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Reminiscences of Kilpoola Lake 

by Ed Lacey


I was about six years old, and I was staying with Tom Conifry, and going to school down at Testalinda. I used to ride down and leave my horse at Sam Salter's, just across from school. Tom Conifry was a wild Irishman, and I helped with his chickens and turkeys and cows.

One day he was away, and when I got back I did the chores, got myself something to eat, and went to bed.

I woke up scared. I could hear something walking outside and sniffing about. Crash! Bang! I was more scared than ever, but I either fainted or went to sleep again, because the next thing I knew Tom Conifry was home, and it was midnight.

"Me young bucko, I think you're dreaming," he said.

Next morning we looked around outside and it had been a bear. There were claw marks on the cabin.

Me young bucko," said Conifry, "I'll give you credit for this. You didn't have to be dreaming. It was bear all right".

(Note: Conifry's cabin was near what is now Conifry Lake in Richter Pass. Eddie's ride to Testalinda school would be about five miles each way.)


One evening Tom Conifry suspected a skunk in the henhouse.

"Get up, you young bucko," he says. "We got a skunk in the henhouse."

I took the lantern and Conifry got his .25 Stevens rifle, and there was the skunk.


"Hold that light up over me head," said Tom.

With that, he shot the skunk but the skunk shot at him at exactly the same minute. He was temporarily blinded in both eyes, and for two days I couldn't go to school, as I had to try to look after Tom, wash the smell off him, and get us something to eat.


One day my mother and I were riding to Oliver to do some shopping. When we were coming back, and were at the north end of Blue Lake, I went to sleep and fell off my horse.

My mother said, "You'd better get back on again. There's bear around."

"If that horse had been ten stories high I'd have got back on it. I can still remember the feeling I had."


John Walker lived in his cabin all winter and he was 95 or 96 years old. He was thought to have been with Custer's troops at Little Big Horn. He drove freight for Custer during the massacre.

One Sunday Ed Lacey rode over with salt for him and one or two other things, and found no lid on the stove, no fire, and the chickens and cat which occupied the cabin regularly were all dead.

Ed got his father and they got the Provincial Police, and found the body along the road where John had gone out to look for his horses. He probably died from a heart attack.

He always looked wild and dirty, and Dad gave him a haircut and beard trim before he went to visit Kit Carr or any of the other neighbours.

Ed Lacey recalls that close to, and just west of Allen Lake, are two claims named Blue Grouse and Brown Bear. They were owned by Leonard Hosier and Tilly Dalrymple. They high graded these gold claims for many years, and Dawson and Plaskett hauled the ore to Trail.