Several years ago, I visited the Royal BC Museum Archives to harvest the valuable information regarding the trial of Joseph Keane. Mathew Roderick was killed by Keane as he was returning to recover the two gold bars he stashed in the forest at the time of the robbery in August of 1896. The shooting occurred in late October and the trial, in part due to pressure from Mary Roderick’s legal team in Seattle, took place the following June in Vernon.
The testimonies of all involved in the trial proved to be a veritable gold mine of information for easy recovery. That single source became one of the best allowing for facts to be confirmed or rejected. But errors still happened. The most glaring one to me was the use of wrong numbers in the total amount of gold stolen. Figures listed by the police did not equal what the mine officials stated had been stolen.
While in the archives I checked other sources of information that included letters between Police Chief Hussey in Victoria and William McMynn in Midway. Besides hand written letters in graceful script, the police also used coded telegraph messages for sensitive information. Police forces in Canada and the US used Barnard’s Universal Criminal Cipher Code. Banking and shipping used similar codes for secrecy.
The information uncovered included Frank Fleming’s 1963 recording of the rugged Dewdney Trail. Many portions still existed one hundred years after construction although mountain weather and improved highways absorbed much. The video shows a long abandonded cabin and also the grave of one of the Royal Engineers who died during construction.
Best of all for my purposes, Fleming had captured the last shift at the Cariboo-Amelia mine where the last ore car came into the light of day seven decades later. Had Fleming merely stumbled upon the scene at Camp McKinney or did he plan the entire video recording around the event? No matter, I appreciated the opportunity to be able to post it here. You just never know what little gems might be available when researching such a great facility as the Royal.