I found this interview with Sam Copithorne and thought it could be fun to share. At the end of the stories, I’ll post the information to source it, but this is written by Dora Dibney – I have no idea who she was. I always wondered (but not badly enough to ever ask lol) who Grandpa was named after – and it looks like it was after one of his uncles. Enjoy!
A Brief Story of the Copithorne Family
“Now look,” Sam Copithorne remarked, “there’s no use writing a story about me. I’m not a pioneer becuase I didn’t come out to this country until 1904. It’s my two brothers you ought to write about, if you HAVE to write about the family.”
“Where was I born? Oh, in Clonakilty, that’s in County Cork, Ireland. My father had a dairy farm, dual purpose Short horns and we milked about 25 cows. Guess we had about 120 acres.
“Besides John and Richard, I had four older brothers: James and William and Robert and Edward. We had one sister: she was the eldest. John came out here in 1883 and Richard came out four years later in 1887.
“James went to Central Africa as a missionary and before that he was in the civil service. but he was in Africa, oh less than a couple of years when he got fever and died.
“John was the first to make a move though. He just decided to come to Canada so my father got him a lot of letters of introduction to people in Montreal, but he never used a single letter.
“He didn’t like Montreal so he bought a ticket through to Winnipeg. Well he looked for work and somehow or other he met a man who wanted someone to drive eight mules. John had never had a thing to do with mules, but he waits sure he could drive them so he got a job and $10 a month. That was doing farm work.
“It wasn’t long after that that a man came to the farm and he bought the mules. He couldn’t drive them so John got the job of taking them to Brandon.
“That was the time of the rebellion I, so John volunteered for the army and he was sent to live with the Indians and watch their movements. Well, he lived with them for a long time; he took part in their powwows and he got so he could talk Cree with the best of them.
“He lived with them so long that they nearly forgot he wasn’t an Indian. They used to call him Wapoorshwian which means Rabbit-Skin-Robe. I remember him telling us about the way they used to eat. They’d put all their meat into one big pot and they’d sit around and fish it out when it was cooked. Sometimes they’d fish out a piece of dog meat and then they’d remember and say “white man no eat dog” so they’d find a piece of rabbit meat for him.