New Westminster, B.C. 19 Jul 1881 6-pg Marcus Smith Letter home
Lot 87 in our auction Saturday 13th November 2021
#canadianrailwaysurvey #bchistory #bcsurveyor #marcussmith #portmoody
New Westminster B.C
My dear Wife
I have had a very hard month’s work surveying the Harbour of Port Moody and adjacent grounds for the western terminus of the C.P.R. It is surrounded by high hills wooded with trees of enormous size. Many of them fallen and with the rankest growth of underbrush- a bit of which we had to clear for camping on- The only place for walking on is the beach at low tide up to the knees in mud. At high tide our walk was on the trunk of a tree 150 feet long which we had felled. But all day we had enough exercise climbing over the fallen trees and scrambling through the brush- The climate in this vicinity is very humid and the ground is covered with the rankest vegetation- skunk cabbage fern &.c.- We have had a great deal of rain so that our tents and everything in them were dripping with moisture and the drawing paper got so damp I could not make a pencil mark on it till it was dried at the fire- I was very feverish for a few days and feared I was going to have ague but have got through with only slight rheumatic pains and stiff joints- We had few mosquitos as the weather has been cold and we had fires in the evening However we have got through- and I have made my Report.
Gamsby’s party are continuing the survey up the river- and another party under Mr. Wilmot has just arrived to survey the upper section (45 miles) which joins Onderdonk’s Contract- So I expect the heaviest of my work is over- I go with Wilmot’s party tomorrow to start them on their work about 50 miles up the River- On my return in a few day I commence housekeeping & office work- at the Old Government House on the bank of the Fraser about 1 ½ miles above New Westminster- I am getting the rooms cleaned and have a cooking stove and some Kitchen furniture in with an Indian cook . This is a very pretty place and will be my headquarters but of course I shall often be out directing the surveys-
Mr. Trutch is the Govt. agent and furnishes us with supplies- he has been very attentive- is a good businessman- but has no practical knowledge of Engineering and as Mr. Schreiber only runs over the work when he is here the four Division Engineers on Onderdonk’s Contract viz. Cambie, Keefer, McLeod & Hamlin have no advice and will not be made the scapegoats for any trouble that may arise- and there will be plenty of it- but Trutch will take the credit for anything that is not done well However he does not interfere with my work- but he is not popular with the rabid politicians
Baradaille is of great service to me I make him do everything (as he has not yet been spoilt) and he will find the advantage of it by & by-
It is announced in the newspaper that Sir. Tupper and Schreiber leave Ottawa about the 1st. Aug for B. Columbia- I hope you will with the children take all the opportunities possible to enjoy yourselves and fortify yourself against the oppressive heat of Ont.
P.S. Just this moment got Eloise’s letter of the 3rd inst. Glad to find Arthur has done so well
tell Eloise that in my school days proper names were begun with a capital letter she
begins says french
Be sure that you send this letter back to me in yr. next
All well Letter got the pretty card & the music for above to Britannia yesterday