards the route we have stumbled through this year with its concomitant circumstances, I believe you will agree with me in condemning it as quite unsuited.... to the Concern." But it was too late to build a new trail at any other place. Anderson was forced to bring out the Brigade from Fort Colvile to Fort Langley in the Spring of 1849, over the Tqua-yowm Portage. The new brigade trail from Hope to the Similkameen was built on the way back; but the passage of the Brigades over the new trail in the years following is another story."
And there you have Elton Alexander Anderson's story of his grandfather's passage over the Squa-zowm Portage in 1848 and 1849 -- written before he had easy access to the records of the Hudson's Bay Company Archives, and the research of many modern-day historians and writers.
I was most amused to find that Elton did not like Donald Manson; I was quite fond of the man myself, and understood some the pressures that he worked under for so long.
But each man to his opinion....
Elton worked with the material he had available to him at the time he researched this journey -- and though I disagree with some of his findings, I know I have had advantages that he did not have in access to information written by others.
Please continue to encourage writers to write their stories and to add to our stories -- if we continue to do this, we will soon know all that needs to be known about our local and British Columbia history.