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Kimberley Families

The Blackwell Family
as told by son Fred

Fred Blackwell, Senior, was born in England and came to northern Michigan as a very young man. His mother had just passed away, and he and a brother had come to America to join their sister.

He came west with some harvesters, and met the girl he married at Grassy Lake, Alberta. She was originally from Scotland. Fred got a job at the time at Sandon. It was here that they were married in 1916. A daughter Jessie was born in Nelson as there was no hospital in Sandon.

In 1920, he obtained work in the Sullivan Mine in Kimberley. An accident in the Mine crippled one ankle and he limped for years until he passed away in 1942.

Fred junior and a brother, Dick, and a sister, May, were all born in Kimberley. Fred was the first boy born in Dr. Hannington's small hospital, at the foot of the Top Mine hill. One girl had been born there earlier. Before that, most Kimberley babies were born in Cranbrook or at home. Fred started school in 1927 when there were two buildings where the Watkins School now stands. In 1938 he started working for the Company on the track gang and transportation crew before becoming a miner.

In 1940, he joined the Army and was away for six years; he started with the Duke of Con- naughts Own Rifles and trained in Nanaimo, the Niagara Peninsula and in Nova Scotia. He came home a Sgt. Major with the 28th Armoured Regiment, after seeing action in France and Belgium.

He married Phyllis Coates in 1947. Phyllis trained as a nurse in Saskatoon City Hospital. After she graduated she worked on private duty in Prince Albert for a short time, then spent almost six years in Eckville, Alberta. She came to Kimberley to nurse just two months after Rose Hartwick became the Matron of the Kimberley Hospital. For the past several years she has been a Public Health Nurse.

Fred and Phyllis have three children, two boys and one girl. All received their elementary and High School education in Kimberley.

Fred and his brother, Dick, were boy scouts when A. C. Mattingley was Scout Master. Later Barney Allen, Rev. Resker and Ted McVicker were the Scout Masters. Fred has worked with the Boy Scouts for thirty-two years as leader and Scout Master. His own two boys became Queen's Scouts. He and Phyllis have made three trips to Victoria with six or eight boys at a time receiving investitures.

Fred has also been active in the Kimberley Credit Union for twenty years and has been President for the past fifteen years. He has an Industrial First Aid Certificate and was a member of competing teams in earlier years.

Both Fred's sons played hockey as boys and John is now equipment manager for the Edmonton Oilers hockey team. Before this he was trainer for the Golden Bears. In summer he works at Storm Mountain Lodge at Banff.

David is a construction worker and consequently has worked in many places all over the Province of B.C. Their daughter, Heather, attended Lethbridge College studying Renewable Resources. At present she is working in the dietary department of the Kimberley Hospital, part time, and a bank in Cranbrook part time.

In July of 1978, Fred had been with the Company for forty years, after working at the Mine Warehouse for several years. Mr. and Mrs. Blackwell reside in Chapman Camp. His sister, Jessie, lives in Revelstoke and his sister, May, lives in Vancouver, where she took her teacher's training after her family was grown up and still teaches. Fred's brother, Dick, lives on a farm near Wycliffe and raises Hereford cattle and is also shift foreman at the Concentrator.

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