John "Cariboo" Cameron

John “Cariboo” Cameron 18″ x 24″ oil on canvas

This is a portrait of the actor in Barkerville portraying the character of John Cameron, the first man to strike it big-time rich there. He discovered gold on December 22, 1862, but his wife had recently died, and he decided to return to Victoria in February to grant his wife her last wish, a decent burial at home, for she despised the cold, miserable north where her husband had his claim on Williams Creek. This is an amazing story in itself, and you can read more about it at
http://www.cariboo-net.com/sentinel/vol2/cameron1.htm. This particular image is at a time in the performance when he is reminiscing about his dead wife and child.

Anyways, after his return, he mined vigorously from April until October of 1863, and the gold was so abundant that it was being mined not by the ounce but by the pan. By October, Cameron had taken out the equivalent of $5 million in today’s dollars and Cameron Co. became the richest claim in the colony.

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2 thoughts on “John "Cariboo" Cameron

  1. I am glad that I found your blog! You paintings are lovely. The look on his face is very sad and you captured it beautifully. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. My grandmother was John Cameron's great niece, thus making me his triple great niece – she told me the story of Cariboo Cameron and the sad tale of how he honoured his beloved wife's dying request to be buried in her ancestral home in Ontario. She was buried four times and had three funerals (she was exhumed & reburied because of a rumour that the coffin was actually filled with gold that had spread to the New York times). The painting looks very like the portrait I've seen of the real John Cameron – it is a very moving portrait. I did not know my ancestor was featured in the Barkerville play and plan to see it someday.
    from Elaine Evans

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