a large well-known loggers’
employ-ment agency. Through Betty’s father he came to know
the owners of logging camps in the Queen Charlotte Islands and elsewhere.
He made his first boat trip to the Queen Charlotte Islands logging
camps in 1940.
....“It was a long boat trip
to the Charlottes and the boat stoppped at all the fishing vand
logging camps. It would take me a month to cover them. The Finnish
and Swedish loggers were great customers and I got along werll with
threm. They were extremely honest and I had no hesitation about
giving them credit with just a handshake.
....“They would stay out in camp
for six to eight months at a time and never touch a drop of liquor,
but on the day that they would leave for Vancouver they would get
drunk and stay that way until they got back to camp. It was heartbreaking
at times to see the terrible results they suffered from their additction
....“I had one customer whom
I shall never forget. His name was Arne Ramsbottom. He was a tall
handsome man and, when sober, a soft spoken polite gentleman. When
he was drinking he was loud, boistrous and bother-some. He never
left for camp without owing me $1,500 because I had loaned him quite
a bit of money besides paying his hotel bills and his bootlegger.
When he got back into camp he worked just long enough to pay me
his account in full – and then he committed suicide.”
....Ted decided to take on the Warren
K Cook line of clothing and was sent a shipment of cloth samples,
order books and a tape measure.
....“I sold the first suit to
a faller in Chamis Bay. The pants fit him per-fectly. I don’t
know whether I should mention the coat – but the replacement
was perfect and he was happy. That was the only misfit I ever had.
....“So I did get a reputation
for selling high quality merchanidise. It was the same with jewelry
and watches as with clothing. I handled only the top quality lines.
So, added to jewelry and watches, I now had a top clothing line
as well as radios, weashers and dryers, refrigerators and luggage.
It was 1941 and things were looking up.
....“The mode of transportation
on the west coast of Vancouver Island was by steamship from Port
Alberni to Chamis Bay. The ship would be full of loggers, miners
and fishermen. The Gibson bro-thers, Gordon, Jack, Clarke and Carson
would be passengers on the ship as they had
logging camps at
Tahsis and Chamis Bay. They were
fine men and they welcomed me to their camps. Bill Becker was their
superin-tendent, a man of great character and ability.”
....Ted writes of the Gibson brothers
selling out to the East Asiatic Co and only retaining their logging
camp of Jeune Landing near Port Alice. Jack McKercher became superintendent
at the Tahsis Co’s new camp at Gold River and he writes of
....“I always used to get ulcer
pains in the pit of my stomach every time I had to make myself known
to a new super and that’s how I felt when I met Jack McKercher.
Gold River was one camp I didn’t want to lose. It was in a
remote area of the West Coast and inaccessible except by boat or
seaplane. There were about 200 loggers there and a large number
were regular customers of mine.
Jack put me at ease right away and surprised me by saying that he
had loaned him quite a bit of money besides paying his hotel
bills and his bootlegger. When he got back to camp he worked
just long enough to pay me his account in full – and
then he committed suicide.”
was doing the company a service by selling on
credit, which kept the men in camp and reduced the labor turnover.
Jack and his wife Betty became great friends of mine.”
....I met Ted about 35 years ago. He
was always welcome at our camp and the loggers always looked forward
to lis-tening to his great sales pitch and getting stocked up on
a new suit or a watch. It is true, I believe. Of those days that
a good many loggers would go bare backed in the city if it hadn’t
been for Ted and his trusty tape measure and clothing samples.
....Jim Fishback worked for me as a
high rigger – and a good one. He loved to sport flashy rings.
Once a year Goldie would bring a new diamond ring to camp for Jim
and take his old one back in trade. When Jim died, he had a $2,000
diamond ring on his pinkie.
....Ted would visit the logging camp
of Doc Gildersleeve in Rivers Inlet and he relates: “One time
I recall there being 11 grizzly bears within 500 feet of the cookhouse.”
....Then this story:
....“Easter Sunday of March,
my very last trip to a logging camp.
I was at the Gibson camp at Chamis Bay. I had radioed for a float
plane to pick me up and take me to Zeballos, a half hour flight
away. It was pouring rain and there was a strong wind. I sat up
front with the pilot with two ladies and a child behind me. We tried
to persuade the pilot to wait a while as the visibility was becoming
poor. He headed down the wrong channel think-ing it was to Zeballos
and we were lost. The pilot decided to land, but due to the heavy
downpour, the water was so agitated it was impossible to judge the
depth. He saw a faint outline of an island and decided to land the
plane. We hit the water and crashed. We had come down in six inches
of water and the plane somersaulted and came to rest upside down.
Miraculously there was only one minor casualty. I hit my head and
the scar is a slight reminder of a very lucky experience.
....“The radio was out of order
and we managed to wade ashore, about a quarter of a mile. We found
a deserted shack with an old rusty stove and got a fire going and
cooked some barnacles. The next day at noon a plane found us and
took the other three passengers. I tried to sell the pilot a watch,
but he was too busy worrying about getting fired. He was. A fisherman
picked us up before the plane got back and I sold him a 21 jewel
Hamilton Railroad watch.”
....Ted spent five days in the Zeballos
....“Of course there were many
more small camps that were real fun to call on. They were located
in remote areas. Camps like Sullivan Bay, Hudson Bay, Charles Creek,
Wakeman Sound and Viv Williams’ camp near Bella Coola.”
....“There were friends and loggers
like Bob Bell, Herman Steenhoff, Oscar Neime, George Green, John
Hemming-son, Jack Christiansen, Slim Beall, bob Payne and Frank
Hole and many more. And I am indebted to them all.”
....The boys in camp liked Goldie.
No, he wasn’t a chopper of trees. But he knew many of the
men who were, and he held their respect while he serviced their
....I’ve known many in my life,
in this forest around us, and Tevy Goldbloom was one of the finest
I have ever encountered.
Keep out of the bight,