The 200 block of Railway Avenue in Ashcroft, Jan. 1, 1898, showing (from l) the tinsmith shop, Gibson’s Meat Market (small building), Mark Dumond’s hardware store (white false-fronted building), and the Cargile Hotel on the corner of 2nd and Railway. The first Journal office was in a shed adjacent to the tinsmith shop. (Photo credit: Ashcroft Museum and Archives)

The 200 block of Railway Avenue in Ashcroft, Jan. 1, 1898, showing (from l) the tinsmith shop, Gibson’s Meat Market (small building), Mark Dumond’s hardware store (white false-fronted building), and the Cargile Hotel on the corner of 2nd and Railway. The first Journal office was in a shed adjacent to the tinsmith shop. (Photo credit: Ashcroft Museum and Archives)

In 1895 a newcomer to Ashcroft decided to start a newspaper

‘We came to Ashcroft to publish a Mining Journal and mind our own business’

Countless people live where they do because they visited a place and decided to stay. In doing so, relatively few people create a legacy which is still going strong more than a century later.

Dr. Frank Stewart Reynolds was one of those few people.

He almost certainly did not set out to create something which would live on for 125 years, when he visited Ashcroft in the spring of 1895, but create one he did, as the newspaper he founded in the B.C. Interior prepares to celebrate its 125th anniversary.

In 1894 Reynolds, a native of Wisconsin who had moved to Loomis, Washington, became intrigued by a proposed hydraulic project 13 miles north of what was then called Quesnelle, in the Cariboo region of neighbouring British Columbia. He and his family made the 500 mile journey and spent the summer at Quesnelle, but in due course he became more interested in the prospects afforded by Ashcroft, some 200 miles south.

During a visit to the town he saw the possibility of establishing a newspaper in Ashcroft, which was the gateway to the goldfields and mines of central and northern B.C. The Canadian Pacific Railway had established a station and depot in the town a decade earlier, and the British Columbia Express Company had moved its headquarters to Ashcroft from Yale. Almost everything that flowed into and out of the towns and mining camps of much of the province came through Ashcroft, and the bustling town boasted hotels, restaurants, saloons, churches, blacksmiths, livery stables, general stores, a thriving Chinatown, and much more.

One thing it — and the region — lacked was a newspaper. The province’s first newspaper, the British Colonist, had started in Victoria in 1858, where it was joined by the Victoria Daily Times in 1884. The Kamloops Inland Sentinel started in 1880, in 1891 the Chilliwack Progress and Vernon News began publication, and a newspaper started in Kaslo in 1893.

However, there was no newspaper serving the vast area of the Cariboo and Southern Interior. The Cariboo Sentinel had operated in Barkerville starting in 1865, but had folded 10 years later. Furthermore, the only newspaper in B.C. dedicated to the province’s mining industry was The Ledge, which had started in tiny Greenwood (northwest of Grand Forks) in 1893, and Reynolds saw a need to be filled.

He was clearly a man for whom the phrase “to think is to act” was a guiding principle, not an abstract concept. Almost as soon as the idea came to him, he arranged for the printing plant of a small weekly newspaper which he owned in Loomis to be shipped to Ashcroft.

Reynolds enlisted as a partner Mr. A.H. Sroufe, about whom little is known other than that in 1895 he was a member of the Ashcroft School Board. However, he and Reynolds obviously shared an interest in news and newspapers, and by mid-spring of 1895 the pair had moved into a shed adjoining a tinsmith shop on Railway Avenue, two doors down from the Cargile Hotel (now the site of Interior Savings) and adjacent to Mark Dumond’s hardware store Gibson’s Meat Market (the site now occupied by Community Futures Sun Country). The printing press was installed, advertisers were sought, news was gathered, and on May 9, 1895 the first issue of the B.C. Mining Journal appeared, billing itself as “A weekly dissertation of news of the various Mining Districts of British Columbia, with a gist of happenings throughout the Province.” A one-year subscription cost $2.

Reynolds and Sroufe also set out their qualifications for operating such a venture: “The Mining Journal owners are fairly well advanced in life, have had some experience in journalism, and have always made a living.

“We came to Ashcroft to publish a Mining Journal and mind our own business. Whether we make a success or not time will tell. Let the people judge.”

To be continued



editorial@accjournal.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Ashcroft

 

The first Journal office was down the street from the Cargile Hotel, which was an early advertiser in the paper. (Photo credit: Journal files)

The first Journal office was down the street from the Cargile Hotel, which was an early advertiser in the paper. (Photo credit: Journal files)

Just Posted

Ashcroft hospital emergency closed sign, 2016. Photo credit: Barbara Roden
Ashcroft Hospital emergency department closed this weekend

Closure due to unexpected limited physician availabiliy, says Interior Health

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Heidi Roy of the Cariboo Jade Shop in Cache Creek with the 3,000 jade boulder, which is now on secure display inside the shop. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Massive jade boulder returns to Cache Creek store six months after daring heist

The 3,000-pound boulder was stolen on Dec. 19, 2020 and found abandoned in the bush a week later

Dr. Albert de Villiers, chief medical health officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
Child sex crimes charges against Interior’s top doc won’t impact pandemic response: Dix

Dr. Albert de Villiers is charged with sexual assault and sexual interference

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read