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In April 1910 the “The Agassiz Civilian Rifle Association” was founded and was active until December 7, 1925.  Then in January 16, 1931 the club was re-organized and was active until August 26th, 1940 when it was transferred to “The Agassiz-Harrison Rod & Gun Club”. 

On January 29th, 1910 and January 31st, 1910, public meetings were held in the Old Fellows (IOOF) Hall to form a rifle association and to find land for a rifle range.  The club was formerly called The Agassiz Civilian Rifle Association.  There was an entry fee of $1.50, an annual subscription of $1 and a life membership of $10.

On February 21, 1910, officers were elected.  Those elected were:

Captain:                                   Mr. W.S. Moore
Chairman:                               Reeve JJ McRae
Assistant Chairman:             Mr. Frank
Secretary Treasurer:             Mr. D.J McRae

The Managing Committee consisted of:         Mr Frank, Dr. Robert Elliott, and George R Joynt.
Auditors:                                                                Mr. Ford and J.H Miller
Range Committee:                                             Mr. Frank, Dr. Robert Elliott, and Mr J.J. Mcrae

On April 25th, 1910, a range site was chosen.  The Secretary wrote a letter of appreciation to the Honourable Sidney Fisher, Minister of Agriculture, thanking him for his courtesy of granting them a free range site on the Experimental Farm.  After the Range committee agreed to the conditions on which they were granted to use the land, plans were made to build a storage facility for the arms and ammunition on the site. Adolf Ohman wrote (at age 83):

My earliest recollection of agun club was one called the Agassiz Civilian Rifle Association…They purchased a 600 yard range and used 200 and 300 yard Ranges.  The property was on the east side of the land now owned by Lloyd Riemersmaat 3986 Chaplin Road.  303 calibre Ross rifles and cases of hard-nose bullets from World War 1 were provided by the federal government.  The odd rifle was so badly shot Out that they were useless for target practice.  Most of the participants were war veterans and provincial police…..I remember a turkey shoot taking place at the south end of Fir Road using Hopyard Mountain for butts, but most were held on or near the present Agassiz rifle range.  Only open sights were allow and one bullet at a time for an off-hand Shot.  There were also trap shoots.” (333, Memories Vol 1, 2001).


From 1911 to 1917, arrangements were made for shooting competitions for the Championship Cup, Logan Cup, Mouson Cup, the Wiseman Grand Aggregate Cup, and the Dominion Silver Salve Competition prize.  In 1913 a report from the Inspector of Armouries was read and due to the damage caused to the firearms during it was decided by motion to ask each member to sign a receipt when drawing his firearm at the beginning of the season so that he was held responsible for any damage to the gun.  A motion was made to adopt the rules of the BC Rifle Association governing the practices and duties on the range.

Captains from 1910 to 1917:

1910 to 1911          William S Moore
1912                        George Joynt
1913                        Mr W.G.N Douglas
1913                        Harry Fooks
1914 to 1916         Charles Merchant
1917                        Harry Fooks

On May 16th, 1917, a meeting was held in the Bank of British North America.  It was moved by George Joynt and seconded by J.F. Grant that an honour roll of the war volunteers from the association be placed on the official notice board in the post office, to be preserved in the records of the association after the war.In August 14th 1920 a meeting was held in the Templars Hall and new officers were elected.  Harry Wilson took the position of Captain, Charlie Merchant as First Lieutenant, George Ogilvie as Second Lieutenant, Mr A. MacCallum as Secretary and Alexander C Webster as Treasurer. 


In 1921 a motion was passed to hire an assistant for $3.50 to help with the completion of the new range.  The association received a letter with new regulations and agreed to carry on under new regulations in force regarding capitation grants and free ammunition. 


In 1922 a seven man team from the rifle club were sent to Lytton to compete for the Lytton Cup.  They lost by a margin of 33 points.  Plans were made for the Logan Cup Competition and the Dominion Silver Salve competitions.  Some arrangements were made to have a match shoot with the Vancouver Irish Fusiliers and a return match in Agassiz.  The club bought a trophy cup for beginners ages 18 to 21.  Les Sumpter won this competition in 1921.


On December 22, 1923 a turkey shoot took place. A government grant was received for this event. During this annual turkey shoot the range was crowded and visitors had travelled great distances.  A report of the event read:

“Tie shooting was the order of the day, and when it is considered that the range was 200 yards with a six-inch bull, eight-inch inner and a ten-inch magpie and that all the matches were won by the bullseyes, the winner had something to be proud of.  The winners were turkey shoot were Oliver Hubbard, Charlie Merchant, Len Wilson, Fred Wilson, George Joynt (2), George Ogilvie, R. Fox, Fredrick Sumpter, Raymond Fooks, R.D. Clarke, Bert Wilson and George Green (2).  George Joynt took the largest turkey and Green the smallest. Fooks enjoyed the fun, Green Can’t get over it, Clarke is up in the sky, and L.Wilson put his gun in a case.  Joynt was seen parading around through the town with his prizes held aloft.  It was disappointing that the town band was not in attendance, owing to a previous engagement, but Fooks and Green supplied all the necessary noise and everyone went away satisfied that the day had been enjoyable and they hoped for another good time in the future.” (p.336, Memories, Agassiz-Harrison Historical Society, 2001)."


In 1924, the club opened for new members, welcoming men from the ages of 18 and over.  Instructors from within the club were provided for beginners.

Two trophy cups were donated by the honourable J.D. McLean as challenge cups to be shot for at the annual thanksgiving shoot.  The winner’s names were to be put on one of the donated cups and each year the winners would receive a silver medal and a bronze medal.  The second donated cup was to be honoured to the shooter with the ten highest scores over the next three years starting in 1924.  Harry Wilson won the Challenge Cup in 1924.


The meeting on December 7, 1925, to arrange turkey shoots for December 23 and 24, 1925,  was the last recorded meeting until January 16, 1931 because the range “had to be given up for other purposes.” (336, Memories, Vol. 1, 2001).  This association was active for over twenty years.  Elected Captains for that time period were Harry Wilson (1920-21), Charlie Merchant (1922), Fredrick Sumpter (1923), Fred Wilson (1924) and Roy Whelpton (1925).


On January 16, 1931, J.D. Steward wrote to the Minister of National Defence for permission to newly organize the Rifle Association and a range committee was appointed.  The committee members, Len Wilson, J.D. Stewart, Wilfred Chaplin, and Russell D Clark began to look for the new range site.

February 20, 1931, a meeting was held in the Memorial Hall and the officers elected were Constable J.D. Stewart (Captain), Cecil Bates (Secretary), and Russell D. Clark (Treasurer).  The range committee reported that a new range site had been secured on the properties of David Day and R. Brough.

In 1931 a silver spoon was purchased by the club for any member who made a score of thirty-five points.  Mr. and Mrs. Wooton of Harrison Hot Springs donated a trophy cup.  The two Wooton Cups are still in this district.  The Wooton Cup reads “Deer Lodge Trophy presented to Agassiz Rifle Association by Mr. and Mrs. Wooton “  The challenge cup reads “Agassiz Civilian Rifle Challenge Cup Presented by Honourable J.D. McLean 1924”.

Wooton Cup Winners:           
Ray A. Wilson (1931)
Staff Sergeant W. Kier (1932)
Harry Wilson (1933)
Cliff Clark (1934

Challenge Cup winners:         
Harry Wilson (1924)
Walter Herman (1932)
Cliff Clark (1934)


On April 6th, 1933, at a meeting held in the RCMP police station, it was voted to purchase a fifty foot strip of land on the west side of the R.J Brough property for $200. The terms of the agreement were fifty dollars down payment, with the balance in two equal payments of seventy-five dollars in each of the next two years, with interest of eight percent.  Frank Sweatman was made an honorary member for his work in surveying the new range site.


In 1935 a letter was received by the Department of National Defence advising the association that no further grants would be given for range maintenance.  It was decided that, due to the loss of the government grant, that they would now have to charge for ammunition.  Season’s tickets were worth $1.

The captains from 1931 until 1940 were: J.D Stewart (1931-1932), Harry Wilson (1933), J.A. Armstrong (1934-1935), A Nickerson (1938) and Les Sumpter (1940).


On August 26, 1940, it was moved by Captain L. Sumpter and seconded by Len Wilson that the Agassiz Civilian Rifles Association transfer their range to the Agassiz-Harrison Rod & Gun Club Inc. to be used for “its original purpose”. (337, Memories Vol. 1, 2001).

In 1940 Agassiz-Harrison Rod & Gun Club met once per month and held elections of officers at the beginning of each year.  Three hundred pheasants were released in the area by the game warden, Mr. Butler.  Annual Banquets and turkey shoots were planned.  Theo Greyell was elected president eight times until around 1951.


“In 1941 Roy Whelpton gave an interesting report on the catch from the fish trap in Maria Slough, with a total of 1,080 course fish taken from the tray” (334, Memories 1, 2001)  There is very little further information so far about the Clubs involvement with the fishing industry in the area.  Research is still ongoing.

President Theo Greyell welcomed guests to the annual banquet, date unknown, held in the Harrison Hot Springs Memorial Hall.  The hall was filled to capacity and was a huge success.  There were prizes offered for the best hunting (game) story and offered a $5 prize.  This was a prominent feature at future banquets held by the Agassiz-Harrison Rod & Gun Club.


On November 3, 1948, a meeting was held in the Red Cross Room at the Pioneer Garage to discuss and make plans for the Junior Rod and Gun Club.  The objective of the club was to form a youth group that could work with the Senior club members to promote interest in game conservation, teaching proper firearms handling, and to share their knowledge of hunting and fishing.  And in addition .22 shoot competitions were being planned for the winter seasons to be held as an indoor activity in the Agricultural Hall.
A range and butts were set up for this sport.

November 1948 over twenty-five people attended the first meet of the .22 shot held in the Agricultural Hall.  Many of the members were those of the newly formed Junior Rod and Gun Club.  Several ladies also took part in practicing their skills at rifle shooting.
February 1949 the Dominion Marksman Badges of the Rod and Gun .22 shoot were awarded.  The Silver badge went to shooters who shot ten targets scoring 93 or over out of 100.  The winners were Eric Bernie, Anthony Bourel, R. Brostrom, D. Cameron, Jim Cormack, Donald Davidson, Kim Gibson, Theo Greyell, Barrie Hamilton, Wm. Inkman Leon Jewkes, Fred Karr, Stewart Key, H, Kosterman, Jack Little, Grant Macpherson, Allan McDonald, R. McDonald, W, Reynolds, Wm. Rowlatt, Werner Schmidt, Wm. Sims, E. Speers, Fred Threfall, Mrs. E. Threfall, Maurice Tuyttens, and Mel Walker, Jim Welk, Howard Whelpton, and Isadore Woods.


In 1951, District Game Warden, Percy Cliffe offered a box of Imperial shot gun shells to any member that brought in ten new members to the club, in any month.  President Theo Greyall announced the selection of a new committee  headed by Ted Clarke to purchase a new rifle range closer to town, with a new pistol section.  Only members who were able to secure permits were able to participate.


On January 28, 1952, the president of the Rod and Gun Club presented bronze and silver Dominion Marksman buttons to fifteen boys for the .22 shoot.  The meeting was held in the Odd Fellows Hall.  The Bronze buttons were awarded to Albert Key, Jim Irwin, Richard Irwin, and Gordon Laughington.  Receiving silver buttons were Bryce Key and Stanley Clarke.  During the meeting that took place after the boys left, Mr. Greyell reported that over the years a number of boats had been placed in local lakes by the Rod & Gun Club, only to have them stolen or destroyed.  He suggested that no further attempts be made to supply boats for local lakes.


On April 1955 it was decided that a new rifle range be built on municipal land near the new cemetery.  The site was inspected and approved by the club.  The club decided that they would need a long lease on the property due to the money and effort required to clear the land.  A copy of the original lease has been located through a research request at the District of Kent Municipal Hall.  By-laws were revised to allow the minimum age to be dropped from 18 to 16 years. The range was situated where the Kent Raceway is now, on Cemetery Hill, and then later it was moved down the road to make room for a race track.


In December 1956, during the Rod and Gun Club Banquet, the chairperson of the event, President Theo Greyell,  announced highlights of the activities of the club.  He spoke about the sponsorship for an indoor rifle range, the forming of the Junior Rod and Gun Club, and their hopes for a high calibre rifle range.


In 1957, the club requested, in a letter, to the Game Department that an amendment be made to the Game Act protecting the Sasquatch.   This motion was to suppress the shooting of any suspected Sasquatches in the woods by hunters.  It was also suggested that a two year closure of pheasant hunting would be required in hopes that the now scarce surviving birds would increase their breeding. 


In 1958 the status and function of the BC Federation of Rod and Gun Clubs was the issue.  The Game Warden, Percy Cliffe, mentioned several instances when the Federation had successfully fought for the fish and game sportsmen and conservationists.  The Federation was absolutely deemed necessary, “if only as a negotiating body, when government attitude towards conservation and sports in general was one of economy”
(335, Memories Vol. 1, 2001).

SOURCE: The following account is based on information gained from The Kent Municipal Hall and  the book “Memories”, compiled by Joan Whelpton , Volumes 1 and 2; 2001; published by The Agassiz-Harrison Historical Society. The information in this book was based on pieces of written work submitted by the families in Kent District.


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