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Kimberley Families

The Herb McClure Family

as told by Marjean

Herbert (Herb) McClure was born near Brampton, Ontario, and married Marion Black of Seaforth, Ontario, in 1905.

They moved west to an irrigated farm near Lethbridge where a son Stewart was born. Having come from a fruit-farming district, he heard of land for sale near Cranbrook and moved to property near New Lake in 1908. This proved most unsuccessful, so he bought land just north of Wycliffe in 1912 and began a dairy farm.

He brought in a car load of holstein cows and, over the years, built up an excellent dairy herd. The business was known as Mountain View Dairy. During war time, the delivery of milk into Cranbrook, ten miles away, by horse and wagon, is referred to by Marjean as the nightmare years.

When the Company in Kimberley began building the Concentrator in 1922, it had a contract with Herb McClure to supply the cookhouse with milk. It was hauled to Wycliffe in eight gallon cans, in time to catch the eight o'clock train in the morning. His three children, Stewart, Marjean and Helen, all attended Wycliffe school.

The Company was pleased with the quality of milk, but questioned Herb on why he didn't fill the cans. His reply was that all cans were filled to the brim when they left home. An investigation proved the trainmen were enjoying rich cream by the quart. From then on, all lids had to be wired down.

Chapman Camp at that time was little more than a tent town, but milk was also distributed to the residents and the business grew to include Kimberley. Chatson's Confectionery and all the Cafes were supplied with ice cream, made with real cream.

Stewart McClure and Al Cushing took over the delivery. Later, in 1943, when the Government insisted that all milk be pasteurized, Stewart and his father built the first pasteurizing plant in Kimberley, located in Lower Blarchmont, on the corner of Warren Avenue and Ritchie Street. All milk from the surrounding area was processed there and it was called the City Milk Distributors. This was purchased by Tom Ralph and, later, by Walter Pighin.

Earlier, Stewart had started working for the Company on transportation, but took over the milk delivery when the business grew. After it was sold, he drove taxi for a short time, then got a job with the School Board as bus driver and Custodian for eighteen years. He was one of the organizers of C.U.P.E.

Stewart married Grace Willa Pritchard of Cranbrook and they had two children, Valory and Colby. Colby attended the University of Edmonton and married an Edmonton girl. They live in Sparwood, where he is a heavy duty equipment mechanic for Kaiser Resources. Valory worked for the Company as a computer operator before her marriage to Lloyd Findlay. They have three sons, Bradley, Bart and Steven. Lloyd is a miner for the Company.

Stewart's hobby was photography and for a number of years he was a freelance photographer for the Daily Bulletin and Willa did much of the developing of the pictures. He was an active member of the East Kootenay Historical Society. He also enjoyed working in wood and made several beautifully-inlayed coffee tables, using his own designs. He passed away in 1975. Willa still resides in her home in Marysville near her daughter Valory and family.

Marjean attended the University of Manitoba and taught Home Economics, first at Langley, then Fernie, Trail and finally in Kimberley. During the war, she entered the service in the R.C.A.F. Women's Division in the photography section. Following the war, she was the Post Mistress in Marysville for several years. She married a widower, John Noble in 1954 and returned to teaching again in 1965. John died in 1975.

Helen attended Normal school in Victoria. Her first school was up the Windermere Valley at Harrogate, then at Ta Ta Creek and in 1932 she began teaching in Kimberley for the next thirteen years. She was riding horseback on the farm one evening, bringing in the cows, when her horse stumbled in a gopher hole and her neck was broken. This was in June of 1945.

In 1946, the McClures sold the farm and moved into Marysville where Herb continued to have a nice garden. Herb and Marion celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary in 1955. Herb passed away in 1956 and Marion in 1961.

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