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Kimberley Families

The Garden Family

as told by son Murray

Mr. George Garden came from Cedarville, near Mount Forest, Ontario. He was born into a very closely knit Scottish community in a farming area and spoke Gaelic until he was twelve years old. The Dezell family of Cranbrook also hail from this community. He first tried homesteading just north of Regina, in Saskatchewan, but after a couple of years, he travelled west and stopped in the thriving little town of Moyie, in 1904.

By 1907 he felt he was fairly well established and sent for the girl he had set his heart on back in North Bay, Ontario. They met at Regina, as it was considered a half way point, and were married there. They travelled to Moyie on their honeymoon. Their home in Moyie was a duplex and Mrs. Jessie Whitehead, another Kimberley pioneer, lived in the other half.

In November of the following year, a daughter, Myrtle, was born in the small three bed hospital in Moyie. Mrs. Garden got an infec- tion and was in the St. Eugene Hospital in Cran- brook from November until July. Dr. Green Sr., claimed she was the sickest patient he ever pulled through. After this scare, when her second child was on the way, she went home to North Bay, where Murray was born.

In 1914, Mr. Garden started work at the Top Mine in Kimberley. He was transferred to Rossland for a time, but in 1918, he was back in Moyie. Two months later the Concentrator burned down, and he remained in Moyie only long enough to help with the cleanup.

Mr. and Mrs. Murray Garden.

During the strike of 1919, he was involved with the Union, as Secretary. This put him in disfavor with the Company so he went logging and worked on road construction until he went back to work for the Company. He spent some time at Yellowknife in the Gold Fields. He was construction foreman on the Brilliant Dam while the family remained in Kimberley.

The two children attended elementary school in Moyie and high school in Cranbrook. Murray remembers his younger years in Moyie, saying it was a fantastic place to grow up in, a real paradise for kids. Swimming in summer and skating on the frozen lake in winter, and skiing on barrel staves.

Following her schooling in Moyie and Cranbrook, Myrtle attended Normal school in Victoria. Her first teaching job was in Meadow- brook, and then in Chapman Camp for six years.

She married Jimmy Russell, a mechanic for the company in the Concentrator machine shop. Both Jimmy and Myrtle were members of the Orpheus Choir where they met. Myrtle was a very loyal worker for the United Church and was a politically activated person, interested in the social well being of all people.

They have three children, Eleanor, Lorne and John. Eleanor is a librarian for the City of Vancouver. She married a high school teacher from Trinidad and they have two children and reside in Delta.

Lorne is a game biologist in the Peace River District of Alberta. He is married and they have two daughters.

John is one of two Commissioners for the Drug and Alcoholic Foundation in Vancouver. They live on Barnston Island near New West- minster and they have three daughters.

When Jimmy retired they moved to White Rock where they are near two of their children, but they always enjoy returning for visits with Murray and their many friends.

Murray attended U.B.C. for four years, work- ing for the Company during the summer vacation. While in Cranbrook, he worked for awhile at Mannings Grocery Store, gaining a hit of experience in that line. When he completed University in 1932, the country was deep in the depression and no jobs were to be found. Because his father and sister were working, he could not even get on relief work at one dollar a day.

Finally, in April of 1933, when Bob MacLeod was manager of the Mark Creek Store, there was a change of personnel and Murray got a job as a clerk and worked up to be an accountant. He recalls working with Wilf Mason and Ingie Jahren, when they both worked there. In those days the store opened at 8:00 a.m. and during the next fifteen minutes there was always a rush of school children with grocery lists from their parents, so they could get in the first delivery of the day. One amusing note was an order for a tin of cock-eyed salmon! ! !

In 1945, Mr. Wallace Lloyd of Lloyd's Hardware Store wasconsidering retirement, his son Aubrey knew the hardware business very well but needed a partner with financial experience. Mr. Lloyd knew Murray was a good ac- countant at the Mark Creek Store, and made him such a tempting offer that Murray and Aubrey became partners without any formal agreement. They managed a very successful hardware business for 32 years and retired in 1975. The business is now owned and managed by Merit Stores.

Murray's first visit to Kimberley was when he was only four. The Methodist Minister, Joe Norton, offered to take him from Moyie to Kimberley to visit his father. He travelled by train to Cranbrook, where they stayed overnight. From there to the Top Mine they travelled by horse and cutter. Murray stayed at the bunkhouse with Bill Green the cook who kept an eye on him while his father was at work. The trip back was the same, to Cranbrook by cutter, an overnight stay and then the train to Moyie. If his father wanted to make a visit home, it took the same length of time and in those days, in Moyie, there was only a two hour wait between the east and west bound trains. A mighty short visit for practically four days travel! !

Murray married Marguerite Michaely, a school teacher, in 1936. She had one year of teaching in a small country school in Alberta, between Carstairs and Cochrane. But the con- ditions were so very different from what she was used to, that one year there was more than enough. She came to Kimberley and taught for ten years.

They had one son, George, who received his elementary schooling in Kimberley, but attended st. Georges School in Vancouver for four years, working for the Company and Fabro's during the summer vacations. It was at the school that he took an aptitude test that indicated he would go well at a job where he met the public. Not having any interest in following his father into the hardware business, he took to banking. He is now living in Edmonton and has held several managerial positions with the Royal Bank in Northern Alberta. He is married and has two children.

Murray became interested in community affairs and was elected on the first City Council when Kimberley was incorporated in 1944. There had been some talk of incorporation as far back as 1927, but the Company didn't support the idea and the depression ended any further progress at that time. In the early 1940's, the Board of Trade, headed by Cliff Swan, went all out for incorporation. A sewage system was a must, as years of cess pools and outdoor privies were creating a health problem that had to be corrected. The water and electrical systems also required up- dating for the growing community. Legislation leading to incorporation started in 1942 and Kimberley was incorporated as a City in February 1944. The first civic election was held in April, and the voters elected Cliff Swan for Mayor and Aldermen were Murray Garden, Stan Norton, Wallace Lloyd, Len Bonell, Frank Levirs and Bruno Fabro. Don Corker was the City Clerk.

In those early days, they were assisted by Billy Wasson of Nelson, and the Provincial Department of Municipal Affairs. There were as many as five council meetings a week until things began to take shape.

Murray didn't stand for the next election, as his new adventure in the hardware business took much of his time. However, in 1961 thru to 1965, he again served two terms on the council, acting on such committees as: water works, finance, and the real headache, labor relations. In 1966, he was elected to the Hospital Board where he served for ten years, eight of these as chairman. He took a rest of one year, and he is now back on the Board again. Murray has found this position a very rewarding one. He loves Kimberley and no way would he wish to leave.

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