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Kimberley Families

The Casey Jones Family

as told by Casey

William Jones and Tom Uphill sailed from Wales in 1905 and arrived in Fernie, B.C., 3 years before the devastating fire of 1908. He worked in the mine for 3 years there before moving on to Phoenix, B.C. This is where he brought his wife and three sons to join him; David, Edward (Casey) and Gwin. He was working in what was called the Glory Hole. He worked twelve hours a day. The miners had only a candle fastened to their hats for light and no showers or washrooms to clean up in; they just had to use the old round tub at home to bath in.

The boys attended school at Phoenix, but when their father started work at Copper Mountain mine near Princeton, they had to walk seven miles to school. Two girls were born in Phoenix, Jean and Mary, and Violet were born in Rossland where William next worked.

The oldest son, Dave, came to work in Kimberley for Connors Diamond Drilling, about 1919. William came over shortly after and went to work at the Top Mine. His second son, Edward, came to the Top Mine on January 1st, 1923 when he was barely sixteen and worked on the sorting table in the Rockhouse. Frank Fortier was the Superintendent at the time and Bob Woody was his boss. It was here the men nicknamed Edward "Casey" and everyone knows him by that name today.

Casey recalls playing hockey on the flooded tennis court a t the Top Mine, after shovelling the snow off. There were no fancy snow ploughs in those days. He lived in the bunkhouse that was loaded with bedbugs. He remembers walking from the Top Mine to Wycliffe occasionally to watch a baseball game, a good ten miles. In 1924 he transferred to the Concentrator carpenter shop where Nick McKenzie was his boss.

Casey married Helen Wirth in 1937 and moved into a house on Rotary Drive near Charlie Bennett's house, just a short distance from where his parents lived. They passed away within two years of one another in the mid 1940's.

David never married but spent forty-eight years working for the Company. Gwin never lived in Kimberley. He stayed in the Greenwood area and married a Greenwood girl. Jean married Ed Lundeen. Mary remained a spinster and is now residing in the Green Home in Cranbrook. Violet married Ed Mullen.

Casey and Helen had five children; Barbara, Pat, Johnny, Michael and Donald. All graduated from the Kimberley High School. Pat was Snow Fiesta Queen one year, and was sponsored by the Elks Club. Casey has been a member of that Club since it was first started up in Kimberley. Although not a charter member, he has been through all the chairs and is a past District Depu- ty of the Grand Lodge and is now a Life Member. His daughters, Barbara and Pat, both married Kimberley boys. Barbara married Bobby Bova and Pat married Mike Harrison. Both work for the Company. Johnny is a drafting engineer for Woodwards, Vancouver. Michael still resides in Kimberley and works in the City's water depart- ment. Donald married Elaine Kwasney and is now a teacher at Elkford.

All three boys played hockey in their growing- up years.

Casey retired in 1966 after forty-three years service. He was Chief Reagent Operator with the Company. He has a picture of five men all with forty-three years service, Paul Louis, Les James, Percy Mellor, Smoky Adams and himself. His wife Helen, passed away in October, 1975. He still lives in his home on Rotary Drive and enjoys his small garden in summer and curling in winter.

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