Dick also had a packtrain from 1909
to 1914, the year the railroad was built through the area.
train provided an easier method of transporting supplies.
1914, Dick was asked to accompany a surveyor on a trip
with pack horses. The surveyor, Frank Swannell, and Dick
set out from
Rose Lake (a tiny community further
west of Burns Lake) heading north to Babine Lake. Following
that body of water, they travelled to Fort St. James. From there, they turned
east and travelled until they reached Fort MacLeod, not far from Lethbridge,
After taking the long journey together, the two men stayed
in touch and continued to correspond until well into the
Frank Swannell retired in 1968.
pack train at Ft St James with surveyor Frank
Dick returned to the Lakes District
afterward. Since there were still few settlers in the area,
writing to a woman named Jessie Gardner. He’d met
her through a sort of “lonely hearts” newspaper.
The two wrote letters to each other over one summer. During
this same time, Dick pre-empted land and built a log cabin,
using poplar trees on the acreage in Palling, close to
where the junction of Palling Roads East and West is today.
April of 1920, he travelled to Philadelphia to meet Jessie.
The two were married
on April 20, 1920. Jessie’s family was originally from Cornerbrook, Newfoundland,
although she was born in Conception Bay. She’d worked as a bookkeeper
for a company in Cornerbrook and eventually was promoted to their head office
in St. John.
Her father, hoping for a better life for his family, decided
to move to Philadelphia. Jessie moved with them. She continued
to work as a bookkeeper
until her marriage to Dick.
After the wedding, Jessie and Dick returned to
the Lakes District by train. Used to city living, Jessie
arrived wearing a navy blue suit and pointed-toed
One can only imagine how she must have felt getting off that train in Palling,
walking up the rolling hills in early spring and arriving at a little, log
cabin with no neighbours in sight. The train track runs parallel to the highway
and Dick’s first cabin was
up Palling Road East, quite a hike for a woman in clothing better suited
for a city.
Jessie settled into life on Dick’s
250-acre homestead. In fact, she bought two quarter sections
of land, 300 acres, to add to the farm. The
first baby, a boy, was born the following year in 1921.
| Dick Carroll
builds a poplar log cabin before travelling to
meet his new wife.
There was only one
hospital in the region at that time and it was located
in Smithers. When the baby became ill during the winter,
there were only two options. Dick and Jessie could choose
to take the baby by sleigh to the hospital or they could
wait for the train, which would have been warmer. Unfortunately,
the train passed through Palling only once a week and
weather was too cold to take an already sick baby all
the way to Smithers in a sleigh. They lost the little boy
pneumonia before the train came through Palling.
and Jessie did have two more children, both girls, Mary
Jean. By 1926, there was a small hospital in Burns
Lake and that was where Jean was born. A
house located on the corner of Centre Street and Third Avenue is built around
the original log cabin that served as Burns Lake’s first hospital.
describes her father, Dick Carroll, as a laid back, Irish farmer, while
her mother was a quick worker, who not only worked on the
Jean, who is equally quick with chores, ended up helping her father most
of the time.