Fading evidence of Quesnel’s past

Grave marker from 1867 marks the passing of one the Royal Engineers who helped build the roads in the Cariboo

Robert Goskirk’s grave marker is suffering the ravages of years of weather.

Robert Goskirk was a Royal Engineer from Edinburgh, Scotland. He came to B.C. with the first detachment of Royal Engineers. His wife was later granted funds to join her husband, but at the last minute declined and stayed in Edinburgh working at a woollen mill.

Gorskirk later left the Engineers and took up mining on Grouse Creek. He died May 15, 1867 at the age of 33 of a heart attack and friends buried him behind his cabin.

The grave was discovered 10 – 15 years ago by a local miner high on a hillside overlooking Grouse Creek. The inscription on the headboard reads: ‘In Memory of Robert Goskirk of Royal Engineers, native of …dburgh, Scotland, D. 15 May 1867 Aged 33 years.’

The headboard is wood, badly decayed and will soon disappear into the forest floor. The engineers who visited carefully lifted the board and placed a rock underneath to try and slow the process. The philosophical question is what should be done with markers such as this?

Should they be allowed to decay naturally, replaced, restored, placed in museums? It is a question that will be argued for years to come.

Information supplied by CRD director John Massier who researched the material through Barkerville records.

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