My BC Pioneer and Indigenous Roots
My Authentic British Columbia Pioneer and Indigenous History by Anthony K Hardie
I am very proud of my British Columbia History that literally flows through my veins.
My roots, voice and the story I share comes from times when the province was home to generations long passed. I have countless ancestors who lived along the Thompson and Fraser Rivers and at numerous other sites throughout the Secwepemc territory during the time before BC history was recorded on paper with quill pens dipped in ink. The lives of my Interior Salish or Secwepemc ancestors nurtured my roots in the place I call home. I still cherish my native traditions.
My Scottish ancestors were among the first to enter the province. Furs, and then gold, brought the first settlers. Within my family members are included:
- A Secwepemc Chief
- A Secwepemc Princess
- A Fast Draw Cowboy
- Cattle Drovers
- Gold Miners
- Hotel Owner
The name Hardie was well-known in the BC interior gold rush towns of Barkerville and Camerontown. My great-grandfather was born in a stage coach. Hardie Hill was named after my pioneer great-great-grandfather who homesteaded at the base of Hardie Mountain at Copper creek. He also had the misfortune to be owner of the Hardie Hotel Bar in Camerontown where a barroom brawl broke out in the 1860s and was destroyed in the fire of 1868.
As a youngster my interest in learning more about the traditional Secwepemc stories passed down by my great-grandmother, and the historic British Columbia gold rush stories my great-grandfather shared flourished inside me. My ancestors have been a part of British Columbia for a century-and-a-half while my indigenous ancestors have been here since the beginning of time.
This is my story. I am a product of many generations of men and women who lived in British Columbia during times no one living today has experienced, and for which no one has a memory. History is the study of the past. Their stories are what brings these past generations to life. That is why I want to share both my native and pioneer history with the youth of British Columbia.
The Mobile Museum Tours allow me to share my amazing heritage in British Columbia, but the heritage belongs to more than me. Each of us has our own connection to the province. Pointing that out while sharing our rich history is my life’s passion. Each of us has our own roles during our journey through this world. My role is to share and cultivate an appreciation and love for our provincial history…
This is who I am… History Presenter Tony Hardie
Cowboy and Cattle Drover Alexander Hardie
My Great, Great Grandfather Alexander Hardie was born in Scotland 1831. In the year 1854 at the age of 23, he immigrated to California with his two brothers Frank and Oswald. The had some luck hunting for the elusive Gold Nuggets during the California Gold Rush. That didn’t pan out very well, so in the summer of 1858 Alex took to the Northwest Trail with Major Robinson’s Company of 320 men and 700 horses and mules. They went overland from Sacramento, California all the way up the coast to Fountain Valley along on the Fraser River into the interior of BC Canada. They arrived on the 5th of September that same year.” That would have been an amazing trip. I can only imagine!”
Alex then got back together with his two brothers and obtained five other partners. They were going to try their luck on the mighty Fraser River. At one point, he had fair Success on the Calendonian Claim at Camerontown into the Cariboo that yielded nearly a quarter million dollars. In 1864 he went back south to open a hotel in New Westminster which he later sold. He then moved on to open another hotel in Camerontown near Barkerville.
Things went quite well until the hotel was unfortunately destroyed in the devastating and disastrous fire of 1868. That was the end of that business. In the year 1869 Alex decided to move to Savona and try a more peaceful life of ranching. The next year he took up at Indian Gardens, but that was not where he wanted to settle. Two years later he sold out in favor of moving to Copper Creek across from Savona. By 1876 he had started the Copper Creek ranch. With his son Thomas, he became active in the Cinnabar Mines that had been discovered on the land. He proceeded to add more property in the Criss Creek area as well. This I was told is where his cattle flourished and his self-sown apricots still abound…
By the year 1890, his mining experience had served him well and was also well revived with the discovery of mercury ore on his land He established the Savona Cinnabar Mining company with Oliver Redpath as manager. They shipped a fair amount of ore over the next decade with optimism running high. Unfortunately, there was not enough capital, or perhaps ore to develop a large enough enterprise to be sustainable.
In 1888 the bridge at Savona was badly damaged and travel was limited. Then in 1894 it was completely swept away so that the ferry was restored under J.B. Leighton. After repeated requests to rebuild the bridge is was not until 1904 when construction began on a new one. It was not completed until 1906. Two more years passed and with no firm foundation under the piers on the north side of the bridge and with more high water the bridge was once again swept down river only this time Alex was on the bridge! He was able to scramble to safety, but a Japanese angler was not so lucky being carried for about four miles downstream on broken timbers before he was finally able to reach the safety of the shore. In his old age Alex Hardie sold his holdings at Copper Creek to John Wilson Junior and moved to the town of Savona. He passed away on October 11th 1917…
Thomas Alexander Hardie
Not much has been told to me about Thomas Hardie my Great Grandfather who was born on a stagecoach in 1869. I was told that he was a well-mannered and educated young man. Not very much is known about his early life.
Second from left: Chief Joe Quiltquarlson of Esk’et (Alkali Lake) Photo taken in 1867 in New Westminster BC. This was the year my Great Grandma Christine was born, his Granddaughter.
Christine Charlotte Squires was born in or near Clinton BC and was the grand daughter of Chief Joseph Quiltquarlson from Esk’et at Alkali Lake on the traditional Secwepemc territory. Her mother (name unknown to me) tragically hung herself because she could not deal with stigma of having had a mixed race baby. It was a difficult time in history to be of a mixed race or so called Indian. Her father, the cowboy, Newman Squires accepted as a man of good character always accepted her as his own. Many times leaving her in the care of her uncle on the reserve, and always left money for clothes on his trips through on the cattle drives to Barkerville. Christine used to say the hills around were covered with cattle on those drives…
This is a basket she had made that I often share on the Mobile Museum Tours
Christine was taught the traditional skills and legends of the Secwepemc people. She became an expert weaver with her own distinct style like no other. Currently one of her baskets is displayed in the “Master Works Gallery” in the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia.
Christine was raised in the traditional ways of the Secwepemc people by her uncle and his wife. They also raised two other orphaned girls. Her Uncle was very kind to her and from her reminiscences seemed to be a very wise man. It is very probable that she had learned English from him very early in her life, although she was brought up in all the old Indian traditions, learning the legends including being sent away with the other young girls into the hills for her puberty rights for a certain period. On one family occasion she traveled to Ashcroft to see the first train arrive, as nobody had an idea what a train was like!
Cowboy and Cattle Drover Newman Squires
Known as a well mannered cowboy with a very fast gun, who worked on the cattle drives up to the gold fields in Barkerville
In the late 1890’s Christine came to live with her father Newman Squires at Copper Creek in 1895 or 1896. She eventually married Harry Smith and had had four children with him, Bill who was about 10 and Jack who was only 2. It has been said that she lost the two little girls, Darlene aged 2 and Marguerite (Dee Dee) aged 4 on a trip from Barkerville that took two months! Jack was born in Clinton.
Harry Smith deserted her and the two boys at Copper Creek or Tranquille. Tom Hardie at that time asked that Christine to come stay with him and she did. They had seven children together and she remained with Tomas Hardie till he Died in 1925. The Hardie homestead was located in the town of Copper Creek. Today the town and homestead are just a memory but the Mountain named Hardie Hill remains above the old town site across Kamloops Lake and Savona.
More can be learned about my Great Grandmother Christine in the fantastic book written by the late Mona Saemerow her granddaughter.
Book written by the late Mona Saemerow of Kamloops.
This page is dedicated to my late Father, Edward Roy Hardie and my Great Grandma Christine Hardie.
Edward Roy Hardie
I lost my dad in 1997. He was a great man full of courage, strength and humor. He was a major influence in my life and a big reason for my passion for the past and gratitude for life. He is missed greatly by many. May he rest in peace.
Also for your information…
All the artifacts displayed in the mobile museum were all legally and ethically obtained.
At BC Artifacts Mobile Museum Tours, respect, ethics, and indigenous culture are very important.
I have always legally acquired ancient Fur trade items & Gold Rush artifacts from BC and California. These collections also included early pioneer well documented British Columbia, Great Basin, Columbia River, Alaska, artifact collections containing ancient tools, arrowheads, projectile points, darts, knives, ground stone artifacts, and literature.
All collections purchased were documented for historical reference and preservation. Many items from these collections are currently used in the Mobile Museum Tours.
These collections have published and made them available for reference, teaching, and learning. A copy of each book was also donated back to the collector/finder. These books are currently available online for the public through Blurb books. It is my belief that these pioneer collections, are a non-renewable resource that needs be recorded and shared with others.
*References available upon request
*I am “Bondable” with the “BC Criminal Records Check” completed
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