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
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
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
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
Some of the vignettes produced to date can be seen by those
without access to local cable on the internet at
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
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
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
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
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
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
The Federation of BC Writers can be found at
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
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."
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
(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.
Celebration of Community at the
Fraser River Heritage Park.
This 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
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.
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.
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
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
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
. - 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.
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
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.
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
My mind immediately flashed back to my research on this
pioneering founder in the Similkameen Valley so near to
"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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Kamloops Target Sports Gun and Antique Show in
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
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
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
for more details about the Cowboy Festival.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
for more details about the Cowboy Festival.
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
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.
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
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.
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
January 01, 2007
The BC Cowboy Heritage Society official newsletter for
December 2006 has a great book review done by Mark McMillan of
Meadow Springs Ranch near 70 Mile House. Just
page down until you see "Bill Miner - Book Review" and click
January 01, 2007
Happy New Year!
December 27, 2006
Small updates and
restructuring done to website; "People, Places and
Things" Database added, Author's Journal, News and other small