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Kimberley Families

The Richardson Family

as told by son Albert

Robert (Bob) Richardson was born in Durham, England in 1881. He was apprenticed in his father's bookbinding and printing business. At nineteen years of age he decided that this work was not for him and he came to Canada in 1900, first working on railroad construction out of Winnipeg and then Calgary.

Bob had learned the art of conjuring as a hob-by in his youth and now was able to make it a full time profession. Entertainment was scarce in the West in those days, so he formed his own show and played small towns and camps around Calgary. In 1902 his bookings took him through the Crows Nest Pass where he played in Fernie, Cranbrook. and Nelson. At Nelson his advance agent had gone on a bender so he had no more bookings. Fortunately the Pringle Opera Company, an American show that put on one act plays hired him to fill out their show. He travelled with them across the prairies and into the States to Canton, South Dakota. There the show broke up and Bob went to work for George Henderson who operated a flour mill.

Henderson talked to him about a place in British Columbia where he wanted to build a dam, start a power plant and mine the gold out of a canyon to help pay for the project. The place was Bull River and in 1904 the project was started. Bob brought six teams of heavy draught horses for constructing the grade for the flume to the Bull River Power Plant.

Bob loved the country and his next venture was to team up with A.B. Fenwick in guiding and big game hunting. One of his hunters was a Mr. Peckham, an eccentric New York Lawyer: after whom Peckham's Lake is named.

Albert Richardson.

Bob made Fort Steele his headquarters and it was there in 1909 he married Jeanne Kelly who had recently arrived from Scotland. Jeanne Kelly's father, Michael Kelly came out to the Klondike in 1898 and made his way over the Chilkoot Pass to the gold fields on the Yukon. He later worked at the North Star Mine in Kimberley before joining his brother Jack Kelly at Fort Steele where they took up farming. His family joined him there in 1908.

In 1913 the British Columbia Game Depart-ment was formed and Bob Richardson became the Game Warden at Fort Steele, however, in the early days when the government changed the civil servants were also changed. The McBride government was defeated in 1916 and Bob with other game wardens lost their jobs.

About this time farming in Saskatchewan looked promising, so, Bob and his family left B. C., but after two years of crop failures they returned to Fort Steele.

By 1921 Kimberley was starting to grow and he went there with a team of horses to look for a job. For two summers he worked for Henry Pearson, hauling ties and clearing the land for the building of the McDougall Townsite. During the winters he hauled fire wood at the Top Mine and stayed in a log cabin with Jay Usher, Tommy Main and Charlie Selby. In 1925 he started work with the Company as a carpenters helper and worked on the construction of Warren Hall at the Top Mine and building houses on McDougall Townsite.

In 1927, Bob and Jack Hart packed supplies to the Estella Mine with horses. He then went prospecting for the Company with N.A. Wallinger during the summers and working in the warehouse in the winter. From 1921 to his retirement in 1946 he worked in the Mine Warehouse.

Following his retirement, he was appointed Judge of the Juvenile Court and Police Magistrate in Kimberley. He served in this position until poor health forced him to resign. Robert (Bob) Richardson passed away in January 1952.

There were three children in the Richardson family; Albert, Doria and Florence. Doria married Jack Bryant, a member of another pioneer Kimberley family. She worked for many years as a bookkeeper for Tony Muraca. Doria and Jack have five children. Florence left Kimberley after finishing high school and made her way in the business world, she now resides in Vernon, B. C.

Albert, who is better known as "Hap" grew up in Fort Steele and attended high shool in Cranbrook. Following graduation he worked for one summer on a road crew and in 1928 he started work with the Company on diamond drill roads up the Mark Creek. FOllowing this he spent two years on field work prospecting for the Company on the upper Findlay Creek. Later he worked on such jobs as the Labour gang, Track gang, Rock House and the Cookhouse. He attended Univesity for one year in 1931-1932 and entered the Company Accounting Department.

From 1942 to 1945 Albert served in the R.C.A.F. as a navigator in the Bomber Command and returned from the war with a D.F.C.

After his discharge from the Air Force he returned to Kimberley and joined the Mine Engineering Department and worked there until his retirement in 1972.

Before the war Albert was an active member in the Kimberley Rod and Gun Club for many years. Following the war he turned his attention to the Royal Canadian Legion, serving over twenty years on the Executive, including five years as President.

In 1946 Albert married Jo Moore, a nurse in the Kimberley Hospital. They have three children; Robbie, Anne and Alan. Robbie is an engineer in Regina. Their daughter Anne, now Mrs. Malo works for the Finning Tractor Company at Williams Lake, B.C. Alan worked for Pat Oakley for several years and is now a third generation of Richardson's working for the Company at the Mine. He married Amanda Patterson from St. Marys Lake.

Albert and Jo now live on what, at one time, was the Lascelle's property on Columbia Lake. A parcel of land that has a history of it's own.

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