Harris “Dutchy” Lewin & David Sokoloski: Unlucky Jewish Pioneer Merchants Supplying the Gold Rush Miners in British Columbia

Harris “Dutchy” Lewin & David Sokoloski

Values Codes I – E – L – P

 

Harris “Dutchy” Lewin and David Sokoloski were engaged in packing merchandise to the gold miners in the Cariboo.

During the Summer of 1862, they were a long distance from their business headquarters: Lewin & Braverman based in Victoriaand Sokoloski & Lewin of New Westminster.

 

After selling their wares on the gold trail, at Antler Creek and Keithley Creek, they agreed to meet with their packer, a Mr. Rouchier, and travel on to the Forks of the Quesnel River.

Packers at Quesnel Forks, BC

Packers at Quesnel Forks, BC

 

During the gold rush, merchants relied on packers to carry food and supplies by mules and horses.

The routes the packers followed went through difficult and treacherous terrain.

 

Reportedly, Rouchier was carrying $5,000 in gold dust, Lewin $12,000, and Sokoloski $1,000.

After stopping for rest and sustenance, they were last seen alive taking the drier north trail over the mountain.

Two days later, John Boasof Levi & Boas, set out to find them on the lower trail.

Encountering some miners  who were heading for the mountainous trail, he asked them to look out for the missing men.

Soon, they encountered the shot and mutilated remains of the three men.

The gold was gone, as were their watches and jewelry, and even their hats.

 

The luck of Harris “Dutchy” Lewin, David Sokoloski, and their packer, Rouchier, had run out.

Despite rewards being offered, neither were the culprits apprehended nor the gold recovered.

 

Sources

  • Cyril Leonoff, editor, “Pioneer Jews of British Columbia,” Western States Jewish History 37/3&4.
  • Sarah H. Tobe, “Lured North of the 49th, Jewish Colonial Roots,” Western States Jewish History 46/2&3.
  • Archives of Sarah H. Tobe, Cyril E. Leonoff, Christopher J.P. Hanna, and David Rome.
  • The Colonist, August 11, 1862.

Sarah H. Tobe is curator of this Harris “Dutchy” Lewin & David Sokoloski exhibit.