Interview With Joe and Jean Baeher


Interviewed by June Chamberland




June : I am talking to Joe Baeher at Woodpecker and he is going to tell me about the old farm that used to be here, and I have a picture of the old barn but he can tell me about the old house.

Joe : That didn't really belong here at all, where that old house is over there. We bought that farm or I bought it from a man by the name of Fred Voigt and I really didn't know him that well. He was in the old folks home in Kamloops,

June : Oh yeah

Joe : And he used to come and stay with Bill Kolly in the summertime .

June : Kolly?

Joe : Yeah, there's Kolly Road named after him . My spelling don't confirm pronunciation and I think a lot say Kolly and he lived, well further on, he lived over, well I guess it's War Road now and it runs off Kolling Road and Fred used to come up and cook for him in the summertime.

June : Fred your brother?

Joe : No, Fred Boyt and that's how I come to get the place.

June : Oh, so that place where the barn is , where the old house was, you say, when you came here, the old house was pretty well had it so you tore it down, got rid of it and a cabin?

Joe : Yeah.

June : Then this place , was this place here the one that Widdis owned or Downs?

Joe : Downs owned this place and there was a big log house and we lived in it. My brother Paul bought it and we lived in it. My brother Paul bought it and that is how we came to be here. There was a store here and a dance hall and a church and a post office.

June : Quite a little community !

Joe : Well I would say it was. It was the biggest community between Quesnel and Prince George and then , and then in later years , well in the 50's I guess when the railroad came through it switched at Hixon and the survey crews were there and after the railroad, the Forestry moved in there . There was quite a lot of wood around east of Hixon there and they had sawmills . There was enough of sawmills around Hixon and this Woodpecker just sort of faded away.

June : Oh, Hixon took over like.

Joe : Yeah and ..

June : So when you came here was that school up on the ridge right by the seed plant , was it there?

Joe : Yes, my sister taught there.

June : What was the name of that school? Was that Woodpecker School?

Joe : Yeah, that's just down the road here.

June : Yeah the roof is falling in.

Joe : Yeah that was Woodpecker School and actually they were bringing the kids from Hixon to Woodpecker and then they started taking Woodpecker kids to Hixon.

June : Reversed ?

Joe : Yeah. I don't think they came here very long. I imagine .....

June : That would be Canyon Creek School, the one that's there now.

Joe : The old one, yeah.

June : They're taking pretty good care of that old school - that Canyon Creek.

Joe : Well it's private you know.

June : Yeah,

Joe : Ivor Hannis bought it . I think he bought it from the School Board . Called it his University and you had to really know Ivor to appreciate it as he was not an educated type of person. He was very fine-mannered but he was a trapper. He farmed. He had a homestead up beyond Bill Kolling's and he farmed with Bill Kolling when he was farming and they were both batching and then Fred used to come up and cook for them. So that, but the school was here and I don't remember just when they ....when they closed it down. Anne was teaching there in 49 and I don't know if that wasn't the last year. I think it was the last year.

June : At Woodpecker School?

Joe : At Woodpecker School and my sister Alma taught at Stoner for awhile . I don't know how she, I don't know how long she was there but they couldn't get a teacher , when we came in, we came in, in April , their teacher had left and she went and taught there then.

June : So what was that around 1945 when you came here?

Joe : 46, just about the first of April in 1946 but, and Mr Downs who had, I'm quite sure, that he had homesteaded this place.

June : This here . Well what's the number of this place?

Joe : Ah 2915.

June : 2915

Jean : Lot number you mean?

June : Yeah that's what ...I've got maps so I want to pinpoint this place.

Joe : Umhmm . He's buried here.

June : Downs?

Joe : Yeah. At the graveyard just at the back of the church.

June : At the back of the church.

Joe : Yeah, and he was instrumental in getting the church here . He was, apparently, we never knew him . He was dead. He had died a year before we came I guess and Paul actually bought the place from his estate and they were in the process of moving. Downs were in the process of moving to Stoner and they were in the , he was in the seed potato, in seed potatoes.

June : Oh that's the Downs that lived up by Stoner there. That would be the son and what was his name? Peter or something?

Joe : Peter was there , yes, and Peter was a , well, I liked him very much but he was...he didn't quite add up to it and he went downhill and I believe he finally lost it.

June : Oh yeah.

Joe : The person to talk to would be, now I don't know where she is now - Betty Peterson. She, I think she left Prince George but she was born here.

June : She was what?

Joe : She was Betty Downs .

June : Oh Betty Downs. There was another lady that Pat Lygas was mentioning - Lyddie Sahlstrom. Did you know her at all?

Joe : oh yes.

June : She's in a home in Prince George .

Jean : She's 93.

Joe : But she was not...she was one of the later ones too I believe. They came ..

June : Oh she wasn't born here?

Joe : She was before us, no I'm quite sure she came up from , I'm not sure just where, ah, it's too bad you didn't get a hold of Betty 'cause she was , she is a real adjuster and she come up as a girl on the river with her mother.

June : Real pioneer, eh?

Joe : Oh yeah, they lived in a tent in Prince George the first winter they were here apparently and then he started a trading post at one time -_____________ Landing and ( That's not a very good chair you got there)

June : ( I know. It's okay though. It's not too bad actually.)

Jean : ( Springs are kind of springy. )

Joe : ( Jean's threatened to throw it out cause it makes this noise all the time. I've got used to it)But anyway ah, Ida , her son lives in Prince George, ah ...who the deuce? Jack . Jack Peterson.

June : Jack Peterson?

Joe : Not the one up on the Hart.

June : Yeah because there's a Jack Peterson lives about a mile from our place.

Joe : Up on the Hart. No, we know him, we know him very well.

June : Jack and Sandra Peterson , another Jack Peterson.

Joe : Yes

June : I guess I'll have to give him a call. ( meaning the other Jack Peterson).

Joe : Yes, and he'd know where his mother was and the last time I spoke to her , she was you know I don't know how old Betty would be . She is a fair bit older than I am , I think. Not even sure about that but Jack was born when we came here and ....

June : Sometimes the kids know a lot from their parents and sometimes they don't.

Joe : That's right.

June :Just depends how interested they are and how much sticks in their head.

Joe : Umhmm and then I don't know how, what she would be like - Betty Downs in Prince George.

June : Oh is there a Betty Downs too?

Joe : Wait a minute, Francis"

June : Francis?

Joe : Francis. She used to .....she married Ben Downs . He was Peter's brother and Peter and Ben were the younger and there was two.....Betty and Peggy , were older but Peggy left here not long after we came and she moved down into the Okanagan some place. I don't know what her married name is but as far aas the history goes they would be ....

June : The ones to ask.

Joe : Peter had alot of pictures that were here when we came .

June : Oh yeah"

Joe : But I don't know what happened to them . He wound up, he turned himself into ( can't hear the words) Oh yeah. He had ....

June : Do you know who...you know where Doucettes live?

Joe : Umhmm.

June : And there's some real old dilapidated buildings just almost into the ground , just this way from Downs ( Doucettes meant to say)

Joe : That was Falkus.

June : Falkerson?

Joe : Falkus.

June : Falkus.

Joe : I don't know where she is , but she is here in the district . She stopped in here ( or that wasn't her) I don't know if it was last year or the year before.

June : Mrs Falkus?

Joe : Yeah.

Jean : Where was I? Picking stones? ( Laughter - a private joke )

Joe : I don't know. I don't think so. She never came in the house. Somebody brought her here and she wanted to, I think it was, thank Paul or something for when they used to deal at the store .

Jean : Oh yeah.

Joe : And I don't know whether she....but I'm sure that was Mrs. Falkus. I could get mixed upon some of these people.

June : Yeah. But that is the Falkus farm anyway. How would you spell Falkus.

Jean : F-a-l-k-u-s.

June : F-a-l-k-u-s.

Joe : I think so. Now that wasn't the... that wasn't their original place. I don't know how long...Lyddie could tell you more about that.

June : Who lived there like, whether they homesteaded it or not.

Joe : I'm quite sure they didn't but they may have.

June : Who owns that land now?

Joe : I think her daughter still owns it. No, I'm not sure whether they, I think she sold it to what do they call it...it was....Pat Glacier would know who owns it. He's quite a ....the Glaciers are an old Prince George or not a real old, but a Prince George sawmill family.

June : But is there anybody living on that quarter now or is it ....

Joe : No, I don't think so.

Jean : Some of the buildings are falling down.

June : Yeah they're pretty... the house is sort of down like that ( motioning)

Joe : Edith Bell used to be there.

June : Maybe Doucettes would know as they live right there. They live next door to them.

Joe : I would think . I think she was still there when they come. See they haven't been there that long. Because I'm sure that they would .....It was Don McCormack and Pat Glacier that got it to my knowledge now what.....I had the name of it- a woodlot. They may have put it into a woodlot or something because they didn't, she didn't want the place logged.

June : Yeah.

Joe : Then she finally did break down and sell it but she kept it for quite a long time for that (reason) . But I would think that Doucettes would know.

June : Yeah because it must be the next quarter right next to them.

Joe : It is,

June : And then after that there's another opening but it's got a big shed , whatever it is, built of boards . It looks fairly newer but it's not in use either but it's a huge , goes something like this ( motioning)

Joe : Oh wait a minute, maybe that's what we're thinking of . They're right together.

June : This row of buildings is right here and then there's bush and then there's this big thing and there's something else over there.

Jean : That next to it, isn't that ( can't hear) Next to it?

Joe : No, that runs right up against Sahlstrom Road .

Jean : Oh yeah.

Joe : And this building , you can see it from the highway ?

June : Yeah, there's a row of trees and there's some old buildings and then it looks like a house because it's right like this , like someone pushed it into the ground.

Joe : And there's a field and the .......

June : There's a field here , yeah.

Joe : The field's towards Doucettes?

June : The field's towards Doucettes and the buildings are along the bush here.

Joe : Um hm.

June : I just really noticed it here really good when I was coming this way.

Joe : I think that's the place. It's on the same side of the road.

June : Same side as Doucettes.

Joe : No Falkus.

June : Falkus.

Joe : I believe there was a half section there but I'm not sure about that and just how it's laid out, I don't know that either but next place I'm quite sure that it butts up to Sahlstrand Road. And the next place is Allan and Dorothy Wilson's.

June : And they live there of course.

Joe : Oh yes. I don't know, another person who would know, would know alot about this general area is, oh what's Dorothy's mother's name.....Elva, Elva McKay.

Jean : And she lives on North Nechako Road and she used to live down where , you know where Don MacKay lives.

Joe : The old Strathnaver. You know where the post office ....the MacKays had the postoffice and she was married to Chris MacKay and actually...and after Chris's dad, he was one of the first ones into that part of the country and they and Downs were, I' m quite sure, good friends.

June : Downs and MacKays.

Joe : I know Mother was a very good friend of Mrs MacKay, through the Women's Institute and that sort of thing , you know. It was Woodpecker-Hixon Institite , you know.

June : What was your mother's name?

Joe : Julie, Julie Baeher.

June : And your father was ?

Joe : William.

June : Your father wasn't here though.

Joe : No.

June : Your father passed away.

Joe : My father passed away in Saskatchewan.............She was, she was with us till 1962.

June : Oh yeah.

Joe : That's ...I think you could get .......Elva's got pictures there of from old ones back. I don't know if you know the Ridlers. I think that's the name. I"m not sure if it's Ridler or Rigler. I think the Riglers are..... like her brothers. More talk. This Elva is just a real gem. I think they were probably a little haywire. But this friend of mine worked for this Buster Rigler.

June : That's the name I've heard, Buster Rigler. I don't doubt Pat Spiers knows alot of....

Joe : Oh I don't doubt it, oh yes, 'cause she was right in there and those guys, you know, they'd run the rivers before the Hart Highway was in.

June : Oh I see, they were river guys.

Joe : I don't know whether the Riglers were but the Simmons boys and that and these Riglers they got into the sawmill business, an awful lot of this stepped on somebody's toes . I don't really know what they did but this friend of mine worked for them , for Buster, and he was cutting ties up at pretty well Summit Lake , before Summit Lake and this friend of mine, we called him "Wink" all the time and he was up there doing some work for them and he went out with them once and he said he'd never go out again.

June : What was that guy's name?

Joe : This friend of mine? Wink Lydle was his name.

June : Wink Lydle.

Joe : Walter was his name but apparently he got "Wink" when he went to school and it was fine but it seems a little out of place now.

June : Nicknames.

Joe : He's since moved up to Dawson. Over 20 years that they moved up into the Peace River country but they had some cats and he was doing some skidding for Buster up there and I think he had to back up twice to get straightened up to the road . He was taking the corners too fast. Unclear.

June : What about up the Colebank Road there. Is there any old buildings up the Colebank?

Joe : Ah...I think that house is down. There was one right on the corner of Colebank and LASTMISH ??? but I don't think it's there anymore. I haven't been up there for a long time and I don't think there are any of the old buildings left on....it was the old Heinisch place.

June : Umhm

Joe : Yes , Heinisch I guess is the pronunciation of it. Heinisch lived there when we came and after that. He lived alone. I don't know anything, if he had a family or what. He was quite an old man when we got to know him . Then he built a house on the Kerkhoff place. I don't know, are you familiar with that at all? That is ...

June : I'm trying to think.. I've heard of that road, Kerkhoff Road.More talking.

Jean : Is that the one they named Kolling Road?

Joe : No, that one is Woodpecker Road.

June : It seems to me I've seen Kerkhoff road some place.

Joe : It seems to me they did put Kerkhoff. Some people raised a little cain about that because( and I was one of them ) and I don't know if I did on the right places. I was quite upset about that and like with these history books and these heritage books , they're not, they're not exact either and these Kerkhoffs, there's very little in there about them and they were the founders of this community.

June : The Kerkhoffs?

Joe : Well part of it, not the same as Downs, but part of it. But they started a farm in there and there was five brothers, I guess and the father and I think they all homesteaded and they stayed there until the 70's and the last one died there in the 70's and I...it ... the Horrocks would like to ...I don't know whether ....well she died didn't she?

Jean : Who?

Joe : Old Mary. But she said that they had....Bruce had been there almost as long as the Kerkhoffs had. Bruce had come in '70 and been gone sometime and they caame in 1913and were there till '70.

June : Well anybody that came in 1912, 1913, that's way back hey?

Joe : Well actually Tim Kerkhoff worked on the bridge, railroad bridge going into Prince George. The old steel bridge there. And then they just sort of gone into, just gone. One of the brothers ( Arthur) died apparently in 1918 of the flu at Edmonton and two of them left and Tim and Diese stayed there and then when the war broke out..... when they .... they came from Holland and when Holland got involved in the war , Diese went to war, and he wasn't back long when we came and they continued ( farming) but they had just a beautiful place built in there, you know and cleared a lot of land.

June : So that's north of here?

Joe : Yeah, that's north of here. Actually the place butts right up against where we are now. But there was ...Bricker was in between and this Voight place and Edith Bell , that was sort of in between us.

June : Oh yeah

Joe : Between like Kerkhoffs and us, but they were the true pioneers.

Jean : There's no buildings there now either. They're all.....

Joe : I think they're all gone

Jean : Burned them down.

Joe : Too fast. Well the house burnt down.

Jean : They burnt two houses down.

Joe : Yeah the old house burnt down . Then Bruce Horrocks built built another house and it burnt down . So I think the one barn is still there.

Jean : Seems to me it went down too.

Joe : Well the big barn went down but I think the old barn is still there, where they used to milk the cows in.

Jean : It's Camp Creek Road.

Joe : And you just go down that way and there's what they call Horrocks Road now.

June : What's the first road called?

Joe : Camp Creek.

June : Oh I've seen that.

Joe : It's the one that goes up to the Camp Trapping , you know where.....

June : Camp Creek Road and then Horrocks road goes off of it.

Joe : Umhm.

June : And that's where the old barn would be if it's there yet. Who owns the place now?

Joe : ah ....

June : Or it's somebody that's not living there.

Joe : Well no, the people are living there. I'm quite sure there's a whole number of houses in there.

Jean : It's sub-divided.

Joe : Ah

Jean : Houghtaling or...

Joe : Houghtaling owned some and Childs had some. Now which one the old barn is on...Houghtalings would be the people to see.

June : Oh yeah. What's their first name?

Joe : Bill and Verna.

June : OK

Joe : They haven't been there long.

June : But they would know if there was an old barn there.

Joe : Yeah and actually I don't know where it is but ah, Mrs. Kerkhoff is buried there. The ones there was Tim, Diese, and Guy and Bill -those were the four that we knew. The other guy was gone and Guy and Bill, they married and Tim and Diese , they stayed there. They had their aunt