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Kimberley Families

The Russell Family
as told by Jimmie and Myrtle

James Russell came to Canada from Scotland in 1924, having been born near Glasgow. He arrived in Cranbrook, but finding no work he went to Vernon, B.C., and his first job in Canada was driving a hearse.

He worked in Moyie for a short time on maintenance, helping to install machinery under supervisor George McKay. He had applied for work at the Concentrator in Kimberley, so when there was an opening in 1925 he came here. Jimmie worked at the Concentrator until his retirement; he became the supervisor in the Machine Shop in the mid 1930's, following John McGowan.

Jimmie was one of the early members of the Kimberley Pipe Band and also sang in the Orpheus Choir. Another member of this choir was Myrtle Garden. On June 6,1934, Jimmie and Myrtle were married. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Garden, who came to Kimberley in 1906. Her brother, Murray, is a well-known businessman in Kimberley, now retired.

Jimmie played soccer for the Concentrator team until he injured a knee. Other members of the team were Jack and Chris Evans, Alex McDonald, Walter Holdsworth, Dick Dickenson, Billy Crane and Leslie Sales.

Jimmie and Myrtle have three children: Lorne, Eleanor and John. All three received their education in Kimberley and after graduation they attended the University of B.C. and did not get back to live in Kimberley. Lorne is now a Regional Biologist in the Peace River District. He is married and has two daughters. Eleanor is married and living in White Rock and they have one son and one daughter. John lives on Barnston Island and works for the Alcohol and Drug Commission in Vancouver. He is married with three daughters.

The Russells recall the fire in the Chapman Camp school, the building was completely gutted. All children were marched over to the Ought red Hall about eleven A.M. where classes were carried on until the school was restored some months later.

Another recollection was the polio epidemic in 1952, which was centered in Chapman Camp. Their son Lorne was helping his father put in a cement sidewalk at their home when he suddenly collapsed. Naturally they feared he had polio. It turned out to be emotional strain after hearing about the polio victims he knew.

Jimmie's hobbies were mountain climbing, hiking and snowshoeing. He and his partner, Sep Gaskill, would often meet Grennie Musser on the trails around Kimberley.

In the fall of 1976,the Russells moved to White Rock to be near their daughter and son John, and where they could visit with their grandchildren often.

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