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Kimberley Families

The Foote Family
as told by son, Chris

Mr. Christian Adolphus Foote came out to Moyie from Ontario in 1903. In 1904 he married Elizabeth Coburn, also from Ontario, although she had been born in a covered wagon somewhere in the U. S. Young Chris was born in Cranbrook in 1913 while they were still living in Moyie.

Tailoring was Mr. Foote's trade so when they moved to Kimberley in 1916,just as it was beginning to show signs of being more than a mining camp, he opened up the first tailor shop that represented the House of Hoberlin; but he also stocked dry goods and sporting goods, such as supplies for hunting and fishing. Chris has a picture, taken years ago of a catch of fish from Premier Lake that you just don't see nowadays: eight or ten rainbow trout all weighing ten or more pounds. Premier is a very deep lake nestled at the foot of the Rocky mountains about thirty-five miles north of Kimberley. Fishing is still good but not that good!

Chris started school in the Ontario Hotel while the Central School was being built. He attended high school in Kimberley but had to go to Cranbrook for his senior Matriculation where he also took a business course. In later years he taught shorthand and typing at night school.

1918-19 was having to wear a little bag of camphor around his neck, and the acrid smell of burning sulpher as it was sprinkled on a hot stove to purify the air.

The summer of 1919 was the forest fire scare and Chris remembers his dad loading up the small Ford car with a few precious possessions with Chris insisting that his tricycle be loaded too. They were evacuated to Marysville to Bird's Hotel where all the ladies gathered in the hall to pray for rain. Everyone remembers the miraculous way the wind changed just in time to save the town. Chris can't remember if it rained or not.

Chris Foote

His recollection of the influenza epidemic of Foote's Store was just across the street from the Globe Hotel, run by Frank Carlson. Alex Chowski ran a barber shop in connection with the hotel until Mr. Foote built a small shop on the corner of his property for Alex. Bob Turner took over this shop when Alex left. Until recently it was used by Bill Gertz as a shoe repair shop.

There was a butcher shop across the street, run by Prest Lewis, with a slaughter house right behind. The young boys of the neighborhood would watch the cutting up of meat while playing in the sawdust pile.

The first radio in town was owned by Mr. Marsden, the manager of the Mark Creek Store. It was a crystal set with earphones. Chris thought this really something.

Chris joined the Boy Scouts in 1926 and remembers Mr. Eaman, a trainman from Cranbrook, was his first Scout Master. Later Chris became secretary for the Scouts, a position he held for ten years.

He began working for the Company in 1932 spending his first summer in the rock house. In 1934 he spent the summer prospecting for the Company, up Mark Creek to the summit and over the mountain to Buhl Creek. In the fall he went into the electric shop where Karl Hedlund was instructor. Chris says all he ever learned about electricity was to leave it alone. He worked in the time office until he joined the Canadian Army in 1942 and received his basic training in Vernon. An injury to his ankle prevented him from going overseas. He became Sergeant of the training headquarters orderly room.

While stationed in Vernon, he met a school teacher, Ruth Everett, and they were married in 1944. When he returned to Kimberley in 1946, he was placed in the Company Library at the Mine. This is the work he loved, so remained there until his retirement in 1978.

The Company has always instructed all their employees in First Aid, and yearly competitions are held. The various teams compete and the winning team enters the provincial competitions. Chris was on a team instructed by E. Brunner and captained by Joe Shaw. Other members were Jim Davis, Frank Skribe and H. Thomason. In 1936 they won the Coderre Canadian Championship Miners Cup. He later became a First Aid Instructor.

His wife, Ruth, has taught school for a number of years, in Marysville, Blarchmont and Watkin Schools. She spent four years at the Handicapped School, and five years teaching a special class. They have one daughter Joan, also a teacher, now in Salmon Arm. Chris and Ruth have a summer cabin at Columbia Lake where they spend most of their summers.

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