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History Pre-confederation (to 1867)

Gold, Grit, Guns

Miners on BC's Fraser River in 1858

by (author) Alexander Globe

Ronsdale Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2022
Pre-Confederation (to 1867)
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2022
    List Price

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Gold, Grit, Guns is the first book based on the only four surviving diaries written by miners who sought their golden fortunes on British Columbia’s Fraser River in 1858. What was life like for those adventurers? How did their actions impact the creation of British Columbia? George Beam, an Illinois-born settler on Whidbey Island in Washington State, brought hopes of American annexation and distrust of First Nations. He left with a thousand dollars. Otis Parsons of Connecticut made money as a California merchant, then volunteered to build new roads from Harrison Lake to Lillooet. He used them for merchandising. The third miner, an unnamed Upper Canadian, befriended Colonial officials and First Nations people. He earned a thousand dollars, overwintered in Victoria, then drowned in the Cariboo gold rush in the 1860s. George Slocumb from Illinois suffered the fate of most — increasing poverty and desperation. Background chapters present miners’ costs, the first detailed study of 1858 mining practices, and the grim story of how mining culture compromised First Nations life. Gold, Grit, Guns is rich with 115 rarely seen illustrations of life on the Fraser in 1858 as well as maps of the area.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Alexander Globe is a Professor Emeritus of English and Comparative Literature at the University of British Columbia. He enjoys the interplay of texts, illustrations, and history from antiquity to the present through studies of Sumerian poetry, seventeenth-century English engraving, Catharine Parr Trail's Canadian Wild Flowers (Canada's first illustrated book on botany), and the development of early Canadian air mail.

Editorial Reviews

A fascinating read - Andrew Bell, BNN Bloomberg's "Commodities" show"
Eureka. Alexander Globe has hit a literary jackpot. For anyone who cares about the history of British Columbia, the diaries in God, Grit, Guns are foundational." - Alan Twigg, author of Out of Hiding