In 1858, some 30,000 gold seekers stampeded to the Fraser River. Scores perished during the gruelling journey, but some made their fortune and many pressed on northwards to the creeks of the Cariboo. Originally compiled by Art Downs, founder of Heritage House, this is a vivid and detailed account of the first gold strikes, the miners who made them and the incredible efforts to establish transportation routes and build roads to the Cariboo goldfields. Here are the stories of the legendary Williams Creek diggings, which yielded a golden harvest of over $2.6 million in 1862, and creeks with names like Lightning, Jack of Clubs and Last Chance.
Also included are excerpts from the journals of Lord Milton and Walter B. Cheadle, who became the first tourists to the Cariboo in 1863. Richly descriptive and touched with humour, their first-hand account is a fascinating window into Cariboo history.
About the Author
Art Downs, described as “the first of the environmental editors,” was one of the forefathers of the BC publishing industry. Born in England in 1924, Art immigrated to Saskatchewan as a young child. He worked in the merchant navy during the Second World War and then moved to the Quesnel River Valley in the Cariboo. He became owner and editor of the Cariboo Digest, which evolved into BC Outdoors, a successful blend of history, wildlife and conservation. In 1979, he and his wife Doris established Heritage House and began publishing books by BC writers for BC readers. He died in Surrey in 1996.