Posts tagged #pack train

Samuel Crowle

One of Revelstoke's earliest farmers, Sam Crowle, date unknown.

One of Revelstoke's earliest farmers, Sam Crowle, date unknown.

Dates: b. Cornwall, England, 16 December 1861 d. 1943

Cemetery Location: Block B, Row 2, Plot 10

Profile:

Samuel David Crowle was the first settler south of Revelstoke in the Mount Begbie area. He came to Canada in 1883 to work on the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway before settling in Revelstoke in 1885. 

Acquiring farming land three miles south of Revelstoke (today the site of Revelstoke airport), Samuel supplied many of Revelstoke’s hotels with produce. Prior to the construction of the Revelstoke Arrowhead branch line in 1894, there was no bridge across the Illecillewaet River and Samuel had to ferry his produce and supplies by boat.

Sam was also involved in the early mining days in the Big Bend area, operating a pack train from Revelstoke north for three years, before selling the operation to George Laforme.

After his death in 1943 at the age of 82, the ownership of his property was passed on to his nephew, David Crowle.

Andrew Kitson

Andy Kitson at Birch Creek Lodge, September 1938.

Andy Kitson at Birch Creek Lodge, September 1938.

Dates: b. Belfast, Ireland, 20 May 1877 d. 2 April 1955

Cemetery Location: Block G, Row 3, Plot 22

 Profile:

Irish-born Andrew (Andy) Kitson arrived in Revelstoke in 1903, where he became one of the area’s most renowned prospectors, venturing up and down the Columbia River to mines up the Big Bend. The writer Lewis Freeman described him in his book, Down the Columbia, as:

“a big Husky North-of-Irelander,” who was “deliberate and sparing of speech most of the time, but with a fine reserve vocabulary for emergency use.”

Andy worked for Ed Bradley on his prospecting claims at French Creek and took part in the construction of the Big Bend and Standard Basin trails. Later, he prospected at Standard Basin and then Carnes Creek in partnership with Elijah McBean, and between 1911 and 1919 took over the operation of the pack train in the Big Bend from George Laforme, in partnership with Jim Shields.

Andy continued working his Carnes Creek claims for many years, and died at the age of 78 in Kamloops, on 2 April 1955.

Andy Kitson's pack horses on Victoria Road, Revelstoke.

Andy Kitson's pack horses on Victoria Road, Revelstoke.

George Laforme

George Laforme, c.1940.

George Laforme, c.1940.

Dates: b. 1861 d. 30 December 1939

Cemetery Location: Block C, Row 8, Plot 35

Profile:

A key figure in the early mining days of Revelstoke, George Laforme left his home in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, to follow the Canadian Pacific Railway construction westward.

In May 1885 he arrived in Revelstoke and began prospecting, establishing his famous pack train business in 1889, which provided supplies to miners and trappers in the Big Bend area for 16 years.

A disastrous trip in November 1896 – which cost him $1,500 and the lives of 27 pack animals in treacherous weather conditions – was legendary. On another occasion, 24 mules and 11 horses had to be put down to prevent the animals – stranded in deep snow and ice – from starvation.

George acquired his well-known farm near the Revelstoke Golf Course around 1896, growing cherries and strawberries for the prairie and local markets.

At the time of his death in 1939, aged 78, George left behind his wife, Gertie, and son, George.

George Laforme's pack train on Front Street.

George Laforme's pack train on Front Street.