In 1922, a huge swarm of grasshoppers descends on Merritt

Some things never change, as shown by this editorial cartoon from August 1922. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> arvives)Some things never change, as shown by this editorial cartoon from August 1922. (Photo credit: Journal arvives)
St. John’s Church in Clinton was built as a Presbyterian church in 1922. It became a United church in 1925, and closed several years ago. (Photo credit: Facebook)St. John’s Church in Clinton was built as a Presbyterian church in 1922. It became a United church in 1925, and closed several years ago. (Photo credit: Facebook)

125 YEARS AGO: AUG. 7, 1897

New B.C. Express Building: The B.C. Express Company will begin within a few days a new building on the south side of the baggage room, by the side of the railroad platform [in Ashcroft] to be used as an express and post office building and stage office. It will be a two storey building 24×40 feet and nicely finished. The upper story will be finished off for sleeping rooms for employees.

Too Many Dogs: It is a mean man who will poison a dog, but is the man any better who will keep a miserable yelping cur that barks and yelps at all hours of the night. Ashcroft has too many dogs. Let each one owning a dog take care of him so that he is not a nuisance or expect his hide to be filled with shot, for good nature will not always endure. Last night two men were out on their door steps with guns looking for the noisy brutes.

Too Hot: No one is agitating the skating rink question at present.

Too Little Freight: This has been an unusually slack week of freight shipments. Guess our forwarding agents must have been fishing.

Good Fishing: Dr. J.R. Williams and Philip Parke each made a fine catch of trout on Thursday, having about 20 fish, the result of three hours’ fishing. They were rainbow trout, being in weight from one to five pounds each. No stream in the world excels the Thompson for this class of fishing.

Good Fun: Picnics, lawn parties and various entertainments keep the Ashcroft ladies pretty busy nowadays.

Good Riddance: No particular grief seems to be expressed on account of Tom Bishop having taken his departure from this section. If the Klondikers need any one to start a burying ground with, well, we do not expect Tom back.

100 YEARS AGO: AUG. 5, 1922

Plague Of Grasshoppers Pays Visit To Merritt: The rain has somewhat lessened the plague of grasshoppers which visited Merritt over the week-end, the like of which is not remembered by the oldest old-timers. The very sky appeared black with them. For three straight days it literally snowed grasshoppers — all apparently making for one direction, down the valley. The insects are enormous size, and fly with the rapidity of a bird, and after nearly a week the number is only lessened by a few odd millions, which do not count in a mass that is absolutely impossible to estimate in numbers. The side-walks, roads, and the sides of buildings have been thick with them. Vegetable gardens have been eaten into, one householder reporting great damage to cabbage, and the cut hay has been damaged very badly. Weather conditions are apparently the only control of the pest, although experiments are being undertaken in a small way. The much needed rain came too late. The insect has quite spoiled holiday enjoyment at Nicola Lake during the week, the fish being so “fed up” that they refuse to bite.

Water Board Meets: In the afternoon a case came up involving the waters at Barnes Lake and the various farmers who derive their supply from that source. W. Thompson, who has first right to water flowing from the south end of the lake, complained that the Bute Ranch people were pumping water at the north end. It was contended that the Bute Ranch had no right to water in Barnes Lake although they had storage rights there. The pumping of water from the lake is said to be reducing the level one inch in 24 hours. The lake is being reduced to such an extent that the outlet may soon be dried up. There was a great deal of bickering between interested parties, and it was contended by some that in cases such as the present emergency, all legal rights should be set aside, and all be permitted to pump water from the lake. It appears that it is a case of life or death with the crops of several of the farmers. There is plenty of water in the lake, it was argued, and in the urgency of the situation it became a matter of crops more than the individual.

Indians Claim Water: Through the Department of Indian Affairs represented by J.F. Smith, Indian Agent, and two lawyers of the Department, the Indians of the Cornwall Reserve claim water for a portion of land which was purchased from Judge Cornwall many years ago. It appears that a portion of land known as lot 17 was sold to the Indians. This land carried water rights. The rights to the portion bought by the Indians have never been exercised, and it was claimed by F.C. Cornwall that the right had lapsed through disuse. It was shown by the Department that the Indians had at certain periods used some water.

New Clinton Church: The tenders called for by the building committee for the new Presbyterian Church of Clinton were opened here recently, and that of Mr. J. Dillabough was accepted and the contract let. Mr. Dillabough is an old-timer in this section and is well known. He proposes to have the church building completed in September. [Ed. note: The church was indeed completed in 1922. In 1925 it became St. John’s United Church, and closed several years ago.]

75 YEARS AGO: AUG. 7, 1947

Savona: There was quite a little excitement in Savona on Saturday, August 2nd, when a plane landed on the lake, and all afternoon and evening was taking passengers up on short trips.

Up Loon Lake Way: Perhaps many people living along the Cariboo road between Ashcroft and Clinton were never up Loon Lake way, although some may have lived in the neighbourhood for years. Loon Lake to them has been a mere name. But things are changing. Civilization has crept up there in recent years, and the tourist from far and near has followed, lured, not so much with the urge to get away from the congestion and formality of city life to the quiet of the country, but more for the fishing, hunting, boating, mountain climbing, big timber, big game and other thrills the Loon Lake district offers. Of course, the government-maintained approach to the lake from the 20-Mile House on the Cariboo Road is by no means a boulevard, but it compares favorably over its entire fifteen miles or so with any other in the interior serving a similar purpose. At any rate, Loon Lake is well patronised and has a future as well as a present. The lake nestles its eight-mile length on a high plateau. About half way along the lake lie the Ebert, Lowe, and Murray tourist camps and cabins, well equipped and conveniently located both for hunting and fishing. At the further end of the lake lies the Ed. Dougherty Jr. camp founded by his father and perhaps the original Loon Lake auto camp.

Spences Bridge Dance: Despite the August heat, the dance held in the community hall last Friday evening was well attended by locals and outsiders as was the show held the same evening prior to the dance. Young and old enjoyed themselves to the music of the Bar X Rangers Orchestra.

Ashcroft Theatre Improvements: Since taking over the Ashcroft Theatre Mr. R. Rogers has laid carpeting down the aisle, to deaden the sound of heavy shoes. This allows the audience to listen to the talkies undisturbed. At the door he has hung heavy curtains to keep the light out when the door is opened. Mr. Rogers has ordered a new sound controller, which should arrive shortly, and when installed will give an even conversation throughout the pictures.

Link With Stage Coach Days Passes: Fred Tingley, son of the late Steve Tingley of the historic Cariboo B.C. Express Company of early days, died Sunday last at his home in Vancouver at the age of 74. He was born at Yale and as a young man drove “B.X.” stages on the Cariboo road, and had been a resident of Vancouver since 1899. His passing removes one of the few remaining links with Cariboo stage and freighting days, and all who knew him in this and the Cariboo section of the interior will regret to hear of his death.

50 YEARS AGO: AUG. 3, 1972

[From the July 27 issue]: No Journal Next Week: There will be no Journal next week, as the staff is taking a holiday. The Journal office will be closed between July 28 and August 6th, open August 7.

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AshcroftLocal History