PANEL PORTRAITS

E. E. PUGSLEY January 1 1934

PANEL PORTRAITS

E. E. PUGSLEY January 1 1934

PANEL PORTRAITS

72 Years in B.C.

E. E. PUGSLEY

WHEN VANCOUVER consisted of but four shacks, he lived in the fourth. That was more than seventy years ago. Today he still lives in Vancouver, and Vancouver is a city of skyscrapers. Which just goes to show what four shacks can grow into.

His name is John Henry Scales, and last summer he was seventy-eight years old. He came to British Columbia when he was a child of four, and the first thing he remembers is helping his father build the Cariboo Road to the new goldi fields.

For John Henry Scales was the son of an English soldier. When he sailed for British Columbia there were with him his father and mother, 120 English sappers from the Royal Engineers, thirty-one wives and thirtyfour children. When the passengers were counted on Canadian soil the children numbered forty-three. Nine had been born on the way.

That was in April, 1859. The emigrant soldiers—so they were called in those days—came from Gravesend, England, by way of Cape Horn on board the sailing ship Thames City. It took them six months.

John Henry Scales’ childhood was spent among quite savage Indians and rough men whose pants were patched with all brands of flour sacks and whose whiskers were long and shaggy. Along the Fraser River and the Fraser Canyon the sappers built bridges and roads, settled boundaries and kept

order. Scales knew Westminster when it was Scott’s saloon and not very much more. Once he saw a wild miner hurl, a big nugget through the saloon window just for excitement. In those days miners were inclined to scatter nuggets about in barrooms. Some liked their gold' made into bricks.

“Not every one knows that we had a very busy mint in New Westminster in those days,” John Henry Scales recalls. “I remember seeing them wheel the coin in big barrows.”

In 1863 the sappers were discharged. Those who wanted to go ■back home to England got free passage. Th«se who wanted to stay were offered a scrip grant of 160 acres as a gift of the government. Sapper Scales chose to stay and took Jiis scrip, later selling it for fifty dollars.

One day John Heryy Scales and his father decided to row out in an old skiff to visit a place called Burrard Inlet. They had a little difficulty in locating Burrard Inlet, but rounding Point Brockton—only they did not call it Point Brockton in those days— they came upon it. Of course., they didn’t know they were looking on what was to become the waterfront of Vancouver. But that’s what it was. They rowed ashore.

Father Scales liked the place from the first. He decided to live there. There was a lumber mill and. there were three shacks. He got some lumber and built himself the fourth. While the father worked in the mill, John Henry Scales and his mother helped feed the men who loaded the ships. For ships were beginning to put in at Vancouver for lumber in thoso days.

It was adventurous and it was a lot of fun. John Henry Scales, remembers when 300 savage Siwash Indians threatened the small white settlement; also when an Indian murdered a man named Old Perry near Cipliano, Another Indian named Supple Jack, who was said to have killed' a man in New Westminster, was Scales’ friend.

Young Scales had' an Indian dugout canoe, so flimsy, he recalls, that it would tip over “if I had. one more button on one side of my shirt than the other.” In this canoe he used to call on the ships. He sold roosters to Kanakas who wanted to use them as fighting cocks in. Malaya. He helped smuggle deserting sailors ashore.

When English men of war were in the harbors of Vancouver and Esquimault, he joined in the sailors? fun on paydays.

After ten years spent on. Burrard Inlet the Scales family moved to Nanaimo. John Henry came back to Burrard to see the first train pull in on May 23, 1887. There was quite a towm on Burrard at that time, he remembers. The town was called Gastown.

Not many men can say today, claims John Henry Scales, that they watched Indians make dugout canoes from cedar trees with stone chisels.

Nor can many men say that they havo watched great cities grow from the “tall timbers,”