By Carson Stone
As you travel North to Barriere from Kamloops and look to the left across the North Thompson River at Louis Creek, you will see an old abandoned homestead beside the river.
This belonged to Mathias Betts who settled in this Louis Creek location in 1912. An early “Preemption Lot Map” confirms this.
Mathias was born at Hillsboro, Nova Scotia, in June of 1847.
He was involved in an early Canadian event that is not generally known, the event of Canada being invaded, not only once but twice in less than five years.
The Fenian Conflict happened in 1866, and again in 1870. It has been said that this event could very well have ended in the severance of Canada from the British Dominion had the opposing militia succeeded.
The principal behind the Canadian invasion was that Ireland was strongly opposed to being ruled by Great Britain, and since Canada was part of Great Britain’s claim the Fenian movement was to invade and to take over the country.
With the aid of many people living in the United States, an elaborate plan was set forth.
Both invasions were halted before it became a full scaled war, but there had been fighting and loss of life.
Mathias Betts was an enlistee of the volunteer militia to help save Canada. He was a member of the “4th Cumberland” based in Nova Scotia.
It appears that he had enlisted in the early invasion of 1866, but I haven’t been able to confirm if he had seen any action or if he took part in the second conflict of 1870.
As mentioned, Mathias and his wife, Phoebe Delilah, settled on the property, and it appears his son William Edwin Betts resided there as well.
William’s brother, Ottis Rolland Betts, preempted land directly across the North Thompson River from where John Fremont Smith had taken land.
In a 1917 “Directory” the three gentleman’s occupations were; William-Ranching, Otto-Ranching/Poultry, and Mathias-Ranching/Stock.
William died in 1922 and his father, Mathias a few years after. It appears that Phoebe continued living at the Louis Creek homestead until she eventually moved into Kamloops.
I am including a picture of the Betts homestead in the present day, though the photo is not of the greatest quality, it does show the location and land.
Carson Stone resides in Louis Creek, he has a purpose to inform others of the history of the Louis Creek region. Thank you to the Louis Creek Heritage Trail Society for this information. You can find more area history by going to Facebook: Louis Creek Heritage Trail Society.