Cariboo Gold Rush Story
By: Donald E. Waite
Binding: Trade Paper
Size: 8.5" X 5.5"
Publication Date: 1988
PR Highlights: The gold rush days in the Cariboo.
PHOTO Highlights: B/w historical photos throughout.
Description: These vivid stories describe the devastation of the Indians by the whiteman's disease, Billy Barker the heart of the Cariboo, and John Cameron, who buried his wife four times. The rugged men and women of BC's own gold rush stride off the impossible trails and out of the incredible scenery of the late 1800's in this stirring account of the gold strikes, the gigantic gains, and the strike-outs. These vivid stories describe the devastation of the Indians by the white man's disease, Billy Barker, "the heart of the Cariboo," and John Cameron, who buried his wife four times. This book began in the fall of 1975 when I made my initial trip, alone and by car, to Barkerville to talk to the descendants of early miners and to photograph some of the original gold mining sites. In order to capture the same thrill of adventure experienced by gold seekers, I wanted to sleep out under the stars. As my arrival at Barkerville occurred after dark, I left the main highway and followed a dirt road in search of a place to bed down away from vehicular noises. A short time after dozing off, I was awakened by some loud banging of tin cans which sent me scurrying for the safety of my car. I turned on the headlights to discover that the noisemakers were a couple of black bears. I had camped in the hill overlooking the town dump.
En route to the one time gold capital of the world, I stopped off at the museum at Clinton and departed from this treasure house with the understanding that I would pay the curator a longer visit on my way home. As it turned out, I found Barkerville so intriguing that I overstayed my alotted time, resulting in a non-stop drive homeward which had me passing through Clinton in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, other commitments took priority over the over the research and several years elapsed before I was able to carry on with the project which became this book. I then realized the value of the interviews from that 1975 trip.
Former Mountie Don Waite, makes his living as an aerial and commercial photographer in Maple Ridge. His interest in the Cariboo, Fraser Canyon, and Fraser Valley, subjects of this trilogy, was sparked by the awesome mountainscapes and felt by police assignments which uncovered some dusty archives and irresistible reports. To substantiate these, he tramped the terrible terrain himself.