Kittson County Historical Society

Kittson profiles and photos from the past and present

My father came to Canada from Belfast, Ireland in 1920 when he was 14 years old. He lied about his age and claimed he was 16 and went to work as a "Call Boy" for the Canadian Pacific Railway in Winnipeg. His first job was to ride around the city on his bike, in the days of few phones, and advise train crew, engineers, firemen and switchmen, to report for work. As he grew older he worked in the CPR Yard office located in the Railway yards between the Salter Street and Arlington street bridge. When things got tough during the depression he bought a book on typing and taught himself to type and kept his job while others were laid off. When it got really bad he bought books on Pitman Shorthand and taught him self how to take dictation in shorthand. These skills allowed him to keep his job a lot longer that others. In time he got his date of birth corrected to 1908 rather than 1906. By the time he retired as Chief Clerk of the Yard officeat 65, he had worked for the CP Railway for a total of 51 years. He had been give a gold pass in his 50th year and it allowed him to ride with his wife and family on any train, ship, or plane owned by the CPR. He died a couple of years after he retired. At the funeral the minister was confused and remarked that my father has worked for 51 years at the Canadian National Railway, The two Canadian Railways were always strong rivals. Had my father been there even he would have laughed at the screw up.

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