A brief history of the Copithorne Family 4 (FGK 154)

Here is the link to the article I have shared. It was published in the June 1949 issue of Canadian Cattlemen and written by Dora Dibney There are a few photos included in the article that I didn’t include because of the quality but they are worth checking out.

Again I am indebted to Percy Copithorne for this bit of historical information. “At the time when the N.W.M. Police were looking for Ernest Cashel, the notorious robber and the man who was wanted for the murder of Rufus Belt on the Red Deer River, Cashel walked into my dad’s place and asked for a saddle horse that he might <use to> catch his own which he claimed got always from him a few miles away. Dad was away that day but luckily his man was home and when my mother made inquiries for a horse the man said that the boss was very particular who rode his horses but that he no doubt could get a horse at a neighbour’s place a mile distant. This proved to be true and Glen Healey, the neighbour, did not see his horse again for sometime. That night at midnight several police rode in and inquired of Cashel. They slept on the floor of the sod-roofed two roomed house for the balance of the night.”

Although through the years, things generally became easier for these hardy men and women, there was still much to do. They had to be completely self reliant. Mothers made all the overalls for their active boys. They looked after the garden, milked the cows, fed the chickens, washed and cooked for the family, and brought up the children.

Jack Copithorne of Calgary has a fine photograph taken when he was a very young chap. It shows his mother, his brother, and himself, just outside their home, the white-washed log shack, and looking with pride on the small group as the father seated on his buckskin pony.

Jack and Mrs. J.C. Buckley, daughter of Richard Copithorne, recall how they and other children in the district rode their ponies to school, a pleasure which the child of today rarely knows. The old school still stands one and a half miles west of the Jumping Pound Post Office, and like other buildings, is made of logs. It was constructed by John Stewart and was considered very attractive with its red roof, whitewashed walls, and green trim.

Some of the teachers whose names will be remembered are Miss M.A. Walsh, Robinson, Hart, and Kent.

Church services were held in the school, and before it was built, in the various homes in the district. The minister had a large territory to cover but was always a welcome visitor.

Everyone took a great interest in politics and there was always lively discussion as to the merits of various candidates for office.

There are always amusing incidents to recall. There was the time when one of the Copithornes saw a bundle up in a tree and took a shot at it. Out fell and Indian corpse, not in good condition. Then, another time the cowboy with his chaps and guns was all for going out to find and capture, by force if necessary, the lost souls mentioned by an enthusiastic Salvation Army worker.

John Copithorne retired in 1912 and moved to Victoria. He died in 1933 and surviving are his widow, six sons: Jim of Sidney, BC; Jack, Calgary and Jumping Pound; Harry, Jumping Pound; Claude of Cochrane; Ernest, Calgary; Charles, Midnapore; and two daughters: Mrs. L.D. Nicoll, Jumping Pound, and Mrs. M. Morris, Victoria. One son, Bert, Died some years ago.

Richard’s four sons are: Percy, now at the home place, and George who farms eight miles west; Frank, now on the old Fraser River ranch, and Clarence, on Clemen’s ranch; his two daughters: Mrs. J.C. Buckley (Marjorie), Springbank, and Mrs. Annie Jones of Okotoks. Richard died in 1936.

Sam Copithorne’s two sons are Louis and Bill, and his two daughters are Mrs. J.E. Robinson, and Mrs. Rex Young.

Sam is too busy these days with spring work to be bothered talking about his family, and anyway he doesn’t think it is important. But stories of Canada’s pioneers should not be lost, and who of these old-timers ever kept a diary? Their sons and daughters have heard their tales many a time, but they too, forget and much of Canada’s fascinating and unique history remains unknown.

The debt that this generation and posterity owes to the men and women who opened up this country, can never be repaid. Not only were there great material advantages, but if we can emulate their integrity, their great independence of mind and body and spirit, then indeed we may prove worthy of the hardships which they undertook so courageously and as a matter of plain fact.


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