LINDSAY, Frederick William




Author Tags: Alcohol, Cariboo, Kidlit & Young Adult, Law

As a Quesnel-based self-publisher of short Cariboo histories, F.W. Lindsay dedicated The Cariboo Story "to no particular race, but rather to a particular brand of man. The fighter, the individualist and the eccentric who would rather struggle with the wilderness and suffer the discomforts of an uncivilized frontier, than stagnate in the more refined and gentle atmosphere of the farms and counting houses of the old world and the eastern states and provinces of the new world."

He and his wife also published one children's book with McClelland & Stewart called Mouse Mountain.

According to artist-historian Michael Kluckner, whose source for information was Basil Stuart-Stubbs, Lindsay was born in 1903. In his teens, Lindsay left Vancouver and worked at Rock Bay for the B.C. Mills, Timber and Trading Company. Kluckner describes him as "a classic BC character, a roustabout who revelled in the roughness of a life just barely advanced from frontier days." In 1945, while employed as a forest ranger, he won $50 in a short story contest sponsored by Writer's Digest magazine. According to a story in the Nelson Daily News in October of 1950, Lindsay was born in Nelson. At the time he was a former resident of Edgewood and living in Hopkins Landing, have published stories with the CBC and sold articles to the Vancouver Sun and Maclean's Magazine. He began writing articles about the Cariboo as a staff member of the Cariboo Digest. Among his many business ventures, he opened a recording studio in the Willis-Harper block in downtown Quesnel in 1952. From late 1960 to 1962 he was an alderman in Quesnel until he resigned when he discovered his ideas, as reported by the Cariboo Observer, "had not been enacted upon."

Barry Broadfoot published a column about Lindsay in the Vancouver Sun on August 10, 1971, having visited Lindsay in his kitchen where Lindsay was "free-wheeling and straight-shooting. We kill a crock or two, and his good wife Florence keeps offering us sandwiches and cake on the theory that food absorbs alcohol." Lindsay had been a jack of all trades, working as a blacksmith, shoe salesman, farmer, storekeeper, logger, timber cruiser, forest watchman, gold panner and cook. He and his wife had also owned and operated Siska Lodge in the Fraser Canyon during the 1960s. Broadfoot also reported that Lindsay ran "a successful don't-give-a-hoot weekly newspaper in Quesnel and slugged it out on tugboats and seiners and walked the length and breadth of the province during the depression hunting work and braked on the railways and messed a bit with bootleggers in the rum-running trade and done a bit of trucking and had organic gardens when nobody knew what they were and he's helped a lot of poor Indians and cursed every government in and out of office for 50 years and absorbed a helluva lot of history and collected old books, manuscripts and pioneers' diaries and made a bit of money. I don't think he ever robbed a bank."

F.W. Lindsay died in Vernon of a heart attack in July of 1973. According to his obituary in The Province, he had been an alderman in Quesnel where he had made "a few enemies and a hell of a lot of friends."

BOOKS:

The Cariboo Story. 1958. 1958. 1960. 1961. 1962. 1963. 1963.
Cariboo Yarns. Quesnel: s.n., 1962.
Outlaws in British Columbia (Quesnel: s.p., 1963).
Mouse Mountain. McClelland & Stewart. 1963. Illustrated by Florence Lindsay.
The Cariboo Dream. Printed by Vernon News, 1971.

[BCBW 2007]