Posts tagged #CPR

Abrahamson Family

John Abrahamson, Kootenay Mail, December 1904.

John Abrahamson, Kootenay Mail, December 1904.

Dates:

Charles A. Abrahamson: b. Dorsland, Sweden, 1856 d. 21 December 1911

Andrew Abrahamson: b. Dorsland, Sweden, 1850 d. 5 February 1931

Otto William Abrahamson: b. Dorsland, Sweden, 1865 d. 17 March 1955

Noah Abrahamson: b. Dorsland, Sweden, 1861 d. 23 April 1942

John Abrahamson: b. Dorsland, Sweden, 1854 d. 27 September 1933

Cemetery Location:

Charles A. Abrahamson: Block C, Row 12, Plot 30

Andrew Abrahamson: Block C, Row 12, Plot 29

Otto William Abrahamson: Block F, Row 9, Plot 19

John Albert Abrahamson: Block B, Row 14, Plot 32/33

Profile:

The Abrahamson brothers were born in Dorsland, Sweden, immigrating to the United States in 1880.  Two years later, the older brothers Andrew, John and Charles –stonecutters and bridge builders by trade – followed the Canadian Pacific Railway construction westward.

In Donald, British Columbia, the brothers established a hotel business, eventually moving to Revelstoke in 1885. Unable to pack their pool table (a big money earner in the hotel business) over Rogers Pass, it was shipped by boat down the Columbia River, to what began as a 40-foot tent hotel on Front Street.  By 1908, the Central Hotel had grown into a three-storey building with accommodation for over 100 guests, and was popular with commercial travellers.

In 1888, Otto, William and Noah Abrahamson arrived in Revelstoke via the United States to join their brothers, and together they laid out the town site of Trout Lake in 1891. Andrew and Noah remained in Trout Lake to run the Queens Hotel, while John and Charles managed the Central Hotel in Revelstoke. In 1918, the Central Hotel was purchased by Molson’s Bank, and in 1919 it was bought and demolished by A. Pradolini.

Otto Abrahamson was a contractor who built many well-known buildings in Revelstoke, including: the Queen Victoria Hospital on First Street in 1912; the Howson Block on Mackenzie Avenue in 1911; the brick high school on Third Street in 1914; the Selkirk Hotel on First and Orton Street (now part of the Regent Hotel); and the Agricultural Hall (now the Golf Club).

 J.R. Hull & Co. Meat Market and Abrahamson home, c.1900

 J.R. Hull & Co. Meat Market and Abrahamson home, c.1900

Agricultural Hall (now the Revelstoke Golf Club), 1914, built by O.W. Abrahamson.

Agricultural Hall (now the Revelstoke Golf Club), 1914, built by O.W. Abrahamson.

Central Hotel, Front Street, c.1910.

Central Hotel, Front Street, c.1910.

Charles Abrahamson headstone

Berarducci Family

Christie & Caterina Berarducci's wedding, 19 April 1925.

Christie & Caterina Berarducci's wedding, 19 April 1925.

Dates:

Anthony (Antonio) Berarducci: b. 1865 d. 16 Dec 1945

Filomena Berarducci: b. 16 March 1880 d. 18 September 1859

Christie Berarducci: b. 2 October 1899 d. 6 June 1989

Caterina Berarducci: b. 20 April 1906 d. 19 January 1992

Cemetery Location:

Anthony Berarducci: Block J, Row 18, Plot 28

Filomena Berarducci: Block J, Row 18, Plot 29

Christie Berarducci: Block H, Row 10, Plot 13

Caterina Berarducci: Block H, Row 10, Plot 14

Profile:

The first of the Berarducci family to come to Revelstoke were Mr. and Mrs. Antonio Berarducci, who arrived from Italy in 1898. Antonio worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway and they had seven boys and three girls; all born in Revelstoke.

Their eldest son, Christie, joined the CPR in 1918 and married Caterina Bafaro on 19 April 1925. They made their home on Downie Street and raised a family of six children.

Caterina Berarducci and her daughter, Filomena Devlin, recalled the wonderful, annual picnics hosted by the Italian Lodge on the J. Ferro property, with free ice-cream and pop for the kids, and free wine and beer for the adults. Filomena also remembered horse-drawn sleigh rides in the winter and Easter Sunday walks down the south track to welcome spring.

For a time, Caterina helped many new immigrants settle into Revelstoke. She would accompany them to the hospital or doctors to help with translation.

Christy retired from the CPR in 1964 after 46 years of service.

Bourne Family

Bourne family home, Sixth Street East.

Bourne family home, Sixth Street East.

Dates:

Henry Josiah Bourne: b. Rainham, UK, 1861 d. March 1905

Frank Herbert Bourne: b London, 1862 d. Vancouver, 1958

Edwards James Bourne: b. London, 1865 d. 23 September 1938

Cemetery Location:

Henry Josiah Bourne: Block C, Row 3, Plot 33

Frank Herbert Bourne: Block C, Row 3, Plot 32

Edward James Bourne: Block C, Row 3, Plot 31

Family memorial at Cemetery:  Red polished granite

Profiles:

Originating from England, the Bourne brothers were a pioneering merchant family who established their retail business in Revelstoke in the late 1900s.

The eldest Bourne brother, Henry Josiah Bourne, became postmaster for Upper Town in 1891 and Justice of the Peace in 1892.  He married Ella Miller in September 1895 and died in March 1905, after a long battle with lung disease.

Edward James Bourne moved to Revelstoke in 1890, where he was accountant for Bourne Bros. and managed the men’s furnishings department. He retired in 1938 and died 23 September 1938. 

The fourth brother, John Dupre Bourne, was storekeeper with CPR when he settled in Revelstoke around 1904, but moved to Vancouver around 1907. He died in August 1927, leaving behind a wife and six children.

The first Bourne Bros. store was in the 100 Block east on Victoria Road, followed by a large frame building constructed on the north side of the railway. In addition to groceries, general provisions, gents’ furnishings and hardware, the building also housed the Upper Town post office, which was opened in 1891.

In January 1901, Bourne Bros. sold their dry goods and clothing business to Reid and Young to concentrate on their growing grocery and hardware business, with newly established branches in Nakusp and New Denver. Henry and Frank Bourne’s partnership was dissolved in March 1905 after Henry’s death, but the business continued under the name Bourne Bros., with Frank Bourne as the sole owner. In 1912, the business was moved into the grand, newly built brick building on the corner of First Street and Campbell Avenue. In May 1918, the store was passed to a mortgage corporation in Vancouver.

Bourne Bros. Store, 1890s.

Bourne Bros. Store, 1890s.

Neil (Emile) & Aida Colacurcio (Colarch)

Dates:

Neil (Emile) Colarch: b. Italy, 18 September 1887 d. 4 December 1977

Aida Colarch: b. Italy, 26 July 1896 d. 15 March 1989

Cemetery Location:

Aida Colarch: Block J, Row 27, Plot 11

Neil (Emile) Colarch: Block J, Row 27, Plot 11

Profiles:

(from left) Neil Colarch, Ruby Rutherford, Estelle and Earle Dickey, and Sandy and Annie Fleming, c.1939.

(from left) Neil Colarch, Ruby Rutherford, Estelle and Earle Dickey, and Sandy and Annie Fleming, c.1939.

Neil and Aida Colarch and their son Emile moved from Italy to British Columbia in the 1890s, settling in Revelstoke in 1899.

Neil’s first job in town was with Robinson’s sawmill, before moving on to work for the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Aida lived to the age of 92.

The family’s angel headstone is one of only two of its type in Mountain View Cemetery.

Posted on September 19, 2016 and filed under Italian, catholic.

Henry Colbeck

SS Revelstoke at Downie Creek, 1905.

SS Revelstoke at Downie Creek, 1905.

Dates: b. England, 1869 d. Revelstoke, August 1949

Cemetery Location: Block A, Row 14, Plot 16

Profile:

One of Revelstoke’s earliest pioneers, Henry Colbeck came to the Okanagan from England in 1889, and based himself in Kelowna at a time when it was little more than a steamboat call. He found employment on the first steamboat to ply Okanagan Lake, later joining the crew on steamer ‘Penticton’, and then the ‘Aberdeen’ in 1892.

Henry’s work took him to all the inland lakes and rivers servicing the Canadian Pacific Railway, including Arrow Lakes and the Columbia River.

He worked as chief engineer on the ‘SS Revelstoke’, which operated north and south of Revelstoke from 1902 until 1914.  The Revelstoke Navigation Company built the steamboat in Nakusp to restore navigation to the Big Bend country. The rugged little boat had a freight capacity of 40 tons and was licensed to carry 10 passengers.

When he retired, Henry and his wife acquired farmland on the Big Bend Highway, just north of Revelstoke. He died at the age of 80, in August 1949.

Samuel Crowle

One of Revelstoke's earliest farmers, Sam Crowle, date unknown.

One of Revelstoke's earliest farmers, Sam Crowle, date unknown.

Dates: b. Cornwall, England, 16 December 1861 d. 1943

Cemetery Location: Block B, Row 2, Plot 10

Profile:

Samuel David Crowle was the first settler south of Revelstoke in the Mount Begbie area. He came to Canada in 1883 to work on the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway before settling in Revelstoke in 1885. 

Acquiring farming land three miles south of Revelstoke (today the site of Revelstoke airport), Samuel supplied many of Revelstoke’s hotels with produce. Prior to the construction of the Revelstoke Arrowhead branch line in 1894, there was no bridge across the Illecillewaet River and Samuel had to ferry his produce and supplies by boat.

Sam was also involved in the early mining days in the Big Bend area, operating a pack train from Revelstoke north for three years, before selling the operation to George Laforme.

After his death in 1943 at the age of 82, the ownership of his property was passed on to his nephew, David Crowle.

William & Sarah Dickey

William & Sarah Dickey, c.1920.

William & Sarah Dickey, c.1920.

Dates: 

William Dickey: b. Ontario, 7 September 1859 d. November 1922

Sarah Dickey: b. Manitoba, 1861 d. 17 April 1939

Cemetery Location:

William Dickey: Block E, Row 1, Plot 53

Sarah Dickey: Block E, Row 1, Plot 53

Profiles:

William John Dickey was born near Barrie, Ontario, in 1859. Moving west with the Canadian Pacific Railway construction, he was struck by the beauty of the mountains in British Columbia, and in 1886 chose to settle in Revelstoke.

On 9 November 1887, William married Sarah Amanda Banting at Metheun, Manitoba, and they had three children: Benjamin John, William Earle and Shella Dickey.

William was a member of Revelstoke’s first school board, and in 1903, appointed dominion fire ranger. Later, when Revelstoke was made sub-agency of the Kamloops district, he became the first dominion land agent, a position he held until 1911.

In 1899, the Dickeys built a home on First Street on the site of the present Revelstoke Museum & Archives, later moving to the northwest corner of Third Street and Rokeby Avenue.  John died in November 1922 – the local children lining the street to say goodbye as his funeral procession drove by.

Sarah Dickey was an accomplished musician, playing the organ for the Methodists, Presbyterians and Anglicans on alternate Sundays. She also sang in the senior choir at the Methodist Church. Her sons, Benjamin and William, played the trombone and French horn, and both were members of the local band. Her daughter, Shella, was well known throughout B.C. as a talented pianist and music teacher.

Sarah was also an active member of the Methodist Ladies Aid and she taught at Sunday School until the week before her death, aged 78, in 1939.

Dominic Gallicano

Dominic Gallicano (right) outside bakery, date unknown.

Dominic Gallicano (right) outside bakery, date unknown.

Dates: b. Italy, 1863 d. 12 January 1947

Cemetery Location: Block J, Row 26, Plot 35

Profile:

Dominic Gallicano emigrated to Donald, British Columbia, from Italy in 1893 to work for the Canadian Pacific Railway. A year later, Dominic returned to Italy to marry, and brought his wife, Henrietta Defeo, and 6-month old son, Tangres, to Donald in 1895.

Not long after their daughter Eda was born, the family moved to Revelstoke, settling about 100 yards from the railway tracks. The passenger trains in those days did not carry dining cars, so Dominic began baking bread (out of a large brick oven in his yard) to sell to passengers, along with milk and groceries.

By July 1899, Dominic had established a grocery store on Mackenzie Avenue (his two-storey building at 210 Mackenzie Avenue was the first on that block) and in December 1899, his bakery opened on the corner of Second Street and Victoria Road. 

Dominic continued to work for the railway for almost 20 years while running the two stores. In 1915, the bakery was moved into the newly-built concrete building next to the grocery store – the Sally Ann Bakery – and the family operated the business until 1988.

The Gallicanos had seven children: two boys and five girls. Dominic died on 12 January 1947, at the age of 84.

Gallicano bakery, 1915.

Gallicano bakery, 1915.

Dominic Gallicano (seated) with daughters Eda and Sylvia and son Tangree, c.1918.

Dominic Gallicano (seated) with daughters Eda and Sylvia and son Tangree, c.1918.

Douglas Hector

Dates: b. 1877 d. 15 August 1903

Cemetery location: Block F, Row 7, Plot 54

Profile:

The gravesite of Douglas Hector represents a piece of Canadian history.  The marker reads:  “Douglas Hector, of Wellington, New Zealand.  Died August 15, 1903.  Aged 26 years.”

Douglas Hector was the son of James Hector, an explorer who was responsible for the surveying of the Kicking Horse Pass. James Hector was trained as a medical doctor and geologist in Scotland. In the late 1850s, he joined the Palliser Expedition to map the Canadian west and look for a suitable pass through the Rocky Mountains for a railway. Hector and a small group of men were exploring the area around Field when his horse kicked him in the chest. Hector was rendered unconscious, and his companions actually believed he was dead. They were digging his grave when he came to, but Hector was in very bad shape. He asked one of his companions to make up a medical mixture at his instructions, but the man was terrified he would get the blame if Hector died, so he asked Hector to sign a waiver before he would administer the medicine. 

After the completion of the Palliser Expedition, Hector made his way to New Zealand, where he was involved in more survey work. He established his family there and was eventually named Chancellor of the University of New Zealand. In 1903, the CPR invited him to return to Canada and give talks to interested groups across the country.  He decided to bring one of his sons, Douglas.  The pair traveled by boat to Vancouver where they got on a train and began their journey.  They made it to Glacier House in Rogers Pass, and Sir James was regaling his audience with the story of the Kicking Horse Pass when Douglas became ill.  He was rushed to the Queen Victoria Cottage Hospital with appendicitis, but he died of peritonitis after his appendix burst.  Sir James was devastated by his son’s death, but because of the difficulty of getting the body back to New Zealand, the decision was made to bury him in Revelstoke.  A few CPR officials and distinguished visitors at Glacier House attended the funeral and Sir James returned to New Zealand.

Almost a year later, Arthur O. Wheeler, who was working on the geographical survey of the Selkirk Range, and T.D. Kilpatrick, CPR superintendent at Revelstoke, decided to raise money for a monument for Douglas Hector, and also for a monument in honour of Sir James’s achievements during the Palliser Expedition. Finally, in June 1906, almost three years after Douglas’s death, the memorials were put in place.  The plaque to honour Sir James was placed at Laggan (now Lake Louise) and later moved to the Great Divide.

The memorial stone for Douglas’s gravesite was described in the Mail-Herald newspaper on 2 June 1906:

“…Hewn out of granite, chiseled, polished and inscribed at the CPR quarries, was shaped a monument which shall endure as long as the mountains. The laying of the monument has just been completed.  It is a beautiful yet massive piece of work. The stone selected is the big-grained granite of the Cascade Range, polished and hewn to the size and shape of the grave on which it is laid horizontally, set on a basement of the finer-grained granite, of which the CPR corner stones are cut.”
Kicking Horse Valley, c.1915. Douglas's father James Hector surveyed the Rocky Mountains for CPR in the late 1850s.   

Kicking Horse Valley, c.1915. Douglas's father James Hector surveyed the Rocky Mountains for CPR in the late 1850s.

 

George Laforme

George Laforme, c.1940.

George Laforme, c.1940.

Dates: b. 1861 d. 30 December 1939

Cemetery Location: Block C, Row 8, Plot 35

Profile:

A key figure in the early mining days of Revelstoke, George Laforme left his home in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, to follow the Canadian Pacific Railway construction westward.

In May 1885 he arrived in Revelstoke and began prospecting, establishing his famous pack train business in 1889, which provided supplies to miners and trappers in the Big Bend area for 16 years.

A disastrous trip in November 1896 – which cost him $1,500 and the lives of 27 pack animals in treacherous weather conditions – was legendary. On another occasion, 24 mules and 11 horses had to be put down to prevent the animals – stranded in deep snow and ice – from starvation.

George acquired his well-known farm near the Revelstoke Golf Course around 1896, growing cherries and strawberries for the prairie and local markets.

At the time of his death in 1939, aged 78, George left behind his wife, Gertie, and son, George.

George Laforme's pack train on Front Street.

George Laforme's pack train on Front Street.

Thomas & Mary Lewis

Dates:

Thomas Lewis: b. 1846 d. 29 October 1917

Mary Lewis: b. 1843 d. July 1918

Cemetery Location:

Thomas Lewis: Block C, Row 12, Plot 27

Mary Lewis: Block C, Row 12, Plot 26

Profiles:

Thomas Lewis and his wife, Mary (Davis), immigrated to Canada from Shropshire, England, settling in Revelstoke in 1890. Thomas was a blacksmith for the Canadian Pacific Railway and they were both members of the Presbyterian Church, where Thomas served on the board in 1905.  The Lewis’s had seven children: Thomas, Frank, Herbert, Robert, Charles, Henry, Edith and Margaret.

Thomas A. Lewis Junior, born 22 August 1874, was a rancher and dairy farmer and purchased an express and draying business from J. Henderson in 1907, which he named Revelstoke Cartage Co. He was killed in France on 21 August 1917, at the age of 42; the oldest World War I recruit from Revelstoke to die in service.

Frank Bernard Lewis, born 5 October 1876, became a prominent Revelstoke businessman, operating a general merchandise business in Revelstoke until 1900, and then switching to insurance, real estate and the mining business.

David & James Lyttle (Little)

Dates:

James T. Lyttle: b. 1867 d. 11 November 1898

David Lyttle: b. 1875 d. 3 April 1905

Cemetery Location:

James T. Lyttle: Block C, Row 6, Plot 24

David Lyttle: Block C, Row 6, Plot 30

Profiles:

On 10 November 1898, engineer James Lyttle suffered severe injuries in a freight train accident, 1½ miles east of Shuswap, British Columbia. He died the following day.

The explosion of the engine boiler, discovered about 20 feet from the overturned cars, was most likely the cause of the incident, which also killed brakeman A. E. Reid and injured one other crewmember.

The sympathy of the community was evident in the large numbers who attended the funerals of Lyttle and Reid. Covering the funerals of both men, the Herald newspaper wrote, “While railroading has its certain dangers, we are apt to forget that much of the loss of life and maiming of good men is largely unnecessary; that it is due to the neglect and indifference on the part of corporations.”

At the time of his death, James had a wife, Isabella J. Lyttle, and a young son, Frederick. Another son, James, had died at the age of one year, just a few months prior to his father's death.

Sadly, seven years later, James’s brother David Lyttle was also killed in a CPR accident, six miles from Golden. The freight train ran into a rockslide and was derailed, the locomotive and four cars going over the embankment into the Kicking Horse River below. Engineer Lyttle was caught under the wrecked engine and killed instantly, while Fireman Dickey had an arm and two legs broken (he later died in Golden hospital). The rock that had caused the accident was so large that it had to be blasted out afterwards.

David was just 30 years old when he died, leaving behind a widow and two young daughters.

Florence (Frank) McCarty

Revelstoke's first mayor, Frank McCarty.

Revelstoke's first mayor, Frank McCarty.

Dates: b. 1854 d. 1920

Cemetery location: Block H, Row 32, Plot 33

Profile:

McCarty and his wife Mary were born in Wisconsin, USA. They came to Canada in 1883, following the railway construction across the country. They lived at Laggan (Lake Louise) for a while, cutting fuel for the old wood burner locomotives.

By 1889, the McCartys were operating a boarding house on the hill above the CPR station. It was advertised as a temperance house with board and lodging at $5 per week. Individual meals were 25 cents and beds were 25 cents a night.

Frank McCarty ran a butcher shop, was involved in the mining business, and also a part owner of the SS Revelstoke.

Frank became Revelstoke’s first mayor after the city was incorporated in March 1899. They built their family home that year at the corner of Mackenzie Avenue and Third Street. He later ran a livery business and steam laundry and owned a 60 acre ranch across the Illecillewaet River. He died in June of 1920.

McCarty home on Third & Mackenzie Streets.

McCarty home on Third & Mackenzie Streets.

William Joseph Phillips

Dates: b. 1890 d. 3 July 1918

Cemetery location: Block C, Row 8, Plot 25

Profile:

On 3 July 1918, CPR locomotive fireman William Joseph Phillips was working on Engine 5759 at Revelstoke. The engine was one of the newest in the division, and was being used to supply steam to the stationary boilers while they were being changed from oil to coal burners.  The gauge glass on the engine was not registering correctly, and without being aware of it, there was a shortage of water in the boiler.  Because of this, the boiler exploded, killing Phillips and causing damage in the CPR yard. 

The newspaper accounts reported:

“The impact of the explosion was tremendous.  The whole upper structure of the locomotive was lifted high in the air, landing about 100 feet in a westerly direction, turning a complete somersault and becoming entirely reversed. The fall of the huge bulk was so great as to bury itself partially into the roadbed, smashing through rails and ties. The drive wheels of the locomotive and the tender remained on the rails. The cab of the locomotive, in which the unfortunate fireman was at the time of the accident, was blown over 200 feet in a north-easterly direction, embedding itself into the side of a building use for stores. The body of the dead man was found about 75 feet distant, wedged under the drive wheels of a locomotive on an adjacent track.”

Nearby houses were hit by the debris from the engine, and several windows were broken. The roof and windows of the back shops were damaged. 

Joseph Phillips was 28 years old and married to Lottie Lee, whose father and brother both died during World War I. They had a young child at the time of Phillips’s death. Phillips had been in the employ of the CPR for about eight years.

Anselmo (John) Pradolini

Pradolini family, c.1935

Pradolini family, c.1935

Dates: b. Orsaria, Udine, Italy, 18 March 1875 d. 1948

Cemetery Location: Block J, Row 17, Plot 25

Profile:

Anselmo Pradolini arrived in Canada in 1903 with his brother Gaudenzio and five friends from the Italian Alps. They came directly to Revelstoke to work for the Canadian Pacific Railway as masons, and within a few months, Alsemo began the construction of his home at 613 Fourth Street East (affectionately known as the ‘Pink Castle’). His wife, Rosa, and brother, Achille, arrived from Italy in 1904.

Anselmo left CPR to set up his own contracting business, with Achille in charge of cement work. The first house they built was 220 Fifth Street East for A.E. Miller, principal of the new Central School. In 1906, they built Revelstoke’s first concrete block home at 601 Fourth Street East, for the Porta family.

Some of the buildings constructed during his partnership with Mr. Foote included: the Revelstoke Court House; Selkirk School; Guy Barber’s Jewellery store; C.R. Macdonald’s Drug Store; the Howson Block; and the stone facing on the King Edward Hotel – all completed before World War I.

Anselmo served as alderman for several years and as the first Italian mayor of Revelstoke from 1934 to 1936. He was a charter member of Rotary, president of the Board of Trade in 1931, and active in the Italian lodge. He also helped fellow Italians bring out their family members to Canada, filling out government forms and guaranteeing employment on their arrival, even helping some to establish their own businesses.

Alsemo had a love for music and built a bandstand at Queen Elizabeth Park, where on fine Sunday afternoons, local residents would dress up and to listen to the Italian Band.

When a gang of criminals started an extortion racket targeting Italian families in Revelstoke, Anselmo helped track down the local offenders.

Anselmo and Rosa had four children: Linda, Mario, Elio and Alfredo, who died at the age of one.  Anselmo and Rosa both died in 1948.

Rosa & Anselmo Pradolini with children

Rosa & Anselmo Pradolini with children

Man on horse-drawn sled with view of Pradolini house in background (far right)

Man on horse-drawn sled with view of Pradolini house in background (far right)

Railway Accidents of January 1929

Dates:

Orville Thompson: b. 1905 d. 27 January 1929

Alfred Abrahamson: b. 1906 d. 27 January 1929

Bert Woodland: b. 1884 d. 28 January 1929

Jeffrey Griffith: b. 1909 d. 28 January 1929

Cemetery location:

Orville Thompson: Block F, Row 1, Plot 44

Bert Woodland: Block F, Row 1, Plot 48

Jeffrey Griffith: Block F, Row 1, Plot 40

Alfred Abrahamson: Block C, Row 12, Plot 28

Profiles:

There are three graves in one section of the cemetery, of three or four people who were killed in two separate railway accidents, one day apart.

On 27 January 1929, Orville Thompson, aged 24, and Alfred Abrahamson, aged 23 (son of contractor O.W. Abrahamson), died in a head-on collision between two freight trains at Lauretta, 17 miles east of Revelstoke. Visibility was poor due to a curve in the track.  Both men were head-end brakemen on their trains.

One day later on 28 January 1929, Jeffrey Hoban Griffith, aged 20, and Bert Woodland, aged 45, with a wife and family, died when the bridge over Surprise Creek (east of Rogers Pass) collapsed and their engine plunged into the ravine.

It was extremely cold, with temperatures of –40 F in Rogers Pass.  Fireman Griffith and engineer Woodland were in a pusher engine behind Engine 5779 with engineer Doug Fraser. Fraser got the head-end engine over the bridge, then felt a severe tug. When he felt both engines should be clear of the bridge, he went back to investigate. Firstly Fraser could only see clouds of steam, but farther down the ravine the pusher engine was visible.  He sent his fireman to Sturdee to have the operator report the accident, before he set off down the side of the ravine, but could not get close to the engine due of the heat. He climbed up the other side of the ravine through deep snow, back to the main line, and set off fuses as he trudged to Stoney Creek. 

Fred Robinson

Fred Robinson, date unknown.

Fred Robinson, date unknown.

Dates: b. Yorkshire, England, October 1852 d. Revelstoke, 27 November 1917

Cemetery Location: Block C, Row 8, Plot 33

Profile:

Revelstoke lumber industry pioneer Fred Robinson was originally from Ontario’s Lake Simcoe County, his family immigrating to Canada from England in 1859. In 1871 Fred married Eliza C. Sheppard of Toronto, and they had three children (one child dying in infancy) before she died in 1876. In 1885, Fred married his second wife, Julia O. Moore, who gave birth to another three children.

After establishing a successful sawmill operation at Beavermouth, British Columbia in the 1880s, Fred sold his interest in the company and returned to Toronto in 1891. In December 1896, Fred moved to Revelstoke to take over the sawmill company owned by his brother, Dan, renaming the business “Fred Robinson Lumber Co.”

Fred expanded the operation with the purchase of Kootenay Lumber Company’s mill at Comaplix on the northeast arm of the upper Arrow Lakes. He obtained the timber rights between Comaplix and Camborne, and the company also owned two small steamers, the ‘Archer’ and the ‘Lardeau’. In November 1901, Fred Robinson Lumber Co. received an order for 2.5 million feet of logs for the Canadian Pacific Railway and the company could barely keep up with demand.  In July 1903, Fred sold the business to the Bowman Lumber Co. of Minneapolis.

When the mill in town burned down in 1910, it was probably one of the most spectacular fires in Revelstoke history, and threw a large number of men out of employment.  People as far away as Mackenzie Avenue spent the night soaking their roofs with water from garden hoses to extinguish the flying sparks.

Having contributed greatly to the development of Revelstoke, Fred died on 27 November 1917, at the age of 65. His obituary states:

"He was a man of wide friendship and genial mind, clever and progressive, ever ready to seize new opportunities offered in a new land”.
Robinson lumber mill, Revelstoke.

Robinson lumber mill, Revelstoke.

Andrew Shepherd Sr. & Jnr.

Dates:

Andrew Shepherd Sr.: b. Scotland, 1887 d. Revelstoke, 2 March 1936

Andrew Shepherd Jr.: b. 1922 d. 21 September 1927

Cemetery Location:

Andrew Shepherd: Block E, Row 2, Plot 20

Andrew W. Shepherd: Block E, Row 2, Plot 21

Profiles:

Canadian Pacific Railway carman Andrew Shepherd was 49 when he and 15 others died in one of Revelstoke’s most devastating railway accidents.

The incident occurred on 2 March 1936, when a tender (coal-car) broke loose on the steep grade towards Illecillewaet, near the scene of huge snowslides that had caused a derailment at Albert Canyon (34 kms east of Revelstoke). The runaway car mowed down unsuspecting workmen on the tracks, before colliding with the derailed freight engine. Andrew was killed instantly either jumping or being thrown from the cab of the runaway tender; his body was recovered from the river below.

Andrew joined the CPR in June 1912, serving in a munitions factory in the United Kingdom for three years during World War I, and returning to Revelstoke in 1919. He was a Past Noble Grand of Selkirk Lodge No. 26, I.O.O.F., and was District Deputy Grand Master of District No. 13, I.O.O.F. at the time of his death.

Andrew had a wife and two children: Billy and Christine. A third child, Andrew Shepherd Jr., died from polio at the age of five, in 1927.

Lemuel & Nellie Viers

Dates:

Nellie Viers: b. 1923 d. 26 August 1936

Lemuel Viers: b. 24 April 1861 d. 4 April 1951

Cemetery Location:

Nellie Viers: Block E, Row 5, Plot 15

Lemuel Viers: Block E, Row 5, Plot 15

Profiles:

Lemuel Viers was born in Ohio in 1861, the year of the Civil War.  He moved to Ponoka, Alberta in 1901 and then to Revelstoke in 1920, where he worked as a labourer for Canadian Pacific Railway and Government Roads. Lemuel and his wife, Sarah Agnes Viers, had five children: Clarence, Clara, Mrs. W. Johnson, Charlie and Albert.

A tragic accident at Glacier took the life of Lemuel’s granddaughter Nellie Viers (daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A.E. Viers) in August 1934. The 13-year-old was with a group of people berry picking, when she lost her footing stepping off a bridge and fell into a creek bed, striking her head on a rock. The injured girl was taken to Revelstoke by train, but never regained consciousness.

In June 1947, a search party discovered the mangled remains of Lemuel’s son, Clarence, after the young man failed to return from a hunting trip in the Big Bend area. It is believed a Grizzly attacked him at his cabin not long after he went up to his trap line in November 1946. His remains were buried near the cabin where he was found.

George Williamson

George Williamson's last CPR run, 1940.

George Williamson's last CPR run, 1940.

Dates: b. 26 March 1875 d. 15 June 1971

Cemetery Location: Block H, Row 11, Plot 15

Profile:

George left his hometown Toronto to follow his father, mother and sister west in 1892, finding a job as a wiper for the Canadian Pacific Railway at Donald, British Columbia. At the time, Donald was the thriving mountain divisional headquarters for CPR. (The headquarters were transferred to Revelstoke in 1899.)

In 1897, George was promoted to fireman and in 1900 to engineer, ending his long career as a railroader on 30 March 1940, when he brought engine 2716 and the Toronto Express into Revelstoke.

The highlight of 38 years of service with CPR came in the summer of 1939, when he was selected to pilot the engine of the Royal Train of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, from Revelstoke to Kamloops.

During his career, George was lucky to escape several close calls through Rogers Pass. In the summer of 1898, the engine he was piloting struck an uprooted tree near no. 35 snowshed, tearing the side of the engine’s cab completely away. In another incident, he and other crewmembers narrowly escaped an avalanche while cleaning up the remains of the winter’s snowslides. And in the summer of 1924 or 1925, when George missed a shift due to illness in the family, the train he was meant to be on derailed near Golden, B.C., killing two of his colleagues.

George’s first wife Mamie died in 1936, and his second wife, Violet, in 1966. His only son, William George, died in April 1968.

George died in 1971, aged 96 years. He left behind two daughters, Marie and Margaret, eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.