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Kimberley Families

The Roskilly Family
as told by daughter Doreen

When Mrs. Roskilly arrived at the Top Mine in March of 1927it was night and she couldn't see the conditions too clearly, but next morning when she had a chance to look around, the snow was still covering the window outside. Her husband, Dick, had already left for work in the Mine where she couldn't reach him to tell him, "Don't have the trunks sent up, I'm not staying! "

Dick had come from Cornwall, England, in 1920 to work in the mine at Hedley. When it closed in 1921,he came to Kimberley, working at the Top Mine and staying in the bunkhouse for six years before coaxing his family to join him.

When Edith Roskilly arrived in Cranbrook, by train, with her two children, Doreen and William (Bill), they came to the Top Mine in Sammy Luciano's taxi. The snow in Cranbrook was sloppy and they had no rubbers. With wet feet and no heaters in cars in those days, they were nearly frozen when they arrived at the little three-roomed shack after dark. There was a wooden floor, a coal oil lamp and a huge kitchen range for heat. The bathroom facilities was an outhouse at the end of the backyard, down a path with snowbanks on each side.

Regardless of her threat to leave, Edith stayed. After a year they were able to move into Freddie Caires' house as he was moving to a newly built one on the McDougall Townsite. Freddie's house was larger and boasted one of the few bathtubs and indoor toilets.

The Company built a lean-to addition on to this home to accommodate a small Post Office, where young Doreen, now sixteen, helped her mother with the mail, and selling money orders and stamps. This way the miners could get their mail daily and it saved the long trip into town. The little Post Office did more business than the one in town for awhile. Bill Philpot would bring up the mail at 10:00 A.M. each morning and everyone stood around while it was being sorted.

Doreen recalls the good times they had in those days. The families would get together and make their own entertainment. Home brew parties were enjoyed and the dances in Warren Hall were a lot of fun. In winter, bob sleighing and an occasional ride on a Swede Chair were thrilling events. Doreen remembers a Mr. Thor that had one of these chairs. He had white hair and a white beard.

When the Top Mine closed down and everyone had to move into town, the Roskilly family lived in a house on the Townsite.

S. O'Brien and R. Roskilly

Dick retired in 1950 after working as a miner for 29 years. He was shift boss before he retired. He passed away in 1956. Dick worked in the same section of the Mine all those years and in those early days, wheelbarrows were used to transport ore into the chutes. He lived to see many changes in mining and safety conditions were much improved.

Dick was an ardent sports enthusiast, having played football and cricket in England. He was one of the first to organize soccer in Kimberley and could remember some of the games played between Top Mine, Tunnel and Concentrator teams. The spectators were more enthusiastic than the players and some games ended in a free-for-all. Some of the players were: Jasper Wolverton, Donny McLean, Jack Bell, Tommy Hotchkiss, George Scott, Bill Jones, J. McFarlane, Sud Smith and many others.

Doreen married Bill Jones. Their son Garfield has grown up in Kimberley and is now a Maintenance Supervisor for the Company. He married Karen Jensen, a Saskatchewan girl. They have two children: Brian is an apprentice in the Carpenter Shop in Elkford, and daughter, Janice, is still in school.

Doreen's brother, Bill, started working for the Company at age eighteen and recently retired after forty years service. He married Rena Mason, a surgical nurse. They have three daughters: Vicky married to Brent Redding, President of Reddings Furniture Store in Kimberley and she is their bookkeeper. Gail married Kevin (Gus) Seaton, a Kimberley City fireman. Shirley lives at Pine Point, another Company property, and is married to Keith Durston.

Until Edith Roskilly's death in 1977, there were four generations of the family in Kimberley for many years.

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