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

Inquest of William Brewster, John Clark and Jim Gawley

[ Alexis Map, Brewster Massacre, Detail from the Alexis Map showing the site of the attack on the road crew. From map originally drawn by Indians Alexis and Ualas as interpreted by Mr. Ogilvie, signed W. Cox, Benshee Lake, 22 July 1864., Alexis and Ualas, Public Record Office, Great Britain MPG6541 ]

British Columbia to Wit.

Proceeding at an Inquest held at Murder Camp before C. Brew and J. Elwyn Esquire on the Twenty first day of May 1864 on the bodies of William Brewster, John Clark and Jim Gawley the following Jury having been sworn and having viewed the bodies the Inquest was adjourned to the 23rd inst. to receive evidence

Leslie Jones — Foreman
1. E. Ackins
2. J. Turnbull
3. J. Brough
4. S. Handy
5. Geo. Green
6. W. Hammond
7. J.T. Ramsay
8. A.G. Anderson
9. R. Andrews
10. P. Cogley
11. J. Bennett

Homathco, Waddington
23rd May 1864


Quitlie or George Clohouse Indian states I was cook to Mr. Brewster whose dead Body I saw the other day. I remember the day the Chilcoten Siwashes killed the white men early in the morning. I was washing the things after the men had eaten their breakfast — four men breakfasted, Jim, Clark, Battiste and Brewster. Brewster had gone away to mark trees, the other three men were working a short way from where I was but I could only see Jim. I heard four shots but did not see any shot fired, but I saw Jim fall. A slave of the Chilcotens who knew me ran up to me caught me by the hand and pulled me and told me to run away lest the Chilcotens would shoot me. When he said this to me and having heard the shots I suspected that the white men were shot. When I was getting away I saw five Chilcoten Indians with guns and two without guns. One of the latter was the slave whose name is Shechennah. I do not know the names of the other Chilcotens but I would know their faces if I saw them again. One Chilcoten had red trousers on. As I was going away when about half the distance between Brewsters Camp and the camp where the other men were murdered I met a great crowd of Indian women carrying heavy loads on their backs going towards Chilcoten Country. They were accompanied by about ten men. The men were also carrying heavy loads on their backs. Amongst these ten men I recognized Tellut and Klatsassin Chansassy. They all seemed to be in a great hurry. When I arrived at the Camp occupied by the other white men I saw four white men lying dead and bloody. I do not know their names. When I came near the Ferry I saw two white men, they called to me but I would not go near them. I wanted to get home. I swam the river about midway and as I made great haste I got to the Homalthco Lodge a good while after nightfall but the moon was up. I was only two days cooking for Brewster when the murder took place.

Taken before us at Waddington, Bute Inlet
23rd day of May
A.D. 1864
C. Brew, S.M.
T. Elwyn

Quitlie X
his mark

Evidence Mosely Sworn & examined states I was in Mr. Waddingtons employment on the 30th of April last. I was working up on the Trail. There were twelve men sleeping in the same camp in which I was stopping. Nine of them I believe have been murdered by the Indians. At the camp called Brewsters camp about two miles from my camp there were four men in Mr. Waddingtons employment stopping; their names were William Brewster, John Clark, James Gawley, and Battiste Demarais. On the 21st inst. I was at Brewsters Camp and I saw the dead bodies of William Brewster, John Clark and Jim Gawley. From the appearance of the bodies I swear the men were murdered.

Edward Mosley

Taken before us at Waddington Bute Inlet this 23rd day of May A.D. 1864.
C. Brew, S.M.
T. Elwyn


Having heard the above evidence we are of opinion that William Brewster, John Clarke, and Jim Gawley met their deaths by wilful murder committed by certain Chilocatan Indians, names unknown.

Leslies Jones foreman
For self & fellow Jurors

Source: BCA, Colonial Correspondence, GR-1372, , C. Brew and T. Elwyn, Inquest of William Brewster, John Clark and Jim Gawley, May 23, 1864.

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