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Kimberley Families

The Davies Family
as told by daughter Bette

George Davies came from a background of singing, gardening, and mining. Born at Blackwood, Cardiff, South Wales, he started in the coal mines at a tender age, as most boys did in that country.

He was married with four children: Ken. Thelma, Bette and Elvet. At that time a doctor told him his two eldest children might be developing the dreaded consumption and he was advised to take his family to live where there were lots of evergreen trees.

Mrs. Davies had a brother, Richard (Dick) Clements, that had come to Kimberley, British Columbia in 1920. Letters from him informed them that there was an abundance of pine and fir trees there. In 1924 George Davies came to Kimberley alone, living with his brother-in-law and family for one year at the Top Mine, and went to work as a miner underground. In April of 1925 his wife and four children arrived. They came across Canada by train, and from Cranbrook to Kimberley in MacLeods Jitney. Ken was eight years old and Thelma seven.

There were very few houses in Blarchmont at that time. They moved into a small two-room house near Mark Creek, in the area against the hill behind where the new East Kootenay College now stands.

Bette remembers learning to swim in Mark Creek. All the kids in the neighbourhood helped dam it up to form a pool big enough to swim in.

In 1932 a fifth child, Allan was born here. All the children remember their first teacher in grade one, Miss Ruth Soderholm.

Bette recalls the burning of the North Star Hotel as they lived not too far away. She remembers George Bentley, the drayman, and his horses and the barn nearby. Also the ice house that was located on the site of the present Government liquor store.

George was only underground a year or so when he got leaded. With his knowledge of gardening and his love of flowers, he was put in charge of the Company gardens. This included all the flower beds around the Company offices as well as the public garden that had been started by Gus Nelson. He had a good sized garden of his own as well. He was active in the Horticulturist's annual shows, held at that time where Coronation Park is now located.

He sang in the United Church choir as did all his children when they were old enough.

There was one incident Bette recalls her father telling her. The folks who lived at the Top Mine didn't walk down into town very often, the long two mile climb back up was a tiring one. However, occasionally on a Saturday night some would brave the trip. One such night, George and a friend were walking up the long hill. There was a "Y" near the top, one road went to the bunkhouses and one to the private homes. Here they said good night and started on alone. Both met a bear on the trail at about the same time and started running back down, they met at the "Y" and neither stopped running until they got to the bunkhouses on McDougall Townsite where they stayed until morning.

The three boys all worked for the Company at one time or another. Ken married May Nordland and is now a Mining Engineer. He transferred to Trail a few years ago. He has four children, two boys and two girls.

Elvet (Ed) joined the Army at eighteen, later transferred to the Paratroopers. He trained with both the Canadian and American Paratroopers and saw plenty of action during the Second World War. He was one of the boys trapped in enemy territory for twenty-one days. He now resides at Shawnigan Lake with his son and wife, the former Mildred Amy, who nursed in the Kimberley Hospital.

Allan worked for the Company on the Dew Line in the North and married a Vancouver girl. They lived in Coquitlam until Allan passed away in 1977. He had one boy and one girl.

Thelma was one of the first women to work in the Concentrator during the war when a shortage of men prompted the Company to employ women. She married Alex Frame who ran a coffee shop where the Cameo cleaners now stands. They have two boys and reside at present in Nanaimo.

Bette worked in the Mark Creek S tore with Wilf Mason in the men's wear for awhile, and in the candy department with Gus Nord and with Brock Markle in the shoe department. She married Ike Armstrong, a hockey player for the Dynamiters, in 1940. Ike is a technician at the Mine offices. They have three daughters; Can- dace married Kelly Kazeil of Edmonton and they have one daughter, Jeri is a teacher in Van- couver. Their other daughter, Kelly worked for the Kimberley News and is now working in Cranbrook at the Newspaper office of the Townsman. Her husband, Harry Balcolm, is a carpenter at the Concentrator and they live in Chapman Camp.

After Ike quit playing hockey he acted as referee for many years. Both Ike and Bette enjoy golf and bowling. Bette has been the coach of the Senior High School five pin bowling team for over ten years. She travels with them when they are entered in competitions out of town. They have won many trophies, the first was the Pepsi Cola roll off in Vancouver in 1965 and the team won the B.C. Championship. The team was made up of Jack Murphy, Greg Caldwell, Mary Ann Pearson, Shirley McDonald and Jackie Roberts. Bette was their coach.

Bette and Ike reside on Warren Avenue, the busy street that carries most of the traffic through Kimberley on the road to Marysville and Cranbrook.

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