Author Tags: Early B.C., History
In The Railroader's Wife, Jane Stevenson tells the story of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway through personal letters written by Bernice Medbury Martin.
Martin was writing to her family back in Wisconsin after her marriage in 1912 to Leslie Frank Martin. He was a railroader working as a bookkeeper at a large grade-clearing and levelling camp on the Skeena River, building the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway.
After their wedding in their hometown of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, the couple immediately headed for Seattle, from there travelling by steamer to Vancouver and then by boat to Prince Rupert, where they began married life in a log cabin at Camp 22, Mile 112, Hardscrabble, B.C.
Bernice was immediately taken with the Skeena region and richly described the camp life, the extreme weather, her various homes and the many colourful characters she encountered in letters to her family back in Wisconsin.
Stevenson’s selection of Bernice’s letters was culled from the complete collection, which resides in the provincial archives in Victoria and the Bulkley Valley Museum in Smithers.
Stevenson lives in Telkwa, B.C., also home to novelist Joan Haggerty.
The Railroader's Wife: Letters from the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway (Caitlin 2010) 978-1-894759-43-4 $24.95
Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
A Trail of Two Telegraphs: And Other Historic Tales of the Bulkley Valley and Beyond