The Osterloh Family
as told by Mary Vickers
In nearby Woodmore, a family named Greer raised army horses and it was a daughter, Sarah, that Charles married in 1891. Four children were born while they lived on this farm, and Mary was the third child. Charles gave up the homestead and came to B.C. around the turn of the century and got a job as a bookkeeper for a lumber company at Arrowhead. Being a lumber camp, their home was near a hotel, often crowded with drunks, and Sarah insisted they move to Salmon Arm as she considered the camp no place to raise children. Charles moved in 1905 and again obtained employment at a sawmill. The four children, Maggie, Agnes, Mary and Ted received most of their schooling there, and a fourth daughter, Ruth, was born in Salmon Arm.
Maggie became Mrs. Hutchison and moved to Alderson, Alberta. Agnes married Charlie Turner and remained in Salmon Arm. They had three children. Mary worked as a telephone operator in Salmon Arm for four years. She became engaged to Charlie Ives but he was killed in action overseas. (He was an uncle to Margaret Sinclair Trudeau.) She moved to Alderson to live with her sister and went to work for a printing office and even wrote up the society page for the paper. It was here she met a tall cowboy, Ted Osterloh, that worked on a big cattle ranch in the area. They were married on her birthday, September 12, 1917.
They had been married two years when a daughter, Betty, was born in Alderson and a daughter, Dorothy, was born in a small place called Bowell, near Medicine Hat where they had a farm of their own. It was here a son Charles was born and three weeks later found Mary cooking for fourteen threshers.
After years of hard work and tough times, Ted came seeking work at Kimberley in 1924and Mary and the children went home to Salmon Arm until Ted, with the help of a Mr. Torrence, built a house in Upper Blarchmont. The road bridge over Mark Creek had not been built yet. The family came to live here in 1925but by 1927 Mary was left alone with the three children, so she went out housekeeping while they were in school. Both Betty and Dorothy also did housework to help with the finances. Mary became the housekeeper at the Company Staff House for five years.
She was very active in the Presbyterian Church where she played the organ and led the choir for many years. She sang in the Orpheus Choir that won awards at Musical Festivals held in the East Kootenays. She played the piano for an old-time orchestra with Bill Switzer on violin, Ernie Turner on the drums, Earl Rogers and Ernie Siple on banjos. She was involved in the Laymans group of the church that travelled to places like Nelson, Creston and Cranbrook to take part in Church services. She was housekeeper for the first Mrs. Bruno Fabro for the five years of her illness, before her death.
Mary also took part in local amateur plays that were put on by the Red Cross during the war to help raise funds. She did sewing for the Red Cross when they met regularly in the Scout Hall.
In 1944, Mary married Cliff Vickers who worked for the Company as a miner, but after managing so long on her own, the marriage didn't work and they broke up in a short time. She lived in the Koper Block, later called the Perry Block, directly across from the new Happy Hans Cuckoo Clock. In the fall of 1978 she moved into the Pioneer lodge. She is now over eighty and still a spry person.
Betty took a bookkeeping course and worked in several offices before she married Bud Brenton, a miner for the Company. They have one son Doug, who is employed by the Kimberley School Board. Betty has always worked as a bookkeeper and is now working for Fabco. Bud passed away in 1978.
Dorothy married Hugo Mackie, one of the Dynamiter Hockey team. They had two children: Charles and Merle. Charles now lives in Victoria and is married with two children, and Merle lives in Vegreville, Alberta and is married with four children. Dorothy and Hugo were divorced years ago and she is now married to Jim Cairns. They had two daughters: Diane and Margaret. Diane died at twenty-two and Margaret is a Veterinarian in Victoria. Dorothy was a teacher in Kelowna for several years and has also taught retarded children.
All three of Mary's children had polio. Her son Charles was left with one foot smaller than the other, but this did not prevent him from winning awards in skiing on the old ski jump above where the Overwaitea now stands.
Charles married Audrey Cleland of Invermere and they opened up a small dry goods store and later a hardware store there. His very first job in Kimberley was making doughnuts in the Kimberley Trading Company when Dave Brown and Jim Handley ran the store. They have two children: a son Gordon, now a teacher in Kamloops with two children of his own: a daughter Jaryl, also a teacher, living in Invermere with two children.
In 1968, Mary and Viney Mellor toured Europe one summer - a trip she will always remember. Her main interests now are her seven grandchildren and ten greatgrandchildren, and her various hobbies. Mary says God Bless everyone and Peace in our world.