The Project Gutenberg EBook of Among the An-ko-me-nums, by Thomas Crosby

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most
other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions
whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of
the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at  If you are not located in the United States, you'll have
to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this ebook.

Title: Among the An-ko-me-nums
       Or Flathead Tribes of Indians of the Pacific Coast

Author: Thomas Crosby

Release Date: June 22, 2017 [EBook #54958]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by WebRover, Bryan Ness, Craig Kirkwood, and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at
(This file was produced from images generously made
available by The Internet Archive.)


From a photo taken in 1874

Title page

Among the

Or Flathead Tribes of Indians
of the Pacific Coast,



Missionary to the Indians of British

Title page icon


Entered according to Act of the Parliament of Canada, in the year
one thousand nine hundred and seven, by
William Briggs,
at the Department of Agriculture.



I have been requested to write a few words of introduction to this deeply interesting volume, and I gladly comply, although the task may seem to be quite superfluous. Thomas Crosby, or anything he may write, needs no introduction, at least in Methodist circles. For a generation his name has been a household word, and from time to time brief accounts of his heroic labors have found their way through the press into many homes. But these accounts were fragmentary and incomplete. They presented some striking incidents, but no connected story of the man and his work. Such a story Crosby alone could supply, and many will be glad that he has been induced to begin it; and the hope will be general that other volumes may follow, covering what is by far the most interesting period of his life.

It is but seldom that men who lay the foundations of empire get credit for the achievement. Their work, for the most part, is done underground and out of sight. They are content to take up the work that lies nearest, leaving results with God, and are more concerned about doing their work faithfully than claiming credit for themselves. And yet all the while they are laying the only foundations on[iv] which an enduring civilization can rest, and are better entitled to the name and fame of empire-builders than some who have claimed the credit without doing the work. If it be true that he is a benefactor of his race who makes two blades of grass grow where one grew before, much more is he a benefactor whose spiritual husbandry transforms a savage into a citizen—a pagan into a saint.

A conflict like that in which Thomas Crosby spent his life was no mere holiday parade. It was a grapple to the death with the powers of evil, in which no quarter was asked or given. He gave his life for the redemption of a people for whose souls no man cared, and fought—sometimes almost single-handed—a life-long battle against superstition, immorality, and godlessness of every kind. No marvel, therefore, if he incurred the bitter enmity of the witch-doctor, the whiskey-trader, and the libertine, and by “lewd fellows of the baser sort” was the best-hated man in British Columbia. But he has his reward. By the converting grace of God some bitter foes were transformed into ardent friends; and as he searched society’s rubbish-heaps for lost jewels, here and there he found a pearl of great price that more than compensated for all his toil. Many will join in the prayer that years of useful service may still be his, and that his declining years may be brightened by further displays of saving power among the Red Men of the Pacific Coast.


Toronto, February, 1907.



I.The Flatheads and the “Book of Heaven”9
II.The Call from Macedonia21
III.Westward, Ho!30
IV.At Nanaimo—The School41
V.Heathen Street vs. Christian Street48
VI.Difficulties with the Language52
VII.A Slavery worse than Death60
VIII.Feuds and Bloodshed67
IX.Houses, Clothing, Cruel Customs79
X.Courtship and Marriage88
XI.Foods, Feasts and Follies99
XII.Native Worship and Superstitions112
XIII.Struggles with Whiskey, and the Ravages of Fire-water126
XIV.Some Perilous Canoe Trips141
XV.Varied Experiences159
XVI.How the Gospel came to Chilliwack169
XVII.More of the Chilliwack Revival—Camp-meetings183
XVIII.The Bunch Grass Country195
XIX.Marvels of Grace206
XX.Lay Agencies—Salvation in a Victoria Bar-room233
XXI.British Columbia—Its Interests and Resources237
XXII.The Missionary Progress of the Years—Home Again241



Portrait of AuthorFrontispiece
Flathead Woman and Child8
Early Native Types18
Indian Church and Mission House at Nanaimo42
Indian Houses, with Group of Heathen Natives48
“I could see two wild, savage-looking men,” etc.74
“The great big fellow danced up and down,” etc.78
Two Flathead Centenarians86
“One day I slipped in and found the old fellow rattling over him”122
Witch Doctor and his Wife—“Coal Tyee”—Crosby teaching Indian Chief128
“We were bailing out as hard as we could”146
First Protestant Church in the Chilliwack Valley172
Coqualeetza Indian Institute192
Group of Students, Coqualeetza Institute198
Amos Cushan—Sarah Shee-at-ston—David Sallosalton—Captain John Su-a-lis208
Skowkale Church—Skowkale Mission People232
The Transformed Bar-room, Victoria236

(Showing method in use among these Indians for flattening the heads of the infant children.)




“They may not want you, but they need you.”
“Far, far away, in heathen darkness dwelling,
Millions of souls forever may be lost.
Who, who will go, Salvation’s story telling,
Looking to Jesus, counting not the cost?”

The An-ko-me-nums, as they call themselves, are a branch of the great Salish or Flathead family of Indians, whose territory is that part of the Pacific Coast now known as Northern Oregon, Washington, and Southern British Columbia.

The Flatheads derive the name from their custom of compressing the skull in childhood until the whole front of the head is flattened and broadened.

They live along the great arteries of travel, the Columbia River in the south, the Fraser River in the north, and their tributaries, as well as on the shores of those inland waters of the West known as Puget Sound and the Gulf of Georgia.

Unlike the great nations of the East and of the[10] plains, who possess something of national unity, they are composed of a number of branches, speaking languages bearing scarcely any resemblance to each other—the Chinooks, the Cayuses and the Sinahomish in the south; the Shuswaps and the Okanagans in the interior of British Columbia; and the An-ko-me-nums, known under such names as the Cowichans—after tribes on Vancouver Island, which some believe to be the parent stock—and the Stawlo, which literally means the River Indians.

These last inhabit the valley of the Fraser River, from Yale to its mouth, and the east coast of Vancouver Island, from Comox to Esquimault, and include the Nan-ni-moohs, Cowichans, Songees, Skwamish, Sumats, Chil-way-uks, and numerous other rival tribes, possessed of the same manners and customs, but speaking varying dialects of the same language, and, in earlier days, engaging in the fiercest conflicts with one another.

The Coast Indians are spoken of, generally, as Siwashes, a term which the more intelligent resent, and which is taken from the word for “Indian” in the Chinook or trade jargon.

There is some doubt, however, as to the origin of the word “Siwash.” By some it is thought to be a corruption of the French word “Sauvage” (barbarian), as applied by the Nor’westers to the Indians generally. But in all probability it is a corruption of the generic term “Salish,” which is given by ethnologists to the whole family, and as such is improperly applied to the Northern tribes.


The Indians of British Columbia.

There are some six distinct races among the Indians of British Columbia. The Hydah-Kling-get, on Queen Charlotte Islands and the lower Alaskan coast; the Tsimpshean, in the region of the lower Skeena and Naas River; the Kwa-kualth, from Kitamaat to Cape Mudge on the mainland and north-east coast of Vancouver Island; the Salish, of which the An-ko-me-nums are a division, in the south; the Kootenai and the Déné or Tinne, in the interior. The At nation, which occupies the west coast of Vancouver Island, it would appear, is still another race, though some ethnologists identify them with the Kwa-kualths.

The origin of these various people is much in doubt. The Tinne possibly came by way of the Aleutian Islands from Asia. The Northern Coast tribes, Hydahs and Tsimpsheans, may be related to the Filipinos and the Japanese. Some years ago, when the first Japanese fishermen came to the Skeena, the Indians immediately claimed them as their “tilikum” (friends). When the difference in language was pointed out, they replied, “That does not matter, the Indians speak different languages. Just look at their hair and their eyes and the color of their skin, is it not the same as ours? They are surely of our race.” The resemblance so noted is certainly remarkable.

As for the Salish and Kwa-kualths, the similarity between certain of their words and those of the Polynesian Islanders has led some to give them an Oceanic origin.


The various sources from which they possibly sprang will sufficiently explain the difference in their languages.

Early Traders.

Very early in the last century the trading ships of various nations were visiting the coast and bartering their cargoes of firearms, rum and useless trinkets—beads, bits of iron and brass—for the valuable furs of the natives.

The first depôt on Vancouver Island was established at Nootka, on the West Coast, and, a little later, a second, on the mainland near the mouth of the Columbia. Thus early the Indians were debauched by the whiskey and vices of the white man, and from that time to the present have been wretched sufferers.

The great fur companies, the North-west, the Hudson’s Bay and the Astor, were soon in active competition for the trade of the Pacific slope. In 1818 the first fort was built on the Columbia at the mouth of the Walla Walla, and about six years later, in 1824-5, Fort Vancouver was built, where the waters of the Willamette join the great Columbia.

In 1804-6 the intrepid explorers, Clark and Lewis, made their then difficult and dangerous journey from the trading post at St. Louis across the mountains and down the Columbia River to the land of the Cayuse and Chinooks. Clark seems to have left a deep and favorable impression[13] upon the mind of the Indians, as will later be seen.

Among these early traders were men of sterling character, who, while they might not be termed religious, had, nevertheless, a deep reverence for God and for His wondrous law, some little knowledge of which they imparted to the native peoples with whom they were engaged in traffic.

We cannot but wonder at the slowness of the Church in not seeing and seizing her opportunity. She should have been first on the ground, but was not. The trader preceded her. And finally it was the eager longing of the heathen themselves, awakened by the Spirit of God, which aroused the slumbering Church.

In Search of the “Book of Heaven.”

In 1832 the Flatheads at the headwaters of the Columbia River met in council, not painted for war or armed for the chase, but with a look of earnestness on their faces. They were talking over a strange story which some wandering trappers had brought to their camps—the story of the white man’s worship, and the Book that told of God and immortality, and the presence and power of the “Great Spirit.” They had more than once held such a council, and they finally concluded that if there was such a treasure as the Book of Heaven they would try and find it.

They selected one of the old “seams” (chiefs) and a strong-minded brave of full years, also two young[14] and daring men. These four were sent off across the mountains in search of the news of the white man’s God, or the book that would tell of His love.

Leaving their western homes or “lalums,” they turned their faces to the east, and for many a week they travelled mountain and plain in the search. They reached St. Louis, then a mere hamlet, known as the far frontier, a resort of hunters and trappers. One day these four strange Indians were walking down the street, looking everywhere as if for hidden treasure. Finally they met Gen. Wm. Clark, whose name the two older had heard of years before, up in their far away western home, as he and others were making their way to the western sea.

To him they made known the object of their search. They were kindly received and well treated, but neither General Clark nor anyone in that Roman Catholic town helped them to what their hearts longed for. They waited till they became weary; two of their number sickened and died, and now the remaining two prepared to go back to the people with a tale of disappointment. General Clark, knowing the Indians’ love of ceremony, had a leave-taking in his town. One of the poor Indians, as they said good-by, made the following touching speech:

“We came to you over a trail of many moons from the setting sun. You were the friend of our fathers who have all gone the long way. We came, with our eyes partly opened, for more light for our people who sit in darkness. We go back with our[15] eyes closed. How can we go back blind to our blind people? We made our way to you with strong arms, through many enemies and strange lands, that we might carry back much to our people. We go back with empty and broken arms. The two fathers who came with us, the braves of many winters and wars, we leave here always by your great wigwams. They were tired in their journey of many moons, and their moccasins were worn out. Our people sent us to get the white man’s Book of Heaven. You took us where they worship the Great Spirit with candles, but the Book was not there. You showed us images of good spirits and pictures of the good land beyond, but the Book was not among them to tell us the way. You made our feet heavy with burdens and gifts, and our moccasins will grow old with carrying them, but the Book is not among them. We are going back the long, sad trail to our people. When we tell them, after one more snow, in the big council, that we did not bring the Book, no word will be spoken by our old men, nor by our young braves. One by one they will rise up and go out in silence. Our people will die in darkness and they will go on the long path to other hunting grounds. No white man will go with them, and no Book of Heaven to make the way plain. We have no more to say.”[1]

Only one lived to reach his people, and with a sad heart he told the story. Word of this strange visit got into the papers of the East, among others into the New York Christian Advocate. Soon the[16] whole American church was aroused, and with such men as Nathan Bangs and Dr. Wilbur Fisk leading the way, it was not long before the Board of Missions of the Methodist Episcopal Church had the money and were ready to establish “A mission among the Indians west of the Rocky Mountains.”

When the question was asked, “Who will go for us?” Dr. Fisk said, “I know but one man, Jason Lee.” Mr. Lee was a Canadian, born in Stanstead, Que. He was converted at twenty-three years of age. A splendid man, six feet three inches in height, and in every particular the type of man needed for this new enterprise.

In July, 1833, he was chosen leader of this great missionary adventure; and in the spring of the following year he, with his brother Daniel and two laymen, “mounted their horses and followed the Oregon trail.”

On September 17th, 1834, Lee and his party reached Fort Vancouver, on the Columbia River, and at once began to do all the many kinds of work which men must do in starting a mission among a wild, savage people.

Lee and his associates were the first missionaries to the Pacific Coast, the first to the great Salish family of Indians; others followed.[2]

Lee and his co-laborers planted their mission in the beautiful Willamette Valley and from the first had wonderful success. A boarding school was[17] established for the benefit of the Indian children, on the site of which now stands the Willamette University.

Jason Lee was a preacher of marvellous power, and was the means, in God’s hands, of the conversion of scores, both among whites and Indians. He preached the word at Fort Vancouver, and nineteen were baptized, one being Lady McLaughlin. Dr. John McLaughlin, the Chief Factor of the Hudson’s Bay Company at this point, paid a fine tribute to his work when he said to Mr. Lee: “Before you came into the country we could not send a boat past the Dalles without an armed guard of sixty men. Now we go up singly, and no one is robbed.”

At a great camp-meeting, held in October, 1841, twelve hundred Indians attended and about five hundred were converted.

It is a remarkable fact that between the years 1839-41 a great spiritual awakening, which marvellously affected even heathen tribes, spread across the whole continent.

Commencing with the great revival under Jason Lee among the Chinooks of the Columbia, we may follow the route pursued by the Hudson’s Bay Company’s men, up the Columbia and through the Okanagan Valley and on to the upper waters of the Fraser River, and then across the mountains through the land of the Crees to Hudson’s Bay.

In 1839, in the Okanagan Valley, where Father Demers was laboring among the Shuswaps, a great many natives turned from their heathenism and[18] united with the Roman Catholic Church, and a strong mission was established. Farther on among the Crees, at Norway House and other points, a blessed work of grace was begun about the same time under the leadership of James Evans, Mason, and Rundle, with their young native associates, Henry B. Steinhauer and Peter Jacobs.

As this spiritual influence spread—and it did spread—from nation to nation and from tribe to tribe, even those far removed from direct contact with the Truth seemed to be affected by it. These remarkable revivals were manifestly the result of the heroic work of Jason Lee and his associates. Where missionaries were sent to direct and lead the poor people, great and good results followed, for hundreds were savingly converted to God. But in other cases, where the natives were left to themselves, the old (Shaman) conjurers made use of it to their own advantage. The people would fast and pray and dance for weeks—not their old heathen dances; they danced and prayed to the Sun god, or the stars, or the storm, for help and deliverance. This went on for a long time amidst great excitement. It was the groping of the human heart after God, “if haply they might find him.”


At the time of the great revival on the North Coast, in 1875, when the people became so aroused that they did not eat or sleep for days, the old men would say, “Oh, I saw this when I was a boy many years ago. A man came down the Skeena and spoke to the people, and they began to cry and pray, and this is the same. Long before this, a man came[19] down from Alaska and told the people that the Ta-kus had travelled far away, for a month or more, in the mountains, and they had met with people who prayed to the Good Spirit. When they took their food they would read from a strange book, and when the people heard this they got much excited.”

It is possible that these Indians to whom the old men referred had travelled on the Peace or Mackenzie River, and had come across some of James Evans’ converts, who could read in the Cree syllabic characters.

There is no doubt that a great revival spread across the continent at about the time before mentioned, filling the minds of the natives with expectation; and had the home Church used men and means at that day thousands and thousands of poor people might have been saved who went down in darkness.

The incident, before mentioned, of the early planting of the Gospel among the Flathead people in Oregon, though somewhat removed from that section of this great nation with which we will have more to do, makes it clear that when God wants a man to do a special work for Him it does not take long to find him. It also shows that God by His Spirit will sometimes arouse a tribe or nation, so that they are ready for the Gospel light before the Church is prepared to carry the blessed truth. It does look at times as if His Kingdom were advanced through means all His own; and yet when the Macedonian cry, “Come over and help us,” is raised, the Church should be ready to enter every field.


If the Church were only awake to her privilege, and the responsibility which God has thrown upon her by the wealth He has placed in her hands, and, as a faithful steward, would return a tithe of what He has given for the spread of His Kingdom, we should soon have enough to carry the Gospel to every creature.



“I will send a Prophet to you,
A Deliverer of the Nations—
Who shall guide you and shall teach you,
Who shall toil and suffer with you.
If you listen to his counsels,
You will multiply and prosper;
If his warnings pass unheeded,
You will fade away and perish!”
Longfellow’s “Hiawatha.”

On the Columbia River, and farther north, on the shores of Puget Sound and the lower part of Vancouver Island, where the Hudson’s Bay Company had established one of their most important posts—Fort Victoria or Camosun—small settlements gradually sprang up. But these were of little consequence until, in the year 1858, the discovery of gold on the bars of the Fraser, and later in Cariboo, drew attention to British Columbia and led to a wild rush from all parts of the world to the new “diggings.”

Almost immediately the Methodist Church embraced the opportunity, and sent out the first band of missionaries to the Pacific Coast, in the persons of Revs. Ephraim Evans, D.D., Edward White, Ebenezer Robson and Arthur Browning. These brethren were speedily at work, at Victoria and Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, and at New Westminster and Hope on the Fraser River.


While the hearts of these faithful missionaries were much engaged with the needs of the white inhabitants, their souls were stirred with the scenes of degradation and misery constantly presented to them by the wild native population, and their liveliest sympathies were aroused with a desire to help them. Brother Robson, especially, endeavored, as the circumstances of his own work permitted, to reach the Indians, both at Hope and Nanaimo. But the pressure of the ever-widening field among the whites made it impossible to do a great deal, and led him, with the others, to pray and plead that someone might be raised up whose mission would be the salvation of the Indians.

In 1859, Rev. Dr. Evans, in the Missionary Notices for the year, wrote: “The scenes which meet our eye daily might well paralyze the hopes of any mere philanthropist, unacquainted with the constitution and past triumphs of the Mediatorial economy. The degradation of these poor savages must be seen to be at all understood. Then there is a large amount of prejudice and contempt arrayed against them. The collisions occurring between them and the miners, and the difficulties likely to arise about the alienation of their lands and the settlement of the colonies, present additional obstacles. Nothing less than the exertion of the Divine energy, promised to the Church in her evangelistic struggles, can bring about the desired civilization of these wretched fellow-men. Great will be the immortal honor, and glorious the reward, of the man who shall first throw himself effectually[23] into this vast and long-deferred Christian enterprise. Oh! that while I write the blessed Spirit may influence some heart with the requisite zeal and tenderness and self-denial, and thrust its possessor into the field of conflict and conquest before thousands more shall pass away unreached by the remedy so richly provided.”

Rev. A. Browning wrote, February, 1859: “I was a witness yesterday to the torture and death dance of the Indians over a captive. How sad it made me feel. I was under the protection of a gentleman well known to them, or I should hardly have felt safe. Oh! sir, I hope you and the dear friends at home will do something for these poor souls. Our hands are full, and will be, in laboring for our own race. Will not God raise up some young men especially for this work?”

In 1861, at the close of a very interesting description of the effort he was making to reach the Indians, Rev. E. Robson said: “They all seem ripe for the Gospel. I have often witnessed scenes of thrilling interest among them—crowds of almost breathless listeners, falling tears, shouts of gladness, entreaties to come again, shaking hands with hundreds—but I cannot enter into all the details. What is wanted is earnest, self-denying, heaven-baptized men and women to devote themselves to this work, and a great and glorious harvest will be gathered.”

The same year, Rev. Edward White wrote several letters to the Christian Guardian, urging the importance of Christian young men coming out to[24] the West to labor for the salvation of souls, class-leaders, local preachers and other workers, who would avail themselves of the opportunity afforded by the needs of the native peoples, and by the thousands who were pressing into the country in search of gold.

These letters left a very deep impression upon my mind, but newly awakened by the Spirit of God to a sense of my privilege and responsibility, and created a deep longing to be used of God in a special manner for His glory.

Some five years before this time, in the year 1856, I had come from England with my parents, and had settled near Woodstock, Upper Canada.

Very early in life in the old town of Pickering, Yorkshire—where I was born in 1840—I was the subject of deep religious impressions. But it was not until some time later that I was savingly converted to God.

About the time of my leaving school, a very pious young man, by the name of George Piercy, belonging to my native town, desired to go as a missionary to China. His friends gave him no encouragement. But, overcoming all difficulties, he finally did go. I shall never forget the effect it had upon my heart. I admired his piety and zeal, even though I had not as yet made definite decision for Christ, and thought that if he could leave a comfortable home and influential friends there must be an inspiring motive. Later on, when the call came to my own heart, I understood what the inspiring motive was.

There were two or three circumstances which[25] were strangely used by the Spirit of God leading up to my conversion.

When crossing the Atlantic Ocean we encountered terrible storms and were in great danger of shipwreck among the icebergs. The goodness and mercy of God in preserving us and bringing the ship safely to land moved me to gratitude and thanksgiving. Later on I suffered from sunstroke, which resulted in a long illness, and while recovering I had leisure for more serious thoughts concerning the future. Some time after this, while wrestling with some companions, I was thrown violently to the floor, breaking my leg. The month in bed which followed the accident gave me another season for reflection, and led me to resolve to live a Christian life. But, like many a sick-bed resolution, this was only made to be broken. During the autumn a camp-meeting was held near Woodstock, and though at first I made light of it all, I attended, and my conscience was still further aroused.

The Methodist church in the town had just passed through a most blessed season of revival. Some of the young men had united in a praying band, and they invited me to go with them to their meetings. Such a spirit of trifling worldliness and carelessness had taken possession of me that I would rather have kept out of their way. But I was so struck by their earnestness and devotion that I consented to go.

On the way up the street, while others were discussing the results of the elections which had just taken place, the leader, and one of the most devout[26] among them, Mr. A. Peers,[3] breaking in upon the conversation, said: “Here we are, fellow-travellers to eternity.” “Eternity! Eternity!” I thought, “I am not prepared for eternity.” The words haunted me like a refrain. Conscience repeated them in my ears. The meeting from beginning to end seemed especially for my benefit. The prayers, the testimonies, the songs were all the voice of God to my heart.

Two weeks of terrible struggle followed this awakening. I often spent most of the night in prayer, beseeching God to have mercy upon me. At last, one evening, while on my knees, the answer came, and I was enabled to believe that God, for Christ’s sake, had pardoned all my sins.

A flood of joy filled my soul. My happiness was so great I felt constrained to give it out to others. A burning desire to be useful and helpful to others took possession of me. I immediately identified myself with the church and the Sunday School, joined the Tract Society, and with the praying band assisted in cottage prayer-meetings and visited the sick and the prisoners in the jail. Later on I was placed on the plan as a local preacher, and in connection[27] with our services had the joy of seeing souls saved.

I now felt more than ever that every moment must be improved in storing my mind with useful knowledge. I purchased additional books, mostly of a devotional character, and spent my evenings, until late into the night, in study.

I never failed to avail myself of the privileges offered by any services of a special character, and while in attendance at a notable camp-meeting, held near Ingersoll, Ontario, at which the Rev. Wm. Taylor (then known as “California” Taylor) preached a wonderful sermon on sanctification, my heart was set on fire of love, and a stronger desire than ever to glorify God took possession of my soul.

About this time my attention was drawn to the fervent appeals of the pioneer missionaries to British Columbia, published in the Christian Guardian, and previously referred to. Again the flame of missionary zeal, which had been first lighted in my boyhood days by the influence of the saintly George Piercy, began to burn with renewed intensity.

One day a friend handed me a copy of the paper with the letter from Bro. White in it, and said: “Crosby, you ought to go there.” I took the paper into my room and read it on my knees, and there and then promised God if the way should open and the money should be forthcoming I would go. But where the money was to come from I did not know.

Presently some of my friends noticed that something was troubling me, and asked me what was the matter. I hesitated a little, and then told them I felt[28] I ought to obey the call in my heart to go and preach the Gospel to the heathen of British Columbia, but I had not the money. The reply was: “We will lend you enough to go, and if you are never able to pay it back it will be all right anyway.” This was a very serious moment, for I did not expect the answer to come so soon. The thought of what it meant to leave home and friends and go to a land of which little was known, suddenly presented itself to me. I excused myself from my friends and went away to my room, and there pleaded with God to help me to do what He had now clearly called me to do. When my decision was made to obey God at whatever cost, the way seemed all bright and clear.

Now, however, a new difficulty presented itself. I must get the consent of my mother.

I rode out one night to the farm. My father met me, fearing ill tidings, and as we stood by the house I told him how the Lord had called me and that my way was open, but I felt I would like his consent and my mother’s. The window was open and mother had overheard, and when we went in I found her in tears. Sobbing, she said I must not go, she could not spare me. Who can tell the depth of a mother’s love? Though she had fourteen children she felt she could not spare one. I told her how the call had come and the way had been opened, and that I felt it my duty to go, and further that I feared if I disobeyed the voice of God I would lose my soul. Then, resting her hand upon my shoulder, the tears streaming down her cheeks,[29] she said, “If that is so, then go! my boy, go! and God bless you.”

Many a time in after years when discouragements and difficulties beset me, my mother’s words came to me as a benediction. Often when on stormy seas, the winds howling, the waves sweeping over us, and when to all human appearance it was impossible to reach shore, I would seem to hear my mother’s loved voice and her “God bless you.”

When, night after night in my lonely cabin or camped on the beach, studying a strange language and perplexing myself as to how to get my tongue around the difficult words or sounds, the farewell words of my mother came again to comfort me.

When standing all night long between savage parties who were clubbing and butchering one another, when I did not know but any moment I should be knocked down by some enraged warrior with his club, the remembrance of mother’s benediction proved an encouragement and an inspiration.

And now came hasty preparations for departure, which were finally completed. The day at last arrived to bid farewell to Sunday School and classmates and friends. One by one they filed past the door, on that never-to-be-forgotten Sunday, and grasping my hand they lovingly gave me their heart-felt “God-speed.” The sweet-faced, tear-bedewed eyes of my little scholars ever remain a precious memory.



“I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord,
Over mountain, or plain or sea;
I’ll say what you want me to say, dear Lord;
I’ll be what you want me to be.”
M. Brown.

The only route to British Columbia then travelled, except the terrible overland journey, attempting to make which so many perished, was that via New York, by sea to the Isthmus of Panama, thence to San Francisco, and on to Victoria.

After bidding adieu to home, friends and acquaintances, I left Woodstock on February 25th, 1862. The journey in some respects was a sad one. It was at the time of the American Civil War, and at every station, after crossing the Niagara River, hundreds of men came on board going to “the front,” leaving behind on the platform their mothers, sisters, sweethearts and wives, many never to meet again. These scenes revived in my own heart the pain of my recent parting with loved ones.

That winter was a terrible one, marked by many heavy snowfalls. In New York State the train passed between high banks of heaped up snow.

From New York we took passage on board the old S.S. Champion. She was crowded with five hundred men, most of whom were bound for the[31] Fraser River or Cariboo gold mines, and some of them the roughest class we ever met, armed with bowie knives and six-shooters. The language used by many of these men was so vile that I could not sleep below, and to escape such offensive atmosphere I took my blankets and went on deck. We had a very rough passage, and it was terribly cold, so I chose a spot close to the smokestack, and rolling myself up, lay down to rest. One night, during a great storm, the waves swept over the deck, drenching me thoroughly, and the officer of the watch came along and roused me with the words, “My boy, if you don’t get out of this you will be washed overboard.” I picked up my dripping blankets, shook myself, and sought a more sheltered spot.

The food supply for the passengers was not all that was needed—I got one potato in the trip. Fortunately my friends had provided me with a well-filled lunch-basket, which afforded me good service. The hungry men at times were rough and selfish. As the stewards would pass the food on to the table these hoggish men would grab it off the plates with their hands, so that if any one happened to be a little more modest he could not get anything. On one occasion a tall, good-natured Irishman thought he had struck it when he seized a long potato, but as he was drawing it to himself two other fellows made a grab, one at each end, and poor Pat was left with just the middle. One day the men stood by the swinging tables and swept the whole of the food off into the sea. Then, rushing to the captain, they declared that if he did not give them something[32] better than “that dead horse” they would use their six-shooters.

We were delighted to reach the Isthmus, and crossed over by moonlight on the narrow-gauge railway. It was pleasant to have a night crossing, for it was very hot weather, and the temperature in the middle of the day was almost unbearable.

We saw the picturesque thatched huts of the natives here and there along the way, and called to mind the stories of the terrible mortality among these people while the little railroad was being built. My heart was touched by the sight of so many of these poor people in their apparent heathen simplicity, and I wondered if they had a missionary among them.

At Panama we embarked on the fine double-decked passenger steamer Golden Age. At this point crowds joined us who had come by ships from England, and we were told we had fifteen hundred aboard. Our fine-looking ship was evidently not built to stand much stormy weather, but they pushed along up the coast of Mexico, meeting no difficulties, and presently we put into the harbor of Acapulco to coal.

As the ship lay at anchor crowds of natives surrounded the vessel with their little canoes. The passengers threw five and ten-cent pieces into the sea, and the natives, heedless of the sharks that were swimming about, would jump out of the canoes and dive like fish for the money, bringing the pieces up in their teeth, shaking their heads and still beckoning for more, as they were ready for another dive.


One of the brethren who followed me tells the story that while his ship was coaling in this same harbor the sharks were so numerous that the passengers became alarmed for the safety of the little chaps, who as usual were diving for the money. Rushing to the side of the vessel, in great excitement, some of them cried out:

“My! my! That shark is going to have that fellow.”

“Naw,” drawled a gruff old tar, “he won’t touch him.”

“Why not? Look! Look! He’s just going to catch him now.”

“Naw,” said the sailor, looking on without concern. “He stinks too much of tobacco. He’ll never touch him.”

Soon we sighted the Golden Gate, and later entered it in our ship the Golden Age. One could not but think there was much that was golden in those days of gold hunting, and yet many a poor fellow found out to his own sorrow that “it is not all gold that glitters.”

Thousands of men filled the streets of ’Frisco, nearly all bound for the Fraser River or Cariboo, as British Columbia was called in those days.

The steamboats, some of them not very seaworthy, were all overcrowded, bound north. A short time before the old steamer Republic, with eight hundred passengers, and the old Sierra Nevada, with nine hundred, had gone “up.” And now another old coffin, the Brother Jonathan, which had passed the Customs to carry only two hundred[34] and fifty, took on eleven hundred men and was still selling tickets.

Some of our acquaintances who went north on board of her state that “they were stowed away like pigs, two in a bunk,” and they did not dare to leave their bunks for fear they would lose them. They were eight days on the trip, and hundreds of them never saw daylight but once, when they put in to Astoria for a few hours.

I, with a small party of Canadians, shipped on board the trim little barquentine W. B. Scranton, and had a lovely trip of ten days. On Sabbath we held religious services, the first we had had during our long journey.

As we passed through the Straits of Juan de Fuca, on the last night, and in sight of the lights of Victoria, a storm caught us. So severe was it that Captain Cathcart and his men were on deck all night, and were obliged to put about ship continually to keep her driving between the three lights of Victoria, Dungeness and Race Rocks.

At daybreak the wind subsided, and the morning found us in a dead calm away outside the Royal Roads.

The beauty of the sight which met our eyes as the day brightened can never be forgotten. The grand snow-capped Olympian Range lay to the south, and away to the east the rising sun cast rays of crimson light on old Mount Baker, as it nestled back from the great Coast Range of hills, while the glaciers seemed to shoot back light to the snow on its lofty peak.


To the north was that most beautiful and natural park, Beacon Hill. Victoria, we were told, nestled just behind it, though not much of the town could be seen from where our ship lay.

About noon of the same day, April 11th, we were landed by a small boat on the rocks near where the outer wharf has since been built.

First Impressions.

The natural beauty of its situation entitled Victoria, then as now, to the name of Queen City of the Pacific Coast.

The town was not large, but the first Parliament buildings and several good-sized churches gave it importance and helped to enhance the effect of its appearance. The place was crowded with men, the chief stir of business being where the “Cheap Johns” had stores for outfitting the miners—you could hear one on each side of the street auctioneering their goods almost night and day. The Hudson’s Bay Company’s store and wharf, with their little boats, the Enterprise and Otter, were rushing business to the port of Queensborough (now New Westminster), on the Fraser River, where the goods were transferred to river steamers and rushed on up to the diggings.

Besides those who took passage on the steamers, hundreds were venturing in small boats and canoes, many of which were wrecked or lost on the Gulf of Georgia and the treacherous river. And some of those who escaped shipwreck were murdered by the savages before they reached the mines.


New Westminster was then a growing village, situated on Mary Hill, which was still partly covered with immense timber. To the east, looking up the Fraser River, nature presented another grand panorama of glorious mountains, upon whose lofty peaks the snow lay all the year round.

From here the stern-wheel steamers carried freight and passengers to Yale, then the terminus of steamboat navigation, nearly one hundred miles up the Fraser. Thence the miner carried his goods on his back, or had them carried on the backs of pack animals or in ox-waggons, nearly four hundred miles farther. About this time the great waggon road was completed to Cariboo, and the treacherous trails over “Jackass” (a difficult ascent behind Yale) and other mountains were abandoned.

In addition to the river route, hundreds of men came in overland from California, by way of Whatcom and Sumas, or by the Columbia and through the Okanagan Valley.

The winter of 1861-2 was one of unusual length and severity, and the great “rush” to the mines set in too early, with the result that many endured untold hardships and suffering, and many others who came into the country were never heard of again.

Long before the summer was over hundreds returned—some from the mines and some, indeed, who had never reached the mines—poorer and wiser than when they came. Many who were cursing the country and leaving it were advised to take up land and settle in the lovely valleys on the Lower Fraser—Chilliwack,[37] Sumas, and Langley, or the Delta lands near the mouth. They derided the idea of these lands being any good. But the few who did remain and take up land are now prosperous and wealthy farmers, and have lived to see this once despised district become the “Garden of British Columbia.”

The government of the country was then colonial, under a Governor appointed by the Home Government and a small Council. James (afterwards Sir James) Douglas, the first Governor, had been a Chief Factor in the Hudson’s Bay Company and Governor of Vancouver Island. He was much respected and beloved by all who knew him well, but especially by the natives of the country. He was a wise, upright and impartial Governor over the two colonies, Vancouver Island and British Columbia, which, though nominally distinct, were for purposes of government practically one.

About this time, when the rush to the mines produced a more or less lawless condition of affairs, Matthew (afterwards Sir Matthew) Begbie, an English barrister, was appointed to the bench. He dispensed justice in the colonies with so firm a hand that for years he was a terror to evil-doers. Many stories are told of him, but the following will serve to show the fearless character of the man. A fellow was being tried before him, charged with sand-bagging a miner and obtaining his gold. There was hardly any doubt that he had committed the crime. The evidence given was so convincing that a verdict of “guilty” appeared the only possible one. But the[38] jury found him not guilty. “Prisoner at the bar,” said his lordship, “the jury have found you not guilty. I discharge you, and now I recommend you to go and sand-bag the jurymen.”

Besides the Methodist Church, the Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Congregational and Roman Catholic Churches were all doing good work among the white colonists. I shall never forget the unspeakable delight with which, after nearly six weeks’ deprivation, I had the privilege again of attending love feast and sacrament. I was admitted by ticket from the Rev. Dr. Evans, pastor of the church in Victoria. I was like a bird let out of a cage, and entered with joy into the spirit of the meeting. It was afterwards asked by some of the brethren: “Who was that strange boy in home-spun clothes who had the audacity to disturb the quiet of the church by his ‘Amen,’ ‘Hallelujah,’ and ‘Praise the Lord’?”

As the spring advanced the lovely climate became apparent. The genial warmth of the beautiful spring and summer days was followed by cool nights, when anyone in health might enjoy refreshing sleep.

The extensive timber areas, one of the most valuable assets of the country, were already attracting capital. A number of sawmills and spar-camps began shipping spars and lumber to many parts of the world. No one could go through the primeval forests of those days without being impressed with their natural greatness. Tall firs abounded, many of them from two hundred to three hundred feet in height, standing straight, their stems unbroken by[39] a single branch until they reached the bushy, spreading tops. Equally tall and gigantic cedars grew side by side with hemlock, spruce and the smaller vine maple, the shady, broad-leafed soft maple, ash, birch, cottonwood, apple, cherry and alder. Such a wealth of foliage caused one to exclaim, “Lo! God is here! Let us adore.”

These were some of the first impressions of the land which was to be my home for so many years.

The following eleven months were spent in hard manual labor, by which I earned sufficient to return the money, with interest, which had been so generously loaned to defray the expenses of my journey. This gave me excellent opportunities to gain an insight into the life and needs of the country and its people—a knowledge which could not well have been gained otherwise. I was employed on the wharf, at work in the woods, clearing land, and on the roads being built by the Government, as well as on rough carpentering work in putting up buildings. All this, in a measure, prepared me for canoe and camp life, and for superintending the erection of church and mission buildings, and for assisting the natives in building their houses—indeed, for all the practical mission work which lay before me.

It was while working on the Government road that fall that I first saw the large dog salmon jumping and floundering up a stream so narrow that we could jump over it. So crowded were they, and so great was their number, that their fins and tails were, many of them, worn off in the struggle. It was not an uncommon thing to see black bears, in such a field, fishing for themselves, and eagles by the[40] score, as well as ravens, carrying off their supply of food. We saw elk and deer in great numbers, and water fowl in clouds. And the conviction grew upon one that a land of such mountains and rivers, seas and forests, teeming with life, such coal and gold fields and such a magnificent climate, was destined to become a great and grand country.

All this time my mind and sympathies were excited by the condition of the poor Indians, as it was for their temporal and spiritual welfare I had left my home and friends. When I saw the thousands from the far north coast, as well as from the interior, crowding into and about the towns, being more and more debauched and degraded by the white man’s diseases and fire-water; when I saw how little human life was respected by them, and realized how little was being done to stem the tide of evil among them, it made my heart burn within me.

At Victoria these people were so crowded together, and in such great numbers, that the natives from the north came into violent collision with those from the south, and bloodshed was the result. To put a stop to this, the citizens petitioned the Government to send the northerners away to their homes.

All this, and much more that we saw among these people, would tend to grieve the hardest heart, and to inspire one to make a decided and determined effort for their salvation and civilization. And daily I was hoping and praying that the way might soon open for me to commence work among them.



“O, teach me, Lord, that I may teach
The precious things Thou dost impart,
And wing my words that they may reach
The hidden depths of many a heart.”
Frances Ridley Havergal.

In March, 1863, I was asked by the Rev. Ephraim Evans, D.D., Superintendent of Missions in British Columbia, to go to Nanaimo to teach an Indian school.

I said, “Doctor, I should like to go, but I do not know the language.”

He said, in a very decided tone of voice, “Go and learn the language. My brother James learned two or three Indian languages.” [He alluded to Rev. James Evans, the heroic missionary to Norway House, and inventor of the wonderful Cree syllabic characters.]

The very commanding way in which that statesmanlike man put it helped to inspire me to make the effort. I said to myself, “If your brother James could learn two or three languages, so can I, by the help of God.”

I was off from Victoria by the first conveyance, the little sloop Alarm, taking with us Her Majesty’s mail—there were no steamboats to Nanaimo in those days. We made the trip, some seventy-five miles from Victoria, in eight days.


Nanaimo was a small town, almost entirely built of logs, situated on a hillside facing the harbor, with a large Indian village a mile away along the shore.

We were met and cordially welcomed by Bro. Bryant—afterwards the Rev. Cornelius Bryant—at that time the oldest Methodist in British Columbia. I was soon at work in the Indian camp, in the little shell of a building built by Rev. E. Robson, which served both as a school-house and church. Brother Robson had commenced the work among the Indians, holding school for a time, until the pressure of his many other duties as pastor to the people of the neighboring town compelled him to give it up.

My pupils were a wild-looking lot of little folk, with painted and dirt-begrimed faces and long, uncombed hair. Some of them were clothed in little print shirts, others had a small piece of blanket pinned around them, while some had no clothing at all.

One of the first difficulties was my ignorance of their language. Hence I had to use the language of signs. Beckoning and pointing to the school-house, I sought to persuade them to come into school. They would look at me, laugh at my efforts, and make a bolt for the bushes near by. Sometimes I made an attempt to capture them, but they would run like wild hares, and I could not get near them.

I had always a love for children, and prided myself on my ability to win them; but these, I was afraid, were going to outdo me.


Finally I took an Indian with me to the woods and secured two stout poles or posts, with which we[43] fixed up a swing at the back of the school-house. Then I started again with my sign language, and at last succeeded in getting one of them into the swing. As I swung the little fellow to and fro I noticed the others peeping out curiously from among the bushes. Pointing to the swing and then to the school-house, I beckoned to them, as much as to say, “If you come here and have a swing you will have to go to school.” By this means I got acquainted with them and won their confidence.

As I saw the difficulty of reaching them, my struggle to secure a knowledge of their language became intense. Often in the night I would be found on my knees praying to God to help me to get my tongue around the difficult guttural tones.

One who has never tried it cannot fully realize the difficulty of securing a language without grammar or printed vocabulary. I had to make my own dictionary little by little. First I got a small book and put down English words on the one side, and when I learned their Indian equivalents put them down on the other. Day by day I got fresh words, and when walking about visiting the sick or looking after my pupils I would be pronouncing the words I had secured.

Finally I got my first sentence together and started through the village one morning shouting as hard as I could shout, and making the sounds as much like an old Indian as possible: “Muck-stow-ay-wilth May-tla ta school”—“All children come to school,” repeating this again and again as I went along.


The old people ran out of their houses to see what old Indian was passing. Putting their hands to their ears they said: “Listen to him! He speaks it just like an Indian,” and then they laughed.

A lot of the little folk followed me, and I went from house to house arousing others, getting them out from under their dirty blankets, washing their faces, and then taking them along to school.

This method I followed for a while. Sometimes there was nothing near at hand with which to wash them, and they would run off without it. To overcome this difficulty we got a big barrel, and sawing it in two, filled the two halves with fresh water and placed them on either side of the school-house door. Then we got one or two big barley sacks and cut them up into strips for towels, and supplied some bits of soap and a couple of big combs. And now everybody had to do his toilet before he came into school.

It was an amusing sight indeed to see those little fellows at it. They would dash and splash the water over them, and the principal part of the dirt would be left on the towel. But by perseverance we got them to use it in the right way.

The most trying condition of things, however, was the need of clothes for the children. Some of them had the scantiest dress, and some no dress at all. So I wrote to certain lady friends in Victoria, explaining to them the condition and appearance of my pupils, and asking if they would gather up some cast-off clothing and send to me. The kind ladies very soon responded to the appeal and promised[45] to send a box. This was my first “Supply Committee.”

Some weeks passed and the gift came, and I shall never forget the exciting time we had when the great box was opened in the school-house. The sparkling eyes and eager faces of the dusky little mortals was a picture indeed.

Of course, many of the clothes were much too large and had to be “fixed up,” but what did that matter?

Like white children, they wanted to “try on.” One little girl was soon inside of a dress about twice too long for her, and holding up the front, with the long train following, she went prancing up and down in it, looking very proud.

The excitement became great. One little boy was trying on a coat much too big for him. Another little fellow got hold of a little pair of pants which he thought were the thing for him, and was buttoning up the waist, when the others burst into loud laughter and told him he had got into them the wrong side first.

Some Indian women, directed by Mrs. Raybold, a good lady from town, were soon busy with needle and thread, while the missionary plied the shears. And so we worked and sewed and cut and fixed up, until we had the children fairly well dressed.

The old people, in the meantime, showed very little appreciation, often, indeed, taking the children away with the most silly excuses.

On their hunting and fishing trips they carried nearly all their household effects, children, dogs,[46] cats, chickens, etc. Hence we often had to follow them and teach school on the beach, or under a shady tree on the bank of the river.

After I had been some time at this work, spending my whole energy for the benefit of their children, some of the parents asked me how long they had to let their children go to school before I would pay them. I replied, “Oh, I couldn’t pay you. In our country the people pay the teacher.” “Oh, well,” they said, “we cannot let them go much longer unless you pay us.”

But by and by the swing, our singing and kindness won the hearts of the little ones, and they came of their own accord when the hand-bell was rung.

Sometimes, on a fine day in the summer, they would take a notion to run off and keep away from school. What boy or girl likes to attend school on a hot day? When I started to round them up they made for the beach, and when I drew near they would slip off their blanket or simple dress and make a bolt for the salt water. In they would go, the tide being up, diving and swimming away out of reach of everybody. For a little you would lose sight of them, then away in the distance you would see two or three little fellows pop up, shake their heads, rub their hands over their faces, and cry out, “Ha! ha! ha!”

In spite of all the difficulties in the way of rapid progress, many who were naturally bright made considerable advancement. It was from this school that little Satana (afterwards David Sallosalton)[47] came to me and gave himself up to God and the work of evangelizing his people.

It was while I was engaged in my work at Nanaimo that I had the pleasure of a visit from Wm. Duncan, of the Church Missionary Society, who had spent several years among the Tsimpseans at Metlakatlah, and who afterwards was instrumental in founding the model missionary community at that place. The pleasurable acquaintance thus made was years afterwards renewed when I went north to undertake missionary work among the people of the same nation. Wm. Duncan was one of the most successful of missionaries, earnest, devoted, resourceful, a man the influence of whose life and labors will always be felt among the people for whom his life was given.



“O fill me with Thy fullness, Lord,
Until my very heart o’erflow
In kindling thought and glowing word,
Thy love to tell, Thy praise to show.”

The work of evangelization went on side by side with that of the teaching of the children. From the first we established regular religious services, preaching and prayer-meeting, and, in time, class-meeting.

Alternately with Rev. Edward White,[4] superintendent of the Mission, I visited the different points on the east coast of Vancouver Island, from Comox to Victoria, calling at Chemainus, Salt Spring Island, Cowichan, Saanich, and many other points.


Numbers of the poor heathen were little by little led to give heed to the message of truth and abandon their old ways of superstition and sin. Still[49] we felt that the education of these people would not be complete unless they were taught habits of order and industry. Their old houses and their surroundings were wretchedly filthy and disorderly, and little calculated to help them in their efforts to rise.

We must set them the example in improving the surroundings of the little church and the mission house, which had been built adjoining the church. Hence we commenced to clear off the stumps and roots from the church lot, and made it ready for cultivation. I took the boys and men and went to the woods and got out posts and rails and pickets, and thus showed them how to fence and cultivate a garden.

The old heathen house, from its very character, was the hot-bed of vice. Fancy a great barn-like building, sometimes one hundred feet long by thirty wide, made of split cedar boards fastened together with poles and withes and strips of strong bark, and occupied by as many as a dozen families, only separated from each other by low partitions.

Picture such a building, with no floor other than the ground, no entrance for light except the door, when open, and the cracks in the walls and the roof. Around the inside of such a building were ranged the beds, built up on rude platforms. In the corners were piles of mats and fishing-tackle and rubbish. Each family had their own fire, and these were built all along through the house, the smoke circulating generally through the building and finally finding its way out as best it could by cracks and other openings. Under the bunks and overhead and hanging[50] from the poles were the family stores of dried fish and berries. In the midst were many miserable dogs and cats, and, later, chickens as well. This picture multiplied a dozen or more times, according to the population, went to make up the “rancheree,” as the Indian village was sometimes called.

Is it any wonder that disease and vice flourished under such favorable surroundings?

With the example of the little mission-house and its garden before them, a number were inspired to have individual plots marked out for themselves. They cleared off their lots and had their houses built and neatly whitewashed, their gardens planted with fruit trees and bordered with shade trees, thus presenting a striking contrast to the heathen houses which they had left.

In time a street was cleared and graded in front of these houses, and the contrast with the heathen village which faced the beach was complete.

In a speech before the English Conference made after his visit to British Columbia, Dr. Wm. Morley Punshon said “that he had seen the powerful influences of the Gospel far away on the Pacific Coast, near Nanaimo, on the east coast of Vancouver Island, where he saw the heathen street and the Christian street side by side. As the people became converted they moved to the Christian street.”

Later on I followed up this work of education among the tribes on the Nanaimo and Fraser Rivers, teaching them not only how to improve their homes, but to till their ground and plant their orchards, and in every way take their places among[51] their white brethren. To-day the Indians of these districts have their little farms, cultivate their own grain and hay and roots, and raise their own cattle.

To show the influence of this early teaching, more than one of our young men, who had earned considerable money and were urged by their friends to throw it away in the potlatch, chose rather to purchase cattle and horses with which to stock their little farms.

But not only did we teach them the gospel of self-help. They were encouraged to undertake the local improvements on their own church and school-house, and to help spread the Gospel of the blessed Christ by contributing to the funds of the Missionary Society.



“Jesus, ta skwish tseetsel tomuk
Ta tlee-tlup tomuk shnays,
Lee-zas ta mes-tay-oh wa-tlats
Ta lee-am see-see nam tla-o.”
(In An-ko-me-num.)
“Jesus, the name high over all,
In hell or earth or sky;
Angels and men before it fall
And devils fear and fly.”

The number and varied dialects of the Indian languages of the Coast were such that very few white men ever tried to learn them. Of the An-ko-me-num language alone there are at present at least five or six different dialects.

The Chinook jargon, or Oregon trade language, as it is sometimes called, is really not a language, but is a composite of several languages.

The first trading posts on the Coast were at Nootka, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, and among the Chinook Indians on the Columbia River. Among the first traders were the servants of the great fur companies, the Hudson’s Bay, the Nor’West, and the Astor.

To the At words, learned by the traders at Nootka, were added many others from the language of the Chinooks, as well as English and French, the[53] languages of the traders themselves. Some few words were taken from the An-ko-me-num and some were formed from the sound. The Chinook words predominating gave the name to the jargon.

It was in use as early as 1804, and in 1863 a dictionary of the jargon was published by the Smithsonian Institute, containing some 500 words. Of these 221 were Chinook, 18 At or Nootka, 94 French, 67 English, and 21 were credited to various branches of the Salish or Flathead family of Indians.

In early years a trading knowledge of Chinook was necessary in order to do business, as is a like knowledge of French on the borders of the Province of Quebec. It is now rapidly falling into disuse, the result of the training in English which some of the later generations have received in the school. At the best it is but a wretched means of communication, poor in expression and almost destitute of grammatical forms.

“Klah-how-yah,” the term of salutation, bears such a striking resemblance to “How are you?” that one is disposed to accept its derivation from the oft-repeated enquiries of the friends of the intrepid explorer Clark after his health, “Clak-how-yah?”

“Tum-tum” is a sound word for heart, and is used as well to express will, purpose, desire. “Lip-lip” (to boil) is another such word, imitating boiling water. “Hee-hee” indicates laughter, hence any kind of amusement. “Kol-sick-waum-sick” is very expressive of fever and ague.


“Mamook” (to make) can be used with any noun to indicate some form of activity.

“Illa-hee” (ground) is linked with different words to convey a more extended idea. “Saghalie illahee” means literally “highlands,” but also suggests “a mountain,” and finally “heaven.” “Boston illahee,” the United States, etc.

“Saghalie tyee,” which literally means “the chief above,” is the word used for God.

The poverty of expression may be gathered from the fact that “tikke,” meaning “to wish, to desire,” is the only way to express the cardinal virtue “love.” “Happiness,” “joy,” as well as “good health,” are simply “klosh tumtum,” which literally means a “good heart.”

“Skookum tumtum” (a strong heart) conveys the idea of “courage.” “Chako” (come) and “chee” (new) are combined in an expression with which most Westerners are familiar, “chee-chako” (newcomer) or “tenderfoot.”

An amusing story is told of a certain dignitary of the Church, which very fully illustrates the powers and limitations of Chinook. Addressing, among other audiences, a band of Coast Indians, he began with the flowery and high-sounding sentence, “Children of the forest.” The interpreter translated it into good Chinook, but the Indians naturally enough were indignant, and only a few remained to hear him out. “Children of the forest” literally translated was “Tenas man kopa hyas stik,” which means simply “Little man among big stick,” and[55] they resented being called “little men,” or even children, and they did not live in the woods.

No Chinook for Me.

From the first I refused to have anything to do with Chinook, and when the people would meet me on the road and commence to talk in it, I made them understand by signs that I wished them to speak their own language, in order that I might learn it.

So intense was my anxiety to get their language that I found myself, when asleep, dreaming in it, and dreaming that I was preaching to hundreds of people in their own tongue.

I attended the great feasts and heathen councils, and sat by the hour listening to the old chiefs and orators relating the stories of the chase, or recounting the tales of the bloody deeds of other days, when they went out on great war expeditions and returned with many scalps.

How the old orators would rise with the enthusiasm of the occasion and seem to make the ground tremble under their feet as they rejoicingly told of the names and deeds of their fathers, to fire the ambitions of the young princes and young men of rank—for it was only the high-caste who were permitted to sit in these councils. It was at these gatherings we got the proper sound of many words.

The children also were a great help to me in the study of the language. As I gave them the English name for the objects around them I would have them repeat it in their own tongue, and by earnest[56] perseverance and the help of God I soon had the unspeakable joy of being able to preach to them in their own language the unsearchable riches of Christ.

In all my work since then I have experienced that in no way can one properly preach the truth to a people except in their own language. This knowledge of the language opened up my way to other tribes and bands of the same nationality.

On my first visit to the Fraser River, some years later, I came to a village early one morning, and, stepping out of my canoe, shouted out at the top of my voice in An-ko-me-num, “Why are all the chiefs sleeping like children so late this morning?” The old men rushed out to see the big Indian. I again shouted out the same words, and they cried out, “Listen to him! Where has he come from? We heard no white man speak like this. Has he come from above?”

On one of my canoe trips years ago around Burrard Inlet, when there was only one sawmill where now a beautiful city (Vancouver) and a number of thriving villages are situated, a white man, who had made me welcome to his home and treated me to dinner, said, as I was getting into my canoe, while a number of white men stood by, “Do you know what I was thinking, Mr. Crosby? That if you would put a blanket on and get into the canoe and commence to talk, nobody would know you from an Indian.”

I said, “I beg your pardon, sir; I didn’t know that I looked so much like an Indian.”


“Oh!” he replied, “I didn’t mean that; I meant to say, you speak the language so well that we could not tell you from an Indian speaking.”

Amusing Mistakes.

There are amusing sides to this matter of acquiring a language. In my early efforts in the use of the native tongue, while I was preaching one Sunday on the riches that are in Christ, and the poverty and misery which sin brings, I noticed when I spoke of poverty that a group of young men on one side could not contain themselves for laughter. They tried to straighten up, for they were usually very respectful in the services.

After repeating the word again and seeing the same behaviour, I concluded I must have made some mistake, and turning to the young men I said, “Now, young men, I see by your actions that I said something which has caused you amusement; perhaps some word of yours which I do not know very well. Tell me what it is.”

They hung their heads with shame. But I pressed them for reply, saying: “If you were endeavoring to speak English you would wish to be corrected if you had made a mistake.”

So pressed, young Quin-nom, one of their number, said: “Yes, Mr. Crosby, you speak our language very well, almost as well as an Indian, but to-day you made a mistake. Our word for poor is ‘sel-la-wa,’ and when you were speaking of sin making us poor you said ‘sel-la-we-a,’ which is a woman’s name who lives away down the Coast[58] about sixty miles, and so we could not help laughing.”

Thus our readers may see some of the difficulties we labored under, when only a slight change in the tone of voice might change the meaning of a whole sentence—difficulties, however, that every student of a new and unwritten language has to contend with.

No Swearing in Indian.

Speaking of the peculiarities of the language, it may be remarked that the Indian languages have no words properly to express abstract qualities, no words to express the ideas of love, peace, pardon, repentance, etc., as we understand them. So that one of our first tasks was to explain to them as best we could by illustration and otherwise the meaning of such words.

On the other hand it should also be said that there are no “swear words” in the Indian languages. Yes, it is a fact, the poor Indian must go to his white brother to learn to swear or take the name of God in vain. In the An-ko-me-num, the worst that can be said is, “Kai! kai! kai! tanowa squimag,” which interpreted means, “Die! die! die! you dog.” This, in an angry tone, is the worst they can say. Of course, the tone and the look have a good deal to do with it.

Once I heard a little boy swear loudly in the presence of other boys. I stopped the play and said to him, calling him by name, “Johnny, where did you learn to say those awful words and to use the name[59] of Jesus in that way?” “Oh,” he said, “is it bad? I heard a white man speak like that at the cannery where I was fishing, but if you say it is wrong I will not do it any more.” “Yes,” I said, “it is very wrong, you must not call that dear name in that way any more.”

How thoroughly ashamed I have been again and again, when I have heard an Indian swearing, at the thought that he must have learned it from one of my race and people.

The Lord’s Prayer in Chinook.

Nesika papa, mitlite kopa saghalie, klosh spose konaway tilikum mamook praise mika nem; klosh spose konaway tilikum mamook tyee mika; klaska spose konaway tilikum kopa okook illahie mamook mika tumtum, kaw-kwa klaska mamook kopa saghalie-illahie. Okook sun, pe konaway-sun potlatch nesika muk-amuk; pe klosh mika mash okook ma-sa-tchie nesika mamook kopa mika, kaw-kwa nesika mash okook ma-sa-tchie hul-oi-ma tilikum mamook kopa nesika; pe klosh mika mamook help nesika, spose halo-ikta tolo nesika kopa ma-sa-tchie; pe klosbe mika mamook haul nesika spose halo nesika chako kla-kow-yu.

Klosh spose kawkwa.



“All evil thoughts and deeds,
Anger, and lust, and pride
The foulest, rankest weeds
That choke Life’s growing tide!”

There were difficulties in the way of the evangelization and education of these poor people other than that of their heathen customs and peculiar language. Low, wicked white men were constantly hanging around the different camps, smuggling whiskey among the people, and using every wicked means to lead the women and children astray.

It was not an uncommon thing for these poor blind heathen parents and relatives to sell their little daughters to the white men for the basest of purposes. We went to the magistrates and asked if it was allowable to sell slaves in this country. The magistrate replied, “Oh, no; why certainly not.” But when we explained to them the nature of the slavery, they would stammer a little and with feigned indifference they would claim that it was an Indian custom and form of marriage which they would not interfere with.

Referring to slavery, it is true that from earliest times the Indians kept slaves. In all their wars the men and boys were either scalped or taken as slaves.[61] When women were taken it was usually to increase the number of slaves or wives of the chief.

Years ago, Governor Simpson, visiting Fort Stickine, Alaska, says: “We met here fully four or five thousand people. One-third of the population were slaves. Many who were born slaves were treated in the most cruel way.”

Chiefs from the far north, to keep up this cruel system, would travel away to the south in their large war canoes, and for the most trivial thing would pick a quarrel with a tribe, fight, take away many slaves, and, going back to the north, sell them to enrich themselves, or would keep some of them as their own servants or slaves.

No value was put upon the life of a slave. They would shoot them down at a moment’s notice. In the dreadful incantations of the sorcerers or medicine men, the accusation of witchcraft was easily fixed upon a slave, and he was sacrificed without mercy. In the north, when raising the large houses of the chiefs, it is said that every large post had a slave buried under it to hold the post in place, and often at the great potlatches a chief would slaughter a number of slaves to show how rich a man he was.

In time, of course, some were incorporated into the tribe, and, forgetting their own language, remained among their one-time captors. In some cases, after years of absence, the instinctive longing for home and friends would lead them to take all chances of recapture, and after enduring great hardships to find their way back to their native village, where they were welcomed as from the dead.


Much of the old-time slavery was passing away when the missionary came, but a slavery in a new and more horrible form was being established. The advent of thousands of white men, miners and lumbermen, many of whom were vicious and depraved, brought temptation to their doors. The Indian’s love of display, and his ambition to be considered of importance, which found expression in his giving of great feasts and potlatches, led him to seize any ready and easy means of gain.

At one time among the Indians, as among all heathen people, the girls were counted of little value. If they grew up they were to become the burden-bearers of their masters of the other sex. An Indian mother has been known to take her little baby girl out into the woods and stuff its mouth with grass and leaves and leave it to die. And when asked why she did so, she would say, “I did not want her to grow up and suffer as I have suffered.”

But heathenism crushes out a mother’s love and turns the heart to stone and changes a father into a foul, indifferent fiend. And so when the miners came the natives willingly sold their daughters, ranging from ten to eighteen years of age, for a few blankets or a little gold, into a slavery which was worse than death.

For years these wretched, deluded people have visited our towns, our mining and lumbering and fishing camps, bringing their bright-eyed, happy little girls with them, and after having made a lot of money in this foul method, have returned to[63] make a great potlatch and ostentatiously give away hundreds of dollars of their ill-gotten gains.

One child that we knew of refused to go with her parents for this purpose. When they tried to compel her, she said, “You can go. I will not go if you kill me,” and then she ran to the woods. After they had left she made her way to the missionary and sought protection.

Another child of about twelve years of age, who refused at first to follow a life of sin, was visited by a great rough fellow who, with his hand full of money and with promises of fine clothes and trinkets and sweets, coaxed her and finally prevailed upon her to come and live with him.

A large number of girls were sold in this way from one of our mission schools by their cruel heathen parents and friends, at prices ranging from fifty to one hundred dollars each. Some of these poor children came to the mission-house at midnight, almost broken-hearted, and said to the missionary, “Please will you not take me in. They are going to sell me as a slave, and I don’t want to go.”

We reasoned with their parents and heathen relatives, but our efforts were vain. We went to the cabins of the white men and expostulated with them, and were driven out with fiendish curses and told that it was none of our business.

Poor Little Quee-lawt!

On one occasion I found three poor women by the roadside near the sawmill at Nanaimo, all helplessly[64] drunk. It seemed of daily occurrence in those days to see women drunk. With these poor creatures was a little girl, Quee-lawt by name. She was one of the brightest and most attractive of our little scholars. When she first came to school, like some others of the children, she was very scantily clad, but by the kindness of some good ladies this little maid was neatly clothed, and because her forehead had not been flattened as much as some others, she was pleasing in appearance. She learned to read nicely and could sing very sweetly, and we had great hopes of a bright future for her.

But alas! poor Quee-lawt had been led astray by these sinful women, and by some low, degraded white men had been robbed of her purity, made drunken and defiled. And here we saw her, all besmeared with dirt and filth—drunk, drunk.

Poor Quee-lawt! the terrible drink and the vile treatment she had received were too much for her. She was carried home to the old chief’s house and died that night. Oh, what a sad, sad, pitiful sight it was! Poor little Quee-lawt! Will not a just God lay at the door of those wretched white men the murder of this child?

We could only wish that this vile blot upon the character of our fair province were wiped away. But still it continues. Some of the finest tribes on the Coast have for years been following this awful practice, until whole bands have been practically wiped out, and their only monument is a forest of totem poles raised in many cases with the money secured from this dreadful slavery.


Recently the provincial press has drawn attention to what they term the “slave traffic in girls” among the Kwa-kwulths of Cape Mudge and surrounding country.

From the reports thus circulated we gather that these people have been making the practice of selling their girls to white men and others for immoral purposes. At a recent potlatch, held in January, 1906, a number of girls were sold at prices ranging from $300 to $1,200. The latter figure was paid by an Indian for a particularly attractive girl whom he planned to take with him to the various lumber camps for the purpose of gain. “It is proverbially true,” says one writer, “that the Indians have no convictions or sentiments that cannot be easily overcome by greed of gain or power. Their chief and only object—that is, the men’s—is to become great and powerful amongst their own people, and as the possession of money is the quickest road to power and the assumption of pride, some of these men to secure money, and secure it easily, have for years been selling their women.”

“Surely the Government,” continues this same writer, “will not allow this state of affairs to exist any longer. By means of these women diseases are spread amongst our young men, and disasters too terrible to speak of must follow this indiscriminate dealing in the bodies and souls of these Indian women.”

With this whole matter are involved the questions of Indian barter marriages and the potlatch, customs which, the missionaries know, are linked[66] with heathenism, and which present some of the greatest difficulties to be met with in Christianizing and civilizing the Indian tribes of the Coast.

In our judgment, if a law were enacted similar to one which was put in force in the State of Washington some years ago, compelling any white men living with Indian girls or women to marry them, or else the women must leave and return to their own people, we would to a large extent clear the country, as they did on the other side of the line, of this dreadful evil.

The Indians, as well, should be compelled to give up their “barter marriages” and conform, as every one else must, to our Canadian marriage laws, and thus the greatest difficulty in the way of the suppressing of this evil would be removed.

On account of the prevalence of this traffic in Indian girls, many of the early missionaries were led to establish “Girls’ Homes” for the rescue and further protection of these poor victims of this awful system.



“I am weary of your quarrels,
Weary of your war and bloodshed,
Weary of your prayers for vengeance,
Of your wrangling and dissensions;
All your strength is in your union,
All your danger is in discord;
Therefore be at peace henceforward,
And as brothers live together.”

The natives of the Pacific Coast are represented by some historians as a fierce, savage, warlike race. At one time they were a numerous people, but their own bloody and ferocious wars were the means in years gone by of greatly reducing their numbers, and the ravages of the white man’s diseases and fire-water have so far completed the work that some tribes have become almost extinct.

In very early days the white traders had several encounters with the natives, and the account is preserved of the Indians of the west coast of Vancouver Island surrounding and capturing two vessels, one the Boston, at Nootka, and the other the Tonquin, at Clayoquot. The latter was afterwards blown up, it is thought, by some imprisoned members of the crew, and hundreds of the captors who swarmed her decks were killed. Another vessel, the Atahualpa, was also taken by the Indians of[68] Millbank Sound, and four of the crew, including the captain, were killed. The vessel was, however, recaptured by the remaining members of the crew, who sailed away in safety.

Their tales of war among themselves are thrilling and often very exciting. They boast of sweeping out whole tribes at once; of wading ankle deep in blood! of taking many slaves and killing and scalping the rest. Chiefs from the north would sweep down south in their great war-canoes and pick a quarrel with a southern tribe over some trifling matter, then enter into bloody conflict with them, take many slaves, and hasten back to the far north to sell them, and thus enrich themselves.

The southern people fought among themselves, or, headed by some vicious chiefs, would make trips up the Fraser River or into Puget Sound, returning after a successful foray with the slaves taken in the fight, or more likely kidnapped at their fishing or berry-picking grounds.

The northerners were not always successful in making the trip home with their booty. The Cowichans would gather at Dodds’ Narrows and Active Pass, or at Cowichan Gap, and set upon the victors, often turning their victory into defeat. If they escaped the Cowichans they still had to run the gauntlet of the Yu-kwul-toes, the most to be dreaded of the whole coast tribes, and many a Tsimpshean, Hydah or Kling-get war party has found its death trap at Seymour Narrows or the Yu-kwul-toe Rapids.

On one occasion a party of northerners, on their[69] way home through Dodds’ Narrows, about seven miles south of Nanaimo, had a battle with some Nanaimos, whom they defeated, killing eleven warriors. Striking off the heads of their slain enemies they took them with them, leaving the bodies, which were afterwards discovered by their friends. A short time after, in retaliation for the deed, on the south side of Salt Spring Island a canoe load of seven northern people were all butchered in a most shocking manner; stones were tied to their necks and they were sunk in the sea. Not reaching Victoria at the time expected, their friends instituted a search along the coast. I was then living at Nanaimo, and in the course of my work made frequent visits to Chemainus and Salt Spring Island, Cowichan and Saanich. On my next trip down the coast I was asked by the authorities to make inquiries regarding the lost ones.

After preaching to the Indians at Chemainus I referred to the murder, and warned them, if they knew who the murderers were, not to conceal them, as sooner or later they would be found out.

Several days after, on returning from Salt Spring Island, I met young chief Lis-tcheem, of the Chemainus tribe, who had come out some three or four miles in a canoe to meet me. Approaching in that cautious, suspicious manner which only an Indian will manifest, he came alongside and, speaking in an undertone, said: “Missionary, I want to say something that I don’t want my people to know. You told us the other day that we must not hide the murderers. Now, a party of our people have just[70] returned from Victoria with a great deal of new property, and they seem to have money. We don’t know where they got all this money. I suspect they are the party who murdered the people you spoke of. They are now camped on the Chemainus River. But don’t tell the people that I told you.”

I immediately returned to Nanaimo and acquainted the magistrate with the facts. A party of ten special constables were sent down to the river, and the murderers were captured, brought to Nanaimo, given a preliminary hearing, and sent down to Victoria to stand their trial at the next assizes.

Some time after, amid the busy rush of the missionary’s life, this young chief met me at my home in the Nanaimo camp, and said he had been down to the place where they heard the murder had been committed, some forty miles away, and had found their goods, clothing of all kinds, strewn upon the beach, particularly the clothes of a little child belonging to the party. This was the child of a white man from Nanaimo, whose Indian wife was on her way to take the steamer at Victoria to make a visit to her friends in the north. Among the other things he found a bunch of little papers, rolled up and stuck in the fork of a tree. This roll, which he handed to me, I found contained eighty-five dollars in bills.

I took him to the magistrate, to whom he told his story and handed over the bills. The official praised him for his honesty and faithfulness, and as a reward gave him a note of recommendation saying[71] what a good, honest chief he was. This document, signed and sealed with a large red seal and placed in an official envelope, pleased the chief very much.

Some weeks after he was in Victoria and happened to show this paper, of which he was very proud, to a police officer, who at once put him in jail, where he was held as a witness for over two months. During this time his family were left to starve, and nothing was done to help them. Is it any wonder that the Indians were enraged at this high-handed piece of injustice, and that when the young chief finally was released he declared that if all the Indians and whites in the place were murdered he would never again tell anything that he had discovered about the matter.

Speaking of the Indian’s love of “a big paper,” as they called an official certificate, I recall the amusing circumstance of a chief who was given “a paper” by a certain sea captain, which, not being able to read, he supposed was highly complimentary. The Indian went about, proudly showing to everyone a document which stated, “Look out for this fellow; he is the greatest old rascal and biggest thief I have ever met with.”

In those early days, when hundreds and thousands came from the north, it was not an uncommon thing to see a body floating in the harbor. It is the nature of an Indian always to keep in mind an old feud. Where blood has been shed they seek retaliation, and with them it is always “a life for a life.”


An Awful Night.

Tsil-ka-mut, a chief of the old school of the An-ko-me-nums, nephew of Squin-es-ton, a chief of the Nanaimos, was the most influential man in the tribe. Squin-es-ton was recognized as the head, but Tsil-ka-mut, his nephew, led the way in all matters of business or council with other tribes.

This younger chief in his youth was a great heathen, having been trained up in all heathen secrets from a child. He would often go away up the mountains and bathe in the mountain streams, where he said he had communion with the spirits and received power.

He was a fine, stalwart, muscular fellow, with a foot very large and almost as hard and tough as a horse’s hoof. He was a great hunter, and could fight, too, when it came in his way, and would keep one by the hour at his camp-fire telling of the bloody wars of former days. But he used to say that he would rather live in peace at any time than amidst war and trouble.

Tsil-ka-mut exerted a great and good influence over the people, and his authority was respected. He seldom made speeches at their heathen feasts or councils, but when he did speak they would, in the most trying time, submit to what seemed to be his superior judgment.

He was a man of peace, and tried, in his way, to preserve harmony in the tribes and encourage the[73] young people to attend church, though he did not attend very regularly himself.

At one notable Christmas gathering, which, of course, all attended, he made a speech and said: “I want to say a few words. I am glad, very glad, that the missionaries are in our land to preach to us. It makes me feel very solemn to be here to-day. I say to the young people, never to laugh and play in God’s house; it is not like out-of-doors. Do not listen to the old people, who are not wise in good things, but hear the missionary, who is our friend. Young men, it is very good for you to show an example to the children. You must always go to God’s house and the children to school. I hope you, my children, will all become very wise. We older men cannot easily change our ways, we will soon be gone, but you young men will be with the children who are growing up; to you God’s word has come. You must believe it and do God’s will; this will be best for you.”

I shall never forget Tsil-ka-mut and that awful night when, after I had preached to the white people in town and had returned to my cabin home in the Indian village, about half past ten o’clock, our native local preacher, Amos Cushan, came to my door, rapped quickly, and in an excited tone of voice said, “Did you not hear the war-whoop? I think there is going to be trouble to-night.”

“I heard a noise. What is it?” I replied.

“I think a big fight to-night, sir!” said he. “Two chiefs with a number of their men have gone[74] down towards Qual-la-kup’s house, and I think a big fight, sir!”

These two chiefs had for some time held a grudge against Chief Qual-la-kup, because of a quarrel between the two factions, which had resulted to the advantage of Qual-la-kup’s clan.

Immediately I sprang out of my house, and with my friend ran down through the woods, the shortest way to the house, and rushed in. The building was all in darkness, except for a few embers of a fire. In the dim darkness I could see two wild, savage-looking men, mercilessly assaulting the old man, Qual-la-kup, whom they had dragged out of bed. A number of others were standing around with clubs, looking wild enough and ready to knock a man down at any moment.

“I could see two wild, savage-looking men mercilessly assaulting the old man.” p. 74

I rushed towards the group, and with what seemed to me supernatural strength I flung myself upon them, sending one one way and another another. With that the old man seized his advantage, and getting up, all bruised and bleeding, he hid himself behind me, spreading my overcoat tails to hide him from his pursuers.

At the same time the old chief stood dancing in front of me with fiendish yells, his knife in his hand, ready to strike the old man when the opportunity came.

“Don’t you strike Qual-la-kup,” I said to him. “You have injured him enough. Strike me if you must strike.”

Now the friends of both parties rushed in from[75] all sides of the village, and in a few moments the great Indian house, some seventy feet long by thirty broad, was filled with a quarrelling multitude. Fortunately some torches were lighted, which enabled us to take in the scene, and for hours and hours Amos Cushan and I were rushing between quarrelling parties to stop their fighting. One would be struck with a club here, another with some sharp instrument there, and blood flowed freely. Amidst it all continued the awful din of rushing feet and the howls and screams of hellish rage.

Suddenly Quin-num, the son of old Qual-la-kup, dashed in. He had just heard of the trouble, away at the other end of the village, and jumping out of bed and tucking his blanket around him, he seized the first weapon to hand, a claw-hammer, and hurried to the rescue of his father.

I saw him rush in, trembling with anger, and I said, “Quin-num, be good! Don’t fight!”

“Oh,” he said, and his voice was wild with rage, “I could listen to what you say, but look at the blood of my father!”

And with that he let out an awful yell, and wheeling around, struck with the hammer the old chief who had clubbed his father, cutting his eye nearly out.

Then the fighting commenced with renewed vigor and continued until four in the morning. We were nearly exhausted trying to get these savage men reconciled. It was evident that the old chief and his nephew had urged on the young men, and perhaps[76] had given them whiskey to get them to undertake this dark deed. It was an old quarrel, and jealousy and pride were at the bottom of it. Qual-la-kup was a quiet old man and his people were generally respected. His son, Quin-num, had married into Squin-es-ton’s tribe and seemed likely to secure a ruling position, which moved the other chief and his people to jealousy.

While we were in the midst of this excitement, and hardly knowing who would be the next to fall, there came a lull in the storm, and we lifted up our hearts to God for help and direction.

Just then Tsil-ka-mut arrived on the scene from the other end of the village, all painted and with his blanket tucked around his waist. The great big fellow did not touch anything or anybody, but just danced about, up and down, crying out, “My children, my children, don’t be like little boys!” And you could feel the contempt in his tone. “Our fathers used to fight, but they would go and fight like men till they were wading in blood, and take many scalps. They would never go and take a man out of his bed unexpectedly in the night. Oh, you are like little boys! like little boys!” And on he danced up and down through the long house, repeating these simple words, “Like little boys, like little boys. Oh! you are like little boys!” until these savage men dropped their clubs, hid their knives behind their blankets, looking dreadfully ashamed, and one by one walked out.

“The great big fellow just danced up and down, crying, ‘My children, my children, don’t be like little boys!’” p. 76

After we had washed the wounds and dressed[77] some fearful looking gashes, we offered a prayer of thanks to God and got away to rest, too much excited to sleep.

Early the next day Tsil-ka-mut and others came to the mission house to thank me for being there that night, for they said: “O missionary, if you hadn’t been there perhaps six or twelve men dead this morning. Then there would be such a savage, angry feeling in all our hearts, which would not leave us for many moons.”

“Were you not afraid?” “Did you not get hurt?” my friends have asked me.

No, thank God, we were not hurt, and as for fear, we didn’t think of it until it was all over, when we wondered we hadn’t been knocked down. Surely “the angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.”

We had the comfort of seeing Qual-la-kup and some of his friends come into the enjoyment of the blessed light. Qual-la-kup’s brother, the uncle of David Sallosalton, and many others of his clan, became devoted Christians.

Alas! for the other poor old chief and his family; some of them did not live out half their days.

Poor, proud, jealous Quee-es-ton, the man who once knocked the missionary down and afterwards expressed his sorrow for having done so, was killed in a quarrel with some white men about whiskey. Whiskey was his great enemy, as well as that of his wife, Stah-cel-wet. They would have a supply of fire-water as often as they could get the money. I[78] have more than once stood between them in their quarrelling, taking their whiskey away and getting them sobered up. At the time of my encounter with him, before mentioned, I pointed him to the Saviour of sinners and urged him to prepare to meet his God. He appeared repentant and seemed for a time to reform, but alas! for poor, weak human nature, he fell again. Chief Louis Good and family, of Nanaimo, now attend the services and profess Christianity. We trust they may lead lives of usefulness. He is related to the family of chiefs.

As for Tsil-ka-mut, we shall hear of him later.



“Thou, whose Almighty word
Chaos and darkness heard,
And took their flight,
Hear us, we humbly pray,
And where the Gospel day
Sheds not its glorious ray
Let there be light.”

Reference has been made to the old type of heathen house, built of split cedar boards bound together with poles and withes or ropes made of cedar bark. The roof was formed of slabs of cedar, held down by large stones or by poles extending from one end to the other. Later on the roofs were made of rafters, on which were laid “shakes”—large split shingles—after the manner of the early settlers’ barns.

Under this roof, and immediately over the beds, were great sheets of cedar bark or large rush mats, placed thus better to protect the beds if the roof should leak, which it often did. There was no window, no door, except a board propped up against the entrance; no chimney, the smoke finding its way out through the cracks in the sides and roof; no floor except the hard beaten earth.

These houses, which varied in size from buildings as large as a huge barn to a small shack, were[80] usually placed near the sea-shore or on the bank of a river. The larger ones usually accommodated a number of families, sometimes as many as eight or ten, and the building was divided by low partitions into sections for each family.

Besides this type of house they constructed for winter use an underground hut, usually spoken of as a “keekwillie house”—“keekwillie” being Chinook for deep or underground. A deep pit was dug in the ground and stout poles were placed leaning together like a tepee, with a hole at the centre. The earth was heaped up around and upon the top, very much as eastern farmers cover their potato pits. The hole in the top was the only doorway, the only passageway for light, and the only opening for the smoke to escape.

A notched pole was placed up the side of the roof and another protruded from the interior through the opening in the top. By these two poles the occupants passed in and out of this dwelling. You had to be careful, if your clothing was made of any inflammable material, in passing through the opening in the top, so close was it to the fire built below.

In olden days whole villages lived in these keekwillie or sweat houses during the winter, which were united by underground passages. In times of war they were thus able to find shelter from an enemy by passing from one to another.

In the summer camps the people lived under shelters made of large rush-mats, open on one side. In front of this opening the camp-fire was built. Of course, now many of them live in canvas tents or[81] “sail-houses,” as they call them, “sail” being the Chinook equivalent for cloth of any kind. Many others of them live in small frame houses.

Speaking of the mats, these were very skilfully made by the women from the large bulrushes which line the river banks. These were dried and then woven together with a native twine made from the inner bark of the cedar, or wild wiry grass. These mats were a very useful commodity, for besides being used to form a shelter, they were sometimes laid in several thicknesses and made a very comfortable bed.


In olden times the An-ko-me-nums had tools for all purposes peculiar to themselves. The Stone Age came down to later times among this people. Trees[82] were felled and split and canoes were shaped by means of axes which were made of stone, carved into shape and notched. Around this notch was fastened a rawhide thong or cedar withe, attached to a handle. To assist in splitting the cedar logs wedges of wood, horn or bone were used. And in order to prevent the wooden wedge from splitting, withes from cedar boughs were firmly tied around its top. Planks from two to five feet wide were split out of large trees by means of these stone hammers and wedges.

Their boards were planed, as were their canoes, with chisels and adzes made of jade, a beautiful dark green stone, of a nature similar to flint, which was found in large boulders in the bed of the Fraser and other rivers. Later these adzes were made from old files provided by the trading companies.

Hammers made of stone and shaped something like a pestle, and stone mortars for crushing berries and mixing food, were among their implements.

They had paint pots of stone, pipes made of slate or wood, needles of various sizes made of wood or bone, knives of slate and granite, besides spear-points and arrow-heads of flint and quartz.

Clothing and Ornaments.

In early days, on some parts of the Coast, the clothing of the people was made from cedar bark. This was prepared by taking the inner bark of the great cedar, soaking it in fresh water until it was completely soft, and then beating it on a plank with an instrument made of bone or very hard wood having[83] grooves and ridges. It was then separated, the soft parts being parcelled out into threads or skeins. These were laid in the sun to bleach, or were dyed black or red, as suited their taste, the natural color being pale yellow.

These threads were woven into rough cloth, which was made up for women into a long, rough garment, without sleeves, tight around the neck and tied sometimes with a string of the same material around the waist. For men they made a cape with a hole in it for the head; it would come down and protect the breast and shoulders. The same material was used for towels or for packing the baby’s bed. The ordinary breech-clout was made out of this cedar cloth.

Later the hair of the dog and mountain goat’s wool were spun together and woven into blankets on simple native looms. Some of these blankets were very beautiful, with patterns all their own, representing, as in the case of the northern tribes, the totems of the wearers. Of course, in later years the common garment was the “Indian blanket,” sold by the Hudson’s Bay Company.

Chiefs and people of high rank wore the skins of animals, some of which were dressed and tanned by native methods. Some were clothed in the most beautiful furs—the priceless sea-otter, the bear, and other animals—and were thus recognized as great chiefs or great hunters.

All were fond of ornaments, such as ear-rings, necklaces, bracelets, finger rings, ankle bangles and nose jewels. Some wore large rings in their noses,[84] while slaves often had a long stick through the hole in their noses. There was also the remarkable lip button or labret, worn by perforating the lower lips of the females, which insertion was enlarged with increasing age, from one to three and a half inches long and from one-quarter to one and a half inches wide. These latter were only worn by people of high rank.

Long shells like goose quills, called toothpick shells, about three inches long, taken from the salt water, were much used as ornaments. They were strung together and sold by the fathom, five fathoms being reckoned the price of a slave.

The men of nearly all the Coast tribes had the lobe of the ear perforated, this being done in early childhood, and frequently in olden times you would see them with large rings or large pieces of abalone shell hanging to their noses.

Ear-rings were worn in a series of perforations in the lobe of the ear. We have seen them with three and four smaller pieces of abalone shell at the upper part of the ear, or a very large one at the lower part of the ear. At a more recent date these were replaced by ear-rings of silver and gold of various designs, like their white friends.

Painting and Tattooing.

Tattooings were sometimes observed on their wrists and arms and breasts, but the custom was not so general as with the northern tribes.

They, however, in common with other Indian[85] peoples, were accustomed to the use of paints in decorating the body. They had their own native paints, some made from ground stone, others from a certain kind of clay. They had also very strong dyes from sundry kinds of roots and bark; also an oily substance from salmon roe, as well as several kinds of gum from trees.

In dressing they painted the eyebrows black, like a half moon, the face sometimes checked in small red squares, arms and legs and part of the body red. Sometimes but half the face was painted red in squares, and sometimes black. At other times the whole face was as black as tar. Some also covered the face with a quantity of bear’s grease, almost an eighth of an inch thick, or laid it on in ridges like beads in a joiner’s work and then painted the ridge red.

They often told us that on a hot day this was to keep the sun from burning the face, and in the winter they claimed it kept the cold, sharp wind from cutting or chapping the skin.

Chiefs and people of rank used a kind of mineral or black shining powder, glistening in the sun like silver, taken from the rocks.

The picture of a fierce warrior, almost nude, painted up with these striking colors, and brandishing a knife, stone axe or war-club, and in later years armed with a flint-lock musket, was enough to terrify the beholder.

As for the ornamental effect of painting the person, of course that is a matter of taste with the Indian, as with other people. These colors were[86] not easily removed in washing, and often had to wear off.

Strange and Cruel Customs.

At one time the Indians were very fond of bathing, entering the water once a day or oftener. In the early morning they would arouse the children and drive them into the water for their morning bath. Even when the ice had formed on the river, they were compelled to break the ice and plunge in. The little chaps naturally shrank from this rigorous treatment, and their parents, with what seemed little feeling, would take the needle-covered branches of the spruce and whip them until they obeyed. It is safe to say that only the hardier ones survived.

Flattening the Head.

Many of the southern tribes of the British Columbia Coast were in the habit of deforming the heads of their children. This custom resembles that of foot-binding among the Chinese, and other similar barbarous practices common to most heathen peoples. The Flatheads compressed the foreheads, of their little ones by means of boards or a hard cushion, or even a flat stone. The child was laid in its little basket cradle or placed upon a narrow piece of board, to one end of which another board was attached with thongs. The upper board was pulled tight down over the child’s forehead, and thus the head was pressed gradually out of shape and the forehead flattened back.


In the northern part of Vancouver Island they use a circular bandage, whereby the skull acquires[87] an extraordinary length and forms what is called the sugar-loaf head. Some of the natives of the west coast of the island placed a bandage over the forehead of the child and then laid a flat stone upon this, thus securing the necessary deformation.

The effect of this pressure was to stupefy the senses and to crush out the intellect. Many of the children died under this cruel practice.

Again and again I have expostulated with them, and often have whipped out my knife and cut the cords which bound the little sufferer, only to incur the anger of the parents, who themselves were bound by inexorable custom.

Other Cruel Practices.

The heathen were neglectful and even cruel to their old people. They have been known to leave them on islands to starve to death, and when sick they were often left in places where one would hardly leave a dog.

When a woman became a mother, and needed the most tender care, she was put outside in a cold, wretched place, all alone, and there had to remain for weeks.

Oh, cruel, cruel heathenism, how much shame and misery and suffering must be laid at thy door! But, thank God! the power of the everlasting Gospel has wrought a marvellous change in many of these particulars, and now something of the love and sympathy which marks other Christian lives is expressed in the dealings of the people with one another.



“Thus it is our daughters leave us,
Those we love, and those who love us!
Just when they have learned to help us,
When we are old and lean upon them,
Comes a youth with flaunting feathers,
With his flute of reeds, a stranger
Wanders piping through the village,
Beckons to the fairest maiden,
And she follows where he leads her,
Leaving all things for the stranger!”
Longfellow’s “Hiawatha.”

An An-ko-me-num courtship, and the marriage which followed, differed entirely from that with which we are most familiar. One heathen wedding, which I witnessed early in my stay at Nanaimo, very perfectly illustrates the difference between their customs and ours.

Chief Tsil-ka-mut lived in a large old heathen house about 150 feet long by 40 feet wide. Tsil-la-meah, his eldest daughter, by his eldest wife—for he had two wives—was a modest Indian maiden, who had been strictly kept, as a chief’s daughter, according to heathen law.

On one occasion, when one of H. M. ships of war was anchored in the harbor, a number of bluejackets were allowed out on leave. They filled up with liquor in the town, and then marched down through[89] the woods, over a mile, to the Indian village, cutting clubs as they went. When they reached the village they shouted and swore and acted like demons, and began to drive the people out of their houses and insult their young women.

Among them were two professedly petty officers, who made their way into Tsil-ka-mut’s big house, where his daughter, Tsil-la-meah, was busy with her needle, while her mother sat near her on the floor working at a mat. These rough men sat down, one on each side of the innocent maid, and began to push her. The child, for she was little more than that at the time, became afraid of them, and the anxious mother cried, “Klata-wah! klata-wah!” (“Go away! go away!”). They paid no attention and still persisted in their insults, until finally the mother, in her own language, called out for the chief, who was at the other end of the long house, taking a meal with some of his clan. Leaping over the floor Tsil-ka-mut dashed around the corner of the partition which enclosed his family room, and in a trice was facing these ruffians. Immediately he shouted, pointing to the door, “Klata-wah! klata-wah!” which in this tone of voice meant “Get out, and hurry about it.”

“Oh, no! oh, no!” said the poor fools, grinning like gaping idiots as they spoke.

With that he seized a paddle and smashed it over their heads, repeating in a towering voice, “Klata-wah! klata-wah!”

Then these big fellows, who had been sent out with others from the Home Land to help keep peace[90] among the Indians, scampered out of the house and away without further ceremony.

It was well that a paddle was the only weapon to hand. For had Tsil-ka-mut used his old musket, or something heavier, they might have paid the penalty with their lives. And then the cry would have gone forth, “Those desperate, savage Indians, they should all of them be shot.” Unfortunately, many of them have been shot for more paltry reasons than that.

It is of the courtship and marriage of this same Tsil-la-meah, at that time a pupil in our school, that I now propose to write.

A young chief who lived some distance to the south made his way overland to her village, and began what seemed to be an old-fashioned heathen courtship. No one knew of his arrival till he was found one morning in the great long house, sitting by a post on the cold earthen floor with a blanket around him.

On my rounds to gather up the children for school I noticed this stranger, a slender young man, sitting there, looking very lonely. I asked who he was, and they told me he was a young prince from Qua-mit-son, some fifty miles away, and that he had come to see if he would be accepted as a suitor for Chief Tsil-ka-mut’s daughter. He had to remain there three days and three nights, according to custom, and if during that time he was invited to partake of food with the family of the young princess his way was all clear; if not, he could go about his business.


However, during the last day he was invited to eat with the family. We do not know that he had anything to say to the young maiden regarding the state of his affections, or whether he ever saw her during his stay there, but as soon as he had proved himself welcome to the family he was off overland to his home.

Some months after this we heard that a whole tribe of people were to arrive early one morning from the south, and that Chief Tsil-ka-mut’s daughter was going to be married to the young chief who had been there courting. The whole village was in excitement, when presently some thirty canoes were sighted rounding a point about two miles away, and a great cracking of musketry announced the coming of the strangers. On they came, beating their drums and singing the marriage song as they drew near the village.

In the lead came a band of the principal chiefs, old warriors and musicians, gorgeously painted and feathered up, standing upon a platform which was built on top of two large canoes lashed together. In their midst was the young man himself, well dressed in European style. The singing continued till they got to the beach. By this time the crowd of villagers were all thronged around the canoes. The young man and the painted warriors stepped out and quietly walked to the chief’s house, all the rest following. The villagers busied themselves packing up the visitors’ goods and hauling their canoes high up on the beach. The day was then spent in resting and feasting.


In the evening a great reception was given, when all the great dancers of the Nanaimos, by their dancing and song, welcomed the strangers. Feasting and dancing were now the order for several days.

Finally the day of departure arrived. Early in the morning the whole village was astir, and we were told that now Tsil-la-meah was to be married. We were curious to see the ceremony, and made our way to the chief’s house. Drawn up high on the bank in front of the house was a very large and beautiful new canoe, gaily painted with their old Indian paints, the bow and stern carved and ornamented in colors with animal and bird-like designs.

Inside the house we found crowds of people, all painted up, dancing and scrambling for goods. A great number of mountain goat skins were gathered at one end of the house. Busy hands tied them together in a long string, and when all was ready some of the young men took hold of one end and rushed the long string of robes down through the middle of the house. Immediately an excited scramble followed, visitors and villagers each striving for a share. Sometimes half a dozen men, getting hold of a skin, would tear it in pieces, eager to get their part of the prize. At other times, when several were good-humoredly struggling together to secure a skin, a quaint-looking old man came along and, brandishing a large knife, would cut right between their arms and each man got his part. Then followed blankets, calico and other goods,[93] which were dealt with in the same way, and thus went on this scene of pleasure and potlatch.

Then came another part of the ceremony. The Cowichans, the friends of the young man, made ready their canoes for departure, and some by the side of the canoes and some already seated in them joined in singing one of their marriage songs, which recounted the great deeds and wealth of the ancestors of the young man, as well as his own wealth and good qualities.

During this time a number of old women attendants were preparing the young bride for the occasion. They put on her a number of calico dresses and a new bright red blanket, and painted her face in the most grotesque-looking manner. Her long flowing black hair was plaited, and hung away below her waist. Attached by a head-strap to her forehead and hanging down her back—the way they carry their burdens—was a piece of wood, the token that her friends never wanted her, as a chief’s daughter, to carry her own wood.

All being ready, she was led out by one of the women, the others, to the number of six or eight, following in single file. Each had a new red blanket hanging over her shoulders, the other end held by the one behind. And thus they marched out of the house towards the new canoe amidst the singing and shouting of the Nanaimos. Men piled their loads of new blankets into the canoe, and then the bride was helped in and seated a little astern of mid-ships. And still they piled in blankets all around her, until her head was just in sight. Thus[94] several hundred blankets were sent off with her as a kind of dowry.

By this time a great array of canoes were strung along the shore, all ready to leave, and hundreds of people were crowded in front of the house between it and the beach. And now the Nanaimos beat their drums and sang their songs, and great orations were made by both parties.

The first orator, who represented the older chief, the father of the bride, in loud and boastful tone spoke on this wise: “Let all the people in this great country know, you people from the south and the people from the north, that this young woman is a daughter of a great chief; she and her people have been in the line of chiefs for generations. They were a great people. All the tribes feared before them. And now her father is giving her into the hands of you people of the south. Let all the Cowichans, the Saanich, the Songees and all the people to the south know that this day the young chief takes her for his wife. We charge you to take great care of her, and warn you that if anything should happen to her, any of the wild people from the north should come and take her, we shall look to you, or require her at your hands.”

At once a rough, wild-looking old fellow jumped up in one of the canoes which stood out in the water and said: “O great chief, we hear what you say, but you must remember it is not only the Nanaimos who are a great people. Our people, the father of this young prince, is a great chief among his people. We will try to do as you say. We will[95] take care of the young princess whom he has taken for his wife. She shall be one with us, and we will come and see you again.”

Then for a time the most exciting scene occurred. Several beautiful new muskets, one after another, were thrown ashore, and in a very proud, haughty fashion a short speech was made after each present, as much as to say, “We’ll show you Nanaimo people we are not the poor people you imagine.”

This aroused the Nanaimos, who ran in turn to their different houses, bringing out muskets and blankets and either throwing them down towards the canoes or handing them to individuals—the whole accompanied by a running fire of boastful speeches and wild and frantic oratory.

This ended, the bridegroom called his young men to him, and rushing up to the large canoe where the young bride sat almost covered with blankets, they seized the canoe and with a merry shout gave it a heave, when it bounded off the bank into the water, some of them holding it back for fear it should launch out too far.

As a parting gift the young man took off his coat and hat and gave them to Tsil-ka-mut, who was clothed in a blanket only. The gift, it seemed, could be of little value, as the young fellow was quite slender, while the old chief looked as large again.

This done the young man sprang into the canoe by the side of his bride, and they were man and wife. In a moment some ten of his braves followed[96] him, and seizing their paddles swung the big canoe out into the bay and the party was off. We on the beach shouted and waved our good-byes until they rounded the point.

The Sad State of Heathen Womanhood.

Polygamy, with all its dreadful misery and degradation, was prevalent in former days all along the coast. Chee-at-luk, the old king of the Songees, commonly known as King Free-zee, it is said had fifteen wives. In the interior, also, I met a chief who claimed to have fourteen wives. One or two of these were the chief or permanent wives, while all the rest were treated like slaves, and possibly were slaves, purchased and often held as such.

Years ago, it is said, a man’s own sister, or, worse still, even his daughter or mother, might be among his wives. The more wives he had, the less work he would have to do. A great chief is reported to have said, “Women are made to labor; one of them can haul as much as two men; they pitch our tents, carry our wood, mend our clothes, and cook our food.”

Woman was always the slave or burden-bearer until the Gospel came and lifted her into her true social position.

It was a common thing, in those first days of my work among them, to see a man with his blanket on, painted up in great style, walking along the road as if the whole creation belonged to him, while a poor woman, with a heavy load of fish or food of[97] some kind in a basket on her back, trudged along, hardly able to bear up under the load, and perhaps carrying a baby besides. If you said to the man, as I have said again and again, “Take the baby. Why don’t you help her?” she would say, “Oh, let him alone, sir; he is the chief,” as much as to say, “I am his slave.”

It was very common for men to have from two to four wives, and there was often a great deal of jealousy and quarrelling among them. This custom worked great injury to many of the young men, who could not get wives, and often led them to live reckless lives; while many a young woman has gone off to ruin for fear she would have to go and live with some ill-natured, dirty, lame old fellow whom she could never like.

It is wonderful, when the Gospel light came in and the Spirit of God took hold of the people, how they themselves commenced to see the evils of this custom and immediately endeavored to rectify it. It was a matter that could not have been forced upon them, but gradually they arranged it. The oldest one, perhaps, was put away with an ample dowry. Another, who had no family ties, married another man who had no wife, and, growing out of this system of polygamy, who never had a chance to have one. The one whose growing family of little ones laid heavy responsibilities upon her was usually retained. And thus, by the blessing of God, this most difficult problem was solved, and polygamy was almost entirely done away with.


First Christian Marriage.

Very interesting to me was the first marriage I performed among this people. It took place in the year 1871, on the Songees reserve, the territory of the noted old King Free-zee, opposite Victoria, in the home of Amos Shee-hats-ton (our first convert in that tribe), which had been used for prayer and class-meetings. The couple had been waiting till I should be ordained, so as to have it in their own language. There were present about twenty of the natives, including their teachers. The weather was warm and the door wide open, and the contracting parties stood with their backs to the door.

As it was the first marriage I had performed, I was a little nervous, and had to keep a close look at the book. Just when I reached the point of asking the bride, “Wilt thou have this man to be thy wedded husband?” I glanced up, and lo! she was just slipping out of the door.

Taking in the situation, and seeing that the crowd were looking very serious, I started up singing, “Shall we gather at the river,” a hymn with which they were familiar.

We had nearly sung it through when she came peeping in at the door, as if she had a lingering desire to have the thing finished up. So I got hold of her hand and drew her towards him, placed her hand in his, laid my hand over them both, and held on until I had finished the ceremony.

With this memory before me I have married many hundreds since, and never failed to place my hand upon theirs, and hold on until the ceremony was completed.



“Those who attempt to reason us out of our follies begin at the wrong end, since the attempt naturally presupposes us capable of reason.”—Goldsmith.

Nature made bounteous provision for the wants of the aboriginal inhabitants of British Columbia. The seas and rivers were teeming with fish—salmon of several kinds, halibut, cod, and sturgeon, and among smaller fish, herring, oolachan, smelts, and trout; the beaches and shallows afforded large sea crabs, clams, cockles, and oysters. The plains, valleys and mountains abounded in wild animals of many kinds—elk, moose, cariboo, deer, mountain sheep and goats, bears of different colors, and numerous smaller fur-bearing creatures. The forests, the sky and the lakes and streams were alive with members of the feathered tribe—swans, geese, ducks of several varieties, and, besides all these, the Indians were not averse to eating eagles and gulls, if necessity demanded.

Besides laying in large stores of dried meats and fish, the natives gathered large quantities of wild berries, of which there were several varieties, and dried them for their winter supplies. There were many other kinds of food, such as the inner bark of the spruce tree, many kinds of roots, wild potatoes,[100] wild onions, wild rice, sea-weed, fish, eggs or spawn, crab apples and nuts.

Methods of Cooking.

The people had three common ways of cooking their food: by boiling, steaming, and broiling before the fire.

To cook a quantity of provisions in one of their big tubs or boxes—for they had no pots in those days—they poured in water sufficient to cook the quantity needed, and then red hot stones, lifted with a pair of wooden tongs, were dropped in to make it boil. When salmon or other fish were to be cooked, they usually cut off the heads and tails, and kept up the boiling process until all was reduced to a broth, when it was ladled out into dishes or long troughs and set before the people. Think of seven hundred salmon cooked in this way for a single feast!

To prepare food by steaming, a large fire was first kindled on a bed of cobble stones. When the wood had burned out, the stones being very hot, layers of green grass or sea-weed were laid on the top of the stones and kept damp with water. The clams, mussels, or other shell fish—if salmon, cod, halibut or sturgeon, usually only the heads and tails were thus prepared—whatever they wished to cook, were placed upon the grass, a little water was poured upon the top, and the whole was closely covered with mats, leaves, or boughs to keep in the steam. This is much the best means of cooking[101] clams or other shell fish. They are delicious when cooked after this fashion.

When it was desired to broil the salmon, birds, venison or other wild meats, a stick the size of a broom handle, about four feet long, was split part way down, and the meat or fish was put into the split, while little sticks were placed crossways to keep the food spread. The stick was then tied at the split end, while the other end, already sharpened, was driven into the ground by the hot camp-fire, the flat side being kept towards the fire. The oil or gravy was caught in a clam shell or other dish and poured back upon the meat while cooking. Salmon never tastes better than when cooked in this manner. Often when travelling by canoe have we had deer, bear or mountain-goat meat, ducks or geese, and even porcupine, eagle or gulls, cooked in this way. The latter is quite palatable when you are worn with travelling and the larder has become nearly exhausted.


It has been said, “It is always a feast or a famine with a native.”

Whether that is true or not, certain it is that the natives of the Pacific Coast have a great variety of feasts. Indians, wherever you find them, are very hospitable to strangers—the travellers and miners of this vast country would all testify to this. They are most generous, even reckless, with their food. If you are invited to a feast among them the food is piled up before you, and after having satisfied[102] your appetite you are expected to take away all you cannot eat. If the visitor is a chief or important person, what he has left is sent home by messenger to his family. If he be any ordinary guest, he sweeps off what remains—which is usually much more than he has eaten—into a corner of his blanket or his shirt, and carries it away. If the feast be of whale’s blubber, porpoise, fish of similar kind, or venison, bear or mountain goat, it is cut up into slices and strung on a sharp stick, or carried in his hand to the rest of his family.

At a big feast there are always several masters of ceremonies and a number of waiters in attendance. These never sit down while the eating is going on, though often a feast will last for six or seven hours, having as many courses. There are numerous small, every-day feasts where neighbors call upon each other in a happy, social way.

One of the greatest offences to an Indian is to refuse to accept an invitation which he has given you to eat with him and his friends.

Music and Dancing.

With most feasting is usually associated dancing and other merriment.

The readiness with which the Indians pick up our beautiful hymn tunes and learn to play our musical instruments has been remarked. Indeed, these people are naturally very musical, and in their heathen state were passionately fond of singing their own native melodies. Of songs they had a great variety: war songs, marriage songs, songs for[103] feasts and public gatherings, mourning songs for the dead, songs when the fish came, dancing songs, canoe songs, and many others. When we asked the old dance-song maker where they got their music, he replied:

“We get it from the wind in the trees, from the waves on the sea-shore, from the rippling stream, from the mountain side, from the birds, and from the wild animals.”

As for musical instruments, we are all familiar with the simple Indian drum, made by stretching a deerskin tightly over a hoop. Besides this they used as a drum a big square box, painted in different colors, with figures of birds and animals upon it.

When the drummer was at work crowds would, accompany him, beating time with sticks upon boards. The sound was weird in the extreme, if heard at the dead of night, coupled with the shouts of the heathen dancers.

Besides the drums were rattles of various shapes, used by the chiefs and conjurers, and pipe whistles—indeed, whistles of many kinds, imitating birds and animals—some of which were used by the hunters in pursuit of game.

With much of their music is associated their pagan dancing. There are professional dancers among the tribes, who as a rule are identified with the clans of the medicine men. The heathen dances are very fascinating to the heathen mind, and in nothing is the “backsliding” of the Indian more noticeable than in his return to the dance.


At the dancing season certain persons become possessed, or as the An-ko-me-nums say, “the you-an, or dance-spirit, is on them.” They dream dreams and see visions, and move about in a hypnotic state, unable, or at least declining, to work, and roaring out at intervals a sort of mournful sobbing, “Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh.” Then they go from house to house, hunting up every kind of food they can get hold of, and gorging themselves many times a day. At night these dancers, all daubed and plastered with grease and paint, would gather in the large houses, where the people were assembled, and work themselves up into a frenzy, prancing up and down and round about, performing numerous contortions. Then they would break out in song, or in monotonous recitation relate their dreams and visions and tell many weird tales. Then round and round, and up and down again, they would prance, until they dropped from sheer exhaustion, or fell, perhaps, into the fire, and another took their place. All this time the onlookers watched and listened to the chanting and the story, or screamed and pounded in frantic accompaniment to the dancing.

The heathen dance is certainly demoralizing, and, like everything of heathenism, is of the devil.

White Man’s Dance vs. Indian Dance.

Early in my stay at Nanaimo four or five of the leading chiefs came to me with the proposition that if I would allow them to go on with their potlatching and wild dancing every day in the week, they would come to church and rest on Sunday.


“No; you had better stop all your heathenism,” was my answer.

Nothing daunted, they came back again later. Now they would all be good on Sabbath and stand by me if they could dance. It was not very bad, and they had to keep up a little of what their fathers told them. And if I would not speak against it or pray against it they would all be good soon and would have all their children go to school.

“No, I cannot have anything to do with the old way, the dance, the potlatch, etc., it is all bad,” I said.

Then they whispered to each other, “Oh, he is like a post; you cannot move him.”

To give an idea of the scenes witnessed on these dancing occasions: Old Sna-kwe-multh, a man who had been taken a slave by some northern tribe, but who had found his way home, wished to demonstrate his bravery. At a great feast he came rushing in half naked and danced before the people. As his frenzy increased he slashed at his thighs with some kind of sharp instrument, and then with both hands caught up his own blood and drank it, to prove himself a brave.

A number of white men, who had been witnesses of the shameful scene, ran out and cried, “The devil is in the man.”

I denounced the custom and pleaded with them to give it up. Speaking to the old Chief Squen-es-ton, I said, “You must stop it. It is of the devil.”

“Oh,” said he, “the white man’s dance worse than the Indian’s dance.”


“How do you make that out?” I said.

“Oh, Indian man, alone, dance all round the house and sit down. And then Indian woman she dance all round and she sit down. But white man take another man’s wife and hug her all round the house.”

What could I say to the argument? What would you have said?


Of the many evils of heathenism, with the exception of witchcraft, the potlatch is the worst, and one of the most difficult to root out.

At one time its demoralizing influence was so manifest that the Government passed a law prohibiting it, but this excellent law was seldom properly enforced.

“Potlatch”—the word is from the Chinook and means “to give.” Literally the idea is the giving away of everything a man possesses to his friends. In return he gets nothing except a little flattery, a reputation for generosity, and poverty.

“Tlaa-nuk” is the An-ko-me-num word, and it suggests something more than “a giving,” or a feast, or an entertainment, or a ceremony, for it is all of these and more. It is a system of tribal government which enforces its tyrannical rule upon all, and overrides all other laws of the nation or the individual.

Its outward manifestation of the heathen feast and dance, with the giving of gifts to all present, is[107] bad enough, but this is as nothing to the unseen influence behind it all.

The potlatch relates to all the life of the people, such as the giving of names, the raising into social position, their marriages, deaths and burials.

A man desires, or thinks himself entitled to, some coveted position, property or distinction, and for years, perhaps, makes preparation to secure it. This can only be done by the law of “tlaa-nuk” (potlatch), and so when ready he calls together from far and near his friends and relatives, when, after much feasting and dancing and speech-making, he gets up on a high platform and proceeds to give away all that he possesses.

The ambition of an Indian to be thought greater, richer and more influential than any of his neighbors leads him not only to give away a large part of his goods—which, as a matter of fact, he expects returned with interest on some future occasion, at another such gathering—but wantonly to destroy very much in such a manner that it can never be restored. For instance, think of a man taking a fine large canoe, valued at, perhaps, one hundred and fifty dollars, and smashing it into pieces; or of another seizing a number of beautiful new guns or rifles and bending and breaking them so that they would be utterly useless; or of another setting fire to piles of food and of goods. Some few years ago, at one such gathering, the poor, foolish creatures took rolls of new bills, the product of their summer’s work, and threw them into the fire.

I knew a man at Nanaimo who, together with his[108] wives and children, worked for years saving and getting together much property; and then a great potlatch was given, and everything went, to the last stitch of clothing, and he and his family were left practically naked to face the winter, without any provisions. His children nearly starved, while he contracted a cold which led to consumption, from which he died.

Some time ago it was rumored that the law against the potlatch was to be repealed. This drew a strong protest from several quarters, among them from some of the Indians themselves.

About that time the following letter, which explains itself, appeared in the local press, signed by an Indian whose identity was vouched for by a gentleman who knew him well:

“Having heard that in the last session of the provincial parliament a resolution was passed asking Dominion Government to reconsider the potlatch question with a view to repealing section 114, and that there is to be an inquiry as to the evils of the potlatch, we should like to tell the public what the potlatch is.

“Really and truly it is destruction to life and property, as we shall show. The first is that the women go from home to other places for immoral purposes, to get money or blankets to give away, or potlatch, as people call it. The second is that they sell their daughters to other men as soon as possible, sometimes twelve or thirteen years old, marriage they call it; the people do not care so long as they get blankets to potlatch with. And the[109] third is that they hate each other so much because of their trying to get one above the other in rank, as it is according to how many times they potlatch that they get the rank, and keep it, too. If they could they would even poison one another. Even now they think they kill one another by witchcraft, with intent to kill, and they believe that they do kill. A man does not care for any relatives when the potlatch is in question. The potlatch is their god; they will sacrifice everything to it—life, property, relatives, children, or anything, must go for him to be a ‘tyee’ (chief) in the potlatch.

“A man after giving a potlatch will sit down, his children, too, without knowing where he is going to get his food and clothes, as he has given away everything, and he has borrowed half of it, for which he has to pay back double. And another thing is, when they are mad with one another they will break canoes or tear blankets or break a valuable copper, to shame their opponent. The potlatch is one fight, with quarrelling and hating one another.

“And another is the desecration of the dead. The hamatsa, or medicine man, when he first comes from the woods, carries a dead body in his arms, professing to have lived on such things when in the woods, and as soon as the hamatsa comes in the house the other hamatsas all get up and go and tear the body to pieces among them like dogs; besides all this they bite the arms of one another; and the other thing is that when a man gets ill he[110] thinks he is witchcrafted, and then his relatives will go and take the dead body that they think he is fixed with: they cut and mutilate it to undo the work that they think has been done to him. We have just heard of such a case from Kurtsis, of a woman’s dead body having been taken out and cut, to undo the work that they think has been done to a certain man. All these things are pure facts, and we are prepared to prove them if need be, and could tell other evils, but we are afraid of tiring the public.”


The Indians are passionately fond of gambling. In olden times they gambled, not with cards, but usually with round wooden pins about three inches long, or with shells and pebbles.

The gamblers would sit opposite each other on the grass or in the large houses, and a great crowd would gather on both sides, making a rattling noise with short sticks on boards, and singing to work themselves up for luck, or “power,” as they called it. The gambling would go on night and day, almost week in and week out, until they had not a shred of clothes left. Money, muskets, canoes, horses, and sometimes the houses over their heads, they would stake on a chance.

The story is told of one old man among the Kling-gets who gambled away everything he had. Then, with the hope that he would have a lucky day some[111] time, he put himself down and gambled away for days, still losing, until his wife, seeing that he was “going,” persuaded him to stop. She had to pay two hundred blankets to buy him back.

The gambling passion still lives with them, and now some of them have adopted the methods of their white brothers—they were always fond of imitating him, even to their own hurt—and are going deeper and deeper into sin.



“Ye whose hearts are fresh and simple,
Who have faith in God and Nature,
Who believe, that in all ages
Every human heart is human,
That in even savage bosoms
There are longings, yearnings, strivings,
For the good they comprehend not,
That the feeble hands and helpless,
Groping blindly in the darkness,
Touch God’s right hand in that darkness
And are lifted up and strengthened....”

The An-ko-me-nums, like most of the Indians of British Columbia, were spirit worshippers. First of all, they believed in a great Chief Spirit, who created all things and was all-wise and all-powerful, and ruled over them for good, but who was not actively concerned for them, and whom they never called upon except in cases of great difficulty or distress.

Then they believed in a multitude of lesser spirits, who were in most cases evilly disposed towards them. These inhabited certain mountains and headlands and rocky, dangerous points, around which the waves raged and tossed their frail canoes, and sometimes upset them. A swirling eddy, a dangerous rapid, a lonely lake in the mountains, a steep precipice where perhaps at some time or other one[113] of their people had met with disaster and possibly death, was the abode of a “Stlaw-la-kum,” or evil spirit.

They prayed a great deal to the sun, to the moon, to the Great Being who gave them all the fish and food, or to the spirit whom they believed might be responsible for any impending danger. They were often found in the woods praying. Hunters would pray and fast for days in the mountains, bathing themselves and performing certain exercises, in order to be successful hunters. They would pray, while fishing, for a successful catch. And for weeks before going on a war expedition they would fast and pray and bathe and paint themselves in preparation for the undertaking.

Food and drink were often thrown on the fire as an offering to the unknown Divinity, while the ascending smoke bore the prayers of the poor blind worshippers onward to the Great Chief above.

Speaking of this, one of our native preachers says: “My grandmother in the early morning used to kindle a fire as she sat on the river bank. When it was a clear, quiet morning and the smoke would ascend, as it seemed, straight up to the land above, she would say, as she prayed for more food or for protection from sickness or trouble, ‘Now our prayers will be answered.’ But if the wind blew the smoke about, she would say it was no use praying, as such prayers were useless.”

Out on the water, with the tempest threatening, they were accustomed to turn around and whistle and wave their hands to the wind, to keep it away,[114] and when it grew stormy they would pray to the mighty wind. Crossing the Gulf of Georgia on one occasion in a big storm, the old heathen captain and his wife, with whom we voyaged, prayed most appealingly, “Oh, you big storm, don’t you drown us; you are so strong and we are so weak; don’t you make such a rough sea. Why should we go down? We are all dirty, our clothes are dirty, we are very dirty; if you take us down we shall dirty your clear waters, they are so clear and blue. Don’t have us dirty your beautiful waters.”

The south men, as well as the north, would throw out food and even clothes as a sacrifice to appease the storm.

When becalmed on a fair day the conjurer or “windmaker” would volunteer to raise the wind. He would begin by whistling and waving the hand, and then praying to the Spirit of the locality. Should a light breeze spring up they would shout and hurrah because they had brought the wind.

Of their traditions we have not much to say. In common with many other peoples, they had legends of the creation and of the deluge. Their stories of the flood are very local in coloring, and usually gather around a certain mountain peak, the highest in their immediate vicinity. The legend of the thunder bird is one which is repeated in varied forms all up and down the coast. The Nanaimos told how the thunder was made up between two mountains. Between two large rocks, near the shores of a little mountain lake, some great birds which made the thunder had their nest. Then the little thunders[115] all came out, and they with the big thunders clapped their wings; then the roll and roar of the thunder could be heard echoing through the hills.

Death and Burial.

The An-ko-me-nums believed in a future existence, and placed upon the graves the toys and trinkets of the children, the weapons and belongings of their braves, the canoe or horse of the chief, which they thought would be of service to the former owner in the land to which he had gone.

They buried their dead in various ways. There are evidences that in times long past they put many of them in rocky tombs and hid them from their enemies. During times of war they buried them in large pits, which were covered with ashes, and huge mounds of shells were heaped on the top. At Comox, on Vancouver Island; Musqueam, near Eburne, at the mouth of the Fraser; at Port Hammond, and other places, where these mounds existed and have been opened, human skulls and bones have been found in large numbers.

Fifty years ago they enclosed the bodies of the dead in boxes and placed them upon a scaffold, some ten or twelve feet high, to keep them out of the way of animals. In still later times they placed them on the ground and built little houses over them. To-day they are buried in the earth, after the Christian fashion.

Such fear had they of death that the dead were not kept very long, but were placed in a box and hurried out of the way as soon as possible. They[116] were particularly cruel and indifferent to their old people, even placing them in their boxes before they were quite dead.

I recall the case of a poor old man at Nanaimo who had been sick for some time. I called one day at the house and did not find him on the miserably dirty old cot. I then asked his son, a heathen, a chief, and past middle age himself, where the old man was. “He is in that box,” he replied, at the same time pointing to a native cedar box, about eighteen inches square and two feet deep, made without a nail, and bound with cedar withes.

I went to the box, and opening it I found the poor fellow, where they had placed him, according to custom, crowded in and doubled up, his head between his knees, but still alive. I had him taken out at once, but he died the next day.

Some time ago, on the west coast, a man who had been very sick, and whom they expected to die, was thus buried alive. His legs were broken and his poor body was jammed into a box, and it was put away on an island. A woman picking berries heard the man groan, and with considerable grit for an Indian woman went and opened the box and let him out. He is still living, though as a result of his horrible experience he is compelled to make his way about as best he may on all fours.

Did Not Know He Was Dead.

Several years ago smallpox raged along the coast and swept off many of the Indians as well as the whites. The city and government at Victoria[117] appointed certain white grave-diggers to bury the numerous corpses found upon the beach, among the trees, in huts and in canoes.

In many cases the grave-diggers found poor creatures almost, but not altogether, dead; they knew they would be fit for burial soon, and did not care to spend time waiting for the last gasp. It is said they were taking one poor fellow off to the grave, but he objected on the very proper ground that he was not dead yet. He was told to shut up, as he was dead, but too delirious to comprehend the fact. So they carefully placed him under the sod to await the resurrection morn.

Rising from the Grave.

The coal company at Nanaimo were building a wharf from a point in the harbor, and paid for the removal of a number of Indian bodies which had been buried near the spot. New graves were dug on a little side hill, and to these the remains were transferred. The holes, however, were quite shallow, owing to the presence of a clay hard-pan underneath. Next day a great outcry was made in the camp, and intense excitement prevailed, for most of the boxes had risen up and had come out of the graves. We went down to discover the cause of the disturbance, and what had seemed to the poor people so strange and uncanny had been caused by the heavy rain of the night before filling the shallow graves and floating out what they contained. It took some time to quiet the fears of the people.


The men who do anything in any way in the digging of the grave or the handling of the body are paid excessively for their services. This may be due, in part, to their horrible fear of the dead.

Mourning for the Dead.

The Indian mother grieves for her children with the same intensity of feeling that characterizes her white sister. After the burial she will return to the grave in the early morning and weep bitterly. She often continues this for days at a time. She wails and calls up the looks of the little one, its acts and words. She will carry the clothes and playthings to the little grave, and cry and talk away to her lost darling, and pathetically plead for its return.

There is, however, a kind of professionalism about a great deal of their mourning for the dead. When a chief or leading person had passed away women were accustomed to rush into the house from all parts of the village. Perhaps on their way there they might be chatting and laughing about trifles, but as soon as they got near the house where the dead lay, they would commence rubbing their hands down their faces, and really seem to pump up their tears, for before they were fairly seated the tears were flowing, while they wailed and told all the good qualities of the dead.

After this had gone on for some time, someone belonging to the house would hand around a dish or basket containing water. The crying then ceased, and dipping their fingers in the water they bathed[119] faces and hands, and received the strips of calico or clothes of the deceased, which was their reward for their weeping.

The Witch-Doctor.

The medicine-man, or witch-doctor, that demon among heathen peoples, held sway among the An-ko-me-nums when I first went to the Coast.

The shaman, or medicine-man, is the representative of the grossest features of paganism. He has wielded, and still wields to some extent, a marvellous influence over the people, because of the supernatural powers which they believe him to possess.

He professes to have acquired his power by long months of retirement in the mountains or beside some lonely lake, where he fasted and prayed and held converse with the spirits and with nature.

Returning, he practises certain magical rites, and by this means is able, so he claims, to heal the sick and raise the dead and look into the future, and even cause the death of many who may oppose his magical powers.

The tyranny of this wretched despot and the awful absurdity of his miserable pretensions, together with his fiendishly bitter opposition to everything that is good, leads him to be feared and hated.

Their method of treating disease was not by means of medicine. It was left to the old women of the tribe really to administer such simple remedies as they might be acquainted with—poultices, lotions, emetics, purgatives, and such-like. The witch-doctor[120] preyed upon the superstitions of the people, and by his conjurer’s rites deceived and beguiled them.

When called in, in case of sickness, he would shake his rattle and work himself up to a frenzy, scream and howl, and if it was a case of fever he would rattle away for hours. If there was some fixed pain, he would grab hold of the chest or forehead or place where the pain was said to be, and then get down and suck and squeeze and suck away until the blood came through the skin. Then repeatedly spitting the blood into his hands, he would shout for his attendants to rattle harder and sing louder, “It was coming.” Finally he would jump and scream or cheer and say he had got it out, and then proceed to show a piece of shell, glass, pebble, or a nail, which he claimed he had taken from the body, and which was the cause of the trouble.

A cousin of Sallosalton’s, a bright youth who had attended our school, in whom I had become very much interested, was taken very sick with a fever, and the conjurer (witch-doctor) was called in. I visited him, and saw that the old conjurer’s rattling and the additional noise of the people beating time to his rattle or drum and boards, together with the yelling and singing for hours, was only distracting the poor boy and making him very much worse. I went to the town and consulted the only doctor there. He came to see my young friend, and said he felt sure that if the medicine were administered properly, and we could keep the old conjurer away, there was good hope of his recovery. So I told the people that we did not want the conjurer there any[121] more, and that they must help me to keep the lad quiet. Night after night I sat up in order to administer the medicine and keep the old imposter away, and thus give him the necessary quiet. But I found that secretly during the day, while I was resting, they would call in the conjurer again, as his friends had more faith in him than in our medicine and nursing.

Several days passed before I discovered their doings. But one day I slipped into the house unexpectedly and found the old fellow rattling over him, with a number of his friends keeping time with sticks on a board, to assist the old imposter, as he said, “to get the power.” I rushed in and ordered him to stop and leave. A day or two after I found him again at the same thing, all painted up and nearly naked, and partly stretched out upon the body of the sick man, howling and rattling away. My indignation was aroused, and I said to him, “If you don’t stop you’ll kill that boy. Leave at once! and if you don’t I’ll bundle you out of the house.”

“One day I slipped in and found the old fellow rattling over him.” p. 121

He saw that I was making for him, when he got up and crawled out, saying that he was there by invitation. Of course, the father, mother and friends, who were responsible, were very much disgusted at my action.

I continued my watch by the poor boy for several nights, and had the joy of knowing that he was trusting in Jesus. However, I was suddenly called away to the Fraser River, and, much to my regret, had to leave the sick one. After I left they got the[122] conjurer back, and finished their work, for the boy died soon afterwards.

You Don’t Understand My Sick.

It is lamentable to behold the superstitious dread of these people of the power of the witch-doctor to do them harm.

During my stay at Nanaimo a bright, intelligent young man, about nineteen years of age, by the name of Charlie, attended our school. I missed him for some days, and on inquiry learned that he was sick. I made my way to the old heathen house where he lived, and there found him lying on a wretched cot, covered with his old dirty blanket.

I said, “Charlie, what’s the matter?”

“I am sick, sir,” he replied.

I felt his pulse, made general inquiry, but could discover very little the matter with him. Giving him some medicine, I told him to “have a strong heart,” as he would soon be well.

Two or three days afterwards, on a beautiful sunny spring morning, I visited him again, and found he was still lying in the same place. I got him up and out of the old house into the sunlight, but he seemed to grow worse rather than better.

Finally I said to him one day, “Charlie, what’s the matter with you? You are not sick!”

“Oh, you cannot understand my sickness,” he replied.

“Where are you sick? What is the matter?” I continued.


“Oh,” he said, looking very serious, “white man don’t understand my sickness.”

“Tell me where your sickness is?” I urged.

Pulling down his dirty blanket, and putting his hand upon his stomach he said, “It is here. An old conjurer has made me sick. He has blown something into my inside.”

“Oh, nonsense, Charlie!” said I. “It is no such thing. No man has power to do that.”

But he shook his head and replied, “Oh, I told you, you don’t understand my sick. The Indian has power, and he is using it on me, and I shall die.”

Day by day I visited the poor boy and tried in every way to get him to arouse himself and to go out with the rest of the boys. But no, he lay there and sickened, and in about six weeks he died.

I do not believe anything was the matter, except his superstitious fear that the old witch-doctor had put his spell upon him and was killing him.

Retaliation for a Supposed Insult.

If there is a class that deserves severe treatment among the Indians it is these miserable reprobates, who still are busy preying upon the credulity of the people and working incalculable mischief.

At the present time there are several of these imposters among the bands in the Lower Fraser Valley. They have been for years a nuisance, the priests of paganism and the prophets of evil.

Their miserable pretensions we have ignored, and have left them out, as far as possible, in our social gatherings among the people.


Several years ago invitations to the wedding of two of our young people were sent to many of the Indians of the community, these witch doctors alone being purposely left out.

This enraged them so much that they announced that they would kill three persons who were at the gathering before a year was gone.

Shortly after one of the little pupils at the Institute, who had been ill for some time, died, and they immediately claimed credit for the child’s death. A little later a woman who attended was taken sick and also died, and according to the statements of the conjurers she was victim number two.

During the following summer a number of our Indians, as usual, went down to the salmon fishing at the mouth of the river, among whom was a middle-aged chief, one of our most intelligent Indians, and, we considered, one of our truest Christians.

Typhoid was epidemic that year at Steveston, and this chief was taken down with the fever.

Dr. Large, our energetic and successful medical missionary at Bella Bella, was then at the Fraser River for the summer season, and visited and gave the chief medical attention. He appeared to improve under treatment and bade fair speedily to recover, but in an unexplainable manner to the medical man the recovery was delayed. He found, on inquiry, that the chief was not taking the medicine prescribed, and had said that he did not think he would ever get well. When pressed for his reasons, he confessed the belief that he was the third victim of[125] the witch-doctors’ rage, and that he could not live. The missionary reasoned with him, pleaded with him, prayed with him, but without avail, and finally the poor fellow died, the victim of his own superstitious fears, upon which the conjurers had worked all too successfully.

We were grieved beyond measure that such a noble life had been thus cut short, and that the power of superstition and ignorance was still so manifest.

This power of the medicine-man is coupled with the Indian’s belief in witchcraft. No heathen Indian ever dies a natural death, for every sickness or accident is due, according to their superstitious view, to the evil eye or malign spell of someone who is evilly disposed towards them. When calamity or sickness comes they immediately apply to the witch-doctor to perform his incantations and discover the witch. Sometimes it is an old woman of the tribe, whose term of life is now necessarily short; sometimes it is a slave or a bright girl or boy, and sometimes a whole family are pointed out as the “guilty ones” and doomed to death. The atrocities committed by the natives, moved by this dreadful superstition, are numberless and in many cases too dreadful to relate. How fervently we pray that the enlightening influence of the Holy Spirit may penetrate the gloom of heathen darkness and forever drive out all the nameless horrors which belong to paganism.



“Mourn for the lost,—but pray,
Pray to our God above,
To break the fell destroyer’s sway,
And show His saving love.”

For hundreds of years the natives of the Pacific Coast of British Columbia have been exposed to the temptations of the white man’s whiskey. The traders on ships in those early years thought it to their advantage to take a good supply of rum with them in the traffic for furs, and the poor people became so infatuated with it that while it lasted they would not even go out after the pelts. Whether it was the awful effects of the whiskey traffic upon the natives, or the risk that the Company’s servants ran in dealing with drunken Indians, or the loss to the Company’s business due to the condition of the natives, we cannot say—perhaps it was all of these—but finally Sir George Simpson, the Governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company, forbade the sale of liquor at any of the trading posts.

Strong drink has been the greatest enemy to the Indians of the Coast and one of the greatest difficulties in the way of Christianizing and civilizing them.

At our first mission station, history has it, a coal[127] mine was sold for a bottle of rum. We are not sure just how this occurred, but it is stated that an old Indian who made discovery of the first vein of coal was promised a bottle of rum and repairs to his old flint-lock musket if he would bring to Victoria, seventy-five miles away, a sample of the mineral, and afterwards show where the vein was located. The old man loaded his canoe with coal and paddled away for days until he reached the place, and delivered it to the party, who gave him the bottle of rum as agreed. The Indian was always afterwards known as “Coal Tyee.”

In our first work among the natives hardly a day passed but they had liquor, procured either from the miners or sailors, or from those contemptible characters who spent their time in vending the accursed “fire-water” among these deluded people. Many a score of bottles of whiskey had to be destroyed in those days. Sometimes, of course, the owners became terribly exasperated at our action, and we were always, while living right among them, exposed to danger from wild, drunken men. Two men followed me one night for some distance, and said they were determined to break my head with a bottle. Sometimes for whole nights together it would seem as if all of the people of the village were intoxicated, and often I have been called up at the midnight hour to settle some trouble, or possibly to prevent bloodshed, due to the presence of whiskey.

On a trip along the coast, near where Ladysmith now stands, a young man under the frenzy of whiskey had shot down his own father. A council of[128] the chiefs and people was being held, and I was called in to witness and hear the speeches and the talk of vengeance on the white man who had given them the liquor. One after another spoke, and finally one chief directed a most appealing address to me.

“Oh, Missionary,” he said, “you bring us good words, the Book tells of good things, but look at that dead chief. Are you not ashamed of your white brother? Why don’t you convert him? He has the Book, why don’t he stop making and selling whiskey? Why don’t you convert the man who gave the liquor to that man who shot his own father?” And as the old orator poured forth his eloquent address in his own language, I felt, for the first time, ashamed that I was a white man.

The Law in Our Own Hands.

More than once, realizing the awful effect of this dread traffic upon the natives, the Missionary felt impelled to take the law into his own hands in dealing with this illicit trade.

p. 119

p. 127
p. 119

One fine day in Victoria, another preacher and myself, crossing the bay on the old ferry boat, saw a canoe coming from under a wharf with boxes in it. I said to my friend, “That looks like whiskey.” We hurried the ferryman up, watching at the same time where this canoe would land. Leaving my friend, I ran over the hill, shouting as I passed the chief’s house, in his own tongue, “Give me an axe, an axe I must have.” Jim, the chief, successor to old King Freezee, ran out of his house with an axe[129] in his hand. Seizing it I ran towards the canoe, and just as the men landed their cases of “tangleleg,” as it was called at that time, I smashed them open with the axe, sending the blade through the five-gallon coal oil cans full of this terrible stuff. Much of the liquor then sold to the Indians was a vile combination of camphene, coal oil and other fiery material, which seemed to set the natives wild when they drank it. The men by this time had run away, one up the hillside and the other some distance down the beach, looking back to see what would be done. I do not know whether they thought I was an officer of the law or not, but at any rate we got rid of that much of the abominable stuff—“chain lightning” it was sometimes called—which might have caused much trouble and loss of life in the camp.

Oh, Let Me Have Just a Little, Sir!”

On a journey down the east coast of Vancouver Island my Indian boy, Charlie, and I, having travelled about twenty-five miles in a small canoe, touched at a little village on a beautiful island where I had often visited and preached before.

Just as our canoe struck the beach, on the north point of the island, a young man by the name of Jacob, who was already “half seas over,” called out, “Mr. Crosby, whiskey, whiskey!”

I jumped out and ran across the point of land, and here was a big fellow, named Comox Tom, with a large canoe, just pushing off.

Too late to reach them, as they paddled away as[130] quickly as possible, I turned around through the village and found they had had a “whiskey feast.” And, oh! what a sight! nearly all drunk—men, women and children.

Seeing that I could do them no good, I turned and said to my boy Charlie, “Will you go with me, and we will overhaul that canoe, or they will do the same bad work at another place?”

“Yes, I’ll go, sir!” he replied.

Just then Jacob, the man who had called to me, came forward and jumped into the canoe, saying that he would go too.

Off we went, following the big canoe, which was now well over towards the other island, some three miles away. Our little craft, with three good paddles and plenty of elbow grease, fairly leaped over the water, and it was soon evident that we were catching up to them with their heavy canoe.

As we got near I saw the old man at the bow set his musket by his side and the man at the stern get his ready also, while the two women, who sat in midships, each armed herself with an axe. It looked as if they were getting everything ready for a fight.

I stopped paddling and called to the big fellow, Tom, who was steering the large canoe, to stop and listen to what I had to say.

“Tom, we have not come to fight,” I said, “but I must have the liquor.” And then to my helpers, “Pull up alongside, boys!”

As soon as we were alongside of their big canoe I seized hold of a five-gallon can of whiskey and[131] began pouring it out. While I was doing this my boys in the bow of the canoe hauled on board a case of “Old Tom.” The big Indian, in the meanwhile, got hold of the can as I was pouring it out and claimed it as his own.

“Well, Tom, pour it out yourself,” I said. “Pour it out, I tell you!” I shouted.

Tom held it over the side, just near to me, and poured away until it was nearly all gone; then he stopped, and in a pleading voice said, “Oh! let me have just a little, sir!” But I kicked it out of his hand overboard and warned him not to sell liquor among the people along the coast any more.

I asked if we had got all the liquor, and Tom, feeling bad at losing his, nodded to me, pointing to the boxes on which the women sat, as much as to say, “There is more liquor there.” But try as we could, the women remained firm, sitting like statues, and we could not remove them.

Turning to Tom I said, “I might have had you put in the ‘skookum-house’” (as they call the jail), “but I want you to do better. Will you be a better Indian and stop this business?”

He readily promised. Then I called to the boys in my canoe to hand me the case of liquor, and taking the bottles two by two, I smashed them together until they were all destroyed. Just as the last two were going the young fellow, Jacob, who had worked so well and had evidently come with us in expectation of being able to secure a little more, reached to me and said, “Oh, do let us have a little, sir!” Poor fellows, how feebly they seemed to[132] realize the awful effects upon themselves of strong drink.

Up To My Neck in the Sea.

A few days after this I had been preaching to settlers on Salt Spring Island, and while visiting a settler on the east side, a young Indian came rushing into the house crying out, “Mr. Crosby, Mr. Crosby, whiskey, whiskey!” and pointed to the beach, where he said there were some northern Indians selling liquor.

We started down to the shore. I ran some distance above where he said the canoe was, and got down on the beach, where I could now see them bartering away whiskey from their big canoe to parties camped on the shore. I made one straight bolt for them, jumped on board the canoe, and began throwing out their coal oil cans of whiskey. While I was doing this, four big fellows were pushing off their canoe from the shore and carrying me with them out to sea. In a moment I made a plunge for the shore, coming up to my neck in the water, and got to land. We destroyed the whiskey and shouted after the savages that they must stop their unlawful deeds.

My readers may wonder why the missionary took the risks he did, and interfered in matters that may seem to be outside of his regular evangelistic work. It was because he recognized this terrible traffic as the greatest enemy to the work in which he was engaged, and firmly believed that in fighting it he was taking the most practical method of preaching[133] the Gospel to a people who were being destroyed, soul and body, by this trade in strong drink.

The Whiskey Synagogue.

At Departure Bay, near Nanaimo, there was a notorious resort, properly licensed, of course, but kept by a wretched fellow who made no pretence at keeping the law.

This place went by the name of “The Synagogue,” and was suspected of being the quarter from which many of the Indians, on their way north, secured their supply of liquor. Besides this, on an island near by, a quarry had been opened by a gentlemanly American, getting out stone for the new Mint Building in San Francisco. The nearness of this liquor joint resulted in continued drunkenness among the workmen at the quarry, and consequently the neglect of their work.

When it came time for renewing the licenses, I circulated a petition, in which I was strongly supported by the proprietor of the quarry, and which was signed by most of the respectable and leading men of the town, and presented it to the magistrate, praying that the license for “The Synagogue” should not be renewed, as we believed that liquor was sold to Indians at that place.

On the day appointed, when the case was under consideration, the magistrate read out my petition and said, “I can’t renew this license to-day.” Nevertheless, after a few days we learned that the license had been given.

It was in the afternoon of the same day that I[134] met the proprietor of “The Synagogue,” with some others, on the street, and he swore he would slap my face, though he did not get at it.

Later on, emboldened by securing his license, he went to Victoria and got out summonses for twelve of the leading men of the town, whose names were on the petitions. He didn’t include Crosby, as he said, “He isn’t worth the powder and shot; he has no money!”

We met and engaged one of the best lawyers in the country to look after the case. He told us it would be wise for us to get evidence that this house had sold whiskey to Indians.

So one evening, shortly afterwards, I took two Indians in a small canoe, and we went up to “The Synagogue.” And while I stood in the dusk by the canoe, where I could see what went on, they purchased each a bottle of whiskey and brought it back to the canoe, and all the evidence needed was at hand.

Our friend, the proprietor of the house, soon discovered what had happened, and did not press the cases against the petitioners. The summonses all remained in the hands of the parties until the next spring, when our lawyer forced them to bring the matter into court. The fellow was fined, his license taken from him, and it cost him some two or three hundred dollars. He treated the poor Indian missionary as politely as a French dancing master after that.

In a Tight Box.

Those were wild times, and I had more than one[135] unpleasant experience, among whites as well as Indians.

On my way to camp one evening, a party, composed of a big Indian and two women, all drunk, rushed out of the bush and seized me. I liberated myself from them by pushing one one way and the other another, smashed the whiskey bottle that the man held in his hand, and then ran as hard as I could.

On one occasion I was kindly invited to stay at a logging camp back of Oyster Bay. After supper I preached to the “boys,” and was listened to with respect and attention. When it came time to rest, they put me up in the top bunk in the bunk-house. And glad I was before morning that I was up aloft, for later on some of the boys came in the worse of liquor, passed around their bottles and had a most hilarious time. I don’t know how it commenced, but very soon a fight ensued; and, oh, how they did batter each other, while I lay in my blankets praying that God would, in some way, stop the quarrel. I did not get much rest that night, I assure you.

Next morning some of the poor fellows came and humbly apologized, and years afterwards one of them met me and asked if I recalled that night and its scene of turmoil and revelry.

Indian Pray One Eye Open and One Eye Shut.

On one of my trips, very early in my missionary experience, we came to an Indian camp where a number of men and women were drinking whiskey[136] in one of the large houses. The house having been pointed out to me, I rushed in without ceremony.

The man who had been serving the liquor to his friends around the fire, having heard my footsteps, was just in the act of putting a bottle away in a box. I rushed towards him, and seizing the bottle from him, I poured the contents upon the fire. The vile stuff blazed up with a blue blaze as if it had been coal oil.

I told the people I was not angry with them, and invited them to the service. The little bell was now ringing, and there gathered into a large house about thirty or forty persons, who sat around the fire, some on boxes and some on beds and mats.

We had sung in the native language, and were now singing in English, “There is a happy land, far, far away,” when in came a man crazed with the drink, all painted up, with only a blanket on, waving a scalping-knife in his hand and shouting at the top of his voice, “I’ll fix the white man! I don’t care for the white man!”

He jumped on a bed behind where Cushan, my assistant, and I were just in the act of kneeling down to prayer. Cushan, the interpreter, prayed, and I prayed, for the first time publicly in the Indian language, for God to have mercy upon the poor people, and especially upon the poor man who had the knife and was so angry. I had not prayed very long before he stepped down as stealthily and quietly as possible and walked out of the house.

After the service was over Cushan said to me, “Mr. Crosby, that man very angry. You not know[137] Indian. He want to kill us. All the time when I pray I shut my eyes when I pray, but this time I shut one eye and open the other. I watch and pray.”

The episode was over, and the missionary smiled at the native shrewdness of his helper.

Poor Cushan himself had been a slave to the drink. In his early years, when a servant of the Company, he had acquired a taste for it, but becoming a Christian, he gave up the habit. There were those, though, who knew his old weakness, and were not pleased at the change in him. Some time after the incident above narrated, one night in Nanaimo, passing by a log cabin, he was entrapped. Two white men who knew him—shall I call them men? demons in human form—invited the poor fellow in, locked the door, and tried in every way to persuade him to drink. Failing this, one held him and the other poured into him the accursed stuff. Then, alas! poor fellow, the old desire was awakened, and he drank. It took him a long time to get over this. But by the grace of God he did finally overcome the enemy, and lived a good Christian life.

Murder and Reprisals.

Oh, the horrors of the drink traffic! How many awful tragedies may be laid at its door!

The whole village of Nanaimo was aroused and terrified one morning when a canoe came round the point with the bodies of two dead chiefs who had been murdered about thirty miles to the north. Old[138] Chief Quee-es-ton and a number of his party, who had been hunting on the island, were visited by some white men in a sloop laden with grog. Fired by the influence of what he had drunk, the chief demanded more. A quarrel ensued, and the white men shot the chiefs dead, put up their sails and sailed away, and were never heard of after.

The bodies of these poor victims were brought home to their people, which set the whole tribe in an uproar, and they swore vengeance on those who had murdered their friends, or any other white men.

In consequence, not long after this a white man by the name of John Brown, at Cowichan, was murdered, and poor innocent Robinson, a colored man, was shot in his cabin on Salt Spring Island, and about the same time Hamilton, another white man, was killed near Nanaimo.

In connection with the latter crime, Jim and Quin-num, Indian names with which we are already familiar, were arrested and put in jail.

Quin-num turned Queen’s evidence, and implicated poor Jim, who was afterwards hanged. I visited him in the prison, and was with him all night before his execution, and finally stood beside him on the scaffold.

I believe he was soundly converted while in prison. On the sad day of execution he said to the hundreds of spectators:

“I was with Quin-num when he shot the man. I did not do the deed. I go to the Great Judge who will do right. But I say to the young men, keep out of bad company. If I had not been drunk and[139] gone with Quin-num, I should not have been here.”

Little wonder that the missionary acted at times the part of a detective, smashed up the barrels and coal oil cans and bottles, or brought to justice those unprincipled men who took advantage of the weakness of the natives.

A Life for a Bottle of Whiskey.

About the time of these thrilling experiences the Victoria papers reported a very sad incident, under the heading, “A Life for a Bottle of Whiskey,” which goes to show that the missionary’s concern for his people, and his hatred of the traffic in “fire-water,” were amply justified.

“The coroner’s inquest has decided,” so reads the report, “that William Bailey, the Songees Indian, who was shot on the reservation, came to his death by the discharge of S— L—’s revolver. The whole trouble arose, as do most troubles with savage people, out of whiskey. In defiance of the law, someone had supplied the liquor, having no regard for the consequences of his unlawful act. A life for a bottle of whiskey, that is the total of the lamentable affair. Almost every day some serious trouble is reported from one or other of the reservations. In every case the trouble is directly traceable to whiskey.”

On one occasion, two white men were brought before the Honorable Chief Justice of the Colony, charged with assaulting each other.

The trial was completed, and his Honor was about to pronounce sentence. Turning to one of[140] the men, who had lost his nose in the fray of the night before, he said, “For twenty-five years I have sat on the bench of this colony, and I have invariably found liquor to be the chief cause of all trouble and serious infringement of the law. If an Indian shoots a white man, it’s been whiskey that has done it. If a white man shoots an Indian, whiskey is at the bottom of it. You, my friend, have lost your nose; your brother white man became a cannibal under the influence of whiskey and bit off your nose.” And, giving his sentence, “You will have to bear the penalty, and in the future I advise you to let the whiskey alone.”

Don’t wonder if the missionary, above every other man, should be a strong total abstainer and hate the very sight of liquor or its trade.



“When passing through the watery deep,
I ask in faith His promised aid;
The waves an awful distance keep,
And shrink from my devoted head.
Fearless, their violence I dare,
They cannot harm—for God is there.”
C. Wesley.

Soon after I got the language of the people, other teachers took the school work, and I went out travelling from place to place, literally “paddling my own canoe.”

There were few steamers in those days, and none between Nanaimo, the centre of our work, and New Westminster and the Fraser River, where I was often called in my labors among the natives.

These trips were invariably made by canoe, except for the chance of catching the river steamer which journeyed from New Westminster to Yale.

The canoes of the Pacific Coast are of the type usually called “dug-outs,” that is to say, they are mostly cut out of a cedar log. In the south, the large ones were spoken of as “Chinook” canoes, with rather a stub or short stern and a very high bow or neck. There were a great variety of smaller canoes used for hunting and fishing, as well as what they called a “spoon canoe,” flat-bottomed and nearly straight, with hardly any bow or stern, which[142] was used for travelling on very shallow rivers. These latter were often made of cottonwood, while the other types were always made of cedar.

The largest canoes were made in the north. The great war-canoes, with a very heavy bow and stern, and capable of carrying easily fifty or sixty people, were so shaped that, when properly managed, they would sail over almost any sea. The Hydahs of Queen Charlotte Islands made the largest and best canoes; they had larger cedar trees on their islands than could be found on the mainland opposite. These canoes were often from thirty to forty feet long and five or six feet beam, a beautiful model, with gracefully shaped bow and stern, that would in English phraseology be called a “clipper” for sailing. One of the largest of these canoes, seventy feet in length by eight feet beam, was presented to Lord Lorne when he visited British Columbia during his term of administration as Governor-General of Canada.

The medium-sized canoe was the best. With two large sails and well manned, one of these northern canoes would safely ride almost any sea. It was by means of these smaller craft that I made many a toilsome journey up and down the east coast of Vancouver Island, among the beautiful islands which lie along that coast, across the Gulf of Georgia, up the Fraser River, down into Puget Sound, and in and out of the many inlets which pierce the coast of the mainland. In one year I made four trips across the Gulf of Georgia and up the Fraser River and back. Twice I travelled the[143] distance from Nanaimo to Yale and return, a round trip of about 340 miles, paddling the whole way.

In journeying to and fro I travelled over two thousand miles a year in all kinds of weather, braving the dangers of stormy seas and the eddies and swift currents of treacherous rivers, and enduring the discomforts of the wild, open life in a new country. In it all I see the good hand of God saving me from manifold dangers.

In time one becomes used to such toils and difficulties, and, after all, they were only the common, every-day experiences of the miner or the frontiersman of those early days.

A Dangerous Trip.

In the days when steamboats were few, and only one plying between Victoria and New Westminster, we were summoned to the latter place by the Chairman of the District, from Nanaimo, to attend District Meeting. This was in March, 1865.

A little iron steamer had just been brought out from England by the coal company, by which we had hoped to cross to New Westminster, but, unfortunately for us, she ran upon the rocks on Protection Island, in front of the harbor of Nanaimo, the night before we had to start. Disappointed by this, Rev. E. White and I went to the Indian village and engaged the largest Chinook canoe we could find. A man accustomed to travel by canoe, when he saw it, said, “I would just as soon go in that craft as the steamer Enterprise.”

We started with a crew of three Indian men and[144] one woman, Chilk, the captain, an old heathen, having his wife with him. A Dutchman joined us, who said he had been a sailor for fifteen years, and thus there were seven of us in the party. It was a glorious day, and with provisions, paddles, sails, and all things necessary for the journey, we were soon away down south among the beautiful islands of the coast. We made a good run and camped for the night. In the evening one of our party shot a fine deer, which we added to our stock of provisions, and after a bountiful supper we enjoyed the sweet rest of an open-air camp.

We aroused the men about three o’clock next morning, as we were anxious to secure an early start. After a good breakfast, in which venison was the chief feature, we gathered for prayers, and then were ready to commence our journey across the Gulf.

It was one of those cold, grey mornings in March which promise almost anything, and the Indians were unwilling to start out so soon, thinking that the weather was uncertain. We felt, however, that we must press on or be too late for District Meeting.

When we got out some distance from shore we found a strong north-west breeze after us, which, in a very little while, blew a gale of wind. We now tried in vain to get back to shore; the wind blew so hard that we could see the branches of the trees breaking off on the island behind us. There was nothing left for us but to go before the wind, keeping our course as well as we could straight for the main channel of the Fraser River.


As the sea began to dash over us, the Dutch sailor shouted out, “Take down the sail! Take down the sail!”

I told him to mind his own business and bail the water out. But again he shouted frantically, “Take down the sail!”

“If you don’t stop you’ll have to go overboard,” I shouted at him. “Let the Indians alone, they know more about managing a canoe than you do.”

It was clear to anyone that had the sail been taken down—we had furled more than half of it—we would have been swamped in a very little while, as it was the only thing that gave her headway.

As the great sea swept over us, three of us were kept bailing out, while the other men managed the canoe. Every few minutes old Chilk would shout, “Hold on! There is another great wave coming.” We would grasp the side of the canoe and hold on for fear of being swept out, and then to our bailing again every chance we had. Thus we dashed on over the mighty, angry waves until we came to the sand heads at the mouth of the Fraser, and were in danger of foundering on the bars.

It seemed as if that awful trip would never end, and yet every moment we were busy, so busy that our exertions kept us warm, in spite of the bleak March weather. At one time a tremendous wave broke over us, followed by another, and still another, close after, and the canoe dipped into the water as if she were going down nose first. The water seemed to rush forward for a final plunge, while all held their breath, expecting every moment[146] to be submerged; then, all at once, she made a lurch up with her bow and the water rushed back. When the old captain saw hope he shouted, “Tlil-a-sit! tlil-a-sit! tlil-a-sit!” (“Bail out! bail out!”) The very shout sent a thrill through everyone on board, and we were bailing out as hard as we could to get the water down. It all seemed done in less time than it takes to tell it.

“We were bailing out as hard as we could.” p. 146

As we neared the mouth of the river the reason for this awful sea was made clear. The waves raised by the gale met the mighty current of the river, and the awful tide-rip at the sand heads was the worst we had to pass through.

In two hours and a half we reached the mouth of the Fraser River, all drenched to the skin, but thankful to a kind Providence which had brought us safely through.

“I did not hear you ministers pray at all in the storm,” said the old heathen captain, after we had landed.

We told him we prayed in our hearts while we were working. But there was no doubt about his prayers, for we could hear him and his wife shouting back at the great waves, “Don’t drown us! Don’t take us down! for the missionaries are on board. Oh, you great big angry waves, don’t be so angry, and we will be good if you don’t drown us.” And then all the Indians would join in the cry, “Don’t take us! Don’t drown us!” True to their custom, I think they would have liked some food or property to give as a sacrifice to the angry waves.

I told the old captain I was glad to hear him pray,[147] as I had never heard him pray before, but he should give his heart to God and become a Christian, and he might be useful in leading others to Jesus. He was a strong, daring fellow, a great dancer, a confirmed gambler, and, poor fellow! he was a terror when drunk.

On one occasion I found poor old Chilk standing at bay, with a pile of cobble-stones beside him, with which he was defending himself against anyone who might come near. He was dangerous when drunk, and two policemen were vainly endeavoring to get close enough to arrest him. When I came along the police appealed to me.

“Oh, Chilk, you should not do that. Go home and be a good man,” I said to him as I passed.

“Don’t talk to me! Don’t talk to me!” he replied.

I did not stop to argue with him, but, passing on, I immediately wheeled around, and while his attention was again being taken by the policeman, I ran back and grabbed him by his long hair and pulled him over backwards. He commenced to kick and bite, but the policemen seized their opportunity, and before he could do any harm they had him bound hand and foot, and shortly afterwards landed him in jail.

The next day, sober and in his right mind, and liberated, Chilk came to me and thanked me most earnestly for the part I had played. Nor was there any sarcasm in his action, for, he said, “I am so glad for what you did, for I might have killed somebody and been now in jail.”


Canoe Better than Steamboat.

Just as we entered the Fraser River we were surprised to see the little steamer Enterprise coming down, and as we passed her the chairman, Dr. Evans, and his colleague, Rev. Arthur Browning, bowed to us. District Meeting was over, and they were going home to Victoria!

Next morning, when we were down at the wharf at Westminster, there came in the Hudson’s Bay Company’s steamer Labouchere, and the Union Pacific Navigation Company’s steamer, Shoebrick—the latter carrying supplies for the overland telegraph line, which was to unite the continents by way of Alaska, which enterprise was broken up by the successful laying of the Atlantic cable. The men on the wharf wanted to know from the captains of the ships why they had not come yesterday.

“Oh!” they said, “it was blowing a terrific gale on the Gulf, and we couldn’t cross.”

“Ha, ha, ha!” taunted the bystanders, “Parson White and his crew crossed in a canoe, and you couldn’t come over with your large steamships.” But they little knew what a trip we had had.

And now our old Dutch sailor had to have his say. He went boasting about the town that he had had his eye on Parson White’s gold watch—a present to him as he left New Westminster some time before—and that if we had upset he was going for that. Poor, miserable fellow, he was the greatest coward in the crowd.

This was one of the many terrible canoe trips we[149] had to take while at our work, when to all human appearances there was every possibility that we would never reach shore. Once after I made the journey in the opposite direction in a small canoe, with a single Indian as my companion, and again we were nearly swamped before reaching the shore.

To-day, as always, I sympathize with the hundreds of fishermen who go out to the mouth of the river and venture into the Gulf, braving the awful storms which so often sweep down across this treacherous arm of the sea. Nearly every year reports have reached us of those who have risked their lives, and of some who have lost them, on this part of the coast.

“Spul-queet-sa!” (“A Ghost! A Ghost!”)

We usually travelled in a much smaller canoe than the one in which we made the trip narrated above. On several occasions, when on my missionary tours, I took Her Majesty’s mail to Victoria from Nanaimo.

On one occasion Dr. Evans and I made a trip along the east coast to look out ground for an industrial school, where we might educate our young native men, with the hope of preparing them for teachers or missionaries. This was in 1868. We selected a fine place, on an island, but the Missionary Society could not see its way clear to undertake this work. Strangely enough, this was the very spot where afterwards the Dominion Government built Kuyper Island Industrial School. As the Methodist Church did not see its way to undertake[150] this charge, the Government placed the school under the direction of the Roman Catholic Church.

One fine day on that trip a very amusing incident occurred, which illustrates the Indian’s superstitious dread of anything which seems unnatural. As we were paddling along the Doctor was relating a joke about a miner and an Indian woman on the streets of Victoria. In order to appreciate the story, one must be told that the Indians lived to a considerable extent upon clams, which fact was made the butt of continual jokes, while the miners, in those days, subsisted largely on bacon and beans. The Doctor said: “An Indian woman was passing a group of miners on the street, when one of them drawled out, ‘Cla-ms!’ in a mocking tone of voice. The woman at once turned around very sharply and, much to the amusement of the crowd, retorted, ‘B-b-beans!’”

As the Doctor, in relating the story, was attempting to imitate the Indian woman’s way of saying “beans,” his set of false teeth fell out and very nearly went overboard. The Indian in the stern, seeing the teeth fly out, threw up both hands and very nearly went overboard himself.

“Ah-na! ah-na-na! this man has come from the grave!” he cried. “Spul-queet-sa! Spul-queet-sa! I can’t go on. This man is not a living man, he is a spirit,” he told his friend in the bow.

The other man refused to believe that a man could handle his teeth, as it was said the Doctor had done. They commenced to wrangle over the matter and were losing time.


“Doctor, you will have to show the other fellow your teeth,” I said. In an instant the Doctor pulled them out and held them before the man’s face. With that he threw up his hands and screeched and screamed till we thought he would fall overboard. Then they got a little quieted down and paddled on, but every once in a while they would stop to discuss the thing, whether this was really a living man or a ghost from the grave. They watched him, especially when we went ashore to camp for the night. When they saw that he could eat and laugh and talk like the rest of us they could not understand it.

This reminds me of a trader’s wife, a devoted Christian, living up the coast, who had a native servant. The girl had been with her for some time and had become very much attached to her mistress. She used to go home to the camp every night and return to her work early in the morning. One morning, as the lady, whose name was Viona, was busy with her toilet, and was in the act of brushing her teeth, the Indian maid, returning, chanced to look in at the door. Seeing her mistress putting her teeth in her mouth, she cried out, “Oh, Viona! Viona!” and ran away as hard as she could run. She told her friends that the lady was a ghost and had come from the grave, and she could not be persuaded to return for many a day.

Some More Exciting Experiences.

I had been preaching down the coast and was returning when, at the north end of Salt Spring Island, I fell in with old Chief Chil-qua-lum, from[152] Nanaimo. He, too, was returning home from a hunting and fishing expedition, and had with him his two wives and their families, and their “iktahs” (belongings)—dogs, cats, fish traps, and a load of fish, dried meat, clams and other Indian eatables.

He allowed me to get on board on condition that I would work my passage by helping him manage the big canoe. With hard paddling we got along very well until we reached Dodds’ Narrows, seven or eight miles from Nanaimo. Through this passage, at certain stages, the tide rushes at about ten miles an hour, forming whirlpools that would at times engulf any small craft whose misfortune it might be to be caught in them.

At first it was a question whether we should venture through or not with such a load of freight and human beings, but as the tide seemed fair and the old man wished to push on, it was a great temptation.

In going through it was difficult to keep the heavily-laden canoe straight in the centre of the passage, and, veering a little to one side, we were caught in one of the whirlpool-like eddies. We were tossed about like a chip on the current, round and round, whirling like a top, two or three times, until it seemed as if we would surely be sucked down into the vortex that yawned before us. The old women jumped to their paddles, the children screamed, and the most intense excitement prevailed. But it was only for a few moments; soon the exertions of all told, and we were out and on our way again, safe and sound.


Now it was the old wives’ turn, and they gave the chief a good tongue-lashing for his foolhardiness. They discussed what would have been the result had the missionary been drowned, and turning to the little children they told them that God had saved them from going down to the “Stla-la-kum” (evil spirits) in the water because the missionary was on board.

Abraham and Sarah.

Missionary meetings were being held at Nanaimo, and Rev. A. E. Russ, then of Victoria, was the deputation. When he was about to return home, he learned that I was going down the coast to visit the different tribes, and wished to take the trip with me.

We called at Chemainus, where he preached, and there baptized Abraham and Sarah, two Indian children. The romance of it impressed him, and he spoke on the subject of the old patriarch and his wife.

It was a very fine day, and going on further, the lazy Indians ran the canoe upon some rocks which were covered with barnacles. I told them to get out and pull her off, but they sat, one in the bow and the other in the stern, and tried to push off with their paddles. It was my own little craft, which I had painted and fixed up, and of which I took the utmost care. I could see the twisting of the canoe, and knew that it was in danger of splitting from end to end, so I jumped into the water, clambered up on the rock, seized the canoe and gave her a shoot backwards, springing into the bow as she went.


My friend Russ said, “Crosby, you will kill yourself; you are a strange fellow.”

“Never fear!” I replied; “but I will show those lazy fellows how to do it.”

We reached Cowichan in safety, where Brother Russ took the steamer for Victoria.

Here and There.

In our missionary journeyings we visited the west coast of the mainland, preaching to the Seaschelts, Squamish, and other tribes as far north as Cape Mudge. On Vancouver Island our work extended from Cape Mudge, on the north, to Race Rocks, near Victoria, a distance of 160 miles.

In making a visit to the former place, with a party of three men, we were again in imminent danger of being lost. We had camped for the night above Qual-a-kum and got an early start in the morning, when a south-easter blew up. It was a stiff breeze, but all was well until we got near to the south end of Denman Island, where the lighthouse now stands, when our sail, mast and all, broke away from the socket, and it was a miracle that we were not upset.

Some of our experiences were humorous as well as trying. I took passage one day with Chief Tsil-ka-mut, who with his wives and children was on his way to the Fraser River, where the Indians congregated to pick and dry berries, and to fish and dry salmon. The trip across was uneventful until in the fog and darkness we lost our way at the mouth of the river.


The chief put his pole down in the mud and anchored his canoe, as he supposed, and we went to sleep on board the craft. Next morning we found we were high and dry in the mud on a bar that seemed to be miles away from any water. Oh, the mud, mud! There is nothing that compares with the mud of the Fraser for slimy stickiness when the tide is out. It was near noon the next day before the tide again reached us, and there we were all those hours in the scorching sun, a disconsolate crowd indeed.

At that time there was no white man to be found settled on the Delta lands of the Fraser. Soon after this the Ladner brothers took up land on the south bank of the river and gave their name to the place. Then followed Ferris on Lulu Island, and Boyd and Kilgour on Sea Island, and others at different points, every one of whom was voted a fool for “taking up” these swamps with cat-tails and bulrushes and frog-ponds. Now these districts are covered with some of the most beautiful and productive farms to be found in any part of the world. The shores are lined with large canneries for the packing of salmon, and thousands of people occupy these old-time mud-banks.

An Old Croaker in a Canoe.

It is the easiest thing in the world to find fault with people of whose conditions and circumstances we know nothing. And sometimes a little taste of the trials and toils which others have to endure is the best cure for such unfair complainings. We had[156] an old friend, a Yorkshireman, on that coast, who was very apt to find fault with others, and especially with the ministers.

“Thoo knoa thease preeachers have good teams wi’ theeir fat salaries,” he would say. And then, seeing the gleam in my eye, he would hasten on: “Ah dean’t mean you, thoo knoas. Ah mean thease men ’at ez t’ big fat salaries; they can sit roond an’ dea vary little.”

“Stop your noise,” I would say to him. “I am a preacher, and don’t like to hear you find fault with the ministers.”

On one occasion he came to me and asked when I was going to New Westminster. When I told him and inquired why he wanted to know, he said:

“Ah would like to gang wi’ you.”

“You can go with one understanding,” I replied.

“Weel, what is that?”

“That you work your passage. I never take deadheads with me.”

“Weel, Ah thinks Ah can paddle a little bit,” he said.

So the day came and off we started in our little canoe, down among the lovely islands which dot the west side of the Gulf, and then across. I was steering, an Indian sitting at the bow paddling, and our old friend amidships. He was making a great, effort “to work his passage,” but not being used to that kind of thing, he seemed to work his whole body in the effort of paddling, and soon became very tired.

The day was quiet and warm, and we were making[157] straight for Point Grey, near the north arm of the Fraser River. After he had pulled awhile, my friend looked round, and said:

“Ah say! do you knoa wot Ah thinks? ’At point deean’t seeam to get onny nearer.”

“Yes,” I replied, “it gets nearer every stroke. Pull away! Preachers get used to this kind of life.”

Then he pitched in again and made a great effort, while we were quietly keeping stroke. We had not gone far, however, before he turned again and said:

“Now, Ah can tell ye what it is, ’at point deean’t get onny nearer.”

“Of course it does,” I said; “every stroke brings us nearer. We must push on to get in before it is too dark.” And we pulled on and on until nine o’clock at night.

A little easterly wind was blowing out of the mouth of the river, accompanied by a fine rain. The tide was out, and it was difficult to find the channel, as it was getting dark. We would run into a sand-bank here and a mud-bank there, until finally we got up the channel some distance and could see the high dry shore of the river. After some considerable effort we got up the mud-bank with our camping outfit, and on to a dry knoll, where we started to make a fire. Gathering together some blocks of cedar and other dry wood, we soon had supper going.

All this time my friend was standing in the midst of the rain, his hands in his pockets, shrugging and shaking his shoulders, and remarking at intervals:

“Ah say, this is a nasty neet.”


“The night is all right,” I replied to him; “stir yourself and let us get something to eat.”

Supper and prayers over, we lay down under our tent, and, weary with the toil of the day, were soon fast asleep. It was about one or two o’clock in the morning when my old friend aroused me by shouting, “Ah say, t’ water is comin’ doon t’ back o’ me neck.” It seems that he had got his head close up to the wall of the tent, on the weather side, and the water was running right over his head and down his back.

“Oh, stop your noise!” I said, I am afraid a little impatiently, “and let me sleep. Preachers get used to this kind of thing.”

“Man, Ah can’t sleep,” he groaned, “t’ water is coomin’ doon t’ back o’ me neck.”

Next morning we were around bright and early and off up the river. Sixteen or eighteen miles up the old Fraser against the current required the strength of every muscle, and all the elbow grease we could put into it, to make headway at all, but finally we reached Queensborough (now New Westminster) in safety.

A few days after I met our old friend and said, “When will you be ready to return?”

“Ah’ll nivver gang back wi’ you,” he replied. “Ah’ll pay t’ last dollar t’ steamboat, an’ gang roon by Victoria. Ah’ll nivver gang wi’ you.”

It was an excellent lesson he had learned, for I never heard him croak about the preachers having a nice time after that.



“Who love the Lord aright,
No soul of man can useless find;
All will be precious in His sight,
Since Christ on all hath shined.”

Many and varied were my experiences among this people, some painful and distressing, some trying and toilsome, some bright and humorous, some hopeful and encouraging.

The kindness of the Indians as well as the whites, and their evident desire to do all they could for my comfort, helped to lighten many a burden and make smoother many a rough pathway.

I was “in journeyings oft”; sometimes on foot, overland, or on the back of an Indian “cayuse” (pony); more frequently by canoe, and, occasionally, on the deck of a steamer. At one time I was acquainted with nearly every settler within the bounds of my large field—about 160 miles wide by as many long.

After travelling some thirty miles and preaching at different points on the journey, I arrived one evening at an island where I had often preached before. As the day had been stormy and I had worked all the way, I was very wet. The old chief and his wife, both of whom were very kind and hospitable, made me welcome in their home. Piling[160] up wood, they built a big fire, and I hung my wet blankets around the fire on poles to dry.

“How glad we are the ‘laplate’ (missionary) has come,” the old wife commenced to say, in an undertone, as if to herself. “It is a long time since he was here before. We forget many of the good words he has said to us. Why don’t you come oftener, missionary, and tell us more of the good story, that wonderful thing, you tell us, about the Great Chief on High who gave His Son?” And then, as if recollecting the needs of her guest, she said: “Oh, I must get some supper for him.”

By this time she had a small basket that would hold water, threw in some potatoes, gave them a roll around in the water, and then put them into a pot on the fire. Reaching down a dried salmon from a pile which was stored on a platform over the bed, where the cats and rats and other animals ran over them, she gave it a big slap against the post to knock the thickest of the dirt off, and then held it up before the fire to warm and heat it, so that the skin would peel off.

Very soon the potatoes were boiled and rolled out in a little trough-like dish about two feet long, the salmon was broken in pieces and laid on top of the potatoes, and the whole was set before the Indian boy and myself.

All this time she was talking away to herself: “How good it is for the missionary to come. He has come through all the storm, and we must be kind to him.”

Having washed our hands, I asked a blessing[161] upon the food, and were soon at our supper of salmon and potatoes. We were sure that one side of the salmon was fairly clean, for the skin had been torn off it, and as for the potatoes, they had their jackets on, but we had to eat without a bit of salt.

As we were working away quietly at the supper, the old man was stirring up the fire, keeping away the dogs, and doing everything he could to make things agreeable. All at once the old woman came and crouched down by my side, saying: “Oh, the good missionary, we are so glad you have come. I will help you to peel your potatoes.” And suiting the action to the word she seized hold of one out of the dish, and with about two scratches of her long finger-nails she tore off the jacket of one potato, and then handed it to me, saying, “Oh, it is so good of you to bring us the blessed light. I’ll help you, I will, to get your supper.” We would very much rather have peeled our own potatoes, and had her a little at a distance, with her wretchedly dirty-looking blanket.

Suddenly she sprang up, as if a bright idea had occurred to her, and exclaimed, “Oh, I had nearly forgot. I kept it for the missionary when he should come.” Out of a big old box she brought something tied up in a piece of dirty looking rag.

“I have kept this till the missionary would come,” she said, as she opened out before us a little flour—possibly the only flour they had had for months, as the people did not see much flour in those days. “I will make them a cake, I will.”

We were too busy to notice very closely what she[162] was doing, but we found in a few moments that she had the little flour in the same basket in which she had just washed the potatoes. We saw her give her hands a little rinse in the water, but we were never sure whether she threw this out or whether it was the same into which she put the flour. Soon, however, it was worked up into a paste, and taking it out in her hands she pressed it into a kind of cake. I had a chance then to notice her arms, bare from the shoulders, looking on the outside very black and dirty, and on the inside, where her cooking had removed some of the dirt, a little less dark. No wonder the cake was such a piebald looking thing!

This black and white cake was thrown into a hole, which she had scratched among the ashes, to bake, while our hostess got some hot water and made a kind of tea from certain herbs which they used, and which went under the name of “Indian tea.” In a few minutes, the cake, now quite baked, was poked out with a stick, broken in pieces and laid on a dish before us. With this and the tea, as dessert, we finished our supper.

Some have asked, “Did you eat it?” Certainly, we ate it, with all the relish we could, and would never have thought of refusing it after all the kindness shown by the dear old people of the house. It is true that these people were dirty beyond description, but out of a warm heart they did their best for us, and endeavored to make us comfortable, and we would have been meanly ungrateful if we had not appreciated it.

After a little religious service we retired to rest,[163] not on the feather-bed that was offered us by the old chief, but with our own blankets, now warm and steaming, laid on some smooth rush mats; and though the dogs crowded around and seemed to quarrel as to which should be the nearest to us, and the fleas swarmed in such numbers as to drive sleep far away from one who was not used to them, we managed to rest very comfortably.

Millions of Mosquitoes.

In the Fraser Valley, besides the fleas, we were besieged by myriads of mosquitoes, that bred in the swales and sloughs and low marshy places, particularly after high water. They literally swarmed, and in some places rose in clouds as one passed, millions of them.

I noticed in my journeys on horseback that my little pony, otherwise gentle and manageable, would jump and run at times in an unaccountable fashion. At such times the mosquitoes would strike my face and forehead like a storm of hail. Then it occurred to me that the intelligent little beast only ran when passing through the spots where these insects mostly swarmed, and henceforward I let him gallop.

The settlers tell of dogs and calves being killed by the mosquitoes, and one reputable gentleman maintains that he had in his possession at one time a cow whose tail had been so bitten by these venomous pests that it dropped off.

An amusing incident took place at Langley on one of my visits to the river. The high water was just[164] going down, and the mosquitoes were very bad. I was invited to stop over night at the home of a settler, who had just built a little log house of two rooms on a ridge in front of a great swale. The father and mother slept in a little room partitioned off, and as the son-in-law was away, their daughter occupied the room with her parents and left to me the bed the young people had. The room was open to the shingles, and the hot day and cooling evening had brought in the little pests in swarms.

Our friends told me they had no mosquito-netting, but mother and daughter had invented something that they thought would enable the missionary to have a good night’s rest. They had taken a crinoline dress, spread like a full moon, all starched up and ready to use, and tying a rope to the waist, they hung it up over where my head and face were to be, and tacked it to the clothes and round the pillow. After prayer and good-nights I was given a candle and told to be careful in getting into bed, and to keep this thing tucked well around.

I did as I was told, dragged my weary limbs in under carefully, tucked the skirt around and was soon off in a doze. But, oh, the merry noise overhead, up and down and round and round, until finally they found their way, in some manner, inside my shield. They commenced to bore into my forehead. I stood the torture for a while, thinking it was but a few stragglers who, when they had had their fill, would leave. They, however, loaded up, and spread their wings with a whirring buzzing, as if to call others to the feast. It seemed as if hundreds[165] accepted the invitation. I tried to keep still, but all to no purpose. About two o’clock I thought if I could get the candle lighted and inside I could burn them out and no others would get in, and I might have the coveted rest. I lit the candle, got it safely inside, and commenced the work of slaughter. The candle was soon black with the dead insects.

The first thing I knew, the dress was ablaze all around me. In my half sleepy condition I had got too near the light starched material, and it caught like tinder. I jumped up and dashed it out with my hands, burning my fingers; but, oh, the poor dress! I fought the mosquitoes in the dark the balance of the night.

Next morning the old lady asked me how I had slept, and the whole thing came out. They laughed uproariously at my expense, and I—well, I made the best of the joke.

It was on this river that I met two “tenderfoot” Englishmen who were out looking for land. It was in the height of the mosquito season, and, unheeding the advice given them to take the steamer, they started off in a canoe, as they said, “to prospect and see the country.” Some days after I met them in Chilliwack, and the sight they presented was, to say the least, ludicrous. They had evidently been in the water, for the legs of their pants had shrunken until there was quite four inches between the ends and the tops of their socks. The mosquitoes had been getting in their work, for their necks and legs and wrists were red and swollen. It was like perpetual motion, for while there were few mosquitoes[166] around them, their hands were kept going scratching the bitten parts and making dashes at imaginary insects.

A Parson after His Bitters.

The comical appearance of these “new-comers” after their trip up the forest-lined banks of the Fraser reminds me of an occasion when I, too, must have presented a spectacle worthy to be laughed at.

I was making my way one evening from North Saanich to Victoria, about twenty-one miles, over a trail, poor enough at the best, but rendered all the more difficult by the presence of a dense fog. The little bit of daylight was soon gone, and the darkness which followed was impenetrable. I groped my way along, part of the time on hands and knees, to find the road.

Presently I came to a burning log heap a little off the trail, and as the night was very cold I warmed myself by the fire. Doubtful of my ability to go much farther in the darkness, I lay down beside the fire and slept—slept and dreamed that it was a fine day and I was having a delightful trip. Suddenly awakening, I felt that I must press on if I would catch the Enterprise at eight o’clock that morning and proceed on my proposed visit to the mainland.

Daylight opening through the fog enabled me now to see my way, and on I sped, until finally I reached the outskirts of the city. I met many men going out to work, who would look at me strangely and nudge each other. When this was repeated several times I felt sure that it was something in my[167] personal appearance which was attracting their attention.

Coming to the bridge tavern I stepped in. Just as I entered the door I overheard a girl say to her mother, “There’s a parson come in to have his bitters.” Nothing daunted, I refused the proprietor’s offer of a drink, and asked for a chance to wash.

I soon discovered the cause of the merriment of the passers-by. My face was black with the dust of the road and the smut of the brush-fire; my collar was dirty and wilted with perspiration; my necktie was awry, and all looked as if I might have been on a spree.

But my exertions were all for naught, for the boat I had hoped would leave at eight a.m. did not get off for a week, so dense were the fog and smoke.

Indians Respect the Sabbath.

Very early in our work among the Indians we were encouraged by a circumstance which gave us to see that our teaching of the commandments was having its effect upon them.

An exploring party, sent out by the Government, was preparing to start from Nanaimo across the Island. They hired a number of Indians as packers and guides. After having engaged these natives they hung around the town for some days doing nothing. When the week came to a close they immediately became active, and wanted to make a start on Sunday morning, but the Indians refused to go.

The first intimation we had of the difficulty was through a letter, written by the head of the party[168] and published in the Daily Chronicle, in which he stated: “Thanks to Brother Crosby, the Indians would not travel on Sunday, so we were detained another day.”

The fidelity of the Indians in keeping sacred the Lord’s Day was, until recent years, a source of great joy and satisfaction to us. Sometimes, it is true, they were not able to keep an accurate record of the days. But their sincerity of purpose is shown by the means some of them took to be sure of which day was the Sabbath.

Py-uke, the old chief of the Penelkuts, started soon after the missionary came to tie a knot on a string for each day in the week, and a double knot for Sunday. This he kept up for years, until he had a great ball of this native twine wound together as his time-keeper. This he kept, and if any members of the tribes around were in doubt about the day of the week, they would refer it to old Py-uke.

We have in later years been grieved to see thousands of fishermen at the mouth of the Fraser fishing on Sunday. The law in the case has had its damaging influence upon the Indians as well as the whites. There is no excuse for a law which permits fishing after six o’clock Sunday evening except that of commercial greed and indifference.



“Still Thy love, O Christ, arisen,
Yearns to reach all souls in prison;
Down beneath the shame and loss
Sinks the plummet of Thy cross;
Never yet abyss was found
Deeper than that cross could sound.”
J. G. Whittier.

After repeated invitations from the Indians of the Fraser River, who spoke the same language as the Nanaimos, and who had heard, through Bros. Robson and White, of my ability to speak to them in their own tongue, I made my way in a canoe across the Gulf of Georgia and up the river to New Westminster, where I found thousands of natives gathered for the celebration of the Queen’s birthday. This gave me the privilege of preaching to hundreds who would not have heard otherwise. One evening fully a thousand people were gathered on a square where two streets crossed, listening eagerly to the message of life, many for the first time, in their own language.

On this occasion I went up the river as far as Mission, calling at Kat-sey, Langley and Whonnock, preaching to the people, who everywhere received me gladly.

The joy of these poor people in hearing the grand[170] old Gospel story, and their earnest pleading for more out of “the Good Book,” fully repaid me for the toils of the trip, and led me to seek an early opportunity to return.

My next visit was made during the time when the country was suffering from a scourge of smallpox. The disease had been brought from ’Frisco, and was rapidly spreading among the Indians. Everyone felt interested in stamping it out. The Government supplied me with a stock of vaccine, and I passed down the coast of Vancouver Island, vaccinating all whom I could reach. Near Saanich I came across a very bad case; one had died, and his body was left on the beach covered with brush, while another poor fellow, a mass of disease, was still alive and sitting on the bank beside a little fire of bark. We asked him how he got along for food and drink. Near him was a little canoe fastened by a long rope, and he told me that when the tide was up his friends would come from their village, about five miles away, and put food in the little canoe and push it towards him. Here the poor fellow stayed until he finally recovered.

The Indians dreaded the smallpox, and not without reason. On one occasion, it is said, there came a thousand Hydahs in their large canoes from Queen Charlotte Islands, and camped in and about Victoria. The smallpox got among these people and spread with great rapidity. Alarmed for the safety of the citizens, the city council met and ordered the northerners to leave immediately. The next day they started up the coast, carrying their[171] dead and dying with them. At Nanaimo they were forbidden to land, and on and on went that awful funeral procession. At every camping place some would die, and they piled up wood and burned them, and then went on. One canoe was found floating in the Gulf, a veritable funeral barge, for everyone was dead on board. Out of that one thousand members of a fine race only one man reached Queen Charlotte Islands alive.

A Medical Missionary.

On my mission of mercy I passed up the Fraser River and vaccinated hundreds of people. Some came to my preaching who might not have done so but for the purpose of being vaccinated. And thus even the smallpox, in some measure, opened the way for the Gospel.

On this trip we went as far as Sumas and Chilliwack. At the latter place, while preaching to a small band of Indians and telling them the old story in their own tongue, the chief Atche-la-lah stepped forward and laid down a dollar and a half.

“Missionary,” said the old man, “we want you to build a church here. You have opened our ears. No one ever told us the good word in our own language before; the other laplates” (priests) “did not talk to us like this.”

This was really the first subscription to the first Protestant church in the Chilliwack Valley, where now there are six Methodist churches for the whites and four for the Indians.

Others came with their donations, until $12.50[172] lay on the table, and this of their own free will, for I had not talked to them about church building. During the week which followed I went from village to village throughout the valley, visiting and vaccinating all who needed it. At every opportunity I preached to the people and told what the old chief and his “see-aya” (friends) had done towards a church, until the donations increased to nearly $100.

The following Sunday afternoon, after having preached to both whites and Indians in another part of the valley, I came to Squi-ala, a village at the mouth of the Chilliwack.

Big Jim, an Indian, met me in his canoe, to take me across the river. I took the saddle off my horse, put it in the canoe, and the intelligent little beast swam behind us over to the other side.

“Me think not many come to-day, Mr. Crosby. Priest he come.” The priest, having heard I had made this appointment, had evidently intended to be there at the same time.

“Well, Jim,” I replied, “suppose you and I and Jesus, we will have a good time. Ring your bell!”

He rang his little hand bell, and nearly everybody crowded into the big house where we were going to have service. Among those present I found a number of white men who had come, some of them, a long distance, bringing their half-breed families to be vaccinated. As soon as the service was over I said to the people, “I am going away to-morrow, and if any wish to be vaccinated, now is the time.”


Numbers came forward, and uncovering the arms[173] of themselves and their children, I went to work, scratching and putting on the vaccine. While thus engaged, a knock was heard on the door, and presently it opened and someone, very abruptly and in broken English, said, “Is Mr. Crosby here?”

“That is my name, sir,” I replied.

“I would like to speak to you,” said the priest, for it was he.

“When I get through my duty I shall be glad to speak to you, sir,” and I went on with my work.

This complete, I bade the people good-bye, warning them not to listen to what the devil might say when I was gone. He would very likely say that I had taken their money. I expected to be back in three months, and would then see about building a church. In the meantime I would leave the subscription list with Mr. A. C. Wells, a respected settler whom they all knew.

Going to the door, I met my brother the priest.

“You wish to speak to me, sir,” I said.

“Yes, I want to say that you take all my converts away.”

“I beg your pardon! I didn’t do anything to your converts.”

“But,” he persisted, “these are all my converts that are here.”

“Well, sir, I only preach the Gospel to them, as I do wherever I go,” I replied.

“I don’t care about your Gospel; it’s no good,” and the eyes of the little priest flashed as he continued, “You compel one man to give money to help build your church.”


“Now, sir, I would like very much to see that man,” and I continued, “I am in a hurry, but if you let me see that man I will be very much pleased.”

So he called up a happy-looking lame man, named Tom.

“Now, Tom,” I said, “you speak in Chinook, for this ‘father’ won’t understand you if you speak in your own language; and speak the truth, Tom.”

“Nawitka” (yes), Tom assented. “Spose nika halo delate wawaw, Saghalie Tyee solleks kopa nika” (“If I do not speak the truth, God will be angry with me”).

“That is right, speak all the truth, Tom.”

“Well, you came to my house this last week, and you say to me, ‘Tom, what you think about building this new church?’ I say to you, ‘I am a Catholic.’ You say, ‘Oh, very well, Tom, suppose you not give anything, all right.’ But you asked me where my brother is. I tell you my brother is very sick in the house. You go in and talk very kind to my brother about Jesus, in our own language, and sing, oh, so nicely, and then you say, ‘Let us pray,’ and you kneel down and pray in my own language, and you pray and pray; by and by my heart get very warm, when you pray; and when we get up, I tell you I give $2.50 to help build your church.”

Turning to the priest I said, “Now, did I compel the man to give money to my church?” and jumping on my horse, I bade him good-bye, leaving all the white men and the Indians, who had crowded[175] around to see what was going to be done by the two priests, to judge for themselves.

I rode on to my evening appointment, where I had promised to preach to the white people. On the way, whether it was the excitement of my interview, or something else, I do not know, but I forgot both my sermon and text. I expected to preach to a number of settlers, some of whom had families by native women, to whom they were not married.

By the time I reached the farm-house my mind was directed to the text, “No man cared for my soul.” And if ever the Almighty helped a poor mortal to preach He did it that night. Thoughts seemed to come right down from heaven, pouring through my soul to the people around me. I spoke of the judgment day, when the cry would come from these dishonored mothers and children, “You sinned with us and dragged us down, but you never cared for our souls.” God helped me fearlessly to preach the truth, and then applied it with convicting power to their hearts.

At the close of the service I spoke of how the Indians had started a subscription to build a church, and said that if anyone there would like to help they were at liberty to do so.

“Well, I think I can give you five dollars after that heat,” said an old man, whom some thought the worst in the crowd. Several followed his example and gave five dollars each. Thus the first church in Chilliwack was subscribed for by Indians and whites alike, and for a time served the purpose for both.


Early next morning I left for the coast of Vancouver Island.

The Beginning of the Revival.

In January following, 1868, I left my home and work at Nanaimo, attended some rousing missionary meetings in Victoria, crossed the Gulf, took a canoe manned by Indians, and went with them up the river.

We pushed on up the Fraser as fast as we could, for it was getting very cold. A biting north-east wind was blowing right down the river, and before we reached Sumas one of our men had his fingers frozen, and they all begged of me to stop. We spent one night at Sumas Landing, and now the weather moderated a little.

“Where are you going?” said a friend, just as I was leaving on a preaching tour through the valley.

“I am off to Nah-nates, fourteen miles away, at the head of Sumas Lake, to preach to the Indians; then back to Tso-wallie (Cultus Lake); then to Skowkale, and on to Squi-ala, all Indian camps, and back to Sumas.”

“All right! Go and see the Indians,” said my friend, “but be sure and do not go to the Upper Settlement, as the men have declared they will do you some bodily harm. You know that fellow. Harry ——, he is the leader of the party. They declare that they will fix you on account of the sermon you preached to them the last time you were up there.”

“Good-bye! Pray for me!” I replied, and off I[177] went across the prairie as happy as mortal could be.

Continuing on my way, who should I see ahead of me but this very Harry ——, travelling alone. As I drew near to him I lifted up my heart to God that He would give me wisdom to deal with the man in the best way.

When I met him I threw out my hand and got his in mine. Shaking hands with him I said, “Praise the Lord, Harry, you and I are not in hell. We might have been there long ago but for the loving Saviour. Oh, how He has loved us.” And still holding him by the hand, and looking him in the eyes, I continued, “Harry, do you love the Saviour? You ought to love Him. He died for you.” By this time his eyes began to moisten.

“How are the boys in the Upper Settlement?” I went on.

“They are all jolly and well, sir,” he replied.

“Tell them that next Sabbath, if all is well, I want to preach to them, and I hope they will all come.”

“They will be glad to see you, Mr. Crosby,” said the now thoroughly subdued Harry.

Bidding him good-day, I continued on my journey, praising the Lord that I had had such a good opportunity of meeting Harry alone.

These were the days of no roads, only blind trails and no bridges, so that if you could not ford the streams and sloughs you might swim. Woe betide the man or horse that got into a miry hole. I made my first trip through to Chilliwack from Sumas[178] over what was called the trail. Poles had been laid lengthwise over the sloughs to enable one to cross, and it was really amusing to see the little horses walk the poles. But, oh, dear, if you had a horse that could not walk the poles!

After visiting the Indian camps as I had planned, I got back to the Lower Settlement Friday night, where we had a prayer-meeting. On Saturday night we had a never-to-be-forgotten service at a bachelor’s house near Miller’s Landing. The old man seldom swept his house, and to save the trouble of washing dishes, when he had used them on the one side for a time, he turned them over and made use of the other side. We had to sit on boxes around the fire, which was built, like any Indian camp, in the centre of the floor, the smoke finding its way out through the cracks. I trust the dear Lord blessed the poor man. He died soon afterwards.

Sunday morning I preached to the white people of Sumas from the text, “Thy word is truth.” At the close of the service I asked all who wished to talk about religion to stay behind. Several remained, who showed by their conduct and conversation that the Lord was at work upon their hearts.

During the afternoon I went on to Chilliwack, and at night preached to a crowd which filled to overflowing the two rooms in the private house where we held our service. The Spirit of God was present in mighty, awakening power, and the whole neighborhood was moved. Not an unkind word was said to me, in spite of all the threats I had[179] heard of. For six weeks the work of grace continued, until nearly all the people were converted.

The interest awakened led to a desire to improve the means of communication between the two settlements. Early the following week “a bee” was called to make a road, with pole bridges over the sloughs, between Sumas and Chilliwack, which was really the first road in the settlement.

In the midst of all this I was taken with congestion of my left lung, and had to be kept in the house and treated with a steam bath of hot water and cedar boughs and mustard plasters for several days. However, the next Sabbath I took four services, and for weeks following preached night after night, and have never had anything the matter with my lungs since.

The awakening was so general that, far and near, nearly everyone was affected. A man came four miles one morning, while I was ill, to tell me that though he had taken his horses out that morning to work, he was so troubled in his soul that he couldn’t work, and then and there gave his heart to God. At once he became so happy that, as he said, “the mountains looked brighter, the birds sang sweeter, and all nature seemed to be praising the Lord,” and he thought he must come and let me know of his new-found joy. On the way he called at the cabin of a neighbor and found him on his knees praying.

Another man came several miles after midnight to beg me to get up and go home with him, for, as he said, he could neither sleep nor eat, and he feared that he would die if a change did not soon come.


“Praise the Lord!” I shouted.

“Man, don’t talk to me like that; I shall die.”

“There is no use in my going with you all that distance,” I replied. “I have heavy work to do. But I am glad the Lord is troubling you.” (He had a native woman and several children. I was not ordained at the time, and could not legally marry him.)

He still begged me to go with him and talk with the poor woman as well.

“Will you promise to be the legal father of those children the first chance you get?” I urged.

“Yes, I will do anything,” he said, and there was agony in his voice, “for I shall die in this state and be lost.”

“Then the Lord will convert you on credit,” I said. The poor man was made happy right there. A short time after, when an ordained minister came up, he married five such couples.

We had some wonderful testimonies during these meetings.

One night a man got up and said: “I came here with my neighbor to scoff. But as the meeting went on he said to me, ‘Jim, let’s get out of this; it is too hot.’ ‘No,’ I said, ‘let’s stick it out.’ And now, friends,” he continued, “I wish you would pray for me; I want to find this religion you speak about.”

Another old man testified and said: “I was a soldier in the Russian war, and one time was called up to be court-martialled for being drunk and disorderly. All I had done was to sing a little ditty in the presence of my chief officer, and he thought[181] I was drunk. When the investigation was held, my character in the past was examined. They looked up the records and said, ‘Sergeant H— has a clean sheet, he has never been before the court in the past, let him go free.’ My friends, when this revival commenced I felt that I was very wicked, and the sins of my life came before me. But now, bless God, I have got a clean sheet; Sergeant H— is forgiven through the blood of the Lamb.”

Another poor man, who had been an Independent in England, said: “When these meetings commenced I thought, ‘What are these people making so much fuss about? I am a member of an Independent church, and I am good enough.’ But the Spirit of God showed me how far I had wandered, and now I am at the feet of Jesus and trusting in God alone for salvation.”

A quaint Roman Catholic Irishman attended the meetings and used to give his testimony: “Be jabbers! you are the best praste that ivver came to these rayjans,” he would say. “No praste ivver blessed the paypul like you have. I wish the dear man would stay wid us and get some young gurrls to come here, and then mesilf and some others of the poor b’ys might get a wife.” (He was a bachelor, and remained one.)

One day during the revival a fellow came to the door and asked the kind lady of the house for Crosby. She said, “Come in.” “No,” said he, “I want to see Crosby out here.” I was called to the outer door, where I met a man who, like many of his neighbors, was living a wicked life, and thus[182] setting a very bad example to the poor dark pagan Indians.

“Come out here. I want you. I’d like to thrash you,” he cried out.

“Come in, come in,” said I.

“No, I want you to come out here. I’ll thrash you if you said so-and-so about some of my brothers and neighbors.”

“Well, isn’t it true?” I replied. “If it is true, what are you mad about? You know it is true, and God will judge you for such conduct. If you do not repent you will have a hot place in hell. So you had better get at the confession of your sins to God. If you do it sincerely He will help you.”

The poor fellow went away in a changed mood without thrashing the preacher. He was afterwards converted and became one of my fast friends.

After the meetings had been continued about three weeks, Rev. Arthur Browning came to our assistance, and some memorable services were held.

The glorious work of grace, having thus begun by the good hand of the Lord, continued until the whole valley was aroused, and many of the most hardened sinners were awakened and converted. When I left, shortly after, to attend the District meeting, there was a class of thirty-one members, nearly all the white people in the valley.

Looking back upon this marvellous work of God, so unexpected by human foresight, of which I had been a favored witness, I am led with adoring gratitude to exclaim, “What hath God wrought! Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory.”



“Oh, it is great, and there is no other greatness, to make some nook of God’s creation a little fruitfuller, better, more worthy of God; to make some human hearts a little wiser, manfuller, happier,—more blessed, less accursed! It is a work for God.”—Thomas Carlyle.

One of the most beautiful districts in Canada is that which is bounded on the west by the Sumas River, on the south and east by a spur of the Coast range of mountains, whose easternmost peak, Mt. Cheam, rises in majestic grandeur 8,500 feet, its summit crowned with perpetual snow, and on the north by the Fraser River, and known as the Chilliwack Valley. The district is divided into two parts, that through which the old Chil-way-uk River flows being properly Chilliwack; the western portion, along whose edge the Sumas River flows, being called Sumas. To the south-east another smaller valley is situated, divided from the main section by a low range of hills, through which the Chil-way-uk finds its way by a narrow pass at Vedder Crossing.

The united valleys contain upwards of 80,000 square acres of the richest soil to be found anywhere in the world. A yield of sixty bushels of wheat, or of sixty bushels of oats to the acre is quite common, and some idea may be had of the marvellous fertility of the soil when a meadow has[184] been known to produce for twenty-five consecutive years an average of three and a half tons of hay to the acre, and that without having been re-seeded or fertilized otherwise than by the pasturing of cattle. On the levels and along the foothills an ever-increasing acreage of orchards—apples, pears, plums, prunes, peaches and cherries—may be seen, and vegetables of all kinds are grown in rich abundance.

This garden spot, beautiful for situation, the joy of all those whose good fortune it is to live there, was at one time the home of great bands of Indians belonging to the Flathead nation. Where to-day there are eight small villages, there were thousands of people governed by certain great chiefs, whose authority was respected to a great extent throughout the whole valley. Their numbers have been reduced by disease and by their terrible tribal wars. The Indians from Cowichan and the coast made periodical incursions, massacring the people and burning their property. Their enemies were not always successful, for on one occasion, when the young men of the valley had gone down to work at Langley and Victoria, and had secured their pay in blankets, as was then the custom, the Cowichans became enraged at this interference with what they considered their labor market, and, gathering a large war party, they went up the old Chil-way-uk, prepared for the work of murder and destruction. They were met, however, with a stout resistance, their canoes were all captured and destroyed, and those who were not killed were forced to make their way home again stealthily and on foot.


The Indians still have traditions of the visit of the first white man to the river, and of how the Gospel first came to the Chilliwack.

We have in this valley what many call a model settlement, whose people are law-abiding, and whose business is carried on prosperously without any liquor licenses. Not one was ever granted, and the people do not want one to-day.

In 1808, when Simon Fraser made his way down the great river which now bears his name, he landed opposite Chilliwack, at the mouth of what is now known as the Harrison River. Here he was received by hundreds of the natives, who thought, as they said, that “he was the pure white child of the sun.” The chiefs carried him upon their backs and set him down on mats in the place of honor, and then danced to the sun-god for days in token of their appreciation of the visit of his son. It was not long after that they discovered, when rum and disease followed in his train, that the white man was not the pure child of the sun they had imagined.

The Visit of the First Gospel Messenger.

The Indians of Chilliwack have their own story of how the Gospel first came to their beautiful valley. Not long after I commenced my labors among them and began to teach them the translations we had made of some of our hymns, sung to those grand old tunes which have been used for scores of years, they told me they had heard those tunes before. Many years before there were any settlers in that part of the country, or any white[186] missionary, a visitor came to them from the big river, away to the south.

Sna-ah-kul—for that was the visitor’s name—told them that some years before a white man had come among his people to the south and had taught them out of a great book the words of God. His message had been a great blessing to the people, who in large numbers turned from their old ways to God’s way. Following him a few years after, another man came, dressed in a garment reaching to his feet, “just like a woman,” who taught the people to worship with candles lighted in the day-time.

Sna-ah-kul remained a little while, telling them about God and His great love, and cheering their hearts by the singing of some beautiful hymns, and then he returned to the south once more. Before leaving he said: “The man dressed like a woman will some day come to you, but do not listen to him. Wait a while until a man with a short coat comes among you who will teach you out of the Book.”

And so numbers of the Indians, when I came among them reading from the Book and preaching unto them in their own tongue, claimed me as the one whom Sna-ah-kul years before had told them would come.

In all probability this Indian messenger was one of the converts of the Rev. Jason Lee, the pioneer missionary to the Flathead nation, who had been sent out by the Methodist Episcopal Church, and had established himself among the Chinooks on the Columbia as early as 1833. The influence of his work was felt all along the Puget Sound country,[187] and some of his native helpers might easily have found their way from Nisqually, through Sumas to the Chilliwack.

The first visits to the Indians of the Fraser were made by Revs. Ebenezer Robson and Edward White, the former of whom commenced school work among them while stationed at Hope, some forty miles above Chilliwack. These brethren both visited the Chilliwack before I came there, and told them that a missionary speaking their own language would soon be sent among them.

The revival which proved such a blessing to the white settlers of the valley left a similar influence upon the Indians. They saw the wonderful change which had taken place among the white men, and many of them became strangely aroused and were savingly converted. Chief Hal-lal-ton, of Skowkale tribe, was a notable instance of the power of Divine grace. He was a chief of the old school, and when he was converted he brought his whole tribe with him. Big Jim, the brawny canoeman, who more than once ferried me across to his own village of Squi-ala, “Captain John” Sua-lis, of Tsowallie (Cultus Lake), and others, were among those who were brought to accept Christ and to become His faithful followers.

Sua-lis (Capt. John) was a hereditary chief, and at the time of my coming was one of the most influential chiefs in the valley. His conversion had a great influence upon others. When I first knew him he was a poor victim of the white man’s fire-water, but the power of God transformed this[188] drunken, gambling, semi-heathen chief into a devout follower of Jesus and a diligent, persevering worker for Him.

He delights to tell of his early experiences and of what Christ had done for him. In the old days he had charge of a crew of Indians, freighting for the Hudson’s Bay Company, and hence his name, “Capt. John.” In the days of the great stampede to the Fraser and Cariboo gold mines he carried the miners in his canoe across the river, and accumulated thereby upwards of $2,000. But, on an unfortunate day for him, he learned the taste of strong drink, and it did not take long for him to lose the whole of his savings. He began to fear that he would lose his power as a chief if he did not stop, so going to the priest who had preceded us, he told him his troubles. The priest gave him a crucifix, and told him to hang it about his neck and to look at it when the temptation to drink came on, and it would help him. But the young chief found no peace from that quarter. He heard of the coming of a missionary who could speak to him in his own language, and on his arrival Sua-lis came to hear him. Immediately he received bitter opposition from the priest, but he paid no attention to him and went again to hear the messenger. Finally he attended a camp-meeting at Maple Bay, and there gave himself up fully to Christ.

The conversion of so many prominent men led to the most bitter persecution on the part of the Roman Catholic priests, who laid claim to this whole district. The character of the persecution[189] was illustrated by a picture, about twelve by twenty-four inches in size, which they had painted and scattered among the people. At the upper corner of this picture was the representation of a beautiful place labelled “Heaven,” with the Catholics ascending to it with wings, and in the lower corner the lurid flames of hell-fire, and Crosby and his friends going head-first into it. Still the work spread, and scores of these poor people were led into the pure light of the Gospel, and many of them still live devoted and exemplary lives.

First Camp-Meeting.

At the District Meeting held in the spring of 1869, it was agreed that I should leave Nanaimo and take up the work at Chilliwack, which the recent revival had opened up. Consequently I left my bachelor quarters adjoining the little Coal City, and taking my books and trunks by canoe, and crossing the Gulf of Georgia, made my way up the Fraser River to Chilliwack, there to take charge of the Indian work, and the white work as well, until a missionary could be secured for the latter.

It was warm weather in April, and the hot days were followed by cool nights, when going up the old Chil-way-uk River, after a week’s trip, there came on a pelting hail-storm, and I was drenched to the skin. When I reached my destination I was shaking with fever and ague, and for nearly six weeks I lay upon my bed, sometimes in a delirious state. No doctor could be reached short of Yale, and his answer to our telegram was to “give a blue pill[190] every four hours,” until he could come down. When he arrived he found me prostrate from the effect of too strong medicine. He looked at me and left, and sent in his bill for fifty dollars. For some seven or eight days following they did not think I could live, but the careful nursing of my dear friends, Bro. and Sister Wells, and others, finally won, and I recovered. The fever, however, settled in my leg, and I had to go with crutch and stick all summer.

When I was getting about the chairman, Rev. E. White, accompanied by David Sallosalton and Amos Cushan, came up and held a field meeting on the ridge over the Achelitz River, on May 24th and 25th, and I assisted them as best I could.

Camp-meetings have been among the most successful means of reaching the Indians and bringing them to the light. In June of that same summer the first camp-meeting ever held in British Columbia took place, on what afterwards became historic ground, at Maple Bay, some miles below Nanaimo. Lumber had been brought from Saanich Mills with which to build a church, and this lumber was used to make “tents” for this first camp-meeting.

The steamer Enterprise brought numbers from Victoria and New Westminster to the camp, and Indians from Chilliwack, Sumas, etc., as well as from Nanaimo, gathered in large numbers. It was at this camp-meeting that “Capt. John” Sua-lis was converted. Following this meeting we had a mighty spiritual upheaval at Nanaimo, which gave us great encouragement after the toils of the years.


The second camp-meeting at Maple Bay took place in July, 1870, and in September of the same year the first camp-meeting was held in Chilliwack, on the banks of the Fraser River, where the old Chil-way-uk joins the larger stream. In the midst of preparations for the gathering, clearing off the ground, etc., a heavy rain came on. We had got the loan of a great raft of lumber which was to be floated down the river to the Sumas to build barns; but the raft got past us, and we feared we should lose it. We stood up to our waists in water to hold it, and then, after finally anchoring it, had to pack the whole 22,000 feet back to place.

It was a grand camp-meeting, however, the forerunner of many blessed seasons of grace which the people of the valley have enjoyed. The steamboats chartered for the occasion brought large numbers of whites from Victoria and New Westminster, while Indians from the north and from the island, as well as a great many from the locality, were there in large numbers. It was a time long to be remembered. Here “Old Capt.” from the head of Sumas Lake was converted, and David Sallosalton preached his steamboat sermon, and Amos Cushan his never-to-be-forgotten sermon on the final judgment. These two native helpers were mightily used of God in touching the hearts of and arousing their own people.

Education of the Children.

Early in our work at Chilliwack we realized the importance of reaching and educating the children.[192] But as they were scattered at such distances, and so few children in any one place, the only real teaching we could do was when we got them all together in a big rough house, put up for that purpose, near the Achelitz church, and here we gave them instructions every Sabbath. It became evident to all concerned that we must have an industrial or boarding school.

At the District Meeting held in the spring of 1872 the matter of establishing an industrial school was discussed, and a resolution setting forth the needs was placed on record in the minutes. Growing out of this discussion the following resolution was submitted and passed, and forwarded to the Mission Rooms:

“In view of the foregoing resolution, and the responsibility of establishing an industrial school on the Chilliwack, and believing that a sum of not less than $1,000 is requisite for the erection of mission buildings,

“Resolved, That this meeting desires hereby strongly to recommend the Missionary Committee to make a grant of $500 for the above object, and at the same time to obtain a similar amount by donation.”

This recommendation, however, was not adopted, and it was not until some years later that anything practical was accomplished, when Rev. C. M. Tate, who was appointed my successor, seeing the necessity of getting some of the children at school, gathered a number into his own home and then enlisted[193] the aid of our Woman’s Missionary Society in building a boarding school at Sardis.

The first building was destroyed by fire, but Bro. and Sister Tate persevered in their work, and to-day we have the well-equipped and beautifully-situated Coqualeetza Industrial Institute, the product of their consecrated zeal and enthusiasm.


The Visit of Dr. Punshon.

In 1871 we had the joy of a visit to the Pacific Coast by the President of the Wesleyan Methodist Conference in Canada, the Rev. Wm. Morley Punshon, D.D. His sermons and lectures are still talked of by those who had the pleasure of hearing him. Broad-minded, warm-hearted man that he was, he soon captured the affections of all who met him. One evening, after lecturing to the people of Nanaimo on “Daniel in Babylon,” he startled me by saying, “Bro. Crosby, you are to be ordained next Sabbath in Victoria.”

I went home to the little cabin, but did not sleep that night. Next day we were to take the party in a large canoe to one of those beautiful islands that abound on the coast, for an outing, and there I had a chance to talk with the President. I told him I had not slept that night, and that I did not wish to be ordained.

When pressed for my reasons, I told him, in the first place, that I had hoped to go to college for a time, as the brethren had agreed, and in the second place, I wished to pay a visit to mother and friends at home; and furthermore, I did not feel myself to[194] be good enough to take such solemn vows, and would prefer to continue as a lay worker.

“Well,” said the good man, “I am pleased, brother, to hear you speak so frankly. Now, as to your going to college, I can appreciate your feelings, and we would like to see it, if it could be. But if you should go for one year you would want to go for four, and many of these poor souls will be gone by that time. You have the language of this people, which is more than a college can do for you, and we believe it better that you should go on in your effort to save and help them. We will see that you get a chance to go home; and as to your feeling an unfitness, that might be one of our strongest reasons for urging you on to ordination. You had better leave the matter to God and His Church.” I had no more to say.

Next Sabbath came, and the old Pandora Street Church was crowded to the doors with an enthusiastic audience, who listened attentively to a marvellous sermon by Dr. Punshon from the text, “And ye shall receive power.” At the close I experienced one of the most solemn moments of my life, when in the presence of the large audience I stood alone and gave myself in solemn vow to God and His work, and was ordained by the laying on of hands of the gifted President of the Conference and other ministers. This was in April, 1871.



“As laborers in Thy vineyard
Still faithful may we be,
Content to bear the burden
Of every day for Thee.
We ask no other wages,
When Thou shalt call us home,
But to have shared the travail
Which makes Thy kingdom come.”

Under instructions from the District Meeting, in October, 1872, I left by steamer Onward for a journey to the vast interior, parts of which had never been visited by a Methodist missionary. Along the Thompson River and through the Nicola valley were large bands of Indians, mostly heathen, who, while speaking a different language, were nevertheless of the same stock as those among whom I had so long labored.

I took with me, as interpreter, a young man, a native of the Thompson, who had lived on the Chilliwack since he was a boy, and hence spoke the An-ko-me-num language as well as his native tongue. We were each provided with a little Indian “cayuse” or pony, which we shipped by steamer as far as Yale. In two weeks and three days we travelled 482 miles,[196] preaching twelve times in English and fifteen times to Indians. The kindness of the people and their eagerness to hear the truth were remarkable. One Indian chief and some of his friends followed us fifteen miles to hear me preach again. We preached in court-houses, hotels, stores, log cabins, Indian shacks, and by the wayside, and everywhere the people “heard us gladly.”

At Yale I met Sandford Fleming, Principal Grant and their party, just newly arrived from their arduous overland trip across the continent. The story of this trip is found in Principal Grant’s famous book, “Ocean to Ocean.”

The journey up the old historic Cariboo road was exciting and romantic. We had several narrow escapes from having our horses go over the bluffs. Had they gone over they must have fallen in some places a thousand feet or more into the rushing waters of the Fraser River below. The road hugged the precipice, and in many places was not wide enough to permit two waggons to pass. The great stage coaches, which used to convey passengers to and fro over the 400 miles into Cariboo, would rush by with break-neck speed, while our little ponies stood aside on rocky ledges to permit them to pass. Here and there we met the large ox teams, of five or six yokes, returning with empty waggons from the interior, their huge flapping canvas covers frightening our little animals until it seemed as if we should not be able to get them by.

The first Sunday I preached in the Court House at Lytton to a mixed crowd of white men and[197] Indians. The latter seemed eager to hear the truth, and right gladly did I tell them of Jesus.

At Cook’s Ferry, near the outlet of Nicola valley, we found the paymaster of the C.P.R. survey, a kind gentleman and an acquaintance of mine from Victoria, who called out and asked me to take dinner with him. After our horses were attended to, I gladly joined my friend. Passing through the bar-room, where crowds of men sat gambling, with whiskey barrels for their tables, I said, “Gentlemen, as soon as I am through dinner I would like to preach to you.”

“All right, parson, we’ll be ready and glad to come,” they replied.

Dinner over, I walked out, when the men cleared away their cards and set an empty barrel at one end of the room for a pulpit, where I preached to them. I was greatly blessed in delivering my message, and as soon as I had finished they came forward and left their collection of bills and silver on top of the barrel.

The Genuine Article.

Next morning we rode to what was called Oregon Jack’s, some fourteen miles distant, a wayside inn on the road to Cariboo. We tied our horses to the post outside, and, as we walked in, the man behind his little bar said:

“Good morning, Bishop, you’ll take a glass of, brandy, won’t you?”

“No, thank you; I don’t take anything stronger than milk or tea,” I replied.


“You don’t?” said he, with an oath. “You are the first parson who has come to these regions that didn’t take his bitters.”

Ignoring his remarks, which I took for what they were worth, I said to him, “I will have my horses taken in and fed, if you will.”

“All right. Take the Bishop’s horses and fix them,” he called out to a little fellow named Jim.

Dinner was soon ready, and my Indian and I sat down, one at each end of the little table, and Oregon Jack sat about midway on the side. While we enjoyed the bacon and beans, he kept up a running fire of questions.

“By the way, Bishop, I know you. You are the man that set the country on fire down there some time ago.”

“Country on fire?” We had great bush fires on the Lower Fraser in those days, and thousands of acres of magnificent timber were destroyed, and I thought Jack was about to fix one of those fires on me. “I set no country on fire,” I said. “What do you mean?”

“Oh, I mean what you Methodists call a revival. You had a revival in Chilliwack not long ago; we heard all about it. The young fellow who was at the telegraph line used to be blessing the Lord every night that such a sinner was converted, and told us all the news along the line about your revival.”

“By the way,” he continued, “is that old fellow that had a bald head, who used to swear so that we thought the heavens would come down on us when he drove his ox team up here, has he got it?”



“Yes,” I replied, “he is converted, and very happy.”

“You don’t mean to say so!” said he. “Does it stick?”

“Yes,” said I.

“Well, that other fellow who stuttered so that he could hardly get it out, has he got what you call religion?”

“Yes, he is very happy.”

“And how does he tell it?”

“Why, strange to say,” I remarked, “when he tells his experience in class-meeting, or prays, he never stutters a bit.”

At that Jack opened his eyes wide, and with an even more pronounced and deliberate drawl and nasal twang, he said:

“You don’t mean to say so! Why, now that must be the genuine article.”

By this time Jim, the little Scotch hostler, who had stood in the doorway an attentive listener to the conversation, was moved by the story, and began to brush the tears from his eyes.

Dinner being over, I said to Jack, “Now, after partaking of this good dinner I would like to pray to God, from whom all blessings come.”

“Certainly,” he said; “you will pray, your reverence.” And he knelt down with the rest of us.

As soon as prayer was over he shouted out “Amen!” as if he had been a clerk in a church, and then jumping up, said:

“Now, you will have a glass of brandy, Bishop, won’t you?”


“No, thank you!” I replied; “I will have to be going now.”

When we went to get our horses we found they had about a peck of hard barley in the trough. The little fellows did not know what it was, and it was well that they did not eat it.

When we had got started the little Scotchman who had helped with them shouted after us and waved his hand. I turned back, when he handed me a five-dollar bill, saying he was sure I needed some money, and he wished it was ten.

Who knows but some memory of early boyhood days had been awakened in his heart which would lead him back again to the God of his fathers? It is thus our bread is cast upon the waters to be gathered after many days.

The Fruit of Missions.

I had hoped to spend the next night at the home of my friend S——, but next day I met him and others going to the Ashcroft races. He expressed his regret at not being home to receive me, but begged me to stay at his place that night.

I preached at Cache Creek, and arrived at my friend’s ranch about evening. His Chinese servant met us, and I said to him:

“John, I met your master to-day, and he told me to stay here all night. You are to feed my horses, and I am to stay here until morning.”

He seemed doubtful as to my honesty, and in a somewhat peremptory tone of voice said, “You savee Mr. S——? You savee Mr. S——?”


“Yes,” I said, “and he told me to stop here to-night.”

“You savee Mr. S——? You savee Mr. S——?” he repeated, each time growing louder and more emphatic.

“Yes,” I replied, in a strong and decided voice, “I know Mr. S——, your master, and I want you to get my supper, for I am going to remain here to-night.”

Finally convinced, he took the horses and put them in the stable, and returning to the house, very soon had a fine supper for us, of boiled chicken and other delicacies.

After supper I said to him, “John, do you know Jesus? Have you ever heard about Jesus?”

“Me savee little bit,” he said.

“Then let us pray to God, who has given us all this good food and all good things,” said I.

We knelt down; I prayed, and my Indian friend prayed in his own language; then, to our surprise, “John,” the Chinaman, at once began to pray in Chinese, and, as I should think from the earnestness of his utterances, made a marvellous prayer. Under the blessed influence of grace we had a shouting, happy time.

As soon as we got through, John looked at me very earnestly, and, in an excited tone of voice, said, “Me savee Mr. Piercy, Canton, China, allee same you. Canton, China, one man, allee same you. Mr. Piercy, tell me about Jesus. Mr. Piercy, Canton, China, allee same you.” And as he spoke he grew more excited with his effort to convey to me the fact[202] that in Canton, his native city in China, he had been led to know Jesus through the instrumentality of Mr. Piercy, a missionary like myself.

Suddenly it dawned upon me that the Mr. Piercy referred to was the same George Piercy who, many years before, had left my native village in England and had gone as a missionary to China. His consecrated devotion had left a deep impression on my boyish mind, and I had ever since held him in the highest esteem as a missionary of the Cross.

How little we know of the far-reaching character of our influence. Here in the interior of British Columbia, thousands of miles from the scene of his labors, I met the gracious results of the work of this saintly servant of Christ.

“And they shall come from the east and from the west and from the north and from the south, and shall sit down in the Kingdom of God.”

A Service at Kamloops.

Next day we continued our journey, by way of Savano’s Ferry, on the north side of the lake, visiting and preaching until about opposite Kamloops, where we had to swim our horses to reach the other side.

On the bank of the river I met two old friends, members of Parliament, who invited me to take dinner with them. I told them that I would gladly accept their invitation as soon as I had stabled my horses and had found out where I was to preach that night.

Kamloops was then a very small place. I met[203] with a Mr. McKenzie, a local store-keeper, who said I might preach in his kitchen. I then went back to the restaurant to take dinner with my friends. After a good repast I walked to the billiard room and called out:

“Gentlemen, we are going to have preaching in Mr. McKenzie’s kitchen at eight o’clock, and I want you all to come.”

“All right, we’ll be there, parson,” they answered.

A lively chap, with a big overcoat on, followed me out of the door. He was about three sheets in the wind, and was trying to put a bottle of whiskey into his big outside pocket as he staggered along, the whiskey bottle slipping past his pocket every time he tried.

“I know—(hic)—who you are. (hic) You are a Methodist parson. (hic) I can tell by the cut of your jib,” said he, in a maudlin voice.

“You have struck it. Who are you?” I replied.

“My name is Bill H——,” said he.

“You sinner, you ought to be away home with your family. I visited them to-day, and they are expecting you.”

“You’re right, I ought,” he replied.

Having called at other places, we were soon at Mr. McKenzie’s house, and I said to my drunken companion, “This is the place for preaching.”

“I will go to church with you,” said he, and staggered in. Some man pulled his coat tail, as he was going to the front of the room, and bade him sit down.

There were about twenty intelligent looking men[204] in the congregation. After the sermon, which was listened to with respectful attention, I began to give out that beautiful hymn:

“Praise ye the Lord, ’tis good to raise
Your hearts and voices in His praise.”

when Bill jumped up and, with an oath on his lips, said, “I’ll give this parson five dollars; how much will you give, Jack?”

They said, “Sit down, you fool, the parson is not through yet,” and pulled him down by the tail of his coat.

Just as the service closed, another man jumped up, took his hat, knocking in the crown, and said, “Now, Bill, where is your five dollars? Down with your dust, every one of you, and let us give this parson a good send-off.”

A few minutes after, the storekeeper came with his two hands full of bills and silver, and handed it to “the parson” as the collection, while another man seized the bottle of whiskey out of Bill’s pocket and said, “Look here, parson, this is the fellow that was so anxious to give you a collection, and see what he had in his pocket.”

Bill turned around, and declared by all that made him that it was not his bottle, but that the other man had put it in his pocket. The collection was $22.50, a token of the hearty generosity of those rough-mannered but large-hearted men of the West, who respected religion though they were not in the enjoyment of it themselves.


In the Nicola Valley.

Next morning we were off down the Nicola valley, through a most beautiful country. I preached to the Indians and settlers that night, and next day met a band of Indians with their chief, and preached Christ to them while sitting on horseback. They seemed delighted to hear the story of love, and for years they kept up the request that we send them a teacher.

With the visit to Nicola our missionary tour was at an end, and we made our way home again as quickly as possible. In all we had travelled nearly 500 miles, at an expense of $59.50, and without asking anyone for a cent, we had met the expense, and had fifty cents to the good.

My report to the Chairman of District recommended the establishing of a mission both among the white settlers of the Nicola valley and the Indians of that district. Shortly afterwards a missionary was sent to the settlers of the Nicola, but though the poor natives made fervent appeals for help, next to nothing has been done for them.

On my return my soul was stirred within me by the news that my dear friend and son in the Gospel, David Sallosalton, had during my absence taken ill and passed away to the better land. During his last moments he had asked for me repeatedly, and expressed the wish that he might see me before he went to heaven. We were not to meet here again, but some day we shall greet each other where they never say good-bye.



“Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress, and their might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well-fought fight;
Thou in the darkness drear their one true Light.
W. W. How.

Among the crowning glories of all missionary endeavor are the living and dying testimonies of men and women who have been reclaimed from vice and heathenism by the power of Divine grace.

Among the An-ko-me-nums were many who witnessed a good confession and passed triumphantly home; too many, indeed, for any extended reference within the limits of one short chapter.

There are some, however, whose character and service caused them to stand forth as mountain peaks, to whom we must refer. Among these were Amos Cushan, our first convert and native missionary; David Sallosalton, “the Boy Missionary,” and Amos Shee-at-ston, our first class-leader among the Songees; old Captain Tsit-see-mit-ston, of Sumas Lake, Snak-wee-multh, Thit-sa-mut, Shee-ah-tluk, August Jackson, and several others.

Amos Cushan.

Kook-shin (or Kicking-foot) was our first convert to Christianity, and for many years a most valuable assistant in the work among his people.[207] He was a youth of some twenty-five years of age when first I took up my work at Nanaimo. As a lad Kook-shin was trained in heathenism, and later when a young man learned to love the white man’s “fire-water.”

As a servant in the employ of the Hudson’s Bay Company he had acquired a little knowledge of English, and for some time served us in the capacity of interpreter.

His conversion was very clear, and so real to him that in after years he always referred to it with delight. When the enemy came to tempt him as to his conversion, to use his own words, “I pointed him to that place in the mission-house garden on the spring morning when I was working, where God spoke peace to my soul and made me, oh, so happy. For a long time before this I had had two hearts, but now Jesus became chief in my heart. Only one chief now. Jesus is my great Chief.”

When he was baptized he was named “Amos Cushan,” and almost immediately became a local preacher, and to the end of his life was always concerned for the salvation of his people.

No one who has not known the awful power of the drink habit can fully appreciate the struggle he had with this demon. More than once he was overcome, but finally he prevailed over his enemy and triumphed over every foe.

As an agent of the Missionary Society he spent many years in evangelistic labors among his own people on the east coast of Vancouver Island and up the Fraser River, and later visited the west coast of[208] the island, the first Protestant missionary to carry the Gospel to Alberni and the country of the Ats. He made many long and trying trips, preaching in the open air and sleeping where he could, which finally, after many years of toil, brought on consumption, to which fell disease he finally succumbed. Notwithstanding the fact that he lingered long, and the poor body was racked with pain and suffering, yet his spirit was always bright; he was never heard to murmur. “In fact,” says one who visited him during his last sickness, “it was a great comfort to be with him, he was constantly praising God.”

It was Cushan who stood by the missionary in the great battle in Qual-la-kup’s house, and where, it is said, they saved the lives of half-a-dozen people. At camp-meetings and on other occasions he often preached with great power on the terrors of the law, from such texts as, “In hell he lifted up his eyes,” and “These shall go away into everlasting punishment.” He was an earnest advocate of missions, and was in demand at the various missionary meetings held in the district.

During his last illness a big potlatch was held at his native village, which brought many hundreds of heathen together. And here he never lost an opportunity to urge all to give their hearts to Jesus. Just before his death he called all his children to his side, bade them good-bye, and urged them to be good and serve God. “All, all is peace. Jesus is very precious,” were among the final words of this devoted servant of Jesus Christ.

p. 206
p. 209

p. 229
p. 187

He was generally respected, and a large number[209] attended his funeral. Some of the hardest hearts were softened as he was laid away until the resurrection morn.

“Servant of God well done,
Thy glorious warfare’s past,
The battle’s fought, the race is won,
And thou art crowned at last.”

The Boy Preacher.

I will never forget the bright, pleading little face that looked up into mine one sunny morning in the year 1864, and prayed to be received into my home and heart.

“My father and mother are bad. They don’t want me to be good and go to school; they would rather have me painted up and tattooed and learn to dance and hunt and fight and go in the old way; but I want to do as you say and be good, so I think if I live with you I will be good,” said the dear boy.

My missionary heart was touched by his entreaties, and David Sallosalton, whose heathen name was then Sa-ta-na, was received into the mission house, and there trained for the work which in the providence of God was to result in so great a harvest for the blessed Master.

He applied himself to learn, and became a devoted Christian. On his reception into the church he was baptized under the Christian name of David. Shortly after he was put on the plan as an exhorter, and faithfully and most successfully he assisted in the work of the mission.

For a time he labored in his own native village,[210] and then was appointed as lay helper at Chilliwack. Later on he became assistant missionary to the Songees Indians at Victoria, under the Chairman, Rev. William Pollard.

He was most enthusiastic in his interest in the camp-meetings, which had become such an institution in our mission work both among Indians and whites. His zeal and devotion and his eloquent and fervent appeals contributed in no small measure to the success of these gatherings.

A spirit of utter self-forgetfulness marked the lad. Through storm and sunshine he plodded on, daring dangers innumerable, and facing death in many forms. He was tireless in laboring for the salvation of his people, going from band to band, and seizing every opportunity to preach unto them Jesus. Hundreds were impressed by his fervent words, his native eloquence, and his pure and Christlike spirit, and were led to give themselves to God.

David became of great value also in interpreting for the missionaries who might not know the language of the Indians. He was for a time a class-leader at Skowkale, in the Chilliwack Valley, and he had another class at the head of Sumas Lake, twenty miles away, and a third class at Squi-a-la camp, which were the blessed fruit of one of the camp-meetings. Probably it was in his work through this valley that David contracted the cold which was destined to end his earthly career. It was often necessary for him to swim rivers and ford creeks and sloughs and rushing torrents, in order to carry the glad tidings of salvation to his[211] benighted brethren. Once on such a journey he nearly lost his life. He was miles away from any dwelling, and was attempting to cross a slough at the head of Sumas Lake. The ice, being weak, gave way, and down he went.

He says, in telling of his mishap: “I plunged and broke the ice again and again as I tried to climb out upon it. The water was so cold that I was becoming chilled and weak, and I thought, ‘Now, David go to heaven, and nobody will know where David has gone’; so I got my Bible with my name in it, and threw it right up on the shore, so that I think when somebody find it they will say, ‘Oh, David has gone to heaven on the lake’; but just then, while among the breaking ice, my feet caught on a sand-bar, and by this means I struggled to the shore. I found my Bible, and went on my way rejoicing again to be allowed to preach to my people.” Who will say that Providence did not interfere to save one so useful and so devoted to the cause of Christ?

David’s preaching was very earnest, very forceful and original, and full of illustrations from nature. One of his sermons was called his “Steamboat Whistle Sermon.” We had the pleasure of hearing this wonderful sermon at one of the Chilliwack camp-meetings, which he delivered in his broken English to a crowd of white people gathered at the meeting, and which we doubt not was the means of leading some to the Saviour.

A great number of white people and Indians had gathered at the camp-meeting. An English service was first held, followed by a service for the Indians.[212] Amos Cushan, the old local preacher, who was a friend of David’s, had preached to them his famous sermon on the judgment, when, in response to his invitation, the whole congregation rushed forward to the rude altar of prayer, and then scores of people with one voice sent up their cries and petitions to heaven for salvation. After a season of prayer and wonderful blessing a change was made in the exercises. By this time crowds of white people were standing round the camp and at the doors of their tents, looking on with amazement, and many of them with their eyes filled with tears at seeing so many of the red men anxious for pardon. David, seeing them, seized the opportunity to preach, and springing to his feet he began in his broken English a marvellous and soul-stirring address to them:

“My dear white friends,” said he, “you look at our Indian people here, you hear them cry very much, and you say, ‘What they make all that noise for, what make them feel so bad?’ Well, I tell you. My dear people just heard about Jesus now, and they all want to find Him and love Him. You heard long time ago, some of you; you find Jesus long time; you love Him. It all same as steamboat on this river.” (The camp was on the banks of the old Fraser, and many had come by steamer.) “When she going to start she whistle one whistle, then she whistle another, and if you don’t get your things very quick and run, she whistles last time” (boats whistle three times before leaving), “and she go off and leave you behind, and you very sorry because you too late. Now Jesus like that. He whistle, He[213] call. He whistle and whistle, and if you don’t get on board Jesus’ salvation ship, you too late. I think some my people get on board before some of you, because they not afraid to repent and come on board. Now, my white friends, you hurry up, have all your things packed up, be quick and get on board or you be too late. I think some of this poor Indian people go into heaven and you left out. Oh, come on board quick, come on board, come to Jesus now! This a very good ship, room for all you people, and Indian people too, black and white; come now, all come.”

No one could help being moved at the speaker’s strong, earnest appeal, a message from a heart burning with love for souls. Oh, how anxious he seemed; how he pleaded for the people to come to Jesus; how he sought to show them the need of doing so, and of doing it right then.

We looked around when he had finished and saw a number of the most hardened sinners in tears and broken down by the earnest, loving, living message of the young Indian preacher. Who can measure the results of that strong and sympathetic appeal? Never can it fade from my memory or its effect be effaced from the heart. We feel that the Great Shepherd alone can tell how many of His sheep were found by the call given in that “Steamboat Whistle Sermon” by His young servant on the old camp-ground on the banks of the Fraser. One man was saved that day who became well known as a faithful worker among the Indians in after days.[214] This was old Captain Tsit-see-mit-ston, who lived at the head of Sumas Lake.

David knew nothing of fear in the prosecution of his work for the Master. Many a time, in the midst of circumstances most trying, would he declare his allegiance to Christ. Never was he ashamed of his Saviour, and his young heart was so full of love for Him that the influence was felt by all who came near to his warm and faithful life. Although his opportunities were few and his advantages limited, owing to a lack of an English education, he was a living demonstration of the fact that “God often chooses the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty.”

On one occasion he was accompanying me on a missionary trip which included a visit to a sick Indian who lived up the Chilliwack River. When we arrived at Skowkale, on the east bank of the river, a priest came to the opposite side. He seemed desirous of crossing the river (it was before the river had changed its course at Vedder Crossing), and as there was no bridge, and no canoe or boat on his side, he called to the Indians on our side to come over and fetch him. I told them to go for the man, but they said, “Oh, no, we don’t want that teacher any more.”

“But,” said I, “it is only politeness to row the man over if he wishes it; you do not need to listen to him or follow his teaching, but you ought to be kind and help any man when you can.”

At last they were persuaded, and rowed across[215] after the man, bringing him to our side. When the priest arrived on the bank of the river I said:

“Good-morning, sir, you seem to be travelling.”

“Yes,” said he, “I am going up to see a sick man at the village above.”

“Oh, indeed,” said I; “my little friend and I were just going to the same place.”

“Then,” said the man, in a mixture of French and English, “you better not go, he is my convert.”

“Yes,” said I, “but I have been to see the sick man before, and I thought of going again.”

“Then,” said he, “you people are all in the wrong way; it is no good you go.”

“Well,” said I, “which way are you in? Here is my chart,” holding up the Bible. At this he got angry, and said, “That book is no good.”

All this time David stood quietly by without saying a word, but when he saw the man getting angry he stepped up and said, “Mr. Crosby, I think you gentlemen speak too much your own words. Very good, I read some out of God’s Word.” So he read some striking verse out of his little Testament. This made the priest very angry, and he tried to snatch the book out of the boy’s hand, saying, “He can’t read; he is only a little Siwash” (Chinook for Indian). “It is only something he had committed to memory, the little Siwash.”

“Yes,” said David, “that’s so; me little Siwash, but this book tell me if I love Jesus and work for him, when I die I go up to heaven, and I live with Jesus up there. Me little Siwash, but me love Jesus; Jesus my friend, Jesus my King; Jesus save[216] me and help me to be good and not get angry. Cannot I read?” and taking out his Bible he turned to passage after passage, as if God had inspired and told him just where to turn the leaves, and read:

“Therefore, being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” “There is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.” And again, “The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanseth us from all sin.” “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.” And so he went on, reading passage after passage, slyly hitting, without apparently knowing it, one after another of the errors of the priest’s own Church, until the countenance of the latter was a study. It changed to purple, and from purple to livid, in a very short time, until his indignation mastered him, and he made off up the river bank; not, however, before our young Indian, turning over the leaves of his Bible, repeated, very significantly, the passage, “The wicked flee when no man pursueth, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” This courageous action on the part of David fired the zeal and enthusiasm of all the Indians, and gathering together they commenced to sing a part of one of Wesley’s hymns, which they had learned at the camp:

“Jesus, the name high over all,
In hell or earth or sky;
Angels and men before it fall,
And devils fear and fly.”

And just as the priest, with the wind blowing[217] strongly against him, hurried rapidly up the bank of the river, with his long coat-tails flying in the breeze, the last line of the verse was ringing out on the air, which is a translation from the Indian language in which it was sung, “The devil gets afraid and runs.”

We are informed by a lady who often entertained Sallosalton that one day he was going to visit the Indians who lived across the Chilliwack River. Having arrived at the bank of the river he saw an Indian on the other side, and called to him to come across and row him over with his canoe. The man, being a Roman Catholic, refused to do so, so David took off his clothes, tied them in a bundle, placed the bundle on the top of his head, plunged into the river and was soon on the other shore. He then dressed himself, and went on his way rejoicing that he was able to carry the blessed light to his heathen people. Nothing could daunt our young hero, nothing discourage his young heart. He was wholly given up to his work for the Master.

On the occasion of one of his visits to the head of Sumas Lake he met a white man whom he had known in Nanaimo. This man was one who had known the grace of God but had wandered from the fold, and he thought to cause David some discomfort by his talk.

“David,” said he, “what are you doing here, so far away from your home? We don’t see you in Nanaimo any more. What’s the matter with you?”

“Nothing,” said David, “I am simply preaching to my people.”


“Oh, you’re preaching, are you? Preaching for the Methodists, I suppose? How much do they pay you? You know some of these preachers get good pay; how much do you get?”

“Oh,” said David, “you think me work for nothing? You think me get no pay? By-and-bye me get great pay. Me get great crown up in heaven. Jesus pay me. Me be a king up there. Oh, yes, me get pay by-and-bye, me get great pay.” This set this poor old backslider thinking, and we hope it was the means of leading him back to Jesus Christ, from whom, by his worldliness and selling of whiskey, he had wandered so far. David was not in the least disturbed by the man’s remarks, but marched on, singing, “There is a happy land, far, far away.”

None could have a higher motive than this for his life’s work. To David in all his work came the glorious hope of the heavenly welcome, which, beaming brightly on his earthly way, chased away many shadows that might otherwise have lingered there. Sunshine and joy seemed ever present with him, and made him a most desirable companion, while his deep religious convictions gave the influence of holy thought and motive as an additional claim to the fellowship which others were privileged to have with him.

The Rev. Morley Punshon, D.D., before the British Conference of 1873, gave a good description of this incident, and of Sallosalton’s work. He says, in speaking of him:

“In British Columbia I met an Indian, one of the most eloquent men I ever heard. If I had[219] not met Sciarelli (a Hindu), I should have said he is the most eloquent man who ever stood before an audience. He was only seventeen years of age, but a youth of very great promise, who rejoiced our heart with the prospect of long-continued usefulness, but whom God loved so much that He took him out of the world after a short time of most earnest and successful labor upon the Fraser River. This young man, David Sallosalton, wrought a great work among his countrymen.”

The End Came All Too Soon.

At the last camp-meeting David attended he was feeling quite poorly. For some time he had been sick, for the hard trips he had taken through storm and tempest were having serious effects upon his frail constitution, and yet his zeal had brought him, even under distressing difficulties, to his last camp-meeting. He had fought hard for the Master during these years, and now he was seen to be breaking down in health. One arm had been rendered powerless by a stroke of paralysis. At this camp-meeting of which we have spoken David, as usual, seized an opportunity to tell his experience. A great crowd of Indians and white people were standing near, and David said:

“My friends, you see that little tree,” pointing to a little maple standing near by. “Well, when I first came to camp long ago that tree was a very small tree; now you see how it has grown; it is a strong tree now. It is all the same with David’s heart, it grow every day, it get strong like the tree, but the[220] devil he try me when I come to this camp-meeting; he say, ‘Now, look, you foolish boy, you go among these Indians, you preach and travel around in ice and cold, and do what the missionary want you to do, and you get sick, and be no great man. Now, if you had not done that, if you had stayed home among your people, you had been a chief, a great man, by this time. Now you go away from your people, you preach; you say your people wrong, your people all dark; and now the old medicine men on the Fraser River not like you preach so strong, and they make you sick and poor like you be now.’ But I tell the devil, ‘You go away; Jesus is my Captain, He lead me all right; by-and-bye I not be sick any more; by-and-bye I be in heaven with Jesus; no witch-doctors do me any harm.’” Thus he went on addressing the people, and the power of the blessed Spirit seemed to accompany his words in great measure, and his face shone as with a light from heaven, and he said, “Oh, my friends, me think by-and-bye me not sick; by-and-bye me get to heaven; no sickness up in heaven.” Up went both arms, one of which, through his paralysis, he had not used for a long time, and he shouted out with all his strength, “By-and-bye I shall have wings; I shall fly!” There were shouts of “Praise the Lord,” and “Hallelujah,” all over the camp, and many of the people shed tears of joy. All were touched and deeply moved at this wondrously passionate appeal, and this bright hope for the future, as also the miraculous movement of David’s paralyzed arm. No doubt of his fitness for the glory[221] land, or his bright prospects of reaching it. Indeed, he seemed to all to be living just on the border. The camp-meeting broke up under a holy influence, for one and all felt the power of one who was soon to bid farewell to earth and pass over into the kingdom eternal. After this camp-meeting was over David spent some days visiting his friends in the Chilliwack valley, where he was always welcome, and whose homes he brightened and blessed by his happy experience. Then he returned to Victoria, where he was employed as a native assistant. He gradually grew worse, getting weaker all the time, and finally his spirit fled to the heaven to which he had tried to point the way.

The Chairman, the now sainted Wm. Pollard, was his superintendent, and watched over him to the last. He said David’s death was the most triumphant he had ever witnessed. In a letter dated January 14th, 1873, he said: “The death of David Sallosalton was a sad blow to this mission and to the Indian work in general. He was deservedly popular, and he was pious, eloquent and useful. He was universally beloved and almost idolized by the Indians.”

The late Rev. Cornelius Bryant, then missionary at Sumas, who had known David from his childhood, in referring to his death, paid this tribute to the worth of Indian Missions: “If no other had been saved than David Sallosalton, our Indian brother, whose glowing experience I heard in the church a few months ago, and who is doubtless now[222] a glorified inhabitant of the skies, we had been well rewarded for all missionary effort.” Mr. Pollard wrote the following obituary of him:

“The subject of this notice belonged to the Nanaimo tribe of Indians, and he was born in Nanaimo camp about 1853. His parents were pagan, and David’s early education was pagan. About 1860 our missionaries visited Nanaimo, and the Gospel was introduced among the Indians; this was a new era in David’s history. He when a little boy welcomed the messengers of mercy, and as far as he could comprehend the light he walked in it, but it was not until he was eleven years of age that he was converted. He attended the mission school then conducted by the Rev. T. Crosby, and was the fruit of his pious and earnest ministrations. This zealous missionary discovered in his pupil piety and gifts of more than ordinary promise, and spared no pains to train him to future usefulness. David from the time of his conversion maintained an unblemished character, and labored earnestly and continuously to teach his countrymen the way of life. In September, 1871, he came to Victoria to attend the English school and act as assistant missionary to the Songees Indians. He made great progress in his work, often preaching to them every evening in the week, besides twice on the Sabbath, and the Lord gave him great favor with both the whites and the Indians. Great hopes were entertained that he might long be spared as a missionary to his people. He was not only remarkable for his piety, but had extraordinary natural qualifications[223] for public speaking in his own language. The Rev. Dr. Punshon, who heard him when on a visit to this country, pronounced him one of the greatest natural orators he had ever heard. Last spring his health began to fail, and though everything was done to prolong his valuable life, yet it was evident that consumption was undermining his constitution. The only desire that he seemed to have was to live that he might preach Christ. During his illness he often spoke of heaven, especially as a place where there would be no temptation, no whiskey, no devil. Shortly before his death, when asked what portion of Scripture he wished to have read, he said: ‘Read to me the death of Christ.’ A few minutes before he died a friend quoted the first part of the fourteenth chapter of John. He expressed great joy that Christ had gone to heaven to prepare mansions for his children, and said: ‘In a very short time I shall be in my Father’s house.’ He then closed his eyes, folded his hands, as if intending to pray, and thus fell asleep without a pain or a doubt, on the 29th of October, in the nineteenth year of his age, David Sallosalton, the most perfect Christian we ever knew.”

The Old Captain of Sumas Lake.

Tsit-see-mit-ston, the old warrior chief of the Sumas, whose home was at Nah-nates, round the head of Sumas Lake, was a convert of our first camp-meeting at Chilliwack in 1870. I remember well the tall, rather fierce-looking man, who impressed one by his stalwart, athletic form and[224] proud bearing that he might have been a great hunter and a fierce fighter in his day. We learned afterwards that he had been in many terrible scenes of bloodshed. Years gone by, when the Coast Indians came up the Fraser River on their slave-taking expeditions, many a slave-seeker found his death at the hands of this stalwart warrior. He had a powerful frame and unflinching nerve, and was alert and agile to the very end.

His curiosity was aroused when he heard the people were camping in the bush, and so he, with some of his people, came to attend the camp-meeting. As the blessed Spirit came in power upon the Indians in that place, “Old Cap.” (as he was called by the whites) said: “I felt so miserable I did not know what to do; and when asked to speak my body trembled and shook. It was not fear, for I had never been afraid of anything. But what could I say? I could not utter a word. And when the good people saw how I was, they commenced to pray for me, and led me to the foot of the cross, where I laid down my burden of sin, and God gave me a new heart. My difficulty in speaking was soon gone, and I felt that I wanted to talk all the time in telling of the joy that had come into my soul.”

The great old warrior would shout and talk, and seemed never to tire of telling of the love of God in his soul. He became a missionary to his own people, and by precept and example pointed them to the Saviour of men. He had the unspeakable joy of seeing every adult member of his band make public profession of conversion ere he passed to the[225] land of light and glory. We often stayed all night at his camp, and night and morning he would call all his people in to prayers, and it was then we had times of refreshing coming from the Lord.

The old man was wonderfully energetic, and in order to have all his people at church on Sunday—for they had to journey a distance of fifteen miles or more—he bought a number more horses, so that he might have one each for them to ride. These horses he kept on the prairie during the summer, and in the fall he had a lot of his young men cut enough wild hay to keep them through the winter. It was remarked again and again that no matter how stormy the day, “Old Captain” and his people would be seen at church.

Finally age told upon him, and one day he “fell on sleep,” and died happy in the Lord. Years have gone by since he passed away, and we still see the effect of his life upon his people. What a change the Gospel makes from a savage to a saint.

The Redeemed Slave.

Snak-wee-multh, or Old Sam, was a native of Vancouver Island, though in his boyhood he had been seized in one of the many slave raids and carried away to the far north, where he remained for years, until he had forgotten his own language, but never lost his love or longing for the old home of his youth. Long after middle life he found his way back to his own tribe, but never recovered the fluent use of his own tongue.

In youth he was trained in heathenism, and afterwards[226] acquired a knowledge of the still more savage customs and heathen practices of the north people. He was first in all dark deeds and in the heathen dance among his people; and as he had many new tricks of savage life to show them, which he had learned while a slave, the dancers looked upon him as a kind of demi-god, for, as they said, “he had so much power, he could do more wonderful feats than any one of them.”

Sam kept on this way until he became very sick, and as he lay on his sick bed I visited him, and had the joy of pointing him to Jesus.

During this sickness he several times begged me to give him some medicine to make him sleep. He said he wanted it so strong that he would not wake up again. He said he had heard the white man had this medicine, and if he could only take some it would be so good of me to give it to him. Again and again did he beg for a sleeping-powder.

I told him I could not give him that kind of medicine, but if he would only give his heart to Jesus he would then be happy all the time. I kept up my visits regularly, carrying him simple foods from day to day. Finally the light came in upon his dark mind, and oh, what a change! How he would thank me and praise God for the comfort he had in his heart!

For years he had been very fond of tobacco, and, like most of the Indians, had used so much of it that no one could come near him without noticing the dreadful effects of it. Everything seemed to be saturated with the smell of tobacco, and he would[227] use it the last thing before going to bed and the first thing in the morning. After he was converted he had a dream. He dreamed that One grand and pure sat by his side and said, “You would have been lost if it had not been for your wife”—she had helped him to the light—and the pure One went on to say, “You will have to stop the use of tobacco, for if you get up to the shining gate, and the great and pure One smells any tobacco on you, He will send you away, as no one can go into that happy place who smells of that stuff; it is not so much different to rum and whiskey, so stop it or else you will be lost.”

Poor Sam had a great struggle, but he got the victory. And finally, after months of sickness, when he was sinking rapidly, he told us that “with a clean mouth, and not with the smell of dirty tobacco, he was going home to heaven, washed in the blood of the Lamb, and had no doubt of a welcome in the skies.”

And so, from that heathen house, with an earthen floor, a poor cot, and heathen surroundings, the scene of many a weird heathen dance and much bloodshed, Old Sam passed away to the mansions above. Oh, the power of the blood of Jesus! A slave, a poor dark pagan, saved—a saint, a king!

An Indian Class-Leader.

Shee-at-ston was a native of the Songees tribe of Indians, who lived opposite the City of Victoria, B.C. He was born about the year 1855. He was a high caste Indian, in the line of succession from[228] Chee-at-luk (old King Free-zee), the hereditary chief of that district.

In his early life he was doubtless introduced to all the abominations of paganism, and was, when I first knew him, still carrying out the practices of a real heathen life. He, with others of his people, had become victims of the white man’s fire-water, being so close to a town where so many were ruined by it.

He must have long desired a better life, for on several occasions he found his way into the old Pandora Street Methodist Church, Victoria, and was asked by the kind usher to take a seat. About this time the attention of a number of Christian workers of that church had been directed to the depraved condition of the Indians, not only at their camps, but of the numbers who were wandering about the towns in dissipation and shame, and they were moved to take up work among the Songees people.

Shee-at-ston was one of the first to come to the little Sunday-school which these Christians were conducting. There he heard the word of life, and after awhile gave his heart to God and was baptized, “Amos Shee-at-ston.”

As soon as he became a Christian he built himself a neat little house, and moved out of the old lodge with its associations of heathenism. Some fourteen of the Songees Indians were converted and formed into a class, which met in Amos’s house, and of which he became the leader.

His conversion to God created great excitement[229] and aroused a good deal of persecution from his heathen people. Many a time evilly disposed ones, who may have been put up to it by wicked white men, would bring their bottle of the accursed fire-water to tempt him again to drink, but by the grace of God he was kept faithful.

Amos was a great help to the workers after they hired the old bar-room in town for evangelistic purposes. He was always in his place at the time of religious service, and ready to give his testimony to the power of grace, either in the Chinook or in his own language. Thus saved from heathenism and a life of degradation and drunkenness, he was the means of helping many of his friends to the true light. His wife became converted, and her sister as well. They afterwards lived happy Christian lives, and then went triumphantly home to the skies. The wife of Amos was christened “Sarah.”

When the summons came to devoted Amos Shee-at-ston, though sudden, he was ready to obey the call. That terrible disease, the smallpox, had spread among his friends in the “rancheree,” and finally seized our faithful and devoted class-leader, and in a short time he exchanged the garments of earth for the robes of heaven.

How gladly would we make extended reference to many others who witnessed a good confession and went triumphantly home, but our space will not permit. There was true-hearted Charley Thit-sa-mut, the chief who succeeded “Old Captain” at Sumas Lake, who for twenty years lived such a[230] faithful life that whites and Indians alike bore testimony to his worth of character; and “Big Jim” Shee-ah-tluk, of Squi-a-la, who also was one of the converts of our first camp-meeting, an earnest-hearted Christian, who always delighted to have the missionary come to his house, and was ever ready in the olden times to ferry the preacher across slough or river in his canoe; and Chief Dick, of Achelitz, quiet, conscientious and devoted; and Thomas Sallosalton, the brother of David, who lived a happy life among his own people till God said, “Come up higher”; and his sweet-spirited sister, Mrs. Sunneah, who, when she was passing over the river, called her friends to see the white-winged angels who had come to take her home.

Then there was August Jackson, of our Victoria Mission, who was converted to God in his youth and became a most devoted assistant to the missionary. Besides his work in the church, he was a council-man in the Songees tribe, and much respected by all who knew him. I know Brother Tate hoped he would be called into the work as an agent of the church. He married a bright girl from Coqualeetza Institute, at Chilliwack, and all seemed to promise fair, when, by an accident in the saw-mill in which he worked, he received a wound from which he never recovered. He died July, 1903, at the early age of thirty-three years. Bro. Tate, his pastor, speaking of him, said, “He was, without doubt, one of the best men I ever knew.”

And, finally, we must mention poor old Annie Lay-why-eton, who died of smallpox after successfully[231] nursing her son through that awful disease. She was a sincere member of the Church for many years, and in her eagerness to hear the Word used to trudge in feebleness from Kultus Lake, on the Upper Chilliwack, to the church at Skowkale, a distance of about five miles, and back. She was blind, and had to cross the river on a single log. The very last time she attended church she spoke at the class-meeting, and told how she thought that morning she could not get to church, but she felt such a longing desire to have her soul fed once more that she made the attempt. Coming to the log she feared she could not get across, but looking up to God for help, she got down on her hands and knees and crawled over. What a rebuke to the careless indifference of many professed Christians to the privileges of religious worship.

We rejoice as well in the faith and devotion of many who are still with us, among whom are Capt. John Sua-lis, who for thirty-five years or more has been our faithful native assistant at Chilliwack, and Chief Wm. Sapass, our devoted class-leader at Skowkale. When the “roll is called up yonder,” we are persuaded many will answer to their names who went up to the glory-land from the various bands and tribes of the An-ko-me-num people.

Before leaving Chilliwack and Sumas, the kind friends of that valley gathered to bid farewell, and presented me with the following address, which I have treasured in loving memory of the precious years spent with them and among the Indians of the Fraser River. I insert this letter because I believe[232] my readers will sympathize with me in my declaration of the exceeding comfort and encouragement which it gave me in the prosecution of the work to which I had devoted my life.

Sumas and Chilliwack,
September 22nd, 1873.

To Rev. Thos. Crosby,—

We wish to take the opportunity of your leaving this district for Ontario to express our hearty admiration of the untiring efforts you have put forth in the work of evangelizing the natives of this land, a work in which you have been eminently blessed by God. But as you have materially helped the work of God amongst our own race by preaching to the scattered settlers in various parts of this province, and especially so on this mission, which you were mainly instrumental in founding, we beg to assure you of our sincere sympathy and love as you leave us on a visit to the mother churches of old Canada, and to your friends and relatives living there. At the same time we tender you the accompanying purse as a small expression of our affectionate regard, hoping that after you have fully accomplished your mission East we shall have the pleasure of welcoming your return. We subscribe ourselves, on the part of the lay-official members and friends of the Wesleyan Methodist Church on this mission,








“Work for the good that is nighest,
Dream not of greatness afar;
That glory is ever the highest
Which shines upon men as they are.”
W. Morley Punshon.

It was in the fall of ’69 that a few Christian friends in the City of Victoria undertook the organization of a Sunday-school and other services among the Indians who lived in and about the city, as well as the Songees people on the reservation opposite. In February of the following year, Amos Sa-hat-son, a Songees chief, and two others of the same tribe, experienced the converting grace of God through the instrumentality of these services.

In many cases it was native or lay agents who first commenced practical mission work and so prepared the way for the regular missionary. The efforts of our brethren and sisters in the various centres where the Indians congregated is worthy of all praise. It is my joy to speak kind words of appreciation of the help given by Brothers Bryant, Raybold, Raper, Brinn, Tate, Green, and others in Nanaimo; by Father McKay, Sister Russ, Brothers J. Bullan, J. E. McMillan, and others in Victoria. At New Westminster, too, Brothers Dawson, D. S.[234] Curtis, R. Wintemute, and other young men, assisted by the pastor’s wife (Mrs. A. E. Russ), held meetings and carried on a Sunday-school on behalf of the hundreds of Indians who lived near that point. After the revival referred to at Chilliwack, Brothers A. C. Wells and J. Whitfield commenced a Sunday-school at Atchelitz, and carried it on successfully.

These Sunday-schools and locally conducted services were a great blessing, not only to the natives, for whose benefit they were held, but also to the teachers themselves. There is nothing like some form of Christian activity to keep the spiritual life strong and healthy.

As we look about us on the many lines of missionary need—Chinese, Japanese, Hindu and Indian—we cannot help feeling that our young people and Leaguers are missing an opportunity, which God has placed at their door, if they do not endeavor to reach out for these “strangers within our gates.” An opportunity, too, which, if made use of, brings its own reward—the joy of unselfish and successful service on behalf of others.

In all our mission fields we should make a more general use of the talents of our native converts. What matter if they are not educated. When their hearts are filled with love and zeal get them to work—as class-leaders, exhorters, local preachers, visiting the sick, in evangelistic efforts of every kind—and out of a full, happy heart they will tell, as did the early Methodists, what the Saviour has done for them, and what He will do for others. When Amos[235] Cushan, our first native preacher at Nanaimo, went out he could not read, but he could tell of the disease and the cure. When Sallosalton commenced his work on the Coast the people marvelled and asked, “Where did he get this wisdom?” Unsaved, hardened men melted before his burning words and loving heart, and his Christian friends were led to rejoice as they listened to him. Many others of our native brethren, like Capt. John Sua-lis and August Jackson, have been mightily used of God in spreading the Gospel among their people.

Salvation in a Bar-room.

The services at Victoria were first held on the reservation, and then transferred to a building in the city which had been used as a bar-room. In this building, still bearing the sign of its earlier occupancy, a work of saving grace was begun and carried on, the results of which eternity alone will reveal. It was a service held in this “old bar-room” which was instrumental in opening the way for the Methodist Church to enter those great fields among the Indians of the North—Tsimpsheans, Kit-eks-yens, and Hydahs on Queen Charlotte Islands, Hylt-chuks and the Kling-gets in Alaska, and others—where, in the providence of God, I was afterwards to labor.

On a Sabbath morning in October, ’72, Elizabeth Deex, a chieftess of the Tsimpshean nation, who had left her home at Port Simpson, wandered into the “old bar-room,” and there by the preaching of the Word was brought under deep conviction for sin.[236] At a prayer-meeting held later in her own house she was savingly converted to God, and immediately entered into the work of bringing others to Christ.

That meeting proved to be the beginning of a revival which lasted continuously for nine weeks and resulted in the conversion of upwards of forty natives, among whom were a number of northern people.

It was our great privilege to be with the dear friends for some time in that blessed revival, and when the people were starting north we bade them good-bye, urging them to stand up as witnesses for Jesus, and promising them that, if possible, we would visit them some day.

This was in the month of September, 1873, when, by a strange providence, the way was opened for a visit to my friends at home. And now as they started northward I started eastward, little imagining that I should so soon follow them to their northern home, and remain with them so long—for about the next quarter of a century, indeed.




“‘Rejoice with trembling,’ may we think of this,
When life’s full cup is with Thy bounty crowned,
That so we be not blinded by our bliss,
Or fall asleep upon ‘enchanted ground.’”

It seems appropriate, in closing this record of my first twelve years of missionary labor, that something should be said concerning the progress made in the Indian work in British Columbia, as well as in the settlement and development of this one-time colony, but now the richest and most wonderful province, from the standpoint of natural resources and marvellous possibilities, in the Dominion of Canada.

It is only a short time since British Columbia was described as “a sea of mountains,” uninhabited and uninhabitable except at long distances; covered with forests, a great part of which were inaccessible; its rivers filled with fish, and its river beds streaked with gold.

The marvellous resources of the country were little dreamed of by Canadians—as the inhabitants of Ontario and Quebec were alone called—when I reached home on this first visit. Speaking to large audiences in the leading cities and towns in the East, of the great cedars and firs, which attain immense proportions, “sometimes towering three hundred feet in[238] the air, and having a base circumference of from thirty to fifty feet”—of whole forests of these magnificent trees that would average one hundred and fifty feet clear of limbs, and five to six feet in diameter—the people appeared incredulous. And when I turned to the subject of fish and told them I had seen in a small stream flowing into the Fraser River the large salmon so numerous that in forcing their way up the stream they had rubbed off their fins and tails, my audience looked at one another. When I went on and told them of having seen a wave come in at Departure Bay, on the east coast of Vancouver Island, and deposit bushels of herring on the shore, the preachers on the platform pulled my coat and said, “Oh, Crosby, that is an awful fish story!” But when I went on and spoke of crossing a little stream in the upper Chilliwack Valley, and of my little pony stepping on some of the beautiful silver salmon that lay thick in the stream, and that they jumped about so violently as to nearly knock the animal off his feet, the people laughed outright, “Oh! Oh! Oh!” and I knew they did not believe me.

To-day, however, the eyes of the financial world are turned towards the profitable investments in British Columbia. An ever-increasing number of companies are establishing great saw-mills, and shipping lumber to all parts of the world. Whereas once the Indian bands alone congregated at the mouths of the great rivers during the fishing season, to gather for their own consumption, now scores of large and magnificently equipped canneries, employing large numbers of men, line the river banks, and[239] are engaged in packing salmon of different varieties as well as other kinds of fish. The mountains in all directions are being prospected for minerals, and fresh discoveries are being made almost every day. Agriculture has advanced with the general advancement of the country, and it is now known that there are millions of acres of land suitable for cultivation which have not yet been settled upon. In the raising of fruit, particularly, the opportunity is almost unlimited, and some day the hillsides and benches which were thought to be worthless will be planted with orchards. In a recent interview, the Hon. R. G. Tatlow, Minister of Finance in the local Government, a gentleman of wide experience and of twenty-six years’ residence in the province, expressed himself as follows:

“I am satisfied that every industry in British Columbia is only in its infancy. We have forests illimitable for lumber, land in millions of acres for agriculture, and the seven thousand miles of shore line are washed by seas teeming with fish.

“The total production of the province for the year ending June, 1906, was over $50,000,000.

“Details of this production should be of public interest. Taking, first, the lumber industry, the value of the lumber cut reached over $6,500,000. The mineral output of the province was $22,461,325, with eleven smelters in operation. Agriculture also advanced in common with other lines of work during the year. The product of provincial farms and orchards reached the sum of $6,500,000.

“There are splendid opportunities for mixed[240] farming in many sections of the province. The best evidence of this is the fact that we exported butter, eggs, poultry and cheese to the value of nearly $2,000,000.

“Horticulture is rapidly coming to the front. It is becoming one of our most important industries. In 1891 the acreage under fruit was 6,500; ten years later it had only reached 7,500, but advancement has since been phenomenal. A year ago there were 22,000 acres cultivated by orchardists and fruit-growers, and I fully believe that by the end of 1906 there will be 40,000 acres used in this manner.

“Fishing, of course, has long been an important item in the commerce of the province, but even this industry shows signs of great expansion. The total values from our fisheries amounted to $7,500,000.

“When one considers these facts, can there be the slightest doubt that the present prosperity will be maintained?”

The future for British Columbia looks very bright, with four transcontinental railways seeking entrance through her unopened valleys and stretches of upland to ports on her magnificent shore line; with a climate unexcelled for variety, from the clear, bracing, dry climate of the interior to the mild, humid climate of the coast; with her abundant resources of timber, minerals, fish, farm and orchard; with the ever-widening market of the Orient, as well as in the great North-West Provinces, for her products, she must speedily take her place as the imperial province of our great Dominion.



“For the road leads home,
Sweet, sweet home!
Oh, who would mind the journey,
When the road leads home?”
J. M. Gray.

It is less than a short lifetime since, in the year 1864, we received into church membership, at our Nanaimo Mission, Kook-shin (Kicking Foot) and his wife—our first Indian converts. Since then thousands have heard the Gospel, vast numbers of whom have received the truth, and many have lived devoted lives for years, while some have passed away, leaving a bright testimony of a blessed hope of everlasting life.

Many hundreds still live, and prove by their sincerity and devotion, and the zeal with which some of them endeavor to bring others into the light, the reality of their Christian profession.

A glance at their villages will show the change which has taken place, for there is a marked contrast between the old heathen lodges and their new and neat Christian homes.

In 1872-3 we reported 108 Indian members in British Columbia, of whom 18 were at Victoria, 36 at Nanaimo, 4 at New Westminster and 50 at Chilliwack. To-day we have, in our Indian work, 32[242] churches, 24 mission houses, 12 schools and 4 hospitals. There are 43 workers in the field, evangelists, doctors, nurses, teachers and other agents; and 1,645 members, among some six different nations, speaking numerous dialects. The total missionary givings of these recent converts from heathenism and their workers amounted in 1905-6 to $1,245.60. Out of a total Indian population of 25,000 in British Columbia, we are teaching by the Word about 7,000 people.

What has been accomplished is nothing to what might have been accomplished had the Church always been alive to its duty and privilege, and made haste to enter every open door.

To-day there is urgent need for more laborers in this department of missionary effort. Shall we listen to every other call, and close our ears to the cry of our Indian brothers and sisters, who appeal to us in the name of a common Saviour to help them into a noble Christian manhood and womanhood? Shall we?

A few closing personal references will be permitted. I have written of my promised furlough, and of the road leading me to “Home, sweet home.” Those who have spent years away from home and loved ones will understand the joy with which, after the twelve years of toils and triumphs which I have striven to describe, I once more turned my face to the East. I well knew the greetings which awaited me. But I found more than my beloved mother and brothers and sisters on my[243] return to Ontario. It was during this visit, in the early months of 1874, that I found the faithful wife who did not hesitate to turn her back upon home and friends and the comfortable conditions to which she had been accustomed, and undertake with me the hardships and privations of a pioneer missionary life among the benighted Tsimpshean and other tribes of the far northern regions of our Pacific coast. She is the youngest daughter of the late Rev. John Douse, formerly a well-known figure in Canadian Methodism, and who, more than twenty years ago, went to his reward in the better land. During the next twenty-five years, in which I labored among the Indians, with headquarters at Port Simpson, she was a self-denying sharer in the toils and discouragements and the loneliness of that protracted period of missionary effort, and a delighted witness of the triumphs of the Gospel, as these poor benighted peoples gradually emerged from the darkness of heathenism and became sharers in the blessings of civilization and Christian hope. Of these trials and triumphs, and the wonderful experiences connected with that marvellous work, I hope to have the privilege of writing in another book.


[1] Dr. Hinds’ Life of Jason Lee.

[2] Some years later two Roman Catholic priests, one of whom was Father Demers, found their way to the Columbia River, and still later Demers journeyed into the Okanagan Valley, and commenced work among the Shuswaps.

[3] Alex. Peers, a devoted young classmate of the author, in Woodstock, Ont., who spent some time in Victoria College with a view to the ministry, in 1863 made his way to British Columbia, and took up land at Chilliwack. He was married to Miss Wells, sister of Mr. A. C. Wells, and after spending some time in the mission school at Nanaimo, finally settled in New Westminster, where he was very useful as a local preacher and class-leader, and secured the respect and esteem of all who knew him. Here the author again met him.

[4] Rev. Edward White was one of our first missionaries to the Pacific Coast, and during my earlier years at Nanaimo was my superintendent. His son, the Rev. Dr. J. H. White, now local Superintendent of Missions for British Columbia, is a worthy successor of a noble father. I still gratefully recall the many kindnesses shown me by our brother and his good wife while an inmate of the parsonage, before the little mission house was built in the Indian village. Brother White’s words of counsel and encouragement were always an inspiration to me.

[5] The Bunch Grass Country was named from a very nutritious grass abounding in that section, which grows in tufts, and on which cattle live and thrive all winter.

Transcriber’s Notes:

Footnotes have been moved to the end of the text and relabeled consecutively through the document.

Illustrations have been moved to paragraph breaks near where they are mentioned.

Punctuation has been made consistent.

Variations in spelling and hyphenation were retained as they appear in the original publication, except that obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

The following change was made:

p. 50: rancharee changed to rancheree (the “rancheree,” as)

End of Project Gutenberg's Among the An-ko-me-nums, by Thomas Crosby


***** This file should be named 54958-h.htm or *****
This and all associated files of various formats will be found in:

Produced by WebRover, Bryan Ness, Craig Kirkwood, and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at
(This file was produced from images generously made
available by The Internet Archive.)

Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions will
be renamed.

Creating the works from print editions not protected by U.S. copyright
law means that no one owns a United States copyright in these works,
so the Foundation (and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United
States without permission and without paying copyright
royalties. Special rules, set forth in the General Terms of Use part
of this license, apply to copying and distributing Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works to protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm
concept and trademark. Project Gutenberg is a registered trademark,
and may not be used if you charge for the eBooks, unless you receive
specific permission. If you do not charge anything for copies of this
eBook, complying with the rules is very easy. You may use this eBook
for nearly any purpose such as creation of derivative works, reports,
performances and research. They may be modified and printed and given
away--you may do practically ANYTHING in the United States with eBooks
not protected by U.S. copyright law. Redistribution is subject to the
trademark license, especially commercial redistribution.



To protect the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting the free
distribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work
(or any other work associated in any way with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg"), you agree to comply with all the terms of the Full
Project Gutenberg-tm License available with this file or online at

Section 1. General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works

1.A. By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree to
and accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property
(trademark/copyright) agreement. If you do not agree to abide by all
the terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return or
destroy all copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in your
possession. If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to a
Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work and you do not agree to be bound
by the terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the
person or entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph

1.B. "Project Gutenberg" is a registered trademark. It may only be
used on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people who
agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement. There are a few
things that you can do with most Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
even without complying with the full terms of this agreement. See
paragraph 1.C below. There are a lot of things you can do with Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works if you follow the terms of this
agreement and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works. See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C. The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation ("the
Foundation" or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collection
of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works. Nearly all the individual
works in the collection are in the public domain in the United
States. If an individual work is unprotected by copyright law in the
United States and you are located in the United States, we do not
claim a right to prevent you from copying, distributing, performing,
displaying or creating derivative works based on the work as long as
all references to Project Gutenberg are removed. Of course, we hope
that you will support the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting
free access to electronic works by freely sharing Project Gutenberg-tm
works in compliance with the terms of this agreement for keeping the
Project Gutenberg-tm name associated with the work. You can easily
comply with the terms of this agreement by keeping this work in the
same format with its attached full Project Gutenberg-tm License when
you share it without charge with others.

1.D. The copyright laws of the place where you are located also govern
what you can do with this work. Copyright laws in most countries are
in a constant state of change. If you are outside the United States,
check the laws of your country in addition to the terms of this
agreement before downloading, copying, displaying, performing,
distributing or creating derivative works based on this work or any
other Project Gutenberg-tm work. The Foundation makes no
representations concerning the copyright status of any work in any
country outside the United States.

1.E. Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1. The following sentence, with active links to, or other
immediate access to, the full Project Gutenberg-tm License must appear
prominently whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg-tm work (any work
on which the phrase "Project Gutenberg" appears, or with which the
phrase "Project Gutenberg" is associated) is accessed, displayed,
performed, viewed, copied or distributed:

  This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and
  most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no
  restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it
  under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this
  eBook or online at If you are not located in the
  United States, you'll have to check the laws of the country where you
  are located before using this ebook.

1.E.2. If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is
derived from texts not protected by U.S. copyright law (does not
contain a notice indicating that it is posted with permission of the
copyright holder), the work can be copied and distributed to anyone in
the United States without paying any fees or charges. If you are
redistributing or providing access to a work with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg" associated with or appearing on the work, you must comply
either with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 or
obtain permission for the use of the work and the Project Gutenberg-tm
trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.3. If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is posted
with the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distribution
must comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and any
additional terms imposed by the copyright holder. Additional terms
will be linked to the Project Gutenberg-tm License for all works
posted with the permission of the copyright holder found at the
beginning of this work.

1.E.4. Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of this
work or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg-tm.

1.E.5. Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute this
electronic work, or any part of this electronic work, without
prominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 with
active links or immediate access to the full terms of the Project
Gutenberg-tm License.

1.E.6. You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary,
compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, including
any word processing or hypertext form. However, if you provide access
to or distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg-tm work in a format
other than "Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other format used in the official
version posted on the official Project Gutenberg-tm web site
(, you must, at no additional cost, fee or expense
to the user, provide a copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a means
of obtaining a copy upon request, of the work in its original "Plain
Vanilla ASCII" or other form. Any alternate format must include the
full Project Gutenberg-tm License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7. Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying,
performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg-tm works
unless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8. You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providing
access to or distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
provided that

* You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from
  the use of Project Gutenberg-tm works calculated using the method
  you already use to calculate your applicable taxes. The fee is owed
  to the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark, but he has
  agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the Project
  Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation. Royalty payments must be paid
  within 60 days following each date on which you prepare (or are
  legally required to prepare) your periodic tax returns. Royalty
  payments should be clearly marked as such and sent to the Project
  Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the address specified in
  Section 4, "Information about donations to the Project Gutenberg
  Literary Archive Foundation."

* You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies
  you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he
  does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg-tm
  License. You must require such a user to return or destroy all
  copies of the works possessed in a physical medium and discontinue
  all use of and all access to other copies of Project Gutenberg-tm

* You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of
  any money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the
  electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days of
  receipt of the work.

* You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free
  distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm works.

1.E.9. If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work or group of works on different terms than
are set forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writing
from both the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation and The
Project Gutenberg Trademark LLC, the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm
trademark. Contact the Foundation as set forth in Section 3 below.


1.F.1. Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerable
effort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofread
works not protected by U.S. copyright law in creating the Project
Gutenberg-tm collection. Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works, and the medium on which they may be stored, may
contain "Defects," such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurate
or corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other
intellectual property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or
other medium, a computer virus, or computer codes that damage or
cannot be read by your equipment.

of Replacement or Refund" described in paragraph 1.F.3, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the Project
Gutenberg-tm trademark, and any other party distributing a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work under this agreement, disclaim all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal

defect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you can
receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending a
written explanation to the person you received the work from. If you
received the work on a physical medium, you must return the medium
with your written explanation. The person or entity that provided you
with the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy in
lieu of a refund. If you received the work electronically, the person
or entity providing it to you may choose to give you a second
opportunity to receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund. If
the second copy is also defective, you may demand a refund in writing
without further opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4. Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forth
in paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you 'AS-IS', WITH NO

1.F.5. Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain implied
warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types of
damages. If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreement
violates the law of the state applicable to this agreement, the
agreement shall be interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer or
limitation permitted by the applicable state law. The invalidity or
unenforceability of any provision of this agreement shall not void the
remaining provisions.

1.F.6. INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, the
trademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyone
providing copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in
accordance with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with the
production, promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works, harmless from all liability, costs and expenses,
including legal fees, that arise directly or indirectly from any of
the following which you do or cause to occur: (a) distribution of this
or any Project Gutenberg-tm work, (b) alteration, modification, or
additions or deletions to any Project Gutenberg-tm work, and (c) any
Defect you cause.

Section 2. Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg-tm

Project Gutenberg-tm is synonymous with the free distribution of
electronic works in formats readable by the widest variety of
computers including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers. It
exists because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations
from people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with the
assistance they need are critical to reaching Project Gutenberg-tm's
goals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg-tm collection will
remain freely available for generations to come. In 2001, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secure
and permanent future for Project Gutenberg-tm and future
generations. To learn more about the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation and how your efforts and donations can help, see
Sections 3 and 4 and the Foundation information page at

Section 3. Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non profit
501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of the
state of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the Internal
Revenue Service. The Foundation's EIN or federal tax identification
number is 64-6221541. Contributions to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent permitted by
U.S. federal laws and your state's laws.

The Foundation's principal office is in Fairbanks, Alaska, with the
mailing address: PO Box 750175, Fairbanks, AK 99775, but its
volunteers and employees are scattered throughout numerous
locations. Its business office is located at 809 North 1500 West, Salt
Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887. Email contact links and up to
date contact information can be found at the Foundation's web site and
official page at

For additional contact information:

    Dr. Gregory B. Newby
    Chief Executive and Director

Section 4. Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg-tm depends upon and cannot survive without wide
spread public support and donations to carry out its mission of
increasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can be
freely distributed in machine readable form accessible by the widest
array of equipment including outdated equipment. Many small donations
($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exempt
status with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulating
charities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the United
States. Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes a
considerable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep up
with these requirements. We do not solicit donations in locations
where we have not received written confirmation of compliance. To SEND
DONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any particular
state visit

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where we
have not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibition
against accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states who
approach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot make
any statements concerning tax treatment of donations received from
outside the United States. U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg Web pages for current donation
methods and addresses. Donations are accepted in a number of other
ways including checks, online payments and credit card donations. To
donate, please visit:

Section 5. General Information About Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works.

Professor Michael S. Hart was the originator of the Project
Gutenberg-tm concept of a library of electronic works that could be
freely shared with anyone. For forty years, he produced and
distributed Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks with only a loose network of
volunteer support.

Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks are often created from several printed
editions, all of which are confirmed as not protected by copyright in
the U.S. unless a copyright notice is included. Thus, we do not
necessarily keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper

Most people start at our Web site which has the main PG search

This Web site includes information about Project Gutenberg-tm,
including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how to
subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.