We do not know his name: Klatsassin and the Chilcotin War

Mr. Waddington’s Deposition

Daily British Colonist, May 12, 1864

[ Waddington Map, Ferry Detail, Copy of Original Map, Alfred Waddington, British Columbia Surveyor General Branch Vault, Original Maps, 47 TY1 ]

The following deposition was yesterday made before the Acting Stipendary Magistrate, by Mr. Alfred Waddington, the promoter and proprietor of the Bute Inlet route.

I have sent up 8 or 9 expeditions to Bute Inlet, and am familiar with the north country and many of the Indians. I have arranged the whole route from the head of Bute Inlet to within 30 or 40 miles of Quesnelle river. There are several tribes of Indians on the route. The Clayoosh and Euclata Indians claim just rights on the valley of the Himathco up to the head of the valley on Salmon ranch. The next tribe, a very small one, claim from there to about a mile beyond the great [canyon?]. Tellot is their great chief; they are a branch of the Chilcotens. The Chilcoten tribe proper extends from the above point (a mile beyond the great canyon) northward probably 150 miles by 120 from east to west; most of them have horses. They have three main fishing grounds where they congregate in the spring with their wives and family to catch the [trout?] [illegible] [Chi se-out?] lake on the Chilcoten river, Alexis Lake on the trail to Alexandria, and the northern end of Tatla Lake. These three points form a triangle and are about 25 miles apart. The Indians assemble to the number of 200 or 300 at each of these places during the fishing months of May, June, and July. A deadly feud existed between the lower Indians and the Chilcoaten Indians who massacred 19 on the 1st June 20 years ago, at a spot about a mile above the ferry. I succeeded in making peace between the tribes two years ago, and they have since been on tolerable terms, though still suspicious of each other.

I have read the statement of Peter A. Petersen which I believe to be correct in all its particulars, and can vouch for the accuracy of the list of persons employed on the route, and the dates when they were sent. The persons whose names are given were all in my employment, and picked men, many of them having been up the route before. The massacre of the party took place on the Chilcoaten territory which the trail had entered for several miles. The party sent up last year was well armed, but so much confidence existed this year with respect to the Indians, that Mr. Brewster (the foreman) hought [thought] it perfectly useless to provide the party with arms which I had suggested to him.

I can fully corroborate what is said by Petersen about the good understanding with Indians. It was even an amicable feeling, and I never heard of the existence of any dissatisfaction or complaint. Tilloot used to call me his best friend. There were originally no Indians on the route from the town site to the forks, save the very small tribe at the ferry ; but since the expeditions for the construction of the trail have taken place they have congregated from all quarters, amounting sometimes to 200 or 250, and have received repeated presents of food and blankets, besides regular earning for packing, canoeing, and other services.

By this unfortunate massacre the whole existing expedition to open up the trail is frustrated and a whole season will probably be lost. The personal loss to myself will be most considerable. I wish to add, that I have sent up a second party, who left about the 24th April, with a view to open the upper trail; they went up by Bentinck Arm, and were to commence operations from Benchee Lake and work downwards. Mr. McDonald, who is the head of the party, has a ranch at Benchee Lake, and I am much afraid the whole party will be murdered by the same Chilcoaten Indians, who appear to have gone up in their direction, where they will meet the others who are proceeding by the Bentinck Arm trail, which crosses the Bute trail at Benchee Lake.

Source: "Mr. Waddington's Deposition," Daily British Colonist, May 12, 1864.

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