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

Kennedy to Newcastle, Separate

13 May 1864

With a view to correct erroneous or exaggerated Reports of a Massacre of fourteen white men which may reach Your Grace through other channels, I deem it my duty to place the facts before you, as it will be impossible for the Governor of British Columbia to communicate them to your Grace by this Mail.

2. The Statements of the Survivors of this sad tragedy, together with the newspaper accounts, which I enclose, and which are substantially correct, leave me little to add.

3. The party of men who have lost their lives in the manner detailed in these papers, were employed by "Mr. Waddington", an enterprising and highly deserving member of this community, in forming a Trail or Road from the Head of "Bute Inlet" to the Cariboo Mines in British Columbia, and had prosecuted this work for a distance of forty miles North of the Head of the Inlet, at which point the Massacre took place.

4. The Tribe or part of the Tribe of Chillcoatens who have committed this atrocity do not exceed sixty in number, and I have every reason to believe and hope that the capture and identification of the culprits will shortly be effected by the prompt and vigorous measures which I feel certain Governor Seymour will adopt. This will be rendered more easy by the aid of more powerful and friendly Tribes in their immediate neighbourhood, who are always ready to give up culprits on condition of being rewarded for so doing.

5. The Survivors are now in hospital here and I have transmitted their depositions to Governor Seymour and will not fail to afford him every assistance in my power to vindicate the Law.

6. It is known that the Chillcoaten Tribe are peculiarly jealous of their women and in the absence of any assigned reason for this ferocious proceeding, I would fear that the residence of a number of single white men among the Chilicoatens, and the almost certain results, may be among the causes which have led to the catastrophe.

I have etc.

Mr. Elliot

Thank Governor Kennedy for forwarding this intelligence which Mr. Cardwell has received with great concern.

ABd 28 June

Mr. Fortescue

TFE 28/6

A shocking affair.

CF 29
EC 30


Statements made before J.L. Wood, Acting Stipendiary Magistrate for Vancouver Island, 11 May 1864, by Peter A. Peterson, Philip Buckley, Edward Moseley, Alfred Waddington, and Frederick Whymper, relating to a massacre on the Bute Inlet road on the morning of 30 April 1864.

Newspaper extracts, The British Colonist, 12 May 1864, and The Daily Chronicle, 12 May 1864, reporting the events of the massacre and the statements of the survivors.


Draft reply, Cardwell to Kennedy, No. 16, 4 July 1864.

Draft reply, Cardwell to Kennedy, No. 34, 31 August 1864.

Source: Great Britain Public Record Office, Colonial Office Records, CO 305/22, p. 197, 6010, Arthur E. Kennedy, Letter to Newcastle, Separate, sent May 13, 1864, received June 28, 1864.

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Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History