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Kimberley Families

The McGowan Family


as told by son, John

John McGowan, Sr. was born in Govan on the Clyde, near Glasgow, Scotland. He took an apprenticeship in the shipyards at age twelve and studied to be an engineer. By nineteen he was Chief on the White Star Line between Antwerp and New York. He married in Glasgow and set out for a new life in Saskatchewan where a sister and a brother had taken up property. Farming was not for him so he obtained work with the C.P.R. at Moose Jaw. This is where John Jr. was born. From there they moved to Calgary where he obtained work in the Ogden Shops. A daughter, Margaret was born in Calgary. In 1916 he moved to Trail and started work in the Company machine shop. Five more children were born while the family lived in Trail: Charles, Agnes, Archie, Harold and Jean.

During a strike at Trail, John went back to his sisters place at Findlater for a short time while the family remained in Trail. In 1922 he obtained work at Kimberley where a new Concentrator was being constructed. He lived in the bunkhouse until 1926 when he brought the family over to live in one of the new houses built on the McDougall Townsite.

In 1927, Mrs. McGowan passed away. John completed grade eight and got a job as an apprentice in the Concentrator machine shop.

They moved to Chapman Camp in 1932 and the other three boys all served their apprenticeships in the Concentrator machine shop as they finished school. Mr. McGowan, Sr., remarried in 1933.

John served the last year of his apprenticeship in Trail where he played hockey for a junior team. In 1933-34, he played hockey with the Trail Smoke Eaters.

In 1937 he went north on construction work for the Company at Goldfields. He met Warden Fisher, a school teacher in Goldfields and they were married in 1939. They returned to Trail in 1941.

In 1952, construction of the Fertilizer Plant brought John back to Kimberley. When the plant went into production in 1953, John was promoted to Maintenance Foreman. He was with the mechanical department during the addition to the Fertilizer Plant and the construction of the Iron and Steel Plant. John retired in 1978 and was the eighth Company employee to complete fifty years of service.

Mr. and Mrs. McGowan still live in Chapman Camp. Their son Harold is an electrician for the Company at Trail and their daughter lives in Portland, Oregon. John has always been active in sports, he has played basketball and hockey and enjoys curling, golfing and fishing. The McGowans plan to stay in Kimberley, now that John is retired.

Margaret took her nurses training in Edmonton and worked there for a few years. She married Charlie Barr of Kimberley and worked in the McDougall Hospital for several years. They have two daughters.

Jean took a business course and worked in the Company Office at the Concentrator. She spent four years overseas with the C.W.A.C. She married Art Ruffle of Kimberley and they have one boy, Art works in research development at the Concentrator.

Charlie spent some time in the drafting office at the Concentrator and joined the Navy during the War. He saw action in the Mediterranean on the H.M.S. Wakefield. He married Anna Moen and they have three children. He left the Company to work for Placer Development and is now Chief Mechanical Engineer in their Vancouver Office.

Agnes took her teachers training in Victoria and taught school in Chapman Camp for several years. She married Tom Charlton of Trail and they have two boys, both working for the Company. Archie works for the Company at the Concentrator. He was also in the Navy during the war. He married Alice Whitehead of Moyie, B.C. and they have two children.

Harold couldn't get in the Navy during the war so he joined it in 1952 and during the next twenty-five years he saw a great deal of the world. He married a" Cranbrook girl, Ruby Williams, and they have one boy and one girl. Harold works at the Government docks at Esquimalt, B.C.

Mr. John McGowan Sr. passed away in 1951.

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