Steelhead fishermen on the Thompson River — possibly at Goldpan — in 1967.

Steelhead fishermen on the Thompson River — possibly at Goldpan — in 1967.

In 1948, researchers try to collect old songs of the Cariboo

Plus the annual Steelhead Derby gets set to start in Spences Bridge

125 YEARS AGO: SEPT. 3, 1898

Electric Light: The electric current was on for a few minutes [in Ashcroft] the fore part of the week, and the lights shone up brilliantly in town. It was turned off after a ten minute test, as work is still being carried on at the dam, strengthening it and filling in the front. It will be about a month before the water system is completed and then it is expected that both water and light will be in quantity and quality unsurpassed. ’Tis better to go slow than be sorry.^

Men Wanted: Some of the companies are in want of men in Cariboo, and good men, capable miners, are scarce. It is stated that a number of men will have to be brought up from the coast to supply the demand on some of the properties. As the same scarcity is reported in the Kootenays it looks very well for the labouring men of British Columbia.

Clinton: A quiet wedding took place here between W.M. Houston, the well known stage driver, and Miss Annie McInnes, of Alexandria. Miss McInnes is one of Alexandria’s most charming and accomplished daughters. We wish their union of life to be one of blessed happiness and prosperity, coupled with many years.

Saucy Boys: Some of our small boys in Ashcroft are inclined at times to be too forward toward their elders. The boys mean no harm and are good hearted children. A village like this is not the best of places for training children. We older ones should remember that all were once young, but the tendency that exists among some of our small boys to be saucy should be so far as possible checked by the parents. In time they will see the folly of too much slang and roughness, nevertheless all boys should be taught that they can be gentlemen even if only small boys.

100 YEARS AGO: SEPT. 1, 1923

C.N.R. Jumps Track: C.N.R. No. 1 struck a mud slide at Seddell, nine miles west of Spences Bridge, last night and the engine rolled into the river. Trucks of the express car left the rails, but no passengers were injured. The Engineer had a broken arm and the fireman suffered a broken leg. Of four men stealing a ride, one was killed, one is missing, and two were injured. All injured were taken to Kamloops hospital, but it is not expected that any will prove fatal.

Interior Roads Best: Mr. A.C. Whaley, C.P.R. agent at Lytton, recently motored from Lytton to Spokane via Lillooet, Marble Canyon, Cache Creek, Kamloops, and Okanagan. He reports that the road between Lytton and Cache Creek was in better condition than any other on the entire route. This is a good compliment to the roads in the Lillooet district.

A Monster Petition: A petition which it is estimated will contain fifty thousand signatures, and which will be a record for the province of British Columbia, as well as an event of historical importance, is being circulated for signatures throughout the interior covering the Cariboo, Lillooet, Yale, and Kamloops districts, and south as far as Nelson and Penticton, urging the government to build the Coast-Interior highway via the Fraser Canyon. The enthusiasm is so great in the northern section of the province for the restoration of the old Cariboo road that delegates are scouring the whole country for signers. At Boston Bar and North Bend alone over 200 signatures have been secured. This monster petition will be presented to parliament at the opening of the house in October and is expected to carry such weight that the government will have no other alternative than to follow the Fraser and Thompson rivers in the construction of the highway to the interior.

Hop Picking: The Indians of the district are preparing for the annual exodus to the hop fields of Agassiz and Chilliwack. The crop is reported to be extra heavy and a large number of pickers will be required. It is of great benefit to the Indians to have this highly remunerated work, in which whole families can participate.

Walhachin Notes: Yes, we have no bananas — we mean news — this week. Not much, at least.

75 YEARS AGO: SEPT. 2, 1948

Professor In Search Of Old Songs: Professor H. Hughes and wife passed through Ashcroft on Friday last week on their way up country to interview old-timers of the Cariboo on the existence of old songs and jingles of the district. Mr. Hughes spent Thursday night and Friday in Ashcroft securing additional leads and names and verifying facts from Ashcroft residents. Already some good finds have been made, but the words to the old freighters’ song “Freighting on the Cariboo Road” are proving elusive. Does anyone know the words? It was sung to the tune of “Climbing Up the Golden Stairs”. Professor Hughes’ trip this year is wholly explanatory to convince the Humanities’ Research Council and the University of British Columbia that Cariboo ballads do exist. They will spend all next summer recording the actual songs that they will recover this year.

Accommodation Needed For Teachers: Teachers have been appointed to the various schools in Ashcroft School District No. 30. Temporary accommodation is badly needed in Clinton and Ashcroft until new buildings are erected, which will be finished before the snow flies.

Ashcroft Locals: Freddy Robertson of the Cariboo Garage returned from Vancouver a few days ago driving a new school bus that will be used to convey children from Cache Creek and the Manor who will attend the Ashcroft school. Fred will be driver of the bus and there will be about 20 children altogether.

Ashcroft Cannery: The cannery is running at full capacity making tomato juice. They expect to start peeling next week for canned tomatoes.

50 YEARS AGO: AUG. 30, 1973

Spences Bridge Annual Derby: The Spences Bridge and Dist. Chamber of Commerce is again sponsoring an annual Steelhead Derby which will be in effect from Sept. 15, 1973 to Feb. 28, 1974. First prize will be a trophy, and several hidden weight prizes are also being offered. This event draws many contestants from the Lower Mainland and Interior B.C. as well as local fishing enthusiasts. Fishermen are requested to weigh every fish caught to be eligible for the hidden weight prizes. Weigh in at Acacia Grove, Shaw Springs, Sportsman Shell, G. and E. Asst*d, and Ellingsen’s Store. The derby is open to everyone and no entry fee is charged.

Walhachin: After only a month of darkness, the street light at the Hall has finally been replaced. This speedy service required just two phone calls and a tantrum. The town phone lines were also repaired Friday afternoon after having been out of order for over 24 hours. These constant breakdowns couldn’t possibly be caused because the system is overloaded, could they?

Campfire Ban Lifted: Campfire bans were lifted in the Kamloops and Nelson forest districts as cooler weather has decreased the fire hazard, the forestry department reported. The number of fires burning in the Kamloops district has been reduced to 38 from 49 Monday. Manpower has been reduced to 42 men as most of the fires are in the mop-up stages, said forestry protection officer Al McPherson. Unless the area experiences another hot spell the forest fire situation looks pretty good, he says. “There will of course be more fires, but fires are easier to handle in the current weather conditions. It’s not as hard to handle a fire now as it is on hot, windy days. It looks as though we’re over the hump.”

AshcroftLocal History