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Kimberley Families

The Leggett Family
as told by Bob, Mae and Fred

The Leggetts sailed from England in 1920just after the First World War. They had lived in Essex and had felt the rigors of war. Mrs. Lettett's parents, the Robert Crosbeys, lived in Canada since about 1900, at Wycliffe, B.C. So with two children, Bob age seven and Mae, barely three, they decided to come as well.

They were three weeks at sea, even witnessed a man who jumped overboard. From Montreal, they travelled by train to Cranbrook and by car to Wycliffe.

Mr. Leggett had learned the harness making trade in England and the Otis Staples Lumber Company still used horses for hauling logs in the bush. He was put in charge of harness making and repairing, both at the mill and at some of the camps, especially in the Lost Dog area. He would spend three months at a time, staying in camp to attend to all the harness repairs.

Bob remembers the three Shay engines that Staples used to bring the logs from the bush to the mill, called One Spot, Two Spot and Three Spot. As a matter of fact, had it not been for these logging trains travelling through Kimberley daily, he might never have been able to attend high school. There were three boys in Wycliffe that caught the caboose to attend school: Harold Johnson, Tom Clark and Bob. If they missed the train, it was a long walk, which they had to do occasionally. In 1927, the first high school in Kimberley was the little White school house that had been moved from where the Company offices now stand, to the corner of the lot where the new Central School was built. There were only twelve high school students at that time.

Bob, Mae and Fred Leggett

Fred was born in Wycliffe. Mr. Staples had a recreation hall built in Wycliffe for the men that worked there. It was run by the Y.M.C.A. and the Leggetts lived downstairs. Mrs. Leggett cleaned the hall and the club house. There was every kind of equipment for keeping fit as well as pool tables, etc, and a piano for dances and concerts.

Miss Amy Rumsay from Cranbrook, a piano teacher, use to come out to Wycliffe once a week to give lessons and Bob was one of her pupils for a short time. He taught himself from then on. He started playing the piano at thirteen years of age and is now a most sought after entertainer. He has playing with the Pearson Band and the Evans Boys for years.

In 1929, the Staples operation closed down, so they moved to Kimberley where Mr. Leggett bought a small shoe repair business from Tony Scoff in the Martin Bros. building. While Mr. Leggett worked in his shop, Mrs. Leggett helped the finances by taking in boarders. Alex Trickett was her first. A lot of the young hockey players also boarded there. Ralph Redding, Ken Moore, Ken Campbell, Johnny Achzener, Jack Hunt and Fred Burnett to name a few.

Bob went to work for Lloyd Crowe in the Grocery Store. Dave Robertson, Elmer Holmes and Art Burch also worked with Bob. He recalls an incident that occurred when he was delivering groceries on his first day of work. Madame Louis kept chickens in her back yard and when Bob opened the gate to deliver the groceries to the back door, they all got out and wandered all over town. Mrs. Louis was a big woman with a voice and temper to match, and she entered the store wielding a big club intending to beat up the culprit that let her chickens loose.

When Safeway bought out the business, Dave went to work at the Concentrator and Elmer Holmes joined the R.C.M.P. Lloyd Crowe and Bob stayed on for a short time with Safeway, then Lloyd went to Trail.

Whalley Schoupe was brought in from Winnipeg to manage the Safeway and Floyd Johnson also worked there, but the hours were long and the pay small so Floyd went to the Mark Creek Store. In 1935, Whalley, Bob and Floyd Johnson decided to go into business for themselves and opened up the Wide Awake Grocery in the Woogman Building.

Harold Langston, Dave Brown and Jim Handley bought out the Safeway.

In 1937,Bob gave up the grocery business and went to work in the Concentrator Carpenter Shop where he stayed for twenty-six years.

Mae helped her mother with the boarders and worked in Lloyds Hardware for ten years. In 1949,Mae started up a hardware and gift shop of her own. She rented the Dan Strilchuck building where Bill Scott use to operate a dairy, next door to Walkey's Butcher Shop.

In 1958, Mae and Muraca's, who had a cafe and grocery business on the corner across the street, changed buildings. Bob quit the Company and went into business with Mae. They sold the business and retired in 1976.

Bob has always liked to hike and fish and continues to do so. Mae has started hooking rugs as a hobby and she has always liked gardening.

Bob once built a complicated electric organ with 80 tubes and weighed a great deal. It finally wore out, so he has just finished building himself a new, compact one that he can take in his car on his many trips to entertain folks. Once a week, he plays for the patients in the Pines Special Care Home and the Extended Care Unit of the hospital, where his mother now resides, She was ninety-nine in 1977 and still has an alert mind and a keen sense of humor.

His father worked on shoe repairing until he was eight-nine and passed away at ninety.

When Fred completed his schooling, he worked for a short time at Scobies Meat Market, the Kimberley Hardware and for Jimmy Morrison's Food Land. This was in the building the Wide Awake Grocery use to be in.

Recalling some of the businesses in those days, there was Samuelson's Cosy Nook Confectioners, next door to Jimmy Morrison's; the Green Spot was run by Bill Willis, later Doug Corrie ran it as the Home Inn; and Joe Young's Chinese Fresh Vegetable Market.

Bob married Gladys Rooke from Eston, Saskatchewan. Fred married Nancy Morrison, they have two children, a boy Jack, now married with three children of his own and living in Williams Lake. He is a Fish Biologist for the Department of Fisheries. Their daughter, Louanne Sanderson has two children. She is working in the Extended Care Unit of the Kimberley Hospital.

Fred started working for the Concentrator over thirty years ago and was Mill Foreman until he injured a knee that prevents him from climbing the many stairways, so he was transferred to the Mine Warehouse. He was in the Air Force from 1942 to 1945.

In their younger days, both boys played softball, Bob liked tennis and Fred played Junior HOCkeyfor awhile.

Fred mentioned both he and his wife, Nancy were born in towns that no longer exist. He in Wycliffe and Nancy in Anyox!

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