“As a child I was terrified of her — I don’t know why exactly, except that she always managed to make some remark if she happened to see me go by her house. Because I was terrified I always walked past her place with my nose in the air, and consequently she used to call me, ‘Queen Victoria’.

‘There’, she would shout, ‘there goes Queen Victoria again’.

As I grew older I realized that her sometimes sharp tongue was just a front for a very warmhearted and generous disposition. Many a lonely bachelor could vouch for her ability as a cook, and her kindness to those who were down on their luck.

She had, however, a peppery disposition, and I remember one instance when she took out after the road foreman, Jack Dougherty at the time, with a kettle of boiling water because he threatened to cut down some of the trees around her house — actually they were on the right of way, but she liked them there.

I wish now that I had listened more closely when she told me of her early history; it would be very interesting I think. I do remember that she was one of the numerous children of one of those itinerant preachers who used to travel the Western States and leave inscriptions of doom on rocks scattered along the road; she said that her mother used flour sacks to wrap the latest arrivals in, and that was all they had to wear, sometimes, for quite awhile.

Mrs. Moffat was one of those women who really pioneered in the West. She washed and cooked for lumberjacks and prospectors for a living, and on the side she fed the undernourished student ministers, and such who came her way. This is my small tribute to one who was in the larger sense, a good woman.”

Written by: Rika Sanderson

This story from the Women’s Institute Anthology, the artifacts pictured here and more, are all waiting for you to discover at the Nakusp Museum.