Charles Semlin debate carries on

Semlin author gets in the last word on the famous man's offspring.

Dear Editor

Read with interest Barbara Hendricks’ theory about Mary Semlin of Cache Creek.

I think it is more plausible, that Mary’s identity was acknowledged by the census taker, but the identity of her mother, was not.

If we can assume that Mary was the daughter of Caroline Williams, and Caroline lived common law with Semlin, which was not uncommon at that time, we could also assume that Semlin was the father.

It is also possible that, when the census was taken, Caroline did not wish to give her name to the census taker. We can only conjecture about the possible reason.

I did not assume that Semlin had adopted Mary. According to the research of Jeremy Mouat on Semlin, it was “heard about” that Mary was adopted. Caroline might have been known merely as a housekeeper, not a common law wife of Semlin.

Nevertheless, she lived with him. But, given the attitudes and manners of the day, it might be assumed that saying the child was adopted by the distinguished politician and rancher, might have been an attempt to compromise the situation.

As Barbara points out however, whether adopted or biological, she was Semlin’s daughter. Caroline obviously knew her mother. It’s too bad that we don’t have more information about Caroline. Was she a Bonaparte native, or from the Fraser Canyon? Or, was she Metis?

Thank you Barbara, for the words of appreciation. I see you are as fascinated as I about our local history and the people in it.

Esther Darlington MacDonald

Ashcroft

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