Turning Back the Pages: Remembering George Love, who lived in Golden in the early 1900’s

George Love was a long time resident of Golden who passed away some time ago now. He was much loved and respected by the community, having been here almost since the beginnings of the community. The following article, which we have a clipping for in our clippings file, doesn’t give credit to the author but must have been written by someone local, sometime before his death.

George Love has been a resident of Golden since 1889 when his father came out to this province. They lived on the farm now owned by Tommy King (present day King Acres and ) and Mr. Love has spent all his life here except for eight years. He also went to school with Maggie Gould, first white child born here.

The family was from Ontario, where Mr. Love eventually returned for two years.

“We used to travel down to Buffalo and across to Detroit quite frequently and when we went we rode on the T. H. and B. Railroad which was an American company using CPR tracks. We called it the “To Hell and Back”,” Mr. Love said. Mr. Love later spent six years in Saskatchewan before returning to Golden.

“Sometimes there was as much as four feet of snow in Golden and it even went down to 55 degrees below zero in 1910-1911. I worked for three stores here; for the Columbia River Lumber Co., in their mill and for the Columbia Wine and Spirits,” he continued.

“When they had that big slide that wiped out Rogers Pass, there were three boxcars of men who went down from here but in all, we dug out only eleven bodies because the snow was so deep.”

“When I worked for the Columbia River Lumber Company, it was our job to keep the river open for the sternwheelers traveling up and down it. We had to cut out brush from the bank, haul logs out of the river, and build dams to make sure the boats wouldn’t get stuck,” Mr. Love said.

“In those days, no one locked their shacks so that anyone who wanted to could use the place in an emergency. The only law of this ‘code of the North’ was that everything be left as it was and God help the man who was caught stealing. But a traveler could have a meal and use the bed.”

“I remember at one time there was a log shack right here in town that someone who had got himself ‘quite high’ decided to take a nap. He crawled into the top bunk and went to sleep. It wasn’t long before a trapper called ‘Cinnamon Bill’ came home and found this drunk sleeping in his bunk. Bill took his shotgun and blasted it off before the other man’s ear and even tore a great hunk of dirt out of the ceiling. I guess the intruder sobered up pretty quickly!”

Mr. Love also recalled an old time Goldenite recently featured in the magazine, “B.C. Digest,” Sheriff Redgrave.

“If the sheriff saw men lying around the street too drunk to walk by themselves, he would pick them up, put them in a wheelbarrow and cart them off to jail. I remember seeing him do that many a time, especially from the old Columbia Hotel and the other hotels in town. He’d keep them overnight to sober up and then Jet them go again.”

Mr. Love met one of the old West’s real-life desperadoes who was also as well beloved as a “Robin Hood”. “His name was Bill Miner, and he was a good-hearted follow whom I met in Revelstoke many years ago. Everybody liked him because he often used the money he stole, for example in a train holdup at Ducks, to help people. This was the reason he wasn’t caught for so long; all the people were his friends and they, especially the farmers, would let him hide out at their places. He was finally caught when one of his men killed somebody. But Bill Miner wasn’t responsible and never killed or hurt the people he robbed.”

“Every fall we would take enough whiskey down the river to last the town until spring. That would be quite a trip since the men would take off one of the hoops on the barrels, siphon out several gallons of whiskey, and then put the hoop back on so no one could tell there was a hole. They had a glorious time, but otherwise getting that old boat down the river without getting stuck was a hard job.”

“People enjoyed themselves and they also got along well,” he said. “It was certainly a different town in those days.”

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