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Kimberley Families

The Taylor Family

as told by Hugh's daughter, Edna

In many of the personal histories recorded in this book, the Taylor Millsite is often mentioned.

The sawmill was believed to be started, first by a man named Gaskell. It was later called the Kimberley Finishing and Suppling Co. It must have been owned by Prest Lewis for a short time.

Five Taylor brothers, Simon, Jim, Bob, Alex and Hugh, came out together from Arnprior, Ontario, as timber cruisers, in 1898. Hugh Taylor returned east to Halifax in 1902for the purpose of joining troops headed for the Boer War, only to have peace declared before he left Canada. He returned to join his brothers and they purchased the sawmill from Prest Lewis, sometime around 1906.

They had evaluated the timber in this area and logging began on the North Star Hill around the mine. Simon was the Manager. Hugh and Bob were bush foremen. A. A. Watkins, Louis Herchimer, John Horman and Ben Keer all worked at the sawmill for a time along with a number of East Indian Hindus who were hired to pile lumber. Edna remembers very well one of the Hindus, Sher Singh, who was sixty-five years old when he sent back to India for his bride of thirteen. One other man that was a blacksmith that came out with the Taylors, was George Kennedy, whose daughter, Jessie, taught school here and married Bill Lindsay. George was the Blacksmith at the mill. Their horses were pastured on what is now McDougall Townsite.

The road down from the North Star, was steep and winding. In winter the sleighs would actually push the horses down the steep grades, but the horses were wise enough to sit down with all four feet braced to act as brakes. The pond where they dumped the logs is now a shallow slough, but was about twenty-five feet deep at that time.

Hugh, the youngest of the Taylor brothers, did not marry until he was thirty-six and his bride was twenty-eight. Pauline Cottle had come from Truro, Nova Scotia, to visit her sister Maude, Mrs. Prest Lewis. She was a teacher and had slowly worked her way west by teaching one year in a different province. They wanted a teacher for the North Star School that had been closed down since 1903. Three of Anton Eimar's children were among the pupils that attended.

Hugh and Pauline were married in 1912.They had to drive to Cranbrook to be married, in a horse drawn buggy that took almost all day. They lived at the Mill Site. Simon, the Manager, lived in the largest house. Pauline went home to Nova Scotia in 1913 where Edna was born prematurely. She remained five months until the infant was strong enough to travel, but the change in climate set the baby back and it was feared for awhile that she would not live.

Burner at Taylor's Mill

In 1915, there was a shortage of men to work in the mill. Many were going to war and others could make fifty cents a day more by working at the Mine. So the mill in Kimberley closed down and the Taylors split up. Simon and Hugh moved the mill to Wasa. Bob and Jim moved into Cranbrook and Alex went back east to farm. The cookhouse and offices were then remodelled and occupied by families moving in and the existing houses were also used while still more homes were being built on the site, now referred to as Taylors Mill or Taylors Pond.

A daughter Erma, and a sister for Edna, was born while they lived at Wasa. Edna married a Cranbrook boy, Jimmie Dixon. His father, Bob Dixon was a carpenter and came to Cranbrook in 1905. He built many of the C.P.R. Stations in the area before going into business for himself. Jimmie started working for the Company at Trail in 1940 and came back to Kimberley in 1941.

Edna and Erma took hairdressing courses and opened a shop in Kimberley in 1934, for one year. Edna then took a nurses aid course and worked in the Kimberley Hospital for over twenty years. Edna and Jimmie have three children, Derrel and Carole born in Cranbrook and Jimmie Jr. was born in Kimberley. Jimmie Sr. was a timberman in the mine and was timberboss when he retired in 1977.

Edna attended summer school at V.B.C. in 1975 and took a course in how to operate a playschool. She drove back and forth to Cranbrook for three years, then in the Spring of 1978, they moved to a new home in Cranbrook. Their basement and back yard have been remodelled and equipped to accommodate about twenty preschoolers, whose mothers work all day.

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