EDITORIAL • ISSUES & IDEAS • • H E A LT H & S C I E N C E • B O O K S
HEALTH I C6 SCIENCE I C7 BOOKS I C8
Understanding just Canada’s growing The visuals are spectac-
how difficult it is for an obsession with soccer is ular in a big new book
Alzheimer’s patient to not without its risks. B.C. celebrating Vancouver
cope on a daily basis is researchers believe that architect Richard Hen-
a little easier thanks to knee injuries suffered riquez. His 40-year body
a simple method of prior to adulthood of work, remarkable for
simulating on healthy triples the chances of its sensitivity to place
people the effects of developing osteoarthri- and the past, is on full
the disease. tis later in life. display.
WEEKEND REVIEW EDITOR ST E P H E N S N E LG ROV E S AT U R DAY, J U N E 24 , 2 0 0 6 E - m a i l : firstname.lastname@example.org
A train robber thought to be Bill Miner and his accomplices in custody after their arrest near Kamloops one hundred years ago. The bandit insisted he was George Edwards of Princeton.
W E E K E N D
EXTRA TRACKING THE
HISTORY I The infamous Bill Miner, who pulled off Canada’s biggest train robbery,
was a charming sociopath who remains highly elusive, even in death
ne hundred years ago, a says he was born in Bowling Green,
His real name
was Ezra Allen
Miner. He was
O 60-year-old remnant of
t h e A m e r i c a n Wi l d
West pulled off Cana-
da’s most infamous
train robbery near Kamloops.
Bill Miner was quickly appre-
hended, convicted and sentenced to
Ky., in 1847 and that his real sur-
name was McDonald. One book
even claims he was gay.
Grauer spent six years trying to
find the truth.
“His real name was Ezra Allen
Miner,” says Grauer. “He was born
born in 1846 in life in prison, all within three weeks in 1846 in Vevay Township, Ingham
of the robbery. But a century later, County, Michigan [near Lansing].
Vevay Township, the legend remains strong, having By the age of 10 or 11 his father had
inspired several books and the died and his mother took him to
Ingham County, movie The Grey Fox. California. That’s where he was
Michigan [near Now a private Bill Miner archive
has surfaced, with a Canadian Pacif-
raised and got his lawless ways. He
got a taste of the good life in the
Lansing]. By the ic Railway official’s diary docu- fandango parlours in San Francisco.
menting Miner’s robbery, chase and A fandango is a Mexican siesta-type
age of 10 or 11 his arrest — and 11 original pho- celebration that was used as a
tographs shot when the outlaw and euphemism for a bordello.”
father had died his cohorts were taken back to Miner got involved in criminal
and his mother Kamloops for trial. activities as a teenager, starting out
One of the photos is the iconic rustling horses, before graduating
took him to image of the moustachioed Miner
in his broad-brimmed cowboy hat,
to robbing stagecoaches.
But he kept getting caught, and
California. That’s staring into the camera. But there is wound up serving 33 years in U.S.
another virtually unknown shot of prisons in the late 1800s. When he
where he was Miner with his hat off, hair tousled, emerged from San Quentin in 1901
his pale forehead in sharp contrast he was 55, and hopelessly out of
raised and got his to his tanned face. step with a changed world.
lawless ways. Looking at the photo, it’s hard to Stagecoaches were passé, so he
believe Miner was a notorious out- started robbing trains.
AUTHOR law who spent most of his adult life “He attempted to rob his first one
PETER GRAUER in prison. Frankly, he looks like an in the States but it didn’t go off
amiable old farmer. But that was well,” said Grauer.
On the early life part of Miner’s allure. “The one he botched in 1903 was
of Bill Miner Bill Miner has gone down in his- in Corbett, Oregon. Some of [the
tory as a “gentleman bandit” who robbers] were wounded and cap-
may have robbed trains, but never tured, but he managed to get away.”
resorted to violence. Many people Legendary train robber Bill Miner in custody after being caught in the Miner vamoosed to Canada,
even sympathized with him where he masterminded a train rob-
because they hated the Canadian bush near Kamloops 100 years ago. This is one of four photos of bery at Silverdale, near Mission, on
Pacific Railway. Miner taken by professional photographer Mary Spencer of Kamloops. Sept. 10, 1904. (It is widely reported
“He was a charming rogue,” to be Canada’s first train robbery,
states Peter Grauer, who has just but Grauer says there was actually
self-published a new book, Interred can lie easily, and the fruits of their of San Quentin Prison near San an earlier one in Ontario.)
With Their Bones, Bill Miner In labour, which are obtained illegally, Francisco identified him as Bill “He got close to $7,000 in cash
Canada, 1903 to 1907. they’re very generous with. They’re Miner, and he had the same tattoo and gold,” said Grauer.
“But underneath it all is some- hail-fellows-well-met.” o f a d a n c i n g g i r l a s M i n e r. “Then he pulled off another one
thing a little more sinister.” Before we go any further, we Miner is an elusive fellow, even in in the States north of Seattle [in
Grauer labels Miner a should note that the man arrested death. Some biographies say he was 1905]. It is rumoured that he got
“sociopath” who used his charm to for the May 8, 1906 train robbery at born in 1842, some say 1846. One about $35,000 there.”
sway people to do his bidding. Ducks (now Monte Creek, east of
“He had a courtly manner,” said Kamloops) never admitted he was
Grauer. Bill Miner, the noted American
“That’s a symptom of a sociopath. stagecoach robber. He always WEEKEND EXTRA
Pe o p l e a re a tt ra c te d to t h e m insisted he was George Edwards of CONTINUES ON PAGE C11
because they are charming. They Princeton, even though the warden