The Pioneers of McBride

The story of McBride is the story of those who made this place their home. From adventurers to those escaping the dustbowls of the Depression and even those looking for a sense peace not present where they had grown up, McBride’s story is that of those who settled here.

Looking back now, it is easy to be impressed with the bravery and fortitude required of the early pioneers as they moved to their new home.

In England in December 1913 Samuel Birkenhead, aged 29, boarded the SS Teutonic bound for the promise of free land in Canada. His wife Rose and son Stanley followed 8 months later and the family settled in Tete Jaune cache where Sam worked for Siems and Carey Construction. They soon moved to the new tent city of McBride and had the luxury of living in a drafty, decommissioned box car, which would not have been easy for a family used to life in the more sophisticated cities of England.

World War I soon broke out and Sam joined the forces fighting overseas while Rose was left in McBride to give birth to their second child. Their son Fraser was named after the mighty river and was the second child and first baby boy born in McBride.

The Birkenheads were socially active in McBride and Sam served on both the school board and village council, being elected a village commissioner (a position later to be known as mayor). The
owned and operated the Fraser Hotel in the early 1930s and in 1936 sam position with CNR saw him transferred to Kamloops and then Vancouver.

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