The age of the internet has given so many ways of learning the smallest details that add to a story. Newspapers from New York City, of which there are a few, Deadwood in South Dakota, and Seattle have helped me to build a solid timeline of Mathew Roderick’s life and movements. Mary’s too.
Librairies are a great source of knowledge and the people working there know how to find answers to unusual questions. The Royal BC Museum Archives have also been a great source of records with access given to the BCPP records. The records contained correspondance to and from many detachments as well as court room documents.
During the trial of Joseph Keane for the shooting death of Roderick, Simon Dillabaugh, a Washington State resident, had worked with Roderick underground at the Cariboo-Amelia mine. Dillabaugh listened to Roderick’s plan for pulling off a heist so often that he threatened to ask the foreman for a new working partner. He had also seen Roderick’s Bowie knife, Colt pistol, and full-stock Winchester rifle when Roderick stayed in the company bunkhouse. Later Roderick moved to the Lynch cabin for more secrecy.
Dillabaugh also stated under oath that Roderick had a jeweller prepared to buy any gold he could provide “no questions asked.” But he could only remember that the name had the word silver in it. By 1896, the number of jewellers in Seattle had doubled to thirty-six. I asked a Seattle librarian if there was a way to check the names of city jewellers at that time. Yes there was.
The probable buyer of the small bar of gold Roderick sold after the heist was Afiel Silverstein. Competition likely forced Silverstein to buy gold the cheapest way possible. Dillabaugh added that Roderick even had a retired judge prepared to swear to an alibi for him if needed. Wish I had that name. It’s possible a glass of whiskey and a game of cards provided many sources for Roderick’s needs including the keys that opened the office of the Cariboo-Amelia.
A writer never knows where a good story might lead. For me, the internet has been a blessing. For others, it has convinced them to suck on a tube of animal dewormer instead of trusting a validated medical injection. Please shut the internet off for a while and take a walk in nature. The life you save might be your own.