DRAMATIC READING Andre Sutherland Begin, the special guest orator, and Harv Baessler, Stamp Club president, performed a reading of Service’s Cremation of Sam McGee. (Brennan Phillips/Black Press)

Summerland connection to Sam McGee recognized

McGee Street in Summerland named after character immortalized in poem by Robert Service

The Penticton and District Stamp Club had a presentation about Sam McGee, who was immortalized in the Robert Service poem, The Cremation of Sam McGee.

The presentation was made at the club’s annual general meeting earlier this month in Summerland.

Sam McGee lived in Summerland in the early 1900s.

He was born Aug. 28, 1867, in Fenelon Township, Victoria County, Ont.

When he was 15, he left home and traveled to the San Francisco. In 1898, during the Klondike gold rush, he headed to the Yukon. He owned a log cabin in Dawson City and worked as a construction engineer, building roads and bridges.

In 1938 McGee wrote, “I went to the Yukon in the fall of 1898, and that winter freighted the steamer Glenar from the White Pass to the head of Lake Bennett. When we got through with that job, we took horses to operate the tram road around Miles Canyon and White Horse Rapids on the Yukon River the summer of 1899. In July 1899, I staked copper property some miles from White Horse Rapids.”

On June 5, 1901, he married Ruth Warnes. He continued with the development of the copper mine and acquired a partner, Robert Lowe.

Poet Robert Service wrote that he only saw McGee once. He explained that while working at the Canadian Bank of Commerce in Whitehorse, “I happened to be turning over the bank ledger and I came across the name of Sam McGee, and it seemed a good name to use. It Sounded well and it rhymed well.”

Service included the poem about McGee in his 1907 publication, Songs of a Sourdough, which became a best-seller. Sourdough was a term used to describe a prospector or miner who had spent at least one year in the Yukon.After McGee realized his name was in Robert Service’s poem, he transferred his bank account to the Bank of British North America.

McGee left the Yukon in 1909 due to his wife’s poor health, and they moved to Prairie Valley, in what is now Summerland.

Ruth Warnes had two sisters living in Summerland, with one sister living with the McGees. One daughter, Hazel Ruth, was born in 1911, while the family lived in Summerland.

In 1910 McGee purchased 191.33 acres of orchard land in Summerland and one acre of residential property in Balcomo, a new townsite in Prairie Valley.

His orchard was located in Paradise Flats located on the east side of Trout Creek canyon.

After only one year in Summerland, the McGee’s sold their orchard.

McGee Street on the property’s western boundary commemorates Summerland’s connection (1909 to 1911) with the celebrated Yukon character.

The family later moved to Alberta, where he worked in road engineering and construction. He was also appointed a justice of the peace.

He died on Sept. 5, 1940 and was buried (not cremated) in Beiseker, Alta.

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Sam McGee

Just Posted

Monster Truck action returns to the Okanagan for a second night

From 6 until 7 p.m. you can meet the drivers and get a close up look at the trucks

Update: Coroner investigating after body recovered from Okanagan Lake

Penticton fire department assisted the RCMP with the recovery of a body Saturday

Mix of sun and cloud for the Okanagan-Similkameen Shuswap

Chance of showers for much of the region this afternoon

Second osprey chick dies, Okanagan web cam off

The second chick in an osprey nest featured on the Town of Osoyoos website has died

House arrest for ‘vicious’ back-alley attack on South Okanagan man

Thomas Brayden Kruger-Allen was at the Mule Nightclub prior to the assault

Food fight: Liberals, Tories trade shots as pre-campaign battles intensify

Health Canada released an overhauled document that did away with traditional food groups and portion sizes

North Okanagan begins community child care planning

Local Kara Wilhelms hired as project lead in Enderby

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Shuswap air cadet contests Department of National Defence gender policy

Haircut inspires challenge of regulation around male/female identity

North Okanagan residents warned of road closure

Cherryville bridge closures planned

Two brands of ice cream sandwiches recalled due to presence of metal

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a recall on Iceberg and Originale Augustin brands

Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row

Most Read