Kootenay and Columbia Diggings: 0051.0033

KOOTENAY AND COLUMBIA DIGGINGS. – Great Rush To The Blackfoot Country (From the Columbian).

            Mr. Wm. Read arrived on Monday evening from Kootenay – eleven days’ travelling time – with a Government Express.  The news is unimportant.  There were between 500 and 600 miners on Wild Horse Creek.  The claims were paying well, and work for all at $7 to $8 a day.  The market was well supplied.  Flour retailing at 23c to 24c, bacon 75c, beef 25c to 30c, sugar 75c, and other articles in proportion.  There had been a great stampede to reported rich diggings in the Black Feet country, where there are believed to be about 50,000 people.  It was expected that many would soon find their way to Kootenay when the excitement had subsided.  A large number of Chinamen are engaged in mining on the Pend O’Reille River, which flows into the Columbia about 25 miles from Fort Sheppard.  They are believed to be doing well, and are busily building cabins to winter in.  Mr. Dewdney is making good progress with the trail which will probably be completed by the 1st prox.  He has 50 whitemen and 30 Chinamen at work.  When the trail is finished the journey will be made with ease from Hope to Wild Horse Creek in ten days.  Mr. Read met Judge Begbie and party at the Divide, about 30 miles on this side of Kootenay Lake, en route for the diggings.

            The following items, prepared by a gentleman at Fort Sheppard, have been kindly placed at our disposal by Mr. Read:

            “Rags and scraps for Mr. Read,

                                                            Fort Sheppard, Sept. 2

FRENCH CREEK. – A canoe with 8 men arrived on the 28th ult.  They had bottomed without success, and do not think well of the creek.  Some parties were still preparing to flume the bed of the stream, but were not very sanguine of success.  A company of half breeds had taken out $70 – nothing but “flour straight” to eat.  One man’s wife (a squaw) was constantly hunting the mountains over for berries and snaring grouse.  They saw Mr. Moberly somewhere near Carnes Creek, bound eastward across the mountains.  Saw Mr. Green above “Death Rapids,” bound to look at the old horse trail leading back to Shuswap.  Mr. Ladner had visited the Columbia, seen the miners, and heard their report, and returned to Shuswap after some cattle and provisions.  Government was making a rough trail between Shuswap Lake and Columbia River or Carnes Creek.

            Mr. Abrams, merchant, with a big freight boat and four men, and eight men in a canoe arrived at Sheppard on 1st September, five days coming down.  The canoe lost one man coming through the canyon.  The canoe got into bad water, struck a rock, when the man – T.W. Cantrail, of Walla Walla – sprang into the river, swam a short distance towards land and sank.

            One shaft, down 60 feet, struck bed rock shelving – driving in horizontally and sinking still deeper.  One company are at work at or above the canyon, turning the creek.  Mr. Clughston and others are working the surface ground with rockers – wages $4 to $6.  About 80 men on all the creeks – would remain and prospect about a month longer, were anxious to see the shaft bottomed, and the result of the fluming above the canyon.  Miners somewhat down on their luck.  Provisions, “Flour straight.”

            The miners all speak in the highest terms of the merchants, Messrs. Clughston and Abrams, who have credited out all their provisions and extended themselves in every way to assist prospecting.  Carnes Creek gold is in the shape of a cucumber seed, coarse and dark colored.  French Creek gold is rough, flat and very bright.  Several Chinese boats were met on the way going up the Lakes.

            Messrs. Turnbull & Herman, Government Surveyors, who had been to Sheppard after provisions, were seen last Sunday or Monday two miles above the upper lake.  The Indians whom they had brought from Okanagan had returned some time ago.  Since then they have been travelling with “Gregoires,” the Chief of the Lakes Indians.  Last Sunday, being anxious to get along, (the Indians wouldn’t work on Sunday) they attempted to work a bark canoe by themselves, ran her into a snag, and in attempting to save the things ran their feet through the bottom of the canoe – saved all except some blankets.  They are now awaiting the arrival of the Indians, into whose hands they will again have to consign themselves.

            “Jolly Jack,” alias John Thornton, formerly of Langley, has employed several men, and is busy wing-damming the Salmon River, 20 miles from Sheppard – was rigging pumps and sluice boxes.  His prospects are excellent, will start work in a few days – gold coarse and bright.

            A great number of Chinese are on the bars of the Columbia, Salmon River, etc.  The last canoe picked up and brought down one poor little devil of a man who had come across from Shuswap.  He was wending his way down along the Columbia, and he had one little cake of bread left when found.  Robinson (who wrote to the papers) came down by first canoe.  He has had a bad leg and is still laid up.  The chances are that his next report will be anything but favourable.

            The steamer (if not stopped on account of discouraging news from above) being built at Colville will make a trial trip in October.”

            If the writer of the above alludes to Mr. Wm. Robertson, late of Yale, which we more than suspect he does, he is quite in error in saying that he “wrote to the papers.”  Mr. Robertson wrote to Mr. McLardy in Yale, who placed two of the letters at our disposal, and from which we published extracts. – Ed. Columbian.

0051.0033: Kootenay and Columbia Diggings

Newspaper reports featuring comments from Expresman Reade with regard to ongoing digs in Kootenay and Columbia mines. Good description of the Big Bend workings.

Medium:  Newspaper - Text
Date:  September 14, 1865
Pages:  3
Publisher:  Victoria Daily Colonist
Collection:  Columbia Basin Institute (0051)


rich diggings


People arrow Begbiearrow
People arrow Abramsarrow
People arrow Cantrailarrow
People arrow Clughstonarrow
People arrow Dewdneyarrow
People arrow Gregoiresarrow
People arrow Greenarrow
People arrow Hermanarrow
People arrow Ladnerarrow
People arrow McLardyarrow
People arrow Readarrow
People arrow Robinsonarrow
People arrow Thorntonarrow
People arrow Turnbullarrow
Industry arrow Construction arrow Surveyors and Engineersarrow
First Nations arrow Sinyxtarrow
Cities arrow Colville WAarrow
Cities arrow Fort Sheppardarrow
Cities arrow Hopearrow
Cities arrow Kootenayarrow
Cities arrow Langleyarrow
Cities arrow Walla Walla WAarrow
Communications arrow Post Offices arrow Expressmenarrow
Industry arrow Mining arrow Gold Mining arrow Blackfoot Countryarrow
Industry arrow Mining arrow Gold Mining arrow Pend Oreillearrow
Industry arrow Mining arrow Gold Mining arrow Wild Horse Creekarrow
Social arrow Ethnic Groups arrow Chinesearrow
Government arrow Officials arrow Judgesarrow
Physical Features arrow Rivers arrow Columbia Riverarrow
Physical Features arrow Rivers arrow Pend Oreille Riverarrow
Physical Features arrow Rivers arrow Salmon Riverarrow
Physical Features arrow Creeks arrow Carnes Creekarrow
Physical Features arrow Creeks arrow French Creekarrow
Physical Features arrow Creeks arrow Wild Horse Creekarrow
Physical Features arrow Lakes arrow Kootenay Lakearrow
Physical Features arrow Lakes arrow Shuswap Lakearrow
Physical Features arrow Anomalies arrow Death Rapidsarrow
Industry arrow Shipyardsarrow
Transportation arrow Boatsarrow
Transportation arrow Canoesarrow
Natural History arrow Birds arrow Grousearrow


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