Henry Hicks

Dowsing was Henry Hick’s greatest passion

Henry Hicks of Likely took a keen interest in his work as a dowser for water and precious metals in the land.

When I moved to Williams Lake from the Chilcotin in 2001 to work as a staff reporter for the Williams Lake Tribune, one of the more colourful characters I encountered in my human interest news beat was Henry Hicks of Likely.

At that time Henry was a newly minted octogenarian with the spryness and tenacity of a man half his age. He and his wife, Rose, kept Likely clean. For a dozen years they supplied the nearby forestry campsites with firewood and hauled the garbage to the dump.

They emptied the Highways garbage barrels around Likely, and in winter cleaned the snow off highway signs and dug them out of the snow.

Henry and Rose were historians and established the Quesnel Forks Museum and Historical Society. The museum was in the front entrance to their home, which was the last house on the road leaving Likely for Quesnel Forks.

Perhaps Henry’s greatest passion was dowsing. He handed out shiny gold-coloured business cards advertising his services, claiming the ability to not only find water but precious minerals as well.

One miner in the throes of gold fever once hired Henry equipped with his dowsing sticks to fly around with him over his mineral claim.

During my years at the Tribune, Henry and Rose would often stop by and take me out to their favourite Chinese restaurant for lunch and Henry would tell me stories. He told of his years as a pilot during the Second World War, and about his adventures afterwards during the 1960s flying contraband into South America.

He described landing on cow pasture airstrips at night, getting shot at, and racking up his plane on barbed wire fencing.

On another flying mission in the arctic, Henry told of capturing musk-ox calves to be transported to Vermont for an experimental cross breeding program with cattle.

There was never a dull moment in my meetings with Henry.

One day he stopped by the office saying he read of a water shortage at a trailer park in Glendale, and wanted me to photograph him riding down Mackenzie Avenue on the hood of his car with his dowsing sticks ablazing.  I got the photo, did the story, but have no idea if he ever found the water source he was seeking.

On November 26 Henry Hicks passed away in Cariboo Memorial Hospital, 10 days after his 92nd birthday.

Donations can be made in Henry’s memory to helpfilladream.com.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATE: Highway 97 remains closed south of Prince George

DriveBC says highway expected to remain closed until 8 p.m.

Close-knit community: McLeese lake Farmers Market embraces Knit in Public Day

Square by square, vendors and community members pitched in to make three blankets to give away

Sugar Cane celebration of life for man killed in hit and run in Hawaii

Benito Segura III, a second degree black belt, was in training for his next jiu-jitsu fight

Conservation officer service investigating illegal harvest of cow moose near Sugar Cane

The animal had been allegedly harvested by a WLIB counsellor

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, calls for end to blockades

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

Exclusive: Pamela Anderson talks plans for waterfront Ladysmith property after 12-day marriage

Anderson says she can pay her own bills. Peters denies making comments suggesting she can’t

Burger King breaks the mould with new advertising campaign

The company is known for irreverent ad campaigns

Maggie and Tim: B.C. residential school survivor turns to faith, forgiveness in mourning son

A young man’s tragic death and his mother’s survival through hardship

PHOTOS: RCMP call on kids to name latest police puppy recruits

This year’s theme is the letter ‘N,’ and 13 German shephards must be named

UNBC hosting regional Moose Hide Campaign Gathering

The event is a part of a movement to stand up against violence inflicted on women and children

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett standing by to return to Smithers

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

Most Read