Interview with Helen OíNeill by June Chamberland
June ; So Mrs Grundahl, she built a frame building and sheís the one who delivered...
Helen : Oh all the babies that were born around ion this country at that time. She even went....
She was crippled . She was a registered nurse from Chicago. Grundahls come in from
Chicago and she was a registered nurse and I never knew how come , but one hip
was severely crippled and she had to use crutches lots of times. She always walked with a a big limp and she couldnít walk in hospitals or anything so she got , she did alot of
it first , the hospital from these areas and one time there was a fellow. He got a young,
he was from eastern...in the prairies some place, I donít remember where now. He
had this young wife. He took her fourteen miles up Canyon Creek which is
roads too but wasnít then and he had a whole bunch of children up there and one time
she went up , they had trouble so they came to get help and she rode horseback,
fourteen miles in there . I guess she raised particular cain about the situation , made
him move the family out. They were in there, no school in there or nothing. If men
didnít treat their wives and family right she wasnít too shy to tell them about it.
Thatís Mrs Grundahl.
June : Yeah
Helen : Her daughter Alma worked. She was a stenographer. She was the same age as my dad
and back in the early days of Prince George there wasnít many stenographers around
here, you could realize, so she used to, she worked for the Forestry and then she
worked the railroad and the Forestry both for quite a few years till she actually
Pictures : Helen showed pictures and told stories about them.
Helen : And thatís another Womenís Institute - Farmerís Institute combination. Thatís my
mother standing there with an apron on and that I think is Uncle Lash, Grandpaís
brother. Thereís Lyddie Colebank, thatís Allenís and Henryís mother and that was
Mrs. Wade. Wade Roadís named after Wadeís. Wades had the post office before
MacKays got it and Rupert Colebank was one of the men in early years that used to
meet the boat in just his latter days. Someone else did it before that. Them latter
days heíd take a boat from Wadeís , the mail from Wadeís post office over to Whiteís
Landing and meet the boat and take the other mail up and bring it back to the post
office. And like in latter days , the boat was their main .......
June : Transportation
Helen : Transportation and alot of the roads are built in this Strathnaver were built by this
Duke of Sutherland. He even had camps and different things. They were doing railroads
building the PGE grade, now itís BCR.
June : Who was this Duke of Sutherland?
Helen : He was from England and thatís all I know about it.
June : Everybody called him the Duke of Sutherland.
Helen : Thatís all I know about it.
June : So what year was it they were bringing the mail like that over by boat?
Helen : I donít know when it started but they did it up to 1921 or 22.
June : Okay
Helen : Itís when the boat, when the freight boat or the BX made itís last trip up and down.
And this is a road camp when they used to need road work done or bridge work done
they make tents you see and thatís my dad there and thatís my brotherís wife, Mary
and the oldest girl Sylvia and I donít know who the fellow is but their tents were
put up for cook house and for sleeping and everything. Now this was, this was
Aunt Mary and one of her kids and I donít know who that one is, the one here I
think is ........canít see so good, sheís got glasses on . Anyway that was the pack-
horses they had. Now this is one the woman wanted because thatís grandmother
and thatís in Prince George before she moved out here. She wanted it for the wash
on the line because ladies nowadays donít know what to do about hanging the wash on the line that way. (Laugh) You had to go along , you didnít pull it on pulleys
because you didnít have that.
June : What was your grandmotherís name?
Helen : Bertha Alice Colebank.
June : Oh
Helen : Her maiden name was Wilkes but they were all from the States. Thereís a picture
of my mother when she was younger and thatís Mrs Don Mitchlie and thatís Alma
Morgan . They moved in, in the late 20's. That was at our house. That was Mr Mitchlieís car. He came up from Eden, Oklahoma, him and his wife. They came up three years in a row and my, in the family Colebanks, mine , there was only my dad and his older
brother Gayle and they were the only old timers in that family of Colebanks.
June : Who was, what was your dadís name?
Helen : Glen.
June : Glen
Helen : Yeah and Dad got his big game guide through his older brother Gayle and Mr .
Mitchlie came and hunted three years with Dad in a row. Iíll come to another picture
and Iíll show you . That was their car and theyíre driving from Eden Oklahoma and
I think it took him nine days to get here with the type of cars they had and the roads
This is a picture, a later picture of my mom and my dad. The kids are all grown up.
Hereís a typical barn yard picture of alot of the places around because it kept
people busy. They had to rustle wood out of the bush. See there wasnít mills and stuff
for people to go to work around here. You had to rustle your living .
And that was Mom with the horses and thatís my brother Paul and me and thatís their
dog Ring and thatís their barn.
Pat Lygas : This is your mom and dad?
Helen : Yeah. This is Mary Simmond before she married my uncle Gayle and this kind of ...
We made history . I , in my life, remember the Womenís Institute now but in those
days , itís early 70's I think and I was going as a delegate to our convention in
McBride and I drove. My mother came as a guest and my daughter Virginia and
they said ďThatís the first time weíve had mother to daughter to daughter - three
generations to our convention.
June : Thatís neat!
Helen : Hereís a typical way people put up hay in early days.
June : Itís a good one.
Helen : They handled it loose because there werenít too many balers around this early.
June : Thatís how we used to make hay.
Helen : This is an old time one, some picnic or something, they had thatís ..............
And this was a guy by the name of William Coulters farm, down the lake? Creek here
and he kind of started this , was very strong. I donít really know who started it, but
he was in this 4H club and he had Ayrshire , not cows, dairy cattle . He had a field
day and us kids would go down and judge his cattle . Well you see that white collar
there, thatís me and for judging the cattle that year and handling them I won 13
points above all the other kids and my cousin Sylvia was there and she was 6 or 7
years older than me but I did the best job handling the cattle and the best essay on it
and that was ....even shocked the heck out of me and thatís in 19.. My last year of
school. See Mom was awfully sick when she was having the last part of the children
so I missed a lot of school and I missed years because I had to stay home and kind of
housekeep . And thatís myself there and my brother Paul . He lives in Williams Lake,
my brother Fred he passed away awhile back of cancer and my brother Jesse , he
passed away quite a few years ago and the last of these people in this picture are my
relatives with the exception thatís Ina Sahlstrom, and no Joan Sahlstrom , no thatís
Myrtle Johnson and her sister Anna Johnson and there was the ...Ina Sahlstrom and
Joan Sahlstrom and the rest of them are Colebanks and relatives except Wilfred
Reynolds was in there. They went back to Saskatchewan because they said there
was nothing here for their boys as they grew up and they went back to Saskatchewan
before the war broke out. And this is one you might appreciate Pat. Thatís in Hixon
Creek, salmon out of Hixon Creek. And when I was a kid growing up , there was
no salmon in Hixon Creek but I realize in later years why because in early 60's
when my husband and family came back up here to live there was salmon back
in Hixon Creek but there was no placer mining . You see every spring there was
placer mining and they never come up the muddy water but before that when that
placer mining wasnít running there was salmon caught in Hixon Creek.
June : For goodness sakes hey. Interesting!
Helen : And this is a typical pack train. Thatís my Uncle Gale and a hunter or a helper or
something and his whole pack train going out because thereís no roads back in
the mountains in those days . They packed their train from this ďgrandilistĒ ?
Theyíd go in by pack train and go up on Baldy Mountain or Hixon Mountain or
wherever or down in Chubb Lake area , depending on what they were hunting and
thatís the way they loaded up and of course youíd see every night theyíd unpack
and set up camp and stay out awhile and look after horses and hunt in between .
Thatís my dad with a caribou and this is Mr Mitchlieís same car and the three years hunting he did with dad . He had all this stuff mounted and he entered it in some
kind of a thing they had down there and he took first prize with his trophies.
There was even a weasel in there somewhere . These I got to keep in this because
thatís the one this woman wants me to.
John : Some of them ďwould-beís Ē hey?
Helen : Well back in those days that Mr Mitchlie, he said that he was grain farming . He said
he was just lucky but I think he must have been a hard worker because nobody ever
made anything on luck. You make your own luck. But he said he never could make
a dime with a pig. He would have nothing to do with pigs. He said every time he had
anything to do with a pig, he lost money.
And this is Marshall Mack. This is my cousin Sylvia and one of her horses. Iím not
sure which one it is.....sitting on the
June : Who was her father then?
Helen : Gale, my uncle Gale. And this is.....I think itís in Penticton and thatís my grandmother
See my grandfather ..... my grandfather....... my dad started school at Lumby. They
came from the States and .....
Helen : Thereís coffee too, whichever you prefer.
June : I take tea, I think
John : Cream and sugar?
Helen : Okay and Dadís in school and he logged for Butterworthís there and then they moved
from there to Penticton and Grandpa had this orchard down in the valley but Grandpa
plowed some of the first ................. Orchard down in Penticton. Then when they left there they went to Ponoka , Alberta and thatís where Dad became a teenager and he
did some jockey, he was jockey for awhile.
( Talk on coffee, tea, sugar and cream)
June : Is that you with the horse?
Helen : No, thatís my mother before she was married. She got married before she was 18. I
wsa born when she was nineteen. Hereís one of the first aeroplanes in Prince George.
June : Youíre the oldest one in the family, right?
Helen : Yeah. First plane in Prince George.
June : Oh yeah, one of those two wings.
Helen : Yeah, this was my dad and I donít know who the fellow is heís with and thatís the
dog Bingo. Dad always smoked a pipe for years until he got cancer in the lip from
holding the pipe.
This is Momís half brother . You see my mother was three years old her mom left
so her dad hired her, kept her until she was ten . When he remarried, actually this
is kind of funny . When he remarried , he married a woman quite a bit younger than
him , a Mamie Dyer, which was my fatherís first cousin and they had two boys and
Mamie his wife was in bed with having a third child , a little girl, when the 1918
flu went through and it killed both the little boys . It got both the boys. They died
at a young age,
Pat : Which ones your dad?
Helen : This one. That old sweater , he seemed to wear that for years and years and years
in my books, as near as I can remember.
Thatís Uncle Gale with a bear. This is, I donít know who they are, I forget. They
were clowning around there. And this is Jack Walls and Reynard Anderson. Oh that
was Matt Andersonís brother but he left here before I got old enough to remember
much about him. Thatís Aunt Mary with her daughter Sylvia, the oldest one. Thereís
Aunt Mary . Thereís Dadís brother, Uncle Gale and their two oldest children Sylvia
and Wayne and my mother. Thatís Grandpa and Grandma and Aunt Mary, Uncle
Gale and Sylvia when she was a baby , sitting on a moosehead. This is my dad when
he was a teenager yet and his dad and mother.
This is my dad and thatís Aunt Clara and thatís a prize picture . That was Uncle Sam
that was Grandpaís brother and his wife and she...thatís the only picture we have of
Aunt Clara. She would never let anybody take a picture, and thatís Rupert Colebank.
Let Pat see that one. Thatís Rupert Colebank when he was...................
And this is just an early picture in Pineview. Edward went to school there for awhile.
And this is just an early picture in Pineview . Edward went to school there for awhile.
And this is just a picture around here.
Thatís Lyddie Sahlstrom, lived up on the farm
This is Ira Colebank, Dadís first cousin and he was about sixteen years old and that
was in Saskatchewan. He was driving a livery wagon of some kind.
June : Old picture hey?
Helen : Yeah and thatís just one of Sylvia and dad was great with his dogs. And this is
Momís three half sisters. The oldest one was born during the flu but she made it
through. And this is Dadís brother, Uncle Gale when he travelled through the States.
Grandpa would work on these ranches and Grandma would cook . Oh she was a
tough old gal when she was young. Sheíd go through more work than three women
and Uncle Gale he made money by breaking these hot wild horses in those days. Heíd
go into a ranch and heíd break the horses to ride and thatís how he made money.
Pat : This is your dad again?
Helen : Yeah. Thatís Ben Colebank sitting on a cow.
Thatís cousin Sylvia sitting on a moosehead. My dad, some people wondered if
the bear did that but he didnít. I think thatís Uncle Sam or Grandpa I think with that
moose. And this is Paul Colebank Senior. That was Uncle Marsh, Grandpaís brother
that lived in the North Dakota. He raised his family down there and Paul came up
here as a young man , and thatís Stanley Colebank. Pat Newman Batching?????
He passed away just recently.
Thatís like the other one, my grandmother washing on the line and stuff.
That is Aunt Mary.
June : That Cataline they talk about, thatís who that is.
Helen : Yeah
Pat : Linda ( did she say Colebank?)
Helen : Well actually Linda is no blood relative to her because that was Aunt Mary. She
was a Similack. She was a sister to Lyddie Sahlstrom.
June : So your father was
Helen : Glen
June : And his brother was Gale
Helen : Gale. Right
June : And their mother and father was ...
Helen : Andy and Bertha
June : So where does Rupert and Delbert fit in ?
Helen : Theyíre Uncle Samís grandchildren . You see Uncle Sam , see when they come into
this country in early years and Uncle Gale was a great promotor of this kind of stuff.
There was Uncle Sam, Grandpa and Lash of the four boys that I know of , all
raised their families around here . Thatís why there was so many Colebanks and even the
Colebanks around here now but theyíre more distant. If theyíre a Colebank, theyíre a
relative. Uncle Galeís family , all of them but oneís in California and one of themís
down by Armstrong but they only had one boy and no family up here but Uncle Sam
had two boys and Bill Colebank was one and Bill Colebank had his oldest who
was Hjalmer Johnsonís mother and Rupert and Delbert , Marsh Colebank, Merv
Colebank , who never got married till later years and Andy Colebank and he had
one boy which is down in Hawkins ? yet and then Lash , another one of Grandpaís
brothers , he had three girls actually. He had Bessie which lives in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Nora whose been in the States alot of years but she had family problems
and Ira, the only boy in the family brought her up here and she had her family here.
Uncle Lashís wife died when Gladys was born, the youngest of the family so Aunt
Clara and Uncle Sam raised her. She was kind of, kind of from an infant. And
then Grandpa just had the two boys and then they had their family but thatís why there
was so many Colebanks because there was three different brothers. Dyers fit in
because in the early years Grandpaís Samís and Lashís sisters , two of them married
two Dyer boys.
June : So the Dyers were all just as close.
Helen : And Uncle Lash married a Dyer girl so thereís three marriages in the two families.
Pat : And Rupert he was a twin wasnít he?
Helen : Yes and that pair of twins you never saw nothing like it. Rupert was tall and thin like
his dad and Delbert was short and dark like his mother.
June : Oh those two were twins?
Helen : Those two were twins.
June : And who was their father then?
Helen : Bill Colebank and their mother was Minnie but Uncle Sam and Aunt Clara was
their grandparents and theyíre both buried right up here in Hixon. Up there where
May Dayton lived. That was a little corner in there and the road, the highway went
up by Daytons house there and that belonged to John Peterson and it was kind of a
little corner in there that didnít fit in across the highway so he was going to donate it
to the community for a graveyard . Well back in those days nobody had any money
so no paper work ever got done so through the years with everybody passing on
and it got private property and it got sold to youths? But thereís five graves there.
Thereís Sam Colebank, Clara Colebank, Pearly ( Polly) Johnson, that was Hjalmarís
sister. She was raised? at school in the fall and she drowned in the well in the summer
and there was a Len somebody buried in there before. Aunt Clara and Uncle Sam
and Hazel had a baby she lost at birth, stillborn so to say, is buried there.
June : Hmm
Pat : Well nowadays thereís alot of stakes? To remember the graves to tell where they are
because, so theyíre not disturbed ( Canít really hear)
Helen : Well up on Nadines? Thereís trees growing right up in it. I donít know if I could
find it or not. I did find it in early years because Bernice and Monroe and I went
around . We went up to the graveyard on the Horrocks place and I guess theyíve
logged it all off and everything. Be lucky if you could find it anymore. And there was
a grave up at Green Lake. It was Jack McMurphy and them helped us get there and we got the number of the land and approximate , as near as we could get to the spot on
this number of land and we had sent it to Victoria because they didnít have records
of where they were buried , where they were but Iím sure the one on Edith Bellís ,
you couldnít argue with Edith , sheís real stubborn like that lady so she said one
thing you just let it go and I know she gave us the wrong place because I remember
there used to be that you went in on this road, there used to be a white fence in there
a graveyard and thatís on the same place , it was on her dadís first homestead before
they moved down to where Edith lived in later years.
Pat : Is that where her mom and dad would be?
Helen : No. I donít know for sure just where her mom and dad is buried. I remember being
at the services but I don,t remember where they were buried.
June : So when youíre going up the Colebank road there and thereís an old building , sort of
a cottage roof building, I was going to bring the pictures along and I forgot and
thereís sort of a barnyard there now. Who, which Colebank built that house?
Pat : John Bangemotyís ( CHECK NAME)
Helen : Oh well that cottage roof and that first house there was built by Engelking ( CHECK)
and the timbers it was built out of came from the PGE which is now known as the
BCR but PGE first grade there was alot of timbers scattered along there and that
was , his name in the ...IĒll show you.Mr Engelking.
Back in those days we were never allowed to use first names so I only remember
Mr. and I knew he had another name . Itís in the book but I remember when that was
June : So itís not that old like?
Helen : No, the one up where the buffalo are thatís caving in , oh, that was built in the
June : Oph really?
Helen : Yeah because that was my Grandpa and Grandmaís homestead and when they moved
in this country they came down on the boat , landed at Woodpecker Landing and
went in there and the reason they homesteaded there was because thereíd been a big fire
through and all they had for clearing was a team of horses and stuff . It was easier
cleaning and there was a little creek run through which dried up later but they didnít
know it at the time and because in 1914 Dad filed on his first homestead that Mitchell
Road that goes up , well Mitchell Road , the house was on this side of it and right
across that corner Dad had a field out there , itís all grew up. You canít see it now
and what used to be a blacksmith shop was Dadís cabin on his homestead and he filed
it when he was 18 years old before he went overseas.
Pat : So across the road , they were logging that last year or the year before.
Helen : Yeah but then when he went overseas in the First World War and then when he came back he realized at this time that water was a problem up in that area so he took up
this homestead down here that Earl Magnusson and a whole bunch of them live on
there now and the field, that field, out there where the highway is and Henry Colebank
and all them live , that was my dadís field.
Pat : You mean where Magnusson is now down by the old mill? And your mom was down
Helen : Yeah
Pat : Where Percyís lived and stuff?
Helen : Well before you got there , the old house that used to sit in there and that was the
house that we grew up in.
June : But that house is not there anymore though?
Helen : Oh it caved in , itís still, remnants are there.
Pat : Mr B. lived there
Helen : Well he lived close to it. One of the ......
cut the front of the house out and made a garage out of it.
June : Thatís a good way to weaken a house, cut a big hole out of it.
Helen : Hereís part of the Bachelorís Hall, one that is newer and hereís the first Hixon
Pat : Was Clem Brown one of those bachelors?
Helen : No he came in later. He came in when I was a kid. And Emil Nash? Art Ney, they
came in after then Second World War and I remember they came in , they wanted to
get out of Germany and they got out To try and come over here and get
their families but they got hired in the 30's when nobody, Canada was real hard up.
People were so they couldnít get there. Canada war broke out and they couldnít get
their families out of Germany because they wouldnít let them .
Now hereís a good picture of the Woodpecker Hall. It was up by that little church
and pile of rubble that grey building, well that was the Woodpecker Church , and
thatís where I went to dances and stuff and then my kids.
Pat : It was the Woodpecker Church?
Helen : Hall.
Pat : Is that the building thatís right against the church now?
Helen : No thatís a bigger one, a lot bigger one . Pete kept stopping, I didnít when we come up
in the 60's . It was getting pretty deteriorated so Paul and Joe decided to plow it
down because they were sure it was going to come down on somebody.
Helen : I started out , I was going to show ypu a picture of that Engelking house you were
June : Oh yeah, the one that I took the picture of.
Helen : Yeah, well this buildingís still srtanding across the bridge over here.
June : Yeah, I got that one ( CANYON CREEK SCHOOL)
Helen : Thatís where I got all my schooling and quite a bit of history there too . All the
schooling that I ever got here in Hixon which was .................
END OF TAPE
I went to school here in Hixon , the three younger ones took all the schooling here in District #57 all the way through and then alot of my grandchildren went through Hixon school and started out great grandson started school here in Hixon and I got a great
granddaughter will be starting this fall.
June : Gee thatís quite a record. So did you ever go to the Woodpecker school or not?
Helen : No Uncle Galeís kids, they went to all the achools . They went to Woodpecker, they
went to Hixon, they went to Strathnaver School and they went to Camp Creek School.
Uncle Gale was a going concern. Itís said if heíd put all his efforts into one place heíd
of had a beautiful place but he opened up and built roads, that road that goes in to the
Brownscombe place , he hewed that out of the bush and the government took it over
later, that road going into Chubb Lake , Uncle Gale hewed that out to the first site
there and the Government picked it up and cleaned it up later and he was just a going,
going, going, going, going but he scattered his efforts so much but he had the
ambition for both of them.
Pat : Well I know in Ď52 it seemed you come to a bright spot in the road you know, that
there was a house there or something but the highway was from Quesnel to
Prince George - the old highway.
Helen : Yeah
Pat : It was all grown up I mean.
Helen : Well here is -- now some people talk about the big flood in 1948 but I remember the
first big flood, a lot of people donít remember , in 1936 and there was a passable bridge between Prince George and Quesnel and the bridge at Hixon , believe it or not, the
creek come right up on that and that was quite a space - this Canyon Creek. It left
the bridge standing in the middle of the stream and it took everything out around it.
The Hixon bridge went right down the river, down the creek, and Dad went and took
....it was near the end of June and Dad went and took and put a tripod in the middle
of the road and hung a kerosene lantern on it and he thought ď well this isnít good ď so
instead , he didnít want to get a team of horses out and harness them at night so he
took as big a log as could pack and went to put it down just around , he put that, before you come to a little bend in the road . Somebody went around that lantern , around
the log and come within , not any farther from here to the stove to the edge of the
bank before they realized what was up. They said they thought it was some kind of a kidís trick . It wasnít Halloweíen. Kids didnít do those kind of things in those days.
June : And were they driving horses then or cars?
Helen : Car. It happened to be a car. It was the teacher trying to get through but most of us
had horses but there was Dick Yardley had a car , Bert Lochyer had a car and Mrs.
Grundahl had a car and Uncle Gale usually had a car. The rest of the country was
on horseback or on foot. ( If I quit yapping so much I might find.......)
June : Itís interesting all the stuff youíre telling
Helen : I might find that building youíre talking about here . Some of those pictures I
showed you , theyíre in here.
John : Alot of houses around out here, old log houses.
Helen : Uncle Gale , he did more opening up in this country than any of the family.
John : Cut a road through to the Fraser, I donít think he knew what he was doing.
Helen : Well he knew more than what he was doing . He did more than all the rest of them
put together, if it come down to it. He done more work than all the Colebanks in the rest of the country.
John : Sure he did, only one that done anything.
Helen : Well letís not get carried away . Thatís left to rioght - Dean, my aunt Mary and
Sylvia. Thatís Aunt Mary and thatís 1916 by Gale Colebanks and our first home.
Thatís what the homeís made of - logs and sod roofs.
June : So what year did they - did the Colebanks come to this country then?
Helen : Oh well as near as to my recollection that I know of, it had to be in the early 1900's
because 1914 as I said Dad filed on his first homestead before he went overseas
and Uncle Gale already had a homestead or two and Grandpa and Grandma already
had their homestead and when the rest come thatís all very ...
June : Yeah I just wanted to know the earliest ones . Your grandpa and grandma were here
Helen : Pretty well, yes and Uncle Gale actually come in first from Alberta because he
wanted to go to California . He was the one that tried to get us all to go to California
too but it didnít work.
June : He was the drifter and dreamer hey?
Helen : Yeah, oh he did dream but you know that Aunt Mary , she had to be some woman that.
In those years you had to do all your washing by hand . She had eight children and lived in every possible situation you could find. She had lots of good times because when
he had money he didnít go to town and blow it on himself . He spent it on the family
going places. He took the family to every dance or opening . He didnít even dance. Heíd take them to town and everything. Not like the rest of the deod ???? boys around
here but then heíd go so fast , heíd go broke and then of course he was very hard up
but that woman kept up a pretty good stance with all these kids and all that moving
June : Life was never dull I guess.
Helen : I donít really like when people say that because that was darn hard for us . Talking
about being dull, that was darn hard work for us.
June : Yeah
Helen : That woman worked! Really hard!
Pat : So that house on the corner of Michelle Road then that Rupert and his wife lived in
Helen : Oh they lived there but that was after. See when Grandpa got his old age pension
when he was 70 years old , he had to sign his place over to the Government to get
it so when he moved from there to the Okanagan, that place belonged to the
Government . So when Rupert got out of the army and wanted to settle he got the
place through the Government but that was Grandpaís first homestead.
June : Your Grandpa. So thatís the house we took the picture of .
Helen : On Mitchelle Road, yeah.
Pat : And then this other one of Banjoliniís that belonged to Colebanks somewhere.
Helen : Yeah that belonged to my brother Fred at one time but that was Mr Engelking Ďs
property and then Iím not sure but I think it was Sid Hall that got it. Oh no, it was
Curt Brown and his wife had it before Sid Hall and then Sid had it and Fred - oh -
some people by the name of Dingwalls got it some time and Fred got it off Dingwalls
or Dingwalls bought it off Fred. I think Dingwalls bought it off Fred because
Dingwalls went to St Maryís Lake and the Benjolinis the last and the boys are still
Pat : And that red-headed lady that used to work in Williams Lake , Quesnel. She was a cousin
Helen : Oh Shirley.
Pat : She said she lived there. She was a Colebank originally.
Helen : Red-headed lady? That worked in Quesnel?
Pat : You know the store on the corner there, used to be a Chinese store, turned to a ladies
wear. She lived up here later on.
Helen : Oh itís Dorothy Kennedy. Yes but they come in the 30's , Ira brought them in because
his sister Nora, she had a crippled hip, one leg shorter . Of course sheíd that way
most of her life that I know of and sheíd been in an abusive .................
Pat : Oh she wasnít a Colebank then ?
Helen : Yeah, she was. She was Ira Colebankís sister.
Pat : Was Ira a cousin of yours?
Helen : She was a first cousin of my dadís. Well her kids and us are second cousins. Some
people get this all screwed up and I, the last time somebody started to ask that , it
was when Elaine Dyer married to a second cousin of mine . She said ďwell these are
not really second cousins, these are third cousinsĒ. Now just how do you get from
one to three, where does the two go?
(Talk and laugh about second cousins)
Pat : Dorothy didnít have any children?
Helen : No. Well this is history of Johnís family. This is Okanogan and he was around - this
is some of us at Lumby.
June : So when did the two of you get married? What Year?
Helen : Oh well Dad sold this place in 1940 and we went down to the Okanogan and Dadís
place he bought close to Nellie Elsonís ? Which is his aunt. She was only five years
older than him but his aunt .
June : So what was the names of the children in your family, like your brothers and sisters?
Helen : Well Iím the oldest. Helen, Paul, Fred, Jesse, Alice and Ruby. The two youngest
ones were girls and the three boys in between.
June : Three and three - six.
Helen : Well I was the oldest girl and then they had the three boys and then the girls.
June : Were you born here or Alberta ?
Helen : I was born here. I was born in the house on Mitchell Road.
June : Yeah because Mrs Grundahl.....
Helen : She delivered me.
June : She delivered you, yes.
Helen : And my brother Paul. Mrs Grundahl delivered him, brother Fred, Mrs Morgan was in attendance for him and I think she run into trouble and had to call Mrs Grundahl
in and for Jesse, he was born in the same house I was born. Dad took Mom up there and
then he took the horses and went over to Mrs Grundahlís because it was in March ,
you couldnít get cars through yet , brought Mrs Grundahl over to Grandmaís house
so thatís where Jesse was born. Alice was born right here in our house in Hixon .
Ruby was the only one born in the hospital in Quesnel.
Pat : So when did Mrs, when did the Grundahls come here then?
Helen : Oh, before my time . I think itís , be in here some place.
Pat : It said 1920 there on that one picture.
June : Oh yeah, in that book there.
Helen : In the book . Ití s here some place if I can find it.
June : So was she a Hainisch?
Helen : Hainisch was related to the Grundahls somehow.
Helen : Oh donít ask me to describe - that was a real mixed up thing.
Pat : But he wasnít a brother of Mrs Grundahlís ?
Helen : Hainisch was an adopted son. Mrs Hainisch I donít know if sheís some relation or what
she was but she adopted this son Hainisch and when he grew up she married him. They
had a housekeeper whose name was Con. She married what they called Little Black Joe
I donít know his last name and after he saved money there , anyway his wife and
Hainisch got the money and she didnít want Joe anymore so he moved over to
Grundahlís and he worked for old Pete Grundahl for years and years and years and the
two of them did the farm work on Grundahls but Hainischís were some relation but I
just donít quite know where it fits. But I know they are related and I know this Con
married this little black Joe that worked at Grundahls then for years but she lived with
Hainisch , even after Mrs Hainisch passed away. Mrs Hainisch went to bed in the First
World war and never got up again. They claim thatís why she went to bed but I
question those kind of things , has to be more than that. I donít think just because
the war broke out a woman would go to bed and stay there for the rest of her life.
June : And then did her husband commit suicide or ?
Helen : It was Mrs Grundahlís husband that committed suicide , yes and the old hay shed
now is a duck pond. The Judge used to own it but I donít know who he sold it to.
Pat : Is that where the Judge is now?
Helen : No, heís on the farm.
Pat : On golden pond.
Helen : Up there?
Pat : Yeah, on the Grundahl road.
Helen : Yeah
Pat : Golden pond.
Helebn : Yeah thereís a field and there was a hay shed in there , used to be a field.
June : Beside the pond?
Helen : No there was no pond there.
June : Well where did the pond come from?
Helen : The pond - beaver dam.
June : Oh so it was a hay field before.
Helen : It was a hay field before . I know it was a hay field and there was a hay shed in there.
Pete Grundahl hung himself in that hay shed.
June : Oh, okay.
Pat : And there was doubt whether he hung himself because there was nothing underneath
that he could have stood on.
Helen : Oh well Iíve heard so many rumours and Iíve just never repeated them. I kind of .....
Itís like my grandma used to be pretty damn good at starting stories that werenít
true and I learned through her to be very damn cautious.
June : Thatís right. If you ever know somebody that, or even somebody that exaggerates....
Helen : You donít repeat what they tell you.
June : Yeah.
Helen : What the heck was I looking for here girls?
Helen : Hereís the Grundahl family I was seeking. In 1919 they came in. Called it Diane
Ranch by Alma Grundahl in 1919.
When that Bachelorís Hall was built there was Dorothy Yardley. She was on the
Rool ?old place with her brother Dick and dad. Dorothy Yardley and my mother
had come down here and Alma Grundahl were the only single women around here
at that time so they had their choice.
June : Lots of fun hey?
Helen : Well back in those days you didnít fool around with your fun because your price
was too high.
June : No I dinít mean that kind of funĒ
Helen : The Brownscombes came in and I remember Uncle Gale sold them the farm,
that was his farm to begin with.
Pat : So when Hainisch sold his property then, Dahlstrom, did he move down to this end
of town to a little old shack?
Helen : No, that was Yorgy Howart, Hainisch never lived down here that I know of. I
donít think he ever left the farm. ( something about Yorgy moving down here)
Pat : Where did he live, in Trapper Reids?
Helen : No, no Trapper Reidís been there and for so long, I donít remember.
Pat : What kind of shack Took it down, it was a log house?
Helen : Yeah down behind the Fireplace. Could have been.
Itís gone now, the shack, yeah.
Art Thompsoon built a place down
Art Thompson had a frame house in there too and thatís gone now too. He was here in the early 30's.
June : Is that the same Thompson that lived at the store or worked at the store on the Hart
Helen : He built that store on the Hart Highway and all the folks down here that knew him
thought this man was crazy, go that many miles in the wilderness and build a store.
How in hell would he make a living ? Look where it built up to. I didnít like him
June : So when your parents came here , they all farmed did they?
Helen : More of a stump ranching style. You had a MacDonald-type farm. You had your own milk and your own chickens and bake your own bread and you picked your own
fruit because there was no ........ and you had to have the root cellars . You grew a
good garden and you had a root cellar that wouldnít freeze because there was no freight
trucks to haul anything that wouldnít freeze. You see there was no refrigeration in a
truck or anything and the store couldnít keep stuff that would freeze. Well you
couldnít get it to town in the winter so you had your root cellar with your root
vegetables and there was no money so you had to sort of .......Dad got a little bit of
money from working for Forestry in the summer. He was Forest Warden here for a year or two and he did game guiding in the fall and trucks got stuck on Matt Andersonís
hill , the old road going out the back there and because the roads werenít that great
and heíd get a dollar or two from pulling guys out of the ditch because ....before
theyíd drive a car they had to have a couple of dollars to get out of the mud and
thereís a funny story went with that, because this mud hole .... there used to be a
really sharp corner up there. You come down that old hill , then you went round
the corner up there and you come down here and then you went around another real
sharp corner like this......well they took plows and scrapers and they cut through there
Well that spot in the middle there of the road, it was muddy and every spring it was
soft and of course Dad, he mouthed of. I remember him talking ď Them ........
Roadmen , they donít know what the hell theyíre doing. If theyíd fix that road right,
they wouldnít be having so much troubleĒ but he yapped so damn much they hired
him to do it. So he did it. He filled it up with rocks . He had to haul it by hand. He
had no machines to do ( it with) . Filled all the rocks , put gravel over it and then
he said afterwards , he said ď Oh shit, I screwed myselfĒ because the trucks and cars
were not always getting stuck and that always gave him a little money to buy .....he
always pulled them out.
You see if they were coming from the north , theyíd always go and get Matt Anderson.
If they were coming from the south, the last house they saw was Dadís and theyíd come and get him . He fixed that hole in the road and that fixed him. I often laugh about
that. Oh you should have heard him. Then he had to depend on the Hixon Placers and
the Quesnel Quartz got him working then. He did pull a little freight in because they
came up in spring before you got trucks in there. You know you had to realize those
trucks arenít like they are nowadays either and heíd get a little money doing that and
then they could work off their taxes a bit on the road , take a team of horses and haul
gravel to put in these little holes , mud holes.
Pat : Well I know when I came out here too, there wasnít much for cars on this road. I mean
there was only 7? Cars in all, well there was more than that. LAUGH
Helen : You see , well my first memory of the mail route going here , that I remember from
as a kid, my own memory, not what was told, as I saw was, Cap Foster .....and this
is another cute story about at that time. Cap Foster, he used to be captain on one of
the boats , but anyway he had this truck and he ran through three times a week and
he picked up cream cans and stuff like that and made a little extra with freight along
the way and Myrtle ..... He fancied himselfís nephew was there , Ted? A nice young
man but he was very outspoken . He wasnít like so many of the young fellows are,
theyíre sort of .............. but this Ted , he was a red-headed kid and he , mouthing
around like kids will , you know when somebody comes, when a stranger came in
You didnít see that and this Cap Foster , heíd want to
flirt with the women so he said ď Oh kids are better off....supposed to be seen and
not heardĒ and he says ď And youíd make a better looking man if you fell on your
belly and stick out your chestĒ. Well, if weíd have said something like that we
wouldnít sit down for six months.
June : Youíd get a spanking, hey?
Helen : But that was the year of the first mailman and Charlie Houghtaling and Henry Houghtaling owned a car , a bigger car in those days and I donít remember how often
a week they went, but theyíd go through from Prince to Quesnel and then back to
Prince again and that was your passenger.
June : If you wanted to go from one place to another, I guess.
Helen : Yeah. My first memories of the price, it was five dollars for a trip to Quesnel and
back or Prince and back.
Pat : Were they any relation to the Houghtalings thatís got Horrocks place now?
Helen : I donít know , could be, but then.....
June : (I should take a picture of you and your husband. It looks like heís going to go to
bed or something.)
Helen : In later years Base? Wilson married Flora Houghtaling, a sister to the boys, and
he drove the stage coach and then Bob Baxter had by this time taken over driving
the mail truck and heíd pick up the cream cans and heíd do shopping. You used to
give him the money and heíd pick up bread and heíd pick up seed grain . Heíd
run around town doing this shopping for dropping off on his
and charged so much for it.
Pat : Well I know it used to take four hours from Prince George to Quesnel and this road
never went through till Ď56 or Ď57.
Helen : It was in the Ď50's yet.
Pat : The old road, you couldnít pass anybody , like you had to wait for a pullout.
Helen : No , well that was only ......you could pass but that was only on the old Cottonwood.
You had a switchback on the Cottonwood.
Pat : When you went up it was hard to pass on this old back road. When I first come out
I come down the old back road.
Helen : Oh yeah, behind Doucettes. Yeah. Well you could pass loads of places but you had
to slow up and pull off and stuff like that you know but the one place and the worst
place on the whole road was the old Cottonwood Hill. It was a fairly steep hill and
you come up, you come around and there was a switchback there and you had to just
switch and you had to go back up in there.
June : I was going to ask you...do you know anything about Matt Anderson at all?
Helen : Yes, I knew him all my life, yes.
June : He was the one who had the place where Doucette is now.
Helen : Yes, that was.... the first cafe in Hixon was that log building at Doucettes. I donít remember the manís name but in corporation with Matt Anderson because Matt
Anderson would take people to town for a price. He used to take George Colebank
and Mary ( home) a couple, for a price. He took them to town but they built this cafe
but he was a good cook but held up on him better and there wasnít much trade and
if he did have any money heíd get drunk on it instead.
Pat : Did he sell it, Joe ? ?
Helen : Joe and Bev were there when we came back up here in the 60's. I was trying to think
who was there in the 50's because we left. We were down in Hixon here in Ď52, Ď53
and they had portable schools over there in the yard at the time and they used the old
school house for studies and m For the higher grade.
June : Ah, Falkus, do you know anything about Falkus?
Helen : Oh yes, Sid Falkus he? Used to work for Sid Falkus and Charlie Falkus and some
of the others , Christiansen and Charlie Falkus , I think there was another
man but Reynard Anderson ( Thatís Mattís brother) and Charlie Falkus , they left
I was old enough to remember but Don .......................on the old Sid Falkus place
and Pat and Sid Falkus
Helen : That was his wife that bought the place on Road up here and Mrs Falkus
her folks came from Africa to Victoria and she came up to work for Mrs D
Thatís where she met Sid and married him and then they built the place up there.
Sid was already there so he had built the buildings there like and Charlie Sahlstrom
I remember his little bachelor shack on the hill and I remember Lyddie when she first
came into the country to visit her sister , my Aunt Mary, and she met Charlie and they
got married and Charlie built that Deans are still living in.
June : And how long ago was this?
Helen : Oh in the 20's sometime.
June : Is it a log house too?
Helen : No, itís a square timber house.
June : Square timber house. Where is that?
Pat : On George and Ellenís road then,
Helen : Yeah, you go in, like youíre going to Dorothyís and you go on Sahlstrom Road right up
to Jim and Sue Deans and itís still there and theyíre still living in it there.
Pat : Oh there used to be some people , Wilsons
Helen : Sley? Lived there too. They lived there before . Stevens, Margaret and Gene Stevens.
I donít remember when Deans, Jim Dean bought it.
Pat : I knew Lyddie lived down there somewhere.
Helen : She used to go to the W.I. meetings and she used to walk all the way up from there
out to the road and sometimes the snowdrifts were so bad, sheíd crawl on her hands
and her knees but she never missed a W.I. meeting.
Pat : Yeah, she used to tell me some stories.
END OF TAPE
Second tape :
Helen : ........all the skin off my knuckles and everything.
June : Washing clothes for your mother?
Helen : Trying to get them clean. A pile of clothes, I was going to get them all done up.
Poof! That was a relief, I got it all done. Two, three more days . Oh I donít want that
again so I started washing once a week but that was too much so I did it twice a
week , then as time went on, I changed it to all washing clothes that needed washing
and ironing and mending on Mondays and later in the week Iíd do all the bedding
and stuff that didnít need ironing. Well then I realized this wonít work unless I
make those kids bath so they wonít be as dirty so after I started helping Mom out
and then in a year or so worked into the whole thing. I finally got so that Mom hardly
ever did the work after that. I usually did it on a board. Of course I did it on the
board when I was first married for the first three children.
June : Right. Yeah that was hard work!
Helen : Oh those darn overalls they used to buy. Theyíre the hardest things to finally get
June : Because theyíre so rough.
Helen : You get them, you take them like this and you have to go like this on the board
trying to get them clean. Grandma did hers, but she used a bunch of lye.
John : You need hot water.
Pat : Do you want to talk some more or did you want to go?
June : Iím going to go pretty soon but Iím going to take a picture of them.
END OF TAPE