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Fredericton grew up around Silver King mine
Sixty-fifth in an semi-alphabetical series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names
The settlement that developed at the Silver King mine near Nelson was originally called Toad Mountain Camp, but once a townsite was laid out, it was known as Fredericton.
Aaron Hart Kelly (1846-1911), described in the Nelson Miner as a “prospector, mine owner, real estate agent, and all-round gallant,” named it after his New Brunswick hometown — not the city, but rather the village of Fredericton Junction.
The first Fredericton townsite ad appeared in the Miner on July 16, 1892. The same issue noted: “Messrs. Kirk & Ritchie are surveying a townsite on Toad mountain, adjoining the Dandy, which will be on the market before long.”
Two weeks later, the paper reported: “Fredericton forms the apex of a triangle of which the centre lines of the Dandy and the Silver King form the base. It is thus in the most favorable location for townsite purposes and whatever settlement can be made in the immediate neighborhood of the mines.”
At 5,950 feet (1,813 m) above sea level, it had the highest elevation of any town in Canada — or would have, had it flourished beyond a mining camp.
One of Fredericton’s few businesses was the Toad Mountain Hotel, also known as the Grand View or Morice House, presumably made of logs cut on site and operated by David Morice, whose wife gave birth there to a son, John William Frederick, on November 23, 1892. (Morice named a mining claim, the Freddie Morice, after his child.) The hotel was also a polling station in the 1894 provincial election.
The last townsite ad appeared in 1894, but five years later, Morice was still running the hotel when a petition began circulating asking that his license be cancelled. According to the Nelson Tribune, “It is said that the petition is being engineered by some of the mining officials at the Silver King … The cutting off of a license held by Morice would do away with a headquarters for miners who think as they please and vote accordingly.”
However, the license commission rejected the request, saying such an application “could not be entertained unless there was some evidence forthcoming that the hotel complained of was improperly conducted.”
The Grand View Hotel was last listed in the 1905 civic directory. By that time, however, the Silver King mine had been closed three years and Morice had been dead just as long: he passed away in Nelson of tuberculosis in 1902, age 45.
Fredericton last appeared in the directory in 1910, misspelled Frederickton. A.H. Kelly was still working mining properties on Toad Mountain until shortly before his death the following year in Victoria. He was fond of poker and his last words were: “Three queens, two pair. Boys, I am tired. Let’s quit.”
Previous installments in this series