SILVER CREEK HISTORY
The Salish speaking tribes of the Shuswap Nation tended to follow a semi-nomadic life-style. Regional resources would be accessed during the warmer months when travel was not restricted by deep snow and frozen rivers. The Salmon River valley was used as a source of food, clothing and later furs for trading during this period. Winter months would be spent in more open areas throughout the Shuswap Lake and River system.
The entry of settlers and land clearing by logging and fire reduced access to the valley resources. The reserve system further restricted First Nations use of the Salmon River Valley.
Silver Creek was named by Caroline Johnston, a mother of two early settlers, after the silver diggings that were likely found some years prior to the beginning of settlement. Malcolm Graham, spent most of his childhood years in Silver Creek, where his grandfather Wilbur Ames homesteaded. He remembers stories about how the silver was dug out of the clay banks below the fork of the creek and hauled in sacks on the backs of mules to the CPR station in Salmon Arm. He also hiked up the trail when he was young and found some traces of silver that looked like wire.
Responding to the notice of free land in Canada; settlers from Europe, England and the United States traveled to the interior of British Columbia. Entering the Salmon River valley to claim land, the settlers faced reasonably flat land with heavy timber interspersed by beaver flats which were subject to flooding. The valley extends north from the Falkland valley to Shuswap Lake with a number of small creeks coming from the surrounding hills making up the Salmon River.
160 Acre Farms in Western Canada free to settlers. Parties wishing reliable information regarding the great Canadian West can obtain it either by writing to or visiting the address below. Any young man 18 years of age can get a home of 160 acres. Entry fee is $10: no charge for proving up. Government deed furnished in three years from taking possession of the land. Certificate to get the low railroad rates furnished free of charge. Through trains leave Great Falls for Canada every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday morning at 12:30 o'clock. Canadian Government Agency 6 and 23, Dunn Block Great Falls Montana. B. Davies, Agent
The first task that faced the early pioneers was to clear their homesteads. Neighbours often helped each other then, whether by lending horses for plowing, assisting with building projects or bringing a buzz saw over to cut the winter's firewood. When sawmills were set up, the river was used to transport the logs in the spring, which scoured the spawning beds and damaged the young fry. As a result of this damage and the slide at Hell's Gate, the salmon disappeared from the river named after them and the settlers were no longer able to use the masses of dead fish to fertilize their fields.
A baseball team was organized in the valley with a playing field created on land logged for timber. Farmers brought their horses. harrows, discs, men with saws and axes cleared the brush and trees, stumps were pulled, women and children piled and burned debris, a heavy log drag, pulled by two teams leveled the field, disc and harrows came next, hand rakes, shovels and very soon the field was playable. The team played in the Salmon River Baseball League, which comprised Monte Lake, Westwold, Falkland, Grandview Flats and Silver Creek. The Silver Creek Comets became a formidable team, capable of holding its own in the interior of British Columbia.
The school used to be located just past Yankee Flats Rd. It was a log building built by the settlers in 1905. There had to be at least seven children attending the school to be able to get a teacher. That building was replaced by the structure now utilized as a branch of Okanagan Regional Library. Rooms in the old school are used for adult and childrens programs organized by library staff. A more modern school was built on the same property behind the old school.
The Silver Creek Cemetery is located on Salmon River Road; close to the heart of Silver Creek. First burials when in the early 1900's and the cemetery is still in use. The cemetery is maintained by an association with a small grant from the CSRD. Usable space is an issue as the cemetery is on steep terrain.
SOURCES Silver Creek Ramblings Shuswap Passion