Banner Ad




Kimberley Families

The Livingstone Family

as told by Jimmy

On the day he arrived it's a wonder Jimmy didn't get right back on the conveyance that brought him to Kimberley. He had been living with his grandmother in Vancouver. Although only ten years old, he travelled on the Kettle Valley train alone for three days and two nights, to join his mother and step-father in Kimberley. Sandy Livingstone, his step-father, was a carpenter at the Mine. Jimmy came up from Cranbrook on Hedley Macleod's jitney and within fifteen minutes of his arrival, he was engaged in a fist fight with Reg Macleod and Gildie Handley. Two against one, he got the worst of it, but made a vow he'd get back at them some day. Jimmy was a bit small for his age, with fiery red har, freckles and the dispostion to go with them.

No doubt it was his perseverance and determination that got Jimmy through most of his life. He attended school only two years in Kimberley, then decided to get a job. He delivered milk for Ben Keer, sometimes walking the four miles to Marysville to help with the milking. He helped deliver milk for Pighin's Dairy and for the Mountain View Dairy near Wycliffe, owned and operated by the Herb McClure family and that was a longer walk.

When he reached fourteen, Jimmy tried for a job with the Company. He still hadn't done much growing, but he'd run up the hill to the Portal early every morning and get in the line up, with much bigger fellows, and was invariably passed over or turned down. One morning he got first in line by arriving there at five a.m., only to have Roarin' Bill Lindsay tell him he never wanted to see him in the line again.

Jimmie Livingstone.

However, Mr. Lindsay admired his persistance and a few days later he sent for Jimmy, starting him as an apprentice in the Machine shop. This was July of 1926. He remembers running to the Mark Creek Store and buying his first pair of long pants, for which he paid $2.95.

Pontius Johnson was the Master Mechanic and Jimmy says he was a tough boss. Later he spent two years taking a welders' course under George Martin.

Jimmy played baseball in summer and hockey in the winter and also did some curling. He was one of the original Dynamiters in 1930 when they were first formed under that name. Ray Jones came from Trail to coach the team. The Trail Smoke Eaters and the Dynamiters formed the first hockey league in the area. That first year they played exhibition games, then in 1931, started competitive hockey. Some of the first Dynamiters were Ingie Jahren, Dune Chisholm, Paul Kozak, Hugo and Art Mackie, Fred Botterill and Eric Hornquist was goalie. In 1934-35, this team won the B.C. title. Unfortunately Jimmy was not one of them, having broken a shoulder just prior to the play-off games.

Jimmy became manager of the Dynamiters, a position he held for ten years, and was responsible for bringing in many new players. Jim Buchanan was the Secretary.

Jimmy was also umpire for several years for the baseball games in the summer, and those who knew him, claimed he was a good one. When he called a play, it stuck, regardless of the boos and cat-calls of "Blind Livingstone", from the gallery. He recalls one incident while the team was playing in Fernie at a Labor Day celebration. They had been playing all day. Ingle Jahren decided to pitch, but at the end of the first inning, the team was behind 7-0. Jimmy was a good catcher but says he was no good as a hitter. Going into the second half of the ninth inning, the score was 9-9, and it was almost dark. They were on the verge of conceding the game, but decided to play it out. Jimmy was up to bat, he hit a short strike past first base into some tall grass, and due to a comedy of errors, made a home run, to win the game.

Jimmy was married at nineteen, to Edith Shea, a waitress at the Townsite cookhouse. She had worked at the Top Mine cookhouse before her marriage. They have a son and a daughter. His son, Billy, works at the Concentrator and married Janet Mitchell and have three children: David, Jack and Didi. Daughter Bev is married to Bert Banks and they have four children: Laurie, Judy, Doug and Lyne. They also reside in Chapman Camp.

Jimmy says his wife, Edith, was the most patient, tolerant and understanding woman a man could ever have, putting up with him for so many years. His activities kept him away from home ninety percent of the time, She passed away in 1972, just before his retirement.

He has spent all of his working years in Kimberley with the exception of 1951. He was sent to Tulsequah, B.C., near Juneau, Alaska, in May of that year to act as Maintenance Foreman there. Before he left, he was given a farewell party, receiving many gifts and a plaque from the hockey club. Their furniture was packed and in Vancouver awaiting shipment by boat as soon as a place was found to live. He and his wife were flown in by plane. He was there one month when the operation was ordered closed down permanently. He remained until September, just long enough to supervise the closing down of the operation. Back in Kimberley, he took a lot of kidding about his farewell party.

He still resides at 120 Spokane Street, where he has lived for the past thirty-five years.

Twitter Facebook Google+


Banner Ad