Sunday, 31 January 2021

Swampkwa, Slumach's brother

The following article, published in The Victoria Daily Times, 21 Aug 1897 was not known until Adam Palmer discovered it recently. Note, dear readers, that there is no word about gold here. Slumach's name will only be linked to Pitt Lake gold around the time of the First World War. 

Death of Swampka -- The Historic Old Indian Warrior Succumbs to Old Age

News has reached New Westminster, says the Columbian, of the death of old Swamka, a Pitt River Indian. He was the elder brother of the desperado Slumach, who, it will be remembered, caused the authorities so much trouble to capture in the Pitt Lake Mountains a few years ago, and who subsequently expiated his crimes on the gallows in this city. 

Last week Swampka, accompanied by the old squaw of Slumach, whom Swamka had taken care of since Slumach’s demise, left for the head of Pitt River to gather mountain herbs. The old man pitched his tent and early next morning left for the mountains but he never returned, and the poor old squaw waited day after day for him. For four days she was without food, for she was cripple, blind, and unable to take care of herself, and when found by Mr. Cromarty, a timber cruiser, was at the verge of death from starvation. 

Mr. Cromarty, but shortly before, happened upon the remains of Swampka, lying face downwards one the other side of the creek, that empties into the lake. The old Indian had, apparently, strove to climb the mountain side where his prized herbs grew, and had expired from exhaustion and extreme old age being ninety years old.

The story of the tragic death of Swampka is known <Pitt River chief saw first white man on Fraser, by S.A. Fletcher, Sunday Province, 27 June 1926.>

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