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Kimberley Families

The Nesbitt Family


as told by Son Chris

Ernie Nesbitt and Gertie Pearson both came from the Newcastle district, Tyneside, England. They knew each other there but were not married until they met again in Fort Macleod, Alberta, in 1909. Mr. and Mrs. Pearson, Gertie's parents came to Fort Macleod at the instigation of friends as Mr. Pearson had worked in an iron and coal mine in Four Stones, England.

Ernie worked in several mines around Lethbridge before joining the North West Mounted Police for a short time. He and Gertie had four children when they arrived in Kimberley in 1924. Christopher and Dorothy were born in Fort Macleod, Barbara, in Lethbridge and Patricia in Coalhurst. The youngest son, Donald, was born after they came to Kimberley.

When the coal mines in those areas closed down, Mr. Schorheim, a blacksmith in Kimberley and a friend of the family, suggested Ernie come to Kimberley as carpenters were needed. The cookhouse and bunkhouses, and two rows of small dwellings were all that was on McDougall Townsite at that time. In a small section nearby, Ernie and a Mr. Robinson built houses for their families. These were the first two erected in that part of town known as Happy Valley.

Harry Logan was the carpenter boss, and Ernie went to work for him. Ernie eventually became the foreman of the carpenter shop, where he remained until his retirement in 1965, after forty-one years with the Company, building many of the homes on Townsite.

He played football on the Tunnel Team when competitions were at their peak. When he retired, he became interested in curling, a sport he very much enjoyed. He has been a member of the I.O.O.F. and helped in the building of the big hall on Deer Park Avenue. Many dances were held there and it was used as a theatre for a time. The upstairs was the Lodge room. During the war, the downstairs was used for an Armouries. It was recently purchased by the Arts Council for an Art Centre.

Ernie and Gertie Nesbitt

Chris has also been a member of the I.O.O.F. for years. They sponsor the Kimberley Air Cadets and Chris has been active on the Committee and was responsible for the instruction on the Link Trainer. Chris married a Cranbrook girl, Christine Williams, and they have seven children: Carrie, Bob, Murray, Penny, Arnie, Sue and Kip. Carrie trained as a nurse and married Fred Denyer. They have two children, Tracey and Leanne and they live in Sardis. Bob is a machinist for the Company. He married Jacqui Blaine and their three children are Trent, Nadine and Kent. Murray is a Sergeant in the Air Force stationed at Esquimalt. He is married and has two sons, Kevin and Todd. Penny is a practical nurse and lives in Langley. She married Bob Smith and they have three children, Mary, Robert and Julie. Arnie is a registered nurse and she married Dwight Gash and they reside in Pemberton with their two children, Kirsty and Michael. Sue married Lyle Traverse and they live at Canal Flats. They have no children and Sue sometimes works at the saw- mill, piling lumber or in the forest, planting trees. Kip still resides in Kimberley and is an apprentice in the pipe fitters shop at the Fertilizer.

Chris has always enjoyed hunting and fishing. He has won several awards for marksmanship. Recently retired, he keeps himself busy, curling in winter and hiking and fishing in summer. On some of his hikes he has picked up odd shaped burls and has fashioned them into beautiful bowls, trays and small tables.

Dorothy Nesbitt began working in the cookhouse on Townsite where she stayed for seven years. Mark Beduz was the cook. She married Rex Colmer, a widower with two sons and they had one daughter, Lorna. She married Jack Marsh, a steam engineer for the Company in Trail and they have two sons.

Barbara studied to be a teacher but joined the Air Force. She was stationed in London where she married Earl Fridell, a young man she had met in Kimberley before going overseas. He worked for the Company underground before joining the Army. On his return, he went back to D.B.C. and studied agriculture. They now live in Barrie, Ontario and have one son, Gary.

Pat married Eric Bodin who works at the Fertilizer Plant. They have three daughters, Sandra, Nedra and Rommi. Sandra is married to Laurie Kaye, a teacher at Meadowbrook School and they have three sons.

Donald was in the Navy before working for the Company and becoming an electrician. He now works for a steel company in Hamilton, Ontario, and is married with two children. Three of the five Nesbitt family still reside in Kimberley.

After Mr. Nesbitt retired, he used to keep himself busy making furniture in his basement workshop, even into his eighties. This year - of 1978, he turned ninety and has been ill. He now resides in the extended care unit of the Kimberley Hospital.

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