Spittal Creek

British Columbia. Creek: Fraser River drainage
Flows SW into Fraser W of Tête Jaune Cache
52.9897 N 119.5278 W — Map 083D13 — GoogleGeoHack
Earliest known reference to this name is 1907 (MacDonald)
Name officially adopted in 1956
Official in BCCanada

The creek is possibly named for Bill Spittal, who had doings in the area in 1907.

Ervin and Angus MacDonalds met Spittal in 1907, while they were on their way west through the Yellowhead Pass to look for land in British Columbia. They ran into Spittal and “two young Irishmen name of Monohan” while rafting across the MacLeod River. “Spittal had got this Irish company to grubstake him, as he had told them some tales about hitting good placer claims on a big creek about 10 or 12 miles west of Tête Jaune Cache,” according to Ervin. The MacDonalds accompanied the prospectors to Spittal’s creek. For three days, nobody could find any color. “Finally Spittal got worked up about it, and lost his temper and says, ‘Darn it, there ought to be gold here because I put it here!’ This blew the prospecting party all to hell.”

The MacDonalds went on to settle in the Cariboo. “Two years later we heard of Spittal,” said Angus. “Some Indians came into the 70 Mile House with a story about white men starving up in the Clearwater country, and the police came through our ranch to look for them. Apparently Spittal had got hold of some ore samples and showed them to people claiming they were from a mine he had found up there. They paid him money to take them to it in the fall and got snowed in. The only thing that saved them from starvation was shooting one of their horses.”

According to another version of the story, Spittal had convinced three partners to head up the Goat River trail from Barkerville. When an expected cache of supplies at the Fraser River was missing, Spittal’s party went to the cabin of two trappers, Steinhoff and Bogardus. The trappers offered enough grub for the prospectors to return to Barkerville. Two of the partners, Baker and McCurdie, accepted and headed back. They took a wrong turn up Macleod Creek and froze to death. Spittle and the remaining partner raided Steinhoff and Bogardus’s cabin and headed for the Shuswap Indian village at Tête Jaune Cache. There they stayed until spring, when the police came in. Spittal, an American citizen who had been in trouble for smuggling Chinese aliens, was deported.


  • MacDonald, Ervin Austin. The Rainbow Chasers. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1982
  • Valemount Historic Society. Yellowhead Pass and its People. Valemount, B.C.: 1984
  • Wright, Richard. “Tales of a trail [Goat River].” BC Outdoors, (1985)

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