The Snow Miners – a Dedication

The Snow Miners – a Dedication 
By James Doody

Preamble by
Arthur Topham

Having just spent the day shovelling my long, and at spots, wide driveway, I got to thinking about snow shovelling and Barkerville the famous Cariboo Gold Rush town that sprang up along Williams Creek back in the 1860s. It brought to mind a small chapter from a book written by a friend of mine, James Doody, that is rather apropo for this time of the year.

James Doody walked into Barkerville in the fall of 1931 and ended up falling head over heels in love with the Post Mistress at the Barkerville post office, Violet Rankin who he soon married. Jim was a gold miner in the area and a writer and after marrying his sweetheart he proceeded to built a log cabin for their future home. The cabin is still standing in Barkerville today and is now known as the schoolhouse.

Jim and Violet Doody’s home in Barkerville

His first book, The Romance of the Cariboo Proper was printed in Quesnel back in 1982 and is a wonderful collection of stories about life in and around Barkerville. The Snow Miners is a small chapter dedication to Jim and Violet’s only son who, unfortunately, died at an early age while still in Barkerville.

I first met James (Jim) back in 1987 while I was the Park Supervisor at 10 Mile Lake Provincial Park. After Jim and Violet had left Barkerville in their later years they purchased a large section of lake shore property on 10 Mile Lake just north of Quesnel and off Highway 97. He and Violet graciously donated the land to the provincial government for the park itself and they lived next door along the lake. Jim passed away in the early 90s after an unfortunate and fatal tractor accident.

The Snow Miners – a Dedication
By James Doody

From The Romance of the Cariboo Proper

Snow miner, I have not forgotten.

And then came the snow, the beautiful clean white snow, and it piled up and up and up.

Very early each morning as the dog star was on the wane, we could be seen with our lunch pails going to work in our snow mine.

Outside the wind blew, the snow drifted and it got colder and colder, but we continued working in our tunnels, cross cuts, drifts, raises and stopes. Then all too soon came a “you-who” from the mine portal. We would put on our jackets, pick up our lunch pails and make our way outside, there to be greeted by our loved ones. On our way home we could see the first quarter moon as it slanted up and over Greenberry Mountain.

While we were eating our evening meal Mother would say, “Are you kids quite sure that it is safe for you to work in your snow mine?”

“Mother dear,” we would reply, “do not concern yourself about our safety for we are professional snow miners!”

~Ω~