Barkerville, Williams Creek,
GOLD BY THE POUND!
The story of Isaiah P. Diller is one of those rags to riches stories that
very rarely occurred in goldrushes. I. P. Diller or "Young Diller"
as he was known, was born on a small side-hill farm in the state of Pennsylvania
quite near to the city of New York. His father had died shortly after his
birth and Diller grew up to a life of hardship and want. This was the backdrop
when Diller heard of the fortunes men were making in the far off British
colony of New Caledonia. He didn't need much prompting to head west and
after convincing his mother to let him have the little money they did have
saved, head he did. He left his mother and with the majority of his family's
meagre savings he secured passage aboard a ship out of New York to the Isthmus
of Panama. He crossed the Isthmus by foot and sailed up the coast to Victoria
and hence to New Westminster.
The first record of Diller in British Columbia was in Yale as chairman of
a committee requesting the removal of the corrupt Commissioner of Crown
Lands in 1858. Diller evidently had interest in a claim in the area for
there exists a record that he sold it to one Ah Sun for the sum of $25 in
June of 1860.
Moving north up the Fraser and into Cariboo country, Diller met and fell
in with two men, "Doc" Keithley and Henry Wolf. They staked claims
on the Quesnelle River in the area of Quesnelle Forks but didn't stay long
and later that same year found them in Wolf Gulch above Keithley Creek.
This claim proved to be quite rich and provoked a minor rush to the area.
But fate would lead Diller to Williams Creek, where in October of 1861 he
had two claims with James Loring of Boston in the Richfield area. They were
joined by Hardy Curry, another American from Georgia, and in September of
1861 had staked a claim below the canyon adjacent to the Barker Claim and
across from the mouth of Stout's Gulch (near #40 on the map).
"For 17 months they dug with no results. Despite sinking two shafts,
moving tons of gravel and employing 21 men and investing close to $8000
(about $200,000 in today's terms) they had no encouraging results."