Wednesday, 5 December 2007
A dozen years later Stevenson told Cecil Clark (Vancouver Sun 31 December 1954) that on that search they had discovered Volcanic Brown’s collapsed pup tent and that, among his few personal possessions, they found “… a screw-top glass jar full of coarse gold." Why would Stevenson and McMartin not have mentioned in 1932 at least the finding of Volcanic’s camp?
Stevenson in 1954 time was the only witness to that alleged find—McMartin had died—and he (and Cecil Clark) may have had some fun telling this story. Cecil Clark mentioned the finding of the pup tent—but not the gold—briefly in his article trying to debunk the Slumach saga, “Over the Rainbow...to Slumach’s Lost Mine.” It was written in 1968, just after the passing of Stevenson.
The article in 1932 quotes Stevenson as follows: “It was slow going—three or four miles a day. Our 12 by 48 shoes would sink to one’s knees, even without our packs. I’ve never seen it snow so thick and fast anywhere; we couldn’t see a yard sometimes." And yet, they found a collapsed tent and other artifacts, including that glass jar with coarse gold??
One wonders why an experienced prospector would have taken a glass jar with him into the mountains and why Volcanic Brown would have chosen such a fragile container to store his treasures. It seems a signal from Stevenson and Clark to take this story with a grain of salt.
Monday, 3 December 2007
The Collishaw/Furniss expedition into darkest British Columbia was not just a shot in the dark. There was really gold in there, and wasn't Ray [Collishaw] the son of a miner who had roamed the fabled fields of Australia, California and the Yukon?
The whole plan was based on newspaper stories recently published in The Vancouver Province by my fellow-worker and ex-RCAF pilot Ray Munro. Ray had picked up the ages-old story of Slumach, a coastal Indian who had mysteriously turned up in New Westminster in the 1800s with gabs of gold which he said he found "just over there" in the mountains near Harrison Lake.
Munro and another reporter flew into the area, staked claims, wrote tantalizing newspaper stories, formed a company, sold shares—and did everything except find the lost mine of old Slumach.
It was this publicity that brought Collishaw to my door that particular day. “Munro’s got the Slumach story right,” he said, “but he’s got the wrong place. I’ve examined the old records and I think I know where that Indian really went. So let’s go in there, Harry Old Boy, and lay claim to fortune.”
It was a marvelous idea and it got better with each successive drink, but in the end I realized that I just couldn’t possibly afford to quite my $45 a week job and go prospecting. Ray finally hiked in by himself, the air drops worked perfectly, he found the area Munro had missed, but damned if he could find any gold.
The next summer Ray [Collisham] went up to Barkerville...and found gold but it wasn't profitable. The following year he struck it rich, only this time it was a copper deposit. which became on of the countries largest mines.