This account was written in 1944 by Joseph Colebrook Harris, a farmer of English background who pioneered in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island in the early 1890s, visited the Slocan in 1896, and settled there in 1897.
Raised in an upper-middle-class industrial family in Calne, Wiltshire, he bought land between Silverton and New Denver and, intending to supply the miners with fresh fruit and vegetables, set about creating a farm. With his team of Clydesdales, he also hauled for the mines, and although known as a green Englishman soon made many friends among the working people of a mining camp.
He had come to stay, committed the rest of his life to the Slocan, and was always intensely interested in its short modern history. Over the years, he frequently discussed the early days with the valley’s earliest prospectors, and in the late 1920s considered writing their history. It was never written, but in 1944, when 73 years old, he settled down with his old, upright typewriter and pecked out more than a hundred single-spaced, foolscap pages about his coming to Guelph Agricultural College in 1888, his summer on Salt Spring Island in 1889, his several years of pioneer farming at Westholme in the Cowichan Valley, his exploratory visit to the Slocan in 1896 and settlement there the following year.