Kaslo mining ledger has questionable provenance

Part of an ongoing look at items of local historical interest.

Public information was kept from the public for an extended period.

Greg Nesteroff

West Kootenay Advertiser


A 112-year-old government mining ledger from Kaslo somehow found its way onto eBay this month. The 200-page book, which sold for $153 US, contains receipts for certificates of work issued under the Mineral Act between August 2 and September 30, 1901.

Among the claims mentioned are the Paystreak, Copper Glance, Homestake, Yosemite, Three Friends, Gold Cure, Monte Cristo, Shoo Fly, Scottish Chief, Metropolitan, and Kootenay Queen.

The New Westminster seller said he bought the ledger at auction himself 10 years ago. Even if that’s the case, how did it leave public hands?

It wasn’t part of a large collection of mining records transferred in recent years from the Kaslo government agent’s office to the Kootenay Lake Historical Society. The collection didn’t include any books with certificates of work for the Kaslo area, according to archivist Elizabeth Scartlett, though it did have some from the Slocan Lake area. While the archives has certificates of improvements from 1900-20 for the Kaslo area, Scarlett couldn’t find any for the mines in this particular ledger.

It’s the second time old B.C. mining records have turned up out of the blue in recent months. Last year, a Quesnel man presented the Princeton archives with a collection of ledgers dating back to 1885. His father, who recently died, had been government agent, gold commissioner, and mining recorder in Princeton from 1953 to 1972. According to the Similkameen Spotlight, “At the time he held his position, there wasn’t a proper and secure place to store these valuable records so he decided to keep them in his possession.”

Better than them going to the dump, and kudos to the son for returning them, but it’s still highly questionable for a government employee to hang on to public records for 40 years. It’s not clear if anyone knew of their whereabouts in the meantime.


Other noteworthy auctions of late:

A Kaslo seller has auctioned some very interesting postcards. Among them:

• A great view of Broadway Street in Nakusp showing both horse and buggy and automobiles sold for $66 Cdn.

• An original photo of Andy Craig’s pack train on the outskirts of Trout Lake City went for $50 Cdn. Craig was manager of C.B. Hume’s general store.

• An original photo of the Arrow Lakes sternwheeler SS Kootenay fetched $47 US.

• A Frank Gowen card of a sternwheeler moored at “city park” in Nelson went for $36.50 Cdn.

See pictures of all of the mentioned items at nelsonstar.com.

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