Rhymes of a Mountain Man

Today I received a book of rhymes in the mail, or better yet a booklet of rhymes, that I had ordered online from Purpora Books in Comox British Columbia.

The booklet had been written by my great grand father Henry James Blurton who came from England and became a pretty well known outdoorsman during his time and even managed to have part of a river named after himself.

Blurton CreekTo me, it seems like he was a renaissance man of the backwoods, because besides publishing at least two books of rhymes, he was also a recognized photographer and had even exhibited his pictures of the Canadian wilderness at the Wembley Exhibition in England in 1925


Besides writing rhymes, Henry also wrote more technical pieces about mining and prospecting and had been a game warden at one time known for being strict but fair. Once, at a dinner, he was said to have commented how the wolf, which was really out-of-season venison, was done to a turn, knowing full well what it was.

Amazingly, he lived this rugged life after being educated in England at St. Edwards College and attending prep school at St. Peter’s School in London.

RMM CoverSo the story goes, he met the queen once when she was visiting Candana.

I came to learn all of this because for the last year or so I have been trying to track down my Canadian ancestry, of which I have two lines through my mother. First, my mother’s mother being 100% English by way of British Columbia and then my mother’s father whose mother was 100% French, born in Port Felix Nova Scotia with the maiden name Boudrow (Boudreau).

Now, posessing this little booklet, I actually feel a connection to my English great grandfather much moreso than I did before it got here. The piece clearly looks as though some individual had laboriously typed it out on a manual typewriter and I imagine that it was he.

I  picture him personally typing out each copy in a snow covered cabin, sitting at his desk somewhere off in the woods of British Columbia and now, almost 70 years later, here I am scanning one of the documents into my compter while sitting at my desk in the suburbs of New York City.

How could he have ever imagined that?

There is a lot more to the story that I want to share, but I’ll save that for a later date. First I want to read this booklet of rhymes very carefully and I still want to track down whatever other writings, photographs and articles I may be able to collect.

The Okanagan Historical Society has a number of articles about him that I hope to research as well and both the Harvard and Yale libraries have full copies of the Society’s annual magazine going back to the 1920’s. It may take a while but I’ll get copies of them all.

If you stumble upon this post becuase you have been searching for him, or know anything about him, please do leave a comment.


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