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In 1897, there is sympathy for woman who killed an assailant

Coroner’s jury says woman acted in self-defence killing a man ‘just trying to have some fun with her’

125 YEARS AGO: OCT. 2, 1897

Ashcroft Hotel: The annex to the Ashcroft hotel is completed with the exception of a few finishing touches by the painter, and the furniture is at the station ready to be put in shape. The annex consists of seventeen bedrooms, with bath room, parlour, and writing room. The dining room of the hotel will be lengthened about twenty feet and a new kitchen built on the side. Everything will be in first class shape for the accommodation of visitors.

The Slate Creek Tragedy: Coroner Clapperton, Dr. Sutton, and Revd. E.E. Hardwick returned last Friday evening to Nicola Lake from the scene of the tragedy at Slate Creek and from them the following particulars have been gathered respecting the shooting and death of James Hamilton.

It seems that W. Kyle, Ole Benson, and the deceased, James Hamilton, were engaged in mining on adjacent claims in the vicinity of and about a quarter of a mile from the residence of Mr. Rabbitt, a rancher in the Slate creek district close by the Tulameen river. Mr. Rabbitt had gone away a few miles distant to attend to some mail matter and left Mrs. Rabbitt, with her three small children, the youngest still nursing, at home. Messrs. Kyle and Benson testified at the inquest that they heard Mrs. Rabbitt screaming and they went to ascertain the cause when they met the man Hamilton, who was subsequently shot, coming from the direction of Rabbitt’s house. On being questioned about his actions, he admitted trying to have some fun with the woman, but nothing serious, and afterwards remarked that he would go back and make it all up. Further evidence went to show that he attempted a criminal assault on the woman, but she succeeded in escaping unharmed from her assailant.

Hamilton then returned to his work, but the woman, terribly excited, went straight to the house, took down a 45-60 Winchester rifle, and gave it to Mr. Kyle. In a short time Hamilton returned, when Mrs. Rabbitt took the rifle from Kyle, who shouted to Hamilton to keep back, but he not heeding the advice, the woman fired at 15 or 20 yards distance, and the unfortunate man, staggering and severely wounded, sat down upon a stone. Kyle and the others gathered round him and took him into a cabin near by where he suffered terrible agony for 18 hours and expired before the doctor arrived. He refused to make any statement respecting the cause of the tragedy, but said that his comrades could tell all about it.

The deceased had been acquainted with Mrs. Rabbitt for about six years. Immediately after the occurrence of the tragedy Constable Hunter took Mrs. Rabbitt into custody. General sympathy is felt throughout the entire district for the prisoner, who is about 25 years of age, and her small family, on account of the sad trouble into which they have been so suddenly plunged by this serious and most unfortunate affair.

The Slate Creek Tragedy; Coroner’s Inquiry: An announcement last week of the shooting of Jas. Hamilton of Slate creek by Mrs. Thos. Rabbitt, the following is the result of the coroner’s inquest which was held at Tulameen, on Tuesday, 21st inst., by Coroner John Clapperton. He briefly addressed the jury and allowed them to retire to consider their verdict: “We, the jury empanelled to enquire into the matter of the death of James Hamilton after hearing the evidence given in the case, do find that James Hamilton came to his death by a gun shot wound, said gun being in the hands of Mrs. Euphemia Rabbitt. And it is our belief that Mrs. Euphemia Rabbitt shot the said James Hamilton in self-defence.” Mrs. Rabbitt was committed to stand her trial at Kamloops Assizes. Much sympathy is expressed all through the district for Mrs. Rabbitt and for her family.

100 YEARS AGO: SEPT. 30, 1922

Ashcroft Annual Race Meet: Arrangements are being made for, and posters are being printed announcing the Ashcroft annual race meet. A new race track is being prepared on the flat above the town [now the Mesa subdivision] … The new track is a half-mile oval one and is overlooking the town. When completed it will be one of the best tracks in B.C. Prizes as high as $75 will be given. A special prize of a $25 wrist watch will be given in the ½ mile ladies race.

Night Policeman: Owing to the numerous thefts which have taken place in Ashcroft through breaking into business houses, something should be done in the town to secure the services of a night policeman. The fact that there are no lights during the night is a great aid to robbers. The government should be approached with a view to supplying the town with a night policeman.

For Sale: One medium large Cary Safe, as good as new. Can be seen at Journal office. Price $85. The cost of this safe was about $150. [There were obviously no takers, as the safe in question can still be seen at the Journal office.]

B.C. Had 2,429 Forest Fires This Season: Forest fire danger for the year is about over, according to reports today to the chief forester. Last week, however, 145 new fires were discovered and reported by rangers. This brings fires in B.C. up to 2,429. Conditions are reported safe all over the province. [There were 1,559 wildfires reported in B.C. during the 2022 fire season.]

75 YEARS AGO: OCT. 2, 1947

Old Mill Honey Best In B.C.: At the Armstrong District Exhibition 1947, the Old Mill Apiaries, Ashcroft, learned from high authorities that they had the best honey in British Columbia, and that none of the other provinces have anything to equal it. At the Armstrong exhibit the Old Mill Apiaries honey took first in District Exhibit; first in B.C. Honey Producers Exhibit and Senior Championship Medal, equivalent to Gold Medal. Mr. Wm. C. Feedham, owner, and Mr. Syd Jackson are to be complimented in their efforts to put Ashcroft on the map. The demand for their honey has always far exceeded supply.

Trustees Vote To Hold Pay At $300 Per Year: At the convention at Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia school trustees voted in favour of a salary of not more than $300 a year for school trustees. Hookey playing also came in for attention when W.R. Bone of the federal health and welfare department said that the family allowance can be withheld from mothers who keep their children from school or who refuse to help in preventing their children from playing hookey.

Immunization Week October 5-11: The battle of public health authorities and health educationists to wipe out those twin menaces, diphtheria and whooping cough, appears to be gaining ground. Provisional figures supplied by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics show that in 1946 there were fewer cases of, and deaths from, both diseases than in 1945. We have the means to wipe out these diseases. All we lack is the 100 per cent cooperation of the public. Parents and guardians throughout the nation must be made to realize that diphtheria and whooping cough are preventable — and that their public health officers and their family physicians have the means to protect them and their children against the menace of these twin scourges.

50 YEARS AGO: SEPT. 28, 1972

Bomb Threat Serious Act: The Ashcroft Secondary School was evacuated during the afternoon of Wednesday, Sept. 27, following a phone call received at the school stating there was a bomb in the building. A search of the school by the RCMP and school employees failed to locate any suspicious objects. The RCMP are continuing their investigation of the bomb threat, which caused a disruption of classes and forced the children to stand outside in the cold while the building was searched.

Lytton News: Lytton’s only asset dropped to nil on the weekend when the temperature dropped to 33 [F.] and snow appeared low on the mountains with a raw wind blowing. Really a dirty trick weatherwise for the “hottest place in Canada”.

Clinton News: Monday morning the Clinton temperature registered about 14 degrees [F.]. Sure was cold! But the real jolt came Monday evening with a real nasty blizzard which made driving a real hazard. Let’s hope that now we may have Indian Summer!

Highland Valley News: For anyone needing a supply of Vitamin C for the winter months ahead, there is still a good supply of rose hips to be had along Highland Valley road. While their peak is past, in many places the hips are still firm enough to be candied or cleaned and dried, while the softer ones make good puree or jam.

Do you want to read more from the Journal archives? An expanded version of this story is available on the Journal website at

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