Posts tagged #hunting

Robert Ayre Blackmore

Riverboat captain, Robert Blackmore, date unknown.

Riverboat captain, Robert Blackmore, date unknown.

Dates: b. England 1867 d. 17 September 1944

Cemetery Location: Block A, Row 14, Plot 14

Profile:

English-born Robert H. Blackmore spent most of his life in the Big Bend country. He was a river guide on the Columbia River for 50 years.

In the early years, the Columbia was an important transport route for fur traders, but with the arrival of the railways, the use of the river for this purpose declined. Bob Blackmore, however, kept the route alive for timber cruisers, hunters and prospectors, guiding them through the treacherous waters of the Big Bend.

Tragically, in September 1944, the veteran voyager went missing, presumed drowned, on the Columbia River; his boat was recovered 16 kilometers south of Revelstoke. His friends believe he stumbled when making a landing somewhere along the river and lost his balance, falling into the water.

Robert Blackmore, Walter Nelson and unknown woman booming logs, Big Eddy, 1920. 

Robert Blackmore, Walter Nelson and unknown woman booming logs, Big Eddy, 1920. 

Reginald Upper

The Upper family

The Upper family

Dates: b. 1875 d. 1919

Cemetery Location: Block C, Row 12, Plot 34

Profile:

Born in Ontario, Reginald Upper came to Revelstoke in 1894 prospecting and working as a hotelier. In August 1900, he was appointed as Provincial Police and Chief Licence Inspector for the Revelstoke area. He also worked for the Revelstoke City Police, and the CPR Police. His family had a farm and dairy business where Upper Place townhouses (next to the golf course) are now located.

In September of 1919, Reginald had gone hunting with friends K.G. McRae, D.R. MacDougall and Guy Barber to Greely Creek. They returned to Revelstoke and stopped in front of Guy Barber’s Jewellery Store on Mackenzie Avenue. When Mr. Barber got out of the vehicle, two of Mr. Upper’s dogs, which were in the rear seat, became active and somehow caused one of the guns to discharge, the bullet entering Mr. Upper’s body just under the right arm, penetrating the right lung. He was rushed to the hospital, but died three hours later, leaving behind his wife, Selma Turnross Upper, and seven children between the ages of two and sixteen.

Reginald Upper fishing, date unknown

Reginald Upper fishing, date unknown

Lemuel & Nellie Viers

Dates:

Nellie Viers: b. 1923 d. 26 August 1936

Lemuel Viers: b. 24 April 1861 d. 4 April 1951

Cemetery Location:

Nellie Viers: Block E, Row 5, Plot 15

Lemuel Viers: Block E, Row 5, Plot 15

Profiles:

Lemuel Viers was born in Ohio in 1861, the year of the Civil War.  He moved to Ponoka, Alberta in 1901 and then to Revelstoke in 1920, where he worked as a labourer for Canadian Pacific Railway and Government Roads. Lemuel and his wife, Sarah Agnes Viers, had five children: Clarence, Clara, Mrs. W. Johnson, Charlie and Albert.

A tragic accident at Glacier took the life of Lemuel’s granddaughter Nellie Viers (daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A.E. Viers) in August 1934. The 13-year-old was with a group of people berry picking, when she lost her footing stepping off a bridge and fell into a creek bed, striking her head on a rock. The injured girl was taken to Revelstoke by train, but never regained consciousness.

In June 1947, a search party discovered the mangled remains of Lemuel’s son, Clarence, after the young man failed to return from a hunting trip in the Big Bend area. It is believed a Grizzly attacked him at his cabin not long after he went up to his trap line in November 1946. His remains were buried near the cabin where he was found.

Andrew (Ole) Rupert Westerberg

Ole Westerberg on his Big Bend mail run, c.1920.

Ole Westerberg on his Big Bend mail run, c.1920.

Dates: b. Sweden, 8 May 1879 d. Kamloops, May 1963

Cemetery location: Block G, Row 8, Plot 18

Profile:

Andrew Rupert Westerlund came to Canada as a young man, settling first on a homestead at Wetaskiwin, Alberta. He was given the nickname “Ole” (a common nickname given to Scandinavians) and at some point changed his last name to Westerberg.

On his way to Vancouver in 1900, Ole met two miners travelling to their claims on the Big Bend. When they offered him work Ole couldn't refuse, and Revelstoke was where he would spend the rest of his life.

Ole spent the next few years prospecting, trapping and hunting, and in 1909 married Annie Kate Olson from Norway. The Westerbergs built a large house on 40 acres, roughly six kilometers south of Revelstoke, where they raised their seven children.

In 1914, Ole won the contract to carry His Majesty’s mail up the Big Bend to French Creek. The agreement stipulated he was to make two trips a month over the three summer months and one trip a month for the rest of the year. The pay would be $45 per trip, but when the highway became drivable as far as Goldstream, this rate was cut to $25.

Ole used snowshoes and skies to cover his mail route, and in the summer, he used packhorses. In the early days of delivery, there were around 1,500 men in the Big Bend area and a round trip normally took six to seven days.

Ole maintained trap lines along his mail route, selling furs to merchants in Revelstoke and Vancouver. In 1916, he was making about four to five dollars per beaver and the same for marten. Weasels brought in about 25 cents each.

It was said that over the 35 years he delivered mail, Ole never missed a trip, and the stories generated on his mail run were legendary.

One particular story hit the international newspapers, and told how Ole saved the life of a starving horse stranded in the bush on his route. Ole fashioned snowshoes for its feet, and after successfully walking the horse into town, tethered the animal outside the Union Hotel; the horse in snowshoes drawing crowds of spectators who couldn’t believe what they were seeing.

There are several versions of the story of how Ole earned the name “Ole the Bear”, but the most dramatic told of a surprise encounter with a grizzly bear while he was bent over with the weight of his pack. Ole thought he was dead when the bear attacked, slashing his clothing.  Fortunately, when they both lost their footing on a steep slope, Ole was quick with his rifle and when the bear landed on him, it was dead.

Another story involves a bear and an axe. When Albert Stone at the Oriental Hotel asked Ole for a bear hide, he set a trap nine kilometers south of Revelstoke and quickly caught a bear. Ole didn’t have a rifle with him at the time so he used a hand axe to kill the animal, skinning it and bringing the hide into the hotel the same night.

Andrew “Ole the Bear” Westerberg died in May 1963, at the age of 84 at Royal Inland Hospital, Kamloops.