“Their uncle, Ernie Knutson, owned one of the quarters of land where Dawson Creek sits now. His trapping name was “Silvertip”, quite a gambler, and an old time trapper and snowshoer. He used to drive a dog team from Taylor to Hudson Hope with the mail before he started trapping south on what was known at that time as Rocky Mountain Lake. It was on the old pack trail to Muskeg Lake, but veered over into the Murray River, up the Murray to the Wolverine and up the Wolverine and over a range of hills there to present day Gwillim Lake. It was the trail that Aunt Kate Edwards used to drive her cattle from her ranch up there.
“Hans and Nels Neilson knew only that their uncle was trapping somewhere in the Peace River Country. I don’t know where they came from but they worked their way up the Peace River from Peace River Landing. Winter overtook them just before they got to Taylor, where they bought some traps, and started trapping up the East Pine. Every time they’d locate a trapper, they would ask about their uncle, Ernie Knutson, and get directions.
“They were traveling on snowshoes, with just a pack on their backs, containing a sack of salt, whatever grub they could carry and their furs. They had no tent or shelter–just camped under spruce trees, until they found their Uncle, Silvertip. They stayed around this area and got themselves established early. Fur was a good price so they made a stake enough to establish quite a large garage in Pouce Coupe — Nels lived there for years.
“Whenever they came to a place where they could sell some fur, they’d lighten their load and replenish their grub. Or they’d go over to Moberly Lake and sell some, then come back and keep on working up the Pine.
“They had some knowledge of the place where their uncle was trapping–he had probably written to them–and they had a map of some kind to follow, knowing all the time that they were moving towards Rocky Mountain Lake. As long as they were going in the general direction it was all right.
“Hans, the older brother made himself a violin out of galvanized iron. And he played it ! It didn’t sound too good, but he could fiddle away on that thing to beat the band. He would sit there by the hour.
“I think he started with an instrument made out of one of those old cigar boxes, putting a neck and bridge on it. The violin we are talking about was soldered. He had found the pegs and strings and formed the scroll [and other parts] in the shape of an ordinary violin.”