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



Hudson's Bay Company establishes Fort Chilcotin near the junction of the Chilcotin and Chilco Rivers.


The HBC abandons Fort Chilcotin because of Tsilhqot’in resistance and moves north to Dene territory and builds Fort Kluskus.


The Colony of Vancouver Island created by the British Government with Victoria as capital.


April 23: Start of Fraser River Gold Rush. Some 600 miners arrive in Victoria from San Francisco en route to the Fraser Canyon. By the end of the summer it is estimated that 30,000 miners have congregated along the lower Fraser.

November 19: The Colony of British Columbia created on the mainland of what is now British Columbia. James Douglas becomes governor of this colony as well as Vancouver Island.


Gold discovered on Williams Creek, Cariboo.


Captain Cavendish Venables surveys for a road from Bella Coola on the coast to Alexandria near the Cariboo goldfields.

October 24: Alfred Waddington, Roderick Finlayson and William F. Tolmie of the Hudson’s Bay Company send Robert Homfray, with a party of six, to survey a road from Bute Inlet to Alexandria. Homfray’s party does not get past the Homathco Canyon, is rescued by the Tsilhqot’in, and returns in a very “ragged and half-starved condition” on December 20.


March: Alfred Waddington and R.C. Moody, Commissioner of Lands and Works for the Colony of British Columbia, sign an agreement to allow Waddington to build a road to the Cariboo in exchange for the ability to charge tolls.

March 12: The Steamer "Brother Jonathan" arrives in Victoria from San Francisco bringing smallpox.

April: Alex McDonald and his partner William Manning homestead at Bendziny (Puntzi Lake or Benshee Lake) in Tsilhqot’in territory.

May 16: Mr. Tiedeman and four men (Tom, Henry McNeill, possibly Harry and ?) along with three Indians leave Victoria to make another attempt to survey a road to Alexandria. They arrive at Alexandria on June 25th “having suffered great privations nearly and at one time, actual starvation”.

May 23: They arrive at the Waddington townsite [Tiedeman Diary].

June 25: Lt. Herbert Spencer Palmer and two other Royal Engineers, Breakenridge and Edwards, leave from Victoria to map the route from Bentinck Arm to the goldfields. Palmer publishes his survey in 1863.

July 4: Henry McNeill leaves Alexandria for Bute Inlet to complete Tiedeman survey. They arrive July 15.

July 4: Nine of a party of 20 miners including Francis Poole, who had started from Bentinck Arm a month prior, arrive at Alexandria. They leave two Canadian brothers named Linn, sick with the smallpox, at Naukuluff [or Nootlas] above the slide in the Bella Coola Valley, and two others including a Canadian named Pearce, at the Tsilhqot’in village at Chilcotin Lake. They followed a party under Pearson who made the same trip in 14 days.


April 24: The steamer "Enterprise" reaches head of Bute Inlet with 91 road-builders and 19 mules. Waddington hires Tsilhqot’in packers, including Chief Tilagued (also known as Tellot, Telloot).

November 15: Waddington and 70 men return from Bute Inlet where they have built 23 miles of trail, including 66 bridges.

Cushen, a Tsilhqot’in of about 25, is left to guard a storehouse containing flour left by the road-builders for the next season.


March 22: The schooner "F.P. Green" reaches the head of Bute Inlet carrying Waddington’s road crew of 16 men and Frederick Whymper, painter.

Mid-April: 16 packers hired, all but two of them Tsilhqot’in. The Tsilhqot’in establish their camp not far from the main road-builders' camp just below the Homathco Canyon (Mayne).

April 2: Frederick Seymour arrives in New Westminster as the new governor, replacing James Douglas. Arthur Kennedy is the new Governor of Vancouver Island.

April 20: Klatsassin's son Pierre (Biyil), 15 years old, leaves his family camp near the townsite for the upper camp, where he has a long talk with the Tsilhqot’in packers.

April 25: Klatsassin leaves for the Homathco ferry with his three wives, two sons and two daughters, one of which he has just ransomed from the Euclataws. Accompanying them is Cushen and a Tsilhqot’in called "Scarface" by the whites. They sleep at halfway house or Slough Camp.

April 25: Waddington sends the schooner “Amelia” to Bella Coola with Alex McDonald and four men. They are to go to meet up with Manning at Puntzi Lake and cut a trail towards Bute Inlet to meet the crew working up.

April 28: Klatsassin’s party reaches the ferry at about 9 a.m. where they meet Chayses and Yahooslas. The ferryman, Tim Smith, is killed.

April 29: Road foreman Brewster sends the Homalco packer Inuqa-Jem, also called “Squinteye”, to the ferry. Telloot accompanies him. They meet Klatsassin and his party around 11 a.m. loaded with supplies from the ferry. Squinteye is given two blankets and warned not to tell.

Klatsassin and his party arrive at the main camp where they paint themselves and sing and dance songs to give them power for the events of the morning.

April 30: At 3 a.m. Squinteye arrives at the Waddington townsite and tells of the murder of Smith. Frederick Whymper does not believe the story and leaves for Victoria.

At daybreak the war party attacks the sleeping road crew, killing nine of the 12. It then proceeds to the advance road camp where the foreman William Brewster and three others are killed.

May 3: Three wounded survivors arrive at Bute Inlet townsite.

May 11: Survivors arrive at Victoria on the steamer "Emily Harris" at 8 a.m., and the first news of the killings reaches Victoria.

May 13: Information dispatched to Governor Seymour reaches him at 10:30 pm.

May 14: In early morning the instructions to Mr. Cox for the organization of his party are dispatched. Mr. Brew and his men are in readiness, awaiting a reply from Lord Gilford, the Senior Naval Officer, to whom message was also sent.

May 15: The gunboat "Forward" is dispatched at 6 p.m. with Mr. Brew and his force; 28 special constables with Alfred Waddington and the survivor Edward Mosely depart for Bute Inlet.

Mid-May: William Manning is killed at his Puntzi Lake homestead.

May 17: Alex McDonald, his party of five, and 14 mules depart Bella Coola.

May 20: Brew party reaches the Homathco scene of the murders. Brew conducts inquest but finds the trail impassable and awaits orders. They are recalled.

May 23: McDonald party departs Nooscults, 25 miles up the Bella Coola Valley, where the Hamilton family lives. He meets a packer named McDougall and his wife, a Tsilhqot’in from Nagwuntl’u named Klymtedza, and two English miners, Higgins and Grant. They decide to travel together, with another Tsilhqot’in named Tom.

May 31: 9 a.m, McDonald pack train turns around to return to Bella Coola after being warned by Klymtedza that they would be attacked. They march 4-5 miles back and are attacked. Higgins, McDougall, and McDonald are killed as well as Klymtedza and one Tsilhqot’in attacker.

June 8: McLean's inquiries at Alexandria confirm death of Manning.

June 8: Cox and party of 65 men, 37 horses leave Alexandria hunting for killers of the road crew and Manning.

June 12: Cox party reaches Puntzi [Benshee] Lake.

June 15: Chartres Brew, Gov. Seymour and party leave Victoria for Bella Coola at the head of Bentinck Arm.

June 20: Brew party with Gov. Seymour start from Bella Coola for Tsilhqot’in territory with 38 volunteers from New Westminster, 19 pack horses, and 30 Bella Coola Indians under the young fighting Chief.

June 30: Brew and Governor reach the summit of mountains entering Tsilhqot’in territory, having suffered the loss of three horses, 20 Indians by desertion, and one volunteer accidentally wounded.

July 6: The two forces meet at Puntzi [Benshee], and on the following day Mr. Cox's party is sent south towards the Bute Inlet mountains.

July 17: In defiance of Cox’s orders, Donald McLean leaves the main camp searching for the Tsilhqot’in. He is shot through the heart.

July 20: Cox party returns, retreating after death of McLean, to Benshee.

July 20-22: Chief Alexis and party come to meet Governor. Pack train arrives from Alexandria.

August 15: At half-past 8 in the morning, eight of the Tsilhqot’in warriors including Klatsassin, Telloot and Tapitt come into Cox’s camp near the old Hudson Bay Fort on Chilko River to meet the Governor and discuss terms. They are arrested.

August 27: Cox’s party reaches Alexandria with the captives who are sent on by steamer to Quesnellemouth [Quesnel] and jailed in a cabin.

September 28-29: The Trial of Klatsassin and the eight others takes place.

October 6: Brew and party arrive at New Westminster from Bella Coola on the "Grappler".

October 26: Klatsassin and others hanged at Quesnellemouth at 7 a.m.; 250 in attendance.

December 16: Governor Seymour responds to Petition from the settlers of Williams Lake, who fear they will be attacked by the Tsilhqot’in, by appointing magistrates and authorizing the swearing in of special constables.


February 16: Magistrate Gaggin reports to Gov. Seymour that the citizens of Quesnellemouth expect an attack from the Tsilhqot’in and have organized themselves into a militia and regular patrols.

May 29: Mr. Moss arrives in New Westminster with two Tsilhqot’in, Ahan [Kwutan] and Lutas. They met Moss on their way to Bella Coola to offer to pay compensation for their deeds.

July 3: Trial of Lutas and Ahan begins, lasts 3 hours.

July 18: Ahan is executed at New Westminster.

Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History