Barnard's Express

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Barnard's Express


Francis Jones Barnard, 1863

In 1860, Mr. Francis Jones Barnard established a pony express from Yale to Barkerville. By 1863 he incorporated a two-horse wagon.

In 1863, Dietz and Nelson operated a coach between Victoria and Yale, connecting there with Barnard's Express. In 1863-64, additions like the use of sleighs in the winter were used instead of wagons.

The year of 1864 saw the start of a 14 passenger 4 horse stage.

Later, with increase of business, the stage was enlarged to a 6 horse coach.
Mule Team with freight at Yale, 1867

By 1866 Francis Jones Barnard became the sole proprietor of the horse express business from Victoria to Barkerville.

The British Columbia Express Company incorporated in 1871.
This consisted of F.J. Barnard, holding one half interest, and Steve Tingley and James Hamilton each holding one quarter interest.

1886 Hamilton had died and Barnard sold out to Tingley who thus became sole owner.
BC Express Stage in 1880,

In 1884, the bridge across from the Fraser was opened, and trains came to Lytton. It was at this time that Mr. Tingley moved his headquarters and established it at Spence's Bridge.

In February 1886, Mr. Tingley made his final move to Ashcroft and drove continuously until 1897.

His son Fred Tingley drove for some time after this, and later J.B. Leighton, living at Savona, B.C. in 1926.
Barnard's Stage Coach at Yale, heading for
Soda Creek

The Drivers:

The last stage was driven to Soda Creek by Charles G. Major. He was not one of the regular drivers, but the messenger in charge of Barnard's Express between Barkerville and Quesnel. Major took the stage out as he was on his way to Cariboo in the spring, and Mr. Stephen Tingley, best known driver and final owner, took charge on the return trip.
F.J. Barnard Express Office

Other noted drivers were, James Hamilton, W.A. Johnston and William Humphreys.

The Time:

An average trip from Yale to Barkerville can be broken down into sections.

The custom was at first to drive from Yale to Spence's Bridge (80 Miles), the first day-6 or 7 miles an hour; Next day Spence's Bridge to Clinton (50 Miles).

The best time ever made was by special conveyance from Yale to Barkerville. The 380 miles from Yale to Barkerville was covered in 30 hours of continuous driving.

The usual stage time for the same distance was four days.

Adapted from source: M B265 BC Archives Pac. NW Hist Dept.A.M.R. January 1926

Last updated November 30, 1998.
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Industrial Art Internet Group Ltd. 1998-1999