Saturday, January 11, 2014

Harrison Lake Murder

I was searching using the term "Silver Creek" which is the older naming of todays Widgeon Creek, at the foot of Pitt Lake, and came across this news item:

Transcribed here:
The Daily Colonist 24 September 1909

Harrison Lake Murder

The chase of the provincial police engaged in the solution of what has come to be known as the Harrison Lake murder mystery after the Indian "Cultus Charlie," accused of the killing of Howard Wade, continues without result as yet. Although on several occassions they have had the irritable satisfaction of "just missing" their man. The Indian is, like the majority of aborigines, an expert woodsman, and as he has taken to the hills and has the sympathy of his race, it is probable that it will be long before he grows careless and falls into the hands of the law.

The news item piqued my interest...

The Daily Colonist 26 September 1909

Provincial Constable Wilkie came into New Westminster Thursday for supplies and returned to Harrison, where he is proceeding with the search for the Indian accused of the murder of Howard Wade, the logger, at Silver Creek, during the latter part of August. the whole countryside and all the shores of Harrison Lake are being carefully searched in an effort to find the Indian, but so far all efforts in this direction have met with no success.

[ Today Silver Creek is known as, Big Silver Creek  ]
Constable Wilkie was on the chase

A small picture of  Private Otway John James Wilkie taken from a,
Collage of Boer War soldier portraits. - ca. 1899, he was about 38 years old in this photo.

Cropped photo of, Otway John James Wilkie,(1861-1945)     1884
    Van. Archives  A34436

        Wilkie was born in Howth, Ireland on October 4, 1861 and came to Canada in 1878, settling in Langley, British Columbia. In 1887 he joined the Provincial Police Force. He resigned from the police in 1896 in order to take the position of assistant manager of the provincial asylum. In 1899 he went to South Africa as part of the Canadian contingent in the Boer War and he received the Queen’s Medal with four bars. He returned to B.C. on New Years eve of 1900. He was appointed as the Chief of the Provincial Police for the District of New Westminster and the Fraser Valley. Wilkie resigned from the police in 1912 and started a real estate business. He was a member for two years of the Langley town council. Wilkie was a member of L.O.L. No. 1150 in New Westminster.

B.C. From the earliest times to the present, Volume 3 – 1914.

The Daily Colonist 9 April 1910


August Charlie arrested at Pemberton Meadows on suspicion of having caused the death of Howard Wade.

August Charlie, and Indian, for whom the Provincial police have been searching for three months past, has been arrested at Pemberton Meadows on suspicion of having caused the death of Howard Wade, a rancher of the Harrison Lake district. The body of Mr. Wade was found in Harrison Lake, with the skull battered in, presumably with an axe. Foul play was suspected and indications pointed to an Indian, under the influence of liquor, having been instrumental in the crime. the attention of the Provincial police was directed to the movements of August Charlie, an Indian of the vicinity, who was known to have been in the neighborhood at the time of the supposed murder. He got wind of the suspicions and fled. For the last three months, practically since the time of the crime, the chase has continued, the Indian finally being caught at Pemberton Meadows. He has been taken to Vancouver and will be charged with the murder, according to a report just received by Superintendent Hussey. The Provincial police are understood to have important evidence which will lead to his conviction.

Frederick Stephen Hussey, ca.1893.
photo: John Savannah,(1868-1925)    BC Archives  A-02238

The Daily Colonist 22 April 1910

The hearing is proceeding at New Westminster of the Indian August Charlie, who is charged with the murder of the rancher Howard Wade, at Harrison Lake.

The Daily Colonist 26 April 1910

August Charlie, the indian suspected of the murder of Howard Wade, of Harrison Lake, has been formally committed for trial.

Transcribed here:

The Daily Colonist 28 April 1910


Took Indian charged with murder and also staked mineral claim.
To capture a man wanted for murder and to stake out a mining claim at the same time is the unusual accomplishment of Joe Cole, of Upper Sumas. Cole was looking for August Charlie, wanted in connection with the murder of Howard Wade, on the shores of Silver Creek last August.
He located him camping on the Lillooet River, deep in the woods, and placed him under arrest.
But Cole had an eye to business and even though he was after a desparate man he did not like to pass a good thing. And so when he found indications of gold along the Lillooet River he promptly staked out a claim which he has since registered at New Westminster.
the claim is situated on the south bank of the Lillooet River and on the east bank of Twenty-Five Mile Creek and contains eighty acres, more or less. The area is an hydraulic low-grade placer mine.

[ Twenty-Five Mile Creek is today known as, 25 mile, or, Jim creek this is above Pemberton, possibly not correct. Nothing appears to have come out of this "find", I could find no records.

Joseph Cole died at Mission 24 March 1929, 65 years of age.
Joe was married to Annie Barton in 1896 New Westminster, she died the following year  in September 1897, at Surrey Centre, at the age of 23.   ]

The Daily Colonist 3 June 1910

A new trial has been ordered in the case of August Charlie, indicted in the assize court at New Westminster for the murder of Howard Wade, the trial jury being unable to agree.

The Daily Colonist 4 June 1910

The retrial of August Charlie for the murder of Howard Wade, takes place in New Westminster at the close of the present assize term.

The Daily Colonist 9 June 1910

...August Charlie charged with the Howard Wade murder at Harrison Lake, secured an acquittal.

Map of reserve and Silver Creek is on 92H  Hope, B.C., I used a cropped section of the map to create this.

Skulkayn; Skowkale; Chilliwack IR 10/11, Skowkale First Nation

So we have a dead man Howard Wade,  listed date of death as August 29, 1909 at Silver Creek. 35 years old. I could not find where he is buried, or any relations of him.

August Charlie, meanwhile lived a full life and died 22 January 1946 Skulkayn Reserve,Sardis. age 100 estimated. He was married to Josephine Aikalh, in 1918, she died 13 May 1936, Skulkayn IR. age 88.

So I guess that this is still an unsolved murder?
 And the only reason that this is here on the web is because I was looking for Silver Creek, and the outcome was interesting, many would have thought that August Charlie, would have been found guilty and hanged. But justice prevailed, probably due to the lack of solid evidence, not the first time that I have seen this in my researching of the Province; moral: everything is not like the movies.
This crime will never be solved because at the time we had  our own British Columbia Provincial Police, who were disbanded in 1950, when the RCMP took over, and all the previous records were destroyed in utter ignorance of their value.

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