The Cariboo Gold Rush Journey Cariboo Gold Rush People Section- Women


Catherine Schubert

Nellie Cashman

Sarah Crease

Agnus McVee

Hurdy Gurdy Girls

The operation of the murderous Agnus McVee had been progressing smoothly for a number of years and according to various estimates, Agnus's stolen gold nuggets or coin and treasures totalled over $150,000.00.

One day a young strapping blonde-haired gambler named Macdonald came through from Fort Langley, and Agnus fell in love at first sight with the prospective victim.

The usual preparations had been made for a quick demise and Jim McVee hitched the horse up to the death wagon.

While Al Riley waited outside for Agnus to give him the rifle, Agnus suddenly decided she did not want Macdonald murdered.

"No", she said.

"He has come to buy a girl, and girls I have for sale."

Al Riley stared at her in surprise.

She agreed to sell Macdonald a very beautiful 17-year-old girl for a price of $4000.00.

He paid the price, tied the girl to one of his horses and rode off into the night, down the Cariboo Wagon Road.

For part of that night, Jim McVee was absent from the hotel. Late that night a rider dismounted at the stable. Al Riley discovered that the rider was Jim McVee.

Agnus confronted her husband who admitted to killing Macdonald and stealing his money which totalled over $8000.00 in gold coins.

The next morning Agnus seemed to be in a forgiving mood, and she cooked her husband a hearty breakfast.

Jim McVee was in the midst of eating when he dropped to the floor, and rolled about in violent convulsions, then died soon afterwards.

Agnus McVee poisoned her husband for killing the handsome Macdonald the night before.

Agnus McVee and Al Riley made plans to dispose of Jim McVee's body, but overlooked one small detail. Jim McVee had been so intent on killing Macdonald that he forgot about the young girl that Macdonald had bought.

Law enforcement officers found the young girl wandering along the road, and discovered that this young girl was only one of many-held prisoner at 108-Mile Hotel.

She told them that she had been bought by Macdonald who had been overtaken on the road and shot to death by a man named Jim who fed her and the other girls daily while they were prisoners at the 108 Mile Hotel.

When law enforcement searched the hotel they found eight young girls all chained together and half starved. All of them wee terrified and it was sometime before they could be persuaded to tell their stories all of, which were similar.

Later, sifting through the ashes in each fireplace, the officers found the remains of human bones.

Agnus McVee and Al Riley were taken to Fort Kamloops, then onto New Westminster, jailed and charged with kidnapping and murder.

In June 1885 shortly before she was brought to trial, she committed suicide by poisoning. Al Riley was found guilty of the charges and hanged.

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Last updated 31 August 1998.
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