Tragic end for a man and his horses

In April 1937, Colonel J. H. Boyd became the official coroner in the district of Cowichan Lake.

Col. J. H. Boyd

Col. J. H. Boyd

In April 1937, Colonel J. H. Boyd became the official coroner in the district of Cowichan Lake.

Three months later he was appointed stipendiary magistrate and Judge of the juvenile court and small debts court.

He held the four positions until June 30,1958 (Kaatza – Chronicles of Cowichan Lake by John F. T. Saywell.)

As though that wasn’t enough to keep him busy, Boyd also held a seat on the local school board in addition to the position of school district secretary-treasurer. He held both these positions from 1933 until 1947 when amendments were made to the school act preventing a person from “being a trustee and a secretary-treasurer (at the same time).”

Obliged to drop one of the two school board positions, he chose to remain secretary-treasurer. Boyd was to remain a powerful force within the school district and throughout the village for many more years.

Several years ago Kaatza Station Museum was the recipient of several documents and records that Boyd had saved from his days as Coroner. During those years he meticulously recorded the details surrounding each and every death that he investigated—namely those that fell into the category of accidents or unknown cause.

Logging accidents were by far the cause of the majority of the deaths that Col. Boyd investigated, although there were also drownings and fires resulting in causalities. A surprising number of deaths due to suicides were also investigated. In his little black leather bound notebook were the names and circumstances of each case he investigated.

After recently discovering a 1955 article in which a man and his two horses tragically drowned in Cowichan Lake near Honeymoon Bay, I decided to check out Colonel Boyd’s little book of investigations. Sure enough there it was. Also reported in the Duncan newspaper the Cowichan Leader, was an article on the tragic drowning filed under the headline “Man and two horses drown while salvaging logs.”

It happened in the afternoon of December 1, 1955 with logger Tom Hewitt riding one of his horses while dragging (for salvage) logs out of the lake. In what was later described as a “freak accident,” the harness of the horse, “caught on a 60 foot partially submerged log” causing the horse to stumble, throwing its rider and the second horse (to which the first horse was harnessed) into the deep water.

Hewitt tried desperately but was unable to free his horses resulting in the drowning tragedy.

Note: The area the accident took place was near an old booming ground near which the lake bottom was almost totally covered with logs.

A few days later Cowichan Lake coroner Col. Boyd conducted an official inquiry into the death of Hewitt. The drowning was deemed accidental. Mr. Hewitt was survived by his wife and two sons aged 10 and 18.

 

 

 

— Research Kaatza Station Museum Archives

and World Wide Web

 

 

Just Posted

Robert's column
Robert Barron column: Skyrocketing house prices a tragedy

North Cowichan councillor Rosalie Sawrie brought an interesting perspective to a discussion… Continue reading

Soaker hoses laid down over corn seedlings, soon to be covered with mulch, will see to the watering needs of the bed through any summer drought. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Investing in soaker hoses is money well-spent

No-till gardening has a distinct advantage during drought

Karl McPherson, left, and Mary Morrice are the new head coach and general manager, respectively, at the Duncan Dynamics Gymnastics Club. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Manager charts a new course for Duncan Dynamics

More recreational programs to join competitive teams

Cute but fierce! Timber moonlights as an attack kitty. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Sarah Simpson Column: Beware of Mr. Bite, the midnight attacker

Last week, in the middle of the night, I was awoken by… Continue reading

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read