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Kimberley Families

The Abbott Family
as told by daughters Pauline and Gerry

Harold Abbott and Kathleen McCormick were married in their home town of Brighton, Sussex, England, before sailing for Canada. This was just after the First World War, Mr. Abbott had entered the Service at barely sixteen, by lying about his age.

Their first home in Canada was in Langley Prairie, and their eldest daughter, Kathleen (Kay), was born in Vancouver. They came to Kimberley in 1923, during the construction of the Concentrator. They moved into a house near the Anglican Church, then moved to Chapman Camp. They did have a house, but many families were still living in tents, hence the name Chap- man Camp.

Pauline was born in St. Eugene Hospital in Cranbrook and Gerry was born in the newly-built hospital in Kimberley.

Mr. Abbott was an accountant for the Company, both in the Main Office and in the Mark Creek Store.

He and Mrs. Abbott were very fond of music and sang in the Orpheus Choir and the United Church Choir. They were both keenly interested and took part in many musical Festivals held throughout the district. Gerry can remember singing in the play "Trial by Jury" when she was just a child.

Mr. Abbott was an ardent gardener, taking many prizes at Fall Fairs for his flowers. He received the Annual Award presented for the best garden for several years. He was also active on the Fall Fair Committee.

Kathleen and Harold Abbott

Having been gassed during the war, he spent many hours in the out-of-doors to improve his lungs. Hiking was a favorite sport and he, with a group of other enthusiasts, climbed Mount Fisher on more than one occasion. It is the highest peak in the area, over 9,000 feet. He back- packed into the Lake of Hanging Glaciers before the present trail was established. He was a very active Scout leader and was responsible for taking Scouts on many interesting hikes to different parts of this area. When the Prince of Wales visited Kimberley, Mr. Abbott was pre- sented with a medal for his work with the Boy Scouts.

He was active in the Rotary Club, on the Board of Trade, and was a member of the School Board for a number of years. He was Chairman of the Finance Committee when the by-law was assessed approving the building of two new schools, the McKim and A. A. Watkins Schools. He was also President of the School Trustee Association for a time. Many other organizations have gained by his work in their executive com- mittees.

One of his hobbies was photography. He did his own developing in a dark room in his basement. He spent five years working for the Company in Tulsequah. When he retired Mr. and Mrs. Abbott moved to Willow Point, but soon returned to Kimberley. He passed away in 1965, followed by Mrs. Abbott the next year. Pauline and Gerry have many memories of growing up in Chapman Camp. They lived close to the railway tracks and during the depression years, the girls remember the many "hobos" that begged a meal from their mother. On Saturdays they would catch the train and ride the one mile to Kimberley for five cents, ten cents for adults. Mr. Fred Genest was the conductor. They would sing all the way up and back. While mothers were shopping the children would go to the matinee and get out just in time to catch the train for home. One Halloween, the boys in Chap- man Camp collected all the garbage cans and threw them into an empty boxcar on the siding. They all ended up at the smelter in Trail and the boys had to pay the freight to get them back.

The Mark Creek was only a short distance away and in those early days, a group of gypsies would camp along the bank occasionally. Kay was fascinated by them and very concerned about their sorry plight. She once loaned them the family radio for the evening and next day they were gone and so was the radio.

Kay worked in the Concentrator office for a time and for several years in the J. F. Haszard Clinic. She was one of the first Canadian women sent overseas in the W.A.F.S. She married a West Indian during the war and lived in Trinidad. They had two daughters, Kris and Carol. When her husband was killed in a car accident, she came back to Kimberley for awhile. She is married again and is now in Port Coquitlam where she works for the Squamish Indian Affairs Department.

Pauline attended Normal school in Victoria and became a teacher. Her first school was a lit- tle red log school at Brisco, including all eight grades and three pupils taking high school courses by correspondence. She returned to Kimberley and taught seven years at Watkins. She spent a year in the Library in Victoria and has been involved in Library work ever since. She worked in the Cranbrook High School for two years and in the Selkirk High school in Kimberley. Since 1974 she has been the Librarian for the Lindsay Park school and is on the Board of the Kimberley Public Library. She married Dick Clement from Windermere who started working for the Company in 1946. They were six years in Tulsequah and later he was a shift boss at the Fording Coal Plant at Elkford. They have four children, Dereck, Garth, Debora and Beverley. Dick passed away in 1973. Dereck is a contract carpenter in Kimberley and Garth is an apprentice in the Company Electric shop. Debora is a teacher and is now Mrs. Robinson and Beverley is in Calgary.

Gerry worked in the accounting department of the Company Store and in the Company Personnel Office, before her marriage to Nelson Todd in 1951. He is a contract miner for the Company. They have two children, Sharon and Kevin. Gerry is active in the musical field. She sings in the United Church Choir and is the director of the Kimberley Folk Singers. They are a group of dedicated people, who entertain frequently at many affairs, especially the Senior Citizens. She is the musical advisor to the Girl Guides and is active on the Arts Council and she often helps put on puppet shows for the public.

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