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Kimberley Families

The Vance Family
as told by Cliff

John Vance and his wife were born in Ontario and moved west at the turn of the century. John worked as a section foreman for the C.P.R. Cliff was one of five children, he had two brothers and two sisters. He was born in Calgary when it was little more than a cow town. The family moved to Cayley, Alberta, where Cliff received his elementary education, but he had to go to Nanton to write his exams. By this time his father owned a homestead and at age fourteen Cliff was driving four horses on a binder, along with many other chores that farming called for. They had three bumper crops, but when times got tough, the family went back to Ontario for six months. They preferred the west however, and returned to try farming again, this time to Creston, where they purchased eleven acres of fruit farming land at Canyon.

Cliff and his brother, Gordon, got jobs cutting timber and logging and he worked at various other jobs in the West Kootenay including carpentry. By October of 1928, the Company in Kimberley was extending the east side of the Concentrator, and Cliff got work in Chapman Camp with Harry Stone, his boss. That winter he assisted Jack McLellan, hauling wood for the loading shed.

In the spring of 1929, he was put in charge of the bunkhouses and the grounds around Chapman Camp. It was his job to allot the rooms in the bunkhouses to new employees coming in and to keep the village lawn mowed and raked. Cliff planted the trees around that lawn, and many of the hedges. He also planted two small fir trees in Mr. Oughtred's yard. These trees are now fifty years old and are huge, having been watered and cared for over the years. The Company maintains this beautiful home as a guest house where visiting officials are catered to while stopping in Kimberley.

During his travels in the West Kootenays, Cliff met Ida Perkins of Kaslo. They were married in 1929.They lived in Kimberley until a house was finally available in Chapman Camp where they still reside. Cliff was on the Company Fire Department at the Concentrator for awhile, and then went into the shops. He retired in 1967 as a first class repairman, after almost forty years service.

Ida's two sisters, Dalia and Vi, also came to Kimberley to live. Dalia married Art Lythgoe who operated a garage and Vi married Alex Massie who worked at the Concentrator.

Cliff and Ida have three children; Bob, Don and June, all born and raised in Kimberley. Bob took an apprenticeship at the Concentrator Pipe Shop under Joe Harris. He later went to Vancouver where he studied Industrial Arts and became a teacher in that field. He first taught in Ganges, B.C. Bob has been teaching in Creston for seventeen years. He married Audrey Westnedge and they have four children, two girls and two boys.

Don joined the Air Force before he graduated from high school. He married a Nova Scotia girl and they have three daughters. He has been stationed in both Germany and France and has travelled to many parts of the world. They live in Winnipeg where Don is now Master Warrant Officer.

June won a scholarship in drama and studied drama and English at U.B.C. She is now a Director of "Headstart" in The County of Snohomish, Washington. She married an American of Swedish parentage, Joe Sohlberg, and they have two daughters and one son.

Cliff has always enjoyed the outdoors. When his boys were small, they would spend part of their summer holidays fishing with their Grandmother Perkins at Kaslo on Kootenay Lake. Cliff knows most of the rivers and streams in the area where he has fished and hunted over the years. One autumn day, he recalls, they bagged a deer early in the morning, caught their limit of fish and filled a couple of buckets with huckleberries before evening.

He became interested in curling while working on the old rink in Chapman Camp and has enjoyed the game ever since.

Cliff likes to garden and, having spent a few years on a fruit farm in Canyon, he is often called upon by friends and neighbors to prune trees.

Cliff and Ida have lived in Chapman Camp for forty-five years now. They have ten grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

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