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Silver Rush tells the story of British Columbia’s “Silvery Slocan.” In the 1890s, mining camps like Sandon, Three Forks, Whitewater and their neighbours; New Denver, Silverton, Slocan City, Kaslo and Nakusp, thrived. Once the most productive mining region in British Columbia, prospectors and miners came from Idaho, Montana and other mining centres to reap the silver harvest. Capitalists flooded in from Spokane, Seattle, Vancouver, and investment centres across North America and the world. Plummeting silver prices, labour troubles and the Klondike gold rush eventually put an end to the silver rush but the legacy of that rush endures to this day.


This book will be of interest to history buffs, mining enthusiasts and genealogists in British Columbia, Washington, Idaho and around the world.



Comprehensive Name Index with dozens of unpublished photographs

2012-02-02 Wharf cropped BW enhanced Bri



I am very pleased to announce that Silver Rush won the Lieutenant Governor's Community History award

 for BC historical writing, for 2020, awarded by the British Columbia Historical Federation. 

“By far the most detailed and accurate account of the Silvery Slocan mining rush ever written. Highly entertaining too.”

“A mass of information not previously available.”

Greg Nesteroff, Historian, author, news editor.

R. Cole Harris, Professor emeritus, University of British Columbia, author of “Ranch in the Slocan.”

Reader's Comments

""The definitive book on the early silver rush!"

"It is wonderful"

"What a wealth of fascinating details"

"A huge source of new information"

"Descriptions of life for the early prospectors is priceless."

"Beyond epic."

In The Press



Peter Smith was born and raised in Victoria and the Saanich peninsula on Vancouver Island.


In the mid-1970s he moved to the Slocan, had breakfast at New Denver’s Newmarket Hotel, and was captivated by the region’s history.


Part owner of a mining claim south of Silverton, he eventually moved back to Victoria. With a post-graduate degree in Folklife Studies from the University of Leeds, U.K., he worked for many years in British Columbia’s civil service at the Ministries of Transportation, Provincial Secretary, Environment, and Agriculture.


He retired as Director of the province’s Information Access and Records Service Delivery Division in 2011.

He currently lives in Ladysmith, B.C.

The author in 1970s at a mine site above Silverton

Images Courtesy: Slocan Valley Historical Society, Janice Wilkin, Mahon Family Records, David Bogle
News & Events



Silver Rush is available from these fine bookstores:

Salamander Books, Ladysmith, BC.

Volume One Books, Duncan, BC.

Otter Books, Nelson, BC.

Bolen Books, Victoria, BC.

Goldrush Books, Rossland, B.C.

Meritexell Books, Nakusp, B.C.

Also available at:

Raven's Nest, New Denver, BC.

New Market Foods, New Denver, BC.

Prospector's Pick, Sandon, BC.

Corrections (1st printing 1 -100)

P.9 Brennand not Brennan, here and throughout.

P.40 Johnny Harris first visited Nelson May 26 not May 27.

P.41 John Morgan Harris, not Jonathan.

        Vernon Mills not Hills

P.44 Retallack was likely born in Quebec, not India

P.52 Should be Clement and not Clements, here and throughout

P.77 Grant Thorburn and Sarah Wilds were married in 1891, not 1890.

P.214 D.C. Corbin did not run the Northern Pacific.

P.283 Billy Kellem's Idaho restaurant was in Kaslo, not Three Forks

P.301 Manuel not Manuels, here and throughout.

P.301 Silverton's John Edward Brownrigg was born Oct. 11, 1893 not 1894.

P.419 Owney Patton played for Spokane, not Kaslo

P.420 Buckerfield should be Butterfield

P.432 W.E. Knowles was Minister of Telephones in a Saskatchewan Liberal Cabinet not in the Federal Cabinet.

P.435 Should be 94 male voters not 114

P.485 Angus Matheson was not drowned in this incident.

P.512 The Mollie Hughes mine is north of New Denver

P.517 Premier Robson not Premier Turner

P.518 Cleverley not Cleverly here and throughout.

P.519 Should be $3.00 per day not hour

P.521 Should be $3.50 per day not per hour

P.535 Should be $3.25 per day not per hour.

P.547 Sumter should be Sumpter

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