PLACE NAMES: Paterson

The border crossing southwest of Rossland was named for Archibald Neil Paterson (1865-1935).

Paterson

Paterson

One-hundred forty-sixth in an alphabetical series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names

The border crossing southwest of Rossland was named for Archibald Neil Paterson (1865-1935), who became customs agent there in January 1898 and postmaster on Sept. 1, 1899.

However, when the initial application for a post office was filed on Jan. 1, 1896, the accompanying petition suggested the name Barney, after rancher Bartholomew O’Brien (1834-1911): “We the undersigned free miners and prospectors, all residents near the aforesaid place of Barney, do petition and pray that a post office will be established at Barney O’Brien’s place … Barney is situated on the mail route between Rossland and Northport … near the international line.”

The Northport News of March 5, 1896 reported: “Barney O’Brien was in from Barney, BC, Saturday, and informed us that it had now become an assured fact that a post office would be established at his place and that he would be installed as postmaster. This should have been done a year ago, as Barney is a convenient location, the hills around there being full of prospectors ….”

Postal authorities had already concluded otherwise. In a report dated Feb. 27, the inspector wrote: “There is little correspondence for or from the proposed office. Mr. O’Brien has a private bag to and from Rossland which the courier calls for and delivers on his trip to and from Northport. This arrangement seems to give all necessary convenience.”

O’Brien filed a second application on Dec. 14, 1897, suggesting the post office be called Barney or Frontier, and signed his letter “Frontier, BC.”

The postal inspector wrote: “The name of Frontier would be most suitable for the proposed office although the Customs Department have a post established about 1½ miles south of the proposed office known as Sheep Creek.”

But it never opened. Instead, Frontier was the name given to a Washington post office that operated from 1901-12. It’s still the name of the Washington side of the border crossing.

Having failed to perpetuate himself in local toponymy, O’Brien went to live in the old men’s home in Kamloops in 1904. The Vancouver Daily World revealed he was an attorney in San Francisco before homesteading in the Sheep Creek valley, and in Rossland’s boom days, he “received an offer of $15,000 cash for his ranch from parties who desired to utilize it as a racetrack. He did not think the offer good enough, and never had another chance to dispose of his property.”

A third application for a post office was referred to the inspector on June 8, 1899, this time successfully. The Rossland Evening Record of Sept. 2, 1899 reported: “A new post office is about to be opened at the boundary line at Sheep Creek which is to be called Paterson, after the genial Archie Paterson, collector of customs at that point and who will be the postmaster.”

In a 1906 letter to James White of the Canadian Geographic Survey, Archie wrote that the Red Mountain Railway named its station at the border Sheep Creek, the same name given to the customs house until it was changed to Paterson on July 18, 1900 by order-in-council. The railway station was renamed Paterson on April 1, 1905.

Archie wasn’t sure he was Paterson’s only namesake, for he wrote that the post office was named “for Hon. William Paterson or myself, or both.”

William Paterson (1839-1914) was minister of customs at the time. Custom Services in Western Canada (1962) suggests he and Archie were brothers — which might imply Archie’s job was the result of nepotism — but if there was any relation, they definitely weren’t siblings. Archie was 26 years younger than William, whose parents died of cholera when he was ten.

Archie resigned as postmaster in 1906 and went to the Omineca district. The Paterson post office closed in 1930.

Railway Mileposts, Vol. II (1984) and the Encyclopedia of British Columbia both claim Paterson was named in honour of Thomas Wilson Paterson (1851-1921), BC’s ninth lieutenant governor. However, when the name was adopted in 1899, Thomas was still general manager of the Victoria and Sidney Railway. He didn’t become lieutenant governor until 1909.

In addition to Barney and Sheep Creek, another possible former name for Paterson is Clark’s Camp.

Fred Vipond wrote in Kootenay Pathfinders that his family arrived in Northport in 1896, and from there “we hit the tote road, and ten miles later arrived at our new home, Clark’s Camp, right on the boundary line between Washington and BC. Many years later it became the village of Patterson [sic], customs border crossing. Clark’s camp was the halfway stop between Northport and Rossland and most of the teamsters were here at night and called it home.”

Its namesake is uncertain, but when a deadly avalanche struck a railway construction camp one mile north of the border on April 20, 1897, two of the injured were John and Frank Clark. Other sources suggest Clark’s Camp was actually in Washington state.

Previous installments in this series

Introduction

Ainsworth

Alamo

Anaconda

Annable, Apex, and Arrow Park

Annable, revisited

Appledale

Applegrove, Appleby, and Appledale revisited

Argenta and Arrowhead

Aylwin

Bakers, Birds, and Bosun Landing

Balfour

Bannock City, Basin City, and Bear Lake City

Beasley

Beaton

Bealby Point

Bealby Point (aka Florence Park) revisited

Belford and Blewett

Beaverdell and Billings

Birchbank and Birchdale

Blueberry and Bonnington

Boswell, Bosworth, Boulder Mill, and Broadwater

Brandon

Brilliant

Brooklyn, Brouse, and Burnt Flat

Burton

Camborne, Cariboo City, and Carrolls Landing

Carmi, Cedar Point, Circle City, and Clark’s Camp

Carson, Carstens, and Cascade City

Casino and Champion Creek

Castlegar, Part 1

Castlegar, Part 2

Castlegar, Part 3

Christina Lake

Christina City and Christian Valley

Clubb Landing and Coltern

Cody and Champion Creek revisited

Champion Creek revisited, again

Columbia

Columbia City, Columbia Gardens, and Columbia Park

Comaplix

Cooper Creek and Corra Linn

Crawford Bay and Comaplix revisited

Crescent Valley and Craigtown

Davenport

Dawson, Deadwood, and Deanshaven

Deer Park

East Arrow Park and Edgewood

Eholt

English Cove and English Point

Enterprise

Erie

Evans Creek and Evansport

Falls City

Farron

Fauquier

Ferguson

Ferguson, revisited

Fife

Forslund, Fosthall, and Fairview

Fort Shepherd vs. Fort Sheppard, Part 1

Fort Shepherd vs. Fort Sheppard, Part 2

Fort Sheppard, revisited

Fraser’s Landing and Franklin

Fredericton

Fruitvale and Fraine

Galena Bay

Genelle

Gerrard

Gilpin and Glade

Gladstone and Gerrard, revisited

Glendevon and Graham Landing

Gloster City

Goldfields and Gold Hill

Grand Forks, Part 1

Grand Forks, Part 2

Granite Siding and Granite City

Gray Creek, Part 1

Gray Creek, Part 2

Gray Creek, revisited

Green City

Greenwood

Halcyon Hot Springs

Hall Siding and Healy’s Landing

Harrop

Hartford Junction

Hills

Howser, Part 1

Howser, Part 2

Howser, Part 3

Howser, Part 4

Hudu Valley, Huntingtdon, and Healy’s Landing revisited

Inonoaklin Valley (aka Fire Valley)

Jersey, Johnsons Landing, and Jubilee Point

Kaslo, Part 1

Kaslo, Part 2

Kaslo, Part 3

Kaslo, Part 4

Kettle River, Part 1

Kettle River, Part 2

Kinnaird, Part 1

Kinnaird, Part 2

Kitto Landing

Koch Siding and Keen

Kokanee

Kootenay Bay, Kraft, and Krestova

Kuskonook, Part 1

Kuskonook, Part 2

Kuskonook (and Kuskanax), Part 3

Labarthe, Lafferty, and Longbeach

Lardeau, Part 1

Lardeau, Part 2

Lardeau, Part 3

Lardeau, Part 4

Lebahdo

Lemon Creek, Part 1

Lemon Creek, Part 2

Lemon Creek, Part 3

Makinsons Landing and Marblehead

McDonalds Landing, McGuigan, and Meadow Creek

Meadows, Melville, and Miles’ Ferry

Midway

Mineral City and Minton

Mirror Lake and Molly Gibson Landing

Montgomery and Monte Carlo, Part 1

Montgomery and Monte Carlo, Part 2

Montrose and Myncaster

Nakusp, Part 1

Nakusp, Part 2

Nashville

Needles

Nelson, Part 1

Nelson, Part 2

Nelson, Part 3

Nelson, Part 4

Nelson, Wash.

Nelway and New Galway

New Denver, Part 1

New Denver, Part 2

Niagara

Oasis and Oatescott

Ootischenia

Oro

Park Siding and Pass Creek

Passmore

Just Posted

Area A Director Ali Grieve (right), Village of Fruitvale Mayor Steve Morissette (front), and Village of Montrose Mayor Mike Walsh (left) held a congratulatory ceremony for Beaver Valley students who are part of the Class of 2021 graduates of J. L. Crowe Secondary at Beaver Creek Park on Thursday. Photo: Jim Bailey
Beaver Valley Grads of 2021

Beaver Valley mayors, RDKB Area A director celebrate their 2021 graduates with gift ceremony

Adrian Moyls is the Selkirk College Class of 2021 valedictorian and graduate of the School of Health and Human Services. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College valedictorian proves mettle in accomplishment

Adrian Moyls is a graduate of the School of Health and Human Services

A volunteer delivers food to families as part of a West Kootenay EcoSociety program. Photo: Submitted
Farms to Friends delivers 2,500th bag of food to families in need

The program services communities in the Nelson, Trail and Castlegar areas

Selkirk College has begun its search in earnest for a leader to replace president Angus Graeme who is set to retire from his position in May 2022. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College seeks community input for president search

Current president Angus Graeme retires next year

A report shows nine West Kootenay communities are have more low-income persons than the provincial average. File photo
Study casts new light on poverty in the West Kootenay

Nine communities in region have more low-income residents than provincial average

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Most Read