William Binnie "Tom" Forrest

Hazelton, British Columbia, Canada

William Binnie “Tom” Forrest
b- Dec 1840 (alt-1844) in Ireland
d- Sept 19, 1923 in Hazelton BC, age 83
or was he the William Forrest
b- in England, age 72 in 1921
d- Sept 18, 1923 in Hazelton BC
this fellow shows up in 1901 living in Five Mile, Kispiox
shown as a quartz miner.
He is shown as immigrating in 1893, which jives with the obituary in the Omineca Herald,
where it states he came to the Hazelton area, 30 years prior to his death.
Here he is shown as a widower as well
He shows both his parents born in Ireland

He looked like an interesting fellow to research, but has turned out one of the tough ones to find.

He was a hand drill man when he came to the Hazelton area.
He was credited with blazing a lot of the trails later used by some prospectors.
He staked the first claim on Dome Mountain in 1898.
He then drifted over to the Hudson Bay Mountain area.
His many claims there were still held by him and his partners in 1923.

In 1898 he associated himself with a Dr. Aitkens, head of the hospital in Hamilton ON, and a Dr. Alton, a dentist from Hamilton.

Before coming to the Hazelton area, he was a Deputy Sheriff in a Western American Town.
It looks like life was wild in this town before he left.

He was regarded as a straight forward, clean living man.

His funeral services were handled by a Mrs. Emanuel R. Cox, who was an old and close friend.
Her husband was a Gov't telegraph operator in Hazelton in early 1900's

1911 census shows him as b- Dec 1844, in Ireland, age 66
he was a lodger with Richard Loring, the Indian Agent.
He was shown immigrating in 1874.

His name is shown as Forest in his obituary.

1910 directory shows him as W. B. Forest, in Hazelton, Mine Owner (Bulkley)

1916 directory says W. B. Forrest, Prospector, in Hazelton

June 24, 1918- He is shown as Tom Forrest and he travelled to Telkwa to do assessment work on his claims on Dome Mountain, he co-owned with Richard E. Loring

1920 directory shows a Thomas Forrest as a farmer in Hazelton. His obituary shows his nickname as Tom

Sept 1920 he reported from Stewart about the good mining claims there. His only complaint was the price of rent.

1921 and 1922 directory shows W. B. Forrest in Hazelton, as a miner

Aug 1923 he returned to hospital for treatment.

Info from Alan Pickard came in email Jan 7, 2018 re this fellow:
John Tupper Saywell, manuscript (Alan has a copy) September 1951, Our Heritage Series, Our Pioneers, The Bulkley Valley,
Prepared for the Department of Education of the Province of British Columbia. p 33, “ .
The first claim was officially staked with John Flewin, mining recorder at Port Simpson, in August 1899.
But the previous year had witnessed the first extensive influx of prospectors. One of the first claims to be staked [in the Bulkley Valley]
was that by the Forrest Group on Goat Creek, a large tributary of the Telkwa River.
William Forest had organized the group early in 1898 and had gathered together a number of extremely able and experienced miners:
A W Vowell, W Atkins, C Hankin, W Simin, W Walton, and J Nixon.” Mineral claim; Discovery; Forest Group Mining Partnership; W B Forest, R E Loring, A W Vowell, N Atkins, H C Hankin, W Limin, H Davis, W Walton;
near Goat Creek in the Telkwa River Valley, South East of Hazelton.
Recorded by Jno Flewin, Mining Recorder, 17 September 1899. (Alan has a copy of this claim record) Note: by 1899 R S Sargent was a sub-mining recorder in Hazelton. The Forest Group shows up on the BC Dept. Of Mines reports from the above 1899 claim well into the 1920s. (These are all available online) In 1898 it seems likely that a party arrived overland from Ashcroft to Telkwa; Lyman [Limin], Harry Davis, Bob Silverthorne and another partner.
These men apparently staked the first coal claims in the Goat Creek area. It is said by L S McGill in the Omineca Herald of 7 May 1920
that these men were on their way to the Klondike but began to prospect in the Telkwa River area instead.
Information on these coal claims begins showing up in 1899/1900. See BC Mines report of the year 1905.

Info above from Alan Pickard


  • Last modified: 2018/01/07 17:15
  • by dlgent