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The other Bill Nye
03/12/2012, 11:13
Filed under: Culture, Ephemera

This weekend a new interview with Bill Nye the Science Guy was making the rounds,

I particularly like this one, even more than a previous one, because of the way it turns what seems like an abstract sciency concern into an everyday life thing. Sure, the world might be 6000 years old, but if so, then the internetz shouldn’t work. Shoot.

Bill Nye has been getting more attention lately as he speaks out against various anti-science movements making headlines south of the boarder.

Every time Bill Nye the Science Guy comes up in my newsfeed I’m reminded of a little lake I discovered on a map while treeplanting in the Houston region of British Columbia a few years ago.

The lake is also named Bill Nye. My colleagues and I have long wondered whether this lake is named after the famous Bill Nye the Science Guy.

This seemed unlikely. The lake is relatively known in the region, and so was probably christened around the time the region was first settled by white people, up to a century ago.

So Saturday evening I finally got my google on in order to see if I couldn’t find out if the lake wasn’t named for some other Bill Nye. As it turns out, it was.

Here’s an excerpt about the other Bill Nye, from a webpage maintained by the District of Houston,

[Bill Nye] was a Chief of great renown, and was a most stately sight when dressed in all his regalia. He was a father figure to many of the younger people, and there were many who sought his advice. The Nyes were familiar around Houston and became well known as they peddled their berries and fish from door to door. All they asked for a four gallon coal oil can full of freshly picked berries was $2.50, although in the 1940s they raised the price to $5. Bill Nye eventually lost his eyesight, but with the help of Patrick Pierre, who was known as “Bill Nye’s eyes”, he and his wife Nellie ran an Indian camp at 80 Mile, which was in the Hungry Hill area, and so named because it was 80 miles from Hazelton. Living near the Nyes was Arthur Charlie, who had married a daughter of Bill Nye’s, and whose daughters, in later years, married Steve and Charlie, sons of Mr. and Mrs. Round Lake Tom. Bill Nye passed away in the spring of 1944.

So there you have it. I’d like to learn a little more about the Chief Bill Nye, but probably won’t have a chance before I’m find myself back in the region sometime this coming spring.

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