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Kimberley Families

The WaIter Evans Family
as told by WaIter

Born in Indiana, Walter came to Grand Forks in 1898 with his parents and brothers and sisters, Walter was just five years old, the eldest of four children. Shortly after their arrival, a typhoid epidemic took the life of the father leaving Mrs. Evans to cope with providing for the children. This she did by doing washing for others, over the old back-breaking wash board and tub.

Walter quit school at an early age, to help out with all the work until his mother remarried. When he was old enough he got a job in the Assay office of the Granby Smelter at Grand Forks.

His sister Rita had married Frank Woolley, a brakeman on the C.P.R. Frank eventually arrived in Kimberley, where he got work with the Company. They purchased property in Meadowbrook after a short time of living in a small shack. They lived in the root house until their home could be built. They developed a good farm where they grew hay and had a vegetable garden; they owned a few cows and sold milk.

In 1927, Walter decided things were getting slow in Grand Forks and came over to Kimberley to visit his sister and look for work here. He arrived in Cranbrook by train, with a large trunk and suitcase and came up to Kimberley in Hedley Macleod's Jitney. The Meadowbrook road at that time, skirted the south side of Taylor's pond. About half way along, the pond had overflowed after a recent rain and covered a section of the road. Hedley refused to drive through it and unloaded Walter, with trunk and suitcase, at the side of the pond, still two miles away from his destination. He walked to Frank's place and they came back in a buggy to pick up the luggage.

Walter got work in the Steam plant at the Concentrator. He tells of the long chain belt, about four feet wide, that conveyed the coal to the boilers at a rate of a ton an hour.

Having had experience in the Assay office in Grand Forks, he started work in the Concentrator Assay office in 1935, where he stayed until his retirement.

For the first eight years in Kimberley, he boarded at the bunkhouse in Chapman Camp, later building a house near by. He met his wife, when she came to visit her brother Jack Barrett. She worked in a hospital in Saskatchewan. They were married in the mid 1930's.

While Walter was living in the bunkhouse, he owned a 1928 Ford car. As Kimberley proper was a good mile away, he would often drive some of . the boys into town for twenty-five cents each. This started a sort of unofficial taxi service. One night a stranger called about two A.M., demanding he drive him to Pincher Creek. It took a good bit of convincing to prove he wasn't a licensed taxi driver.

Walter recalls the fires that destroyed the beautiful Oughtred Hall and another that burned down the school in Chapman Camp. The year he arrived in Kimberley the snow was so heavy it caved in the roof of the Curling Rink. He helped repair it and ever since he has enjoyed the sport of curling. He used to fish and hunt when he was younger but has given them up these past few years. He has always loved gardening and until recently had one that would keep him busy all summer long. Since 1974, when his wife passed away he has been living alone, so he gives more than half his produce to friends and neighbors.

Marrying rather late in life, Walter and his wife had no children, but Frank and his sister Rita had four. Unfortunately their eldest son was the victim of an epidemic of polio in 1927. Noone knew what it was in those days. The second son is an accountant in Vernon. Their daughter, Mary, is also an accountant for three doctors in Vernon. Amy is a nurse in Bozeman, Montana.

Walter was eighty-five years old in 1978 and has recently sold the little house he built in 1931. Failing health keeps him in the hospital at present.

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