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Kimberley Families

The Matthew (Matt) Johnson Family

as told by daughter, Hildur

Matthew (Matt) Johnson was born in northern Sweden in 1875. He first came out to Minneapolis, Minnesota before going to Greenwood, B.C. where he worked at the smelter.

Emma Swanson was born in Sunni, Sweden in 1885 and she had two older sisters living in Greenwood when she moved there. Matt and Emma were married in Greenwood in 1906 and a son, Ragner (Tuffy) and a daughter, Hildur, were both born there.

In 1920, Matt came to Kimberley and got work with the Company in the Top Mine Blacksmith shop. There was no school at the Top Mine at that time and both children had to walk into Kimberley to attend the Central School. Matt worked there for twelve years and was transferred to the Tunnel blacksmith shop in 1932 when the Company closed down the Top Mine operations. Hildur considers those twelve years the best ones in her life. There were about forty families living in the little frontier community.

Matt was injured in an accident in 1940 and could not continue working and after two years of poor health, he passed away in 1942.

Tuffy boarded with the Tom Miller family in Slaterville, Cranbrook, for the three years he attended school there. He started work with the Company in 1927, first as a miner and then a barman. Tuffy married Gladys Bell, the daughter of another pioneer Kimberley family and they have two children, Lorna and Melvin. Lorna married Sid Patterson and they now live in Endako, B.C. Melvin married a Kamloops girl andhe is working in Trail. Tuffy retired in 1968 and he and Gladys are staying in Kimberley.

Hildur married Jim Thorrougood in 1938. His father, James was born in England and came to Canada in 1908. He took his training for a stationary engineer in England and started work in the power house at the LeRoi Mine in Rossland, B.C. He came to Kimberley in 1930 and his family joined him later in the year. There were four children in the family, Rose, Lily, James Jr. (Jim) and Charles (Chuck). Rose was married and moved to Wenachee, Washington and did not come to Kimberley with the family. Lily married Eric Reidil who worked for Wallace the Baker in Kimberley and later moved to Kelowna. Jim and Chuck both got jobs with the Company.

James Thorrougood, Sr. passed away in November, 1938 and Mrs. Thorrougood in May of the same year.

Jim started work at the Mine on the bull gang and then on transportation, mining and blasthole loading. He served in the Canadian Navy from 1943 to 1945 and was stationed in Halifax. In 1948, he went to Vancouver and took a six months course in plumbing and pipe-fitting. On his return to Kimberley, he was employed on the plumbing installations of the new Lois Creek houses.

Jim and Hildur have three children, Lynne, Jimmy and Judi. Lynne married Bob (Curly) Unrah and they have three children, Rick, Leslie and Jaci, Curly is a shift boss in the Mine. Jimmy married Arlene Sanche and their three children are Mark, Andrea and Aleisha. Jimmy is the Mine model technician at the Mine. Judi married Gary Loewen and they have one son, Jason.

Chuck Thorrougood started work in 1938 in the Mine Rockhouse. After working there for two months he was transferred to the underground transportation crew. Chuck married Olive Johnson, a cousin of Hildur's in 1942 and they have three children, Arthur, Maureen and David. Arthur works for the Company and is a timberman in the Mine. He married Pat Goosney and they live in Kimberley with their three children, Arthur Jr., Michele and Rene. Maureen married a lieutenant in the Canadian Navy and they are living in Halifax with their two children. David married Beverly Janni and have two children, Joanne and Chad. David is a millwright and also works for the Company in Kimberley.

Chuck worked for the Company for forty years and retired in 1978. He is a member of the Elks Lodge and his hobbies are gardening and fishing.

Jim and Hildur still live in their home on the Townsite where they have resided for thirty years. Jim enjoys gardening, fishing and woodworking in his basement shop.

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