Province: British Columbia
Location: Between Holmes and McKale Rivers, NE of McBride
NTS map: 93H/8
Unofficial name listed at BC Geographical Names
“I beheld one of the finest specimens of manhood that the eye could ever wish to behold,” wrote Stanley Washburn of his 1909 meeting with Bill Teare. “Medium height, thick-set, eyes like steel, curly hair and a smile like sunshine were the first impressions that I got. Bill gave my hand a squeeze that made the bones crack.” Washburn met Bill and his brother Morton when he came through the Yellowhead Pass to investigate a quartz prospect near Holmes River. Washburn described the meeting in Trails, Trappers and Tenderfeet in the New Empire of Western Canada, published in 1913.
Mort and and his older brother Bill were among the many children of John and Melissa Teare of Nova Scotia, originally from Wales. The brothers ran a small sawmill in Nova Scotia until it burned down. They came out to British Columbia, working as canoe-men on the Columbia River, and paid the debts back home. They spent several years prospecting around B.C., along the Fraser River north of Quesnel, along the Telegraph Trail, and in the Peace River country. In July, 1907, accompanied by the Englishman Ted Abrams, the Teares left Kamloops for Tête Jaune Cache. They prospected around Horsey Creek and then descended the Fraser in a dug-out canoe. They found an outcropping of good quality quartz on the side of Beaver Mountain. They worked on the find for a couple of years, but nothing came of it.
Washburn puts the following words into Bill Teare’s mouth: “My capital is my manhood, my time, and my stength. I am investing that now and someday we’ll make a strike. And I’d rather make my little stake by 20 years spent in the free open air with no man to call himself my boss, than lay it up penny by penny in some stifling settlement in the east. We own this country now, and when the steel comes and it gets too crowded, why then me and Mort can pull out further north. And I guess there’s plenty of country up there that will hold us our turn.”
In 1911 the Teare brothers were hired to do a rough survey of the McBride townsite. After they had set up a tent at the site, a fire swept through the valley, and they were forced to take to the river to save their skins. In September of that year Bill Teare helped Ernest C. Cox launch a boat on the McLennan River. The Teare brothers pulled out of the McBride area after the railroad was constructed. In 1931, Mort Teare served on a Prince George coroner’s jury, looking into the death of John Bennett, who had starved to death in the Pine Pass the winter before. Gerald Andrews knew Mort at Finlay Forks in 1939.
Two of the Teares’ relatives, Mary Teare Buchanan of White Rock, B.C., and Edith Teare Boergadine of Centralia, Washington, visited McBride in 1981, in search of Teare Mountain. They reported that Bill had a ranch in Edson where he tamed wild horses for pack trains. Bill died in the Yukon and Mort spent his declining years with relatives in Vancouver.
During McBride’s 50th jubilee in 1983, a dozen Teare relatives visited the village. None of them were direct descendents of Will or Mort, who never married.
- Andrews, Gerald Smedly 1903-. Métis outpost. Memoirs of the first schoolmaster at the Métis settlement of Kelly Lake, B.C. 1923-1925.. Victoria: G.S. Andrews, 1985
- MacGregor, James Grierson, 1905-1989. Overland by the Yellowhead. Saskatoon: Western Producer, 1974
- Washburn, Stanley 1878-. Trails, trappers and tenderfeet in the new empire of Western Canada. London: A. Melsors, 1912
- Wheeler, Marilyn. The Robson Valley Story. McBride, B.C.: Robson Valley Story Group, 1979