Fonds - Alexander Leslie Fortune fonds

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Alexander Leslie Fortune fonds

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  • 1906-1911 (Creation)
    Fortune, Alexander L.

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4 cm of textual records

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Biographical history

Alexander Leslie Fortune was born in Huntingdon, Quebec July 20, 1830 and died July 5, 1915 in Enderby, B.C. In October 1861 he married Miss Bathia Ross (1834-1930) of Lancaster, Ontario. In May 1862 A.L. Fortune joined a group of men who were trying to reach the Cariboo gold ruch via an overland route, leaving Mrs. Fortune behind. The group travelled through the United States to St. Paul, and up to Fort Garry in Manitoba, where they joined a larger group headed by Thomas McMicking. They travelled west across the prairie by cart to Edmonton, and through the Rockie Mountains by horse to the headwaters of the Fraser River. Here the party split up. One group, which included Catherine and Augustus Schubert, floated down the North Thompson River by raft to Kamloops. Fortune's group of 17 men and 9 head of stock ran the canyons of the upper Fraser River on a large raft, reaching the entrance to the goldfields at Quesnel with no loss of life. Fortune found that the gold had been well mined and proceeded for the winter of 1863-1864 to Victoria, where he invested in a small boarding house. In the spring, he headed back to the interior of B.C., working on a fram at Lillooet, then heading east to the goldfields on the Big Bend of the Columbia Ri er, and finally back to Shuswap Lake. Exploring the lake, the party went up the Shuswap River and reached the present site of Enderby on June 14, 1866. Here he and three others staked claims for agricultural land on a small prairie one to two miles south of present-day Enderby. They became the first white settlers in what is now Spallumcheen District Municipality. Fortune eventually took over the claims of Mark Wallis and J.G. Burns to pre-empt a total of 348 acres, designated Lot 148. He settled on the property May 6, 1867. In 1874, twelve years after his marriage, he returned east to bring out his wife, Bathia Fortune. The Fortune home was a popular stopping place, as travellers took a boat up the shuswap River to Fortune's Landing, then continued through the Spallumcheen to the Okanagan by cart. A.L. Fortune was instrumental in establishing the Presbyterian Church in Enderby, and developed the first Sunday School program in the province. He was made Justice of the Peace in 1877. In 1911 a banquet was given in their honour. Fortune Creek, the main creek draining into Shuswap River from the south at Enderby, is named after him.

Custodial history

These papers were found with some Presbyterian and Methodist church papers in the attic of St. Andrew's United Church. They were held in safekeeping by church member Ellen Jeffers, and the church donated the records to the Enderby Museum in 1989.

Scope and content

Fonds includes a speech describing Fortune's first impressions of British Columbia (1906), a speech describing early B.C. when the first Sunday Schools were established (1913), photocopies of reminiscences of the Overland Trek (originals at the Greater Vernon Museum & Archives and Calgary), photocopies of essays titled Earthquake and Rum and Shuswap Indians (originals at B.C. Provincial Archives), correspondence with John Ross and J.G. Burns (1905-1908), receipts (1908), and a program with photograph honouring Mr. and Mrs. Fortune (1911).

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BCAUL control number: EDM-3717

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