Saturday, September 1, 2012

Usk, BC

I was just copying a couple of pictures of the 1948 flood in Usk and got to thinking...........our grandkids would have no idea where Usk was nor anything about it.  So, here are some things I know.

Usk is 12 miles east of Terrace - that must be about 20 kilometres.........for those who grew up with the metric system. 
Usk is where our family lived when I was born, in 1945.  My mother went there to work for Mrs Skinner, in her boarding house, in 1935 or so - maybe even 1934.  Anyway, she met father there and after their marriage in 1936 they continued to live there for the next 12 years. 

Usk was smaller than Terrace, although at one time I think there were about 3,000 people living there.  The main town is on the same side of the Skeena River as the town of Terrace..but the highway is on the other side of the Skeena.  To get to Usk you have to cross the river on a small, 2-car cable ferry.  For most of my young life George Kellog was the 'ferryman' and he took people back and forth across the Skeena on a regular basis.  If someone got to the ferry landing and it happened to be on the other side, you'd just honk and over George would come.  His wife's name was Myrt, I think and they lived in a big, two-storey house just above the ferry landing, on the Usk side.  

Over the years more and more people bought property and built homes on the highway side of Usk.  That's where Adam's mill was for many, many, many years. 

My paternal grandmother, Alice Maude (Alger) Bethurem and her 4th husband, Lee Bethurem, had a really nice home in Usk - either next door or two doors away from her sister Helen's.  Helen married Joe Bell and they lived all their married life in Usk. 

There was a very small school in Usk.  I remember mother telling me about Danny in grade 1.  Off he'd go every morning to school and come home at lunch time (maybe he only went half-days?) and he'd tell mother the teacher said he needed a ruler or a notebook or something like that.  This went on for quite a while and one day mother ran into the teacher somewhere and she wondered why Danny hadn't been at school.........  Needless to say, mother was dumbstruck.  Turned out, when she questioned Danny, if he got to the bottom of the school hill and could see that the flag was up, he knew he'd be late so he just didn't go.  Quite the rebel.......and he still marches to his own drum! 

In 1936 there was a HUGE flood in Usk.  Then in 1948 there was another flood - this one not quite so severe, from what mother said.  I don't have, nor have I ever seen, pictures of the '36 flood but Bruthie sent me some of the 1948 one.  I'll get a couple and post them here.  If this one wasn't as bad, I shudder to think of what the '36 one must have been like.  Mother did talk about it but I can't remember any of the stories clearly enough to write about them. 

The flood waters are subsiding here - Bruthie remembers taking a boat and going inside through the 2nd storey windows.  
 Inside the store............Imagine having to clean up this awful mess!

This looks like it might be my grandma's house.......whose old car this is, I have no idea. 



  1. You mention, in the picture of the flood, your grandmother's house being 2 doors away or next door to Helen and Joe Bell's. Helen was my grandmother (Nan) and I see the roof of their house just peaking over your grandmother's house next door. I believe the dog in the picture is my mom's dog, Spud. She described him as a mixed breed but mostly black spaniel, which that dog appears to be. I've written a longer comment in another area on here.

  2. My Mother was the teacher in Usk at the age of 18, her first teaching job after graduating Normal School. I believe it was in 1945. I think she taught there a year then moved to Langley where she grew up.