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Kimberley Families

The Hotchkiss Family

Tommy Hotchkiss was invited to Kimberley to play soccer when competative sports were just coming to the fore as entertainment.

Born in Kilsythe, Scotland in 1895; he grew up in Airdrie, Lanarkshire, where he learned to play soccer. He married Jane Geakins, from Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, in Airdrie in 1917. They had one daughter Mamie before coming to Canada in 1920. Their first stop was Winnipeg, but while visiting a sister in Lethbridge, Tommy got work in a coal mine there. He remained until 1926, playing soccer for the Miners team.

In March of 1926, Gordie Scott of Kimberley wrote asking him to come and play soccer for the Tunnel team and he could get work in the Mine. There were four teams at the time, Top Mine, Tunnel, Town and Concentrator. The rivalry was intense; so much so that when a fight erupted on the field, the wives of the players would start one in the grandstand. The Town team dropped out after one year, but the other three continued to play against one another and also at outside competitions. One such competition was Labor Day at Fernie, where they won for three consecutive years 1926, 1927 and 1928. In 1928 the Tunnel team went on to win the Provincial Soccer Championship. The team was made up of a goal tender, Billy Faulds, Pete Corrigan, Bob Lilley, Gordie Scott, Danny Nee, Jim McFarlane, Fred Deluce, Davie Smith, Alex Green, Johnny Jackson, Jimmy Isaac, and Cecil Pearson. George Taylor was the Manager; Josh Boardman, the secretary and Tommy Hotchkiss was the Captain.

Tommy Hotchkiss

His job with the Company began on the surface crew, then on the track gang and from there to transportation. He did some mining as well but during the war of 1941 to 1945 he was a security guard at the Mine. Following the war he became Junior First Air Inspector underground. This entailed manning the First Aid Station and operating the underground telephone switchboard.

First Aid and Mine Rescue was another area that the Company encouraged. Every employee must be instructed in First Aid and earn a certificate. Some underground workers were taught industrial first aid and mine rescue. The annual competitions are still held and many hours were spent practicing for the affair. East Kootenay teams compete against one another and the best go to the Provincial Competitions. Mine Rescue was always a drawing card at these competitions and spectators could watch. Each year a wooden structure would be erected to represent the tunnels in a mine, and the action could be viewed. Each team was given the same situation to work out and the audience could see as they donned every piece of equipment necessary to enter a contaminated mine. As the coal mines at Fernie were more dangerous to work in than the lead-zinc one at Kimberley, all precautionary measures were employed. All the mining towns were extremely first aid conscious and classes have been held in all areas, even the schools. There are annual exams and competitions for several ladies teams as well.

Tommy was on one of the best teams in the district and won many trophies. This team consisted of Barney Ralph, Alf Ingebrigtsen, Mark Beduz, Frank Barraclough and Tommy Hotchkiss. They won the provincial trophy in 1946. When they became so proficient that no one wanted to compete against them, the coach finally had to split them up.

Tommy's first impression of Kimberley and the area was not good at all. He came up from Cranbrook on the mixed train, which always spent a lot of time switching at Wycliffe so it took four hours to come the twenty miles. He was sure he could have walked faster. He wasn't too impressed with the town either. He stayed with Gordie Scott at the Canadian Hotel until he obtained a shack to bring his family to. His second daughter Margaret had been born in Lethbridge and later a son Jimmy was born in Kimberley.

Their daughter Mamie married John Pearson and they had six children, five are living, one of the twins died. They live in Lower Blarchmont. Margaret trained as a nurse and is now living in Trail and is married with two children. Jimmy studied mechanical engineering and lives in Winnipeg where he is Vice President of E. K. Price Associates.

Tommy and Jane moved into an apartment on Swan Subdivision. Jane passed away in 1975. Tommy still resides there and says he has learned to love the city as he has watched it grow. He says the old town has been good to him.

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