McMicking Thomas
b. 1829-04-16
d. 1866-08-25
Thomas McMicking was born on 16 April 1829 in Stamford Township, Upper Canada. McMicking was the leader of the Overlanders who traveled across Canada to the gold fields of British Columbia in 1862.1 Before his voyage to B.C., McMicking was educated at Knox College in Toronto, worked as a teacher at Stamford, and stood for election -- but lost against the Conservative Candidate. It was not until the fall of 1861 that McMicking heard the news of the gold fields in Cariboo and began organizing a party of 24-28 to travel overland.2
The mens' first stop was Fort Garry where McMicking was elected as captain for one of the overlander groups. The group then traveled to Fort Edmonton, reaching there on 21 July 1862, this was the last stop for supplies until they reached Cariboo.3 McMicking and his party entered into Quesnel on 11 September 1862 via the Fraser River. Although McMicking reached the final destination, the trek for the Overlanders was extremely difficult. Many of the men lost their lives by drowning, pneumonia, and starvation. Also, because many of the Overlanders never actually mined in B.C, most of the experiences were deemed fruitless.4
McMicking's experience proved to be the opposite. In late 1862, he traveled from Cariboo to New Westminster where he made friends with the editor of the British Columbian which enabled him to publish his narrative from 29 November 1862 to 23 January 1863.5 From 1864 to 1866, McMicking held different positions such as: town clerk for New Westminster, deputy sheriff, was active in the affairs of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, was a member of the volunteer Hyack Fire Company, and for a short time, was elected as a 1st lieutenant.6
Unfortunately, McMicking was met with an early death at the age of 37 on 25 August 1866. While visiting a friend near New Westminster, his son fell into the Fraser River. McMicking quickly jumped in after him but the two of them were swept under a boom and drowned.7 Although his death came early, he is still remembered as one of the few people who successfully came to British Columbia overland against the thousands who came by sea -- demonstrating that the passage through the Rocky Mountains could be overcome.8
  • 1. Victor G. Hopwood, McMicking, Thomas, Dictionary of Canadian Biography.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. Ibid.
  • 5. Ibid.
  • 6. Ibid.
  • 7. Ibid.
  • 8. Ibid.
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