The Nicholson Family

The Nicholson Homestead -Photo from the Bernice Bechtold Collection at the Golden Museum cpr1230

By Mrs. E.A. Kallman for Golden Memories 1982

We left Sweden on October 10, 1893, and arrived in Golden on November 10th.

We were five children: Charlie, Frank, Johnny, Claus, and myself, Nannie. We were with our mother as our father had come out two or three years ahead of us. He met us at the station and had hired Mr. Vachon to take us up to the homestead with a team of small horses and a sleigh. There was about two feet of snow on the road. Father had built a small house, barn and chicken house between the road and where the section house was, near the present bridge at Nicholson. We lived here for five or six years. Mother had three babies while here. They were Otto, Oscar and Annie. Otto died before he was a year old. I was nine years old when Annie was born. It was Mother’s twelfth child. She had no doctor or nurse. She sat up in bed and took care of the baby and herself. She remained in bed for only three or four days.

There was a logging camp across the river from our home and Mother did the washing for some of the men to earn extra money. We had a rowboat which I used to take some of the men across the river. When they wanted to come from the other side, they would holler, and I would row over to bring them across. For this I earned a little money. I was about nine years old at that time. We were invited to this camp for Christmas dinner once. That was the first time I had tasted plum pudding or mincemeat pie.

After we had lived there for about five years, Dad took up the homestead where Walter Ryter lived for years. It had a creek which was used for irrigation. He skidded some logs to use for a house. Some friends helped him build the house. Next he built a barn and chicken house; then he cleared land. It took a few years before he could grow enough hay to feet two horses and two or three cows. He cut slough hay from across the river, hauling it home when the ice was thick enough as there was no bridge then.

Mother grew a garden, milked cows, raised chickens, and sold butter, eggs and chickens. With this money she bought groceries and other necessities.

I was ten-year-old when I started school in town where I stayed with Mrs. Carlson. The next year, the Horse Creek was built on our land (after school consolidation, it was moved to Harrogate, and then later to Parson where it is used as a teacherage). During its construction, Mother let her bedroom be used for a schoolroom for the seven children attending. Mr. Orchard was our teacher, Miss Durham and then Miss Clara Barclay followed as teachers. Miss Barclay roomed with us. She gave me her bicycle when she left.

Brother Frank drove the stage coach for nine years using a four horse team. It took two days each way from Golden to Windermere. Going up the Valley, the stage stopped at Bill Johnson’s for dinner. It stopped at McIntosh’s in Spillimacheen for supper, overnight, and breakfast. The next day they stopped at McKay’s for supper and overnight.

Brother Johnny worked on the Selkirk (the steamboat) for some years. He had to come home because he was sick with rheumatism.

My father died when I was sixteen. Johnny was sick and Oscar was only eight years old so I had to work hard. It was often fifty-five degrees below zero when I had to drive into Golden with the horse and sleigh. A big fire broke out on the mountain across the river from Canyon Creek and Cabin Creek. Several little fires started below the road so we were up all night watching the buildings and a haystack. By morning the little fires were all put out.

Nannie married August Kallman in 1911, and moved to Alberta. After eight years she returned to Golden with her husband and family. Oscar Nicholson remembered the first cars and the excitement they caused. There were only two or three in the district. Most of the vehicles on the road were horse-drawn. Car driving, however, was strictly for summer as there was no snow plowing and very little grading. When there was no snow it was easy to steer a car as it just stayed in the rut.

Oscar sometimes played violins for dances, as did August Kallman. Ben Rauch often helped out the Kallman orchestra with his banjo. Oscar composed a song which he often played. This was called “The Good Old Columbia Valley, the Garden of the West.” The Kallman Orchestra played for many dances in the Valley. It was a very popular orchestra.

Mr. and Mrs. August Kallman had three children. The oldest daughter, Myrtle, married Vaughan Kimpton (now deceased). The son Arthur, married Irene Bradshaw. He is now deceased. The younger daughter, Pearl, married Jack Harrison (deceased).

Oscar Nicholson married Rose Cary of Armstrong, who came to teach school in the area. They had two daughters, Bernice and Dorothy. Bernice married Gordon Dorion and is living in Banff. Dorothy is deceased.