Voices Of British Columbia: Stories from Our Frontier

Voices Of British Columbia: Stories from Our Frontier

Robert Budd

Language: English

Pages: 127


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A vivid portrait of British Columbia—its people and places—in words, sounds and images collected by a master journalist.

Between 1959 and 1966, the late CBC Radio journalist Imbert Orchard travelled across British Columbia with recording engineer Ian Stephen interviewing nearly a thousand of the province’s pioneers. The resulting collection—2,700 hours of audiotapes describing both extraordinary events and everyday experiences—is considered by historians to be one of the best sources of primary information about the province. To the general public, however, the tales in these tapes remain virtually unknown.

Combining text, archival photographs and the original sound recordings from the CBC Archives onto three CDs, Voices of British Columbia draws 24 stories from this collection to immerse us in daily life in the early 20th century. You’ll meet Sarah Glassey, a spirited homesteader who carried a rifle and bagged more birds than any man in the Kispiox Valley. You’ll hear Bill LaChance, the sole survivor of the 1910 Glacier Snowslide, describe that tragic avalanche. And you’ll discover how Great Chief Kwah of Fort St. James spared the life of James Douglas, future governor of British Columbia.

By turns sad, contemplative, insightful and funny, these stories reveal as much about the spirit and resilience of people as they do about the history of the province.














That was my mother. There was two of us boys. That’s all the children she had. Well, they—a romance sprung up although he was a number of years older than her, and he made arrangements with her to later come out to the West Coast where they would be married. Well, an accident happened with my brother; he got his fingers chopped off and that delayed us, but we finally prepared to leave Germany. I think it was in the month of October, 1900. Well, we arrived at the North Pacific Cannery on the lower Skeena in a month or so later.

Of the sixty people aboard the boat she sailed in on, she was the only woman. Work on the Grand Trunk Pacific railroad had brought a rush of construction workers to the area, and she noted that Hazelton was booming with new roads being built throughout the Kispiox Valley. She felt like she fell in love with the country during that visit. On February 4, 1859, Governor James Douglas had passed British Columbia’s first pre-emption act, which gave settlers the right to purchase public land for ten shillings per acre.

HALL: Yes, that was here. ORCHARD: What was the story about that? HALL: Well, apparently this Native [named Zulth-Nolly] gave a beating to some Hudson Bay servant down in Fort George and, according to the story, he killed him and then he sneaked back up here. It was during the summertime, during the salmon season, and all the people were camped at the mouth, close to the mouth of the Stuart River. And this man came up and, of course, he was hiding, and as soon as they heard about it across the lake there at the post, a couple of the men, the Hudson Bay men, came over and starting searching for him.

Tomlinson had no money. And Mr. Tomlinson wrote to his friends and relatives in Ireland who were fairly well to do. And they collected amongst others, and collected up enough money for the bare essentials of a sawmill, which wasn’t too much. And all the, the pulleys, you know the round ones, were made—handmade out of wood. And the carrier for the lumber was made of wood. They started out with wooden tracks, but they found the wooden tracks wouldn’t work because when it got damp they swelled, and the carrier would go crooked, so they had to put in steel tracks.

You keep away from that drinking. I told you before. ” The summer of 1917, in August, automobiles were running then. From south Hazelton—there was a bridge right there over to Hazelton in those days—and I was in an auto. And I remember from the direction of Mission Point, toward Hazelton, I think it was on the Hazelton side of the Bulkley River. He was walking toward town very slowly, and I said to somebody in that car (it was an old Model T Ford, you know). I said, “By gosh! There’s old Cataline. He must be pretty nearly a hundred years old.

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