We do not know his name: Klatsassin and the Chilcotin War

Brew to the Colonial Secretary of British Columbia

8 September 1864


Adverting to my letter of the 18th ult. addressed to His Excellency the Governor I have the honor to state that on the next day the 19th, Mr. Elwyn proceeded down Tathalco Lake and river on a raft, he searched both Banks of the river and satisfied himself that the Indians had not gone to Bute Inlet by that route, he continued his search till his provisions were nearly finished and returned to camp on the sixth day -- during his absence I had two parties out and I sent the Indians to search over the mountains through the snows, they came back the second day and said the place they visited was not habitable. They saw nothing but rock and snow and small lakes covered with broken ice.

The morning of the day Mr. Elwyn returned I took a party out of camp and was absent four days. We passed several lately abandoned camps the remains in which led us to surmise that the men had been hunting while the women were engaged gathering and drying berries. On the east side of the lake we found two bark canoes en cache from which I concluded that the Indians had moved in the direction of McLeans Lake or perhaps over towards Alexis camp. The day after I returned to camp I dispatched Mr. Elwyn with a party in the direction I thought the Indians had taken, with instructions to try and ascertain if Mr. Cox's party had approached us. He returned to camp the fourth day. He visited McCleans lake and searched the mountains in its vicinity. On a mound in a hollow on a high mountain near a small lake he discovered the large camp in which the Indians were when Mr. McClean was killed. He was shot on the main trail leading from Mr. Cox's camp to the Indian camp into which one short march would have brought Mr. Cox's party.

Having satisfied myself that the Indians were not in that part of the Country I determined to send a portion of the men back to meet the pack train and proceed myself with a party to try and communicate with Mr. Cox. As I was under the impression that he was absolutely inactive I had resolved under His Excellency's authority to break up his party at once and to remain with 20 of my men in the Country till I could be informed of His Excellency's wishes. On the 3rd inst. we marched from our camp at Tathalco and had proceeded only three miles when we met McCleod and Page our packers who informed us that Mr. Cox had caught the principal murderers and stated that our pack train was awaiting us at Benshee. This news changed my plans so I marched here direct and arrived here on yesterday when I received His Excellency's letter of the 24th ult. and also a letter from Mr. Cox brought by one of Alexis' Indians.

I am sending Squinteye and George to Mr. Cox as witnesses and also the Bute Inlet depositions left with me by His Excellency. I understand that Mr. Begbie wrote to Mr. Cox to say that he would come to try the prisoners. I shall have to send an escort of six men with the packer and horses I had from Alexandria, these men will have to march down to New Westminster. I shall proceed immediately to Bella Coola, halting some days to try and take Ahan and his party. The Government Horses are so cut up that we will find it difficult to get our provisions along. During the expedition one horse strayed and was lost and one we found straying and [illegible] broke its leg.

I have the honor to be Sir Your obedient Servant

C. Brew

Source: BCA, Colonial Correspondence, GR-1372, F193/15, Mflm B1310, Chartres Brew, Letter to the Colonial Secretary of British Columbia, September 8, 1864.

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Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History