In 1862 Alexander Robb (1839-1910) was one of a group of young men from County Down, Ireland, who travelled to British Columbia. They were among the thousands seeking to make their fortunes in the goldfields of the Cariboo. Finding no gold and lucky not to starve, Alex got work among the labourers building the Cariboo wagon road. After several years struggling to make a living, he and an Englishman were the first two Europeans to homestead in the Nicola Valley of central British Columbia. Later, appointed by the province as superintendent, he oversaw building the first roads in the valley.
In a series of letters to those at home in County Down, Alex told of his experiences as a labourer, rancher and public servant in a young colony that was transitioning into a province of the new Canada.
Illness and death in his family took him back to Ireland where he steered the Robb farm successfully through a period of agricultural recession and major political change while continuing his commitment to public service. Alexander Robb’s remarkable story of hardship and perseverance is told along with a full revision of his unique letters. The book also contains insights into the lives of his comrades from County Down and elsewhere who had sought their fortunes in the Cariboo.