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AUTHOR'S JOURNAL


28 June 2012

My presentation on the Mexican Packers at the Kamloops Museum and Archives was well attended and received tonight.  Descendants of Jose Maria Tresierra were in attendance, which, when they were introduced to the audience, formed one of the highlights of the evening.  Many of those in the audience were former readers of "Interred With Their Bones," and consequently interested in the progress on my next book.  It was good to see all those who have supported us in the past in attendance, and we assured them that "Taken at the Flood" would be released this summer, or early fall.  I'm glad this presentation obligation is at last over, as now I can concentrate on other priorities, not the least of which is getting my book ready for print.  Our grand daughter Norah, 4 years old, assisted Karen in operating the laptop and projector, so I introduced her to the audience at the end.


27 June 2012

Karen and I spent all of the morning and part of the afternoon today with Fred Semeniuk of Shaw Television filming the restored barns at Tranquille on the Lake, as well as the original root cellars.  Both these will form the basis for future film segments on community television on Channel 10 here locally.  For those interested, the various segments already filmed can be seen at http://www.shaw.ca/ShawTV/Kamloops/Grauer/  This filming had to be done today, as the window for future filming will probably be closed until at least the fall.  It is hoped that segments already "in the can" can be edited over the next few months and put on the air.  The necessity of my visualizing the possible historical segments, putting together a tentative script and writing the opening, bridge and closing sections has been rather stressful the past couple of days.  This is in combination with getting prepared for the packer presentation tomorrow.  I did not enjoy the first part of doing the narration on camera today.  Too stressful, worrying about a tentative meeting scheduled today on another matter.  This caused me to lose focus during on-camera portions.  Once it was determined that the meeting would not take place until tomorrow, it went much smoother.  As well, attention has to be paid to the chapters in "Taken at the Flood" that have been reviewed and submitted by the proof reader and style reviewer.  I'm glad that this filming has slowed down somewhat as the priority is getting my book ready for print.


22 June 2012

Karen and I met with Mairi Bureau today.  She is a very talented local artist here in Kamloops.  I have been thinking for some time on how I can portray what one of the Mexican packers might have looked like.  I have a vivid first person contemporary description of them from a merchant at Cayuse Flats (Lillooet) in 1859 in my book, and also had access and scanned a number of Mexican source books, courtesy of Dan Bruce at Lake Country.  Contemporary photos, other than a 1 1/2 inch by 2 inch print in the Quesnel Museum and another of a packer leaning against a post at the BC Express Co. offices at Ashcroft, are non-existent.  As these packers played such an important role in the early history of British Columbia, I thought it important to at least have an illustration by a competent artist as to what one of these packers might have looked like. I described my dilemma to Dave DiFrancesco of TRU at lunch one day.  He reminded me of Mairi, whom he described as probably the best illustrator in Kamloops. I was quick to remember Mairi, and some of her shows that I had attended in the past, and wondered why she had not immediately popped into my head when contemplating an artist or illustrator.  Mairi had been in one of Dave's classes at TRU a number of years ago, and as a class project, had designed my book "Interred With Their Bones" from the original digital files.  Below is a copy of her cover art for "Interred." 

More of her work can be seen at her web site at www.budreau.wordpress.com.  We had a long chat, and exchanged mutual enthusiasms.  She was immediately taken by the features of Alonzo Tresierra, below, in the photos loaned to me by Bill S., and how his striking features might be incorporated into the work.  Alonzo was the son of Jose Maria Tresierra and his wife Josephine.  Mairi is very interested in doing something for "Taken at the Flood."  So we will see how things progress. 


22 June 2012.

Karen and I visited Bill S. here in Kamloops today.  He is descended from Jose Maria Tresierra through the son Alonzo.  Bill has a number of photos that portrayed the descendants of Jose Maria Tresierra and Josephine.  He graciously allowed me to take them home to scan them, and to utilize them in my upcoming presentation on the Mexican Packers at the Kamloops Museum and Archives on the 28th of this month.  He also allowed me to copy some textual information on the Grinder, Pigeon and Tresierra families.  Included with these items loaned by Bill were a number of excellent publications on the Cariboo and the Chilcotin by Don Logan.


15 June 2012

I was asked earlier this spring to give a lecture at the Kamloops Museum and Archives on 28 June 2012 (see http://www.kamloops.ca/museum/lectures/mexicanpackersofthegoldrush.shtml)  When doing my research for "Taken at the Flood," I was taken by the story of the Mexican packers and the formative role they played in the early years of British Columbia's history.  Most of their story was previously unknown to most students and writers of BC History, and much was hidden in obscure locations.  I have previously given lectures on this subject, mostly in the Okanagan, and the reception by the audience has always been one of surprise that more hasn't been told of these early BC pioneers.  In preparation for this lecture, I had to make a trip to Clinton today, to follow up on the grave site of one of the packers, Jose Tresierra and his Nootka wife Josephine.  While there I contacted local historian Mike Brundage.  Mike has a wealth of information on the history of Clinton, and is a valuable resource.  He had his own files on the Tresierras, and loaned me a photo of what was probably Jose Tresierra.  If not, it was his son Pablo.  I guess we will never know for sure.  Along on this research excursion with Karen and I were our early school friends Wally and Cathy.  While having coffee with Mike and Wally in a local coffee shop, the proprietor, David Park, was introduced to me as a descendant of Jose Tresierra.  David's mother was a Tresierra, and he and his coffee shop business are a proud part of the "Team Clinton" initiative that groups businesses, community leaders and volunteers together to promote "rural living at its best" in Clinton.  (See www.village.clinton.bc.ca)  While in Clinton we visited the museum and met the hostess that day, Edith McLorn.  During the tour I took a number of photos of early construction equipment (horse drawn grader), forestry equipment (drag saw) and transportation equipment (freight wagon).  Unfortunately, like many of our heritage institutions, Clinton's Museum suffers from a lack of funding.  I volunteered to present a lecture later this year to assist them in raising some funds.

We visited the local antique shops in Clinton to see what was available, and I managed to get a beaver trap and a wolf trap for a very reasonable price.  In the back of my mind I have the thought that perhaps a fur trade history resides somewhere in there and wants to get out.


11 June 2012

For over a year now I have been working with Shaw Cable locally to produce some short historical vignettes.  They have been playing on our local community cable Channel 10.  I have been doing the research, script writing, locations, narration and assisting in the production and editing.  It is not something I have ever done before, and has proven to be a time consuming, but most interesting, undertaking.  Fred Semeniuk of Shaw cable is an excellent technician, cameraman, producer and mentor.  He is a stickler for detail, which pays off once we are back in the editing room.  Some of our productions, particularly the "Fur Trade Cabin" in Westwold, features some of the spectacular and awe-inspiring scenery we have here in the dry grasslands of the interior.

I have always been inspired by Bill Barlee's "Ghost Towns and Gold Trails," now at least 15 years old.  They have invariably been pointed out by many followers of BC History as something that continually interests them, and makes them eager for more stories of BC's early history.

One of the challenges I face is the lack of construction photos and of equipment operating.  I will have to explore further the possible holders of these photos and films as local and provincial museums and archives do not seem to have retained information on road, bridge, and industry construction over the years.

Today Fred and I were editing extensive footage shot last fall on the history and recent operation of the heritage steam-powered sawmill owned and operated by John Pringle of Westwold over many decades in the first part of the 20th century. His sons Val and Joe Pringle have restored this mill to operating condition, and it is a sterling example of early industrial steam technology in British Columbia.  The script, filming, narration and editing of this segment has been challenging.

Some of the vignettes produced to date can be seen by those without access to local cable on the internet at http://www.shaw.ca/ShawTV/Kamloops/Grauer/


4 June 2012

I was recently contacted by Tim Petruk of the "Kamloops This Week" newspaper.  He is, amongst other things, the paper's court reporter.  Earlier this spring he did a series of excellent articles on the hangings that took place in the Kamloops Gaol over the years and I contributed some research source material to him that I had in my own personal collection.  The paper is doing a special edition on July 1st weekend to commemorate the 200th birthday of the founding of Kamloops, and he asked if I would like to post a small article on Kamloops history in the edition.  I chose an excerpt from one of the early chapters of "Taken at the Flood."  It details an incident experienced by five American miners who later discovered the first gold in the Cariboo on the Horsefly River in the summer of 1859.  In May of 1859, these five miners came to Fort Kamloops to buy supplies from the Hudson's Bay Company trader and also to purchase pack horses for their journey north.  This small section from Chapter 13 details the sights the five would have seen at the confluence of the two rivers at this early date.


1 June 2012

Well, Dear Reader, it has been some time since I have posted any remarks in my journal.  However, I can plead somewhat not guilty, as my web host changed my access password, and I have been so busy I have not been able to follow up on it.  It now seems to have been cleared up, and I hope to maintain regular postings as time progresses.

I have had numerous requests from readers as to the progress "Taken at the Flood" is making.  (The title, still somewhat tentative, might be "Taken at the Flood: The Trail to the Cariboo Gold Rush, 1858 to 1862.)  I can tell you that all of the chapters have been completed, including those in the "Afterwards" section.  The "Afterwards" section serves to enlighten the reader as to what happened to the principle characters in my history after my artificial cut-off point at the end of 1862.

Sue in Westwold has been diligently proof reading the chapters, numbering up to 38.  I thought I was reasonably competent with the English language but Sue does not hesitate to point out my failings in that category.  She has now completed up to Chapter 25.

My friend Wally in Chase has been reviewing the corrected chapters from Sue for style.  Wally and I were in Grade One together at Selkirk School in Revelstoke, and went through all the grades together.  We even attended UBC at the same time for those years that I was there, and Wally majored in English.

I am now in the process of assembling the photos for the book, which is a daunting and expensive process.  However, they are an important part of the whole project.  I am especially excited about the First Nations photos I am obtaining from the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa.  It is too bad, and frustrating also, that all of our major Canadian cultural institutions are in Ottawa and so inaccessible to us here in Western Canada.

I am expecting that printing will take place later this summer, and that we can have a book launch sometime after that.


5 Feb. 2012.

I have had a busy winter, trying to complete my next book, "Taken at The Flood: The Early Years of the Rush To Cariboo  1858 - 1862."  (The title is still somewhat tentative.)  Although at times I find it hard to become motivated, once I actually sit down and address the work in front of me, it does seem to click into gear.  I have put in anywhere from 4 to 10 hours at a stretch.  However, once interrupted, it is difficult to get back to the work at hand.  Karen has tried to make the writing process as easy as possible for me.  Also, the comfort and company of the wood burning stove in the basement does seem to have a calming, therefore motivating influence.

I have finished rewriting and editing all the chapters up to Chapter 34.  This, the last real chapter, is where the editor of the British Columbian newspaper (John Robson)  takes on Judge Begbie in the winter of 1862.  Since the end of 1862 is the end of my book, (with the exceptions of the "Afterwards") the first chapter is presently out for its first "style" review.  This first chapter review will quickly be followed by others.

Proof reading, editing and book design will quickly follow.

When I am finally finished the writing, I will have to get the photos acquired as well as the maps drawn.  Our daughter Kirsten has said that she wishes to do the maps for me.  They will be a challenge, as I will be using the original place names.  For instance, L'Anse au Sable is the original place name for Kelowna, and Cayoosh Flats is the original name for Lillooet.

I still have the "Introduction" and the "Acknowledgements" to do.  The Introduction is more complicated than you would think, as many of the writer's original thoughts, and those formulated during research and writing, should come to the fore here.

I think the "Afterwards" section is also important.  This is where the reader gets to know what the future holds for the main antagonists in the book.  The most important four, of course, are the Okanagan chief Ton-as-ket, the Canadian Robert Stevenson, the 16 year-old American Jack Splawn and the dastardly Boone Helm.  However, the reader would also be interested in more minor characters such as gold miner Thomas Menefee and the fur trader and adventurer William Peon.  In particular, I wish to give whatever original source material I have on characters whose biography would never appear in Wikipedia or the Dictionary of Canadian Biographies.  They could include Jean Baptiste Lolo St. Paul, Alexander Fortune, "Boston" Sanford and "Scotty" Donaldson.


1 Oct. 2011.

Today I was invited to a Black Powder rendezvous beside a small lake high in the hills above Westwold.  The "Soggy Bottom Boys," numbering about a dozen or so, are from all regions of the southern interior.  Some are from the East Kootenays, one from Clearwater and many others from the Okanagan Valley.  These enthusiasts try to conform their activities, dress and crafts to that period in Canada which prevailed during the fur trade era of the 1700s.  This group and their wealth of knowledge is valuable to me as much of what I am writing about in my next book deals with black powder percussion cap and flintlock firearms.  It is of primary interest to me as I wish to be able to write as knowledgeably as I possibly can about such events as the ambush of American miners by a band of Okanagans at McLoughlin Canyon in July of 1858.  The miners were on their way to the gold fields of British Columbia, and had ignored repeated warnings not to trespass on Okanagan Nation lands.  A heavy exchange of fire took place which included Indian trade muskets, shotguns, a number of 1841 Springfield "Mississippi" muskets, many 1851 Colt's Navy revolvers and bows and arrows.  At this time before the American Civil War, cartridge weapons were unavailable in the Canadian and American west.  The "Boys" have generously donated their time and knowledge to me on a number of occasions, answering esoteric questions on the sight, sound, smell and use of black powder firearms.  In addition to the generosity with which they share their knowledge with me, they prepared a gourmet supper for everyone, including myself and other invited guests.  The delicious repast consisted of "linguini with sauce a la champagne," shrimps and mushrooms, and meatballs.  All this was prepared on site over open stoves.  The desert, brought up for the occasion by Sandi P., consisted of a bread pudding with raisins and an apricot sauce.  As well, the festive table was overflowing with many types of drink, rum predominating of course.

One aspect of the black powder culture that is of continuing fascination to me is their adherence to making and decorating their own necessities.  These range from tents and clothing such as "capotes," powder horns, hunting and patch knives, bead and quillwork-decorated leather scabbards, folding furniture, brass buttons and lanterns, and they even go so far as to make their own muskets.  The only thing pre-made on these beautifully-decorated pieces are the flint locks.  Even these have to be finished and polished by the maker.  Capotes, for the uninitiated, are long coats, usually hooded and held together with a sash, made from Hudson's Bay blankets.  Mostly white for winter camouflage, they are often seen in old paintings and sketches of the early Canadian fur traders and French voyageurs.

I took many photographs of the Soggy Bottom Boys, their campsite and their beautifully created artifacts.  I will put them together into a Power Point and post them on this website within a few days.  PRG


15 Sept. 2011.

Today Karen and I attended a meeting of a book club in Barnhartvale.  They had read "Interred With Their Bones" over the summer and wanted to talk to the author.  An interesting and rewarding time was spent at the home of Heather and Mitch Stefanik with the members of the book club.  They asked many pertinent and thoughtful questions about my research techniques and the actual work of putting a book with this much detail together.  Heather and Mitch's home is is surrounded by beautiful gardens which they maintain themselves, and the event was much enjoyed by Karen and myself.


13 Sept. 2011.

Karen and I received a phone call from a lady today, asking whether we could meet them for coffee.  We arranged the meeting for Harold's Restaurant early that afternoon. When we arrived we met two delightful ladies, Geri and Marg.  Both were descendants of George Aldous.  George Aldous was a businessman in Princeton during the time Bill Miner, (George Edwards at that time), Jack Budd and Shorty Dunn were active in the area.  George had various business ventures with Bill Miner, including driving horses into the Fraser Valley for sale to the local farmers and livery stables.  He also was a partner with Jack Budd in the Tulameen hotel in Princeton until it burned down in 1904.  There is some conjecture out there that he helped Bill Miner escape across the border into the US after he had escaped from the BC Penitentiary.  Geri and Marg verified all these stories as being part of their family history.  Geri added that the section in the book which deals with the isolated cabin in the hills above the Tulameen River where Bill Miner was hiding out after his escape was probably George Aldous's mining cabin.  It seems that George Aldous's family originally came out to Saskatchewan with a Methodist colony sometime before the time of the Riel Rebellion of 1885.  They settled at Lorlie, just south-west of Melville.  Some time after this George came out to BC, settling in the Similkameen.  Geri had read "Interred With Their Bones" and said she thoroughly enjoyed it.  She commented on the impressive amount of research undertaken.  She said she cried at the end when she read of Shorty Dunn's death, and how his life had been manipulated and finally destroyed by the master con man and exploiter, Bill Miner.  After a long and enjoyable conversation, the two George Aldous descendants agreed to send me scanned copies of any good photos they might have of their ancestor George.  A relative, Joyce Noble of Saskatchewan, is doing family history work on the Aldous family, and coming across many interesting stories.  Geri's mother Doreen (Aldous), Marg's mother Thelma (Aldous) and Joyce were all first cousins.  Meeting readers of local and BC History such as Geri and Marg makes the task of writing a book like "Interred with Their Bones"  that much more rewarding.  Geri and Marg both bought signed copies of my book for themselves, as well as additional signed copied for other relatives.


2 Aug. 2011.  Things have started to slow down in the construction and development field in Kamloops.  This has left me with a bit more time in which to work at writing my book.  So in the mornings, when the weather is good, I do all those things around the property that need doing, like irrigation, weeding, grass cutting, gopher trapping, pruning and fence repair.  The horses are literally drooling at the mouth as they eat the early wind-fall apples I pick up from the orchard.  In the afternoon, I try to devote some time to writing and putting my research into context.  This month I have been reviewing John Robson's New Westminster British Columbian newspaper from 1861 and 1862.  It, like the Victoria Colonist, is filled with information that helps to flesh out what the gold rush was really all about during this critical period in BC's history.  It helps me see what miners headed to the Cariboo would have seen, and then lets me give the reader a flavour for what that formative time must have been like.  I insert thoughts and scenes from the paper in pertinent spots in my history.

When I first started reviewing this particular paper, some 2 or 3 years ago now, I was struck by the partisan viewpoint struck by the editor, Robson, and how he used his paper to fulfill his own personal needs.  Those needs, I have determined, consisted of his own political ambitions, and his need to destroy two men of greater significance than himself.  By destroying, or attempting to destroy, Governor Douglas and Judge Begbie, he hoped to increase the revenues to his paper, and to cement his political ambitions.  That he, and his fellow muckraker in Victoria, the demented Amor de Cosmos, should share in succeeding in forcing Governor Douglas to resign in 1864, is a regrettable travesty.  That both of them should succeed in realizing their political ambitions, and both attain the highest office in British Columbia government, the premiership, makes one ponder the justice of it all.  In my book I will be bringing forth to the reader some of Robson's more loathsome tactics to attain his goals, including, in more than one instance, planting the seed of lynch law and vigilantism in the minds of his readers.  Through my reviews of all his early editorials and diatribes, I am convinced that it was his intent to foment, through his writings, an insurrection against existing British law in the colony, thereby hastening an end to the tenure of Begbie and Douglas.  This would then enable him to attain his own personal political goals.  An interesting aside is that both editors were immigrants from Canada into the west coast British colony, bringing with them their experiences with representative government.  But more on that, and the suitability of representative government in the colony at that time in its evolution, another time.  PRG


 

26 July 2011.  I have been negligent in keeping up this journal for some time now.  I have so many things going on that there just doesn't seem to be the time to keep it up to date.  But, in reviewing Julie Ferguson's excellent articles in the Spring/Summer edition of "Wordworks, the Voice of British Columbia's Writers," I have decided to expend some extra effort and find the time.  Julie can be found at  www.beaconlit.com.  The Federation of BC Writers can be found at www.bcwriters.ca

I should briefly bring you up to date with my efforts in trying to generate an interest in BC's fascinating history.

My book on the time that Bill Miner spent in BC, "Interred With Their Bones, Bill Miner in Canada, 1903 to 1907," has now almost completely sold out its fourth printing.  We are now trying to determine whether we should order a fifth run.  Sales are still continuing, even after five years.  So, a fifth printing will probably be decided when my next book is ready for print.

My next book is on the very early history of the Cariboo Gold Rush, from 1858 to 1862.  The story details some of the history of these times through the eyes of four individuals who either left documentation behind, or considerable material exists on the individual.  None of the four are well-known to BC readers.  The research has been almost completed, and the writing is 3/4 finished.  I hope to be ready for print by early winter.  Again, the work is all based on primary and secondary sources.  A tentative title is "Taken At The Flood, the Cariboo Gold Rush, 1858-1862."  Like Interred With Their Bones," "Taken at the Flood" is from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.  Briefly it is meant to refer to the fact that if you do not confront fortune when the opportunity arises, you may regret not taking the path offered for years into the future.  Hence, fortune, or the search for gold, was "Taken at the Flood" by all those adventurers who braved the untracked wilderness of the interior of colony of British Columbia.

To further make pressing demands on our time and creativity, Shaw Television in Kamloops has engaged me to help in producing vignettes of an historical nature on Community Television.  This has been a challenge as I have never worked in this medium before, but it is quite exhilarating.  I pick the topics and locations, do the research, write the scripts, do the narration, more or less direct the production, and assist in the editing.  Five or six have aired so far, and I have identified another ten or so that need to be done.  However, it is very time consuming, and does take me away from my goal of completing this next book.

So, ... Dear Reader, I will be attempting to do weekly updates to this journal, and if you should wish to drop me an email, I will do my best to answer it, and if topical, post it in the "Comments" section.


2010.

Karen and I have a number of events planned this spring.

Research trips are being planned this spring for Vernon, Kelowna, Princeton, Chilliwack, Vancouver, Victoria, Quesnel, Barkerville (again) and the NE of Washington State.

Power Point presentation dates are as follows:

Lloyd George School - 21 January 2010.  "Bill Miner in the Kamloops Area."

Okanagan Historical Society AGM in Salmon Arm - 25 April 2010.  "Bill Miner - The Myth and the Reality."

Girl Guide Leaders- 24 June 2010.  Canadian Conference at Thompson Rivers University.  "Bill Miner and Mary Spencer.  Truth and Fiction."



 

Recent Happenings

 

On 7 January 2010 I officially started writing my next book.  I started the chapters on the McLaughlin Canyon Fight between the Okanagan Indians and the American miners that were heading north in July of 1858.  The reason I am starting with events in 1858 when I am writing about the Cariboo Gold Rush, is that happenings and people involved at this time had a profound effect on individual aspects of the gold rush, and indeed, events today.  Many of the places, happenings and individuals involved that I have been researching overt the past 3 years are relatively unknown to followers of the history of the Pacific Northwest.  (I like to include British Columbia in the term "Pacific Northwest," as that indeed is where it resides.  While Washington and Oregon are the only ones traditionally included in this term, it only makes sense that BC is also part of it.)

 

Very early in January of 2010 another presentation was made to a private group of history aficionados.  Again, it featured my new book, with the added themes of the Mexican packers and the fur trade sites around Westwold.

 

The year 2009 ended with a Power Point presentation to 25 to 30 people in late December.  This was a rather unique event, as it was the first presentation ever done on the basics to my new book.  The response to the themes of the book were quite positive.  Research will probably be finished by the end of the spring and writing will start on certain aspects in the New Year.

 


23 July 2008.  I recently received an interesting series of emails from a Robert Ward of Huddersfield in the UK.  He had been on my website www.billminer.ca and had seen reference to a John Armytage-Moore in the site database.  Armytage-Moore had been Maisie Campbell-Johnson's first husband.  Maisie, you will remember, was the young girl in Aspen Grove for whom Bill Miner built the skating rink one winter.  Maisie was a very interesting woman, in some ways born before her time.  Some of her adventures and escapades in later life are still obscure and require further research.  I have always maintained that there is a book in Maisie's life.

However, when I receive Mr. Ward's permission, I will share his findings with you, Dear Reader.

-------------------------------------------------------

 

19 and 20 July 2008.  Karen and I brought our book to the Maple Ridge Country Fest on these dates.  We featured our book at this event, and the venue turned out to be quite interesting.  The response from the locals was positive.  However, considering the population draw of the area, we expected more people to be at the site.  The weather was sunny both days, in contrast to last year which was rained out.  The municipality of Maple Ridge is formerly the areas of Haney, Whannock and other settlements that played a role in the train robbery at Silverdale in September of 1904.

I made some good contacts, and it was heartening to see the high level of interest held by people for their local heritage.  The local paper had done a write-up on the book before we came down, and this seemed to have had quite an effect here.  The same type of publicity for events in other cities had considerably less positive effect.  I guess perhaps the paper in Maple Ridge is of a higher quality than the norm, and more people read it.  I think the paper is called the Maple Ridge Times. 

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14 July 2008

Early last winter, I started research on my next book, and I will be starting to post some things here that will be relevant to it, and that readers might find of interest.  I will tell you, Dear Reader, more about the next book, in a future posting.  However, I can say that it probably will deal with the early years of the Cariboo Gold Rush, 1861 to 1862.  To that end, considerable research and background has to be done in order to ensure the setting and background is authentic.  Part of that exercise was undertaken when Karen and I met with Val and Sandi Pringle of Westwold on this date.  They took us to a little-known site, not accessible by the public, where fur traders had built a hut in the early 19th Century.

After helping to build Fort Okanogan on the Columbia River, David Stuart from J.J. Astor's Pacific Fur Company passed through the Westwold/Grande Prairie country in 1811.  Fur traders and their employees following in his footsteps built a log hut or cabin in a sheltered spot on the south side of the valley.  Built shortly after 1811, it soon was taken over by the North West Fur Trading Company in 1813, and finally by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1821.  The building housed men, probably French-Canadians and mixed-bloods from Canada, who looked after the herds of pack train horses the fur traders grazed and wintered in the Westwold valley below.  It was tucked into a small ravine or arroyo and fed by a small stream.  It had a commanding view over the approaches from both the south and north.  Herds of from three to four hundred head would have been able to be supported on the bunch grass that grew abundantly in the valley.  Okanagan Indians, from the head of Okanagan Lake, and who used this valley for hunting and gathering purposes, generally welcomed the fur traders wherever they happened to pass through.  It was a mutually beneficial relationship that continued on until conditions deteriorated when the miners from California started coming in for the Fraser River Gold Rush in 1858.

In 1958, the Westwold Women's Institute was instrumental in building a cairn marking the spot from the original fireplace rocks strewn around the site.  It is plain to see the large boulders outlining the size of the structure and that the logs were laid upon to prevent rot.  Upon reflection, this site could very well be the oldest non-native habitation site known with certainty anywhere in southern BC.  Victoria had not yet been established, and only Fort St. James and the Peace River fur trade settlements would have preceded this one at Westwold.

 

Photo:  The cairn with the foundation boulders in the foreground.

 

Photo:  The plaque.

 

Photo:  The creek.

 

Photo:  The view from the herders' hut.  The vast expanse of the Westwold valley can be seen in the distance.  The site of the herders' hut is in the lower centre of this photo, and the fence around it can just be seen between the juniper on the left and the big Douglas fir on the right.


 

12 July 2008

Karen and I attended the Merritt Mountain Music Festival street mall today.  We took part in a book signing event in conjunction with author Chris Kind of Clinton in Merritt this weekend.  It was reasonably successful, taking into consideration that attendance was down, and people seemed to be a bit apprehensive as to what was going to happen now, and in the future.  We were set up in front of the Country Bug Books and Gifts on the main street mall at 2049 Quilchena Avenue.  Jennifer was a gracious hostess to us, and her shop brings a needed service to Merritt that is much appreciated.  Reports we received from customers of Jenn's tell us she is doing a great job, and her book and gift selection, much of it featuring local artists, is very comprehensive and interesting.

 

Photo:  Our table set up in front of Country Bug Books and beside Chris Kind.

 

A highlight of this event, at least for my wife Karen and I, was to meet a very special individual.  We could tell this fellow knew his history, and my book in particular.  He told us he was given my book by one of his grandmothers.  Standing in front of one of our large posters, he exclaimed about Daphne Fernie on the back cover, and how she was the daughter of the policeman responsible for capturing Miner and his gang.  In many other ways we could tell that he was not just talking through that impressive black Stetson he was wearing.  There was nothing ostentatious or put-on about him.  He was just basically interested in all things western about BC.  You see, Spencer Vaughn is only six years old; he told us he was in pre-school this spring.  Karen and I possibly remember when his grandmother bought our book for him when we held a book signing in the recent past.  His Nana, whose hand he kept in his grasp, told us that Spencer has always been interested in the early frontier history of BC.  Continuing our conversation with him, we found him articulate, respectful and full of enthusiasm and wonder at what life was going to be holding for him; but also matter-of-fact and practical.  In his mind his knowledge about BC's western heritage was no special thing; it was merely to be expected; it was an essential part of his life.  As he and his Nana walked off, he in his fine flashy boots with his spurs jingling, we hoped that some things would never change, and that Spencer would keep his innocence and sense of practical wonder for a few years yet.  His parents and extended family must be not only proud, but rather special themselves for raising and nurturing a boy with such a refreshing outlook on what life holds in store for him.


 

10 February 2008

Dear Reader,

Back in late October ’07 I received an email through my website from a Melanie Hewat in the Okanagan.  She wanted to know how to acquire my book.  She mentioned that her father was a history buff, and that he had heard about my book.  As well, he had seen it at the Wild Goat Book and Gift Shop in the museum building in Hedley.  His birthday was coming up in November and as he was difficult to buy for, she thought this would be a good gift.  I sent her to a bookstore near her home, and through further emails she mentioned that her great-grandfather was a BC Provincial Policeman in Princeton by the name of Ronald Hewat.  Well, Dear Readers, you can imagine my surprise.  I had studied Constable Hewat’s exploits, letters and reports in the BC Police files in the Victoria Archives and he featured prominently in the investigations of the Ducks Robbery.  Constable Hewat was the officer who commented in a report to Sup’t Hussey that he “had worked alongside Jack Budd and Tom Arnold,” both of them cronies of Bill Miner.   I was most impressed with Hewat’s exquisite hand-writing.  I had seen many examples of post-Victorian writing styles in my research, but Ronald Hewat’s was without compare; the finest I had ever seen.  I told Melanie I would be most pleased if she could send me a scanned photo of Constable Hewat that I could share with readers on my website.  I didn’t hear any more from her, so I just chalked it up to one of those frequent contacts that just weren’t meant to have any follow up.

All this time the name Hewat didn’t register with me as anyone else other than one of the fascinating characters who populated my book, and with whom I had a six year relationship.  I was used to descendants of these individuals contacting me to tell of their connections with the Bill Miner Affair; all passed down through the generations.

However, I didn’t reckon on the father who was a history buff.  They are a very tenacious lot.  Retired RCMP Officer M. Hewat called me in early January from his home in the Cariboo.  His thoughts about my book sent in a subsequent email you can read in the “Comments” section of my website.  He told me that he remembers clearly sitting on his grandfather’s knee listening to all his stories of the BC Police Force.  During our conversation it became apparent to us that we had both crossed paths, fortunately not on an official basis, in Revelstoke in the early 60s when he was a constable there.  We had numerous mutual friends to discuss.  Mike sent me photos of his grandfather Constable Ronald Hewat as well as one of himself.  He added a short biography of his father that I now wish to share with readers.

 

“The family HEWAT is originally from the Scottish Border area of Roxburgh, south of Edinburgh.  My grandfather Ronald was born 27 Aug 1869 at Walsgrave on Sowe, Warwickshire, England, educated at Mervin College and Harrow and came to Canada as a “Farm Pupil” in 1889.  He married Mary Walton of Edwell in 1897 at Innisfail, Alberta.  Sons John A. and Ronald W. were born in 1899 and 1903 respectively.  (So, when Ronald Hewat was petitioning BC Police Superintendent Hussey for a job with the Provincial Police under Constable Hunter in Princeton, he was married with at least two children at the time.)  They moved to Princeton in June 1903 where sons Charles H. and Richard C. were born.  Grandfather Ronald evidently worked for a period at the Hedley Mine and also managed a livery stable.  He joined the BC Provincial Police at Princeton and while in service with the BC Provincial Government his jobs included BC Policeman, Clerk to the Government Agent, Provincial Finance Dept., Assessor, tax collector, mining recorder and magistrate.  He was the Gold Commissioner/Government Agent in Fairview in the South Okanagan and was also in service at Fernie, Invermere and Kaslo.  He was the Government Agent at Kaslo from 1920 to 1939 when he retired but retained the post of Stipendiary Magistrate.”

 

So it is with much appreciation to Constable Ronald Hewat’s grandson and his daughter Melanie that we are able to fill out Ronald’s commendable record of service for the BC Government and the people of BC.

       

                                          

 

          BC PP Constable Ronald Hewat        RCMP Constable Michael Hewat

 


 

9 February 2008

During the fall and winter of 2007 I was, and still am, having frequent correspondence with historians in Nelson BC.  They had become quite interested in the story of Constable Charles Warburton Young, the posse member holding the dogs on the front cover of “Interred With Their Bones.”   During emails back and forth, Greg Scott, a member of the museum board in Nelson contacted me with some interesting additional information on Constable Young, as well as information on CPR Inspector of Detectives Robert Bullick.  (Bullick’s information will come at a later date.  It is suffice to say that the information impacts on the story of the fictitious stolen CPR bonds.)  Greg also referred to my mention of a “Detective Scott” from the Vancouver Police force who was part of the pursuit party that left Vancouver for Mission shortly after the word of the robbery at Silverdale got out (p47).  It seems that “Detective Scott” was Greg’s grandfather, and Greg asked whether I might have any more details on Detective Scott.  I referred to my notes and sources, and unfortunately the only source of information I had on Detective Scott was in the report done by the enterprising Vancouver Province reporter who accompanied the police from Vancouver.  The article, “Robbers Cross the Fraser,” appeared in the 12 Sept. 1904 issue.

Greg was good enough to send me a short bio on his grandfather, who had some interesting career highlights.  However, to Greg’s regret, he never talked about the Bill Miner Affair.

 David Scott was born April 30 1872 in Brechin, Angus County, Scotland, the first of nine children of David Scott and Hannah McIndoe Dick, cartographer and draftsman.  The family emigrated to Fox Valley, Marion County, Oregon C1880. While the family farmed on the Williamette River, young David did not take to it and spent his time hunting for the family and as a teamster driving dynamite wagon on the Oregon Trail. He married Emily Adcock in Salem Oregon December 31 1893 however she passed away in 1895.

In 1898 his father moved to Vancouver B.C. to take a pattern making/drafting  job with the C.P.R. and was accompanied by David. However, David Sr. returned to Oregon in 1900 and settled in Portland with his family, young David remaining in Vancouver.  During this time he was driving a hack (taxi) and due to his teamster background was hired January 1 1900 by Fire Chief J.H. Carlyle to handle the department’s new multi-horse wagon. He boarded at the Taylor house on Hamilton Street and on December 20 1900 married the Taylor’s daughter, Georgia Alice and they settled in at 247 West Georgia Street, the present site of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Their son, another David, was born November 20, 1901 and this was followed by two daughters and another son.

On September  1  1901 he left the Fire Department and was appointed a Constable with the Vancouver Police Department. During this time he walked a beat which started at the old Police Station on Alexander and Powell, along Cordova and up Granville, across the old wooden bridge to Broadway, across to Westminster (Main) Street and then down Westminster to Alexander.

David rose steadily through the Police Department ranks to detective in September of 1904 and Inspector in Charge of the new Kitsilano sub-division in 1912. The latter posting also dealt with the Sikh “problems” emanating from the West 2nd Avenue Temple and culminating in the Komogata Maru incident in 1914 when he was one of 11 policemen injured during the storming of the vessel, being hit in the head with a chunk of coal and knocked into the harbor. In 1917 he returned to police headquarters as Inspector of Detectives, a position he held until September 27, 1919 when he was dismissed.

During his career he also took part in the so called “Georgia Street Battle” when Police Chief Malcolm MacLellan was shot and killed by Bob Tate who was holed up in a house on East Georgia Street. As an expert marksman, David was shooting into the house from an adjacent roof and it is claimed he fired the bullet that killed Tate. After leaving the police he obtained employment through former policeman and brother of the murdered Chief, “Big Mac” MacLellan, as a security guard at U.D.L. Distillery in Marpole where he worked until retiring in the early 1940’s. David Scott passed away in Vancouver November 10, 1951 at age 79.

 Greg also passed on to me photos he had in his collection of his grandfather and the Vancouver Police Force.  The two photos of Detective Scott are taken at the VPD headquarters, one taken with the mug shot camera, and one of him standing beside it.  The photo of the VPD is taken in 1903, and reproduction is courtesy of the Vancouver Museum and Archives.  This photo is unique for the Bill Miner story as no fewer than five of the men portrayed in the photo took part in the pursuit of the robbers after the robbery of the CPR.  They are Chief of Police Samuel North, Detectives David Scott and Waddell, and Officers Deptford and Hartney.  Their part in Bill Miner’s story takes place in Chapter V, “Pursuit and Investigation,” pp 27-44.  (PRG)

 

                                       


16 December 2007

Once again, Dear Reader, I have been negligent in keeping you abreast with everything that has happened that is pertinent to the Bill Miner Story in BC.  And, as always, the connections still keep on coming forward from unexpected places.  Karen and I have been so busy the last couple of months on the lead up to Christmas, book sales and signings and enjoying our time with our new grand daughter Norah, that our Dear Readers have been neglected.  However, it appears that now things might be tapering off a bit.  So, I promise to fill all of you in on the latest information over the coming weeks.


29 September 2007

I don't usually, if ever, use this Journal to post anything other than news and information pertaining to the life and times of Bill Miner, and what the world was like in BC 100 years ago.  However, some things are of such import that I have to let "Dear Readers" know about them.  At 1:12 this morning, at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, Norah Marie Grauer Bell was born to our daughter Kirsten Marie Grauer and her husband Tim Bell.  In 1888 Norah's great great grandmother Edith Browne, daughter of "California" Louise Perkins and Charles Edward Browne, was born in Kamloops.  In 1916, Norah's great grandmother, and my mother, Norah Evelyn Portman, daughter of Edith Browne and Fred Portman, was born in Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops.  In 1972 Norah's mother Kirsten, daughter of Karen Marie McKenzie and Peter Grauer, was born in Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops.  So little Norah continues a tradition that goes back some ways.

Both mother and daughter are doing well.  My wife Karen has not been home much since the event.  PRG


27 September 2007.

Dear Reader,

Many of you will remember me mentioning the startling connections this story is continually bringing to our attention since publication in June of 2006.  Let me emphasize that the connections continue to come forward.  In my last entry of 15 September directly below, you were introduced to Donna Mackenzie, the grand-daughter of BC Provincial Police Constable C. W. Young of Nelson.

When Karen and I arrived home from setting up at the Kamloops Winter Fair in the late afternoon of Sept. 21st, we found a card in our mailbox.  It was from Donna's mother, Nora (Young) MacKenzie, now in her nineties.  I include the contents of Nora's letter verbatim below.

 

Sept 17/07

Peter Grauer

Dear Sir,

I just wanted to thank you for autographing my book, and my daughter Donna wanted me to tell you the names of my Dad's bloodhounds; Monty and Tramp.

(During all the time I spent researching this book over the past six years, I dedicated considerable time re-identifying the 10 separate individuals in Mary Spencer's famous picture of the Kamloops Posse.  Nora's father, Constable Young, is the fourth man from the left on the cover of my book, or the sixth from the left in Mary Spencer's original photo, which I have attached below.  I never did learn his initials.  Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would eventually, after over 100 years had passed, learn the names of his two dogs that are also in the photo.  Imagine our surprise and delight at reading Nora's letter to me.  She continues.)

My Dad was Charles Warburton Young, he was Irish, and a very talented person.  He was (a) Canadian watercolour artist.  Seven of his paintings are in the archives of Victoria, also in (the) museum in Agassiz where we lived on a farm for 8 years or so.

He became Chief of Police in Nelson because crooks were taking over, so he did.  He died in West Vancouver in 1933.  (He) had a tumour operation in his head.  A blood clot killed him the next day.  Here is a picture in uniform you wanted.

Thanks again,

Sincerely Nora (Young) MacKenzie.

Chief of Police Charles Warburton Young of Nelson.  Nora Mackenzie Collection.

Kamloops Posse in Courthouse Grounds, Late May, 1906.  Mary Spencer Photo.  Courtesy of Kamloops Museum and Archives.

(So, many thanks to Mrs. Nora MacKenzie for bringing back for our recognition the story of this early pioneer of law enforcement in British Columbia.  From the little detail she has shared with us, it only makes us wonder more about this interesting individual.  If some of his watercolours reside in the Archives in Victoria and others in Agassiz, he must have had at least some recognizable talent.  How pleasing it would be if we could all share in looking at some of his work at a future time.  Perhaps we could have a small showing of his work here on this web site for all to enjoy.  In this age of digital photography, it should not be too onerous a task to take shots of some of Young's work.

Thanks again to Donna Mackenzie for quickly striding forward to declare, with considerable pride and forefinger out-stretched, "That's my grandfather."   PRG)


15 September 2007.  Mission Celebration of Community at the Fraser River Heritage ParkThis venue, while in a beautiful location, did not turn out to be a good one for book sales.  The crowd were just not readers, I guess.  We did make some good contacts, though. 

One was the grand daughter of Constable C. W. Young of Nelson, Donna MacKenzie.  Const. Young is the BC Provincial Policeman 4th from the left on the cover of my book, and holding the leash of one of the surviving bloodhounds.  She informed me that Const. Young's daughter and Donna's mother, now in her 90s, is also still living.  We exchanged contact info, and perhaps some information will flow both ways as a result of this meeting.  Constable Young went on to become the Police Chief in Nelson.

Kuldip Gill introduced herself to Karen and I.  She was volunteering at a Mission Heritage Society booth.  She is a teacher at the University College of the Fraser Valley.  She teaches and holds a doctorate in English.  She told me that she is enthralled with the story of Bill Miner, and has composed numerous poems about him, his life and times.  She was thrilled with the book, and promised to contact us to tell us her thoughts after she finishes it.

Anthony (Tony) Hutchcroft of Mission shared with me (on MP3 player) his singing, with his original composition of music, for the poem "In Flanders Fields."  Pipes and martial drums with a marching cadence, combined with Tony's strong, clear voice, have resulted in a stirring rendition of one of Canada's most dearly loved poems.  I can see this rendition of one of Canada's fundamental building blocks being featured on every occasion when we refer to our formative heritage, the sacrifice of those who served and Canada's role in the two World Wars, Korea and now Afghanistan.  Karen and I wish Tony every success in his pursuit of publishing this most impressive work.

A couple of photos taken in Mission are quite spectacular, and most fitting.

The Constable posing beside the photo of Bill Miner did not know the story of the Royal North West Mounted Police detail from Alberta that captured Miner at Douglas Lake that May.  However, he was very interested in hearing about some of the early history of the force.  It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and Karen was quick to capture the moment and have me snap the photos.

The weather was quite nice in Mission that day; no rain.  Just some high fog that didn't burn off until after noon.  However, the heavy smoke and smog in the valley made us glad to escape back over the pass and back in the Nicola and Thompson Valleys.  Both Karen and I had lived at the coast in the 1960s, but could never remember the air being as polluted as this. PRG


7, 8 and 9th September 2007.  Salmon Arm Fall Fair.

The three days spent taking the book to the people at the Salmon Arm Fair were very successful.  Here are a couple of shots of our booth.

 


8 September 2007.

If any of you are interested, you may want to hear my book discussed on  “The Fred and Gerry Home Improvement Show”  (???) down in the Lower Mainland.  Go to  http://www.600am.com/pages/3413/LISTEN_LIVE.htm and pick Sept 8 out of the archives.  It is an hour long show.  But use your media player (Real Player) to go to the following segments of the show:  12:00 minutes to 14:30 minutes, 22:00 to 23:40, and 36:00 to 37:43 minutes.  Karen and I met the show's producer, Michael Brewka, and his wife at the 100 Mile House Garlic Festival.  Michael is a real fan of BC history, and very knowledgeable.  The book really does get around. 

Thanks to the good folks at radio station 600 AM for their support of a self-published BC History book.  PG


9 Aug 2007

Well, here it is over a month since I last posted to this site, and as usual I have been remiss in keeping you up to date on how the book is being received and telling you of the interesting stories related to the Bill Miner Affair that continue to crop up.  A number of things have occurred, and as they come to mind I promise I will post them here and try to refrain from being such a procrastinator.

The most recent incident happened early this morning.  We received a phone call from playwright Richard Turtle in Ontario.

Richard had purchased a copy of the book back in February of this year, and since that time he has read it a number of times.  He also told me that he had gone to Ottawa to do some research on Miner, Dunn and Colquhoun, but found no information over and above what I had included in my book.  He had hoped to be able to call me to say, "Guess what I just found."

But, no such luck.

However, Richard has been successful at another Miner related endeavour.  He has completed a stage play on the Miner Affair based on facts revealed in my book.  He has approached the story from Lewis Colquhoun's perspective, and from what Richard has told me, it is a very intriguing story.  As anyone knows who has read the book, the story of Lewis Colquhoun is rather a tragic one.  So, suffice it to say that Richard has completed his script and is now in the process of marketing it.  He is sending a copy to me for my comments, so I will keep everyone informed.

(Richard Turtle is a playwright from Ontario.  At first reading, he devoured the 600 plus pages of "Interred With Their Bones" in just a few days.  A listing of some of his plays can be seen at http://www.doollee.com/PlaywrightsT/TurtleRichard.htm

. - PG.


9 Aug 2007

Hat Creek Ranch

On Sunday July 29th, Karen and I were invited by General Manager Liza Curran to a luncheon at the historic Hat Creek Ranch north of Ashcroft and Cache Creek.  In return, I gave a Power Point presentation to over 35 local pioneer ranchers and their spouses.  The presentation dealt with the connections the Cariboo had with the Bill Miner Affair.  In particular, Shorty Dunn had spent considerable time in the area and was well remembered and respected.  Upon presentation of his poetry, written around 1896 and titled "How The Schoolmaam Wrecked The Stage," everyone was surprised when we were able to determine, during the presentation, that the overturning of the stage probably happened not 2 miles away from where we were located in the main ranch house.  Notes made on Dunn's original hand written document by someone unknown (but perhaps Louis LeBourdais), made note that the incident may have happened near Hat Creek Ranch and that a "Cole McDonald" may have been involved.  I initially thought McDonald may have been the driver of the stage, but Helen Forster, the former curator of the Ashcroft Museum who was in attendance, was quick to point out another theory.  She was familiar with the name Cole McDonald, as he and his wife had a great number of children.  In order to get them properly educated, he had built a schoolhouse for them.  The schoolhouse mentioned in Shorty Dunn's poem most likely was the one built by Cole McDonald, and it is still standing just south of the Ranch.

The luncheon served up by the Ranch staff was excellent, and Liza was an attentive and appreciative hostess.  The intent of the gathering was to generate the interest of the local pioneer ranchers and others in sharing some of their photographs, anecdotes and documents with the Ranch so that an archives can be assembled that reflects the local history of the area.  Speaking as a historical researcher myself, I cannot express too much the importance of sharing family and local history with an organization such as the Hat Creek Ranch.  So much has been lost to house fires, uncaring descendants and just poor storage that it becomes even more important to conserve those things we still have.  If it were not for the fact that the Louis LeBourdais documents and files were contributed to the BC Archives, we would never have known about Shorty Dunn's flair for poetry, the episode of the stagecoach wreck near Hat Creek or how the Bill Miner Affair connected with the southern Cariboo. - PG


21 June 2007

Karen and I set up in front of the old 1909 Court House on Seymour Street this afternoon.  In the company of other artists and artisans we featured our book at an event that has just started in Kamloops and will run weekly for the summer.  Called the Bizarre Bazaar, it features cultural presentations from throughout the community, and provides an opportunity for artists to display their wares.  Run by a core of committed artists and volunteers, it is a unique community event that deserves considerable community support. - PG.


19 June 2007

I had a meeting today with Cara and Elisabeth from the Kamloops Museum and Archives.  They are making plans for a historic places bus tour later this fall.  Under the City of Kamloops' Recreation program, they plan on having the tour bus visit some of the sites associated with the Bill Miner Affair, and asked if I would lead the tour.  I agreed, as it is all in aid of ensuring that our heritage is revealed to all who might express an interest, and to heighten awareness for the history of our region.  The itinerary will probably include the Old Nicola Road and the Fernie House, the Anderson Creek and Rose Hill area, Monte Creek and Campbell Creek, lunch at the Bill Miner Roadhouse east of Kamloops, through Barnhartvale on the Old Vernon Road past the robbers' campsite at Robbins Creek and the Duck family ranch house at Holmwood, on to Monte Lake and Westwold, and finally back to Kamloops.  I will keep everyone interested in this excursion up to date on this website. - PG.


17 June 2007

On the same day as the signing at the Painted Ladies Gallery, Karen and I had an interesting meeting with Martin of the newly renovated Ashcroft Opera House.  Martin and the Opera House are very much part of Ashcroft's resurgence, and the fare served up by Martin and the staff, both as entertainment and of the culinary variety, are the talk of southern BC.  Martin has many ideas for the future and it was interesting to hear his thoughts about Bill Miner and the time the bandit spent in Ashcroft. - PG.


17 June 2007

Saturday the 17th was the first day of the Ashcroft Rodeo.  The Painted Ladies Gallery in the person of Jackie Taggart had invited us for a book signing at their store that day.  Many interesting people were met here including Chris and Barbara, a husband and wife team who publish impressively designed genre fantasy hardcovers for discerning collectors world-wide.  The surroundings on the two floors of the building have to be seen to be believed, and it is easy to see the tastes and interests of the co-owners.  They have put together an eclectic collection of artists and artisans from around the local area with works in many media and suitable for every taste.  It was a pleasure to be here, and the gallery is a positive example of the cultural renaissance that is now taking place in Ashcroft.  The feel of change is in the air, and all of a sudden Ashcroft is becoming the place of choice for many who want to get away from big city life. - PG.


8 & 9 June 2007.

On Friday and Saturday we had a book signing, a before-Father's Day event, at Cole's in the Aberdeen Mall.  A highlight was meeting a descendant of John Falls Allison.  A First Nations lady, unfortunately confined to a wheel chair by a car accident, and accompanied by her husband Casey, came to an abrupt halt in front of Bill Miner's large framed portrait that is a central feature when we bring the book to the people.  She quickly looked at Miner and said excitedly, "I know that man.  John Falls Allison was my great-grandfather."

My mind immediately flashed back to my research on this pioneering founder in the Similkameen Valley so near to Princeton.

"Was your great-grandmother Nora Yakumteekum?"

"Yes," she said, her eyes growing larger.

"He had a daughter named Lily that lived with John Allison after he had married Susan Louisa Allison," I exclaimed, getting more excited.

"Yes," she said, "My name is Lily, named after her, and she was my grandmother."

Lily and I then started to tell each other John and Nora's story; how John had married Nora, a member of the First Nations from the Lower Similkameen area, and how they had three children, the first, Lily, being born in 1863.  Two boys followed.  Soon after, Nora pined for her native family and went back to her ancestral home, taking her two boys with her.  Lily stayed behind to help keep house for Allison, until he married Susan Allison in Hope in 1868.  After she arrived in the Princeton area Lily stayed on to be educated in western ways and to help Susan Allison with her growing family.  Lily eventually married a John Norman, and had four daughters and one son.  The Lily Allison in the photo below is the descendant of one of these offspring of Nora's daughter Lily.

For more information about the Allison family, go to the section of my website detailing the people, place and things in the original database. - PG.


7 June 2007

Karen and I were at a book signing in the North Hills Mall in Kamloops today.  As usual we met up with a number of people who had connections to this story.  Greg B. was a former guard at the BC Penitentiary, and now lives in Kamloops.  He knew Harold Forsell of Kamloops who was a former guard in the Kamloops Gaol, and who wrote the unpublished manuscript, ">aw Enforcement in Pioneer Days."  It was a useful source of information for my book.  He also knew Tony Martin, the former Warden's secretary who saved the BC Penitentiary files from destruction.  Tony's collection, now placed with Thompson Rivers University, formed a valuable source for all the section of my book on the escape of Miner from the BC Pen.

The poet and photographer Charlotte Mair had a long talk with me, and I later checked out her very impressive web site at www.artvilla.com/mair


2 June 2007

When we were in Prince George, Ann K. called us to meet and have a talk.  She was a great grand-daughter of Lucy Clemitson of Westwold, who was a postmistress there at the time Bill Miner rode through there.  She brought some family photos to show us, as well as "Quelle Grande Prairie," the history of Westwold, done by Peggy Young in 1994.  Luck is an example of the connections generated by this story. - PG.


May 20, 2007.

Our next signing event after the 26 May event will be in Prince George.  Scheduled for the 1st of June in the Prince George Save-On Foods store, we will let you know the time when this has been verified with Cathy, who runs the book store there. (NB.  The signing on June 1st will be from 4:30 pm until 7:00 pm or so.) - PG.


May 20, 2007.

Don't forget that on 26 May 2007, Karen and I will be at a signing and appearance at the Bill Miner Roadhouse east of Kamloops which is located in the Gateway Travel Centre

The signing will be taking place in the Roadhouse between 2:00 and 7:00 pm. - PG.


May 18, 2007.

It has been a few days now since the exciting evening Karen and I spent at Government House in Victoria.  On Friday 11 May, we received from the hand of Lieutenant Governor Iona Campagnola the Honourable Mention citation from the BC Historical Federation. 

It was our first time at Government House, and we had spent the afternoon of the day previous inspecting the gardens around the exterior of the building, looking at the impressive façade, and wondering what it looked like on the inside.  The gardens are maintained by a cadre of volunteers under the direction of a professional.  They are struggling to remove invasive species like broom and returning it to its original state as a Gary Oak environment.  Their results were obvious.

The next evening we were on the inside looking out.  Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor is a beautiful and dignified woman, well-spoken and a respected symbol of the Queen and our province.  She individually greeted the five winning writers and presented the various awards.  Forty five books were reviewed by the Historical Federation, and it was indeed a privilege to have had our book chosen for an Honourable Mention.

A wine and cheese reception followed, and many contacts were made as we mingled with Historical Federation members and other winning writers.

Karen and I were invited to feature our book the next day at the Harbour Towers Hotel where the Federation’s convention was underway.  There a number of the submitted books were for sale, and it was gratifying to see that ours had already sold out.  A highlight was in meeting Branwen Patenaude of Quesnel.  She has been a prolific documenter and writer on the Cariboo country and the gold rush, and I referred to a number of her works when researching my own book.  It was a pleasure sharing stories with her, and she gave me some suggestions on what I might want to research in the future.  She also mentioned an intriguing BC-Jesse James-Horse Fly connection that might deserve some follow-up.

We valued the opportunity to mix and mingle with many of the members and executive of the BC Historical Federation.  Valuable contacts were made, cards exchanged, and we also sold a few books.

It was an experience that we wished we could have shared with so many of those that contributed in so many ways to our book. - PG.


May 2, 2007.

On Wednesday, 2 May 2007, Karen and I took delivery of the third printing of "Interred With Their Bones."  Printed by Houghton Boston in Saskatoon, this delivery  arrived just in time for this spring, summer and fall's sales events.  Houghton Boston has provided excellent service, and their attention to such details as photo reproduction and cover design has been most appreciated.  I can easily recommend them to anyone who wants an economical, but professional printing.  They will also be providing me with a limited number of collector edition hard covers complete with dust jackets.  Demand for a hard cover edition has been high, and this will be the only printing.  This writer will sign each one individually as "#1 of 100, #2 of 100" etc.  - PG.


May 1, 2007.

On 26 May 2007, Karen and I will be at a signing and appearance at the Bill Miner Roadhouse east of Kamloops.  Located in the Gateway Travel Centre, this facility is located at the exact spot where Miner and his two cohorts exited the train they had just robbed, and made their escape through a concrete culvert under the CPR tracks.  This culvert still exists and patrons of the Roadhouse can sit in their booths and gaze out at this remnant of a time long past, visualizing the three train robbers making their way on foot into the clay cliffs to the south of the valley, and on their way to a meeting with the Royal Northwest Mounted Police and history near Douglas Lake.

The signing will be taking place in the Roadhouse between 2:00 and 7:00 pm.  The Roadhouse will be presenting the book "Interred With Their Bones" in a special display case in the entrance to the building.  The convenience store located adjacent to the Roadhouse will be featuring the book for sale to travellers, truckers and tourists. - PG.


May 1, 2007.

On 5 May 2007, Karen and I will be at a signing and appearance at the historic Fintry Estate on the west side of Okanagan Lake.  The "Festival of the Falls" takes place on that date between the hours of 11:00 am and 4:00 pm.  Admission is $5, children $2.  Karen and I had met the dapper Dan Bruce, the Executive Director of the Fintry Estate, at our sales table during Armstrong's Interior Provincial Exhibition last fall.  He obtained my book on the one day, and the next day he returned to tell us he had already read a number of the chapters.  He said he was enjoying it thoroughly, and that he was particularly in agreement with the Preface where I talk about the "greying" of Canadian history, and how the historian Jack Granatstein describes how uninterestingly it is normally presented to students and general readers.  Pleasingly, he told this writer that "Interred With Their Bones" did not fit into this category.  We are looking forward with anticipation to being at a venue at which we never before been. - PG.


May 1, 2007.

Earlier in April this writer was advised by the BC Historical Federation that he was to be awarded an Honourable Mention citation in recognition of the book, "Interred With Their Bones."  The actual winner of the Lieutenant-Governor’s Medal for historical writing goes to K. Jane Watt, author of High Water: Living with the Fraser Floods published by the Dairy Historical Society of British Columbia.  Karen and I have been invited to attend the Federation's annual convention where I will be presented with the citation by Lieutenant Governor Iona Campagnola on the evening of 11 May 2007 in Victoria at Government House.  This is indeed an honour and it must be shared with all those that assisted in so many ways to see my book reach final publication. - PG.


21 & 22 April, 2007.

The Kamloops Gun and Antique Show, sponsored by the Kamloops Target Sports Assoc., took place on April 21 and 22.  It was a very successful event with over 400 tables booked.  Traffic was steady both days, and most tables appeared to be doing very well.  Sales of my book were positive, but perhaps the most rewarding aspect was meeting new people and continuing to be amazed at the connections this story has with people from all over BC and Alberta and how the story has related to them, their ancestors or other acquaintances.  One item that, fittingly for the venue, was brought to my attention by at least 5 individual show vendors was the "lost Bill Miner pistol."  When Miner, Dunn and Colquhoun were captured, they had six pistols in their possession.  One 32 cal. Colt semi-automatic is in the Kamloops Museum and Archives.  Four others,  a second .32 cal Colt semi-automatic, as well as a 9mm Luger semi-automatic, Colquhoun's .38 cal. Iver-Johnson revolver, and CPR Mail Clerk Andrew Herbert Mitchell's .38 cal. Smith and Wesson revolver, are supposedly in the RCMP Museum and Archives in Regina.  Even after a number of queries by the author prior to book publication, museum staff was unable to locate them.  However, they are undoubtedly there, as the writer has printed and written original provenance showing shipment to the Museum.  That leaves the last pistol, variously described as a 44 cal. Colt or a .41 cal Bisley Model Colt's revolver, unaccounted for.  (My book "Interred With Their Bones" describes it as a 44 cal. revolver.  However, at that time before publication there was conflicting evidence as to the correct calibre of Colt's revolver.  It was variously described as a .44 or a .41 calibre.)  Many of the individuals who came up to me were acknowledged experts in the field of historical arms and their provenance.  What was surprising was that all of them independently told me the same story.  Two of those who enlightened me considerably as to the firearm's history were George Cruickshank of Duncan and Randy Gott of Lone Butte.  According to these very knowledgeable gentlemen, it was in fact a .41 cal. Bisley Colt's revolver.  I was told that when looking at the back of the cylinder, it would have been very easy to describe the pistol as a .44 calibre weapon as the cartridge the .41 cal. took had a shell the same diameter as a .44, but the projectile was .41 calibre.  A number of show vendors told me that the weapon that Richard Farnsworth as Bill Miner in "The Grey Fox" handled in the movie was actually the original pistol.  The provenance as it was described to me in great detail, from the weapon's capture until the movie,  seemed to fit with all the information that the writer has in his collection of research material.

It was eventually put up for sale at auction.  The actual auctioneer that sold the pistol was also in attendance at the Kamloops Gun and Antique Show, and Karen and I had supper with him and his wife.  He told me that the .41 calibre Bisley was sold at auction some time ago for $15,000 to a collector of Bill Miner memorabilia in the US. - PG.


April 17, 2007.

Today Karen and I held in our hands the .22 calibre rifle Bill Miner presented to Albert McKay back in 1905 up on Rose Hill south of Kamloops.  The provenance was impeccable.  The rifle was extremely light and according to its present owner, deadly accurate.  It was still being used to hunt varmints.

Made by Deutsche Werke Werk Erfut (DWW Germany is stamped on the side of the receiver) in Germany, it is noted as being chambered for a "22 Long Rifle."  This firearm was supposedly purchased by Miner in Spokane, Washington, and when Miner visited the McKays in Rose Hill, he and young Albert would plunk at flies on the side of a newly built log building.  Albert would later reminisce that Miner was a deadly accurate shot, and left only the wings behind when he shot the flies. - PG.


March 12, 2007.

On the 28th of February and the 7th of March I completed two separate lectures and Power Point presentations with Mike Puhallo at the Kamloops Museum and Archives.  The first was on the places involved in the Bill Miner Affair and the second dealt with the people involved.  The turnout was most gratifying, particularly on the March 7th event.  Additional chairs had to be brought in and some attendees had to be content to sit out in the hall beside the elevator.  These were good lead-ups to the weekend Kamloops Cowboy Festival.  They also endorsed my previous thoughts that the general public is starved for information on our pioneer and historical heritage.  It makes one wonder why this has not been exploited by some entrepreneur.  Remarks are continually being made to me that if Montana or Wyoming had the stories that we have about our early history, every traveller on every highway and every tourist in every community would be only too aware of it. 

The Cowboy Festival was apparently a great success for participants and organizers alike.  Mike Puhallo told me that everything had been sold out, as attendance was considerably up over previous years.  I know Karen and I were very impressed with the professionalism and organization displayed by the volunteers and management of the Festival.  We also again enjoyed so much meeting all of the people who came up to our booth.  Comments from readers were most gratifying, and sales of the book were positive.  A number of interesting contacts were made that will require follow-up in the future.  It seems that everyone has a connection with the Bill Miner story somewhere in their background.

My two presentations on the pioneer poetry found during my research into the Bill Miner book were attended by a small band of enthusiastic and learned individuals.  Some of the organizers of the Rocky Mountaineer entertainment events were on hand to record the presentation, and reporters attended both presentations.  The comments were made that Shorty Dunn's sophisticated and sensitive poetry was a revelation to everyone who was familiar with the visage of his former scowling self taken by Mary Spencer.

Karen and I now have a while before our next big event which is the Kamloops Target Sports Gun and Antique Show in April. -PG.


March 5, 2007.

I have been corresponding a couple of years now with one of BC's former Lieutenant Governors; Garde Gardom.  He recently completed reading my book, which goes into considerable detail on the activities of Gardom's father, BC Provincial Police Constable Basil Gardom of Enderby.  Constable Gardom spent considerable time investigating the Bill Miner Affair in the Westwold and Monte Hills area, and was responsible for finally arresting the suspected cattle and horse rustler, as well as train robber, Paul Stevens.  Mr. Gardom has started doing more research on his father, starting in South Africa where he served in the Boer War, and in Enderby.  Constable Gardom also warrants considerable space in Robert and Joan Cowan's book, "Enderby, an Illustrated History."

Garde Gardom described my book as, "extremely well detailed, chronicled and most readable.  Hope sales are going well." -PG


March 5, 2007.

The obituary below that mentioned Smoky Chisholm has also served to settle some confusion about Dodd's Roadhouse at Aspen Grove.  Bill B. of Westbank is descended from a ranching family in the Aspen Grove area, and he, and later I, questioned the provenance of the photo of the Dodd's Roadhouse at the top of page 108 in my book.  He had a number of photos that seemed to be at odds with the information I received from an interior archives.  It now appears, as a result of a careful reading of the obituary, that the Shopshire family actually acquired the Dodd's Roadhouse into their ranch sometime after the Bill Miner Affair.  This now fits with the information I acquired from the Nicola Valley Museum and Archives in Merritt. -PG.


March 4, 2007.

I received a handwritten copy of the obituary of William Hunter of Merritt from former Nicola resident Gordon Heslop of Kamloops the other day.  Indications are that it was published in the Kamloops Inland Sentinel, but there is no hint of the date.  It is of considerable interest as it throws more light on a rather obscure individual in my book that many would like to know more about; Smoky Chisholm.

 

William Hunter, born in Grey County, Ontario, came to the Nicola Valley at the age of four in 1886.  He drove a stagecoach with a four-horse hitch for the Nicola company of Clark and Stuart on the Nicola to Princeton run.

 

"The four horse coach left Nicola at an early hour, lunched at Dodds Ranch, (now Shopshires) changed horses at Jack Thynne's, Otter Flats., then completed the 65 mile trip to Princeton. ...

"There is a story of a character who lived along the route between Merritt and Nicola that gives us a hint of the generous practical humour that fitted in with the lives of men in those days.

"The character, Smoky Chisholm, would come racing after the stagecoach firing a six-gun and emitting blood-curdling yowls with every stride of the horse.  When Mr. Hunter finally pulled up to a halt, and while the goggle-eyed passengers squirmed in their seats, Mr Chisholm would calmly ask for his mail.  The odd part of it was that Chisholm only received mail about once in two years."

 

It appears that Smoky did not let his 1904 encounter with Steve Brooks' Winchester at Manning's Roadhouse put a damper on his more flamboyant escapades.  It is always gratifying to get information that helps to flesh out some of those interesting characters from 100 years ago.  A fledgling desperado such as Smoky Chisholm was practically unknown before my book was published, and now we are encountering anecdotes and facts that only add to his interesting story.  It makes you want to find out more about him, where he came from, and what eventually happened to him. -PG

 


February 19, 2007.

At the Kamloops Cowboy Festival I will be making two presentations in Salon B of Forster's Best Western hotel here in Kamloops at 1250 Rogers Way.  The tentative times will be Friday the 9th at 3:30pm and Sunday the 11th at 1:00pm.  The theme of the presentations is a review of the poetry I encountered that was composed by men from all walks of life during Bill Miner's time 100 years ago.  Included are some of Constable William Fernie and Shorty Dunn's works, as well as some interesting others.  If times change I will be sure to update this journal.

See http://www.bcchs.com/ for more details about the Cowboy Festival.

-PG


February 19, 2007

I will be delivering two successive lectures and Power Point presentations late this month and early next month at the Kamloops Museum and Archives.  They will be a lead-up to the Kamloops Cowboy Festival and Mike Puhallo, the cowboy poet and local western historian, will make presentations at the same venue.  The dates are Wednesday 28 February and Wednesday 7 March at 7pm.  The first presentation will deal with the places around the Kamloops area that were involved in the Bill Miner affair, and the second one will feature some of the people involved.

-PG


February 16 & 17, 2007

We had a very interesting time meeting people at the Vernon Museum and Archives’ 12th Annual Antiques and Collectibles Show and Sale on February 16th and 17th last.  I am intrigued by the stories and oral history continually surfacing of Miner’s involvement in smuggling opium across the border from the States into Canada.  These anecdotes and rumours seem to concentrate in the Vernon-Armstrong area, and previous documentation found in the Armstrong Museum tends to indicate that this drug was sold by Miner to Chinese labourers in some of the interior mines.  One location specifically mentioned was the D. R. Young British Empire Mine, but details of this mine were not pursued for the book.  Source documents certainly show that Miner, during his brief stay in BC, took the Great Northern south from the east Kootenays to cities such as Spokane on a regular basis.  Access to what Miner called his “poppy root” may have been readily available in those busy mining towns in Washington and Idaho.

More information is also coming forward to indicate that perhaps Miner spent more time in the Armstrong-Knob Hill area than we had previously thought, and that he had a cabin in the area.  The original source of the anecdotes and stories may be one or many.  Unfortunately, without some kind of contemporary documentation or other verifiable clues, we may never be able to confirm this fact.

Intriguing information surfaced on the first day in Vernon about rustling activities on the Trepanier Bench near Peachland.  The story goes that Miner and Jack Budd both were involved in rustling activities in this area.  This adds to information that there was a concentrated rustling business moving stock from the Westwold, Douglas Lake and Nicola areas south through remote valleys to be sold to the US Cavalry across the border.

I was pleased to meet an Alberta pioneer visiting his daughter in Vernon.  For many years Nick Dushenski taught history in Willingdon, east of Edmonton.  He was a CCF MLA for that area for nine years, and sat in the opposition benches close to J.W. Grant MacEwan, the future Lt. Governor of Alberta.  They were close friends and both were conservers of their provincial heritage.  At 86 years of age, Nick still has an unquenchable thirst for a good history book, and I was pleased to provide him with one to while away those hours left until an Alberta spring arrives.  Nick was intrigued to see J. S. Woodsworth's photo in my book.  Woodsworth was one of the founding members of the CCF and eventually, the NDP.

Karen and I were also pleased to have so many readers of my book come up to us and tell us how much they enjoyed it.  One avid reader borrowed it from the library, and was so fascinated with what he was reading he went out and purchased his own copy.  He saw on the web site that we were going to be in Vernon that day, and came in to the show specifically to get his book signed.  Others tell us of how they and their spouses drive all over the southern interior of BC with my book on the seat beside them.  They visit all the old buildings such as Thynne’s Roadhouse and drive the remains of old roads and trails such as that between Nicola and Aspen Grove.

Karen made the positive suggestion that because we get so many reports of people exploring BC’s unknown heritage places relative to my book, both in the interior and in the Fraser Valley, that the maps in the book should be posted on our website so visitors can download them at their leisure and carry them separately from the book.  Some of the place-names mentioned in the book do not appear on present-day maps, and this might be a valuable exploring aid for them.  This will be discussed with our Web-Witch, Kirsten.

On Saturday the 17th, songwriter Carolyn Anele of Vernon appeared in front of our table.  She asked for a copy of our book, and told us she had woken up from a dead sleep recently with the title of a new song whispering through her mind.  It was called “Billy Miner’s Breath” and she recently completed writing it and has only performed it a few times.  She told us she had always been intrigued by the mysterious bandit, and hopes to put his song on her next cd.   This song joins Gary Fjellgaard’s “Back When Billy Robbed Trains” as two of the most recent ballads being performed about Miner.  Fjellgaard’s cd with this track is called “Still in the Running.  Contenders Two,” and also includes Valdy.  Carolyn’s voice is clear, sharp and sweet, her song-writing thoughtful and the arrangements of her songs very professional.  Some snippets of her work can be listened to on her web-site via mp3 files.

Dan Bruce, the curator of the Fintry Estate on the west side of Okanagan Lake, invited us to bring our book to Fintry’s Festival of the Falls on Saturday 5 May 2007. Whether we will be able to make this venue will depend upon events that are rapidly catching up to us in the Fraser Valley.  Dan made our acquaintance at the IPE in Armstrong last August, and he is a very knowledgeable historian and the manager of this impressive heritage site.  Karen and I hope that Fintry can be on our itinerary.

-PG


February 8, 2007.

Last evening I gave a lecture and Power Point presentation to the staff and guests of Civic Engineering Co. in their offices in Kamloops.  The presentation was not one of the usual ones dealing with some aspect of the Bill Miner story, but rather a detailed presentation on the Vigilantes of Montana and their activities in the Montana ghost towns of Bannack and Virginia City.  I had recently (Sept. 06) completed a research trip through Montana, Wyoming and Idaho with one of the principals of Civic (Dale K.) to collect information pertinent to future articles or another book on early BC history.  As well, I was trying to uncover more information on Bill Miner's pal Paul Stevens.  It is quite obvious now that Stevens was heavily involved with Miner in the robbery at Ducks, however his roots, and the reasons he had to leave his family behind in Idaho, remain obscure.  One of the other interesting characters that connects with BC history from that era is Boone Helm, hung by the vigilantes in Virginia City in January of 1864.

It was refreshing and rewarding to be able to talk about a different subject to an audience eager to hear more about our and our southern neighbour's early history.

-PG


February 1, 2007

This morning I was pleased to see another email request for my book from Ontario.  Perhaps this is the start of a trend?  The tragic story of the ex-school teacher Lewis Colquhoun and his ill-fated association with the bandits Bill Miner and Shorty Dunn should interest many history buffs in Ontario.  The miscarriage of justice that took place in that Kamloops courtroom in 1906 and so adversely affected Lewis and his well-known family in Clifford, Ontario, reflects on the many present-day incidents of wrongful convictions.  Now these incidents are front page news; then they were bureaucratic embarrassments to be covered up.

-PG


January 30, 2007

I received an interesting email requesting a copy of my book from Orillia, Ontario.  It was from the daughter of Clifford Schisler of that town.  Mr. Schisler was one of my early research contacts in 2002 and he gave me some interesting information that he had had passed down to him from his father Frederick Schisler of Princeton.  One was about his father Fred Schisler, a gopher, Bill Miner and the 22 rifle incident, and one other was about the supposed familial relationship between Jack Budd and Bill Miner.  I was able to use some of Cliff's information in my book, and use other anecdotes of his to trace down further stories.  Unfortunately, Cliff's daughter informed me that he had passed away four years ago, so will not be able to see the finished book.  He was one of those many guardians of our family and community heritage that we are so indebted to.  His letters to me are noted in the bibliography at the back of my book.

Perhaps one of the most important things that Clifford Schisler did for me was to point out the importance of Theresa Kishkan's novel "Sisters of Grass," Goose Lane Editions, 2000.  Kishkan's descriptions of the Nicola Valley 100 years ago were an inspiration to me, and with her permission I incorporated a quote from her book in the front of "Interred With Their Bones."  It featured her vivid, but mystical description of the gunfight between Miner's Gang and the Royal North West Mounted Police near the Douglas Lake Ranch.

-PG


January 29, 2007

I received some news today from Mark McMillan of the BC Cowboy Heritage Society that is putting on the Kamloops Cowboy Festival  from March 8th to 11th.  They have requested that I make two presentations during the time the venue will be on.  The topic I will be speaking on will be the poetry of two opposites:  the outlaw Shorty Dunn and BC Police Constable William Fernie.  I will also incorporate a Power Point slide show with the presentations.  The poetry I came across during my research was most unexpected, and traces the history of cowboy and pioneer poetry back further than expected, as well as highlighting its prevalence throughout society at that time.  Since publication of my book, more examples of the poetry of those early days has been brought to my attention from readers, and I hope to incorporate some of this into my presentation.      

I will be making the presentations in Salon B of Forster's Best Western hotel here in Kamloops at 1250 Rogers Way.  The tentative times will be Friday the 9th at 3:30pm and Sunday the 11th at 1:00pm.  If times change I will be sure to update this journal.

See http://www.bcchs.com/ for more details about the Cowboy Festival.

-PG


January 23, 2007

We received notification of approval from the Friends of the Vernon Museum that a table had been approved for bringing our book to the public at their annual show.  The 12th Annual Antiques and Collectibles Show and Sale, hosted by the Vernon Museum, will be held at the Vernon Rec Centre Auditorium on February 16th and 17th.  More information about the event can be seen at http://www.vernonmuseum.ca/events/index.php.

-PG


January 17, 2007

Today a one hour presentation and Power Point was given to the Digital Art and Design class of David DiFrancesco at Thompson Rivers University.  This second year class will be working on a book mock-up this semester, utilizing the book design skills learned in previous months.  The class response to the presentation ranged from questions about the interaction between a book designer and their client, to why a book like "Interred With Their Bones" wasn't included in their classes when being taught BC History in High School.

-PG


January 15, 2007

I was emailed by Mark McMillan of the BC Cowboy Heritage Society that I had received approval to appear at the Cowboy Festival from March 8th to 11th in Kamloops.  The short bio highlighting my book and that I will be at the Tradeshow can be seen at www.bcchs.com/tradeshow.html.  Look under "2007 Exhibitors" and click on "Peter Grauer, Author."  Have a look at some of the other talented exhibitors at the same website location.  This is a very prestigious event, and Karen and I hope to be able to pique people's interest in the early history of British Columbia.

-PG


January 3, 2007

I received word that I have a table reserved for the Kamloops Target and Sports Association's Gun and Antique Show and Sale in April.  A Custom Knife Show is also part of the venue, and the actual dates are the 21st and 22nd of April.  This is their 24th annual event, and this year it will take place at the new McArthur Island Sports Centre facility here in Kamloops.  Previous shows I have attended feature numerous booths and tables that feature early BC history and heritage, and Karen and I are looking forward to bringing my book to this audience that is primarily focused on British Columbia and it's outdoors, its heritage and its history.  Their website is at www.ktsa.ca.

-PG


January 01, 2007

The BC Cowboy Heritage Society official newsletter for December 2006 has a great book review done by Mark McMillan of the Meadow Springs Ranch near 70 Mile House.  Just page down until you see "Bill Miner - Book Review" and click on it. 

-PG


January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

-PG


December 27, 2006

Small updates and restructuring done to website;  "People, Places and Things" Database added, Author's Journal, News and other small changes made.

-KG


 

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