Lebahdo is misspelled on the street sign that perpetuates the name. It means shingle in Chinook jargon.

Lebahdo comes from Chinook jargon

Lebahdo, just south of Winlaw in the Slocan Valley, means ‘shingle’ and is derived from the French le bardeau.

One hundred fifteenth in a semi-alphabetical series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names

Lebahdo, or Lebahdo Flats, just south of Winlaw in the Slocan Valley, is interesting for a few reasons.

The name comes from Chinook jargon, a pidgin trade language of the 19th century that borrowed from English, French, and First Nations languages. Lebahdo means ‘shingle’ and is derived from the French le bardeau.

It was so named because John Bell and A.C. Lambert built a mill there in 1905, which presumably made shingles. After a couple of years, they moved to Taghum — another Chinook word, which means six. Bell (1858-1932), who served as Nelson’s mayor in 1925, was probably responsible for naming both.

In 1895, Bell pre-empted land at Sitkum Creek — another Chinook name, which means middle or half. However, nothing in his background explains his knowledge of or fondess for Chinook jargon, nor is he known to have taken credit for the names.

Lebahdo was added to the CPR timetable on May 6, 1906. The Henderson’s 1910 directory of BC described it as “A flag station on the Nelson, Slocan City and Sandon branch of the CPR, 29 miles from Nelson.” However, it was misspelled Lebadho — just one of many misspellings that also include Labahdo, Leabado, Labadie, and Lebhado. The latter is how it appears on the sign for Lebahdo Road, the chief way the name has been perpetuated.

Oddly, Lebadho has the same pronunciation as the Doukhobor surname Lebedow, which means swan, but the former predates the 1908 arrival of the Doukhobors in BC.

Lebahdo was previously called Watson Siding (or Watson Spur, or just Watsons) and was first mentioned in the Slocan Drill of Sept. 23, 1904: “The plans for building the new sawmill at Watsons is hanging fire on account of a hitch in the deal for the plant.” The same paper added on April 14, 1905: “A new sawmill is being erected at Watson siding 16 miles below town by Lambert and Bell.”

Watson’s was named for a family who pre-empted land on the west side of the Slocan River. It appears in the 1910 directory as Watson Spur, “a siding on the Columbia and Kootenay railway, 20 miles from Nelson.” The only listing was for the A.G. Lambert  sawmill.

In his 1947 memoir, Alfred Gillingham Watson (1879-1949) explained that he was born in Belper, Derbyshire, England but before his second birthday, his father closed his nail manufacturing business and moved the family to Manitoba, where they homesteaded at Lake Francis during the Riel Rebellion.

Later Alfred and a brother tried ranching in Alberta, and the rest of the family joined them. They are now regarded as pioneers of Innisfail.

Tragedy befell them repeatedly: two of Alfred’s siblings died in a diphtheria outbreak and a sister died in Sandon of postpartum psychosis in 1897, leaving two young daughters. Alfred and two other siblings went to BC to help raise them.

“In March 1900, three or four of us went down to what is now Lebahdo and built a log bridge of the Slocan River to our new ranch and a log shack and cleared and drained two acres of good land,” he wrote.

The Watson family lived there until 1912, when they sold the ranch to the Doukhobors. Alfred served in the First World War and survived, but was stricken with crippling arthritis the rest of his life. He lived in Appledale until his house burned in 1942 and then moved to Nelson. Three of his children are alive, two of whom, Patricia Waters and Faye Watson, still live in Nelson. His son Adrian kindly provided a copy of the memoir quoted above.

Previous installments in this series

Introduction

Ainsworth

Alamo

Anaconda

Annable, Apex, and Arrow Park

Annable, revisited

Appledale

Applegrove, Appleby, and Appledale revisited

Argenta and Arrowhead

Aylwin

Bakers, Birds, and Bosun Landing

Balfour

Bannock City, Basin City, and Bear Lake City

Beasley

Beaton

Bealby Point

Bealby Point (aka Florence Park) revisited

Belford and Blewett

Beaverdell and Billings

Birchbank and Birchdale

Blueberry and Bonnington

Boswell, Bosworth, Boulder Mill, and Broadwater

Brandon

Brilliant

Brooklyn, Brouse, and Burnt Flat

Burton

Camborne, Cariboo City, and Carrolls Landing

Carmi, Cedar Point, Circle City, and Clark’s Camp

Carson, Carstens, and Cascade City

Casino and Champion Creek

Castlegar, Part 1

Castlegar, Part 2

Castlegar, Part 3

Christina Lake

Christina City and Christian Valley

Clubb Landing and Coltern

Cody and Champion Creek revisited

Champion Creek revisited, again

Columbia

Columbia City, Columbia Gardens, and Columbia Park

Comaplix

Cooper Creek and Corra Linn

Crawford Bay and Comaplix revisited

Crescent Valley and Craigtown

Davenport

Dawson, Deadwood, and Deanshaven

Deer Park

East Arrow Park and Edgewood

Eholt

English Cove and English Point

Enterprise

Erie

Evans Creek and Evansport

Falls City

Farron

Fauquier

Ferguson

Ferguson, revisited

Fife

Forslund, Fosthall, and Fairview

Fort Shepherd vs. Fort Sheppard, Part 1

Fort Shepherd vs. Fort Sheppard, Part 2

Fort Sheppard, revisited

Fraser’s Landing and Franklin

Fredericton

Fruitvale and Fraine

Galena Bay

Genelle

Gerrard

Gilpin and Glade

Gladstone and Gerrard, revisited

Glendevon and Graham Landing

Gloster City

Goldfields and Gold Hill

Grand Forks, Part 1

Grand Forks, Part 2

Granite Siding and Granite City

Gray Creek, Part 1

Gray Creek, Part 2

Gray Creek, revisited

Green City

Greenwood

Halcyon Hot Springs

Hall Siding and Healy’s Landing

Harrop

Hartford Junction

Hills

Howser, Part 1

Howser, Part 2

Howser, Part 3

Howser, Part 4

Hudu Valley, Huntingtdon, and Healy’s Landing revisited

Inonoaklin Valley (aka Fire Valley)

Jersey, Johnsons Landing, and Jubilee Point

Kaslo, Part 1

Kaslo, Part 2

Kaslo, Part 3

Kaslo, Part 4

Kettle River, Part 1

Kettle River, Part 2

Kinnaird, Part 1

Kinnaird, Part 2

Kitto Landing

Kokanee and Keen

Kootenay Bay, Kraft, and Krestova

Kuskonook, Part 1

Kuskonook, Part 2

Kuskonook (and Kuskanax), Part 3

Labarthe, Lafferty, and Longbeach

Lardeau, Part 1

Lardeau, Part 2

Lardeau, Part 3

Lardeau, Part 4

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