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Date Range
[1885-1965]
Collection
James Ernest Kirby fonds
Description Level
Fonds
GMD
textual record
Scope and Content
This fonds consists of journals, autobiographic writings, a Boy Scouts guidebook, notes, a certificate and an accounts ledger. The fonds is arranged into three series: Mining Recorder, Personal writings and Photographs.
Collection
James Ernest Kirby fonds
Description Level
Fonds
GMD
textual record
Creator
James Ernest Kirby
Name Access
James Ernest Kirby
Fonds No.
PF1
Accession No.
1971.2
1983.52
2007.6
2012.101
Physical Description
11 cm of textual record
Date Range
[1885-1965]
History / Biographical
As Mining Recorder, Kirby held considerable authority within the local community. He was responsible for registering claims, issuing free miner’s certificates, and enforcing government legislation pertaining to mining. Records maintained by his office were used to assess the productivity of the district, which could influence government decisions on expenditures like road and trail development, and investment in smelting technology. Kirby served as Mining Recorder until 1931.
Born in Rochester, Kent, England in 1865, James Kirby enlisted with the British Army at the age of 14 as a French horn player. He served with the army in Gibraltar, and in India during the Afghan war. He emigrated to Canada in 1892, moving to Metlakatla, B.C. to live with an aunt and uncle. He served as a Constable under the Indian Agent in Metlakatla, later taking up a similar position in Port Essington. By 1900 he was transferred to Hazelton, and in 1908 was appointed Mining Registrar and Supreme and County Court and Clerk of the Peace, in addition to his police duties. Kirby’s son, Ernest, was born in Hazelton in 1907, and in 1918 the family relocated to Smithers. James Kirby served on the early Smithers Citizens Association, as well as the board of the Bulkley Valley District Hospital.
Ernest died at age 17 (Block 2; Lot 1) from accidental drowning in Tatalaska Lake, just west of Francois Lake. He was remembered in an obituary in the Omineca Herald newspaper as an “extremely popular and promising youth.” In honour of his memory, James Kirby handed out peppermints, a favourite of Ernest’s, earning himself the title “The Peppermint King.”
James Kirby remarried in December 24, 1925, to Caroline Jane Humphrey. He died in 1965 at 100 years of age.
James’ first wife, Annie Goodman Kirby, was born in 1878 in Nova Scotia to Icelandic parents. She had lived in British Columbia since 1890 and worked in tailoring until 1902, after which she became a housewife. This shift in occupation may mark the year her and James married. Annie died on November 21, 1921, and is buried in Smithers, B.C. at Block 2; Lot 1. She died just three years before her son Ernest’s death in 1924.
Scope and Content
This fonds consists of journals, autobiographic writings, a Boy Scouts guidebook, notes, a certificate and an accounts ledger. The fonds is arranged into three series: Mining Recorder, Personal writings and Photographs.
Arrangement
Additional file in fonds that is called "Odds and Ends" and the whole folder is numbered 1971.2.3 - consists of a correspondence record, addresses and the 'railway robbery in London' notes. Recommend describing and accessioning this file.
Boy Scout book from 1983.52 was originally processed by B. Wilson in 1992.
Re-arranged by Wendi Croft, October 20, 2003 in order to more appropriately follow the purpose of RAD in a practical sense and following discussions with the AABC educator. This involved the re-naming of the series; re-location of items within the series; the removal of the Bulkley Valley Fall Fair (Telkwa Barbecue) 1919 program to an individual accession (later to be included in the Telkwa Barbecue Fonds) and the removal of the books (on Boy Scouts and Veterinary medicine) to the Artifact database due to their non-archival nature.
Re-arranged once again by Manda Haligowski, September 2016, to better reflect archival principles and practices.
Type of Record
Archival Description