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Kimberley Families

The Skribe Family
as told by Anna Ekskog

Canada from Austria were August, Frank and John. August and his wife, Mary, came around 1910 to homestead on the prairies but moved to the Arrow Lakes for a time. John came in 1914 and Frank in 1924. John was a tool maker and Frank a blacksmith by trade.

John was the first one to come to Kimberley in 1922 where he got a job at the Top Mine. August arrived in 1923. John sent for his wife, Kate, and two daughters, Anna and Kate and his brother Frank. They arrived from Austria in 1924, in midwinter, to a small house at the Top Mine, referred to as the mining camp. Snow was halfway up the windows and John had used gunny sacks for curtains. If it had been possible to go back home, without experiencing the trials of seasickness on the boat and the long train trip across a snow covered continent, with no knowledge of the language, they would have done it. Anna was eleven and young Kate ten years old. When they got off the train in Cranbrook they came to Kimberley in MacLeod's jitney and Vinegar (Bill) Philpot drove them and their luggage up the long hill to the Top Mine in a Sleigh with a team of horses. John and Kate walked as there was no room on the sleigh. When they arrived, the Bennett family invited them in for their first real meal in days.

Because the girls knew no English, they both started school in grade one with Fred Martello as their teacher.

Frank and his wife, Mary, moved into Kimberley from the Top Mine to a new house on Walllnger Avenue, in 1926.They had no children. Frank worked for the Company until his retirement and remained in this house until his death in 1971. Mary still resides there.

August also worked for the Company until his retirement and then went back to his property on the Arrow Lakes where he almost became a hermit before his death in 1955.He and his wife had one adopted son, Otto, who also worked for the Company. Otto was a keen ski enthusiast and was one of the first local ski jumpers in Kimberley. He did a great deal toward promoting skiing in the area and helped build the ski jump in Lower Blarchmont. It was on this very jump that he shattered a bone in one leg, that caused him years of pain and trouble and eventually caused his death. He married Maxine Wiley and they had three children; Bill, Lorraine and Maureen. Bill is in Oshawa, Ontario and is married with three children. Lorraine is in Hawaii and Maureen is in the Southern States. Maxine has also moved to Hawaii.

Anna and Kate's father, John Skribe, died in 1934 and their mother in 1941. Kate married Walter Pighin in 1931, he was the son of Angus Pighin who operated the Dairy and Walter took over the Dairy when his father retired. They had two children, Clarence and Elaine before Kate died in 1942.

Anna married Walter Ekskog in 1931 and they had one daughter that died when only four years old. Their second daughter, Caroline married Kief Holmberg. Kief works as a dispatcher underground and they have two children, Eric and Janice. Eric is in his second year at U.B.C. studying to be an electrical engineer and he spends his summers working for the Company. Janice is still a student in Selkirk High School.

Walter Ekskog is now retired and he and Anna still remain in Kimberley.

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