As Jean Dakin (r) says about her grandfather, Andrew Alfonso Soles, some people leave their place of origin for reasons of war or famine, wanderlust or adventure. Some leave hoping to find a sense of peace. Andrew accidentally shot and killed his younger sister, Margaret in 1896 and he left North Bay, Ontario shortly afterwards trekking west where he found work on the Crow’s Nest Railway. Hearing of fertile valley land for homesteading in the Castledale area, he sent word to his wife, Janet (nee Storie), who, with their three young sons traveled west by railroad to join


Andrew in 1898. They were accompanied by Andrew’s parents, Maryanne and Albert Dubois Soles. Word that the Columbia Valley had everything a family could ever want drew Andrew’s three brothers and two sisters. The families, it was said, bet the Government $10 against 160 acres of wild land that they could survive on it for three years, clear an acreage and put it under cultivation.

Jean is holding a family photo of her father Albert Hilton Soles and her brother, Stuart Soles, is holding a photo of their mother Caroline, both photos believed to have been taken in 1917.


Caroline Townsend had left Victoria in 1916 and traveled by the CPR to Golden, then south down the valley on the Kootenay Central Railway to come teach at the Harrogate School. Ten pupils ages six to thirteen came walking in from up and down the valley, some barefoot, but otherwise ‘scrubbed’ and eager to start their lessons.

About this same time, William Wenman climbed up a mountain trail with his large format camera and captured this mid-winter image of the valley below on a glass plate.