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Title: John B. Cherry, Spencers Bridge, Canada, to R.R. Cherry.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileCherry, John B/18
SenderCherry, John B.
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationcarpenter by trade, worked briefly as a lumberjack, currentl
Sender Religionunknown
OriginBritish Columbia, Canada
RecipientCherry, Robert R.
Recipient Gendermale
SourceD 2166/1/3/1: From the Cherry Papers, deposited by J.C. Cherry.
ArchivePublic Record Office , Northern Ireland.
Doc. No.9306005
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogAction By Date Document added by Jonathan Teer, 01
Word Count1967
TranscriptLetter from John B. Cherry, Spencers Bridge, British
Columbia, Canada, to his brother, R. R. Cherry,
dated 7th August 1887.

Spencers Bridge
B. C. [British Columbia?]

7th Aug [August?] 87 [1887?]

My Dear Dick
After my arrival at Victoria on the
12th June, I at once went to look for work as a
carpenter but found that there were more carpenters
than there was work for. I stayed in Victoria for a
fortnight and made a great many acquaintances a
young fellow named Gulline a Chesire man who is a
counsellors agent was very kind and his best to get
me some work of some kind I was very nearly getting
the post of bookkeeper at a salmon cannery 70
dollars a month and board but as I did not know
"Chinook" the trade jargon of the Indians I was not
able to get it. The Indians are diveded into over a
hundred tribes who all speak different languages
they cannot even understand each other and this
Chinook is similar to Pidgeon [Pidgin?] English only
of course Indian words mixed up with English ones
instead of Chinese. I can now speak a good deal of
Pidgeon [Pidgin?] English & also Chinook so in
future will be better qualified to take anything
that appears. When I found I could not get work in
Victotia I went to Vanaims[?] and all about the Island
of Vancouver but found a similar state of things
every where I roughed it a great deal and have often
slept out in the woods with only a blanket around me
it is cold work camping out there as the climate is
most peculiar no matter how hot the days are at
sunset it gets very cold and generally before
morning it is down to near 40 F. [Fahrenheit?] still
there is something in the air that prevents a chill
having any bad effect. I have woke up so cold that I
could scarcely cut wood for my fire and was sneezing
and coughing and in two hours I was all right. I then
went back to Victoria but could not get anything
there while I was there the second time I met Carl
Graves & Tom Prosser who both have ranches 30 miles
North of Vamaims[?] but from what I have seen of the
land I would never take up a a holding unless I had
at lease [least?] 3000 [dollars?] or £150 pounds.
Graves goes about selling Graves roofing felt & says
he is doing well but I imagine he told me a lie about

it. I found out that he is in debt in every direction
and has such a bad name that it is not wise to be
seen aboAut with him I therefore avoided him as I
could. Tom Prosser and I went up to a place named
Chamamin[?] 80 miles from Victoria to a logging camp and
got taken on at 2 [dollars?] per day and board but
only worked 3 days as regular hands turned up & as we
were not experienced they would not keep us. In any
case I would have left as the work was too much for
me, we were making a road for the logs through the
forest up the side of a ravine about 300 ft [feet?]
deep & the side at an angle of 45 [degrees?] the
trees are something wonderful they average about 6 ft
[feet?] in diameter and 170 or 180 ft [feet?] high
but some of them were 8 & 9 ft [feet?] diam.
[diameter?] & fully 250 or 300 ft [feet?] high and as
straight as an oar. The road is made by felling the
trees which grow about 15 ft [feet?] apart so that
the outer outer stumps are all about 8 or 10 ft
[feet?] high small trees about 15 in diam
[diameter?] all these cut into 20 ft [feet?] length
or so and rolled or carried down and the space filled
up thus then across these skids are laid every 8 ft
[feet?] & the space between filled up with earth. Two
men had to carry these logs down the ravine and you
can imagine what work it was, being green they are as
heavy as a piano Tom P. [Prossor?] got off this
heavy work as he was not able to lift the logs at all
It is all very well to do this for 3 or 4 hours but
to be at it from 7 am to 6 pm with an hour for dinner
was too much for any man I found the loggers very
decent fellows and very clean in their habits they
were mostly states men, strange the most people here
are mostly old country people and Americans!! I do
not like the Canadians at all particularly the
eastern Canadians. The woods are full of wild
gooseberries & strawberries & a species of raspberry
called salmon berries from the colour they are about
4 times the size of our largest raspberry but more
fair and not so good in flavour, still they are very
nice and I had many a feed of them. A very decent
fellow a yankee who worked with me told me that no
man could stand the work I was put to for a week &
when I told him I was not accustomed to manuel
[manual?] labour he said I would not last out the
day but I falsified his prediction. He used to take
his turn in sawing & [---?] work & in driving the
[----?] so had a rest. They would not let me saw
although I was well able to do it because Prosser

made a mess of it & broke a saw. They fed us very
well, vension bacon potatoes tea coffee bread &
pudding at every meal and cleanly served. We lived
in a log hut the walls of which had spaces of two
inches between logs so that you might as well have
been outside save for the roof. I have not been able
to get any shooting I have been so busy looking for work
that I have not had the time to go hunting besides it is
surprising you have to go a great distance to get game.
Travelling about Vancouver Island is most awfully expensive,
they charge 7 cents a mile on the only railway you have
either to ride or tramp it & they charge 2 [dollars?] a
day for a horse sometimes 3 [dollars?] so your money goes
away fast. The country hotels however are cheap 2 or 1.50
[dollars?] a day. They have a very queer money system here,
nominally theyhave the regular Canadian coinage but they use
no smaller coin than 10 cents, formerly the dollar usedto be
divided into eight pieces called bits i.e.12.5 cents value.
This bit which now has no existence is the standard everywhere,
if you go into a shop they will tell you that the price of say
a pound of meat is a bit, if you have a 10 cent
piece they will accept it but if you give 25 cents
they will hand you 10 cents. After you get
accustomed to it, it does not matter but at first
you are apt to lose 5 cents on everything. After
being at Chamamin[?] I went back to Victoria I tried to
get into a solicitors office but everthing
[everything?] has been such an influx of strangers
this year, several men told me they would have been
very glad to have me 6 months ago but they had
filled up their offices. While at Victoria I saw the
advertisement of this place & more for fun than
anything else answered it. However when the manager
saw me he said I would Suit him better than anyone
who had applied, there were 30 applied so you may
imagine how many there are looking for something to
do. I like the place and the work well enough but
the hours are too long, fro [from?] before 5 o'clock
to sometimes 11.30 & always 10.30, there is no hard
work but anything that requires trust I have to do
there are two cows and I have to milk them as
neither Indians or Chinese can do so, I am now quite
a dab at it. Mr M [?] is also very unreasonable in
some ways he & his friends come into the bar in the
evening & play cards & sit up until near 12 & after
that I have to count my cash and enter up my book,
it of course only takes a few minutes but when you
are up at 4.30 or 5 you are anxious to get to bed.
The trains arrive here also at very awkward hours,

there are only two passenger trains the east bound
train passing here at 11 pm & the west bound at 2.30
am. I am often roused up at 3 am & have to show
people to their rooms. In Ireland or Victoria I
could not stand the want of sleep but here people do
not seem to require so much sleep. I have made a
great many aquaintances amongst the railway people &
one of them a Mr Newhart the section superintendant
says he can get me the post of gang boss whose duty
it is to see that the rails and bridges on the line
are in proper order if I can get it I will give up
this place. I could probably get on to something
better & I would like the work. I am anxious to hear
what has occurred in Pearse v Pearse and also if you
have got the costs in Powers estate, like a good
fellow, let me have a line from you. You can
scarcely understand how I value a letter from home I
got your Graphic & Express at Victoria allright
[all right?] & the papers about the Metropolitan
here. I was delighted to see that Waterford won the
Liffey but the poor old Boat Club made a bad show.
When writing direct to Mr J. Brissoe Cherry. There
is a Cherry in Victoria whose initials are J. B. he
is an upholsterer. There is a quantity of salmon
here but they are a small kind not near so large as
travel down the river.The salmon here is not nearly
so sick as our salmon,most people say it is inferior
but I like it better.This is a very primative [primi
-tive?] place everthing [everything?] used in the house
is made on the premises. Bread butter, coffee roasted,&
we get a cow when we want beef & have to cut it up.I found
a book in the house which gives directions how to cut it
and succeeded very welI.I can make splendid bread now in
fact the home made bread here is much better than any
bakers bread & if the [----?] ease I will send them the
receipe [recipe?] it is very simple I fact I am a sort
of general factotum I mended several pumps and some machines
for pressing fruit which had defied the real mechanics & have
got quite a name in consequence. The weather here here is
awfully h[Bot 110 in the shade in the daytime for the
last week & it goes below 76 in the night. We had a
thunderstorm & heavy rain a couple of days ago which
is very rare here but it did not cool the air a bit.
In spite of the heat & hard work I have got heavy
and weigh 12st. [stone?] 4. With love to [-------?]
I am dear Dick ever your affectionate brother
J [John?] Brissoe Cherry.