Saturday, December 19, 2009

‘Twas a Grand Christmas Adventure in Barkerville




Photo Richard Wright: One of the best things about the Old Fashioned Christmas is shopping at Mason and Daly or C.Strouss.

Our foray into Christmas entertainment at Barkerville for the annual Old Fashioned Christmas was a real success.  We did three shows, with our Sunday afternoon show being sold out to a standing-room-only crowd in the Methodist Church.  Matt Quick did a great job of adapting his one-man “Tis a Grand Adventure” to a Christmas theme. Marcello Sequeira, who has been with us 5 years now, stepped in as Stage Manager and did a great job of recording sound cues to fit the seasonal adaptation.
            The only downside was the drop in temperature. Saturday was about -10, Sunday -27 in the early morning and then Monday it was -35.  No sleigh rides that day! Fortunately we had not planned on shows that day.
            For a while Matt and I thought it would be just the two of us, as Marcello’s flight did not land at Quesnel, but Williams Lake, 100 miles south.  And, the RCMP was threatening to close Highway 97.  After many calls he managed to get the next flight to Quesnel and early the next morning he and Matt arrived and off we went.

            Photo Richard Wright: Matt as Ed Howman in the Methodist Church.


Next week it is down to Vancouver for Xmas and the New Year and then auditions for our next season, cast and crew meetings and away we go on our 7th year at Theatre Royal, Barkerville. Stay tuned for cast and crew news.

 On another note, research for the shows and other writing is moving along nicely, with some real interesting connections being made between Cariboo and U.S. gold and silver strikes.  It is becoming clear that many of these miners were a peripatetic bunch. California to Cariboo, Cariboo to White Pine, Nevada in 1869, then back to the Omineca rush of 1870, then down to Tombstone for the great silver rush of 1878, then, if they were not too old or dead, off to the Klondyke.  And throughout, the same names keep cropping up.  I am working on another great story from Tombstone titled “Who shot the Sheriff”, but just as I get it framed more information comes in.  Just yesterday a thick envelope arrived with the U.S. prison records of our protaginist, and the story flip-flopped. Back to digging and peeling back the layers of the onion.

What’s the book show, the drama, for 2010 everyone wants to know? Well, we have some ideas but they are not yet set in stone. There are so many stories to tell, so many characters, so many stories that need to be told.  By January we will know.



Photo Richard Wright: Prison documents open new doors.


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© Richard T Wright 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

From Barkerville: Wyatt Earp - a Cariboo miner’s avenger





 When Tombstone’s Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday and cohorts gunned down Frank Stilwell at the Tucson trail station in March 1882 they were avenging not only Wyatt’s brother Morgan but also Williams Creek, Cariboo miner Col. John Van Houten. Was Earp aware of his role? Who knows - but it seems likely.
            Van Houten’s story and the Cariboo/Tombstone connection begins in Victoria, B.C., 1861. Our story of finding the Houten, Stilwell, Earp connection begins in Tombstone, October 2009.
            Our story is relatively simple. Amy Newman and I operate the Theatre Royal, Barkerville in the gold fields of British Columbia. While combining some time in the sun with theatre research we were taken with the town of Tombstone, Arizona. Unless you are completely out of touch with western history you know that the often told and much repeated Gunfight at OK Corral occurred here. Well, not actually in the corral, but an alley really.
            As historical theatre producers for the Theatre Royal, Barkerville, what intrigued us was the authenticity, and in some cases the histrionics, the theatrical aspect and the fact that visitors were learning while enjoying themselves here.  The town offers everything from hard rock mining tours, stagecoach rides and the Bird Cage Theatre, through the gunfights and a shooting gallery to restaurants like the Nellie Cashman house (a Cassiar miner buried in Victoria) to western art galleries. It was an interesting blend of history and the entrepreneurial spirit.
            “What we need,” I tossed off lightly, “is to find that the Earps and Doc Holliday traveled to Barkerville. That would make a good link for our American neighbours.” In general what I meant was that we needed to show connections between the gold and silver rushes that took place in North American between the California Rush of 1849, the Fraser and Cariboo from 1858-1862, and the rushes to Deadwood, Dakota and Arizona in the 1870s.  It is clear that many of the men and women involved traveled from one to the other. The glint of gold in my research pan came when I returned home and spent several hours with newspapers and databases. There was a direct connection –  a connection separated by only one man and three years.
            The rush 1879 to Goose Flats began with Ed Schieffelin, an Army scout at nearby Fort Huachuca. In his spare time he prospected the surrounding hills. He was told that the only rock he would find would be his tombstone. Schieffelin had, like so many miners, been wandering the usual route from Nevada to California, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.  It is a long story but in 1879 he found a silver vein here in the heart of Apache country that led to the founding of several mines. Once again the rush was on – to Tombstone.
            Fortune seekers and roughnecks poured in from mining camps and cities all over the west.  The two Stilwell brothers, for instance, came from Iowa. Jack was an Army scout and young Frank was a labourer, with a pathological streak of violence.  And from somewhere in British Columbia or the US, former Cariboo miner and Victoria, B.C. merchant Colonel John Van Houten also rushed to Goose Flats, and his death.
            Van Houten enters our story in Victoria B.C. in 1861 with a notice of bankruptcy.  John Van Houten ran a butcher shop at Government and Johnson Streets but clearly business, or his management, was poor and on March 21 a notice appeared in the British Colonist that Van Houten was dissolving his business.
            By the following summer Van Houten was on the Cariboo’s Williams Creek and purchased his mining license #9524 on July 13, 1862. At this time the gold producing claims were focused at the headwaters, around Richfield. Billy Barker and John A. Cameron had not yet hit the lead and the famous Barkerville, downstream below a small canyon, was a year from its birth and two years from being named.
            This mining license is the only record found. Barkerville curator Bill Quackenbush did some further checking and wrote: “The name Houten was checked … nothing directly associated [other than the mining license].  I tried Hooten and Hooton and found references to these names … but not the one you are looking for.  The Hooten and Hooton names were all 20th century.”
            Van Houten left the Cariboo and next surfaced in the U.S. in 1864 where his son Charles was born. John had married Mary, a Scot, about a year earlier but we have no place for neither the marriage nor birth, nor for his next three children – all born in the U.S. 
            In the mid 1870s the family moved to Nanaimo, B.C. though again the date is vague.  We do know that in 1878 or 1879 he was caught up in the rush to Goose Flats where Schieffelin had struck silver, left his family in Nanaimo and headed for the desert. Once there he somehow became interested in the infamous Brunckow Mine.
            Fredrick Brunckow, a graduate of the University of Westphalia, Germany, scholar and scientist, had opened this mine. Van Houten too was a German. Although it is also unclear where he came by his rank of Colonel it predates the civil war, so may have come from his native Germany and we could conjecture that they knew each other - except Brunckow had been killed in 1860 by his workers who ran him through with a drill steel and threw him down a well. Two other Anglos were also found dead in the now famously haunted Brunckow cabin. (It was this cabin that Schieffelin used as a base for his prospecting.)
            The person to report these deaths was one William Williams.  There were three men by that name in the Cariboo goldfields.  One was a rough character that regularly beat women and spent some time in the B.C. penitentiary.  Is there a connection? Who knows?
            The Brunckow mine was beginning to gather a dark history of death. Reportedly 24 men have been killed there. Somehow Houten became involved in the mine when attempting to locate a claim.  It was a rough time in the territory.  Men were desperate for wealth. Claims were jumped, bodies found and the Apaches blamed. Violence stalked the land like a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western.
           On November 9th , 1879 Col. John Van Houten had a run-in with some miners or claim jumpers.  What precipitated the disagreement is lost, but Van Houten was brutally beaten in the face with a rock until he died.  Two men were charged with the murder, James Cassidy and Frank Stilwell. They were acquitted, but the charge hung on them like a funeral shroud. (Somehow the Victoria, B.C. based British Colonist got word of the story, so it seems likely some other British Columbians were in Tombstone.)



            Stilwell had come to the area with his brother “Commanche Jack” Stilwell in 1877. By some accounts Tom Horn accompanied them. Horn was later hung for murder while acting as a rancher’s enforcer. For a while Stilwell worked as a miner and teamster.  As soon as he arrived he killed a Mexican cook named Jesus Bega, supposedly over a cup of coffee. He was acquitted.
            In the meantime justice had ridden into Tombstone. The third group in our Greek tragedy arrived in Tombstone by wagon on Dec. 1st, 1879, just short weeks after the death of Houten. Accompanied by their wives and common-law wives, James, Virgil and Wyatt Earp entered stage right.  Their older brother Morgan followed a few months later.
            There can be little doubt that the Earps heard of the Van Houten. The brutal killing was just a month earlier and there had been a trial. Certainly they quickly found out who Frank Stilwell was, as he stalked the Earps like a murderous carrion raven.
            However, Stilwell, with two murder charges, rumours of robbing stagecoaches and as a known cattle rustler with the Clanton gang, inexplicably seemed like the ideal candidate for a law officer. In 1881 Cochise Country Sheriff Johnny Behan (a cow-boy apologist and supporter) appointed him deputy sheriff. But the tragedy’s first episode was over.  All the participants had made their entrance when in October 1880 Virgil Earp was appointed Tombstone city marshall. Wyatt had previously been a lawman in Dodge City and he and Morgan were recruited as “special deputy policemen.”   Further, their friend Doc (James Henry) Holliday, the consumptive dentist, a gambler and a man handy with guns, rode in from the shimmering desert heat.



Doc Holliday


            In a new scene Frank Stilwell, just after being fired as deputy sheriff, and Pete Spence, a Bisbee saloon owner, robbed the Tombstone-Bisbee stage of $3000, September 8, 1881. They were arrested by Virgil Earp, but once again acquitted.
      The Earp/Holliday faction now had several run-ins with a group of cattle-rustling toughs locally referred to as cow-boys. They centered around two families, the Clantons and McLaurys, and were led by Johnny Ringo and Curly Bill Brochius. Frank Stilwell was one of this gang. Not an insignificant factor is that the Earp side was northerners and the cow-boys southerners. (Even today there is a small confederate flag on Ike Clanton’s Boothill grave.) The story has been told many times in films, books, magazines and even the web. Suffice it to say the animosity culminated in the gunfight at the OK Corral, on October 26th 1881 when the Earp/Holliday faction tried to disarm the Clanton/McLaury’s in compliance with a Judge Begbie-like gun ordinance.  Billy Clanton, 19, Tom McLaury, 28, and Frank McLaury, 33, were killed. Virgil, Morgan and Doc, all in their 30s, were wounded.

            Clanton supporter Sheriff Behan arrested the Earps for murder, but they were acquitted. The feud continued. Months later Virgil was wounded and crippled in an attempted assassination. Then Morgan Earp was shot in the back and killed while playing billiards with Wyatt, March 18th, 1881. He was 31-years-old. Eyewitnesses said Frank Stilwell had been seen running from the shooting.

"Oh make no mistake, it’s not revenge he’s after—It’s a reckoning"
Doc Holliday, referring to Wyatt, in the film Tombstone


            
Wyatt Earp

The entire Earp clan, Doc Holliday and friends formed a posse to protect Virgil and his wife as they took Morgan’s body by train to their parents family home in California. There was no railroad to Tombstone, so they rode north to the Benson depot. Here they heard that Stilwell, Ike "Old Man" Clanton and two other cowboys were waiting for them just up the line in Tucson.
            The whole Earp party took the train to Tucson. Wyatt later said he found Frank Stilwell and Ike Clanton lying on a flat car waiting in ambush. Wyatt hit him with a pointblank shotgun blast. Frank Stilwell was found in the morning with shotgun wounds and three bullet holes. At age 25 Frank Stilwell had paid the price. It had only taken two and a half years, and the Earp’s form of frontier justice. When Wyatt’s shotgun barked out a double load of buckshot in revenge for brother Morgan it also spoke for Mexican cook Jesus Baga and Cariboo miner Col. John van Houten.

Boothill... Boothill...
So cold... so still...
There they lay side by side,
the killers that died,
in the Gunfight at O.K. Corral.

Theme from the film "Gunfight At The O.K. Corral" (1957)
(Ned Washington / Dimitri Tiomkin)  Frankie Laine (Film Soundtrack) - 1957

            In a coda to the story van Houten is one of the few stone grave markers in a sea of iron crosses and piles of desert stone in Boothill cemetery, Tombstone. His wife and family settled in Nanaimo, B.C. where the sons became druggists and where there is now a Van Houten building.
            The Earps and Holliday left Arizona after their “Vendetta Ride” that saw a few more cow-boys killed, including Curly Bill Brocius. Doc died in 1887, in Colorado, of tuberculosis; Virgil settled in California and Wyatt became part of the Alaska goldrush before settling in California. He died in 1929.
            Frank Stilwell killed Jesus Baga, Cariboo miner van Houten and Morgan Earp. All were avenged by the team of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. This time Stilwell was not acquitted.
           
            There is second Cariboo miner who made Tombstone his home, until he shot a local constable and a lynch mob came looking for him.  That, is another story.



            When Amy and I visited Tombstone, Boothill was a “for sure” stop.
We visited the gift shop, talked to local historian Ben Traywick and walked through the 500 or so graves, many of which Traywick has found.  Most were marked with a simple iron cross inscribed with only a name and the year of death. I took 30 photos, many duplicates, focusing on the OK Corral deaths and the few that were not iron crosses, and a couple of Chinese graves.  As I was writing this article I looked in my photo files for the McLaury graves, and right next to it was a photo of a simple tombstone, white, with a triangular top.  It reads: Van Houten 1879.
At the time I had no idea who he was. I had no idea I had taken the photo.

Too bad his marker is not more complete.





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Friday, December 4, 2009

Tombstone, Arizona as a Mirror to Barkerville

Tombstone, Arizona as a mirror to Barkerville, B.C.



Stephen Keith as Doc Holliday with Virgil and Wyatt Earp. Amy Newman photo




 After several weeks roaming around the American southwest Amy Newman and I drove into Tombstone, Arizona. Our goal was to combine time in the sun with research. Unless you are completely out of touch with western history you know that the mythologized Gunfight at OK Corral occurred here. Well, not actually in the corral, but an alley really. From the outset we both agreed we were taken with this town just north of the Mexican border.
            In the 1930s Tombstone, now branded  “the town to tough to die” was suffering the fate of most gold and silver towns.  Tough maybe, but it was about to die.  As locals told us, a movie came to town to film the gunfight story and someone said, “You folks are sitting on a tourist gold mine.”  The film was likely Frontier Marshall starring Randolph Scott in 1939, or My Darling Clementine, the famous John Ford 1946 western, starring Henry Fonda as Earp.  The slogan “to tough” comes from a 1942 film, Tombstone: The Town Too Tough to Die, starring Richard Dix as Wyatt Earp.
            The silver lead was followed and businesses set to work and created a town focused on the old west, and specifically gunfights.  And with good reason.  The 1880 town sat on top of several silver mines and murder and mayhem was rampant, as we will see.  The rebirth began with Helldorado Days in 1929, a now yearly event that attracts thousands of old west buffs to a weekend of shooting. It comes from a miner’s quote that, "instead of finding their ‘Eldorado’ of riches, many men ended up washing dishes or other menial jobs, finding instead, their ‘Helldorado’”.
            Amy remarks that, “While Tombstone has the status of a National Historic Landmark, it is wise to understand that you are not entering a museum, as you are in Barkerville. Being a real, living town, there is no fee to walk the streets and look around, as there is in Barkerville. But on the other hand, there is a charge for practically everything you may want to do, aside from wander the streets. If you want to take an underground mine tour it will cost you $12. If you want to visit the historic Bird Cage Theatre Museum it's $10. If you want to see a re-enactment of the "Gunfight at the OK Corral" (who doesn't?) it's $10. You can fire a handgun for $3, see the world's largest rose bush for $2, visit the famous Boothill Cemetery for a donation and sit and eat your lunch and have a beer while re-enactors shoot each other! There are galleries and clothing stores, cafes and hotels. It's a grand time, to be sure. Sure, it costs money being there. But what holiday doesn't?” 

Watch out - it's cocked! Richard Wright photo.

 Arguably the most famous graveyard in the world, “Boot Hill” asks for a $2.00 donation to get a guide to graves and runs a gift shop. Their revenue tops $115,000 a year. Visitation to Tombstone exceeds 600,000 – roughly six times that of Barkerville.
            Gunfights are a regular occurrence now, but you pay for them. At the Corral Tombstone’s Main event: "A tragedy at the OK Corral", a stage play by Stephen Keith, presents the cow-boys' perspective of the events leading up to the shootout and is presented inside the actual OK Corral. [The word cow-boys was new at the time and referred to a loose gang of rustlers and toughs who terrorized the town.] The actors, particularly Wyatt and Doc Holliday are rather good. Everyone in town seems to have an opinion about the gunfight and its outcome and now 130 years later there are still web-based argument going on about whether Billy Clanton had a gun and what position his arm was in when Holliday shot him.
            Even the OK Corral ticket seller noted that none of the original Earp gang wore the long black coats so popular today. (The same as the get-up worn by a former Barkerville manager.) Virgil had just got out of bed and had his gun in his pants, not a holster. Doc only carried one pistol not two and he did not have a “huckleberry glass” on his belt. And those red sashes the modern cow-boys wear?  Never happened. They were the idea of a costume designer for the movie “Tombstone” who liked the sash Wild Bill Hickok sometimes wore. Earp did not carry a long Buntline special and in fact did not like to use deadly force. 
            It made us wonder about our own costuming in Barkerville. How authentic are we? Everyone wants to wear the big, wide hat. Some early miners did, but check out the photos and there are as many Glengarry bonnets and Welsh caps as big hats.
            What also impressed us with the OK Corral actors was their staying in character. Wyatt remained Wyatt on the street and Doc was Doc.  Only the Earps’ niece, who was a girlfriend of cow-boy Clanton, broke character and appeared in civies. That took the edge off for us.
            Amy had a chance to meet with the actors portraying the Earps and Doc Holliday. “The actor portraying Holliday, Stephen Keith, was particularly good. He caught me up right away with his charismatic presence and line delivery. After quickly introducing myself and telling them how thrilled I was to be there, I told them about Barkerville. I said it would be great if we could find some kind of link between Wyatt Earp and the Cariboo – then maybe we (Newman and Wright) could bring these guys up to Theatre Royal sometime to do some kind of show. Wouldn't that be a hoot – or perhaps I should say a shoot? I asked them if they were all working actors – as opposed to amateurs just having fun and volunteering their time. 
            “ Keith replied with a laugh, ‘Well, we are working right now!’ 
“After telling them about our shows at Theatre Royal, they were all enthusiastic about the place and one of them remarked, "Yeah, we'd love to come to Barkersville!" 
I gently corrected them: "It's actually Barkerville – no 'S.' It's a common mistake", I said. "Everyone thinks it's 'Barkersville.”

The ages meet. Richard Wright photo.

The  OK Corral audience had come for a history lesson as well as entertainment. Sure, it was focused on violence but what story or movie or TV show isn’t?  So why do we not talk about the hanging of James Barry, the knife fights at Antler Creek and the shooting at Maloney’s road house on Bald Mountain or the killings of the three merchants by outlaw Boone Helm, who two years later was hung by vigilantes in Virginia City, Montana.  Great stories all. And they tell the whole story of our goldrush. We in Barkerville tend to avoid them.
            What Tombstone and the many writers and screenwriters have done is take the story of a misunderstood gunfight, by some accounts a multiple murder, and turned it into a myth.  It is the myth that is being sold, along with the Bird Cage Theatre museum and the hard rock mine tour.
            Some folks think there are too many barkers on the streets of Tombstone, but historic newspapers indicate this was the norm.  “Margueritas – two dollars all day,” sings one woman and “Next gunfight at 11:45”, says a heavy-set bearded man in period clothing.  He is not pushy and is willing to chat about the town and his life when we stop.
            At Barkerville we do the same on the Theatre Royal boardwalk, and the street actors do the same when encouraging folks to come to a “dissertation.”
            The driver of a plywood stagecoach insists it is small because “it is authentic – people were smaller then.” Riiiight! The other Concord stages do a good business, in part because it is a town tour as well.  Drivers wear a mic, which we observe could be hidden much better with modern equipment.


A tired team pulls a plywood stagecoach outside the O.K. Corral. Richard Wright photo.

            The Bird Cage theatre host seems more interested in pointing out the bullet holes (146) than talking about the old actors, but it’s likely what most people want to hear, that and the fact that the Bird Cages were actually cribs for prostitution. The 14 cages gave rise to the song we often perform at Theatre Royal, “She’s only a bird in a gilded cage”, written after a conversation occurred between performer Eddie Foy and songwriter Arthur Lamb concerning the ladies who “performed” here.
            The Bird Cage is not an operating theatre, to our dismay.  It opened in 1881 but when the ground water began seeping into the mines in the late 1880s the town went bust, the Bird Cage Theatre along with it. The non-stop poker game ended and the building was sealed up in 1889. We are told the building was not opened again until it was purchased in 1934. The new owners found that almost nothing had been disturbed in all those years. So the $10 we pay is for a self-guided tour of the theatre as it was in 1889.  The tour ends in the gift shop, of course. But it was indeed a window into an 1880s theatre.


The Bird Cage Theatre museum. Richard Wright photo.

            So in summary, as historical theatre producers, what intrigued us with Tombstone was the authenticity, and in some cases the histrionics, the theatrical aspect and the fact that visitors were learning while enjoying themselves.  The town offers everything from hard rock mining tours, stagecoach rides and the Bird Cage Theatre, through the gunfights and a shooting gallery to restaurants like the Nellie Cashman house (a Cassiar miner buried in Victoria) to western art galleries. It was an interesting blend of history and the entrepreneurial spirit.
            Amy: “What was so fascinating to me about Tombstone, was the intricate balance of commerce and culture that we saw everywhere. The dusty streets were packed with stores, trolley cars, museums, restaurants, art galleries, stagecoaches, venues for gunfights – you name it. All that was needed were some live animals being herded up the street and some really bad language being shouted across the street and it would have been like a scene out of "DEADWOOD" (HBO series dear to the hearts of many Barkervillians).”

We got many ideas in Tombstone. Here's one. Richard Wright photo.

Evidently this blend was not always evident.  The site is a National Historic Landmark and in 2004 the NHL governing body threatened to take away the designation if certain criteria were not met. Clearly it is difficult to blend a modern town, and businesses that have to profit, with a historic site. But now, for us, it seemed to work.  The main street is now dirt and closed to traffic and the signage and building facades are more sympathetic. Their statement of significance has defined the “period of significance” to a broader period. It has expanded from the narrow five minutes of the gunfight to extend from it’s founding in 1878 to 1930 when the county seat was moved to Bisbee.
            It came about by enrolling the community in the planning of a long-term restoration plan for the Historic District.  Businesses and government and interested citizens united in a plan that will see historic Allen Street become a linear historic park. Resurfacing the street was a first step and it is now a dirt street once again closed to traffic.
           A NHL report says that because of the community involvement “there has occurred a renewed spirit of community support for the concept of both halting degradation of the NHL as well as eventually meeting high standards of restoration."
            We try to remember when the last community meeting was held to focus on an inclusive plan for our BC historic sites.
            Amy: “What I’d love to see is a cultural exchange between the two towns. I would like folks in Tombstone to see the connection to another gold rush town way up in B.C., Canada. I would love for them to see what we do and how we do it, in order for them to experience the idea that authenticity can sell, too. They would marvel at our location – the mountains, the trees, the heat and the cold that we experience through the seasons. I would also like to see some of our friends in Barkerville visit Tombstone, as we did, to learn what they do – to see how the town has come together to create such a niche for itself. We could use that kind of myth making, too. And to experience the endless expanse of desert – the brilliance which the sun brings to the area, day after day, all through the year. That it was so sunny, so warm at the end of October was a revelation to me. This kind of exchange would be a great learning experience for both of these similar – yet very different – historic regions.”
            For Amy, “Being in Tombstone was a real thrill. It was a town full of exciting things to do and see and experience. It felt as if the whole place was humming with life. Funny – when the place is named what it is and its fame today is based solely on the killing of one group of men by another group of men. The original event brought pain and death to real people when it happened in 1881 – this at a time when Barkerville had already had its heyday in the 1860s. By 1881, Barkerville was becoming a town of ghosts. But in Tombstone they have made a town famous for the all-American myth of "The Good Guys vs. The Bad Guys." Well, it seems that we as a people love the concept of good and evil, black vs. white. We are not that fond of grey vs. grey, though the more one looks into the story of this famous gunfight, it does seem as though there could be a lot of grey involved, depending on your point of view.”
            “What we need,” I tossed off lightly as we left, “is to find that the Earps and Doc Holliday traveled to Barkerville. That would make a good link for our American neighbours.” It’s not that we need another story or myth. In general what I meant was that we needed to show connections between the gold and silver rushes that took place in North American between the California Rush of 1849, the Fraser and Cariboo from 1858-1862, and the rushes to Deadwood, Dakota and Arizona in the 1870s.  It is clear that many of the men and women involved traveled from one rush to the other – all seeking Eldorado.
            The glint of gold in my research pan came when I returned home and spent several hours with newspapers and databases. I discovered there was, after all, a direct connection – well maybe two degrees of separation, between Wyatt Earp and Barkerville. But that is a story for the next post: Wyatt Earp: a Cariboo miner’s avenger.
 A hard rock, silver mining tour. Richard Wright photo.


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