Catherine O'Hare Schubert
Catherine Schubert
Catherine O'Hare Schubert
Detail of A-03081

Catherine O'Hare was the first European woman to enter British Columbia overland from eastern Canada. She was the youngest of nine children born in Ireland in 1835. At the age of sixteen, she sailed to the United States and worked as a maid for a wealthy family in Springfield, Massachusetts. She used her spare time teaching herself to read.

When Catherine was nineteen, she met a twenty-seven year old German carpenter named Augustus Schubert. Catherine married Augustus in 1855 and they moved to St. Paul, on the Mississippi River.

Catherine opened a grocery store and made bread while Augustus worked as a carpenter. Their son Gus was born in 1856 and their daughter Mary Jane was born in 1858.

A depression hit the area and the family packed up and moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba (called Fort Garry).

In 1858, miners had discovered gold dust and nuggets in the lower Fraser Valley, in what is now the province of British Columbia.

A Sternwheeler of that Era,
SS Alexandra on the Fraser River
1864, A-08670

On May 26, 1862, 150 men arrived by paddle-steamer at Fort Garry determined to follow the "overland" route to the Cariboo.

Prospecting for Alluvial Gold
in British Columbia

The Overlanders, as they came to be known, consisted of fifteen smaller groups of gold-seekers who had met as they travelled west.

Catherine's husband, Augustus, decided to join the Overlanders and go search for gold in the Cariboo. Catherine chose to accompany her husband as she had no intention of being left behind at Fort Garry to run their farm and store, and to care for their three small children.

Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains
Detail of H-04176
Catherine was four months pregnant when she and her husband began their overland trek across the prairies and the Rocky Mountains with three children ages 5, 3, and 1.

After many hardships and terrifying adventures the Schuberts arrived in British Columbia. The family decided to travel down the Thompson River instead of the treacherous Fraser River.

Thompson River
The Thompson River
Detail of A-09499
Still floating down the Thompson River, Catherine went into labour on the raft. They went ashore, and Catherine was taken care of by the First Nations women at a local village. She gave birth to a healthy baby girl, whom she named Rose.

Catherine supported the family while her husband unsuccessfully prospected for gold in Quesnel. In 1881, Augustus decided to give up his gold-hunting days and the Schuberts bought a farm in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley.

Memorial to Catherine Schubert
Memorial to Catherine O'Hare Schubert
in Armstrong, British Columbia
Detail of B-05438


Augustus died in 1908 and Catherine moved into nearby Armstrong. She remained an important part of the community until her death on July 18th, 1918.