The Princeton and District Museum and Archives is proud to announce the most recent addition to its collection. Brian Kennelly of Quesnel, presented the Museum with original mining record books that predated the discovery of Granite Creek in 1885. Brian’s father, Brendan Kennelly, was Government Agent/Gold Commissioner/Mining Recorder in Princeton from 1953 to about 1972. At the time he held his position, there wasn’t a proper and secure place to store these valuable records so Mr. Kennelly decided to keep them in his possession. After his passing, the records went to his son, Brian. On a recent visit to the Princeton and District Museum and Archives, Brian decided that it was time the books he had so carefully looked after were brought back home to Princeton.
The hand-written records list mining claim transactions, free miner numbers and descriptions of various claims in the Granite Creek area. Of significant importance is the very first claim – the Discovery Claim by Johnny Chance, William Jenkins, Thomas Curry and E.M. Allison – on Granite Creek in 1885. The records appear to be relatively complete except for one month which is missing in 1886. Brian Kennelly also donated a 40 page book of hand-written court records of decisions mostly pertaining to small claims court and mining infractions including some recorded at Granite Creek on June 16, 1886. Bound copies of the Government Gazettes for 1914 and 1915 were also given to the Museum.
So what can be gleaned from these 127 year old records? We can learn the names and numbers of all the miners (including the elusive Chinese miners) from the early Granite Creek days, their claims, company and stakeholders’ names, location of claims and money that changed hands. We can also learn the original names of some of the streams and creeks in the area. With this information new maps can be created to accurately illustrate where all the original Granite Creek mines were. These valuable books will allow us to glimpse back into the past and learn more about the rich mining history of the Granite Creek area.
In order to prevent further deterioration, volunteers will carefully transcribe all the records into a database which will eventually be available to researchers and families interested in the history of Granite Creek.
The Princeton Museum and Archives would like to thank Brian Kennelly for his exciting donation and for preserving this piece of our valley’s history. It is donations such as these that make volunteering at the Museum so exhilarating. We never know what artefact will come through the doors of the Princeton and District Museum and Archives next. Perhaps you have a forgotten treasure in your home.