However, as with many young men of that era, the gold fields in British Columbia called to young Semlin and he headed west to seek his fortunes. He arrived in Victoria on June 12, 1862.
Charles's career as a miner didn't last for long nor was it that successful. He spent three summers prospecting and mining in the Cariboo before becoming a packer, carrying supplies between Lilloet and Quesnel.
Semlin found work at Ashcroft Manor. He managed the roadhouse and adjacent ranch of Clement Francis Cornwall and his brother Henry. Several months later, Semlin and his partner, Philip Parke, bought a roadhouse of their own, Bonaparte House. Bonaparte House was strategically located at the junction of wagon roads north to the Cariboo and east to Savona's Ferry (Savona) and the upper Thompson River. Parke sold his interest to Wilson Henry Sanford in 1868. Two years later Semlin bought Sanford's interest, making him the sole proprietor of Bonaparte House.
Not that Semlin stayed an innkeeper for long. He then traded Bonaparte House to James Campbell in 1870 for ranch land. Semlin had been acquiring land in the area for the last three years through pre-emption and purchase. Gradually, he consolidated his holdings to create one of the largest ranches of the region, named Dominion Ranch, which he would operate until his death in 1927.
The Central Boarding School attracted a good deal of controversy during its 16-year existence. Some felt that the school should have been in the larger community of Kamloops. The actions of the appointed school board (which comprised Semlin, Parke, Campbell and C.F. Cornwall) and the conditions at the school all drew critical comments from the press but Semlin staunchly defended the school - even teaching there for awhile. The school was shut down though in 1890. Years later when a rural school district was created for Cache Creek, Semlin, Parke and Campbell all served as trustees.
A photo of Philip Parke, compliments of the BC Archives #H-00234
The Cache Creek Boarding school. Photo from the Vancouver Library.
Wednesday, I will tell you about Charles Semlin's political life. Thanks to the Dictionary of Canadian Biography website for the information. It's a great site with lots of information.
I hope you find the beauty around you.