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Kimberley Families

The Biddlecombe Family
as told by Mrs. M. Biddlecombe

Frank Biddlecombe left his home in Buckinghamshire, England, when only nineteen, arriving in Cranbrook accompanied by his seventeen year old brother, Fred.

Frank got work on the C.P.R. for a short time, but for the next seventeen years he moved around the province a lot, working on construction work at Terrace and Prince Rupert and many other places in Northern B.C.

In 1924, he went back to England during the year of the Empire Exposition and remained a year. He married Marjorie Bull in July of 1925 and they sailed for Canada in September. They spent two weeks in Trail where Frank signed on with the Company but was immediately transferred to Kimberley as a boilermaker and pipefitter. Mrs. Biddlecombe recalls the trip to Trail and back. In those days, paddle-wheelers plied the Kootenay Lake from Kootenay Landing to Nelson. They spent the night on board and the dining service was superb.

They lived in Kimberley for two years and then in Marysville for a short time. They rented property from the Company near the Pighin farm where they lived for four years. In 1935 they bought property in Meadowbrook and moved into a house built of hand-hewn jack pine logs believed to have been built for the Flemings by Tom Miller in the early 1900's. It was next to the Conniver place and it was Mrs. Conniver that named the area "Meadowbrook." Early neighbours were the Wooley's, Paul Louis' and the Gauthier's.

Frank worked at the Concentrator for twenty- five years, but his hobby was prospecting on weekends up Perry Creek and Wild Horse Creek. He also worked on his property that was actually a small farm. They had chickens and a few cows and big garden. Mrs. Biddlecombe sold eggs and cream to a local butcher shop and took care of the garden, rescuing what produce she could from the many deer in the area. There would be as many as nine to fourteen in the yard at a time.

They raised five children on this place under pioneer conditions, wood stoves, coal oil lamps for light and, later, Coleman lamps. Water was hauled in barrels from a stand pipe at the Catholic church. Frank was ill for the last three years of his life and he died in 1950. His pension for those few years was a mere $37.50 a month. It was 1952 before electricity and running water was installed in Meadowbrook.

The children were Frank Jr., Arthur, George, Evan and Marjorie. They attended the first log school in Meadowbrook, and when it closed they walked into town to attend school.

Frank Jr. began working for the City, he is now in the engineering department. He married Alice Mae Harlow, the daughter of Mrs. Jack Scott, and they have five children; Linda, Wendy, Ian, Pam and Craig.

Arthur married a Manitoba girl and they have one daughter, Shelley. He works on a ranch near Nanton, Alberta.

George purchased the Howard Ranch at Wasa where he lives and remains a bachelor.

Evan married a Fort Macleod girl and he runs a freight business out of Viking, Alberta. They have five boys; Thomas, Kent, Jeffrey, James and Corrie.

Marjorie married Don Fabro. He is the supervisor of the Fabro Lumber Mill in Summers sub- division. They have three children; Daniel, David and Patricia. Recently they moved from Chapman Camp to Meadowbrook, where they raise horses. Marj was given her first Tennessee Trotter as a wedding gift by Don's Father, Al Fabro, and this has developed into a real business. Marj has won many trophies and ribbons for her horses and her horsemanship. She is also an excellent artist and is making a name for herself in combining oil and wood. From the mill, she picks out pieces of scrap lumber that have odd markings of knots and wood grains and that blend beautifully with painted flowers and animals. This produces a unique combination that is proving very popular.

Mrs. Biddlecome has loved the Meadowbrook property and when a chimney fire damaged the old log house just before Christmas of 1978, when the weather was minus 30F, it was discovered that the old sills and rafters were deteriorated so much that the house will probably have to be torn down. At present, she lives in a trailer near by, and enjoys visits from her grandchildren and her daughter. Her grandsons tend to the chores. She keeps busy crocheting. She has been a faithful member of the Senior Citizens since 1956.

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