I spent over twenty of my growing and young adult years living in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. It was a nice surprise today to see the article “Cumberland digs deep into genealogy to keep Chinese, Japanese cemeteries open” in the Comox Valley Echo, regarding cemetery preservation efforts in Cumberland.
According to the secondary headline of the article, “Grave mapping efforts already underway as Village officials chime in with support.”
This article piqued my interest immediately for two reasons:
I’m an avid genealogy buff and the genealogy aspect of the story is important to me. I’ve always had a fascination with history and archaeology (even studying archaeology in university).
As a teenager with a fairly new driver’s license, I used to spend all my spare time with camera in hand exploring the area around me. I may not have ventured beyond Vancouver Island, but I did make the most of the sites, sounds and discoveries of everything the island had to offer.
One of the sites I explored was the site of the original settlement of the Chinese miners at the mine in Cumberland, especially the site of what we knew to be “Jumbo’s cabin.” Now, I didn’t know much about Jumbo, but I knew of it because it was a well-known landmark.
I could see old building foundations and was fascinated with searching for artifacts including old dish fragments, bottles of all kinds, etc. I don’t believe I ever found anything worthy of keeping, but I had fun looking.
While researching this post, I stumbled upon this amazing article about the loss of substantial quantities of artifacts from the site to collectors from all over North America. So sad.
Now that I know the historic significance, I’m ironically glad that others got there before me and left nothing for me to find and collect. I’ll let them live with the guilt of razing these wonderful historic sites. I’m happy living with the memories of the fun I had.