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Kimberley Families

The Hagen Family
as told by Melvin

Melvin's father, Torger Hagen, came from Norway to North Dakota at the turn of the century. He obtained a homestead there unti11905. A railway was being built that ran past the farm and supplies were in demand, so he opened up a general store, while his brother-in-law, Ed Anderson, opened up a hardware store.

In the fall of 1909 they moved across the border to Alberta and again took up homesteading in the Nemiskam area about seventy miles southeast of Lethbridge. When Melvin was eighteen he too filed for his own homestead. A few dry years and no crop returns discouraged him. He left the farm in his brother's care and travelled to Trail to visit friends. While he was there he read an advertisement by Ben Keer of Marysville, seeking a dairy hand.

Melvin answered this ad. He took the train to Cranbrook and as his ticket read Marysville, he caught the local one passenger coach on the end of the ore train and was dropped off at Marysville. There was one small building, no attendant and nothing else in sight. Melvin had no knowledge of which way to go. At this point, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Harris of Chapman Camp drove by and gave him directions on how to get to Ben Keer's dairy farm, a half mile away. This was in the spring of 1925. That October the Company purchased the business and Melvin continued to work for them as a delivery man, distributing milk in nearby Kimberley.

Melvin and Ada Hagen, on his 86th Birthday, August 1978

It was while he worked here that he met Ada Holland. Born in Manchester, England, she had come to Canada in 1928 to visit her sister, Mrs. Wolstenholme in Marysville. England at that time was experiencing a depression and Ada fell in love with this country. She considered it a heaven on earth so decided to stay.

She remembers the good times they enjoyed; the dances they held in a small hall and especially the Saturday show in Kimberley. With few cars at that time, Melvin would drive the milk truck, filled with young people, the four miles up to Kimberley for the show at the Old Orpheum, where Redding's store now stands. Ada and Melvin were married in June of 1929 in the Presbyterian Church in Cranbrook.

Their first home was a small rented shack near Mark Creek. The homes of Fred Bidder Sr., and George Frieke were nearby. They were able to buy the furniture of a family moving away. The rent was ten dollars per month and the furniture cost them one hundred and twenty-five dollars. This included a dining room suite, kitchen set, along with the stove, a big brass bed and dresser and a large heater that burned coal.

In 1930 Melvin started delivering groceries for the Mark Creek Store in Kimberley, so they moved into town. The store was also owned and operated by the Company. He remained at this job for ten years. In 1940 he started working at the Concentrator, first at the loading shed and later in the Assay office, but the acid used for testing affected the skin on his hands very badly so he went into the Company Fire Department. He was deputy fire chief when he retired in 1957.

Ada and Melvin had three sons, all born in Kimberley. Gordon was killed as the result of a skiing accident when he was only fourteen. Arthur is the Senior Geological Technician at the Mine at present. He married a Fernie schoolteacher, Ruth Williams, they have two sons, Kenneth and Donald still attending school. Bernard is a pilot for United Air Lines in California and is married to an Eastern girl, Clair Hamilton, who taught school in the Air Force base at Baggotville, Quebec, where Bernard was stationed at the time. They have two sons Brian and Michael.

When Melvin retired, he and Ada visited England for five months before going to Kaslo to live. After seven years they were homesick for Kimberley. They moved into the beautiful Lion's Manor when it first opened in 1973.

Ada has been active in the Presbyterian Church for many years. She is a member of the Kimberley Hospital Auxiliary and works at the Thrift Shop. They love to travel and have enjoyed several trips, and have covered the Continent from Alaska to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

Ada still thinks this area is heaven on earth.

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