From his early days in British Columbia during the Fraser Gold Rush of 1858, to his more than 50 years as a packer, to his final days in Hazelton, Cataline was a memorable figure.
Jean-Jacques Caux—Cataline—was born in about 1835 in Bearn, Southern France. He came to British Columbia to work in the gold rush but soon found that transporting goods for the miners was more lucrative that being a miner himself. Because of his occupation as a mule train packer, he was constantly on the move throughout the province.
Through his eyes we see the Fraser River Gold Rush of 1858, the Cariboo Gold Rush of 1862, Canada’s Confederation in 1867, BC joining Canada in 1871, the coming of the railway to Ashcroft in 1886 and the Grand Trunk Pacific to Hazelton in 1912.
Not only was he witness to and participant in many of the historical events that shaped our province, he was a unique and memorable character in his own right. He knew such personalities as Judge Matthew Baillie Begbie, the famed anthropologist James Teit, and the well-known First Nations basketmaker (her work is in museums around the world), Amelia York, with whom he had two children.
Cataline’s way of life that has gone for ever. But the legend and life of the man has been remembered in the words of his friends, his family and those who chronicled his times. British Columbia will not see another like him.
(left) Jean Caux, Cataline. Famed mule-train packer of British Columbia - "Image A-02038 courtesy of Royal BC Museum, BC Archives"