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Jan Advocate 2017

134 V O L . 7 5 P A R T 1 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 7 THE ADVOCATE In any event, whether because business was diverted to the Merritt courthouse or because of the generally law-abiding nature of Nicola’s citizens (the Douglas Lake advertisements notwithstanding), little judicial activity was reported in the Nicola courthouse. One exception was a prosecution noted in The Nicola Valley News in March 1916 for failure to apply for a chauffeur’s licence: an employee of the Nicola Valley Garage was fined $10 and costs, having been caught while transporting several passengers to a whist drive. That sum was approximately half the cost of the new-fangled “fit-form ready-to-wear suits” then being marketed as novel but sensible alternatives to custom-tailored equivalents.13 Given the inefficiency of having two courthouses (housing, as well, separate government agencies that required travel back and forth in order for business to be completed), the Nicola courthouse was closed in 1918. Initially consideration was given to converting the Nicola courthouse into a convalescent home for returning war veterans. However, in 1919 the courthouse was sold, to Major Charles Sydney Goldman. Ultimately Major Goldman also purchased the Nicola townsite, and established there what is now the Nicola Ranch. The former courthouse has periodically been occupied by the ranch manager of the day and at first may have been occupied—to the extent he spent time in British Columbia—by Major Goldman himself. Major Goldman was a colourful character born in what is now South Africa. He later spent time in England, including as a Member of Parliament from 1910 until the abolition of his borough in 1918. His earlier career included time as a war correspondent during the Second Boer War. He continued to write and edit various works after that. During World War I, he had status as a major with the Royal Cornwall Garrison Artillery. This military connection united Major Goldman with many residents of the Nicola Valley, about 500 of whom went to fight in World War I. In honour of the area’s war dead a granite cenotaph was unveiled in November 1921 on the grounds of the Merritt courthouse. (The cenotaph has since been moved to another location.) During the World War I years, soldiers returning from or killed on the battlefield were prominently featured in local news,14 care packages (including, importantly, socks for soldiers who had spent days in the muddy trenches) were assembled locally to ship to the battlefield, and artillery and saddle horses were sought in the area for use in battle (“no light grey or white animals will be considered”15). Wartime fundraising efforts included the “patriotic garden parties” held by the Nicola patriotic guild.16 At one point Major Goldman’s ranch covered 1,200 square kilometres, including the part of the shoreline of Nicola Lake on which Monck Provin-


Jan Advocate 2017
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