Author Tags: Law
Easily one of the most remarkable titles from and about British Columbia in 2006, Peter Grauer’s self-published Interred With Their Bones, Bill Miner in Canada, 1903-1907 (Partners in Publishing $35 plus $10 shipping) is a 600-pager that exhaustively documents and investigates the four years that the chronically inept “gentleman bandit” Bill Miner spent in British Columbia during the first decade of the twentieth century.
Revelstoke-born and raised, Grauer later to moved Kamloops, the town where Miner was captured several days after he mistakenly robbed the wrong train. [Visit www.billminer.ca for details.] 0-9739980-1-6
Grauer's promotional materials states: "Peter Grauer has taken a snapshot in time, rich in detail and largely based on restricted and private sources never before seen or published - just four years in the first decade of the twentieth century. The tragic facts of the guilt and innocence of two men, one a tubercular Canadian school teacher and the other a reclusive American on the run from unknown events across the border, are revealed in this book. The wealth of detail presented by the author will enable the reader to render judgment on whether that Kamloops jury and the manipulated public opinion of 100 years ago were right or wrong. After years of painstaking research, the story of how the mysterious Third Man was identified and how retribution finally caught up to him is told in stark detail. This story ranges from the Valleys of the Similkameen, the Nicola and the South Thompson, from Lac la Hache in the Cariboo to long-dead Phoenix in the Boundary, and into the cities of Mission, Chilliwack and New Westminster in the Fraser Valley. It tells the story of Constable William Fernie and his four First Nations trackers; Alex Ignace, Eli La Roux, Michel Le Camp and Philip Toma. Together they tracked the fleeing train robbers for five days, and ensured that the Royal North West Mounted Police were able to successfully capture the bandits near Douglas Lake."
Peter Grauer died in Kamloops, British Columbia on: April 27th, 2013. His book and research proved extremely valuable to Sherril Foster when she A Steady Lens: The True Story of Pioneer Photographer Mary Spencer, about the woman who took the famous photos of Miner and his two companions after they were arrested and brought to Kamloops.
[BCBW 2013] "Law"
Interred With Their Bones
Press Release (2006)
In May of 1906, a train robbery near Kamloops, BC led to the arrest and conviction of one of the best-known outlaw characters of the era: the infamous Bill Miner. An American who spent four years as both a free man and in captivity while in Canada, Miner is widely regarded as one of the nation’s most notorious and misunderstood criminal personalities. A new book by Kamloops, BC author Peter Grauer titled “Interred With Their Bones – Bill Miner in Canada 1903-1907” provides unprecedented insights, discoveries, and historical accounts that have been, until now, inaccessible and unpublished. In a book that has been 100 years in the making, Grauer uses rare and confidential historical sources to shed new light on a well-known piece of Canadian history. In addition to a 6 year research project investigating community archives throughout the Interior and the Lower Mainland, Grauer was granted unprecedented access to restricted BC Provincial Police files for the period 1903 to 1907, and unpublished BC Penitentiary files detailing the incarceration of Miner and his gang. Only after petitioning the BC Supreme Court was special unparalleled access to the bench books of Miner trial judge Paulus Irving granted for the first time.
Grauer ventures into new territory in the Bill Miner story, leading to a number of noteworthy discoveries: - The guilt or innocence of Miner gang member Lewis Colquhoun. - The identity of a "Third Man" is revealed. - Detailed personality insight into gang member “Shorty” Dunn reveals a hidden side to his character. - “The Story of the Stolen Bonds” is definitively told once and for all. The book also examines the detailed story of how the Miner Gang was caught, paying tribute to the contributions made by Shuswap First Nations members who helped B.C. Provincial Police Constable William Fernie track Miner and his accomplices to the Douglas Lake country, allowing the Royal North West Mounted Police to make their famous arrest.
Numerous personal interviews, including those with the daughter of Constable Fernie and many early pioneers, some now long gone and whose memories differed from previously published sources, enabled Grauer to tell the true story of Bill Miner;one that is more true crime drama than than standard Canadiana. The book will be of particular interest to local historians as it takes readers back to a Kamloops of 1906, describing palpably the setting around which the Miner saga unfolded. “Interred With Their Bones”, published by Kamloops-based Partners In Publishing, is scheduled to be released in May of 2006, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the Miner Gang’s train robbery near Kamloops.
About The Author – Peter Grauer had been writing historical articles for the Kamloops Daily News when, in preparing for an article on Bill Miner, he uncovered some new information which ultimately led to the realization that the true story of Miner had not been told. “Interred With Their Bones” is the result. He also appeared in History Television’s “Manhunt” series in 2004 in an episode about Bill Miner.
Kamloops Daily News
"To be what we are, to become what
we are capable of becoming,
is the only end in life."
~Robert Louis Stevenson
On the gusty morning of April 27, 2013, Peter Grauer passed away in the loving arms of his family in Kamloops, British Columbia.
Peter was born in Revelstoke, BC, to Haakon Peter (d.1958) and Nora Evelyn nÈe Portman (d.1993) Grauer. He attended school there with his two younger brothers, Robert (Leslie) and Alfie (both of whom predeceased him in the early 1990s), graduated and went on to UBC. Even though he made Kamloops his home with his family for his adult life, he held the small-town beauty, magic and friendships of his life growing up in Revelstoke very close to his heart.
Peter was a very private man who garnered love and respect from his family and the many people he met on his journey. It was easy for him to see humour in the smallest nuances, and his infectious laugh would lift a room. He had a keenly inquisitive mind and constantly pursued knowledge. Although he came from a modest background, he treasured everything life had to offer - family and friends, the beauty of nature, music and art, the joy of owning a piece of land, opportunities to enrich his life, and of course good food.
He was a proud and conscientious Canadian. Peter lived a full and interesting life and never let adversity defeat him. His integrity was admirable and paralleled by few. He consistently pursued what was right even if compromise would have made life easier. How we envied his quiet and gentle confidence. Even after struggling with difficult decisions, he slept with a clear conscience - his compass was always adjusted to "True North". Peter was a genuine and generous man. He appreciated input and unstintingly acknowledged contribution. He was most passionate about gaining and sharing knowledge. Those who were liked and loved by Peter were gifted with encouragement and inspiration.
The story of Bill Miner intrigued Peter, and after years of research, in 2006 he published his first book, Interred With Their Bones, for which he received the Lieutenant Governor's award. While researching the Bill Miner book, Peter came across fascinating and little known history of our province inspiring his next work. Following 6 years of meticulous research focusing on the period 1858 to 1862, Taken at the Flood, is soon to be published posthumously by his immediate family and close friends. To have this body of work completed was Peter's last wish. Peter's books will be his legacy to truth and fairness in the way our history is remembered, with the facts accurately recorded. His quest was to ignite an interest in Canadian history, which he felt had often received a rather dry and cursory treatment. Despite arguments to the contrary, he believed that Canadian history was dynamic, exciting, and to a large degree, unexplored. His writing puts the reader in the moment.
Peter leaves his truest love, best friend and partner of 43 years, Karen Marie (nÈe McKenzie) Grauer, his daughter, Kirsten Marie Grauer, 5-year-old granddaughter, Norah Marie Grauer Bell, and son-in-law and friend, Timothy John Bell of Kamloops.
He was predeceased by his son, Karl Edward Grauer, in the spring of 1999.
There will not be a service at this time. Peter's life and last accomplishment will be celebrated together at the launch of "Taken At The Flood" sometime this summer. Date, place and time TBA.
Why I Self-Published
Peter Grauer’s exhaustive account of American bandit Bill Miner’s years in British Columbia—in the venerable do-it-yourself tradition of George Nicholson’s coastal classic Vancouver Island’s West Coast, reprinted a dozen times since 1962—ranks with the self-published debuts of historian Derek Hayes, ethnographer Adolf Hungry Wolf and unconventional poet bill bissett.
Based on six years of research, Grauer painstakingly recalls how Constable William Fernie and his four First Nations trackers—Alex Ignace, Eli La Roux, Michel Le Camp and Philip Toma—tracked the fleeing Bill Miner and his two accomplices for five days after their botched train robbery, enabling the Royal North West Mounted Police to capture the so-called Gentleman Bandit near Douglas Lake.
Not to be confused with print-on-demand titles that are mostly naïve, vanity projects, Grauer’s Interred With Their Bones, Bill Miner in Canada, 1903-1907 (Partners in Publishing / Sandhill $35) is a 643-page definitive work, complete with a bibliography, sources, an index and high-quality illustrations.
Grauer believes a mainstream publisher likely would never have agreed to publish his labour of love because, ironically, it is too comprehensive and too expensive to produce.
Also, Grauer says he wasn’t keen to endure the “interminable” waiting period between acceptance of a book project and its eventual publication.
We have asked Peter Grauer to explain his pathway into print.
Why I self-published by Peter Grauer
Initially, while I contemplated the route I should take, the overwhelming emotion was that of fear.
It was that fear that smacks of unreasonableness; fear of rejection, fear of amputation, fear of confrontation and ridicule, and the fear of failure.
I was an unknown first-time author, and the thought of ever enticing a mainstream publisher from coastal Lotusland, or anywhere else in Western Canada, to deign to look at, never mind publish, my book was deemed to be almost fruitless.
To have had any editorial control over the end result would have been a ludicrous expectation. Besides, I was convinced that publishers were unapproachable by first-time authors. I could not see myself facing what I presumed to be the inevitable and personally debilitating rejection notices or requests for condensation. I was not prepared to “pay my dues” when I was convinced of the worth of what had been produced.
Other authors I talked to and corresponded with have expressed their unfailing disappointment in dealing with mainstream publishers. Their most-often quoted criticism was the perceived rape of their work by unskilled and uncaring editors. This was quickly followed by the almost complete lack of monetary reward, despite reasonable sales, and a lengthy wait until publication.
I was adamant that I wanted to maintain editorial control over the content of my work, and the integrity of the work as a whole. I was convinced that it would take over 600 pages to tell this story, and I also wanted to help influence the publishing of my book, including design, distribution and marketing.
Expert advice from professionals, friends and fellow writers, as well as my own convictions, convinced me that I should exert some ownership over such minutiae as book dimensions, font size and type, paper quality, cover graphics and design as well as cover weight and surface treatment. These decisions, as well as the actual cover design with its fold-in flaps, were conceived in conjunction with the book designer well in advance of the actual time of printing.
I wanted to be able to control the number, quality, size and placement of all of the photographs in the book, as well as to incorporate original artwork. This writer was more resigned to the financial failure of the book as the result of his own efforts, rather than to suffer the effects of possible lacklustre marketing or indiscriminate editing on the part of a mainstream publisher.
There is no doubt that the decision to self-publish was eased by the knowledge that a professional book designer and a retired copy editor both volunteered to practise their various skills for the writer, as they believed in the value of the project. The masterful handling of these responsibilities by all the individuals noted in the copyright page of the book was critical in easing the decision to self-publish.
The anguish and worry that resulted from the decision to self-publish has largely been alleviated by a resulting book that has earned many positive comments from store owners and readers alike. Sales are continuing to be strong and steady, and the response of readers to the comments section of author’s website (www.billminer.ca) has vindicated my persistence in maintaining the integrity of the book.
The 1904 robbery
Eyewitness to the Gentleman Bandit
For British Columbians who know their history, the name Bill Miner evokes memories of a failed train robbery in 1906, a crime generously viewed as a gentleman’s transgression.
Here Fred Braches shares new information about a preceding 1904 train robbery which succeeded.
George Anderson, born in Kentucky in 1847, assumed several aliases during his career as a notorious stagecoach robber. What made him famous in British Columbia as Bill Miner, and endeared him to many, was the courtesy and generosity he displayed, aside from his audacity.
Most notoriously, in May of 1906, Miner’s attempted train robbery near Kamloops, with two accomplices, led to his arrest and conviction. His charming character became the focus for a Phillip Borsos movie in 1982, The Grey Fox, starring Richard Farnsworth.
But there’s more to the story.
After he had served a prison sentence in California for highway robbery, Bill Miner moved to British Columbia. In September of 1904, together with accomplices, he successfully held up a Canadian Pacific Railway train approaching Silverdale, west of Mission, BC.
Much has been written about Bill Miner and this event, but the accounts are mostly sketchy and often based on hearsay.
There is one extraordinary exception: the book Interred with Their Bones, Bill Miner in Canada, by the late Peter Grauer, self-published in 2006.
What escaped even the attention of this researcher, however, is a dispatch published in Victoria’s Daily Colonist. It is an interview with the train engineer, Nat Scott, given only hours after the ill-fated train arrived in Vancouver, and his account must perhaps be given more credence than any secondary source.
The reason why this article so easily escaped attention of researchers is that the Victoria newspaper generally used material from the Vancouver newspapers for its mainland news. Why then look at the Victoria newsletter for information about the robbery?
In this case, however, it was the Victoria paper that took the lead. As the Colonist proudly proclaimed: “Unfortunately for the Vancouver newspapers all their staff were in bed when the train arrived from the East, so they missed the best story of the hold-up that there is to be told.”
Therefore the mainland newspapers depended on the information gathered by the Colonist’s correspondent when they composed their own interpretations of the event. And they gave the Colonist credit for that.
Although in general the stories are similar, details published in the Colonist are missing from the accounts of the mainland newspapers. Not published elsewhere, for instance, is Engineer Nat Scott’s information that the actual robbery took place in Ruskin, across the Stave River, and not in Silverdale as mostly believed.
The following is an extract of the dispatch that can be found in the Daily Colonist of 13 September 1904, showing the sequence of events of that fateful night.
"I was going at a pretty good clip about three miles out of Mission Junction. It was 9 o'clock Saturday night [10 September 1904]. I had got to the top of the ascent and was running down the decline when I felt a tap on the side. I turned around and in the indistinct light saw a man's face covered with a coarse, black handkerchief. I was then commanded in a very quiet voice to stop the train. I replied 'Oh, get out.' I thought it was someone joking me and I stepped over to pull off the handkerchief. I then saw that the man had a revolver pointing at me and I saw the shining barrels of two rifles covering myself and the fireman from above the cab.
“As I stooped over to pull the lever to stop the train, the quiet voice stopped me. 'Don't pull up now. You know that little bridge near Silverdale? Stop there, and if you do as you're told from this on not a hair of your head will be injured.' Not a word was said until we reached the bridge across the creek.
"Here the man told me to go slow over the bridge and leave the passenger coaches on the east side. Conductor Ward came forward to see what was up but one of the men shoved a rifle into his face and told him to go back where he belonged. Ward lost no time in obeying the order, and going through the cars told the passengers that there was a holdup. But the passengers were not molested.
“I was told to go full speed ahead to a place near Ruskin siding. I then uncoupled the engine and stood her a few feet up the track. I carried a torch and we all went back to the express car. The messenger was inside totally oblivious to what was happening. On my calling him he threw open the door and the first thing he saw was a revolver close to his face. ‘Throw up your hands,’ came the command, and up went his hands. The ringleader took the messenger’s revolver out of his pocket. From a safe the messenger took two packages of gold dust, one containing $4,000 in gold dust and the other containing $2,000 in gold dust. He also threw down a valise said to contain bank bills.
“Then they moved along to the mail car where the two clerks were told to hand over the registered mail. This they did, when the ringleader said: ‘Now boys, get back in your cars and go to bed.’ The fireman and myself were then marched to where the engine stood.
“The ringleader said to me: ‘You know that creek just this side of Whonnock siding? I said I did and as we only had the engine we made good time. When I got to the creek [Cook Creek close to the Whonnock wharf] our guests got off the engine. They were heavily laden. They said ‘Good night’ as they moved off. I replied, ‘Good night; I hope you have a pleasant journey,’ and the ringleader replied, ‘We hope so.’”
The locomotive then travelled back to pick up the rail cars left behind at Ruskin and Silverdale before steaming on to Vancouver.
As for Bill Miner, he plied his trade again and stopped a train two years later in Kamloops. But this time he wasn’t so lucky – he was captured and sentenced to life in prison. However, he managed to escape and was never again seen in Canada.
A map was included with this review that can also be found on The Ormsby Review website. The caption of the map includes this info:
"Here is a copy of a map shown in the book Interred with Their Bones, Bill Miner in Canada, by the late Peter Grauer, self-published in 2006. (1) Silver Creek, shown on the map as the place where the passenger coaches were left, is actually named Jamieson Creek. The bridge across Jamieson Creek would have been where today McLean Street crosses the rail tracks. Silver Creek was the original name of today’s Silverdale Creek close to Mission and far from Silverdale."
[The Ormsby Review 2016]