Aldermere, BC, Canada

The site of Aldermere is on Provincial Crown Land and the core area is managed by the Village of Telkwa.
There are four public access points/walking trails shown on brochures of walking trails, distributed by the Village of Telkwa, and the Telkwa Museum.

1904- The First Townsite in this area,located on a bluff, East of present day Tower St. above the present Village of Telkwa (Tel-kwa, Telqua are alt. spellings)

Located 60 miles East from Hazelton

Per Doug Boersema of the Telkwa Museum:

“Aldermere is actually at the SW end of Tyhee Lake. Tyhee Lake or Tyee Lake or Taye (Father A.G. Morice), was also called Aldermere Lake which was named by a Government Surveyor named Gauvreau, in the late 1890's. McClure Lake was named by the Collins Telegraph party.”

Doug also corrected the Public Land info above.

Alan Pickard from NZ, a former researcher in the valley sent this info for naming Aldermere. Gauvreau did not mention anything about what is now Tyhee Lake, when he did his walking survey in 1891. From Report of Bulkley Valley Survey, by A.L. Poudrier, January 1893(survey done in 1892):

“Township 4, . . . Parts of Sections 2 and 3 are covered by a lake which we have called Aldermere. It is a fine body of water emptying into the Bulkley by a short stream. On the north end there is a small house, built years ago as a station of the Union Telegraph Company, and now occupied by Indians.”

Per D. Boersema:

“Your map is not very accurate. The 1866 map from the original telegraph builders and the pre-empters maps from 1921 which we have displayed in the museum are much more accurate. The original line was on the east side of the lake but in 1907. The telegraph operator, 'Spud' Murphy was instructed to move the office from the cabin at the north end of the lake (now across from my driveway) into Aldermere. He had new poles put on the west side of the lake through Aldermere. Your map shows the telegraph trail going throughthe present location of the town of Houston but in fact that loop was bypassed.”

Land Staked by John Dorsey in 1904, who came to the area in March 1904. per Alan Pickard- “I believe John Dorsey went into the Bulkley Valley in 1903. This is a matter of interpretation of words in newspaper articles. There is a long article in Victoria Daily Colonist for July 21 1904, on John Dorsey.” He was a Principal Owner in the North Coast Land Company Limited which was incorporated in BC in 1910. He was a well known Timber Cruiser and Prospector.

I originally had found the following information in the old newspapers:

He produced the First Newspaper in the Bulkley Valley. Dorsey brought his printing outfit in on a couple pack mules,from Hazelton to Aldermere. He printed his first issue on wrapping paper he borrowed from the local butcher shop. One issue of “The Bulkley Pioneer” was produced here. It was tehn moved to Port Simpson and called “The Pioneer”. He then convinced Joseph Coyle to settle here.

But not everything in the old papers is right obviously,as this correction came from D. Boersema:

“Dorsey did not produce the first news paper. In Hazelton, He ran into Joseph Coyle whom he persuaded to put the company's printing press together in Telkwa where it was published but it was mailed in Aldermere where there was a post office for a year. The paper was called the Bulkley Pioneer. Joseph Coyle later started the Interior News in Aldermere in 1910 and he also was the inventor of the egg carton. Dorsey could not have punished a paper. He did not have that skill. The printing press came on the steamer in 1907. (from Coyle's own notes). From my research the first paper was called “Bulkley Pioneer”. When Coyle's contract was up he started his own called “The Bulkley Pioneer”. This led to court proceedings and Coyle moved to Hazelton where he started the Omenica Herald with a partner in 1909. In 1910 he came back to Aldermere Where he started the “Interior News” in a log cabin near the Telkwa Hotel. ”

May 1905, Joseph and Victor Spencer, of the Spencer Company, were reported in the papers as the owners of the Aldermere Townsite, and large amounts of grazing land adjoining. They were bringing in horses and cattle from Quesnel using the telegraph trail, left in June, arrived in July 1905. per Alan Pickard-

“Victor Spencer owned 160 acres here in July 1905. Victor Spencer was given the Crown Grant for 160 acres for the Nth ½ of NE ¼ of Section 26 and the Sth ½ of SE ¼ of Section 35, Township 5 Range 5 Coast, on 24 August 1905.”

Haven't been able to verify this yet, but I think this is the David Spencer Company in Victoria. He had 13 children and was a very wealthy man. I know his son Victor Spencer bought many ranches in the south of BC. It would not surprise me he bought here as well. see 1910 insert below where they sold their land.

Per Alan Pickard- “Check out The Omineca Herald for Saturday September 10, 1910, for then owners of Aldermere townsite. Of course, this does not mean these men owned the site in 1905.”

  • “The Victoria Colonist for 7 November 1906 says H. Fink is a partner in the townsite of Aldermere.”
  • “The Colonist for 18 September 1906 says the Aldermere townsite was aquired by A. Kincald.”

Addition from D. Boersema:

“I don't know what share Dorsey owned but I agree that the Spencers owned a lot, and I think Broughton and McNeil must have bought a lot of lots from them.”

Packers charged 3 cents/lb in the area in 1905

1906- It had 2 Hotels, Assay Office and General Store.

1906- Broughton & McNeil owned one of the 2 Hotels in Aldermere.

ca 1907- Members of the Greenwood Hutterite Colony were located throughout this area. I would have read this note from an old newspaper, but was it correct? Note from D. Boersema:

“ I never heard about this Hutterite Colony. I read a lot of the first papers and did not see that. They are not mentioned in the prize winning booklet written by Marjory Hoops for the Women's institute. None of the early photos show people in Hutterite dress. The Greenwood Hutterites did arrive in Alberta in 1907.”

1907- they had to use Horse or canoe to cross the Bulkley River there was no ferry or bridge at that time.Addition from D. Boersema >“Mr. Leach, a mining inspector,reported that he needed a horse or canoe in 1906,but there was a reaction ferry in 1907, and bridge in 1910”

1908- Aldermere had 2 Hotels, Blacksmith Shop, Livery Stable, Newspaper (Interior News) Broughton & McNeil General Store, and Post Office

June 1908- a Bath House was opened by a “Chinaman”

1909- Si Thompson opened a Livery Stable in Aldermere

1909- Fred Heal Jr. was returning to Aldermere from Victoria. He was one of the Pioneer Settlers in the area.
Frederick George “Fred” Heal Jr.

  • b- Mar 12, 1887, near Victoria BC
  • d-
  • enlisted in 1914 in WWI, Reg #28746
  • next of kin his mother- Mrs. Annie M. Heal, Aldermere, BC
  • Occupation- Broker, not married in 1914
  • son of Frederick George Heal Sr.
    • b- Mar, 1864 in Victoria, BC,
    • d- 1927 in Telkwa BC.
    • He came into the Valley, ca 1904.
    • son of John Heal, and Ann Julia Heal
  • Sr. married Ann Margaret “Annie” Anderson, June 1, 1886 in Victoria BC
    • b- Aug 1865, Grass Valley, CA,
    • d- 1928 in Telkwa BC
    • daughter of George William Anderson and Mary Ann Anderson
  • Sr. had 8 children, 7 were sons.

Fred Jr. (listed above), Herbert William Heal, Ernest R. Heal, Charles A. Heal, Dudley V.Heal,Harold Heal, Wilfred H. Heal, and Mary Heal Sr. homesteaded the large Aldermere Ranch, near Tyhee Lake.It straddled the Telegraph Trail.

Fred Jr Pre-Emption Record

Additional info from D. Boersema:

“Fred Heal Senior was the First Pioneer to move here, with a wife and teenage children in 1904 to the east side of Tyee lake straddling the early telegraph line. Fred Jr. was later mentioned selling real estate.”

Oct 1910- J. R. Blank of Glasgow, bought the Aldermere Townsite. He bought out the Syndicate, consisting of 5 men: Lem Broughton, James A. Ouellete, Victor Spencer, Joseph Spencer, and Harry Fink. Some lots were already sold in the plotted Townsite at this point.

Additional info from D. Boersema:

“I don't know much about the Syndicate. I did come across Harry Fink as a linesman on the telegraph line and also owning land near the Telegraph cabin near Quick, the same cabin where Lem Broughton was operator in 1904, before he teamed up with Jack McNeil to start the business in Aldermere. You did not mention John Dorsey as owner of the North Cost land Co. here, but you claimed he was an owner in 1904. I believe he may have worked for them, but in 1907 he was already telling Coyle that Telkwa was the better prospect.”
“James Ouelete is also mentioned as sharing the ownership of a two cabin hotel/ stopping place just outside the north border of Aldermere, with John Dorsey. John did not include his own property into the town survey. One of those cabins was later (1905) moved into Aldermere by McNeil, who had bought out Dorsey.”

per Alan Pickard-

“Henry Fink was stated to be a Lineman at Bulkley Ranch from 1 August 1902 until 30 June 1908. He was then a lineman at Aldermere until 1914. - From Canada Sessional Papers”

Harry Fink

  • b- Jan 16, 1883, Exidor, ON
  • d- Feb 1, 1952 Vernon Jubilee Hospital, Vernon BC, age 69
  • son of Henry Fink, b- Germany, and Lois Nidinger, b- in ON
  • 1916, Harry and Bertha in Strathcona, AB
  • Harry in Edmonton West, AB in 1921, with Bertha
  • married Bertha Pearl Fink, nee Cohlmier
    • b- Mar 13, 1888 in ND, USA
    • d- Sept 18, 1978 Enderby BC, age 90

ca 1910- Telegraph Office here, Government Telegraph- Edward Murphy, Manager

ca 1910- James Augustus Hodder was Telegraph Operator/Lineman

  • b- Aug 28, 1868 in Newfoundland
  • d- Apr 1, 1961 in Provincial Infirmary, Marpole, Vancouver, age 92
  • buried in Mt. view Cemetery, Vancouver BC
  • he lived in Hazelton
  • son of Robert Hodder and Mary Hodder, nee ?
  • married to Lavina Mayo, who died before him

1910- Sawmill here, operated by Joe Bourgon and others (see my Hubert Page)

1910- Neil McDonald- Police Constable

1910-1911- one of the Hotels was managed by W. S. McDonell who later died in Hazelton May 1911, age 23. (son of R. J. McDonell, 2 brothers George McDonell and James McDonell, Sister- Mrs. Robert Burns of Fort George BC in 1911)

Additions / Corrections from D. Boersema:

“There were three Murphy's mentioned in the paper. I though that Spud was really Joe. He had a brother who had to go back to Vancouver for his health and he had a son who came to visit him. He was operator in 1907 and Joe Bourgon , Willie Croteau and Ernie Moren, a book keeper ,were the first owners of the mill , started in 1907, located outside of Aldermere the west side of the creek that runs out of the lake. (west side) McDonell owned the New Telkwa Hotel in Telkwa after the original company sold it. That hotel had been run by a Mr. Orchard who later started one in Smithers. The hotel in Aldermere was called Telkwa Hotel, before there was a Telkwa. The hotel in Telkwa 1906 was called the New Telkwa Hotel. There was also ' -1913 Bulkley House John Wakmirovich- beds, lunch counter, cigars etc.”

1910- James(George? see below) Duhamel operated a Hotel here.

Note from D. Boersema:

“I haven't heard of James Duhammel, but a lot of stories are written about George Duhammel, that he came from Quebec, that he was a telegraph operator and that he was operating the ferry before 1910 when the bridge opened. The early companies did do some false advertizing when they proclaimed in 1907 that the hotel was opposite the bridge which was not built yet.”

per Alan Pickard:

“I don't know where you got your information re James Duhamel? George Duhamel came to the Bulkley Valley in 1904. Before this he was a lineman at the 8th Cabin on the Yukon Telegraph line. He built Glacier House, which could he called a hotel, at Glentanna Corner about 1905/6. He then worked at various jobs around the Telkwa area until he shot himself on 7 April 1920.”

1910- There was a Telqua Hotel here.

Mar 1912- Frank McClain opened a harness shop in Aldermere. Then in Jan 1913 he bought the harness shop from Stanley Jones here.

1912- Many were living in Tents due to lack of housing.

1912- Robert “Bob” Heddle was the Blacksmith here. Mar 1913- he sold out and moved south. A Robert Sabiston Heddle died in Smithers Dec 29, 1931 age 59, was this the Blacksmith here?

Apr 1913- W. E. Covert opened a Photo Gallery in Aldermere

Mar 1915- Broughton & McNeil pioneer businessmen in this area, moved their Store, from Aldermere to Telkwa. Hotel closed in 1915, as well as PO (see below)

addition per D. Boersema: Dec 20, 1913- John Dorsey passed away

1916- the Police Constable was moved to Telkwa

ca Feb 12, 1916, The Last Person to leave Aldermere was the Telegraph Operator, E. G. Ayliffe, who was transferred to North Bulkley. (shown in map above)
Ewart Gladstone Ayliffe

  • b- Jan 7, 1888, Bath England, age 30 when he married
  • d- Mar 18, 1959 St. Joseph's Hospital, Victoria BC, age 71
  • buried in St. Anne's Churchyard, Parksville BC
  • son of Henry Ayliffe and Annie Williams
  • He was retired, living in Parksville BC.
  • married Annie Sisko, Mar 8, 1918, in Christ Church, Vancouver BC
    • b- Wellington BC, age 23 when married
    • d-
    • She was a nurse.
    • daughter of Andrew Sisko, and Barbara Lorin Chak
  • They had a daughter Dorothy

One of the more famous people from this area, Joseph Leopold Coyle. He is best known as the Inventor of the Egg Carton, he applied for a Patent Aug 6, 1917. Patent date June 11, 1918 Coyle Egg-Safety Carton, (see link below) Coyle Safety Carton Company

Joseph Leopold Coyle

  • b- May 31, 1871 in Ambleside, Bruce Co., ON
  • d- Apr 18, 1972 Royal Columbian Hospital, New Westminster BC
  • buried in Oceanview Cemetery, New Westminster BC
  • He lived to be 101.
  • son of James Coyle, b- Ireland and Ellen Hefferman, b- ON
  • married Augusta Winnifred Bradley, Nov 2, 1908
  • married in St. Peter's Church, Hazelton BC
    • b- July 8, 1878, Acton, London, Middlesex, England, age 28 when married
    • d- June 3, 1964 St. Mary's Hospital, New Westminster BC, age 85
    • daughter of Henry George Bradley, and Frances Ratcliffe.

Note- The Telkwa Museum has a letter from Coyle's daughter Ellen telling about her life in Aldermere.

Post Office History

Name of Office: Aldermere
Federal Electoral District: Comox - Atlin (BC)
Office Opened Apr 1, 1905
Office closed Apr 15, 1915

Postmaster Information:

Name of Postmaster Date of Appointment Date of Vacancy Cause of Vacancy
Robert F. Campbell 1905-04-01 1905-05-25 Resignation
James A. Ouellet 1905-10-01 1906-03-05 Resignation
Lemuel “Lem” Broughton 1906-06-01 1914-06-30 Resignation
John Joseph McNeil 1915-02-01 1915-04-15 Closed

This reproduction is NOT represented as an official version of the materials reproduced, nor as having been made in affiliation with,
or with the endorsement of the National Archives of Canada. The source of this material is the National Archives of Canada

Per D. Boersema- “Annie Heal was the First Post Mistress in Aldermere, in part of that log building, which was also the General Store.”
now she isn't listed in the Canada Archives list above, so not sure if she was the first person or maybe first Lady to do it,
She might have worked for Campbell or Ouellet, a mystery still?

Robert F. Campbell
b- ?
d- ?

an A. E. Campbell was 5th Postmaster at Telkwa, ca 1915, relative?

James A. Ouellet
b- ?
d- ?

These first 2 guys are hard to track down, related?, any info or clues would be appreciated

Lemuel “Lem” Broughton
b- Oct 18, 1867, Bradford Reg Dist., West Riding of Yorkshire, England,
d- Sept 10, 1937, in Sacramento, CA, age 68
son of James Illingworth Broughton and Catherine Curtis Senior.
parents married Oct-Dec 1865, Holbeck Reg Dist, West Riding of Yorkshire, England.
Lemuel “Lem” Broughton, the other partner in Broughton & McNeil General Store
Lem ran cattle and sheep from down south, on the telegraph trail,
bringing them to McNeil's ranch.
This provided fresh meat at their hotel and store.
Lem Broughton was a Mormon
He had a brother- James A. Broughton
Mother, Brother James, and Lem, came to New York Aug 6, 1868 on SS Constitution
left Liverpool June 24, 1868. They left Leeds England.
married Mrs. Sarah “Myrtle” Hutson, nee Story, July 14, 1913,
at the Windsor Hotel, in Prince Rupert BC
she was from Los Angeles, CA. at the time.
b- Ottawa Kansas, age 30 in 1913, a widow
daughter of Thomas Story and Meloina Fanning

John Joseph McNeil
b- in USA, age 46 in 1921
Immigrated in 1898
His ranch was a few miles from Aldermere
John Joseph McNeil was one of the partners in Broughton & McNeil store
He bought out Broughton in 1913, but kept the firms name.

From D. Boersema: “McNeil was the business man and the driving force in the business. He was involved in businesses in Telkwa, waterworks, Telkwa Barbecue, coal mines, tie camps etc.
His library had books on all those topics”

“Broughten and McNeil which now meant McNeil only, built a new store and a home in Telkwa in 1915.”
“I think that Lem Broughten owned the farm first as it was near his telegraph cabin, at least walking distance for those days.
He sold the farm and his interest in the business to McNeil after he moved to the States. Local books do not mention that he was a Mormon, but it is possible”

A. R. McDonald was the delegate chosen to approach the Post Office Inspector, to get a mail route from Aldermere to Francois Lake.

News Clippings below from Doug Boersema:
1913 Interior News –

July 19– Lem Broughton one of the pioneers of the Bulkley Valley and a partner in the leading firm of Broughton and McNeil,
was quietly married on Monday to Mrs. Sarah Myrtle Hutson of Los Angeles

Aug. 23, 1913 - Presentation to Mr. and Mrs. Broughton
On Wednesday evening the staff of Messrs. Broughton and McNeil, Aldermere, met together in the dining room of the hotel to do honour to Mr. and Mrs. Broughton on the occasion of their recent marriage. On behalf of the staff, Mr. J. L. Christie, J. P., who has recently been appointed to represent Mr. Broughton’s interest in the firm, in making the presentation, which consisted of a cabinet of cutlery with suitable inscription, referred to the kindly feeling which exists between the firm and their employees whilst conveying the good wishes for a long, happy, and prosperous married life. Mr. Broughton, in a few well chosen words, assured the boys of the unexpected pleasure it gave Mrs. Broughton and himself in meeting them and accepting this gift which would be considered a life long treasure, reminding them in year to come of the happy cordial relations that have always existed in Aldermere.

A review for Fergus Tomlin, manager of the Smithers museum at that time. By Doug B.

Re; a discussion of the printing machine owned by the BV Museum

Coyle came to Hazelton in 1907 where met John Dorsey and was persuaded to come to come to Aldermere and put together the machine that John had with him,
Owned by the North Coast Land Co. - value $450

Dorsey promised a lease or sale but after a long delay only one paper was printed.(according to a researcher for Saywell)
The Army press was put together in the future butcher shop in Telkwa. The furniture and type racks were built by Oscar Benedict. The press had to be inked by hand and cranked by hand.

Coyle went to Vancouver to get a better deal. They sanctioned a deal/lease till July 1908. Meanwhile they had sent another press to Port Simpson and continued their paper using the name North Coast News. They needed a paper to make all mining claims, timber notices and land sales legal.

Coyle did continue publishing the Bulkley Pioneer as manager till June the 6th 1908 when he came out with The Bulkley Pioneer with himself as owner publisher. Note the capital 'T' on The. On June the 13 he wrote, “the time for installing the new presses has set us back a bit-” Only a few issues of this paper were published. There seemed to be legal issues.

While in Vancouver, Coyle had ordered another press to be shipped to Hazelton in the Spring.

Vol. 1 no. 13 of the Omenica Herald appeared in Oct.3, 1908 (count back weekly for its beginning)

Coyle left the partnership in 1909 to move to his ranch near Aldermere/Telkwa and started the Interior News.(printed for six months on the ranch and then moved to a building in Aldermere. Another press? The first issue of the Interior News was published Jan,1, 1910 with a note from the publisher that it was meant to replace The Bulkley Pioneer.

The paper was moved again, to Smithers in 1913. There were announcements of new presses while in Smithers.


from the Interior News

Jan. 1, 1910– The Interior News- Joseph L. Coyle, Publisher and Proprietor, issued weekly. Aldermere.

With the dawning of this glad New Year we are afforded the greatest pleasure in resuming the pleasing task of supplying the people of this Northern Interior with a home newspaper. The first number of the INTERIOR NEWS greets you; and to one and all extends its heartiest wishes for a bright and prosperous New Year.

This paper is designed to take the place of our former publication, The Bulkley Pioneer. The establishment of which on Aug. 3, 1907 marks the beginning of journalism in the Northern Interior. For to Bulkley Valley belongs the distinction of having the first newspaper and printing office west of Edmonton on the line of the G.T.P.—


Interior News May 21, 1910

Take Notice that Winnifred Coyle, of Aldermere B.C., housewife, intends to apply for permission to purchase the following decribed lands; Commencing at a post planted near 11 mile post on the Bulkley Valley wagon road, thence east 60 chains, thence south 40 chains, west 60 chains, north 40 chains to point of commencement and containing 240 acres more of less. WINNIFRED COYLE

February 24, 1910 (She was the wife of the editor, Joseph Coyle)

Telegraph operators

Interior News 1910

Jos. Murphy has just finished the cutting of a large quantity of fence timber, which will be used in fencing a considerable portion of Edward Murphy’s farm about two miles down the river from town.

George Ayliffe— Not much is mentioned about him I don’t think that he was transferred to Bulkley Ranch cabin as it was closed in 1914.

Note- Mr Boersema of the Telkwa Museum, was kind enough to send in the corrections/additions, as shown above. I do appreciate the feedback. As in my disclaimer, I know I have errors,
Old newspapers can, and have been wrong.
Hopefully I now have the information as correct as possible on this page at least. In some cases I left what I had found, if relevant to the story.

Narcisse Belleau Gauvreau
b- Mar 27, 1856 in death cert and on headstone
(Mar 7, 1855 in book source below)
in the Parish of Isle Verte,
county of Temiscouata, Quebec, Canada
d- Dec 29, 1933 in North Vancouver BC, age 77
buried in North Vancouver Cemetery, N. Vancouver BC
In 1892 he lead a surveying party to NW BC.
Shown as a Civil Engineer when he died.
attended Rimouski College in Quebec
He was a CPR surveyor prior to working in BC

father- Louis Narcisse Gauvreau
mother- Gracieuse nee ?
married Jessie Marion Gauvreau, nee Morice
b- Apr 23, 1862
d- Jan 19, 1939
buried in North Vancouver Cemetery

see Ext link below for Narcisse's bio and photo

Ext Links
Note- NOT my sites

Telkwa History


CNR map, showing Hubert etc.

History book
Rubber Boots for Dancing and other Memories of Pioneer Life in the Bulkley Valley,
by Nan Bourgon and edited by Marjorie Rosberg. Smithers, B.C.
Tona and Janet Hetherington, 1979. Pp. 138

Egg carton patent drawing

Various BC Archives photo links

1914- Leaving Aldermere on a Sunday jaunt;
Mr. and Mrs. E. Hoops in the backseat,
B. Hoops and Miss E. Hoops in the front.- B-01715

1909- General Store, A-08388

1913- The Aldermere Board of Trade outside General Store, A-08426

1912- Settlers arriving in Aldermere by sleigh, B-01711

1912- Construction team hauling a locomotive, B-01712

1912, GTPR Pack train- B-01750 leaving Aldermere

1912- the homestead, aldermere ranch, F-00224

Narcisse Gauvreau
bio and photo
https://archive.org/stream/britishcolumbiaf04schouoft#page/150/mode/2up, page 151


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