By Pam Hobbs

Barkerville, British Columbia: Caught by a skittish breeze, crisp brown leaves rustle around our feet as we stand there in the graveyard, a small silent group listening to tales of violence and death in Barkerville. We have walked here with the Reverend James Reynard who now recalls gruesome accidents, consumption, foot-rot, pneumonia, and typhoid caused by contaminated drinking water. And there's no hint of a smile when he says he takes the sacramental wine to bed with him so it won't freeze. Then softly adds that in mid-winter sometimes it freezes anyway.

On our walk back to town the reverend says matter-of-factly that he first preached here in a saloon, and had to build his church virtually single-handedly. He sounds so sincere, so dedicated to his calling, I find it hard to believe his work is not to save souls, but to keep visitors like me entertained.

Barkerville was at the heart of the gold rush in the l860s...........

Story (825 words) continues to describe life in the town, ending;

IF YOU GO: Barkerville is open daily from mid-June through summer. It is 420 miles (675km) north of Vancouver via hwys 1 and 97 to Quesnel, then east on hwy 26.
For more information telephone Barkerville Historic Town at (250) 994-3332 or visit