A recent donation to the Ashcroft Museum is a collection of First Nations baskets, donated by the Bill and Bernie Kershaw family of Barriere. Bernie is the granddaughter of Arthur and Lillian (née Walker) Haddock.
The story of the Haddock family begins with James and Catherine (née Turner), who were married in New Brunswick in 1873. By 1883 they found themselves in Victoria, where Catherine developed a respiratory condition. Her doctor suggested that they move to a drier climate, and the new little interior town of Ashcroft fit the bill.
In 1886 the Haddocks—along with children Ruth, Charles, and Arthur—made preparations to relocate to what they thought would be “the cold northern interior”. Catherine wrapped the two youngest in heavy clothing, so you can imagine their shock when they arrived in Ashcroft in June to a heat wave! Their first home was a tent set up behind Foster’s General Store, which stood in the empty lot on Railway beside MLA Jackie Tegart’s office. On their first night it blew down in a wind storm, and the next day a large a freight horse walked right through the middle of the tent and out the back.
Despite this rather humorous beginning, the Haddocks were soon whole-heartedly engaged in their adopted community. James became involved in the school board, and obtained a fire bell for the fire hall. At first he worked at Foster’s store, then ventured out into his own business buying and selling furs.
Son Arthur worked as a stage driver for the BX, then spent a few years in the Klondike, but like his father spent many days travelling throughout the area collecting furs. In 1933 Arthur, by then with his own family, headed to Williams Lake, where he continued to buy and sell furs until 1960.
During his travels Arthur also collected many beautiful First Nation baskets, which have generously been donated by the family to the Ashcroft Museum. The collection includes examples from the Nlaka’pamux and Tsilhqot’in First Nations, as well as other parts of the province. Bernie is not sure how her grandfather acquired the baskets, but according to oral history at least one or two were made especially for him as a gift.
The Ashcroft Museum is currently open seven days a week: Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5:00 pm. Please feel free to stop in and see these rare and unique works of art!