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Kimberley Families

The John Edward Johnson Family

as told by Seahorse

Edward Johnson was born in Sunsval, a seaport on the Baltic Sea in Sweden. An uncle had come to Canada in 1898 to take up a homestead near Wetaskiwin, still in the North West Territories at that time.

There were four children in the family; Olga, Conrad, Edward and Hilda. Both parents died in 1900 and the uncle brought the two girls to Canada in 1903. Two years later, Edward came. There were so many Johnsons in the place where he first arrived that he was nicknamed "Seahorse", and another chap was dubbed "Forty Horse". The name stuck and seemed to precede him wherever he went.

Seahorse was a diamond driller and in those early days, exploration was being carried out all over the country. He called himself a hobo driller and for the next twenty years he covered most of the North American Continent and part of South America. To name a few of the places he worked at, Yellowknife in the N.W.T. and south as far as Peru in S.A. There was a copper mine near Princeton, a mine in Butte Montana, nicknamed the "Never Sweat", a mercury mine in Utah, Oil fields in Mexico, Premier Mine in Northern B.C., a Cobalt mine near Kirkland Lake, Ontario, and a mine in Newfoundland. While working at a mine in Peru at an elevation of 18,000 feet, he would experience bleeding from his ears and nose frequently. By 1925, he was at the Stemwinder in Kimberley, but remained only one year and was off again, diamond drilling for other mines.

He slowed down enough in 1938 to get married. While they lived in Edmonton they had two daughters, Joyce and Vivian and a son, Edwin.

In January of 1944, Seahorse came back to Kimberley and his family joined him in the summer of that same year. In the summer he was diamond drilling on the mountain back of the Mine and in winter he worked underground.

By 1950, Seahorse had purchased an acre of land in Morrison Subdivision where he built a house and the family moved in. Young Edwin was only eight years old when he was killed in an accident on the United Church corner.

Joyce married another Edwin Johnson, so kept her maiden name. He was a schoolteacher and taught in Marysville until recently he transferred to Dawson Creek. They have three sons, Michael, Gary and Leo.

Vivian married Richard Matthews, an electrician at the Concentrator. They live in Chapman Camp and have two boys, Kevin and Darrell.

Seahorse sold his property in 1977, as his wife was not well and for a few months they lived with their daughter Joyce. They moved into an apartment in the Kimbrook but when his wife died in the spring of 1978, he moved into Pioneer Lodge.

Seahorse had retired in 1959. He has been interested in politics and was a member of the Kimberley Co-op. He was on the City Council for one year in 1953, and he was active in the Local Union for many years. He is a philosopher and a poet and for his own pleasure has written the story of his life, entitled "Talking to Myself".

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