‘Cutting Ribbon On New Cariboo Strip’ (Nov. 20, 1947): ‘Picture shows Hon. E.C. Carson Minister of Works, cutting the white satin ribbon, assisted by Mrs. Matt. Porter owner of the 70-Mile House and old time resident of the district.’ (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> archives)

‘Cutting Ribbon On New Cariboo Strip’ (Nov. 20, 1947): ‘Picture shows Hon. E.C. Carson Minister of Works, cutting the white satin ribbon, assisted by Mrs. Matt. Porter owner of the 70-Mile House and old time resident of the district.’ (Photo credit: Journal archives)

In 1947, a dramatic escape from Clinton jail leads to manhunt

Four escapees stole rifles, clothes, and cash and led pursuers on a two-day chase

125 YEARS AGO: NOV. 20, 1897

The Bachelors’ Ball: The bachelors of Ashcroft will, on Thursday, December 2nd, entertain their friends of Ashcroft and vicinity by a grand ball held in the town hall on that evening. The bachelors, appreciating the kindness of the people of Ashcroft in entertaining them occasionally, have decided to reciprocate in this way and the event will be one that will probably be remembered for some time by those attending. A committee will have charge of the decoration of the hall and will make things as tasteful as possible. The best music that can be obtained will play for the evening’s entertainment.

Church Building: Work has commenced on the Methodist church building on Bancroft street [Ashcroft]. It will be a very neat building 23×36. William Higginbottom has the contract.

Snowfall: About six inches of snow fell Tuesday night and has remained on the ground. The country all around has the appearance of winter.

Klondike Trail: J.M. Campbell of Spokane and Len Miller of Sandon, who left a month ago to secure data for an overland route to the Klondike via Ashcroft and Quesnelle, write as follows: “[Ashcroft] is a nice little town on the Canadian Pacific, with two good stores, but no such stocks as you find in Spokane, which is the proper outfitting point except in a few lines. From Ashcroft you come 220 miles over a good wagon road to Quesnelle. The government spends about $35,000 a year on this road, so that it is kept in first class shape. There are but three bad hills on the road, only one of which has a heavy grade. You find [road] houses every five, ten, or fifteen miles and good hotels, far better than the usual small town hotel. After leaving Ashcroft you come to but two towns — Clinton with a population of 500, many of whom are Chinamen, and Quesnelle with about 500 people. Barkerville, with the same number, lies east of Quesnelle. Through this little place over fifty millions of gold dust have passed. Talk about your Klondike! What is the matter with old Cariboo?

100 YEARS AGO: NOV. 18, 1922

Clinton Clippings: Several of the residents are digging wells for the winter water supply. The general feeling seems to be that the creek will freeze solid this winter, owing to the small amount which is now running.

Walhachin: A car load of apples left Walhachin recently for Toronto, shipped by Mr. Kingdom for the Barnes Estates. Walhachin is not dead yet.

Telegraph Line: Dick Hamilton is leaving for Lillooet with a gang of about six men whom he will employ in “straightening up” the Ashcroft-Lillooet telegraph line. Dick has recently completed the new line between Canoe Creek and the Gang Ranch, as well as doing some much needed repairs on the line between 150-Mile House and Quesnel. He says that it is the intention to build a further extension next year from Gang Ranch to Williams Lake.

75 YEARS AGO: NOV. 20, 1947

Four Captured After Breaking Jail: Four men, all of Vancouver, were arrested and charged with theft and were tried before magistrate T.Y. Scott at Clinton on Friday evening last and sent up for trial in a higher court. They were held in Clinton jail thereafter and sometime very early on Monday morning, broke out through the grill in the window. They broke into several cars and stole rifles, also broke into an auto camp cabin and a garage and obtained blankets and petty cash. They were unsuccessful in getting a car, which was, apparently, their main objective. Later in the morning they broke into a cabin three miles south of Clinton at Lees sawmill. They fired a shot in the general direction of Gilbert Montgomery, as he ran down the hill, then they took everything in the cabin, the only thing being missed being the potatoes which were baking in the oven! The haul was rich in warm clothing and heavy boots as well as food. Police, game wardens and trackers were busy searching the hillsides all day and towards evening two of the prisoners were sighted on a hillside by Gilbert Montgomery, who was one of the trackers. Two shots were fired to halt the men and they were then quite willing to give themselves up, cold and wet had taken all the fight out of them. On Tuesday the other two were finally sighted 20 miles east of Clinton, two miles from Ike Hendriks on Loon Lake Mountain. When the fugitives were spotted the posse surrounded them and called upon them to surrender. Seven shots were fired after them, the final one piercing the leather jacket of one of the prisoners. He dropped from the concussion of the bullet but was unhurt. That settled it and they gave in. They were very cold and wet, having crossed the Bonaparte river up to their hips. They were brought back to rejoin their companions in Ashcroft jail.

Hon. E.C. Carson Opens New Cariboo Road: The official opening of a new link of No. 2 Highway system, from 57 to the 70-Mile, took place on Friday afternoon, with Hon. E.C. Carson, Minister of Public Works, cutting the white satin ribbon, assisted by Mrs. Matt Porter, owner of the 70-Mile House and old time resident of the district. Nearly a hundred onlookers witnessed the ceremony. The 10.4 mile stretch cuts the driving time from the old 59-Mile House to the 70-Mile House from 40 to 15 minutes. Three miles have been cut off the old road. Many of the turns and four crossings of the PGE has been eliminated. It is estimated that 300 persons attended the dance given in the Clinton Memorial hall, as part of the celebration marking the opening of the new highway.

Escaped Death: Two persons miraculously escaped death early on Saturday morning when their car left the road on the road coming into Clinton from the south. The car turned over three or four times and is demolished. The driver, Clarence Gentry and a passenger, Miss Ogda Sandman, both of 100 Mile House, were taken to Lady Minto Hospital, Ashcroft. The road was very icy at the time.

Candy Supply: Santa Claus put up with his share of shortages and substitutes during war, as any informed five-year-old can tell you, but even in 1947 the old boy’s not out of the woods yet. One of his extra special headaches this year is likely to be Christmas candies. Candy makers are reported in the Canadian Grocer as predicting slim supplies in both candies and biscuits. Sugar is still the big hurdle in the way of their production.

50 YEARS AGO: NOV. 16, 1972

Lytton Mayor Passes Away: We regret to report the passing of Lytton’s Mayor, Miss Hazel Hill, in St. Bartholomew’s Hospital on Tuesday, Nov. 14. Miss Hill became Mayor of Lytton in December 1971. She served the people of Lytton with integrity in civic affairs.

Remembrance: Remembrance Day Services were well attended with several groups entered in the parade from Ashcroft, Cache Creek and district, about 135 persons. The dance and smorgasbord also drew good crowds. A catastrophe was averted when some young people trying to attend were kept out. A little later two fires were found which had been set one on each side of the building, one went out but the other caught fire and burned but was quickly put out, but not before a hole was cut into the side of the building. It could have run up the side and on to the roof in which case this would have been a different story. There was a large crowd in the hall at the time.

Taste Ticklers From Japan: A taste of Christmas arrived in Canada November 10, as the 6,625-ton vessel “Islas Galapagos” docked at Ballantyne Pier, Vancouver, with 400,000 boxes of Japanese Mandarin Oranges. These oranges, often referred to as “Taste Ticklers from Japan”, are the original, juicy, easy-to-peel oranges that have a time-honoured place in the traditional festivities of a Canadian Christmas. In all nine ships will carry 4.2 million boxes of the fruit to Canada between now and the end of November. Canadians consume more fresh Japanese Mandarin Oranges than the people of any other country outside of Japan.

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


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