REINHART, Herman Francis




Author Tags: Early B.C., Gold

There were three main routes to the Cariboo gold fields--via the Fraser River, via Harrison-Lillooet or via the Okanagan from the United States. This third route is most vividly described in the memoirs of American prospector Herman Francis Reinhart who arrived in the Cariboo from Fort Simcoe, Okanagan Lake and Fort Thompson in 1858. His hazardous overland route is the subject of one chapter in The Golden Frontier: The Recollections of Herman Francis Reinhart, 1851-1869 (University of Texas Press, 1962), edited by Doyce B. Nunis, Jr.

The lawlessness of the American prospectors and their antipathy to the inhospitable Indians is evident in Reinhart's memoir. In the aftermath of the so-called Okanagan Lake massacre, Reinhart recounts the details of the murder of an old Frenchman by the Indians and the rebuke of the 'Bostons' or Americans by an elderly Okanagan chief named Old Nicholas. "The friendly Indians were all Catholics," he wrote, "and had priests at the fort." Reinhart had travelled the Oregon Trail to California in 1951 and worked at a variety of jobs (bakery, saloon, sawmill, etc.) in California, Oregon and Washington. Reinhart was born in Saxony in 1833 and emigrated with his parents, two sisters and a brother in 1841, settling in New York. At age 17, he and his brother made their way overland to California. He died in 1889.

BOOKS:

Reinhart, Herman Francis. The Golden Frontier: The Recollections of Herman Francis Reinhart, 1851-1869 (University of Texas Press, 1962)

[BCBW 2003] "Gold" "Early B.C."