It happened this week in 1915

Sept. 11- 17: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers held at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

It happened this week in 1915

Sept. 11- 17: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers held at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives


Shocking crime … Cranbrook was the scene of a shocking crime Wednesday afternoon, when Samuel G. Watson, a member of the 11th C. M. Rs., Vernon, but formerly a brakeman in the employ of the C. P. R., running out of this city, was attacked at the home of Hugh McGill, helper in the employ of the C. P. R. shops, and received injuries which resulted in his death at 12.55 this morning.

It is alleged Watson was paying attention to the wife of the accused, and had been warned by the police to keep away from the McGill home.

Wednesday afternoon at 3 o’clock McGill called at the police station and reported to the police what had occurred.

Watson was rushed to St. Eugene hospital, where it was learned by the attending physician that he was suffering from a fractured skull, and was in a precarious condition. He died at about 1 o’clock without regaining consciousness. The crime is the first case of its kind in the city in thirteen years.

Thursday evening at 8 o’clock Coroner G. E. L. MacKinnon empanelled a jury, consisting of the following: W. Marshall, foreman, R. J. Binning, M. McEachern, W. H. Wilson, John Martin and Joseph Walkley. The preliminary hearing has been announced for 2.30 Monday afternoon.

The funeral of the late Samuel Watson will take place at 2 o’clock from the family residence, in charge of the 107th regiment. Undertaker F. M. MacPherson has charge of arrangements.

Caught … Charles LeDuke, the fugitive from justice, who made a sensational escape from the Cranbrook jail Thursday night by sawing through the half inch steel bars of his cell at 10.15 that evening, has again been safely landed in jail.

LeDuke had secreted away two of the knives used by the prisoners in the kitchen at the jail, with which he constructed a saw, and cut away the heavy bars of one of the cells. Constable Venus, who was on duty that night, shortly afterwards discovered that LeDuke had made good his escape, and summoned the entire force.

After being brought in from the day’s work the men are allowed the use of the corridor until the time arrives for being placed in their cells, which is usually 10.30.

Chief of Police Adams immediately got into communication with all outside points. The provincial police force was set in motion and every trail leading out of the city was guarded. An all-night search was kept up.

LeDuke was acquainted with all the tricks in the trade of the professional crook. He used soap while filing away the bars, so that his work might be carried on without interruption. When he made good his escape he kept in the heavily wooded country, travelling through the timbered region all the way to Wattsburg, where he secured provisions and again took to the virgin forest until Moyie was reached when, in the early hours of Saturday morning, Provincial Constable Arden landed his man.

Chief of Police Adams left oh the noon train Saturday and brought the prisoner back, neatly handcuffed.

LeDuke had sawed through one of the bars and removed it. He had a second bar about half cut through, and being unable to finish his work slipped through the opening and departed. The only conclusion arrived at for his cutting the second bar was to assist his fellow prisoners, nine in number, to escape from the prison.

When arrested LeDuke had $5.00 on his person. Just where he got this money is a mystery, as he had no money when he was placed in the cell that night. It is thought that he was aided by someone on the outside, as the cells are somewhat exposed.

LeDuke appeared before Judge Arnold Monday afternoon and was sent up to stand trial at the fall assizes. He was not represented by counsel.

Council business … The regular meeting of the Cranbrook city fathers, postponed from Wednesday last on account of the Fall Fair being held on that date, took place at the council chamber on Monday afternoon, when the following were present: His Worship Bowness and Aldermen Leask, Balment, Clapp and Campbell; City Solicitor Macdonald, City Engineer Cummings and City Clerk T. M. Roberts.

Mostly all the “dads” were apparently suffering from colds, the business being conducted almost in a whisper.

Mr. Joseph L. Palmer, on behalf of the firm of C. S. Parker, appeared before the board and asked permission to erect and maintain a tank for the storage of gasoline in front of the premises of C. S. Parker on Van Horne street, so that automobiles may be filled from same. All conditions would be complied with, the tank would be buried the required depth and all necessary precautions taken. It was moved by Alderman Campbell and seconded by Alderman Balment that the matter be referred to the fire chief with power to act. Motion carried.

Mr. J. A. Turnley, agent-general at London, England, wrote asking the city to furnish photographs of scenes in the Cranbrook district to be placed in the new B. C. building in the heart of old London. A motion by Alderman Leask, seconded by Alderman Campbell was passed, authorizing the purchase of photos. Some of the photos will include famous scenic spots in the Kootenays as well as agricultural scenes.

Ald. Balment said he could not see where the city needed three policemen. Mayor Bowness, who is also a member of the police commission, said he was strolling along on a moonlight night via the city hall route and came in full view of a cow in front of the city hall making an unearthly noise, but no policemen heard it. Ald. Campbell said he was of the opinion that the police commission should be elected by the ratepayers at the same time as the mayor and council. Here the discussion ended.

The dog tax question was brought up by Ald. Campbell. He said several complaints had been made of a number of canines running at large. In one case a merchant had a considerable amount of goods spoiled by an uneducated dog. Just whether this dog had a tag on or not is problematical. It is thought from his (the dog’s) actions that he was a loose, idle canine having no visible means of support.

At this juncture Chief of Police Adams arrived and was asked several questions in connection with the collecting of the bow-wow license. He said sixty-three licenses were collected and forty-two dogs had been buried in the city hall cemetery, which was about full up. A number of dogs were killed by automobiles, which are not included in the above list. There were good, bad and indifferent now buried in the canine graveyard.

The chief said a house to house canvass was made for dog licenses. In some cases it was difficult to learn just who the dog really belonged to.

It was moved by Aldermen Campbell and Balment that the police be instructed to enforce the pound and dog tax bylaw.


Paddy Hope in the trenches … Mrs. P. D. Hope, of Marysville, has received a letter from her husband. Mr. Hope is with the 14th battalion, Royal Montreal Rifles of Canada, British Expeditionary Force.

His letter: Somewhere in France, August 22nd, 1915. We are at present in the trenches and as usual, lately, up to our necks in mud, as yesterday it rained hard all day and the trenches we are occupying at present time are pretty old.

There has been some severe fighting in the past just around here, and the trenches have been knocked down by shells and rebuilt, consequently bodies that had been buried have been disturbed, and the dug-outs are not very sweet in places, also infested with rats, which, however, give us some amusement killing them. Flies and wasps are pretty bad also. However, shall be going into billets again tomorrow for a few days’ rest.

Wish as all of us do, that they would let the first contingent home now, and the 2nd take our place. We have done 12 months and put in a hard winter campaign. If the 2nd could take our place and give us a few months’ rest, then, if necessary, we could come over in the spring. Here we have been for months sleeping out and hardly ever have our boots off.

We all hate the thoughts of another winter and hope they will put the few of the 1st that is left on garrison duty for a while.

Write to me often and let me know if my letters are reaching you. Most of the fellows get their mail O. K. in two weeks.

Another fellow and I volunteered and went out last night and cut barbed wire in front of the German trenches. We stuck up a notice and asked them over to see us if they felt like it. They are, by now, just as scared of the Canadians as the Indians, as we do all sorts of tricks on them this way. And they generally seem to know when the Canadians are in the front of them. We practically feel sure that they will never make an attack while we are in the front line. It has always happened this way since we handled them on April 22nd, when they broke through the French lines. The lines we hold now have been lost by the French, twice retaken by the English and lost again by the English and again retaken, so you see some hard fighting has been done here. We are hoping the Germans may try it while we are here, but doubt it.

We expect to remain in these parts for some time to come, but have a lot of marching to do every four or five days. We go to billets tomorrow and march out five miles. We have not had our boots off for five days and nights. This makes it pretty hard with equipment, etc., on the back (rifle ammunition) and very little sleep while in the trenches.

As I am going on guard I will close and get this off tonight. The mail is taken out tonight, as it is every night, which is some consolation, so write me often. I met young Watson, of Creston, at the base. Oleo Kimpton, who used to be in Moyie I see quite often. He is with the 48th and McGann, of Lytton is with the 16th.

No. 23393 P. D. Hope.

Letter from Vernon … Mrs. Chas. J. Little is in receipt of a letter from Vernon camp, from Major Pollen acknowledging the consignment of preserved fruits forwarded by the Cranbrook Daughters of the Empire. The letter follows:

Mrs. Chas. J. Little, Cranbrook, B. C.: Madam: The consignment of preserved fruit arrived in good order and was distributed today to the Cranbrook men of the 54th. I am desired by the men to convey their heartiest appreciation of the handsome presents made to them by the Daughters of the Empire in Cranbrook.

The interest thus taken in the men by the ladies of their home town is an immense encouragement to them and illustrates in a splendid way the co-operation of the Daughters with the Sons of the Empire, as all your men are entitled to be called at the present time.

I have the honor to be, Yours obediently, C. Hungerford Pollen; Major. Vernon, B. C., August 25th, 1915

Lawn tennis … In the ladies championship finals of the Cranbrook Lawn Tennis club, played Saturday afternoon last, Miss B. Pye easily defeated Miss Mecredy by two straight sets, the score being 6-0, 6-2. The winner played with great confidence and was better all-round than her opponent.

The cup which was given by Mr. A. Raworth, was presented to Miss Pye after the match by Mrs. Erickson.

A large number of people were at the courts to see the game, Miss Pye’s win being very popular.


Second judging … Through the kindness of Mr. T. S. Gill, the judges of the Senior Competition Home Gardens were enabled to make the last inspection of the gardens on August 26th. Mr. Gill furnished auto and driver to convey the judges from place to place, for which they tender their hearty thanks.

A number of the boys had continued the good work begun; while in some cases the gardens showed a great lack of water, and the dry, hot weather had done its work.

Orville Thompson’s garden was found in excellent condition—clean and neat—all refuse of early vegetables being removed, and the vegetables showing good growth.

A. H. Webb’s garden proved that he has not been weary in well doing, as it showed cultivation and care.

James Kemball’s garden, which was mentioned in the first report, as having been sown in stony ground, was still a credit to him.

Joe Stojack’s garden showed labor done in keeping it clean, but the dry, hot weather had been against growth.

Harold Rummer’s flower garden was a bower of beauty, with sweet peas, nasturtiums and other beautiful flowers showing great attention and care.

Hector Donaldson’s flower garden showed Hector to have great courage, for, as in the case of Jimmy Kemball, the soil had been worked this year for the first time, and was very stony and thirsty. Many of the flowers had gone to seed, leaving the proof that there had been lovely bloom before the hot weather had begun.

Jaffray dance … The patriotic dance held at Jaffray on August 27th has turned over a neat sum to the Patriotic society. Mr. T. M. Roberts is in receipt of the following self-explanatory letter:

Jaffray, B. C. September 15, 1915 Mr. T. M. Roberts, Cranbrook, B.C.

Dear Sir, I have much pleasure in enclosing you herewith a cheque for $70.00 being the proceeds of the Patriotic Dance held at the Recreation Hall of the East Kootenay Lumber Company, Ltd., at Jaffray on August 27th last. On behalf of the residents of this district who are subscribers to this fund I trust that our efforts, though small, will help in the good cause which you are representing.

Yours truly, L. F. RUDDY, Secretary, Dance Committee

Pretty wedding … The Methodist church was the scene of a very impressive service this morning, when the Rev. Thos. Keyworth performed the nuptial ceremony at which Miss Eva Georgia Conley, only daughter of Mrs. W. G. Hayward of Dewar Ave., was united in matrimony to Mr. Robert Coats St. Clair, of the C. P. R. Forestry Department. The church was filled with an eager and interested congregation and the service was fully choral.

The choir, of which Miss Conley has been an ardent member, was present in a body and took a prominent part in the service. Mr. C. F. Nidd officiated at the organ and rendered in a beautiful manner the “Bridal Chorus” from Lohengrin, whilst the bride entered the church leaning upon the arm of her only brother, Mr. Harry Conley, and was waited upon by Miss Gladys Hickinbotham, girl chum of the bride. The groom was supported by Mr. Arthur M. Ham.

The church was very prettily decorated by members of the choir and close associates of the bride and consisted of a bridal arch of evergreens, and white roses with wedding bell, whilst palms were profusely scattered around the platform and a beautiful tray of pansies adorned the pulpit.

School inspection … Members of the Cranbrook school board visited the Central school Monday morning, it being their annual tour of inspection. There were present Chairman White, and Trustees Manning, Quain and Wilson. The fire drill test was brought into action, when the trustees witnessed the orderly exit of the children from the building. The four hundred children marched out in perfect order in the remarkably short time of 42 seconds, which constitutes a record for British Columbia.

Cranbrook concentration camp … Ald. Leask brought up the question of the concentration, camp. He said there was talk of the camp being removed from Vernon and thought Cranbrook should make another bid for it. He said there was a well-founded rumor going the rounds also that an additional number would be quartered in the interior towns.

The council decided to get in touch with the proper authorities and learn at first hand just what the military authorities intended doing.

Elko news … Jack Wallace, editor of the Fernie Free Press, says Jim Thistlebeak, was in Elko this week nosing around like a country vicar with a cold in his head, and looking like last week’s newspaper.