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Kimberley Families

The Chris Evans Family
as told by Chris

Chris and Horie Evans were brothers, born in Llanfyllin, Montgomershire, North Wales. Living on the same street of this town was another Evans family, no relation. These neighbours had a son Jack exactly the same age as Chris. These two boys grew up together, they started school the same day, both joined the Army at the same time and served in the 2nd Battalion Welsh Regiment, and saw action in France.

However, in 1923, it was Horie and Jack that came out to Canada together and after a few months of working on a farm, they came west to Kimberley. Chris and Horie were the sons of a master tailor and Chris started to learn the tailoring trade, but was encouraged to come to Canada and join his brother, Horie. He arrived in June of 1925 and went to work at the Concentrator on the paint gang, a job he had never done before. Bill Redford was the boss and Harold Andrews was the supervisor of the Carpenter Shop. Chris was soon moved to other jobs around the mill and worked on flotation and in the tin plant, working up to Chief Operator.

He stayed in the bunkhouse in Chapman Camp for a time and when several young men decided they would like to live in town, they rented the upstairs in the Kootenay Rooms, and even hired their own cook.

When their mother made plans to come out for a visit in 1929, Chris and Horie had a house built in upper Chapman Camp, on what is now 106th Avenue. Mrs. Evans stayed for eighteen months. She also visited again for two years in 1947 and '48.

Lilian and Chris Evans

In 1931, Chris returned to Wales for a three week visit to Llanfyllin and married his fiancee, Lilian Astley. Her parents managed a Social Assistance Institution that had as many as one hundred patients at a time and Lilian was the Matron.

Chris returned alone, as it took six months notice before Lilian could sail. Married women had less problems entering Canada than single girls and she was able to come straight through when she did sail in 1932.

The couple was shivareed, a custom Lilian had never heard of, but she was warmly welcomed and has loved Canada ever since her arrival, although the lack of in-door plumbing took some getting use to, in those first years. After renting a couple of houses for several months, they bought a small place and improved it themselves over the years. In 1948 they bought a house on Warren Avenue, where they still reside.

Chris played soccer both in the old country and here. He was a member of the Chapman Camp team in those early days, when rivalry between the three local teams was high, but they always joined forces against outside teams. Like all Welshborn people, they enjoyed singing and music, and both sang in the Anglican Church Choir, and in the many amateur musical plays conducted by Mrs. Suart. Lilian is the organist for the Anglican Church now, along with Mrs. Grainger. One fond memory is the Christmas carolling they used to do from door to door in Chapman Camp. Another was the dances in Bird's Hall in Marysville.

Chris and Lilian have two children, a son Colin and a daughter Barbara. Colin used to work for the Company and then for the City Fire Department. He married Lorna Rowse, who came here to teach at McKim School. Colin is now Fire Chief for West Vancouver. They have two daughters, Pamela and Jane.

Barbara trained as a nurse in St. Josephs Hospital in Victoria. She married a mining engineer, David Kelland, from Montreal. His work keeps them moving to many different places in many of the provinces. They have three daughters, Christine (Chris), Alison and Susan. At present they live in Bancroft, Ontario.

Chris's brother, Horie, also worked at the Concentrator for over thirty years. He was Chief Flotation Operator. He married a Calgary girl, Dorothy Spence. Horie was in the service during the 2nd World War. They moved to Victoria when he retired a few years ago and has passed away since. They had no children.

Chris put in thirty-eight years on shift work until his retirement in 1963. They both enjoy gar- dening and of course music of all kinds. They also love to travel. They have visited Wales on four different occasions and visit their children as often as they can. They have many pleasant memories of their years in Chapman Camp and Kimberley.

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