Posts tagged #big eddy

Rev. W. C. Calder

Dates: b. Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1852 d. September 1931

Keywords: Presbyterian Church, Tonka Farm, Big Eddy, Alice Calder, David Calder

Cemetery Location: Block C, Row 13, Plot 18

William Caldwell Calder entered the ministry at an early age, moving his wife, Alice Mary Calder (nee Trump), and children west in the mid-1890s. He accepted the ministry position at Revelstoke Presbyterian Church in 1900. When a second Presbyterian church was established, Rev. Calder took over the ministry of St. Andrew’s Church. He retired when the two churches united in 1910.

Upon retirement, Mr. Calder began farming his land ‘Tonka Farm,’ at the Big Eddy amid the mountain scenery they all loved so much.  In 1915, the family purchased a valuable herd of Ayrshire cows to enter the dairy business. When the shortage of feed over winter became evident, the family built a silo the following summer – the first of its kind in the Revelstoke district.

After a brief illness, Mr. Calder died in 1931, at the age of 80. Alice Calder died in 1957 at the age of 94. The Calders had seven sons and three daughters: Bruce, Donald, Merle, Rex, William, James, David, Margaret, Martha, and a daughter who died prior to moving to British Columbia.

David Calder was shot by his brother-in-law, Thomas Allen, at the Allen’s Big Eddy residence on 20 July 1924. He died of his injuries at the Queen Victoria Hospital on 6 August 1924, at the age of 41, leaving behind a wife and four children.

The Calder family, date unknown.

The Calder family, date unknown.

Tonka Farm, Big Eddy, September 1963.

Tonka Farm, Big Eddy, September 1963.

Thomas & Alice Griffiths

Alice Griffiths, November 1962.

Alice Griffiths, November 1962.


Thomas Griffiths: b.1877 d. 14 March 1964

Alice Griffiths: b.1884 d. 16 October 1980

Cemetery Location:

Thomas Griffiths: Block F, Row 1, Plot 42

Alice Mary Griffiths: Block F, Row 1, Plot 41


Thomas and Alice Griffiths were born in England in the late 1800s. Tom spent his youth in Australia and New Zealand, and after serving in the Boer War, returned to England, where he married Alice. The couple immigrated to Canada with their baby daughter, Esther, in 1906.

Initially the family settled north of Winnipeg in Strathclair, where they endured a record- breaking cold winter. The Griffiths then moved to Calgary, where Tom was employed at P. Burns and Company, and in 1907 he was transferred to Revelstoke. The day after the family arrived in Revelstoke, Alice recalled waking up to a beautiful April morning, and said to her husband:

“Oh look at that lovely mountain. Oh isn’t it lovely? It must be heaven, let’s stay!”

After living several years in town, the Griffiths purchased two and a half acres of forested land at ‘Three-mile Crossing’, west of Revelstoke (The Big Eddy) and the family lived in a tent that summer while their house was built.

Life for the early settlers of the Big Eddy district was tough. In the early days the area was only accessible via the railway bridge over the Columbia River, and until the traffic bridge was opened in 1910, the walk over the railway bridge to Revelstoke was, in Alice’s words, “very frightening”.

By 1911, the Griffiths had four children and finding their house too small, bought a further five acres where they built a larger home. Tom worked at the rock quarry while they developed their land into a productive farm with vegetables, horses, cows and pigs.

In the early 1920s, Tom purchased 15 acres of land on the Columbia River, east of Griffiths Road. He built a large log cabin (‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’), where the Griffiths hosted parties and visiting family.

In 1930s and early ‘40s, the Griffiths operated the experimental station of the Department of Agriculture on their land.  Every summer they hosted a field day to inspect the results of the harvest, and the event was attended by agriculturalists from all over Canada.

Tom and Alice had six children: three daughters and four sons. Tom died in Vancouver in 1964 at the age of 86, and Alice in Revelstoke in 1980, at the age of 96.

Griffith family farm, Big Eddy, Revelstoke.

Griffith family farm, Big Eddy, Revelstoke.