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Gammage’s Gold Rush Circle Tour of Fraser River and the Harrison – Lillooet Route

March 13, 2017

James Gammage left Victoria for Fraser River on May 26, 1859 on board the Hudson’s Bay Company vessel Beaver.  He recorded his impressions of the district in an early stage of its development.

“Seventeen miles up the river, on the north bank, stands the site of Queenborough, the future capital of British Columbia.

At present it is a dense forest, with about a quarter of a mile on the river’s edge partially cleared.
The trunks of immense trees lie about in rude confusion, a huge body of smoke in the background and the noise of the woodsman’s axe indicate that the work of clearing is still going on.

A row of cabins, a few framed houses, being the public offices and the residences of officials, and a few stores, comprised the habitations of the place.

The steamer did not stop here.

About half a mile further up, on the same side of the river, is the camp of the Royal Engineers and Marines, with about three framed houses, residences of Colonel Moody and staff: the men are under canvas.

On the opposite side of the river is a revenue post.”

That was a pretty good summary of the area at the end of May, 1859 —  without mentioning the presence of the Indian houses on this side of the river near the Revenue Station.

Just 4 days later, an auction sale was held at  Victoria that fetched very high prices for  those partially cleared “river’s edge” lots.

The Reverend Mr James Gammage had been sent out by the “Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts,” a missionary service  supported by the elite of the Church of England.

Gammage’s trip along the new Harrison – Lillooet trail was done in reverse order, as it was built to afford access to Fraser River via Harrison Lake, Port Douglas and Lillooet.

Gammag marked his map at places where he slept overnight.

The Reverend James Gammage would stay on a Port Douglas as the Episcopal parson until 1864.

This “Sketch Map of Part of British Columbia and Vancouver” accompanied a report by James Gammage after his circle tour of the Fraser River gold region in the summer of 1859.





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