Edmington House July 26, 1862

Dear Friends

         Another oportunity has arived by which I can send you a fiew lines and it is my cincere hope that thay may find you enjoying the blessings of health which is one of the gratest blessings I have never been in better health in my life thanks be to the Father of the wandrer for all his mercies to me I can say to day his ways is pleasantness and all his paths are peace Though I am now more than 3000 miles from my native land in the wilds of the Hudson Bay territory a land (illegible)  with dangers (illegible)  every tribe on earth in time of war amongst 2 tribes the black feet and the Crees yet I am lead home again to the class room amongst Parents and Friends by a sermon From the Rev.Thos. Woosley a Weslean Misionary who has spent 7 years teaching the wild and all most untamable Indians he after service he brought 4 brethren or so to his bead room we being the onley 5 out of 150 belonging to his church though fiew in number we  ware nevertheless  hartly and kindley receved by him and gave us the privilage of ocuping his rudly constructed and humble room in which I now ocupie a seat while I endeavor to wright to those in my one native land he has taken our names to report in the Christian Gardian he tells us of his travels through the Indians during his 7 years abode amongst them dangers seen and un seen perils by day and knight dangers which I have not space to pen to you but when I return to my one native land I shal relate to your astonishment --- he preachs this evening on the campground —I will now tel you the form which we adopted to travel (illegible)  about 150 every 2 provided their selves with one oxe and cart or more if thair means allowed them but one is sufisant for too men each man provides 200 lbs of flour 50 lbs of pemican -- that is Bufflow meat choped up dried and the tallow mixed and milled in to bags maid of the skin of 2 bushel bags one of which will weigh 224 lbs this is very disgustfull loocking food mixed with the hare of the animal and grass it has been maid by Indians on the planes and choped up on the ground acounts for its bad appearance never the less you must take it (illegible)  to cross the planes you may bring some dried ham but it wont keep long 3 or 4 lb of tea each some dried apples some suger some ginger or peperment it is good for giving bad water a flavour which we met in abundance stagnate and salt lakes and some time none good or had each cart brought a water keg we  kept it filled with water this is onley required in the commencement of the journey we find to mutch in the later part the things we provide ( illegible ) at the highest figer from 8 lbs to 10 lbs starting for an oxen cart with out a nale nor a bolt of iron of any sort on it the harness without a buckel or a stitch in it it been made solely of green buflow skin our cart covred over with cotton on a piece of raw hide tied to the oxes horns as a ranes to guide him and a stick in our hand for a whip we mounted the carts and went a days drive a distance of 30 miles to a place called White Horse planes Thair we camped for half a day formed our selves into companeys the each companey went by the name of the place the party was from ours was the Ottawa company each man was of librty to join what companey he liked and each companey formed a captain and the captain of evry company met in the eavening after camping and maid rules for the next days travel we camped in a sircle carts close to gether and tents out side pitched our tents at 6P.M. if we found water let our cattle out untill sundown tuck them in to midle of the ring til morning but a centry of 6 men (illegible)  for the knight. Our companey was composed of 11 men which I repsent in the ring it increased to 21 men 11 carts in all were 100 carts we hired a half breed to guide us (illegible)  Indians (illegible)  we came to Carlton house at about one quarter of the distance to Edmington our guide left us stole a duble barl gun to kill game we nevr saw him since we ware alone than with out a guide on a baren trackless land we must go on. to go back is ucless our party tuck the lead the rest in the rare struck a norwesterly course (illegible)  after 7 days hard travling through a very rough prarie we saw the banks of the Saskatchewan in 4 hours we gained the fort hired a nother guide who brought us faithfully to Edmington house hear we have to hire another guide to take us to Jaspr house whare we shal have to get another to take us to caraboo. Hear we have to abandon our carts and pack our animals to cross the mountains we traded guns old close carts for more horses. Money is no use hear. We can take our oxen across the mountains and down the Frasur on to caraboo (illegible)  It will take us 30 days yet to Caraboo.We  (illegible)  6 weeks (illegible)  this fall som will go no further than hear. The Ottawa men staie hear the (illegible)  remain hear too I am going William and John Halpenny together 4 more men liked joined our party so out of 21 of the Ottawa party thair onley 8 going over the mountain. Thair is all of some companeys going over. I think about 50 shall remain in the Saskatchewan -those staying are chiefly city men the trip is too hard for any one but a stout robust person. We some times had to waid through 3 or 4 feet of water for a distance of 50 or 60 rods -ford rivers and creeks. The mornings is very cold hear some days we ware (illegible)   coats mostly all day thair is no large trunks here the principal wood is poplar and willow in some places so thick that you could not go through it and some places miles without a twig. The ground is strewed with Buflow carkus and bones. Your ears sometimes (illegible)  with wolves following our tail to pick up crums whare we camp. Thay are large white (illegible)  looking -I shot some of them. The black snake and the adr are the onely reptiles we saw the aders are plenty in Minesota but not in the HB Teratory. I killed one with a club some shot them we saw som Antilope the Buflow (illegible)  in large drove of 1000 or more you must shoot the leader  then thay devide until the train pass. I wish I could hear from you I cannot tell you to (write) to me for I dont know yet whair I shal bee you need not Espect a letter from me untill I reach caraboo and I dont know when that shal bee. If we get gold in the head waters of the Fraiser we will stop for a time on it and go down (illegible)  our oxen will be food for us. I will endeavor to conveigh to you a faint idea of the maners and customs of the Hudson Bay inhabitants. Thar is 5 forts from fort Garry to the rockey mountains. Ecepting fort Garry/James past Carlton House Fort (illegible)  and Edmington House the Jasper House is in the rockey mountains. It we expect to see in 10 days time. The mastrs and other officers of those posts is Scotch the servents are Half breeds and Indians whites and others mixed together. In one bead are men (illegible)  and taring flesh of any discription it may be dogs or cats or badgers or Buflow eather killed or dead by accident. It is Imitereal all is eaten without salt or flour raw or (illegible)  Thair bead is a buflow robes all spread down to together on the ground squaws Indians halfbreeds halfbreed wimen and children together with Scotlands degraded  sons all misced up together. Some of the forts is rudley constructed with mud and small poplar walled found with trunks (illegible)  end to the north a 16 feet to keep the Indians out in time of war thay have some small canon in the side of this wall. Thair is some dozen or more of miserable houses perfumed with roten skins and putrified flesh which is imposable to describe. These houses are inhabited by the above named people and not less than one hundred and fifty dogs at each fort. Those thay kill and eat some times in winter thay use them for drawing slaighs post to post .Hear thay are preparing to kill some on next Wensday. It is a general thing to asemble to gether and have a feast on dogs flesh. Thay soo no grain  escept a little hear more for curosity than any thing else. Thay all live by hunting. Thay are a lasey carless indolent set from head river to the rockey mountain. I mean the rout through states in Millwalkee detroite st Pauls and maney other towns and vilages I past through on Sunday they were busey shops open tin smiths and evrey other smith and carters hamering  and driving boats lading and unlading and church bells ringing. O what a discord between the church bell chimes and the cracking of the whips and swaring of men and tumult of business on Sunday.  Hear I must cease for it is imposable for me to discribe the way the Sabath day was violated in the states during my brief and fleeting pasage across it. What I have saw is without exadgeration  to mee Canaday seems to be a liley be cide a thorn in that respect now doubt thair towns are grand thair fields fertile thair prairies romantic and butiful. The Lord has gave to them a butiful land parts which seems like a paradise. But the air is ringing with oathes and blasfamy of vile man. The red river settlement and hudson Bay teritory is drunk in sin. Those Indians and halfbreeds knows (illegible)  nor times no better from thair pale faced brethren I think I must cess writing before I burn the poor Misionary candle to a snuff. I have gave you a faint glance  at what I have saw for the past three months nor space will not admit me to go further though I (illegible)  would wright un till morning for while I write I fance I am in my own native land telling to a tender mother or a kind Father or a loving sister or some of my youth full companions to which to be remembered  and tell them if I shall never meet them on earth I shal meet them in the land of the pure and holey whare the gold shal never rust and the wearey are at rest I need not mention them seprate remebr me to all So Father Mother Sisters good night I must retire to my tent and cot on home tomorrow start for the mountain. Write to Fany tell her I am well and will write to her as soon as I get another oportunity which will be from the other side of the mountain.


I am yours dutifully and affectionately untill death

Joseph T. Halpenny

To his Parents sisters and Friends


PS I will write to boys sepratley when I get to the end of my jorny so that I can recieve an answer from them the RWT Woolsey has 10 dogs to draw him about. Remember me to Mrs. Thompson in particular and David H.



please excuse my bad spelling to any misteks place them in harmony if you can

we pased over battle ground recently fought trampled over the graves allso (illegible)  across the disputed ground camped among the indians I presented a chief my knife which he received and gave me his in return they are astonished when they see my sword


John Halpenny wishes to be remembered to his Parents and brothers and sisters and friends let them know that he is well and hopes thay are enjoying the same blessing


William H is likeways well he writes a letter home now the Misionary taks our lettrs down the saskatchewan


David Byrs is well he comes across the mountain with us the mountain is easy to cross thair is a gorg through it our guide says we wont know we are in the mountain at all till we are over we are going to the Athabaska pass


Green Lake B.C. September 22, 1862

C.W. (illegible)

Dear Friends,

         I gladley imbrace another oportunity of sending you a fiew lines hoping thay may one day reach you (illegible)  sincerely hop thay may find you all enjoying the blessing of health as do all inquiring friends. I (illegible)  was better in my life thanks be to the giver of all good. (illegible)  to one I have landed safe in the land of (illegible)  the sultry planes in crossing the fleeting (illegible) swimming  some times hanging to an animal (illegible)  to make a raft when to (illegible)  was forced to (illegible)  bridges. We made eleaven of the latter in one weak (illegible)  with continual rain for 11 days near the ( illegible ) with out ceasing which cause a continual travling through wet (illegible)  feet to 4 and sometimes 5.  I was forced with many others to (illegible)  watch in my cap and then it (illegible) . But never ceased to keep time it being the onley one crossed the mountains safe out of 3 dozen. I cant attempt to give you more than a mere out line of our trip (illegible)  that we were longer crossing the (illegible)  mountains than we imagined we should bee. We ware 4 weeks in the mountains sometimes up in the clouds some down in the swamps or a rise snow or ice continually for 5 weeks.Water falling for hundreds of feet rushing from the snow down to laks or rivers with a mightey noise (illegible)  seldom or never been seen by the Indians it bein hid in the clouds. One of those A young man from Godrich a surveyor named Robison and me climed to the haith of 1500 feet (illegible)  and when thair it we apeared to be no neare the top than when (illegible)  ground. The cattle in the valey apeard to us no larger than a small dog each one tuck his one cover I tuck the trail of a grisley Bear he the rocks this track was through little srubs and moss (illegible)  the rock. These I had to cling to if I let go I was dashed to pieces. At a haith of 500 feet I came to a hole in the rock hear the bare was in at the time for his track on (illegible)  whare he draged his selfe in and over this hole I must go or go back thes animals clime to the highes peacke of the mountains whare no human being can clime. I went across the mouth of the whole and on a fiew yards furthre and Robinson shouted for me to help him down to me he being 20 feet on my left higher than me. My cover was left at french cut in the Rocks al the way up on a water  (illegible)  dry. Hear I had to help him down. I had to cling to the rocks with one hand and lift him with the other the harder and if I ever had having a brode sholde and strong arm save him thair { but it was onley for a short time he sunk foreve in the fraiser river after crossing the mountains}. He came to the top of the first bend brave after he got into the trench with me neathe him no me dare venture any further no other person would attempt it it tuck us 1 hour and 50 minutes to go up. --- we came to the head of the Fraiser River we had to mak rafts to com down to caraboo. We brought down a yoak of cattle belonging Wm. J. and J.T. Halpenny and David Byer (illegible)  1 horse and a share in another those 2 animals we sent from the headwaters to the Origon trail by partys who tuck all the animals around. Those partes will not reach (illegible)  never see them those we brought down on the raft (illegible)  and the other we killed and sold part of it (illegible)  we (illegible)  near starved to death had it not been for our  (illegible) . We had nothing for 2 weeks but Beef some eat horseflesh some eat skunk porcupine or any thing thay could get. Had it not been for the Indians many would die of hunger (illegible) . Hankerchiefs for fish I thank god I have not yet known yet what it is to be hungry yet when I ( illegible ) though I have paid 8 cents per lb for flour 90 c.  for bacon beens 75 salt 1$ rice 75 suger 90 thea 3$. Tobac 3$ to 3-50 to this (illegible)  I have paid no attention for I have not yet commencd to use it nor does not intend to. This is at caraboo further down the Fraiser I have paid $1-50 for each meal it has been $3 in the spring it is now (illegible)  cheap. The men from canada flocked hear in the spring run away down to Victoria an some home in conequense of the price of provisions .No man can work the mines hear exept he has some capital surfis diging is (illegible)  out you must then sink 40 to 50 feet to the bead rock then you may (illegible)  the bar it lies in. Hair thair is no use in a man coming hear that cannot work at any thing. Not clerks not townsmen nor traidsmen but sutch men as can swing a wooley cradle or chop (illegible) . Not that thair is any ploughing or cradling in B.Columbia for I have not seen grain Enough to keep a threshing mill for 2 days working for a distance of 700 miles along the fraser nor a farm I would take as a gift. It is all hills mountains rocks exept some (illegible)  of poor land.  I mean that a man that can work on a farm is the man best suted for this country for he genrley can doo any thing to be (illegible)   but let no one that you can help come to the Overland rout thay may never reach hear. The glasfords and all the ottawa men staid in Saskatchewan we left them at Edmington. I have my doubt of  thair loock thair out of 100 I can onley as yet for 60 landed in caraboo. We left some making rafts an canoes those in canoes will never reach hear. Thair was 2 canoes come with us back was lost 2 men drawnde we tuck 19 men from a reck of thair raft we never (illegible)   a with I acted as (illegible)  thos men behind does not under stand (illegible)   thair chances is poor thay may come through. Thair is (illegible)  canyuns to come through I cant say no more about the rout I have not (illegible)  but if ever I reach my one native land I will be able to unravel a long tail. We gave Wm. Halpenny some money to go 60 miles up further to pay the license for a claim it being onley 5$ and stak it off. John Hand David Byrs and I are working on the roads for 40$ per month I Have not mutch to do onley to stand at the dump and show them whare to empty the loads. Thair is 200 men in sections along the road. My camp is 27 all Canada me but 4. Thay offered us 57$ to work on Sunday I am sorey to say all my country men except John Byrs and mee volentared. Sunday is no more respected than Monday. Hear all work gambling and drinking is seen to a grate extent. Whiskey 25 cents per glass it is paid as read as one cent they have not seen my 25 cents nor never will. Thair is no doubt gold in abundance hear but fiew finds it in comparison to them that does not. It takes 6 or 8 men to work a claim right. We intend to try next spring if Will can find a claim to suit.  I have not wanted money since I left home I done a good deal of trading with Indians in the plains I trade my rifle for a horse my handkerchief  I maid 3$. Each of many things I did not want turned in 5 times its value and the day I hired with the company I had 15$ left. I have some gold dus a sample of which I will send you. It is small though some future day I hope to send you more.


I rote aletter from Edmington to you send no word if you get it. It is getting dark I must cease not half satisfied for when I wright I fancy I am home but if the lord spares me for a nother year I shal see those that are dear to me again. Thair is thousands returning home from this country but I must give it a fair trial before I give up in dispair. Remembr me W. Freeman the Holmes and evry one that inquires for me. Tell them I will wright to them the first opertuity. I am sending this in the morning by dalight by a man going down an I have onley 1/2 an hour to wright this. We are in the bush an no candle so excuse my bad spelling and writing.Tel them to wright me directing your letter to Westminster British Columbia.It may be that I will be in Victoria Vancouver befor I can get a letter from home but I must go down through Wminster and can make it all right. Tell any of the boys that is coming out hear to wright home soon and I will have a share bearth in my cabin for them. 2 months is a long as thay can work on this road in consequence of frost and snow. It freese and snows hear now we were so far north on the plains. We had onley 2 1/2 hours of night. Wright soon as posable tell about evry thing. I must wright to Fany soon John and William is well and wishes to be remember to thair Friends Byrs too I heard from W.Woods he was well when the person saw him. I dont know whare he is. Fairburns is well and dooing well all is well I am yours until death


Victoria November 16, 1862

         I have now a safe oportunity of sending you a fiew lines by a canadian who came across the K Mountains with me and is now returning home disgust with the far famed Gold regions. I have saw many strang seens many strang faces of evry nation sence I saw yours. I have came from the head waters of the Fraiser to the mouth a distance of 1000 miles. Crossed the Pavillion mountains 3 times the Baskards once all so (illegible)  over the Geogian Gulf and a wide scope of the Pesific Ocean and saw all the viliges towns and citys in British columbia and Vancouver Island. I am now in Victoria one of the larger citys in this least wild and extensive country it is about the size of Prescot. Onley no so good buildings here. West Minster is not so larg as Medcalf situated in the edg of a wild woods whoes trees mesures from 5 to 8 feet across the stump. High mountains rocks uncountable with out 100 acres of evin soil, no farming, no whare for to farm sutch true discription of West Minster and vicinity. Duglis Tillote Yail Hope and Tilton are all on the banks of the Fraiser and has been hudson Bay Forts. Are all small miserable places none any larger escepting Tilloote than Billings Bridge nore is thair any Farming Country about Victoria though it is called by the papers hear a farming locality. Thair is no doubt a few acres hear and thair in Valies between the mountains good land but thiar is not a grist mill of any kind in British Columbia Caraboo nor Vancouvr Island nor never will. I believe all the food of evry discription comes hear from Origan and California this country is Overrun with people hundreds going to California and many to Canada. Many more would go if thay could go. California is the best place for many for it is a farming country but hear thair is nothing dooing out cide of town. Bording houses pays best hear mines (illegible)  cabins and bords them selvs. You can bord yourself as cheap as Canada. That is in Victoria but British Columbia is from one doler to $1-1/2 per meal, Caraboo 2 and (illegible) . Thair is plenty of gold in Cariboo no doubt but it is onley one out of 100 can find it thair is onely 3 months of sumer thair and it is rainey wether mostl.y You want about 5 or six hundred dolers at least to find any gold.Hear you must sink a hole from (illegible)  to 60 feet and line it like a well in the first place. Then you must shifel under ground untill you find the lead and fiew strike it and those who strike it gets abundence of it no doubt and those are the onley claims that are publishe an those who do not strike it is not mentioned. I have a claim on the far famed Williams Creek. Thair is gold in it if I can onely get gold anough to get it out. I am determin to try though like thousands I may not sucseed it is 600 miles from hear to Wm. Creek.

 I can say without hesitation do not come hear to farm if you doo you will be sorey if you come hear to mine you may strike it and very likely yo may not.Tel no clerks no city gentlemen com in fact too many has come if evry third son of the (illegible)  gentlemen in Canada are sawing wood scraping streets and many other nasty jobs.A man who come hear must turn his hand to evry thing.. Do not beleav evry thing yo read about this country too the best of my knolede I will sen true acount it is the most wicked country in the world cursing gambling drinking and some times shooting. I have saw some killed some dead an walked over gravs as unconserned as I have through a potatoes field at home. Many Indians maid drunk by whits and kill each other nor can I say half what I want to say. I cannot dwell any longer  hear this is my forth letter home I have so none yet. I hav the offer of $4 per day to work at James (illegible)  or $3 a thousand for making shingles. I have never known what it is to want money yet thanks be to him who feeds the ravins in the skys I shall not want. I am bording at Methesdist house. thair is a fine class hear I can loock on my distant home in the skys and say thair is not a shaid of truble (illegible)  across my pease full brest onley I long to see my old friend again if God spares me untill next fall I hope I shall meet you all again as well as I left you. Remember ...


Vancouver  Island, Victoria

December 16, 1862

Cousin Hand,

         Opportunity favours me with a fiew moments to send you a fiew lines by steemer Sanfrancisco it onley stays 3 hours in harbour and 2 of them is allready past which leave  me onley one to wright  and post it. I cannot give you a full account  of our trip in this letter  I will briefly mention that  is allmost imposable to come to this country by that way an those who are not helthy hardy and strong need not attempt  it. If thay do thair bones shal most likley lie bleaching on the allmost boundless plains or otherwise in the foming waters  perhaps on the snow clad peaks of the rockey mountains. Not only those but hundreds of other risks too numerious to mention togather with the readman  of the forest who is ever ready to bury his knife into the bosome of the white man I have had them in a crowd  around me thair left hand extended out to shake hands with me the knife drawn in the right hand I allso brandish a glittering blade about 2 feet long in my right hand an with my left grasp the hand of the wild man. I may hear state not bostlingly that thair were  not meny in our larg company of 150 men would do it. Each company had a captain to transact thair busyness. I represent the Ottawa  forty for this reason I had to wair  the sword which  caused the Indians to wonder  and gather around any person that had them and for this reason very fiew wore them.

Thair has been a number of the Overland party lost how many I cannot state as thay all did not take the same course on this side of the mountains. I with  60 others came down the Fraiser the balance of the party went  down the Thompson. Thair was  some the latter  lost. I have not herd how many nor until latley of how many on the Fraiser. The reason is I was  first down an onley saw 2 sink beneath the waters  of the mighley Fraiser. 3 of the party behind met with the same fate which makes 5 lost on the Fraiser namely J.Peterson of Toronto formerly of England A. Robinson Godrich Capenter Brown Penwarden  from Toronto or vicinity I think. I forgot to state that Peter Glasford and Waldo Cooper Wamsley Bettiman and McKnab of Ottawa did not come further than Edmington a Hudson Bay Post a distance of 300 miles from the R. Mountains on the west cide. Thay remained hear intending to prospect the Saskatchewan  river. Of thair sucksess in procuring gold on the stream I have my doubts however  we got the coulor thair but more abundantly Shavcake,  McKloud and many other streams in the rockey mountains.

Our supplies of food was  allmost escausted  some living and (on? ..Ed.) 2 meals of fresh beef which  soon reduced to one. Some not (illegible)  some in a state of starvation  killing and eating any animal thay could find. Skunks ware  the mos numerous 2 or 3 being killed every day and eten  with  a good relish. Some of our horses die from fitague the ware  (illegible) . we  with  some others had some (illegible)  though thay ware  redused to fourty we  killed them devided them amongs the most needy which no daubt saved many from actual  starvation  and death.

Caraboo is undoubtly a rich gold country but a man without  money cannot posably obtain it without  at least 5 o 6 hundred dolers to commence  with  and then ten chanses to 100 if you can find it in one season. You have  onley 3 months to work. You must endure continuous rains. The gold does lie nerer  than  60 or 70 feet of the surface. You must pay from $2 to $2.50 for the (illegible)  everything in the line of food.  (illegible)  not saw any places where  a half dozen of farms could be procured together  BV.Columbia ore yet in Vancouver  Island it mountainous rockey in the (illegible)  tel no person come in the (illegible)                                                                             



( No date or location )

Thair is no chance to clerks hear. Thair is not one store to evry hundred clerks in this town. Thair is people hear from all parts of the world in thousands. Hear some in (illegible)  many retunrning home to thair native land or California time is said to be better in summer time. Sutch is a faint glance of the state of things hear so you can pas your comments at your leasur at home in Canada the pride of the british dominions wher I want advise many that thinks of coming to this country to remain. ---- I am painting at present. I had $4 per day in a joiner shop but I cut my hand badley with the saw which leaves me unable to work at that business so I went to sign painting sutch as I can do with one hand. I pay $6 per week for my bord this with the doctors buill comes high but I feel thankfull as yet that I am able to meet them all. I have got a claim on Williams creek.  John is hear working for $1-50 per day. Charles Amore is hear doing nothing nor maid nothing. Bradley is hear working in a carpinter shop. William Wood I have not seen I herd he was in Origon. Fairburn paid $1000 for a claim got onley $1000 out of it which did not pay for thair bord. I did not see the McKaters but herd they maid nothing and again I saw some that maid a pile but thay had a pile to commence with. This is without esadguration.

         Remember me to Mr and Mrs Thompson (illegible)  and all Enquiring friends. Yours truley J.T. Halpenny

P.S. I never  shal forget Mrs Thompsons kindness to me together with yours which I hope soon to repay JTH

wright soon direct your letter to Vancouver Island Victoria

Vancouver Island, Febuary 13, 1863

Dear Father,

         I do not know that I send anything that would interest you in this. Thair is 2 men of my acquaintance  going home to canada  and kindley offers to cary my letters. I have onley receved one letter from you sense I left home dated November 15 wrote by mother Ellen and Alicia and Fany Tomkins. Those letters are a treasure to me when ever I feel lonesone ore alone I read them all over and over again and feel sorey when I come to the end. When you write to me write a long letter dont mind apologising for mistakes write it any way I can read it. I read that part wrote by my mother with a feeling I cannot express. Dont doubt my capibility of apriciating the affections of a mother and more espessaly one sutch as mine. Martha nor Sarah sent me not a line but I know thay have not for got me I have not forget aney of you. I wonder does Sarah sing that little piece she promised she would sing for me while away.  I allso receve a letter From Mrs. Thompson and David and Wm. Freeman all of which I answered and sent by a man going home. I was very sorey hearing of Mr. Freemans barn being burnt but all things worked together for good for them that love me saith the Lord. I did not receive R. Holmes letter. Thair is hardley any thing doing hear at preasant. Thair is a fiew gets a days work now and then at $1.00 and 25 cents per day. Some time men get $1 and 1/2. Thar will be better wages when the spring opens. I for get to say that men have to bord thair selvs at that wages. Bord hear and find your own bead close are $6.00 per week. Some board a little cheaper by renting a cabin. One 8 feet sqair cost six dolers per month and find your own stove. Coal $20 per ton wood $6 per cord. You must build your own chimley pay your own taxes so that the cabin comes very little cheaper than the bording house. I am stoping at the Overland Resturent formerly kept by Mr. Bohem who is now gon to canada. I sent you some lettrs by him. I think mentioned him in the letters it is now kept by 2 o the men that came across the plains with me.Thay keep a nice house alowing no liquer nor gambling in the house. I think it is the onley house that prohibits sutch in Victoria but thair is any amount of musick playing in this house.  While I am writing thair is 2 (illegible) 1 flute 1 banjo 1 tamburien playing all around me in the room. So you will escuse my bad writing and spelling for it is Imposable to write whair thair is sutch a noise. I have seen the Ottawa Citizen with 2 of my letters published in it if I thought thay would have been published I would have done them more justice but the onley mistake is see in them is that of Edmington house in it is Eddington. We have heard in this town that the Indians of Minisota have destroyed 800 whites together with a party coming here after us. Thay maid a rush on us on the read river sounding the war hoop and firing some guns but on  (illegible)  our boat thay saw we were fulley prepared for them becids a good numbre of us thay retreated. Revolvers and rifels astonish the Indians in this country at least on the plains. I will endeavor to give you the names of the tribs I have been amongst sense I left home on the east cide of the Rocky mountains. The Chippways Crees Suzeo Assynbayns bloods stone blackfeet Rocky mountain Raingers and many others. I forget on this side of the mountain the Sewswaps Northrens Cost Indians flathead Indians Belacoola I. (Island -editor) Ballabala I.Queen Shortet I. Victoria I. and maney others I do not remember but I am going to take the names of all the tribes as I go up the country as I meet them. I have kept nots of evry thing sence I left home. It is an Almanac for the Overland boys.The editor of this paper in this town wanted to get it from me but I am determined to bring it home when I go.  I have been at allmost evry thing sence I came hear carpintering building brick chimleys making fence painting lettering sines building a warf rafting on an  (illegible)  of the pesific Ocean lettering buisness cards lathing at this I cut my finger with the saw. I had a big job of it and I was in a great hurry it beeing near dark I tuck a bunch of laths to saw them across one of them sprung out and  (illegible) the saw on my finger. I was for 2 weeks  (illegible)  with it it cost me a considerable for the doctor to dress it 4 times. It is quite well now. I was going up to the roads with the man I worked for last fall he wanted me to go with a gang of choprs but the river frozed over and we cant go until it braks up. I am now working on a warf with some Ottawa men Charley Amo Bradley Reed Sims Brown he being the contracter. John Halpenny is working at a fence at preasant. Hear William Woods in a saw mill David Byrs making a dam at duglis William Halpenny cutting wood in Caraboo. Thair is no communication to cariboo by lettre in winter time. I hear some times from him by some  (illegible)  men who seen him, He has taken a claim for us. We intend going up in the spring. Thair is a great maney sorey for coming hear .I am not sorey yet I am determined to see if thair is aney thing in Caraboo for me first and then I will be satisfied to go home. It may be I shal have to come down broak like thousends how ever I would like to see you all next winter if posable. I would not live in this country by any means. It is the most profain place I ever hear of. Tel aney of the boys who talk of coming hear not to come without at least ten or twelve hundred dollers. In fact I would not advise them to come at all this season thay can erin as mutch and more money at 10 or 15$ per month at home than thay can hear exept thay had money anough to prospect a claim in caraboo and that is onley one chanse again 100. Please escuse this scrible I onley hope that it will find you all in good helth as I am at preasant thanks be to the giver of all goodness who has guided me safe through many daingers and who will guide home at last to heaven. Thair I hope to meet you all if not on earth. Remember me to James and Mary Ann Ellis to Mr. Freemens and Hardys McKenzees B. Homes and David. Remember me to all tell them all to write me lettrs from home are chearing  in a straing land. John wishes to be remember to all. My complemetns to Mrs Thompson and David uncle William and family though far from you all let me whisper good knight your affectionate but distant son.

                                                               Joseph T. Halpenny

to his respected Father and mother and sisters at home

Seeder Hill V.T. November 29 1863

Dear Friends

         I am now in the visinity of Victoria after spending the sumer in Caraboo without securing mutch benefit by it further than they. Prospects are encuraging  so mutch so that I am induced to spend another sumer in Caraboo. The miners had all stoped work and laid over thair claims untill next season we wair the last to give up work. On lower Williams Creek the reason why the Frost binds up the stream and it is imposable to work without water --- Our claim is looked on as a claim that will turn out a rich mine when we reach the bottom which I hope we shall test airley in the spring. I closed the books for this season before I left W.Creek and our espences for Incidentals and others ware $14000. I was elected Secretary of the company shortley after I became a member of the Bearer Co. I am going to spend another season in Caraboo and after wheather sucksessful or not I will bid fair well to British Columbia and Vancouver Island. I will seek the home of sivilised. On my way from Caraboo I seen 4 Indians hung they being some of a partey who killed nine white men at a trail called the River trail at Bridge creek. I saw a man with this troth cut he was yet alive but unable to speak. At Tilloot I heard a Rober sentenced to death for the murder of  (illegible). This along with severl othres crimes of smaller dementions but nevertheless horiable in one trip from Caraboo as for leavling  pistols at each other it is nothing hear. It is an evrey day acurance  among a serten class sutch as gamblers and so on ---- I have had the pleasure of frequently keeping in company with Laughlin Tayler in Caraboo. He told me he had been over three quarters of the world amongst the sailors and solgers and miners in California Newzeland Australie and other plases. And so wicket  place as Caraboo he never seen. I am now at Seeder Hill a distance of 5 miles from Victoria. I am building a trashing mill for a member of parliment. I am likley to remain hear all winter he has other jobs he wants me to do I am my owen boss and has a nice shop all to my selfe. I left John William and Chapman Fred Bradley Dan and old Mr. McArther all well John intended to come

New WestMinster January 12, 1866

Dear Friends

         Last knight I received  too letters from you one dated June 25 and the other August 17th the first I have received  since the one I received  last winter  dated November 1864. That is only once a year I hear from home that is not as often as I would wish to hear. But nevertheless I know you have sent more than those to me but the fact is I have not received  them and the onley way I can acount for it is that I am never  verrey long in the one place and cannot tell whair  I may bee in a month from hence.  I have sent 3 letters home last sumer and was wating an answer to send again  however I am verrey thankfull for those I have got and hope you will continue sending them more numerous than ever that I may be able now and then to find one as I wander along on my roving but unsukessfull mishion.  Now I will tell you my transactions sence I sent you my last letter. I was then at the mouth of the Quisnell river from thair I went to caraboo in order to work a while in a claim and return home in the fall.While I was thair thair was a ritch claim struck on the sumit of the mountain aposit Ritchfield. A man who bee a partner of mine in all my mining performance was thair when the found the gold and imediatley staked ought 4 claims numbering my name amongst them and indeed I was pleased to find that I was the posesor of a claim on the top of a hill whair the water could not truble me and more fortunit still joining a ritch claim. We went to work faithfully at it sunk a shaft found the bead rock but not a couler of the precious mettle then we ran drifts (or tunels) through it but no gold thair. We spent our last doller loocking for mor the sertain gon loocking for the unsertain which every one counted sertain but all bitterley disapointed and I more disapointed than aney one deprived of seeing the home and friends I long so mutch to see deprived of the treasure I longed to carey home to you and which I cannot find curage in myselfe to go home without. It is hard if one who is said to have a braive and courageous hart to be defeated and disapointed in the object nearest to my hart that is to carey back to my home and my parents and sisters something that would make them stand on the saim platform with some of those who esteem them selves more highley than nature has destined them. However it is a long road that has no turn I am not discuraged yet. Let me remain hear untill next fall. I may be away for the big bend of the columbia River before a week. Thair is a new gold field I mean to try it if the lord spares me to reach thair and when I get hom if I doonot suceed I will not acuse my selfe of not making the gratest effort I new and if I never suceed I will always be thankfull to my heavenley Father for his unspeakable mercie un to me in this land of straingers. John Halpenny went out to the big bend last fall and is winterring thair he has taken up claims thair. William H. Is stoping hear I have never seen Robert Holmes yet but I understand he is gon back to silver city. Thair is not much dooing hear. I forgot to tell you how I got down to New Westminster. I went to work on a bridge and urned a nough in a short time to bring me hear and to keep me hear a while. When we came to yale the steemer had stoped runing and we had to hire Indians to bring us in a canoe to hear. Thair was eight of we ran through ice all the first ariving at harrison about one hour after dark after a cold day and and dangerous 50 miles of Fraisour navigated . Started next morning maid 30 miles finding our selves sorounded by ice floting crushing and braking carreying us whair it pleased then we longed to bee on terrafirma this we acomplished after one long hour toiling and braking through acres of foming ice with our little craft cut through in his bowes. We abandoned it and took to the woods making from 3 to 8 miles a day untill we reached  hear. It took us 5 days to travel 30 miles. We had to stop at indian houses. Thay treated us verrey well. This route was through the grate sumass district of which you must heard something about. As for me I hope I shal nevr be catched in it a gain. Thair is 3 or 4 degraded white men thay call Farmers living on salmon and potatoes. Fread Bradley was all through these performances with me after all we are all hear and all well thanks be to him who gides the wandrer. I am rejoiced to hear you are all well and verrey glad that Martha and Sarah is still at school. Listen to me my 2 sisters you are nobley imployed. Keep to school dont waist a moment folishley dont get tired of learning never fancey you are too old to learn or to big. Learning is one of the greatest gems the best fortune. I would not give a good education for the best township in Gloucester. You may think that is a foolish asersion. Not so while you have learning you can neve want that is rather a (scratched out) boys maid about me not returning home on acount of (scratched out) what (scratched out) thay wair maid to understand that (scratched out) I was at home and more than that I could (scratched out) not at home to (scratched out) but thair is one thair that can (scratched out) this is anough to say on this subject it a delicat matter to (scratched out) it is able to make (scratched out) but I want (scratched out) but let this sufise for the preasants let me add that I would think little about my home if the union of sutch a (scratched out) keep me from it or remove for a moment the affection that is in my bosome for my Father Mother and Sisters. Now a line to my dear mother whome I have never lost sight of through my wanderings. Let me do away with my boyish timidities that yet lingers around me in espressing my full sentiments of my mind in this respect. Mother it is nearley 4 years since I parted you. The time I remember well I have been absent in the bodey but with you with my hart I am with you and talking with you every knight but alass waik up to find my selfe far far away and it is my most solem prair to my hevenley father this knight that I may be with you before he pleases to call one of us home to the land whair thair is no sorrow. I have the fiew lines you sent me by your one hand I remembr your advise I have kept it and may god inable me to do so untill the end may he guide and protect all of you parents sisters and friends.

                                                      Joseph to his dear and respected mother


Ellen I have sent a fiew lines to my mother I have not room hear to say all I want to say in my next I will send a line to my father. You say I dont mention the McKenzees I thought I remember them all. Remember me to them and Every one you think. Well of I am verey thankfull to Margret for the note she sent me in companey with yours and as I have not room hear I will send her one directed to her selfe. I wish thair may be some line some word that you and her may enjoy your selves over.

                                                      Joseph Halpenny to his parents and sisters hoping this may find you all enjoying helth and hapiness as I am well at preasant thanks be to my Redeemer


P.S Direct your next letter to

New WestMinster P.O.  B.C.                         Joseph Halpenny 

New Westminster, B.C.

March 11th 1866

Dear Friends

         I am hear yet in my last letter I said I was soon going to big bend but the river closed this with a heavy fall of snow prevented every one from going up. Navigation is now open the steemers runing to yail so I am going to make a start next week fully determined to mak one more effort to realise something in the mines if thair is any thing in them. Thair has been nothing doing in this town if I may call it a town but the press hear has the assurance to call it a City. Every 3 or 4 houses built together is called a city. This name for insignificant bits of mining camps appear big to people far away. I think I might saifley say that all the towns in this coloney including Vancouver Island put to gather would not make a town as large as Ottawa City. John Halpenny arived hear last week and I am sorey to tell you the poor fellow was forced to toter a long on crutches.He went to big bend last fall took up a claim sunk down 11 feet found a little gold anough to encurage  them to sink further. Thair provisions run out and they had to quit and come down to shuswap lak for provisions and be fore thay could return the winter set in frost and snow verrey sevear. So much so that John and one of his companions got thair feet frozen badley. John has lost all the toes of his right foot the left feet is perfectly well. We got him in to the Hospital he is getting along as well as can be expected for the time.It is the opinion of the doctor that he will allways be a little lame. Thair is going to a big rush to big bend this season and likley a big rush back again.Thair is not enough provisions thair now cannot be got thair to suply the number of men suposed to be thair.The nearist point that provisions can be packed by animals to the mines is a distance of fiftey miles from this place. To it has to be packed by men. John says he has seen gold found in 2 or 3 places thair so thair is sertenly gold in it but as to the quantity no one can tell. Tell the boys not to be too much excited about big bend yet for thair is no telling any thing about it yet more than thair is some gold thair but the question is, is thair a nough to pay is thair any extent of gold baring ground thair. This question will be decided this summer and not sooner.Let the boys keep cool untill then take no notice of nusepapers. Goss put up by steem boat men merchants speculaters of all kinds. Let them wait untill thay hear from som reliable athority sutch as a privat letter from a friend or some thing of that sort then if they say come come by all means. I have not any thing further that would interest you at preasent but as soon as I go up country I will likly be able to wright some thing more. I am perfectly well at preasant thanks be to the giver of all goodness to me. It is my grates wishes that this letter may find you all the same. This letter though small in sise and words few and poorley arranged  nevr the less it bares back to my native land parents and sisters and friends my kindest wishes any best respect and purest love. Remember me to all dont let them say he did not mention me and me I will mention no names for thay are too numerous but remember me to all who you think cares about knowing. William is well and wished to be remembered to you all all so John wishes the same. Hear I must conclud for the preasant and believe me to be your affectionate son and brother

Joseph Halpenny

Victoria, Vancouver Island Febuary 11 1867?                                                                             

Dear friends at home

                  Time has swept fastly by cence I sent you a letter -allmost five months. forgive me it was not carlessness.nor has fleeting time born with it the fond recollections of parents and sisters with that dear old home which I long for to see and will if the lord spares me. (illegible)  you ask why am I silent so long.) I shall tell you the truth and the truth onley that I might wright to you I was wating for some better news to send you than I have been sending. I was on french Creek all sumer in big bend I prospected faithfully sunk three shafts to the bead rock and found no gold. then I went  a building houses and putting in machinery in claims the grater portion of this work  I had to take what  is here called bead rock . That is to take your pay when it comes out of the claim at home it would be called giving time for payment.  I worked in this way untill November the weather  was getting cold and people commenced  going down.  But I (illegible)  when  I went down to go home I tryed to collect some money. I could not doo it every one complained of hard times and verey little gold comming out so I must keep on doooing something. A man who owed me for putting in his pumps asked me if I would buy an intrest in his claim I told him I would if I got a good bargin. I bought the claim for five hundred dollers after all espences was paid and allowing  me 10$ per day for taking charge of the claim as thay wair  not very expert miners themselves. On those conditions I took charge and commenced  runing a tunnel at the end of four weeks we struck gold.Worked on for 3 days longer and tuck out $300. Then the frost forsed up our pumps and we could work no longer.  So we must quit untill spring. This is the first claim I have ever had that I found gold in it is time after nearley five years faithfull serching. I have spaired no pains incountered every thing endured all the hardships of a miners life. Spent nothing foolishley disapointed in all most everything  up to the time we found the gold. and then I was disapointed I was in hopes the weathe r would have kept fine untill we would have taken out some more or at least for another week so that I would have been able to have sent some home this is what  has kept me from writing  so long I wanted  to send something or go home. This is all I have being trying to acomplish and could not suckseede but the way seems britr. I hope that another sumer will finish my wandering  and with the helpe of the lord see you all ere another winter  pases I am afraid to make promises.  It is hard if thay cannot be ful filled but I have a resolution formed and (illegible)  firmly to meet you all next fall if god is willing. William Halpenny is still in big bend prospecting. he did nothing untill late in the fall. He had no money and I had to keep him untill he got work which was not easley to be had.  He was living with me I think for three months before he got anything to do. It costs considerable to keepe a man for that lenght of time hear. I had to pay from $2.00 to $1.50 per lb. for bacon $2.50 for tea,  from $1.00 to 50 cents per lb. for flour  and every thing elce in preportion.  I have had considerable work to do since I caim to this country but thair is no use in complaining -it is hard to see a friend want  in a straing land. Big bend is a rough mountainous country half incircled by the Columbia River. On going in the spring we each took 100 lbs of provisions a distance of 60 miles over the highest peeks of some of those mountains we judged the snow was from 30 to 100 feet deepe. Thair was a grate number was forced to leave thair load behind. I left Seamore with 20 stout loocking men. Onley 5 of us brought our loads through so you may judge that I am not yet mutch the worse of the mountain life. Coming out over those mountains thair was seven of us in companey. In one day we tryed to cross over one of those bald mountains a distance of 7 miles in order to get into the thick woods on the other cide of the summit to stop overknight. Comming up towards the top the snow had fallen about 10 feet deep and still kept poring down thicker and larger than I have evr saw.  We had no track. som began to get tired and stay behind. The stronger ones kept in frunt braking the snow and incuriging them on -for to stop thair was onely to perrish it soon git dark and seemed posable and not yet across tossing through that dept of snow thay commenced  stay behind -we commenced to get further and further apart soon we could only hear a faint respond to our call and latter not a sound. It get allmost jet black the man in frunt threw  him selfe down declaring he could not see nor could go no further thair was  3 of us and 4 behind I cannot tell you the sensation that crept over me at those words. To remain thair was sertain death and was a sroud of snow. I must  never  see parents sisters nor friends any more. Those wair my thoughts at that moment when I started to the frunt and asked them if thay could follow me. Thay was both Englishmen thay said thay would follow me untill thay would fall to rise no more and kept limping through the snow. I fancy I get stronger and could keep on untill daylight now and then thay would ask me not to go so fast. Finally one of them said he could go no further. I toild him I thought I saw the woods a head he called again a litttle further and we tumbelled through some srubery. Never was brush more welcome  a fiew (illegible)  furthre on we  wair  in the woods but on going to make a fire we  found that the men be hind had the axe and matches. This was still fearfull -we loocked for a big tree to shelter us from the falling snow when one said I am chilled allmost to death I cannot stand it mutch longer we may as well stop under any tree we meet. I went  a little distance from him and saw a light -told them -they said it was imposable no one had been over since the snow fall. I went  to the place and found a nise fire down 10 feet in the snow a large tree for a roof and snow for a walls not a brees could come thair. The fire was fresh and lively nevr was fire more welcome  to human beings. We never could find out how the fire came thair I have not spaice here to describe it minutley but after we wair warmer  I went  back. The others would not come with me to find the 4 behind. The night became lighter so I could see our tracks. I found the 4 standing in a lump 3 trying to hold up one thay wair glad to see me and said thay would try to walk  to camp if I would carry him. Thay wair  holding up -he could hardly speak when  I get him on my back -still he kept trying to curse and swair let me down -I might as well go to hell now as any other time. We got all to camp the next day got to (illegible) built a boat crossed the lake a distance of 100 miles. I saw John Halpenny in Westminster on my way down -he is well -he is a little lame and I feel he will always be so. Thair is grait rumers hear about gold being found in Canada let me know if it is true for I have lerned to know that thay half of a gold storey is a nough to beleave  tell me what thay fenians is dooing. I would lik to have been with the brave fellows that met them when thay came to Canada. Let me know in purticular how you are all getting along. Give my best respects to David Halpenny the next letter I send will be to him remember me to Mrs. Thompson Mr and Mrs Ellis and all friends and nabours. I sent a letter from big bend to Alex MacKenzie I have got no answer to it yet. I wish he would send me a letter tell me how Mr and Mrs Houston and whair  thay are. I supose you need hardley remember me to aney of my old companions most likely by this time thay have forgotten me remember me to Fanny and Abraham tell me how thay are. Now I must bid you good bye for the preasant hoping that this may find you all in good helth which god in his tender mercys had kindly bestowed on me.


Joseph Halpenny to his parents and sisters