Hugh Neave

From "The [Vancouver] Sun, December 6, 1985"

History is Hugh's favorite pastime
article by Pat Turkki

The north shores of Francois Lake (in the Upcountry of B.C.) retains a lot of its history. And in all probability, no one knows more about that history than Hugh Neave, proprietor of the general store at Northbank, the site of Francois Lake's ferry landing.
Hugh is 63 years old, but he looks more like a man in his early 50's. He's got the square jaw and rugged face of a determined prairie farmer, a countenance indicative of his ancestry. Behind that heritaged visage is the kindest of men and an avid historian.
When you're talking to Hugh - who has collected enough photographs, memorabilia and artifacts to start his own museum - it doesn't take long to realize that a Francois Lake pioneer history doesn't belong to some far distant past.
The first postmaster ran a post office as long ago as 1910; the mail was brought in from near Smithers on horseback. But. in spite of the number of changes made since 1910, the pioneer era had never really ended when Hugh Neave arrived in 1941.
Hugh, then 19, came into the country with his mother and ather and a brother. Hugh's dad, originally from England, had homesteaded in Saskatchewan, but by 1941, the family had been "depressioned out, dried out, and grasshoppered out".
The family took over a general store that had been built in 1938 at Francois Lake. Hugh's mother became the post mistress. Hugh began worldng in the store in 1941.
"When we first came into this country we lived in a log house behind the store, and then moved into a residence in the store" says Hugh. That log house still stands on the hill behind the general store.
Hugh, who must have 100 or more historical photos, showed me one of a primitive, frontier-type log cabin hotel with a wide porch under its roof. Built by an early settler, it had burned down in 1926 and had originally stood where the store had been built.
Another photograph was the first store at what is now the ferry landing. Built before the 1920's by a pioneer by the name of Robert Jeffery, it was a huge, three-storey log building that resembled a fort without the stockade.
In 1949, Hugh married Josephine Keefe, the daughter of one of the Southside's first settlers. The couple had two sons and two daughters.
he house Hugh and Jo have lived in since 1950 is a frame house with a wide veranda that was built on the hill behind the ferry landing in 1920. It was once used as a lodge.
Hugh built another store in the 1970's, just to the west of the one built in 1938. As postmaster, he now stands behind an old post office wicket, brought from Evesham, Sask.
"When I was a little boy in Evesham,it was the in the post office there and I could just see over it then," he says. I never dreamed that someday I would be working behind it."
Among his extensive memorabilia Hugh has a letter with a three-cent stamp on it, and a cheque he never cashed from a Southside pioneer who lived to be 94. The cheque, dated April 22, 1944, was written to pay a grocery bill of $3.20. He has a photograph of a couple who came to the store by horse and wagon in 1945. There is a Vancouver Daily Province dated 1920, and a copy of The Vancouver Sun for Wednesday, Feb. 6, 1952, which bears a banner headline reading, "King Dead, Elizabeth Queen."
Although Hugh ran the store and worked as the postmaster (with the help of Jo, who is also assistant postmaster), he had a third job. From 1947 to 1965. Hugh ran a taxi service. His first taxi was a 1941 two-door Chevrolet.
"There was no meter," he said. "I charged $3 for a trip to Burns Lake (16 miles away) and later on the fare went up to $5."
Hugh says he made money because he sold gas then for 35 cents a gallon. He travelled all over the Southside, charging $8 for a 27-mile trip to Ootsa Lake landing, and he took the Indians out to Fraser Lake and Fort Fraser (approximately 80 miles) with their furs.
I once hauled a couple of taxi loads of dynamite - five or six cases each load - to the Skins Lake Dam when it was being built for Alcan, " says Hugh. "I got,a little extra for that."

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From The Northwest Herald - January 1, 1986

(Editor's Note-The following is reprinted in part from an article appearing in a recent edition of The Vancouver Sun. It concerns Hugh Neave, a former resident of Evesham and will be of interest to his friends acquaintances in that area. Mr. Neave'attended Senlac Homecoming Days this past summer and renewed connections with many people of the Macklin, Evesham, Senlac disticts at that time.)

History favorite pastime of former Evesham resident

The north shores of Francois Lake (in the Upcountry of B.C.) retains a lot of its history. And in all probability, no one knows more about that history than Hugh Neave, proprietor of the general store at Northbank, the site of Francois Lake's ferry landing.
Hugh is 63 years old, but he looks more like a man in his early 50's. He's got the square jaw and rugged face of a determined prairie farmer, a countenance indicative of his ancestry. Behind that heritaged visage is the kindest of men and an avid historian.
When you're talking to Hugh - who has collected enough photographs, memorabilia and artifacts to start his own museum - it doesn't take long to realize that a Francois Lake pioneer history doesn't belong to some far distant past.
The first postmaster ran a post office as long ago as 1910; the mail was brought in from near Smithers on horseback. But. in spite of the number of changes made since 1910, the pioneer era had never really ended when Hugh Neave arrived in 1941.
Hugh, then 19, came into the country with his mother and ather and a brother. Hugh's dad, originally from England, had homesteaded in Saskatchewan, but by 1941, the family had been "depressioned out, dried out, and grasshoppered out".
The family took over a general store and Hugh's mother became post mistress. Hugh began working in the store in 1941.
In 1949 Hugh married Josephine Keefe, the daughter of one of the Southside's first settlers. The couple had two sons and two daughters. Hugh built another store in the 1970's. As postmaster, he now stands behind an old post office wicket, brought from Evesham, Sask.
"When I was a little boy in Evesham,it was the in the post office there and I could just see over it then," he says. I never dreamed that someday I would be working behind it."
Although Hugh ran the store and worked as post master, he had. a third job.'From 1947 to 1965 he ran a taxi service. There was no meter and he charged $3 for a trip to Burns Lake (16 miles away) Hugh says he made money because he sold gas at that time for 35 cents a gallon.
"I once hauled a couple of taxi loads of dynamite - five or six cases each load to the Skins Lake Dam when it was being built for the Alaska Highway. I got a little extra for that," says Hugh, who really enjoyed his trip back to Saskatchewan to attend Senlac Homecoming Days in the summer of 1985.

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