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Kimberley Families

The Hendrickson Family
as told by Hilding and Inga

Algot and Alma Hendrickson came from Oscarstrom, Sweden. Argot worked there for a pulp mill and Alma was a spinner in a jute and linen factory. They were married in 1906.

Times were difficult and a forceful labor movement grew rapidly. By 1908 the workers were locked out. Alma's sister, Mrs. Harry Robertson from Rossland, B.C., was visiting in Sweden at the time and encouraged them to make the move to Canada.

Algot and four other countrymen sailed for New York and took a train to Spokane and came to Rossland from there. En route west they tasted bananas for the first time, and threw them away, as they tried to eat them skin and all. Three of the men got work in the mine while the other two sought out lumber camps.

In the spring of 1909, Algot Hendrickson, the Robertsons and Alma's cousin, Gerda Johnson, came to Kimberley, the men to do exploratory diamond drilling at the Top Mine and the ladies to work in the cookhouse. Algot had sent for his wife and two children, Hilding and Inga. They, along with Edward and Betty Robertson, were some of the first children at the Top Mine. The Hendricksons lived in a windowless log cabin, believed to have been built by the original discoverers of the large lead and zinc mineral deposit.

Kimberley then consisted of the railway station, the North Star Hotel and a very few small stores and houses. The ride to the Top Mine was by horse and wagon. Groceries were ordered through the cookhouse.

That winter Algot moved the family back to Rossland, where he got work in several small mines and in 1917 he bought logged-over land in the Stoney Creek area. This was necessary to augment the income from sporadic employment in the mines and to satisfy their desire to own a farm, an impossible dream in Sweden. This venture failed due to the fumes from the smelter in Trail. Two sons were born in this area, Harold and Malcolm.

Inga and Hilding Hendrickson among the first children at the Top

After several years of working in various places, the family felt the need for a new home where they could be together. In 1929 they returned to Kimberley and built a house on the Catholic Church hill.

During the depression of the 1930's Mr. Hendrickson worked half time at the mine. He grubstaked his two sons, Hilding and Harold, to mining claims up Boulder Creek, a tributary of Wildhorse Creek, where the once famous gold rush took place. Algot was very interested in prospecting and would often join the two boys at their claims on weekends. They once had a frightening experience, when an avalanche came down close to their claim, and they watched it roar down the mountain, uprooting large trees and tossing them in the air like match sticks.

Hilding had done prospecting in several places. He prospected near Oliver, at Edgewood, Lightening Peak and Ymir. He married Berta Ponpon from Alberta, and returned to Kimberley in the mid 1930's and went to work for the Company in the mine. They had one son Raeburn that became a teacher and is now at the T. M. Roberts School in Cranbrook. He married Diane Samuelson from Erickson and they have twin sons, Shaun and Shane. Hilding retired in 1972as Supervisor of the blast hole loading. They reside on Panoramic Heights in Cranbrook.

Harold began working for the Company in the Boiler shop at Trail and transferred to Kimberley later where he worked as a miner, underground. He married Viola Smud and they have one son Larry. He is living in Springfield, Massachusetts, with his family of three children.

Inga became a teacher and is well remembered by many Kimberley school children, as she taught here from 1929 to 1946, with the exception of one year as an exchange teacher in Windsor, Ontario.

In 1942, Algot purchased orchard land in Ericksori and when he retired in 1945, due to ill health, at age sixty, he and Alma and their youngest son Malcolm moved there.

Algot died in 1946 and Inga went to Creston to teach where she would be with her mother and brother. She is retired now. She and Malcolm still run the farm and sell fruit in the fall. Mrs. Hendrickson passed away in 1974 at the age of eighty-eight.

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