Thursday, November 26, 2009

Looking for Louie: L.A. Blanc from Barkerville, B.B.

L. A. Blanc, photographer, last seen in
Barkerville, B.C. still missing.

“Tis a Grand (Christmas) Adventure is moving along nicely. We already have reservations for performances and the Wells Hotel has told us they are offering 10% off rooms that weekend, and, they are having a big Christmas dinner on December 12th. The Pooley Street Café, by the way, is under new management and doing well.

Whenever Amy and I travel we spend time checking out various theatres, and in most cases, try to further our research on Barkerville and Cariboo people.  What could the connection be with say Tombstone? Well, it is clearly evident that there existed at the time of the various gold and silver rushes a “Gold Rush Society”. People followed the various rushes from California to Australia to Oregon, the Fraser River, Idaho, Montana and the Cariboo.  Consider that these were often taking place one after the other.  So we have the outlaw Boone Helm who is found in Idaho and California committing murders in BC only to be hung in Virginia City Montana in 1864.  Bannack, Montana, just over the hill and down the road from Virginia City sprang up in the fall of 1862, just like Barkerville.
            In Tombstone we had dinner in the café that was begun and owned by Nellie Cashman.  Nellie was one of the first rushers to the Cassiar in the early 1870s and may have been in Barkerville as she was “well known to her friends” at that time.  Then she heads for Arizona where she opened several restaurants, and then up to the Klondike. 
            In Elko, Nevada we find reports of a dozen “Cariboo men”, including camel entrepreneur Frank Laumeister, involved in the new silver and gold rush in the late 1860s around White Pine. So folks moved around more than we might expect, given the difficulties of travel.
            Some years ago Ron Young of L.A. Blanc studios, heard that Louie Blanc may have been buried in Tombstones Boot Hill.  It is an intriguing story as Blanc disappears from BC along with most of his negatives and is never heard of again.  Well, according to local historians and research in the Tombstone archives and Boot Hill, Blanc is not there.  We could find no reference to him and no one there had heard of him.  The same story was told in Virginia City, Nevada.  So he remains a mystery.  One day he might be found, along with his collection of Cariboo photographs.
            The research and search for these folks will never end but there is always another story to be found.
            More later on the theatres.
Amy in the Tombstone archives searching in census records for Louie Blanc.
Les More's grave. "Here lies Lester More, 4 slugs from a 44, no Les no More.
The Boot Hill cemetery.