Meadow Creek Museum acquires unique artifact

The Meadow Creek Museum recently received an artifact of local historical significance: a pair of snowshoes made by Billy Clark of Howser.

Janet Stevenson and friend Paul Stevens with her Billy Clark snowshoes

The Meadow Creek Museum recently received a very unique artifact of local historical significance: a pair of snowshoes made by pioneer Billy Clark of Howser.

In 1907, when he was only 20, William (Billy) Clark waved his England birthplace goodbye and ventured to Canada. The following year he arrived at the hamlet of Howser on Duncan Lake and settled quickly into the challenges of living in wilderness.

He became a local legend for his friendly, easy-going personality, his quick learning of pioneer skills, and his interest in wildlife. During his life he worked in the upper Lardeau and Duncan valleys as cook, watchman, river-freighter, trapper, guide, and prospector.

Driven by gold fever, he and a partner discovered the lead-zinc vein that became the nucleus of Cominco’s Duncan Lake mine. Also, Clark and two other Howser friends — Charlie Mallock and Bertie Board —operated the nearby Bullock mine for a year or two before it became famous for its gold production.

During his middle years, Clark started making snowshoes­ — following the distinctive Ralph Kenyon pattern — that sold throughout North America. It is said that even at 175 pairs per year, Clark was unable to keep up with demand. He constructed the frames of vine maple that he steamed for bending and then strung with strips of raw cowhide. It became his morning routine to string a pair of snowshoes before getting on with the rest of his day.

Forced from his cabin by water rising behind Duncan dam, Clark moved to Nelson and passed away there in 1970. Snowshoes bearing the initial “K” were made by his mentor, Ralph Kenyon, and those bearing the initial “C” were made by Billy Clark. His tools were turned over to the Kaslo Boys Scouts.

Recently, Janet Stevenson, who grew up in Argenta and well remembers Clark, contacted the museum from her present-day home in Oregon to announce that she owned a pair of snowshoes made by Clark and would like to donate the pair to the Meadow Creek Museum. Needless to say, the museum board is thrilled.

Stevenson herself is to be considered a Kootenay Lake old-timer. In 1952, at age six, she moved with her siblings and her parents, John and Helen, to Canada from California. They were among the first Quaker settlers of Argenta. Stevenson remained in Argenta until 1964. Although she has always longed to return to the Kootenays to live, so far the opportunity has eluded her.

 

Just Posted

Castlegar daycare selected for univeral child care pilot program

MLA Katrine Conroy presents letter of acceptance to the program to the Children’s Centre at Selkirk College

Kootenay region posts 10-per-cent return rate on electoral reform ballots

As of Nov. 13, only 5.3 per cent of ballots had been returned province-wide

Talking transgender issues with Nelson advocate

Nov. 20 is the Transgender Day of Remembrance

Leafs Roundup: Nelson adds a win and a tie on two-game road trip

Nelson native Reid Vulcano scored in his KIJHL debut

Over 120 people to lend a hand at Community Connect

The annual event offers free services at Central School

VIDEO: Amazon to split second HQ between New York, Virginia

Official decision expected later Tuesday to end competition between North American cities to win bid and its promise of 50,000 jobs

Stink at B.C. school prompts complaints of headaches, nausea

Smell at Abbotsford school comes from unauthorized composting operation

Fear of constitutional crisis escalates in U.S.; Canadians can relate

Some say President Donald Trump is leading the U.S. towards a crisis

B.C.-based pot producer Tilray reports revenue surge, net loss

Company remains excited about ‘robust’ cannabis industry

Canada stands pat on Saudi arms sales, even after hearing Khashoggi tape

Khashoggi’s death at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul further strained Riyadh’s already difficult relationship with Ottawa

Feds pledge money for young scientists, but funding for in-house research slips

Canada’s spending on science is up almost 10 per cent since the Liberals took office, but spending on in-house research is actually down

Disabled boy has ‘forgiven’ bullies who walked on him in stream, mom says

A Cape Breton teen who has cerebral palsy was told to lie in a stream as other kids walked over him

Letters shed light on state of mind of B.C. mom accused of daughter’s murder

Trial of South Surrey mother Lisa Batstone begins in BC Supreme Court

Vancouver man must pay $22,000 after breaking strata rules

Peter Gordon took his fight over his rented condo to the civil resolution tribunal, but lost

Most Read