Pinkerton's and the Hunt for Simon Gunanoot



After his successful biography of Dr. Horace Wrinch (founder of the hospital in Hazelton BC), Geoff Mynett followed up with a second history. This book grew out of the research he had done for Service on the Skeena, and was entitled Pinkerton's and the Hunt for Simon Gunanoot,

Gunanoot, a Gitxsan trapper and storekeeper, was the subject of northern BC's most famous, longest and least successful manhunt, one which lasted for thirteen years. Gunanoot was accused of a double murder, yet thanks to his excellent bushcraft and local connections, he and his family were able to live in the mountains of northern BC while eluding capture. In 1919 he gave himself up, was finally tried, and was acquitted.

During the middle of this period, 1909-1910, the famous Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency in Seattle was engaged by the BC government to try to figure out where Gunanoot was. Mynett's book chronicles the reports these two undercover agents, posing as prospectors and known to us as #6 and #28, sent back to the home office during their ultimately fruitless mission.

Gunanoot is a popular Robin Hood figure in northern BC history, and these reports from the previously unknown Pinkertons is highly entertaining.

I did two maps for this book, one a general map of northern BC, and the more detailed, 1:45,000 scale map of the Hazelton area shown above. While cartographically simple, this map did require a few interesting behind-the-scenes tweaks.

I had used the 1:20,000 scale DataBC "Freshwater Rivers" polygon layer for the two rivers on the map: the Bulkley and the Skeena. However, the designer told me that, while geographically correct, for visual purposes the Skeena was too wide, and had too many rough edges. I tried slimming it by subtracting a 25 metre buffer from both sides, but this caused the Bulkley River, which is in a very tight canyon here, to disappear entirely. The only solution was to separate the two rivers, slim one and not the other, which is what you see in the final result.



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