The CSI Crime Night that was such a big hit with the community last year returns to Thompson Rivers University this Thursday, Oct. 20 from 6:45 to 8:30 p.m.
All participants will be entered into a draw for an Amazon Kindle e-Reader.
Winning teams will also be awarded other great prizes.
The date was May 19, 1922 and banner headlines in the Vancouver papers read Williams Lake, City of Tents.
John Likely’s belief in undiscovered gold in the Cedar Creek area had caused around 7,000 potential prospectors to journey to Williams Lake and there were few accommodations available.
The Log Cabin Hotel had been quickly filled, as had the Borland Ranch Boarding House, so many of the newly arrived were forced to live in a myriad of tents that had sprouted like toadstools in the downtown area almost overnight.
The newly established town was in the process of rebuilding after more than half the businesses had been wiped out in the fire of July 10, 1921. The blaze started in the Fraser and Mackenzie Store and spread rapidly, killing two men, George Bernard Weetman and Johnny Salmon.
According to the rumours, Johnny had been lucky on his claim in Likely and had been seen with a pouch of gold nuggets shortly before the fire.
However, no one was sure whether he had buried the gold under the floor of his rooming house or whether he had been carrying it with him when he was in the store. Both buildings had been destroyed and the land was now being cleared for rebuilding.
Dudley Knolls, a 31-year-old Scottish immigrant from Edinburgh, had been prospecting in California when he heard gold had been found near Likely. He arrived in Williams Lake in April 1922 and soon found a job with other unemployed men in rebuilding the lost businesses. He had been living in a shack he rented from Phoebe that was located behind the post office, where he had heard stories of Johnny Salmon’s lost gold.
Dudley was a difficult man, prone to a quick temper, which many of his co-workers excused when they had heard his story.
After a few drinks, he had told them about an “accident” that had resulted in two broken legs, causing him to limp and to experience bouts of extreme pain.
Also while under the influence of alcohol, Dudley bragged that he would find Johnny’s lost gold nuggets and quit working forever. Even though Dudley drank a lot, he worked hard, trying to stay away from the alcohol that usually drove him to pick fights. He was also a heavy smoker.
Silas Bryerly, born in New Westminster, had lived in Williams Lake since May 1920.
Silas had been working as a general hand at the livery and feed barn operated by Angus Brown, who deducted a third of his paycheque for letting Silas live in a room in the back of the livery.
However, since he didn’t get along well with Angus, he was planning soon on joining the other prospectors in Likely in the hopes of making his fortune.
Silas was engaged to Mavis but that didn’t stop him from having a “roving eye” when it came to the ladies.
Mavis Quince had arrived from California in September 1919 on the first P.G.E. train to come to Williams Lake.
Premier John Oliver had assisted in the geographical construction of the new town and his main focus had been on facilitating the railway. Mavis worked at Fred Bucholtz’s bakery during the week, but took odd jobs on the weekends to make extra money.
One of these jobs, cleaning rooms at the Borland Ranch Boarding House, she did in exchange for a place to live. She had met Silas at the first Williams Lake Stampede in 1920, and they had become engaged by Christmas. Mavis was anxious to raise her status in the new town and the way she believed she could do this was to have a big house and fancy clothes.
For more on the mystery pick up the Thursday edition of the Tribune for part 2 and to prepare for the crime night adventure ahead of time on Thursday evening.