Most of the material in this book was drawn from the following published and online sources. Some very useful material was also supplied through interviews and correspondence with persons mentioned in the introduction.

Among the newspapers of the pioneer period, the following provided information, not always reliable or unbiased: The British Colonist (Victoria), the British Columbian (New Westminster); the Cariboo Sentinel (Barkerville); The Elevator (San Francisco); the Times (New Westminster); the Daily Evening Bulletin (San Francisco); the Gazette (Victoria). The modern Sun and Province of Vancouver, and the Times Colonist of Victoria, are the sources for a number of stories on the subject.

My website, Pioneers (, includes links to many online resources, and I have used it to add new materials since the second edition.

Brief comments follow some references.

Akrigg, George P.V., and Helen B. Akrigg. British Columbia Chronicle, 1778–1846: Adventures by Sea and Land. Vancouver: Discovery Press, 1975.

———. British Columbia Chronicle, 1847–1871: Gold & Colonists. Vancouver: Discovery Press, 1977.

Alexander, Adele Logan. Parallel Worlds: The Remarkable Gibbs-Hunts and the Enduring (In)significance of Melanin. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2010. (Fascinating account of Mifflin Gibbs’s daughters, Ida and Hattie. Hattie founded a music school in Washington, DC, while Ida married William Henry Hunt, one of the few Black American diplomats of the time.)

Anonymous. “An Alumnus of Oberlin.” The Crisis, n.p., August 1917. (Obituary of Elias Toussaint Jones.)

Anonymous. Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Pulaski, Jefferson, Lonoke, Faulkner, Grant, Saline, Perry, Garland and Hot Spring Counties, Arkansas. Chicago: Goodspeed, 1889. (Biographical material on Mifflin Gibbs.)

Anonymous. “Car burned in race-hate campaign.” Sun, March 25, 1977. (Describes harassment of a Black family in 1970s Vancouver.)

Anonymous. “Colored man was a judge.” Little Rock Gazette, August 24, 1903. (Interview with Mifflin Gibbs.)

Anonymous. “Elias T. Jones Dies at His Home Sunday.” Oberlin News, n.p., May 16, 1917.

Anonymous. “Henry McDame—Black Prospector.” Canada West Magazine, vol. 5, no. 4 (Fall 1975), pp. 31–37. (The only modern account of the man; throws light on other Black miners as well.)

Anonymous. “Mifflin Gibbs Called by Death.” Little Rock Gazette, July 12, 1915.

Anonymous. “Oberliniana.” Oberlin Alumni Magazine, April 1961. (Discusses the Jones family.)

Asante, Nadine. The History of Terrace. Terrace, BC: Terrace Public Library Association, 1972. (Material on Arthur Clore.)

———. “Our Negroes: The Fewer the Safer.” Sun, August 28, 1965.

Balf, Mary. Kamloops: A History of the District up to 1914. Kamloops, BC: History Committee, Kamloops Museum Association, 1969. (Useful material on John Freemont Smith.)

Bancroft, Hubert Howe. History of the Northwest Coast. (2 vols.) New York: Bancroft, 1884.

———. History of the Pacific States, Volume XXVII: British Columbia. San Francisco: The History Company, 1887.

Baxter, Betty. “Jim Anderson . . . Gulf Islands’ Old-Timer and Friend of the Children.” Province, January 1, 1946. (Some useful information, but patronizing in tone.)

Beasley, Delilah L. The Negro Trail-Blazers of California. Los Angeles, 1919. (Material on Mifflin Gibbs.)

Begbie, Matthew Baillie. “Notes on Evidence of Memorandum to Accompany Notes, Ra. vs. Barry Trial for the murder of Charles Morgan Blessing at Richfield, 1 July, 1867.” Victoria: BC Archives. (The major source for the Blessing murder and the role of Wellington Moses in Barry’s conviction.)

Bowes, Gordon E., ed. Peace River Chronicles. Vancouver: Prescott Publishing, 1963. (Includes material on Daniel Williams.)

British Columbia Association for the Advancement of Colored People. “Black Community Survey.” Unpublished report, 1971.

Brown, Rosemary. “Negroes.” Strangers Entertained: A History of the Ethnic Groups of British Columbia. John Norris, ed. Vancouver: British Columbia Centennial ’71 Committee, 1971. (A good, short survey of Black people in BC since 1858.)

Bruce, Marian. “Former Slave’s Story Tells of Island’s Early Days.” Sun, May 6, 1974. (Material about the Stark family.)

Campbell, Aileen. “Born a Slave, Mathilda Nears 104.” Province, January 29, 1963. (Profile of Mathilda Boynton, a well-known figure in Vancouver’s modern Black community.)

Clark, Cecil. “Nugget Tiepin Was Murder Clue.” Colonist, May 30, 1965. (On the Blessing murder.)

———. Tales of the B.C. Provincial Police. Sidney, BC: Gray’s Publishing, 1971.

Colman, Mary Elizabeth. “‘English Bay Joe’ Was Our First Life Guard.” Sun, August 23, 1961.

Compton, Wayde, ed. Bluesprint: Black British Columbian Literature and Orature. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2001.

Cornwallis, Kinahan. The New El Dorado: Or, British Columbia. London: Newby, 1858. (One or two hostile anecdotes about the Black pioneers in the first days of the gold rush; mentions the Black constables.)

Cracroft, Sophia. Lady Franklin Visits the Pacific Northwest. Dorothy Blakey Smith, ed. Victoria: BC Archives, 1974. (Much useful material on the Black pioneers in Victoria, including Gibbs, Moses, Charles Mitchell and members of the African Rifles.)

Crossby, P.A. Lovell’s Gazetteer of British North America, 1873. Montreal: Lovell Print. and Pub. Co., 1877.

Dalzell, Kathleen E. The Queen Charlotte Islands, 1774–1966. Terrace, BC: C.M. Adam, 1968.

Davis, Chuck. The Vancouver Book. Vancouver: J.J. Douglas, 1976. (Some mention of Vancouver Black community in the early twentieth century.)

Dillard, Tom W. The Black Moses of the West: A Biography of Mifflin Wistar Gibbs, 1823–1915. Unpublished MA thesis, University of Arkansas, 1975.

Downs, Art. Wagon Road North: The Story of the Cariboo Gold Rush in Historical Photos. Quesnel, BC: Northwest Digest, 1960.

Duff, Wilson. The Indian History of British Columbia: Volume 1, The Impact of the White Man (2d ed). Victoria: Provincial Museum of Natural History and Anthropology, 1969. (Valuable insights into relationships between settlers and Indigenous peoples and the impact of the 1862 smallpox epidemic.)

Eberts, Tony. “This Was Freedom.” Province, January 4, 1958. (On the Stark family.)

Fawcett, Edgar. Some Reminiscences of Old Victoria. Toronto: William Briggs, 1912.

Ferguson, Julie H. Sing a New Song: Portraits of Canada’s Crusading Bishops. Toronto: Dundurn, 2006. (Important material on the church segregation dispute.)

Flucke, A.F. “Early Days on Salt Spring Island.” British Columbia Historical Quarterly, vol. 15 (1951), pp. 161–99.

Foner, Philip S. “The Colored Inhabitants of Vancouver Island.” BC Studies, no. 8 (Winter 1970–71), pp. 29–33. (Reprints an anonymous Black person’s impressions of Victoria in the mid-1860s.)

Foster, Cecil. They Call Me George: The Untold Story of Black Train Porters and the Birth of Modern Canada. Windsor, ON: Biblioasis, 2019. (Foster describes both the exploitation of Black porters and their effectiveness in using their access to Canadian politicians to lobby for equality.)

Genini, Ronald. “The Fraser-Cariboo Gold Rushes: Comparisons and Contrasts with the California Gold Rush.” Journal of the West, vol. 11, no. 3 (July 1972), pp. 47–48.

Gibbs, Mifflin Wistar. Shadow and Light: An Autobiography. Washington, DC, 1902. Facsimile edition published in New York: Arno Press, 1968. (A key document, as interesting for what Gibbs omits as for what he includes. He says very little about his personal life, his family and his struggles with racism in Victoria. But he gives us vivid descriptions of mining in Haida Gwaii and the toxic atmosphere in San Francisco before the emigration to the British Northwest.)

Glover, George H. “History of the United Church of Canada, North and South Saanich Areas.” Pamphlet, n.p., 1957. (Biographical material on the Alexander family.)

Gould, Jan. Women of British Columbia. Saanichton, BC: Hancock House, 1975. (A good account of Sylvia Stark; includes material on her daughter Emma.)

Green, Truman. A Credit to Your Race. (1973.) New edition, Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2011. (Short novel about a Black youth growing up in Surrey, BC.)

Gregson, Harry. A History of Victoria 1842–1970. Victoria: Victoria Observer Publishing, 1970.

Hamilton, Bea. Salt Spring Island. Vancouver: Mitchell Press, 1969. (Includes a lively but probably inaccurate account of the early Black settlers on the island.)

Hannaford, Nigel E. “The Death of Nigger Dan.” Canada West Magazine, vol. 6, no. 3 (Summer 1976), pp. 13–15. (Presents a somewhat negative account of Daniel Williams.)

Heilbron, William C. “Piracy—English Bay Version.” Province, February 11, 1961. (Personal reminiscence about Joe Fortes.)

Helmcken, John Sebastian. The Reminiscences of Doctor John Sebastian Helmcken. Dorothy Blakey Smith, ed. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1975.

Herbert, Christopher. Unequal Participants: Race and Space in the Interracial Interactions of the Cariboo Gold Fields, 1860–1871. Unpublished MA thesis, Simon Fraser University, 2005. (An excellent study that throws light on the relationships of the racial groups involved.)

Higgins, D.W. The Mystic Spring and Other Tales of Western Life. Toronto: William Briggs, 1904. (Somewhat romanticized anecdotes of BC’s colonial days.)

———. The Passing of a Race. Toronto: William Briggs, 1905.

Howay, F.W. British Columbia: The Making of a Province. Toronto: Ryerson, 1928.

———. “The Negro Immigration in Vancouver Island in 1858.” British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Volume III (1939), pp. 101–3. (One of the earliest serious studies of the subject.)

Hutchison, Bruce. The Fraser. Toronto: Clarke, Irwin & Co, 1950.

Irby, Charles C. “Black Settlers on Salt Spring Island in the Nineteenth Century.” Association of Pacific Coast Geographers Yearbook. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University Press, 1974, pp. 35–44.

Johnson, F. Henry. John Jessop: Goldseeker and Educator. Vancouver: Mitchell Press, 1971. (Contains materials on John Craven Jones’s teaching career.)

La Terreur, Marc, ed. Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Vol. 10: 1871–1880. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1966. (Material on John Sullivan Deas.)

Lackenbauer, P. Whitney. Battle Grounds: The Canadian Military and Aboriginal Lands. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2007. (Valuable material on John Freemont Smith.)

Lopez, Sandra. “BCAACP Summer Project 1976: A Report of the History of the Association from 1958–1975.” Unpublished report, 1976.

Lozovsky, Nora, et al. “A Directory of Ethno-Cultural Organizations in British Columbia.” Vancouver: Department of the Secretary of State, 1972.

Luckingham, Bradford. “Immigrant Life in Emergent San Francisco.” Journal of the West, vol. 12, no. 4 (October 1973), pp. 600–617. (Useful background on San Francisco’s Black community in the 1850s.)

MacEwan, Grant. John Ware’s Cow Country. Edmonton: Institute of Applied Art, 1960. (Biography of a well-known Black rancher in Alberta.)

Macfie, Matthew. Vancouver Island and British Columbia: Their History, Resources, and Prospects. London: Longman Green, 1865. Facsimile edition published Toronto: Coles Publishing, 1972. (A key document, offering insights into the racial attitudes and anxieties of many White settlers.)

MacGregor, James G. The Land of Twelve Foot Davis: A History of the Peace River Country. Edmonton: Applied Arts Products, 1952. (Gives a more positive account of Daniel Williams than do most sources.)

Marshall, Daniel. Claiming the Land: British Columbia and the Making of a New El Dorado. Vancouver: Ronsdale Press, 2018. (Excellent history of the violent early days of the gold rush and the beginning of the expropriation of Indigenous land.)

Mayne, Richard Charles. Four Years in British Columbia and Vancouver Island. London: John Murray, 1862. Facsimile edition published New York: Johnson Reprint, 1969. (A British naval officer’s experiences in the Northwest, with some comments on Victoria’s Black community.)

Meany, Edward S. Vancouver’s Discovery of Puget Sound. New York: Macmillan 1907. Facsimile edition published Portland, OR: Binfords & Mort, 1957.

Milan, Anne, and Kelly Tran. “Blacks in Canada: A Long History.” Canadian Social Trends. Statistics Canada (Spring 2004), pp. 2–7.

Morley, Alan. Vancouver: From Milltown to Metropolis, 2nd ed. Vancouver: Mitchell Press, 1969. (Some material on Joe Fortes and on the Black woman involved in the 1907 riots.)

———. “Vancouver Loved Joe Fortes, and He Repaid the Love in Full.” Province, September 10, 1955.

Morton, James. W. In the Sea of Sterile Mountains: The Chinese in British Columbia. Vancouver: J.J. Douglas, 1974. (An excellent history of the Chinese community; some mention of Black settlers, especially Willis Bond.)

Moses, Wellington Delany. Diaries. Victoria: BC Archives.

Nesbitt, James K. “Christmas Dinner for 50 Cents.” Colonist, December 23, 1962. (Mentions the Alexanders’ golden wedding anniversary.)

———. “History Neglects the Famous Ringo.” Colonist, October 8, 1961. (Quotes extensively from an 1880s account of Sam Ringo and his restaurant.)

———. “Hot Time in the Old Town.” Colonist, April 26, 1959. (Describes a brawl between Black and White teamsters.)

———. “Old Homes and Families.” Colonist, January 31, 1954. (Willis Bond’s speeches and scrapes with the law.)

Nicol, Eric. Vancouver. Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 1970.

Nichols, Robert H. “Mystery of the old hut.” Sun, January 16, 1954. (Dubious anecdotes about Black settlers on Saltspring Island.)

Nicholson, George. “They Were the First.” Colonist, May 21, 1961. (A slightly inaccurate account of the African Rifles.)

Norcross, Elizabeth Blanche. The Warm Land. Duncan: E.B. Norcross, 1959. (Lists “Lewis” Stark among early settlers on Vancouver Island.)

Ormsby, Margaret. British Columbia: A History. Toronto: Macmillan, 1971. (This standard history makes little mention of the Black settlers and is patronizing when it does.)

Perry, Adele. On the Edge of Empire: Gender, Race, and the Making of British Columbia, 1849–1871. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001.

Pethick, Derek. James Douglas: Servant of Two Empires. Vancouver: Mitchell Press, 1969.

———. Men of British Columbia. Saanichton, BC: Hancock House, 1975. (Considerable attention to Mifflin Gibbs and others.)

———. Victoria: The Fort. Vancouver: Mitchell Press, 1968. (A good account of the gold rush period.)

Pilton, James W. “Negro Settlement in B.C., 1858–1871.” Unpublished MA thesis, University of British Columbia, 1951. (A major source on the Black pioneers and a valuable guide to contemporary documents about them. While Pilton sometimes accepts White opinions of the Black pioneers too uncritically, most of his conclusions stand up very well after seventy years.)

Pires, Ben J. “Saltspring: A Sense of Freedom.” Beautiful BC (Summer 1975), pp. 38–44.

Pritchard, Allan, ed. The Vancouver Island Letters of Edmund Hope Verney, 1862–65. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1996.

Ralston, H. Keith. “John Sullivan Deas: A Black Entrepreneur in British Columbia Salmon Canning.” BC Studies, no. 32 (Winter 1976–77), pp. 64-78.

Ramsey, Bruce. Barkerville: A Guide to the Fabulous Cariboo Gold Camp, 2nd ed. Vancouver: Mitchell Press, 1961. (Mentions several Black residents.)

———. “Remembering the Days of ‘Old Black Joe.’” Province, March 16, 1964.

Reid, J.H. Stewart. Mountains, Men, and Rivers. New York: Bouregy & Curl, 1954. (Good account of “Ned McGowan’s War.”)

Reid, P.H. “Segregation in British Columbia.” The Bulletin (United Church of Canada), vol. 6 (1963), pp. 1–15. (A major source on the church dispute between Clarke and Macfie.)

Reid, Robie L. “How One Slave Became Free.” British Columbia Historical Quarterly, vol. 6 (1942), pp. 251–56. (Useful information on the Charles Mitchell case and the legal position taken by Attorney General Cary.)

Roberts, Eric. Salt Spring Saga. Ganges, BC: Driftwood Publishing, 1962.

Sage, Walter N. Sir James Douglas and British Columbia. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1930.

Sandwell, R.W. Contesting Rural Space: Land Policy and Practices of Resettlement on Saltspring Island, 1859–1891. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2005. (A fascinating and insightful examination of a small but complex pioneer community.)

Scholefield, E.O.S., and F.W. Howay. British Columbia from the Earliest Times to the Present. Vancouver: S.J. Clarke, 1914.

Sharp, Brenda G. “Murder Followed the Starks.” Colonist, October 27, 1968.

Shelton, George W., ed. British Columbia and Confederation. Victoria: Morriss Printing, 1967.

Smith, Dorothy Blakey. James Douglas: Father of British Columbia. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1971.

St. Pierre, Paul. “Freedom Built Negro Colony: Yankee Dollar Pulled It Down.” Sun, April 6, 1960. (Interview with Myrtle Holloman, granddaughter of Sylvia Stark.)

Stanley, Gerald. “The Politics of the Antebellum Far West: The Impact of the Slavery and Race Issues in California.” Journal of the West, vol. 16, no. 4 (October 1977). (While not mentioning the Black emigration, this article makes clear the pervasiveness of racist sentiment in 1850s California.)

Stanley, Jerry. Hurry Freedom: African Americans in Gold Rush California. New York: Crown Publishers, 2000.

Tobin, Jacqueline L. From Midnight to Dawn: The Last Tracks of the Underground Railroad. New York: Doubleday, 2007. (A brilliant account of the intellectual and political ferment in American Black society before the Civil War.)

Tulloch, Headley. Black Canadians: A Long Line of Fighters. Toronto: NC Press, 1975. (Focuses on eastern Canada but has some mention of those in British Columbia.)

Virgin, Victor E. History of the North and South Saanich Pioneers and District. Victoria: Saanich Pioneer Society, n.d. (Mentions several Black families in addition to the Alexanders.)

Waddington, Alfred. The Fraser Mines Vindicated, or The History of Four Months. Victoria, 1858. (The first book published in Victoria, and a vivid account of the impact of the gold rush.)

Walden, Frederick Ellsworth. “The Social History of Victoria, British Columbia.” Unpublished MA thesis, University of British Columbia, 1951.

Wallace, Marie Stark. “Notes Made by Maria Albertina Stark (afterwards Mrs. Wallace) from the Recollections of Her Mother, Sylvia Stark, Who was Born a Slave in Clay County, Missouri, and Settled on Salt Spring Island with Her Husband, Louis Stark, and Family in the Year 1860, as Homesteaders.” Victoria: BC Archives. (A remarkable and important document that, despite some inaccuracies, offers dramatic and detailed descriptions of pioneer life on Saltspring Island.)

Wild, Roland. Amor De Cosmos. Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1958.

Wilson, E.F. Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. Victoria: Colonist Press, 1895. (Some mention of Black settlers living on the island at the end of the century.)

Winks, Robin W. The Blacks in Canada: A History. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, and New Haven: Yale University Press, 1971. (Contains a great deal of information and helps to place the experience of BC’s Black pioneers in the larger Canadian context.)

———. Canada and the United States: The Civil War Years. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1962.

Wood, Anne. “B.C.’s Colored Colony.” Province, June 29, 1935. (Interview with Fielding William Spotts.)

Woodcock, George. Amor De Cosmos: Journalist and Reformer. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1975.

Woodson, C.G. “The Gibbs Family.” Negro History Bulletin, vol. 11, no. 7 (October 7, 1947), pp. 3–7.