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Kimberley Families

The Nagle Family

as told by Ted

Ted Nagle's grandfather, Joseph Nagle, and his grandmother came from Ireland to Canada in 1848 and settled in St. Hyacinthe, Quebec. Their son Edmund was born there in 1851 and after completing his education at St. Stephens College in Montreal, he took up farming and milling.

In 1873 he and his three brothers went to Win-nipeg, Edmund (Ed) continued on to Calgary and then to Edmonton in 1883. Here he met James Hislop and they formed a partnership and went north on a fur trading expedition in 1887. They purchased a large quantity of furs and the next year they made another trip and established a post at Fort Chipewyan on Lake Athabasca. Ed Nagle and his partner established a chain of twenty-one fur trading posts along the McKenzie River from Athabaska Landing to the delta of the McKenzie River. They operated three steamboats and owned two sawmills to provide lumber for building scows and contracting.

Ed Nagle was married to Eva Klapstein in Edmonton in September 1894 by the famous Father LaCombe. They had five children, Geraldine, Barry and Theresa were born at Fort Resolution, Ted at Hay River and Louise at Penticton.

The family were living at Fort Resolution when Mrs. Nagle was expecting Ted. Not feeling well, she decided to get a little closer to civilization and travelled to Hay River by dog team, a distance of one hundred and fifty miles. Ted was born there in 1898 in the home of the Reverend March, the Anglican minister there at that time. Ed spent one year at Fort Rae, 1903-04. The family left for Edmonton in September 1904 and lived there until 1912 when they moved to Penticton.

Many miners travelling to the Klondike Gold rush took the McKenzie route to the Yukon and it was inevitable that the resourses of Pine Point would be discovered. Edmund Nagle staked eight claims in 1898, but when it was discovered that the ore only contained minute quantities of gold and silver, the claims were allowed to lapse. It would be almost thirty years later that his son, Ted, would stake claims at Pine Point for the Company in 1927.

Ted lived an extraordinary life and no doubt his early years would fill a book by itself, however, our story concerns Kimberley. In order to understand the association between Ted and the Company, one must realize how the extent of his work in the north has influenced operations in Kimberley.

Ted studied mining engineering at U.B.C. in Vancouver and worked on several engineering projects in the Okanagan area. He was working in Penticton when he was asked to come to Kimberley to play hockey. He arrived in 1922 and joined the staff of the Company engineering department. In 1926 he was sent north on exploration for the Company, his years on this work would also fill a book, but to summarize his work here in a few sentences, he was responsible for the staking of the claims at Pine Point, Yellowknife and Great Bear Lake. Need we say more? Pine Point ore is extremely high grade and if Ted had been a dishonest man, he might be a very wealthy man today.

Harry Parsons and Ted Nagle.

In 1929, the Company started using aircraft for mineral exploration in the north. During the winter when the temperature dropped to forty or more below zero, it would take hours to start the motor. The engine would be covered with a tarp and pots of hot coals placed underneath to warm it up and the oil would be drained out and heated up and poured back in.

Running short of grub on one occasion, Ted snowshoed one hundred and forty-five miles for supplies. He recalls spending a winter in the north, when they were visited by some Indians with their dog teams. They had been living on nothing but caribou meat for some time and were not in good physical condition. Ted and his partner had a stock of frozen fish in a snow bank and told the Indians to help themselves. Ted wishes he had had a camera to record the action that followed. Squaws, kids and dogs all fighting for a share. If a dog went to grab a fish from somebody, it was promptly bashed on the head with a frozen fish, the yelping and yelling was something to be remembered.

When Ted returned to Kimberley, Mr. Archibald, the Superintendent of Explorations, came over to see him. He voiced his disappointment in not acquiring the Pine Point claims and asked why hadn't something been done about getting them. Ted quietly informed him that Pine Point had indeed been staked and were owned by the Company. Ted's next job was in Kimberley. For years the ore from the Sullivan Mine was hauled out on the 3900 level tunnel, crushed in the Rockhouse and transported to the Concentrator by the C.P.R. Ted suggested to his superior, Mr. Pat Stewart, that an underground crushing plant and a tunnel at the 3700 foot level could connect the Mine and the Concentrator with an electric railway. Mr. Stewart took the idea to Trail and plans were initiated to con-struct such a haulage system.

However, this was not as easy as it looked. The contractors that the Company hired to drive the Tunnel, fell short on their footage and the project was not progressing satisfactorily.

Ted was put in charge of the project and the first thing he did was to close down the operation for a month to overhaul the equipment and revamp the approach to the problems. Ted put in a bid for driving the Tunnel but was under-bid by one dollar per foot in rock and one dollar and fifty cents in timber, by another contracting com-pany. Never-the-less, they used Ted's ideas which enabled the miners to drill, load the ex-plosives and blast in fifty-five minutes, covering a distance of forty-four feet a day. Some of the miners were: Jim Shannon, Earl Coulter, Red Foster and Bud Hart. The project took about two years to complete, but the savings in time and labor have made it very worthwhile.

Another of Ted's ideas was the swimming pool at McDougall Hall on the Townsite. He was the president of the committee, the other members were: Fred Waldie, J. W. Bell, J. McLay, J. Giegerich and Brock Montgomery. About the same time, a group of men in Chapman Camp started a similar project to build a swimming pool there. They were: Cliff Oughtred, Bill Poole, Norman Burdett and Bert Banks.

Ted related an amusing incident when the water line from the Mine to the Mill was being installed. A section of the ditch was being dug by Gus Soderholm and Herb Richmond, with pick and shovel. They got thirsty one day and knocked on the door of a house nearby, but the woman that came to the door pulled a pistol on them and sent them scurrying back to the ditch. Gus was a big strong man and this made him angry, so at the end of the shift, he picked up the biggest rock he could carry, walked up on the veranda and heaved it through her front window, glass and all.

Winifred Glaister was born in Chemainus, on Vancouver Island. She trained for a nurse in Kamloops and came to Kimberley to nurse in 1926 in the old hospital where Miss Milburn was the matron.

Ted and Winifred were married in 1934 and have two sons, Barry and Geoff. They both went to school in Kimberley and then went on to U.B.C. at Vancouver, to complete their education.

Barry is married and they have two boys and a girl, he is the principal of the school at Nicholson, B.C. near Golden. Geoff is also married and they have a boy and a girl, he is the principal of the Parson school. Both families live in Golden.

In 1978 the Company gave Ted an all expense paid trip to Pine Point and Hay River in recognition of Ted and his father's contributions to mining and exploration in the north country.

Geraldine and Barry did not come to Kimberley and Louise has just recently moved here.

Theresa (Tess) became a teacher and first taught in Penticton. She played a lot of basketball where she met George Felker, another basketball player. They were married in 1932. George was in charge of a fruit packing company at the time.

In 1938, they moved to Kimberley and George went to work at the Concentrator and later transferred to the warehouse at the Mine. He became chief store keeper there until he retired in 1966. George passed away in 1973. He was very interested in sports and was the Secretary-Treasurer for the Dynamiter Hockey Team for many years. He was on the executive of the Curling club and an active member of the Lions Club.

Tess had returned to teaching and taught at both the Watkins School and the Lindsay Park School for twenty years. They had two children, Frances (Frankie) and Peter. Frankie was born in Penticton and Peter in Kimberley, where they both received their schooling until they attended U.B.C. Frankie also became a teacher and taught in Vancouver for ten years, and in Marysville and Blarchmont Schools for four years. She married Gerald Kimpton and they reside in Windermere where she still teaches. They have one adopted son, Johnny. Peter studied mining engineering, then he too took teacher training at the Alberta University in Edmonton. He married Christine McNeill, another teacher and they live in Standard, Alberta. They have one son, Geoffrey.

Tess can recall many stories her mother related to her about life in the north at the turn of the century. One such story was the annual New Year's Celebrations that the Indians looked forward to so eagerly. She would make a wash boiler full of tea and a barrel full of cookies to serve them.

Tess classes her mother as a real pioneer, living in Fort Resolution where three of her children were born, including Tess.

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