Tape "1" side "A"

Kirk: This is the first recording of Jim and Louise Van Somer of Lombardy Trailer Court in Prince George trailer number 93 in Prince George and its happening on March 4, 2000 at about 2:00pm.

Kirk: Well I'll just say hello Jim and I am really glad that you're willing to tell your story.

Jim: Well I am kind of happy to be able to do it ah… because I've been wanting to do something like this now for a quite a while eh.

Kirk: Well as I told you the other day we'll just do this kinda in a free and easy way. I want you to tell your story in your own way and where ever you would like to start.

Jim: Well you ask the questions and I'll try to answer them and I….. (laughter)

Kirk: Ok. Well when did you first come to this area?

Jim: Our family came here when I was seven months old in 1914. And there was no bridge across the Fraser at that time. We came across on a, on a ferry over where the Fort George Park is now. My dad and mother had a …. My mother's brother had some property out around Chief Lake. So they all move out there and started a little bit of a farm homestead. Stayed there for four years and then moved into Prince George.

Kirk: Ok. So how did you like it here in Prince and …how big was it then?

Jim: How big was it then? When I started school it was about twenty-five hundred people in the town. I started school when I was six years old. That would be. 1919 I guess. (Long pause). It was only about twenty-five hundred people…. I did that. All my schooling, which wasn't very much, just to grade eight. (Yes). In Prince George to the, what they call the, what they call it, King George the Fifth school, and Baron Byng.

Kirk: Ok so as you grew up, anything really memorable, special stories you know as a child?

Jim: School times? I can remember getting the strap. The principle the first day I was at school. (laughter). I was six years old. I even remember the principle's name, it was Mr. Beal. And I guess I was acting up on the school steps jumping up and down on them so he took me in and give me a strap on the hand. Of course I never did that again, that I can remember, quite well. Some of our teachers were quite ah… in those days there were quite into hard discipline. Get a strap on your hand or maybe a ruler across the knuckles. Not like today there was no such thing as ……abuse then I guess.

Kirk: So what were some of the courses you took, you know, tell me a bit about that?

Jim: Well, I guess about the same as they are now only, you know, just the three "R's" and a bit of history and ah that’s about it.

Kirk: Did you like them?

Jim: I was actually quite good in school, yes I had the, I had good grades. But when I was passed into grade nine, which was high school in those days. Grade eight was at the … ordinary grades. Passed into grade nine and went a day and half to school and the teacher gave us ah, ten lessons in Latin the first day. I went home and told my dad I wanted to quit. (laughter). And I bugged him so much that he finally let me quit. Fourteen years of age. Teachers tried to get me to go back but I was too bull headed I guess. So Dad said if you’re gonna, if you’re gonna quit you got to get a job then. Times we're pretty tough. Excuse me.

Kirk: Sure. Ok.

Jim: My dad said, well you quit school you got to go, got to find a job. But I said well …. It's ok with me. So he found me a job with a, there was a … Cranbrook Sawmills up on top of Cranbrook Hill.

Kirk: Oh yeah.

Jim: Where, close to where you're, your school is now in the university out on the far west end. They were couple called ah, Myers and Campbell ran the, the sawmill up there. Of course I was only fourteen years old. They took me up there and I got a job as a bull cook first, then I was on the slab saw and then I worked as a flunky in the kitchen, and ah, what they call the green chain, on the pond had to wear cork boots and run around on the floating logs on the pond. Push them into the green chain with a pike pole and got into the mill then. I was there for about a, oh year I guess, or better. The wages were forty dollars a month and board. Six day week, ten hour days. (laughter). I stayed there for quite a while. And then I came to town and got a job in a what they call Pitman's Music Store its down where, about where the Northern Hardware sits right now, right next door to Northern Hardware.

Kirk: Oh ok. What year was that ah?

Jim: Well I was fifteen years old. Had that until 1913 would be twenty-eight something like that, twenty-eight, twenty-nine. I stayed there for about three years. Working in the store, driving his truck, moving pianos around, hauling pianos around yeah. I can't remember where I went from there.

Kirk: Ok well you …. When did you end up in the Summit Lake area and Crooked River?

Jim: So my dad started… on the road when the road was first built to Summit Lake my dad started the he was, he was in the trucking business. In fact the first one around in Prince George and when the road got to Summit Lake he got the hauling of the Hudson Bay freight that, that down the Crooked River to McLeod Lake and all the different, different trading posts down there. And the, the Indians would come up McLeod Lake he'd haul them back and forth. He finally built us a summer home out there on, a floating summer home on a raft in about 1922, something like that. And we stayed there in the summers all the time. And then when I was, I'll bet, used to be lots of trappers, when they come up. I got interested in trapping and when I was about, oh twelve years old when I first went down to Finley Forks now. Stayed with a trapper down there for the summer and then came back. And shortly after that, about three years after that, I went down stayed the Christmas after I quit school. I would be about fifteen, sixteen I guess. Seventeen years old. I stayed over the winter with a game warden. His name was Vic Williams. And we patrolled the area from Finley Forks to, up the Finley to Fort Graham up the Parsnip, to the Nation River down the Peace to Hudson Hope and ah, on the ice with dog teams.
Next winter I, I went trapping up on the Osilinka River with a trapper named Art Swiggin. And from then on I trapped almost every winter in different places and ah… Different rivers like the Omineca, the Finley, the Osilinka, even on the Miss, Mesilinka, and the Anzac up the Finley. Finally got my own trap line up the Finley and I stayed until…oh... I moved out of there in 1940----49. I was trapping pretty well every winter. In the early 30's …39. Then of course I was river freighting with Dick Corless from ah, from 1936 to 1949 too. Trapping in the winter and then running freight boats in the summer from 1936 to 1949.

Kirk: Would you tell me more about the trading posts and the river trading?

Jim: Trading posts? Ok. The first one down from Summit Lake was, was McLeod Lake. That was a Hudson Bay … Hudson Bay post and it was established, in fact a lot of people don't know this that it was the first white, is it establishment in BC. It was set up in 1805. There wasn't even a Vancouver then. And then in 1806 same company had Hudson Bay Company, well it was the NorthWest Company in, in those days. Taken over later by Hudson Bay. They, they started Fort St. James (umm) which is actually they call them themselves the oldest. It was called New Caledonia in those days. And then at, from McLeod Lake down the Pack River and down the Parsnip River to Finley Forks, where the Parsnip River, Finley, Parsnip River came from the south. The Finley River came in from the north and they formed the Peace River which cut through the Rocky Mountains to the east to Hudson Hope. Well there were a bunch of trappers and early traders there too. The Hudson Bay Company only had a little outfit post there but there was a lot of little ah, trappers, prospectors stayed there and they did a little trading on their own. The next trading place, trading post was at Fort Graham, which was about seventy miles up the Finley River from, from Finley Forks. And it was an old established Hudson Bay Post on the, some where around 1890 its, it got started. It was there for quite a long while. Got a lot of Indians there like up the Ingenika River and at… um farther up at… in later years I'm not quite sure when the Hudson Bay started a post at what is called Fort Ware now. At that time it was call White Water Post. And that was the last Hudson Bay Post on that route and it was at the confluence of the what the is called the Kwadacha River now and it was called the White Water then and the Finley. (laughter) Just about the… on the Finley just above the… and the Finley River left the Rocky Mountain Trench then and took a big sweep out towards the … to the west, and the, and, actually north and headed… the head of it was around to Paddy Lake .
That was three trading posts, four actually that we, we supplied. Just the three Hudson Bay Posts. And then about, oh 1947 fur prices started to be pretty low. And the Hudson Bay Company decided to close their post because they weren't making any money, there wasn't enough furs coming in. In 1949, by 1949 they were all shut down except the one at a McLeod Lake. And of course there's a … by that time McLeod Lake was by, by the Hart Highway and so they were still able to, they didn't depend the fur trade as much as the other two posts. So they…they were able to survive.

Kirk: Can you tell me some of …what the trading posts were like inside? You know, describe them inside, outside… Some of the things they had?

Jim: Most of most of the Hudson Bay Posts were built something like, you probably seen them Fort Gary and different Hudson Bay Posts …there all built in the…. pritneer the same way. Just a square log building. Only they had a four-sided roof on them. I guess …sort of a great big roof. Maybe that’s why they call them Forts. Pritneer all Hudson Bay Company stores were called Forts. Actually in the early days they were forts I guess. You know they had parapets and everything. They’re, they were just a very plain mostly one places, counters and … it wasn't a self-serve place.

Kirk: What were some of the things that you a…took to these forts …the supplies…what were they?

Jim: Well it… mostly staple goods like mostly dry stuff like lots of flour, lots of sugar, lots of beans, lots of rice, macaroni, peas, beans, what ever dried. Very little canned stuff. Even the milk was mostly the dry kind the…. Call it klim. Which is milk spelt backwards eh. It was a dry powder. (laughter). We'd still buy it. And because of the high cost of freighting and the weight mostly it was it was dry stuff.

Kirk: Do you happen to remember the price of some of these things?

Jim: No I don't really. They weren't really bad in the early days of course I…. I ran a store there at Fort Ware too and a lot of people thought our freight… our prices were exorbitant, really high. But in the early days we were freighting for the Hudson Bay Company we could freight a hundred pounds right from Prince George to Fort Ware for $7.95. It was the freight …the freight rate. When I took over the trading post up there. My cost per pound was about twenty-five cents. And sometime it…if they had had to get it in the winter time it was up to fifty cents. So you had to add that on to everything that you, Our actual markup wasn't very much but a percentage of maybe of 20%. But then you had to add the freight on to it. And if you're thinking of a hundred pound sack of potatoes, but you had to add $20.00 or $25.00 freight on that, that’s over and above the price of the potatoes. It popped them up pretty high. That was one reason that a most of the stuff brought in was dry, including potatoes. I don't have…. I know prices were fairly low. You could buy a, a pair of moccasins at most of the Hudson Bay places kept moccasins and tanned moose hides. You could buy a pair of moccasins for about two dollars and a half, where now a days you pay maybe $35.00 or $40.00 for them. A moose hide you could buy for twelve…. tanned moose hide, a whole hide for $12.00. Now they don't, they hardly ever make them anymore. The Indians hardly make… tan any hides any more. It was too much work I guess.

Kirk: I notice you’ve got some of your albums here, we're talking about them before. Do you wanna just pick some pictures out and talk about them?

Jim: Well I don't know where the heck I got the darn things, its ah

Kirk: Oh it doesn't matter where you start.

Jim: Ok there's a picture of some of our freight boats. That would be on the Parsnip River. This would be on the Finley, these are, these are loaded freight boats heading, heading up stream. This one is taken on the Peace River.

Kirk: Do you know what's in there?

Jim: We were hauling, we hauling aviation gas one summer from a Hudson Hope up to Fort Graham and Fort Ware, for survey team up. I think this was the time the US army engineers had twenty-five survey parties. Started at Summit Lake and they were surveying a route to Alaska during the war. They, they were …I've had it (noisy dog)… don't know what I'm gonna give you. What am I going to give you? … Now what were we talking about?

Kirk: It's the picture here, the aviation gas and the survey teams from the States.

Jim: Yeah they, what was that be 1940-42 somewhere around there. And the, I remember the Japs started booming the Aleutians eh. So the Americans got pretty het up and said well we got to get a route to Alaska some how. So they, at that time they were surveying for a railroad to Alaska along the Rocky Mountain trench. But they gave that up for the a, for the Alaska Highway. Gone because they a, of the a. Oh it was easier to get freight to, like out of Edmonton and to Dawson Creek and then start their road from up there than it would have been to go from scratch here and go all the way up the Rocky Mountain trench with a rail road. So we freighted for both that a for those twenty-five survey parties. Fact I was kept out of the army on that account because they thought I was more valuable running freight on the river then I would be in the a, even though I had walked out from Fort ware, four hundred miles to join up and I was accepted in the air force. I wasn't called right away and finally they wrote me a letter saying they had no room, had no opening for me. After that they kept me out. So as to do the freighting. And a few of those… anyhow we, we freighted from, from what is a erect Bennett dam at the a, this side of Hudson Hope, to Finley Forks through the a, had to go through two, two rapids. The Poulpow rapids and the Finley rapids and up to Fort Graham and Fort Ware hauling twenty barrels of gas at a time. We did that all one summer. Ah now we. One of the freight boats. We a, we pulled in a … This one is in the high water channel going up the Finley during high water.

Kirk: How would you describe the make of the, how the boats are made, you know size and all that kind of stuff?

Jim: Ok. All the freight boats were unique. They were made to haul freight down the Crooked River, which was this, actually just a creek. Not a river. So I had to, the boats had to be long and narrow. And turned up on each end. They were actually designed by a guy named George Jorgensen who had the freight. And this guy here, Dick Corless. He made them himself after that. He, he had a boathouse there at, at Summit Lake and he. They called him the Crooked River Freighters eh. They would haul a big load, and see this is one of the narrow parts. This is part of the Crooked River. And that was one of the maybe the wider sections. They got very narrow and very shallow. For a the first, from Summit Lake to Davie Lake. There's a succession of ripples. And our freight boats themselves like these. Or any of these. Were 44 feet long. Oh about 50 inches wide on the bottom with a flare on them that come out… for every foot of side board it would flare out about 7 inches. So you'd have maybe oh six feet or something like that beam on the top and they were capable of hauling, our, our payload that we tried to haul most of the time was nine thousand pounds. Only … Plus our own fuel and grub supplies, whatever. They were good a, a really good freight boat. They're still used and some people. But not for freighting any more. They build a smaller version that’ (Very long pause). We had, when I was freighting for Dick we had as many as seven of those boats, were going at once. It would take us from Summit Lake to Fort Ware, around trip, anywhere from ten days to two weeks to make a round trip. These are mostly, mostly pictures of boats. That was a, this is at a, at Summit Lake. We’re loading at the Hudson Bay dock there and this is where we had our head quarter, this was our boathouse.

Kirk: Was this at the south end of Summit Lake or north end?

Jim: On the south end. As you go into Summit Lake from this side of. The first road, you know where Erickson's live? Oh just below that.

Kirk: Ok I know where that is.

Jim: In fact I think the old Hudson Bay warehouse is still standing there.

Kirk: I was thinking that too. That it is still standing.

Jim: We were out there not to long ago. And then there is just beside the warehouse there was a store. Mrs. Mitchell had a store there. And that building I think is gone now. It may not be gone, I am not sure. Yeah, just below Erickson's house that’s where that’s where the big warehouse was. And this you can still see across the bay a collapsed boathouse there that was ah. More boats. This one is our inboard boat. We had a, Trevorson built himself a boat with an inboard motor in it, a little four cylinder 440, I forget the name of it now, and when Dick took over he built another one and he had two of them. And when my brother Art took over he got one of those and it ran from the time Jorgensen built it until Art gave up on it. It had been going continuously every year for thirty years. And I think a, my brother's son Billy who has the freighting on the, on the Lake. Still has that old motor I think. Not using it anymore at lest he has it. It was a lot more reliable than the outboards. Outboards, maybe a shear pin would break down in a bad spot but that old inboard would, was pretty good. This was in Deserters Canyon going up it in one of the shoots. That’s about half way through the canyon. There's a creek that comes in halfway through and a big rock over on this side, big waves. We generally had to relay through the canyon. It was too fast and rough to take a full load through. So we'd take, we'd unload it at the bottom of the canyon and take what ever we thought we could take, depending on the stage of the water. Sometimes all you could get through with would be 800 or a 1000 pounds and I remember making thirteen trips through there with one load one time with 800 pounds a trip. But we never had any accidents in it. We never had any trouble really. Some scares but no… in fact all the time that we're freighting we, the 15 years that I freighted for Dick Corless we never lost a pound of freight by swamping or rain, wet rain. This at the foot of Deserters Canyon.

Kirk: I think I'll just flip the side on the tape here.

End side "A" tape "1".

Start side "B" tape "1"

Jim: These are some of our river men. This is one of the famous guys called Bull Nearing, he was a wonderful hockey player and he was a great friend of Dick Corless. And a good Bowman. Dick is in here I think. Um I am not sure. My, that’s just some of the crew anyway. There’s some of them sitting on the dock at McLeod Lake on the highway side. Let's see. There was another trading post there after the Hudson Bay closed up. The old Hudson Bay factor, MacIntyre his name was, Justin MacIntyre. When he quit the Hudson Bay he moved across the lake and started his own little trading post. It is still there only its run by … he died and sold out and somebody else from ran it for awhile. Now its, it is the store, the only store that is at McLeod Lake there I think.

River in high water. This I think is, I don't know where that is. First I was going to say it was Fort Graham but the boats are painted. This is my brother Art, this, this was taken by a professional photographer on, can't remember his name now. Post card.

Kirk: Wilson Dryden, Cunningham, No, it's got all the information there.

Jim: Yeah. That was on the Parsnip River there, yeah. Think the guys name a (garbled) Ah it alright. This one must be going across McLeod Lake. And this is in Deserters Canyon also.

Kirk: Umm. I notice that this is a color picture and this a more recent shot?

Jim: Ah, yeah. I didn’t do too many, this is probably after we quit freighting. Well I freighted after that too, you have to ree... quit the Hudson Bay I freighted on my own, after I bought the store from Billy up there we still continued freighting up from Deserters canyon up to Fort Ware this, sixty miles on the river. That’s my brother Art

Kirk: I noticed that you've been mentioning this Deserters Canyon a quite a lot. I've never heard of it before.

Jim: Oh is that right?

Kirk: Can you tell me a bit…the story about Deserters Canyon. That…

Jim: Ah Yeah I can even give some of the old history. I've got a, I got a journal here of the first explorer that ever went up the Finley. His name was Black, can't remember his last name. But I've got part of his old journal in here. And I figure it was in the, I think it was even in the seventeen hundreds, I am not to sure, early eighteen's. He started out exploring the Peace River and the Finley. He started in from a, it would be the Peace River crossing I guess they called it in those days and the town of Peace River with a, with some Indians in dug out canoes, birch bark canoes they called them, and packed this a, this guy that wrote this book a that I showed you the other day a… Crooked River Rats. He mentions Black in that journal. And of course a, or in his book I mean. But the story of Deserters Canyon was that when Black was going up the Finley River he had hunters on each side, hunting they were. They had to hunt their own game for food, and they poled and lined all the way to Deserters Canyon which was a, quite a feat in itself. But when they got to, to Deserters Canyon they thought it was too, some of the Indians thought it was too rough to go through. So during the night two of them took one of the boats and took off. So they deserted Black. But he carried on from there, and he went all the way up the Finley, passed what is now Fort Ware, through another canyon, Long Canyon. It was up there, through into a Fishing Lakes almost to the head of the Finley to a Tag Lake and turn around and come back. All the way back down again. . That was, that was why it was called Deserters Canyon anyhow. I should dig that out for you, after we're done, show you that thing, don't know just where it is now.

Kirk: Yeah, afterwards that would be nice.

Jim: It is a, not only his journal in there but there's excerpts in there from some of the other early explorers who are the head of the family too.

Kirk: That would be very interesting.

Jim: This one is the mouth of the Pack River where we headed up to have a meeting. Some of the empty boats and loaded boats up there and there is a regular campground where we'd camp there. Parsnip River comes in here just around the corner here into the, I mean the Pack runs into the Parsnip just around the corner. This is some of the ways, we used to call this frogging. Shallow water, when the river's too shallow the guys would have to jump out and manually pull the boat by hand. Both up and down the river where it was shallow. This one is when I was trapping and cut through a logjam on the Anzac River. This is, actually, gives you a really good one of what the Crooked River was like. Now this is what we actually called the Third Riffle, you can see just about how much water there is there. We had the boat turned partly sideways there to dam the water up. Sit there for a while and sometimes build a dam below it with logs and something like that too and there would only be 3 inches of water there. This would be late in the Fall and we might only have 2 or 3,000 pounds of freight in the boat eh and we get stuck on the bottom and dam it up and then turn the boat and that little rush of water that was dammed up behind and it'd go a little farther down the river and do that again and keep on going down that way. It was a lot of work, a lot of heaving. I'd take it a little easy there as we went along. This was me when I was heading for the trap line and I got caught in a cold spell. In fact I got froze in there for a few days before I got to where I was heading. I got into one of those shallow channels, the narrow channels in high water. Sometimes in the high water on the Finley you could take back channels, which would be a lot easier to, the current was a lot easier than the main channel, you got back channels. I don't know where that is. That's above Fort Ware, A canyon, yeah it's in that book I was telling you about a while ago, the long canyon. Makes those boats look long. This was the Falls up on the long canyon as far as you can navigate with a boat.

Kirk: What's the name of that falls, do you know?

Jim: I think they just call them The Falls. In "The Long Canyon", Black tells about going across, up there, in his Journal. They had to build a, they had to pull their dug outs around the side making kind of a sliding thing to pull them around. This is, this is when I was trapping up on a, East of Deserter's Peak on a, one winter I trapped for… Snow slide, my dog Smoky. That was beautiful country up in there, there's, high country there had to go over passes that were above timber line and this one here I pretty nearly got caught, no this one, I pretty nearly got caught in the snow slide. One day I come, I came over the pass, I had some traps on the far side of the Pass, only 4 or 5 and I was only gone about half an hour and by the time I got back the slide had filled it, filled it in. In the same country several years before that a young trapper named Smartlett had got caught and killed in a snow slide in the same country. Getting a little rough there that's some break. This was this is Finley Forks when they, the lake first started to come up in 1966, 67 cleared it all off. It's all under water now. This was the original I was telling you about Pete Jorgensen that had the first not the first breeding , but when he, built most of those freight boats in the early days. This was later on when the lake came up a bit I was running the tug boat for the forest service and of course this was a forest engineer, and the lake was too tough for, my brother Art had the store at Fort Ware then . And he'd come down to get his supplies with his river boat but he couldn't get it back across the lake with his river boat because it was too full of debris and too rough, too dangerous and wind. We used to load em up on the tugboat that I was running and put his stuff on the barge and I'd run him up as far as Deserter's Canyon and then just leave him. Queuing up.
This one is a little scow that we had built for a, kind of a relay scow that would take the, some of the weight off the, off the other boats, we'd relay with this scow and when we got to deeper water we, we 'd load the boats up. More boats. We had one place on the Finley river we called, above Ingenika there was some real wild water that the current would cut the backs out and cause big log jams and that sort of stuff and couldn't get past. One places we called the Devil's Elbow between 2 or 3 log jams there were really sharp curves in fast water, dangerous place to go through. If you hit a snag or something in sheered a sheer pin on your engine you lost. So I rigged up an extra engine, hung it on the side of the boat and when we come to that Devil's Elbow, I'd start that thing up in idle and run through with this but if this one quit then I had that one for back up. So that's why we never lost any freight, I think.

Kirk: That's any interesting idea. I've never seen that approach before. Yeah.

Jim: I just built kind of a bracket on the side there and hung it on ‘er . Here's, this is part of the Pack River. We had, we had to go ahead and clean rocks out of the channels. It was low. One of my trap cabins.

Kirk: The symbol there?

Jim: Dick Corless. Actually I, I designed that logo. Dick asked me one day. Said, "Gee we should have a logo, with something. Something like a Flying Goose or something ."He said "you go ahead and make it". I said I can't draw worth a dam, but I went ahead and did it anyhow and he cut it out in stencil and put it on all his boats the flying goose. Something like Canadian Airways you know.

Kirk: I was thinking that, you know. Who did this first? (K and J both laugh)

Jim: That's taken from at Summit Lake, taken from our boathouse looking over towards, looking north across the bay here towards Buck's. And the School just up behind here.

Kirk: Yeah, Just up the side here there was an another old log boathouse and they used to sell fuel from there.

Jim: Yeah, right that was the time you were there, would it be Adams that was there?

Kirk: I forget the name but I remember the place.

Jim: O.K. Adams built the place anyhow and later on Ben Bellford from Kansas bought it and used it as a summer lodge. And they had the boathouse just down the road there. But the place is still standing but somebody bought it and ...

Kirk: My stepbrother owns it. Chester.

Jim: Oh really is that right. Oh I'll be darned. (chuckle) But he covered his logs up with lumber didn't he or something.

Kirk: Oh no.

Jim: Whoever did. Yeah. But seems to be I heard last year they took that off again because it was starting to rot under the lumber, so they took it off and more or less renovated it back to the old logs (oh)

I'm not too sure of that, but somebody told me that. Yeah, that was Jack Adams that built the place but that's got to be a lot of years ago, I was just young then too. Think I got these in backwards. Got em backwards. This was taken in Hatpin Lake Forks the year that I, I told you I spent a winter with Vic Williams. This is Vic Williams, this is me, this is George New, he was, he got to be pretty high up in the Survey, Survey General of B.C.. He wasn't the survey General but he got pretty close to being it. And this was a trapper and his wife that stayed at Finley Forks looking after an outpost of the Hudson's Bay Company which is across the river from… the scows. This is when I was working with Williams too. We were patrolling up the Parsnip River with, Toby, Toby Zlot. This is Toby Zlot she had a trap line at Weston Creek. We met her at Scot Creek and she came down with us on the river.

Kirk: Was this a hand built dog sled or …?

Jim: It's a toboggan really.

Kirk: Oh it is a toboggan. O.K. I wasn't sure.

Jim: I think it's moose. I had raw moose hide on laced around the side. Now where getting into modern. At Eric's landing. There's a story behind that Eric's Landing . How do we get at it? O yeah, O.K. I guess that's grey eh. I don't know. Oh, I see that one I got it now. That was the Detroit News landed on the Fraser River just upstream from where that old CNR bridge is. A long time ago.

Kirk: 1920 something the Detroit. What on earth brought them up here?

Jim: I don't know what they were on the trail of, story of some kind, I guess they knew what it is. How did I get that thing there?

Kirk: Ah there you are. And…

Jim: That was me and a friend of mine who was a trapper in Prince George.

Kirk: Oh O.K. This is you here? And the car?

Jim: Kind of a dapper Dan. Probably a model A Ford of some kind. That was... I made a trip up to White Horse one time for a mining company. Taking pictures of caribou on the road. That's at, that's where we went isn't it. Yeah. Wasn't too long ago I put these pictures in there, looks like I put them in backwards. Still backwards. Now these are too from a trip back from visiting my sister.

Kirk: Yeah that looks like Painted Chasm. (Pardon me). Looks like Painted Chasm down. (It is) Oh it is, okay I thought so.

Jim: This side of 100-Mile House or whatever the hell it is. Yeah. That's my son and his. I sure didn't put these pictures very good. That's crooked. I think that's about all the old, oldies that I got in there. I probably got some more.

Kirk: How many children do you have? (3) And their names? Their names?

Jim: Well the oldest is Jim or James and he's at Fort Ware, Donny I was just talking to, he's in Fort Ware with his family and my daughter Shirley lives in Nanaimo, works in Nanaimo and lives in Ladysmith. She runs a Doctors Office for four, Bone Surgeons. They've lived down there, her and her husband for quite a while. I had to take a picture of her. If, if you, If you wander around town very much you see her wandering around town, she's an old timer McLeod Lake Indian Metis McCook. Metis are pretty near all crippled up now.
I had to take that picture of that little guy one day. This is, gee I sure got, I must have been nuts when I put these things in there.
My wife we, we were babysitting at Joe Lope's camp at Lost Peak, she just loves to fish. This is what she'll go through to get a, to a fish. Go over these pile of logs on, pile up on the lakeshore) on Williston Lake. This is mostly, it's, that's Louise and I at, at our place at Fort Ware.

Kirk: That's a nice picture.

Jim: Yeah. We had a nice place there. This was the store, we had a store and the Post Office, the town. We had 2 warehouses down here, over here. One here and one there.

Kirk: So this, this was the store which you operated for quite a while out there?

Jim: Yeah. The Post Office and a, I had the Post Office and two other PostMaster. And we had a gas house down here. I used to bring gas in and sell it, by the barrel, or by the gallon. That was a store there. Actually you, the whole thing was built by my brother Art. And he died, we just, his son took it over and talked us into taking it over. I used to get freight in once and a while by airplane, towards spring. I made a runway one day on the, one spring on the ice but with a little cat I had there and, I don't know why they did it but they landed a twin otter and a twin beech, both on wheels. They trusted me I guess enough to see that the ice was good enough to land on. It was, we brought freight in that way. That was before there was any airstrip there in Fort Ware.

Kirk: I notice this one has got a busted wing.

Jim: That one. Crash landed in the Finley River 7 miles above Fort Ware and sunk there. And the 2 guys who were in it swam out of it and somebody got them down to our place in Fort Ware and I got up there with my, my boat and a winch and we got some lines on it a from shore and dragged it to shore and took the wings off and hauled it with my tug boat back to Fort Ware with my boat. The guys weren't hurt, but, but he, he was trying to land on a, a sand bar on the wheels and he missed and hit the water instead. (Ha) This was towards Spring and I had to build a, water open along the side here, I had to build a bridge out to there so we could get the freight off , the freight boats. This was the other one the twin otter landed at the same time. I sure got them in backwards haven't I. Which way, which way was I going?

Kirk: A This way. yeah. ( I think it's this way?) That way? Oh ok.

Jim: This was the first tug boat I ran on for the Forest Service on the lake, the Forest Pioneer.

Kirk: Is the meat being dried?

Jim: Ah yeah. That was, about, first or second year I took over the trading post at Fort Ware. this is my, my two sons, we went up river on the Finley with a skidoo and stopped at this Indian camp where they were drying moose meat actually. Little camp, the two boys were pretty young then. That would be.. when did we move up there… 1971. That would be around the time '71 or '72. I sure got them taken.. one of the old timers, Two of the old timers at Fort Ware. And the old girls. This one was a friend of mine who died later. (oh). And the birds.

Kirk: Oh ok I'm going to have to stop the tape again.

End of tape "1" side "B"

Start of tape "2" side "A"

Kirk: Ok. Now we're all right. (Laughter)

Jim: One other thing I didn't tell you about my early life when we first came here. I said we settled at Chief Lake. Ok, when I was two years old apparently I went missing, I headed for the lake walking down to the lake or something. and I was lost in the bush for two days and two nights. I was two years old. Had about fifty or sixty guys out looking for me I guess. And my mother finally found me, she was wandering around and hollering my name Jim, Jim: I guess I woke up and I said what? Well then I was found. Maybe that’s why I like the bush so much, I don't know.

Kirk: Laughter. Sounds like you were lucky to be found.

Jim: I guess I was. You take ah, my dad said it was quite cold, the nights were cold, and lots of bears around. And yeah, I couldn't have gone very far, two years old, and bush and wind falls and, must have slept a lot I guess. Maybe when they were looking for me.

This guy here, he was the chief of the, the whole patriarch, pritneer all of the Fort Ware people. Chief Davies they called him. They call the school Davie Octon school. Why I got these things in backwards? There was some of the, chief Davies son I think. This was at Western Creek with that same dog team of the game wardens, and a girl that lived with her sister and brother in-law down there. That was in old Fort Graham, warehouse, store was over here. That’s all under water of course.

Kirk: Oh, oh OK that’s the one that under water. Do you remember who the woman is?

Jim: She was a, a wife of a ah, I was into the guiding business a little bit in those days and not hunting, most mostly fishing, photography, sight seeing with boats at the… This one guy I took out, his name was Andy Stivison, came from Pittsburgh, and I took him out I took him out three different, three different summers. Once down the Peace to…. Before the dam was built, and out by Taylor, and then over to Dawson Creek. Next year I took him up the Finley to Fort Ware and back. And the next year I took him from…started at Summit Lake all through the Pack and the Parsnip to Finley Forks, up the up the Finley to the Omineca, then up the Omineca through the Black canyon and the Little Canyon. Couple bunch of rapids to Germansen Landing and then another forty, fifty miles above Germansen landing to a place called Over Pogum and we had previously made arrangements with a guy that lived at Takla Lake who had a truck and there was this shorter road over to this Over Pogum. He met us there, loaded our boat up, and took us across to Takla Lake and then we went down through the lakes through Fort St. James, back down the ah, down the Nechako to the Nechako River bridge we went then, circle of water six hundred miles or something like that I guess. Now that, that was his wife. She wasn't along on the trip that I made she was on the… when I went up the Finley.
Later pictures. This was the tugboat that I wound up running with the Forest service. Forest engineer and the barge. He use to haul their cats, cats around the floating camps.

Kirk: So tell me a little bit about the floating camps.

Jim: The Forest service, the first one they built on a barge just like this. They'd have trailers like this only, only commercial trailers. Maybe sixty feet long eight feet wide or something, two of them together. Later on I, I got a picture of that one somewhere, later on they built their own two storied floating camp, completely by itself. Had its own generator…along side it everything that ah, it would hold forty or fifty guys I guess had this old cook house and the whole deal on it. That’s still sitting down there someplace, around Mackenzie. My, that was, BC Hydro took it over after BC Forest service were through with it. Took it down around Hudson Hope. My nephew finally bought it from them. This barge and the, and the floating camp. He finally sold it to somebody there, I think it got up in the, just north of Mackenzie there. They have a chip saw mill or something there, a chip mill, and they got that camp there then. There's quite a few of the others had smaller floating camps.

Kirk: So was this the time that the dam was being built and?

Jim: Yeah, Yeah, the lake was coming up. When I started running this one the lake was already up about, when I first started running it'd just, they hadn't even plugged the dam yet well they had plugged the dam and it was just starting to back up the Peace, but when I was running the other one I showed you.

Kirk: Oh the first one yeah.

Jim: First Forest Pioneer. It was still mostly river. I took one of their floating camps all away, all away up the Finley to the Ingenika. So all on the river though. There was no flotsam. But I use to work when I was, kinda half cry pritneer time, at times when you see this water coming up. Just the tops of trees sticking out. Some of the old sights that they use to used to camp at and maybe some trapper's buildings all going under water. The floating debris was something you would believe that would that would. Finally got so you, you could hardly run a tugboat on even the lake. You'd have to hide it, go around the edges and through the bush even sometimes. It was a horrible mess.

This is Fort Ware from, from he air. One of my big trap cabins. Snowshoes are higher than the door. (laugh). I was in that thing when it crashed.

Kirk: When, when was this, what ….? Tell me what happened there. This looks interesting too! (Both laugh).

Jim: This is interesting. It was in 1947 and I was walking out from, from a trap line. I got to McLeod Lake and this Pat Kerry happened to be there. He landed there for fuel. He was hauling one of the Hudson Bay Factors personal belongings back out to Prince George. So I decided I was going to ask him for a ride and a, I did. I got in with him, and we got as far as Summit Lake and Tea Pot Mountain it a snow storm come in and he had to get pretty near down on the ice. Then we got to the south end of Summit Lake. Just past the south end, just about where Mrs. Mitchell's Road turns off to the Mitchell Road that area. And the engine quit on us. We still didn't have much height and he was loaded really bad too. He swung left first, he thought he was gonna maybe land in one of those fields on the left side of the road. There was quite a few fields there. Saw he couldn't make that. So he spied kind of a meadow ahead of him. He thought he was gonna make that. I was looking out the window, I was sitting just about where that tail broke off, just in front of there. And I thought he was gonna make it too, but then all of sudden you could hear clickitty clickitty click click click the wings hitting the tops of the trees and then all of sudden a bang. And what he did was hit a, can't see it on this. Yeah you can. He hit a tree with his wing right there.

Kirk: Oh yes I see it.

Jim: And it spun us around, completely around ninety degrees and we went in tail first, which saved us all I think from ah. And like I say that where that tail broke off I was sitting just ahead of that. Just by the door. Can you see the door there? I guess so, yeah. And none of us were hurt. We walked out to the highway. Luckily we all had snowshoes. I had my snowshoes there, Pat Kerry and his engineer had snowshoes but they didn't have any harness for them. So I had to rig them up a harness and we walked out and walked down to, just passed Salmon River. Wright Creek? there's a farmer lived there and a he took us on in to Prince George. But we survived it. Went back the next day and hauled all the stuff out of it… By sledge. This was the next day like.
This, well that’s my sister. My sister and her husband when they got married and me and my sister, my older sister. Not my older sister but my other sister. Older than this one.

Kirk: Do you remember what year that was? When that happened, a bit about it?

Jim: They celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary two years ago. It's awhile.

Kirk: Yeah, so around then yeah, 1950-1948.

Jim: Yeah some somewhere in there yeah. They live in Calgary. He was running that Hudson Bay post at Fort Graham at the time they got married and then he…. They move to Peace River… run a post there for quite awhile. Then he got tangled up with the, with the, a oil out fit. Started working for them and he never looked back. Then he's finally running…. They sent him over to Chicago and moved him all over the dam place. Different crews, working for a Snopull I guess they call it. Sun Oil.

Kirk: yeah. Would you be willing to tell me how you met your wife and, you know?

Jim: Ah yeah. It was while we were freighting. She was borne up that country. it was a big family but they had the originally, not originally but he was originally from Detroit. He came through here in 1911, went to work for a survey crew for awhile. Then he worked his way down around to Hudson Hope, met my wife's, her, my wife's mother's sister. Married her, had three children by him, by her… and then he, I don't know what he did. The other girl the woman that stole her or something I guess and then Louise's mother, and took them all up the Finley River with poling and paddling, started a trap line up there in, around 1925, something like that. Raised his whole family up there. There was thirteen of them all together. They of course, we used to trade back and forth there. Stop there now and again. Then in about, wonder when it was they moved out trapping up at, they built at Summit Lake and of course I was around there. We would visit back and forth and have little parties and singsongs on the lakeshore. One thing led to another. We got married in 1949.

Kirk: Was Summit Lake very big in those days?

Jim: No. No where near like it is now and all those that were, there were more people living at what we call the landing, like around Bucks place, then there are now. But now it just crowded with a building all around the Lake . Some of them, summer cabins, but a lot of them are year around cabins. No, there was only where Buck had his store there. The year we move out was the year that Campbell Manx started building the road north and..

Kirk: The Summit Lake road?

Jim: Yeah. North of Summit Lake.

Kirk: Oh north yeah.

Kirk: And a, so old Buck built himself a store there and a bunch of rental cabins. Most of the construction crew stayed there and that’s, he did pretty well out of it really, he got all his land cleared and he had all of his buildings, later on he rented all the, pritneer all those places to people like me, loggers that worked there and. He did well but other than that there was a few people maybe had summer homes out on the Islands. That’s about all. And of course later on when the sawmills moved in there, got a little busier.

Kirk: Not really sure when the sawmills first started coming out there and operating.

Jim: Well when the… When I moved out in 1949, there was Jimmy Neilson had a sawmill over at over on what we use to call Squaw Lake or something. And there was another German just across the lake then, can't remember what his … That little lake, that was on the, on the east side of the highway. Summit Lake saw mills, Chris Neilson had his mill there. Sam and her dad, her, her brother Sam and her dad and I went to work for Chris Neilson at, that winter I move out, falling trees by hand by cross cut saw. We worked for them all winter and then, guess it was a little later. Stevens and Ron had a sawmill down just a little north of Summit Lake. Simmons and Eberhart had a sawmill farther down. and then down around what we called Swamp River I think they call it the Anzac now. There were two or three more saw mills there. They were scattered all over the place. And then there was another little one down on the road about south of Summit Lake we called it the Sluice Box saw mill. It was three or four Danes ran it, can't remember their names now, Hauliger was one name that. They had it in the paper here not to long ago I think. One of the papers. But yeah there were little sawmills all over the place. Our coffee's ready.

Tape paused.

Kirk: This is Amos?

Jim: Amos, yeah he died, heart problem. This is me at Fort Ware when I was buying fur. There's a couple more in here, should be in here. That’s my brother Donald and me at Fort Ware at 1920, 1937. Here's another couple old timers, trappers, in the thirties and of course Donald and I. There they are, old. Ok just go through any, fly at er.

Kirk: Ok I’ll just, yeah I'll go through and I'll just start scanning some. While you're working on

Jim: Oh, yeah well just gonna have my coffee.

Kirk: Ok we're gonna call it a day for now.

End of this session.

Kirk: Yeah I blew this map up to make it easier to read.

Jim: Yeah the old horse trailers were, oh heck that would be probably in the early '30's some of the trappers and prospectors had found a copper deposit way back in an area I call Copper Mountain, somewhere in here and they built a horse trailer from the mouth of Choweka Creek that's what they call Big Creek and went up and around and over the summit into here to get at that copper. It was a lot easier going to the lower valley if you could follow the creek up, and to go in this way you had to go over 2 mountain ranges but they never did very much about it. They found lots of copper in there but the copper wasn't worth very much. So never did turn in to being a mine or anything but I think it was, they recorded it and staked it but that was there was never any mining done so the copper that was there is still there.

Kirk: Oh ok so not a big enough find to do anything with.

Jim: There was lots of it there but at that time uh it was no transportation and no roads or nothing and the copper was low grade and lots of it. There's several mining properties and finds back in there mainly because of transportation and couldn't get it out. Got all these others things. I trapped with Ben Cork in there on a zombie trap line. I had a trap line of my own down the Finley River but there was one winter the winter of '40 or '41 I trapped in there for him that's why that's all..,

Kirk: So that's why that's all marked.

Jim: Somebody else's show them where I had gone.

Kirk: Well ok I was just curious about that. You know when someone writes on a map then you want to know about it. Chuckle. Oh. Well you've got some other pictures here of the area that we haven't been through yet haven't you.

Jim: Well I got lots of these I guess. You did scan some of those.

Kirk: We talked about these did we get all of these in this book?

Jim: Most of them yeah. Yeah we went right through there.

Kirk: Oh, ok it'll be the next set then.

Jim: Oh ok. I don't know pretty near all of these are lake pictures like… this one's nothing.That one, ok, I think you were interested in a couple of those. Think we went threw them too.

Kirk: Well we talked about these three. Yeah. That. Briefly talked about this one, yeah but none, none of the others here. Who are these fellows?

Jim: That was Louie's brother Don, Donald Miller and that’s me. We're about the same age. That was taken about 1937. He trapped up there with my brother Art on what they call the Paul Branch, Paul River, which is below Fort Ware. And then my brother Art got out afterwards. He moved over to Lower Post and raised a family over there. He practically living in Dease Lake. He was over here not too long ago. That was, he and I were at White Water Post, which is now Fort Ware. The spring of 1937.

Kirk: The cabin in the background was this…?

Jim: That was part of the Hudson Bay Post. Yeah. This was taken at the same place, same building. A bunch of trappers that were in for… This guy was a fur buyer and he got, this is Donald Miller too. And these are all trappers. That trapped in the vicinity. This is all I put in that one. I got some ah…These are interesting, are interesting or not. That was one of my old hockey buddies.

Kirk: Oh. So you played a little hockey as well?

Jim: I played, I started one of the first teams that was in Prince George when I was about twelve old I guess.

Kirk: Oh, tell me about this. (laughter). No, this is interesting, yes.

Jim: Laughter. Yeah we played, we had teams. South Fort George, Prince George and, we played on the old open rink. It was ah, at Fourth and Quebec Street, it was known as, that was our hockey rink then. That was an open rink. Played a lot of hockey.

Kirk: What did you guys call yourselves?

Jim: Pardon me?

Kirk: What did you call yourselves?

Jim: I don’t think we ever called ourselves anything. The Elks Club sponsored one, one team. I wasn't on it. My brother Jack was but, and Legion sponsoring them. I don't think we ever had a name until afterwards. It was, called themselves, it was after I was gone ah, Prince George Mohawks. They still have the old time Mohawks.

Kirk: Oh. I see an old taxi here as well.

Jim: That was when ah, that was part of this ….

Kirk: Oh the wreck that we that we were talking about the other day?

Jim: Yes. This episode, we went in the next day to haul the stuff out of it. Out of the airplane.

Kirk: These are good pictures of that crash. And is this the one that went in the lake and the two guys swam out?

Jim: No. This one tipped over at Summit Lake trying to land on, tried to land on skis to, to land on wheels and… what are… skis are on there. Whatever it was anyhow, he broke through the, the overflow and upended. I think had a plane at Summit Lake that ah. 1940 Dick Corless and I went out and tipped it back over, towed it to shore, and took the wings off it and my dad hauled it, hauled it out of there back to Prince George.

Kirk: These are good pictures.

Jim: Now this ah, I don't know…interesting or not. I got this from…. You must have heard of Ted Williams? Who was one of the first historians, like in Prince George and a, he gave me these pictures. This was an old old timer, and his name was Catoline. He was….

Kirk: Oh yes he was from Barkerville area. Going up there, yeah.

Jim: Where he got that picture from I don't know. I don't know whether… at Bailey's warehouse Ashcroft ok. But this guy here, Scoop Davidson. That’s why they had that picture. Scoop Davidson worked for Catoline one time and, and after that he, had his own string of packhorses and, and packed all over the country. Finley packed, Finley settled into a place called Terminus Mountain on the Catagus {Gataga?}, Cacheeka {Chukachida?} River north of Fort Ware. And made quite a ranch in there and guided in there for several years. But he, remember I was telling you the last time you were here we were hauling freight for the …the US Army Engineers for their survey. Well he did all the packing for them. We did the boating, he did, after we took the stuff as far as we could with boats. He took over with his pack trains and packed all their supplies. And this is him and some of his crew at Fort Ware.

Kirk: Ok this is up Fort Ware then? Ok.

Jim: That was at Fort Ware. So was this. Some of these pack trains at Fort Ware had… that one shows ah, one of them shows Dick Corless helping him. This is Cook Davidson that’s out. He was quite a character. He, he was in WWI, got almost every medal there was to, that there was to have. But he was such a character that he wound up, he got to be Sergeant a couple of times but he was busted back to buck private most of the time. (laughter). Hard drinking man. This was Dick Corless helping Scoop Davidson put a…

End tape "2" side "A".

Start tape "2" side "B".

Jim: He's quite a character. Finley died over there he burnt, he kept a diary of, he took out some of the most famous hunters here. Even the Sha of Iran he had out one time it was, because, it was customary. He, he had a great mountain sheep country and he'd get lots of big shots and. This is one of the first airplanes come on, oh, Tabor Lake, owned by Dick Corless's brother Tom. Called the Spirit of Prince George, or City of Prince George.

Kirk: Oh City of Prince George, on Tabor Lake.

Jim: It was an old Junkers. Rode that for a while. This was the old Hudson Bay Post at Fort Ware.

Kirk: Ok. What year is this from?

Jim: Well they called it ah, White water. That would be, it was taken by a guy named Andy Stivison. I took him up there in, probably around 1940…19.

Kirk: Ok around there, same time, ok. And it was by Staguson?

Jim: It was a guy that I told you last time you were here that I did some guiding and he was one of the guys that I, I took him out three different years. Ah, he use to be in the CEEBEE's in WWII and very interested in photography, fishing, and that’s all we did when ah… I never took him hunting or anything it was just, pritneer all photography. And I took him out three different years. Different routes like down the Peace up the Finley around the circle toward, towards Tweedsmuir Park before it was flooded.

Kirk: Was there any kind of special things that he was looking for and photographing?

Jim: No, no he just…Well no he just wanted to get out and see the country. He had still cameras and movie cameras. Got a picture of him. This was the guy here. And Stivison and myself and Joe Bergerhammer, Hamburger Joe which we're talking about over. That was at Joe's trap line cabin at, just below Deserters Canyon on the Finley River.

Kirk: Oh yeah. That's a good picture. I can scan that afterwards. Sure, no problem. And this little one here?

Jim: That's Dick Corless and a Hudson Bay Factor, Bill, can't remember the guy's name now, Hudson Bay Factor at McLeod lake. And the wharf at McLeod Lake that the Post is, well there's part of it up there. I got a whole bunch of lose ones in here. I was telling you about the Poulpow rapids the other day. That is a picture of a boat coming down through the Poulpow rapids.

Kirk: What river is that on?

Jim: On the Peace.

Kirk: Oh it's on the Peace. Ok. This was ah, right around the time the dam was being built on the Peace?

Jim: No, long time before that.

Kirk: A Long time before that. Oh, Ok.

Jim: Oh yeah. Be, Oh, when it was, up on that survey was going on. US Army Engineers survey beat. In the forties. Early forties.

Kirk: Do you remember much about these Americans that were doing the survey up here?

Jim: Not really. We were, all we were doing was ah, was supplying the camps that they had twenty-five different survey crews. Of twenty-five men each and they would, like their first camp was just north of Summit Lake and on Davie Lake, they had one on McLeod lake, Kerry Lake, they kept moving north and all the way up to Fort Ware and then they, from Fort Ware to Lower Post. They were supplied by pack train now. So, no we never actually got to know the, we got to know some of the head engineers and some of the, some of them were US Army Officers. Majors and Colonels, and stuff like that. We never really got to know….

Kirk: Well, when they, when they camped at the north end of Summit Lake, do you know roughly where they were there? You know, further down the river or right near the end of the lake?

Jim: First one I remember really was Davie Lake. But I am sure they had one camp this side of there too, somewhere around um, there was no road.

Kirk: See the reason I was asking that question is when I was living out there I remember hearing stories about a post, camp site right at the mouth of the Crooked River, somewhere in around there.

Jim: They might have had it, they probably did have one camp right there. Because they started their survey from there, from Summit lake. But they kept on moving it down farther it ah. I remember one on Kerry Lake, one on Davie Lake, one on McLeod Lake. They had one at the, where the bridge crosses the Parsnip. And then farther down the Parsnip.

That’s just one of my little old trap cabins. With my dog there. This was our seaplane landing base at Fort Ware. Right in front of our store, I think. Some times we had three, four floatplanes tied up there at once.

This was an interesting thing, I don't know what if its interesting to, to many people or not, but it was two of the Indians from Fort Ware were up at Hawk Lake, which is a, hike up the Fox River from Fort Ware. And instead of walking down they built themselves this boat, which was made out of moose hide. It’s a, it’s a moose hide skin boat. They made it up there and I have one picture of it, you can almost see through it. It’s a…

Kirk: Oh I, I can see the back light here yeah.

Jim: Pritneer transparent. It was moose hide skin with the hair off it of course. It was just scraped and then they built these little ribs and stuff in it, and brought it down. I took a picture of it and I was hopping that they would ah, leave it there so that we could put it a museum or some darn thing. And they loaded it on top of somebody's woodshed; somebody took it down and burnt it. (Laughter). Moose hide boat. Which you hardly ever see anymore.
This was our place at Fort Ware, our store, actually the whole deal, the house and the warehouse and the store and another warehouse. This is the same pic again, probably with a gas, our gashouse. I even had a little ah, Jeep up there. Pickup that I hauled up in the boat that we had there. One of our boats. Hauled it up from Deserters Canyon. Trappers cabin. This on that map that you had there was, is a picture of Copper Mountain. And it was, but it was taken from the south like, this is looking north over the top of a high pass that I had to go over and down and that. But I was in that same country that I had marked out that map.

Kirk: Serspeakie area?

Jim: I called it the cabin at Copper Creek there. Copper Mountain would be around here somewhere. High country. This was my headquarters cabin after their, what the, that’s, tell me about the two German boys that got ah, shot. They owned that trap line and then I got it after they were….

Kirk: I don't recall that.

Jim: I was telling you about the two German boys that…

Kirk: Was that the two sheets of paper?

Jim: Yeah. No.

Kirk: No no, ok. Then you haven't told me about the German boys. Laughter)

Jim: That were shot by this Indian boy that, I think was telling you about that the other day, ah, shot by…

Louise: Alex Perrie. Alex Perrie.

Kirk: Yeah. Tell me again. I, I am sure you didn't tell me the other day.

Jim: Ok. Anyhow these two German boys came in as, as prospectors from Germany. Prospected a bit on the Nation River and the Parsnip River, they spent a winter built a little cabin, spent a winter at, at the mouth of the Nation River on the Parsnip. And then moved down to Finley Forks, bought themselves a trap line about three miles up the Finley from Finley Forks. Built all this, built a nice old big house. One of them was an upholster and another one was a carpenter. Real nice guys. Then the war started. When did that start 1939, Ok, I can't remember just when they were shot, but anyhow they were ah, they were friendly with the Indians around there and this, they used to make a little home brew now and again. But at that time, of course, during the war Germans were, like a lot of people didn't like Germans. This one young Indian boy, was a little bit loony. So he to thinking that Germans were ah, open season I guess, on Germans. And probably had little bit with the home brew they had made but he laid in wait for them in ambush. One of them was coming down the river. He shot at the guy, killed him instantly. The other one was coming up the river and he shot him through the hip or something and he laid on the ice for about three days, but they both died anyhow. And the way I got the trap line was that, ok the German boys didn't have, have any relations in Canada. So their trap line was put up for auction through the, through the game department. I bid on it and was the high bidder on it and got the trap line. That’s the way I got it. But it was a real nice place. They, they finally hung the young guy that did the shootin. It..

Kirk: Oh they did.

Jim: It took them three trials, but they found him.

Kirk: Ah. Where did the, where did the trial happen?

Jim: Prince George.

Kirk: Here in Prince.

Jim: Its in that ,some of that….

Kirk: It would be in some of those papers. Yeah.

Jim: Some of those stuff I gave you.

Kirk: It would be on record. Yeah.

Jim: Yeah. I think I gave it to you last night at, Murder at Fort Ware. No not that one. No it wasn't in that.

Kirk: That’s, that’s why it wasn't ringing any bells with me. Yeah. Ok.

Jim: Anyhow I trapped there for, I bought the trap line in 1941-42. Trapped there until 49. Then I sold it, Louise and I were married and we moved out here and I sold it to Ben Cork. And then of course when the flood came it, it’s three or four hundred feet under water. I did tell you about trap, spending a winter with the game warden, Vic Williams. This was one of our trips we're making over land through windfalls and everything with a dog team, on them up the Manson River. We patrolled, oh, up the Parsnip, up the Finley, up the Omineca, Oslinka, down the Peace. My brother, with a trap line at Fort Ware. They set up a little sawmill up there and this was a little portable sawmill. With my mother's dad in fact my mother's dad. My wife's dad. Fact she's in this picture somewhere. These are some of my brother Art's kids. Some of her sisters and brothers are in there. This is ah, my wife's dad, one of the daughters.

Kirk: That’s a neat portable mill. Yeah.

Jim: They went from Fort Ware to over passed Fishing Lakes on the, on the Finley. Toodoggone Creek, there was an old mining property over there and when they finished at the mine they left most of their machinery there. They left this portable sawmill there plus a V8 engine. My brother and a couple of other guys took a dog team and went over there, it must have been oh, about a hundred miles I guess and hauled that stuff back to Fort Ware and way over in there. And then set the portable mill up. Sawed all their own lumber for building houses. My brother built his own house up there. There's a pretty good picture of one of how low the Crooked River was, cause you've been down there and you know it.

Kirk: Yeah, no still it's, I've never seen anything that big on the Crooked River.

Jim: Well that's what I was trying to get at you know trying in this book that I was thinking about looking at the Crooked River now no one would ever believe that you could go down there with a 44 ft trade boat.

Kirk: Well to tell you the truth if I didn't see the picture I would have trouble believing it. Simply because I've been on the river and… (chuckle) So that would be real tricky getting these down there.

Jim: You know you'd never ever believe it could be possible to get a 44 ft boat down there would they. In fact right there you can see the river there come down. He had to get around this tight corner which was a hell of lot shorter than the boat was. (chuckle) This is in the long end in back. That was the worst one of the whole works actually with, to get down to McLeod Lake over towards the highway now and the Hudson's Bay site. This was, believe it or not, I think it was the 15th May at our boathouse at Summit Lake. A whole pile of vehicles on the ice. Even I was trapping on the Anzac River. That was our wedding picture.

Kirk: Oh this is you wedding picture? Oh. Where is this?

Jim: Right at Summit Lake.

Kirk: Right at Summit Lake.

Jim: Right on the beach at Summit Lake where the old lodge used to be the…

Kirk: Yes. I remember the old lodge, before it burnt down. Oh, so it was right there. That must have been a happy day eh?

Jim: It was good, yeah. The priest was a guy from, from the States, come up there on a visit. He wanted to hunt a little bit. The next day I took him and a friend of his out and, I can't even remember his name now, took him out and got him a moose, a bear, and a deer. This was my brother Jack when we were trapping up in, on the Anzac River.
Oh, you were interested in, in the how and the where they were building these boats. Here's one of the... That was inside the boathouse there with a boat being serviced or built there.

Kirk: Was this being built at Summit Lake?

Jim: Oh yeah. At the, we had a picture of the boathouse here the other day.

Kirk: Ok and they built them right in there.

Jim: Right in there, yeah. Had a big winch in the back, in the back here. We used to pull them in and out with a block and tackle. So up on the, on the rafters to tip them up on the side or turn them right over, or one way or the other to work on them.

Kirk: Did you ever work on them?

Jim: Oh yeah. I helped build quite a few of them. I was never able to do it myself. I was, I never did learn to build them but I worked, I sure worked on them. Nailing the side boards on. And nailing the bottom on and corking them and pitching them and painting.

Kirk: I like that. That's, that’s really interesting.

Jim: When old Ferguson first started building them he was building mostly the freight boats and they were about forty feet. And he, he built a boat for a hundred dollars, that’s how cheap they were. I know he had lumber there, he had lumber, he bought lumber from Giscome sawmills out here, all dried and everything else. I think twelve bucks, twelve dollars a thousand , a thousand board feet. And that was good number one lumber, knotless. Pritneer had to have, well real good lumber for, for the boats. Hardly any knots.

Kirk: Well I remember when they had the saw mill at the north end of Summit lake, that did the number one lumber there and like you say it had to be knotless, it was real good stuff. And done on the old high dry piles, not in the dry kilns, you know.

Jim: That was the aftermath of an ice jam at Finley Forks at one time. When the ice jam went out I got some more pictures here showing the size of, but this is the same thing when the ice was, was starting to jam at Finley Forks and when I was living withthe game warden that time.
There's the size of one of my trap cabins. I remember that one I can, when I was inside it that I, head was touching the roof just about and you could reach out and hit the walls on either side and…(laughter), but it was all we needed for an over night cabin.

Kirk: More of the plane wreck. Yeah.

Jim: This was, this is that ice at Finley Forks. It was one of the worst places on the whole river system for ice jams. This is the Peace River running down this way. The Finley comes in from here. This is the Parsnip meeting them all. If it was frozen here on the, where the Finley and the Peace met then the ice would back up, it would jam and back up, back up, back up until it finally run out. And this is the wall of ice that, that was left when the ice jam finally run out. This was how high it was. And this was, we pritneer, this was the cabin we stayed in at Finley Forks. The game department come up the island, they called it. We stayed here and the game department and we almost got flooded out. That’s how high the ice came to the, on the shore. Here's me and one of my, that was that German boys’ cabin. I was trying to grow a mustache or a beard, I guess. There's an old airplane again. My Smoky dog.

Kirk: You have a number of pictures of Smoky. How long did you have him?

Jim: I only had Smoky about two years, I think.

Kirk: What kind of dog was he? You know…

Jim: Just a dog.

Kirk: Just a dog, but a real friendly one and…

Jim: Oh yeah. A good packer. I had several dogs like that. This is that Copper Mountain. The copper deposit was, was pretty high up on it. Big steep pass going up here into, into the other part of it. There's this trapper in the cabin. Me again. Took my own picture there. I think I showed you this one the other day. Louise and I.

Kirk: Another one like it, yeah.

Jim: And this is Vic Williams the game warden. A guy named Harry Cothwright and Huey Muir on the Parsnip at ah, Tony Creek I think they called it. One of our patrols.
When I was trapping with ah, I think I told you, I first started trapping with a guy named Art Swiggum on the Osilinka River. Well he found himself a, he was a great prospector there, and he found himself a mineral deposit and registered it and had to do… In order to get the, forget what they called it, the claim on it, anyhow they had to do assessment work every year on it. So he got two partners, this one was Allen Mckinnon and Frank Eckland who live at Finley Forks, to go up and help them do some assessment work and there're whip-sawing lumber there with the old, the old whip saw. You don't see that done anymore.

Kirk: No, I was about to ask you what kind of saw that was. I couldn't remember.

Jim: One guy underneath and one on top. He made good lumber. They were building a, I think it was a blacksmiths shop or something, which was part of their assessment work on that. I forget what they call it. You gotta, crown grant, you get a crown grant after you do so much assessment work on it and then the property is yours and you can do what ever you want then. Sell it or what ever. But until you get that crown grant you still have do… Some of the old timers at ah, at Red Rocky Creek, which is north of Davie Lake, Red Rocky lake actually.
And this was my sister Margaret who was married to Hank Winter. You remember the Winters, I think at Summit Lake. These were her father in-law. She spent, she spent one winter over with Hank on Phillips Creek up in the Nation River area. A bunch of beaver there in the spring. She died here a couple years ago too. My sister. This is me. Son of a Judge in Prince George went with me up on the trap line on the Anzac one, one spring. Harold, Harold Robertson.
This is what, I had a whole pile of pictures like that and I gave them to somebody and lost them. Probably debris that was in that Williston Lake after the lake come up. I was right in the middle of the lake. You couldn't go anywhere hardly, even with tugboats.

Kirk: Yeah, because I've never really seen a lot of pictures of the lake as it was coming up and the debris. I've heard about it, but never seen the pictures.

Jim: I know. I had all kinds of them. I was on the tugboat running them and that lake would be solid debris for as far you could see. I took a whole bunch of the pictures and I think it was when the Social Credit…

Kirk: I think I have to stop this.

End of tape "2" side "B".

Start of tape "3" side "A"

Jim: Anyhow, it was during one of the elections campaigns, I can't remember weather it was Social Credit or NDP or who ever. One of the, a bartender down in the Croft Hotel was, sort of electioneering for one of the candidates. And I said well I got a bunch of pictures of that, lake showing what, what a mess that government, I think it was the Social Credit.

Kirk: It was the Social Credit government.

Jim: Yeah, and he said if you'll give me those pictures or loan them to me I'd like to, like to have them and have them published and show just what a mess it, our government was making of that lake. So I gave them to him. I loaned them to him and he kept them for a quite awhile and he died while I was gone, I don't know trapping or doing something, and I never did get those pictures back. I wrote his wife and I was never able to find them. There must have been twenty of them or more. Just, a lot like that showing what, what a horrible mess it was. You could hardly get through with a tug boat it would, sometimes we had to go around through the standing timber and knock the standing timber down with a tug, a tug and a barge in order to in order to navigate the lake. There was no way you could get through it.

Kirk: Well when you were running the tug then, were you trying to clear this debris away from the lake?

Jim: No. We, we did a little bit of, trying to push some of the debris into, into bays where cranes and that could get at it and that. Load it on to barges and, or load it on to shore and burn, but the boat we had couldn't do much with it. They did have bigger, bigger stronger tugs that were doing some of that. But it was pritneer impossible, the wind shift all the time, it was shifting back and forth. That one I think is oh, something like it anyhow.

Kirk: Something Fort Ware, Fort Ware again.

Jim: That’s ah, Harry's brother and two sisters.

Kirk: Pretty.

Jim: Louise and her sister.

Kirk: I can recognize Louse's features there, yeah.

Jim: Yeah. He died of arthritis actually, several years ago. This was, that’s a third picture of the old Fort Graham. This was a big camera that I had. The boat takes up the whole of the river there. (laughter). That was, there was a story about that camera. That was the first camera I ever owned I think. It was a little Argus they called it. I don't know what millimeter. And I bought it for twelve dollars. And another guy and I, Don Adams, who was working with me on the, well he was just, son of the Adams that you were talking about at that lodge at Summit Lake. Ok. He and I bought an old Hupmobile straight eight one time. He had a lot of relations living in California, Los Angeles and San Francisco. So he and I bought an old Hupmobile straight eight for six hundred dollars, I think it was, and took a trip down there, which turned out to be kind of a fiasco. We were bound up here, back here with fifteen cents in our pocket I think but the. Anyhow the story of the camera on our way back we stopped at a motel somewhere in, close to Vancouver and our car was broke into that night. And my camera disappeared and he had a watch gone and another camera I think. And we didn't even report it cause, camera was only worth twelve dollars. Well a year later I got a phone call from the police here in Prince George asking me if I had lost a camera, Argus camera… what not. I said, Yeah. He said well we have it, we found it in Calgary. How they ever did that I don't know because we never reported it, it had know identifying marks on it, but I got my twelve-dollar camera back. I thought, gee you guys are pretty good.
This was the tugboat I finally, tugging barge that I finally was, wound up running. I was the skipper of.

Kirk: That was on Lake Williston too?

Jim: Yeah. Beautiful boat, big twin eight twelve jimmy diesels in it. Lots of power. Had radar, the whole bit at that time. Little trap cabin up on the Osilinka. Not the Osilinka, but the Anzac. That’s coming into Fort Ware, we're on this side but… This was the cabin I was telling you about, was it, German boys built. Anyhow the two German boys one's was Hans Phifer and the other one ah, Eugene Messner.

Kirk: Hans Phifer and Eugene.

Jim: Good guys. Ruth, my sister again. This was Dick Corless and Bill Winter they were up on top of Deserters Peak. Goats. A little side trip from, from the freighting. A friend of mine and his girl friend on Summit Lake. The residence over, Go yet. Hudson Bay, which is under water now. This is part of what I was telling you the other day there. See how the old landmarks going under water, trees sticking up, as the lake came up . We've a pretty good one when it's shows the debris. Its good now, the lake is pretty well cleared up. Most of it on account of big north wind that came up one time and blew all the, all the debris down the lake, down the Finley, down into the dam site and they couldn't get back up again.

That twin Otter lay out, landing at our place on the, at Fort Ware. A runway that I built on the ice at my little camp.

Louise wouldn't like to see that one, that was on our wedding day.

Kirk: That’s a beautiful picture of her. Who are these two fellows?

Jim: That’s the guys that, I had, oh….

Kirk: Oh there, on the back, ok.

Jim: David Salonas… He was a Bowman for me and on the freight boats for about ten, fifteen years. McLeod Lake Indian. And this was at Fort Ware and he's living up there, this guy Frank … David died. Wonderful Bowman, he and I could, made a great team as a river boat team. He was a wonderful Bowman. Show me were to go. Me in my younger days. (laughter). Oh, and this was that cabin up Chuniman Creek. That's the picture we had on wedding, ha ha.

Kirk: Oh yes, the other one like that. Ok. Do you want to take a break for a bit? (Ok, I do).


Kirk: Laughter. So, about this trucking business you went into?

Jim: Well it started in the Summit Lake with a single axle five ton Ford that, could do a lot of hauling with the local mills out there and that kind of died down and I got a line on a good contract from Norbraten brothers out on the Buckhorn way up on the Willow actually. There was a lot of sawmills out there then. I got their contract and I bought another truck. I bought a tandem truck and then I bought an another tandem with a pup trailer and my brother hauling with me. He driving. I thought I had the world by the tail there but I forget who it was, the pulp mills anyhow, or the big sawmills, the big, the big logging outfits. Not all these little sawmills up there, out there and discontinued the sawmills that had hauled logs in there. All these little sawmills shut down, me with them. And then I decided to go up about the time they were going to start logging the Williston reservoir. I went up there and I'd been there, but that was a real mistake, I went broke there eh, hauling lumber. We hauled all the way from Finley Forks to Kennedy Siding, but the guy that got the contract to clear that, that reservoir Bob Catermole, had this sawmill and planermill at Kennedy Siding. Mostly a planner mill. But he had the exclusive rights on the, to buy all the lumber from all these little mills that were there. And he cheated damn near every one of them. The, I remember hauling lumber from, I hauled lumber from here into Prince George. The most he'd culled, like for bad lumber that, the planner mill would cull you, maybe a little bit for, if you had too much rot or too thick or too thin or too edgy. But up there Catermole’d cull you up as much as twenty percent of your load, which if you owed, (garbled) but he actually broke most of the mills that were around there as well as the truckers that were hauling because you only got paid for maybe eighty percent of the load that you’re hauling. And it was road to haul on anyhow, hard on tires and. So I gave up there then I went to work for the Forest service when they, when they started working on the, lake part of it. So I started running tug boat for them. Got rid of the trucks, but I only had one left then.

Kirk: So when you got rid of the trucks is that when you bought the store or did the…..

Jim: Not until after the, I worked six years with the Forest service on the lake until, until my brother died in 1971. His son took over the store then. Louise and I were at Summit Lake I, and I was still working for the Forest service and he asked me if I would go up there and run the store for that one winter because he had just married his Australian girlfriend and she didn't want to go up there into the wilds. So he talked me into going up just for that one winter and we stayed for eighteen winters. Finally bought the place from him in… I enjoyed, we enjoyed it up there, we had good, we did all right in the store up there until the natives decided that they were going to run their own store. Guess there wasn't room for two so… But we did all right up there. I was still doing a lot of boating, a lot of freighting on the river at the same time.

Kirk: Oh so you were doing both at the same time then?

Jim: Not the, well just on the on the Finley from, from the lake head up to Fort Ware.

Kirk: Ok. Well how about, how about taking me through that trip from Summit Lake down the Crooked River and into Fort Ware like you were doing the ten-day trip to fourteen-day trip. Just, you known…

Jim: How are we going to start that then?

Kirk: Well you loaded up at Summit Lake, (laughter) just you know kind of your average day and just walk me through it.

Jim: There would usually be at least two boats; sometimes three, sometimes four boats would start out all at the same time. Of course we'd go across Summit Lake to Teapot Mountain get into the first riffle. Go through that depending on what the stage of the water was. If it was high water we could run the engines right through the first riffle and the second riffle, but the third riffle we'd have to shut the, shut the engine off and pole down or steer it down. Take the engine off the boat all together because this, some the curves were too, too tight and if you left the engine on this, it, on the end of the boat it would liable to be taken off but. Oh but in low water of course we'd wadded down. Ok in real low water that might be as far as we'd get at one day. I am talking about a fourteen-day trip down. The next day we might get down as, through all the other riffles, with the Cottonwood riffle, Harrison riffle, Scatter riffle, Long riffle, Horse Shoe riffle, to Lone Tree creek which is pretty close to where this Livingston Spring that you were talking about the other day. Just below that. There was a little bench there and we had a little warehouse there. That thing might still be standing there, I don't know.

Kirk: At Livingston Springs?

Jim: No just below the Spring, maybe a mile or two. Just before the, the real still water starts its, again before you get into Davie Lake where, all those curves, the crooked part of the Crooked River is. (laughter). Ok we'd go through there, maybe we'd get down to either Red Rock Lake or Kerry Lake we had a camp on Davie Lake, Kerry Lake, and we'd, we'd usually have certain place we'd camp that. Head of Kerry Lake bottom end of, the north end of Davie Lake. From there you'd
probably get to, this would be what the third day.

Kirk: Well in these camps did you have to set the camp up at night or was it already…

Jim: Yeah, Yeah. We all, we all had, each of us had individual tents, little pup tents, we called them mosquito tents. Dick had them specially made. They were maybe eight or nine feet long with a little, long overhang with canvas V-shaped roof with mosquito netting sides. And each one of us had that our own tent and sleeping bag. We'd put that up ourselves. And then for, for cooking we had our, our grub boxes in the in the boat. It was the Bowman's job usually to, to do the cooking, set the, the, we didn't have any stoves or … like a grate for the campfire. So we maybe camped at Davie Lake third at the McLeod Lake probably the forth day. From McLeod Lake we'd probably get to, we'd go through the Pack River into the Parsnip, maybe down the Parsnip to possibly the Nation River, next day Finley Forks up five miles up the Finley from the actual forks that, through what we call MacDougall from there if we’re lucky we could get another sixty miles up the river to Fort Graham. At Fort Graham we'd get probably to Deserters Canyon and of course from there we'd spend pritneer all one day at Deserters Canyon relaying the freight through. From Deserters Canyon up to Fort Ware was sixty miles which would generally take two days. Might get to, oh I can't remember the names of the creeks now, maybe some trapper's cabin or something like that. Bob Fry's place, maybe Del Miller's place that was twenty twenty-five miles below Fort Ware. Next day into Fort Ware. I think we have taken up about seven days eh. Yeah, there abouts yeah. We'd usually if Dick Corless was in a good mood he'd let us lay over a day at Fort Ware for our rest. And then when we started from Fort Ware we, our goal was to make it back to Summit Lake in three days. One day from Finley Forks down, well one day from Fort Ware to Finley Forks which was something like one hundred and sixty miles. The next day, that was all down stream of course down the Finley, the next day we'd start up the Parsnip and make it as far, in a real long day we could make it through the Parsnip up the Pack to McLeod Lake. The next day was only sixty-five miles from McLeod Lake to Summit Lake but that was actually the toughest day of the whole works because once you got passed Davie Lake it was pritneer all wading and pulling your boats up those riffles. We'd have to get out of the boat, the Bowman and the Kickerman and physically pull them up the, up the riffles, like the Long Riffle, the Scatter Riffle we could use usually run but the Harrison Riffle we had to wade up the Cottonwood. A lot of the times you could, as you know yourself by going down it there's a little riffle and then a pool riffle and then a pool. If you were fast enough and the, the guy on the kicker was good enough you'd get the kicker into this pool and start it up give it a shove and then shut it off quick and you'd almost be able to float over the next little riffle. Had to get good at it, if you weren't good at it you'd shear a pin and then you'd lose time anyhow. (laughter). But that's were David's, that's what I was telling you about this David Salonas little while ago, he was real good at that. He’d tell me when to "ok give it a shove", "ok shut it off" and we were a team that, seemed like we were always in competition. Each boat was competing to see who could get to Summit Lake first. David and I always won. Mostly because he was such a good Bowman. So that was our trip.

Kirk: Ok no that's interesting and I like the part were you mentioned about the competition because that often happens in work doesn't it?

Jim: Right, right. There was a lot of competition and then of course once we got there, a lot of kidding amongst each other about how good we were or how good we weren’t, or who sheared the most pins. That was the big thing, shearing pins and on, on those old engines all you had to do was hit anything pritneer and a pin would shear on the propeller eh. But we got good at changing them too. That was part of Dick's teaching even right beside the bottom of the boat beside the kicker we had a little box with pins in, shear pins in, a center punch and a pair of pliers. Instead of having the propeller nut screwed on, on what you call it the thing you put through the hole.

Kirk: Those kind of key pins or I pins.

Jim: Cotter pin cotter pin.

Kirk: Cotter pin yeah.

Jim: Ok. You wouldn't have a cotter pin we'd have a two inch nail maybe that would just fit through that that hole and bend it over with our fingers so that when you sheared a pin you could reach over back of the kicker, straighten that pin out, and pull it out, take the, the propeller nut off, lean over again with your hammer and center punch. Punch the old pin out put a new one in put everything back on again quick. Could do it pretty quick, we got good at it. Later on when we got the bigger kickers, bigger engines couldn't do that because it was to far to reach, couldn't each over the engine to, to get at the, the propeller eh.

Kirk: Now you've said that you've never had any accidents where you lost cargo anything at all like that but…

Jim: No that was one thing I ah, I always sort of bragged about was in the fifteen years that I worked for Dick we never lost a pound of freight. Any of our boats.

Kirk: But you had some close calls?

Jim: Oh yes had some close calls all right. One, the old inboard I was telling you about, inboard that was steered with the steering on that was with rudders? And sometimes that rudder cable would break at a bad bend or something and they had no steering. Happened to me a couple of times in Deserters Canyon we had to drift back down through it, but be we never had any real close calls with, with the out boards though. Some scary ones, like you’re going around some of these log jams where you have to go right into the current, going right into the head of the log jam and curve like this and you had to get in, you have to go in, and you’re running nine thousand pounds in the boat. Well now pretty tight corner and your corner tips or bow the wrong way you're, its gonna carry you down, you gotta be sure that you’re running in the current all the time.

Kirk: So, what exactly was the danger there if you got bumped into the logs?

Jim: The danger there would be the current hits your bow it sweeps you into the, this log jam and there is no way you can steer out of it, you’re, and you’re upside down. See a lot of people think. Ok you’re coming around a curve like this and here's your current that follows right along and your log jam is right in here and you you'd have a big sort of eddy in here away from the current. Lot of people would think, Oh ok you got go up that eddy that’s nice easy running but soon as your bow hits that current there you have actually no steering here and, and the current will hit you and run down and you haven't got time to steer. So what you do is follow as close as you can to the log jam and keep yourself in the current all the time, keep the whole boat in the current.

Kirk: Ok yeah. Now you see a lot of people like me or even younger people would not know that.

Jim: Well that’s right. You wouldn't know it. There are times you could take advantage of those, those eddies like on the Peace it was good to do that because of log jams it was mostly rocky points and that and then your current would come around but there would be a big long eddy on the shore side and you could come right up into that and cut your bow into that fast water so that you can take advantage of those eddies there, but on the Finley where, where you’re battling with the log jams you couldn't do that.

Kirk: I think I'll change this now.

End of side "A" tape "3".

Start of side "B" tape "3".

Jim: This is one of the banes of our existence on the river. I don't think there's anywhere as many as any mosquitoes now as there was in excess, especially on the Finley River. We would stop for lunch. We always stopped for lunch and but you'd have to get out of that boat and back in as fast as you could as it'd just swarms and swarms of mosquitoes. When we stopped for, for supper, same thing. And if stopping for the night we'd just get out of the boat as fast as we could, put our tents up and get into them.

Kirk: So, no real mosquito dope then as we know it.

Jim: Not really, no although we used to, I don’t known we used to put something on.

Kirk: Ok we finish for the day.

Kirk: Ok today is the fourteenth and we're going to do a little bit more. (Laughter) Hi Jim. Well you were gonna talk a little bit more about the hours in the day that you spent for the work and a bit more detail and the routine in the day.

Jim: Ok. We, we had actually regular hours, Dick Corless had figured that out for himself. We ran a ten-hour day as a rule, started at seven o'clock in the morning run five hours until lunchtime, have lunch, spend an hour. Take off again at one and run until six o'clock ordinarily. Lot of days if it was nice or we were in a hurry to get to a particular place or wanted to reach a particular destination we might run two, three, four hours extra. And there have been times when we ran all night, very rarely but if we wanted to get, if we were in range of Fort Graham say and we could make it in four hours or five hours we would run. Sometimes all night.

Kirk: Wasn't it kind of dangerous to run a river at night?

Jim: It, we didn't really like to run at night because there's no light and the only way you could navigate is by the, the shadows of the of the banks or maybe the mountains you know where you’re at and maybe a little bit of shine on the water. Actually we knew the river so well that that we knew where we were most of the time anyway so it wasn't really that bad. But it wasn't very often we did that. I don't know there isn't very much more to tell we'd make the trip like I said before in maybe anywhere from ten days to two weeks for a round trip. We're lucky we'd get up at seven and three days coming back or its water on a different stage, maybe low water or real high water, it could take us longer to get up the Finley. Our average speed on the Finley River loaded with nine thousand pounds of freight on was about four miles an hour, with these out boards we had at the time. So it was pretty slow going.

Kirk: Yeah. Well what kind of out board motors did you have?

Jim: Well in 1936 we started out with, we had Johnson motors always. And 1936 the biggest ones that were made at that time were what we called an eight horse. It was a two cylinder opposed firing twin and rated at eight-horse power. Well the next year they came out with what they call a fourteen horse, which was exactly the same engine only it had roller bearings in the crankcase that, put on the crankshaft so that it gave it little extra, extra power. Called them fourteen horse. A few years later they came out with what we called a twenty-four horse, which was the same motor really, same type of motor opposed firing twin only rated at twenty-two horsepower. And we used them for several years and in fact was the last out boards that we did use. And they were, Johnson motors was a really good dependable motor for an out board. But we did have two inboard motors too. Two boats with inboard motors in which this big Jorgunson had he bought the motors and he made a he designed drive shaft coupled with universal joints and a lifting machine. Lifting apparatus on the back end of the boat where you could raise or lower the drive shaft and the propeller for shallow water. And we used those for several years. They were a little four cylinder marine motors, very very dependable. Away more dependable than the out boards were because you could you could hit bottom or hit, hit a snag or stump or something with them and they wouldn't shear a shear pin like the out boards as soon as you hit something you sheared a pin and you lost all your power. But with the inboard it was away, away safer away more dependable.

Kirk: Well you know I was thinking, you know since we've covered a quite a bit of ground on your rivers, going there, I'd like to go back to the beginning and really tell more about yourself, you know when were you borne, where were you borne ah, who your parents were, where they were from, you know, can you cover ground in there for me?

Jim: Ok. I was born in 1913 in White Horse, Yukon. My dad and mother lived in White Horse and Carcross. My dad was not a miner but he was working up there as they called him a woodchopper. He's, he supplied wood for different camps and mining camps and that. They left there in 19…. It was 1913 when I was borne in October we left there in June of 1914 when I was seven months old and came to Prince George. There was my dad and my mother, my older brother Art and my brother Jack.

Kirk: What was your mom and dad's names?

Jim: My mother's maiden name was Ewing ah, she was she was borne in Ontario. My dad was borne in Bay City Michigan, he was a, he was a US citizen at that time. He came to Canada and got to be a Canadian citizen. They met in Victoria, got married in Carcross. I have their marriage certificate in here. And when they moved to Prince George in 1914 my mother's brother had some property out around Chief Lake and he gave that to them. He joined the army he gave that property to them and they moved out there. The, My dad did little bit of farming, he ran a little store at Chief lake they were the postmasters for awhile. They stayed out there for four years and then moved to Prince George. Which would be around 1918. My dad started a trucking business here he was, first or second person in Prince George to start trucking. He carried on that until he, just before he died in when he was eighty-three years old.

Kirk: What was the name of this trucking business?

Jim: Just, what did he call it? Van Somer's Trucking I think. Yeah. He was always known, was never known by a, his name was Charlie, Charles Van Somer. They called either Chass or Van, but mostly he was known as just Van. Very well known. He started the first trucking when they when they opened up the highway the Hart Highway up as far as Summit Lake. He had that he hauled all the freight for the Hudson Bay and the trappers and the Indians that that used the Crooked river as a, as a supply route.

Kirk: So he actually did that kind of work before you did then?

Jim: Well yeah, but not on the Rivers. Just on the, no just on the highway which wasn't much of a highway in those days. I remember it took him sometimes three an half days to get from here to Summit Lake.

Kirk: From Prince to Summit Lake?

Jim: The last three miles, the last three and a half miles were sometimes took him a couple of days had to hire a team of horses and a farmer out there to hook on to the front of the truck and get through. In fact we got pictures of that some place around here.

Kirk: Oh you do! That would be interesting too. (Pardon me?) That would be interesting too.

Jim: I think my sister had the picture, I don't think I have any of that.

Kirk: But I find it hard to imagine that it would take three and half days to get from Prince George Summit Lake by truck.

Jim: Well you could get to from here to where just this side of where Rosette's are. From there on that last three and half miles was terrible. Ah, of course you had to go over the old road there was what they call the portage, the, the Giscome Portage road. From that last three and half miles just this side of Rosette's. The old road was in on the other side on the, in behind Rosette's where Rosette's is now. But it took a long time. But he did that for several years, well a lot of years in fact. And he had the, he did general freight hauling around Prince George too, everything in fact. Hauled cattle, horses, what ever, lumber, log, not logs hardly any logs but mostly lumber.

Kirk: So, he ever have some favorite stories that he told you as a boy?

Jim: Not really, he wasn't very communicative as a dad. He had a great sense of humor, never very many stories, nothing, I'd like to have known more of what he did up in the Yukon but we never did really find out what, how he got there or how he met my mother or anything else. They have a little street named after him in Prince George here. Van Somer Street up on, close to the, under Connaught Hill somewhere anyhow. Heading up Connaught Hill, Cranbrook Hill.

Kirk: Yup that way, yeah. I'll just pause here for a second.

Jim: My school years in Prince George were up to grade eight and quit and went to, I think I told you I went to, at the, I even forget the name of the hill again now.

Kirk: Not far from Carney Hill I think it was.

Jim: Not Connaught I just said it once, Cranbrook Hill, Cranbrook sawmills is what we called the sawmills.

Kirk: So…

Jim: After that I, I got out of Cranbrook sawmills, was there about a year. I went to work I think I told you this too, Pitman's music store down Prince George. Stayed there for two or three years and then I finally got started river freighting, trapping and did that for quit a few years.

Kirk: Do you ever remember some of the election campaigns when you were a young man?

Jim: Not really, no I wasn't very interested in the election campaigns it, one of my, one of my best friend's dad was Harry Perry I don't know if you've heard of him or not but he was into politics pretty heavy and in fact he was a speaker of the house over in London England one time. And, he was a liberal Member of Parliament for this area for awhile. In fact he was a, he was a mayor of Prince George for awhile too. No I wasn't too much interested in politics. I am allowed. Wasn't really around enough you know we were, that Summit Lake, up on the trap line and didn't really get to it.

Kirk: So how about, how about some of the social events, the fun things, you known didn't involve work, can you tell me anything about that?

Jim: Not very much, I wasn't much of a social guy, I didn't dance, never went to parties hardly.

Kirk: I know at one time you mentioned on the river catching a big Dolly Vardens, you know fishing.

Jim: We did a lot of fishing all right. Both of us. My wife is a great fisher, fisherman, fisher way lady or what ever. (laughter).

Kirk: So I imagine you did a quite a bit of fishing on the Crooked River and the Finley and…

Jim: On the Crooked yeah. The Crooked River was, used to be really good Rainbow fishing, lots of Dollies. That place that you were talking about here one day with the ah, at Livingston fishing hole that was a real good spot for fishing, maybe it still is I don't know. Ah, Rainbow, Dolly Varden, big Dolly Varden. A lot of the Crooked was good for big Dolly Varden, especially farther down like around Davie Lake, Kerry Lake, Fish Creek and before you get into the McLeod, McLeod Lake. And of course we went fishing out from here quite a lot to different places like Willow River, Bowron. There were a lot of little lakes around Summit Lake you might have known some of them too, that’s ah, were always good for Rainbow Trout, smaller trout. The Finley River itself was not a good river for fishing but the Parsnip was a good river for fishing but it was a pretty clear river. But both of them anywhere there's a creek coming into was always good fishing, especially for Arctic Grayling. Once you got past the mouth of the Pack River Arctic Grayling never came up any farther than Tudyah Lake for some reason. Cause they, I guess they like cold water mostly but ah, but any creek coming into the Parsnip or the Finley was just full of Arctic Grayling, and lots of Rainbow and Dolly Varden.

Kirk: So what was the first car or truck you ever owned? You know describe the event leading to that and getting it.

Jim: I can't remember. I think it was… I don't think I ever owned a car before I was married and I didn't get married until I was thirty-seven years old in 1949. But I remember the first; the first one was ah, a Ford. I guess you'd call it a sedan. Don't know too much about it even, I known it was brown.

Kirk: But you were around thirty-seven when you got it?

Jim: Somewhere around in that I guess, yeah. No I mean I was thirty-seven years old when I got married. I don't remember the year the car was. I drove a quite a few before that, but I don't think I ever owned one. I used to borrow one from this Jack Duncan I was telling you about, that helped build boats at Summit Lake. He had a, he had a little Ford Coupe with a rumble seat. What year that was I don't know. Ok, I went to work for Dick Corless in 1936 so; it would be in those years somewhere that model. And I've owned a quite a few cars sense then, mostly well when I trapping I had no use for a car or freighting even. I mean freighting on the river I didn't have much use for a car. I drove my dad's trucks a lot. His first two trucks were Ford model "T's" then he went to Ford model "A's" and that had been quite a long while ago. Well in the twenties I guess he had had the Ford model "T's", and then when the model "A's" come out he had he owned he owned one Chev but mostly Ford trucks. I drove for him a quite a bit before I had anything of my own.

Kirk: So have you always live in the Prince George area and Fort Ware area? You know right in….

Jim: Yeah. I've always called Prince George my hometown when like puddles. When I started to work for Dick Corless in 1936 then I started trapping. Ah, but I was out most of the time. Summer was always on the river. Winters were out trapping but anytime we came in we called Prince George home. After we got married we stayed at Summit Lake for ten or twelve years. Then we moved to town and we stayed in here for a few, few years trucking out of here and then moved back to Summit Lake. Still trucking and then move ah, well we didn't move we were still at Summit Lake but when I started working for the Forest Service on the Williston Lake. And then in 1971 move up to Fort Ware stayed there for about sixteen years and then moved to here. We've been here ever sense. But this has been my hometown, yeah.

Kirk: In your years of work did you ever have serious accident or…?

Jim: No. Came awful close to having one one time. I was hauling steel with my truck and a high boy trailer between here and Vancouver. Went to Vancouver and loaded up with twenty-three tons of steel. All I had was a flat deck and was mostly I-beams and flat steel something like that. I lost my brakes coming down Hundred-Mile hill. At its, you know where Hundred Mile? Just near the top of the hill its, I lost my breaks completely and I rode the truck all the way down that, the hill and through the town doing I don't know how many miles an hour. Part way down I, I thought well I better jump because I am not gonna make it. But I thought if I jump I am gonna kill myself anyhow and maybe kill a few other people with the truck on the lose. I went by a grader and a car and I still had air I kept my air horn going all the way through the town. Luckily there was nobody in my road I was able to go right through town, right through the middle of town and part way up the hill on the other side where I stopped. Pretty shook up. But that time I thought I was gonna die all right because I thought there was no way I was gonna make it down that hill. I must have doing a hundred an, through the town I think and if I had stopped or anything that steel would have just wiped the cab right off the truck. That was the closest call I ever I had I think. But I never got hurt. Soon as I stopped a cop come up behind me and asked me if I was all right. I said "I am a little shaky but I am alright." He said "well I am gonna have to have to charge you for having no brakes." (Laughter) I had brakes it, a funny thing it was just that the hill was too long and I was using the brakes a little too much, which is. Long sloping hill start with, use the brakes and what happened was that we didn't have brakes like they are the modern brakes now a days you didn't have engine brakes. I had air all right but the brake lining just got too hot and did what they call heated and got too hot and wouldn't hold. Just like you had no brakes what ever. Break lining and everything was there, good, I didn't even have to change the brake lining it was just that they got to hot and wouldn't hold. Which wasn't an uncommon thing in those days.

Kirk: So when you got charged by the police did you have to pay a fine?

Jim: Well he told me to just to go get my, my brakes fixed. Actually I didn't have to go to court or anything on that. But I went to a brake shop and they looked them over and everything. Everything was all right but. I went to a café to have a cup of coffee while I was getting the brakes fixed while the truck was in the shop and ah, a waitress asked me, she said "did you see that crazy son of a gun come through town here a little while ago?" I said, "yeah I was there." I had another really close call with with boating one time on what we call a long canyon up north of Fort Ware on the Finley. I had my whole family with me, Louise, my son and his wife, my two sons and their girl friends, and the wife. And we're going through this, this canyon. I was steering and I came out of an eighty and hit a real fast current on a curve and twisted my engine right off the stern of the boat and it was just dangling there on its cables. Luckily it didn't didn't come right off in there, go in the river, but the current we're. It was just a little narrow place in the river. the current threw us into the rock wall on the side in an eddy. We were safe enough there. It just held us there though but there was no way we could get out of there. I thought there wasn't, but I was able to get the engine back on the boat and then I couldn't start it and steer out of there ah. We didn't know really what to do for awhile. I noticed this surge in the ah, the water, this eddy this pushing the boat up against this side of the rock. Anyway one one place in the rock that was sharp pointed and I noticed that it was pushing the side of that boat in and eventually it would have caved the boat in. So I hollered at my two sons they were out on the rock holding a with a bow rope around the rock. I said, "soon as I holler you guys jump in the boat and take your poles and push this.. the bow of the boat out into the current. I didn't know what was gonna happen, whether the current would catch the bow of the boat and flip it or, but it was the only thing we could do otherwise we would have swamped and lost everybody. But as luck would have it as soon as they pushed the boat out, did exactly what I told them to, the current caught the boat and swung us right around up down stream again and there we were…..

End of tape "3" side "B"

End of interview.