Copper City

Copper City, British Columbia, Canada

Copper City BC
aka: Copper River BC
aka: Newtown

per a 1940 article it was also known as Newtown

Located only a few miles East of present day (2013) Terrace BC, Along the East Side of the Copper River, across from Copper City, is the Copperside Subdivision.

Dr. G. W. Dawson went through this area, and reported to the Dominion Government that this area was the most productive and favoured localities in all of BC

Dr. George Mercer Dawson
b- Aug 1, 1849 in Pictou NS
d- Mar 2, 1901 Ottawa ON
Staff Member of the Geological Survey Of Canada at this time.
He became Director in 1895

Map of Copper City,
shown on south side of the river on this map, across from the Copperside Subdivision
Copper City Ferry is shown on map above, pictures below

Copper City Subdivision Plan,
courtesy McRae Collection, Terrace

Plan of Subdivision of Part of Lots 312 and 351
Range 5, Coast District

Deposited the 4th day of July, 1908
Stephen Yardley Wootton, BC Registrar General of Titles

Surveyed by Charles Herbert Ellacott

Streets were to be named:

  • Stuart St.
  • Kaslo St.
  • Kitimat St.
  • Lakelse St.
  • Laurier St.
  • Creech St.
  • Main St.
  • Hazelton St.
  • Bowser St.
  • Riverside Ave.
  • Burgess Ave.
  • Rupert Ave.
  • McBride Ave.

The proposed Pacific Northern & Omineca Ry. runs through L.312

Copper City Ferry, up on the river bank
Tower on Copper City side was 60ft high, made of huge timbers, held in place by 1/4 in cables
On north side, north railroad end, they used a 60ft tree, with branches trimmed, and guyed it with 1/4 in cables as well.
Cable across the river was 1 inch Wire Steel, which was 1200 ft long.
2 large scows rigged together in a catamaran fashion, was used for the ferry.

Harvey Tessier in plaid shirt
on Copper City Ferry, ca 1947-1952
Photos above courtesy Eileen Tiessen,
daughter of Harvey Tessier, June 4, 2013

Apr 1908

It was named “Copper City” by Mr. William John Sanders (bio below)

He was a Prospector, and Sergeant-at-Arms in the Legislature of BC during the McBride Administration.
Copper City shown as 79 miles East of Prince Rupert at this time.
He returned to Vancouver to make arrangements to survey 292 acres of his 1,292 acres, which he owned the Crown Grants on at Copper City.
He was planning town lots and streets here. He left Friday Apr 24, 1908 with Provincial Government Surveyor, Mr. Charles Herbert Ellacott. (see bio below)
Sanders had great hopes in the fruit and crop production in the area.

William John Sanders
b- Oct 8,1865, in ON
d- Jan 12, 1936 at his home, South Hazelton, from heart problems
Came to BC in 1900, He was a bachelor.
Funeral was held in United Church in South Hazelton
Rev. D. W. More conducted the service.
He was a strong conservative all his life.
Had a married brother, Samuel Sanders, living in Regina SK
He was Justice of the Peace, Notary Public,
and Issuer of Marriage Licences in South Hazelton at various times.
There is a William J. Sanders buried in Royal Oak Burial Park, Victoria
1901 he was living in Rossland BC, Merchant, (General?)
1911 in Copper City, age 45, shown as a real estate agent
1912 he was shown as part owner of the South Hazelton Townsite,
and Fiscal Manager of the GTP Railroad.
William had his fingers in lots of places it seems.
Aug 1, 1923 he was appointed Post Master in South Hazelton
resigned in Mar 31, 1924.
He was alive in 1926 in Hazelton.
Hazelton had a very troubled beginning with the arrival of the GTP.
Settlers wanted New Hazelton to be the Station location.
But GTP owners wanted to own the land where their stations were, to make money on selling the lots.
Looks like Mr. Sanders was heavily involved in this.

Aug 1908

A Mr. Robert A. Brown returned to Victoria from Kitsumkalum, where he owned considerable land.
He reported it was as good a growing land as anywhere. His trip lasted 6 months. He reported excellent fruit and vegetable crops.
Just too many Browns to research him.

About 3 miles above the Kitsumkalum was the homestead of John “David” Stuart, who came to the area 10 years earlier (ca 1898)
His fruit trees were known throughout the area. (see below)
When Mr. Brown went by Port Essington, with his samples of fruit etc, 12,000 acres was pre-empted in the Kitsumkalum valley.
the valley was reported to run for 65 miles from the Skeena to the Nass River.
The Grand Trunk Railway even surveyed a route through the valley.
the Provincial Government agreed to build a 25 mile road up the valley.
Another farmer in the area, Frederick William Bohler, (see below)
sent a sample of his products to a fair in Victoria.
Heavy timber, and minerals like Coal, Gold, and Copper, as well as others, was to be found in considerable quantity.

Aug 1908, the BC Minister of Agriculture sent William Ernest Scott into this area to report on the agricultural use of the land.
He became Deputy Minister of Agriculture, 1910-1916. When he arrived here he had a meeting with the settlers,
He specially singled out John “David” Stuart, and Tom Thornhill in his report. He mentioned their great orchards, and being pioneers of the area.
Apple, Pear, Cherry, Plum and Prune Trees were seen.
He reported back to the legislature it was great farm and fruit land.

I have seen lots of history written about Mr. Tom Thornhill
Thornhill BC named after this Pioneer. (see link below)
One thing I will add, in the 1881 and 1891 Canada Census he is shown as born in USA, not England?.
1901 Canada census shows him born 1855, in BC?
And he doesn't show up in the freeBMD site born in England?
But census errors exist, so Kent England, 1855 is still assumed correct.
article says he immigrated in 1858, with his parents to Victoria, with his 2 younger brothers. (see below)
1863 Directory shows a Richard Thornhill at 50 Fort in Victoria
1871 Victoria directory shows Thos. Thornhill, Blacksmith, on Johnson St.
next to his listing is a R. Thornhill, (Farm) Labourer, James Bay
1874 shows R. Thornhill, Labourer, James Bay
and a G. Thornhill, employee of H. Waller
1884 Richard Thornhill, gardener, Johnson St.

If I was a betting man his father was
Richard Daniel Thornhill,
b- ca 1829 (or 1836 per obit), Kent England, age 52 in 1881
d- Jan 30, 1889, in Victoria, age 60, shown as a gardener
his obit says he came from Kent England in 1858,
shown age 22 (wonder if this is wrong?)
at his home on Pandora st, leaving a wife and 3 sons.
for 5 years he was the Steward of the French Hospital
which was on Collinson St. (1877 was one of those 5 years.)
and last 8 years of his life, he was the Sexton (Gardener)
of Pandora St. Methodist Church. (Centennial United Church today)
He was a strong Methodist, and they arrived in Feb 1858.
Methodist missions were established all along the coast.
Tom Thornhill probably met his native wife at one of these.
In those days they were trying to convert the native population.
Funeral was from his home on the Friday after he died.
Obit titled “Another Pioneer Gone”.
mother - Ann Thornhill, nee ? (shown as age 55 in 1881)
b- ca 1819 in Birmingham England
d- Jan 18, 1892, age 73 at her home on Chatham St, in Victoria BC
brother- Richard George Thornhill,
b- ca 1857, (1867?) US, age 24 in 1881 census
d- Mar 29, 1945 in Victoria BC, age 77
1877 in Victoria BC, Farmer, Superior St. in 1877
can't find him in 1891 Canada census
Think he died ca 1945
another brother- William Thornhill,
b- ca 1860, US, age 21 in 1881
in 1891 he was age 31 in Clinton BC, Farm Labourer
His brothers were also in Yale area in 1881.
I am only guessing on these though.
Very tough family to trace.

Copper City was at the confluence of the Zymoetz “aka Copper” River and the Skeena River, on the south side of the river.
A Government ferry used to operate in this area, to connect Copper City settlement to the GTP Railroad.
May 1908, they were asking for applications to install and run this ferry. 1200 ft of 1 in cable was supplied by the BC Gov't.
Today Copperside subdivision is across the Copper river. On south side of the Skeena river, There was a wagon road to Terrace, (now Highway 16),
and also to Lakelse Lake and Kitamaat area. (now Highway 37)
It was called the Kitamaat Waggon Road in one document.
Mr. Stuart's land and orchard was on the north side of the river.
(see link below)

Frederick William Bohler
b- ca 1873, in Germany
d- Oct 11, 1925 in Prince Rupert, age 57
father- Frederick William Bohler (sr), Mary Bohler, nee ?
when he was married he was shown as a Rancher at Kitsumkalum
married Jean Lever, nee Carrick, Oct 12, 1911
by Rev F. W. Kerr, at Central Hotel, Prince Rupert BC
b- ca 1872, Inverkip, Renfrew shire, Scotland
d- Dec 10, 1932 in Terrace BC, age 60
lived in Washago ON, age 39 when she married she was a widow
father- Thomas Carrick, mother- Annie Carrick, nee ?
May 1913, Fred Bohler was adding more acres
to his extensive garden patch, selling his produce in Rupert.

1911 map of GTPR
Copper River Station shown
located across from Copper City, reached by a ferry
Note- No Terrace shown yet, just Kitsum Station.

Post Office History

Name of Post Office: Copper River
Federal Electoral District: Skeena (BC)
Office opened Feb 1, 1909
Office closed Feb 4, 1956

Postmaster Information:

Name of Postmaster Date of Appointment Date of Vacancy Cause of Vacancy
Samuel Harvey Creech
(see below)
1909-02-01 1914-07-28 Resignation
Percy Ralph Skinner
(see below)
1914-09-01 1920-05-19 Resignation
Leslie George Skinner
(see below)
1920-08-01 1956-02-04 Closed

This reproduction is NOT represented as an official version of the materials reproduced, nor as having been made in affiliation with,
or with the endorsement of the National Archives of Canada. The source of this material is the National Archives of Canada

1909 First Postmaster
Harry Creech had a Hotel and Retail Store here.
Lots of Prospectors were staying at his hotel.
Samuel Harvey “Harry” Creech
b- Mar 17, 1879 in Hamilton, ON
d- Jan 17, 1957, Vancouver BC, age 77
enlisted in WW1 May 16, 1916 in Comox, living in Oak Bay BC
Reg # 704161, Army 102nd Batt
Married Oct 22, 1902 at Victoria, BC, Dissolved: Nov 26, 1918
He was a barber when he married the first time.
Civil Servant when he married Mima Woodend (see below)
son of Samuel Creech and Isabella “Isabel” Harvey
wife- Annie “Edith” H. Annie Creech, nee Lusiar, (Lusier?)
b- Dec 1883 in NB
daughter of John Lusier and Hannah Hennesay

son- Godfrey Samuel Creech,
b- Nov 1907 in BC
daughter- Thelma “Elma” Isabel Creech,
b- Nov 1906 in BC
son- Stanley Harvey Creech
b- ?
Harry remarried Mima Woodend, nee Thompson, Mar 24, 1921 in Victoria BC
widow age 35
when he died Sophia Higginson is shown as Harry's spouse

Percy Skinner had a General Store at Copper City.
Percy Ralph Skinner
b- June 6, 1877, Upwaltham, Sussex, England, immigrated 1902
d- June 1, 1959, in Terrace Home for the aged, age 81

Buried in Kitsumgallum, Terrace Pioneer Cemetery

married Mildred Sophia Skinner, nee Sparkes, Jan 11, 1916
b- age 38 when she married, in Dorsch ON
at home of Rev. Thomas Jabez Marsh, Terrace (see Bio below)
daughter of William Charles Sparkes (Sr) and Mildred Morgan
Father a leather merchant
brother of Mildred Sparkes- William Charles Sparkes (Jr.)
b- Dec 3, 1873 in Birmingham England
d- May 17, 1961 in Terrace District Hospital
another brother- John Sparkes
b- Dec 3, 1877, Birmingham UK
d- Apr 7, 1967 in Skeenaview Hospital, Terrace BC, age 89
Her father shown born in Birmingham as well
her mother- b- Coleshill, England
Her brothers owned the Sparkes Bros Store in Terrace
located on Kalum St between Lakelse and Greig Ave, on East side of street.
Sparkes St. in Terrace named after the family.

brother Leslie George Skinner worked with Percy at the store
Leslie George Skinner
b- Aug 6, 1886 in Chichester, Sussex, England, immigrated in 1904
d- June 27, 1956, Mount St. Marys, Victoria BC, age 70
permanent res. Copper City BC when he married.
both sons of Ralph Skinner and Ellen Welch
both born in Upwaltham Sussex, England
married Hilda Mary Chichester, Oct 28, 1920,
at home of Rev Thomas J. Marsh, Terrace BC
age 20 when she married
b- ca 1900, London England
daughter of Edward William Chichester,
b- Devonshire, England
and Agnes Esther Smith,
b- Essex England
they later broke up their partnership in the store

Skinners had another brother, Walter Skinner
Age 35, when he married, a farmer at Lea Park Alberta.
He married Ellen Knight July 18, 1910 in Toronto ON

Living in Copper City
Arthur Lee Clore

Miss Rita McLean was the teacher at Copper City School
Can't find anymore on her at all.

1934 Ferry Operator, Hans Lind, was building a new Ferry Operator House.
Hans Lind
b- Dec 17, 1904, in Sweden
d- Aug 19, 1957 in St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver BC, age 52
buried in Fort St. James
when he died he was shown as a carpenter and boat builder
at Eagle Lake Sawmills, Fort St. James
son of Hans Lind and Annie Hansen
married Mary Emmeline Fordham, May 14, 1930, in the Rectory, St. Matthew's Church, Terrace
Age 17, when she married,
b- ca 1913, in Edmonton AB
daughter of William Henry Fordham and Dolly McCorkle
both from USA
when Hans and Mary were married their residence was shown as Copper City BC, he is shown as a logger.

Rev. Thomas Jabez Marsh bio

External Links Note not my sites, links may or may not work in the future

Best map I have seen for the creeks etc in this area http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/dkm/recreation/Terrace/Terrace_Area_recsites.pdf

check out the Terrace History Museum http://heritageparkmuseum.com/about-the-museum/historic-buildings/

Tom Thornhill http://www.terracelibrary.ca/history1/tom_thornhill/tom_thornhill.htm


  • Last modified: 2017/12/04 15:21
  • by dlgent