Cataline’s Pack Trail

Packtrail Stops to Visit

Cataline is represented in many places between Yale, Barkerville, Prince George, Hazelton and Prince Rupert. He has a school and street in Williams Lake, many items in various museums in northern BC, hotels and motels; a nice display at Hells Gate in the Fraser Canyon, and so much more. A cairn and carved statue in Hazelton where he was buried after 55 years of mule packing. A very rich history.

Hope – only for we cemetery people, you can visit the graves of Annie Zetko York and Arthur telxkn Urquhart; two of Catalines’s grandchildren. They are both known in the historical community.

Beginning in Yale, you can visit the Historic Yale Site where Cataline began his packing career during the Fraser River Gold Rush of 1858. 

Spuzzum – Visit the Old Alexandra Bridge; Cataline built my g-g-grandmother a wooden house; photos of which can be seen at one end of the bridge. Eventually it burned down from a fire created by sparks on the roof from the railroad steam engines. The late Bill Barley dug around there and recovered some of the double-eagle $20 coins that Jean used to give Amelia to care for the children. My relative Ken York inherited two of these coins from Arthur Urquhart.

As well, cemetery lovers can visit the Spuzzum Indian Cemetery to view the grave of my ancestor Amelia C’eyxkn York who was Cataline’s country wife and mother of his children.

Hells Gate – there is a very nice display of Cataline in the visitor centre.

Lytton – Where Dave Whiggins was born. He was half black and half native. Appaerently he used to tell people he was the first white man born in Lytton.

Merritt – Cataline’s packing partner Joe Castillou settled there. The Merritt Museum has a display on Henry Castillou, the  Cowboy Judge of the Cariboo. This is alongside the display of James Alexander Teit, a famous historian and ethnologist, who used to hire Jean and Joe’s pack trains for trips that young Henry went along on. Apparently these pack trips inspired Henry to collect many aboriginal artifacts such as coiled cedar-root baskets like the ones Teit was recording.

Ashcroft – Where Cataline based his operation after the railway was completed in 1885. He wintered his animals in the Marble Canyon. This is apparently where the team had their trick of the White Bell Mare, when Joe could lift a horse.

Dog Creek – the only stories I have heard were about Cataline taking his daily snow bath here. His brother Pierre Caux was supposed to be with him at that time.

Cache Creek – Hat Creek Ranch, a hotel and stopping place, partly owned by Stephen Tingley of the BX Stagecoach Line, Obviously they knew each other throughout all of those years on the road.

Clinton – A tiny museum but they have a huge carving of a fork and spoon made by one of Cataline’s packers. As well, at the Lodge across the street, they have a wonderful photo on the wall of older Jean on his horse.

100 Mile House – Somewhere along this stretch Cataline met Judge Matthew Baillie Begbie. The story is that Cataline defended the honour of the judge. Later on Begbie made Jean Caux a citizen of Canada.

Williams Lake – There is an elementary school named for Cataline, and the students have a large mural featuring Cataline’s pack train. As well there are two streets, one named Cataline Drive, one named Begby Crescent.

Quesnel – The Quesnel Museum, where you can find an aparejo and pack saddle that belonged to Cataline’s pack train.

Barkerville – Of course they have wonderful displays of Cataline; photos and a video presentation, and from what I hear, perhaps a live interpreter sometimes who portrays him. 

Prince George – The old museum used to have a life-sized cutout of Cataline in his 90’s but it was burned up in the fire that destroyed the old one. I don’t know if they have a new one about him, but they should.

Fraser Lake – The Cataline Hotel. I am not even sure if it still stands or if it is still called by that name, but it used to be,

Hazelton – Cataline is buried in the cemetery overlooking Old Hazelton. This is where he spent his last years, and he is supposed to be buried beside his old friends Jack Graham, Ezra Evans, Jim May, and one more that I must add later. In any case, since no one knew exact’y where his grave was, they built a small cairn to him near the entrance. I always pour him a little shot or a touch of beer on the cairn. One day if I should get rich I will try to find him with ground-penetrating radar, dig him up for some DNA testing to see if he really is my great-great-grandfather. In the meantime I had another plaque made for him for his cairn to replace the one that was stolen. He was 83 when he retired from the life. Sold his pack trains to George Biernes, and died at the age of 92, in 1922.

New Hazelton – I just heard today that there might be more than one statue of Cataline at the rest area. The one I know of is of him leading his pack mule. As well, last time I passed through there was an RV park and motel named for him.

Prince Rupert – I haven’t seen it but the last time I spoke with someone at the PR Museum they had a play where Cataline was a featured character.

Telegraph Creek – In his declining years Cataline packed out of Telegraph Creek, taking soldiers to the 1898 Yukon Gold Rush. I will later include the tale of Blowing the Bugle; quite a fun story.

And the newest thing I have learned is that there is a Cataline Creek, which flows into the Babine River.