Overlander Falls

Feature type: Falls
Province: British Columbia
Location: Fraser River, E of junction with Robson River
Latitude: 53°02’00”
Longitude: 119°12’00”
NTS map: 83E/3
Official name listed at BC Geographical Names

The “overlanders” were gold-seekers, mainly from Ontario and Quebec, who in 1862 travelled thru the Yellowhead Pass on their way to the Cariboo. They travelled in loosely organized groups totalling about two hundred. At Edmonton, the lead group hired André Cardinal, a native of Jasper, to guide them to Tête Jaune Cache. At the Cache they met a camp of Shuswap Indians who were salmon fishing. The Shuswap were not familiar with the route down the Fraser River, and only familiar with the route toward the North Thompson for a few days’ travel.

At Tête Jaune Cache the party split. All but 36 went down the Fraser, in rafts and dugout canoes. As the first group left on September 1 the Shuswaps are reported to have said, “Poor white men. No more.” Three of the men drowned in the Fraser. The rest eventually made it to Quesnel. Two of the 36 that headed for the North Thompson and Kamloops also drowned. Both groups met discouragement when they neared the goldfields, where hundreds of disillusioned miners were on their way out. All but a few of the overlanders headed for the coast without even going to the goldfields at Barkerville.

Richard Wright’s Overlanders (1985; revised 2000) is a detailed account of the “few determined women and men who chose an unexplored overland route across North America to the B.C. gold fields.” The name of Overlander Falls seems to have no specific connection with the overlanders.

A story of the Overlanders by A. G. Morice is told at the Robson Valley Story Bench.

References:

  • MacGregor, James Grierson, 1905-1989. Overland by the Yellowhead. Saskatoon: Western Producer, 1974
  • McNaughton, Margaret. Overland to Cariboo: An eventful journey of Canadian Pioneers to the gold fields of British Columbia in 1862.. Vancouver: J.J. Douglas, 1896
  • Wright, Richard. Overlanders. Williams Lake, B.C.: Winter Quarters Press, 2000

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