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Kimberley Families

The Edgar Gordon Montgomery Family
as told by daughter, Eileen

Mr. E. G. Montgomery was born in New Richmond, Quebec, in 1885. He later attended the Montreal High School and graduated from McGill University, as a Mining Engineer, in 1908.

He married a May Lauril, of Quebec, and then accepted a position with the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Co. in Rossland, B.C. On June 17th, 1913, their daughter Eileen, was born.

Rossland at this time was a very small town with a population of about 300 people, but the Montgomery's had many wonderful friends, both among the local merchants and people in the Company.

In late 1918, Mr. Montgomery (Monty), was transferred to Kimberley as Superintendent of Mining Operations. At this time, Kimberley had a population of about 400 people and life was relatively primative. Wooden sidewalks, no elec- tic lights, and coal-oil lamps were very much the order of the day. No one then realized the poten- tial of the Sullivan Mine, which later proved to have a rich deposit of zinc and lead and eventual- ly turned out to be a source of many other minerals and fertilizer ingredients. The only con- tact with the outside world was by a daily train or by a dirt road to Cranbrook.

The ore from the Mine was extracted under very rough conditions. It was shipped by rail cars to Cranbrook and then to Trail for smelting. Mr. Montgomery was largely responsible for many improvements in mining procedures. A strike by the miners in 1919 interrupted progress, but after months of bargaining, things were settled and normal conditions resumed.

Later, a Concentrator was built just south of Kimberley and then a Fertilizer Operation near Marysville, about 3 miles south, was added. Mr. Montgomery's associates at this time provided a lot of local color: Buck Buchanan, W. M. Archibald and Mr. Blaylock, who was then Presi- dent of the Company. A visit by Prince George and the Prince of Wales to Kimberley, and a tour of the Mine, was a social highlight for all.

Because of the obvious richness of the mining property, many young engineers were attracted to Kimberley, and a lot of parties and a lot of fun was had at the "Staff House".

Edgar E.G. Montgomery

Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery lived in one of the houses provided by the Company, as did Mr. and Mrs. Burdett, Mr. and Mrs. Fortier and Mr. and Mrs. William Lindsay, (Bill Lindsay was then the Mine foreman). Mr. and Mrs. E. S. Shannon (he was the local Bank Manager) were also close friends of the Montgomery's.

As there was only one hotel of doubtful com- fort, the Montgomerys had may house guests, and their home became the centre for many weekend parties and suppers, especially for the young engineers, teachers and nurses. Mrs. Montgomery was always a charming hostess and had the welcome mat out for lonesome strangers. Her Sunday parties were particular- ly happy occasions.

In Kimberley at this time there were a few "characters". "Blind" Morrison who could tell a $1 bill from a $2 bill, even though blind; "Dick" Burke, who operated the local beer parlor and on the side was the local undertaker; Dr. Hannington and later Dr. Davis and Dr. Haszard who did their best to keep everyone healthy; Miss Millburn, the wonderful nurse and Matron who kept the local hospital going.

Mr. Montgomery was one of the moving forces in the construction of the nine hole golf course near Marysville. There were sand greens and fairways of dubiuous quality, but it was a centre of great activity and a wonderful source of relaxation for all. Within a short walk were the Marysville Falls where many picnics were held by the families of the communities.

Mr. Montgomery was also a driving force behind the local hockey team, the Kimberley Dynamiters, who went on to achieve great success and may victories.

Mr. Montgomery was later transferred to Montreal to be in charge of the Eastern interests of the Company. Subsequently he was retired, and remained in Montreal, and, after a short illness, he died in 1964. Mrs. Montgomery continued to live in Montreal until her death in 1975.

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