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Kimberley Families

The Wilson Family
as told by son, Tom

Thomas James Wilson was a blacksmith by trade, born and educated in Durham, England. He was married with two children when depression years forced him to seek employment elsewhere. His wife's sister encouraged them to come to Kimberley where work on the new concentrator that was being built seemed plentiful. He came in the early spring of 1923. In September his wife and son, Tom, and daughter, Edith, arrived. They lived in a two room shack at Taylor's Mill, later moving to a three-room, tarpaper-covered shack at Chapman Camp. Water had to be carried from a stand pipe near the cookhouse. This situation led to a job for young Tom. He would deliver two buckets of water a day, with an extra one on wash day, for fifty cents a week. The buckets were empty twenty-five pound lard pails. He did this in a small wagon purchased from Eaton's catalogue. The next year the Company installed water mains and each dwelling had running water, therefore doing Tom out of his job. He also delivered Calgary Herald papers.

As there was no school in Chapman Camp at that time they had to walk up the railroad tracks to the school in Kimberley. In Winter they would climb up the steep snow banks when they heard a train coming. Tom had his elementary schooling in England and one year of high school in Kimberley. As there was no way to get the higher grades in Kimberley as yet, Tom went to work as a telegraph boy for the C.P.R. He rode an old second-hand bicycle that kept falling apart and needed many repairs. Mr. Schumel was Station Master and lived upstairs in the station. Bill Anderson was the telegraph operator. Tom remembers Bill Green who took charge of the Company supplies that arrived by freight, and a Frenchman that took care of delivering the express in a one-horse sleigh in Winter. There were very few phones at that time so all the messages had to be delivered on foot or bicycle. Others who worked at the Station after Mr. Schumel left were Mr. Swanson, Frank Smith, the Station Agent, Morris Anderson and Hank Godderis. Bea and Helen Edmonds were stenographers.

Tom Wilson

Some of the other jobs Tom did were cleaning the lamp chimneys, filling the lamps with coal oil (as there was no electricity as yet), and attending to the pot bellied stove.

Tom's first job with the Company was beaker boy in the Assay office at the Concentrator. This entailed washing out the testing utensils. The office was upstairs above the ground offices, and he once broke a gallon-jug of liquid ammonia that caused an immediate evacuation of all offices in the building.

He entered the Carpenter shop as an apprentice at $1.00 a day and worked up to super- visor in the Central Carpenter shop. When Syd Smith retired, Tom became the building inspector for the Company.

Before amalgamation with Kimberley, Tom was Reeve for the Village of Chapman Camp. He was a charter member of the Sullivan Credit Union. He played trombone and saxophone in the Kimberley Band and the Paramount Orchestra.

Tom married a Cranbrook girl, Margaret Carpenter, in 1938, she was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jim Mann.

They have three daughters, Myra, married with two children, a boy and a girl. She and her family reside in Port Coquitlam. Ruth married Dave Carlson, an electrical instrument mechanic for the Company. They still reside in Kimberley with their three sons. Joanne was a psychiatric nurse, now married with one son and one daughter. They recently moved to Calgary from Castlegar.

Tom's sister Edith married Dick Honeyman of Kimberley. Their son, Robert, is a machinist for the Company and married Betty Duivenvoorden. Their daughter, Linda, married Dick Rice and they have one daughter and one son and are now living in Vancouver.

Tom retired in 1976 after forty-three years with the Company. He and Margaret have moved to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.

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