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Ernest Pitt and
Lillian Claydon Pitt

Our Treasured Heritage
A History of Coalhurst and District
Page 473-475

Mr. Ernest Pitt came to Canada from Hereford, England in 1901. He was sent to recuperate (from the Boer War) to his uncle's ranch, (Mr. George Arrowsmith of Turin, Alberta). In 1904, he met Miss. Lillian Claydon, who came with her parents to homestead in the Newlands district, near Nobleford. They were married on September 5, 1904 in St. Augustine's Church in Lethbridge. They had twelve children; a daughter and twin boys died as babies. Mr. Pitt worked as a brakeman for the C.P.R. for several years, working out of Calgary to Field, B.C.

He then moved to Medicine Hat, where he worked as a meat cutter for Pat Burns. The family moved to Coalhurst in 1918, and Mr. Pitt owned the butcher shop in the building that later became the Penticostal Church. He then worked for the mine company as a brakeman on the train.

The nine Pitt children all attended school in Coalhurst. The family lived through the depression years, also saw,the mine disaster, and burning of the two schools. One of the boys was working in the mine office during the mine disaster, and another worked in the mine. Four boys served in the armed forces during the second World War. One boy played hockey with the Lethbridge Maple Leafs, and also played ball. Nine of the Pitt children are still alive.

Mr. Ernest Pitt died in Lethbridge July 3, 1953 at the age of 72.

Mrs. Lillian Pitt died in Lethbridge June 24, 1982 at the age of ninety-three.

When Mrs. Pitt passed away, there were sixteen five generations and eighteen four generations in the family.

Pitt Family

Mr. Ernest A. Pitt came to Lethbridge from Hereford, England in the year 1901. He then went to Turin to his uncle's ranch (Mr. George Arrowsmith) to recuperate from fever contracted while serving in the Boer War, as a member of the 9th Battalion of the Imperial Yeomanry. Mrs. Lillian Pitt came to Lethbridge in the year 1902 from Ilford, England. Mr. and Mrs. Pitt met in Lethbridge where Mrs. Pitt was working for Mrs. Higginbottom. They were married at St. Augustine's Church on September 5, 1904. They had twelve children, three died as small babies, the other nine are still living. Mr. Pitt worked for a while in a butcher shop in Lethbridge, then worked for the C. P.R. as a brakeman working out of Calgary to Field, B.C. The two oldest children were born in Lethbridge, one in Calgary, three in Medicine Hat, three in Coalhurst. Mr. Pitt operated a butcher shop in Coalhurst, the building later became the Pentecostal Church. He then went to work for the mine company on the switch engine as a brakeman. They picked up coal cars and took them to the main line for the Canadian Pacific Railway to pick up. The nine children all attended school in Coalhurst. Two of the boys were active in sports, mostly hockey, soccer and baseball. Two of the girls played softball on the girls' team, several of the family helped plant trees out at Park Lake. We learned to swim in the irrigation ditch or the river near Nicols' farm at Kipp and learned to skate on Abens' pond near Wigan. We went to Sunday School at Pentecostal, United or Anglican Church. The Anglican services were held in the basement of the I.O.O.F. hall, the ministers came out from Lethbridge and mother played the organ. Mother also played the piano for dances in the hall. We all remember when the schools burnt down, the mine explosion and the fire in McDermott's and Willis's store. " D" the Tailor from Lethbridge would bring, out movie shows to Coalhurst which we all enjoyed. Mr. and Mrs. Pitt moved to Lethbridge a few years after the mine explosion.

The oldest daughter worked for Mrs. Patton and Mrs. Daley in Coalhurst. She married and had four children They moved to a farm in the Pidgeon Lake area, and then to Falun, Alta

The second oldest son worked for Dad delivering meat orders after school. Later he worked for Dominic Tedesco who owned and operated a General Store and meat market. Part of his work was to go to Lethbridge by horse and buggy to pick up groceries from the wholesaler. He also worked for Tony Pavan who had his first grocery store in Wigan and later moved into Coalhurst. He quit school at the age of fifteen and worked in the mine 'gripping'. This was pulling full loads of coal to the bottom of the shaft and it was then hoisted to the top tipple to be sorted and run into coal cars for the market. During the depression he became a Beatty washer salesman. Money was scarce, therefore he took anything customers could spare such as; chickens, pigs, eggs, cattle or grain as down payments. Families were large so wives appreciated the luxury of a new washing machine. He married and they had four children. They moved to Lethbridge and Ted started working at Sicks' Lethbridge Brewery and worked there for forty-five years, was bottle shop foreman before his retirement. He enlisted in the Army, and served overseas for five years, and was a Sergeant with the I st Division Tank Corps and served overseas in England, Italy and Sicily.

Another son worked in the mine office for several years. He married they had three daughters. After the mine explosion, they moved to Calgary where he worked for the Unemployment Office for a number of years.

A third son went to work on his uncle Arrowsmith's ranch in Turin after he quit school. He married and they had four children. They moved to Lethbridge and Ernie worked at Sick's Brewery for a number of years. He served in the Canadian Service Corps for two years, but had to leave on account of his health

A daughter worked for Dr. and Mrs. Willard Haig in Lethbridge for three years, then worked for Mr. and Mrs. A. N. Green. She married and they have one daughter. Her husband served in the Royal Canadian Engineers and served in England, France, Holland, Belgium and Germany.

Another daughter left Coalhurst at the age of fifteen and a half to work for Mr. and Mrs. George Green of Lethbridge. She married and had three children. They moved to New Westminster, B.C. in 1942.

A son finished his high school in Lethbridge. He joined the Army in 1940 in the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals, 3rd Division. He served overseas in England, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany, was made a Sergeant and served overseas for five years. He returned to England after the war to spend two and a half years in Special Service with British Signals in England. He returned to Canada and served in Northern Canada with North West Territories Radio System and had twenty five years Government Service in the Army. He married and had four sons.

A daughter worked in Lethbridge for two years and then married a man who worked for the C.P.R. They moved to Medicine Hat and had five children.

Another son finished his schooling in Lethbridge. He started to work for Eaton's in the Grocery Department when he was sixteen. He worked for Eaton's for forty-one years. He served in the Royal Canadian Airforce from 1943 to 1945. He married and had three children. They have six grandchildren. He participated in minor, junior and senior hockey in Lethbridge and also played fastball and baseball.

Several of the grandchildren are very musical.

Mr. Pitt died on July 31, 1953 and Mrs. Pitt on June 24, 1982 at the age of ninety-three. At the time of her death Mrs. Pitt had nine children living, thirty-six grandchildren, seventy-five great-grandchildren and twenty-nine great-great-grandchildren.

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Copyright 2000
Mary Tollestrup