Surveying in 1872

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Surveying in 1871
Surveying in 1872
Surveying in 1873
Surveying in 1874
Surveying in 1875
Surveying in 1876
Surveying in 1877
Surveying in 1878
Surveying in 1879
Animated Map

Map of surveys from 1872 - Also see month-by-month animation

The Survey Crews


(Gray)This survey party was organized under Mr. Roderick McLennan (more on Roderick McLennan) and spent the winter on the Canoe River near Albreda Lake (now probably under Canoe Reach on Kinbasket Lake). They left down the Fraser River to Quesnel and on July 25th arrived were just west of Lac La Hache to begin surveying. Working west, they crossed the Fraser River on August 7th and were at Chimney Creek on August 21. They completed their survey by connecting with W on November 1st in the Chimney Creek valley.


(Green)This party was also working under Mr. Roderick McLennan (more on Roderick McLennan). They wintered on the Fraser River 50 miles down stream from Tete Jaune Cache. They began by surveying west from Albreda Lake. On September 19th Marcus Smith found them at Mahood Lake working under Mr. James Mahood (more on James Mahood). They closed their survey when they connected with the V survey in the Bridge Creek Valley in early November.


(Yellow)Working under Walter Moberly (more on Walter Moberly), they spent the winter near the Blaeberry river at the west end of Howse Pass. Moberly, who had spent the winter in Ottawa, arrived at their camp on June 16th. The 'S' party spent the entire season moving their equipment, supplies and pack trains through the Athabasca Pass, and north, finally arriving at the east end of the Yellowhead Pass in early January. Moberly with a small group headed north into the middle of the Yellowhead Pass, arriving on September 6. He met with Sandford Fleming in the Yellowhead on September 14th then went back to help move the rest of his survey party. The adventures of this party are well covered by Surveying the Canadian Pacific, the memoirs of R. M. Rylatt (more on Rylatt), a member of the group.

From this book, the following is a quote describing some of their living conditions. They have just rafted their way down the Columbia past the location of Golden, BC and lost one member of their party in a log jam the day before.

"We reached the mouth of a large creek on the 2nd [day of October 1871] which takes its rise in the Rocky's, and in 'Howes Pass', and as the survey of this Pass was to be the commencement of our work, we landed at the mouth of the said creek, with the intention of camping, but after cutting passages through the dense undergrowth in different directions in search of moderately dry ground, and night coming upon us, we had to go back to our landing place, and count down a quantity of wet branches to lay upon; it had been raining heavily the whole afternoon, and every man was drenched; and now we had to sleep on ooze (or slime) a foot or so in depth. The rain increased rather than diminished during the night, and we felt the cold keenly. To cap all, our tents were not with us, so we were about as badly fixed as it was possible to be, or so we felt it." p35 Entry for October 2, 1971 of Surveying the Canadian Pacific


(Pink)This party was originally under Walter Moberly (more on Walter Moberly) but was reorganized under John Trutch (more on John Trutch) since Moberly was going to be occupied with 'S' for most of the season. They had wintered at 'the Eddy' (now Revelstoke) on the Columbia River. They moved west towards Kamloops arriving on May 3rd and up the North Thompson on May 14th led by Mr. Edward Mohun (more on Edward Mohun). They survey the western approach of the Yellowhead Pass and met Sandford Fleming at Moose Lake just south of the Yellowhead Pass on September 16th and were back in Kamloops by mid November.

According to Surveying the Canadian Pacific this party had experienced a miserable winter before the 1872 season.

"[Some Indians] report that Mohon and his party are wintering in Eagle pass, in the Selkirk range, and that they have been on half rations, and have had no meat of any kind during the winter, having been caught by the ice king before they had got in their winter supplies." p47 Journal Entry for Sunday February 25th 1872.


(Red)The 'U' Survey party was formed under Joseph Trutch (more on Joseph Trutch) in Victoria and left on April 3rd. They arrived in Kamloops and began their survey working up the North Thompson. On September 24th they closed their survey with the V party. At the same time they met Sandford Fleming and Marcus Smith. On their way back to Victoria they surveyed south from Kamloops to Nicola Lake (near the modern day town of Merritt.) They were done this work by mid November.


(Orange)This group, as with U, worked under John Trutch (more on John Trutch) and left Victoria on April 3rd. They completed a flying survey North-East from Fort Hope (now Hope) up the Coquihalla Valley then the Coldwater Valley, to Nicola Lake and then north to Kamloops, where they arrived on May 26th. The party was working under Mr. Edgar Dewdney (more on Edgar Dewdney) and travelled up the North Thompson River and Albreda River to where Q had finished its survey the previous season. It then worked south in the Albreda and North Thompson Valleys. They connected with the U survey on September 24th. Then they travelled (presumably via Kamloops, Cache Creek and the Cariboo Road) to west of Lac La Hache where Q had started from and survey east. They connected with R in the Bridge Creek Valley in early November.


(Yellow)This party was under Mr. Tiedemann (more on Tiedemann). They went by boat from Victoria to the head of Bute Inlet. On about July 1st they started up the Homathko Valley to Chilcotin Plains. They connected with Q who were working from the east in early November.


(Pink)The 'X' party travelled with W to the head of Bute Inlet but headed west, surveying along the site of the inlet. They were led by Mr. Gamsby (more on Gamsby). They were still working on this project on October 6th and were on Valdez Island on December 10th. They were retrieved by boat soon after that on about December 18th.


Working under Mr. Michaud they were landed by boat on June 17th on Steward Island and were surveying a possible connection between Vancouver Island and the mainland. They were at Menzie Bay on October 8th and retrieved along with the X party on about December 18th.

The People

Walter Moberly

(M - thin black)He was in charge of survey parties T, S, and a trail clearing party working in the Yellowhead Pass area (under Mr. McCord). 'T' was placed under Trutch's charge for most of the year. Moberly was in Ottawa at the beginning of 1871 and travelled (by railway through the United States?) to Victoria in the spring. He then went via the northern Washington, up the Columbia River to where 'S' had wintered at the west end of Howse Pass on June 16. Moberly left 'S' late in the summer and worked his way north to the Yellowhead by September 6th where he met with Sandford Fleming. He returned to the 'S' party which continued moving its equipment and supplies to their new wintering area through December and early January.

Sandford Fleming

The Engineer-in-Chief for the Canadian Pacific Railway, Fleming traversed the entire country in the summer of 1872 from east to west. His route through British Columbia was via the Yellowhead Pass, the Albreda Valley, south down the North Thompson to Kamloops. From there, he went by boat to Savona, and by stage coach down the Thompson and Fraser Rivers along the Cariboo road. He met with Walter Moberly, McCord, and the T party in the vicinity of the Yellowhead Pass in early September. Fleming's party met with Marcus Smith, U and V at approximately the time the two survey parties were completing their surveys in the North Thompson Valley. A journal for this journey is found in the book Ocean to Ocean.

Marcus Smith

Marcus Smith was in charge of the surveys for the Mountain Region. In this role, he travelled the province, exploring and organizing his survey crews. His first outing was from Esquimalt to the head of Bute Inlet and back between June 15th and July 13th. The boats dropped off Y (under Mr. Michaud) on Steward Island and W and X at the head of Bute Inlet. Smith went with W up the Homathko valley to Waddington's Camp (on July 6th) before heading back to his boat and back to Esquimalt.

On July 19th, Marcus Smith left up the Cariboo Road and met on July 25th met R near Lac La Hache. He went by steamer up the Fraser River from Soda Creek to the mouth of the Quesnel River which he explored. At Alexandria, he travelled with a supply pack train across the Chilcotin plains past Alexis and Tatla Lakes (early August). He then went east and explored the confluence of the Fraser and Chilcotin Rivers. After getting back to Soda Creek, he did a quick trip up to Barkerville, the Quesnel River, the Beaver River, the Horsefly and back to 150 Mile House. From 111 Mile House, Smith headed east to the Clearwater River and Canim Lake. At Mahood Lake he met with the R party. He continued east to the confluence of the Clearwater at the North Thompson where he met Sandford Fleming and the U and 'V survey parties. He travelled with Fleming to Victoria.

In early October he did a short trip up to Bute Inlet to check on the survey parties working there. In late Octover, he was back in the vicinity of Quesnel Lake exploring that area before returning to Victoria in mid November. He also explored the area around Port Alberni and Central Lake on Vancouver Island in mid December.


  • Appendix E: Progress Report on the Surveys, for 1872, in British Columbia by Marcus Smith
  • Appendix G: Detail Report of Operations in the Rocky Mountains by the under the charge of Walter Moberly during the year 1872
  • Chapter 9: Yellowhead Pass to the North Thompson River
  • Chapter 10: Along the North Thompson to Kamloops