Fort Steele’s ex-vicar … As anticipated at the time, by the Herald, Rev. V. T. Macy had barely returned to England before he sought relief for his injured feelings in the press.
It will be recalled by Herald readers that Mr. Macy came out here from England to fill the vacant vicar-ship at Fort Steele.
Obviously Mr. Macy had very little knowledge of British Columbia in general and of the Fort Steele district, in particular.
But unlike so many of his brother clergymen, of the Church of England, he, equally obviously, had no desire to grapple with a seemingly arduous and, doubtless, somewhat unpleasant task.
After spending relatively a few minutes in Fort Steele, Mr. Macy sized up the whole situation, and decided that he could leave the field free to the Roman Catholics and the Presbyterians, who apparently, in his opinion, have more of the missionary spirit than he possesses.
Mr. Macy was, of course, perfectly justified in refusing the vicarate. He was equally justified in contributing to a widely circulated English journal his reasons for so doing, but he can find no justification for his deprecatory remarks of Fort Steele, and the surrounding districts, all of which have been formed upon the impressions of a visit of but one hour and a half.
Rev. Mr. Macy had his grievance, we frankly admit, but he should not have rushed into the press with a long querulous letter, the statements in which he could not substantiate.
To Mr. Macy these words of J. S. Mill, are particularly appropriate just now:
“Truth, in the great practical concerns of life, is so much a question of the reconciling and combining of opposites, that very few have minds sufficiently capacious and impartial to make the adjustment with an approach to correctness.”
[Modern Day] Editor’s Note: The very long, bitter letter by the Rev. Macy blasting his colonial experience at Fort Steele in 1912 is re-printed below, as the last item in this week’s “It Happened This Week.”
Waldo hold-up … A man, dressed like a lumber jack, and wearing a white handkerchief tied over his face, went into the station of the Great Northern at Waldo on Sunday evening, and holding the agent at bay with a revolver, took $280 in cash, and a large amount in Baker Lumber company checks out of the safe and made a safe getaway.
Chief Minty, of the provincial police at Fernie was notified at once, and left with four constables on an extra train at one o’clock Sunday night.
It is expected the robber will be caught, though no tidings have arrived since Chief Minty left.
Waldo update … Latest reports from Waldo, where the hold-up took place, bring news as to who the perpetrator of the deed was, but it is learned that the hold-up took place while the station agent E. T. Bell, was going from the station to his residence, nearly a mile away, when he was accosted by the robber, who had a handkerchief covering his face, and told to hold up his hands.
Having a washtub in one hand and a lantern in the other, Mr. Bell was powerless and obeyed orders by dropping the tub, but held on to the lantern.
Chief Minty returned to Fernie from Waldo on Monday, but no developments are reported. No effort will be spared, however, to trace the highwayman down and bring him to justice.
Moyie Lodge closing …Owing to the practical cessation of work at the St. Eugene mine, Moyie, and the removal of most of the men to Kimberley, where they are employed in the Sullivan mine, it has been necessary to close the Moyie Masonic lodge and open one in its place at Kimberley.
For that purpose a large number of local Masons proceeded to Kimberley last night and performed the customary services. After lodge meeting the visiting Masons were entertained at a banquet prepared by Bro. Larry Drew and a right good feast was provided.
Chicago capitalists negotiating purchase city electric light works … D. S. Grooscup, of Tacoma, T. Y. Low and Isaac Milienitch, of Chicago, formed a party of American visitors to town this week. Judge Grooscup’s mission was to negotiate the purchase of the Bull River Electric Power Plant and at the same time, to purchase the Cranbrook City Electric Light works. Negotiations are proceeding satisfactorily, and it is not improbable that ere long the announcement will be authorized that a strong Chicago syndicate has secured control of these undertakings and is prepared to develop same along thoroughly modern, up-to-date lines.
Pathfinder arrives tonight … T. W. Wilby the Halifax motorist reached Michel at noon today from Halifax. He is now speeding into Cranbrook and will be met en route by a large contingent of local motorists. Plans for his entertainment here necessarily await his arrival, but if he can be induced to stay here over tomorrow he will be taken out to Wasa and shown something of this great district.
Duke of Connaught welcome … The Duke of Connaught is not to be allowed to pass through Cranbrook entirely unnoticed. It is probable that he will reach this city on his way to Lethbridge early next week, the exact date is not yet known, and in his honor there will be a parade of veterans, including some men who, in the past, served under the Duke.
A notice appears elsewhere in this issue calling upon all veterans to assemble at Carmen’s hall next Saturday, or to send in their names to the acting secretary, Mr. E. Sainsbury.
Watt-Nicholson wedding … Marriage of Dr. Hugh Watt, father of Dr. A. T. Watt, superintendent of the William Head quarantine station, and himself a foremost citizen of interior British Columbia:
“At the residence or the bride’s mother, Mrs. J. G. Clarke, Trail. B.C., by Rev G. A. Mackay, Presbyterian minister on Monday, September 9th, Alice, widow of the late John Nicholson, of Morden, Man, was married to Dr. Hugh Walt, of Fort Steele.
“Miss Jessie Nicholson, of Trail, as bridesmaid, attended her mother, and Rev. R. Wilson, missionary of Fort Steele, performed the duties of best man.
The wedding was a very quiet one, followed by a supper, attended by the officiating clergyman, the family and a few intimate friends.
The wedding party visited Nelson and Balfour on their way home to Fort Steele.”
Post office clock … William Henderson, Dominion government resident architect, was in town today for a few hours, inspecting the new post office. Mr. Henderson stated that he had received the invoice for the clock to be installed in the tower of the new building and the timepiece may be expected along any day now.
Jaffray news … Early in the week a stabbing affray took place between two Italians, one of whom is now in the St. Eugene hospital and the other in jail, awaiting the recovery of his victim.
The parties implicated were playing cards together. Suddenly a dispute arose. One Italian drew a nasty looking knife and applied it viciously to the body of his erstwhile partner in the game, with the result that the wounded man came very nearly losing his life.
The prisoner will come for trial as soon as his victim can appear to give evidence against him.
Dancing, deportment and calisthenics … Miss Marion Rumsey holds classes at the Masonic Hall in the above accomplishments. Juvenile Class to commence Saturday, Oct. 5th, at 3 p.m. An adult class is being formed for Fancy Dancing (Classical and National). Private Lessons by arrangement. For particulars address Box 196 Phone 857
Bull River news … Jim Bates’ hotel at Bull River is rapidly nearing completion. In the course of a few weeks it will be ready for occupation and Jim proposes to provide an hostelry that will give entire satisfaction to even the most particular of travellers.
Perry Creek news … an ideal outing place for lovers of fine scenery, fishing and shooting.
Now that so much interest has been aroused over the mining prospects on Perry Creek, that beautiful spot, known as “Old Town,” where Mrs. Burge has an excellent stopping place, is being daily visited by an increasing number, bent upon claim staking or the more peaceful pursuit of the fish, for which the creek is noted, or of enjoying a hunting expedition, where grouse and deer are plentiful.
The mining is certainly showing up well. The hydraulic claims are being put into shape for active work next spring. Messrs. McDonnell and Gzowski have a large force at work diamond drilling their claims, and a new steam drill is being shipped in to prosecute the work more speedily. The quartz claims are also receiving attention and big results are looked for next year.
Fruit district … Mr. Benedict, of the provincial forestry department, speaking of the possibilities of the Cranbrook district from an agricultural and fruit grower’s view, says: “No district in the province has better land, not even the famous Okanagan Valley.”
Baynes Lake news … A party of Englishmen interested in the Baynes Lake district, were visitors in town during the week. They were all delighted with the country. Among their number was a Mr. A. W. Poppy, reputed to be a millionaire, possessor of the tidy fortune of $15,000,000.
W.I. Meetings … By order of the department of agriculture the following dates have been set for the fall meetings of the Women’s Institute in this city, November 28th and 29th. The lecturers will be Mrs. E. F. Townely and Miss A. Taylor, and the principal themes to be discussed will be: “Home Teaching and National Spirit,” “Our Flag and What It Stands For,” “Practical Patriotism,” and “Women as Empire Builders.” Demonstrations of dress-making will also be given.
Local granite … in course of a brief chat with a member of the Dominion geological survey department the other day, the Herald learned some interesting facts in connection with granite deposits in this district, notably in the vicinity of Wycliffe and Fish Lake.
This gentleman had recently made an examination of both these deposits and expressed surprise that they were not being developed.
Of the Wycliffe deposit he said it was an exceptionally fine class of granite, peculiarly suited for building in this district, and was present in such large quantities and, apparently, so easy of access, that it should replace the coast granite now being used in this district in the chief public and other substantial buildings.
The deposit at Fish Lake, was, in his opinion, of special interest. It is a vast body of the finest class of building material and can be easily quarried.
He hoped ere long to learn that Cranbrook people had taken hold of these deposits and turned them to practical use.
At the auditorium … The Pollards gave an excellent production of the “Mikado” at the Auditorium last night. There was a large audience, every member of which thoroughly enjoyed the youngster’s performance. Teddy McNamara was the life of the show. He has grown some of recent years, but he is as funny as ever, only with a little more polish. Tonight the “Missouri Girl”, will be the attraction, to be followed tomorrow night by “Managing Mildred.” Mr. Guerrard is booking first-class attractions these days and should be generously supported.
Cranbrook land recording division of the Kootenay land district … Commencing at a point on the International boundary line., where the same is intersected by the west bank of the Kootenay river; thence west along the International boundary to a point where the said boundary intersects the height of land separating the drainage areas of the Moyie and Goat rivers; thence northerly along the height of land separating the drainage area of Moyie and Upper Kootenay rivers on the east from the drainage area of the Goat river and Kootenay lake on the west to a point where such divide joins the height of land separating the drainage area of St. Mary’s and Skookumchuck rivers on the south from the drainage area of Findlay creek on the north; thence easterly along such height, of land to the west bank of the Kootenay river just below Findlay creek; thence southerly along the west bank of the Kootenay river to the point of commencement.
Macy’s letter … A well-known resident, in the Fort Steele district sends us the following correspondence:
Editor The Herald:
Enclosed find an article on “Married Clergy In Canada,” published in the Guardian for August 9th, 1912. The author of the letter is the clergyman who was sent to take charge of Fort Steele and district by the bishop of New Westminster. The Rev. gentleman only visited Fort Steele once for the space of one and a half hours and returned to England after a stay in Canada of just over a week. He now publishes the following letter re Fort Steele and district, without the slightest thought of the great damage it may cause to a lot of innocent people who have interests in the country. As your paper is the representative one of the district I would ask you to publish this letter in full, making what editorial comment thereon as you see fit, in defence of the district.
Married clergy in Canada
To the Editor of “The Guardian”:
Sir: For the benefit of other married clergy who may be thinking of going out to Canada, may I be allowed to give my own recent experience? Early last year I read and heard so much about the great need of clergy for Canada that I felt It was right, to offer myself for work in that vast country, especially as it was possible for me to pay for my own passage and to work voluntarily.
Accordingly, I wrote to one of the prominent clergy whose special business it is to keep in touch with the church’s work in the colonies and in foreign countries, explaining to him that I was married and was forty-three years of age, and that I should be glad to take up work in Canada, if I could be of use there. Ultimately the bishop of New Westminster accepted me for work in his diocese, and promised that he would write later on as to the district to which he would send me.
Months went by, and I was beginning to wonder when I should hear from his lordship, when a letter came in November, saying there were two vacant districts about which he was consulting the Archdeacon of Kootenay. A few weeks later, came a definite offer of the district of Windermere (which on paper seemed to afford opportunity for plenty of work). This offer I accepted. Later on came another letter from the bishop saying that the locum tenens of Windermere wished to remain there, but that the rural dean had urged my being sent to Fort Steele, as that seemed to be “the most pressing need.” In the meantime I heard from the rural dean, to whom I had written for full particulars about Windermere, telling me that there was an “immediate need” for a vicar at Fort Steele, and that in the surrounding district (which was fifty miles long by fifteen wide) to be worked from Fort Steele, there was sufficient work for two able bodied, active men.”
He added that a railway line had already been laid through Fort Steele, which would cause a rapid increase of population; also that there was a vicarage, and that the Fort Steele people were anxious to build a church this summer, towards which nearly three thousand dollars had been collected.
From the C. P. R. annotated time table I learnt that Fort Steele was a “prosperous mining town,” and from other official pamphlets, that in the Fort Steele district there were one thousand souls to minister to. Here, then, there appeared a strong, immediate need for work, with the prospect of much more in the near future.
And now for the other side of the picture.
Just before leaving England came a letter from the rural dean suggesting that we should stay at Cranbrook first, to lessen the “jar” that we might feel on going to Fort Steele. I began to wonder what the nature of the jar was to be.
But the jar came off without fail. For when my wife and I arrived at Fort Steele to meet the congregation we found fifteen adults (of whom one was only passing through), three boys, and two babies. We discovered that instead of there being several hundred people in Fort Steele there were only about one hundred living there altogether, of whom only fifteen belonged to the Church of England. The others belonged to a strong Roman Catholic Mission and a Presbyterian Mission, both of which had their place of worship in the settlement.
We found, too, that the fifteen church folk were by no means in need of a resident vicar, an excellent and much respected lay-reader conducted two services and gave two addresses every Sunday; whilst the archdeacon administered Holy Communion there once a quarter; and that a celebration at least every month could easily be provided for by the rector of Cranbrook, which was only twelve miles distant.
We found, too, that scattered over the rest of the district were only fifteen more church people. Moreover, most of the adults could quite easily ride or drive over to Cranbrook church, as they experienced no difficulty in making that journey to do their shopping.
Then as to the problematical likelihood of Fort Steele growing in the near future. Even now that the line has been laid through that little place, and is to be open —so its promoters say— for passenger traffic this autumn, there is not a single new house in it. And no wonder, for the country is dry and barren, and, I am credibly informed, will never make a farming country without years of infinite patience, owing to winter frosts and summer droughts.
Neither is there any industry in the place, nor has any mining been done there, except the gold-mining which brought a population of over four thousand thirty years ago, and then failed, so that now about nine-tenths of the houses are empty and decaying.
The people of the adjacent town of Cranbrook were amazed at a vicar being sent to Fort Steele at all. When they first heard the news of my appointment they imagined that I must be an invalid, or else was going in for land. Never since its palmy days has Fort Steele possessed a vicar. To have a resident vicar and a church is a valuable asset for advertising purposes; and the poor inhabitants of Fort Steele are, so I am informed, vainly hoping that the old prosperity of their settlement may be restored.
But I felt that it was not right for a priest in the prime of life to live in a place where there was such a minimum of work to be done, and where already the handful of inhabitants was being provided for, and so I have written to the bishop declining the post, and have just returned to England.
My experience has been a bitterly disappointing one; but expensive and troublesome as it has been. It will be well worth the cost if it will serve as a warning to other married clergy who are thinking of offering themselves for work in Canada, and who might not be able to afford a return passage.
We expected troubles, difficulties, and hardships; and were fully prepared for them, and I knew what colonial life was like from my experience on a large Queensland sheep station in the bush, where I have done every kind of manual work, and enjoyed it. But we did expect plenty of work in a place where work was badly needed. This is what we asked for, and thought that we were promised, but did not get.
V. T Macy, Late Vicar of St. Luke’s, Enfield, N Sion College, Victoria Embankment, E.C.