There are many different claims from people who want to be known as the person who first found gold in BC. Some say that natives traded gold dust since 1852. Others say that Donald Mclean sent two pint-sized pickle bottles full of gold back to James Douglas, an HBC chief factor. James Houston claimed he was the discoverer of gold in British Columbia. His story was that in 1854, he found gold near where the Tranquille Lake empties into the Thompson River. He had sent the gold to Governor Douglas, and Mr. Houston claims it was the first indication that officer had of the existence of gold on the Mainland. And one of Governor Douglas’s journals said that says: “Gold was first found on the Thompson River by a [Native] a quarter of a mile below Nicomen. He is since dead. The [Native] was taking a drink out of the river; having no vessel he was quaffing from the stream when he perceived a shining pebble which he picked up, and it proved to be gold. The whole tribe forthwith began to collect the glittering metal. This was likely in 1856.”
In 1857, Governor Douglas made a prediction. He saw that the Couteau mines in the Thompson-Fraser River area were exciting the population of the United States of Washington and Oregon. He knew that ...
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...e stayed behind for our beautiful scenery, and great people. Although many people rushed to find gold, wanting to “get rich quick,” very few actually did get rich. The Gold Rush gave our economy a boost, but also hurt it. The quick reduction in revenue when everyone left made it hard for BC to repay all the debts. Because of this, the two colonies, BC and Vancouver Island, joined together. And that set the wheels in motion for the combined province of British Columbia to join the Confederation of Canada.
Forsythe, Mark. The Trail of 1858 : British Columbia’s gold rush past. Canada: Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd., 2007.
Cariboo Gold Rush. Canada: Heritage House Publishing Company Ltd., 1999.
British Columbia Archives, Royal BC Museum. BC Archives Time Machine. ©2003.
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