Biographies of Vancouver Island Mountaineers
William Alexander Alldritt (1882 – 1933) was born in Manitoba in 1882 and used his experience as a pre-war YMCA Physical Director to contribute to the formation and training of his fellow soldiers at training camps in Valcartier and Salisbury Plain. In 1906, the YMCA began to establish offices in Western Canada in partnership with the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) to support the growing network of railway workers stationed in remote locations across the country. By 1909, Alldritt was employed in one of the first of these offices in Revelstoke. The partnership with the CPR was considered to be a success when a visiting railway official declared “the YMCA made lambs out of the wild men of Revelstoke.” While in Revelstoke, Alldritt joined the Alpine Club of Canada and on 7 September 1909, he made the second ascent of South Albert Peak with G.L. Haggen. In 1910, Alldritt returned to his family home in Winnipeg, while continuing to work for the YMCA as an Assistant Physical Director. In 1912, he assumed the role of Physical Director at Winnipeg’s Selkirk Avenue YMCA. When war was declared in August 1914, Alldritt was at Camp Stephens near Kenora, Ontario. He enlisted in September as a regular soldier with the 8th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) and in October set sail for Plymouth. Alldritt distinguished himself as a machine gunner by covering the retreat of his company during the collapse of the Ypres Salient on 25 April 1915, where he was eventually overpowered and taken prisoner. As a POW in Germany, Alldritt made at least four briefly successful escapes, always to be recaptured. In March 1918, he was transferred to a camp in Scheveningen, near The Hague, Holland, as part of a prisoner exchange, although he technically remained a POW and was not permitted to return home until finally discharged in January 1919. In September, 1919, he had returned to Canada and found employment with the YMCA in Victoria. In 1921, Alldritt had returned to Winnipeg where he continued to serve the goals of the YMCA and to influence development of amateur sport in roles which included Director of the Amateur Athletic Union of Canada, President of the Manitoba Track and Field Association and President of the Canadian Amateur Basketball Association, until his untimely death on 26 February 1933. In 1983, Alldritt was posthumously inducted into the Manitoba Basketball Hall of Fame in the “Builders” category for his work to establish the Toilers team in Winnipeg.
James Robert Anderson (1841 – 1930) was born in 1841 at Fort Nisqually in Washington state, which was at the time a part of the Hudson’s Bay Company commercial empire. The young Anderson, one of thirteen children, was “the almost constant companion of his father,” Mr. Alexander Caulfield Anderson, who was the HBC employee in charge of the fort. James received his early education from his father, and the family lived at various fur-trading posts in New Caledonia until 1850. In that year, nine-year-old James travelled from Fort Colville to Fort Victoria with his eldest sister Eliza to attend the latter fort’s school. The two children travelled with their father over the Brigade Trail to Fort Hope, then via boat to Fort Langley where they were met by Governor James Douglas. The last leg of their journey to Fort Victoria was accomplished by canoe. As he grew older Anderson worked as an accountant in Victoria for different businesses and the provincial civil service. He and his wife Mary Shaw Harbel (1842-1916) spent their leisure hours as amateur botanists in the lands surrounding the capital. The B.C. Ministry of Agriculture was created in 1894 when Anderson was appointed to the post of Departmental Statistician, and as such he became the first Deputy Minister. The main functions of the department – Anderson was the only employee – were to collect and interpret statistics to support British immigration and agricultural settlement. Through the reports of his volunteer correspondents in different regions and his occasional trips through the province, Anderson was witness to the often-unintended effects of landclearing operations. In converting forest land to agricultural spaces, immigrant farmers logged large areas. They removed the huge stumps with stumping machines, gunpowder, and auger-bored holes filled with lamp-oil set alight. These fires were prone to escaping control and the areas burnt represented not only lost timber, but on the coast they regrew with persistent weedy ferns and Epilobium angustifolium (commonly called fireweed). Further, Anderson’s observations of unintended forest fires resulting from logging operations inspired him to take an active interest in the province’s non-agricultural lands. He asked his correspondents how summer fires were initiated and how they could be best prevented. Anderson’s interest in the 1896 revision of the Bush Fire Act reflected the view that, in British Columbia, forestry and agriculture were closely connected. James Anderson extended his job description and collected forest fire statistics in the early 1900s. Further, in a 1901 paper for the Canadian Forestry Association he suggested the establishment of a system of forest rangers “similar to that which existed in Germany.” He published two more articles in the Canadian Forestry Journal detailing provincial forest fire statistics and another describing “The Deciduous Woods of British Columbia.” Anderson, by then 67 years old, contracted severe pneumonia and regretfully retired in September, 1908. During his retirement Anderson continued the botanical activities that he had pursued his entire career, hoping to complete work on the Departmental herbarium he was amassing. The provincial government enacted two policies that realized projects Anderson had championed during his time as Deputy Minister. These were the creation of Strathcona Provincial Park in 1910, and the establishment of the Forest Branch in 1912. Later, under the banner of the Natural History Society of British Columbia, Anderson wrote a book on the “Trees and Shrubs, Food, Medicinal and Poisonous Plants of British Columbia.” Published in 1925, Anderson’s book was supported by the Department of Education and intended as a school reference work. The volume contained natural history descriptions and economic biographies of B.C.’s flora as had been collected by Anderson’s father during the course of his Hudson’s Bay Company travels. Anderson’s book concluded with a chapter entitled “Our Forests and Their Protection” contributed by the Forest Branch, Department of Lands. The reader was treated to a biology lesson that emphasized the non-economic value of forests with overt moral implications. In countries that allowed forest depletion, the reader learned, “progress slackened, and the people became decadent.” Persia, Greece and Spain were offered as examples. Anderson’s book exemplified the shifts in British Columbia nature study that took place over the course of his lifetime. He provided a link between traditional amateur natural history practice and the same in the service of government. Then blind, on 9 April 1930 James Robert Anderson was struck by an automobile and killed while crossing an intersection in Oak Bay. He was remembered by his close friend and fellow naturalist C.C. Pemberton as “a great credit to the whole educational system and training of his time.” By injecting his extra-curricular natural history interests into his job James Anderson’s approach encompassed work on trees at the turn of the twentieth century when seemingly few in government were interested in forest management.
Gerald “Gerry” Smedley Andrews (1903 – 2005) was born on 12 December 1903 in Winnipeg and received his education in Vancouver, Toronto, Oxford (England) and Dresden (Germany). From 1922 to 1930, he was a school master at Big Bar and Kelly Lake. In 1930, he became a land surveyor until WWII. During World War II, he rose to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. From 1946 to 1950, he served as Chief Air Survey Engineer for British Columbia. From 1952 to 1968, he was the Surveyors General of the Province of British Columbia and Director of Mapping and Provincial Boundaries Commissioner. A keen historian of British Columbia, he wrote some 50 publications and wrote articles for the British Columbia Historical Society. For his services, during World War II, he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire. He was inducted into the Order of British Columbia in 1990 and the Order of Canada in 1991. Gerald Andrews passed away in Victoria on 5 December 2005, a week before his 103rd birthday.
George St. Albyn Hargood-Ash (1886 – 1970) was born in Dorset, England in 1886. George left England and arrived in St John’s, New Brunswick in March 1909. His wife to be Gwladys Victoria Hold (1883 – 1974) came out in August of that year and they married in Vancouver and then moved to Duncan where they bought a small farm and cottage. In late 1912, he moved his family to vacant land in Royston where he commenced building a new home. However, when war was declared in August 1914, he received a telegram asking him to report for active duty in England as he was a reservist captain with the 5th Battalion (Territorial Force) of the Gloucestershire Regiment. His family moved back to England where George saw action on the Western Front. George was invalided out in late 1915 and the family returned to Royston where they continued to build their home. In 1937 he became president of the Comox District Mountaineering Club and was actively involved hiking and skiing on the Forbidden Plateau George passed away on 16 November 1970.
James “Jimmy” Edward Aston (1886 – 1969) was born in June 1886 at Five Acres, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, England, and moved to Canada in 1908. A shoemaker by trade, Jimmy had a shop first in Cumberland and then on 5th Street in downtown Courtenay. He was always active in community affairs serving as one of Courtenay’s first aldermen and he was a one-time member of the Municipal fire department. He also had a life-long interest in music. Prior to coming to Canada, he sang in one of the famous Welsh choirs, but once in the Comox Valley he became associated with the Comox Men’s Musical Club where he met Sid Williams. Jimmy loved the outdoors and following his retirement in 1946, spent much of his time hiking in the mountains, prospecting and exploring, quite often with his good friend Sid. Jimmy also worked on a claim in the Oyster River with another well-known local prospector Davey Jones. Jimmy Aston had a unique way of finding gold and other precious metals. He had a pair of leather gloves which in the fingers of one glove he stashed samples of different metals and with a wand in hand he then walked around waving it over the ground, just the way a water diviner covers the ground searching for water under the surface. Jimmy also happened to be well versed with water divining, therefore, it didn’t appear unusual for him to use this technique to find precious metals. In fact, he believed it worked like a charm, unfortunately, he could never lay claim to the fact that he had struck it rich from prospecting. It was while near Strata Mountain in Strathcona Provincial Park with another part-time prospector, Sid Williams, that his glove and wand detected some sort of metal under the surface. It was the end of the summer of 1946, Jimmy and Sid had both been searching the streams and mountains of the Forbidden Plateau. Although there were numerous signs of colour in the rocks, nothing appeared to be of any consequence. However, Jimmy became quite excited about the way the wand was moving over the ground near Strata Mountain. The initial digging turned up signs of gold in what appeared to be a prosperous vein. With the season at an end they were determined to return the next year and undertake a more thorough search of the claim that they staked. In the summer of 1947, they returned with two other locals, Joe Ducca and young Bruce McPhee, who were hired to work for a couple of weeks helping them out with drilling and the construction of a cabin. Their temporary home was a canvas tent they carried in and erected on a wooden platform. The outline of the structure can still be seen near the diggings. The frame of the cabin (which soon became known as Sid’s Cabin) was log construction from trees cut down nearby, however, it was the roofing shakes that the men were most proud of. Some distance from the cabin a large punky fallen yellow cedar was found that had good straight grained, knot-free, wood. After sawing it into three-foot lengths they then split the log into thick shakes. It was Bruce’s job to use a pack-board to carry all the shakes back to the cabin where those original shakes are still in use today. While construction was taking place the cabin had its first visitor. Courtenay’s Ruth Masters was hiking in the area and not one to pass by without offering to help, Ruth spent the day chinking the walls with moss to cut down on the draft. Although the cutting and carrying of the logs was hard work, the hardest and most tiring job was the drilling into the rock to take core samples at various locations to get an idea of the extent of the gold vein. It required using a long drill or auger and a heavy sledge hammer. The fretful job of holding the drill fell upon Bruce while it was Joe’s job to hit the end with the hammer, subsequently, Bruce couldn’t help closing his eyes and cringing just as Joe struck the head of the drill. One missed swing of the hammer and it would be Bruce’s hands that would take the brunt of the steel on the end of the hammer handle. Fortunately for Bruce, Joe’s aim was good and he never missed! It took many hours to drill one hole several feet into the hard rock but eventually the extent of the vein was found to extend for quite a distance and it looked promising. After reporting on the extent of their find, Sid and Jimmy were able to persuade a large mining company to come out the following year to assess the site for further development. The major drawback was that this claim was in a provincial park, however, they did test the site using a diamond drill and the trays of the core samples can still be seen laying on the ground partially buried under heather from the years in the open. Jimmy Aston passed away at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Comox on 9 April 1969.
Clara Muriel Aylard (1900 – 2020) was born in New Denver B.C. on 31 August 1900 and moved with her family to Victoria in 1911. Muriel attended the University of British Columbia where she graduated with a B.Sc. in geology and subsequently a M.Sc. in geology from McGill University. Over the years Muriel was an active member in many organizations including the Chancel Guild of Christ Church Cathedral, Women’s Auxiliary of the Royal Jubilee Hospital, Natural History Society, University Women’s Club and the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada of which she served on the executive committee and attended many of the ACC annual summer camps in the Rockies. She was a charter member of Chapter I of P.E.O. who have established a scholarship in her name at Parklands Secondary School. Muriel loved walking in the Victoria area and hiking in the mountains where she and her sister Aileen spent many happy summer holidays. Muriel Aylard passed away on 17 October 2002.
Alice Aileen Aylard was born in New Denver, B.C. on 7 June 1902. She moved to Victoria with her family in 1911. Aileen and her sister Muriel were active members of the club and were both on the executive. Aileen Aylard passed away in Victoria on 29 July 1995.
Karl Johan Baadsvik (1910 – 1995) was born in Trondheim, Norway on 22 August 1910. He emigrated to Canada and represented the country in Ski Jumping, Cross-Country Skiing, Nordic Combined and Alpine Skiing at the 1936 Winter Olympics in Garmish Partenkirchen in Germany. He lived in Abbotsford but passed away suddenly in Sumas, Washington on 5 October 1995 (obituary in the Abbotsford News October 11, 1995, p.6).
Hugh Horatius Nelson Baron Bacon, Lord B or Lord Hughey for short, was a trapper and prospector who became something of a local legend in the Campbell River area before the First World War. He originally came from Scotland, travelled and worked in the United States then made his way north to the Yukon to chase gold before coming to Vancouver Island where he staked out a squatter’s cabin on Buttle Lake with his fox terrier he called Man. He posted this sign in front of his cabin:
Tread these forest Isles
Do not disturb the great
Forest and storm God
Lord Bacon, The only Lord in America
Bacon would appear at the Willows Hotel in Campbell River and stimulated by a drink or two of scotch would entertain patrons. He could recite Kipling passages with a plummy British accent while at the same time informing loggers that they were a pack of drunkards. But the Lord had his serious side. “He would suddenly sober down,” wrote visiting angler Sir John Rogers, “and though wizened in appearance, he would put a pack on his back only a few men could carry and disappear into the woods to his lonely cabin, only to reappear in a few days ready for a fresh spree.” In 1910, Bacon took on the job of guiding the Hon. Price Ellison expedition into Strathcona Park. “He never seems to hurry, yet always gives the impression of speed,” wrote the expedition chronicler, Harry McClure Johnson. “He slides along just like a cat—more properly ‘like a cat of the woods,’ a cougar, so like a thing of the woods is he, always alert, every muscle under perfect control, always masterful, seeing every exigency before it happens and always ready to meet it.” Bacon didn’t go to the summit of Crown Mountain but stayed with the rest of the party shuttling supplies to Buttle Lake in preparation for the second part of the expedition. Writer Stephen Hume wrote in an article in the Vancouver Sun, “He knew how to build a smudge to keep off the biting insects, where to pitch camp to catch breezes that blew them away, how to read and negotiate fast water—‘a solid, wild, foaming, roaring torrent interspersed with rocks, others just submerged and causing wondrous turmoil’—which became more frequent as the expedition moved deeper into the mountains.” On some of his prospecting trips Lord Bacon took twelve-year-old Brian Hall and Hall recalled that Bacon used to tell him: “Redress your feet often and make sure you have tea and a can, and you can go a long ways, but without your feet you’ll not get far.” On trips into the wilderness Hall said “he carried nothing but a billy can, tea, hard tack and a hunk of cheese, and of course spare socks.” Hall also commented that he didn’t like to sleep outside under a full moon “because he thought it had a bad effect on him.” Hugh Bacon insisted he was a Lord although he was unable to prove his pedigree and inevitably at the end a story he finished with: “and me a Lord too! What do you think of that? And me a lord!”
Adeline Baxter (1881 – 1959) was born in Newport-on-Tay, Scotland on 18 March 1881 and immigrated to Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1891 with her family. She studied at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and served as Supervisor of Art for the Winnipeg Public Schools and the Victoria Public Schools. Her art was exhibited with the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and she was a distinguished member of the Alpine Club of Canada having attended a number of the general summer camps in the Rockies. Several of her paintings are now in museum collections. Adeline never married and passed away in Victoria, her home since 1929, on 4 April 1959.
Harry Hugh Mostyn Beadnell (1870 – 1946) was born in Hastings, Sussex, England on 3 May 1870 and spent his childhood in Abertstwyth, Wales. He studied agriculture at Oxford and apprenticed in Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand. He worked for awhile in the United States, but eventually came to Denman Island in 1891 where he purchased land adjacent to “Fillongley” estate. In the 1890’s he made annual visits home to Wales. He served in the Boer War with the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and resigned in March 1905 with the rank of Captain. During one of his trips back to England he married Winifred Thwaites on 19 February 1901. They returned to Vancouver Island to the Cowichan district where he was employed as a Road Foreman but soon moved to the Comox Valley. In 1905, he opened a Real Estate business in Comox and built a home on Dyke Road. They had six children. Just before the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, he was appointed the Federal Fisheries Officer which he held until he was superannuated 21 years later. In the 1930’s he was involved with stocking the lakes in Paradise Meadows with Kamloop trout eggs. The Comox Argus newspaper wrote: “His position was not only a job but his hobby. He was a devout and skilled fly fisherman and a friend of everyone who ever wetted a line as he was a foe of the fish poacher.” One such “young rascal” he caught poaching was Ruth Masters, who remembers she was more afraid of his big dog than she was of Beadnell. However, Beadnell was more concerned with the improper fishing done by seine boats than a few young rascals trying to catch a salmon. His territory covered from Qualicum north. After retiring he moved to Victoria then to Quadra Island to live with his son Jack who also served as the Fisheries Officer. Harry Beadnell passed away on 21 March 1946 (Obituary in the Comox Argus March 28, 1946 and his story in the Comox Valley Echo January 20, 2003).
Elaine Gainsborough Beeston-Orkney (1919 – 1998) was born on 14 November 1919 in Nelson B.C. and moved with her family to the Fernwood neighbourhood of Victoria in 1936. She married James William Orkney (1904-1997). She was on the ACCVI’s executive committee in 1942. Elaine Orkney passed away on 28 December 1998 in Yakima, Washington.
William “Bill” George Bell (1911 – 1988) was born in Red Deer, Alberta on 3 April 1911 and moved to Courtenay in 1922. In the 1930’s he worked with the crew surveying Strathcona Park, from where he acquired his love for the mountains. He climbed the Comox Glacier numerous times, Iceberg Peak and Mt Celeste [Rees Ridge] in 1948, Argus Mtn. in 1949 and untold trips up Mt Albert Edward and into the Forbidden Plateau region. In his house on 1st Street in Courtenay his stone chimney was constructed with rocks from the summits of mountains he had climbed. He retired as a bullbucker [a foreman or supervisor to ensure work is done safely during falling and bucking operations] in 1972 after 38 years with Comox Logging Co. He was a life time members and past president of the Native Sons of Canada, a life member of the Courtenay Fish and Game Association, past president of the Royal Canadian Legion (Courtenay branch) and one of the founding members. He served in the RCAF during WWII. He was also Alderman of the City of Courtenay for four years as well as the representative of the Comox-Strathcona Regional District. Bill Bell passed away on 5 April 1988 (obituary in the Comox District Free Press 8 April 1988) and was survived by his wife Mirren.
Cyril Jonas (Bergtheil) Berkeley (1878 – 1973) was born in London, England on 2 December 1878. Cyril was born in London, the son of Louis Michael Bergtheil and Alice Maud. While very young, his parents were divorced and his mother married again. It was his step-father Alfred James Puttick who introduced Cyril to science by introducing him to scientific periodicals and visits to the Royal Institute to attend lectures. He studied at St Paul’s School from 1891 to 1895 and moved to Nuremberg, where he learnt German and studied chemistry at the Industrieschule. He then went to University College London and worked in the laboratory from 1897 to 1899. From 1899 to 1901 he researched agricultural chemistry and bacteriology at the Agricultural College, Wye. As an undergraduate at London University, Cyril met Edith Dunnington (1875-1963), who was also an undergraduate, and in February 1902 they were married. That year they moved to Bihar, India, where Cyril obtained a posting as Imperial Bacteriologist for the British Indigo Planters’ Association studying the culture and processing of indigo. In 1914, they moved to Canada where they farmed for two years near Vernon. The family changed from their German-Jewish surname around 1916 to Berkeley due to the World War and public suspicion around those with German names or connections. They both taught at the University of British Columbia, but Cyril also worked on acetone production from kelp for Hercules Powder Company in San Diego. In 1919, the family moved to Nanaimo where Cyril worked at the Pacific Biological Station as assistant curator. Edith gave up her position as zoology assistant to work as a volunteer at the Biological Station where she was able to perform her own field work. In a paid position, her work would be included under Cyril’s name. In 1930, Cyril left his own research to help Edith with her research where they became world authorities on the classification of marine polychaete worms. They wrote 34 papers together, and Edith published an additional 12 in her own name. Many organisms have been named after them. In recognition of their achievements Cyril was granted an LLD by the University of Victoria in 1968. Both were enthusiastic gardeners, collecting rhododendron species and developing new species of irises. Their daughter Alfreda Berkeley Needler (1903-1973) also became a zoologist as did Alfreda’s daughter Mary Needler Arai (1932–2017). In July 1929, Cyril and Alfreda joined Ben Hughes, Adrian Paul, Arthur Leighton and Geoffrey Capes, and made an ascent of the Comox Glacier. Cyril Berkeley passed away on 25 August 1973 ten years after his wife, but the same year as his daughter Alfreda.
Captain Victor C. Best was born on 6 September 1885 and lived for a considerable number of years at Ganges, Saltspring Island, on a property called ‘The Alders’ with his wife Winifred. He obtained a commission in the C.A.V.C (Canadian Army Veterinary Corp) in January 1915, went overseas in June 1915, and remained overseas till October 1917, being in France from September 1915 till March 1916. He was discharged as medically unfit in April 1918, at which date he held the rank of Captain. From April 1921 till July 1924, he held the appointment of District Veterinary Officer, M.D. No. 11. Victor Best made a special study of the Japanese population in British Columbia. After the outbreak of WWII, Best sent in a number of reports on this subject to the Intelligence Branch Department. The reports indicated that he had made himself thoroughly familiar with the subject and was on friendly terms with a number of Japanese living in the province, and seemed to have gained their confidence. He neither asked for nor received any remuneration for these reports. Captain Best takes a view of the loyalty to Canada on the part of the Japanese in British Columbia, which is possible rather more favourable than that taken by others who have had occasion to study the question. He states his opinions very emphatically, with perhaps something of a lack of balance, but he is quite alive to the possible danger to Canada arising from the present policy of Japan. It seems likely that he has a better knowledge of the Japanese community in British Columbia than the great majority of Canadians living in that Province, and that he might well be able to render useful service in connection with the registration now contemplated.
Hewitt Bostock (1864 – 1930) was born in May 1864 in Walton on the Hill, England, eldest son of Samuel Bostock and Marian Iliff. Hewitt Bostock’s father, Samuel, profited handsomely from investments on the London Stock Exchange during the mid-Victorian boom. His success allowed him to move his family to The Hermitage, in the parish of Walton on the Hill near Epsom, where he cultivated the style of a country squire and where Hewitt was born. Although Samuel died when Hewitt was only four, the family’s substantial fortune did not fail. At the age of ten Hewitt was enrolled at a boarding school in Brighton and he subsequently studied in Guildford. His early education was followed by a mathematics degree at Trinity College, Cambridge, (1882 to 1885) and where he would obtain an MA in 1890. Despite a bout with pneumonia, contracted whilst on a climbing expedition in Switzerland in 1881, he demonstrated ability as a rower at Cambridge in 1883. In 1886, Bostock made his first foray to Canada. In 1890, Bostock married Lizzie Cowie, and two years later the Bostocks moved to Victoria, B.C. Although a Conservative in England, Bostock found in Canada that he preferred the Liberal policy of freer trade to the tariff that Macdonald’s government had introduced. In April 1894, he established the Province newspaper in Victoria, and sponsored Rev. William W. Bolton’s Vancouver Island Exploring Expedition. He had probably met Bolton at Cambridge. That September Liberal leader Wilfrid Laurier visited British Columbia and persuaded Bostock to run for parliament in the Yale-Cariboo constituency. Around the same time, he established the Kootenay Lumber Company. By 1895, he had made a sufficiently good impression on the locals that he was elected first president of the Kamloops Agricultural Association. The 1896 federal election saw Bostock take up his career in politics. He quietly purchased the Kamloops Inland Sentinel, setting up Francis John Deane, a Liberal, as his editor. With Bostock in the shadows, Deane ran an effective and expensive campaign against the powerful Conservative incumbent, John Andrew Mara, while Bostock visited one hamlet after another. Having spent $1,350 to Mara’s $500, Bostock won the election with a comfortable majority and served a single term under Laurier, acting as one of the caucus whips. Otherwise, his principal claim to fame as an MP was the introduction of a bill that, had it passed, would have formalized the practice of railway companies carrying parliamentarians free of charge. Like many of his contemporaries, Bostock was vocal in his opposition to further Chinese immigration to Canada, which he viewed as a racial, social, and economic threat. He also regarded southern Europeans with contempt, claiming in 1897 that “the Italians were nearly as great a menace as the Chinamen.” Bostock did not seek re-election in 1900. In 1904, Bostock was appointed to the Senate. Ten years later he became leader of the Liberals in the upper house. Along with most of his party, he opposed the Naval Aid Bill of 1913 and the War-time Elections Act of 1917, both introduced by the Conservative government of Robert Laird Borden. In contrast to his earlier nativism, he objected to the cynicism of the latter bill in so far as it disenfranchised loyal immigrant Canadians. Nonetheless, he threw in his lot with the pro-conscription forces and travelled to the west in 1917 advocating a union government. Bostock entered William Lyon Mackenzie King’s first cabinet as minister of public works in late December 1921, a position he relinquished a little over a month later when he became speaker of the Senate. By that time Bostock had achieved some notoriety as an opponent of railway nationalization. In 1925, Bostock was one of Canada’s delegates at the sixth assembly of the League of Nations at Geneva. Described in his obituaries and memorials as “courtly,” a “country gentlemen,” and “a man of culture, ability, genial disposition and fine presence,” Bostock appears to have made a career out of being stately. His associations included the Canadian branch of the British Empire League, the Canadian Forestry Association, the Interior Stock Raisers’ Association of British Columbia, the Rideau Club in Ottawa, the first golf and badminton clubs in Victoria, the Masonic Lodge, the Alpine Club of Canada, and the St John Ambulance Association, of which he was national president at the time of his death. In addition, he was a fellow of the Royal Colonial Institute and Royal Agricultural Society of England. Hewitt Bostock passed away in 1930. In 1932, a mountain about 100 miles to the southwest was given the name Mount Hewitt Bostock.
Obituary in the Canadian Alpine Journal Vol. 19, 1930. p.118-120.
John Henry Brown (1867 – 1960) was born on 14 October 1867 in Maryland, USA. He was born a plantation slave baby and didn’t know his parents. As was the custom of the plantations, regardless of colour, religion or creed, all infants received the same family name on this plantation so the family name of Brown was taken. Very little is known of his early years except that he did work in Missouri and Kansas for a while and then tried his hand at mining in Colorado and Utah, but he is thought to have immigrated to Canada in 1903 and moved to Cumberland in 1909. At some early point in his adventures in Canada, Brown searched for the Indian gold that was believed to be buried near Pitt Lake east of Vancouver, but he ran out of grubstake. Brown lived in the part of Union (Cumberland) known as Coontown, between Chinatown and Number One Camp. As with many miners of Cumberland he received an affectionate (if indelicate) nickname, “Nigger” Brown, that although today is considered unacceptable, it was common practice back then. During the winter he worked in the Cumberland coal mines, but in the summer, he took-off to the mountains prospecting. He was a firm believer that he would strike it rich some day with Iron Ore or Uranium. One time in the 1940’s Ruth Masters was with a hiking group and came across Brown at his camp at McPhee Lake. He gave Masters a brown envelope and asked her to mail to Nanaimo, but said to guard it carefully or the whole world would be in on it. He thought he had found the mother lode and wanted to file his claim with the mining office. Loggers and hunters were never surprised to meet him far up in the hills behind Comox Lake on his own and he was one of the early explorers of Forbidden Plateau. Brown would find his way to the head of Comox Lake and then hitch a ride on one of the logging trains up the Cruikshank River. From the end of the tracks he would hike the rough trail that eventually arrived not far from Circlet Lake. Around this area he spent many of his summers. At McPhee Lake, located below Strata Mountain, he built a rustic cabin that stood for many years and was used by other part-time prospectors: Sid Williams and Jimmy Aston. For a while Williams hired Brown to work in his Searle’s Shoes store in Cumberland. Brown also had a significant claim on the Oyster River that he worked with Davey Jones. He was married to Mary Wilson and they had one son but they parted many years ago. Brown spoke slowly and had a deep, resonant voice which was great for storyteller, something many locals remembered him for. According to Joe Ducca, “Every kid in Cumberland knew John Brown. He’d sit down and tell you the damndest stories you ever heard.” From card games, fights and women, to fishing, hunting and prospecting, Brown had a story. In 1954, while prospecting around Pitt Lake on the mainland he broke a kneecap which ultimately led him to give up wandering the mountain trails. He was eighty-seven. Brown was also a very superstitious man and was regularly known to turn around and walk back home if a black cat walked in front of him on his way into Cumberland or wherever he happened to be going. On 19 September 1960, John Henry Brown passed away at Cumberland General Hospital after a two-month illness (obituary in the Comox District Free Press September 21, 1960, p.6.) John Brown Lake, on Forbidden Plateau near where he prospected, has been named after him.
Jean Ethel M. Bruce (1882 – 1968) was born in 1882 in Dublin County, Ireland. She began her career as a journalist, first in England and then in Canada. She arrived in the Okanagan in 1910 where she taught school but then moved to Victoria. From 1911 to her retirement in 1941, Ethel Bruce worked for the Victoria Daily Times and Daily Colonist. Over the years she covers special assignments on music and art and was active in women’s organizations. In 1953 she was made honorary vice-president of the Local Council of Women after 40 years of membership. She was active in the Victoria Citizenship Council, Red Cross, Canadian Association of Consumers and the Indian Arts and Welfare. Also, an honorary member of the Women’s Canadian Club. Miss Bruce traveled widely and attended the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953. She was known for her sprightly love of life and was known as “Brucie” by her friends. She passed away in Victoria on 1 February 1968 (obituary in the Daily Colonist February 3, 1968, p.12.)
Joseph Charles Bridgman (1874 – 1951) was born in Chester, England in 1872 and came to Vancouver Island in 1888. In 1891, he was working as a grocery store clerk in the Cowichan Valley and shortly moved to Victoria. He married Agnes May (Marion) Newcombe (1880 – 1980) sometime after 1901. During WWI, Joseph served overseas with the 88th Battalion, Victoria Fusiliers. He later ran his half-brother’s reality business (Lowenberg, Harris and Co) until retiring in the 1930’s. Joseph Bridgman passed away in 1951.
Adele Bucklin (sisters Verma, Margaret, Mary and brother Irwin). Parents Emeline Wood (nee Porter) and George Augustus Bucklin Jr. (1875 – 1954). George was born in West Hartford, Missouri and became the US Deputy Consul in Glauchau (Germany) 1906-7; Trieste (Italy) 1907-8; US Consul-General in San Luis Potosi (Bolivia) 1908-10; Guatemala City (Guatemala) 1910-14; Bordeaux (France) 1914-19; Acapulco (Mexico) 1922-24; Victoria (British Columbia) 1924-32. Adele and Neva Stewart went to high school together. Adele married Edwy Luker from Porterville, California.
Alan James “AJ” Campbell (1882 – 1967) was born on 1 October 1882 in Collingwood, Ontario. He attended Public Schools and Collegiate Institutes in Collingwood and during the school holidays he worked chiefly on ships as Collingwood was a ship building port, however, in 1901 he was a helper to a civil engineer in Sault Ste Marie. This led him to an interest in civil engineering and at the end of that summer he entered the School of Practical Science at the University of Toronto. He graduated in 1904 with a diploma in Civil Engineering and in the following year took a post graduate course specializing in Hydraulics and Strength of Materials, obtaining the degree of Bachelor of Applied Science. Campbell found work on Township Subdivision in Northern Ontario but had aspirations to become a railway construction engineer so in 1905 he joined a Canadian National Railway party in Northern Ontario where he remained for two years. During this period, he worked in the bush, summer and winter, and became instrument man and for a short time was in charge of a small party on a hydraulic survey. In 1908, he articled under W.J. Deans, a prominent Dominion Land Surveyor on Correction Surveys in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. In the spring of 1909, he received his D.L.S. commission and in the summer of that year began work under Arthur Wheeler on Land Classification of the Railway Belt of British Columbia. It was during this time that he also met Robert McCaw and in 1911 the two worked with Wheeler in the vicinity of Tetachuck Lake in Tweedsmuir Park. In 1912, Campbell received his B.C.L.S. commission and went into partnership with Wheeler and McCaw and in 1913 located the road along the Kennedy River between Sproat Lake and Long Beach on Vancouver Island, however, the road wasn’t constructed until 1956. The partnership lasted about one year and then Campbell started working with photo-topographic mapping. Wheeler was appointed Commissioner for British Columbia on the BC/Alberta Boundary Commission in 1913 and he asked Campbell to take charge of the mapping operations, both in the field and office, which was located in Sidney, Vancouver Island. In the field season of 1914 Campbell made the first ascent of Mount Tyrwhitt with Rusty Westmorland and Conrad Kain. This mapping took twelve years to complete from 1913 to 1924. Campbell continued working in photo-topographical surveys until 1930 when this method of mapping was abandoned for a new technique using vertical air photos in combination with controlled ground pictures, a method evolved manly by Campbell. In the depression year, 1932, all the Topographical Division except Campbell were cut off the pay list because of money shortage. That year he mapped in the vicinity of Schoen Lake and Victoria Peak. In 1933, there was even less money available for surveying, so Campbell, McCaw and Norman Stewart, rather than see their life work cut off offered to take to the field without pay, but supplied with field expenses. The field work would provide office work if and when the Topographic Division was re-established. At the end of the season this strategy paid off as funds were obtained and the Topographic Division re-instated. Campbell mapped all over BC until 1945 when he was given the task of surveying the BC/Yukon boundary, however, illness and subsequent surgery kept him at home for that year but over the next four years he completed the survey. In the early 1950’s he was involved with the legal survey of the Hart Highway at Summit Lake and then three years office work and drafting with the P.G.E. Railway Location Survey, where his early training in Northern Ontario was invaluable. In his later years Campbell would often come into the Mapping and Survey Branch of the Department of Lands to keep in touch with what was happening and talk with the younger surveyors. For him it was more than a job, it was his chief hobby. Campbell spent more than fifty summers in the “bush” and in 1936 was elected a member of the Corporation of BC Land Surveyors and served as President in 1942. In 1956, he was made a life member. In 1910, he married Alvena Pengally and had three sons and one daughter. It was said in 1957 that “A.J.” has probably climbed more peaks in the Canadian Rockies than any other man, and that his wonderful physique and placid nature carried him through the difficult task of surveying in the rugged mountains. Arthur Wheeler with whom he was associated for many years claimed that “A.J. was a born topographer, one who could see behind ridges. He had one weakness though – his pipe, without which he is lost.” On 24 December 1967 in Victoria Alan Campbell’s pipe went out for the last time. (Obituary in the Corporation of Land Surveyors of the Province of British Columbia. Report of Proceedings of the Sixty-Fourth Annual General Meeting. 1969. Victoria, B.C. p. 38.)
Gordon Arthur Cameron (1896 – 1968) was born in Calgary in 1896, and before coming to Victoria in 1913 was a member of the field survey team which laid out the boundaries between British Columbia and Alberta. He joined the army in Victoria, leaving the city 28 May 1916 as a member of the 62nd battery. In England he transferred to the 58th battery. In 1918, he transferred to the Royal Air Force, and was later shot down over France. When he returned to Victoria, he helped found the Aerial League of Canada, Victoria Branch, with a mandate to promote commercial flying, train further pilots and set a standard of qualifications for future airmen. On 16 Aug 1918 Cameron made the first flight from Victoria to Nanaimo in an old Curtiss Jenny Pathfinder II. Later on, he was a driving force in B.C. Airways Ltd., which was formed in 1928, and gave the first aerial service between Victoria, Vancouver and Seattle. He was a trained barrister and solicitor was a past president of the Victoria Federal Progressive Conservative Association, and in 1949 was the conservative candidate in the federal election. In the 1920’s he became a member of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada serving on the executive as the treasurer and led many trips. He was also a member of the Vancouver & Quadra Lodge No 2, AF and AM. Gordon Cameron, QC, passed away 11 April 1968 in Victoria leaving his wife Beatrice and a son and daughter (obituary in the Daily Colonist Friday April 12, p.18.)
Geoffrey Bernard Capes (1889 – 1961) was born in England on 13 November 1889 and emigrated to Vancouver in 1911. He met a fellow émigré, Helen Cooke, affectionately known as Nell and the two were married on 26 December 1912 and they had two children: Katherine and Phyllis both keen outdoorswomen. Capes found employment with the British North American Bank (BNA) in Vancouver which eventually merged to become part of the Bank of Commerce (CIBC.). Following overseas service with the Canadian Army, Capes brought his family to the Comox Valley in 1920, where he worked as an accountant at the Soldiers Settlement Board office in Merville. Two years later was the big Merville fire which changed the life of many. After the fire Capes and Captain George Halley (who was in charge of the Merville settlement office) purchased the Courtenay Builders Supply Company on 5th Street. A few years later Halley sold his share to Capes. On 24 November 1930, the building was razed by fire and Capes relocated the business to the corner of England Avenue and 6th Street. In 1956, the Bank of Montreal purchased the property when Capes retired. On 4 November 1927, Capes was present as a founding member of the Comox District Mountaineering Club, and became a director serving for many years. One of Capes’ early trips into the local mountains was an attempt to reach the Comox Glacier in August 1925 with Adrian Paul. He also made regular trips onto Mount Becher in both summer and winter. In 1929, he hiked from Forbidden Plateau up Mount Albert Edward and then down to Ralph Lake and out to Buttle Lake with Barty Harvey, the local Game Warden. Also, in that year he finally reached the summit of the Comox Glacier with Ben Hughes, Adrian Paul, Arthur Leighton, Cyril Berkeley and his daughter Alfreda via Kookjai Mountain. In Capes’ diary for 20 September 1935, it read: “Attended a meeting with Mr. [Norman] Stewart, the surveyor of our mountains, about suggesting 75 names, we covered about 50. [Roger] Schjelderup, [Ben] Hughes, Mrs. [Elma] Pearse, Peggy Watt, Rev. Chapman, Sid Williams, Dick Idiens were present. A lake was named after me, one [Adrian] Paul and I discovered years ago when we climbed the wrong mountain.” Capes Lake is located on a ridge near the Comox Glacier and nearby is Idiens Lake named after his close friend. In July 1936, Capes joined Sid Williams and Roger Schjelderup on a trip to the Roosters Comb (Golden Hinde) the islands highest mountain. When they reached the base camp on the mountain, they met the surveyor Norman Stewart and his assistant Dan Harris who had made the ascent earlier that day. However, at the time neither party knew of the ascent by W.W. Urquhart, W.R. Kent and Einar Anderson in 1913 or 1914 during their survey of Strathcona Park. Capes went on to make the second ascent of Elkhorn in 1949 with Bill Lash and his son Mallory, and Charley Nash. Capes loved the mountains of Forbidden Plateau and Strathcona Park and kept detailed diaries of his trips some of which were printed in the Canadian Alpine Journal’s. Geoffrey Capes was meticulous at keeping a day-to-day diary which has recorded daily life in the valley. On 25 February 1961 Geoffrey Capes passed away a few months after his beloved wife “Nell” passed away, however, he has not been forgotten (obituary in the Canadian Alpine Journal Vol. 44, 1961, p.136.) Halfway between Courtenay and Cumberland near Arden Road is a “little treasure” that very few people are aware exists called Capes Park. In August 1968, the Arden Improvement district purchased the five- and three-quarter acres of wooded area from the Capes family to reflect the unique beauty of the Arden area. Capes had acquired this property through the Soldier Settlement Board “salvage” properties after he had lost everything in the 1922 fire.
Kenneth Murray Chadwick (1878 – 1934) was born on 11 August 1878 in Leeds, England. Educated as a civil engineer, he came to Canada in 1907 and lived in Penticton for five years before settling in Victoria in 1914. He was an energetic and prominent member of the Vancouver Island section, having filled the post of secretary for eight or nine years before his sudden death and attended many camps and outings. He was also the secretary of the Victoria branch of the Canadian Institute of Civil Engineers and the Rosicrucian Society, and a member of the Men’s Guild of St. Mary’s Church and the Radio Club. A fortnight before his unexpected passing he and several others were at the Alpine Club hut at the Lake of the Seven Hills completing some of the details of the new building. He passed away after surgery complications on 21 October 1934 (obituary in The Daily Colonist October 23, 1934, p.5) leaving a widow and one daughter Muriel.
Herbert “Bert” Alexander Chandler (1889 – 1965) was born in England in 1889 and came to Courtenay, B.C. with his sister Gladys from Marlborough, England in 1935. In the following years, he maintained and fostered, almost single handed, the work of scouting in the district serving as the district commissioner for the North Island. While in Courtenay he ran an upholstery business. He was an active hiker and became the president of the CDMC in September 1939. Bert Chandler passed away five years after moving to Vancouver on 14 May 1965 (obituary in the Comox District Free Press July 14, 1965, p.11.)
John Howard Arthur Chapman (1862 – 1942) was born in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, England in 1862 and arrived in Victoria in 1890. He initially worked as a traveling salesman, but between 1895 and 1912, he traveled and took photographs throughout British Columbia. From 1912 to 1936, he concentrated his photographic work on the people, places and events of Vancouver and Victoria. He was at the 1st banquet of the Victoria Branch of the ACC. He passed away on 12 June 1942 (obituary in the Daily Colonist June 13, 1942, p.14.)
Reginald Thomas Chave (1888 – 1957) was born in Woodstock, Ontario in 1888. The family moved to Victoria in 1909. Reginald started working for his father in the grocery business, Wm. J. Chave & Son, on the corner of Douglas Street and Boleskine Road, and later went to work in life insurance. He met Bernice Scowcroft (obituary in The Vancouver Sun February 18, 1950, p.35.) in the church choir where they were both vocalists. They had two children – Cyril Scowcroft (1914) and Muriel Winifred (1916). Reginald passed away in 1957.
Leroy Stirling Cokely (1884 – 1956) was born in Independence, Iowa, to American-Irish parents on 23 November 1884. His education was completed in the United States after attending Knox College at Galesburg, Illinois. In 1904, Cokely moved to Canada where he took out Dominion Land Surveyors articles under A.W. McVittie and worked on Dominion surveys in Alberta. In 1910, he moved to British Columbia with his family and in March of that year received his Dominion Land Surveyors Commission and then next month his Alberta Land Surveyors and British Columbia Land Surveyors Commissions. Cokely was in private practice in Courtenay on Vancouver Island for many years. In 1929, while surveying in the Peace River District, Cokely received word that his youngest daughter, Betty, had died while staying with friends when a sand bank at Kye Bay collapsed suffocating her. During the years 1912 to 1930, in addition to the private surveys, he carried out considerable work for the Provincial Government some of which involved surveying the mountains in and around Strathcona Park: Alexandra Peak, Mount Albert Edward and Mount McBride. In 1933, he took the position of Assistant General Manager of Consolidated Gold Alluvials’ mine at Wingdam east of Quesnel where he stayed for five years. In 1941, he was made the Chief Surveyor of West Coast Shipyards, holding this position until 1945 when he joined the British Columbia Power Commission and was in charge of surveys until his death. Leroy Cokely passed away in West Vancouver on 7 September 1956 (obituary in the Corporation of Land Surveyors of the Province of British Columbia. Report of Proceedings of the Fifty-Second Annual General Meeting. 1957. Victoria, B.C. p.59.) Mount Cokely, a peak to the east of Mount Arrowsmith which in the 1920’s was called “The Hump,” was renamed in 1973 in his honour. Cokely had set a triangulation station on the summit for the Geodetic Survey of Canada in 1926/27.
George Arthur Colwell (1913 – 2004) was born in Fraserton, Alberta on 4 July 1913 and moved to the Comox Valley in 1929. Married Rose Irene Terris in 1937 (D. 1977). They resided in Royston until 1957. George later married Frances Knapton. George Colwell passed away 4 March 2004 (obituary in The Times Colonist March 7, 2004, p.24. and the Comox Valley Record March 10, 2004).
Robert Connell (1871 – 1957) was born to Scottish parent in Liverpool, England on 4 June1871 and raised around Glasgow. He worked as a shipping agent before moving to Canada at the age of 17 where he became identified with mission work in the Northwest Territories. In 1896, while living in Calgary he was ordained as a priest and in 1901 he moved to Victoria where he served as rector of St. Lukes until 1908 when he left for California for three years. He returned to Victoria in 1911 and was appointed rector of St. Saviour’s until 1923. Connell taught art and botany classes at Victoria High and St. Michael’s University School and was a member of the Victoria Natural History and Island Arts and Crafts Society. He was an accomplished artist and a life-long student and devotee of the natural world and wrote weekly articles for the Victoria newspapers. He was a member of the ACCVI and led trips to the local mountains around Sooke and Saanich often talking about the geology and botany of the area. In 1932, Connell joined the League for Social Reconstruction and became the leader of the BC Reconstruction Party. This was a short-lived party that joined the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation party (now NDP.) Connell agreed to run for the provincial legislature as a CCF candidate in the 1933 provincial election. The new party won seven seats, including Connell’s Victoria City riding. With the collapse of the governing Conservative Party, which was in such disarray it decided not to run any candidates, and the election of a Liberal government the CCF found itself as the official opposition in the B.C. legislature. The party caucus met and named Connell as Leader of the Opposition until the end of his political career in 1939. He then returned to ecclesiastical work, becoming the Archdeacon of Comox in 1940. He married Jane Hodson in May 1898 and they had three children. Robert Connell passed away on 13 November 1957 (obituary in The Daily Colonist November 14, 1957, p.2.)
Lindley Crease (1867 – 1940) was born on 13 March 1867 in New Westminster, British Columbia to Sir Henry Pering Pellew Crease and Lady Sarah (Lindley) Crease. He was educated at Haileybury Public School in England, and following in the footsteps of his father, a Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, he studied law and was called to the bar of British Columbia in 1890. He practiced with Crease, Harman & Company, and later founded the law firm of Crease and Crease, barristers of Victoria and was its senior member until his death. As a lawyer he had a wide reputation and was noted for his probity and human kindness. The Crease Family was prominent socially, and their house, Pentrelew, was a centre for Victoria society. Three of the Sir Henry Crease’s children, Lindley and two of his older sisters Susan and Josephine, never married and lived at Pentrelew until their deaths. Lindley Crease took an active interest in Church affairs and was Chancellor of the Anglican Diocese of the Province of British Columbia. He was also associated with politics and held the position of President of the Conservative Association of Victoria, and at one time, the Vice Presidency of the Provincial organization. Among other distinctions, he was President of the Vancouver Island branch of the League of Nations and belonged to the Masonic Order. Crease was a devoted lover of the mountain wilderness and derived much enjoyment from his attendance of the Alpine Club of Canada annual camps in the Canadian Rockies. Although he only made a few minor climbs at these camps, he was chiefly interested in obtaining suitable vantage spots to view the great range and revel in vistas of towering snow-clad peaks, shining ice-fields and tumbling glaciers. However, his foremost joy these camps provided was the opportunity for sketching and painting, a talent passed down from his mother. It was during his attendance at the 1921 summer camp at Lake O’Hara that he graduated to Active membership in the Alpine Club of Canada. The last camp he attended was at Chrome Lake in the Tonquin Valley in 1934. He had hoped to attend the Mount Fryatt camp of 1936 and the Yoho Valley reunion camp of 1937, but illness prevented. He climbed Mount Arrowsmith on 26 July 1926, with the Alpine Club, and three days later climbed Mount Baker in Washington State with William Foster, Fred Bell, Judge Brown (Bellingham) and a guide by the name of Cochrane in a snow storm. In 1928, he climbed on the Forbidden Plateau and went on numerous trips into the Sooke Hills. Lindley Crease, K.C., passed away at his home in Victoria on 15 February 1940 after a long illness (obituary in the Canadian Alpine Journal Vol. 27, 1939, p.106-108, and in the Daily Colonist Friday February 16, 1940, p.1.)
Eugene Croteau (1862 – 1952) was born in 1862 in the county of Levin in Quebec and went to school at St. Nicholas. As a teenager he moved out to Victoria where his father had business connections. He had a letter of introduction to A. B. Graham a wholesale liquor merchant and he suggested Croteau learn English. While studying he found work with the Vancouver Wine Company where he learned about wine and cigars that were sold to the local saloons. In 1894, he managed the prestigious Guichon Hotel. There he met such famous personalities as Sir John Thompson, Sir Wilfred Laurier, Henri Bourassa, Sir Charles Tupper and Sir Richard McBride. In 1930, Eugene Croteau proposed building a camp on Forbidden Plateau and by the summer was established at Croteau Lake. A packtrain of horses operated initially by Jack Murray and later John Ward supplied Croteau with his food and guests twice a week and the clients usually stayed up to a week at the camp. Croteau’s Camp consisted of the main log cabin and for the guests there were six tents with wooden floors. By 1932, over two hundred guests were passing through Croteau’s Camp annually. In 1934, Croteau’s numbers dropped off when Clinton Wood built the Forbidden Plateau Lodge below Mount Becher where he offered guided trip to camps at Mariwood and McKenzie Lakes and thence up Mount Albert Edward. However, Croteau’s charges were modest and in 1935 the cost was $3.75 including meals and linen on the bed. The cost for saddle horses was $2.50 per day and packing rates for baggage was five cents per pound. In 1937, Preston L. Tait joined Croteau to help run the camp and to guide trips and stayed for about four years. Tait was a well-known photographer, a member of the Alpine Club of Canada, an editor for the B.C. Mountaineer and an organizer for the B.C. Mountaineering Club. Although the ascent of Mount Albert Edward was the most popular destination, another popular round trip was from Croteau Lake to Circlet Lake, down to Sims and Divers Lake and then up the draw between Strata Mountain and Mount Allan Brooks and back to camp. In 1939, Courtenay’s Ruth Masters who was nineteen years old, worked for the season as cook and dish-washer at Croteau’s Camp. Earning $15 a month including tent and board, Ruth worked from the middle of July to the middle of September. A typical breakfast was flapjacks and bread, lunch consisted of sandwiches, and supper was tinned meat and vegetables. Occasionally, Ruth led some of the easier trips up Mount Elma (named after Elma Pearse), to Cruikshank Canyon Lookout, and to Moat and Circlet Lake. It was the arrival of one of the packtrains that announced to both the quests and staff that war had been proclaimed in Europe. The following year Sue Mouat took the job as cook for Croteau as Ruth went overseas to do her part for the war effort. Most of the guests were British Columbian’s, however, often there would be guests from the United States and occasionally some from as far away as Africa, Australia and Scotland. In 1942, John Ward who maintained the trail and had the packhorses, moved away and Eugene took on the trail work and bringing up the packhorses. He made seven trips to stock the camp for the season but eventually made the tough decision not to operate it himself. At eighty years old he found the work too arduous. He decided to leave the camp open for use by those who had already booked. Croteau had operated his successful camp for over a decade, His most disappointing thought though was that of not waking up every morning to the spectacular scenery of the Forbidden Plateau and to hear the Stellar Jays and Whiskey Jacks fighting over the food he left out for them. Eugene Croteau lived his remaining years out at his place at Croteau Beach and passed away in April 1952, at the age of ninety (obituary in the Comox Argus April 9, 1952.) As the local newspaper stated: “Mr. Eugene Croteau came to the end of the trail.” Today, B.C. Parks operate a group campsite and yurt where Eugene Croteau had his camp.
John Davidson (1878 – 1970) was born in 1878 in Aberdeen, Scotland and graduated from Gordon’s College. As botany assistant and later curator of the Botany Museum at the University of Aberdeen from 1893 to 1911 he developed significant skills in plant classification and general biology. In 1911, he was appointed as British Columbia’s first Provincial Botanist. Davidson established Canada’s first botanical garden at Essondale’s Colony Farm near New Westminster. In 1916, the 25,000 plants were transferred to the new Point Grey site of University of British Columbia and the garden continued to develop under his supervision. Davidson joined the UBC faculty in 1917 as an instructor of Botany and remained at the university until his retirement in 1945. He was founder and, until 1937, president of the Vancouver Natural History Society. He passed away in 1970.
George Herbert Dawson (1866 – 1940) was born on 22 November 1866 in Quebec City. He graduated with a Civil Engineering degree from McGill University and became a junior. engineer on the ships’channel between Montreal and Quebec, later becoming assistant engineer in the building of the C.P.R. bridge at St Anne de Bellevue. He first came to Vancouver in 1890 and after a short period as assistant city engineer, he joined the late Sidney Williams and Mr. J.T.C. Williams, with whom, under the firm name of Williams Bros. & Dawson, he carried on an extensive practice in land surveying and civil engineering for some years. In 1912, he took over the position of Surveyor-General of B.C. (1912 – 1917). In 1917, he retired and took no further active part in the profession, but his ever-keen mind and kindly heart prompted him to take a great and useful interest in many unobtrusive charities up to the time of his death. George Dawson passed away in Victoria on 28 March 1940 (obituary in the Daily Colonist March 29, 1940, p.5.) Dawson Falls is named for him.
Robert “Bob” DeBeaux
Pioneer Character Was Innkeeper, Storekeeper
Reported in the Nanaimo Free Press October 7, 1957, p.6.
Recollections of another character in the Alberni Valley’s early history are set on paper by Charles Taylor, Sr., who came to Alberni as a child in 1884. At one time the Valley’s oldest living resident, Mr. Taylor now lives near Nanaimo. Here he writes of an old-time acquaintance.
One of Alberni’s unforgettable characters was Robert DeBeaux or Bob, as he was usually called. He was born in Alsace-Lorraine and emigrated to the United States in his youth. After traveling about for some years and working in various places, he finally drifted into the Alberni Valley. He took up a half section of land near Bainbridge, where the McLean Sawmill is now located. Bob was industrious and enterprising and when the China Creek gold rush started he moved up there and built a roadhouse to accommodate the miners and prospectors in the district. He supplied meals and beds and did the cooking himself. The meals were plain but substantial. He was fond of putting up signs and writing letters. As his English education had been somewhat neglected, the spelling was weird and he had a habit of using long high-sounding words that very often had an entirely different meaning from what he intended. Bob was very set in his ideas and would take no advice. One day he was busy cutting down trees around his place and one of them had a dangerous lean towards his house. Just as he was starting to take it down a prospector passed by and advised Bob to be very careful in falling it. “Young man,” said Bob, “I could draw a chalk line anywhere along the ground and lay this tree exactly along it.” An hour or two later the same man returned and found Bob busy trimming the tree, which had fallen back across the roof of his house. “Where was your chalk line?” he called out. “Will you kindly go to hell! was all Bob could say.
After the gold excitement subsided he moved down to the townsite, as the Port was called, and opened a small general store. This was really about the first business to be started in Port Alberni. It was located on the corner of what is now Argyle and 3rd avenue, but was surrounded by brush at that time. Bob kept a very miscellaneous stock and advertised his goods in the usual way with some wonderful signs, but the prices were moderate. He occasionally bought skins from some of the trappers in the district and when he had enough collected he sent a consignment out to a fur dealer. The value of furs fluctuated a good deal and sometimes his returns were rather disappointing. I happened to go into the store one day just after he had received a cheque for his latest consignment of skins. Bob was busy at his desk, which was cluttered up with his invoices and receipts, and he was going over them all. When he had finished, he turned to me and said, “After checking everything very carefully, I find I have only lost a dollar and 49 cents.” He was a good citizen, but undoubtedly, he still had a deep regard for Germany and when World War I started and public sentiment was running high, he was inclined to express himself too freely, so much so that he was interned at last and shipped back to Germany as a dangerous character. After the war conditions in Germany were at a pretty low ebb but Bob was shrewd enough to see that there were chances there for investment, so after he was released he came back to Alberni and sold all his property and returned to Germany. In a few years he had become quite prosperous and eventually rose to the rank of burgomaster of some German town. He met his death in an automobile accident.
Robert DeBeaux was born on August 5 in 1868 or 69. On one of DeBeaux’s trip to Vancouver, he left a man in charge of his store on Argyle Street. Due to his poor English and use of long words he posted a sign in the window saying: “Gone to Vancouver. My prostitute is in charge.” Of course he meant “substitute” but the humour in his choice of words rendered something memorable out of something forgettable. Another story, one of the best known, had him writing a postcard to Simon Leister Company of Victoria requesting them to ship him a box of miner’s candles. Having done so he went to his storeroom and found that he in fact had some candles. He then wrote on the bottom of the postcard: “PS. Don’t ship them, for I went to my room and there I found some.” He then put on his hat, went out and posted the card. DeBeaux’s store included bachelors’ quarters and a garden in which he grew strawberries and loganberries. He advertised as being a “Dealer in Boots and Shoes, Phonograph Records, Sporting Goods and Ladies Underwear.” De Beaux was interned in Germany for two years and returned to Port Alberni in June 1921. Sometime in the next few years he sold all his holdings and returned to Stendal, Germany, but kept in touch with friends in Port Alberni.
Aretas William Young DesBrisay (1904 – 1988) was born in Ottawa in 1904 to Sidney DesBrisay and Julianna Ida Barberie. He married Anne Vera Ella Almon Skinner (born on 3 November 1906, in Nova Scotia) on 11 July 1927, in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. Several times the DesBrisay family had ACCVI members around to their family home in Victoria. Aretas passed away on 11 June 1988, while Anne passed away on 24 November 1989.
William Fowler DeVoe (1885 – 1913) was born on June 13, 1885 in St. John, New Brunswick and came out to British Columbia in 1906. He worked for a short time in Trail and then went to Kaslo where he began working with Colonel William J.H. Holmes, a civil engineer and mine surveyor, on surveys around the Arrow Lakes and Skeena River. While working with Holmes, DeVoe began his studies to become a land surveyor. In the spring of 1913, DeVoe passed his final examination in Victoria to become a British Columbia Land Surveyor and continued working under the directions of his mentor Colonel Holmes. Throughout 1913, Holmes was responsible for surveying the boundary of the newly established Strathcona Provincial Park. On October 12, 1913 with the season beginning to wind down, the twenty-eight-year-old DeVoe was crossing the Campbell River when he tragically drowned. William DeVoe is remembered for his meticulous work taking topographical readings and photographs of the new park and for the mountains he climbed and named. Throughout the summer of 1913. DeVoe climbed to various high stations in the park where compass bearings could be taken of the surrounding country. On August 30, while working in the northwest corner of the park, DeVoe climbed to the summit of an unnamed peak. He decided to call it Mount Judson after his father William Judson DeVoe. Following is an extract from DeVoe’s journal with reference to his trip:
I packed my blankets up to the summit of the Pass and at about 10 A.M. left here to climb to the Eastward arriving at the top at 11:15 A.M. The summit covers quite a large area of about the same elevation and I found a good deal of snow especially on the Northern side but also quite a lot right on the top and where exposed to the sun. I made the altitude of the summit 5495. I remained on the top until 2 P.M., took photographs around the entire circle, sketched topography of the surrounding country and built a cairn 3 ½ feet base and 6 ft high. This cairn is visible on the skyline from the valley of the (middle fork of) Salmon River, from the valley of the North Fork of the Gold River near Coldwater Creek, from the valley of Coldwater Creek, and from the valley of the East Fork of the Gold River, also from many other points except from the East where it is visible from 5000 ft or more altitude. Photographs were taken under poor conditions as the atmosphere was rather hazy for distant views. I got an excellent lookout for the surrounding country which fully repaid me for my climb. I left a record in the cairn and named the mountain “Mt Judson”. I left the summit at 2 P.M. and got back down at the pass at 3.05. I do not think I will attempt a climb of this kind alone again as one takes too many chances, the first 800 or 900 feet above the pass was pretty bad on account of very heavy brush which concealed bluffs.
Despite his not wanting to risk another climb of that degree alone again, DeVoe did ascend another mountain on September 11 and named it Mount Heber, this time after his deceased older brother Heber G. DeVoe. He built a cairn on the summit and again took many photographs. In his journal he wrote: “Mt Heber is the meanest mountain for surveying that I have ever had the misfortune to have anything to do with.”
William Holmes Dougan (1872 – 1962) was born near Seattle, Washington, on 8 December 1872 and was a member of a very old American family. He was a nephew of the late Oliver Wendell Holmes. Dougan was an experienced mountaineer by the time he moved to Victoria in 1911 and subsequently joined the ACC. From 1924 to 1927 he was Chairman of the Vancouver Island section of the ACC and was active in the section until about 1940. In 1928 he was involved in the exploration of the Forbidden Plateau region. After striking up Mount Becher the party proceeded on to Eugene Croteau’s camp and then a large group ascended Mount Albert Edward. With the weather being in their favour and plenty of food in camp a party then decided to make an ascent of the unclimbed Castle Mountain (now Castlecrag.) He was an extremely active man and had little interest in anything that didn’t involve hard work. He lived in the present and around the campfire would discuss the job to be done tomorrow. Today and yesterday’s work was past so there was no point in discussing it. During the 1940’s his eyesight failed, forcing him to give up most of his associations, but he never forgot a voice he had known. One could pass within a few feet of him on the street and he would not recognize you, but say “Good Morning,” and he would call you by name. Dougan passed away in Victoria on 19 August 1962 (obituary in the Canadian Alpine Journal Vol. 46, 1963, p.137-138.) Fred Maurice wrote: “The world could do very well with a few more like the late William Dougan.”
William Stewart Drewry (1859 – 1939) was born in Belleville, Ontario in 1859. He qualified as an Ontario Licensed Surveyor in 1882, and a Dominion Licensed Surveyor in 1883. In 1884 he was hired by the Surveys Branch of the Department of the Interior, working under Captain Edouard Deville who pioneered photogrammetry as a method of surveying in Canada. In 1892, he was commissioned as a B.C. Land Surveyor and began work for the Surveyor General’s Department of the B.C. government, working mainly in the Nelson and Slocan mining districts and continuing his use of photographic surveying. In 1897, he moved from Kaslo and entered private practice with H.T. Twigg in New Denver, surveying mineral claims throughout the Kootenay area. Drewry was also a mining entrepreneur during this period, staking personal claims and assisting in the establishment of the Provincial Mining Association of B.C. and The Association of Lead Mines of B.C. Drewry dissolved his partnership with Twigg in 1906 and moved to Nelson, working independently both on mining work and the survey of roads in the area for the government. In 1909, he was appointed the first and only Chief Water Commissioner of the province, a position he held until 1911 when he resigned. From 1911 to 1913 he held the position of Inspector of Surveys for B.C., and until 1922 conducted a number of surveys for the Department of Lands and the Department of Mines. He was responsible for much of the Cariboo/Lillooet district boundary survey. After 1922 he took private work, and retired in 1930. He was an active member of the British Columbia Licensed Surveyors Association, being on the board in various capacities between 1909 and 1922. He was also a member of the Masonic Order, and the Alpine Club of Canada. William Drewry passed away in Victoria in 1939 (obituary in the Daily Colonist December 5, 1939, p.14. and the Canadian Alpine Journal Vol. 27, 1940, p.113-115.)
Mabel Edith Duggan (1920 – 2014) was born on 26 February 1920 in Kamloops, BC. She worked as a secretary and accountant in Kelowna, Ottawa, Victoria and The Hague prior to her marriage to Derrick Hawkins in 1957. Mabel was a member of the Vancouver Island section of the ACC and joined the executive committee for a while. She was also one of the early members of the Victoria Outdoor Club and met several other young women to go on hikes with including Muriel and Aileen Aylard, Stephanie Jones (Bowes) and Brenda Stonham. In August 1946, she did a trip to Manning Park with Stephanie and Gordon Bowes who were both members of the ACCVI and the VOC. She attended ACC general summer camps at Glacier in the Selkirks in 1947, Peyto Lake in 1948, Lake O’Hara Meadows in 1951, Hooker Icefields in 1953 and Mt. Robson camp in 1955. In 1952, she went to Switzerland with Muriel Aylard and climbed the Matterhorn and Zinal Rothorn. After Derrick’s death in 2012, Mabel moved to Quadra Island to live with her son Philip and family. Mabel passed away on 27 April 2014.
Myra King Ellison (1890 – 1979) was born in Vernon, B.C. on 30 May 1890, the third child of Price and Sophie Ellison. Ellison was educated in Vernon then went to Havergal Ladies College in Toronto in 1906. The next year she entered McGill University in Montreal where she graduated in 1911 with a Batchelor of Arts degree in Economics. She continued at McGill and in 1913 received her Master of Arts, again in Economics. Myra Ellison returned to Vernon upon graduating where she taught physical education at St. Michael’s School. In May 1920, Myra married Howard Clarke Debeck, a young Lawyer in Vernon who was in partnership with Hugh Heggie. In 1925, he went out on his own until his passing in 1929. For a time Howard Debeck was the Vice-President and Director of Price Ellison’s Vernon News Printing and Publishing Company. Soon after her husband died, Myra and her two children moved back to the family Big House on Pleasant Valley Road. During this time she worked part time at the Vernon News and was involved in many of her father’s projects. Myra Ellison was a life member of the Alpine Club of Canada and went on many camps beginning in 1912 when she graduated to active ACC membership by climbing Mount Little on August 7 along with her cousin Harry McClure Johnson. She was in at the founding of the Women’s Canadian Club in Vernon and served as the second President from 1933 to 1935. She was with the University Women’s Club and a charter member of the North Okanagan Girl Guides Association. Myra Ellison was an active participant with the North Okanagan Naturalist’s and an authority of flowers and birds of the Okanagan. As well she was with the Okanagan Historical Society and active in church life. In 1910, Myra joined her father Price Ellison, who was the Chief Commissioner of Lands in the Richard McBride Government, on an expedition to Vancouver Island where she made the first ascent of Crown Mountain. The report from Price Ellison led to the establishment of Strathcona Provincial Park in 1911, the first in park in British Columbia. Prior to the start of the trip the Vernon News of July 7, 1910 wrote the following of Myra Ellison:
… although a lissome little lady just budding into womanhood is nevertheless well fitted by her life thus far spent very close to nature, to face the difficulties and vicissitudes to be expected in such an exploratory ramble. … an expert pedestrian, simmer, angler and shot, and she will now enjoy the proud distinction of being the very first of her sex to penetrate the Vancouver Island Alps.
Myra moved to Victoria in 1977 and passed away on 3 September 1979.
Price Ellison (1852 – 1932) was born on 6 October 1852 in Dunham-Massey, England. As a child, he received basic schooling and an apprenticeship as a blacksmith. When he turned twenty-one, he left for the United States to find his fortune, however, after trying his luck in the California Gold Rush, he left for the Cariboo. With several partners he headed to Cherry Creek in the North Okanagan when word of a find filtered through the Fraser Valley. After several months of work, they found two nuggets worth $120 and $125 each. In 1876, Ellison started working for George Vernon at the Coldstream Ranch and two years later he had saved enough money to buy three hundred and twenty acres in Priest’s Valley for $320. The locale later became known as Forge Valley as Ellison established a blacksmith operation on his property. Price Ellison first came to the forefront in the community in 1882 over the “Smart Aleck” incident. That summer Aeneas (Enos) Dewar was sent to collect a poll tax from the Chinese gold miners near Cherry Creek and failed to return. By November it was strongly suggested that Dewar had succumbed to foul play. Ellison volunteered to “ferret out the cause of absence and if possible, arrest the party.” Several days’ later Dewar’s body was recovered from under the cabin of a Chinese miner named “Smart Aleck.” Ellison spent the next two months searching but was unable to find his man. Upon returning the Attorney-General gave Ellison $300 for his efforts and then later the Ministry endorsed a community petition suggesting Ellison become a special constable for North Okanagan. On his farm Ellison appeared to be an exceptional farmer, orchardist and rancher. In 1891, Ellison took home sixteen prizes in a number of categories and in 1893 Ellison’s Barley won first place at the Chicago World’s Fair. Ellison’s participation in the community as a director on the Kamloops Hospital Board and as Chairman of the Vernon School Board eventually turned his public work into a political career. In 1893, Vernon’s citizens wanted him to become Mayor, however, Ellison declined as he had agreed not to run against his friend W.F. Cameron for the position. That decision benefited Ellison. By the years end, Vernon city council forwarded his name to the Provincial Government as a candidate for the position of Justice of the Peace. Five months after receiving the commission Ellison was promoted to Stipendiary Magistrate. Ellison used his office and popularity to win the 1898 provincial election. For the next eighteen years, he represented the constituencies of Yale and later Okanagan, winning five re-elections. Price Ellison’s political success was cultivated by creating an image of integrity, purpose and kindness in the community through the media and public events. He sought political power, social status and influence to ensure that he prospered. If the community prospered as well, that would be a bonus. Ellison was to become typical of politicians in British Columbia in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s where they were some of the most corrupt in Canadian history. Ellison went on and used his landholdings as a vehicle toward prosperity. It was an incident in 1885 that perhaps motivated the blacksmith and special constable toward his drive for power. In October of that year, Ellison got into a land dispute with two neighbours and the local Indian agent. He had built a fence across a trail which had been “a well-recognized highway from time immemorial.” Ellison did this to consolidate his property. The Government Agent tried to compromise with him by suggesting a gate allowing access to other properties but Ellison flatly refused. To build a road around the property would cost the government and residents about $2500. The issue went to a Magistrates court where the two Justices ruled against him. When Ellison found himself unsuccessful in his pursuit, he turned on the two Justices and insulted them saying he would not comply. His language became violent and he was ordered out of court. Threatened with a court order to open the trail Ellison built the gate. Although he had lost this battle to his enemies, it was not to be the last time Ellison was before the courts over land issues. In 1891, Ellison was back in court only this time he recovered land from a property owner including costs. During this time Ellison built a formidable land empire by gobbling up property from aged ranchers who purchased land in the 1860’s. By 1894 Ellison controlled over 11,000 acres most of which was dedicated to wheat, although he did run 2,500 head of cattle and 300 horses. Many of these purchases were reported in the Vernon News which Ellison founded. His wife Sofia was the principal shareholder in the newspaper for forty years and Ellison was the Chairman and stayed on as President until 1925 but had controlling interests until his death. Between the 1890’s and 1910’s Ellison bought land and then sold it for profit at times subdividing it. Sometimes, he would display the trait of a gilded capitalist by subdividing land and then cultivating an image through his newspaper of being a social custodian of wealth. One example was in 1892 when he staked off forty-five acres of his land to the east of Vernon into residential lots and insisted selling only to people who were willing to build credible buildings, thereby discouraging speculation. However, he also used his influence to improve the value of his land for a future subdivision. In 1892, Ellison met with the directors of the Okanagan Land and Development Company. At the time he sat on the Board of Directors of the Kamloops Hospital and had recently chaired a public meeting aimed at establishing a hospital in Vernon. After the meeting a newspaper reporter wrote: “The directors of the Okanagan Land and Development Company at the insistence of Mr. Price Ellison, decided to grant an entire block … on seventh street, on the south side of Swan Lake, as a site for the proposed local hospital, in lieu of the three lots formally donated by them for the same purpose.” The two-and-a-half-acre parcel in question was adjacent to Ellison’s property to the east. Ellison did not stop there to improve his land value. One year later his newspaper reported “the old school building was purchased from the government by Mr. Price Ellison who had it removed from the school grounds to a lot of his adjoining it.” Ellison not only sat as the chair of the local school board at the time, but his wife initially ran the school when it was built ten years earlier. Then in 1908, the Conservative backbencher convinced the McBride government to release funds to build a new high school at the same location as the old school. Later that year Ellison sold his land to a developer and two weeks after the sale the developer’s subdivided property appeared in his newspaper promoting the fact that the high school and hospital were located nearby. Ellison’s greatest legacy to Okanagan Valley residents dealt with his tenacious support of irrigation. Once again Ellison had an interest in this scheme to make money for himself, however, he realized that the community could also prosper converting from wheat and rangeland to orchards. By 1907, Ellison’s eight years of lobbying as a backbencher in Victoria started paying off. After a dramatic address in the Legislature when he showed off fruit grown from his orchard showing the merits of irrigation, $5,000 was committed toward a commission to investigate different schemes. It took Ellison eleven years of service and winning re-election three times before Premier McBride gave him a cabinet position. While as backbencher his only major accomplishment involved the 1908 Commission report on irrigation and the new Vernon High School. Five years after the Commission report Ellison now held the portfolio of Finance and Agriculture Minister. However, despite this he could still not convince McBride and other politicians to settle the irrigation question satisfactorily. Ellison informed the Western Canada Irrigation Association Convention in 1913 about the Commission but could not influence policy on his word alone. He took a chance the Royal Commission on Agriculture would support the concept of government paying for irrigation. Ellison wanted the government to pay for the total cost of surveying and constructing irrigation works and then to tax orchardists for the works for the first ten years. Afterwards, ownership of the system would revert to the orchardists with fees paid to a taxation district. Ellison acknowledged, “… the initial cost if undertaken by the government might be greater than if performed by a private company, but the cost would be nothing compared with the extra taxes they would derive from the land after the water was put onto it.” Ellison may have felt his political peers were discriminating against him because of the location of the riding. He said, “… the government of the day was spending thousands of dollars in dyking land [in the lower mainland] to keep water off, and [added] they could very well afford to spend very much more in putting water on the land, for the returns would be much greater.” In fact, by 1915 the Provincial Secretary’s office responded to petitions from the lower mainland farmers urging the province to maintain and administer dyking and draining infrastructure in their areas by doing just that. Ellison knew he had to get the government on board with this idea because he and other orchardists could not make money if they had to pay and maintain the infrastructure themselves. Ellison told irrigation officials and farmers, “… the scheme is so large that private capital cannot take care of it [and] these companies have found it a greater undertaking than they thought.” Concurring with this was the Kelowna Land and Orchard Company (KLO) which controlled the shares of the South Kelowna Land Company (SKL). Another obstacle for Ellison was the lack of available labour for working an orchard. Prior to and throughout World War I, limited farm labour existed in the valley. For Ellison and other orchardists there would have been no point in converting their farmland to orchard when there was no labour available to help with the harvest. Ellison himself found the current farm hands were not competent. In 1909 a neighbour of Ellison’s successfully sued him for $470 in damages after a fire spread out of control while his hired men were clearing land. The state of the orchard on Ellison’s property near Swan Lake was beginning to decline and becoming infested with insects. In 1910, Ellison was able to get away from the political life and the pressures involved and spend some time in the mountains of Vancouver Island. On June 2 of that year, McBride had placed a reserve on a large triangle of land (seven hundred and eighty-five square miles) in the centre of Vancouver Island for Government purposes, primarily as a park. On 5 July, twenty-three members of the 1910 Exploratory Survey Trip led by Price Ellison, and including his twenty-year-old daughter Myra, left Victoria for Campbell River. Their ultimate goal was to climb Crown Mountain and explore the natural features of what was to become in 1911 Strathcona Provincial Park, the first provincial park in British Columbia. The beginning of the end for Price Ellison took place in the late days of February in 1915. At this time, he sat on the board of directors of Vancouver’s Dominion Trust Company. This brokerage firm dealt with mortgages, stocks, bonds, insurance, and sold and purchased real estate. That month, Lands Minister W.R. Ross came under heavy fire for selling public land at low prices to speculators, namely Dominion Trust. A backbencher also asked Ellison about the sale of livestock from the government’s Colony Farm near Coquitlam in 1912 and he confessed he purchased the animals, and later that he was associated with Dominion Trust. Days passed and Ellison refused to resign or explain his actions beyond the question asked in the Legislature. The editor of the Vancouver Sun found this unacceptable and wrote a biting remark in the paper. The next day Ellison stood up in the Legislature to give a full explanation of the livestock purchase but not his role in the Dominion Trust Scandal because the former was less damning. Ellison then resigned as Finance and Agriculture Minister as Premier McBride dissolved the Legislature. The bitterest irony that Ellison had to live with happened two weeks later when the government ordered a Finance ministry engineer to conduct a report on the physical and financial conditions of the irrigation projects of the province. It was eventually recommended that the government pay for and maintain works through irrigation districts, something Ellison had always promoted and which would have, not coincidently, made him a rich man. As the election approached in the fall of 1916, much of Ellison’s landholdings were in jeopardy. Ellison became President of the Dominion Trust in 1916 and made the fatal mistake in pledging his landholdings “as security to the bank in order to keep the company going as the other partners were unable to come up with the money.” In November a legal notice appeared in his newspaper, the Vernon News, stating that the banks had seized most of his property as collateral from the bankrupt Dominion Trust Company. Politically the news was worse two months earlier when he lost his Okanagan riding to the Liberal Dr. K.C. MacDonald. The Liberals then swept the scandal-ridden Conservatives under McBride out of power. Ellison now only possessed his Vernon home and little more than two hundred and seventy-one acres which were held under his son’s name during the liquidation. Ellison tried to make a political comeback again as a Conservative in the 1920 elections but disarray within the party caused Ellison to back out. In 1924, he created his own party and ran as leader; however, he finished third in balloting. Life became bleaker for Ellison. In 1925 he suffered a stroke from which he would never recover. In 1931, the upper portion of his Vernon house sustained considerable fire damage which likely was a contributing factor to his ultimate death. Price Ellison passed away in Vernon Jubilee Hospital of bronchial pneumonia on 12 December 1932. Price Ellison’s contribution to the Okanagan Valley was immense, not just through his community involvement, but also in advocating lasting contributions such as government subsidized irrigation infrastructure for the valley. However, one must keep in perspective what motivated Ellison to do these things. He espoused how his actions benefited the community or Okanagan society, however, under examination, his actions mirrored that of other politicians of his time; men who used their office, whether at the local or senior level, for financial gain.
Frederick Barrington Elworthy (1854 – 1927) was born in Taunton, Devonshire, England on November 13,1854. He apprenticed in the dry goods trade in London and in 1872 went to India where he managed a tea plantation. In 1886, he migrated to San Francisco as a tea merchant and then moved to Victoria in 1889 to work for Joshua Davies as an auctioneer. Soon after he married Clara Emma Richardson and they had four children. From 1890 to 1914, he was employed as secretary of the British Columbia Board of Trade and continued as city secretary/treasurer from 1914 to 1920 when this board became the Victoria Chamber of Commerce. He was at the same time secretary of the Lumber Mills and Wholesale Grocers’ Association. Early in the century he had helped with the negotiations for building the Empress Hotel. Frederick Elworthy Sr. passed away on 17 June 1927.
William Montgomery Everall (1873 – 1942) was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, on 29 November 1873. His father was a coffee planter and British Consul, and his mother a Scotswoman. William was educated in England as an electrical engineer with the P. & O. Company and in 1902 became chief electrical engineer for Hong Kong Power Co. in China. In 1908, he came to Canada as a construction engineer with the Canadian National Railway. He was appointed to the Dominion Government Works Dept. at Port Arthur and was such until 1914 when he was commissioned a captain in the Canadian Cyclist Corps, a bicycle-mounted army battalion, and almost immediately went to France from which in 1917 he was invalided back to Port Arthur. Next year he was transferred to Victoria where he remained with the Dominion Public Works Dept. until his retirement in 1934. At the outbreak of W.W.II he tried to enlist and in October 1941 was appointed to a position in the naval service in Esquimalt. In 1910, he married Ellen (Nellie) Macoun, Arthur Wheeler’s sister-law, and they had one daughter Eleanor. Nellie passed away in August 1923. William was a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada where he took an active role on the executive committee. William Everall passed away in Victoria on 18 June 1942 (obituary in The Daily Colonist June 19, 1942, p.14.)
Marjorie Mary Winifrede Feilding (1892 – 1956) was born on 4 September 1892, to Rudolph and Lady Celicia Mary Feilding (Clifford). Marjorie was the fifth born of ten children. In 1913 Feilding, along with her father Rudolph Feilding, Sir James Siverwright, Herbert Latilla, Major Frank Johnson and his brother Harry who was a mining engineer, and several local consultants, and Alberni’s MLA John Cory Wood, came out to Vancouver Island and climbed Big Interior Mountain to inspect the Ptarmigan Mine on its summit. She was the second woman to ascend a major peak on the island after Myra Ellison in 1910. Her climb was the first female ascent of Big Interior Mountain and a satellite summit was named Marjorie’s Load (although unofficial and unromantic) after her. She married Captain Edward Dudley Hanley on January 18, 1915, and had one daughter. They divorced in 1923 and she married Captain Robert Arthur Heath on 8 February 1923. Lady Marjorie Feilding passed away in 1956.
Rudolph Robert Basil Aloysius Augustine Feilding (1859 – 1939) was born on May 26, 1859 and inherited the title 9th Earl of Denbigh and 8th Earl of Desmond. The title Earl of Denbigh was created in the Peerage of England in 1632 for William Feilding, Viscount Fielding. Since 1675 it has been held jointly with the Irish Earldom of Desmond. Feilding married Cecilia Mary Clifford on September 24, 1884, and together they had ten children. Rudolph Feilding joined the British Army in 1878 and from 1882 to 1883 he served in the Egyptian Campaign where he received the Egyptian Medal and clasp for the battle at Tel-el-Kebir. In 1884, he served in India. In 1913 Feilding, along with his daughter Lady Marjorie, Sir James Siverwright, Herbert Latilla, Major Frank Johnson and his brother Harry who was a mining engineer, and several local consultants, and Alberni’s MLA John Cory Wood, came to Vancouver Island and climbed Big Interior Mountain to inspect the Ptarmigan Mine on its summit. Feilding was one of the members of a small group of international investors who had purchased the copper/gold claim. He was a Director/Chairman of a number of businesses including the London Joint City and Midland Bank, Equitable Life Assurance and Rio Tinto Company, and he was a director, along with the mining baron Herbert Latilla, of the Indo Burma Oilfields in 1920. Rudolph Feilding passed away on 25 November 25 1939.
James Fletcher (1852 – 1908) was born near Rochester, Kent, England, on 28 March 1852. He began work as a clerk at the Bank of British North America in London, and was transferred to the Montreal branch in 1874 and the Ottawa branch in 1875. In 1876, he began work as an assistant in the Library of Parliament and discovered an interest in botany and entomology. He was one of the founding members of the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club and a president of the Ottawa Horticultural Society. He was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 1885. Fletcher established a national reporting system to help identify and control the spread of insects and weeds harmful to agriculture. In 1887, he became the first Dominion Entomologist and Botanist attached to the Central Experimental Farm. He helped set up measures to control the spread of plant diseases and harmful insects from both within and outside Canada. He was a founder of the American Association of Economic Entomologists, now the Entomological Society of America, and a fellow of the Linnean Society of London. Fletcher also initiated the Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids, and Nematodes (CNC). Besides his contributions to scientific journals and bulletins published by the Dept. of Agriculture and Agri-Food, he published with George H. Clark, The Farm Weeds of Canada in 1906. James Fletcher passed away in Montreal on 24 November (obituary in the Montreal Gazette November 24, 1908, p.14.) The Fletcher Wildlife Garden at the Central Experimental Farm, Ottawa, was named after him. On February 15, 2016, Fletcher was designated a National Historic Person. A federal historical marker reflecting that status was unveiled on 9 November 2017, at the Experimental Farm.
Herbert Otto Frind (1887 – 1961) was born in Toronto in 1887, but most of his schooling took place in Leipzig, Germany. Afterwards he joined his father in Bradford, Yorks, and then in 1907 returned to Toronto to live with his grandparents and joined a trust company. In this mercantile setting he acquired that interest in finance and administration which carried him on a business life of close association with the social sciences, and the subjects of citizenship and education; in these subjects he became very active in the way of planning and development of fields both numerous and varied. In 1909, Frind accompanied his grandmother on a visit to New Zealand. He found much delight in the scenery and in the people and did not return to Canada until 1911, the interval being filled with extensive visits to countries of the Orient. In 1912, he paid his first visit to the Canadian Rockies and attended the ACC camp at Vermillion Pass where he graduated to active membership by climbing No 3 (Ten Peaks). In August of that year he joined the ACCVI expedition to Strathcona Provincial Park where the party made the first ascent of Elkhorn Mountain. Frind documented this expedition with a series of wonderful photographs. These experiences instilled in him the early passion for the outdoors and of the mountains which became so ruling an interest in his subsequent life In 1913, he climbed extensively in England, Germany and the Rockies, acquiring the technique and competence of a first rate mountaineer, and in the winter of that year, accompanied by the well-known guide Conrad Kain, voyaged to New Zealand. There these two achieved a considerable number of ascents in the Southern Alps, many of them first ascents. Frind joined Albert MacCarthy and Professor W.E. Stone in 1915 in a summer of climbs, explorations and photography which included the Bugaboos. In 1916, he was again in the Rockies, but having been commissioned at Toronto in the 36th Peel Regiment his talents were requisitioned for organization work on the Victory Loan and other war work. He found time for a visit to the Rockies in 1917 but thereafter became much involved in questions of Government financing and other public operations and this year marked his last actual participation in climbing. In 1918, he married and moved to Vancouver. Herbert Frind passed away in Toronto on 15 April 1961 (obituary in the Canadian Alpine Journal Vol. 45, 1962, p.166-168.)
John Preston Forde (1873 – 1946) was born in Belfast, Ireland on 8 March 1873. He was engaged in surveying and engineering work in British Columbia from 1891: Resident engineer in charge of Mountain Division of CPR, 1904-1911; Assistant Public Works engineer, B.C., 1911-1912; District engineer, Department of Public Works of Canada, in charge of work on inland waters of B.C., 1912-1921; Department of Public Works in charge of work on B.C. tidal waters and B.C. & Yukon Territory rivers, 1921 to date; vice-president of the Alpine Club of Canada, 1910-1914 – has made many ascents of peaks in the Canadian Rockies and Selkirk mountains and the B.C. Coast Range; has made a number of contributions to literature on B.C. mountains; had charge of the construction of Victoria’s Esquimalt Dry Dock for Department of Public Works; member of Engineering Institute of Canada and Professional Engineers Association of B.C. He passed away in Esquimalt on 27 February 1946.
William “Billy” Wasborough Foster (1875 – 1954) was born in Bristol, England in 1875 and educated at Wycliffe College, Gloucestershire. In 1892, Foster immigrated to Canada to work as an engineer for the Canadian Pacific Railroad in Revelstoke. In 1905, he became a Justice of the Peace and then in 1908 the Police Magistrate in Revelstoke. Foster entered the Parliament of British Columbia as Deputy Minister of Public Works in 1910. It was under his energetic administration that British Columbia gained a Dominion-wide reputation for the efficiency of its highway system. In 1913, Foster was elected a member of the B.C. Legislature. In 1914, he enrolled for service as Captain Foster of the Canadian Mounted Rifles. He became an infantry battalion commander in 1917. After four years’ service in France, Foster returned to British Columbia with three wounds and five ‘mentions’. He received the Distinguished Service Order with two bars, the Military Cross and both the French and Belgian Croix de Guerre and is said to have refused the Victoria Cross for gallantry when commanding the 52nd Ontario Battalion on Paschendaele Ridge, requesting that it should go instead to one of his officers. On his return to Canada, he was appointed Honorary Colonel of the 15th Battalion Canadian Artillery and became President of an engineering firm. He was also the Honorary Aide-de-Camp to three Governor-Generals, President of the Canadian Legion, the Canadian National Parks Association and the Alpine Club of Canada from 1920 to 1924. In 1935, he was appointed chief of the Vancouver City police department. In 1937, Foster returned to Europe in charge of a large Canadian contingent which was attending the dedication to the Canadian War Memorial on Vimy Ridge. Foster again served his country during World later was promoted to the rank of Major-General War II and was appointed chairman of the Canadian Officers’ Selection Board. For his services he received the Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (C.M.G.). However, it was as a mountaineer the Billy Foster first gained national and international fame, when in 1913 when he made the first ascent of Mount Robson and in 1925 made the first ascent of Canada’s highest mountain, Mount Logan. Although he will be remembered for those two ascents, he is also remembered on Vancouver Island as the man who initiated and organized the logistics for the ACC expedition to the newly established Strathcona Provincial Park. This expedition made the first ascent of Elkhorn Mountain, the Strathcona Matterhorn in August 1912. Foster couldn’t participate in the climb, but in his honour they named a peak, Mount Colonel Foster near the head of the Elk River, after him. In 1934, Foster was awarded the Silver Rope Award for Leadership from the ACC. William Foster passed away in Vancouver on 2 December 1954 (obituary in the Canadian Alpine Journal Vol. 38, 1955, p.52-52. and the Wycliffe Star Gloucestershire, England, September-December 1955, p.10.) At the time he was the Honorary President of the Alpine Club of Canada. “General Foster had every manly quality to command the respect and willing obedience of his officers and the admiration of the public. In addition, he possessed that subtle presence by which a gentleman may be identified. All who knew him are proud to do him honour.”
Cecil Selwyn Frampton (1897 – 1990) was born in Bournemouth England on 28 July 1897. He was the youngest of 7 children born to Albert and Maud Frampton. In February 1907, the family took the Empress of Ireland to St. John, New Brunswick and made their way by train across Canada, settling on Dallas Road in Victoria. Cecil attended South Park School and was a student at University School from 1912 to 1914. He then obtained a position as clerk in the Imperial Bank and in 1915 he enlisted with the 88th Battalion and was stationed at the Willows Camp until May 23, 1916 when he left with his unit for France. In June 1919 he returned to Victoria and took a business course with Sprott Shaw. He also ran a Cub pack and then a Scout troop. In 1920 he took an engineering job with the C.P.R. He became secretary for the Boy Scouts Association and by 1926 he worked for a firm called Direct Trading. He later became an Edgerman [a sawing machine setter and operator] at Lemon, Gonnason & Co., a Victoria lumber mill. In 1937, Cecil became an Assistant Forest Ranger in the Duncan Division and in 1938 was promoted to Ranger. In 1957, he became the fire control officer and advisor for Canadian Forest Products in the Nimpkish Valley. In 1963, he married Diane Poulin. He retired in 1967 and moved to White Rock, B.C. Cecil Frampton passed away on 26 June 1990.
Selim Franklin (1814 – 1884) was born in Liverpool, England in 1814 to an English-Jewish family. He was a son of Lewis Franklin, a Liverpool banker, and Miriam Abraham. Selim emigrated from England on the St. George in October 1849 to San Francisco for the California Gold Rush where he opened a store. During that time he became interested in chess and eventually became a world-ranked player (108th) and in 1858 he became the president of the California Chess Congress. Following a fire in his store in San Francisco in 1858, Selim moved to Victoria with his older brother Lumley and established Franklin & Company, Auctioneers and Land Agents, at the foot of Yates Street. In 1859, Selim turned his attention to politics and the following year was elected to the second Legislative Assembly of Vancouver Island. This triggered a tirade by Alfred Waddington who complained bitterly that Franklin was incapable of taking the oath of the office “on the true faith of a Christian.” Chief Justice David Cameron ended a lengthy debate with a legal ruling which cited precedents for oaths being taken by Jews and other non-Christians. Selim’s political stands were not always popular, and he vehemently opposed to the proposed Union of Vancouver Island and the mainland colony, believing that the Island would suffer. When the two colonies did combine in 1866 Selim resigned from the Legislature and returned to San Francisco. That year his brother Lumley was elected as the second Mayor of Victoria. The brothers were founders and executive members of the Victoria Philharmonic Society and both sang in musical performances. Selim achieved the title of Esquire and was a member of the Freemason Lodge in Victoria. On 29 April 1864, Selim became the chairman of the Vancouver Island Exploring Committee which saw Robert Brown elected as the expedition leader. Selim was assisted by George Cruikshank, another prominent Victoria businessman, whom the Cruikshank River and Canyon are named after near Comox Lake. The Franklin River on Vancouver Island south of Port Alberni is named for him. Selim Franklin passed away in 1885.
Henry Richmond Gale (1866 – 1930) was born on 16 April 1866 in Lancashire, England where the family lived at Bardsea Hall, Ulverstone. He was educated at Elstree and at Harrow School in Middlesex and was in the Shooting VIII for two years. Gale attended the Royal Military College in Woolich where he obtained a commission in the Royal Engineers in 1885. He soon went to South African, and his work there and knowledge of the languages caused him to be sent out later, just before the outbreak of the Boer War, in which he acted as Intelligence Officer in Rimington’s Corps of Guides obtaining two brevets and two medals with ten clasps. In 1903, he married Kathleen Villiers-Stuart and they had three children: Kathleen, Lois and Ethne. Kathleen married John Mark Alexander Colville, 4th Viscount Colville of Culross who had the family estate in Saanich called ‘Point Colville’ while Ethne married Major Rex Gibson. Henry Gale later served in India where he had the opportunity to visit Kashmir and travelled to Tibet. In the Great War he was in France at Ypres and Flanders. He was invested as a Companion, Order of St. Michael and St. George (C.M.G.) in 1916 and was Assistant Director of Works, 1916-17, and chief engineer, 1917-18. He retired with the rank of Brigadier-General and in 1919, and moved to Victoria on Vancouver Island where he built a neo-tudor manor house called ‘Bardsey’. His travels took him to Norway, Italy, Morocco, Japan, New Zealand and Fiji. While in South Africa and India he explored the two countries extensively and was involved with big game hunting. Once in Canada, Henry Gale joined the Alpine Club of Canada and attended a number of Annual Summer camps in the Rockies. The Rogers Pass Camp of 1929 was the last he attended but his health, which was already failing, suffered in the inclement weather experienced and he had to leave early. Henry Gale passed away on 29 July 1930 in Victoria (obituary in the Daily Colonist 30 July 1930, p.5 & 18. and in The Times of London 1 August 1930, p.16.) He was laid to rest in the little Churchyard of St. Stephen’s, Mount Newton and his headstone is a boulder from his own hillside. Lindley Crease wrote: “Members will recall his lithe, active figure, his quiet, modest manner, his interesting conversation on worldwide experiences, and his intelligent enquiring mind, which sought knowledge about what he observed, and his delight in the rugged scenery around him.”
Ethne Evelyn Mary Gale-Gibson (1912 – 1997) was born on April 4, 1912 to Brigadier General Henry and Kathleen Gale and lived in Bardsea Hall near the Lake District of England where she grew up with her two sisters: Kathleen Myrtle and Lois Margaret. (Lois married Ronald Scott-Moncreiff and their son Nigel Scott-Moncrief was with Rex Gibson and Mark Mitchell on the 1953 ACCVI trip to Big Interior Mountain.) The family emigrated to Victoria in 1919. When she was ten  she participated in an ACCVI trip to Mt. Arrowsmith with her father and other notable Victoria climbers. In the 1930’s Ethne began exploring the Sooke Hills which led her to bigger mountains. In 1936, she attended the annual summer camp of the ACC in the Fryatt Valley and graduated to active membership by climbing a 10,000-foot peak. Through the ACC camps Ethne met Evelyn “Rex” Gibson and they began sharing the rope. During WWII she returned to England and by the end of the war was running the women’s half of a mixed army ambulance unit in the northwest of England. After the war Ethne and Rex returned to Canada and continued climbing together including ascents of Mt. Andromeda, Biddle, Athabasca, Brazeau, Resplendent, Howser Spire and the President. However, it was her climb of Bugaboo Spire in 1946 with Rex and Bob Hind that she considered the best climb she ever did. She often said “With Rex, you always knew you would be back in camp in time for dinner.” On 12 June 1948 were married. They lived at first in Edmonton but moved to “Bardsey,” the Gale family’s neo-tudor manor near Saanichton in 1948. She lived there until 1957 when Rex died in a mountaineering accident. Ethne moved to a house in Victoria where she resided with her daughter Kathleen Ethne Violet Gibson. Although her trips to the mountains decreased her love for them and the flora and fauna remained as strong as ever. Ethne Gibson passed away on 11 May 1997 (a remembrance in the Canadian Alpine Journal Vol. 87, 2004, p.144-145.) On a plaque in her memory at the ACC Wares-Gibson hut in the Tonquin Valley there is a line from Tennyson’s Ulysses: “All experience is an arch wherethro’ gleams that untravelled worlds.”
Evelyn Reginald “Rex” Gibson (1892 – 1957) was born at Hatfield Peveril in Essex, England on 7 November 1892. He was educated at Mowden Preparatory School and at Sherbourne School. At sixteen he went to work in a private bank in Paris, belonging to his family. This bank was later absorbed by Lloyds and after the war he served with the later in Cologne and Antwerp. He was fluent in French and German and was always happy to converse with the guides and others in these languages. Gibson enlisted in the Artillery in September 1914, and received his commission in November, 1914. He saw action at Ypres, the Somme and Cambrai, and was appointed Staff Captain Royal Artillery III Corps, in January 1917. He was awarded the Military Cross and was three times mentioned in dispatches. In July 1926, Gibson immigrated to Canada and started farming at Winterburn near Edmonton in 1927. As a farmer he was able to arrange things so that he had the winters and summers available to climb and ski in the mountains. Prior to coming to Canada Rex Gibson had made a few climbs in Switzerland, the notable one being a winter ascent of the Jungfrau during a ski tour in January 1925, however, once in the mountains of Canada he rapidly came to the forefront of mountaineering with his unique ability and skills. He was instrumental in introducing many young boys to the mountains especially through the Boy Scouts and he was also a very strong and fast climber and if he chose very few could keep up with him. During his thirty years of mountaineering in Western Canada he made over two hundred climbs, including many first ascents and in 1934 Gibson was awarded the Silver Rope Award for Leadership from the ACC. In 1936, he climbed Mount Clemenceau and Mount Robson with Sterling Hendricks and then in 1937 they climbed Mount Columbia and Twin North. Gibson later wrote: “It was a source of great satisfaction to Sterling and me that we made mountaineering history by being the first climbers ever to complete the ascent of all four 12,000-foot peaks in the Rockies.” In between climbing Clemenceau and Robson, Gibson, Sterling and Dr. Max Strumia made an unsuccessful attempt on Brussels Peak. This was considered the “last unclimbable” peak in the Rockies and finally fell, ten days later, to Robin “Bob” Hind and Ferris Neave. In 1938 Gibson climbed Mount Forbes and South Twin and in 1939 with Sterling Hendricks, Hans Fuhrer and Henry Hall he visited the Coast Mountains and made several first ascents including Mount Tiedemann. Then in 1946 he was the first Canadian since Conrad Kain to ascend Bugaboo Spire. Along with many ACC summer camps he played a major role in the development and management of the ACC’s winter ski camps. When W.W.II broke-out, Gibson rejoined the army in February 1941 with the Royal Canadian Artillery and was promoted to Major in 1944. During this period of service, he was Canadian Military Representative with the U.S. Army’s Mount McKinley expedition in 1942 to test cold weather equipment; was instructor at the Little Yoho Military Camp in 1943 when a number of members of the ACC gave instructions in mountaineering to an army group, and took part in the Lovat Scout training in Jasper Park in the winter of 1943-44. Gibson was injured during the McKinley expedition and was discharged from the army with a pension. On June 12, 1948, he married Ethne Gale, the daughter of Brigadier-General Henry Gale and Kathleen Jane Villiers-Stuart, and they had one child: Kathleen Gibson. Rex Gibson sold the farm near Edmonton and moved to Saanichton near Victoria where he joined the Vancouver Island section of the ACC. Together, they climbed a number of peaks on the island including Mount Whymper in 1949 and in 1953 he co-led an ACCVI trip to Big Interior Mountain with Mark Mitchell that included a young and energetic Syd Watts. In 1954, Gibson made his first attempt on the unclimbed Mount Howson in the Buckley Range near Terrace but was unsuccessful and returned again in 1955 and 1956. On August 18, 1957, Rex Gibson returned for the fourth time with Sterling Hendricks and Don Hubbard. While cutting steps up a gully Gibson fell and pulled the others with him. Eventually they came to a stop. All of them were injured, however, Gibson’s injuries proved to be fatal although at the time he was semiconscious. Hendricks went to get help but it was two days before they returned and by then Gibson was dead. He was sixty-four years old (obituary in the Canadian Alpine Journal Vol. 41. 1958. p.111-113.) A close climbing friend, Bob Hind wrote, “Rex’s love for the mountains was more than a hobby; it became a passion which he was ever willing and eager to share with others.” Rex was serving his second term as ACC President at the time of his death. In July 1959, the ACC sent an expedition to build a memorial on the mountain to Gibson. After building a solid rock cairn housing a bronze plaque at the South Col, Adolf Bitterlich, John Owen and Bill Lash turned their attention to Mount Howson eventually making the first ascent to honour their fallen friend.
John Sumner Townsend Gibson (1915 – 2014) was born at Sproughton near Ipswich in Suffolk, England on 1 August 1915 and from an early age enjoyed walking and scrambling in the hills, however, in his late teens he found rock climbing and began visiting crags in the Lake District, North Wales, Skye and the West Highlands of Scotland. Gibson went on to Oxford University where he obtained a B.A (which was later converted to M.A.) in Zoology and joined the Oxford University Mountaineering Club. In 1936 John’s aunt met the leader of an expedition to Greenland with the Oxford University Exploration Club and was told there were two biologists going and they wanted a third. Although Gibson was not a member of the club he received and accepted an invitation to join them that summer. The following three summer’s holidays were spent climbing in the Alps. In 1937, he went to Courmayeur and climbed the Aiguille du Geant with a guide, then to Cogne in the Italian Alps and with a guide, his aunt and sister climbed Erbetet, Grand Paradise with a guide, and then Grivola (guideless) with his sister Helen. In 1938 he went to Finhaut and climbed Aiguille du Tour, and in Arolla climbed Pigne d’Arolla, Eveque and the dent Perroc, all according to John relatively easy guideless climbs. In 1939 he went to the French Alps and attempted the Ecrins but was turned back by steep ice and difficult climbing. In Chamonix the trip was cut short by impending war. That year John joined the Alpine Club (UK, of which his father and one grandfather had both been members) and stayed a member until 1970. In 1940, Gibson joined the RAF and was trained as pilot and flying instructor. His posting in Carlisle allowed him to climb in the Lake District and then the Highlands on weekends while stationed in Perth (Scotland). In 1942 he was posted to Alberta where he first went to Pearce near Fort McLeod and then de Winton south of Calgary. During his journey from Pearce to de Winton, Gibson and an RAF friend, detoured through Kootenay Park and bivouacked by Floe Lake. John then climbed Foster Peak solo. This was probably the first ascent from Floe Lake. Before leaving England he met with his Godfather, the respected mountaineer R.L.G. Irving, who gave him an introduction to Arthur O Wheeler. He thereafter had a standing invitation to visit Wheeler and his wife at Banff whenever on leave. That year (1942) Arthur Wheeler invited Gibson as a weekend guest to the ACC camp and it was there he met Eric Brooks, the ACC President at the time. At the camp he also met John Wheeler, Arthur’s Wheeler’s grandson, who was spending his summer holidays with his grandfather, and he and Gibson became regular climbing partners whenever possible during Gibson’s wartime posting in Canada. The following year Eric Brook’s invited him to attend the ACC camp at Little Yoho. Although he only had two weeks leave from the RAF, it was extended to three by helping to teach reluctant Army conscripts to climb. At the camp he also met Rusty Westmorland who was in charge of the packtrain that took supplies into the camp. After the 1943 military camp Gibson planned a climb of Mount Hector with John Wheeler, Henry Hall Jr. and Rex Gibson, but they woke up to a flat tire in his car and decided not to continue along the 100 miles of gravel road any further. Gibson continued to climb and ski in the Rockies whenever he had leave and many ascents were with John Wheeler. Some of their climbs included Mount Norquay, Mount Louis and Mount Edith via the South Ridge which John believes was before Bob Hind’s official first ascent of the route. Gibson also made a solo ascent of Mount Fifi. John Gibson returned to England in December 1944 and married Mary Williams. He was released from the RAF in December 1945 and returned to Canada in 1947 with his family. As immigrants they had to be sponsored into Canada and Arthur Wheelers widow Emily agreed to sign the papers for them. After spending a few days in Banff they went on to Vancouver and stayed with Eric Brooks. Eric suggested Ferris Neave, who he had met at the Little Yoho camp in 1943, might help Gibson get a job. With an honours degree in Zoology, Neave was able to help Gibson obtained a position as a junior fisheries biologist at the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo. However, while working up the coast near Bella Bella he observed that fishing seemed to be more profitable than biology. With his adventurous wife and infant son, he bought a small gillnet-troller and set out with four months leave of absence in the summer of 1948. Although fishing was fun it was not very profitable but he quit his reliable government job and trolled for salmon from 1948 to 1967. At this time he resigned from the ACC because there was no time or funds to attend club camps. In 1952, the Gibson’s built a house at Kyuquot and lived there till 1967. In 1967, Gibson took time off fishing to go to the second general mountaineering camp of the Yukon Alpine Centennial Expedition. Although he was still not a member of ACC, he had kept in touch with Eric Brooks over the years, and at his suggestion Gibson applied and was accepted on the expedition and enjoyed leading the less ambitious climbs. John Gibson retired from fishing in 1967 and moved to the Duncan where he built a house. After moving to Duncan, Gibson rejoined the Alpine Club of Canada and resumed climbing. It was on a combined Island Mountain Ramblers and ACC Vancouver Island Section trip to Mount Cokely that John met Syd Watts. After that Watts and Gibson started a climbing partnership that continued for the next thirty years. Together they made first recorded ascents of the following peaks on Vancouver Island: Mount Abel, Mount Hapush, Watchtower Peak, Malaspina Peak, Bonanza Peak, Mount Alston, Mount Romeo and Mount Adrian. They also explored many other areas which have been well documented in Gibson’s diaries, and Vancouver Island Section trip reports during the 1970’s and 80’s. In 1974, John Gibson became the Chairman of the Vancouver Island section for one year. John Gibson passed away in Duncan in 2014.
David Armitage Gillies (1882 – 1967) was born in Carleton Place in 1882 to Mr. and Mrs. James Gillies. He was educated in Carleton Place and in 1901 enrolled as an undergraduate at Queen’s University in the Faculty of Art and graduated as Bachelor of Arts in 1905. In 1947 he was elected by the graduates to the Board of Trustees at Queen’s University and was a member at the time of his death. In 1951, he was appointed to the Investment Committee of the Board, serving actively until 1965 when he was unable to attend further meetings of the Committee. David Gillies entered the family lumbering business, and insisted on learning the operation from the “ground up”. Beginning as a clerk in the lumber camps at Gillies Depot, in the Cobalt District, he was one of the last to experience life in the old “camoose” lumber camps. He also rode one of the last rafts to go down the Ottawa River, through the Chat’s Falls to the lower reaches of the river. He later went to the Braeside headquarters of the firm, where his grandfather, John Gillies, had moved the lumber business he founded near Lanark in 1842. In 1943, Gillies Brothers published a history of the firm “One Hundred Years A-Fellin”. At Braeside, he occupied various office and executive posts and served as President of the firm (Gillies Brothers & Co. Ltd.) from 1938 to 1958. He was also the Chairman of the Board until his retirement in 1961. The company reached the status of one of greatest lumber producers in Canada and was sold in 1963 to Consolidated-Bathurst Limited. A leader in his field David Gillies served in top executive capacities in many lumbering organizations, provincially and nationally. He was President of the Canadian Lumberman’s Association for the year 1945-1946 and was the first recipient of the CLA Wood Award. He also presided over the Canadian Institute of Forestry and served as a director of the Quebec and Ontario Forests Industries Associations, and of the Upper Ottawa Improvement Company. In community service endeavours David Gilles was a former Board Chairman and a Charter Member of the Board of Arnprior and District Memorial Hospital and later, he fostered both personally and financially, the development of the Arnprior and District Museum and Arnprior Library. In 1965 he was honoured as “Arnprior’s Citizen of the Year” by the Eastern Ontario Development Council for his “outstanding contribution to his community.” On the mountaineering front, David Gillies was one of the earliest members of the Alpine Club of Canada. In 1907, he attended the club’s second annual camp at Paradise Valley and graduated to active membership with the ascent of Mount Aberdeen. In 1912, he was a member of the ACC trip to Strathcona Provincial Park and made the first ascent of Elkhorn. Unfortunately, Gillies had to lay aside his mountaineering ambitions as the running of the family business took up most of his time and energy. He did, however, attend briefly the club’s Golden Anniversary Camp at Glacier in 1956. David Gillies passed away in Arnprior, Ontario on 3 November 1967 (obituary in the Canadian Alpine Journal Vol. 51, 1968, p.259-261.)
Francis “Frank” Vivian Burland Giolma (1910 – 2005) was born 9 February 1910 in Victoria, to Francis and Ione Marie Giolma. In 1931, Frank drove across the US on his Indian motorcycle to attend Carnegie Tech. A Westinghouse scholar, an avid tennis player, captain of the track team, member of Tau Beta Pi, voted ‘most promising engineer’, he graduated as an electrical engineer in 1935. He married Catherine P. Gunnell on August 20, 1938. Frank earned his law degree while working for Westinghouse and was admitted to practice before the Pennsylvania and US supreme courts. In 1957, he left Westinghouse to work as a patent attorney with IBM in Endicott N.Y. Frank retired from IBM in 1975 and at the age of 90, he and Catherine moved to San Antonio to be near their sons. He passed away on 1 July 2005.
Edward Goodall (1909 – 1982) was born on 3 September 1909 to Mabel and Sydney F. Goodall, barrister, solicitor and Mayor of Wells, Somerset, England. At an early age he showed interest in art but was not encouraged as his father felt it should be left as a hobby. He attended Monmouth College in Wales and while there studied art under the guidance of art master Marcus Holmes. After leaving Monmouth he continued his pursuit of art while his father began guiding him towards a career with the bank. The thought of a banking career did not enthuse Edward so his father took some of his work to Augustus John. John said he had natural talent and should not go to art school but develop his own style. With this in mind he began traveling. In India Goodall got a job as a foreman on a tea plantation and then went on to China and Japan, financing his trip with freelance drawings. He eventually came to Canada and spent the winter cutting ice blocks at Lake Wabamun in Alberta. He continued to draw and sell his work but during the depression years of the 1930’s it was tough. He hired on with a cattle drive across Canada and then by ship to Ireland, its final destination. He then returned to Canada and married Caroline Puckle on 30 October 1937 in Victoria. When war broke out, he enlisted and joined the Royal Engineers, specializing in camouflage of buildings and equipment for the duration. In 1942, he began drawing pen, ink and pencil postcards of Vancouver Island and started the successful “Goodall’s Pencil Postcard Series.” In 1945, he purchased Inchgarth on Wilmot Place in Oak Bay and built his first studio. By this time orders for cards and commercial drawings were coming in steadily and he traveled around Vancouver Island stopping in at auto courts to meet their owners. In no time he was doing drawings of the business using his artist license. Usually, he would sell the original to the owner and then have a small quantity of cards printed. Two of his first large commissions in the late 1940’s and early 50’s were a series of drawings of the pulp mill at Powell River and paintings for the C.P.R. ships. His scenes were always of places people would recognize. The Devonshire Hotel in Vancouver ordered a series of old English Inns and he began doing paintings in water colour of private homes. He had a long-standing association with Canadian Stevedoring where he prepared a series of pencil drawings every year for their calendar. This continued until his death. Edward Goodall continued to get out and promote his work for the most part keeping it commercial as that was where the money was. In the early 1950’s he produced a British Columbia calendar with scenes from the West Coast first in pencil but over the years eventually replaced them with paintings. These were very sought after and sold out quickly. In the meantime he made contact with the Illustrated London News and they quickly commissioned him in 1955 to prepare a series of drawings on the new aluminum smelter project in Kitimat. This led to many other drawings for the publication including a series on education facilities in Canada, scenes for British Columbia’s centennial celebration in 1958 and the Royal Canadian Navy. He was often invited to join the Navy as a guest during exercises which took him to Hawaii and San Francisco. Edward, or Ted as he was often called, was a member of the Alpine Club of Canada and Chairman of the Vancouver Island section for two years; 1959 and 1960. In 1955 he participated in a club trip to Mount Constance near Port Angeles with Geoffrey Capes and his daughter Katherine, Syd Watts, Cyril Jones, Rex Gibson and Ken Stoker. Some of his other ascents were made in the company of Phyllis Munday, Tom Hind, Joe Kato and Mark Mitchell. He went on several ACC summer camps and winter ski camps (Skoki in 1954 and Little Yoho in 1958) in the Canadian Rockies and always made time to make water colour sketches. These subjects inspired him to start production of a calendar of water colour which again was a huge success. It was also at this time that water colour postcards were in demand. He made personal Christmas cards for dozens of people including the Premier of British Columbia, the Lieutenant Governor, the Captain and crew of the Royal Yacht Britannia, and Harold Elworthy, president of the world famous marine and rescue salvage company Island Tug and Barge. He also designed personalized cheques for many prominent Canadians including timber magnate H.R. MacMillan. By now he was very well known and besides his art he was also selling his photography of mountain scenes to post card companies. He won a thunderbird at the Brussels World Fair for colour photography and was continually asked to exhibit his work. Edward was always in good health and very active, always finding time to go hiking and skiing. In the mid 1970’s he was approached by John deJong of Canadian Gallery Prints in Port Moody who eventually became his agent and a very successful series of limited addition prints were issued over a number of years. His work usually sold out in no time. In the early 1980’s he was flown to specific locations in the mountains by helicopter to paint special orders and enjoyed a comfortable life in semi-retirement. Edward Goodall passed away on 12 September 1982 from throat cancer at the age of seventy-three. Following his wishes, the ashes were scattered on a mountain near Banff, a place where many happy holidays were spent with his family. Although not remembered specifically as a mountaineer, Edward Goodall’s art is housed in homes around the world. Sadly, he did not keep a record of all his work or the cards produced and, in many cases, not even one card was kept. Since 1942, it is estimated that over five hundred scenes were made in post cards.
Thomas Henry Standish Goodlake (1911 – 1989) was born on 29 October 1911 in Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland to Thomas “Cappy” and Aline Goodlake who immigrated to Victoria in 1913. He joined the ACCVI in 1930 and in January 1931 was one of the Outings committee members. Later in the year he attended the ACC general summer camp in the Prospector Valley and graduated on Wenkchemna Peak, the 10th peak in The Valley of Ten Peaks. He led trips to Mount Maguire and Mount Jocelyn in 1932 and went on the summer camp at Forbidden Plateau as well as several camps at The Lake of the Seven Hills. During the 1930’s Tom drafted a letter to the Alpine Club stating his idea of a hiking club. This plan did not suit some of the Alpine Club members so he started the Outdoor Club of Victoria. His job too him away from Victoria with the Union Steamships, then up to Dawson Creek and then back to Vancouver with the CPR but he reliably mailed back articles for the ACCVI’s newsletter called the Groundsheet from wherever he was located. In Victoria, he was often seen carrying ten or more passengers on club trips in his yellow 1951 De Soto convertible named “The Banana.” Tom Goodlake was known for his vast repertoire of all the tunes and words by Gilbert and Sullivan. He married Edith Browne on 5 February 1955. and adopted two children. He passed away in Vancouver on 2 September 1989. Obituary in the Vancouver Sun Tuesday September 5, 1989. p.32.
Frederick William Godsal (1853 – 1935) He was the son of the late Philip William Godsal, of Iscoyd Park, Shropshire, England. He was educated at Eton and Oxford. He rowed for Oxford University in the annual boat race against Cambridge University. He traveled extensively and at one time was a coffee planter in Ceylon. He was the first settler to acquire land near Calgary to which he was introduced by Lord Lorne (John Campbell – Governor-General of Canada 1878-1883). He initiated conservation efforts by sending a letter to Ottawa in 1893 recommending that Waterton Lakes in Alberta be set aside as a protected reserve. In 1895, it became Canada’s 4th national park. Godsal went on to live in Victoria for twenty years. He was a keen member of the Alpine Club and in 1919 climbed Mount Arrowsmith with Stanley Baynes when he was 66. He possessed a strong personality, had a great love for the adopted country, was a staunch churchman and a strong British-Israelite. Frederick Godsal passed away on 13 October, 1935 (obituary in The Daily Colonist 15 October 1935, p.18., and the Canadian Alpine Journal 1934/5, Vol. XXIII, p.90-92).
Richard Haliburton Greer (1878 – 1949) was born in Toronto, Ontario in 1878. His father’s family was of Northern Irish ancestry having immigrated to Toronto in 1845. In 1898, he graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He then pursued his legal studies in the Osgoode Hall Law School at York University and was called to the Bar in 1901. He then joined the Law Firm of Smith, Rae and Greer. In 1907, Greer was appointment Crown Attorney for the County of York in Toronto and served in that capacity until 1920. He was created a King’s Counsel (K.C.) in 1921. In January 1916, Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Greer was given command of the 180th Overseas Battalion, which was known as the “Sportsman Battalion.” He used a strategy similar to the one used so successfully by Chadwick’s 124th Battalion whereby he enlisted many Toronto athletes of national and international quality. His Battalion served overseas in the World War and then broke up in 1917, to become part of the Imperial British Army. He was discharged in May 1917, but in September of that year became re-attached to the army, and was in charge of military service in Military Division, No. 2, from October of that year until the close of the war. Greer participated in a number of ACC trips including Mt. Arrowsmith and Mt. Maxwell in the 1920’s. Richard Greer passed away in 1949.
John “Jack” Douglas Gregson (1910 – 2006) was born on 17 June 1910 in Blackfald, Alberta. A few years later the family moved to Courtenay. There his interest in ‘bugs’ established his lifelong association with nature and as a teenager he had amassed an impressive collection of butterflies. He earned his BA at the University of British Columbia (1934), and his Master of Science in Medical Entomology from the University of Alberta (1936), with a thesis entitled: “A Preliminary Study of Tick and Host in Relation to Western Canadian Tick-borne Diseases”. The historical document was noted not only because of its broad scientific scope, but also for some exquisite diagrams, hand-drawn and coloured by Gregson. Following his thesis, Gregson took up a position in the Veterinary and Medical Entomology labs of the Canada Department of Agriculture (now Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada) in Kamloops, where he spent his whole career, serving as the lab’s Director from 1944 to his retirement in 1971. It is also where he met and married Barbara Claxton. His interest in ticks (Acarology) was very broad, including feeding dynamics, host immunity, taxonomy, natural history, morphology/histology and tick paralysis which eventually resulted in many trips throughout the world attending international congresses in Seattle, Vienna, Nairobi, Geneva and Nottingham. This whetted his and Barbara’s appetite for further travels after retirement. It was his interest in tick paralysis associated with the Rocky Mountain wood tick, Dermacentor andersoni, which led him to an observation in 1967 that helped solve a long-time puzzle of tick physiology. Although it had been known for at least two decades that ticks concentrate their blood meal by excretion of excess fluid, the route of this excretion remained an enigma, because most ticks do not excrete urine during and immediately after the feeding period as do blood-sucking insects. It was his observations on tick mouthparts attached to everted hamster cheek pouches that led him to propose salivation as the mechanism of blood meal concentration. This hypothesis, in turn, formed the foundation of new research directions in tick physiology. In order to find a remedy for tick paralysis Gregson investigated the method and specific toxins ticks used. He pioneered a means of collecting tick saliva, (by the thimbleful), for analysis. In order to ascertain how ticks could both suck blood and inject saliva, Gregson cut the tick’s head, about the size of a grain of sand, into over one hundred slices which were then stained to differentiate the tissues. During his career Gregson was invited to address the World Health Organization, and in the U.S., U.K., Austria and Switzerland, to other councils investigating arthropoid-transmitted diseases. He was the U.S. Navy Medical Unit’s consultant on parasitic problems in the Middle East. Scientists from Australia and Egypt visited Gregson at the lab in Kamloops and he traveled to Cairo to advise on methods for tick research there. Jack was once noted to say: “Wood ticks are friendly little creatures. You can get quite attached to them!” Gregson was also a keen naturalist, photographer and artist. In the 1940s, he painted alongside A.Y. Jackson of Canada’s famed Group of Seven and his 1942 painting “Revelation Pass” was judged second-best in show at the Vancouver Art Gallery. In 2004, Jack had his first solo exhibit, in the Kamloops Art Gallery. In 1936, he established the Kamloops Outdoor Club, and in 1970 the Kamloops Naturalist Club. In 2000, Gregson was awarded an Honourary Doctor of Letters degree from the University College of the Cariboo. He has more than 80 scientific publications and had a stonefly, Capnia Gregsoni, named for him, as well as a new species of tick, Ixodes (Pholeoixodes) Gregsoni. Jack Gregson passed away peacefully on 29 October 2006 at his home in Kamloops.
Edward “Ted” James Greig (1892 – 1966) was born in Calcutta, India in 1892. The family moved to Canada and eventually ended up in Courtenay. In 1919, Mary “Peggy” Isobel Sillence (1897 – 1990) moved to the Comox Valley wither family from England where she meet Ted. They were soon married and they started working with the flowering ornamental shrubs especially Rhododendrons at their home in Royston. Over the years they worked with species and developed them to create new hybrids. The Greig’s were the catalyst for introducing countless valuable species to America and Ted participated as a judge at many rhodo shows. Their home was a popular stop over on garden tours. After retiring, the Greig’s performed final acts of service to rhododendron culture by making possible the purchase of their fine collection by the Vancouver Park Board, and by making a generous donation of plants to the University of British Columbia. Ted and Mary received the Gold Medal Award of the American Rhododendron Society. Both Ted and Peggy made many trips into Strathcona Park always on the lookout for species to take home. Peggy often accompanied Ruth Masters and Katherine Capes on trips to the Beaufort Range and Forbidden Plateau. Greig Ridge and Greig Lake between Marble Meadows and Phillips Ridge were named in honor of Ted and adopted on 30 January 1976. Ted passed away on 1 December 1966 in Royston. An obituary was in the Nanaimo Daily News 2 December 1966. p.22.
Alexander “Alec” Hartnell Gunning (1911 – 1998) was born in Rossland, B.C. in 1911. He trained as a dentist and opened a practice in Victoria. He obtained the rank of Major during W.W. II. Gunning was awarded an MBE on September 22, 1945 for services during W.W. II. He married Edith Rose Sophia Gilson (1916 – 2003) in 1950. Dr. Alec Gunning passed away on 13 September 1998 in Victoria.
Charlotte Jessie Bird (nee Marshall) Hadow (1888 – 1935) was born in Mussoorie, India on 18 October 1888 and came to B.C. with her parents while a young girl. At the age of 26 she married Erland Godfrey Hadow on December 26, 1914 in Revelstoke, British Columbia a month after he enlisted at Vancouver. Erland had initially volunteered with the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders, but later joined the 15th Alberta Light Horse. Upon reaching England he obtained a commission in the British Army. Charlotte joined him. She was booked for passage on the Lusitania but had to cancel out. Fortuitous for her as the Lusitania was sunk off the coast of Britain on that occasion. He was eventually promoted to captain and reached France in early 1916. He was awarded the Military Cross “for conspicuous gallantry on many occasions, especially when a covering party having been sent forward came under heavy machine gun fire and wavered. He controlled these men and reorganized the position. His coolness and determination have been an example to all ranks.” Sadly, he was killed in France in 1917. He was a captain in the 17th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment. Charlotte, or “Birdie” as she was affectionately known, moved back to Revelstoke with her young daughter Audrey and then to Oak Bay in Victoria. She was a popular member of the ACCVI, to which she gave enthusiastic and loyal support. She was one of the most active members, attending many outings and camps and took great interest in promoting the clubhouse and camp projects. She had a special interest in photography and her work was singled out for special mention in The Daily Colonist snapshot competitions. In 1935, Charlotte and her daughter traveled in France, Germany and Switzerland taking many photos, some taken while climbing, which she intended to present to the ACC on her return. Unfortunately, while back in Scotland and England visiting family, she had a stroke and passed away on 21 October 1935 (obituary in The Daily Colonist October 23, 1935, p.2.).
Lewis Hall (1860 – 1933) was born in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, England in 1860. Lewis’s family came to Ottawa in 1862; they farmed at Russell, Ontario, then moved to Chemainus, B.C., in 1876. Hall tried his hand at farming and lumbering; then in 1886 enrolled in the Philadelphia College of Dental Surgery. He finished in 1888, practiced briefly in Oakville, Ontario, then established his office at 75 Yates St. in Victoria in 1888. His specialty was dental surgery and porcelain work. In 1889 he married Sophia Cummings in Victoria. He was secretary of the British Columbia Board of Dental Examiners. Lewis was on the Victoria School Board from 1896-1904, an alderman in 1906-07, and Mayor in 1908-09. He was influential in using wood paving blocks for downtown streets, and signed the first contract for the ornamental cluster lights in 1909. In 1892 he established the Central Drug Store under the name of Hall & Co., and was store manager for two years before selling his shares. He was involved in the Victoria Board of Trade and president of the Liberal Association for several years. A member of the Victoria West Methodist Church, he was at the 1st banquet of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada in 1912 and he taught a Bible Class for 15 years. Lewis Hall passed away in 1933 (obituary in the Daily Colonist 1933, August 13, p.20.) and was given a Masonic burial.
Claude Lionel Harrison (1886 – 1986) was born in 1886 in Victoria, B.C., the fourth child of Judge Eli Harrison and his wife Eunice. Judge Harrison was a well-known lawyer and later Chief Justice and was the first County Court Judge on Vancouver Island. Claude Harrison’s career began as an articulated clerk to Justice H. B. Robertson of the B.C. Appeal Court and he worked his way up to City Prosecutor. This brought him into constant contact with the public and his actions often caused him to be described as harsh. This undoubtedly led to his strong desire for privacy once away from the spotlight of court and city matter. However, after forty years as prosecuting attorney for the City of Victoria, Claude Harrison retired at the age of sixty-four but decided to run for Mayor in 1951. In a column written for the Daily Colonist it was predicted if elected, “… he [Harrison] will be one of the most original, colourful and vigorous mayors Victoria has ever had.” His platform was straight forward and simple: The Dominion, he said, had promised Vancouver Island a steamship service when they joined confederation, but this never materialized. Harrison pushed for the establishment of the Swartz Bay-Mainland Ferry which eventually became a reality in 1962. Harrison’s campaign also promoted a better coastal road on Vancouver Island and he was all for opening council, committee and police commission meetings to the press and public. He wanted the public to have the opportunity to personally question the mayor on issues of the day. After being voted in Harrison’s inaugural address at his first council meeting on January 7, 1952, was the longest on record, covering a huge list of city concerns. Later that month The Colonist described the Mayor as “… a noted conservationist, steeped in nature lore and Vancouver Island’s history, [who] wants good, wide walks in the area and permanent tags on each plant and shrub.” During his two terms as Mayor, from 1952 to 1955, Harrison wore a “brilliant blue cape … casually flung around his shoulders revealing crimson lining … [and] a police badge on his suspenders.” This cape was merely a flamboyant appendage during his time as mayor and was used only for effect. A strange contradiction considering Harrison was a man who sought privacy and preferred to be away from the limelight. Claude Harrison was a member of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada and hiked and climbed on the Forbidden Plateau in the late 1920’s and 1930’s. In 1928, he made the first recorded ascent of Castlecrag Mountain. He also led many club trips into the Sooke Hills where a hut was built and used for many years by club members. He was Chairman of the section for eight years from 1934 to 1941. Harrison was considered an eccentric and in his home on the Malahat he had a room equipped in such a way that by pushing a few buttons, it could be transformed into a replica of an old Yukon bar-room. Claude Harrison passed away at Glenwarren Lodge in Victoria on 12 March 1986 at the age of ninety-nine, a few months before his one hundredth birthday. In keeping with his strong beliefs about guarding his privacy, Harrison made provisions for all his personal papers to be destroyed upon his death.
Jane Dorothea Hay (1897 – 1949) was born in Victoria on 22 November 1897. She graduated from McGill University in 1925 and worked as a teacher then as a librarian at Victoria High School until her retirement in1948. She joined the ACC in 1931 and her love of the mountains brought her back to them many summers. It is known she attended the ACC general summer camps in 1934 (Eremite Valley), 1936 (Fryatt Valley) and 1937 (Yoho Valley) often with her friends Muriel and Aileen Aylard. Tragically she was killed on 2 November 1949. Dorothea had gone with friends to the opening of the Hope-Princeton Highway near Hope and on the return journey from Allison Pass the car left the highway and rolled into a deep ravine. Dorothea, and the two other passengers in the rear seat, were killed instantly. (Obituary in the Canadian Alpine Journal Vol. 33, 1950, The Daily Colonist Thursday November 3, 1949, p.1. and Saturday November 5, p.17.)
Arthur Edward Haynes (1872 – 1935) was born in Victoria in 1872, attended Boys Central School and Victoria High School, where he won the Lieut. -Gov.’s gold medal for scholarship. Haynes’ father William was a professional musician who arrived in New Westminster in 1859 as bandmaster with the Royal Engineers. He encouraged Arthur to follow a career in music, but soon after joining his father’s orchestra, he left to work in the accounts department of the telephone company. By age 25 he had launched a career in finance and real estate, and by 1900 was manager of British American Securities Company. In partnership with Major A. Small he headed Western Lands Ltd and became one of the leaders in the region’s rapidly expanding real estate market. In 1898, Arthur married Matilda and built a home at 1512 Beach Drive named “Sandhurst.” Matilda and Arthur had five children: Marjorie, Stanley, Harold, Kay and Mary. In 1906, he worked with fellow residents to initiate the incorporation of the District of Oak Bay. He served as a member of the inaugural Council and later in1924. Arthur Haynes passed away in 1935 and was an ardent golfer and a member of the ACCVI. Haynes Park, on Beach Drive, is named in his honour.
Frederick Herman Helm (1861 – 1952) was born in Bautzen in Saxony, Germany on 5 May 1861 and immigrated to the USA in 1884. In 1887, Ernestina Wilhelmina “Mina” Rennard (1862 – 1928) immigrated to Idaho from Germany and married Fred on 15 November 1887. Sometime later they moved to Canada with their six children. He first appeared in Victoria in July 1909 and at the inaugural meeting of the ACCVI in December 1911 he became the club’s first secretary/treasurer. Fred Helm passed away in Vancouver on 1 October 1952.
Julia Wilmotte Henshaw (1869 – 1937) was born Julia Henderson in 1869 in Durham, England. She married Charles Grant Henshaw in 1887 and they moved to Canada about 1890. Henshaw travelled to France near the beginning of World War I and returned to give speeches in favour of conscription and to raise money for ambulance services there. Beginning in 1915, she served in the Royal Army Medical Corps as an ambulance driver as part of the British Red Cross Society. Due to her courage in evacuating soldiers and leadership, and despite having no medical training, she was promoted to the rank of Captain. For her bravery she was awarded the Croix de Guerre with a Gold Star for “evacuating and recuperating inhabitants under shell fire and aerial bombarding with a devotion and courage worthy of the highest praise.” She was discharged by the Canadians but then served with the French Red Cross from March to November 1918. After the war she returned to Canada to resume her exploring, writing, and lecturing. She was elected a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in 1913, and in 1920, as a delegate of the Alpine Club of Canada, she attended the international Alpine Congress in Monaco, where she delivered several slide-illustrated presentations on the Rockies. These were well received, and she was made an officer in the country’s Order of St. Charles. A popular speaker, she gave a talk about the Columbia River to the Victoria League in London in 1924; the following year she addressed the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal Scottish Geographic Society on Canada’s National Parks. She was the director of the Canadian National Parks Association. Henshaw Creek on Vancouver Island was named for her. These and other honors were testimony to her accomplishments. She also wrote for two newspapers in Vancouver. In 1914, she and her husband were the first people to drive a car across the Rocky Mountains. She passed away in 1937.
Arthur Edward Hodgins (1861 – 1939) was born in Toronto in 1861. He entered Military College in 1878 and graduated at a sergeant with a first-class certificate in 1882. While at the College he was one of the two cadets selected as members of the Dominion Artillery Association Team competing at Shoeburyness in England in 1881. His earlier education had been obtained at Upper Canada College. He was a civil engineer when the Boer War started and became Officer-in-Charge of the Rocky Mountain Ranger at Nelson. Later the Rangers joined the R.C.R. for service with the 1st Contingent in South Africa. He rose to the rank of major and was eventually Officer-in-Charge of the construction of the military railways in Transvaal and Orange Free State. He was awarded the Queen’s Service Award medal with 4 clasps and the King’s medal with 2 clasps. On his return to Canada, he joined the construction staff of the G.T.P., retiring in 1909. In 1915, he organized and recruited the first Canadian Pioneer Battalion, 1st Division. On proceeding to France, he was appointed the Assistant Director of light military railways for the 3rd and 4th armies. In civil life he was district engineers of the Winnipeg section of the G.T.R., Engineer of the Mexico Central R.R. and from 1919-1924 district engineer for the Dept. of Roads and Bridges on Vancouver Island. Hodgins joined the ACCVI and attended several general summer camps in the Rockies and local excursions often with his wife and daughter Peggy. He passed away in Victoria on 18 December 1939 (obituary in the Daily Colonist Wednesday, December 20, p.16.)
Sylvia Grace Moberly-Holland (1900 – 1974) was born in the village of Ampfield, England on 20 July 1900. Her father was an ordained clergyman and musician who organized an all-women orchestra. As a child she developed a hobby for photography and loved to draw and conduct music. In 1919, she enrolled at the Gloucestershire School of Domestic Science before moving to London to study at the Architectural Association School. She graduated in 1925, and became the first woman to join the Royal Institute of British Architects. The following year, she married Frank Holland, a fellow architecture student from Canada. The couple moved to Victoria B.C. and had their first child, and in 1928 while pregnant with her second child Frank passed away a month before the birth of their son. During the early 1930s, Sylvia moved her single-parent household to a farm in Metchosin and joined the ACCVI on trips into the Sooke Hills as well as taking on the role of producing the sections newsletter the Camp Fire News. Sometime later, her son developed the same ailment as Frank, in which Sylvia was advised by a doctor to seek a drier climate. In 1936, she re-located her family to Los Angeles, but because she did not have an American degree, she could not practice as an architect. A year later, Sylvia was hired as a sketch artist by Universal Studios. After seeing Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Holland decided she wanted to work for Walt Disney Productions. To gain more experience in animation, she briefly worked as a cel inker for Walter Lantz Productions. By the summer of 1938, she had heard that Disney’s next film after Pinocchio (1940) would be a concert film. Excited at the news, Holland applied to work for Disney and was granted an interview with Walt Disney. On 6 September, she was hired and became the second woman hired into their story department. Because of her background as a musician and artist, her first assignment was the Pastoral Symphony segment for Fantasia (1940). Throughout her career at the Disney studios, Walt Disney held her in high regard, noting that she was “a highly talented artist with a marvelous sense for decoration and color” who “contributed immensely to the good taste and beauty of our pictures.” Holland was laid off several times in the 1940’s because of the nature of the industry and in 1946 briefly worked for MGM. She then became a children’s illustrator as well working as a greetings card designer. During the 1950s, she purchased three and a half acres within the San Fernando Valley in which she constructed two houses and an office. During the 1960s and 1970s, she also developed a past time of developing of a new breed of Siamese Cats which brought her international attention. Sylvia Moberly-Holland passed away on 14 April 1974.
William Josiah Hartley Holmes (1871 – 1954) was born on 28 May 1871 in St. Catherines, Ontario. Holmes moved out to Victoria with his family where he was educated and then attended the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario where he graduated with honours in 1891. Holmes was following in the footsteps of his father Colonel Josiah Greenwood Holmes. Returning to British Columbia in 1891, he assisted with surveys on the coast under Dominion Land Surveyors R.E. Palmer and James H. McGregor. He also worked as assistant engineers on the Victoria and Sidney railway location and construction under J.H. Gray (C.E. and P.L.S.). He articled to C.E. Perry and received his British Columbia Land Surveyors commission in April 1893. He continued working on the coast and Vancouver Island till 1896 then moved to the Kootenays where he engaged in mining and railway surveys till 1908. In 1898 he took on the role of treasurer/secretary for the Association of Provincial Land Surveyors of British Columbia. As well as working as a Civil Engineer and Surveyor, between 1902 to 1908, Holmes led #4 Company Rocky Mountain Rangers and then for the next four years (1908 to 1912) he was their Commanding Officer. The years 1909 – 1914 inclusive covered activities mostly on Vancouver Island including a number of government consignments. One of these was the survey of Strathcona Provincial Park. Before returning to Vancouver Island, Holmes had a promising young surveyor, William DeVoe, articled to him while working on the surveys of the Arrow Lakes and Skeena River. DeVoe then came out to the Island with Holmes in 1913 and worked on the survey of Strathcona Park with him. DeVoe drowned while crossing the Campbell River later in the season. Colonel Holmes went overseas in 1915 in command of the 48th Battalion which he had mobilized and trained and which later converted to the 3rd Canadian Pioneer Corps under his command. At the end of WWI he was in command of the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp at Etaples, France. He was invested with the D.S.O. and was mentioned in dispatches of General Haig. After the war he renewed field surveys of the British Columbia government until 1930 mainly on triangulation control surveys on the coast. An interlude of road location surveys in China for the Cantonese government occurred in 1922. For several years prior to retiring in 1943, Holmes looked after the Air Photo Library of the provincial Surveys Branch. He was a prominent Mason and took an interest in Veteran’s affairs. Colonel William Homes passed away in the Veterans’ Hospital in Victoria, on 10 July 1954.
Ben Wallace Hughes (1882 – 1970) was born in Croxall, Derbyshire, England, the son of farmer. He was educated at King Edward VI grammar school in Stratford-on-Avon, the same grammar school Shakespeare once attended, a fact that may have inspired his love of writing. Ben’s father considered journalism a “beggarly” job so to appease him he began an electrical apprenticeship, however, he soon abandoned it for a journalism apprenticeship. In 1910, Ben emigrated to Canada and settled in Cobalt, Ontario. He became an authority on mining and served as the editor of the Cobalt Daily Nugget, but quit when asked to support the Conservative party in the periodical; Ben advocated independent journalism. He then founded The Northern Miner in 1915, a weekly journal which is still to this day considered the “leading authority on the mining industry in Canada,” and “the mining industry bible.” In 1916, he sold The Northern Miner and joined the army serving with the Royal Canadian Engineers until the end of the war in 1919. After the war he headed west to Vancouver Island to checkout newspaper prospects. He bought the two-year old Comox Argus and also founded the West Coast Advocate in Port Alberni. During his 36 years as the Comox Argus editor/publisher its circulation expanded from 100 to over 2000. He eventually sold it to two employees when he retired in 1955. He then directed his abundant energies towards other forms of community services: Courtenay-Comox Board of Trade, the Canadian Club, the Courtenay Rotary Club and he served for many years on the Courtenay School Board with a special interest in books and the development of school libraries. He founded the Courtenay and District Historical Society so as to preserve the records of the pioneers and was named a life member of the Courtenay-Comox Chamber of Commerce. He was also a life member of the Canadian Weekly Newspaper Association. Ben made many early hiking and climbing expeditions into the Forbidden Plateau area and made the first ascent of The Red Pillar in 1931 with Adrian Paul, Arthur Leighton and Jack Gregson. Ben Hughes, who became known as the “voice” of Comox and Vancouver Island, passed away in Comox on 20 July 1970 leaving his wife Olive and three sons (obituary in the Comox District Free Press Wednesday July 22, 1970.)
Richard “Dick” Bertram Idiens (1910 – 1944) was born in Toronto, Ontario on 13 January 1910 to Joseph and Elsie Idiens but early in his life his family moved to Royston where he attended Royston Elementary School. Later he went to Courtenay High School and St. Michaels in Victoria. When he returned to Courtenay, he worked briefly at the Gwilt’s Sawmill in Bevan and then with his father as the Imperial Oil agent in the district. In early 1939, he took over the agency when his father retired. Idiens was at the meeting of the Courtenay-Comox Mountaineering Club (CDMC) when it was founded in 1927 and was club president in 1938. Many of his early trips were with Geoffrey Capes, Adrian Paul and Sid Williams to Forbidden Plateau. In March 1937, he attempted to ski Mount Albert Edward but was thwarted by the weather, however, in February 1938 he returned with Don and Phyllis Munday, Rex Gibson, Ethne Gale and Len Rossiter, successfully guided the party to the first winter ascent of Mount Albert Edward. When the Great War broke out in Europe, Dick Idiens enlisted with the RCAF in Vancouver on 29 August 1941. On 23 July 1943 he was awarded his Air bomber’s Badge and was commissioned as a Pilot Officer. A month later he embarked to England where he did his training with the RAF at Harwell in Oxfordshire. In January 1944, he was promoted to Flying Officer and posted to the 295 Pathfinder Squadron on 9 April 1944 as a bombardier. In a letter home to his mother, he wrote about how badly he felt at the prospect of being the fellow who would have to drop bombs on people. Also stationed in London at the time was Ruth Masters. Ruth became acquainted with Idiens in the late 1930’s when she joined the Comox District Mountaineering Club. “Dick took a carload of us kids to the mountain to work on Mount Becher, looking after the cabin site, and cutting wood for the winter skiing parties. Then he would take us up skiing during December through to Easter.” While Ruth and Dick were stationed in London, they would meet up occasionally. Ruth said: “I recall the time he took me to the “Windmill”, a nightclub, considered rather risqué in those days. One act was a dancer, with the statue of a nude woman poised on a pedestal, on her tippy-toes, with arms upraised, in the background. As the dance wore on, I whispered to Dick, what did he think of the show? “Well,” he said, “I don’t think much of the dance, but I sure can’t take my eyes off that statue. Then I took a better look and realized the statue was a real live woman. They had her plastered over with some white alabaster substance. As she balanced on the pedestal, she had started to tire, and sway!” Unfortunately, Dick Idiens was killed on 18 April 1944 in a crash over England while on a training mission in Albemarles and is buried at Brookwood Military Cemetery in Surrey, England. He was thirty-four years old. Idiens received several special service awards including the Defense Medal, the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Clasp and the War Medal. After Ruth Masters returned to Courtenay, she had Idiens Lake named in his honour.
Frank William Frederick Johnson (1866 – 1943) was born on June 21, 1866 at Watlington near Downham Market in Norfolk, England. He attended King Edward VII Grammar School in King’s Lynn, the home town of Thomas Baines, whose travels in South Africa would no doubt have inspired him as a boy. Johnson’s grandfather and father (Frederick William Johnson) were both doctors but by the age of sixteen Frank decided that ‘pill making’ was not for him and he sailed for the Cape (South Africa) where he arrived with five pounds in his pocket. To the north sprawled the great African continent and within him he nurtured a bold spirit able to match her every challenge. His initiative, keen business acumen and thrust were soon in evidence, and after a short spell on the staff of The Table Bay Harbour Board and supplementary work with the Cape Town Fire Brigade, he responded to the call of adventure by volunteering for service as a member of the 2nd Mounted Rifles, better known as ‘Carrington’s Horse’, with the Warren Expedition to Bechuanaland in 1884. Within a few days of joining he was promoted to the rank of quartermaster-sergeant. This campaign created a British Protectorate over Bechuanaland and the Kalahari in 1885. At that time the lands to the north (Matabeleland and Mashonaland) were not considered important. In September 1885 Johnson transferred to the Bechuanaland Border Police and was stationed at Vryburg in charge of transport and supplies for South Bechuanaland, a position that was later to give him confidence and the ability to organize logistics for future expeditions. Three years later (1887), Johnson with other ex-members of the Bechuanaland Border Police notably Maurice Heany and Henry Borrow, organized a party known as the Northern Gold Fields Exploration syndicate in Cape Town and a concession from Chief Khama was obtained covering mineral rights in Bechuanaland. Johnson and Heany then continued north to Matabeleland to talk with Lobengula to arrange concession rights over the Ndebele domain. However, no concession was granted and Johnson was accused of poisoning an Ndebele headman who had died of fever after he had dosed him up on quinine. He was fined one hundred pounds and ordered out of the country in a state of frustration and rage. His concession was floated as the Bechuanaland Exploration Company Ltd of which Johnson became the General Manager at the age of twenty-two. A chance meeting with Cecil John Rhodes in Kimberley in 1889 resulted in Johnson being awarded the contract to organize, equip and lead the Pioneer Corps which comprised some two hundred men chosen mainly from leading South African families. The goal was to occupy Mashonaland, build a road between Palapye and Mount Hampden (Fort Salisbury) and begin construction of settlements along the route fit for civil government with protection coming from the British South African Company’s Police. This was the foundation for what was to be known as Southern Rhodesia but nowadays Zimbabwe. After fulfilling his contract and the disbandment of the Pioneer Corps, Johnson, Heany and Borrow became actively engaged in land and mining development in Mashonaland. Rhodes himself later invested in the Company to strengthen its capital structure as Johnson’s profits from organizing the Pioneer Corps was inadequate for contemplated mining development. At the same time Johnson realized that supplying goods via the southern route would be difficult at certain times of the year because of weather and a faster, shorter and cheaper route would expedite commercial development of the Mashona country. Being an enterprising and ubiquitous business man of considerable physical stamina, Johnson undertook several more exploratory expeditions in the hope of opening up routes from East Africa which was held by the Portuguese at the time. One particular journey he under took was down the Pungwe River in a collapsible boat at the height of the rainy season. Johnson also pursued his military career as Chief Staff Officer to the Bechuanaland Field Force during the Langberg Rebellion campaign of 1896, after which he returned to England. He became involved in mining and industrial projects in Egypt and Burma but retained financial interests in Rhodesia through the Mashonaland Gold Mining Company. It was also during this period that he came to Vancouver Island and climbed Big Interior Mountain to visit the Ptarmigan Mine which he and a number of other investors had purchased. This mine had been recommended to Johnson by his brother who had spent some time in Canada as an Engineering Consultant. By the outbreak of the Great War in 1914 Johnson was Chairman of seventeen different Companies principally in mining. During the years 1909 to 1914 Johnson refused, in spite of several offers, to take part in the Territorial Forces, however, with the outbreak of the World War he was asked to form the 2/6th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment retaining the rank of Major. He used his influence with friends in South Africa and Canada who had served with him before to join him once more. Initially he was called to take over coast defense on the Suffolk Coast but eventually he was appointed to command a battalion of the Sussex Regiment in India being awarded the D.S.O. during operations on the Northwest Frontier and distinguishing himself in Lahore during the Punjab rising in 1919. Johnson returned to Rhodesia in 1927 and was elected to the Legislative Assembly as a Member for Salisbury South. He became the leader of a small Opposition which challenged the policy of Charles Coglan, the first Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia, after the attainment by the country of responsible government. Before the outbreak of World War II, he again settled in Norfolk and in 1940 moved to Jersey but escaped before the German occupation of the Channel Islands. Major (Sir) Frank Johnson was knighted in 1940 for his remarkable life of action and died three years later at the age of seventy-six.
George Rex Boyer Kinney (1872 – 1961) was born in 1872, at Victoria Corner in New Brunswick. In 1895, Kinney enrolled at the Methodist Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky, graduating in 1898 with a Bachelor of Arts in Theology. The following year he was accepted on trial to the British Columbia Conference of the Methodist ministry and worked in many communities. In 1906, Kinney attended the ACC’s first mountaineering camp in the Yoho Valley where he assisted in guiding nine club members the top of Mt. Vice-President, the club’s first official climb. While presiding over a congregation at James Bay in Victoria in 1907 Kinney was asked to join Arthur Coleman, and his brother Lucius, in an attempt on Mount Robson, the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies. Kinney and the Coleman’s returned again in 1908 and their two attempts were abandoned due to bad weather. Kinney continued his obsession with Mount Robson and made a number of attempts with Curly Phillips in 1909. On August 13 in dense clouds and high winds, Kinney claimed to have reached the summit, however, many read his account (especially the leaders in the ACC at the time) and refuted his ascent outright. Whatever the outcome, it is undeniable that Kinney’s effort deserves to be remembered as a great modern climb of Canadian mountaineering. Although Kinney was a conscientious objector, in 1916 he enlisted in the Army Medical Services for the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force, serving as stretcher bearer in the 4th Field Ambulance Corps. In 1920, Kinney moved to Cumberland and was welcomed as the pastor of the Grace Methodist Church. In 1922, Kinney joined a party led by Harold Banks that made the first recorded ascent of the Comox Glacier. Kinney stayed in Cumberland until 1923 and was then assigned a station in the remote coastal community of Ocean Falls. During the Depression he worked with the men on relief and from 1925 to 1934 was in Proctor, B.C., where he developed the Kootenay Waterways Mission. From 1937 to 1942 he worked with the Koksilah Indian Mission in Duncan. In 1942, George Kinney retired to Victoria where he passed away on 14 November 1961 (obituary in the Daily Colonist Thursday November 16, 1961, p.20.)
Francis Kermode (1874 – 1946) was born in Liverpool, England on 28 June 1874 and moved to Victoria with his family when he was ten. On 1 January 1900 he married Margaret Fowler and they had two children. He succeeded John Fannin in 1904 as Curator and later Director of the B.C. Provincial Museum until retiring in 1940. From Provincial Reports he climbed Mt. MacDonald on 3 July 1918 and Mt. Braden on 5 and 8 July collecting butterflies. Francis Kermode is the namesake of the Kermode bear (Ursus kermodei) or spirit bear as it is often known, that inhabits coastal B.C. His studies confirmed that this white or cream-colour bear is a subspecies of the American black bear, not a ‘blond’ brown bear as found on the Alaska panhandle. The colour of the Kermode bear’s coat is due to expression of a recessive gene, not the lack of pigment (albinism). He was a keen ornithologist and wrote the book Catalogue of British Columbia Birds. On Louise Island in the Queen Charlotte district is Mt. Kermode. Francis Kermode passed away in Victoria on 29 December 1946 (obituary in The Daily Colonist 31 December 1946, p.11.)
Herbert George Latilla (1877 – 1949) was born in South Africa in 1877. Latilla started his career as secretary to Sir Abe Bailey who was one of the “Rand Lords” who made their fortunes from the Witwatersrand gold mines. Throughout his life Latilla was heavily connected with mining mainly in Africa although he had some interests in Canada and India. Between 1911 – 1913, Latilla was in Canada and in September 1913 he visited the Ptarmigan Mine near the summit of Big Interior Mountain. He was part of a British/South African consortium that bought the copper mine. The party included Major Frank Johnson and his brother Harry Johnson a mining engineer consultant, Sir James Sivewright, Rudolph Feilding (9th Earl of Denbigh) and his daughter Lady Marjorie, John Corry Wood the MLA for Alberni, and several vendors representing the mine. Herbert Latilla passed away on August 16, 1949. In his obituary in the South African Cape Times 19 August 19, 1949, p. 3., Latilla was described as the gold-mining millionaire “King of the West African Market.”
Hamilton Mack Laing (1883 – 1982) was born in Hensall, Ontario on 3 February 1883, to William O. Laing and Rachel Mack. He grew up three miles north of Steinbach, near Clear Springs, and attained his third-class teaching certificate (1900) from the Central Normal School. He taught in rural Manitoba schools between 1901 and 1911, including in the vicinity of Snowflake (1901) and Boissevain (1904) as well as Principal of Oakwood School (1907, 1909-1910). When not in the classroom, he was often out exploring and observing the outdoors across western Canada and the northwest United States, sketching and taking notes on wildlife, collecting taxidermic specimens, and bird-watching. In 1905, he received a diploma from the National Press Association at Indianapolis, Indiana after which he returned to his parents’ Winnipeg (1906). In 1907, he wrote his first fictional work, The End of the Trail. He took art classes at the Pratt Institute at Brooklyn, New York (1911-1914) and, upon graduation, he purchased a motorcycle and rode from New York to Oak Lake. He first visited British Columbia in 1909, eventually taking up long-term residence at Comox in 1922. During the 1920s and 1930s, he conducted field work for the National Museum of Canada. He authored over 700 articles and many books, including Out With The Birds (1913), Wildfowling Tales (1921), Allan Brooks: Artist and Naturalist (1979) and posthumously Riding The Continent (2019). His writings also appeared in newspapers across the continent, including the Manitoba Free Press as early as 1922. As a naturalist, Laing would travel far and wide on many expeditions, including the Smithsonian Institution’s Lake Athabasca expedition of 1920 and the Alpine Club of Canada’s Mount Logan expedition of 1925. In 1927, he married Ethel May Hart (c1896 – 1944) at Portland, Oregon. He died in Comox in February 1982 and was buried in the Sandwick Cemetery at Courtenay. He is commemorated by the Mack Laing Nature Park at Comox and his collections are held at the Comox Archives and Museum. In1985, Richard Mackie wrote his biography Hamilton Mack Laing: Hunter Naturalist.
Alfred William “Bill” Lash (1899 – 1987) was born on November 18, 1899, in Sheffield, England. His parents were Quakers and he attended Ackworth School. During World War I he served with the Friends Ambulance Unit in France. After the war he attended Sheffield University and graduated in Civil Engineering. As a young engineer in Wales, he found time to complete a Commerce Degree from the University of London and was awarded a fellowship to study abroad. He attended M.I.T. in Montreal and the second half at the University of Grenoble in France. At Grenoble he was able to learn French and to take up skiing and mountaineering. Bill applied to immigrate to Canada and South Africa; however, Canada responded first. In 1926, during his voyage to Montreal he met his future wife, Dorothy Worth and they were married in September 1927. They had two children: Mallory and Sylvia who were born in Montreal. Being fluent in French he soon found work as a Civil Engineer but during the depression years’ work was hard to find in Montreal so in 1936 he moved the family to St. Catherine’s, Ontario, where he worked as an engineer for Thorold Pulp and Paper Co. He spent considerable time exploring northern Quebec in search of suitable power sites to develop. In 1946, he accepted the position of Chief Engineer at the newly formed B.C. Power Commission in Victoria. He was delighted to live somewhere closer to the mountains and to a place where gardening could become a year-round activity. B.C. Power Commission amalgamated with B.C. Electric in March 1962 and eventually became BC Hydro. Bill took early retirement in 1962 but continued some private consulting. Bill and Dorothy traveled extensively visiting many places in the USA and in Europe, Iran, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and the Soviet Union. Most of the trips were made by camper van. Bill joined the Alpine Club of Canada when he moved to Victoria in 1946 and went on to hold the Chairman’s reins for the section three times: 1954 – 1956, 1961 and 1968 – 1969. The following is a list of the ACC summer camps that Bill and some of his family attended:
1947 Glacier Camp with Dorothy and Mallory
1948 Peyto Lake Camp with Dorothy, Mallory and Sylvia
1950 Maligne lake Camp with Dorothy, Mallory and Sylvia
1952 Mount Assiniboine Camp with Dorothy and Mallory
1953 Hooker Icefields Camp with Sylvia
1954 Goodsirs Camp with Dorothy and Sylvia
1955 Mount Robson Camp with Sylvia
1956 Glacier Camp with Dorothy and Sylvia
1959 Bugaboo Camp with Dorothy
1962 Maligne Lake Camp with Dorothy.
In 1949, Bill and his son Mallory joined Charlie Nash, Geoffrey Capes and Phil Wolstenholmes on a trip to Elkhorn Mountain in Strathcona Park whereupon he made the second ascent of the mountain. In 1954, he joined a large party from the Vancouver Island section of the ACC on their summer camp to the Elk River valley. Along with Mallory, Syd Watts and Patrick Guilbride he made the second ascent of the Southeast Summit of Mount Colonel Foster. In 1957, one of Bill’s close friends, Rex Gibson, died in a fall while attempting the first ascent of Mount Howson in the Coast Mountains near Smithers. In July 1958 an expedition was mounted to the peak with the intention of building a memorial to Gibson and to climb the peak. The party comprised of Bill Lash, John Owen and Adolf Bitterlich, however, before they attempted the peak they climbed to the South Col, built a rock cairn and embedded a bronze plaque in it as a memorial to Gibson. The next day they made the first ascent of the peak in honour of their friend. In 1958, Bill received the Silver Ropes award from the ACC in recognition of his Leadership in the mountains. In1959, he climbed the Golden Hinde with his daughter Sylvia, Syd Watts, Elizabeth and Patrick Guilbride, Ted Grieg, Connie Bonner and Bob Ahrens from B.C. Parks. The three women probably made the first female ascent of the Golden Hinde. During the Canadian Centennial Celebrations in 1967, Bill was invited to join an expedition to climb previously unclimbed mountains near the border of British Columbia and the Yukon. Bill Lash remained fit and active up until 1985 when he was inflicted with a painful bout of shingles. He passed away in Victoria in May 1987 while sitting in his garden.
William Stanley Mallory Lash (1928 – 2007) was born on May 29, 1928, to Dorothy and Alfred (Bill) Lash in Montreal, Canada. When he was eight, the family moved to St. Catherine’s, Ontario. Mallory Lash attended prep school at Ridley College in St. Catherine’s before graduating from George School in Newtown, Pennsylvania, to which he transferred because it was a Quaker school. In 1949 he graduated from Haverford College having majored in history of art, and from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, with a degree in architecture in 1953. Following graduation from Harvard, he returned to Canada as a practicing architect, first in Ottawa and then in Vancouver. In 1959 he joined the firm Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson and Abbott architectural firm in Boston. Mallory worked for the firm for thirty years rising to a principal of the firm until his retirement in 1990. He worked on many projects at universities, hospitals, and libraries around Boston and Providence. In a Boston Globe interview in 1980 Lash was quoted as saying “Architecture is an art, whose medium is people. If you can make it work, you can make anything work.” He saw it as “a drama of designing and coordinating all the players.” The love of the outdoors was expected of the young Mallory as he was named after famed mountaineer George Mallory. His father, an engineer who explored a number of far northern “bush” sites for Quebec Hydro-electric, introduced both Mallory and his sister Sylvia (Mather) to the outdoors and climbed with them whenever possible. It was said of Mallory that along with the name came the audacity and skill of the British climber. A work colleague, Lorrel Nicholls, said that once in the 1950’s, Mallory had a close brush with fame because of his tall, lean frame when he was asked to audition for the role of Tarzan in a big-screen film, however, he politely declined. Mallory joined the Alpine Club of Canada in 1948 and attended the Peyto Lake summer camp that year with his father Bill, sister Sylvia and fellow islander Mark Mitchell, where he graduated to active membership by climbing Avalanche Peak. In 1949, during his summer break from school, Mallory joined his father Bill, Charles Nash, Geoffrey Capes and Phil Wolstenholmes on a trip to Elkhorn Mountain on Vancouver Island whereupon he made the second ascent of the mountain. And then while he was working in Vancouver during 1954 he joined a large party from the Vancouver Island section of the ACC to Mount Colonel Foster where he made the second ascent of the Southeast Summit with Syd Watts, Bill Lash, and Patrick Guilbride. In 1952, Mallory married MaryAnn Smith and had two daughters. As the girls got little older, the family started making trips to the peaks of New Hampshire’s White Mountains. MaryAnn and Mallory loved traveling and made camping excursions to Siberia and Mongolia and a two-week horse-drawn caravan trek across western Ireland. Mallory Lash was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2002 and underwent several operations and clinical trials. Mallory Lash passed away on 23 February 2007. Along with his architectural legacy, Mallory is remembered as the Chairperson of the Rockport Historical Commission and the town library building committee. He was often seen bicycling around Rockport early in the morning photographing the historical buildings before cars parked in front of them.
Henry William Laws (1876 – 1954) was born in London, England in 1876. In 1902-03, as Chief Mining Manager and Engineer of the Niger Company, he discovered alluvial tin deposits in Nigeria which became an important part of the country’s economy. He led three prospecting expeditions into Bauchai Province and succeeded in locating the rich tin area in the Garra Mountains of the Badiko District. At the outbreak of WWI in August 1914, he joined the Royal Naval Division and took part in the ill-fated Antwerp Expedition. Later, in Gallipoli, he raised a tunneling company called the 8th Corps Mining Company for underground defence of the trenches. He later commanded similar forces in France. Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Laws received the C.M.G. (1919) and D.S.O. (1915) for his services. He and his wife Margaret returned to Saanich where he partnered in the Queenswood Land Company that attempted to develop the Queenswood area in the late 1920’s, but the syndicate ran into financial difficulties and unsold lots reverted to Saanich for unpaid taxes. He remained in Saanich until his death on 19 December 1954 (obituary in The Daily Colonist December 21, 1954, p.22.)
Marjorie Louise (Leedam) Lever (1909 – 2008) was born 15 January 1909 in Hyderabad, India. She lived and went to school in Comox and worked in the telephone office in Courtenay. Along with Sid Williams and others she was an early member of the Comox District Mountaineering Club, hiking the many trails of the Forbidden Plateau area. In 1934, she married Thomas Lever and went to live in a logging camp on Great Central Lake. Then in 1939 they with the two eldest children moved to the Lever farm at Grantham, and she had three more children. There she made a home with her family and lived for most of the rest of her life. After the passing of her husband Tom in 1977, Marjorie continued to lead a full life with volunteer work at the Evergreen Senior Centre, traveling, church and family activities. Marjorie passed away 30 March 2008 (obituary in the Comox Valley Record March 2008).
Edmund Herman Lohbrunner (1904 – 1981) was born on 7 August 1904 in Victoria B.C. to parents who moved from Bavaria when the Prussians took over the state. He attended Victoria West and Victoria High School and later took various jobs on the west coast but eventually was hired as a radioman for Hales KPO radio station. In 1927, he was hired by Audrey Kent as a foreman in a radio service department. In 1929, he married Ethel Reid and they began growing Lily bulbs in their garden to supplement their income during the depression years. His interest in botany bloomed and he began collecting and growing wildflowers. In the early 1930’s he went up to the Forbidden Plateau. In an interview recorded in just prior to his death he said: “At the time at Forbidden Plateau, Croteau had a camp up there and they used to take people up there with a pack horse. They also had a fishing camp there and my chum and I were going up there. Ethel wanted to come along. At the time Croteau just had a couple tents and we had to hike up from the old Dove Creek trail. Someone told us there were alpine plants up there. We did not know what these plants were, but we knew Mr. J.C. Bennett had a nursery on Mackenzie Avenue, so we went and asked him if there was anything we could bring him back and he told us to bring back white penstamen menziesii. We did not know what this was so he showed us a picture in a book. This plant is very rare. Ethel came along on the jaunt with us and when we were about half way along the trail, just at dusk, we heard tinkles and told her there was a pack train coming. She said she did not know there was a train that went up there. We borrowed some of their animals for our gear and we got up the next day to the plateau proper and met Croteau. The next day Ethel and I climbed Mount Albert Edward which is the highest peak in the plateau and it was absolutely wonderful. Snow was across the whole meadow and we saw yellow Easter lilies and other flowers and we brought these back to Mr. Bennett and he named them for us and of course, we gave him bits of everything.” Edmund Lohbrunner became an authority on alpine and rock garden plants and in 1973 he was the first Canadian to win the American Rock Garden Society’s Marcel le Piniec award. In1977, he received the Florens De Bevoise Medal from the Garden Club of America for his unique horticultural achievement in collecting, propagating and distributing countless plants, many of which are not commonly known in the Northwest. He was the first Honorary Life Member of the Thetis Park Nature Sanctuary Society and received an Honorary Doctor of Law from UVIC. At UBC there is the E.H. Lohbrunner Alpine Garden in his honor. Lohbrunner passed away on 10 October 1981 in Victoria.
Frederick Victor Longstaff (1879 – 1961) was born June 15, 1879 in Ben Rhydding, Yorkshire, England. He was educated at Eton and Cambridge. He was the son of wealthy industrialist Lieutenant Colonel Llewellyn W. Longstaff, a man who contributed significant funding to Captain Scott’s 1901 expedition to Antarctica. Longstaff joined the East Surrey Regiment in 1899. He came to Canada in 1909 as a machine gun instructor seconded to the Canadian Active Militia and was promoted to Major in 1914. He resigned his army commission in 1915 due to medical reasons. He settled in Victoria in 1911 where he practiced as an architectural draftsman (he was trained in London) and was involved in the design of Saint John’s Church and the James Bay Anglican Hall. Frederick shared his brother Tom’s passion for mountaineering. Tom Longstaff served as the Medical Officer on the 1922 Mount Everest Expedition. In 1896, Frederick was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He married Jennie McCulloch in 1921. In 1932, he was a prime mover in the formation of the Thermopylae Club in Victoria. This club served the interests of the nautical history enthusiasts and for many years was the senior nautical heritage organization in British Columbia. Longstaff was one of the key proponents in the creation of the Maritime Museum of British Columbia. From 1921 until his death, Frederick Longstaff, devoted himself entirely to historical and geographical studies, publishing works on naval, local and ecclesiastical history. Longstaff passed away in Victoria in 1961 (obituary in the Daily Colonist October 5, 1961, p.5. and the Canadian Alpine Journal Vol. 45, 1962, p.165-166.)
Albert “Mack” MacCarthy (1876 – 1956) was born in Ames, Iowa in 1876 and was educated in both Ames and Des Moines. He then entered the US Naval Academy at Annapolis and graduated in 1897. MacCarthy served ten years in the US Navy and saw action in the Spanish American War. He was discharged in 1907 at the age of thirty-one with the rank of lieutenant commander. On May 30, 1905 MacCarthy married Elizabeth (Bess) Larned and in 1909 Bess discovered mountaineering in the Canadian Rockies. Two years later Mack followed suit by making his first ascent of Mount Daly in the Waputik Icefield. Thus, began Mack’s passion not only for mountaineering but his love of Canada. After Mack and Bess made a pack train journey through the Bow Valley from Castle Mountain to Windermere in British Columbia, they bought a ranch in the foothills and named it Karmax where for many years it was their summer headquarters. MacCarthy joined the Alpine Club of Canada in 1911 and in August 1912 made the first ascent of Elkhorn Mountain, with the ACCVI expedition. The following year on July 31, 1913 MacCarthy teamed up with Conrad Kain and William Foster and made the first ascent of Mount Robson. Although MacCarthy’s alpine experience was limited at that time, his fitness and unique abilities made him a force to be reckoned with. After the ACC Upper Yoho summer camp in 1914, MacCarthy received a telegram from Kain offering him his guiding services. MacCarthy quickly accepted the offer and on August 10 they made the first ascent of Mount Farnham, which some claimed was “absolutely unclimbable.” In 1915, MacCarthy again hired Conrad Kain and made numerous first ascents in and around the Purcell Mountains: Mount Ethelbert, Commander Mountain, Jumbo Mountain, Mount Peter, Mount McCoubrey and Spearhead Peak, as well as several second ascents. At the end of the season MacCarthy made a solo first of Mount Sally Serena. Again in 1916, MacCarthy employed Kain on a full-time basis. They made the first ascent of Mount Louis and in the Bugaboo’s claimed ascents of Howser Spire and the difficult Bugaboo Spire. MacCarthy again hired Kain in 1917 and they made an ascent of Mount Hungabee with Bess MacCarthy, who became the first woman to climb this impressive mountain. For many years the MacCarthy’s attended the ACC general summer camps and made numerous climbs throughout the Rockies. Finally, MacCarthy’s crowning glory came in 1925 when he made the first ascent of Canada’s highest peak Mount Logan. MacCarthy reached the summit on June 23 with William Foster, Fred Lambert, Allen Carpe, Norman Read and Andy Taylor, and the epic story of their climb and return to civilization has become a landmark in Canadian mountaineering history. Following the Mount Logan climb MacCarthy was made an Honorary Member of the Alpine Club of Canada. During the depression years of the 1930’s, MacCarthy made some major changes in his business affairs and “took back” a property he once owned called Carvel Hall near Annapolis, Maryland. He spent much of his remaining years there due to the close proximity to his other love – the sea. In 1934, “Mack” was awarded the Silver Rope Award for Leadership from the ACC. MacCarthy’s health began to decline in the 1940’s, however, his physical endurance never eluded him and he continued to attend ACC summer camps until 1952. Albert MacCarthy died at Annapolis on 11 October 1956 (obituary in the Canadian Alpine Journal Vol. 40, 1957, p.64-65.)
James Melville Macoun (1862 – 1920) was born in 7 November 1862 in Belleville, Ontario and was the son of the Irish botanist and professor John and Ellen (Terrill) Macoun. When his father took charge of the botanical and zoological work of the Geological Survey, James became his assistant in 1883. From the time he entered the service, Macoun specialized in botany, and in addition to other duties assisted his father in the preparation and publication of over 1200 pages of botanical work, and two editions of an annotated list of the birds of the Dominion. He was appointed Assistant Naturalist in 1898, and Botanist in 1917. Since 1911, when his father moved to British Columbia, much greater responsibility was thrown on him. In 1912, he was working in Strathcona Park when his brother-in-law, Arthur Wheeler, and other members of the Alpine Club of Canada fielded an expedition that climbed Elkhorn Mountain. Macoun assisted the climbing party by blazing a trail up the Elk River valley. In 1918, because of his wide knowledge in the different branches of natural history, he was appointed Chief of the Biological Division of the Geological Survey, and was looking forward to a wider field of public service. Macoun’s great ability to do work of a special nature satisfactorily was early recognized in the Geological Survey, and in 1891, when it became necessary to investigate the fur seals fisheries of the Pacific Islands on behalf of Great Britain and Canada, he was chosen by Dr. George Dawson, the Director of the Geological Survey and Bering Sea Commissioner for Canada, to go with him. He services proved so valuable that he was retained on this special work in 1892 and 1893, and was sent to Europe as an expert in connection with the fur seal arbitration. In 1896 he was again sent to Bering Sea, and again in 1914. In 1911 he spent 10 weeks in Washington as one of Canada’s representatives at the fur seal conference. For his special international work, he received a C.M.G. for his services. As evidence of the splendid work done by himself and his father, there are now in the possession of the National Herbarium of the Geological Survey, over 100,000 specimens of the flora of Canada. In addition, both men may be named among the founders of the Royal Victoria Museum of Canada, and perhaps half of the bird specimens, numbering about 14,000 in all, were supplied by the Macoun’s. As a botanist, Macoun proved himself a keen observer, and the enormous collections he brought home from his expeditions contain an excellent foundation for the knowledge of the Canadian flora. Although he was more familiar with the Canadian flora than any other botanist, he contributed very little in print. He hoped to sometime write up his collection, but not until he managed to acquire the literature necessary. At the time the botanical library at Ottawa was not sufficiently provided with books in his line of work, and he was too conscientious to publish for the mere sake of publishing. As a botanical correspondent Macoun was indefatigable and as Chief of the Biological Division he had to attend a great many meetings in the course of his work. He married Mary Maclennan in Whitby, Ontario, in 1889 and was the brother of Clara Wheeler nee Macoun. James Macoun fell ill while on field work in 1919 and returned to Ottawa to convalesce but sadly passed away 8 January 1920.
Kathleen Martin-Tuckey (1909 – 2008) was born in England in 1909 and immigrated to Canada in 1912. She lived a charmed life, starting with missing the Titanic’s crossing after coming down with a case of the chicken-pox. She attended Victoria High School and then did a year at Victoria College as she was too young to go to Secretarial School. Kathleen worked in several office jobs and was a liberated woman before her time. One of her jobs was working at a bank in Vancouver with several men. Mum had the only car and would drive them `to and fro’ to the golf course we don’t know if she had a driver’s licence! She married Francis Tuckey in 1937 and they operated a fruit farm in Saanich until his death in 1959. She returned to office work and was employed by both Saanich Municipality and the Provincial Government until her retirement. Mum had a multitude of interests, all kinds of hobbies and was a great collector. She was a member of the Alpine Club for many years (where she met Dad) and she maintained her interest in miniatures and movie-making throughout her life. She loved to learn, and her son Dick was proud to talk about how she learned to use a computer at age 90. She was a long-time member of St. Michael and All Angels Church (Royal Oak). Mum’s greatest joy was her family and friends and she treasured every one. She is lovingly remembered by her children, Brenda & Reg Waggoner, Jean & Ken Manness, Dick & Sally Tuckey and Sue Jergens & Bob Greig; seven grandchildren and their families, many greatgrandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. Her brother Vince Martin and his wife Margaret and their children were a special part of her life, as was her sister, Viv, (who predeceased her) and her family. She was so proud of all of us. Mum suffered from anemia in her last few years, but with the help of regular transfusions she was able to keep an active life. After a long and happy life, she passed away at home in her sleep on 28 January 2008.
Ruth Jessie Masters (1920 – 2017) was born at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Comox on May 7, 1920. She passed away peacefully at the new North Island Hospital in Courtenay on November 7, 2017. She was 97 years old. Ruth lived almost her entire life in her own home, which she built on her parents’ property in Courtenay. She served in the Canadian Air Force as a clerk in England during World War II and was promoted to Sergeant. In Courtenay she worked as a legal secretary from 1952 until 1992. Ruth was an avid hiker throughout most of her life. She made her first hike up Mt. Becher with her family in 1933 when she was just 13 and five years later climbed Comox Glacier and became one of the early members of the Comox District Mountaineering Club. Ruth was a dedicated local historian. She never forgot her time spent oversees during the War and she never forgot the many who did not return. She spent countless hours researching names on the local Cairn and then lobbied the provincial government to name lakes and mountains in the area for many of the soldiers who served in both the first and second world wars. Her detailed compendium, “Lest We Forget” is on display in the Courtenay Museum. Ruth also compiled other local history books that are on display at the Courtenay and Cumberland Museums – ‘Courtenay’, ‘Forbidden Plateau’, and ‘Ginger Goodwin’, each one leather-bound and engraved by Ruth. They are all probably best thought of as loving gifts from Ruth to the people of the Comox Valley. Ruth was an environmentalist before the word was invented. She was passionate about the need to protect wildlife and the natural world. She always spoke up for those without a voice and always fought to protect the natural beauty of her homeland, especially Strathcona Park and the Comox Valley. Ruth was known to put her body between bears and trophy hunters. She was on the beaches in Tofino in 1989 to clean up after the infamous Exxon Valdez oil spill. She carved up road-kill and drove them in her little red truck to wildlife rescue centres for food in both Parksville and the Comox Valley. She could always be counted on to help out with blockades, protests and rallies to protect the environment. She blew “Oh Canada” on her faithful harmonica at almost every arrest during the three-month standoff in Strathcona Park in the middle of the winter in 1988. She was a ‘master’ sign-maker, making directional signs for alpine trails and protest signs for her numerous causes. Working side by side with her good friend Melda Buchanan around 1990, Ruth played a key role in lobbying to add forestland to Seal Bay Park. On a rainy, windy day in December 1994, along with Carol Neufeld and Fran Johnson, Ruth put her body in front of chainsaws to protect the trees in what we now all take for granted as MacDonald Wood Park in Comox. She donated 18 acres of her own land in Courtenay for the Masters Greenway and Wildlife Corridor. Ruth ‘walked her talk’ and that is why so many remember her. She set an example for all of us for how to live on the Earth and leave it in better shape. Growing up ‘church-mouse poor’, as she would say, she always lived a modest life but was generous to a fault, giving to environmental organizations, wildlife protection groups, the SPCA, the NDP and many, many more. Ruth was predeceased by her father, William Edward Masters, her mother Jessie Smith, and her only brother Bill. She is survived by her nephew James Edward Masters, distant relatives in Victoria and Ontario, and her God-daughter Lorrainne Dixon. Lorrainne was tasked with making health care decisions in Ruth’s declining years and did an admirable job. Ruth was always firm that she wanted to live out her final years in her own home. As her health declined this was not always easy but Lorrainne held firm in respecting Ruth’s wishes and ensuring that Ruth was safe in her home. Thank you Lorrainne. Although she had few living relatives, Ruth built a huge family around her in the Comox Valley and in her declining years a small inner circle of that family helped Ruth stay in her own home. Thank you to all those volunteers and neighbours. Thanks must also be expressed to Ruth’s primary care giver – Yolanda Corke. Yolanda was Ruth’s daily lifeline, checking on her early each morning and afternoon and calling on volunteers when extra help was needed. More than anyone Yolanda provided the day-to-day care that allowed Ruth to remain in her home in her final years. Ruth Masters passed away in Comox on 7 November 2017.
Frederick “Fred” George Pennington Maurice (1910 – 1991) and Edith Howard Maurice nee Willcox (1908 – 1988). Fred Maurice was born on 1 August 1910 in Agassiz and Edith Willcox was born on 30 September 1908 in Boston, Massachussetts. Fred began work for Pemberton Homes Ltd in 1926 where he stayed for 52 years until he retired in 1977. In the 1980’s he wrote an unpublished history of the two families and the company history. He spent time at Croteau’s Camp on Forbidden Plateau in 1933 and then joined the ACCVI attending trips and camps to the Lake of the Seven Hills in Sooke and Forbidden Plateau. At the AGM in December 1936, he became the sections secretary-treasurer, a position he held until the end of 1942. Edith also joined the ACCVI possibly in 1932 when she went of trips with the section to the Lake of the Seven Hills. They most likely met on section trips and on 10 August 1937 Fred and Edith were married. They had three children. Fred and Edith attended many ACC gmc camps in the late 1930’s and some in the 1940’s after WWII. Edith passed away on 21 October 1988 and Fred passed away on 25 September 1991.
Robert Daniel McCaw (1884 – 1941) was born in 1884 in Welland, Ontario. In 1903, McCaw was articulated to the surveyor George Ross. In February 1907, he received his Ontario Land Surveyors Commission and entered into partnership with George Ross and in 1909 he received his Dominion Land Surveyors Commission. Later that year the partnership dissolved and McCaw began working with Arthur Wheeler. In 1912, McCaw received his British Columbia Land Surveyors Commission and became a member of the firm Wheeler, Campbell and McCaw. He was then engaged in road location on the West Coast of Vancouver Island for the Public Works Department in Victoria. In 1913, he made a photo-topographical survey along the route of the Banff-Windermere Highway for the Public Works Department of British Columbia. In 1914, the firm of Wheeler, Campbell and McCaw was dissolved, and in May of that year McCaw began to make photo-topographical surveys for the Surveys Branch of the Department of Lands of the Province of B.C. In 1929, he was appointed a member of the permanent Provincial Civil Service. From the mid to late 1930’s, McCaw was working on Vancouver Island and the West Coast. In 1940 and 1941 he worked around Alberni where he made ascents of many of the peaks surrounding the Kennedy River including Pogo Mountain and Steamboat Mountain. McCaw was on the Board of Management of the Corporation of British Columbia Land Surveyors in the 1930’s and was the chairman of the Victoria section of the ACC from 1916 to 1922. McCaw was working in the field during the summer of 1941 when he was taken ill and passed away later in the year (obituary in the Canadian Alpine Journal Vol. 28, 1941.)
Harry McClure Johnson (1886 – 1932) was born in Peoria, Illinois on 13 May 1886 to Albert and Elizabeth “Gaga” Johnson. He attended Peoria High School and graduated as the Salutatorian in the Class of 1903. After he graduated from Princeton University in 1907, he studied law at Northwestern University Law School. There he received his Bachelor of Laws degree in 1910. In 1915 and 1916 he attended two of the military training camps for civilians, but owing to a major surgical operation in 1917 he was unable to undertake military duties until the latter part of 1918 when he was commissioned a first lieutenant in Washington D.C. After leaving the army McClure spent the years 1919 and 1920 as assistant counsel of the Emergency Fleet Corporation construction division, in Philadelphia. Subsequently, his practice took him to British Columbia and California. Later he established his headquarters in Chicago where he had been practicing for more than ten years. Returning to practice in Chicago in 1921 he joined the predecessor of the firm of which he was a partner at the time of his death – Offield, Mehlhope, Scott & Poole. While with that firm he specialized in the law of trademarks and unfair competition. His thorough knowledge of that subject and his experience in conducting litigation involving nationally known trademarks impelled him to take an active and highly useful part in shaping the amendments which have been made during recent years in the trade mark statutes. He participated in the drafting of many of these amendments, gave generously of his time to the work of the Trademark Section of the American Bar Association, and his many arguments before the committees of Congress on Patents and Trademarks were a valuable public service in the interest of sound legislation. As a life member of the Alpine Club of Canada he climbed Mt. Robson and Mt. Assiniboine. In 1910, Harry McClure and his cousin Myra King Ellison and her father Price Ellison and 20 others went on an expedition to Vancouver Island with a goal to find a potential for a park in the island centre. He was one of a party of nine who scaled Crown Mountain. On 7 August 1912 he and his cousin Myra climbed Mt. Little on the B.C./Alberta boundary. Harry McClure Johnson passed away suddenly on 29 March 1932 in Toronto and was survived by his wife Helena and five children. In his personal life Harry Johnson’s outstanding traits were his unyielding integrity and his helpful and unfailing loyalty to his friends.
Emily Mary (nee Locke) McConnan (1883 – 1974) was born in Belgium in 1883 and came to Canada in 1892 with her father Capt. Leonard Pye Locke. Emily married Douglas Blamey McConnan in ??? and they were divorced in the mid thirties. Emily then moved into the Empress Hotel. Emily was involved in music and drama, starring in many Red Cross charity concerts during WWI, and later helping organize the Victoria Operatic Society. She sang professionally for many years in Seattle and by 1935 was studying in London, England. She eventually moved to Hollywood to pursue a stage and film career, then moved to Toronto several years before her death in 1974. Douglas Blamey McConnan was born in St. Johns, Newfoundland in 1870 and moved to Victoria in the 1880’s. He was a clerk for the Dominion Post Office, the Dominion Savings Bank by 1892, and Assistant Receiver General of Victoria when he married in 1908. He was an avid gardener, raced sculls with the James Bay Athletic Association and secretary of the Victoria Riding Club. During WWI, he was drill-leader for the Fifth Regiment, Canadian Artillery Home Guard unit, retiring with the rank of Major. He passed away in 1940.
Jennie Long McCulloch (1879 – 1957) was born in Stratford, Ontario in 1879. She came to Victoria with her parents William and Jennie (nee Long) in 1885. She joined the staff of the King’s Printer and rose to the position of Chief Clerk. She made her first trip to the Rocky Mountains with her sister Nancy in 1902 staying at the Banff Springs Hotel. In 1912, she joined the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada and became its first secretary. She remained in that role until 1919, but stayed on the executive committee for several more years. In 1913, she attended the annual ACC summer camp and graduated on Mount Cathedral and later attended the pioneer camp at Mount Robson. She also attended the 1914 Yoho Camp. In 1921 she married Frederick Longstaff who she met through the Alpine Club. Upon their return home from Europe, they made their home at “Seabank” on Gonzales Hill in Victoria. Between the years 1923 and 1938 Jennie and Frederick made frequent visits to the Rockies. After their marriage she retired and devoted her time to various cultural interests. She made her last trip to the Rockies in 1939. Failing health made travel inadvisable, however, she retained her interest in the Alpine Club and always attended sections meetings. Jennie Longstaff passed away in Victoria in 1957 (obituary in the Canadian Alpine Journal Vol. 41, 1958, p. 115-116.)
Arthur William McCurdy (1856 – 1923) was born to a prominent Nova Scotian family on 13 April 1856 in Truro. After finishing public school, Arthur attended the collegiate institute in Whitby, Ontario. He was articled as a law clerk for four years in a relative’s firm, W. H. and A. Blanchard in Windsor, but he did not take the bar examinations. Instead, he returned to Baddeck to join the family enterprise, D. McCurdy and Son, from which his father’s attention was diverted in 1873 by his election to the provincial legislature. A year after his marriage in 1881 to Lucy O’Brien, Arthur acquired his father’s share and, with his brother William Fraser, expanded the business by building a new wharf, opening a meat-curing operation, and starting the Island Reporter, which Arthur edited. A life-changing event occurred when he met the inventor of the telephone during the visit of Alexander Graham Bell and his wife, to Baddeck in the late summer of 1885. The McCurdy’s were early users of Bell’s device: William had bought sets to link the store with his home and his father’s. Family lore has it that Arthur was having difficulty with the store phone one day when a stranger walked over and repaired it. “How did you know how to fix that?” asked McCurdy. “My name is Alexander Graham Bell,” replied the visitor. Bell was so taken by Baddeck that, on his return to his home in Washington, he wrote to Mrs. Kate Dunlop of the Telegraph House hotel, where he had stayed, to say that he and his wife wished to return the next year and acquire a cottage. She recommended Arthur as an agent; the Bells’ first purchase was a farm home on Crescent Grove, next door to his parents. Bell and McCurdy became fast friends – they played chess and each had ceaseless curiosity and a love of invention. By now the McCurdy’s family was growing. His third child, John Alexander Douglas, was born in 1886. But Cape Breton was entering a period of economic decline, which precipitated the failure of the McCurdy business in 1887. Fortunately, Arthur was offered employment by Bell as his private secretary, and for the next fifteen years he would divide his time between Baddeck and Washington. Enthusiastic and driven by a boundless energy, McCurdy cut a striking figure – he was tall and had a prominent moustache and Vandyke beard. An inveterate outdoorsman, he led the Bells on camping trips and taught them how to use snowshoes and shoot. On one visit to a Micmac (Mi’kmaw) village, he photographed them next to two tepees, adjacent to newly constructed telephone poles. Daisy Bell later recalled that he gave her parents “a kind of young friendship that they never had with anyone else. . . . they did things with him that they could never have done without him.” They soon outgrew their first residence. Bell had fallen in love with Red Head peninsula, on Baddeck Bay, and he tasked McCurdy to acquire the property and 50 adjacent acres. Together they designed The Lodge, the Bells’ rustic home on the point. The association deepened following the death of Lucy McCurdy (nee O’Brien) on March 25, 1888, a week after the birth of another son. Although their children were brought up by Arthur’s sister Georgina, they became part of the Bells’ extended family. Bell broadened Arthur’s duties in 1889 when he reopened his Washington-based laboratory with McCurdy as one of two assistants. In addition to working on experiments, he took daily dictation of Bell’s thoughts in “Lab Notes” and “Home Notes,” designated by where each book was kept. “You are my private secretary and Alter Ego to the world,” Bell told him in a letter in December 1896. The same exchange revealed that Bell’s office habits could be a source of irritation. “Our work,” he wrote, “is actually in a chaotic condition. . . . This is entirely my own fault, and I sympathize with you in having to work with such an unsystematic man as myself.” McCurdy responded on 28 January with some strong suggestions to Bell to rectify this disarray: “1. You [must] come to the office in some sort of season, and not put off office work until three or four o’clock and in the afternoon. 2. Don’t take letters away from the files of the office and expect me to find them when wanted. 3. Don’t take unanswered letters away, and expect me to answer them.” Along with his administrative duties, McCurdy was the first employee to record visually the inventor’s experiments and activities. Like Bell, he embraced the art and science of photography. In 1899, McCurdy’s love of photography led to the development of one of his own successful inventions. His small portable tank for developing film in daytime, dubbed the Ebedec (the Indian name for Baddeck), has been used by generations of photographers. With financial assistance from Bell, he spent three years commercializing it. After obtaining a United States patent in 1902, he sold the rights to Eastman Kodak. He left Bell’s employ in 1902 to pursue invention full-time, including a method of printing statistical maps using interchangeable “map type.” McCurdy had been left a widower after the death of his first wife so in 1902 he married Hattie Mace of Sydenham, Ontario, a niece of Bell’s stepmother, and they moved to Toronto, where their first child was born in 1903. That same year he was awarded the John Scott premium and medal of the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia for his success in invention. A second child was born in 1905 in Baddeck, where, in the summer of 1906, McCurdy’s son Douglas, an engineering student at the University of Toronto, began helping Bell design and fly heavier-than-air craft. By then, McCurdy had moved his family to British Columbia and set up a laboratory at his country home up on the Malahat outside Victoria. He continued to photograph and was active in community affairs; named the first president of the local Canadian Club in 1907, he also pursued his keen interest in nature. For instance, he wrote about Victoria’s climate for the National Geographic Magazine (Washington) in 1907. As president of the Natural History Society of British Columbia, he promoted the establishment of a federal observatory and seismological and meteorological research station, built on Gonzales Hill north of the city in 1913 and headed by Francis Denison. On March 6, 1914 he chaired a meeting and lecture by federal astronomer John Stanley Plaskett, at which time the Victoria centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada was organized with Denison as president and McCurdy as vice-president. Through his connection to Denison, he lobbied Ottawa to construct a major astronomical facility on Vancouver Island. Begun on Little Saanich Mountain near Victoria in mid-1915 and opened two years later under Plaskett’s direction, the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory was to house a 72-inch reflecting telescope; installed by May 1918, it was, for a few months, the largest in the world until superseded by the 100-inch instrument at Mount Wilson, California. In July 1910, McCurdy undertook a “pilgrimage” to Nootka Sound and Conuma Peak on behalf of the Natural Historical Society of which he was the president. The small expedition explored Nootka Sound and then made an attempt on Conuma Peak. On the second attempt the party reached the base of the giant rock-arch where the Tomb of chief Maquinna is reported to have been buried. While McCurdy was photographing the arch and ravine while being held by a rope, one member of his party took off their shoes and climbed to the summit. In 1916, McCurdy ran for a seat in British Columbia’s legislature as a Liberal candidate in the riding of Esquimalt. Although he was declared elected on November 21 by a two-vote margin over Conservative candidate Robert Pooley, he resigned over alleged irregularities in taking the soldiers’ vote. Pooley emerged from a recount with a two-vote victory. McCurdy moved to Washington in 1921 and passed away from heart failure in 1923 (obituary in the Daily Colonist September 15, 1923, p.5.) ” He interested himself in the things of life which count,” stated one obituary, and had a “life well spent.”
William Eric Marcus “Mark” Mitchell (1897 – 1990) was born in 1897 in Northern Ireland and educated at Campbell College, Belfast, the University of London and St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. Mark Mitchell served in France with the Royal Irish Rifles during the First World War. He was injured and awarded the Military Cross. He returned to St. Bartholomew’s for post-graduate training and became chief assistant to a surgical unit there. In 1926 Mitchell immigrated to Canada arriving overland to Victoria where he became the chief of the department of surgery at Royal Jubilee Hospital and at the Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital. From 1926 to 1939, he left his practice every few years to visit surgical clinics elsewhere, including Australia, the United States and Europe, to learn new techniques. During the Second World War, Mitchell served as lieutenant-colonel in the Royal Army Medical Corps and was officer-in-charge of the surgical division in military hospitals in England, Malta and Egypt, where he served two years in each. After the war, he returned to Victoria and resumed his practice. In 1956, he was the Listerian Memorial Orator for the Victoria Medical Society and in 1965 he was elected an Honorary Member of the Society because of his distinguished service to the Society and the community at large. Mitchell was a member of the Society for sixty-five years. Mark Mitchell joined the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada and in 1946 attended the ACC Bugaboo Creek summer camp with his daughter Patricia, who graduated to active membership on Anniversary Peak. In 1948, he attended the Peyto Lake camp with Bill Lash and his son Mallory and daughter Sylvia; the Maligne Lake camp in 1950; the Mount Assiniboine camp in 1952; the Skoki Ski camp in 1954 with Ted Goodall and Noel Lax; and the Glacier Ski camp in 1955. It was at these camps where he first met Rex Gibson who was to become a close climbing friend. In 1953, Mitchell co-led a section trip to Big Interior Mountain with Gibson, where a young Syd Watts was beginning his mountaineering career. Mitchell was the Chairman of the Vancouver Island section from 1947 to 1953. Mark Mitchell passed away on 26 December 1990 in Victoria (obituary in The Times Colonist, January 3, 1991, p.C1.) Doctor Peter Banks of Saanich said: “He was the first one to bring neurosurgical techniques to Victoria. Dr. Mitchell was a leader… [and his] standards, ethically and professionally, were the very highest.” In 1969, Mitchell wrote a book: Health, Wealth and Happiness. It was a philosophy of life and a guide to living.
William James Moffat (1887 – 1941) was born in 1887 at Raphoe, County Donegal, Ireland. He received his early education at Raphoe Royal School, later going to Mountjoy School, Dublin, where he excelled at cricket. He then proceeded to the Royal College of Science obtaining his A.R.C. Sc. 1; following this he took his Arts degree and Bachelor of Civil Engineering at Trinity College, Dublin, in 1911. His first work was under A. McC. Stewart, Harbour Engineer of Londonderry, Ireland. In 1913, he decided to follow his profession in Canada, so he came direct to Vancouver where he articled under the surveyor R.G. Russell. He was granted his B.C.L.S. commission in 1914 and in 1915 received his Dominion Land Surveyor commission. In 1917, he returned to England working with the Inland Water and Docks Contingent, later obtaining a commission in the Royal Engineers just at the close of the war. Following the war, he was employed as a Surveyor under the Irish Department of Agriculture for two years. In 1921, he once again returned to Canada where he worked under Arthur Wheeler on the BC/Alberta boundary photo-topographical survey, then in 1922 he joined the staff of the Photo-Topographical Branch of the Provincial Government working as an assistant to George Jackson for the next six years in the Kettle Valley, Similkameen and Skagit County. From 1928 to 1933, he engaged in private practice in Victoria under the firm of Whyte, Musgrave & Moffatt. During this period, he worked in the Fort George area on the P.G.E Resources Survey, and also carried out much private subdivision work on Vancouver Island. In 1934, he resumed work on the staff of the Photo-Topographical Department, acting as assistant to Norman Stewart until his untimely death in 1941. During this period, he covered much of the country around the Forbidden Plateau, Buttle Lake and Upper Campbell Lake in Strathcona Provincial Park making ascents of Mount Albert Edward and the Comox Glacier. He later worked on the Alaska Highway surveys. It was typical of him that he worked without complaint up to the end in the far north on the borders of the Yukon, along the valley of the Liard River. William Moffatt passed away on 7 September 1941, near Lower Post on the Liard River, and his remains fittingly lie under a cairn erected by his fellow Surveyors on a promontory close to Lower Post overlooking a broad expanse of country he had surveyed (obituary in the Corporation of Land Surveyors of the Province of British Columbia. Report of Proceedings of the Thirty-Seventh Annual General Meeting. 1942. Vancouver, B.C. p. 55-56.) He was survived by his wife Esther Shankey who he married in 1926 and one son.
Edward Mohun (1838 – 1912) was born on 3 September 1838 in Chigwell, England. He arrived in Victoria in 1862 and married to Emmeline Jane Newton in 1878. From 1863-1871 he worked as a surveyor throughout Vancouver Island, the Okanagan, Fraser Valley and Haida Gwaii. In 1871 and 1872, he was the Canadian Pacific Railway Divisional Engineer in charge of surveying the Yellowhead and Eagle Pass. Mohun was appointed as a surveyor to the Joint Indian Reserve Commission in 1876 where he surveyed reserve allotments throughout Vancouver Island and the coastal areas. In 1884, Mohun created a detailed map of the Province of British Columbia. In 1885, he was involved in the large dyke and drainage projects in the Fraser Valley and from there he went on to designing the sewer systems in Vancouver and Victoria. In 1886, his research on BC wood products for bridge building resulted in the basis for future bridge calculations. In 1897, he received the Gzowski Silver Medal for his paper titled “The Sewage System of Victoria” presented before the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers. Later in his career he was involved in sanitation and drainage projects in Victoria and the Vancouver – Pitt Meadows areas, a sanitation inspector, provincial railway inspector, and a public works engineer. He also held the position of Justice of the Peace. In 1890, he was involved in the creation of the Professional Association of Land Surveyors in British Columbia. Mohun passed away in October 1912 at his home in Victoria. His name is remembered in Mohun Lake and Mohun Creek in the Sayward region and the Mohun Shoal on the mid-coast.
Jean Mollison (1861 – 1951) was born in Wick, Caithness, Scotland on May 21, 1861 to James and Anne Mollison and was the middle of seven children. Around 1863, the family moved to Dochgarroch Lodge where James worked as a property manager before moving to Canada in the late 1880’s. When Jean arrived in July 1888, she became the assistant housekeeper at the C.P.R. hotel in Banff where her sister Annie was the head housekeeper. In 1889, Annie and Jean were hired as “joint managers” of Fraser Canyon House at North Bend. From then on Jean and Annie, spent periods of time managing several C.P.R. hotels including Field, Lake Louise, Glacier House and North Bend. Sometimes they were both at one hotel at the same time; at other times they were on their own. From 1895 to 1911 she was the manager of the Chateau Lake Louise. With the railway line on her doorstep, Jean was able to travel to Vancouver where she would take part in social events including performing with local musicians and entertainers. Her specialty was well-known Scottish songs. In 1904, Jean and Annie bought a place in Calgary and ran it as a hotel and boarding house called Braemar Lodge although after renovations it was clearly a luxury hotel. Jean sold her share to Annie in 1914. In 1907, she leased the Rogers Hotel on the corner of Georgia and Burrard in Vancouver. The hotel soon changed name to Glencoe Lodge and became a well-known destination for both tourists and long-term residents. As well, prominent society members regularly held meetings and parties at the Lodge. As she was still managing Lake Louise, she had Mildred Hawes look after Glencoe Lodge and then Jessie Dewar. From 1912 to 1925, Jean was the proprietor of the Glenshiel Inn in Victoria. Doubling its size, she had her sister Hellen manage the Glenshiel Inn from 1915 to 1919 and then Harriet Wood until Jean sells it in 1925. In 1912, Jean also became the proprietor of the Strathcona Hotel on the shore of Shawnigan Lake but sells it off in 1916 most likely to the C.P.R. Being next to the railway line it was a convenient stop for tourists and vacationers. That same year she leased the Cameron Lake Chalet from the C.P.R. and had her brother-in-law, Herbert Cancellor [he was married to Jean’s sister Jessie], as the manager. Mr. R. Marpole, chief assistant of the C.P.R. had just completed the building of a pony trail from the Chalet up towards Mount Cokely and Arrowsmith and the Chalet and trail were being well-patronized by tourists and climbers. In 1915, Jean relinquishes the Cameron Lake Chalet lease and Albert and May Monk became the managers. May Monk, nee Savatard, appears to be a sister of Emmeline who eventually married Arthur Wheeler after Clara died. Albert was killed in action in 1916, but May continued managing the Chalet until George Woollett took it over in 1920. In 1929, Annie dies in Calgary leaving Braemar Lodge to Jean. In 1931, Jean loses her Glencoe Lodge lease and moves out. After that she tries, unsuccessfully, to run a boarding house, New Glencoe Lodge, and then an antique business, and then a coffee shop, all in Vancouver. In 1934, Jean sells Calgary’s Braemar Lodge, retires, and lives in a Vancouver West End rented house until her passing on 23 March 1951. (Obituary in the Vancouver Sun March 26, 1951, p.3.) Jean was known as a friendly host, respected business woman and became known and loved as the “grand Chatelaine.”
Alan Brooks Morkill (1882 – 1956) was born in Sherbrooke, Quebec in 1882 and moved to Victoria in 1907 and worked for the Canadian Bank of Commerce. During W.W.I he left Victoria with the 88th battalion and transferred to the 7th battalion in France where he served in the battles of the Somme and Vimy, and was wounded at Passchendaele. He was awarded the Military Cross in 1918 for his work in the battle of Amiens and later received a bar to his M.C. for gallantry. Morkill returned to banking after the war and married Nellie Mara. At the outset of W.W.II he resigned as manager of the Douglas and Cormorant branch and served as a major for the Canadian Scottish Regiment. He was a noted botanist and president of the Vancouver Island Rock and Alpine Garden Society for nearly twenty years. The Morkill’s house at 852 Pemberton Road frequently opened their garden for tours. He passed away in 1956 (obituary in the Daily Colonist April 22, 1956, p.32.)
Andy Morod (1901 – 1983) was born in Switzerland in 1901 and grew up speaking French on farms in the Alps. He served in the citizen army and was an excellent skier. In 1922, he emigrated to Canada and in 1932 he was employed aboard a fishpacker boat owned by the Nelson Brothers Fisheries Ltd. Morod was about to spend the winter in Bamfield when a trapper offered him a job on a newly-acquired trapline at Muchalat Lake near Gold River. Muchalat Lake was to be Morod’s home for the next twenty-one winters. In August 1933, Morod was rowing in Muchalat Inlet when he encountered the Dominion Hydrographic Survey scow Pender, anchored at the mouth of the Houston River. The surveyors were charting the waters of Nootka Sound and doing geodetic work and were preparing to climb Conuma Peak to establish a survey station. Because of the conspicuous nature of the peak, readings would be taken of the station from various places in the sound. Learning that Morod had climbed in the Swiss Alps the Commander of the survey asked Morod his opinion and then suggested that he might like to act as a guide. Morod accepted the challenge and later considered the climbing of Conuma Peak as one of the most important accomplishments of his life. On the summit the party built a station and erected a six-metre mast for a flag. Inside a cairn they left a bottle containing their names. The result of the survey was the first chart of Nootka Sound. Morod built his first cabin on the east end of Muchalat Lake in 1934 and over the years built several cabins, called shacks, along his trapline. He eventually took up prospecting which he did in the summer to supplement his trapping in the winter. In 1938, he staked the Barnacle claims near Zeballos and never lost faith, working the claim until he was seventy-five when he could no longer hike up the trail. The Barnacle claims were located about eleven kilometres northwest of Zeballos on the steep mountainside above the Zeballos River. Here on the west side of Lime Creek he built a cabin at the 695-metre elevation with a commanding view of the Haihte Range. Due to Morod’s inexperience in optioning claims and dealing with lawyers one of his biggest disappointments of his life involved not gold but iron. Bodies of magnetite lay exposed on the Barnacle and surrounding area and Anyox Metals Ltd. wanted to purchase the claims. His partners made an agreement with Anyox and when Morod returned from trapping, they urged him to add his signature. Unrepresented by a lawyer, he agreed. The enormity of his mistake was not realized until later. Lawyers earned Morod’s partners a small fortune when the claims became a full-fledged mine in the 1960’s while Morod received less the $5000. However, it was enough for him to make his only trip back to Europe and South America. Morod suffered his whole life from arthritis and as the years went on it got worse. Immobilized and suffering dizzy spells, he feared a stroke was imminent. On 22 November 1983, he ended his life by shooting himself cleanly with his rifle. At his request, he was cremated and his ashes scattered by plane over Rugged Mountain at a specified elevation from where the Barnacle claim could be seen forever.
Henry Joseph Salisbury Muskett (1867 – 1947) was born in Norwich, England on 10 August 1867 and came to BC in 1897. In 1905, he began a long career at Government House as Private Secretary to Sir Henri-Gustave Joly de Lotbiniere. He served six other Lieutenant Governors before he retired in 1926. He married Winifred (Freda) Janet Walker (1889-1980) on 7 August 1907 in Victoria. She was a grand-daughter of Sir Henry P.P. Crease. They had two children: Margaret Jessie and George Lindley. Henry Muskett passed away in 1947.
John Nairn ( – 1928) was a member of the Merchants Co. in Edinburgh, Scotland before moving the family to Victoria in 1921. They had three children. Their daughter, Marcella, married Dr. F. [Fred] C. Bell, ACC president 1924-28. John Nairn passed away suddenly in early January 1928. (Obituary in The Daily Colonist January 7, 1928, p.5.)
Charles “Charlie” W. Nash (1917 – 2008) was born on 24 July 1917 in Lee on Solvent, Hampshire, England. His family moved to Vancouver in 1925 where Charles attended Vancouver College. From 1936 to 1938 he worked at a silver mine near Mayo in the Yukon and then went to the University of British Columbia where he received a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He joined the RCAF and served in England until the end of the war as a Flying Officer piloting Lancaster Bombers. In 1945, he began working for the B.C. Power Commission as an Engineer in Victoria. In 1962, the B.C. Power Commission amalgamated with B.C. Electric to become B.C. Hydro and the Victoria office moved to Vancouver. Charley moved to Vancouver and stayed on the Vancouver Board until 1963. He retired from B.C. Hydro as a Vice-President in 1981 but then took up independent consulting. Outside of work he served as Hon. Vice-President of the National Council and Hon. President of Vancouver Coast Region, Scouts Canada; Chairman, Holy Family Hospital; Chairman of Shaughnessy Hospital and Shaughnessy Hospital Foundation; Board member, University Hospital; international volunteer, advisor and member of Board of Directors, CESO. He was a long-time member of St. Anthony’s Parish, West Vancouver. Charlie’s keen interest in other cultures led him to travel the world both personally and professionally visiting exotic places such as Bhutan, Bolivia, China, Japan, Thailand, Nepal and Afghanistan where he got to ski in the Hindu Kush mountains. At age 73, Charlie attended S.F.U. to study Mandarin and later went to China as an exchange student. He was a member of the Vancouver Mandarin Club and his book club until age 90. For twenty-three years, Charlie was known as ‘Cougar’ to hundreds of West Vancouver school students to whom he taught Wilderness Survival. Charlie Nash took up mountaineering in 1949 when fellow engineer Bill Lash asked him to join a team going to Elkhorn Mountain. The party consisted of Bill Lash and his son Mallory, Phil Wolstenholmes and Geoffrey Capes. Their ascent was the second of the mountain. Although not a serious mountaineer, Nash joined the Vancouver North Shore Hikers and was an active member of the group. Charlie enjoyed many outdoor interests and had a season’s ski pass to Whistler into his eighties. Charlie Nash passed away 20 April 2008.
Anne Norrington (1876 – 1965) was born in Exeter, Devon, England in July 1876. She completed her schooling in Exeter and taught there until she moved to Jamaica in 1904. She taught there for four years then came to Canada to teach at Havergal College in Toronto. In 1917, she obtained her B.Sc. at the University of Manitoba specializing in Botany. Later she obtained her Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. She spent many years teaching in the Western Provinces, including five years at the University of Alberta while doing research work, and she also taught for two summer seasons ta the Biological Station of the Uni. Of Washington. Due to her extensive work in Botany she was always a keen observer of alpine flora and during her time spent in the Kootenays she made a study of the flowers of the Kokanee Glacier Park, and an illustrated article was published in the National Geographic Magazine. In 1914, she attended her first ACC summer camp in the Yoho Valley. She attended six Club camps and numerous outings with the Nelson Mountaineers. She graduated on Mt. President and became a life member of the ACC. Anne travelled extensively, but eventually retired to her summer place near Nelson, B.C., but spent the winters in Victoria where she finally moved too permanently. She passed away on 31 October 1965 (obituary in the Canadian Alpine Journal Vol. 49, 1966, p.214.)
William Adrian Beviss Paul (1891 – 1982) was born in 1891 in Chard, England where he completed his education before moving to B.C. in 1910. On June 16, 1918, Captain. W.A. [Adrian] B. Paul relinquished his commission on account of ill-health caused by wounds received in action, and was granted the honorary rank of Lieutenant on 19 June 1918. He had a life-long interest in birds but did not begin his organized note-taking until 1946, at which time he was living in Kleena-Kleene. He maintained his records until 1976 and published about 20 articles on his observations. He was an active bird-bander, contributor to the British Columbia Nest Records Scheme, and organizer of Christmas Bird Counts. For many years Adrian Paul made frequent hiking and climbing trips into the Forbidden Plateau. He also made several trips up to the Comox Glacier and in 1930 made the first ascent of Alexandra Peak with David Guthrie and Henry Ellis and in 1931 he made the first ascent of The Red Pillar with Ben Hughes, Arthur Leighton and Jack Gregson. Adrian Paul passed away on 11 April 1982 at Tatla Lake.
Theed Pearse (1871 – 1971) was born in Bedford, England on 26 October 1871 to Mary (nee Jackson) and William Theed Pearse. He attended the prestigious Bedford Grammar School and before he was seventeen, he was articled to his father who was practicing law at Bedford at that time. He remained in the law business until 1906 when he sold out and joined a venture in Virginia, U.S.A., which “turned out to be a fizzle.” After this unhappy experience he joined his brother Ernest and was engaged in fruit farming in Nova Scotia, but after one season they both decided to move to British Columbia where they arrived in 1909. His brother moved on but Theed was so taken with the Pacific coast that he remained in Vancouver. Although he had hoped to find a law practice in Courtenay, which at the time had only about seven hundred people, there was only just enough work for one lawyer. After the war ended the Courtenay lawyer left and Pearse move over in 1916 and opened a law office. In 1919, he married Elizabeth Margaret (Elma) Llewelyn, the daughter of Sir Robert Llewelyn, the Governor of Granada in the West Indies. After settling in the valley, Pearse served as an Alderman for thirteen years and as Mayor from 1928 to 1929, then in 1941 Pearse retired and devoted the rest of his long life to his all-absorbing hobby – bird study. In 1968, at the age of ninety-six, he self-published a work entitled Birds of the Early Explorers in the Northern Pacific which was considered “a fine scholarly work worthy of a man who meticulously took notes on the bird life of the area.” His ornithological affiliations included life-membership in the British Ornithologists’ Union, honorary memberships in both the Pacific Northwest Bird and Mammal Society and the Cooper Ornithological Society, and a longtime member of the American Ornithologists’ Union. Pearse also was the representative of Courtenay’s St. John’s Anglican Church at the General Synod and he was on the executive. Prior to and during World War II, he represented the executive council of the B.C. Red Cross Society and as Chairman of the local Red Cross. Theed Pearse passed away on 23 May 1971 at the age of ninety-nine just short of his one hundredth birthday. His wife Elma passed away in 1969 and has Mount Elma named in her honour.
Dorothy Eleanor Pilley (1894 –1986) was a prominent mountaineer. She began climbing in Wales and joined the Fell & Rock Climbing Club, later helping found the Pinnacle Club in 1921. In the 1920s, she climbed extensively in the Alps, Britain, and North America after her marriage to Ivor Richards. In 1928, she made the celebrated first ascent of the north-northwest ridge of the Dent Blanche, with Joseph Georges, Antoine Georges and her husband, which she described in her memoir, Climbing Days (1935).
J.J. Plommer was British born and came to Canada with his wife and two daughters. “J.J.” was an ardent member of the Vancouver Natural History Society and developed a deep interest in geology and headed the section at UBC until Dr. John Armstrong of the Geological Survey of Canada took over. Armstrong had great respect for “J.J.” and said: “With his pipe and blackened billypot for tea kept in his old haversack, J.J. was striking, tall, craggy man who led many strenuous geological and other natural history field trips. He was a good bushwhacker often going where there were no trails. He led camps, including two to Forbidden Plateau [1939 and ??]. Even in his advanced years he continued to camps. He published articles in the Canadian Geographic Journal. He was a gentleman – and a mighty snorer! In camp he usually had a tent to himself.”
Harry Rees (1856 – 1933) was one of the early explorers of the Forbidden Plateau. He died alone (age 75) on the Mount Becher trail in November 1933, but his body wasn’t found until June 1934 (obituary in the Comox Argus June 14, 1934, p.1.) One of Harry’s last trips to the Comox Glacier was in August 1932 when he took his friends John (Jock) and Mary Sutherland and their two daughters Mavis and Marguerite in via what is now known as Capes and Idiens Lake. While conducting topographical surveys in 1934/35 Norman Stewart (B.C.L.S.) found two cairns on top of Rees Ridge that he believes were erected by Harry Rees. The ridge overlooks the route which Rees followed several times to Buttle Lake. Both Rees Ridge and Rees Creek were adopted as official names in December 1939 after being recommended by Cumberland resident Harold Cliffe.
Francis Arthur Robertson (1875 – 1929) was born in Cold Springs, Ontario, in 1875. Robertson graduated from Manitoba College with a Bachelor of Arts in 1902 and attained a Master’s degree in 1912 from the University of Manitoba. For some years he was in business in Edmonton, and after studying law moved to Victoria. Prior to the Great War he held a commission in the 5th Regiment in Victoria, and at the outbreak was given command of the fortification at Esquimalt. When the 47th Battalion (New Westminster) was formed he applied for a transfer, and proceeded overseas as a Major with that battalion. The loss of an eye in 1916, led to a period in hospital. Robertson recognized the dire need of troops in the firing line, and again volunteered for service but was discouraged by his superiors who considered he had performed his duty already. Persisting, however, he was permitted to train and command a British battery of heavy artillery. This battery was ordered to Egypt, but the war learned of Colonel Robertson’s disability, and retained him in England. He later secured his transfer to the Canadian artillery, and eventually went to France to command the 12th Siege Battery. His services won him notice and he was awarded the D.S.O. before becoming severely wounded at the Battle of Amiens in 1918 where this time he lost a leg. On his return to British Columbia, he was gazetted to command the 5th Regiment with which he first began his military career (The Daily Colonist Sunday December 5, 1920, p.5.). He also was fully occupied with the problems of re-establishment and the care of the disabled with the Returned Soldiers’ Commission. Robertson joined the ACC in 1910 and in 1912 was a member of the party that made the first ascent of Elkhorn Mountain. Included in the party was Francis’s older brother James Robertson. Francis Robertson died in 1929 (obituary in the Canadian Alpine Journal Vol. 18, 1929, p.107.)
James Robert Robertson (1872 – 1932) was born in Cold Springs, near Cobourg, Ontario on 19 March 1872. He was one of eight children born to Frank and Mary Robertson. In 1880 the family moved to Meadow Lea, about thirty miles west of Winnipeg. He went to a little school barely large enough to exist, however, James and his brother George, missed a lot of schooling in order to help on the farm. At the age of fourteen he joined the Church and began preparing himself for the ministry. When he turned eighteen, he returned to Public School and at nineteen he went to Manitoba College (University of Winnipeg), from which he graduated in 1897 with a Bachelor of Art degree. Two years in-between were spent working for financial reasons. In the autumn of 1899, he graduated top of his class in Theology from Manitoba College, however, his second year was at Knox College in Toronto. On December 19, 1899, he was ordained by the Presbytery of Kootenay in Grand Forks, B.C. where he lived until 1905. In 1901, he married Christina Muir. The new Knox Church in Revelstoke called him and he settled there for four years from 1905 until October 1909. That month he went to St. Andrew’s Church in Nanaimo and was there until January 1913. He was then called to the pastorate of St. David’s Church in South Vancouver and for fourteen and a half years he was the faithful pastor of the congregation. His final pastorate (1927) was Trafalger Road Unity Church, afterwards known as St. James’ United Church in Kitsilano, which eventually became the Trinity United Church in the 1990’s. Since James Robert Robertson’s student days in Manitoba the years were one long record of service. Even his recreations were of the strenuous kind. His work towards his Bachelor of Divinty degree, which he received in 1906, was regarded as a hobby rather than as an assigned task. On the climbing front, Robertson was a charter member of the Alpine Club of Canada in 1906 and attended the club’s first annual camp at Yoho making ascents of Mount Burgess and Mount Vice President. At this camp Arthur Wheeler, the ACC President and founder, had made it a requirement that for anyone to become an active member of the ACC it was necessary to undertake an ascent of Mount Vice President. Robertson’s ascents during the camp were made in the company of the Swiss Guide Edward Feuz Jr. The following year Robertson, again using the assistance of Edward Feuz Jr. as guide, made the first ascent (June 11, 1907) of Mount Begbie near Revelstoke with Reverend Doctor J. Herdman (ACC Vice President) and Rupert Haggen. In January of 1909, Robertson and several other local members of the ACC invited Arthur Wheeler to Revelstoke to give a presentation on mountaineering and the Alpine Club of Canada, and during his visit Wheeler accepted the role of Honorary President of the newly formed Revelstoke Mountaineering Club of which Robertson was the first President. This RMC was not considered in competition with the ACC but it was hoped to be a recruiting ground for the Alpine Club. Three years later in August 1912 while living in Nanaimo, and through his acquaintance with Arthur Wheeler, Robertson joined a party to Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island. This party of nine, that also included his younger brother Francis, made the first ascent of the picturesque Elkhorn Mountain, the second highest peak on the island. However, it is as a preacher, and a pastor that Reverend James Robertson will be best remembered. Thoughtful and stimulating in the pulpit, untiring in pastoral visitation, diligent in secretarial and committee work of the Church Courts, in his own quiet persistent way he made a real contribution to Church life in Western Canada. James Robertson collapsed in his pulpit after having preached a farewell sermon on 26 June 1932.
Frederick Benjamin Rollins (1890 – 1973) was born into an English family in April 1890 and his life began with an adventurous voyage to Victoria, Canada at six months of age. This was at the same time construction workers were driving piles into the ground for the new Empress Hotel which was being built. Fred’s father James Surfleet Rollins, established a small butcher’s shop on Government Street, and became renowned as a “specialist in pork sausages.” James eventually sold the shop and became an owner/operator of a hotel in Victoria. The tales of gold in the interior convinced James to relocate and in 1898 the family moved to Lake Bennett to assume ownership of a local hotel. In 1900 they returned to Victoria and later that year moved to Port Alberni. James became the proprietor of the Armour Hotel which the family ran until 1908 and then they constructed their own establishment, the King Edward Hotel. It was through his parents’ business that Fred met Ellen Ohlsen, a school teacher. They were married in 1913 and moved into a home built on the corner of Eighth Avenue and Argyle in Port Alberni. Ellen was an accomplished concert pianist having studied music in Dresden, Germany. After marriage she retired from teaching but gave music lessons from her home and often performed at the Empress Hotel. Fred was employed as a boom man with the Alberni Pacific Lumber Company until poor health forced his early retirement. His life after retirement centred around his home and the outdoors and he and Ellen undertook many hiking trips around Vancouver Island. Ellen passed away in October 1944 and the garden became a means of solace and refuge for Fred. He donated money to many charitable organizations and invested in many businesses. Fred died at home in March 1976, and in his will, he bequeathed two of the four lots of land surrounding his home to the City of Port Alberni, to be developed into a public park. The city purchased the third lot from an heir and the fourth lot was left to the School District #70. The family home was extensively renovated to develop it into a community base for the arts; recitals, exhibitions, workshops, and other special events. Rollins Art Centre was established in 1977, and in 1988 the garden was upgraded and re-landscaped for the public enjoyment. Today, the Art Centre and gardens recognize Fred Rollins contribution to the community, and perpetuates his and Ellen’s memory.
Ralph Hilton Rosseau (1907 – 1954) was born to Kenneth and Viola Rosseau on December 26, 1907, at the home of his grandparents in Picton, Ontario. His parents, not expecting him quite so early, had traveled there from Toronto to spend Christmas with Kenneth’s family. In spite of the snow storm, the doctor arrived by horse and cutter, in time to deliver him. Two years later Ralph’s father was transferred to Vancouver where the family settled in Lynn Valley (1910). They remained there for twenty-four years and Ralph was joined by one more brother (Earle) and two sisters (Bernice and Louise) with the three eldest attending Lynn Valley Public School and North Vancouver High. Ralph and Earle soon proved to be avid outdoorsman and spent many hours on the Northshore Mountains, climbing in the summer; skiing in the winter. After graduating from high school, Ralph tried his hand at a variety of jobs. He worked as a cook on a fish boat, a cowboy in the Caribou and even did a stint in the woods as a logger. But the vocation of teaching was to be his final choice. To pursue his chosen career, he attended the University of British Columbia to gain senior matriculation and then went on to graduate from Vancouver Normal School. The 1930’s were lean depression years and teaching jobs were scarce, so he was fortunate to be hired as a school teacher at the tiny hamlet of Squirrel Cove on Cortez Island in 1931. He remained there for five years and during that time married Vera Lucas. In 1936 they moved to Bamfield on the Alberni Inlet where he took on the job of teacher at the one-roomed school house. There was little in the surrounding landscape to satisfy his climbing instinct, save for a small rise called Pachena Cone. Ralph often reckoned he had worn a groove in its side climbing it so frequently. Unfortunately, the rural life wasn’t suited to Vera’s temperament and the marriage eventually dissolved. In 1942, Ralph was hired as a teacher at Eight Avenue School in Port Alberni. After eight years he moved to the newly built Gill School on Beaver Creek Road where he became the first principal. While at Eight Avenue School he met Lillah Smith, who also taught at the school and shared Ralph’s enthusiasm for outdoor activity. She was a willing partner in both climbing and skiing adventures and in 1949 they were married. The Alberni Valley would provide ample sustenance for his insatiable appetite for climbing and for the economic necessity to make a living. And the latter would be provided by his efforts in a profession he loved; that of encouraging youth, not only in mastering the current curriculum but in understanding the intricate patterns of nature and their effects on all life. They, along with other like-minded individuals, took a particular interest in the King Solomon Basin at the head of China Creek until it was designated a public water shed. Ralph began seeking an alternate site and soon found the slopes of Mount Arrowsmith and Mount Cokely suited his needs. Although the CPR Trail existed from Cameron Lake, Ralph soon found a log bridge across the Cameron River and a new trail was forged for quicker access to the two mountains. At the 3,500-foot level Ralph and Lillah then set about to build a small shelter which they dubbed “Little Shake”. During that time every trip up to the mountain included a back pack of cedar shakes. They even brought a stove up to the shelter. With a permanent camp at their disposal, Ralph was free to enjoy all the mountain had to offer and to share it with others, especially youth groups. Eventually, with permission from the Canadian Pacific Railway, Ralph and Lillah began the construction of a larger cabin of logs, which fate would not allow him to complete. Mount Arrowsmith was not the sole object of Ralph’s mountaineering interest. While he often climbed with friends, he enjoyed the solitude of the mountains without the company of others. He made several solo trips into the Strathcona Park and Della Falls area and in 1946, did a climbing trip in the Rockies. His trip diaries purvey a sense of challenge, courage and calculated risk as well as his sense of humour. His skill with a 35mm camera allowed him to capture many of these vistas on film and to share his experiences with others. He photographed all manner of alpine plants, animals and birds as well as breath-taking scenes during all four seasons. Ralph often jokingly commented that there was nothing at sea level worth photographing. Below is a transcript, in its entirety, of the first of two letters written by Ralph to Lillah in which he describes vividly his climbs in the Canadian Rockies.
July 14, 1946
I sincerely hope that I never have occasion to write another letter under similar circumstances! The guides advised me against making this trip, and now, too late, I see what they meant. I’m at the Abbott Pass Alpine Hut (alt. 9600 ft.) with no food, no fuel, wet boots and socks, and no one to bury my bones when I perish, as I surely shall. A blizzard is raging outside and the wind is howling and I’m nearly deafened with the roar of avalanches. I have at least ten heavy blankets over me, two sweaters, my wool jacket, and your blue ski mitts on and still I’m not warm. Why didn’t I do something sensible, like going to summer school? Now to go back where I left off in the last letter. I think I was just getting ready to move in to the Plain of Six Glaciers. There’s a tea house there operated as a concession from the C.P.R. and they have a couple of cabins for rent. I left most of my belongings with some friends at the Motor Camp and moved up on Wednesday. On Thursday I climbed Mt. Aberdeen (10,350’). It took me over an hour to cross the moraines at the foot of the Victoria Glacier, then I went up the full length of the Lefroy Glacier, up the Mitre Col and on to a shoulder of Aberdeen. It took me 8 hours to reach the peak by that route, so I had to find a shorter way down. I won’t attempt to describe it – just wait till you see the pictures! It was short alright. The entire trip took 13 hours. On Friday I thought I’d rest a bit, so started out at 9:30 for the Upper Victoria Glacier which hangs 1000 ft. above the main valley. “Trixie” who runs the tea house, asked me if I’d take along Gordon, a boy of about 16 who works for them. He had never been off the prairies before and Trix thought it would be an interesting experience for him. We got up to the glacier and took some pictures and it was such a fine day that I lured Gordon into climbing some bluffs at the base of Pope’s peak. He seemed to be enjoying himself immensely, so we kept on climbing. You know the old story, so I needn’t go on with the details. At 3:00 p.m. Gordon found himself on top of Pope’s Peak (10,376’) thrilled with the scenery and proud of his accomplishment, but scared clean out of his pants! The snow was getting soft and in traversing the final ridge we had started several avalanches which roared over 2000 ft. of precipices. This unnerved him a bit, and when we came to the first bad spot on the way down, he hesitated a minute to steady himself, then said, “Well, here goes!” At the very moment he spoke, the shale he was standing on gave way, both feet went out from under him, and he was sitting on the edge of a hundred foot drop with nothing but the rope to hold him. I pulled him back and got him on his feet. He was so scared he was trembling from head to foot. Half an hour later, we had to get off a cliff onto a snow slope. Gordon jumped the last two or three feet unexpectedly, and I wasn’t prepared to check him. He was right out of control for eight or ten feet before I brought him up with a jerk. This experience shattered his nerve completely, so that I had to rope him down even the perfectly safe parts and we were fortunate to make camp just before dark. Gordon says he’s glad he had that one thrill of standing on a mountain top but that he’ll never attempt to do it again. Marguerite, Trix’s assistant, told him he’d better take the ice-ax and rope to bed with him in case he needed them in his dreams. Joe Moore, the lad from Texas, came up to see me on Friday. He had been out to the Calgary Stampeded and wanted to tell me all about it. I was sorry to have missed him. He’s the nicest little fellow, about ten or eleven, with a Texas drawl and a little fox terrier “Yoyo” who never lets him out of his sight for a minute. The tea house is at 7000 ft. so Joe was all in after his 5 and ½ mile walk. They made him cocoa and fed him and kept him talking for an hour because his accent intrigued them so. With Aberdeen and Pope climbed, there was little else I could do from the tea house. The guides refuse to go on Lefroy or Victoria because of the unusually dangerous snow conditions. Walter Fuez advised me to keep off the Victoria Glacier. He has never gone up it alone in thirty years of guiding. Ernest Fuez guided a doctor over Abbott Pass last week and he says he hopes he doesn’t have to do it again this year. We’ll you know how these things go. Everybody says mustn’t until I begin to feel like I must. I asked to be called at 5:00 a.m. Saturday (the 13th). I needn’t have bothered, as I lay awake practically all night worrying about the adventure. The morning was beautiful, with Mt. Victoria bathed in pink at sunrise. I crossed the Victoria Moraine, a huge mound of gravel over a hundred feet high, and dropped down to the lower glacier. For the first mile the ice is littered with gravel and large rocks and crisscrossed with cracks and crevasses, some over fifty feet deep. Then the valley narrows into a canyon between Lefroy and Victoria. This is the beginning of the dangerous part. Snow avalanches from it day and night and often great blocks of ice break loose and fall to the canyon floor. From the other side, loose rocks and shale from the crumbling peak of Lefroy bombarded the ice below. Early morning is the safest time to go through and late August the safest month. Well, obviously, I got through this part without any ice or rocks falling on me. There was just enough aerial bombardment to keep my hair well on end, but none of it was labeled R.H.R. As the snow became deeper, I could make out the route taken by Ernest and was very glad of that as it reduced my chances of falling into a snow-covered crevasse. (I didn’t have a portable hand-winch suggested in the book on mountaineering.) This was a short-lived aid, however, as the tracks disappeared under an avalanche about twice the size of the one in the Upper King Solomon. I guess Ernest will skip a heartbeat or two when he sees that. Halfway up the pass, the Victoria Glacier is broken by a tremendous crevasse called the Death Trap. Some years it is necessary to carry a long ladder up and use it as a bridge. I note some remarks in the log book here regarding the sensations experienced by climbers who had to resort to this method of crossing. Ernest got the doc. across on a natural ice-bridge, which must have been hair-raising considering the steep angle at which the glacier lies. You can imagine my joy when I found that the avalanche had filled in about ten feet in the centre of the Trap. I was even able to enjoy the luxury of climbing down into the crevasse and exploring the cavernous interior, an experience which would not be possible under normal circumstances. From the Death Trap to the top of the pass the danger diminishes with every step. An avalanche such as the recent one might sweep down, but only after heavy rain or snow. I reached the top of the pass in three hours, which is average time. I had my packboard loaded with wood, as there is no fuel of any kind within miles of the hut. I had very little grub as I planned to go down the other side to lake O’Hara today (Sunday). The hut is a remarkable piece of work as you will see if my pictures turn out. It is built of stone with walls about 18 inches thick, is about 22’ by 34’ and can accommodate about thirty people. There are four bedrooms with four bunks and two cots and the attic has about 18 cots. There are mattresses and blankets galore. The kitchen is large and well-equipped but I can’t for the life of me see what good a stove is when you have to carry your wood from timberline (7000’) up to this 9600 ft. eyrie. The Lake O’Hara side of the pass is comparatively safe, thank heaven, so I have some reason to believe that all this writing is not in vain, unless, of course, I freeze to death. To get back to my story – I arrived here yesterday and after spreading my socks out in the sun to dry, crawled right into a bunk to catch up on some sleep. By this time I had decided that come what may, I must climb either Lefroy or Victoria. The hut is a natural base for either climb and it seemed a shame to be this close to an 11,000-footer and not climb it. After an hour’s sleep, I was awakened by voices, and found that Bruce and Betty Smith had come all the way from London, England to visit me. Right behind them were two members of the American Alpine Club, from Massachusetts and a Mr. Chisholm from Ottawa. They had hiked up from O’Hara Camp and had been thoroughly warned against going onto the Victoria Glacier. I enjoyed having company, but since it had started to rain and blow and was bitterly cold, I was compelled to sacrifice my small supply of wood, drying them out and making them tea. However, I got my own socks dry and as soon as they left, hopped back into bed, where I remained until this morning. At dawn I nibbled a couple of Graham Wafers and a piece of candy and started up Mt. Victoria, which is about 85’ higher than Lefroy. The snow was firm for the first hour or two, but as the sun became warmer it began to get treacherous. I went up some places that I’ll probably dream about for the rest of my life, and finally got on top of the South Peak. The North peak was about half a mile away and the ridge connecting the two was a knife-edge of snow corniced on the O’Hara side and sloping off at 70 to 80 degrees from 3500 feet down to Victoria Glacier. I wasn’t sure which peak was higher, so had just about decided to try for the other when a big, black cloud appeared from nowhere and the heavens were practically torn apart with thunder. Then it began to snow. That made my mind up for me, pronto. I had some mighty bad places to get back down and it looked as though there was no time to waste. I’ve never experienced such as storm before. It seemed to be solely concerned with preventing me from reaching the Abbott Hut. After starting an avalanche or two to add to the din, I made it back. My first entry into the 11,000-foot category was evidently displeasing to the gods, for I had no sooner crossed the threshold than the storm suddenly died and the sun came out again. I put my socks out to dry and climbed into bed. No sooner was I comfortable than the storm burst with renewed fury. This meant a dash out to rescue boots and socks. For the past two hours, thunder, lightning, rain, hail, avalanches and a howling gale have provided some effects in sufficient quantity to supply Hollywood for centuries to come. If it wasn’t so cold under the bed, I’m sure that’s where I’d be.
We’ll I’m right up to date, and if I don’t get a crazy notion to climb Lefroy tomorrow, I’ll get this to a post office in the near future. Fortunately, I have a severe headache for lack of food, so I’m sure a climb won’t appeal to me in the morning. In fact, I’m pretty well decided to spend the rest of the holiday being a conventional tourist. I can see some advantages in sticking to the beaten track. I seem to have left out a lot that I wanted to tell you, but this headache is wearing me down. I think I’ll try to get some sleep and see if it helps. The altitude doesn’t bother me at all. The only reaction so far was bleeding gums, but that didn’t last long.
To be continued.
What a life. Not a comfortable moment for a decent letter. Down to O’Hara today (Mon. 15th). Back to Lake Louise tomorrow. Seventeen mile walk.
Ralph did test Mount Lefroy the next day but found the snow in dangerous conditions after the storm so went down to Lake O’Hara where he spent the evening and next morning talking with Rudolph Fuez about climbing. On the 23rd he attempted Mount Edith Cavell and got within four to five hundred feet of the summit. In his second letter he wrote:
I was on the East Ridge, which Joe Weiss the guide said was a tough ascent and an impossible descent. I couldn’t even see the peak above me and was on a narrow-corniced ridge with alternate snow and rock. I didn’t dare go higher so just simply had to descend. Weiss was sure I was bluffing when I saw him again yesterday and he made me describe the ledges etc. When he was satisfied that I was telling the truth, he got quite excited. I’m beginning to have some suspicions about the Swiss guides. The ridge in question was not much worse than the final peak on Mount Arrowsmith, though several times higher of course, and certainly not as bad as Mount Septimus. Several places that the guides have classified as hazardous have really been not too bad.
Ralph went on to make many trips into the mountains including a spectacular fourteen day trip in July/August 1947 up the Drinkwater Valley, over Mount Septimus to Flower Ridge, across to Shepherds Ridge, over Tzela Mountain to the Cliffe Glacier, down to the Moving Glacier and Milla Lake, up both Iceberg Peak and Mount Celeste on Rees Ridge, back up onto the Comox Glacier, over the summit of Argus Mountain to the Cliffe Glacier, up and over The Red Pillar, down to Tzela Lake and back out onto Flower Ridge, up and over Septimus and back down the Drinkwater Valley to Great Central Lake. This trip was completed solo. Sadly, on July 3, of the first of July long in weekend in 1954, the mountains claimed Ralph’s life. A small party that included Ralph and Lillah, Alma Currie and Ulf Bitterlich, broke away from a larger party while making their way up to Della Falls from Great Central Lake. After taking the trail up to Love Lake the four traveled up onto the glaciers at the east end of the Septimus massif. On the return trip they were crossing a snow bridge when it collapsed, plunging Ralph to his death. Ralph was only forty-seven. On July 7, at a crowded service in the Alberni Legion Hall, Reverend Stevenson honoured Ralph with a moving address: “Such men are few who find true holiness in the beauty and wonder of nature and who teach and influence others by what they see, believe and love. They possess a faith far above the droning priest and the insipid ecclesiasticism of today.” In recognition of Ralph’s love of the mountains and his work with government survey crews, the highest peak to the east of Mount Septimus was named Mount Rosseau in his memory. His ashes were spread on Mount Arrowsmith where a trail is also named for him.
This poem by M. Sorsbie was found among Ralph’s belongings after he died.
Where scrub pine ends and rock begins
In everlasting snow,
I made my camp one starlit night
And watched the fire glow
My little fire above the sea
Six thousand feet or so.
Up there, upon the great world’s roof,
I was alone.
Below: the waving wall of pines,
Above: the ice-bound stone-
Great towering silver pinnacles
By God upthrown.
Virginal pure, these icy peaks
That hold their gaunt heads high.
Aloof, untrammeled, and unclimbed,
They gaze across the sky
With melancholy majesty, and watch the world go by.
Leonard W. Rossiter (1907 – 2005) was born in London, England, on 10 July 1907. He grew up in a poor neighborhood near London and finished his formal schooling at age thirteen. The family emigrated to Canada in 1925 as farmers under the sponsorship of the Canadian Pacific Railroad. As city dwellers, they had difficulty qualifying as farmers, but when it was discovered that they had maintained a couple of bee hives in their back garden, the family was granted emigrant status. Len sailed with his family from England on his eighteenth birthday. They arrived on Vancouver Island and bought a small farm on the bluffs overlooking Georgia Straits near Comox. The mountains of Vancouver Island gained Len’s attention soon after his arrival on the island. In 1926, Ben Hughes, the publisher of the Comox Argus wrote a mysterious article about the Forbidden Plateau area incorporating a native legend. Shortly after reading the article Len made his first trip up Mount Becher. The trip was led by Clinton Wood, a Courtenay City clerk and Power and Water Superintendent who was looking for water and storage in the area. In 1929, the Dove Creek Trail up to Forbidden Plateau was built and officially opened by Lt. Governor Randolph Bruce. Originally financed as a mining trail, the trail was the first government support for the development of Forbidden Plateau. For four years Len worked as a horse handler and then a guide for Eugene Croteau who had established the first tourist camp at Summit Lake, later Croteau Lake. During that time several lakes were stocked with fish eggs resulting in the area being deemed a Game Reserve. In 1930, Mr. W.P. Regan, the led surveyor for the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), was inventorying the land assets granted to the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railroad with the plan to build a track from Victoria to Campbell River and had a camp located at Circlet Lake. The E&N boundary line was near the lake. Regan honoured Len by naming a lake after him although it never became official until December 1939 when the Comox District Mountaineering Club submitted the paper work. In 1934, Clinton Wood built the Forbidden Plateau Lodge at the top of the Comox Logging Co. abandoned railway grade on the lower slopes of Mount Becher. Len worked for Clinton Wood from 1935 to 1940 and was fundamental in the creation and development of Mariwood and Mackenzie Lake camps. In January 1938, Len along with Dick Idiens, Ethne Gale, Rex Gibson, and Don and Phyllis Munday made the first winter ascent of Mount Albert Edward. In 1936, Len met Phyllis Roberts while hiking Forbidden Plateau. After strenuously resisting marriage for a decade, he finally gave in and they tied the knot in 1947. Although Len preferred the trade of carpentry, electricity offered more opportunities and he eventually became a journeyman electrician. He started a part time business in 1940 after working on the first Hydro transmission line project linking Courtenay to Campbell River and founded Rossiter Electrical Service in 1946. In 1947, he moved to Campbell River and joined the Campbell River Rotary Club. Len’s greatest contribution to Rotary was his service as club historian. His office was crammed with archives going back to the beginning of the Campbell River Rotary. In 2003, Divers and Rossiter Lakes were added to Strathcona Provincial Park in a land swap with the timber company. Len regularly hiked Forbidden Plateau through to Moat Lake and Mount Albert Edward and made his last trip up the mountain when he was eighty-eight. When asked about the secret to his long and productive life he responded, “ask me when I turn 100.” Unfortunately, Len never got to answer that question as he passed away on 29 January 2005 at the age of ninety-seven (obituary in the North Island Weekend February 5, 2005.)
George Albert Rawlinson (1882 – 1956) was born in Hull, Yorkshire, England in 1882 but official UK records state 1884. He emigrated to Victoria in 1907. George was listed as an agent for the Nootka Marble Quarries Ltd in the BC Gazette in 1909 and in the 1911 census, he was residing with his wife Catherine and three children in Friendly Cove, Nootka Sound, as caretaker of the quarry. In 1915, he moved his family to Victoria when he enlisted for World War I service. He was promoted to sergeant in the 1st Canadian Pioneers Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force and was stationed in France. Upon return, he worked for many years as a ship’s engineer, mainly on the cableship CS Restorer, which laid and repaired communication cables under the Pacific. In 1952, he was praised in a newspaper story when he pulled someone out of a burning room in Victoria’s Ritz Hotel where he was working as the nightman and then proceeded to extinguish the fire (The Daily Colonist Tuesday July 15, 1952, p.4). George Rawlinson passed away 17 September 1956 (Obituary in The Daily Colonist Wednesday September 19, 1956, p.22.)
Ernest A. Schwantje was born in Holland and came to Canada where he was a gardener with the UBC Botanical Garden. He was a Dutch-trained gardener-botanist and supported the Vancouver Natural History Society. On camping trips, he gave informed instruction on botanical matters, including the 1939 camp to the Forbidden Plateau. He eventually moved to Victoria where he became a well-known gardener.
Vilhelm Roger Schjelderup (1921 – 1974) was born on 16 September 1921 in Smithers, British Columbia. His family, who were originally from Kristiansand, Norway, moved to Courtenay on Vancouver Island after Roger was born and it was here that the young Schjelderup met the mountaineer Geoffrey Capes. Capes took Schjelderup under his wing, taking him on mountaineering and ski trips into the local mountains. One of the most significant trips was in July 1937 when Schjelderup, who was only sixteen at the time, joined Geoffrey Capes and Sid Williams on a trip into the Roosters Comb (The Golden Hinde.) Unbeknownst to them the Roosters Comb had been climbed over twenty years earlier, so they were hoping to make what they thought was the first ascent. Upon arriving at the basecamp, they met the surveyor Norman Stewart, who informed them that he and Dan S. Harris had just that day climbed the Roosters Comb. The next day, July 22, Capes, Williams and Schjelderup made the climb assuming theirs was the second ascent of the mountain. From September 1939 until August 1941 Schjelderup served with the University of British Columbia contingent Canadian Officers’ Training Corps. He was made a 2nd Lieutenant and four months later a Lieutenant. Schjelderup’s father, Vilhelm (Bill) Schjelderup, had immigrated to Canada in 1908 and joined the Canadian Army in 1915, saw active service on the western front from 1916 to 1918 therefore Roger was following in his father’s footsteps. Roger Schjelderup joined the Canadian Scottish Regiment and on D-Day 6 June 1944 he landed his troops on Juno Beach and then forged on toward the Chateau de Vaux. By the end of the day his men were dug-in and ready for an expected counter attack. The attack was vicious and unfortunately, of the forty-five men under Schjelderup’s charge, only nineteen survived including a wounded Schjelderup. His platoon had been the hardest hit. After recovering he went back into action as a Captain. Later that year Schjelderup was in a hard-fought battle for the Leopold Canal along the Holland-Belgium border. He was wounded again and captured but managed to escape. A farmer then hooked him up with the Dutch Resistance where he recovered. Schjelderup eventually reached the rank of Colonel. Roger Schjelderup became one of Canada’s most decorated officers receiving the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for courage on the Leopold Canal, a Military Cross for his actions on D-Day, a bar to the latter for his behind-the-lines bravery. Colonel Vilhelm Roger Schjelderup passed away on 29 September 1974 while stationed in London, England as Canada’s senior military liaison officer. Located not far from the base of the Golden Hinde is Schjelderup Lake, named by Ruth Masters to honour Roger Schjelderup, who she believed is one of the Comox Valleys most illustrious and colourful war heroes.
Ethelbert Olaf Stuart Scholefield (1875 – 1919) was born on 31 May 1875 in St. Wilfrid’s Ryde, Isle of Wight. The family moved to British Columbia in 1887 where his father eventually became Rector at Esquimalt. Ethelbert, after private tutoring finished his course in the Victoria High School and entered the service of the Provincial Library. In 1894, he became assistant to the first Provincial Librarian and four years later he became Provincial Librarian which he held to his time of death. His duties were expanded by the addition of those of the Provincial Archivist. He is credited with having added 50,000 volumes to the library and many collections of priceless manuscripts, account books, newspapers and other materials from all corners of British Columbia and from any or every source as long as it was related to the history of the Pacific Northwest. He gave himself the tasks of arranging and cataloging the masses of materials so that the library could render the large services intended. The Provincial Government gave generous support. He was involved with many clubs and societies in Victoria including the ACCVI. Scholefield married Lillian May in 1907 and had four sons. Although he received lots of praise for his data collection, his main fault was that he was living under nervous strain all the time, continually making engagements he couldn’t fill. This was due to his generous nature. He will be remembered as one who gave all too freely of his time and strength to his great and successful work of building the Provincial Library. Ethelbert Scholefield passed away on Christmas Day 1919 (obituary in the Daily Colonist December 27, 1919, p.7.)
Herbert Francis Shade (1875 – 1953) was born in Victoria in 1875. In 1898, he left for the Klondike in pursuit of riches. Upon his return in 1901, he married Annie “Nancy” Cobley. Herbert was Victoria’s plumbing and sewer inspector from 1902 to 1920, but resigned because he was refused a raise from $75 a month to $125. He became a life insurance broker for Mutual Life until retiring in 1939. He joined the ACCVI and led a number of local trips from his summer home on Killarney Lake. Herbert Shade passed away in 1953 in Victoria.
George Sisman (1874 – 1968) was born in Sherborne, Dorset, England on 27 August 1874. He enlisted in the Royal Artillery in 1894 and was stationed in Bermuda from 1896 to 1898. He was transferred to Halifax, N.S. in 1898 and in 1903 to Work Point Barracks in Esquimalt. In 1906, he transferred to the Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery. He retired in 1922 with the rank of Major. In the WWII he was on the staff of Work Point Barracks for four years. He was Past Master of United Service Lodge in Esquimalt and a member of the B.C. Historical Association. George Sisman passed away in Victoria on November 1968 (obituary in The Daily Colonist November 28, 1968, p.24.)
James Sivewright (1848 – 1916) was born in Fochabers, Elginshire, Scotland on 10 December 1848 to “Old William” Sivewright and his wife Jane Shand. Sivewright won a bursary in 1862 from Milne’s Institute at Fochabers to attend the University of Aberdeen, and after obtaining his Master of Arts degree in 1866 taught for three years at a school in Blackheath, England. Throughout his life, Sivewright maintained that whatever success he had attained was due to parental upbringing and the Scottish education system. Sivewright’s lifelong devotion to telegraphy began in 1869 when he won first place in Great Britain’s telegraphy examination, and he spent the following eight years in English telegraphy ambitiously advancing through promotions. His mastery of telegraphy prompted the Postmaster General at the time to seek his co-authorship in the definitive Textbook in Telegraphy published in 1876. At the Cape Colony’s request for a telegraphic expert, Sivewright journeyed to South Africa in April 1877 to examine and report on Cape telegraphy. From 1877 to 1881, he organized and developed the telegraphic systems of the Cape Colony, Natal, the Transvaal, and the Orange Free State, and became General manager of Telegraphs of all but the Free State. Sivewright was not only appointed C.M.G. for constructing telegraphic communications during the Zulu War of 1879 but was also the only non-combatant to receive the South African Medal with three clasps. Through the medium of the South African Philosophical Society which he co-founded with his friend J.X. Merriman, he proposed the first comprehensive scheme for an overland telegraph across Africa. This plan (1878) was the precursor to Cecil John Rhode’s Cape to Cairo telegraphic project. Sivewright remained in colonial telegraphy until 1885 when his office was abolished by retrenchment. An esteemed disciplinarian, he was personally acquainted with every telegraph officer. His outstanding telegraphic career, which provided him with working knowledge of South Africa and important politicians, formed the foundation for his entry into Cape politics. On 11 August 1887 he joined the Cape Town branch of the Afrikanerbond. His rapid political rise was reflected in the link he provided between J.H. Hofmeyr and C.J. Rhodes on the one hand and the Transvaal and the Cape Colony on the other. The former is best illustrated by Sivewright’s aid in securing Bond support for Rhodes’s British South Africa Company Charter (1889), his premiership (from 1890), and the Glen Grey Bill (1894). Acting as Rhodes’s right-hand man, he consolidated the Leask and Rudd Concession granted by Lobengula and in 1890 drew up the Pioneer Column contract between F.J. Johnson and Cecil Rhodes. The bridge Sivewright provided between the Cape Colony and the Transvaal is best exemplified by the 1891 Sivewright Agreement which gave the Cape Government Railways a virtual two-year transport monopoly with the booming gold-fields of Johannesburg. The concession he gained from the Transvaal Volksraad to supply Johannesburg with water and gas street lights were facilitated by his prior friendship with President Paul Kruger. These two syndicates were subsequently purchased by B. Barnato and soon amalgamated with Sivewright’s land speculations. His affiliation with Barnato was further strengthened when he became a director of the Johnannesburg Consolidated and Investment Company. Throughout his life he maintained financial investments in South Africa. His political career began as the Bond member for Griqualand East in 1888, and he became commissioner for Crown Lands and Public Works in the first Rhodes Ministry of 1890. His first major accomplishment was to secure Orange Free State approval on March 28, 1891 for the Cape Government railway’s extension north from Bloemfontien to the Vaal River. The celebrated Sivewright Agreement followed (December 10, 1891), for which he was created K.C.M.G. Following his diplomatic achievement, Sivewright was appointed Officer Commanding the Cape Town Highlanders until 1894. The day before Sivewright and Rhodes sailed for England on October 5, 1892, Sivewright authorized a contract which gave his friends J.D. Logan of Matjiesfontien, a catering monopoly on the Cape Government railways for approximately fifteen years. The ministers Merriman, James Rose Innes, and J.W. Sauer, who had generally objected to Sivewright’s financial and political activities throughout the first Rhodes ministry, now objected to the Logan Contract in particular. The contract was declared not in the public interest and was cancelled, with Logan eventually receiving £5,000 in damages; the following year he received virtually the same contract. Rhodes could not work out a compromise following Sivewright’s return in April 1893, so the ministry was dissolved. The Logan Contract was more badly constructed and processed than the result of any unethical behaviour. It is doubtful whether the Logan Contract was the prime reason for the break-up of the ministry. It was the catalytic excuse rather than the central reason for the dissolution of the ‘Ministry of All the Talents’. Sivewright’s pragmatic expediency and social success made him and his wife personae non gratae with both the protesting ministers and their wives. The matter became rather personal. Rhodes and Sivewright may have conspired to plant the Logan Contract the day before their departure. That Rhodes had not been happy with the ministry before the Logan Contract was evident in his negotiations with Sir Gordon Sprigg, whom he had asked to join him in a more harmonious ministry, but Sprigg had refused. Sivewright’s political role was that of unofficial railway diplomat until the Jameson Raid (1895 – 96), when he became Commissioner of Crown Lands and Public Works in the Sprigg ministry. Sent to Republics to restore confidence in the Cape Colony, Sivewright was only superficially successful since the true rapproachment was beyond his means. With the resignation of T.N.G. te Water, the strongest Bond member of the Sprigg ministry, and the apparent intransigence of the Republics over the railway matters in particular and anti-English policy in general. Sivewright uncomfortably moved further into the Pro-Rhodes Progressive Party. At the climax of the Bond-Progressive struggle for political power in 1898, Sivewright won a seat as a Progressive in Stellenbosch. Just after he sailed for England in late December 1898, one of his political agents was convicted of attempting to bribe a voter. Sivewright was unseated and required to stand again. Since he did not return from England for the special election, he was defeated. Politically, Sivewright remained in England to gain a respite from Cape politics and to gauge English public opinion towards the Transvaal. He believed that the only way to mend strained relations between the Transvaal and England was to get President Kruger and the High Commissioner Alfred Milner together, and for both to pursue a policy of time and patience. After an interview with Joseph Chamberlain on 4 May 1899, Sivewright’s cabled negotiations with Hofmeyr were the first step in bringing about the Bloemfontein Conference (June 1899). There were also financial reasons behind Sivewright’s decision to remain in England. He became the British representative for the South African Supply and Cold Storage Company. With branches throughout South Africa the Afrikanerbond-dominated cold storage company secured the meat contract for the British army for most of the second Anglo-Boer War (1899 – 1902). During the war Sivewright financed two philanthropic activities which included sending a fully-staffed ambulance to the Transvaal, and offering the Hottentots Holland properties to the British medical authorities. During his time in South Africa Sivewright was the first President (1891) of the Mountain Club of South Africa. Although not what one might term an active mountaineer, he had a great love for the mountains. As the Commissioner of Crown Lands he was instrumental in seeing certain Rights of Way were preserved for the public. In 1897, he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Club and elected a life member. The Gold Badge of the Club was awarded to members who had significantly furthered the cause of mountaineering and the Objects of the Club in several aspects over a significant period of time. It was his “interest and many kindnesses meted out to individual members and the Club at large” that gained the club’s respect. In the last period of his life Sivewright invested his money in Great Britain and Ecuador and had some contacts with Cuba. In 1913, came out to Canada with Rudolph Feilding, Feilding’s daughter Marjorie, Frank Johnson, Herbert Latilla, and several local consultants, and climbed Big Interior Mountain on Vancouver Island to inspect the Ptarmigan Mine which as small group of investors they had purchased. Owing to excessive worry, rheumatism, and alcoholism Sir James Sivewright died prematurely in Church Stretton, Shropshire, England, on 10 September 1916. He is buried on the highest point overlooking the beautiful Scottish countryside of his Tulliallan Estate.
Alfred George Slocomb (1906 – 1991) was born in Waterloo, Liverpool, England, on 31 August 1906. He came to Prince Rupert, B.C. as a child with his parents. After elementary school in Prince Rupert, he attended high school and business college in Victoria. He was book-keeper for Shawnigan Lake Lumber Co 1926-27, and Junior Clerk for the District Forester’s office, Prince Rupert 1927-29. He then joined the Surveys Branch, Victoria where between 1929 and 1931 Slocomb helped with compilations of air photos for the PGE Resources Survey under the supervision of Norman Stewart. Slocomb continued working as an assistant instrument man for Stewart on topographical surveys in Strathcona Park for the field seasons 1935 to 1938. In April 1937, Slocomb passed the Preliminary B.C.L.S. exams and articled to Stewart. In 1939 and 1940 he was “instrument man” again for Stewart only this time in the Rocky Mountain Trench for the 100-mile span centered on Sifton Pass. Slocomb then passed his final exams in 1941 and again worked with Stewart for the field season. Stewart’s Assistant Chief during those years was the Irish immigrant surveyor William Moffat, so he enjoyed the benign influence of two exemplary “seniors” at a critical time in his chosen career. Slocomb enlisted in the Royal Canadian Airforce in December 1941. After qualifying as Lieutenant at the OTC, Gordon head, Victoria, he was an instructor in Eastern Canada and later went overseas. He was demobbed in February 1945 with the rank of Captain. This was early enough that year for him to take charge of triangulation on the Yukon Boundary Survey. In 1946, 1947 and 1948 he was in charge of topographical control surveys on the west coast of Vancouver Island from Flores Island northwest to Brooks Bay. On 1 July 1948 Slocomb succeeded Alan Campbell as Chief Topographic Division, holding that position until he retired in August 1971 after thirty-five years of service. Slocomb witnessed vital changes in surveying technology such as: air photo mapping, air transport; both fixed and rotary wing; radio communications; electronic distance measuring and computations. Slocomb was President of the Victoria Branch of the British Columbia Historical federation around 1972, a member of the Provincial Council 1974 to 1979, and President 1976-77. Alf Slocomb, along with his wife Mabel, was a loyal parishioner of the old St. Luke Anglican Church in Victoria. Although he was not particularly known as a mountaineer, Alfred Slocomb, in the course of his profession, climbed many peaks on Vancouver Island especially in Strathcona Park. In 1936, Slocomb made an ascent of Mount Colonel Foster with Jack Horbury claiming he had reached the highest summit, however, the photos only show them on the Southeast Summit. It’s unlikely they climbed the main summit due to its technical nature. He also made an ascent of the Nootka Matterhorn (Conuma Peak) during the 1946-48 surveys on the west coast. Alfred Slocomb passed away in Victoria on 2 January 1991 (obituary in the Corporation of Land Surveyors of the Province of British Columbia. Report of Proceedings of the Eighty-Sixth Annual General Meeting. 1991. Victoria, B.C. p.16-17) at the age of eighty-four. He was devoted to his surveying profession and his contribution to mapping in British Columbia was exemplary. Mount Slocomb, a prominent peak near Sifton Pass in the far north of British Columbia is a fitting memorial to the surveyor.
Harlan Ingersoll Smith (1872 – 1940) was born on 17 February 1872 in Saginaw, Michigan. He attended the University of Michigan before pursuing a career in archaeology. Primarily self-trained, Smith gained significant practical experience working at the American Museum of Natural History. While there, he participated as archaeologist in the Jessup North Pacific Expedition from 1897 to 1899. In 1911, Harlan Smith joined the Geological Survey of Canada as head of its archeology division. This unit, along with the ethnography division later evolved into what is now the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Smith’s early years as an archaeologist with the GSC were spent excavating and investigating potential archaeological sites in eastern Canada, Ontario and British Columbia. In 1920, he began what would become several years of ethnographic work in the Bella Coola Valley of British Columbia. Although he conducted archaeological investigations, his main focus was the documentation of the traditional uses of plants and animals, social organization and cultural traditions of the Nuxalk, Dakelh-ne and Chilcotin people. Besides archaeological mapping and the creation of an impressive inventory of archaeological sites in Canada, Smith was a pioneer in ethnographic film-making, anthropological photography and museum education. Smith was unique for his time, in that he tried to ensure that the people he photographed received copies of their portraits. He wrote extensive captions for his photographs that included detailed information on the subject, date, location, and often, camera angle. These images and associated information continue to be of use and importance to researchers. Harlan Smith passed away in Ottawa 28 January1940.
John Cecil “Cougar” Smith (1878 – 1961) was born in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, England in 1878 and moved with his family to the Comox Valley in 1887. His father Horace “Dude” Smith owned a Cheese factory in Derbyshire but financial difficulties convinced the family to emigrate and soon after arriving they bought land in Black Creek. Smith learned his tracking skills at an early age when he had to track missing cattle in the bush after they strayed from the unfenced farm and at the age of fourteen, he shot his first cougar. Cougars and wolves were a frequent menace to livestock and many farmers didn’t have the time to track and kill the predators so when they heard of Smith’s success it wasn’t long before he was on call 24 hours a day to deal with the marauding animals. At the time, the province paid a $5 bounty for the cats. By the time Smith was twenty, big game hunters were offering Smith money to guide them. It was a letter addressed to “Cougar” Smith of Vancouver Island from a noted Austrian hunter that gave him the nickname which was to stay with him for the next sixty-three years. As a bounty hunter, he is officially credited with over six hundred big cats but that figure is probably closer to one thousand. Hamilton Mack-Laing, a noted naturalist and friend of Smiths wrote: “To cougar hunt in the forest of Vancouver Island, a person must combine the traveling prowess of a bull moose, the back packing stamina of a burro and the scout craft of a leather-stocking. ‘Cougar’ Smith is the best panther hunter on earth!” Another friend and writer, Roderick Haig-Brown, spent a winter hunting with Smith to gather background for his novel Panther. “My impression,” he said, “was that the dogs didn’t lead Smith to the cougar … he led them. As a woodsman, he was in a class of his own.” He also wrote: “Cecil Smith is the greatest of all panther hunters,” and later adds, “… his perfect companionship in the woods, under all sorts of conditions, has made learning (about panthers) a very pleasant task.” Smith supplemented his hunting and guiding income by farming, logging and working as a fisheries inspector. In 1910, he began hunting full time and from the end of the First World War until 1939, he was paid by the provincial game department to hunt cougar, wolves and bears. Although Smith hunted and guided in the foothills of Vancouver Island he occasionally did venture into the higher mountains. In 1926, he accompanied Clinton Wood on a trip up Mount Albert Edward. Using horses, they left the town of Bevan, crossed Qwilt’s suspension bridge across the Puntledge River and rode up and over Mount Becher to John Brown’s cabin near Circle (Circlet) Lake summiting the mountain the next day. A journalist interviewed Smith in 1937 and wrote: “… he doesn’t look the part of a varmint slayer…. A milder mannered, gentler soul than ‘Cougar’ Smith never strolled through a forest or ran a marauding cougar to his doom.” In 1906, Smith married Mary Emily Pidcock and settled in Oyster River, just south of Campbell River where they had five children. Mary passed away in 1936 and Smith remarried Elinor “Nora” Swain in 1942. He was to tell her that ‘British Columbia had more cougars than bees.’ They moved to Campbell River and as the years rolled on Smith gradually gave up strenuous cougar hunting and became known as one of the better tyee guides of the Tyee Club. He seemed to know where the big fish lurked. It appeared as though no matter what he undertook he excelled at and after the guiding he took up gardening. Smith’s longtime friend Eric Sismey said: “His flowers and vegetables seemed larger and brighter, his raspberries, carrots, peas and all else seemed a bit bigger, a bit sweeter and more tender than others grew.” “Cougar” Smith passed away on 9 August 1961 in Campbell River. Sismey wrote: “Smith was one of the fast-disappearing tribe of old-timers, cast in a mould that does not seem to be used any more.”
Gertrude Mabel Snider (1913 – 2001) was born on 19 March 1913 in Waterloo, Ontario, and moved with her patents to Victoria at the age of seven. Educated in Victoria, Seattle and New York she studied art and related subjects at the Clapham School of Art, London and in Canada and the United States. Snider was also a student of Eliot O’Hara and A.Y. Jackson. Following a six-month Artists’ Tour of Europe, Morocco and Algeria, she returned to Victoria in 1932 and the same year joined the Island Arts and Crafts Society, serving on the Society’s executive committee and becoming a regular exhibitor at the annual shows, 1932-38. Following the decline of the Society’s fortunes in the 1940s, she joined with other sponsors in pursuit of an art gallery for Victoria, an original aim of the Society. After the opening of the Little Centre in 1946, disillusioned with “its preoccupation with modern art,” she tried in 1949, without success, to open a gallery of her own to accommodate a wider range of artists, including the diminishing group of Society members, largely traditional in their painting styles and in danger of being eclipsed by the “modern trends”. Interestingly, Snider herself was versatile in her own painting techniques, and her work suggests that she was quite comfortable in employing aspects of impressionism. She joined the Victoria Sketch Club, now the successor to the former Society, in the 1950s, and quickly made her mark. She served as secretary from 1957 to 1959, playing a significant role in organizing the Club’s golden jubilee exhibition in 1959, and consolidating the Club’s close ties with Colin Graham, the Curator of the Art Gallery. In June 1959 two of her landscapes were accepted by the California Invitational Del-Art annual show, an exhibition of the best watercolour techniques in North America. In December of the same year, her solo exhibition at The Apollo Art Galleries in Victoria featured some 160 watercolour and oil studies. Gertrude was a member of the Vancouver Island section of the ACC and attended the Lake O’Hara Meadows camp in 1952. Gertrude Snider passed away in July 2001. Obituary in The Time Colonist July 4, 2001. p.24.
Arthur Henry Sovereign (1881 – 1966) was an Anglican Priest. He was born in Woodstock, Ontario in 1881 and educated at the University of Toronto. Ordained in 1906, his first post was as a curate at Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver. In 1909 he was appointed Rector of St Mark’s, Vancouver. He was professor of Divinity at the Anglican Theological College in Vancouver from 1930 until his appointment to the episcopate as Bishop of Yukon in 1932, but only held the post for ten months. From then until 1950 he was Bishop of Athabasca. He was a keen mountaineer, having climbed in the Rockies and the mountains around Vancouver. He was the president of the Vancouver section of the Alpine Club of Canada and a member of the B.C. Mountaineering Club. He passed away in May 1966 (obituary in The Times, May 18, 1966, p.14.)
Sara Ellen Spencer (1885 – 1983) was born in Victoria in 1885 to David and Emma Spencer. Her father David, after moving to Victoria from Wales in 1862, bought a small book and stationary business. In 1867, he married Emma Lazenby and they had thirteen children. In 1873, David and partner William Denny purchased a retail dry goods firm and then five years later he established his own department store which eventually became the largest in Western Canada. He operated the business until his death in 1920. David was interested in music and active in the Methodist church, leading the choir, of which his children were members for many years. After David’s passing his son Christopher operated the Vancouver branch and Will the Victoria one. Sara was a noteworthy businesswoman and a philanthropist and after her brother Will died in 1946, she ran the Victoria branch of the Spencer family department store until 1948 when it was sold to Timothy Eaton. She also headed The Victoria Times, the Spencer family newspaper until it was sold. A couple of years after the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada was formed in 1912, Sara joined the club and took an active position on the executive committee. Many club meetings were held at the family mansion at 930 Moss Street which was called “Llan Derwen” Welsh for “under the Oaks”. Sara participated in numerous local club trips and camps at the club hut at the Lake of the Seven Hills and attended several general summer camps in the Rockies. During WWI she served overseas with the Canadian Field Comforts division and was commissioned as an honorary Lieutenant. She served many years with various local charitable groups including the Women’s Division of the Greater Victoria Community Chest, the Red Cross and Victoria’s Women’s Volunteer Services. She was president of the Victoria Symphony Society and rarely missed a concert, an art gallery opening or a meeting for the preservation of history. In 1951, she donated the family mansion on Moss Street to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. Sara Spencer, the Grande Dame of Victoria arts and society, passed away in 1983.
Frank Stapley (1929 – 1978) was born near Calgary, Alberta in 1929 and moved to the Comox Valley in the mid 1930’s where his family lived on the Urquhart Farm off Back Road. Stapley was actively engaged with the Scouting movement, coached softball and was involved with the recreation centre. Although one of his main passions was skiing which local skiing guru Herb Bradley helped him become involved in, it was his love of the mountains and helping others that many remember him for. It was through skiing that he met his future wife Phyllis Pritchard. They had one son Ian. In August 1960, Frank Stapley and Dave Williamson (a logger from Campbell River) made the first recorded ascent of Victoria Peak via Stewart Lake. He led many trips into Marble Meadows, the Comox Glacier, Flower Ridge and the peaks of Strathcona Park with both friends and family but he also enjoyed the solitude of hiking by himself. He climbed the Golden Hinde several times, Elkhorn Mountain, the southeast peak of Mount Colonel Foster and later went on to climb Mount Robson in the Canadian Rockies and attempted Mount Waddington in the Coast Range. Frank Stapley passed away in 1978 at the age of forty-eight.
Norman Charles Stewart (1885 – 1965) was born in Algoma County, Ontario, on 9 January 1885. In 1888 he moved to Vancouver with his family and then to Nelson in 1896 where he completed his high school education. In 1906 he enrolled in the School of Practical Science at the University of Toronto and obtained a diploma in Civil Engineering with Honours in 1909, and a Bachelor of Applied Science degree, again with Honours, in 1911. In 1912 he qualified as a Dominion Land Surveyor and then returned to British Columbia and obtained his Commission as a Land Surveyor. Until 1930, when he joined the Topographical Surveys Division of the British Columbia Department of Lands, Stewart was engaged in private practice in many parts of the province, including work in 1924 on the Alberta – British Columbia boundary survey under Arthur Wheeler who was then Commissioner for British Columbia. During the depression years of 1932-1933, many surveyors found themselves unemployed, however, in 1933 Stewart, Alan Campbell and Robert McCaw, rather than see their life work cut off, offered to take to the field without pay, but supplied with field expenses. From 1934 to 1938 Stewart was in-charge of the survey of Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island. Stewart was assisted by William “Bill” Moffat, another British Columbia Land Surveyor who had immigrated to Canada from Ireland in 1912 and Alfred Slocomb, who was in the process of becoming a commissioned land surveyor. Together Stewart, Slocomb and Moffat took photo-topographical triangulation readings from the top of many of the park’s mountains and in the process gave nomenclatures to numerous unnamed peaks. 1934 saw Stewart and Moffat surveying the eastern boundary of Strathcona Park. Stations were made by Moffat on the summit of Mount Albert Edward in July while Stewart was on Alexandra Peak and then they began moving south along the ridge towards the Comox Glacier. It was during the survey in 1935 that Stewart wrote in a report: “…an unnamed peak near the headwaters of the Wolf Creek, Strathcona Park, has an altitude greater than any other so far recorded on Vancouver Island.” Stewart later found the peak had been given the name Rooster’s Comb (today The Golden Hinde) on a manuscript map of the area, drawn by W.W. Urquhart during the 1913-1914 Strathcona Park survey. However, unbeknownst to Stewart was fact that Urquhart, W.R. Kent and Einar Anderson had made an ascent of the mountain sometime in 1913 or 1914. Stewart surveyed many other of the island’s mountain regions taking readings from summits such as Big Den Mountain, Abco Mountain, Mount Cotter, Mariner Mountain, Lone Wolf Mountain and many more. As the surveying of Strathcona Park continued on into 1936, they surveying party found themselves at the base of the Rooster’s Comb. Norman Stewart and his assistant Dan Harris were eager to reach the top and confirm this as the island’s highest mountain. On July 21 they reached the summit and upon returning to camp found a party of climbers from Courtenay, which included Sid Williams, Geoffrey Capes and Roger Schjelderup, who had the intention of climbing the Rooster’s Comb. In 1946, Stewart supported the historian and fellow surveyor Captain Richard P. Bishop’s suggestion that the mountain should have a more fitting name than the Rooster’s Comb which gave it a barnyard, down to earth flavour. Bishop had put forward the name The Golden Hinde for the mountain after Sir Francis Drake’s flagship which had sailed up the west coast of North America. Their combined effort eventually convinced the British Columbia Geographic Board to accept the Golden Hinde as the official name. Norman Stewart was Surveyor-General and Director of Surveys and Mapping from 1946-1951; and British Columbia Boundary Commissioner. He was a Life Member of the association of Professional Engineers of British Columbia, and in 1962 was elected to Life Membership in the Corporation of British Columbia Land Surveyors. Norman Stewart died in Victoria on 19 June 1965 (obituary in the Corporation of Land Surveyors of the Province of British Columbia. Report of Proceedings of the Sixty-First Annual General Meeting. 1966. Burnaby, B.C. p.88.)
Brenda Mary Stonham (1915 – 2011) was born on 1 February 1915 in North Vancouver. She grew up in Victoria and attended St. Margaret’s School. She joined the ACC in her early twenties and attended several summer camps in the Rockies. In 1943, she married Randle Mathews, settling in North Saanich after the war where they established and operated Randle’s Landing, a marina in Tsehum Harbour, which was later sold to Westport Marina after Randle’s death in 1967. During Brenda’s life she fostered many lifelong friendships through her love of hiking, gardening, boating, travelling and playing tennis until the age of 90. She was always friendly to the First Nations people who lived in North Saanich and respected their culture. Brenda enjoyed another happy period in her second marriage to Douglas Stonham (thought to be a second cousin) from 1990 to 2004. She was also an active member of the Holy Trinity Church and an enthusiastic supporter and volunteer for the Save the Children Fund. She passed away on 2 November 2011.
Annie Elizabeth (nee Clegg) Sutherland (1879 – 1950) was born near Sheffield, England, and came to Canada with her family when she was four years old, settling in Ontario. Later she moved to Victoria and in 1911 came to Courtenay to make her home. She married Alexander John Sutherland (1877 – ?) on 3 July 1901 in Kaslo, B.C. Alexander disappeared in Scotland after WWI leaving Annie to bring up their children on her own. She worked various jobs to make ends meet as a cleaner and a cook. She was a member of the CDMC and often cooked at the Mount Becher cabin on special occasions and the Forbidden Plateau Lodge. At the combined ACCVI/CDMC summer camp on Paradise Meadows in July 1928, Annie was the camp cook for about thirty climbers and was accorded a special vote of thanks for her assistance and for practicing the ‘culinary art under difficult conditions’ at camp. Annie Sutherland passed away in St. Joseph’s Hospital in Comox on 2 September 1950 (obituary in the Comox District Free Press September 7, 1950, p.1.)
John “Jock” Sutherland (1888 – 1974) was born in 1888 in Philipston, a coal-mining town in southern Scotland. When Sutherland was twenty, he made his first trip to Vancouver Island with other Scottish miners who were coming over to Canada to work. When he arrived in Cumberland some of his friends were already here so it wasn’t long before he got a job in the coal mines. While there he made the acquaintance of two young radicals – Joe Taylor and Ginger Goodwin. He spent many hours fishing with them and talking about the terrible conditions in the mines and how to improve them. In 1914, Sutherland volunteered with the Royal Scots Expeditionary Force and was called up in 1915. He saw action at Paschendale and Vimy Ridge, spending nine months on the front line without a break. Although the fighting was intense, he never sustained an injury that would take him out of the lines to a hospital, except for one bullet wound to the leg. At the end of the war in 1918, Sutherland returned to Philipston where he met a school teacher Mary Coubrough. They were married in late 1920 and in early 1921 they made the long boat journey from Scotland to Canada and back to Cumberland. Sutherland was psychologically scarred because of the deprivation and the horrors of the war and suffered from what was called “burned-out condition.” After visiting a specialist in Vancouver, he became the first veteran in Canada to receive a pension for this condition. This went on to affect not only his ability to work but his family life. In the mean time, Sutherland tried to work for the coal company again but found he had been blacklisted because of his earlier connections with Taylor and Goodwin who were well-known Union organizers. Around 1925, Sutherland decided to move the family to Whyte’s Bay on Comox Lake where he started to build a house. He had various jobs but none lasted very long including watchman at the Comox Logging log dump, a watchman to keep the pumps going at the Number 4 mine after it shut down and to watch over the Canadian Collieries property. Another time he worked as a bridge builder near Campbell River. He also worked as a packer for the surveyor Norman Stewart who was surveying in and around Strathcona Park in the mid 1930’s. Sutherland worked with other local men from Courtenay/Cumberland including Jack Horbury, Bill Bell, Jack Hames and George Colwell. He was already familiar with the mountains to the west of Comox Lake as in the summer of 1932 he had taken his wife Mary, daughters Mavis and Marguerite, their dog Buster, and his old friend Harry Rees, on a trip to the Comox Glacier. Mavis later wrote about the trip:
“Much planning was undertaken. Pack boards had to be made; two side boards bound with canvas and straps which had to fit just right. A big one for dad, a middle size one for mum and small ones for Marguerite and me. I was 11 years old at the time. Marguerite was given the job of carrying the pots and pans so she was nicknamed “wee pots and pans”. Mr. Rees said the clatter of pots and pans would scare the bears away. A big item was food. It had to be reduced to what was most filling; dried vegetables, dried milk, rice, flour for bannock, hard tack, beans, prunes, raisins, oatmeal for porridge and sugar. They carried guns and fishing gear. Fish would be caught on the way and later grouse and deer would be hunted. Mother became more expert at cooking over a campfire. At each night’s camp spot, a fire was made; a bed for the ashes and stones round the edge to hold the cooking pots. Soon fish would be sizzling in the pan, a billy can boiling for tea and a bubbling pot of rice made with dried milk and raisins. It made the best dessert ever. We took the boat up to Quartz Creek the first night, and then headed out to Lobley’s cabin the next morning where we left the boats. We had to find the trailhead through the slashing. It was an awful mess because of the logging. Old Harry started up the trail ahead blazing the way with his axe; we followed very slowly. We didn’t get very far the first day. There was no trail to follow, only some blaze marks. We were heading for the north arm of the Cruikshank River. It was hard getting through the thickets and the Devil’s Club was a nuisance. We camped at the north fork by dark. At camp each night, a fire was made, and branches cut and laid just so, feathered, to make a comfortable bed. It was August and the weather was good. After a good meal, Old Harry would play some old Welsh tunes on his flute. We girls dropped off to sleep listening to the song of the river. We were snug under our blankets. There was much discussion about how to climb out of the valley. It would be steep with rocky slides making it difficult to get a hold. But there were plenty of small trees to pull ourselves up by. It was the hardest part of the trip but we did it. On top, we found a nice valley with a little lake which we called “Emerald Lake” because of its color. The Glacier was only about 200 yards in front of us. It was impressive. This was to be our camping spot for the better part of a week Marguerite and I were to collect wood for the fire. Old Harry used his axe to make a table and log seats. A deer was shot and we had venison steaks with liver and onion for breakfast. We dug into the snow and made a meat store. We spent one day climbing on the Glacier and had to watch out for crevasses. We saw the ‘red snow’, caused by algae growth in the summer. Also, we saw a white ptarmigan, a kind of grouse. One day, we heard the sirens down in Cumberland. Later, we found out that half of Cumberland had burned down. It was a nice camp by the lake. Heather bloomed all around; the trees were stunted because of the altitude. There were lots of flowers; kinnickkinick, moss campion, phlox, mountain daisy, gentian, Indian paintbrush, monkey flower, arnica, yarrow. Tame whiskey jacks visited our camp and an eagle was seen flying over. It was truly a holiday to remember.”
This was one of the earliest recorded (if not the first) ascent by a woman and young girls to the glacier and gives a wonderful view of camp life and the associated rigors during that period. Jock Sutherland and Harry Rees built a cabin on Quartz Creek on the north side of Comox Lake in the 1920’s where family and friends would go for camping trips. Eventually this cabin was taken apart and moved to Hornby Island because of logging and the flooding of the lake. The family also made camping trips to the Little Lakes, nowadays know as Willemar and Forbush Lakes. Several trips were also made up the Puntledge River towards The Red Pillar. Sutherland was a keen hunter and always took his rifle with him as it was an important part of supplementing his family’s diet. Sutherland was a natural athlete and enjoyed playing soccer in Cumberland. There was also a story that during the war he ran against a world champion runner and beat him. Sutherland could be considered a renaissance man as he enjoyed playing the accordion and violin especially old Scottish melodies. He was also fond of poems in the Romantic sense, particularly those of Robbie Burns and Robert Service. He had high moral standards and was firmly against the racist class system. He was friendly with the local First Nations, the Chinese and the Japanese population, and believed in equality for all. In the 1960’s Jock and Mary moved from Whyte’s Bay back into Cumberland because of ill health. Jock Sutherland passed away in 1974.
Preston Lambert Tait (1880 – 1970) was born on 5 December 1880, in Bowmanville, Durham, Ontario to Henry Clay and Maria Davey-Tait. In 1905, he registered for military service. He worked at Croteau’s Camp on Forbidden Plateau for possibly three summers – 1937/38/39. He trained as a dentist but became a photographer of B.C. mountains devoting much of his life teaching others about photography and the beauty of the mountains. He was a long-time member of the B.C. Mountaineering Club in Vancouver. He passed away on 15 August 1970, in Vancouver.
George William Taylor (1854 – 1912) was born in Derby, England in 1854, and emigrated to Canada in 1976. In Victoria he studied theology, was chosen as a deacon in 1884, ordained a priest in 1886, and served parishes in British Columbia and Ottawa. In 1887, he was appointed Honorary Provincial Entomologist but gave it up when he went to Ottawa in 1888. On his return to Gabriola Island, he conducted intensive studies of shells and insects (1890 -1894) before becoming Rector of the Anglican Church in Wellington, B.C. During these years he was an avid, dedicated collector of insects and became an expert taxonomist of the Lepidoptera, especially the Geometridae. He compiled the first list of native insects of B.C. In 1907, he was appointed Curator of the Marine Biological Station in Nanaimo. He held that position until his death. He not only collected insects generally but willingly exchanged specimens with collectors, generously identified moths for others, and gave freely of his expert advice on the control of noxious pests. He amassed the finest collection of shells in Canada (7000 specimens) and became known and recognized as an expert on conchology. He had five species of insect, three of molluscs and one sponge named after him. Taylor was the founding President of the Entomological Society of B.C., served for six years (1906 – 1911) and was a constant contributor to the Canadian Entomologist. George Taylor passed away in Nanaimo on 22 August 1912.
Thomas Taylor (1865 – 1947) was born in London, Ontario, on 4 February 1865 to Thomas Taylor and Anne Talbot. He articled in law in London for two years and in 1885 moved to Winnipeg and then to British Columbia in 1888, settling in Revelstoke in 1900. He married Georgie Larson in 1895. Thomas Taylor was instrumental in securing government funds for the survey and construction of roads and general development of Strathcona Park in 1912. “The Hon. Thomas Taylor… intends to spare no pains to secure through here the finest drives to be found anywhere, and… Sir Richard McBride is very desirous that the park be developed to its utmost….” (The Great Playground on Vancouver Island, British Columbia Magazine, Vol 9, No 7, July 1913, p.370.) The onset of World War I, and a shortage of government funds brought the elaborate development plans to a halt. Prior to assuming a cabinet post, Taylor listed his profession as mineral broker, then mining recorder. He served as Minister of Works of Public Works December 1908 – December 1915, and held a dual portfolio as Minister of Railways March 1911 – December 1915 in Sir Richard McBride’s Conservative Party. He was defeated when he ran for re-election in 1916. Thomas Taylor passed away in Vancouver on 26 April 1947. In August 1948, Mt. Tom Taylor was adopted in Strathcona Park in honour of Thomas Taylor. It was originally labelled as Mt. Taylor on a survey plan presumably drawn in the 1930’s by the surveyor Norman Stewart.
This bio is quite different from what’s there now. Dates aren’t the same, but Mount Tom Taylor is mentioned in both. Which is better?
Reginald Heber Thompson (1856 – 1949) was born and raised in a “Scottish colony” in Hanover, Indiana in 1856. Thomson received three degrees from Hanover College: a Bachelors in 1877, a Master of Arts in 1901 and an honorary Ph.D., also in 1901. As an assistant to city and county surveyor F.H. Whitworth, Thomson was involved in the initial surveying and dredging of what would, years later, become the Montlake Cut of the Lake Washington Ship Canal. In 1884 he became the city surveyor; in which capacity he oversaw the building of Seattle’s first sewers and the Grant Street bridge across the Duwamish River tide flats. In 1886, he resigned to work for the Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern railroad, for whom he plotted the route from the northern end of Lake Washington east through Snoqualmie Pass to Lake Keechelus. Before returning to become a consulting engineer in Seattle, he spent some time in Spokane, near the state’s eastern border, where he was responsible for several railway terminals and two bridges. In at least 1890 and 1891, he worked for the then-separate city of Ballard (now part of Seattle), planning street improvements. He applied in January 1891 for the job of King County surveyor. He was appointed in the position in May. However, after Edwin Hall Warner declined an appointment in May 1892 as Seattle city engineer, Thomson was again appointed to the city engineer position and resigned from his county position in July 1892. Thomson became Seattle city engineer in 1892, three years after the Great Seattle Fire had destroyed more than half of the city’s downtown, followed immediately by an unprecedented construction boom. He began the process of paving roads, building sidewalks, and adding sewer lines (often through areas that earlier engineers could not work out how to plumb). With his assistant Cotterill, he laid out Lake Washington Boulevard, initially conceived as a path for bicycles. From the time of his arrival in Seattle, Thomson had considered the hilly landscape and the extensive mudflats as obstacles to the city’s growth. He launched several regrading projects, most notably the extensive Denny Regrade, but also the Jackson regrade (between Main and Judkins Streets and 4th and 12th Avenues) and the regrading of Dearborn Street, with the 12th Avenue Bridge (now Jose P. Rizal Bridge) spanning Dearborn and connecting First Hill to Beacon Hill. He also drove Westlake Avenue through from Downtown to Lake Union, the first flat route connecting the two. He also worked with railroad magnate James Hill to get the Great Northern Railway to bypass the already crowded waterfront with a 1906 railway tunnel under Downtown. When Thomson became city engineer, Seattle was still pumping its water supply from Lake Washington to a reservoir on Beacon Hill. Water supply was beginning to limit the city’s growth; with great difficulty, Thomson convinced the city to pipe in water from the Cedar River Watershed, 30 miles to the southeast of Seattle in the Cascade foothills. With the city council’s encouragement, Thomson took a half-year vacation and traveled Europe. It turned out to be a working trip: he studied the infrastructures of the great European cities, and came back with further visions for the future of Seattle. Among the resulting projects were the re-routing of Seattle’s sewage outlet to West Point in Magnolia, then part of Fort Lawton, now part of Discovery Park. Overlapping his tenure as city engineer, Thomson was president of the University of Washington board of managers (1905–1915). He also became increasingly interested in Seattle’s waterways, which led him to resign as city engineer in 1911 to lobby the state legislature and otherwise help organize the Port of Seattle, for which he became chief engineer. During 1912, Thomson was hired by the B.C. government as park commissioner for the newly established Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island. From 1916 to 1922, Thomson served on the Seattle city council, while continuing to work as a civil engineer. After leaving the council, he continued working various places in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. He consulted on Oregon’s Rogue River Valley Irrigation Canal; built hydroelectric plants in Eugene, Oregon and surveyed plant sites in Southeastern Alaska; planned the water supply of Bellingham and consulted on the system for Wenatchee; briefly, in his seventies, he returned, temporarily, as Seattle city engineer in 1930 to finish the Diablo Dam on the Skagit River after the death of city engineer William D. Barkhuff, consulted to the Inter-County River Improvement. In a sense, Thomson’s chief legacy is the physical contours of the city of Seattle as it exists today, including the lay of the land, the transportation system, and the municipal utilities. Thomson was, without a doubt, Seattle’s most important city engineer; in 1911 he had served in the office 19 of the 37 years it had existed. He was also often one of the most controversial: in February 1894, less than two years into his second period in the office, the Board of Public Works removed him from office; Mayor James T. Ronald removed two members of the Board and reinstated Thomson. “A technical man with a streak of imagination… his disdain for those who did not share his vision also made him many enemies.” Reginald Thomson passed away on 7 January 1949. Mount Thomson, a prominent peak located approximately 40 miles east of Seattle, was named for him. At the end of his life, Thomson wrote an autobiography, That Man Thomson, which was published posthumously.
Francis Edward Tuckey was born in in Tientsin, China in 1897 and came to Victoria with his family (and sister Betty) in 1900. He was a fruit farmer in Saanich for many years, and was a member of the Alpine Club of Canada. He passed away suddenly on 6 September 1959 while visiting Olympic Hot Springs near Port Angeles, Washington (obituary in The Daily Colonist Thursday September 10, 1959, p.28.). He was survived by his wife Kathleen (nee Martin), a son and three daughters.
Dora Tyas was from England and traveled regularly between London and Victoria with her mother Mrs. Walter Dyas and her sister Clara. While staying in Victoria they resided at the Roccabella Boarding House on Quadra Street. Dora attended the 1st banquet for the Victoria branch of the ACC but it is not known if she went on any club trips. In August 1913, she became engaged to H. Llewelyn Thomas.
Joshua Elder Umbach (1879 – 1930) was born 24 September 1879 on a farm near Elmira, Ontario. He obtained a teacher’s certificate, and taught for two years, then entered the “School of Practical Science” in Toronto, graduating in 1903. After serving several months with the Canadian Pacific Railway, he accepted a position in the Topographic Survey Branch in Ottawa. Here he worked until 1911, at which time he transferred to Victoria as a draftsman under the then surveyor-general George H. Dawson. During his regime in Victoria, he introduced a comprehensive scheme of triangulation control surveys to bring order to the previously disjoint surveys that had been done. He developed a systematic topographic survey by the photo-topographical method introduced by his former chief, the late Dr. Deville. After George Dawson retired, Joshua Umbach became the Surveyor-general of the Province of B.C. Umbach died suddenly of a heart attack on 2 February 1930 (obituary in the Daily Colonist February 3, 1930, p.5.) Umbach Peak is named in his honour.
Peter Vajda (1913 – 2003) was born in Budapest, Hungary on 10 March 1913, the son of a bakery owner and the top female equestrian rider in the country. He pursued a mechanical engineering degree at the University of Zurich and it may have been in Switzerland that he fell in love with mountains. He joined the university ski team and became a certified guide and instructor. In 1937, he embarked on a tour across North America with the ski team but there was something about Canada that made him decide to stay. He took a job teaching engineering at U.B.C. and became a coach with the UBC ski team. Peter Vajda was involved with all aspects of the sport, from coaching to racing to developing mountain resorts. In 1949, he designed and put together the first ski lift at Grouse Mountain and later was a member of the original board of directors of the Garibaldi Lifts Ltd. in Whistler where he saw the potential of this place. As a partner with Columbia Engineering International Ltd. Vajda and a team of engineers discovered new ways to recycle wood waste by adding synthetic resins to form particleboard. During the 1970’s and ‘80’s he was involved in the development of waferboard and similar products. Peter Vajda passed away on 10 August 2003 in Sidney (obituary in the Times Colonist 15 August 2003.)
Arthur Felix Wedgewood (1877 – 1917) was born on 18 July 1877 in Barlaston, Staffordshire, a scion of the Wedgewood pottery family. After attending Trinity College, Cambridge, he worked as a civil engineer specializing in the purchase and recovery of shipwrecks. Wedgewood was an amateur mountaineer, and travelled to South America and Canada. In 1905, he sailed to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and while there attempted Aconcagua with Swiss guide Hans Kaufmann but suffered frostbite. In 1908, he travelled to Canada and with Joseph Hickson, Edward Feuz Jr. and Gottfried Feuz climbed Mt. Assiniboine. In 1911, while in Canada, he met and married Katherine Longstaff, the sister of Frederick who later married Jennie McCulloch of Victoria. Wedgewood was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the 5th Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment, a Territorial Force infantry unit, in 1909, and was recommissioned in 1911. In 1915, he saw action at Loos and The Somme in France. He was promoted to Temporary Captain in May 1916, becoming a permanent Captain in September 1916. Arthur Wedgwood died on active service on 14 March 1917.
Gertrude “Gertie” Marion Wepsala (1908 – 2007) was a member of the Tyee Ski Club in the 1930’s. Records of her life in a skiing family, and her career as a skier and as a ski writer, have recently been donated to the Archives. In 1939, Gertie was on top of the world as three-time Dominion Ladies combined and downhill ski champion. Meanwhile, the man who would be Gertie’s husband, Al Beaton, was enjoying a basketball tour of Japan with the Dominion championship Vancouver Westerns team. He looked forward to gaining a spot on the Canadian Olympic basketball team. Gertie and Al were both training hard for greater achievements at the Olympics. Their dreams, and those of many of their friends, were put on hold by World War II and the resulting cancellation of the Fifth Winter and Twelfth Summer Olympics. Gertie continued to ski but became a poster girl for women working in wartime industries; she was a shop clerk at the Boeing Aircraft factory. Al enlisted with the Royal Canadian Signals Corps. The couple found time to marry in 1942. The Beaton family’s photographs, telegrams, Tyee Ski Club newsletters, and newspaper clippings attest to their triumphs and achievements, but evidence of the War – letters, photos of men in uniform, a postcard from a Tyee chum in a German POW camp – runs like a fine thread through the texture of the material. Life returned to normal after the War, but the Olympic opportunity was a once-in-a-lifetime thing that did not come the Beaton’s way again.
Horace “Rusty” Westmorland (1886 – 1984) was born in Penrith, England in 1886 and educated at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Lancashire. He worked in the family’s tannery and leather business until the death of his father in 1909. In 1911 Westmorland moved to Saskatchewan but work prospects were poor there so he moved on to Vancouver where he met Arthur Wheeler. He spent the next six months working with the surveyors as part of the Alberta/British Columbia Interprovincial Boundary Commission and continued working seasonally for the surveyors until 1914. In 1912, Westmorland was invited to take a commission in a Canadian ‘Territorial’ Highland Regiment. He qualified at Military School and was transferred to the Canadian ‘Regular’ Army where he served in Belgium and France from 1915 to 1919. In 1943, Lieutenant-Colonel Westmorland used his indomitable personality and connections in Ottawa to found the Number One Pack Horse Troop, as he wanted to revive the Canadian Cavalry heritage. In 1944, Westmorland was invalided out where he then returned to his family roots at Threlkeld in the Lakes District for his remaining years. Westmorland’s love of the outdoors began at an early age but his real climbing career began in 1901 at the age of fifteen when he climbed Pillar Rock in the Lakes District. In Canada, he was a member of the Alpine Club of Canada and chairman of the Vancouver Island section in 1923. He was awarded, in recognition for Mountain services, the “Silver Rope” by the ACC in 1947. In 1946, he founded what was originally called “The Borrowdale Mountain Rescue Team” but later became the Keswick Mountain Rescue. In 1965, Westmorland was awarded the OBE by the Queen for his services to mountain rescue. “Rusty” Westmorland passed away in 1984 (obituary in the Westmorland Gazette, Kendal, Cumbria, U.K., November 30, 1984, p.13.), but will be remembered for turning up immaculate on the crags and for his concern with upholding the highest traditions of the mountaineering sport.
Arthur Oliver Wheeler (1860 – 1945) was born in Kilkenny, Ireland on 1 May 1860 and came to Canada with his family in 1876. When he arrived in Canada, he served an apprenticeship as a Dominion Land Surveyor. Wheeler qualified as Ontario Land Surveyor in 1881, Manitoba and Dominion Land Surveyor in 1882, British Columbia Land Surveyor in 1891 and Alberta Land Surveyor in 1911. In 1883/4, Wheeler performed townsite surveys for the Dominion Government and the Canadian Pacific Railway. During the Riel Rebellion, which began in 1885, Wheeler served as a lieutenant with the DLS Intelligence Corps. When the rebellion was over he returned to surveying, and began to experiment with some of the new technology that had begun to emerge. Working for the Department of the Interior, he was trained in photo-topographical surveying. In 1900, he surveyed in the Crowsnest Pass area and in 1901/2 he was assigned to survey the Selkirk Range and in particular to map areas utilized by tourists and mountain climbers. From 1903 to 1910 he continued the photo-topographical survey of the main range of the Rockies and during this time was appointed Topographer of the Department of the Interior. Wheeler returned to private practice from 1910 to 1913 forming a partnership with Alan Campbell and later Robert McCaw. Inspired by his mountain surveys, Wheeler founded the Alpine Club of Canada in 1906, assisted by Elizabeth Parker and Dr. J.C. Herdman. Sir William Whyte, Vice-President of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company also gave assistance. Wheeler became the club’s first president from 1906 to 1910, then Managing Director until 1926 when he retired. He was then elected Honorary President and continued in that office until his death. In 1907, he attended the Jubilee celebration dinner of The Alpine Club in London and in 1908, proposed by Edward Whymper, Wheeler was elected to honorary membership in the British Alpine Club. In 1912, the ACC was asked to evaluate the alpine potential of the newly established Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island. Arthur Wheeler’s son, Edward Wheeler led the trip summitting the Strathcona Matterhorn which they christened Elkhorn Mountain. In 1913, he was commissioner for establishing the Interprovincial Boundary between British Columbia and Alberta and continued every summer until 1925. While undertaking the survey work for the Boundary Commission, which was done during and immediately after the First World War, he received permission from the Geographic Board of Canada to name the peaks in the Kananaskis area. The decision would be one that many would regret, as Wheeler, in a fit of patriotism, named most of the peaks after World War I generals and admirals, French villages, songs of the era and battleships. This prompted R.M. Patterson, in a 1961 publication entitled The Buffalo Head, to say: “The Rockies must sadly be the worst-named range in the world.” In 1920, the Allied Congress of Alpinism was held in the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco and Wheeler organized the Alpine Club of Canada’s representation and exhibit. Although unable to attend, the Club’s exhibit was well received and the Prince of Monaco bestowed Wheeler with the Officer of the Order of St. Charles and conferred upon him the Cross of Order. In 1929, Wheeler became an honorary member of the Dominion Land Surveyors’ Association that would later become the Canadian Institute of Surveying. Wheeler’s first wife was Clara Macoun, daughter of the eminent Professor John Macoun, Dominion Naturalist and Botanist. They had one son Edward O. Wheeler who would become the Surveyor General of India. Wheeler later married Emmeline Savatard. Arthur Wheeler passed away on 20 March 1945 (obituary in the Canadian Alpine Journal Vol. 29, 1944-45, p.140-146.)
Edward Oliver Wheeler (1890 – 1962) was born in Ottawa in 1890, to Clara (nee Macoun) and Arthur Wheeler, a Dominion Land Surveyor and founder of the Alpine Club of Canada. Wheeler was educated in the schools of his native city, and subsequently at Trinity College at Port Hope, Ontario. He passed with honours into the Royal Military College at Kingston in 1907 and completed a course of training in which he was credited with the highest marks obtained previously by any Cadet. His competence and scholarship augured a successful career – he was the top Cadet on passing out, was awarded the Governor General’s medal and received the Sword of Honour. Commissioned forthwith in the corps of the Royal Engineers, he was posted to duty at its depot in Chatham, England, and in 1913 transferred to India. During the First World War he served in France with a company of King George’s Sappers and Miners, Indian Expedition Force, 1915 and with the forces in Mesopotamia campaign 1916-18. Thereafter he was on the General Staff in India until 1919 when he was seconded to the Survey of India. His war service was of the highest order, and he was awarded the Military Cross, and a membership in the French Legion of Honour, his citation being supported by no less than seven mentions in dispatches. In the Survey he rose to the position of Superintendent in 1927, succeeding to the office of Director in 1939, and finally to that of Surveyor-General of India in 1941. The later post he held until retirement in 1947, his successful administration and personal merit having been signalized in 1943 by his elevation to a knighthood. His return to Canada was in 1947 and he settled down with Lady Wheeler at Lavington, near Vernon, enjoying his retirement in activities connected with the mountains and the Alpine Club of Canada, until physical incapability prevented them. Wheelers love of the mountains began at the age of twelve while his father was engaged in the survey of the Selkirk Range. In succeeding years Edward continued to spend his holidays assisting his father, and more particularly in helping with the construction and maintenance of the ACC camps and in guiding climbs during them. His early association with the Swiss Guides who were brought out and employed by the C.P.R. ensured in him sound techniques to which he added broadening experience and marked initiative. He made numerous ascents but some of note were Mount Hector and Observation Peak in 1903, Hungabee Mountain with Val Fynn in 1909, the first ascent of Mount Babel in 1910 with A.R. Hart, L. [Lionel] C. Wilson and H.H. Worsfeld and his guideless climbs on Mount Sir Donald and Mount Tupper in the same year. In 1911 he was climbing in the Pyrenees and briefly in the Lakes District. During a period of leave in 1912 he led the ACC Expedition to Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island where the party made the first ascent of Elkhorn Mountain. 1920 saw his return to Canada on a leave which was partly spent with his father in the Fortress lake region, and partly in the planning, erection and direction of the ACC camp at Mount Assiniboine. Back to India, he was married in the spring of 1921 to Dorothea Sophia Danielson and shortly afterwards was appointed a member of the reconnaissance party under Colonel Charles Howard-Bury. This expedition was organized to examine the approaches to Mount Everest, and the possible routes for climbing it. Assisted by Henry Morshead, he carried out mapping operations from the Tibetan Plateau and on the northern, eastern and western sides of the massif. In company with George Mallory and Guy Bullock he examined the approach by the East Rongbuk Glacier. This route eventually became the key to the North Col which afterwards became so prominent a feature in successive attempts to reach the summit. The extent and rapidity of his surveying work constituted a tour de force which has hardly been equaled, demanding as it did over five months of continuous mountaineering at very high altitudes and under some embarrassment due to ill health which he ignored. He came to Canada on sick leave in 1922 and required operative treatment but returned to India in 1923. In 1925 further convalescing in Canada was necessary after another operation in London. He then returned to India and was stationed in Quetta until 1933. From 1950 to 1954, Wheeler was the esteemed President of the Alpine Club of Canada and particularly active in advancing its efficiency and prestige. He had been an Honorary Member since 1922 as well as a life membership of the Alpine Club (England) and latterly a member of the American Alpine Club. Brigadier Sir Edward Oliver Wheeler passed away on 19 March 1962 (obituary in the Canadian Alpine Journal Vol. 45, 1962, p.160-163.) in Vernon, B.C. following a stroke he had sustained the previous day. Wheeler will be remembered for his active and adventurous life both within Canada and abroad, his distinguishing career as a Military Officer and Surveyor, and his role with the 1921 Mount Everest expedition.
Charles Eustatius Whitney-Griffiths (1886 – 1953) was born in Wales in 1886. In 1902. Charles and his brother William (Billy) emigrated to Canada. Charles went up to the Yukon to work for a while but the two agreed to meet in Vancouver. When they had heard about good farmland for sale in Victoria they moved there and bought five acres in Metchosin and began farming. In 1907, they heard about several hundred acres for sale in the Witty’s Lagoon area and bought 129 acres of uncleared land. In 1912, they finished building The Grange which became the grand family home. During WWI, Billy joined the army and served in France while Charles stayed at the farm, buying stock (especially sheep) and continuing to improve the land. To the brothers lived their whole lives on the farm. Charles Whitney-Griffiths passed away on 28 December 1953 (obituary in The Daily Colonist Tuesday December 29, 1953, p.12) leaving his wife Dorothy and brother. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge, a Director of the Montreal Fire Insurance Co., a life member of the Vancouver Island Turkey Association and assisted in organizing the Farming Institute of B.C. Whitney-Griffiths Point at the west end of Witty Lagoon, Metchosin, is named after the two brothers and their family.
Frederick Sidney Williams (1908 – 1991) was born in New Westminster, B. C., on 14 October 1908. He moved to the Comox Valley with his family in 1921 and his teacher at the time, Bill Stubbs, got Williams interested in acting and later went on to direct Sid’s first play. As a businessman Williams co-owned the Ski-Tak Hut when it first opened on Forbidden Plateau and he also co-owned Searle’s Shoes for a time on 5th Street in downtown Courtenay. He served as a Courtenay Alderman from 1942 to 1964 and also served on the board of the Courtenay Recreation Association (CRA) and was involved with many community projects. However, it was Williams’ ability to make people laugh and his incredible contribution to the theatre in the Comox Valley that he will be best remembered for, although, most people probably remember “Sid” as an actor. Throughout his life he performed countless roles, including guest appearances on the television program The Beachcombers. Undoubtedly, Sid Williams most famous character was that of Century Sam, an old prospector who came back to life in 1958 and toured the province to celebrate British Columbia’s centenary. Williams took Century Sam (and other characters) on tour with the Barkerville Players for fourteen seasons. In 1967 he did a nationwide tour for Canada’s centennial celebrations. Among his many accolades, the most notable are being made Freeman of the City of Courtenay in 1968; the Eric Hamber award in 1963 for his outstanding contribution in the field on theatre and the Order of Canada for his irrepressible humour and service to others in 1984. However, Williams also loved the outdoors and made many trips into the mountains surrounding Courtenay and into Strathcona Provincial Park. In the summer of 1935, he attempted an ascent of the Roosters Comb (Golden Hinde) with another local mountaineer W. A. [Adrian] B. Paul. At the time it was believed that the Roosters Comb was unclimbed. Although they got close, they unfortunately ran out of time. With knowledge of the route Williams again decided to make another attempt in July 1936 with Geoffrey Capes and the young teenager Roger Schjelderup. Unfortunately, when they arrived at the surveyor’s base camp below the Rooster’s Comb, they found that the surveyor Norman Stewart and his assistant Dan Harris had made the ascent that day, however, neither party realized that Einar Anderson had assisted W. W. Urquhart and W. R. Kent to the summit while they surveyed and photographed the park during the summers of 1913 and 1914. Williams, Capes and Schjelderup believed they had made the second ascent but history now records theirs as the third. Another of Williams’ passions was the lure of precious metals. In the summer of 1946, Sid Williams and Jimmy Aston searched for the telltale sign of valuable minerals in the rocks of the Forbidden Plateau. Near Strata Mountain they found a favourable gold vein and the next year built a cabin (Sid’s Cabin) as their base for further investigations. Unfortunately, it never made them rich but the cabin is still there today. Sid Williams passed away in Courtenay on 26 September 1991. To further honour Sid Williams, Courtenay’s Civic Theatre was named after him in 1991, while in the mountains of Strathcona Provincial Park near the Comox Glacier is Century Sam Lake.
Lionel C. “Jimmie” Wilson graduated to active member of the Alpine Club of Canada on the first summer camp in the Yoho Valley in 1907. In 1909, he made the first ascent of Glacier Peak guiding Val Fynn, A.R. Hart and C.A. Richardson. The following year (1910) he made the first ascent of Mount Babel with A.R. Hart, H.H. Worsfold and Edward Wheeler. In 1912 was a member of the ACCVI expedition to Strathcona Park on Vancouver Island where he was one of nine who made the first ascent of Elkhorn Mountain. In 1934, Wilson received the Silver Rope Award for Leadership from the ACC. Jimmie Wilson regularly attended the ACC’s summer camps and is on the attendance list published in the Gazette for 1948 through to 1964 with the exception of 1963.
George Edgar Winkler (1875 – 1978) was a poet and prospector active throughout B.C. He published under the pseudonyms “Ernest Altrew” and “The Prospector”. Winkler was born in Kincardine, Ontario in 1875. He first came to British Columbia in 1897 where he settled permanently. He worked in stores and for newspapers and became interested in prospecting, eventually taking university courses in geology. He had interests in many mining concerns, both as owner/operator and manager. Winkler was a poet, publishing several books of poetry during his lifetime as well as publishing in magazines and newspapers. He was interested in politics and unsuccessfully ran for Provincial office as a Socialist Party of Canada candidate in the 1907 general election. He was on the executive of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada and led many trips around Victoria, Sooke and Saanich. Winkler passed away in Victoria in 1978.
Catherine May Wollaston-Cowan (1902 – 1985) was born on 27 January 1902 in Victoria to Francis and Alice Wollaston. In July 1928, Catherine and her younger sister Nancy (Nancy Virginia Wollaston-Morley 1908 – 1991) attended the first joint ACCVI and CDMC summer camp on Forbidden Plateau. She also attended the camps at the Lake of the Seven Hills in Sooke, section banquets and club meetings. She married Edgar Horley Cowan in December 1952. Catherine passed away on 19 January 1985 in North Vancouver.
Clinton Stuart Wood (1888 – 1967) was born in Clinton, B.C. on 22 January 1888. He came to Courtenay in 1911 as an engineer and worked as the city clerk for eleven years. On 26 October 1911 he married Mary Jane Mouat of Saltspring Island and they had four sons but one son was killed in action in WWII. Clinton and Mary leased 80 acres in the 1930’s on the eastern slopes of Mount Becher and built the Forbidden Plateau Lodge, operating it as a family ski-hill as well as a guiding company on the plateau. Along with other local businessmen and climbers, he founded the Comox District Mountaineering Club in December 1927, a club that had early ties with the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada. Clinton Wood passed away on 6 November 1967 in Campbell River (obituary in the Comox District Free Press November 15, 1967, p.4.) It was said of him: “…there will be thousands upon thousands of young Canadians who will catch their breaths over the untold future at the beauty of the country he made accessible to them. No man, surely, could wish for a more lasting epitaph than that.”
John George Cory Wood (18.. – 1943) was born in London, England and came to Canada in 1890. On 5 September 1893 he married Ethel Jones in Toronto and then they moved out to Vancouver Island. In 1912, Wood was voted in as a Member of the Legislative Assembly in the Alberni riding for the Conservative Party and served for one term. In September 1913, Cory Wood joined a party of British and South African investors that included Rudolph Feilding (9th Earl of Denbigh), his daughter Lady Marjorie Feilding, Major Frank Johnson and his brother Harry (a mining consultant out of Victoria), Sir James Sivewright and Herbert Latilla, who all had recently purchased the Ptarmigan Mine on Big Interior Mountain in Strathcona Provincial Park. At the completion of his term as a M.P.P. Cory Wood left Victoria in 1915 with the First Canadian Pioneers and served with distinction until the end of activities in W.W. I. On his return he became involved with the Canadian Red Cross organization and held office in the Victoria and District Branch. For five years he was the provincial commissioner and became widely known throughout the province. He was also keenly interested and equally popular in the Canadian Legion and served for three years as president of the Saanich Branch and later as an officer of the Pro Patria Branch, being elected its presidency in 1941. Cory Wood joined the ACCVI in its first year as an organization in 1912. John Cory Wood passed away on 29 December 1943 (obituary in the Daily Colonist December 30, 1943, p.4.) in Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital following a brief illness.