MARY'S GENEALOGY TREASURES
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Ernest Neidig and
Isabelle Bell Neidig

Our Treasured Heritage
A History of Coalhurst and District
Page 450

Ernest was born in New Hamburg, Ontario, a German community, January 28, 1878 and came to Dunmore, Alberta as a child. His father, John was a carpenter for the Alberta Railway and Irrigation Co and they moved to Lethbridge in 1887 or 88 where they established a ranch. When their first house burned down they build one mostly of stone in the top of a coulee where the remnants still stand south of the University of Lethbridge. Ernest lived in this house with his parents until March 18, 1901, when he married Isabelle Bell who had come from Ireland in 1899. The young couple lived in Lethbridge for a few years where Ernest hauled water for the City.

Their first daughter was born there in September, 1902, a son was born October, 1903 and another son in June 1905. The family then moved to Fernie, B.C. where Ernest Sr. got a job at Coal Creek mine where he later became a foreman. Ernest and Isabelle had eight more children while living there.

In 1925 the parents and seven youngest children came back to West Lethbridge to look after the ranch, but things didn't go too well so they went back to Fernie late in 1926. Early in January, 1927 they moved back to take over the boarding house in Coalhurst. They also had to look after the bunk house as both belonged to the coal company. It was a good thing that they had a lot of willing workers to help Mrs. Neidig as there was plenty to do making meals and lunches for about forty miners. When the grain elevators were being built at Coalhurst there were ten to fifteen more lunches to pack for this crew.

Since the boarding house was a part of the coal company it was heated with steam from the power house and it was quite cozy. Renovations were to be taken care of by the yard foreman, Jim McGinnis. After a lot of coaxing, Mrs. Neidig persuaded Jim to have someone plaster the ceiling in the dining room to cover the drab boards and lighten the room up. This was done by a local member of the Village and it looked much brighter for the first day, however, soon after the evening meal was over and the men had left the large table, the whole ceiling broke loose and fell among the dishes. Now, Mrs. Neidig was a very calm lady generally and was never known to swear, but when Big Jim McGinnis showed up so did the dear lady's Irish. Apparently she poured out some profanity which may have dampened her passage at the pearly gates.

In the spring of 1930 the Neidig family moved back to Femie where Ernest worked at some of the mines there until he retired. Mrs. Neidig passed away November, 1944 and Ernest January 1, 1957.

Three of their children, Dorothy, Harold and Alice are now deceased.

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Copyright 2000
Mary Tollestrup