Local historian and author, Sam McBride is coming to the Rossland Museum on April 24 and bringing a whole lot of history with him.
McBride is a direct descendant of prominent B.C. and Kootenay pioneers, Edgar (Ted) and Edgar Dewdney. The names were confusing at the time too for sure; the eldest was still known as Edgar while his godson, nephew and ward was know as Ted Dewdney.
McBride’s display at the museum will involve many documents and artifacts from the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s to help visualize the life led by the trailblazer and the community champion.
Lieutenant Governor Edgar Dewdney was the main man in charge of the creation of the Dewdney Trail. The Dewdney Trail is a 720 km trail running through B.C. and this presentation is quite timely, with the 150 year anniversary of the trail coming up this Spring.
The trail was a critical factor in the development and strengthening of the newly established British Colony of British Columbia, tying together mining camps and small towns that were springing up along the route.
McBride mentioned the Dewdney trail may not be in a great state or see as much use these days but the Hope-Princeton and Salmo-Creston highways both follow the trail quite closely.
“So in that respect the Dewdney trail is still alive,” he said.
While a large part of the presentation will focus on Edgar, the other half is on a man who spent many years living in Rossland and shaping its community — Ted Dewdney.
Ted’s first visit to Rossland was in 1896 when he traveled with Edgar on visits to various Kootenay mining towns. Four years later he would come to live in Rossland and work as a clerk with the Bank of Montreal. Ted was just 19 years of age at the time. Ted was a jack-of-all trades and even a master of some.
A prominent member of the community, Ted was heavily involved with the Rossland club, curling and tennis clubs, along with the Red Cross which he headed for years.
In addition to these contributions and several athletic awards, Ted was a staple of the Rocky Mountain Rangers, Rossland’s militia back then. The Rangers, like many other militia at the time were there to protect not only the citizens, but the mines as well.
“The government was worried the Americans may just come up over the border and take over the mines,” McBride said.
Seven years after originally joining the BMO bank, he was transferred to the Okanagan, but not without a hefty going-away party.
“Ted was treated to a series of farewell parties that were closely covered by the Rossland Miner newspaper. Among the farewell gifts he received,” explained McBride, “I have the framed scroll signed by 40 of his friends at the Rossland Club, as well as an engraved umbrella given to him by fellow soldiers in the Rocky Mountain Rangers.”
All of this memorabilia and more can be seen at the museum a week or two before the show after McBride has finished setting up.
“It’s always nice to link history with reality and I still have all these things so it’s wonderful to share them with people.”
Ted left Rossland in 1907 but returned and was transfered again multiple times.
McBride said, “Ted was in Rossland from 1900-1907 as a bank clerk, then 1911-1912 as a bank accountant, and then 1920-1927 as branch manager in Rossland. His uncle Edgar never lived in Rossland, though he seriously considered moving there in 1897 after his term as lieutenant governor in Victoria finished, but his wife Jane was very fond of her garden in Victoria, so she really wanted him to retire there in their new Oak Bay home.”
In total, Ted worked for BMO for 43 years before retiring in 1940 and passing away 12 years later.
“There’s the two sides of the story, the trailblazer and pioneer Edgar, and the community pillar, Ted. Many people will know about Edgar Dewdney, but not many have heard Ted’s story, which is very interesting on its own.”
McBride is planning on setting up his display April 8, before presenting in full on April 24 at 6:30 p.m. Anyone interested in Rossland and Canadian history is sure to find value in McBride’s passionate presentation.
“Edgar`s story is fascinating, of course, but I think Ted`s story is great also, as it shows the link between the pioneer era and the early years of Rossland as a city of enthusiastic and energetic residents like Ted,” McBride concluded.