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Kimberley Families

The Bidder Family

as told by son Bob

William (Bill) Bidder was one of seven brothers and two sisters born in Bristol, England. He was married to Sophia Barrett and had one son, Rex, before he sailed for Canada in 1903. He worked his way west to Vancouver, then back to Trail, Rossland and Cranbrook in 1904.

In 1905 he got work at the Marysville smelter and this is where he decided to settle and he sent for his wife and son. Bill was responsible for bringing the rest of the family to this area. His mother, brothers, sisters, and their husbands all came to Marysville between 1905 and 1912. The family consisted of Charlie, Fred, Lydia, and her husband and son, Bill, with his wife and son, Alf, Harry, Ernest, Harold, and Annie with her husband and son.

First he brought out his sixteen year old brother, Ernie, and the order of the arrival of the rest of the family is uncertain. Lydia was married to Charles Ellis in England and they had one son, George. Charles died when George was only twelve years old and Lydia married Johnny Horman. They arrived in Marysville in 1910 and Johnny went to work at the mine in Kimberley for fifteen years.

Seven Bidder Brothers. L. to R. Charles, Fred, Alf, Bill, Harry, Ernie, 

When the smelter in Marysville closed down in 1908, Bill spent a year in Greenwood. He returned to Kimberley with Dr. Schofield when the geological survey of the 3900 level tunnel was being planned. When it was completed in 1915, Bill was employed as a motorman for a time. The construction of the Concentrator in the early 1920's also found Bill working there until its completion and he became a chief operator at the Concentrator. He retired in 1945. Mary passed away in 1966, and Bill in 1971.

Charles, the eldest of the seven brothers, went to work for the C.P.R. in Cranbrook as a painter and remained there until he retired. He died shortly after. He was married with three children: Walley, Percy and Ivy. Walley first worked for the C.P.R. and then came to Kimberley to work at the Concentrator. He married Ruby Martin and they lived in Chapman Camp until his death. Percy joined the army and was killed before he was eighteen years old. Ivy married Jeff Foster and now resides in Victoria.

Fred spent a number of years as a security guard for a firm in Vancouver. He returned to Marysville and worked for Jimmy Miller's Service Station. Alf was deaf and dumb and, until Fred returned, he lived with his youngest brother Harold in a house built by several of the boys near the creek in Marysville. They sold the house to George Ellis when Harold got married. Fred and Alf lived together in a small dwelling back of the service station.

Bill and Sophia had five more children born in Marysville; two daughters, May and Leona and three sons, Max, Jim and Robert (Bob). In 1919 when Bob was only a little over a year old, his mother died in the influenza epidemic and the family was separated for three years, each being cared for by some member of the family. Bill then married a widow, Mary West, who had two children, a son Ray and a daughter Dale. Bill and Mary had two daughters of their own, Lydia and Louise.

Bill's eldest son, Rex, first worked for the Otis Staples Lumber Company at Wycliffe as a fireman on one of the Shay engines that hauled logs from the camps to the mill. He worked at the Concentrator as an operator in the Flotation department, working up to chief operator. Rex married Estelle Black, the daughter of John Black, and they had one daughter, Dorothy, now ~ married and living in Oregon. Rex lives in Cranbrook.

May married Ernie Dickenson, an electrician for the Company. Since then he has worked in South America and Newfoundland where they still reside. They have three children, Evelyn and Jean, now in Toronto, and a son, Harold in Newfoundland.

Leona married Norman Deamil who was a miner for the Company until 1932. They moved to a farm near Manitou, Manitoba. They had one adopted daughter, Terry. They retired to Vancouver where Norman passed away. She is remarried to Stacey Robertson.

Max worked at the Mine as a timberman underground and later as an operator at the Concentrator. He once worked on the water wheel at Perry Creek when it was operating in the late 1920's. He married Ada Sundstrom and they had four children; Norman, Bob, Fred and Beth. They purchased the Lund Ranch at Wardner and lived there for a time. Their son Norman works for Crestbrook Forest Industries at Canal Flats. He married Maryanne Gris and has two sons and a daughter. Bob is a carpenter in Calgary and has three sons, Fred married Marjean Kahl of Marysville. They have one son, Scott, and one daughter, Loni, and Fred works on the Government road gang in Marysville. Beth lives in Cranbrook with her mother at present. Max died on the ranch at Wardner in 1971.

Jim remained a bachelor and worked at the Concentrator for forty-four years, with the exception of three years in the army. He is now retired and still living in Marysville. Bob worked at the Concentrator for three years before joining the Air Force. FOllowing the war, he took up carpentry work for sixteen years in California and became an American citizen. He returned to Cranbrook in 1972 and is working on construction. Bob also remained a bachelor and plans to retire soon.

Mary's son, Ray, worked in the Mine for a short time before joining the army. He was killed in 1945. Her daughter, Dale, married Harold Honeyman of Chapman Camp. Harold works in the Instrument Shop at the Fertilizer, which entails covering most of the operations in the area. They have four boys; Ray, Gordon, Collin and Keith. Ray is the manager of Shoppers Drug Mart in Burnaby, Gordon works for Dupont in North Bay, Collin is an operator at the Concentrator and Keith is still a student.

Bill and Mary's daughter, Lydia, has had a health problem most of her life and never married. She resides in Pioneer Lodge in Kimberley. Louise married Don Roberts of Cranbrook and he works for a construction company, driving truck. They have four children; Donna, Joey, Calvin and Jimmy.

Harry Bidder married and they had one daughter Bessie who worked in the Company office. All three have passed away.

Annie had married George James in England and they had one son Leslie (Sparky) before George came to Marysville. Annie and Sparky joined him in 1907. The James family history appears elsewhere in this book.

Ernie married Ella Ryckman of Creston in 1918. He, too, was an operator at the Concentrator and lived in Chapman Camp. They had three children; Donald, Eugene (Gene) and Ellen. Donald died in 1931, Gene became a well known artist and died in 1977. Ellen married Larry Hengy whom she met while nursing in Spokane. She still lives there and they have three children. Ernie passed away in 1967 and Ella died in 1976.

Harold lived with his brother Alf until Harold married Madge Keer, and Alf went to live with Fred until his death. Fred also died shortly after. Harold worked at the Concentrator and they lived in Chapman Camp. He retired in 1955 and has since passed away. Madge now lives in the Pioneer Block, above Macleods Store. They had no children.

The Bidders were truly pioneers in this area and only a few remain, but they will be long remembered for their contribution to Kimberley.

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