The Location of Mt. Milton and the Restoration of the Names "Mt. Milton" and Mt. Cheadle"

Publication Year: 1943.

The Location of Mt. Milton and the Restoration of the Names “Mt. Milton” and “Mt. Cheadle”

Raymond T. Zillmer

THE expedition of Milton and Cheadle is one of the most remarkable in the amateur exploration of Canada. But the marker on the monument to Milton has been lost, and the one to Cheadle will be lost unless something is done about it. This result, so far as Milton is concerned, is principally due to the error of a mapmaker in England.

Let us examine the map accompanying the first edition of Milton and Cheadle’s book, The Northwest Passage by Land (1865). It shows Mt. Milton between Albreda Creek and the North Thompson, about half way down from the source of Albreda Creek to its junction with the North Thompson. The N. end of the Monashee Range (formerly the Gold Range) contains the name “Malton R.” But no mountain is placed at the N. end of the Malton Range. This is most significant because the most conspicuous mountain of the area is the mountain at the N. end of the Monashee Range. This mountain is now called Albreda. Nor is there a conspicuous mountain where Mt. Milton is indicated on the map. The map shows Mt. Cheadle E. of the Thompson below where it is joined by Albreda Creek.

The account of Milton and Cheadle relates that after reaching Albreda Lake (which is on Milton’s map and is still so named) and Albreda Creek flowing out of it (7th ed., p. 269) “ ... we saw before us a magnificent mountain, covered with glaciers, and apparently blocking up the valley before us. To this Cheadle gave the name of Mount Milton.” Cheadle’s selection of this peak to honor Milton is significant of how it impressed them, for they had already passed outstanding mountains.

The only other reference to Mt. Milton (p. 270) reads: “On the 25th of July, the sixth day after leaving The Cache, having passed Mount Milton to the right, we were arrested by a large river” (the N. Thompson) “flowing from the north-west, which here joined the one which we had followed from the north.”

When Milton and Cheadle wrote that they “passed Mount Milton to the right,” they meant that they passed it by going to the right of Mt. Milton, and not that Mt. Milton was to the right of them as they passed it. This is a possible construction, and no other construction is consistent with the facts.

The misunderstanding regarding the location of Mt. Milton was due to the erroneous map. Anyone approaching Mt. Milton (now Albreda Mountain) from the N. as Milton did, and as I have done several times, can have no doubt whatsoever as to the location of Mt. Milton.

Coming from the N., one sees the broad valley of the Canoe River going to the S. by S. E. Gradually and quiet unexpectedly one leaves the valley of the Canoe and enters a valley at the right. One then sees Mt. Milton, as Milton writes, “blocking up the valley before us.” One’s first impression is that the route to the S. must be to the left of Mt. Milton. But the route gradually swings to the right and one passes Mt. Milton on its W. side. I have seen few mountains as conspicuous as Mt. Milton from the N. Moreover, there is no conspicuous mountain visible from the valley and located where Mt. Milton is placed on the map. Nor is there a conspicuous mountain which is invisible from the valley, a fact which I was able to determine on my expedition in the North Monashee Range. I have also interviewed the trappers of the vicinity and they verify the fact that there is no outstanding mountain where the mapmaker put Mt. Milton.

Allen Carpe, who was the first person to climb Mt. Milton, came to the same conclusion. In the Alpine Journal, 37, p. 79, he said :

When Milton and Cheadle went down to N. Thompson in 1863 (Carpe did not mean that they had reached the Thompson River as yet) they named this mountain “Mt. Milton.” The name has since fallen into disuse, and the peak is now universally known as “Albreda Peak” or “Mt. Albreda.” The name Albreda as applied to the river and pass undoubtedly also originated with Milton and Cheadle; Milton’s aunt was “Lady Albreda Wentworth-Fitzwilliam” . . . (See re names, James White in C.A.J. vi, 143.)

Dr. Thorington (A Climber’s Guide to the Interior Ranges of British Columbia, p. 135) also determined that the fine glacier- clad peak at the N. end of the Monashee Range is Mt. Milton.

Rev. Dr. Grant, in his Ocean to Ocean, (1873) was the first to call attention to the mistake about Mt. Milton. The route of Grant followed that of Milton and Cheadle. When Grant reached Albreda Creek, he says (p. 263) :

The valley is narrow and closed in at its south-west [?] end by the great mass of Mount Milton which fronted us the whole day. This mountain that Dr. Cheadle selected to bear the name of his fellow traveller is a mass of snow-clad peaks that feed the little Albreda ... It (Milton) is on the south [?] of the Albreda and not on the north [?] as stated by them, and the trail winds round its right or north [?] side leaving it on the left.

Something should be said about Grant’s use of the words “south of the Albreda and not on the north.” In the vicinity of Albreda everyone going down the Albreda-Thompson valleys speaks of going west, and when going up the valley, as going east, because the one route leads to the west coast and the other to the east coast. On this basis, they speak of south and north of Albreda Creek when they mean east and west of Albreda Creek. I believe that Grant wrote in this sense.

While Grant was the first person to call attention to the correct Mt. Milton, he was wrong in attributing the error to the statement by Milton and Cheadle, except as ambiguous English may have contributed to it. The error was due to the map.

I had corresponded with Dr. Thorington on this question, and while we agreed upon the facts, no conclusive evidence was at hand until Dr. Thorington recently discovered in a later edition of “Northwest Passage,” 9th edit. (1901), an appendix note by Dr. Cheadle, who lived until 1910. This conclusively settles all doubts upon the matter. The note by Cheadle reads:

Mr. Grant says that Mt. Milton “is on the south side of the Albreda, and not on the north, as stated by them (Milton and Cheadle) and the trail winds round its right or north side, leaving it on the left.” Our recollection agrees with this, and the mistake probably arose in a clerical error.

My only disagreement with Cheadle’s note is that the mistake arose not out of a clerical error but from the map. It may be now regarded as definitely settled that the present Mt. Albreda is Mt. Milton.

It seems rather ridiculous that the mountain is now named after Milton’s aunt, especially when there are a river, a lake, and a pass named for her. The name Milton should be restored to honor the man who negotiated successfully this most notable expedition.

Mt. Cheadle also is in danger of losing its name. On the best map of the area—the N. half of the Thompson and Barriere River map, quadrangle 503—the name Mt. Dutty is attached to Mt. Cheadle. Dutty is probably a clerical error, for Angus Horne, the best informed man of the vicinity, knows it as Mt. Duffy. When I wrote Mr. Horne and referred to it as Mt. Cheadle, he answered that “Cheadle is evidentally a new name.” And Horne is an intimate friend of the Norman Anderson who traps the area nearest Mt. Cheadle.

Official action should be taken to establish forever Mt. Milton and Mt. Cheadle.