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Kimberley Families

The Stuart Family

as told by son, George

George Stuart was thirteen years old when his father, Harry, decided to move the family from Manchester, England, to Kimberley, B.C., in 1924. His aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Bell, were living there and encouraged them to come. His father was a carpenter and iron molder by trade.

George remembers the long train trip across Canada to Cranbrook, with his parents and younger sister, Elsie. They came up to Kimberley on Mrs. Brown's seven passenger bus for the twenty mile ride on the rough road to his aunt's place at Taylor's Mill. A short time later they moved into a two room shack, banked high with sawdust for insulation. Water was carried from the creek in four-gallon coal oil cans as there were no modern facilities in those days. George cut fire wood one winter back of the pond, helping a man named Harry Radky.

In 1925, the family moved to a larger house in Marysville and a son, Donny, was born while they lived there. Harry had been employed by the Company as a miner for a year and a half by this time. George did not attend school in Kimberley as boys of fourteen in England usual-ly quit at that age. His first job was beaker boy in the assay office at the Concentrator, taking Cliff Blayney's place when he was away. His next job was working at the Company dairy in Marysville, milking or herding cows, plus the many other chores on a dairy farm. He also cut logs for George Ellis with Herb Roberts, directly across the river from Marysville.

Harry Stuart had taken up boxing in the Navy, so he and Alf Wolstenholme began training a few boys, including Donny Lemmon and young George. They started a small club in a shack in Marysville and this developed into his profession for a number of years. George recalls part of his training was jogging to Wycliffe and back up the river bank, then up to Kimberley and back.

George appeared on many boxing cards in Trail and Spokane and in 1933 he won the Light-weight Championship of the Western Provinces by beating Angus Morrison in Coleman. He went to Vancouver for awhile and then spent a year boxing in England. He even toured around with a carnival for a couple of months over there. On his return he went to Trail. This was during the depression and when he found himself out of work he hopped a freight to Cranbrook and walked the sixteen miles home to Marysville, in the middle of the night. He had hidden his few remaing dollars in his shoe while riding the rails and this caused a huge blister by the time he got home.

George started with the Company in the boiler shop at the Concentrator and worked up to being a welder. In 1940 he joined the Calgary Highlanders and went overseas. He was wounded in France when a bullet went through his body high on his left chest, luckily missing any vital organs. He was sent back to England where, after recuperating, he became an instructor. He was discharged in 1945.

In 1949, George married Verda Griffith from Lloydminster, Alberta. He met her when she was visiting Vi Caldwell in 1948. They had no children.

Elsie was a hairdresser in Chapman Camp before her marriage to Stan Fisher, who was a machinist for the Company. They have one son, Grant, who is studying to be a pharmacist, and their daughter, Janet, is a teacher in Kelowna.

Donny was an apprentice in the carpenter shop at the Concentrator where he worked for six years. He married Jean Barnard, the daughter of Charlie Barnard. They have four children: two sons, Kenny and Alan, both working for the Company in Kimberley, and two daughters, Dale and Diane. Donny has moved to Brisco where he is employed.

When Harry first started with the Company, he worked at the Mine but was transferred to the Concentrator as a flotation operator. He later became a First Aid attendant. Mr. and Mrs. Stuart were holidaying in Salt Lake City, visiting friends, when Mrs. Stuart suddenly passed away in 1950. Harry died in 1956. George still remembers his first impression of this part of the country that was so vastly different from Manchester. However, he has become used to it and doesn't want to live anywhere else.

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