Brief History of Horsefly, B.C.

April 1859 Mining Records show the Cariboo's first gold discovery ten miles above the mouth of the Horsefly River, pre-dating the Barkerville gold rush. Many miners flocked here, including the Chinese and a small village rose rapidly to meet their needs. Early buildings included motels, store, post office and several cabins built on the present town site.

Thaddeus Harper obtained leases in the area starting a second gold rush in 1887. He employed many men and operated the first hydraulic mine. This town became known as "Harper's Camp". Other hydraulic mines also operated; the Horsefly Gold Mining Co. (R.T. Ward), Miocene Gravel Mining Co. (R.H. Campbell), the Discovery Co. (Dan McCallum). The latter was leased by John B. Hobson for the C.P.R. in 1892 and operated as the Horsefly Hydraulic Mine. It was situated approx 4.5 miles from Harper's Camp, down the Mitchell Bay Road. The large cluster of buildings there included bunk and cook houses, assay office, blacksmith and carpenter shops and became known as "Horsefly". This mine ceased operation in 1902 because of difficulty breaking up the compacted gravel.

Times were hard but many miners stayed on ranching or trapping. The first actual family in the area were the W.P. Hall family from Iowa. The first documented birth was that of Minnie Hazel Walters, daughter of Harry Walters who wed Miss Alva Youngker in 1895.

The first automobile arrived in 1910 and was owned by Alex Meiss, the local hotel operator, most famous for his peg leg and his pet bear!

With the closure of the mine at Horsefly and the eventual dwindling of the site, the residents of Harper's Camp voted in approximately 1920 to change their town site name to Horsefly.

The oldest existing building today is the Tommy Peterson cabin built in 1902, which has been moved to it's present site at the local museum. Extensive photographic and archival records are stored there, along with an interesting variety of local artifacts.

Present day Horsefly is a diversified community with a Forestry, Tourism and Ranching based economy. Fisheries and Oceans operates a spawning channel in the village area where sockeye salmon return each August and September to reproduce. The Horsefly River watershed is a highly rated fish habitat and is very well suited for canoes, kayaks, etc. There are many recreational possibilities in the area and accommodations available ranging from modern rooms at resorts, B&B's or the motel, to full service camping, to back country adventure tours. The village is served well with general stores, a service station with licensed mechanic, hardware and antique stores, a cafe and bakeries, churches, a library, and a neighborhood pub.

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