Tuesday, 29 January 2008

"Volcanic Brown" by Cecil Clark

In the Boundary Historical Society Report #8 — 1979 is an acticle "Volcanic Brown," by Cecil Clark. Win Black, library assistant at the Grand Forks Public Library, kindly copied and mailed the article to me. It will find its place on the Web site some time next week.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

The Wide World Magazine

I discovered a couple of days ago that The Wide World Magazine, March 1953, Australian Edition, featured an article titled "Slumach Lost Creek Mine Ltd." I went looking for it and thanks to Greg Ray in Australia I did receive a copy of the article this morning. The transcript will be posted soon. Click here to look at Greg's "The Wide World Magazine, the Wide World Brotherhood and Newnes" Web page.

Follow-up February 11 2008
Im addition I received from Greg an article, "The Lost Creek Mine" by C.V. Tench, in The Wide World Magazine of November 1951. He could not help me with a copy of a third article by Tench, "Hoodoo Gold" in the The Wide World Magazine of June 1941 but I ordered that one today from the National Library of Australia. (Received 14 February 2008--will be posted in a week's time)

Thursday, 24 January 2008

"Unknown" Jackson

Robert W. Nicholson called my attention to a man called Jackson(no first name) who died in New Westminster in 1902. An interesting twist to the legend? Not likely it seems.

The Vital Events records of BC Archives (1902-09-081124, Microfilm B13088) show that this Jackson(first name "unknown") was a 50-year-old male who died on 21 August 1902. The death registration records show that Mr. Jackson was an "Indian" from Bella Coola who died of pulmonary tuberculosis.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

"Again he started on a drinking orgy..." (C.V. Tench, 1939)

It would have been impossible that an "Indian" could have a good time in the watering holes of New Westminster as suggested by Tench and others. There was a strict liquor prohibition on the Native population of BC from 1854 to 1962. For that reason some authors changed their Slumach from an "Indian" into a "half-breed," to do his carousing legally.

Following clipping from the Daily Columbian of 3 November 1890 shows the harshness of the punishment for consumption or possession of alcohol.

Police Court
Dan, a Kaetzi Indian, was found in a state of intoxication and pleaded guilty this morning in court. He was fined $5 and one month imprisonment at hard labor. Dan was also charged with the still more serious charge of having had an intoxicant, to wit, whiskey, in his possession and for that he was fined $26 and one month's imprisonment at hard labor.

Compare that with what happened to a white man (Daily Columbian 11 November 1890), a repeat offender:

Police Court
John Anderson is not a new figure in Police Court. His offence this morning consisted of drunk and incapable. The case was clearly proved and the usual $2.50 and costs imposed

Friday, 18 January 2008

1939 article by C.V. Tench found!

Mr. Cal Mark called our attention to an unknown 1939 article by C.V. Tench, titled “Hoodoo Gold in British Columbia: Death Guards Lost Creek Mine,” published in The Standard, Montreal. Cal Mark provided us promptly with a copy. Click here to read or download a transcript of the article from the Slumach Web site. It is a wonderful contribution.

Jack Mahoney and Hugh Murray did put together the classic “Slumach” and “Jackson” stories only half a year earlier and Tench borrowed heavily from their creation. Tench used Mahoney’s spelling of the name: Slummock and added a cameo appearance of Hugh Murray in his article, but he does not cite Murray anywhere. He also included a copy of the text of the “Jackson” letter from Mahoney’s piece.

In Mahoney piece it “was believed but never proven, that the half-breed Slummock had drowned three of his Indian ‘wives’” and that Slummock was hanged for the murder of another half-breed man. Tench changed the rumour into fact and increased the number of murdered women from three to eight. He also alleges that the Indian Slummock went to the gallows because of the murder of one of them. The real Slumach of course was executed for the murder of Louis Bee. Tench introduced the idea of a curse on the gold to the story and the word “Hoodoo.” The word "hoodoo" turned up again in Clyde Gilmour’s story of 1947 and "the curse" would grow into "Slumach’s curse" in the tales about Lost Creek gold.

In 1956 C.V. Tench, who was a well-known contributor to Canadian pulp magazines, would expand his 1939 tale into a well-illustrated article with the gory tales about "John Slummock” the nine murdered women and B.C. Provincial Police Constable Eric Grainger. The picture shown here of “John Slummock” appeared both in his 1939 and 1956 article and is of course not a picture of Slumach.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Menzies Island revisited

My 10 November post shows that "Menzies Island" was never the official name or earlier name of Sheridan Hill as suggested by a journalist in 1961, but that the name came from Hal Menzies, who owned land there.

Donald E. Waite let me know that the name Menzies Island did not refer to Hal Menzies but to Hal's father, William Henry Menzies, who worked for the CPR and came out from Ontario to New Westminster in 1890. William Henry Menzies moved to Haney in 1893 and settled at the north end of McKenney Creek (where it empties into the Alouette River) in 1898 before moving to Sheridan Hill in 1900.

I am correcting the 10 November post accordingly. Thanks Don!