Banner Ad




Kimberley Families

The Louis Family

as told by Paul

Paul Louis hails from across the border, born in Grafton, North Dakota. His father John Louis came to this area and was employed by the Staples Lumber Company at Wycliffe. They were laying track all through the bush for their logging trains, and were the only lumber mill around that used this method of transporting the logs from the woods to the mill.

Paul joined his father in 1916. They built a small two roomed shack in Meadowbrook and Paul began working as a swamper for Staples, in 1921, when the Company began building the Concentrator, Paul started work with them.

Helen Douglas was born in Manchester, Vermont. Her parents moved to Calgary when she was very young. In 1920, her father, Antoine Douglas bought property in Meadowbrook and farmed the land until his death in the mid 1930's.

Paul and Helen were married in 1923 and for a short time lived in a two roomed shack in Chapman Camp, near Paul's work at the Concentrator. At the time many families were living in tents with wooden walls and floors, hence the name Chapman Camp. They built a small house on John Louis's place in Meadowbrook where they lived for the next twelve years. The dwelling was then moved to the Douglas property and enlarged. This is where they still reside today. Paul worked at the Concentrator until his retirement and farmed the land as well.

He was a shift boss in the floatation operation for years. When he was seventy years old, he and Archie Chesham were sent on a special assignment to Ireland where a similar type of Concentrator had been built and using the folatation method for separating complex ore. They spent three months instructing them how to operate it.

Paul Louis

Paul and Helen were fortunate in having a Delco Light system on their property, so they had power long before electricity was installed in that area. Helen learned to operate it. It had to be started by a crank and she even knew how to grind the valves and service the machine. She still milks a cow daily and tends a good sized vegetable and flower garden. Paul is now eighty-five and his health is failing as he does very little work.

In the early days, they were one of the few families that owned a model T Ford car. The problems were many as the roads were meant only for horses and wagons. In winter the usual assessories were shovel and an ax to help get out of icy ruts when necessary.

They had one daughter Pauline who trained at Garbutts Business College in Calgary and worked there for a few years before returning to Kimberley. She worked in the Company Store for four years and also for the Kimberley Hardware.

Pauline married Ivor Barrett who has been a butcher in Kimberley for over forty-five years. He learned the trade from Joe Walkley in Cranbrook and worked in Walkleys shop in Kimberley. He joined the Army for active duty, but when discovered he was a butcher, he was put in charge as cook instructor.

On his return he went to work in the meat department of the Mark Creek store after spending a short time in Burns Butcher shop. When the Hudson Bay bought the Mark Creek store and phased out the food department, Ivor went to work for the Company in the warehouse receiving office at the Concentrator.

Mr. and Mrs. Louis live on the property next door where Pauline can keep a close eye on them.

Ivor and Pauline have two children, Betty Lou and John. Betty Lou does a man's job, she was a planer feeder for Crestbrook Industries at Canal Flats for four years. She now has an air ticket and drives a gravel truck for a paving company in Northern Alberta. John also has an air ticket and drives a logging truck at Canal Flats.

Ivor and Pauline maintain a modern Government inspected butcher shop on their farm in Meadowbrook, complete with walk in freezers and coolers and all the necessary equipment. Ivor retired from the Company in 1976 and is busier than ever. They have cattle, chickens, pigs, turkeys, horses, you name it! His latest venture is breeding Scotish Highland long haired, long horned cattle. They also have a garden to tend and farm machinery to repair but they are never too busy to stop for a chat with friends.

Twitter Facebook Google+


Banner Ad