Join Larry Jacobsen at the launch party for his new book Salmo Stories
(Available at many BC libraries or for under $40 from the author)
review by: Greg Nesteroff - Nelson Star, September 12, 2012
Did you ever hear about the housewife who tried to kidnap a Golden Gloves contender at gunpoint just to liven up her party?
Or about Canada Bill Feeney, who lived outdoors while cruising timber at 30°F below?
They’re just a couple of the characters in Salmo Stories: Memories of a Place in the Kootenays, a new history book being launched this week by author and former resident Larry Jacobsen.
It’s really several books in one, for it reprints Rollie Mifflin’s long out-of-print memoir The Early Salmo Story in its entirety, and includes a previously unpublished manuscript by Cliff McIntosh, who arrived around 1904 and kept a journal.
Stumbling across the latter was sheer luck, according to Jacobsen.
“I went into a coffee house in Salmo and a guy had this photocopy of a photocopy he picked up at a garage sale,” he says. “A lot of the print was very difficult to read. But with a lot of hard work I managed to turn it into a readable manuscript.”
McIntosh, whom Jacobsen calls a “precocious youngster,” played piano at local dances as a teen. He left Salmo in 1920 and died in 1986, but not before completing an autobiography, which few have seen. Jacobsen tracked down McIntosh’s sisters in Williams Lake, who gave him permission to use the material...
Jacobson further drew on family stories collected by the Salmo museum and supplemented them with over 100 interviews to paint a picture of the community from the 1890s to 1960s. (It took him almost three years and close to 3,000 hours.)
The accounts vary in style, but while Jacobsen edited them for space and readability, he tried to preserve each person’s voice. “I introduce each storyteller and my connection to them,” he says. “Apart from that I get out of the way.”
They’re presented roughly in chronological order of each family’s arrival, beginning with the above-mentioned Feeney, who showed up in 1892, even before construction of the Nelson and Fort Sheppard Railway put Salmo on the map.
What struck Jacobsen most was how tough people had to be to survive in the wilderness.
“Self-sufficient would be the best term,” he says. “It came through over and over again. I think some of it is genetic.”...
read the entire review at the Nelson Star