Saturday, 30 June 2007


Stories of gold in the Pitt Lake area and of a mythical “Indian” (a role later given to Slumach) or a white man (later mostly called Jackson) who had found the bonanza, may have circulated among prospectors since the late 1800s, but the stories did not find their way to the newspapers.

In the first quarter of the 20th century, only a handful of stories appeared in the papers about Pitt Lake gold: but no word about Slumach. In 1925 a newspaper story named Shotwell (not Jackson) as the discoverer of the mine.

Not until 1926 did a newspaper article connect Slumach for the first time with Pitt Lake gold, presenting Slumach as a pathological killer rather than as a murderer of one man. Slumach is not mentioned again in connection with the gold for more than a decade, including the time of Volcanic Brown’s searches and disappearance.

It is not until 1939 that the newspapers revived the 1926 story and tied Slumach for good to the legends of the gold of the Pitt Lake mountains. From that time onward the media created and recreated a Slumach of their own imagination.

Deaf Englishman

Someone told me an unusual Slumach story, suggesting that there were two other First Nations people with Slumach. A deaf Englisman was hunting and shooting in their direction. They tried to stop him, but being deaf he did not hear them yelling. To stop him, Slumach came from behind and hit the Englishman on the head with a club.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Missing affidavits

In his interview of Amanda Charnley on April 26, 1978, Mike Collier asked the following question:
Slumach’s daughter said at the trial, “I, Annie,an Indian woman of Cowichan in the Province of British Columbia make oath and say that I am a daughter
of the above named Slumach, that I arrived in this city on the 5th instant and have since been endeavoring to procure the attendance at this court of one Moody an Indian and one Florence Reed to give evidence on the trial of the said Slumach of the above charge, that I have not been able to procure the attendance at this court of the said Moody or said Florence Reed.”

In Justice Drakes records of the Assizes of 15 November is noted: "The affidavits of Slumach and his daughter Slumach were produced and read." It seems the affidavits did survive--but where are they?

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Slummok Crowclaw?

Following from a Danish Web site:

Book: The Indian Treasure / Original Title: Indianerskatten

Join in the Gold Fever! Nicolai is in Canada with the Black Foot Indian girl Beverly. She has come across a secret letter and a map that reveals the position of the gold. The letter origins from a descendant of a gold digger called Slummok Crowclaw, who back then was hanged for the murder of a young woman. Rumour has it that he took seven women to the place where he was digging for gold and killed them one by one.
One year has passed since Nicolai saw the divinely beautiful Beverly for the first time, one year since their last journey up the mountains searching for gold; And now he has returned. Looking for more gold and especially for more adventures. . .
Young Adult fiction, Gyldendal
272 pages
Ages: 10+

Monday, 18 June 2007

From a Rafter?

Don Waite recalled that in 1967, when stationed at the New Westminster Detachment of the RCMP at the Court House, a Corporal Frank Bacon mentioned "that an old Katzie Indian named Slumach had been hung from a rafter above the vault's stairwell for murdering another Indian who had supposedly followed him to a gold mine on Pitt Lake." That was the first time Waite had ever heard of Slumach or the Lost Mine of Pitt Lake and it resulted in his "writing a short book about Slumach and his Lost Mine in 1972."

In Archie Miller & Dale Kerr booklet The Great Fire of 1898 we read on page 14. Sepember 10-11, 1898:

The court house, which stood on Clarkson Street, was on fire before the flames from below had really reached it, owing to the intense heat of the air and the sparks which had fallen on the roof. The records had been put into the safe but the building itself was soon a screaming huricane."

So, Slumach could never have seen the inside of the courthouse building where Corporal Bacon suggested that he'd been hung "from a rafter above the vault's stairwell." In fact, he was hanged in the yard of the Provincial jail and not at the court house at all.

The official records of the hanging and the contemporary newspapers reports show the "Provincial Goal" as the place where he was executed. "Over fifty persons witnessed the hanging." They never would have fitted where the corporal suggested the hanging took place.

Slumach was also kept at the Provincial jail. The Columbian on 11 November 1890 tells us: "Slumach, the murderer of Louis Bee, now confined in the Provincial Goal, awaiting trial at the Assizes."