I remember Jeppy


ed at such a sale, telling Jeppy he needn’t pay such a sum at this time as it would take several weeks to deliver the tractor. But Jeppy paid cash and that’s how it would be; he didn’t believe in that fancy credit business, sick or well.
....He trapped beaver several winters and fairly well at it. He had a wireless telegraph line of about thirty miles along the rough beaches from Coal Harbour to Holberg that he had to patrol. Trees were forever falling over the line but Jep would hop into his little gas boat and, following the shoreline, would find the break and mend it. He was used to being alone in the forest and was not a man who needed company.
....There is a story told of this man that is true. One winter he was taking his small gas boat around the north end of Vancouver Island—a very rocky and dangerous tidal waterway. Before he got to Cape Scott a storm came up and Jep hit a rock and his boat remained stuck, several hundred feet out from the rocky shore. Without panic he simply took off his clothes, dove into the icy waters and swam to the beach. The area was without habitation and Jep realized he would have to survive on his own till he was found by searchers. He therefore concluded that it would be wiser to swim back out to the boat and get his clothing. Out into the storm he swam, boarded the boat, retrieved his clothes, and, before heading for shore again took with him in a sack a dozen of beer. He was picked up several days later—not much the worse for wear. How could a storm or a rocky isolated area hurt a man like Jeppy?
One summer he left the crew in camp to continue logging while he took on

....He was a boy and a man of the forest around us in coastal British Columbia. His life spanned a too quick forty years and in those years he had been a fisherman, a wireless lineman, a whaler, a trapper, a sort of tide flat rancher and of course a logger. He called his outfit the “Adventure Logging Company Ltd.” and his name was Jepetha Hole of coal Harbour situated on Quatsino sound at the northern end of Vancouver Island. He was quite a man and I’d like to tell you a bit about him now that the cold of winter has set in on us.
....It was in a cold, late November of 1961 that he died while helping to load his logs on a big log barge for shipment to the markets of Van-couver. The shock of the news up and down the sound was met with disbelief. Jeppy was the kind of man that was really part of the sound—and it seemed he could no more leave it than could its tides and shores. I don’t remember ever hearing Jeppy speak bad of anyone and I don’t believe anyone ever spoke bad of him.
....He was a stocky man, strong, soft spoken, not given to a lot of words in conversation, and a man who never went back on his word. Denim pants—a bit too large—a neckline show of Stanfields red or black label underwear and a wool or cotton shirt was his finery. Sound or big city, no flashy garments for Jep!
....Jeppy was in some ways much like the famed fictional character David Harum. He was an Inlet philosopher and a trader of goods. I remember the time 20 years ago that we traded a cookhouse for an A-frame float. Jeppy was in need of a new A-frame float for logging along the shores of Quatsino Sound and we were building a new logging campsite and so needed a building for a cookhouse. He and his crew went to work and moved a big two story building that was owned by his brother from an impossible site at Coal Harbour. They used jacks and


skids and know-how and somehow moved the big building down onto a large log float—perfectly intact. A day or so later he towed the structure out to the west coast and we made the trade for our A-frame. It was a good swap for both of us. And then I rem-ember as a young lad, Jeppy and his brother Doug once gathered up a whole shipload of empty beer bottles at Coal Harbour and had a freighter stop in at their dock and loaded the ship with their gatherings. The event was marveled at for years after.
....He loved animals and it was a not uncommon sight to see a tame black bear roaming about the grounds of the Holes’ Hotel in Coal Harbour. Jeppy’s mother would make him tie it up every so often when it scared the daylights out of some hazy logger passing through on his way to camp. A very kindly man by the name of Mr. Harper had been hired by the Hole parents to be teacher to Jeppy and his two sisters and their brothers as there was no school in Coal Harbour in those days. The soft spoken Mr. Harper had his trials with Jeppy, the worst of which was to keep his attention while he taught him his lessons. Jeppy’s mind was always out in the forest or on the beaches or waterways of Quatsino Sound.
....Jeppy believed in paying cash for what he bought and Jerry Holmes of the Great Yellow Tractor Co. will always remember the time he got a call from the Vancouver General Hospital to come and see Jeppy, who was in the institution bedridden with illness. He hustled down to the hospital and on entering Jeppy’s room was prepared to console the ailing logger. Instead Jeppy immediately asked Holmes how much he wanted for a brand new big Yellow Tractor. Holmes mumbled something about $35,000 and Jep pulled out a checkbook, wrote out a check for $34,500 and handed it to Jerry saying this was all he had now but would send the remaining $500 along later. The Yellow Tractor salesman was astonish-

British Columbia Lumberman, December, 1972

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job of towing whales from the whaling fleet that was working the waters off the north end of Vancouver Island. He had a good sized tug and it was his job to go out each day and gather from the fleet the dead floating whales and tow them to the Whaling Station at Coal Harbour. It so happened that a threatened loggers strike was imminent and I was worried about getting our logs towed to the pulp mill, a distance of 50 miles, before the deadline. We had to tow the logs, about a half million board feet of them, in two large bag booms through the first 10 miles of open Pacific waters, making the job impossible unless we had a tug. Jeppy heard of our plight and knowing that no log tugs were available arrived at our camp one morning at six o’clock and said he was there to help us out.
....We started out with the tow into the open waters of the Pacific—Jeppy’s whale tug, our camp boats and speed boats, and an assortment of local fish boats. Jeppy was hooked on as the lead boat and he and I spent the morning in his wheelhouse watching the slow steady shoreline go by. However the whaling fleet were several miles offshore with a load of whales for him and were screaming over the radio phone for him to come and pick them up so they could get back to their job. Jeppy calmly told them that a logger was in danger of losing his logs if he left the tow—and anyway logs were more important than whales. That’s the way he was when a friend needed help.
....Jeppy married a local girl and they set up a sort of tideflat ranch with cows and chickens. However Jep was often away from home and it would be left to his wife to catch any mink or coon after the fowl, or for that matter to shoot any cougar that prowled about their lonely place. It was said of Mrs. Hole that she was as good a shot as Jeppy and her cougar kills were many.
....Those who came to his funeral will never forget that stormy southwestern day of hail and snow. We arrived from all over the Sound at the little wooden church at the village of Quatsino. There were Indian families, loggers, fishermen and an array of local people wrapped up in Mackinaws and rain gear. The little building only held a few and most people waited outside under the hemlocks while the storm blew around

them. We loaded Jep in the back of an old pickup truck to take him to his resting place about a mile and a half from the church. There were only about five vehicles of any type in Quatsino then as its narrow road was not connected to outside roads. With the five strange old pickups and trucks in procession we wound our way along the road—hardly seeing because the snow gale was so fierce. Looking back now I think Jep must have been amused at the scene, for with his wonderful sense of humor he could never find sadness as he found that day. It’s as if he would say: “What the heck are all you folks doing out here on a day like this, don’tcha know it’s snowing and blowing?”
....There are people in the forest around us—and with a pardon to the Yellow Tractor Company et al—I find

them more interesting than the great machines of the forest. They are interesting because they gave of themselves to an industry that has grown up the hard way. It’s been an industry that needed strong leaders, tough character, daring-do, and people who could do without the comforts of city life and cope with and enjoy their forests. Jepetha Hole of the Adventure Logging Company was such a man. He grew up, lived and worked and died on the waterways of Quatsino Sound, and the people of the forest around that sound shall never forget the boy and the man of the forest.

Keep out of the bight,

British Columbia Lumberman, December, 1972