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Title: Alexander Robb, British Columbia, to Father [Dundonald?].
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileRobb, Alexander/10(2)
SenderRobb, Alexander
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationminer
Sender Religionunknown
Recipient Gendermale
SourceT 1454/6/1: Copied by Permission of Dr. J.C. Robb Esq., M.B.E., M.D., M.C.H., Cambourne Park, Belfast. #TYPE EMG Sandy [Alexander?] Robb, [British Columbia, Canada?], to His Father [Dundonald, County Down, Ireland?]
ArchivePublic Record Office, Northern Ireland.
Doc. No.9006020
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
Log12:06:1990 GMcE#CREATE created 29:10:1991 WJC input 29:10:1991 PKS checked
Word Count1391
NoteDescribing a Journey From Vancouver to Cariboo, 10 August, 1862.
TranscriptTo:"Father" [Mr Robb?], [Dundonald,County Down?]
From:Sandy [Alexander?] Robb, [British Columbia, Canada?]

August 10th 1862

Dear Father
           I suppose you will
be thinking by this time that I
am either dead or have forgotten
all about home else I would have
written long ago I can assure you
however that this is not the case
for I am as well as ever I was
and as for the forgetting part -
it will be a very long time indeed
before that time comes. You will
most likely have herd [heard?] from
some of the other boys what
kind of trip we had up to
Cariboo for fear you should
not I will give you a slight
sketch of it.  We left Victoria
in Vancouvers [Vancouver?] Island about
the first of May and after
about six hours sailing landed
in New Westminster a small
town about twenty or thirty miles
up the Frazer River.  When there
we learned that it was quite
to [too?] soon to go up to the mines
and we stopped a week there
From thence we proceeded to
a town called Fort Yale about
sixty miles farther up the River
the current was so strong in
the river that it took us two
days to go this distance From
Fort Yale all communication
by water ceases and the rest
of the distance has to be
done by foot I wish you had
seen the thirteen of us
starting our packs we all
pretty heavy and the trail
none of the best so you may
be shure [sure?] for the first few days
we did not make very big
work The trail after the first
15 miles was awful up one mountain
and down another for sixty or
seventy miles until we got to a
town called Lyton [Lytton?] after which it
improved at Lyton [Lytton?] we meet Alexander
McWha he keeps a small store
about three miles from a place
called Van Winkle Bar and I believe
is doing very well We stopped
there one day or two I forget which
and then started again our next
halting place was to be
Jubilee City a town situated
at the head quarters of the
Frazer River and about 200
miles from Lytton The trail
however is pretty good it took
us 13 days to accomplish
this distance but our packs
were very heavy at starting
as we had brought as many
provisions at Lytton as we
calculated would carry us
through  When at Queensville
we learned that there was
no use going to the mines without
carrying plenty of provisions
with us so we invested all our
money in flour beans picks
shovels &c Then came the tug
of war I started with ninety
pounds on my back and
over such a trail it is only
about fifty miles long but what
it wants in length it makes
up in quality Up one mountain
and down another precipice
sometimes up to your knees in
water at other times wading
through snow from two to
six or eight feet deep I will
live a long time before I forget
that journey This brought us
to Antler Creek the first part
of the Cariboo Mines The distance
you see we have walked was
about 400 miles When there
the very wisest course we could
have pursued would have
been to have sold our provisions
and have turned right back
again but like blind fools as
we were we did not do so although
it was then the first week in
June I do not believe there was more
than six claims in all Cariboo
working at all and these were
only making preperations [preparations?] to take
out gold of course then there
was no chance to get any work
and as for prospecting to get
a claim for oneself that was
out of the question The snow
was melting on the top of the
mountains and the water was so
high that you could not work
more than a few feet any place
until you were chocked [choked?] out
of it with water the rest of
the boys all went away one
party after another first
Henry Stewart Wm [William?] McDowell
[J?] Greenfield and the two
Pattons left then John Demp[ster?]
P Moore N Boyd John Robb
and the two McCreery boys went
away until at last there
were none of us except
Robert McCance and myself
I heard before I left that he
had went down also but whether
he did or not I cannot tell as
he was in a different part of
the mines from where I was
I hung on for six weeks
like a drowning man catching
at straws always hoping
that something would turn
up that I might make a
living at and perhaps
make a little money I am
sure that brother John
will think it cowardly in me
to give it up but in fact I
could do nothing else it came
to be a question to either go
down or starve Just fancy
the price of provisions when
I came away flour when you
could get it was selling at
5 shillings a pound Beans
about the same pork six shillings
salt sugar & everything else
a little dearer A single meal
in a bording [boarding?] house cost 10 shillings
and for a small cup of bad
coffee without any milk I paid
two shillings Had I not got a
little work occasionally and
half starved myself all the
time I could not have lived
there so long for at the lowest
calculation it cost one pound
per day to live there I came
down with Mr Wightmans son
you may suppose that I was
greatly surprised to see him
in such a place He only stopped
a few days and then came down
I parted two weeks ago he was
going to San Francisco
and I to
get work where I could I have
been fortunate to get work here on the
Road about 50 miles above
Lytton I am engaged for three
months at 8 pounds per month
I just got the work in time as I
had only about two pounds of
flour and one sixpence left when
my time is expired I think I will
go down to San Francisco as the
winter is so severe here that nothing
can be done Whether I will
ever go up to Cariboo I do not know
I do not think I will There are three
great objections to that country
In the first place provisions are &
must continue to be too dear In the
second place the season is to [too?] short
one can only work three months
and then unless you want to be frozen
to death down you must come
and the third reason is it takes
a small fortune to open a claim
there had I time and room I could
tell you the reason of this but this
is my last sheet of paper so
I must be saving of it I must
now finish and it may be a very
long time before I have another opportunity
of writing The nearest post
office from this is 50 miles
off and it is by a mere chance
I can get this one sent I would
liked to have sent a longer letter than
this but as I have neither pen
or ink and as am writing in a
tent with eight or ten men talking
round me & nothing but the floor
to write on this will do at present
In the mean time do not be uneasy
about me there is always some
way I can make a living and
all the world is not so bad
as Cariboo. As a specimen of
what it costs to open a claim
in Cariboo I may mention that
Bill McWha & 8 other men had
been working 8 weeks at his claim
before I came away and it would
take at least 3 more to open it
You may fancy how much
money it will take to do this
where living is so dear In the
mean time dear father keep
writing to the care of Mr Kyle
tell me how the farm is getting on
& in fact everything  nothing will be
uninteresting Give my love to all
brothers & sisters friends and believe
me Dear father your loving son
         Sandy Robb