Banner Ad




Kimberley Families

The Hedquist Family

as told by Ada, Al and Arnold

Gustaf Hedquist came from Sweden in 1907, followed by Mrs. Hedquist shortly after in the same year. They settled near Kenora, Ontario, where four children were born: Ada, Albert (Al), Ethel and Arnold.

In 1917, Mr. Hedquist came to Kimberley and got work at the Top Mine. He bought a little house for the sum of three hundred dollars. His wife and family joined him in 1918. Ada can remember coming up from Cranbrook in Frank Carlson's McLaughlin-Buick touring car and how frightened she was of the narrow roads and steep hills, with the dark evergreen trees so close by.

Two more children were born in Kimberley, Harold and Eddie. Harold died when he was only eight years old.

There was no school at the Top Mine as yet, and Ada and Al remember walking down the long hill to attend the one room school house that stood where the Company Offices are now. Al recalls the Eimer boys quite well as he used to tangle with them occasionally. When this happened, Al can still picture the convenience of a red willow bush outside one of the windows, where the teacher, Mr. Doubleday, had only to break off a branch to be used on the spot for disciplinary purposes.

Sometimes walking home, Al would spot willow grouse and with accurate aim with a rock, he would kill a couple and hide them in his lard pail lunch bucket for his mother to cook for a meal.

The two older children also remember being evacuated to Cranbrook during the 1919 forest fire that swept very close to the Top Mine dwellings, and their parents not knowing where they were.

The boys remember Mr. Kavanagh and his flat-decked truck with hard rubber tires and how they would jump on for a ride down the hill. He didn't seem to mind but he would never accommodate them by stopping.

During the strike of 1919-1920, Mr. Hedquist obtained work at a mine near Wallace, Idaho, and for a few months his family joined him there. On their return, they had to live in Cranbrook until they moved into one of the small houses that were transported from Moyie and rebuilt on McDougall Townsite near the cookhouse, which was directly across the street from them. Al remembers the cookies Mark Beduz would treat them to.

They later moved to a larger house on Ross Street near McKay's Dairy. As Al and Eugene McKay were the same age, Al earned his spending money by helping milk or herd cows, or clean out the barn. When he came home from this job, his mother made him roll on the lawn in summer or in the snow in winter to get the manure off his clothes. They had an excellent garden with fruit trees and berry bushes and a vegetable garden as well as flowers. Mr. Hedquist won the horticultural award for a few years.

Ada married Charles Greenland, a school teacher from Edgewater. He came to Kimberley to play football and obtained work with the Company as a timberman. They had one daughter, Marjorie. Mr. Greenland went overseas as a navigator on a Mosquito bomber that was shot down near Sicily. His body was never found. Marjorie married Lino Sacilotto and they have three children, and they live in Kimberley.

Al married Rose Sturmer from Stettler, Alberta, whom he met while she was visiting her sister, a nurse in the Kimberley Hospital. They have one daughter, Rosanne, now a buyer for Eatons in Vancouver. Rose was a teacher and taught at Watkins School for twenty-three years. She retired in 1977. Al was a driller underground until an accident from a falling rock fractured his skull. It was only the year before this accident that hard hats became mandatory or Al might not be here today. The miners were still using carbide lamps in those days, and when the rock struck, his lamp disappeared. The quick action of his partner saved him from sliding down the slope into a deep shaft. With his partner's help, he crawled back up the slope, turned off the drilling machine, and although he was losing blood, they walked to the first aid station by way of three twenty foot ladders to the main level. With only one lamp this was most difficult. He almost died on the operating table but today, except for a scar and an occasional headache, he feels fine. On returning to work he had no desire to go underground so worked in the Electric Shop until his retirement in 1971. They reside next door to the Lindsay Park School and Al can, remember the football and baseball games that were played there before the school was built. During the First-of-July celebrations years ago, the Indians from the St. Eugene mission would camp there.

Ethel Hedquist married Henry Cotnoir, the produce manager for the Mark Creek Store. They had three children: Lorne, Carol and Donna. Lorne is working for the Company at the Mine office, Carol married Les Lilley, a hockey player, now working for the Company, and Donna married Ray Jensen. Since Henry's death, Ethel is now living with Donna in Marysville.

Arnold left Kimberley in 1934 and went to Trail. He was the first one to join the Army in 1939. He was with the 190th Field Artillery and saw action in France, Holland, Belgium and Germany. He returned to Trail in 1944. He married Jean Dionne of Calgary just ten days before going overseas. It was four and a half years before they set up housekeeping. Jean worked for Safeway in Calgary until his return. They moved to Kimberley in 1946 and Arnold went diamond drilling and mining. They have two sons: Randy and Kenneth, both in Calgary. Arnold retired in 1974. He enjoys curling, golfing and especially hiking.

Eddie also was overseas for a time and married Jean Penman from Scotland. Eddie works at the Fertilizer Plant and they have three children: Barry, Beverley and David. Barry is in Brandon, Manitoba, a safety officer for Simplot Company. Beverley is in Vancouver and David is working for the Company at the Mine.

All five: Ada, AI, Ethel, Arnold and Eddie, still reside in Kimberley and plan to remain.

Twitter Facebook Google+


Banner Ad