Anderson’s map of the Kamloops area 1858. Note R. aux Chapeaux (Hat Creek) and R. de la Cache (Cache Creek) to west; Shushwap Lake (Kamloops Lake) and the North Branch (of the Thompson River). Kumcheen / Little Fork, just upstream of Spence’s Bridge at the Nicola – Thompson confluence, lower left.
There were a lot of ways to make money from the B.C. Gold rushes which started in the mid 1850s. One of these was to publish a guide book to help prospecters enter the Gold Fields from starting points at The Dalles on the lower Columbia River or at Fort Langley, east of present-day Vancouver. Few were better prepared to write such a guide book (price: $1.50) than Alexander Caulfield Anderson, who had at least a decade of experience surveying for accessible routes into the interior of BC, especially Brigade Trails along which horse trains could pass.
The Gold Rush was, of course, one the of the main spearheads of colonialism and instigated or continued a lot of painful dispossession of Interior First Nations. Anderson’s guide, available online (lower resolution 20 meg PDF direct download) can be read in many ways, but it is a valuable document of a slice of time (it is dated May 3rd, 1858, a watershed year in the history of B.C.), just as the middle Fraser Gold Rush was gaining steam but before the Cariboo Rush of the 1860s. It’s a pragmatic guide that gives landmarks, travel times, names of First Nations’ villages, where to catch sturgeon, how to hire a canoe, and other practical information and, of course, it includes an interesting map on the last pages, showing overland routes into and around the Interior.
Detail of 1858 Map of Fraser Gold Diggings. Click for full image.
From UBC, this interesting 1858 San Francisco broadsheet “The Pictorial Newsletter of California” (large JPG file). Most of the text is mundane births and deaths, but the map above from it is a lot of fun. It’s especially interesting to see the “Cowitchin” Village at New Westminster. Now, “Cowitchin” was often used as a generic term for many Coast Salish people in the early historic period. But note too, just upriver at Fort Langley, a “Ninnimuch” Village, presumably Snuneymuxw First Nation, also known historically as the “Nanaimo” people, whose core territory would be on east Central Vancouver Island. There are lots of reports of Vancouver Island nations paddling up and down past Fort Langley so its not that much of a surprise, but rather a nice testament to the extensive regional trade and, perhaps, permeable social networks in place across the greater Gulf of Georgia. It also makes me think the “Cowitchin Village” might indeed really be Cowichan. It’s notable the “Pinkslitsa River” (Harrison River) is the only lower tributary mapped, probably because it was an important route in and out of the middle Fraser, bypassing the canyon. It’s a nice map, it’s early, and I’d never seen it before, so thanks to UBC and their Early BC Newspapers page.
Detail of 1858 map showing "Cowitchin" and "Ninnimuch" Villages on Lower Fraser.
From the UBC notes: Pictorial News Letter of California: for the Steamer John L. Stephens San Francisco: Hutchings & Rosenfield; Charles F. Robbins, Printer, 1858
“Issued exactly one month after the first steamer left San Francisco headed for the Fraser (Bancroft p. 359), this appears to be the first separate publication relating to the Fraser River Gold Rush, and the first map published to illustrate the area for potential gold-seekers.”
You can also download a short PowerPoint file here, and there is an overview essay here.
Posted in anthropology, archives, First Nations, history, Lower Mainland, Northwest Coast, Vancouver Island
Tagged british columbia, Cowichan, Fraser River, Gold Rush, history, Snuneymuxw, ubc, Vancouver