Memories of Roundtop – Part one

Valley Voice - The following history of Roundtop appeared in the Oct. 16, 1974 issue of the Times.

A detailed map shows the locations of the various homesteads and the school in Roundtop as they were in 1947. The modern highway is indicated by dotted line.

Editor’s Note: The following history of Roundtop appeared in the Oct. 16, 1974 issue of the Times. Look for part two in a future issue of the newspaper.

 

Susan Neal

Nestled below a hump of a mountain is a neighborhood of log dwellings that has seen quite a few North Thompson Valley winters.

The community and its mountain are called Roundtop. (Some maps call the mountain Loveway and the land around it Mosquito Flats – somehow those names take away some of the charm.)

The Roundtop settlement starts about 12 miles south Clearwater on Highway 5. The homesteads, no more than 1/2 mile apart, are located on the old highway for approximately 3 1/2 miles of rich river valley land.

At this point I don’t know too much of the early Roundtop history. Settlers in the 1900s used to see riverboats going up and down the North Thompson, bringing men and supplies for construction of the railroad. Today the river is mainly used for recreation and as a place to dispose of wastes; in early days it was an important means of transportation.

The railroad was completed in 1914. With its completion, the riverboats were phased out.

The Roundtop area was logged in the early 1900s by the Northern Construction Company. The logs were hauled through the sloughs and into the main river by horses. They then floated downriver to a mill in Rayleigh.

Some Roundtop logs remain. The Blackpool Hall was built with Roundtop logs.

After the area was logged, a huge fire swept through and all that remained was burnt stumps and dead cedar.

Today the charred stumps remain as memorials to the big trees that once were.

An early settler, Joe Cleaveley, made money for 20 years afterward selling cedar fence posts.

During the Depression, several relief camps were established in the area (located on the map at Greenwoods’ and Cleaveleys’).

Of the early settlers in Roundtop, only one family remains – that of Jan and Jean Pearce. Jan Pearce made his first visit to Clearwater in 1944 for a hunting trip. There wasn’t much here then except for the lodge where he stayed, which was located on the Clearwater River at the bridge. He liked what he saw and, being tired of delivering ice in North Vancouver and of city life in general, he decided to move to these northern wilds.

The Pearces moved into their Roundtop log house in 1947. The house had been built 10 years earlier by Mr. Woodman and Joe Cleaveley. The Pearces originally shared the 160 acres with their friends, the Wildgrubes, who had moved from the Coast with them.

The Pearces delivered eggs for over 10 years. They housed 500 chickens in their two large chicken houses.

 

One day their son Bob was delivering eggs in his pickup. He had 120 dozen in the cab with him when he rolled the truck. It could have been a tragic (not to mention messy) accident but Bob came out smiling, breaking only 15 dozen eggs.