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Re: James Woodburn
Posted by: Layne Woodburn (ID *****5572) Date: May 28, 2002 at 21:12:35
In Reply to: Re: James Woodburn by N Woodburn of 410

I am sorry for the delay but it took me a while to get down to the archives and then there was a delay while the material was screened for anything sensitive to the living under the Young Offenders Act. I have also looked into the Mines Records as well.

James Woodburn was killed on the 27th of June 1910 at the minesite for the Green Lake Mining and Milling Company, located on Fitzsimmons Creek very close to the townsite of Whistler, B.C. The mine was staked in 1903 and operated in a minor way up to the season of 1910, then being abandoned until some interest was shown in 1930. Low values of gold, silver and copper were obtained. Access was by a very rough road or trail suitable only for pack trains, etc. The claims were held by Mr. A McEvoy of Vancouver in 1910.

The coroner was Dr. Thomas W. Jeffs MD, of Vancouver. His report includes the statements of 3 witnesses as obtained by the BC Provincial Police. I did not dig into the Police archives. It would appear that this was a truly unfortunate accident. Apparently the practice was to drill holes in the shaft they were developing and then someone from the next shift would go for the dynamite from a separate storage. Prior to use, they apparently would then take the dynamite to the cookhouse and thaw it in hot water on the stove. On this day Jim Woodburn was doing this and at half past three there was an explosion of an estimated 12 sticks of dynamite, killing the cook Edgar Bryce and mortally injuring Jim Woodburn. The witness accounts state that all four limbs were broken, his left eye was gone and there was a portion of his skull missing. Nevertheless he lived for 3-4 hours longer and was conscious till his death.

He was said to have few belongings, amounting to about a dollar, a pocket book, a knife and a pipe. These were taken by a Jim Nicholson. Jim Woodburn was said to have requested that the witnesses write to his mother of his accident. The witnesses were John McAuley, Sidney Redhead and James Nicholson. The coroner wrote his report on the 6th of July 1910 and also interviewed a J.G.Gill. At first I thought that he stated that the bodies were burned at Green Lake, but it is clear that the men made coffin boxes out of split red cedar and both men were buried on Saturday the 2nd July 1910, about 100 yards from the cabin and with a cross between their heads. The men then were said to have left the camp to return to Vancouver.

Some of the details are sketchy but if this fits your relative I hope it is of some interest. I can still check the Police files and I do have a call into the Mines Safety branch as they are supposed to have reports of all accidents filed away. Please feel free to contact me directly if you require any more information. I would be pleased to hear more about your family as I am personally convinced that all the Woodburns in the Cumbria region were at some point closely related. It seems to be a bit of a family trait to lose track of the rest of the family.

Cheers, Layne Woodburn.

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